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EN BANC

G.R. No. 104768 July 21, 2003

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, 



vs.

SANDIGANBAYAN, MAJOR GENERAL JOSEPHUS Q. RAMAS and ELIZABETH DIMAANO, Respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan
(First Division)1 dated 18 November 1991 and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No. 0037. The first Resolution
dismissed petitioner’s Amended Complaint and ordered the return of the confiscated items to respondent
Elizabeth Dimaano, while the second Resolution denied petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. Petitioner prays
for the grant of the reliefs sought in its Amended Complaint, or in the alternative, for the remand of this case to the
Sandiganbayan (First Division) for further proceedings allowing petitioner to complete the presentation of its
evidence.

Antecedent Facts

Immediately upon her assumption to office following the successful EDSA Revolution, then President Corazon C.
Aquino issued Executive Order No. 1 ("EO No. 1") creating the Presidential Commission on Good Government
("PCGG"). EO No. 1 primarily tasked the PCGG to recover all ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand E.
Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates. EO No. 1 vested the PCGG with the
power "(a) to conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and carry out the purposes of this
order" and the power "(h) to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purpose
of this order." Accordingly, the PCGG, through its then Chairman Jovito R. Salonga, created an AFP Anti-Graft
Board ("AFP Board") tasked to investigate reports of unexplained wealth and corrupt practices by AFP personnel,
whether in the active service or retired.2

Based on its mandate, the AFP Board investigated various reports of alleged unexplained wealth of respondent
Major General Josephus Q. Ramas ("Ramas"). On 27 July 1987, the AFP Board issued a Resolution on its
findings and recommendation on the reported unexplained wealth of Ramas. The relevant part of the Resolution
reads:

III. FINDINGS and EVALUATION:

Evidence in the record showed that respondent is the owner of a house and lot located at 15-Yakan St., La Vista,
Quezon City. He is also the owner of a house and lot located in Cebu City. The lot has an area of 3,327 square
meters.

The value of the property located in Quezon City may be estimated modestly at ₱700,000.00.

The equipment/items and communication facilities which were found in the premises of Elizabeth Dimaano and
were confiscated by elements of the PC Command of Batangas were all covered by invoice receipt in the name of
CAPT. EFREN SALIDO, RSO Command Coy, MSC, PA. These items could not have been in the possession of
Elizabeth Dimaano if not given for her use by respondent Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

Aside from the military equipment/items and communications equipment, the raiding team was also able to
confiscate money in the amount of ₱2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars in the house of Elizabeth Dimaano on
3 March 1986.

Affidavits of members of the Military Security Unit, Military Security Command, Philippine Army, stationed at Camp
Eldridge, Los Baños, Laguna, disclosed that Elizabeth Dimaano is the mistress of respondent. That respondent
usually goes and stays and sleeps in the alleged house of Elizabeth Dimaano in Barangay Tengga, Itaas,
Batangas City and when he arrives, Elizabeth Dimaano embraces and kisses respondent. That on February 25,
1986, a person who rode in a car went to the residence of Elizabeth Dimaano with four (4) attache cases filled
with money and owned by MGen Ramas.

Sworn statement in the record disclosed also that Elizabeth Dimaano had no visible means of income and is
supported by respondent for she was formerly a mere secretary.

Taking in toto the evidence, Elizabeth Dimaano could not have used the military equipment/items seized in her
house on March 3, 1986 without the consent of respondent, he being the Commanding General of the Philippine
Army. It is also impossible for Elizabeth Dimaano to claim that she owns the ₱2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US
Dollars for she had no visible source of income.

This money was never declared in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent. There was an intention
to cover the existence of these money because these are all ill-gotten and unexplained wealth. Were it not for the
affidavits of the members of the Military Security Unit assigned at Camp Eldridge, Los Baños, Laguna, the
existence and ownership of these money would have never been known.

The Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent were also submitted for scrutiny and analysis by the Board’s
consultant. Although the amount of ₱2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars were not included, still it was disclosed
that respondent has an unexplained wealth of ₱104,134. 60.

IV. CONCLUSION:

In view of the foregoing, the Board finds that a prima facie case exists against respondent for ill-gotten and
unexplained wealth in the amount of ₱2,974,134.00 and $50,000 US Dollars.

V. RECOMMENDATION:

Wherefore it is recommended that Maj. Gen. Josephus Q. Ramas (ret.) be prosecuted and tried for violation of RA
3019, as amended, otherwise known as "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act" and RA 1379, as amended,
otherwise known as "The Act for the Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired Property."3

Thus, on 1 August 1987, the PCGG filed a petition for forfeiture under Republic Act No. 1379 ("RA No.
1379") 4 against Ramas.

Before Ramas could answer the petition, then Solicitor General Francisco I. Chavez filed an Amended Complaint
naming the Republic of the Philippines ("petitioner"), represented by the PCGG, as plaintiff and Ramas as
defendant. The Amended Complaint also impleaded Elizabeth Dimaano ("Dimaano") as co-defendant.

The Amended Complaint alleged that Ramas was the Commanding General of the Philippine Army until 1986. On
the other hand, Dimaano was a confidential agent of the Military Security Unit, Philippine Army, assigned as a
clerk-typist at the office of Ramas from 1 January 1978 to February 1979. The Amended Complaint further alleged
that Ramas "acquired funds, assets and properties manifestly out of proportion to his salary as an army officer
and his other income from legitimately acquired property by taking undue advantage of his public office and/or
using his power, authority and influence as such officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as a
subordinate and close associate of the deposed President Ferdinand Marcos."5

The Amended Complaint also alleged that the AFP Board, after a previous inquiry, found reasonable ground to
believe that respondents have violated RA No. 1379.6 The Amended Complaint prayed for, among others, the
forfeiture of respondents’ properties, funds and equipment in favor of the State.

Ramas filed an Answer with Special and/or Affirmative Defenses and Compulsory Counterclaim to the Amended
Complaint. In his Answer, Ramas contended that his property consisted only of a residential house at La Vista
Subdivision, Quezon City, valued at ₱700,000, which was not out of proportion to his salary and other legitimate
income. He denied ownership of any mansion in Cebu City and the cash, communications equipment and other
items confiscated from the house of Dimaano.
Dimaano filed her own Answer to the Amended Complaint. Admitting her employment as a clerk-typist in the office
of Ramas from January-November 1978 only, Dimaano claimed ownership of the monies, communications
equipment, jewelry and land titles taken from her house by the Philippine Constabulary raiding team.

After termination of the pre-trial,7 the court set the case for trial on the merits on 9-11 November 1988.

On 9 November 1988, petitioner asked for a deferment of the hearing due to its lack of preparation for trial and the
absence of witnesses and vital documents to support its case. The court reset the hearing to 17 and 18 April
1989.

On 13 April 1989, petitioner filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint in order "to charge the delinquent
properties with being subject to forfeiture as having been unlawfully acquired by defendant Dimaano alone x x x."8

Nevertheless, in an order dated 17 April 1989, the Sandiganbayan proceeded with petitioner’s presentation of
evidence on the ground that the motion for leave to amend complaint did not state when petitioner would file the
amended complaint. The Sandiganbayan further stated that the subject matter of the amended complaint was on
its face vague and not related to the existing complaint. The Sandiganbayan also held that due to the time that the
case had been pending in court, petitioner should proceed to present its evidence.

After presenting only three witnesses, petitioner asked for a postponement of the trial.

On 28 September 1989, during the continuation of the trial, petitioner manifested its inability to proceed to trial
because of the absence of other witnesses or lack of further evidence to present. Instead, petitioner reiterated its
motion to amend the complaint to conform to the evidence already presented or to change the averments to show
that Dimaano alone unlawfully acquired the monies or properties subject of the forfeiture.

The Sandiganbayan noted that petitioner had already delayed the case for over a year mainly because of its many
postponements. Moreover, petitioner would want the case to revert to its preliminary stage when in fact the case
had long been ready for trial. The Sandiganbayan ordered petitioner to prepare for presentation of its additional
evidence, if any.

During the trial on 23 March 1990, petitioner again admitted its inability to present further evidence. Giving
petitioner one more chance to present further evidence or to amend the complaint to conform to its evidence, the
Sandiganbayan reset the trial to 18 May 1990. The Sandiganbayan, however, hinted that the re-setting was
without prejudice to any action that private respondents might take under the circumstances.

However, on 18 May 1990, petitioner again expressed its inability to proceed to trial because it had no further
evidence to present. Again, in the interest of justice, the Sandiganbayan granted petitioner 60 days within which to
file an appropriate pleading. The Sandiganbayan, however, warned petitioner that failure to act would constrain
the court to take drastic action.

Private respondents then filed their motions to dismiss based on Republic v. Migrino.9 The Court held in Migrino
that the PCGG does not have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute military officers by reason of mere position
held without a showing that they are "subordinates" of former President Marcos.

On 18 November 1991, the Sandiganbayan rendered a resolution, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the Amended Complaint, without pronouncement as to
costs. The counterclaims are likewise dismissed for lack of merit, but the confiscated sum of money,
communications equipment, jewelry and land titles are ordered returned to Elizabeth Dimaano.

The records of this case are hereby remanded and referred to the Hon. Ombudsman, who has primary jurisdiction
over the forfeiture cases under R.A. No. 1379, for such appropriate action as the evidence warrants. This case is
also referred to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for a determination of any tax liability of
respondent Elizabeth Dimaano in connection herewith.

SO ORDERED.
On 4 December 1991, petitioner filed its Motion for Reconsideration.

In answer to the Motion for Reconsideration, private respondents filed a Joint Comment/Opposition to which
petitioner filed its Reply on 10 January 1992.

On 25 March 1992, the Sandiganbayan rendered a Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration.

Ruling of the Sandiganbayan

The Sandiganbayan dismissed the Amended Complaint on the following grounds:

(1.) The actions taken by the PCGG are not in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court in Cruz, Jr. v.
Sandiganbayan10 and Republic v. Migrino11 which involve the same issues.

(2.) No previous inquiry similar to preliminary investigations in criminal cases was conducted against Ramas and
Dimaano.

(3.) The evidence adduced against Ramas does not constitute a prima facie case against him.

(4.) There was an illegal search and seizure of the items confiscated.

The Issues

Petitioner raises the following issues:

A. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT PETITIONER’S EVIDENCE CANNOT


MAKE A CASE FOR FORFEITURE AND THAT THERE WAS NO SHOWING OF CONSPIRACY, COLLUSION
OR RELATIONSHIP BY CONSANGUINITY OR AFFINITY BY AND BETWEEN RESPONDENT RAMAS AND
RESPONDENT DIMAANO NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT SUCH CONCLUSIONS WERE CLEARLY
UNFOUNDED AND PREMATURE, HAVING BEEN RENDERED PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF THE
PRESENTATION OF THE EVIDENCE OF THE PETITIONER.

B. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE
PETITIONER, INCLUDING THE FILING OF THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND THE AMENDED COMPLAINT,
SHOULD BE STRUCK OUT IN LINE WITH THE RULINGS OF THE SUPREME COURT IN CRUZ, JR. v.
SANDIGANBAYAN, 194 SCRA 474 AND REPUBLIC v. MIGRINO, 189 SCRA 289, NOTWITHSTANDING THE
FACT THAT:

1. The cases of Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, supra, and Republic v. Migrino, supra, are clearly not applicable to
this case;

2. Any procedural defect in the institution of the complaint in Civil Case No. 0037 was cured and/or waived by
respondents with the filing of their respective answers with counterclaim; and

3. The separate motions to dismiss were evidently improper considering that they were filed after commencement
of the presentation of the evidence of the petitioner and even before the latter was allowed to formally offer its
evidence and rest its case;

C. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ARTICLES AND THINGS SUCH AS
SUMS OF MONEY, COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT, JEWELRY AND LAND TITLES CONFISCATED FROM
THE HOUSE OF RESPONDENT DIMAANO WERE ILLEGALLY SEIZED AND THEREFORE EXCLUDED AS
EVIDENCE.12

The Court’s Ruling

First Issue: PCGG’s Jurisdiction to Investigate Private Respondents


This case involves a revisiting of an old issue already decided by this Court in Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan13 and
Republic v. Migrino.14

The primary issue for resolution is whether the PCGG has the jurisdiction to investigate and cause the filing of a
forfeiture petition against Ramas and Dimaano for unexplained wealth under RA No. 1379.

We hold that PCGG has no such jurisdiction.

The PCGG created the AFP Board to investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of AFP personnel,
whether in the active service or retired.15 The PCGG tasked the AFP Board to make the necessary
recommendations to appropriate government agencies on the action to be taken based on its findings.16 The
PCGG gave this task to the AFP Board pursuant to the PCGG’s power under Section 3 of EO No. 1 "to conduct
investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and to carry out the purposes of this order." EO No. 1
gave the PCGG specific responsibilities, to wit:

SEC. 2. The Commission shall be charged with the task of assisting the President in regard to the following
matters:

(a) The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate
family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the
takeover and sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his
administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office and/ or using their
powers, authority, influence, connections or relationship.

(b) The investigation of such cases of graft and corruption as the President may assign to the Commission from
time to time.

x x x.

The PCGG, through the AFP Board, can only investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of AFP
personnel who fall under either of the two categories mentioned in Section 2 of EO No. 1. These are: (1) AFP
personnel who have accumulated ill-gotten wealth during the administration of former President Marcos by being
the latter’s immediate family, relative, subordinate or close associate, taking undue advantage of their public office
or using their powers, influence x x x;17 or (2) AFP personnel involved in other cases of graft and corruption
provided the President assigns their cases to the PCGG.18

Petitioner, however, does not claim that the President assigned Ramas’ case to the PCGG. Therefore, Ramas’
case should fall under the first category of AFP personnel before the PCGG could exercise its jurisdiction over
him. Petitioner argues that Ramas was undoubtedly a subordinate of former President Marcos because of his
position as the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. Petitioner claims that Ramas’ position enabled him to
receive orders directly from his commander-in-chief, undeniably making him a subordinate of former President
Marcos.

We hold that Ramas was not a "subordinate" of former President Marcos in the sense contemplated under EO
No. 1 and its amendments.

Mere position held by a military officer does not automatically make him a "subordinate" as this term is used in EO
Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A absent a showing that he enjoyed close association with former President Marcos. Migrino
discussed this issue in this wise:

A close reading of EO No. 1 and related executive orders will readily show what is contemplated within the term
‘subordinate.’ The Whereas Clauses of EO No. 1 express the urgent need to recover the ill-gotten wealth
amassed by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, and close associates both
here and abroad.

EO No. 2 freezes ‘all assets and properties in the Philippines in which former President Marcos and/or his wife,
Mrs. Imelda Marcos, their close relatives, subordinates, business associates, dummies, agents, or nominees have
any interest or participation.’
Applying the rule in statutory construction known as ejusdem generis that is-

‘[W]here general words follow an enumeration of persons or things by words of a particular and specific meaning,
such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons
or things of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned [Smith, Bell & Co, Ltd. vs. Register of Deeds of
Davao, 96 Phil. 53, 58, citing Black on Interpretation of Laws, 2nd Ed., 203].’

[T]he term "subordinate" as used in EO Nos. 1 & 2 refers to one who enjoys a close association with former
President Marcos and/or his wife, similar to the immediate family member, relative, and close associate in EO No.
1 and the close relative, business associate, dummy, agent, or nominee in EO No. 2.

xxx

It does not suffice, as in this case, that the respondent is or was a government official or employee during the
administration of former President Marcos. There must be a prima facie showing that the respondent unlawfully
accumulated wealth by virtue of his close association or relation with former Pres. Marcos and/or his wife.
(Emphasis supplied)

Ramas’ position alone as Commanding General of the Philippine Army with the rank of Major General19 does not
suffice to make him a "subordinate" of former President Marcos for purposes of EO No. 1 and its amendments.
The PCGG has to provide a prima facie showing that Ramas was a close associate of former President Marcos,
in the same manner that business associates, dummies, agents or nominees of former President Marcos were
close to him. Such close association is manifested either by Ramas’ complicity with former President Marcos in
the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth by the deposed President or by former President Marcos’ acquiescence in
Ramas’ own accumulation of ill-gotten wealth if any.

This, the PCGG failed to do.

Petitioner’s attempt to differentiate the instant case from Migrino does not convince us. Petitioner argues that
unlike in Migrino, the AFP Board Resolution in the instant case states that the AFP Board conducted the
investigation pursuant to EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A in relation to RA No. 1379. Petitioner asserts that there is a
presumption that the PCGG was acting within its jurisdiction of investigating crony-related cases of graft and
corruption and that Ramas was truly a subordinate of the former President. However, the same AFP Board
Resolution belies this contention. Although the Resolution begins with such statement, it ends with the following
recommendation:

V. RECOMMENDATION:

Wherefore it is recommended that Maj. Gen. Josephus Q. Ramas (ret.) be prosecuted and tried for violation of RA
3019, as amended, otherwise known as "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act" and RA 1379, as amended,
otherwise known as "The Act for the Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired Property."20

Thus, although the PCGG sought to investigate and prosecute private respondents under EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and
14-A, the result yielded a finding of violation of Republic Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379 without any relation to EO Nos.
1, 2, 14 and 14-A. This absence of relation to EO No. 1 and its amendments proves fatal to petitioner’s case. EO
No. 1 created the PCGG for a specific and limited purpose, and necessarily its powers must be construed to
address such specific and limited purpose.

Moreover, the resolution of the AFP Board and even the Amended Complaint do not show that the properties
Ramas allegedly owned were accumulated by him in his capacity as a "subordinate" of his commander-in-chief.
Petitioner merely enumerated the properties Ramas allegedly owned and suggested that these properties were
disproportionate to his salary and other legitimate income without showing that Ramas amassed them because of
his close association with former President Marcos. Petitioner, in fact, admits that the AFP Board resolution does
not contain a finding that Ramas accumulated his wealth because of his close association with former President
Marcos, thus:

10. While it is true that the resolution of the Anti-Graft Board of the New Armed Forces of the Philippines
did not categorically find a prima facie evidence showing that respondent Ramas unlawfully accumulated
wealth by virtue of his close association or relation with former President Marcos and/or his wife, it is
submitted that such omission was not fatal. The resolution of the Anti-Graft Board should be read in the
context of the law creating the same and the objective of the investigation which was, as stated in the above,
pursuant to Republic Act Nos. 3019 and 1379 in relation to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-a;21 (Emphasis
supplied)

Such omission is fatal. Petitioner forgets that it is precisely a prima facie showing that the ill-gotten wealth was
accumulated by a "subordinate" of former President Marcos that vests jurisdiction on PCGG. EO No. 122 clearly
premises the creation of the PCGG on the urgent need to recover all ill-gotten wealth amassed by former
President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates. Therefore, to say that such
omission was not fatal is clearly contrary to the intent behind the creation of the PCGG.

In Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan,23 the Court outlined the cases that fall under the jurisdiction of the PCGG pursuant
to EO Nos. 1, 2,24 14,25 14-A:26

A careful reading of Sections 2(a) and 3 of Executive Order No. 1 in relation with Sections 1, 2 and 3 of Executive
Order No. 14, shows what the authority of the respondent PCGG to investigate and prosecute covers:

(a) the investigation and prosecution of the civil action for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth under Republic Act No.
1379, accumulated by former President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close
associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the take-over or sequestration of all business
enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his administration, directly or through his nominees,
by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or using their powers, authority and influence, connections or
relationships; and

(b) the investigation and prosecution of such offenses committed in the acquisition of said ill-gotten wealth as
contemplated under Section 2(a) of Executive Order No. 1.

However, other violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act not otherwise falling under the
foregoing categories, require a previous authority of the President for the respondent PCGG to
investigate and prosecute in accordance with Section 2 (b) of Executive Order No. 1. Otherwise,
jurisdiction over such cases is vested in the Ombudsman and other duly authorized investigating
agencies such as the provincial and city prosecutors, their assistants, the Chief State Prosecutor and his
assistants and the state prosecutors. (Emphasis supplied)

The proper government agencies, and not the PCGG, should investigate and prosecute forfeiture petitions not
falling under EO No. 1 and its amendments. The preliminary investigation of unexplained wealth amassed on or
before 25 February 1986 falls under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, while the authority to file the
corresponding forfeiture petition rests with the Solicitor General.27 The Ombudsman Act or Republic Act No. 6770
("RA No. 6770") vests in the Ombudsman the power to conduct preliminary investigation and to file forfeiture
proceedings involving unexplained wealth amassed after 25 February 1986.28

After the pronouncements of the Court in Cruz, the PCGG still pursued this case despite the absence of a prima
facie finding that Ramas was a "subordinate" of former President Marcos. The petition for forfeiture filed with the
Sandiganbayan should be dismissed for lack of authority by the PCGG to investigate respondents since there is
no prima facie showing that EO No. 1 and its amendments apply to respondents. The AFP Board Resolution and
even the Amended Complaint state that there are violations of RA Nos. 3019 and 1379. Thus, the PCGG should
have recommended Ramas’ case to the Ombudsman who has jurisdiction to conduct the preliminary investigation
of ordinary unexplained wealth and graft cases. As stated in Migrino:

[But] in view of the patent lack of authority of the PCGG to investigate and cause the prosecution of private
respondent for violation of Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379, the PCGG must also be enjoined from proceeding with
the case, without prejudice to any action that may be taken by the proper prosecutory agency. The rule of law
mandates that an agency of government be allowed to exercise only the powers granted to it.

Petitioner’s argument that private respondents have waived any defect in the filing of the forfeiture petition by
submitting their respective Answers with counterclaim deserves no merit as well.

Petitioner has no jurisdiction over private respondents. Thus, there is no jurisdiction to waive in the first place. The
PCGG cannot exercise investigative or prosecutorial powers never granted to it. PCGG’s powers are specific and
limited. Unless given additional assignment by the President, PCGG’s sole task is only to recover the ill-gotten
wealth of the Marcoses, their relatives and cronies.29 Without these elements, the PCGG cannot claim jurisdiction
over a case.

Private respondents questioned the authority and jurisdiction of the PCGG to investigate and prosecute their
cases by filing their Motion to Dismiss as soon as they learned of the pronouncement of the Court in Migrino. This
case was decided on 30 August 1990, which explains why private respondents only filed their Motion to Dismiss
on 8 October 1990. Nevertheless, we have held that the parties may raise lack of jurisdiction at any stage of the
proceeding.30 Thus, we hold that there was no waiver of jurisdiction in this case. Jurisdiction is vested by law and
not by the parties to an action.31

Consequently, the petition should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the PCGG to conduct the preliminary
investigation. The Ombudsman may still conduct the proper preliminary investigation for violation of RA No. 1379,
and if warranted, the Solicitor General may file the forfeiture petition with the Sandiganbayan.32 The right of the
State to forfeit unexplained wealth under RA No. 1379 is not subject to prescription, laches or estoppel.33

Second Issue: Propriety of Dismissal of Case



Before Completion of Presentation of Evidence

Petitioner also contends that the Sandiganbayan erred in dismissing the case before completion of the
presentation of petitioner’s evidence.

We disagree.

Based on the findings of the Sandiganbayan and the records of this case, we find that petitioner has only itself to
blame for non-completion of the presentation of its evidence. First, this case has been pending for four years
before the Sandiganbayan dismissed it. Petitioner filed its Amended Complaint on 11 August 1987, and only
began to present its evidence on 17 April 1989. Petitioner had almost two years to prepare its evidence. However,
despite this sufficient time, petitioner still delayed the presentation of the rest of its evidence by filing numerous
motions for postponements and extensions. Even before the date set for the presentation of its evidence,
petitioner filed, on 13 April 1989, a Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint.34 The motion sought "to charge the
delinquent properties (which comprise most of petitioner’s evidence) with being subject to forfeiture as having
been unlawfully acquired by defendant Dimaano alone x x x."

The Sandiganbayan, however, refused to defer the presentation of petitioner’s evidence since petitioner did not
state when it would file the amended complaint. On 18 April 1989, the Sandiganbayan set the continuation of the
presentation of evidence on 28-29 September and 9-11 October 1989, giving petitioner ample time to prepare its
evidence. Still, on 28 September 1989, petitioner manifested its inability to proceed with the presentation of its
evidence. The Sandiganbayan issued an Order expressing its view on the matter, to wit:

The Court has gone through extended inquiry and a narration of the above events because this case has been
ready for trial for over a year and much of the delay hereon has been due to the inability of the government to
produce on scheduled dates for pre-trial and for trial documents and witnesses, allegedly upon the failure of the
military to supply them for the preparation of the presentation of evidence thereon. Of equal interest is the fact that
this Court has been held to task in public about its alleged failure to move cases such as this one beyond the
preliminary stage, when, in view of the developments such as those of today, this Court is now faced with a
situation where a case already in progress will revert back to the preliminary stage, despite a five-month pause
where appropriate action could have been undertaken by the plaintiff Republic.35

On 9 October 1989, the PCGG manifested in court that it was conducting a preliminary investigation on the
unexplained wealth of private respondents as mandated by RA No. 1379.36 The PCGG prayed for an additional
four months to conduct the preliminary investigation. The Sandiganbayan granted this request and scheduled the
presentation of evidence on 26-29 March 1990. However, on the scheduled date, petitioner failed to inform the
court of the result of the preliminary investigation the PCGG supposedly conducted. Again, the Sandiganbayan
gave petitioner until 18 May 1990 to continue with the presentation of its evidence and to inform the court of "what
lies ahead insofar as the status of the case is concerned x x x."37 Still on the date set, petitioner failed to present
its evidence. Finally, on 11 July 1990, petitioner filed its Re-Amended Complaint.38 The Sandiganbayan correctly
observed that a case already pending for years would revert to its preliminary stage if the court were to accept the
Re-Amended Complaint.
Based on these circumstances, obviously petitioner has only itself to blame for failure to complete the
presentation of its evidence. The Sandiganbayan gave petitioner more than sufficient time to finish the
presentation of its evidence. The Sandiganbayan overlooked petitioner’s delays and yet petitioner ended the long-
string of delays with the filing of a Re-Amended Complaint, which would only prolong even more the disposition of
the case.

Moreover, the pronouncements of the Court in Migrino and Cruz prompted the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the case
since the PCGG has no jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the case against private respondents. This alone
would have been sufficient legal basis for the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the forfeiture case against private
respondents.

Thus, we hold that the Sandiganbayan did not err in dismissing the case before completion of the presentation of
petitioner’s evidence.

Third Issue: Legality of the Search and Seizure

Petitioner claims that the Sandiganbayan erred in declaring the properties confiscated from Dimaano’s house as
illegally seized and therefore inadmissible in evidence. This issue bears a significant effect on petitioner’s case
since these properties comprise most of petitioner’s evidence against private respondents. Petitioner will not have
much evidence to support its case against private respondents if these properties are inadmissible in evidence.

On 3 March 1986, the Constabulary raiding team served at Dimaano’s residence a search warrant captioned
"Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition." Dimaano was not present during the raid but Dimaano’s cousins
witnessed the raid. The raiding team seized the items detailed in the seizure receipt together with other items not
included in the search warrant. The raiding team seized these items: one baby armalite rifle with two magazines;
40 rounds of 5.56 ammunition; one pistol, caliber .45; communications equipment, cash consisting of ₱2,870,000
and US$50,000, jewelry, and land titles.

Petitioner wants the Court to take judicial notice that the raiding team conducted the search and seizure "on
March 3, 1986 or five days after the successful EDSA revolution."39 Petitioner argues that a revolutionary
government was operative at that time by virtue of Proclamation No. 1 announcing that President Aquino and Vice
President Laurel were "taking power in the name and by the will of the Filipino people."40 Petitioner asserts that
the revolutionary government effectively withheld the operation of the 1973 Constitution which guaranteed private
respondents’ exclusionary right.

Moreover, petitioner argues that the exclusionary right arising from an illegal search applies only beginning 2
February 1987, the date of ratification of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contends that all rights under the Bill of
Rights had already reverted to its embryonic stage at the time of the search. Therefore, the government may
confiscate the monies and items taken from Dimaano and use the same in evidence against her since at the time
of their seizure, private respondents did not enjoy any constitutional right.

Petitioner is partly right in its arguments.

The EDSA Revolution took place on 23-25 February 1986. As succinctly stated in President Aquino’s
Proclamation No. 3 dated 25 March 1986, the EDSA Revolution was "done in defiance of the provisions of the
1973 Constitution."41 The resulting government was indisputably a revolutionary government bound by no
constitution or legal limitations except treaty obligations that the revolutionary government, as the de jure
government in the Philippines, assumed under international law.

The correct issues are: (1) whether the revolutionary government was bound by the Bill of Rights of the 1973
Constitution during the interregnum, that is, after the actual and effective take-over of power by the revolutionary
government following the cessation of resistance by loyalist forces up to 24 March 1986 (immediately before the
adoption of the Provisional Constitution); and (2) whether the protection accorded to individuals under the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("Covenant") and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
("Declaration") remained in effect during the interregnum.

We hold that the Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution was not operative during the interregnum. However, we
rule that the protection accorded to individuals under the Covenant and the Declaration remained in effect during
the interregnum.
During the interregnum, the directives and orders of the revolutionary government were the supreme law because
no constitution limited the extent and scope of such directives and orders. With the abrogation of the 1973
Constitution by the successful revolution, there was no municipal law higher than the directives and orders of the
revolutionary government. Thus, during the interregnum, a person could not invoke any exclusionary right under a
Bill of Rights because there was neither a constitution nor a Bill of Rights during the interregnum. As the Court
explained in Letter of Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno:42

A revolution has been defined as "the complete overthrow of the established government in any country or state
by those who were previously subject to it" or as "a sudden, radical and fundamental change in the government or
political system, usually effected with violence or at least some acts of violence." In Kelsen's book, General
Theory of Law and State, it is defined as that which "occurs whenever the legal order of a community is nullified
and replaced by a new order . . . a way not prescribed by the first order itself."

It was through the February 1986 revolution, a relatively peaceful one, and more popularly known as the "people
power revolution" that the Filipino people tore themselves away from an existing regime. This revolution also saw
the unprecedented rise to power of the Aquino government.

From the natural law point of view, the right of revolution has been defined as "an inherent right of a people to cast
out their rulers, change their policy or effect radical reforms in their system of government or institutions by force
or a general uprising when the legal and constitutional methods of making such change have proved inadequate
or are so obstructed as to be unavailable." It has been said that "the locus of positive law-making power lies with
the people of the state" and from there is derived "the right of the people to abolish, to reform and to alter any
existing form of government without regard to the existing constitution."

xxx

It is widely known that Mrs. Aquino’s rise to the presidency was not due to constitutional processes; in
fact, it was achieved in violation of the provisions of the 1973 Constitution as a Batasang Pambansa
resolution had earlier declared Mr. Marcos as the winner in the 1986 presidential election. Thus it can be
said that the organization of Mrs. Aquino’s Government which was met by little resistance and her control of the
state evidenced by the appointment of the Cabinet and other key officers of the administration, the departure of
the Marcos Cabinet officials, revamp of the Judiciary and the Military signaled the point where the legal system
then in effect, had ceased to be obeyed by the Filipino. (Emphasis supplied)

To hold that the Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution remained operative during the interregnum would render
void all sequestration orders issued by the Philippine Commission on Good Government ("PCGG") before the
adoption of the Freedom Constitution. The sequestration orders, which direct the freezing and even the take-over
of private property by mere executive issuance without judicial action, would violate the due process and search
and seizure clauses of the Bill of Rights.

During the interregnum, the government in power was concededly a revolutionary government bound by no
constitution. No one could validly question the sequestration orders as violative of the Bill of Rights because there
was no Bill of Rights during the interregnum. However, upon the adoption of the Freedom Constitution, the
sequestered companies assailed the sequestration orders as contrary to the Bill of Rights of the Freedom
Constitution.

In Bataan Shipyard & Engineering Co. Inc. vs. Presidential Commission on Good Government,43 petitioner
Baseco, while conceding there was no Bill of Rights during the interregnum, questioned the continued validity of
the sequestration orders upon adoption of the Freedom Constitution in view of the due process clause in its Bill of
Rights. The Court ruled that the Freedom Constitution, and later the 1987 Constitution, expressly recognized the
validity of sequestration orders, thus:

If any doubt should still persist in the face of the foregoing considerations as to the validity and propriety of
sequestration, freeze and takeover orders, it should be dispelled by the fact that these particular remedies and the
authority of the PCGG to issue them have received constitutional approbation and sanction. As already
mentioned, the Provisional or "Freedom" Constitution recognizes the power and duty of the President to enact
"measures to achieve the mandate of the people to . . . (r)ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and
supporters of the previous regime and protect the interest of the people through orders of sequestration or
freezing of assets or accounts." And as also already adverted to, Section 26, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution
treats of, and ratifies the "authority to issue sequestration or freeze orders under Proclamation No. 3 dated March
25, 1986."

The framers of both the Freedom Constitution and the 1987 Constitution were fully aware that the sequestration
orders would clash with the Bill of Rights. Thus, the framers of both constitutions had to include specific language
recognizing the validity of the sequestration orders. The following discourse by Commissioner Joaquin G. Bernas
during the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission is instructive:

FR. BERNAS: Madam President, there is something schizophrenic about the arguments in defense of the present
amendment.

For instance, I have carefully studied Minister Salonga’s lecture in the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation, of
which all of us have been given a copy. On the one hand, he argues that everything the Commission is doing is
traditionally legal. This is repeated by Commissioner Romulo also. Minister Salonga spends a major portion of his
lecture developing that argument. On the other hand, almost as an afterthought, he says that in the end what
matters are the results and not the legal niceties, thus suggesting that the PCGG should be allowed to make
some legal shortcuts, another word for niceties or exceptions.

Now, if everything the PCGG is doing is legal, why is it asking the CONCOM for special protection? The answer is
clear. What they are doing will not stand the test of ordinary due process, hence they are asking for protection, for
exceptions. Grandes malos, grandes remedios, fine, as the saying stands, but let us not say grandes malos,
grande y malos remedios. That is not an allowable extrapolation. Hence, we should not give the exceptions asked
for, and let me elaborate and give three reasons:

First, the whole point of the February Revolution and of the work of the CONCOM is to hasten constitutional
normalization. Very much at the heart of the constitutional normalization is the full effectivity of the Bill of Rights.
We cannot, in one breath, ask for constitutional normalization and at the same time ask for a temporary halt to the
full functioning of what is at the heart of constitutionalism. That would be hypocritical; that would be a repetition of
Marcosian protestation of due process and rule of law. The New Society word for that is "backsliding." It is tragic
when we begin to backslide even before we get there.

Second, this is really a corollary of the first. Habits tend to become ingrained. The committee report asks for
extraordinary exceptions from the Bill of Rights for six months after the convening of Congress, and Congress
may even extend this longer.

Good deeds repeated ripen into virtue; bad deeds repeated become vice. What the committee report is asking for
is that we should allow the new government to acquire the vice of disregarding the Bill of Rights.

Vices, once they become ingrained, become difficult to shed. The practitioners of the vice begin to think that they
have a vested right to its practice, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep the franchise. That would be an
unhealthy way of consolidating the gains of a democratic revolution.

Third, the argument that what matters are the results and not the legal niceties is an argument that is very
disturbing. When it comes from a staunch Christian like Commissioner Salonga, a Minister, and repeated verbatim
by another staunch Christian like Commissioner Tingson, it becomes doubly disturbing and even
discombobulating. The argument makes the PCGG an auctioneer, placing the Bill of Rights on the auction block. If
the price is right, the search and seizure clause will be sold. "Open your Swiss bank account to us and we will
award you the search and seizure clause. You can keep it in your private safe."

Alternatively, the argument looks on the present government as hostage to the hoarders of hidden wealth. The
hoarders will release the hidden health if the ransom price is paid and the ransom price is the Bill of Rights,
specifically the due process in the search and seizure clauses. So, there is something positively revolving about
either argument. The Bill of Rights is not for sale to the highest bidder nor can it be used to ransom captive
dollars. This nation will survive and grow strong, only if it would become convinced of the values enshrined in the
Constitution of a price that is beyond monetary estimation.

For these reasons, the honorable course for the Constitutional Commission is to delete all of Section 8 of the
committee report and allow the new Constitution to take effect in full vigor. If Section 8 is deleted, the PCGG has
two options. First, it can pursue the Salonga and the Romulo argument — that what the PCGG has been doing
has been completely within the pale of the law. If sustained, the PCGG can go on and should be able to go on,
even without the support of Section 8. If not sustained, however, the PCGG has only one honorable option, it must
bow to the majesty of the Bill of Rights.

The PCGG extrapolation of the law is defended by staunch Christians. Let me conclude with what another
Christian replied when asked to toy around with the law. From his prison cell, Thomas More said, "I'll give the devil
benefit of law for my nation’s safety sake." I ask the Commission to give the devil benefit of law for our nation’s
sake. And we should delete Section 8.

Thank you, Madam President. (Emphasis supplied)

Despite the impassioned plea by Commissioner Bernas against the amendment excepting sequestration orders
from the Bill of Rights, the Constitutional Commission still adopted the amendment as Section 26,44 Article XVIII of
the 1987 Constitution. The framers of the Constitution were fully aware that absent Section 26, sequestration
orders would not stand the test of due process under the Bill of Rights.

Thus, to rule that the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution remained in force during the interregnum, absent a
constitutional provision excepting sequestration orders from such Bill of Rights, would clearly render all
sequestration orders void during the interregnum. Nevertheless, even during the interregnum the Filipino people
continued to enjoy, under the Covenant and the Declaration, almost the same rights found in the Bill of Rights of
the 1973 Constitution.

The revolutionary government, after installing itself as the de jure government, assumed responsibility for the
State’s good faith compliance with the Covenant to which the Philippines is a signatory. Article 2(1) of the
Covenant requires each signatory State "to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject
to its jurisdiction the rights45 recognized in the present Covenant." Under Article 17(1) of the Covenant, the
revolutionary government had the duty to insure that "[n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful
interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence."

The Declaration, to which the Philippines is also a signatory, provides in its Article 17(2) that "[n]o one shall be
arbitrarily deprived of his property." Although the signatories to the Declaration did not intend it as a legally binding
document, being only a declaration, the Court has interpreted the Declaration as part of the generally accepted
principles of international law and binding on the State.46 Thus, the revolutionary government was also obligated
under international law to observe the rights47 of individuals under the Declaration.

The revolutionary government did not repudiate the Covenant or the Declaration during the interregnum. Whether
the revolutionary government could have repudiated all its obligations under the Covenant or the Declaration is
another matter and is not the issue here. Suffice it to say that the Court considers the Declaration as part of
customary international law, and that Filipinos as human beings are proper subjects of the rules of international
law laid down in the Covenant. The fact is the revolutionary government did not repudiate the Covenant or the
Declaration in the same way it repudiated the 1973 Constitution. As the de jure government, the revolutionary
government could not escape responsibility for the State’s good faith compliance with its treaty obligations under
international law.

It was only upon the adoption of the Provisional Constitution on 25 March 1986 that the directives and orders of
the revolutionary government became subject to a higher municipal law that, if contravened, rendered such
directives and orders void. The Provisional Constitution adopted verbatim the Bill of Rights of the 1973
Constitution.48 The Provisional Constitution served as a self-limitation by the revolutionary government to avoid
abuses of the absolute powers entrusted to it by the people.

During the interregnum when no constitution or Bill of Rights existed, directives and orders issued by government
officers were valid so long as these officers did not exceed the authority granted them by the revolutionary
government. The directives and orders should not have also violated the Covenant or the Declaration. In this
case, the revolutionary government presumptively sanctioned the warrant since the revolutionary government did
not repudiate it. The warrant, issued by a judge upon proper application, specified the items to be searched and
seized. The warrant is thus valid with respect to the items specifically described in the warrant.

However, the Constabulary raiding team seized items not included in the warrant. As admitted by petitioner’s
witnesses, the raiding team confiscated items not included in the warrant, thus:
Direct Examination of Capt. Rodolfo Sebastian

AJ AMORES

Q. According to the search warrant, you are supposed to seize only for weapons. What else, aside from the
weapons, were seized from the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. The communications equipment, money in Philippine currency and US dollars, some jewelries, land titles, sir.

Q. Now, the search warrant speaks only of weapons to be seized from the house of Elizabeth Dimaano. Do you
know the reason why your team also seized other properties not mentioned in said search warrant?

A. During the conversation right after the conduct of said raid, I was informed that the reason why they also
brought the other items not included in the search warrant was because the money and other jewelries were
contained in attaché cases and cartons with markings "Sony Trinitron", and I think three (3) vaults or steel safes.
Believing that the attaché cases and the steel safes were containing firearms, they forced open these containers
only to find out that they contained money.

xxx

Q. You said you found money instead of weapons, do you know the reason why your team seized this money
instead of weapons?

A. I think the overall team leader and the other two officers assisting him decided to bring along also the money
because at that time it was already dark and they felt most secured if they will bring that because they might be
suspected also of taking money out of those items, your Honor.49

Cross-examination

Atty. Banaag

Q. Were you present when the search warrant in connection with this case was applied before the Municipal Trial
Court of Batangas, Branch 1?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And the search warrant applied for by you was for the search and seizure of five (5) baby armalite rifles M-16
and five (5) boxes of ammunition?

A. Yes, sir.

xxx

AJ AMORES

Q. Before you applied for a search warrant, did you conduct surveillance in the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. The Intelligence Operatives conducted surveillance together with the MSU elements, your Honor.

Q. And this party believed there were weapons deposited in the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. Yes, your Honor.

Q. And they so swore before the Municipal Trial Judge?

A. Yes, your Honor.


Q. But they did not mention to you, the applicant for the search warrant, any other properties or contraband which
could be found in the residence of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. They just gave us still unconfirmed report about some hidden items, for instance, the communications
equipment and money. However, I did not include that in the application for search warrant considering that we
have not established concrete evidence about that. So when…

Q. So that when you applied for search warrant, you had reason to believe that only weapons were in the house
of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. Yes, your Honor.50

xxx

Q. You stated that a .45 caliber pistol was seized along with one armalite rifle M-16 and how many ammunition?

A. Forty, sir.

Q. And this became the subject of your complaint with the issuing Court, with the fiscal’s office who charged
Elizabeth Dimaano for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know what happened to that case?

A. I think it was dismissed, sir.

Q. In the fiscal’s office?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Because the armalite rifle you seized, as well as the .45 caliber pistol had a Memorandum Receipt in the name
of Felino Melegrito, is that not correct?

A. I think that was the reason, sir.

Q. There were other articles seized which were not included in the search warrant, like for instance, jewelries.
Why did you seize the jewelries?

A. I think it was the decision of the overall team leader and his assistant to bring along also the jewelries and other
items, sir. I do not really know where it was taken but they brought along also these articles. I do not really know
their reason for bringing the same, but I just learned that these were taken because they might get lost if they will
just leave this behind.

xxx

Q. How about the money seized by your raiding team, they were not also included in the search warrant?

A. Yes sir, but I believe they were also taken considering that the money was discovered to be contained in
attaché cases.1âwphi1 These attaché cases were suspected to be containing pistols or other high powered
firearms, but in the course of the search the contents turned out to be money. So the team leader also decided to
take this considering that they believed that if they will just leave the money behind, it might get lost also.

Q. That holds true also with respect to the other articles that were seized by your raiding team, like Transfer
Certificates of Title of lands?

A. Yes, sir. I think they were contained in one of the vaults that were opened.51
It is obvious from the testimony of Captain Sebastian that the warrant did not include the monies, communications
equipment, jewelry and land titles that the raiding team confiscated. The search warrant did not particularly
describe these items and the raiding team confiscated them on its own authority. The raiding team had no legal
basis to seize these items without showing that these items could be the subject of warrantless search and
seizure.52 Clearly, the raiding team exceeded its authority when it seized these items.

The seizure of these items was therefore void, and unless these items are contraband per se,53 and they are not,
they must be returned to the person from whom the raiding seized them. However, we do not declare that such
person is the lawful owner of these items, merely that the search and seizure warrant could not be used as basis
to seize and withhold these items from the possessor. We thus hold that these items should be returned
immediately to Dimaano.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. The questioned Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan dated
18 November 1991 and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No. 0037, remanding the records of this case to the
Ombudsman for such appropriate action as the evidence may warrant, and referring this case to the
Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for a determination of any tax liability of respondent Elizabeth
Dimaano, are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-31195 June 5, 1973

PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS EMPLOYMENT ORGANIZATION, NICANOR TOLENTINO, FLORENCIO,


PADRIGANO RUFINO, ROXAS MARIANO DE LEON, ASENCION PACIENTE, BONIFACIO VACUNA,
BENJAMIN PAGCU and RODULFO MUNSOD, petitioners, 

vs.

PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO., INC. and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents.

L.S. Osorio & P.B. Castillo and J.C. Espinas & Associates for petitioners.

Demetrio B. Salem & Associates for private respondent.

MAKASIAR, J.:

The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (hereinafter referred to as PBMEO) is a
legitimate labor union composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and
petitioners Nicanor Tolentino, Florencio Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio
Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union.

Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4,
1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be participated in by the workers in the first shift
(from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as those in the regular second and third shifts (from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8
A.M. to 5 P.M., respectively); and that they informed the respondent Company of their proposed demonstration.

The questioned order dated September 15, 1969, of Associate Judge Joaquin M. Salvador of the respondent
Court reproduced the following stipulation of facts of the parties — parties —

3. That on March 2, 1969 complainant company learned of the projected mass demonstration at Malacañang in
protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig Police Department to be participated by the first shift (6:00 AM-2:00
PM) workers as well as those working in the regular shifts (7:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) in the
morning of March 4, 1969;

4. That a meeting was called by the Company on March 3, 1969 at about 11:00 A.M. at the Company's canteen,
and those present were: for the Company: (1) Mr. Arthur L. Ang (2) Atty. S. de Leon, Jr., (3) and all department
and section heads. For the PBMEO (1) Florencio Padrigano, (2) Rufino Roxas, (3) Mariano de Leon, (4) Asencion
Paciente, (5) Bonifacio Vacuna and (6) Benjamin Pagcu.

5. That the Company asked the union panel to confirm or deny said projected mass demonstration at Malacañang
on March 4, 1969. PBMEO thru Benjamin Pagcu who acted as spokesman of the union panel, confirmed the
planned demonstration and stated that the demonstration or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already
been agreed upon in the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the demonstration has nothing to do with the
Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management;

6. That Management, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, Company personnel manager, informed PBMEO that the
demonstration is an inalienable right of the union guaranteed by the Constitution but emphasized, however, that
any demonstration for that matter should not unduly prejudice the normal operation of the Company. For which
reason, the Company, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon warned the PBMEO representatives that workers who belong to the
first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of absence approved by the Company, particularly , the officers
present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for work the following morning (March
4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be
amounting to an illegal strike;

7. That at about 5:00 P.M. on March 3, 1969, another meeting was convoked Company represented by Atty. C.S.
de Leon, Jr. The Union panel was composed of: Nicanor Tolentino, Rodolfo Munsod, Benjamin Pagcu and
Florencio Padrigano. In this afternoon meeting of March 3, 1969, Company reiterated and appealed to the
PBMEO representatives that while all workers may join the Malacañang demonstration, the workers for the first
and regular shift of March 4, 1969 should be excused from joining the demonstration and should report for work;
and thus utilize the workers in the 2nd and 3rd shifts in order not to violate the provisions of the CBA, particularly
Article XXIV: NO LOCKOUT — NO STRIKE'. All those who will not follow this warning of the Company shall be
dismiss; De Leon reiterated the Company's warning that the officers shall be primarily liable being the organizers
of the mass demonstration. The union panel countered that it was rather too late to change their plans inasmuch
as the Malacañang demonstration will be held the following morning; and

8. That a certain Mr. Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of PBMEO sent a cablegram to the Company which was received
9:50 A.M., March 4, 1969, the contents of which are as follows: 'REITERATING REQUEST EXCUSE DAY SHIFT
EMPLOYEES JOINING DEMONSTRATION MARCH 4, 1969.' (Pars. 3-8, Annex "F", pp. 42-43, rec.)

Because the petitioners and their members numbering about 400 proceeded with the demonstration despite the
pleas of the respondent Company that the first shift workers should not be required to participate in the
demonstration and that the workers in the second and third shifts should be utilized for the demonstration from 6
A.M. to 2 P.M. on March 4, 1969, respondent Company prior notice of the mass demonstration on March 4, 1969,
with the respondent Court, a charge against petitioners and other employees who composed the first shift,
charging them with a "violation of Section 4(a)-6 in relation to Sections 13 and 14, as well as Section 15, all of
Republic Act No. 875, and of the CBA providing for 'No Strike and No Lockout.' " (Annex "A", pp. 19-20, rec.). The
charge was accompanied by the joint affidavit of Arthur L. Ang and Cesareo de Leon, Jr. (Annex "B", pp. 21-24,
rec.). Thereafter, a corresponding complaint was filed, dated April 18, 1969, by Acting Chief Prosecutor Antonio T.
Tirona and Acting Prosecutor Linda P. Ilagan (Annex "C", pp. 25-30, rec.)

In their answer, dated May 9, 1969, herein petitioners claim that they did not violate the existing CBA because
they gave the respondent Company prior notice of the mass demonstration on March 4, 1969; that the said mass
demonstration was a valid exercise of their constitutional freedom of speech against the alleged abuses of some
Pasig policemen; and that their mass demonstration was not a declaration of strike because it was not directed
against the respondent firm (Annex "D", pp. 31-34, rec.)

After considering the aforementioned stipulation of facts submitted by the parties, Judge Joaquin M. Salvador, in
an order dated September 15, 1969, found herein petitioner PBMEO guilty of bargaining in bad faith and herein
petitioners Florencio Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin
Pagcu, Nicanor Tolentino and Rodulfo Munsod as directly responsible for perpetrating the said unfair labor
practice and were, as a consequence, considered to have lost their status as employees of the respondent
Company (Annex "F", pp. 42-56, rec.)

Herein petitioners claim that they received on September 23, 1969, the aforesaid order (p. 11, rec.); and that they
filed on September 29, 1969, because September 28, 1969 fell on Sunday (p. 59, rec.), a motion for
reconsideration of said order dated September 15, 1969, on the ground that it is contrary to law and the evidence,
as well as asked for ten (10) days within which to file their arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the
Rules of the CIR, as amended (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec. )

In its opposition dated October 7, 1969, filed on October 11, 1969 (p. 63, rec.), respondent Company averred that
herein petitioners received on September 22, 1969, the order dated September 17 (should be September 15),
1969; that under Section 15 of the amended Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations, herein petitioners had five
(5) days from September 22, 1969 or until September 27, 1969, within which to file their motion for
reconsideration; and that because their motion for reconsideration was two (2) days late, it should be accordingly
dismissed, invoking Bien vs. Castillo,1 which held among others, that a motion for extension of the five-day period
for the filing of a motion for reconsideration should be filed before the said five-day period elapses (Annex "M", pp.
61-64, rec.).
Subsequently, herein petitioners filed on October 14, 1969 their written arguments dated October 11, 1969, in
support of their motion for reconsideration (Annex "I", pp. 65-73, rec.).

In a resolution dated October 9, 1969, the respondent en banc dismissed the motion for reconsideration of herein
petitioners for being pro forma as it was filed beyond the reglementary period prescribed by its Rules (Annex "J",
pp. 74-75, rec.), which herein petitioners received on October 28, 196 (pp. 12 & 76, rec.).

At the bottom of the notice of the order dated October 9, 1969, which was released on October 24, 1969 and
addressed to the counsels of the parties (pp. 75-76, rec.), appear the requirements of Sections 15, 16 and 17, as
amended, of the Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations, that a motion for reconsideration shall be filed within
five (5) days from receipt of its decision or order and that an appeal from the decision, resolution or order of the
C.I.R., sitting en banc, shall be perfected within ten (10) days from receipt thereof (p. 76, rec.).

On October 31, 1969, herein petitioners filed with the respondent court a petition for relief from the order dated
October 9, 1969, on the ground that their failure to file their motion for reconsideration on time was due to
excusable negligence and honest mistake committed by the president of the petitioner Union and of the office
clerk of their counsel, attaching thereto the affidavits of the said president and clerk (Annexes "K", "K-1" and "K-2",
rec.).

Without waiting for any resolution on their petition for relief from the order dated October 9, 1969, herein
petitioners filed on November 3, 1969, with the Supreme Court, a notice of appeal (Annex "L", pp. 88-89, rec.).

There is need of briefly restating basic concepts and principles which underlie the issues posed by the case at
bar.

(1) In a democracy, the preservation and enhancement of the dignity and worth of the human personality is the
central core as well as the cardinal article of faith of our civilization. The inviolable character of man as an
individual must be "protected to the largest possible extent in his thoughts and in his beliefs as the citadel of his
person."2

(2) The Bill of Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of liberty, equality and security "against the assaults of
opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of small encroachments, and the scorn and derision
of those who have no patience with general principles."3

In the pithy language of Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to withdraw "certain
subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials,
and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's rights to life, liberty and property, to
free speech, or free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted
to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."4 Laski proclaimed that "the happiness of the individual,
not the well-being of the State, was the criterion by which its behaviour was to be judged. His interests, not its
power, set the limits to the authority it was entitled to exercise."5

(3) The freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the right to petition are included among the immunities
reserved by the sovereign people, in the rhetorical aphorism of Justice Holmes, to protect the ideas that we abhor
or hate more than the ideas we cherish; or as Socrates insinuated, not only to protect the minority who want to
talk, but also to benefit the majority who refuse to listen.6 And as Justice Douglas cogently stresses it, the liberties
of one are the liberties of all; and the liberties of one are not safe unless the liberties of all are protected.7

(4) The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but also political rights
essential to man's enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and complete fulfillment. Thru these
freedoms the citizens can participate not merely in the periodic establishment of the government through their
suffrage but also in the administration of public affairs as well as in the discipline of abusive public officers. The
citizen is accorded these rights so that he can appeal to the appropriate governmental officers or agencies for
redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful sanctions on erring public officers and
employees.
(5) While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over property rights is
recognized.8 Because these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society"
and the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions,"
they "need breathing space to survive," permitting government regulation only "with narrow specificity."9

Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible. If human rights are
extinguished by the passage of time, then the Bill of Rights is a useless attempt to limit the power of government
and ceases to be an efficacious shield against the tyranny of officials, of majorities, of the influential and powerful,
and of oligarchs — political, economic or otherwise.

In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they
are essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions; 10 and such priority "gives these
liberties the sanctity and the sanction not permitting dubious intrusions." 11

II

The respondent Court of Industrial Relations, after opining that the mass demonstration was not a declaration of
strike, concluded that by their "concerted act and the occurrence temporary stoppage of work," herein petitioners
are guilty bargaining in bad faith and hence violated the collective bargaining agreement with private respondent
Philippine Blooming Mills Co., inc.. Set against and tested by foregoing principles governing a democratic society,
such conclusion cannot be sustained. The demonstration held petitioners on March 4, 1969 before Malacañang
was against alleged abuses of some Pasig policemen, not against their employer, herein private respondent firm,
said demonstrate was purely and completely an exercise of their freedom expression in general and of their right
of assembly and petition for redress of grievances in particular before appropriate governmental agency, the Chief
Executive, again the police officers of the municipality of Pasig. They exercise their civil and political rights for their
mutual aid protection from what they believe were police excesses. As matter of fact, it was the duty of herein
private respondent firm to protect herein petitioner Union and its members fro the harassment of local police
officers. It was to the interest herein private respondent firm to rally to the defense of, and take up the cudgels for,
its employees, so that they can report to work free from harassment, vexation or peril and as consequence
perform more efficiently their respective tasks enhance its productivity as well as profits. Herein respondent
employer did not even offer to intercede for its employees with the local police. Was it securing peace for itself at
the expenses of its workers? Was it also intimidated by the local police or did it encourage the local police to
terrorize or vex its workers? Its failure to defend its own employees all the more weakened the position of its
laborers the alleged oppressive police who might have been all the more emboldened thereby subject its lowly
employees to further indignities.

In seeking sanctuary behind their freedom of expression well as their right of assembly and of petition against
alleged persecution of local officialdom, the employees and laborers of herein private respondent firm were
fighting for their very survival, utilizing only the weapons afforded them by the Constitution — the untrammelled
enjoyment of their basic human rights. The pretension of their employer that it would suffer loss or damage by
reason of the absence of its employees from 6 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon, is a plea for the
preservation merely of their property rights. Such apprehended loss or damage would not spell the difference
between the life and death of the firm or its owners or its management. The employees' pathetic situation was a
stark reality — abused, harassment and persecuted as they believed they were by the peace officers of the
municipality. As above intimated, the condition in which the employees found themselves vis-a-vis the local police
of Pasig, was a matter that vitally affected their right to individual existence as well as that of their families.
Material loss can be repaired or adequately compensated. The debasement of the human being broken in morale
and brutalized in spirit-can never be fully evaluated in monetary terms. The wounds fester and the scars remain to
humiliate him to his dying day, even as he cries in anguish for retribution, denial of which is like rubbing salt on
bruised tissues.

As heretofore stated, the primacy of human rights — freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition
for redress of grievances — over property rights has been sustained. 18 Emphatic reiteration of this basic tenet as
a coveted boon — at once the shield and armor of the dignity and worth of the human personality, the all-
consuming ideal of our enlightened civilization — becomes Our duty, if freedom and social justice have any
meaning at all for him who toils so that capital can produce economic goods that can generate happiness for all.
To regard the demonstration against police officers, not against the employer, as evidence of bad faith in collective
bargaining and hence a violation of the collective bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from
employment of the demonstrating employees, stretches unduly the compass of the collective bargaining
agreement, is "a potent means of inhibiting speech" and therefore inflicts a moral as well as mortal wound on the
constitutional guarantees of free expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition. 19

The collective bargaining agreement which fixes the working shifts of the employees, according to the respondent
Court Industrial Relations, in effect imposes on the workers the "duty ... to observe regular working hours." The
strain construction of the Court of Industrial Relations that a stipulated working shifts deny the workers the right to
stage mass demonstration against police abuses during working hours, constitutes a virtual tyranny over the mind
and life the workers and deserves severe condemnation. Renunciation of the freedom should not be predicated
on such a slender ground.

The mass demonstration staged by the employees on March 4, 1969 could not have been legally enjoined by any
court, such an injunction would be trenching upon the freedom expression of the workers, even if it legally
appears to be illegal picketing or strike. 20 The respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the case at bar
concedes that the mass demonstration was not a declaration of a strike "as the same not rooted in any industrial
dispute although there is concerted act and the occurrence of a temporary stoppage work." (Annex "F", p. 45,
rec.).

The respondent firm claims that there was no need for all its employees to participate in the demonstration and
that they suggested to the Union that only the first and regular shift from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. should report for work in
order that loss or damage to the firm will be averted. This stand failed appreciate the sine qua non of an effective
demonstration especially by a labor union, namely the complete unity of the Union members as well as their total
presence at the demonstration site in order to generate the maximum sympathy for the validity of their cause but
also immediately action on the part of the corresponding government agencies with jurisdiction over the issues
they raised against the local police. Circulation is one of the aspects of freedom of expression. 21 If demonstrators
are reduced by one-third, then by that much the circulation of the issues raised by the demonstration is
diminished. The more the participants, the more persons can be apprised of the purpose of the rally. Moreover,
the absence of one-third of their members will be regarded as a substantial indication of disunity in their ranks
which will enervate their position and abet continued alleged police persecution. At any rate, the Union notified the
company two days in advance of their projected demonstration and the company could have made arrangements
to counteract or prevent whatever losses it might sustain by reason of the absence of its workers for one day,
especially in this case when the Union requested it to excuse only the day-shift employees who will join the
demonstration on March 4, 1969 which request the Union reiterated in their telegram received by the company at
9:50 in the morning of March 4, 1969, the day of the mass demonstration (pp. 42-43, rec.). There was a lack of
human understanding or compassion on the part of the firm in rejecting the request of the Union for excuse from
work for the day shifts in order to carry out its mass demonstration. And to regard as a ground for dismissal the
mass demonstration held against the Pasig police, not against the company, is gross vindictiveness on the part of
the employer, which is as unchristian as it is unconstitutional.

III

The respondent company is the one guilty of unfair labor practice. Because the refusal on the part of the
respondent firm to permit all its employees and workers to join the mass demonstration against alleged police
abuses and the subsequent separation of the eight (8) petitioners from the service constituted an unconstitutional
restraint on the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom petition for redress of grievances, the
respondent firm committed an unfair labor practice defined in Section 4(a-1) in relation to Section 3 of Republic
Act No. 875, otherwise known as the Industrial Peace Act. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8 guarantees to the
employees the right "to engage in concert activities for ... mutual aid or protection"; while Section 4(a-1) regards
as an unfair labor practice for an employer interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise their rights
guaranteed in Section Three."

We repeat that the obvious purpose of the mass demonstration staged by the workers of the respondent firm on
March 4, 1969, was for their mutual aid and protection against alleged police abuses, denial of which was
interference with or restraint on the right of the employees to engage in such common action to better shield
themselves against such alleged police indignities. The insistence on the part of the respondent firm that the
workers for the morning and regular shift should not participate in the mass demonstration, under pain of
dismissal, was as heretofore stated, "a potent means of inhibiting speech." 22

Such a concerted action for their mutual help and protection deserves at least equal protection as the concerted
action of employees in giving publicity to a letter complaint charging bank president with immorality, nepotism,
favoritism an discrimination in the appointment and promotion of ban employees. 23 We further ruled in the
Republic Savings Bank case, supra, that for the employees to come within the protective mantle of Section 3 in
relation to Section 4(a-1) on Republic Act No. 875, "it is not necessary that union activity be involved or that
collective bargaining be contemplated," as long as the concerted activity is for the furtherance of their interests. 24

As stated clearly in the stipulation of facts embodied in the questioned order of respondent Court dated
September 15, 1969, the company, "while expressly acknowledging, that the demonstration is an inalienable right
of the Union guaranteed by the Constitution," nonetheless emphasized that "any demonstration for that matter
should not unduly prejudice the normal operation of the company" and "warned the PBMEO representatives that
workers who belong to the first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of absence approved by the
Company, particularly the officers present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for
work the following morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing
CBA and, therefore, would be amounting to an illegal strike (;)" (p. III, petitioner's brief). Such threat of dismissal
tended to coerce the employees from joining the mass demonstration. However, the issues that the employees
raised against the local police, were more important to them because they had the courage to proceed with the
demonstration, despite such threat of dismissal. The most that could happen to them was to lose a day's wage by
reason of their absence from work on the day of the demonstration. One day's pay means much to a laborer,
more especially if he has a family to support. Yet, they were willing to forego their one-day salary hoping that their
demonstration would bring about the desired relief from police abuses. But management was adamant in refusing
to recognize the superior legitimacy of their right of free speech, free assembly and the right to petition for redress.

Because the respondent company ostensibly did not find it necessary to demand from the workers proof of the
truth of the alleged abuses inflicted on them by the local police, it thereby concedes that the evidence of such
abuses should properly be submitted to the corresponding authorities having jurisdiction over their complaint and
to whom such complaint may be referred by the President of the Philippines for proper investigation and action
with a view to disciplining the local police officers involved.

On the other hand, while the respondent Court of Industrial Relations found that the demonstration "paralyzed to a
large extent the operations of the complainant company," the respondent Court of Industrial Relations did not
make any finding as to the fact of loss actually sustained by the firm. This significant circumstance can only mean
that the firm did not sustain any loss or damage. It did not present evidence as to whether it lost expected profits
for failure to comply with purchase orders on that day; or that penalties were exacted from it by customers whose
orders could not be filled that day of the demonstration; or that purchase orders were cancelled by the customers
by reason of its failure to deliver the materials ordered; or that its own equipment or materials or products were
damaged due to absence of its workers on March 4, 1969. On the contrary, the company saved a sizable amount
in the form of wages for its hundreds of workers, cost of fuel, water and electric consumption that day. Such
savings could have amply compensated for unrealized profits or damages it might have sustained by reason of
the absence of its workers for only one day.

IV

Apart from violating the constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly as well as the right to petition for
redress of grievances of the employees, the dismissal of the eight (8) leaders of the workers for proceeding with
the demonstration and consequently being absent from work, constitutes a denial of social justice likewise
assured by the fundamental law to these lowly employees. Section 5 of Article II of the Constitution imposes upon
the State "the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all of the people,"
which guarantee is emphasized by the other directive in Section 6 of Article XIV of the Constitution that "the State
shall afford protection to labor ...". Respondent Court of Industrial Relations as an agency of the State is under
obligation at all times to give meaning and substance to these constitutional guarantees in favor of the working
man; for otherwise these constitutional safeguards would be merely a lot of "meaningless constitutional patter."
Under the Industrial Peace Act, the Court of Industrial Relations is enjoined to effect the policy of the law "to
eliminate the causes of industrial unrest by encouraging and protecting the exercise by employees of their right to
self-organization for the purpose of collective bargaining and for the promotion of their moral, social and economic
well-being." It is most unfortunate in the case at bar that respondent Court of Industrial Relations, the very
governmental agency designed therefor, failed to implement this policy and failed to keep faith with its avowed
mission — its raison d'etre — as ordained and directed by the Constitution.

It has been likewise established that a violation of a constitutional right divests the court of jurisdiction; and as a
consequence its judgment is null and void and confers no rights. Relief from a criminal conviction secured at the
sacrifice of constitutional liberties, may be obtained through habeas corpus proceedings even long after the finality
of the judgment. Thus, habeas corpus is the remedy to obtain the release of an individual, who is convicted by
final judgment through a forced confession, which violated his constitutional right against self-incrimination; 25 or
who is denied the right to present evidence in his defense as a deprivation of his liberty without due process of
law, 26 even after the accused has already served sentence for twenty-two years. 27

Both the respondents Court of Industrial Relations and private firm trenched upon these constitutional immunities
of petitioners. Both failed to accord preference to such rights and aggravated the inhumanity to which the
aggrieved workers claimed they had been subjected by the municipal police. Having violated these basic human
rights of the laborers, the Court of Industrial Relations ousted itself of jurisdiction and the questioned orders it
issued in the instant case are a nullity. Recognition and protection of such freedoms are imperative on all public
offices including the courts 28 as well as private citizens and corporations, the exercise and enjoyment of which
must not be nullified by mere procedural rule promulgated by the Court Industrial Relations exercising a purely
delegate legislative power, when even a law enacted by Congress must yield to the untrammelled enjoyment of
these human rights. There is no time limit to the exercise of the freedoms. The right to enjoy them is not
exhausted by the delivery of one speech, the printing of one article or the staging of one demonstration. It is a
continuing immunity to be invoked and exercised when exigent and expedient whenever there are errors to be
rectified, abuses to be denounced, inhumanities to be condemned. Otherwise these guarantees in the Bill of
Rights would be vitiated by rule on procedure prescribing the period for appeal. The battle then would be reduced
to a race for time. And in such a contest between an employer and its laborer, the latter eventually loses because
he cannot employ the best an dedicated counsel who can defend his interest with the required diligence and zeal,
bereft as he is of the financial resources with which to pay for competent legal services. 28-a

VI

The Court of Industrial Relations rule prescribes that motion for reconsideration of its order or writ should filed
within five (5) days from notice thereof and that the arguments in support of said motion shall be filed within ten
(10) days from the date of filing of such motion for reconsideration (Sec. 16). As above intimated, these rules of
procedure were promulgated by the Court of Industrial Relations pursuant to a legislative delegation. 29

The motion for reconsideration was filed on September 29, 1969, or seven (7) days from notice on September 22,
1969 of the order dated September 15, 1969 or two (2) days late. Petitioners claim that they could have filed it on
September 28, 1969, but it was a Sunday.

Does the mere fact that the motion for reconsideration was filed two (2) days late defeat the rights of the
petitioning employees? Or more directly and concretely, does the inadvertent omission to comply with a mere
Court of Industrial Relations procedural rule governing the period for filing a motion for reconsideration or appeal
in labor cases, promulgated pursuant to a legislative delegation, prevail over constitutional rights? The answer
should be obvious in the light of the aforecited cases. To accord supremacy to the foregoing rules of the Court of
Industrial Relations over basic human rights sheltered by the Constitution, is not only incompatible with the basic
tenet of constitutional government that the Constitution is superior to any statute or subordinate rules and
regulations, but also does violence to natural reason and logic. The dominance and superiority of the
constitutional right over the aforesaid Court of Industrial Relations procedural rule of necessity should be affirmed.
Such a Court of Industrial Relations rule as applied in this case does not implement or reinforce or strengthen the
constitutional rights affected,' but instead constrict the same to the point of nullifying the enjoyment thereof by the
petitioning employees. Said Court of Industrial Relations rule, promulgated as it was pursuant to a mere legislative
delegation, is unreasonable and therefore is beyond the authority granted by the Constitution and the law. A
period of five (5) days within which to file a motion for reconsideration is too short, especially for the aggrieved
workers, who usually do not have the ready funds to meet the necessary expenses therefor. In case of the Court
of Appeals and the Supreme Court, a period of fifteen (15) days has been fixed for the filing of the motion for re
hearing or reconsideration (See. 10, Rule 51; Sec. 1, Rule 52; Sec. 1, Rule 56, Revised Rules of Court). The
delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration could have been only one day if September 28, 1969 was not a
Sunday. This fact accentuates the unreasonableness of the Court of Industrial are concerned.

It should be stressed here that the motion for reconsideration dated September 27, 1969, is based on the ground
that the order sought to be reconsidered "is not in accordance with law, evidence and facts adduced during the
hearing," and likewise prays for an extension of ten (10) days within which to file arguments pursuant to Sections
15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec.); although the
arguments were actually filed by the herein petitioners on October 14, 1969 (Annex "I", pp. 70-73, rec.), long after
the 10-day period required for the filing of such supporting arguments counted from the filing of the motion for
reconsideration. Herein petitioners received only on October 28, 1969 the resolution dated October 9, 1969
dismissing the motion for reconsideration for being pro forma since it was filed beyond the reglementary period
(Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.)

It is true that We ruled in several cases that where a motion to reconsider is filed out of time, or where the
arguments in suppf such motion are filed beyond the 10 day reglementary period provided for by the Court of
Industrial Relations rules, the order or decision subject of29-a reconsideration becomes final and unappealable.
But in all these cases, the constitutional rights of free expression, free assembly and petition were not involved.

It is a procedural rule that generally all causes of action and defenses presently available must be specifically
raised in the complaint or answer; so that any cause of action or defense not raised in such pleadings, is deemed
waived. However, a constitutional issue can be raised any time, even for the first time on appeal, if it appears that
the determination of the constitutional issue is necessary to a decision of the case, the very lis mota of the case
without the resolution of which no final and complete determination of the dispute can be made. 30 It is thus seen
that a procedural rule of Congress or of the Supreme Court gives way to a constitutional right. In the instant case,
the procedural rule of the Court of Industrial Relations, a creature of Congress, must likewise yield to the
constitutional rights invoked by herein petitioners even before the institution of the unfair labor practice charged
against them and in their defense to the said charge.

In the case at bar, enforcement of the basic human freedoms sheltered no less by the organic law, is a most
compelling reason to deny application of a Court of Industrial Relations rule which impinges on such human
rights. 30-a

It is an accepted principle that the Supreme Court has the inherent power to "suspend its own rules or to except a
particular case from its operation, whenever the purposes of justice require." 30-b Mr. Justice Barredo in his
concurring opinion in Estrada vs. Sto. Domingo. 30-c reiterated this principle and added that

Under this authority, this Court is enabled to cove with all situations without concerning itself about procedural
niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any case, without further loss of time, provided that the
right of the parties to a full day in court is not substantially impaired. Thus, this Court may treat an appeal as a
certiorari and vice-versa. In other words, when all the material facts are spread in the records before Us, and all
the parties have been duly heard, it matters little that the error of the court a quo is of judgment or of jurisdiction.
We can then and there render the appropriate judgment. Is within the contemplation of this doctrine that as it is
perfectly legal and within the power of this Court to strike down in an appeal acts without or in excess of
jurisdiction or committed with grave abuse of discretion, it cannot be beyond the admit of its authority, in
appropriate cases, to reverse in a certain proceed in any error of judgment of a court a quo which cannot be
exactly categorized as a flaw of jurisdiction. If there can be any doubt, which I do not entertain, on whether or not
the errors this Court has found in the decision of the Court of Appeals are short of being jurisdiction nullities or
excesses, this Court would still be on firm legal grounds should it choose to reverse said decision here and
now even if such errors can be considered as mere mistakes of judgment or only as faults in the exercise of
jurisdiction, so as to avoid the unnecessary return of this case to the lower court for the sole purpose of pursuing
the ordinary course of an appeal. (Emphasis supplied). 30-d

Insistence on the application of the questioned Court industrial Relations rule in this particular case at bar would
an unreasoning adherence to "Procedural niceties" which denies justice to the herein laborers, whose basic
human freedoms, including the right to survive, must be according supremacy over the property rights of their
employer firm which has been given a full hearing on this case, especially when, as in the case at bar, no actual
material damage has be demonstrated as having been inflicted on its property rights.

If We can disregard our own rules when justice requires it, obedience to the Constitution renders more imperative
the suspension of a Court of Industrial Relations rule that clash with the human rights sanctioned and shielded
with resolution concern by the specific guarantees outlined in the organic law. It should be stressed that the
application in the instant case Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules relied upon by herein
respondent firm is unreasonable and therefore such application becomes unconstitutional as it subverts the
human rights of petitioning labor union and workers in the light of the peculiar facts and circumstances revealed
by the record.

The suspension of the application of Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with reference to the
case at is also authorized by Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, the C.I.R. charter, which enjoins the Court
of Industrial Relations to "act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to
technicalities or legal forms ..."

On several occasions, We emphasized this doctrine which was re-stated by Mr. Justice Barredo, speaking for the
Court, in the 1970 case of Kapisanan, etc. vs. Hamilton, etc., et. al., 30-e thus:

As to the point that the evidence being offered by the petitioners in the motion for new trial is not "newly
discovered," as such term is understood in the rules of procedure for the ordinary courts, We hold that such
criterion is not binding upon the Court of Industrial Relations. Under Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103,
'The Court of Industrial Relations shall adopt its, rules or procedure and shall have such other powers as generally
pertain to a court of justice: Provided, however, That in the hearing, investigation and determination of any
question or controversy and in exercising any duties and power under this Act, the Court shall act according to
justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not
be bound by any technical rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just and
equitable.' By this provision the industrial court is disengaged from the rigidity of the technicalities applicable to
ordinary courts. Said court is not even restricted to the specific relief demanded by the parties but may issue such
orders as may be deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling the dispute or dispelling any doubts
that may give rise to future disputes. (Ang Tibay v. C.I.R., G.R. No. 46496, Feb. 17, 1940; Manila Trading &
Supply Co. v. Phil. Labor, 71 Phil. 124.) For these reasons, We believe that this provision is ample enough to have
enabled the respondent court to consider whether or not its previous ruling that petitioners constitute a minority
was founded on fact, without regard to the technical meaning of newly discovered evidence. ... (Alonso v. Villamor,
16 Phil. 315; Chua Kiong v. Whitaker, 46 Phil. 578). (emphasis supplied.)

To apply Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with "pedantic rigor" in the instant case is to rule in
effect that the poor workers, who can ill-afford an alert competent lawyer, can no longer seek the sanctuary of
human freedoms secured to them by the fundamental law, simply because their counsel — erroneously believing
that he received a copy of the decision on September 23, 1969, instead of September 22, 1969 - filed his motion
for reconsideration September 29, 1969, which practically is only one day late considering that September 28,
1969 was a Sunday.

Many a time, this Court deviated from procedure technicalities when they ceased to be instruments of justice, for
the attainment of which such rules have been devised. Summarizing the jurisprudence on this score, Mr. Justice
Fernando, speaking for a unanimous Court in Palma vs. Oreta, 30-f Stated:

As was so aptly expressed by Justice Moreland in Alonso v. Villamor (16 Phil. 315 [1910]. The Villamor decision
was cited with approval in Register of Deeds v. Phil. Nat. Bank, 84 Phil. 600 [1949]; Potenciano v. Court of
Appeals, 104 Phil. 156 [1958] and Uy v. Uy, 14243, June 30, 1961, 2 SCRA 675.), decided as far back as 1910,
"technicality. when it deserts its proper-office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief
enemy, deserves scant consideration from courts." (Ibid., p, 322.) To that norm, this Court has remained
committed. The late Justice Recto in Blanco v. Bernabe, (63 Phil. 124 [1936]) was of a similar mind. For him the
interpretation of procedural rule should never "sacrifice the ends justice." While "procedural laws are no other than
technicalities" view them in their entirety, 'they were adopted not as ends themselves for the compliance with
which courts have organized and function, but as means conducive to the realization the administration of the law
and of justice (Ibid., p.,128). We have remained steadfastly opposed, in the highly rhetorical language Justice
Felix, to "a sacrifice of substantial rights of a litigant in altar of sophisticated technicalities with impairment of the
sacred principles of justice." (Potenciano v. Court of Appeals, 104 Phil. 156, 161 [1958]). As succinctly put by
Justice Makalintal, they "should give way to the realities of the situation." (Urbayan v. Caltex, L-15379, Aug. 31,
1962, 5 SCRA 1016, 1019). In the latest decision in point promulgated in 1968, (Udan v. Amon, (1968, 23 SCRA
citing McEntee v. Manotok, L-14968, Oct. 27, 1961, 3 SCRA 272.) Justice Zaldivar was partial to an earlier
formulation of Justice Labrador that rules of procedure "are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense"; but
are intended "to help secure substantial justice." (Ibid., p. 843) ... 30-g

Even if the questioned Court of Industrial Relations orders and rule were to be given effect, the dismissal or
termination of the employment of the petitioning eight (8) leaders of the Union is harsh for a one-day absence
from work. The respondent Court itself recognized the severity of such a sanction when it did not include the
dismissal of the other 393 employees who are members of the same Union and who participated in the
demonstration against the Pasig police. As a matter of fact, upon the intercession of the Secretary of Labor, the
Union members who are not officers, were not dismissed and only the Union itself and its thirteen (13) officers
were specifically named as respondents in the unfair labor practice charge filed against them by the firm (pp.
16-20, respondent's Brief; Annexes "A", "B" and "C", pp. 20-30, rec.). Counsel for respondent firm insinuates that
not all the 400 or so employee participated in the demonstration, for which reason only the Union and its thirteen
(13) officers were specifically named in the unfair labor practice charge (p. 20, respondent's brief). If that were so,
then many, if not all, of the morning and regular shifts reported for work on March 4, 1969 and that, as a
consequence, the firm continued in operation that day and did not sustain any damage.

The appropriate penalty — if it deserves any penalty at all — should have been simply to charge said one-day
absence against their vacation or sick leave. But to dismiss the eight (8) leaders of the petitioner Union is a most
cruel penalty, since as aforestated the Union leaders depend on their wages for their daily sustenance as well as
that of their respective families aside from the fact that it is a lethal blow to unionism, while at the same time
strengthening the oppressive hand of the petty tyrants in the localities.

Mr. Justice Douglas articulated this pointed reminder:

The challenge to our liberties comes frequently not from those who consciously seek to destroy our system of
Government, but from men of goodwill — good men who allow their proper concerns to blind them to the fact that
what they propose to accomplish involves an impairment of liberty.

... The Motives of these men are often commendable. What we must remember, however, is thatpreservation of
liberties does not depend on motives. A suppression of liberty has the same effect whether the suppress or be a
reformer or an outlaw. The only protection against misguided zeal is a constant alertness of the infractions of the
guarantees of liberty contained in our Constitution. Each surrender of liberty to the demands of the moment
makes easier another, larger surrender. The battle over the Bill of Rights is a never ending one.

... The liberties of any person are the liberties of all of us.

... In short, the Liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.

... But even if we should sense no danger to our own liberties, even if we feel secure because we belong to a
group that is important and respected, we must recognize that our Bill of Rights is a code of fair play for the less
fortunate that we in all honor and good conscience must be observe. 31

The case at bar is worse.

Management has shown not only lack of good-will or good intention, but a complete lack of sympathetic
understanding of the plight of its laborers who claim that they are being subjected to indignities by the local police,
It was more expedient for the firm to conserve its income or profits than to assist its employees in their fight for
their freedoms and security against alleged petty tyrannies of local police officers. This is sheer opportunism.
Such opportunism and expediency resorted to by the respondent company assaulted the immunities and welfare
of its employees. It was pure and implement selfishness, if not greed.

Of happy relevance is the 1967 case of Republic Savings Bank vs. C.I.R., 32 where the petitioner Bank dismissed
eight (8) employees for having written and published "a patently libelous letter ... to the Bank president demanding
his resignation on the grounds of immorality, nepotism in the appointment and favoritism as well as discrimination
in the promotion of bank employees." Therein, thru Mr. Justice Castro, We ruled:

It will avail the Bank none to gloat over this admission of the respondents. Assuming that the latter acted in their
individual capacities when they wrote the letter-charge they were nonetheless protected for they were engaged in
concerted activity, in the exercise of their right of self organization that includes concerted activity for mutual aid
and protection, (Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act ...) This is the view of some members of this Court. For, as
has been aptly stated, the joining in protests or demands, even by a small group of employees, if in furtherance of
their interests as such, is a concerted activity protected by the Industrial Peace Act. It is not necessary that union
activity be involved or that collective bargaining be contemplated. (Annot., 6 A.L.R. 2d 416 [1949]).

xxx xxx xxx

Instead of stifling criticism, the Bank should have allowed the respondents to air their grievances.

xxx xxx xxx


The Bank defends its action by invoking its right to discipline for what it calls the respondents' libel in giving undue
publicity to their letter-charge. To be sure, the right of self-organization of employees is not unlimited (Republic
Aviation Corp. vs. NLRB 324 U.S. 793 [1945]), as the right of the employer to discharge for cause (Philippine
Education Co. v. Union of Phil. Educ. Employees, L-13773, April 29, 1960) is undenied. The Industrial Peace Act
does not touch the normal exercise of the right of the employer to select his employees or to discharge them. It is
directed solely against the abuse of that right by interfering with the countervailing right of self organization
(Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB 313 U.S. 177 [1941])...

xxx xxx xxx

In the final sum and substance, this Court is in unanimity that the Bank's conduct, identified as an interference
with the employees' right of self-organization or as a retaliatory action, and/or as a refusal to bargain collectively,
constituted an unfair labor practice within the meaning and intendment of section 4(a) of the Industrial Peace Act.
(Emphasis supplied.) 33

If free expression was accorded recognition and protection to fortify labor unionism in the Republic Savings case,
supra, where the complaint assailed the morality and integrity of the bank president no less, such recognition and
protection for free speech, free assembly and right to petition are rendered all the more justifiable and more
imperative in the case at bar, where the mass demonstration was not against the company nor any of its officers.

WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered:

(1) setting aside as null and void the orders of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations dated September 15
and October 9, 1969; and

(2) directing the re instatement of the herein eight (8) petitioners, with full back pay from the date of their
separation from the service until re instated, minus one day's pay and whatever earnings they might have realized
from other sources during their separation from the service.

With costs against private respondent Philippine Blooming Company, Inc.

Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando and Esguerra, JJ., concur.

Makalintal, C.J, took no part.

The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is underscored by the fact that a mere reasonable or
rational relation between the means employed by the law and its object or purpose — that the law is neither
arbitrary nor discriminatory nor oppressive — would suffice to validate a law which restricts or impairs property
rights. 12 On the other hand, a constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent
criterion, namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has the right to
prevent. So it has been stressed in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernando in Gonzales vs. Comelec and
reiterated by the writer of the opinion in Imbong vs. Ferrer. 13 It should be added that Mr. Justice Barredo
in Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, like Justices Douglas, Black and Goldberg in N.Y. Times Co. vs.
Sullivan, 14 believes that the freedoms of speech and of the press as well as of peaceful assembly and of petition
for redress of grievances are absolute when directed against public officials or "when exercised in relation to our
right to choose the men and women by whom we shall be governed," 15 even as Mr. Justice Castro relies on the
balancing-of-interests test. 16 Chief Justice Vinson is partial to the improbable danger rule formulated by Chief
Judge Learned Hand, viz. — whether the gravity of the evil, discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion
of free expression as is necessary to avoid the danger. 17
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 180906 October 7, 2008

THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE
PHILIPPINES,petitioners, 

vs.

RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO, respondents.

DECISION

PUNO, C.J.:

While victims of enforced disappearances are separated from the rest of the world behind secret walls, they are
not separated from the constitutional protection of their basic rights. The constitution is an overarching sky that
covers all in its protection. The case at bar involves the rights to life, liberty and security in the first petition for a
writ of Amparo filed before this Court.

This is an appeal via Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 191 of the Rule
on the Writ of Amparo, seeking to reverse and set aside on both questions of fact and law, the Decision
promulgated by the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. AMPARO No. 00001, entitled "Raymond Manalo and Reynaldo
Manalo, petitioners, versus The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the
Philippines, respondents."

This case was originally a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)2 filed before
this Court by herein respondents (therein petitioners) on August 23, 2007 to stop herein petitioners (therein
respondents) and/or their officers and agents from depriving them of their right to liberty and other basic rights.
Therein petitioners also sought ancillary remedies, Protective Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner,
Inspection and Access Orders, and all other legal and equitable reliefs under Article VIII, Section 5(5)3 of the 1987
Constitution and Rule 135, Section 6 of the Rules of Court. In our Resolution dated August 24, 2007, we (1)
ordered the Secretary of the Department of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFP, their agents,
representatives, or persons acting in their stead, including but not limited to the Citizens Armed Forces
Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to submit their Comment; and (2) enjoined them from causing the arrest of therein
petitioners, or otherwise restricting, curtailing, abridging, or depriving them of their right to life, liberty, and other
basic rights as guaranteed under Article III, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution.5

While the August 23, 2007 Petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on October 24, 2007.
Forthwith, therein petitioners filed a Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to Treat Existing Petition
as Amparo Petition, to Admit Supporting Affidavits, and to Grant Interim and Final Amparo Reliefs. They prayed
that: (1) the petition be considered a Petition for the Writ of Amparo under Sec. 266 of the Amparo Rule; (2) the
Court issue the writ commanding therein respondents to make a verified return within the period provided by law
and containing the specific matter required by law; (3) they be granted the interim reliefs allowed by
the Amparo Rule and all other reliefs prayed for in the petition but not covered by the Amparo Rule; (4) the Court,
after hearing, render judgment as required in Sec. 187 of the Amparo Rule; and (5) all other just and equitable
reliefs.8

On October 25, 2007, the Court resolved to treat the August 23, 2007 Petition as a petition under
the Amparo Rule and further resolved, viz:

WHEREFORE, let a WRIT OF AMPARO be issued to respondents requiring them to file with the CA (Court of
Appeals) a verified written return within five (5) working days from service of the writ. We REMAND the petition to
the CA and designate the Division of Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin to conduct the summary hearing on the
petition on November 8, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and decide the petition in accordance with the Rule on the Writ
of Amparo.9
On December 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in favor of therein petitioners (herein
respondents), the dispositive portion of which reads, viz:

ACCORDINGLY, the PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF AMPARO is GRANTED.

The respondents SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and AFP CHIEF OF STAFF are hereby REQUIRED:

1. To furnish to the petitioners and to this Court within five days from notice of this decision all official and unofficial
reports of the investigation undertaken in connection with their case, except those already on file herein;

2. To confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald
Caigas within five days from notice of this decision.

3. To cause to be produced to this Court all medical reports, records and charts, reports of any treatment given or
recommended and medicines prescribed, if any, to the petitioners, to include a list of medical and (sic) personnel
(military and civilian) who attended to them from February 14, 2006 until August 12, 2007 within five days from
notice of this decision.

The compliance with this decision shall be made under the signature and oath of respondent AFP Chief of Staff or
his duly authorized deputy, the latter's authority to be express and made apparent on the face of the sworn
compliance with this directive.

SO ORDERED.10

Hence, this appeal. In resolving this appeal, we first unfurl the facts as alleged by herein respondents:

Respondent Raymond Manalo recounted that about one or two weeks before February 14, 2006, several
uniformed and armed soldiers and members of the CAFGU summoned to a meeting all the residents of
their barangay in San Idelfonso, Bulacan. Respondents were not able to attend as they were not informed of the
gathering, but Raymond saw some of the soldiers when he passed by the barangay hall.11

On February 14, 2006, Raymond was sleeping in their house in Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. At
past noon, several armed soldiers wearing white shirts, fatigue pants and army boots, entered their house and
roused him. They asked him if he was Bestre, but his mother, Ester Manalo, replied that he was Raymond, not
Bestre. The armed soldier slapped him on both cheeks and nudged him in the stomach. He was then handcuffed,
brought to the rear of his house, and forced to the ground face down. He was kicked on the hip, ordered to stand
and face up to the light, then forcibly brought near the road. He told his mother to follow him, but three soldiers
stopped her and told her to stay.12

Among the men who came to take him, Raymond recognized brothers Michael de la Cruz, Madning de la Cruz,
"Puti" de la Cruz, and "Pula" de la Cruz, who all acted as lookout. They were all members of the CAFGU and
residing in Manuzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. He also recognized brothers Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza,
also members of the CAFGU. While he was being forcibly taken, he also saw outside of his house
two barangaycouncilors, Pablo Cunanan and Bernardo Lingasa, with some soldiers and armed men.13

The men forced Raymond into a white L300 van. Once inside, he was blindfolded. Before being blindfolded, he
saw the faces of the soldiers who took him. Later, in his 18 months of captivity, he learned their names. The one
who drove the van was Rizal Hilario alias Rollie Castillo, whom he estimated was about 40 years of age or older.
The leader of the team who entered his house and abducted him was "Ganata." He was tall, thin, curly-haired and
a bit old. Another one of his abductors was "George" who was tall, thin, white-skinned and about 30 years old.14

The van drove off, then came to a stop. A person was brought inside the van and made to sit beside Raymond.
Both of them were beaten up. On the road, he recognized the voice of the person beside him as his brother
Reynaldo's. The van stopped several times until they finally arrived at a house. Raymond and Reynaldo were
each brought to a different room. With the doors of their rooms left open, Raymond saw several soldiers
continuously hitting his brother Reynaldo on the head and other parts of his body with the butt of their guns for
about 15 minutes. After which, Reynaldo was brought to his (Raymond's) room and it was his (Raymond's) turn to
be beaten up in the other room. The soldiers asked him if he was a member of the New People's Army. Each time
he said he was not, he was hit with the butt of their guns. He was questioned where his comrades were, how
many soldiers he had killed, and how many NPA members he had helped. Each time he answered none, they hit
him.15

In the next days, Raymond's interrogators appeared to be high officials as the soldiers who beat him up would
salute them, call them "sir," and treat them with respect. He was in blindfolds when interrogated by the high
officials, but he saw their faces when they arrived and before the blindfold was put on. He noticed that the uniform
of the high officials was different from those of the other soldiers. One of those officials was tall and thin, wore
white pants, tie, and leather shoes, instead of combat boots. He spoke in Tagalog and knew much about his
parents and family, and a habeas corpus case filed in connection with the respondents' abduction.16 While these
officials interrogated him, Raymond was not manhandled. But once they had left, the soldier guards beat him up.
When the guards got drunk, they also manhandled respondents. During this time, Raymond was fed only at night,
usually with left-over and rotten food.17

On the third week of respondents' detention, two men arrived while Raymond was sleeping and beat him up. They
doused him with urine and hot water, hit his stomach with a piece of wood, slapped his forehead twice with a .45
pistol, punched him on the mouth, and burnt some parts of his body with a burning wood. When he could no
longer endure the torture and could hardly breathe, they stopped. They then subjected Reynaldo to the same
ordeal in another room. Before their torturers left, they warned Raymond that they would come back the next day
and kill him.18

The following night, Raymond attempted to escape. He waited for the guards to get drunk, then made noise with
the chains put on him to see if they were still awake. When none of them came to check on him, he managed to
free his hand from the chains and jumped through the window. He passed through a helipad and firing range and
stopped near a fishpond where he used stones to break his chains. After walking through a forested area, he
came near a river and an Iglesia ni Kristo church. He talked to some women who were doing the laundry, asked
where he was and the road to Gapan. He was told that he was in Fort Magsaysay.19 He reached the highway, but
some soldiers spotted him, forcing him to run away. The soldiers chased him and caught up with him. They
brought him to another place near the entrance of what he saw was Fort Magsaysay. He was boxed repeatedly,
kicked, and hit with chains until his back bled. They poured gasoline on him. Then a so-called "Mam" or "Madam"
suddenly called, saying that she wanted to see Raymond before he was killed. The soldiers ceased the torture
and he was returned inside Fort Magsaysay where Reynaldo was detained.20

For some weeks, the respondents had a respite from all the torture. Their wounds were treated. When the wounds
were almost healed, the torture resumed, particularly when respondents' guards got drunk.21

Raymond recalled that sometime in April until May 2006, he was detained in a room enclosed by steel bars. He
stayed all the time in that small room measuring 1 x 2 meters, and did everything there, including urinating,
removing his bowels, bathing, eating and sleeping. He counted that eighteen people22 had been detained in
that bartolina, including his brother Reynaldo and himself.23

For about three and a half months, the respondents were detained in Fort Magsaysay. They were kept in a small
house with two rooms and a kitchen. One room was made into the bartolina. The house was near the firing range,
helipad and mango trees. At dawn, soldiers marched by their house. They were also sometimes detained in what
he only knew as the "DTU."24

At the DTU, a male doctor came to examine respondents. He checked their body and eyes, took their urine
samples and marked them. When asked how they were feeling, they replied that they had a hard time urinating,
their stomachs were aching, and they felt other pains in their body. The next day, two ladies in white arrived. They
also examined respondents and gave them medicines, including orasol, amoxicillin and mefenamic acid. They
brought with them the results of respondents' urine test and advised them to drink plenty of water and take their
medicine. The two ladies returned a few more times. Thereafter, medicines were sent through the "master" of the
DTU, "Master" Del Rosario alias Carinyoso at Puti. Respondents were kept in the DTU for about two weeks. While
there, he met a soldier named Efren who said that Gen. Palparan ordered him to monitor and take care of them.25

One day, Rizal Hilario fetched respondents in a Revo vehicle. They, along with Efren and several other armed
men wearing fatigue suits, went to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Respondents were detained
for one or two weeks in a big two-storey house. Hilario and Efren stayed with them. While there, Raymond was
beaten up by Hilario's men.26
From Pinaud, Hilario and Efren brought respondents to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on board the Revo. They
were detained in a big unfinished house inside the compound of "Kapitan" for about three months. When they
arrived in Sapang, Gen. Palparan talked to them. They were brought out of the house to a basketball court in the
center of the compound and made to sit. Gen. Palparan was already waiting, seated. He was about two arms'
length away from respondents. He began by asking if respondents felt well already, to which Raymond replied in
the affirmative. He asked Raymond if he knew him. Raymond lied that he did not. He then asked Raymond if he
would be scared if he were made to face Gen. Palparan. Raymond responded that he would not be because he
did not believe that Gen. Palparan was an evil man.27

Raymond narrated his conversation with Gen. Palparan in his affidavit, viz:

Tinanong ako ni Gen. Palparan, "Ngayon na kaharap mo na ako, di ka ba natatakot sa akin?"

Sumagot akong, "Siyempre po, natatakot din..."

Sabi ni Gen. Palparan: "Sige, bibigyan ko kayo ng isang pagkakataon na mabuhay, basta't sundin n'yo ang lahat
ng sasabihin ko... sabihin mo sa magulang mo - huwag pumunta sa mga rali, sa hearing, sa Karapatan at sa
Human Right dahil niloloko lang kayo. Sabihin sa magulang at lahat sa bahay na huwag paloko doon. Tulungan
kami na kausapin si Bestre na sumuko na sa gobyerno."28

Respondents agreed to do as Gen. Palparan told them as they felt they could not do otherwise. At about 3:00 in
the morning, Hilario, Efren and the former's men - the same group that abducted them - brought them to their
parents' house. Raymond was shown to his parents while Reynaldo stayed in the Revo because he still could not
walk. In the presence of Hilario and other soldiers, Raymond relayed to his parents what Gen. Palparan told him.
As they were afraid, Raymond's parents acceded. Hilario threatened Raymond's parents that if they continued to
join human rights rallies, they would never see their children again. The respondents were then brought back to
Sapang.29

When respondents arrived back in Sapang, Gen. Palparan was about to leave. He was talking with the four
"masters" who were there: Arman, Ganata, Hilario and Cabalse.30 When Gen. Palparan saw Raymond, he called
for him. He was in a big white vehicle. Raymond stood outside the vehicle as Gen. Palparan told him to gain back
his strength and be healthy and to take the medicine he left for him and Reynaldo. He said the medicine was
expensive at Php35.00 each, and would make them strong. He also said that they should prove that they are on
the side of the military and warned that they would not be given another chance.31 During his testimony, Raymond
identified Gen. Palparan by his picture.32

One of the soldiers named Arman made Raymond take the medicine left by Gen. Palparan. The medicine, named
"Alive," was green and yellow. Raymond and Reynaldo were each given a box of this medicine and instructed to
take one capsule a day. Arman checked if they were getting their dose of the medicine. The "Alive" made them
sleep each time they took it, and they felt heavy upon waking up.33

After a few days, Hilario arrived again. He took Reynaldo and left Raymond at Sapang. Arman instructed
Raymond that while in Sapang, he should introduce himself as "Oscar," a military trainee from Sariaya, Quezon,
assigned in Bulacan. While there, he saw again Ganata, one of the men who abducted him from his house, and
got acquainted with other military men and civilians.34

After about three months in Sapang, Raymond was brought to Camp Tecson under the 24th Infantry Battalion. He
was fetched by three unidentified men in a big white vehicle. Efren went with them. Raymond was then
blindfolded. After a 30-minute ride, his blindfold was removed. Chains were put on him and he was kept in the
barracks.35

The next day, Raymond's chains were removed and he was ordered to clean outside the barracks. It was then he
learned that he was in a detachment of the Rangers. There were many soldiers, hundreds of them were training.
He was also ordered to clean inside the barracks. In one of the rooms therein, he met Sherlyn Cadapan from
Laguna. She told him that she was a student of the University of the Philippines and was abducted in Hagonoy,
Bulacan. She confided that she had been subjected to severe torture and raped. She was crying and longing to go
home and be with her parents. During the day, her chains were removed and she was made to do the laundry.36
After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his arrival, two other captives, Karen
Empeño and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen and Manuel were put in the room with "Allan" whose name they later
came to know as Donald Caigas, called "master" or "commander" by his men in the 24th Infantry Battalion.
Raymond and Reynaldo were put in the adjoining room. At times, Raymond and Reynaldo were threatened, and
Reynaldo was beaten up. In the daytime, their chains were removed, but were put back on at night. They were
threatened that if they escaped, their families would all be killed.37

On or about October 6, 2006, Hilario arrived in Camp Tecson. He told the detainees that they should be thankful
they were still alive and should continue along their "renewed life." Before the hearing of November 6 or 8, 2006,
respondents were brought to their parents to instruct them not to attend the hearing. However, their parents had
already left for Manila. Respondents were brought back to Camp Tecson. They stayed in that camp from
September 2006 to November 2006, and Raymond was instructed to continue using the name "Oscar" and
holding himself out as a military trainee. He got acquainted with soldiers of the 24th Infantry Battalion whose
names and descriptions he stated in his affidavit.38

On November 22, 2006, respondents, along with Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel, were transferred to a camp of the
24th Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. There were many huts in the camp. They stayed in that camp until May 8,
2007. Some soldiers of the battalion stayed with them. While there, battalion soldiers whom Raymond knew as
"Mar" and "Billy" beat him up and hit him in the stomach with their guns. Sherlyn and Karen also suffered
enormous torture in the camp. They were all made to clean, cook, and help in raising livestock.39

Raymond recalled that when "Operation Lubog" was launched, Caigas and some other soldiers brought him and
Manuel with them to take and kill all sympathizers of the NPA. They were brought to Barangay Bayan-bayanan,
Bataan where he witnessed the killing of an old man doing kaingin. The soldiers said he was killed because he
had a son who was a member of the NPA and he coddled NPA members in his house.40 Another time, in another
"Operation Lubog," Raymond was brought to Barangay Orion in a house where NPA men stayed. When they
arrived, only the old man of the house who was sick was there. They spared him and killed only his son right
before Raymond's eyes.41

From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were transferred to Zambales, in a safehouse near
the sea. Caigas and some of his men stayed with them. A retired army soldier was in charge of the house. Like in
Limay, the five detainees were made to do errands and chores. They stayed in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007
until June 2007.42

In June 2007, Caigas brought the five back to the camp in Limay. Raymond, Reynaldo, and Manuel were tasked
to bring food to detainees brought to the camp. Raymond narrated what he witnessed and experienced in the
camp, viz:

Isang gabi, sinabihan kami ni Donald (Caigas) na matulog na kami. Nakita ko si Donald na inaayos ang kanyang
baril, at nilagyan ng silenser. Sabi ni Donald na kung mayroon man kaming makita o marinig, walang nangyari.
Kinaumagahan, nakita naming ang bangkay ng isa sa mga bihag na dinala sa kampo. Mayroong binuhos sa
kanyang katawan at ito'y sinunog. Masansang ang amoy.

Makaraan ang isang lingo, dalawang bangkay and ibinaba ng mga unipormadong sundalo mula sa 6 x 6 na trak
at dinala sa loob ng kampo. May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang mga bangkay. Naamoy ko
iyon nang nililinis ang bakas.

Makalipas ang isa o dalawang lingo, may dinukot sila na dalawang Ita. Itinali sila sa labas ng kubo, piniringan,
ikinadena at labis na binugbog. Nakita kong nakatakas ang isa sa kanila at binaril siya ng sundalo ngunit hindi
siya tinamaan. Iyong gabi nakita kong pinatay nila iyong isang Ita malapit sa Post 3; sinilaban ang bangkay at
ibinaon ito.

Pagkalipas ng halos 1 buwan, 2 pang bangkay ang dinala sa kampo. Ibinaba ang mga bangkay mula sa pick up
trak, dinala ang mga bangkay sa labas ng bakod. Kinaumagahan nakita kong mayroong sinilaban, at
napakamasangsang ang amoy.

May nakilala rin akong 1 retiradong koronel at 1 kasama niya. Pinakain ko sila. Sabi nila sa akin na dinukot sila sa
Bataan. Iyong gabi, inilabas sila at hindi ko na sila nakita.
xxx xxx xxx

Ikinadena kami ng 3 araw. Sa ikatlong araw, nilabas ni Lat si Manuel dahil kakausapin daw siya ni Gen. Palparan.
Nakapiring si Manuel, wala siyang suot pang-itaas, pinosasan. Nilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa
istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel. Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig
at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel.

Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 na araw pagkalipas. Sinabi sa amin
na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung papatayin kami o hindi.

Tinanggal ang aming kadena. Kinausap kami ni Donald. Tinanong kami kung ano ang sabi ni Manuel sa amin.
Sabi ni Donald huwag na raw naming hanapin ang dalawang babae at si Manuel, dahil magkakasama na yung
tatlo. Sabi pa ni Donald na kami ni Reynaldo ay magbagong buhay at ituloy namin ni Reynaldo ang trabaho. Sa
gabi, hindi na kami kinakadena.43

On or about June 13, 2007, Raymond and Reynaldo were brought to Pangasinan, ostensibly to raise poultry for
Donald (Caigas). Caigas told respondents to also farm his land, in exchange for which, he would take care of the
food of their family. They were also told that they could farm a small plot adjoining his land and sell their produce.
They were no longer put in chains and were instructed to use the names Rommel (for Raymond) and Rod (for
Reynaldo) and represent themselves as cousins from Rizal, Laguna.44

Respondents started to plan their escape. They could see the highway from where they stayed. They helped farm
adjoining lands for which they were paid Php200.00 or Php400.00 and they saved their earnings. When they had
saved Php1,000.00 each, Raymond asked a neighbor how he could get a cellular phone as he wanted to
exchange text messages with a girl who lived nearby. A phone was pawned to him, but he kept it first and did not
use it. They earned some more until they had saved Php1,400.00 between them.

There were four houses in the compound. Raymond and Reynaldo were housed in one of them while their guards
lived in the other three. Caigas entrusted respondents to Nonong, the head of the guards. Respondents' house
did not have electricity. They used a lamp. There was no television, but they had a radio. In the evening of August
13, 2007, Nonong and his cohorts had a drinking session. At about 1:00 a.m., Raymond turned up the volume of
the radio. When none of the guards awoke and took notice, Raymond and Reynaldo proceeded towards the
highway, leaving behind their sleeping guards and barking dogs. They boarded a bus bound for Manila and were
thus freed from captivity.45

Reynaldo also executed an affidavit affirming the contents of Raymond's affidavit insofar as they related to
matters they witnessed together. Reynaldo added that when they were taken from their house on February 14,
2006, he saw the faces of his abductors before he was blindfolded with his shirt. He also named the soldiers he
got acquainted with in the 18 months he was detained. When Raymond attempted to escape from Fort
Magsaysay, Reynaldo was severely beaten up and told that they were indeed members of the NPA because
Raymond escaped. With a .45 caliber pistol, Reynaldo was hit on the back and punched in the face until he could
no longer bear the pain.

At one point during their detention, when Raymond and Reynaldo were in Sapang, Reynaldo was separated from
Raymond and brought to Pinaud by Rizal Hilario. He was kept in the house of Kapitan, a friend of Hilario, in a
mountainous area. He was instructed to use the name "Rodel" and to represent himself as a military trainee from
Meycauayan, Bulacan. Sometimes, Hilario brought along Reynaldo in his trips. One time, he was brought to a
market in San Jose, del Monte, Bulacan and made to wait in the vehicle while Hilario was buying. He was also
brought to Tondo, Manila where Hilario delivered boxes of "Alive" in different houses. In these trips, Hilario drove a
black and red vehicle. Reynaldo was blindfolded while still in Bulacan, but allowed to remove the blindfold once
outside the province. In one of their trips, they passed by Fort Magsaysay and Camp Tecson where Reynaldo saw
the sign board, "Welcome to Camp Tecson."46

Dr. Benito Molino, M.D., corroborated the accounts of respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo. Dr. Molino
specialized in forensic medicine and was connected with the Medical Action Group, an organization handling
cases of human rights violations, particularly cases where torture was involved. He was requested by an NGO to
conduct medical examinations on the respondents after their escape. He first asked them about their ordeal, then
proceeded with the physical examination. His findings showed that the scars borne by respondents were
consistent with their account of physical injuries inflicted upon them. The examination was conducted on August
15, 2007, two days after respondents' escape, and the results thereof were reduced into writing. Dr. Molino took
photographs of the scars. He testified that he followed the Istanbul Protocol in conducting the examination.47

Petitioners dispute respondents' account of their alleged abduction and torture. In compliance with the October
25, 2007 Resolution of the Court, they filed a Return of the Writ of Amparo admitting the abduction but denying
any involvement therein, viz:

13. Petitioners Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo were not at any time arrested, forcibly abducted, detained, held
incommunicado, disappeared or under the custody by the military. This is a settled issue laid to rest in the habeas
corpus case filed in their behalf by petitioners' parents before the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 94431
against M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, as head of the 24th Infantry Battalion; Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan,
as Commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Luzon; Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, in his capacity as the
Commanding General of the Philippine Army, and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit
(CAFGU), namely: Michael dela Cruz, Puti dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Pula dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza and
Rudy Mendoza. The respondents therein submitted a return of the writ... On July 4, 2006, the Court of Appeals
dropped as party respondents Lt. Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., then Commanding General of the Philippine
Army, and on September 19, 2006, Maj. (sic) Jovito S. Palparan, then Commanding General, 7th Infantry Division,
Philippine Army, stationed at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, upon a finding that no evidence was
introduced to establish their personal involvement in the taking of the Manalo brothers. In a Decision dated June
27, 2007..., it exonerated M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo for lack of evidence establishing his involvement
in any capacity in the disappearance of the Manalo brothers, although it held that the remaining respondents were
illegally detaining the Manalo brothers and ordered them to release the latter.48

Attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of therein respondent (herein petitioner) Secretary of National
Defense, which attested that he assumed office only on August 8, 2007 and was thus unaware of the Manalo
brothers' alleged abduction. He also claimed that:

7. The Secretary of National Defense does not engage in actual military directional operations, neither does he
undertake command directions of the AFP units in the field, nor in any way micromanage the AFP operations. The
principal responsibility of the Secretary of National Defense is focused in providing strategic policy direction to the
Department (bureaus and agencies) including the Armed Forces of the Philippines;

8. In connection with the Writ of Amparo issued by the Honorable Supreme Court in this case, I have directed the
Chief of Staff, AFP to institute immediate action in compliance with Section 9(d) of the Amparo Rule and to submit
report of such compliance... Likewise, in a Memorandum Directive also dated October 31, 2007, I have issued a
policy directive addressed to the Chief of Staff, AFP that the AFP should adopt the following rules of action in the
event the Writ of Amparo is issued by a competent court against any members of the AFP:

(1) to verify the identity of the aggrieved party;

(2) to recover and preserve evidence related to the death or disappearance of the person identified in the petition
which may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible;

(3) to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning the death or disappearance;

(4) to determine the cause, manner, location and time of death or disappearance as well as any pattern or practice
that may have brought about the death or disappearance;

(5) to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in the death or disappearance; and

(6) to bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.49

Therein respondent AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit, attached to the Return of the Writ,
attesting that he received the above directive of therein respondent Secretary of National Defense and that acting
on this directive, he did the following:

3.1. As currently designated Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), I have caused to be issued
directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the circumstances of the alleged disappearance
and the recent reappearance of the petitioners.
3.2. I have caused the immediate investigation and submission of the result thereof to Higher headquarters and/or
direct the immediate conduct of the investigation on the matter by the concerned unit/s, dispatching Radio
Message on November 05, 2007, addressed to the Commanding General, Philippine Army (Info: COMNOLCOM,
CG, 71D PA and CO 24 IB PA). A Copy of the Radio Message is attached as ANNEX "3" of this Affidavit.

3.3. We undertake to provide result of the investigations conducted or to be conducted by the concerned unit
relative to the circumstances of the alleged disappearance of the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparohas
been sought for as soon as the same has been furnished Higher headquarters.

3.4. A parallel investigation has been directed to the same units relative to another Petition for the Writ
of Amparo (G.R. No. 179994) filed at the instance of relatives of a certain Cadapan and Empeño pending before
the Supreme Court.

3.5. On the part of the Armed Forces, this respondent will exert earnest efforts to establish the surrounding
circumstances of the disappearances of the petitioners and to bring those responsible, including any military
personnel if shown to have participated or had complicity in the commission of the complained acts, to the bar of
justice, when warranted by the findings and the competent evidence that may be gathered in the process.50

Also attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of Lt. Col. Felipe Anontado, INF (GSC) PA, earlier filed in
G.R. No. 179994, another Amparo case in this Court, involving Cadapan, Empeño and Merino, which averred
among others, viz:

10) Upon reading the allegations in the Petition implicating the 24th Infantry Batallion detachment as detention
area, I immediately went to the 24th IB detachment in Limay, Bataan and found no untoward incidents in the area
nor any detainees by the name of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel Merino being held captive;

11) There was neither any reports of any death of Manuel Merino in the 24th IB in Limay, Bataan;

12) After going to the 24th IB in Limay, Bataan, we made further inquiries with the Philippine National Police,
Limay, Bataan regarding the alleged detentions or deaths and were informed that none was reported to their good
office;

13) I also directed Company Commander 1st Lt. Romeo Publico to inquire into the alleged beachhouse in Iba,
Zambales also alleged to be a detention place where Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel Merino were
detained. As per the inquiry, however, no such beachhouse was used as a detention place found to have been
used by armed men to detain Cadapan, Empeño and Merino.51

It was explained in the Return of the Writ that for lack of sufficient time, the affidavits of Maj. Gen Jovito S.
Palparan (Ret.), M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, and other persons implicated by therein petitioners could
not be secured in time for the submission of the Return and would be subsequently submitted.52

Herein petitioners presented a lone witness in the summary hearings, Lt. Col. Ruben U. Jimenez, Provost
Marshall, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. The territorial
jurisdiction of this Division covers Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and a portion of
Pangasinan.53 The 24th Infantry Battalion is part of the 7th Infantry Division.54

On May 26, 2006, Lt. Col. Jimenez was directed by the Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division, Maj.
Gen. Jovito Palaran,55 through his Assistant Chief of Staff,56 to investigate the alleged abduction of the
respondents by CAFGU auxiliaries under his unit, namely: CAA Michael de la Cruz; CAA Roman de la Cruz, aka
Puti; CAA Maximo de la Cruz, aka Pula; CAA Randy Mendoza; ex-CAA Marcelo de la Cruz aka Madning; and a
civilian named Rudy Mendoza. He was directed to determine: (1) the veracity of the abduction of Raymond and
Reynaldo Manalo by the alleged elements of the CAFGU auxiliaries; and (2) the administrative liability of said
auxiliaries, if any.57 Jimenez testified that this particular investigation was initiated not by a complaint as was the
usual procedure, but because the Commanding General saw news about the abduction of the Manalo brothers on
the television, and he was concerned about what was happening within his territorial jurisdiction.58

Jimenez summoned all six implicated persons for the purpose of having them execute sworn statements and
conducting an investigation on May 29, 2006.59 The investigation started at 8:00 in the morning and finished at
10:00 in the evening.60 The investigating officer, Technical Sgt. Eduardo Lingad, took the individual sworn
statements of all six persons on that day. There were no other sworn statements taken, not even of the Manalo
family, nor were there other witnesses summoned and investigated61 as according to Jimenez, the directive to him
was only to investigate the six persons.62

Jimenez was beside Lingad when the latter took the statements.63 The six persons were not known to Jimenez as
it was in fact his first time to meet them.64 During the entire time that he was beside Lingad, a subordinate of his in
the Office of the Provost Marshall, Jimenez did not propound a single question to the six persons.65

Jimenez testified that all six statements were taken on May 29, 2006, but Marcelo Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza
had to come back the next day to sign their statements as the printing of their statements was interrupted by a
power failure. Jimenez testified that the two signed on May 30, 2006, but the jurats of their statements indicated
that they were signed on May 29, 2006.66 When the Sworn Statements were turned over to Jimenez, he
personally wrote his investigation report. He began writing it in the afternoon of May 30, 2006 and finished it on
June 1, 2006.67 He then gave his report to the Office of the Chief of Personnel.68

As petitioners largely rely on Jimenez's Investigation Report dated June 1, 2006 for their evidence, the report is
herein substantially quoted:

III. BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

4. This pertains to the abduction of RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO who were forcibly taken from
their respective homes in Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on 14 February 2006 by unidentified
armed men and thereafter were forcibly disappeared. After the said incident, relatives of the victims filed a case
for Abduction in the civil court against the herein suspects: Michael dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Puti Dela Cruz,
Pula Dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza as alleged members of the Citizen Armed Forces
Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

a) Sworn statement of CAA Maximo F. dela Cruz, aka Pula dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "B") states that he was
at Sitio Mozon, Brgy. Bohol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan doing the concrete building of a church located
nearby his residence, together with some neighbor thereat. He claims that on 15 February 2006, he was being
informed by Brgy. Kagawad Pablo Umayan about the abduction of the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo.
As to the allegation that he was one of the suspects, he claims that they only implicated him because he was a
CAFGU and that they claimed that those who abducted the Manalo brothers are members of the Military and
CAFGU. Subject vehemently denied any participation or involvement on the abduction of said victims.

b) Sworn statement of CAA Roman dela Cruz y Faustino Aka Puti dtd 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "C") states that he
is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a CAA member based at Biak
na Bato Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo being his neighbors
are active members/sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and he also knows their elder Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE
of being an NPA Leader operating in their province. That at the time of the alleged abduction of the two (2)
brothers and for accusing him to be one of the suspects, he claims that on February 14, 2006, he was one of
those working at the concrete chapel being constructed nearby his residence. He claims further that he just came
only to know about the incident on other day (15 Feb 06) when he was being informed by Kagawad Pablo
Kunanan. That subject CAA vehemently denied any participation about the incident and claimed that they only
implicated him because he is a member of the CAFGU.

c) Sworn Statement of CAA Randy Mendoza y Lingas dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "O") states that he is a
resident of Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a member of CAFGU based at Biak na Bato
Detachment. That being a neighbor, he was very much aware about the background of the two (2) brothers
Raymond and Reynaldo as active supporters of the CPP NPA in their Brgy. and he also knew their elder brother
"KUMANDER BESTRE" TN: Rolando Manalo. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006, he
was at Brgy. Magmarate, San Miguel, Bulacan in the house of his aunt and he learned only about the incident
when he arrived home in their place. He claims further that the only reason why they implicated him was due to
the fact that his mother has filed a criminal charge against their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE who is an
NPA Commander who killed his father and for that reason they implicated him in support of their brother. Subject
CAA vehemently denied any involvement on the abduction of said Manalo brothers.

d) Sworn Statement of Rudy Mendoza y Lingasa dated May 29, 2006 in (Exhibit "E") states that he is a resident of
Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo are familiar to him being his
barriomate when he was still unmarried and he knew them since childhood. Being one of the accused, he claims
that on 14 February 2006, he was at his residence in Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that he was
being informed only about the incident lately and he was not aware of any reason why the two (2) brothers were
being abducted by alleged members of the military and CAFGU. The only reason he knows why they implicated
him was because there are those people who are angry with their family particularly victims of summary execution
(killing) done by their brother @ KA Bestre Rolando Manalo who is an NPA leader. He claims further that it was
their brother @ KA BESTRE who killed his father and he was living witness to that incident. Subject civilian
vehemently denied any involvement on the abduction of the Manalo brothers.

e) Sworn statement of Ex-CAA Marcelo dala Cruz dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "F") states that he is a resident of
Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, a farmer and a former CAA based at Biak na Bato,
San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo are familiar to him being their barrio mate.
He claims further that they are active supporters of CPP/NPA and that their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA
BESTRE is an NPA leader. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006, he was in his
residence at Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. That he vehemently denied any
participation of the alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and learned only about the incident when rumors
reached him by his barrio mates. He claims that his implication is merely fabricated because of his relationship to
Roman and Maximo who are his brothers.

f) Sworn statement of Michael dela Cruz y Faustino dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "G") states that he is a resident
of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, the Chief of Brgy. Tanod and a CAFGU member
based at Biak na Bato Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that he knew very well the brothers Raymond
and Reynaldo Manalo in their barangay for having been the Tanod Chief for twenty (20) years. He alleged further
that they are active supporters or sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and whose elder brother Rolando Manalo @ KA
BESTRE is an NPA leader operating within the area. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 Feb 2006 he
was helping in the construction of their concrete chapel in their place and he learned only about the incident which
is the abduction of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo when one of the Brgy. Kagawad in the person of Pablo
Cunanan informed him about the matter. He claims further that he is truly innocent of the allegation against him as
being one of the abductors and he considers everything fabricated in order to destroy his name that remains loyal
to his service to the government as a CAA member.

IV. DISCUSSION

5. Based on the foregoing statements of respondents in this particular case, the proof of linking them to the
alleged abduction and disappearance of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo that transpired on 14 February 2006 at
Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, is unsubstantiated. Their alleged involvement
theretofore to that incident is considered doubtful, hence, no basis to indict them as charged in this investigation.

Though there are previous grudges between each families (sic) in the past to quote: the killing of the father of
Randy and Rudy Mendoza by @ KA BESTRE TN: Rolando Manalo, this will not suffice to establish a fact that
they were the ones who did the abduction as a form of revenge. As it was also stated in the testimony of other
accused claiming that the Manalos are active sympathizers/supporters of the CPP/NPA, this would not also mean,
however, that in the first place, they were in connivance with the abductors. Being their neighbors and as
members of CAFGU's, they ought to be vigilant in protecting their village from any intervention by the leftist group,
hence inside their village, they were fully aware of the activities of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in so far as
their connection with the CPP/NPA is concerned.

V. CONCLUSION

6. Premises considered surrounding this case shows that the alleged charges of abduction committed by the
above named respondents has not been established in this investigation. Hence, it lacks merit to indict them for
any administrative punishment and/or criminal liability. It is therefore concluded that they are innocent of the
charge.

VI. RECOMMENDATIONS

7. That CAAs Michael F. dela Cruz, Maximo F. Dela Cruz, Roman dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza, and two (2)
civilians Maximo F. Dela Cruz and Rudy L. Mendoza be exonerated from the case.
8. Upon approval, this case can be dropped and closed.69

In this appeal under Rule 45, petitioners question the appellate court's assessment of the foregoing evidence and
assail the December 26, 2007 Decision on the following grounds, viz:

I.

THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN BELIEVING AND GIVING FULL FAITH
AND CREDIT TO THE INCREDIBLE, UNCORROBORATED, CONTRADICTED, AND OBVIOUSLY SCRIPTED,
REHEARSED AND SELF-SERVING AFFIDAVIT/TESTIMONY OF HEREIN RESPONDENT RAYMOND
MANALO.

II.

THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN REQUIRING RESPONDENTS (HEREIN
PETITIONERS) TO: (A) FURNISH TO THE MANALO BROTHER(S) AND TO THE COURT OF APPEALS ALL
OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL REPORTS OF THE INVESTIGATION UNDERTAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH
THEIR CASE, EXCEPT THOSE ALREADY IN FILE WITH THE COURT; (B) CONFIRM IN WRITING THE
PRESENT PLACES OF OFFICIAL ASSIGNMENT OF M/SGT. HILARIO aka ROLLIE CASTILLO AND DONALD
CAIGAS; AND (C) CAUSE TO BE PRODUCED TO THE COURT OF APPEALS ALL MEDICAL REPORTS,
RECORDS AND CHARTS, AND REPORTS OF ANY TREATMENT GIVEN OR RECOMMENDED AND
MEDICINES PRESCRIBED, IF ANY, TO THE MANALO BROTHERS, TO INCLUDE A LIST OF MEDICAL
PERSONNEL (MILITARY AND CIVILIAN) WHO ATTENDED TO THEM FROM FEBRUARY 14, 2006 UNTIL
AUGUST 12, 2007.70

The case at bar is the first decision on the application of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo (Amparo Rule). Let us
hearken to its beginning.

The adoption of the Amparo Rule surfaced as a recurring proposition in the recommendations that resulted from a
two-day National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances sponsored by the
Court on July 16-17, 2007. The Summit was "envisioned to provide a broad and fact-based perspective on the
issue of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances,"71 hence "representatives from all sides of the political
and social spectrum, as well as all the stakeholders in the justice system"72 participated in mapping out ways to
resolve the crisis.

On October 24, 2007, the Court promulgated the Amparo Rule "in light of the prevalence of extralegal killing and
enforced disappearances."73 It was an exercise for the first time of the Court's expanded power to promulgate
rules to protect our people's constitutional rights, which made its maiden appearance in the 1987 Constitution in
response to the Filipino experience of the martial law regime.74 As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the
intractable problem of "extralegal killings" and "enforced disappearances," its coverage, in its present form, is
confined to these two instances or to threats thereof. "Extralegal killings" are "killings committed without due
process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings."75 On the other hand, "enforced
disappearances" are "attended by the following characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction of a person by a
government official or organized groups or private individuals acting with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the
government; the refusal of the State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a refusal to
acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such persons outside the protection of law."76

The writ of Amparo originated in Mexico. "Amparo" literally means "protection" in Spanish.77 In 1837, de
Tocqueville's Democracy in America became available in Mexico and stirred great interest. Its description of the
practice of judicial review in the U.S. appealed to many Mexican jurists.78 One of them, Manuel Crescencio Rejón,
drafted a constitutional provision for his native state, Yucatan,79 which granted judges the power to protect all
persons in the enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights. This idea was incorporated into the national
constitution in 1847, viz:

The federal courts shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic in the exercise and preservation of those rights
granted to him by this Constitution and by laws enacted pursuant hereto, against attacks by the Legislative and
Executive powers of the federal or state governments, limiting themselves to granting protection in the specific
case in litigation, making no general declaration concerning the statute or regulation that motivated the violation.80
Since then, the protection has been an important part of Mexican constitutionalism.81 If, after hearing, the judge
determines that a constitutional right of the petitioner is being violated, he orders the official, or the official's
superiors, to cease the violation and to take the necessary measures to restore the petitioner to the full enjoyment
of the right in question. Amparo thus combines the principles of judicial review derived from the U.S. with the
limitations on judicial power characteristic of the civil law tradition which prevails in Mexico. It enables courts to
enforce the constitution by protecting individual rights in particular cases, but prevents them from using this power
to make law for the entire nation.82

The writ of Amparo then spread throughout the Western Hemisphere, gradually evolving into various forms, in
response to the particular needs of each country.83 It became, in the words of a justice of the Mexican Federal
Supreme Court, one piece of Mexico's self-attributed "task of conveying to the world's legal heritage that
institution which, as a shield of human dignity, her own painful history conceived."84 What began as a protection
against acts or omissions of public authorities in violation of constitutional rights later evolved for several
purposes: (1) Amparo libertad for the protection of personal freedom, equivalent to the habeas corpus writ;
(2) Amparo contra leyes for the judicial review of the constitutionality of statutes; (3) Amparo casacion for the
judicial review of the constitutionality and legality of a judicial decision; (4) Amparo administrativo for the judicial
review of administrative actions; and (5) Amparo agrario for the protection of peasants' rights derived from the
agrarian reform process.85

In Latin American countries, except Cuba, the writ of Amparo has been constitutionally adopted to protect against
human rights abuses especially committed in countries under military juntas. In general, these countries adopted
an all-encompassing writ to protect the whole gamut of constitutional rights, including socio-economic rights.
86 Other countries like Colombia, Chile, Germany and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the protection of the

writ of Amparo only to some constitutional guarantees or fundamental rights.87

In the Philippines, while the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly provide for the writ of Amparo, several of the
above Amparo protections are guaranteed by our charter. The second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the
1987 Constitution, the Grave Abuse Clause, provides for the judicial power "to determine whether or not there has
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government." The Clause accords a similar general protection to human rights extended by
the Amparo contra leyes, Amparo casacion, and Amparo administrativo. Amparo libertad is comparable to the
remedy of habeas corpus found in several provisions of the 1987 Constitution.88 The Clause is an offspring of the
U.S. common law tradition of judicial review, which finds its roots in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.89

While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause through remedies of injunction or
prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and a petition for habeas corpus under Rule 102,90 these remedies
may not be adequate to address the pestering problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
However, with the swiftness required to resolve a petition for a writ of Amparo through summary proceedings and
the availability of appropriate interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo Rule, this hybrid writ of the common
law and civil law traditions - borne out of the Latin American and Philippine experience of human rights abuses -
offers a better remedy to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances and threats thereof. The remedy
provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to
make the appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner; it is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof
beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or administrative
responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.91

The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these
offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads
to subsequent investigation and action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to
deter the further commission of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

In the case at bar, respondents initially filed an action for "Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining
Order"92 to stop petitioners and/or their officers and agents from depriving the respondents of their right to liberty
and other basic rights on August 23, 2007,93 prior to the promulgation of the Amparo Rule. They also sought
ancillary remedies including Protective Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access
Orders and other legal and equitable remedies under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the 1987 Constitution and Rule
135, Section 6 of the Rules of Court. When the Amparo Rule came into effect on October 24, 2007, they moved to
have their petition treated as an Amparo petition as it would be more effective and suitable to the circumstances of
the Manalo brothers' enforced disappearance. The Court granted their motion.
With this backdrop, we now come to the arguments of the petitioner. Petitioners' first argument in disputing the
Decision of the Court of Appeals states, viz:

The Court of Appeals seriously and grievously erred in believing and giving full faith and credit to the incredible
uncorroborated, contradicted, and obviously scripted, rehearsed and self-serving affidavit/testimony of herein
respondent Raymond Manalo.94

In delving into the veracity of the evidence, we need to mine and refine the ore of petitioners' cause of action, to
determine whether the evidence presented is metal-strong to satisfy the degree of proof required.

Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides for the following causes of action, viz:

Section 1. Petition. - The petition for a writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life,
liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or
employee, or of a private individual or entity.

The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (emphasis supplied)

Sections 17 and 18, on the other hand, provide for the degree of proof required, viz:

Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. - The parties shall establish their claims
by substantial evidence.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 18. Judgment. - ... If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court
shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege
shall be denied. (emphases supplied)

Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.95

After careful perusal of the evidence presented, we affirm the findings of the Court of Appeals that respondents
were abducted from their houses in Sito Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on February 14,
2006 and were continuously detained until they escaped on August 13, 2007. The abduction, detention, torture,
and escape of the respondents were narrated by respondent Raymond Manalo in a clear and convincing manner.
His account is dotted with countless candid details of respondents' harrowing experience and tenacious will to
escape, captured through his different senses and etched in his memory. A few examples are the following:
"Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel."96 "(N)ilakasan ng mga sundalo ang
tunog na galing sa istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel."97 "May naiwang
mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang mga bangkay. Naamoy ko iyon nang nililinis ang bakas."98 "Tumigil
ako sa may palaisdaan kung saan ginamit ko ang bato para tanggalin ang mga kadena."99 "Tinanong ko sa isang
kapit-bahay kung paano ako makakakuha ng cell phone; sabi ko gusto kong i-text ang isang babae na nakatira sa
malapit na lugar."100

We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based on respondent Raymond Manalo's affidavit and
testimony, viz:

...the abduction was perpetrated by armed men who were sufficiently identified by the petitioners (herein
respondents) to be military personnel and CAFGU auxiliaries. Raymond recalled that the six armed men who
barged into his house through the rear door were military men based on their attire of fatigue pants and army
boots, and the CAFGU auxiliaries, namely: Michael de la Cruz, Madning de la Cruz, Puti de la Cruz and Pula de la
Cruz, all members of the CAFGU and residents of Muzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, and the brothers Randy
Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also CAFGU members, served as lookouts during the abduction. Raymond was
sure that three of the six military men were Ganata, who headed the abducting team, Hilario, who drove the van,
and George. Subsequent incidents of their long captivity, as narrated by the petitioners, validated their assertion of
the participation of the elements of the 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, and their CAFGU auxiliaries.
We are convinced, too, that the reason for the abduction was the suspicion that the petitioners were either
members or sympathizers of the NPA, considering that the abductors were looking for Ka Bestre, who turned out
to be Rolando, the brother of petitioners.

The efforts exerted by the Military Command to look into the abduction were, at best, merely superficial. The
investigation of the Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry Division focused on the one-sided version of the CAFGU
auxiliaries involved. This one-sidedness might be due to the fact that the Provost Marshall could delve only into
the participation of military personnel, but even then the Provost Marshall should have refrained from outrightly
exculpating the CAFGU auxiliaries he perfunctorily investigated...

Gen. Palparan's participation in the abduction was also established. At the very least, he was aware of the
petitioners' captivity at the hands of men in uniform assigned to his command. In fact, he or any other officer
tendered no controversion to the firm claim of Raymond that he (Gen. Palparan) met them in person in a
safehouse in Bulacan and told them what he wanted them and their parents to do or not to be doing. Gen.
Palparan's direct and personal role in the abduction might not have been shown but his knowledge of the dire
situation of the petitioners during their long captivity at the hands of military personnel under his command
bespoke of his indubitable command policy that unavoidably encouraged and not merely tolerated the abduction
of civilians without due process of law and without probable cause.

In the habeas proceedings, the Court, through the Former Special Sixth Division (Justices Buzon, chairman;
Santiago-Lagman, Sr., member; and Romilla-Lontok, Jr., member/ponente.) found no clear and convincing
evidence to establish that M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario had anything to do with the abduction or the detention. Hilario's
involvement could not, indeed, be then established after Evangeline Francisco, who allegedly saw Hilario drive the
van in which the petitioners were boarded and ferried following the abduction, did not testify. (See the decision of
the habeas proceedings at rollo, p. 52)

However, in this case, Raymond attested that Hilario drove the white L-300 van in which the petitioners were
brought away from their houses on February 14, 2006. Raymond also attested that Hilario participated in
subsequent incidents during the captivity of the petitioners, one of which was when Hilario fetched them from Fort
Magsaysay on board a Revo and conveyed them to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan where they
were detained for at least a week in a house of strong materials (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) and then Hilario (along
with Efren) brought them to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on board the Revo, to an unfinished house inside the
compound of Kapitan where they were kept for more or less three months. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) It was there
where the petitioners came face to face with Gen. Palparan. Hilario and Efren also brought the petitioners one
early morning to the house of the petitioners' parents, where only Raymond was presented to the parents to relay
the message from Gen. Palparan not to join anymore rallies. On that occasion, Hilario warned the parents that
they would not again see their sons should they join any rallies to denounce human rights violations. (Exhibit D,
rollo, pp. 205-206) Hilario was also among four Master Sergeants (the others being Arman, Ganata and Cabalse)
with whom Gen. Palparan conversed on the occasion when Gen. Palparan required Raymond to take the
medicines for his health. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 206) There were other occasions when the petitioners saw that Hilario
had a direct hand in their torture.

It is clear, therefore, that the participation of Hilario in the abduction and forced disappearance of the petitioners
was established. The participation of other military personnel like Arman, Ganata, Cabalse and Caigas, among
others, was similarly established.

xxx xxx xxx

As to the CAFGU auxiliaries, the habeas Court found them personally involved in the abduction. We also do, for,
indeed, the evidence of their participation is overwhelming.101

We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalo's statements were not corroborated by other
independent and credible pieces of evidence.102 Raymond's affidavit and testimony were corroborated by the
affidavit of respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and medical reports prepared by forensic specialist Dr.
Molino, and the pictures of the scars left by the physical injuries inflicted on respondents,103 also corroborate
respondents' accounts of the torture they endured while in detention. Respondent Raymond Manalo's familiarity
with the facilities in Fort Magsaysay such as the "DTU," as shown in his testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col.
Jimenez to be the "Division Training Unit,"104 firms up respondents' story that they were detained for some time in
said military facility.
In Ortiz v. Guatemala,105 a case decided by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Commission
considered similar evidence, among others, in finding that complainant Sister Diana Ortiz was abducted and
tortured by agents of the Guatemalan government. In this case, Sister Ortiz was kidnapped and tortured in early
November 1989. The Commission's findings of fact were mostly based on the consistent and credible statements,
written and oral, made by Sister Ortiz regarding her ordeal.106 These statements were supported by her
recognition of portions of the route they took when she was being driven out of the military installation where she
was detained.107 She was also examined by a medical doctor whose findings showed that the 111 circular second
degree burns on her back and abrasions on her cheek coincided with her account of cigarette burning and torture
she suffered while in detention.108

With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance and the torture perpetrated on the victim during detention, it
logically holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will come from the victims themselves, and
the veracity of their account will depend on their credibility and candidness in their written and/or oral statements.
Their statements can be corroborated by other evidence such as physical evidence left by the torture they
suffered or landmarks they can identify in the places where they were detained. Where powerful military officers
are implicated, the hesitation of witnesses to surface and testify against them comes as no surprise.

We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the writ of Amparo. There is no quarrel that the
enforced disappearance of both respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo has now passed as they have
escaped from captivity and surfaced. But while respondents admit that they are no longer in detention and are
physically free, they assert that they are not "free in every sense of the word"109 as their "movements continue to
be restricted for fear that people they have named in their Judicial Affidavits and testified against (in the case of
Raymond) are still at large and have not been held accountable in any way. These people are directly connected
to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in a position to threaten respondents' rights to life, liberty
and security."110 (emphasis supplied) Respondents claim that they are under threat of being once again
abducted, kept captive or even killed, which constitute a direct violation of their right to security of person.111

Elaborating on the "right to security, in general," respondents point out that this right is "often associated with
liberty;" it is also seen as an "expansion of rights based on the prohibition against torture and cruel and unusual
punishment." Conceding that there is no right to security expressly mentioned in Article III of the 1987
Constitution, they submit that their rights "to be kept free from torture and from incommunicado detention and
solitary detention places112 fall under the general coverage of the right to security of person under the writ
of Amparo." They submit that the Court ought to give an expansive recognition of the right to security of person in
view of the State Policy under Article II of the 1987 Constitution which enunciates that, "The State values the
dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights." Finally, to justify a liberal
interpretation of the right to security of person, respondents cite the teaching in Moncupa v. Enrile113 that "the
right to liberty may be made more meaningful only if there is no undue restraint by the State on the exercise of
that liberty"114 such as a requirement to "report under unreasonable restrictions that amounted to a deprivation of
liberty"115 or being put under "monitoring and surveillance."116

In sum, respondents assert that their cause of action consists in the threat to their right to life and liberty, and
a violation of their right to security.

Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has indeed been violated as respondents
assert. The right to security or the right to security of person finds a textual hook in Article III, Section 2 of the
1987 Constitution which provides, viz:

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge...

At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of one's person, including the extensions of his/her person - houses,
papers, and effects - against government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the state's power over a person's
home and possessions, but more importantly, protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself.117 The
purpose of this provision was enunciated by the Court in People v. CFI of Rizal, Branch IX, Quezon City, viz: 118

The purpose of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures is to prevent violations
of private security in person and property and unlawful invasion of the security of the home by officers of the law
acting under legislative or judicial sanction and to give remedy against such usurpation when attempted. (Adams
v. New York, 192 U.S. 858; Alvero v. Dizon, 76 Phil. 637 [1946]). The right to privacy is an essential condition to
the dignity and happiness and to the peace and security of every individual, whether it be of home or of
persons and correspondence. (Tañada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, Vol. 2, 139 [1962]). The
constitutional inviolability of this great fundamental right against unreasonable searches and seizures must be
deemed absolute as nothing is closer to a man's soul than the serenity of his privacy and the assurance of
his personal security. Any interference allowable can only be for the best causes and reasons.119 (emphases
supplied)

While the right to life under Article III, Section 1120 guarantees essentially the right to be alive121 - upon which the
enjoyment of all other rights is preconditioned - the right to security of person is a guarantee of the secure quality
of this life, viz: "The life to which each person has a right is not a life lived in fear that his person and property may
be unreasonably violated by a powerful ruler. Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that the government he
established and consented to, will protect the security of his person and property. The ideal of security in life and
property... pervades the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of man's existence."122 In a broad sense,
the right to security of person "emanates in a person's legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his
body, his health, and his reputation. It includes the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life while existing,
and it is invaded not only by a deprivation of life but also of those things which are necessary to the enjoyment of
life according to the nature, temperament, and lawful desires of the individual."123

A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various permutations of the exercise of this right.

First, the right to security of person is "freedom from fear." In its "whereas" clauses, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of
speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the
common people." (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate that "freedom from fear" is not only an
aspirational principle, but essentially an individual international human right.124 It is the "right to security of person"
as the word "security" itself means "freedom from fear."125 Article 3 of the UDHR provides, viz:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.126 (emphasis supplied)

In furtherance of this right declared in the UDHR, Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) also provides for the right to security of person, viz:

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or
detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure
as are established by law. (emphasis supplied)

The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR.

In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, "freedom from fear" is the right and any threat to the rights to
life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a reaction; threat is a stimulus, a cause
of action. Fear caused by the same stimulus can range from being baseless to well-founded as people react
differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person to another with the variation of the prolificacy of their
imagination, strength of character or past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the Amparo context, it is more
correct to say that the "right to security" is actually the "freedom from threat." Viewed in this light, the
"threatened with violation" Clause in the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the
right to security mentioned in the earlier part of the provision.127

Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or security.
Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, one's body cannot be searched or
invaded without a search warrant.128 Physical injuries inflicted in the context of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances constitute more than a search or invasion of the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical
disabilities, and painful physical intrusion. As the degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself
escalates. Notably, in criminal law, physical injuries constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront
to the bodily integrity or security of a person.129

Physical torture, force, and violence are a severe invasion of bodily integrity. When employed to vitiate the free will
such as to force the victim to admit, reveal or fabricate incriminating information, it constitutes an invasion of both
bodily and psychological integrity as the dignity of the human person includes the exercise of free will. Article III,
Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution more specifically proscribes bodily and psychological invasion, viz:

(2) No torture, force, violence, threat or intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used
against him (any person under investigation for the commission of an offense). Secret detention places,
solitary, incommunicado or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.

Parenthetically, under this provision, threat and intimidation that vitiate the free will - although not involving
invasion of bodily integrity - nevertheless constitute a violation of the right to security in the sense of "freedom
from threat" as afore-discussed.

Article III, Section 12 guarantees freedom from dehumanizing abuses of persons under investigation for the
commission of an offense. Victims of enforced disappearances who are not even under such investigation should
all the more be protected from these degradations.

An overture to an interpretation of the right to security of person as a right against torture was made by the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the recent case of Popov v. Russia.130 In this case, the claimant,
who was lawfully detained, alleged that the state authorities had physically abused him in prison, thereby violating
his right to security of person. Article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights provides, viz: "Everyone
has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases
and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law ..." (emphases supplied) Article 3, on the other hand,
provides that "(n)o one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Although the application failed on the facts as the alleged ill-treatment was found baseless, the ECHR relied
heavily on the concept of security in holding, viz:

...the applicant did not bring his allegations to the attention of domestic authorities at the time when they could
reasonably have been expected to take measures in order to ensure his security and to investigate the
circumstances in question.

xxx xxx xxx

... the authorities failed to ensure his security in custody or to comply with the procedural obligation under Art.3 to
conduct an effective investigation into his allegations.131 (emphasis supplied)

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has also made a statement that the
protection of the bodily integrity of women may also be related to the right to security and liberty, viz:

...gender-based violence which impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental
freedoms under general international law or under specific human rights conventions is discrimination within the
meaning of article 1 of the Convention (on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). These
rights and freedoms include . . . the right to liberty and security of person.132

Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of one's rights by the government. In the
context of the writ of Amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the right to life and liberty under Article
III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from threat and guarantee
of bodily and psychological integrity) under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense
is a corollary of the policy that the State "guarantees full respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11 of
the 1987 Constitution.133 As the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional
guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford
protection to these rights especially when they are under threat. Protection includes conducting effective
investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or
enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The
Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez
Case,134viz:

(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained
to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty,
not as a step taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon
their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the government.135
This third sense of the right to security of person as a guarantee of government protection has been interpreted by
the United Nations' Human Rights Committee136 in not a few cases involving Article 9137 of the ICCPR. While the
right to security of person appears in conjunction with the right to liberty under Article 9, the Committee has ruled
that the right to security of person can exist independently of the right to liberty. In other words, there need
not necessarily be a deprivation of liberty for the right to security of person to be invoked. In Delgado Paez v.
Colombia,138 a case involving death threats to a religion teacher at a secondary school in Leticia, Colombia,
whose social views differed from those of the Apostolic Prefect of Leticia, the Committee held, viz:

The first sentence of article 9 does not stand as a separate paragraph. Its location as a part of paragraph one
could lead to the view that the right to security arises only in the context of arrest and detention. The travaux
préparatoires indicate that the discussions of the first sentence did indeed focus on matters dealt with in the other
provisions of article 9. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in article 3, refers to the right to life, the
right to liberty and the right to security of the person. These elements have been dealt with in separate
clauses in the Covenant. Although in the Covenant the only reference to the right of security of person is
to be found in article 9, there is no evidence that it was intended to narrow the concept of the right to
security only to situations of formal deprivation of liberty. At the same time, States parties have
undertaken to guarantee the rights enshrined in the Covenant. It cannot be the case that, as a matter of
law, States can ignore known threats to the life of persons under their jurisdiction, just because that he or
she is not arrested or otherwise detained. States parties are under an obligation to take reasonable and
appropriate measures to protect them. An interpretation of article 9 which would allow a State party to
ignore threats to the personal security of non-detained persons within its jurisdiction would render totally
ineffective the guarantees of the Covenant.139(emphasis supplied)

The Paez ruling was reiterated in Bwalya v. Zambia,140 which involved a political activist and prisoner of
conscience who continued to be intimidated, harassed, and restricted in his movements following his release from
detention. In a catena of cases, the ruling of the Committee was of a similar import: Bahamonde v. Equatorial
Guinea,141 involving discrimination, intimidation and persecution of opponents of the ruling party in that
state; Tshishimbi v. Zaire,142 involving the abduction of the complainant's husband who was a supporter of
democratic reform in Zaire; Dias v. Angola,143 involving the murder of the complainant's partner and the
harassment he (complainant) suffered because of his investigation of the murder; and Chongwe v.
Zambia,144 involving an assassination attempt on the chairman of an opposition alliance.

Similarly, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has interpreted the "right to security" not only as
prohibiting the State from arbitrarily depriving liberty, but imposing a positive duty on the State to afford protection
of the right to liberty.145 The ECHR interpreted the "right to security of person" under Article 5(1) of the European
Convention of Human Rights in the leading case on disappearance of persons, Kurt v. Turkey.146 In this case,
the claimant's son had been arrested by state authorities and had not been seen since. The family's requests for
information and investigation regarding his whereabouts proved futile. The claimant suggested that this was a
violation of her son's right to security of person. The ECHR ruled, viz:

... any deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity with the substantive and procedural
rules of national law but must equally be in keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the
individual from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual it is incumbent on the authorities to
account for his or her whereabouts. For this reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take
effective measures to safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt effective
investigation into an arguable claim that a person has been taken into custody and has not been seen
since.147 (emphasis supplied)

Applying the foregoing concept of the right to security of person to the case at bar, we now determine whether
there is a continuing violation of respondents' right to security.

First, the violation of the right to security as freedom from threat to respondents' life, liberty and security.

While respondents were detained, they were threatened that if they escaped, their families, including them, would
be killed. In Raymond's narration, he was tortured and poured with gasoline after he was caught the first time he
attempted to escape from Fort Magsaysay. A call from a certain "Mam," who wanted to see him before he was
killed, spared him.
This time, respondents have finally escaped. The condition of the threat to be killed has come to pass. It should
be stressed that they are now free from captivity not because they were released by virtue of a lawful order or
voluntarily freed by their abductors. It ought to be recalled that towards the end of their ordeal, sometime in June
2007 when respondents were detained in a camp in Limay, Bataan, respondents' captors even told them that they
were still deciding whether they should be executed. Respondent Raymond Manalo attested in his affidavit, viz:

Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 na araw pagkalipas. Sinabi sa amin
na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung papatayin kami o hindi.148

The possibility of respondents being executed stared them in the eye while they were in detention. With their
escape, this continuing threat to their life is apparent, moreso now that they have surfaced and implicated specific
officers in the military not only in their own abduction and torture, but also in those of other persons known to have
disappeared such as Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño, and Manuel Merino, among others.

Understandably, since their escape, respondents have been under concealment and protection by private citizens
because of the threat to their life, liberty and security. The threat vitiates their free will as they are forced to limit
their movements or activities.149 Precisely because respondents are being shielded from the perpetrators of their
abduction, they cannot be expected to show evidence of overt acts of threat such as face-to-face intimidation or
written threats to their life, liberty and security. Nonetheless, the circumstances of respondents' abduction,
detention, torture and escape reasonably support a conclusion that there is an apparent threat that they will again
be abducted, tortured, and this time, even executed. These constitute threats to their liberty, security, and life,
actionable through a petition for a writ of Amparo.

Next, the violation of the right to security as protection by the government. Apart from the failure of military
elements to provide protection to respondents by themselves perpetrating the abduction, detention, and torture,
they also miserably failed in conducting an effective investigation of respondents' abduction as revealed by the
testimony and investigation report of petitioners' own witness, Lt. Col. Ruben Jimenez, Provost Marshall of the
7th Infantry Division.

The one-day investigation conducted by Jimenez was very limited, superficial, and one-sided. He merely relied on
the Sworn Statements of the six implicated members of the CAFGU and civilians whom he met in the investigation
for the first time. He was present at the investigation when his subordinate Lingad was taking the sworn
statements, but he did not propound a single question to ascertain the veracity of their statements or their
credibility. He did not call for other witnesses to test the alibis given by the six implicated persons nor for the family
or neighbors of the respondents.

In his affidavit, petitioner Secretary of National Defense attested that in a Memorandum Directive dated October
31, 2007, he issued a policy directive addressed to the AFP Chief of Staff, that the AFP should adopt rules of
action in the event the writ of Amparo is issued by a competent court against any members of the AFP, which
should essentially include verification of the identity of the aggrieved party; recovery and preservation of relevant
evidence; identification of witnesses and securing statements from them; determination of the cause, manner,
location and time of death or disappearance; identification and apprehension of the person or persons involved in
the death or disappearance; and bringing of the suspected offenders before a competent court.150 Petitioner AFP
Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit attesting that he received the above directive of respondent
Secretary of National Defense and that acting on this directive, he immediately caused to be issued a directive to
the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the circumstances of the alleged disappearance and the
recent reappearance of the respondents, and undertook to provide results of the investigations to respondents.
151 To this day, however, almost a year after the policy directive was issued by petitioner Secretary of National

Defense on October 31, 2007, respondents have not been furnished the results of the investigation which they
now seek through the instant petition for a writ of Amparo.

Under these circumstances, there is substantial evidence to warrant the conclusion that there is a violation of
respondents' right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government.

In sum, we conclude that respondents' right to security as "freedom from threat" is violated by the apparent threat
to their life, liberty and security of person. Their right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government is
likewise violated by the ineffective investigation and protection on the part of the military.

Finally, we come to the reliefs granted by the Court of Appeals, which petitioners question.
First, that petitioners furnish respondents all official and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken in
connection with their case, except those already in file with the court.

Second, that petitioners confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka
Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas.

Third, that petitioners cause to be produced to the Court of Appeals all medical reports, records and charts,
and reports of any treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if any, to the Manalo
brothers, to include a list of medical personnel (military and civilian) who attended to them from February
14, 2006 until August 12, 2007.

With respect to the first and second reliefs, petitioners argue that the production order sought by respondents
partakes of the characteristics of a search warrant. Thus, they claim that the requisites for the issuance of a
search warrant must be complied with prior to the grant of the production order, namely: (1) the application must
be under oath or affirmation; (2) the search warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched and the
things to be seized; (3) there exists probable cause with one specific offense; and (4) the probable cause must be
personally determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce.152 In the case at bar, however, petitioners point out that other than the bare, self-
serving and vague allegations made by respondent Raymond Manalo in his unverified declaration and affidavit,
the documents respondents seek to be produced are only mentioned generally by name, with no other supporting
details. They also argue that the relevancy of the documents to be produced must be apparent, but this is not true
in the present case as the involvement of petitioners in the abduction has not been shown.

Petitioners' arguments do not hold water. The production order under the Amparo Rule should not be confused
with a search warrant for law enforcement under Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. This Constitutional
provision is a protection of the people from the unreasonable intrusion of the government, not a protection of the
government from the demand of the people such as respondents.

Instead, the Amparo production order may be likened to the production of documents or things under Section 1,
Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure which provides in relevant part, viz:

Section 1. Motion for production or inspection order.

Upon motion of any party showing good cause therefor, the court in which an action is pending may (a) order any
party to produce and permit the inspection and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of
any designated documents, papers, books of accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, not
privileged, which constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action and which are in his
possession, custody or control...

In Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. v. Judge Natividad,153 the respondent judge, under authority of Rule 27,
issued a subpoena duces tecum for the production and inspection of among others, the books and papers of
Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. The company questioned the issuance of the subpoena on the ground that it
violated the search and seizure clause. The Court struck down the argument and held that
the subpoena pertained to a civil procedure that "cannot be identified or confused with unreasonable searches
prohibited by the Constitution..."

Moreover, in his affidavit, petitioner AFP Chief of Staff himself undertook "to provide results of the investigations
conducted or to be conducted by the concerned unit relative to the circumstances of the alleged disappearance of
the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been sought for as soon as the same has been furnished
Higher headquarters."

With respect to the second and third reliefs, petitioners assert that the disclosure of the present places of
assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas, as well as the submission of a list of medical
personnel, is irrelevant, improper, immaterial, and unnecessary in the resolution of the petition for a writ
of Amparo. They add that it will unnecessarily compromise and jeopardize the exercise of official functions and
duties of military officers and even unwittingly and unnecessarily expose them to threat of personal injury or even
death.
On the contrary, the disclosure of the present places of assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and
Donald Caigas, whom respondents both directly implicated as perpetrators behind their abduction and detention,
is relevant in ensuring the safety of respondents by avoiding their areas of territorial jurisdiction. Such disclosure
would also help ensure that these military officers can be served with notices and court processes in relation to
any investigation and action for violation of the respondents' rights. The list of medical personnel is also relevant in
securing information to create the medical history of respondents and make appropriate medical interventions,
when applicable and necessary.

In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and security, these rights are snuffed out from victims
of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. The writ of Amparo is a tool that gives voice to preys of silent
guns and prisoners behind secret walls.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated
December 26, 2007 is affirmed.

SO ORDERED.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 132601. October 12, 1998]

LEO ECHEGARAY y PILO, petitioner, vs. THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE and THE DIRECTOR OF THE
BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS, THE EXECUTIVE JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
QUEZON CITY AND THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY,
BRANCH 104, respondents.

DECISION
PER CURIAM:

On June 25, 1996, this Court affirmed[1] the conviction of petitioner Leo Echegaray y Pilo for the crime of
rape of the 10 year-old daughter of his common-law spouse and the imposition upon him of the death penalty for
the said crime.
Petitioner duly filed a Motion for Reconsideration raising mainly factual issues, and on its heels, a
Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration raising for the first time the issue of the constitutionality of Republic Act
No. 7659[2] (the death penalty law) and the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of rape.

On February 7, 1998, this Court denied[3] petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion
for Reconsideration with a finding that Congress duly complied with the requirements for the reimposition of the
death penalty and therefore the death penalty law is not unconstitutional.
In the meantime, Congress had seen it fit to change the mode of execution of the death penalty from
electrocution to lethal injection,[4] and passed Republic Act No. 8177, AN ACT DESIGNATING DEATH BY LETHAL
INJECTION AS THE METHOD OF CARRYING OUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE
ARTICLE 81 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 24 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7659.
[5] Pursuant to the provisions of said law, the Secretary of Justice promulgated the Rules and Regulations to

Implement Republic Act No. 8177 ("implementing rules")[6] and directed the Director of the Bureau of Corrections
to prepare the Lethal Injection Manual.[7]

On March 2, 1998, petitioner filed a Petition[8] for Prohibition, Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order
to enjoin respondents Secretary of Justice and Director of the Bureau of Prisons from carrying out the execution
by lethal injection of petitioner under R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules as these are unconstitutional and
void for being: (a) cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment per se as well as by reason of its being (b) arbitrary,
unreasonable and a violation of due process, (c) a violation of the Philippines' obligations under international
covenants, (d) an undue delegation of legislative power by Congress, (e) an unlawful exercise by respondent
Secretary of the power to legislate, and (f) an unlawful delegation of delegated powers by the Secretary of Justice
to respondent Director.

On March 3, 1998, petitioner, through counsel, filed a Motion for Leave of Court[9] to Amend and
Supplement Petition with the Amended and Supplemental Petition[10] attached thereto, invoking the additional
ground of violation of equal protection, and impleading the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City and the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 104, in order to enjoin said public respondents
from acting under the questioned rules by setting a date for petitioner's execution.
On March 3, 1998, the Court resolved, without giving due course to the petition, to require the respondents
to COMMENT thereon within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice, and directed the parties "to
MAINTAIN the status quo prevailing at the time of the filing of this petition."

On March 10, 1998, the Court granted the Motion for Leave of Court to Amend and Supplement Petition,
and required respondents to COMMENT thereon within ten (10) days from notice.
On March 16, 1998, petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion (1) To clarify Status Quo Order, and (2) For the
Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order expressly enjoining public respondents from taking any action to carry
out petitioner's execution until the petition is resolved.
On March 16, 1998, the Office of the Solicitor General[11] filed a Comment (On the Petition and the Amended
Supplemental Petition)[12] stating that (1) this Court has already upheld the constitutionality of the Death Penalty
Law, and has repeatedly declared that the death penalty is not cruel, unjust, excessive or unusual punishment; (2)
execution by lethal injection, as authorized under R.A. No. 8177 and the questioned rules, is constitutional, lethal
injection being the most modern, more humane, more economical, safer and easier to apply (than electrocution or
the gas chamber); (3) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does not expressly or impliedly
prohibit the imposition of the death penalty; (4) R.A. No. 8177 properly delegated legislative power to respondent
Director; and that (5) R.A. No. 8177 confers the power to promulgate the implementing rules to the Secretary of
Justice, Secretary of Health and the Bureau of Corrections.
On March 17, 1998, the Court required the petitioner to file a REPLY thereto within a non-extendible period
of ten days from notice.

On March 25, 1998, the Commission on Human Rights[13] filed a Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and/
or Appear as Amicus Curiae[14] with the attached Petition to Intervene and/or Appear as Amicus Curiae[15] alleging
that the death penalty imposed under R.A. No. 7659 which is to be implemented by R.A. No. 8177 is cruel,
degrading and outside the limits of civil society standards, and further invoking (a) Article II, Section 11 of the
Constitution which provides: "The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for
human rights."; (b) Article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that "Everyone has the
right to life, liberty and security of person," and Article V thereof, which states that "No one shall be subjected to
torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."; (c) The International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, in particular, Article 6 thereof, and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights Aiming At The Abolition of the Death Penalty; (d) Amnesty International statistics showing
that as of October 1996, 58 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 15 countries have abolished
the death penalty for ordinary crimes, and 26 countries are abolitionists de facto, which means that they have
retained the death penalty for ordinary crimes but are considered abolitionists in practice that they have not
executed anyone during the past ten (10) years or more, or in that they have made an international commitment
not to carry out executions, for a total of 99 countries which are total abolitionists in law or practice, and 95
countries as retentionists;[16] and (e) Pope John Paul II's encyclical, "Evangelium Vitae." In a Resolution dated
April 3, 1998, the Court duly noted the motion.
On March 27, 1998, petitioner filed a Reply[17] stating that (1) this Court is not barred from exercising judicial
review over the death penalty per se, the death penalty for rape and lethal injection as a mode of carrying out the
death penalty; (2) capital punishment is a cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment; (3) lethal injection is cruel,
degrading and inhuman punishment, and that being the "most modern" does not make it less cruel or more
humane, and that the Solicitor General's "aesthetic" criteria is short-sighted, and that the lethal injection is not risk
free nor is it easier to implement; and (4) the death penalty violates the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights considering that the Philippines participated in the deliberations of and voted for the Second
Optional Protocol.

After deliberating on the pleadings, the Court gave due course to the petition, which it now resolves on the
merits.

In the Amended and Supplemental Petition, petitioner assails the constitutionality of the mode of carrying
out his death sentence by lethal injection on the following grounds:[18]
I.

DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING A CRUEL, DEGRADING AND


INHUMAN PUNISHMENT.

II.
THE DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL
RIGHTS, WHICH IS PART OF THE LAW OF THE LAND.

III.

LETHAL INJECTION, AS AUTHORIZED UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 AND THE QUESTIONED
RULES, IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT IS AN UNNECESSARY AND WANTON INFLICTION OF
PAIN ON A PERSON AND IS, THUS, A CRUEL, DEGRADING, AND INHUMAN PUNISHMENT.

IV.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 UNDULY DELEGATES LEGISLATIVE POWER TO RESPONDENT
DIRECTOR.

V.
RESPONDENT SECRETARY UNLAWFULLY DELEGATED THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS DELEGATED
TO HIM UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 TO RESPONDENT DIRECTOR.

VI.

RESPONDENT SECRETARY EXCEEDED THE AUTHORITY DELEGATED TO HIM UNDER REPUBLIC


ACT NO. 8177 AND UNLAWFULLY USURPED THE POWER TO LEGISLATE IN PROMULGATING THE
QUESTIONED RULES.

VII.
SECTION 17 OF THE QUESTIONED RULES IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING DISCRIMINATORY
AS WELL AS FOR BEING AN INVALID EXERCISE BY RESPONDENT SECRETARY OF THE POWER
TO LEGISLATE.

VIII.

INJUCTION MUST ISSUE TO PREVENT IRREPARABLE DAMAGE AND INJURY TO PETITIONER'S


RIGHTS BY REASON OF THE EXISTENCE, OPERATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN
UNCONSTITUTIONAL STATUTE AND EQUALLY INVALID AND IMPLEMENTING RULES.

Concisely put, petitioner argues that R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules do not pass constitutional
muster for: (a) violation of the constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment, (b)
violation of our international treaty obligations, (c) being an undue delegation of legislative power, and (d) being
discriminatory.

The Court shall now proceed to discuss these issues in seriatim.


I. LETHAL INJECTION, NOT CRUEL, DEGRADING OR INHUMAN PUNISHMENT UNDER
SECTION 19, ARTICLE III OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

The main challenge to R.A. 8177 and its implementing rules is anchored on Article III, Section 19 (1) of the
1987 Constitution which proscribes the imposition of "cruel, degrading or inhuman" punishment. "The prohibition
in the Philippine Bill against cruel and unusual punishments is an Anglo-Saxon safeguard against governmental
oppression of the subject, which made its first appearance in the reign of William and Mary of England in 'An Act
declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the succession of the crown,' passed in the year
1689. It has been incorporated into the Constitution of the United States (of America) and into most constitutions
of the various States in substantially the same language as that used in the original statute. The exact language of
the Constitution of the United States is used in the Philippine Bill."[19] "The counterpart of Section 19 (1) in the
1935 Constitution reads: 'Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel and inhuman punishment inflicted.' xxx
In the 1973 Constitution the phrase became 'cruel or unusual punishment.' The Bill of Rights Committee of the
1986 Constitutional Commission read the 1973 modification as prohibiting 'unusual' punishment even if not
'cruel.' It was thus seen as an obstacle to experimentation in penology. Consequently, the Committee reported out
the present text which prohibits 'cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment' as more consonant with the meaning
desired and with jurisprudence on the subject."[20]
Petitioner contends that death by lethal injection constitutes cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment
considering that (1) R.A. No. 8177 fails to provide for the drugs to be used in carrying out lethal injection, the
dosage for each drug to be administered, and the procedure in administering said drug/s into the accused; (2)
R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules are uncertain as to the date of the execution, time of notification, the
court which will fix the date of execution, which uncertainties cause the greatest pain and suffering for the convict;
and (3) the possibility of "botched executions" or mistakes in administering the drugs renders lethal injection
inherently cruel.

Before the Court proceeds any further, a brief explanation of the process of administering lethal injection is
in order.
In lethal injection, the condemned inmate is strapped on a hospital gurney and wheeled into the execution
room. A trained technician inserts a needle into a vein in the inmate's arm and begins an intravenous flow of saline
solution. At the warden's signal, a lethal combination of drugs is injected into the intravenous line. The deadly
concoction typically includes three drugs: (1) a nonlethal dose of sodium thiopenthotal, a sleep inducing
barbiturate; (2) lethal doses of pancuronium bromide, a drug that paralyzes the muscles; and (3) potassium
chloride, which stops the heart within seconds. The first two drugs are commonly used during surgery to put the
patient to sleep and relax muscles; the third is used in heart bypass surgery.[21]
Now it is well-settled in jurisprudence that the death penalty per se is not a cruel, degrading or inhuman
punishment.[22] In the oft-cited case of Harden v. Director of Prisons,[23] this Court held that "[p]unishments are
cruel when they involve torture or a lingering death; but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of
that word as used in the constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous, something more than the
mere extinguishment of life." Would the lack in particularity then as to the details involved in the execution by
lethal injection render said law "cruel, degrading or inhuman"? The Court believes not. For reasons hereafter
discussed, the implementing details of R.A. No. 8177 are matters which are properly left to the competence and
expertise of administrative officials.[24]

Petitioner contends that Sec. 16[25] of R.A. No. 8177 is uncertain as to which "court" will fix the time and date
of execution, and the date of execution and time of notification of the death convict. As petitioner already knows,
the "court" which designates the date of execution is the trial court which convicted the accused, that is, after this
Court has reviewed the entire records of the case[26] and has affirmed the judgment of the lower court.Thereupon,
the procedure is that the "judgment is entered fifteen (15) days after its promulgation, and 10 days thereafter, the
records are remanded to the court below including a certified copy of the judgment for execution.[27] Neither is
there any uncertainty as to the date of execution nor the time of notification. As to the date of execution, Section
15 of the implementing rules must be read in conjunction with the last sentence of Section 1 of R.A. No. 8177
which provides that the death sentence shall be carried out "not earlier than one (1) year nor later then eighteen
(18) months from the time the judgment imposing the death penalty became final and executory, without prejudice
to the exercise by the President of his executive clemency powers at all times." Hence, the death convict is in
effect assured of eighteen (18) months from the time the judgment imposing the death penalty became final and
executory[28] wherein he can seek executive clemency[29] and attend to all his temporal and spiritual affairs.[30]
Petitioner further contends that the infliction of "wanton pain" in case of possible complications in the
intravenous injection, considering and as petitioner claims, that respondent Director is an untrained and untested
person insofar as the choice and administration of lethal injection is concerned, renders lethal injection a cruel,
degrading and inhuman punishment. Such supposition is highly speculative and unsubstantiated.

First. Petitioner has neither alleged nor presented evidence that lethal injection required the expertise only
of phlebotomists and not trained personnel and that the drugs to be administered are unsafe or ineffective.
[31] Petitioner simply cites situations in the United States wherein execution by lethal injection allegedly resulted in

prolonged and agonizing death for the convict,[32] without any other evidence whatsoever.

Second. Petitioner overlooked Section 1, third paragraph of R.A. No. 8177 which requires that all personnel
involved in the execution proceedings should be trained prior to the performance of such task. We must presume
that the public officials entrusted with the implementation of the death penalty (by lethal injection) will carefully
avoid inflicting cruel punishment.[33]
Third. Any infliction of pain in lethal injection is merely incidental in carrying out the execution of death
penalty and does not fall within the constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading and inhuman
punishment. "In a limited sense, anything is cruel which is calculated to give pain or distress, and since
punishment imports pain or suffering to the convict, it may be said that all punishments are cruel. But of course
the Constitution does not mean that crime, for this reason, is to go unpunished."[34] The cruelty against which the
Constitution protects a convicted man is cruelty inherent in the method of punishment, not the necessary suffering
involved in any method employed to extinguish life humanely.[35] Numerous federal and state courts of the United
States have been asked to review whether lethal injections constitute cruel and unusual punishment. No court has
found lethal injections to implicate prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights. In fact, most courts that have addressed
the issue state in one or two sentences that lethal injection clearly is a constitutional form of execution.[36] A few
jurisdictions, however, have addressed the merits of the Eighth Amendment claims.Without exception, these
courts have found that lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. After reviewing the
medical evidence that indicates that improper doses or improper administration of the drugs causes severe pain
and that prison officials tend to have little training in the administration of the drugs, the courts have found that the
few minutes of pain does not rise to a constitutional violation.[37]
What is cruel and unusual "is not fastened to the obsolete but may acquire meaning as public opinion
becomes enlightened by a humane justice" and "must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency
that mark the progress of a maturing society."[38] Indeed, "[o]ther (U.S.) courts have focused on 'standards of
decency' finding that the widespread use of lethal injections indicates that it comports with contemporary
norms."[39] the primary indicator of society's standard of decency with regard to capital punishment is the response
of the country's legislatures to the sanction.[40]Hence, for as long as the death penalty remains in our statute
books and meets the most stringent requirements provided by the Constitution, we must confine our inquiry to the
legality of R.A. No. 8177, whose constitutionality we duly sustain in the face of petitioner's challenge. We find that
the legislature's substitution of the mode of carrying out the death penalty from electrocution to lethal injection
infringes no constitutional rights of petitioner herein.
II. REIMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY LAW DOES NOT VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL
TREATY OBLIGATIONS

Petitioner assiduously argues that the reimposition of the death penalty law violates our international
obligations, in particular, the International Covenant on Civil And Political Rights, which was adopted by the
General Assembly of the United Nations on December 16, 1996, signed and ratified by the Philippines on
December 19, 1966 and October 23, 1986,[41] respectively.
Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides:

"1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily
deprived of his life.

2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most
serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to
the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent
court." (emphasis supplied)

3. When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide, it is understood that nothing in this article shall
authorize any State Party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way from any obligation assumed under the
provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

4. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty,
pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all-cases.

5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall
not be carried out on pregnant women.

6. Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any
State. Party to the present Covenant."

Indisputably, Article 6 of the Covenant enshrines the individual's right to life. Nevertheless, Article 6 (2) of
the Covenant explicitly recognizes that capital punishment is an allowable limitation on the right to life, subject to
the limitation that it be imposed for the "most serious crimes". Pursuant to Article 28 of the Covenant, a Human
Rights Committee was established and under Article 40 of the Covenant, State parties to the Covenant are
required to submit an initial report to the Committee on the measures they have adopted which give effect to the
rights recognized within the Covenant and on the progress made on the enjoyment of those rights one year of its
entry into force for the State Party concerned and thereafter, after five years. On July 27, 1982, the Human Rights
Committee issued General Comment No. 6 interpreting Article 6 of the Covenant stating that "(while) it follows
from Article 6 (2) to (6) that State parties are not obliged to abolish the death penalty totally, they are obliged to
limit its use and, in particular, to abolish it for other than the 'most serious crimes.' Accordingly, they ought to
consider reviewing their criminal laws in this light and, in any event, are obliged to restrict the application of the
death penalty to the most serious crimes.' The article strongly suggests (pars. 2 (2) and (6) that abolition is
desirable. xxx The Committee is of the opinion that the expression 'most serious crimes' must be read restrictively
to mean that the death penalty should be a quite exceptional measure." Further, the Safeguards Guaranteeing
Protection of Those Facing the Death Penalty[42] adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United
Nations declare that the ambit of the term 'most serious crimes' should not go beyond intentional crimes, with
lethal or other extremely grave consequences.
The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the
General Assembly of the United Nations on December 16, 1966, and signed and ratified by the Philippines on
December 19, 1966 and August 22, 1989,[43] respectively. The Optional Protocolprovides that the Human Rights
Committee shall receive and consider communications from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of any
of the rights set forth in the Covenant.
On the other hand, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty was adopted by the General Assembly on December 15, 1989. The
Philippines neither signed nor ratified said document.[44] Evidently, petitioner's assertion of our obligation
under the Second Optional Protocol is misplaced.

III. THERE IS NO UNDUE DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER IN R.A. NO. 8177 TO


THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE AND THE DIRECTOR OF BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS,
BUT SECTION 19 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT R.A. NO. 8177
IS INVALID.
The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through
express provision but by actual division in the framing of our Constitution. Each department of the government has
exclusive cognizance of matters placed within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere.[45] Corollary to
the doctrine of separation of powers is the principle of non-delegation of powers. "The rule is that what has been
delegated, cannot be delegated or as expressed in a Latin maxim: potestas delegata non delegari potest."[46] The
recognized exceptions to the rule are as follows:

(1) Delegation of tariff powers to the President under Section 28 (2) of Article VI of the
Constitution;

(2) Delegation of emergency powers to the President under Section 23 (2) of Article VI of the
Constitution;
(3) Delegation to the people at large;

(4) Delegation to local governments; and


(5) Delegation to administrative bodies.[47]

Empowering the Secretary of Justice in conjunction with the Secretary of Health and the Director of the
Bureau of Corrections, to promulgate rules and regulations on the subject of lethal injection is a form of delegation
of legislative authority to administrative bodies.

The reason for delegation of authority to administrative agencies is the increasing complexity of the task of
government requiring expertise as well as the growing inability of the legislature to cope directly with the myriad
problems demanding its attention. The growth of society has ramified its activities and created peculiar and
sophisticated problems that the legislature cannot be expected to attend to by itself. Specialization even in
legislation has become necessary. On many problems involving day-to-day undertakings, the legislature may not
have the needed competence to provide the required direct and efficacious, not to say, specific solutions. These
solutions may, however, be expected from its delegates, who are supposed to be experts in the particular fields
assigned to them.[48]
Although Congress may delegate to another branch of the Government the power to fill in the details in the
execution, enforcement or administration of a law, it is essential, to forestall a violation of the principle of
separation of powers, that said law: (a) be complete in itself - it must set forth therein the policy to be executed,
carried out or implemented by the delegate[49] - and (b) fix a standard - the limits of which are sufficiently
determinate or determinable - to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions.[50]

Considering the scope and the definiteness of R.A. No. 8177, which changed the mode of carrying out the
death penalty, the Court finds that the law sufficiently describes what job must be done, who is to do it, and what
is the scope of his authority.[51]
R.A. No. 8177 likewise provides the standards which define the legislative policy, mark its limits, map out its
boundaries, and specify the public agencies which will apply it. it indicates the circumstances under which the
legislative purpose may be carried out.[52] R.A. No. 8177 specifically requires that "[t]he death sentence shall be
executed under the authority of the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, endeavoring so far as possible to
mitigate the sufferings of the person under the sentence during the lethal injection as well as during the
proceedings prior to the execution."[53]Further, "[t]he Director of the Bureau of Corrections shall take steps
to ensure that the lethal injection to be administered is sufficient to cause the instantaneous death of the
convict."[54] The legislature also mandated that "all personnel involved in the administration of lethal
injection shall be trained prior to the performance of such task."[55] The Court cannot see that any useful
purpose would be served by requiring greater detail.[56] The question raised is not the definition of what constitutes
a criminal offense,[57] but the mode of carrying out the penalty already imposed by the Courts. In this sense, R.A.
No. 8177 is sufficiently definite and the exercise of discretion by the administrative officials concerned is, to use
the words of Justice Benjamin Cardozo, canalized within banks that keep it from overflowing.
Thus, the Court finds that the existence of an area for exercise of discretion by the Secretary of Justice and
the Director of the Bureau of Corrections under delegated legislative power is proper where standards are
formulated for the guidance and the exercise of limited discretion, which though general, are capable of
reasonable application.[58]

It is also noteworthy that Article 81 of the Revised Penal Code which originally provided for the death
penalty by electrocution was not subjected to attack on the ground that it failed to provide for details such as the
kind of chair to be used, the amount of voltage, volume of amperage or place of attachment of electrodes on the
death convict. Hence, petitioner's analogous argument with respect to lethal injection must fail.
A careful reading of R.A. No. 8177 would show that there is no undue delegation of legislative power from
the Secretary of Justice to the Director of the Bureau of Corrections for the simple reason that under the
Administrative Code of 1987, the Bureau of Corrections is a mere constituent unit of the Department of Justice.
[59] Further, the Department of Justice is tasked, among others, to take charge of the "administration of the

correctional system."[60] Hence, the import of the phraseology of the law is that the Secretary of Justice should
supervise the Director of the Bureau of Corrections in promulgating the Lethal Injection Manual, in consultation
with the Department of Health.[61]

However, the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 suffer serious flaws that could not
be overlooked. To begin with, something basic appears missing in Section 19 of the implementing rules which
provides:

"SEC. 19. EXECUTION PROCEDURE. - Details of the procedure prior to, during and after
administering the lethal injection shall be set forth in a manual to be prepared by the Director. The manual
shall contain details of, among others, the sequence of events before and after execution; procedures in
setting up the intravenous line; the administration of the lethal drugs; the pronouncement of death; and the
removal of the intravenous system.

Said manual shall be confidential and its distribution shall be limited to authorized prison personnel."

Thus, the Courts finds in the first paragraph of Section 19 of the implementing rules a veritable vacuum. The
Secretary of Justice has practically abdicated the power to promulgate the manual on the execution procedure to
the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, by not providing for a mode of review and approval thereof. Being a
mere constituent unit of the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Corrections could not promulgate a manual that
would not bear the imprimatur of the administrative superior, the Secretary of Justice as the rule-making authority
under R.A. No. 8177. Such apparent abdication of departmental responsibility renders the said paragraph invalid.
As to the second paragraph of section 19, the Court finds the requirement of confidentiality of the contents
of the manual even with respect to the convict unduly suppressive. It sees no legal impediment for the convict,
should he so desire, to obtain a copy of the manual. The contents of the manual are matters of public concern
"which the public may want to know, either because these directly affect their lives, or simply because such
matters naturally arouse the interest of an ordinary citizen."[62] Section 7 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution
provides:

"SEC. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be
recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transaction,
or decisions, as well as to government research data used as a basis for policy development, shall be
afforded the citizen, subject to such limitation as may be provided by law."

The incorporation in the Constitution of a guarantee of access to information of public concern is a


recognition of the essentiality of the free flow of ideas and information in a democracy.[63] In the same way that
free discussion enables members of society to cope with the exigencies of their time,[64]access to information of
general interest aids the people in democratic decision-making[65] by giving them a better perspective of the vital
issues confronting the nation.[66]
D. SECTION 17 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT R.A. NO. 8177 IS
INVALID FOR BEING DISCRIMINATORY AND CONTRARY TO LAW.

Even more seriously flawed than Section 19 is Section of the implementing rules which provides:
"SEC. 17. SUSPENSION OF THE EXECUTION OF THE DEATH SENTENCE. Execution by lethal
injection shall not be inflicted upon a woman within the three years next following the date of the sentence
or while she is pregnant, nor upon any person over seventy (70) years of age.In this latter case, the death
penalty shall be commuted to the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties provided in
Article 40 of the Revised Penal Code."

Petitioner contends that Section 17 is unconstitutional for being discriminatory as well as for being an invalid
exercise of the power to legislate by respondent Secretary. Petitioner insists that Section 17 amends the instances
when lethal injection may be suspended, without an express amendment of Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended by section 25 of R.A. No. 7659.

Article 83 f the Revised Penal Code, as amended by section 25 of R.A. No. 7659 now reads as follows:

"ART. 83, Suspension of the execution of the death sentence.- The death sentence shall not be
inflicted upon a woman while she is pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, nor upon any person over
seventy years of age. In this last case, the death sentence shall be commuted to the penalty of reclusion
perpetua with the accessory penalty provided in Article 40. x x x".

On this point, the Courts finds petitioner's contention impressed with merit. While Article 83 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, suspends the implementation of the death
penalty while a woman is pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, Section 17 of the implementing
rules omits the one (1) year period following delivery as an instance when the death sentence is suspended,
and adds a ground for suspension of sentence no longer found under Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code as
amended, which is the three-year reprieve after a woman is sentenced. This addition is, in petitioner's view,
tantamount to a gender-based discrimination sans statutory basis, while the omission is an impermissible
contravention of the applicable law.
Being merely an implementing rule, Section 17 aforecited must not override, but instead remain consistent
and in harmony with the law it seeks to apply and implement. Administrative rules and regulations are intended to
carry out, neither to supplant nor to modify, the law."[67] An administrative agency cannot amend an act of
Congress.[68] In case of discrepancy between a provision of statute and a rule or regulation issued to implement
said statute, the statutory provision prevails. Since the cited clause in Section 17 which suspends the execution of
a woman within the three (3) years next following the date of sentence finds no supports in Article 83 of the
Revised Penal Code as amended, perforce Section 17 must be declared invalid.

One member of the Court voted to declare Republic Act. No. 8177 as unconstitutional insofar as it delegates
the power to make rules over the same subject matter to two persons (the Secretary of Justice and the Director of
the Bureau of Corrections) and constitutes a violation of the international norm towards the abolition of the death
penalty. One member of the Court, consistent with his view in People v. Echegaray, 267 SCRA 682, 734-758
(1997) that the death penalty law (Republic Act. No. 7659) is itself unconstitutional, believes that Republic Act No.
8177 which provides for the means of carrying out the death sentence, is likewise unconstitutional. Two other
members of the court concurred in the aforesaid Separate Opinions in that the death penalty law (Republic Act
No. 7659) together with the assailed statute (Republic Act No. 8177) are unconstitutional. In sum, four members of
the Court voted to declare Republic Act. No. 8177 as unconstitutional. These Separate Opinions are hereto
annexed, infra.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED insofar as petitioner seeks to declare the assailed statute (Republic
Act No. 8177) as unconstitutional; but GRANTED insofar as Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to
Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are concerned, which are hereby declared INVALID because (a) Section 17
contravenes Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of the Republic Act No. 7659; and
(b) Section 19 fails to provide for review and approval of the Lethal Injection Manual by the Secretary of Justice,
and unjustifiably makes the manual confidential, hence unavailable to interested parties including the accused/
convict and counsel. Respondents are hereby enjoined from enforcing and implementing Republic Act No. 8177
until the aforesaid Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are
appropriately amended, revised and/or corrected in accordance with this Decision.
NO COSTS.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989

FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR., IRENE M. ARANETA, IMEE
MANOTOC, TOMAS MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR YÑIGUEZ and
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F.
ESTRELLA, petitioners, 

vs.

HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOÑEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR
SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO DE VILLA, in their capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive
Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner, Secretary of National Defense and Chief of
Staff, respectively, respondents.

CORTES, J.:

Before the Court is a contreversy of grave national importance. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved,
the Court's decision in this case would undeniably have a profound effect on the political, economic and other
aspects of national life.

We recall that in February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent
"people power" revolution and forced into exile. In his stead, Corazon C. Aquino was declared President of the
Republic under a revolutionary government. Her ascension to and consilidation of power have not been
unchallenged. The failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of Mr. Marcos, the takeover of
television station Channel 7 by rebel troops led by Col. Canlas with the support of "Marcos loyalists" and the
unseccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft
chartered by a Lebanese arms dealer [Manila Bulletin, January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of
the Marcoses to stir trouble even from afar and to the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their followers in the country.
The ratification of the 1987 Constitution enshrined the victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the
constitutional moorings of Mrs. Aquino's presidency. This did not, however, stop bloody challenges to the
government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the major players in the February Revolution,
led a failed coup that left scores of people, both combatants and civilians, dead. There were several other armed
sorties of lesser significance, but the message they conveyed was the same — a split in the ranks of the military
establishment that thraetened civilian supremacy over military and brought to the fore the realization that civilian
government could be at the mercy of a fractious military.

But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among rabid followers
of Mr. Marcos. There are also the communist insurgency and the seccessionist movement in Mindanao which
gained ground during the rule of Mr. Marcos, to the extent that the communists have set up a parallel government
of their own on the areas they effectively control while the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed
bands. There has been no let up on this groups' determination to wrest power from the govermnent. Not only
through resort to arms but also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreating chaos
and destabilizing the country.

Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation
attributed to Mr. Marcos and his cronies left the economy devastated. The efforts at economic recovery, three
years after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, have yet to show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the masses,
while the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has remained elusive.

Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. But Mrs. Aquino,
considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is
threatened from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly
on the decision to bar the return of Mr. Marcos and his family.

The Petition

This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, for the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile
after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and who within the short space of
three years seeks to return, is in a class by itself.

This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order the respondents to issue travel documents to
Mr. Marcos and the immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation of the President's decision
to bar their return to the Philippines.

The Issue

Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution, the
President may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines.

According to the petitioners, the resolution of the case would depend on the resolution of the following issues:

1. Does the President have the power to bar the return of former President Marcos and family to the Philippines?

a. Is this a political question?

2. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the
Philippines, in the interest of "national security, public safety or public health

a. Has the President made a finding that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is
a clear and present danger to national security, public safety or public health?

b. Assuming that she has made that finding

(1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with in making such finding?

(2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners?

(3) Has there been a hearing?

(4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with, has the President's decision, including the grounds
upon which it was based, been made known to petitioners so that they may controvert the same?

c. Is the President's determination that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a
clear and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health a political question?

d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the return of former President Marcos and his family is a
clear and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health, have respondents established such
fact?

3. Have the respondents, therefore, in implementing the President's decision to bar the return of former President
Marcos and his family, acted and would be acting without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave
abuse of discretion, in performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former President Marcos and
his family to the Philippines? [Memorandum for Petitioners, pp. 5-7; Rollo, pp. 234-236.1

The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is
guaranteed under the following provisions of the Bill of Rights, to wit:
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person
be denied the equal protection of the laws.

xxx xxx xxx

Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired
except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national
security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because
only a court may do so "within the limits prescribed by law." Nor may the President impair their right to travel
because no law has authorized her to do so. They advance the view that before the right to travel may be
impaired by any authority or agency of the government, there must be legislation to that effect.

The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right of Mr. Marcos and his family to return to the
Philippines is guaranteed.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides:

Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which had been ratified by the Philippines,
provides:

Article 12

1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement
and freedom to choose his residence.

2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are
necessary to protect national security, public order (order public), public health or morals or the rights and
freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

On the other hand, the respondents' principal argument is that the issue in this case involves a political question
which is non-justiciable. According to the Solicitor General:

As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and his
family have the right to travel and liberty of abode. Petitioners invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without
reference to attendant circumstances.

Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and
family have the right to return to the Philippines and reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the
President that such return and residence will endanger national security and public safety.

It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question is not a political question as it involves merely
a determination of what the law provides on the matter and application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos
and family. But when the question is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family
impinge on or collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the State to security and safety of its
nationals, the question becomes political and this Honorable Court can not consider it.

There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:


Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their
residence here? This is clearly a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide.

Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their
residence here even if their return and residence here will endanger national security and public safety? this is still
a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide.

Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family shall return to
the Philippines and establish their residence here? This is now a political question which this Honorable Court can
not decide for it falls within the exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines.
[Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.]

Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights. In support
thereof, they cite Article II of the Constitution, to wit:

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon
the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions
provided by law, to render personal, military, or civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of
the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and family from returning to the Philippines for
reasons of national security and public safety has international precedents. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican
Republic, Anastacio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio batista of Cuba, King Farouk
of Egypt, Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among
the deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented by their governments. [See Statement of
Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S. Manglapus, quoted in Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 26-32; Rollo, pp.
314-319.]

The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of presidential power and its limits. We,
however, view this issue in a different light. Although we give due weight to the parties' formulation of the issues,
we are not bound by its narrow confines in arriving at a solution to the controversy.

At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines of the right to travel and the
import of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the leading cases of Kent v. Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt
1113, 2 L Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v. Agee [453 U.S. 280, 101 SCt 2766, 69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to
travel and recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof, respectively.

It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines to other
countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right to travel would normally connote. Essentially, the right
involved is the right to return to one's country, a totally distinct right under international law, independent from
although related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a
state, the right to leave a country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. The
Declaration speaks of the "right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art.
13(l)] separately from the "right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." [Art. 13(2).]
On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his
residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave any country, including his own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights
may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals
or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It would therefore be
inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to return to one's country in the same context as those
pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel.

The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which
treats only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is our well-considered view that the right to return
may be considered, as a generally accepted principle of international law and, under our Constitution, is part of
the law of the land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution.] However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel
and enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, i.e., against being
"arbitrarily deprived" thereof [Art. 12 (4).]

Thus, the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the issuance of passports for the purpose of effectively
exercising the right to travel are not determinative of this case and are only tangentially material insofar as they
relate to a conflict between executive action and the exercise of a protected right. The issue before the Court is
novel and without precedent in Philippine, and even in American jurisprudence.

Consequently, resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of whether or not there can be limitations on the
right to travel in the absence of legislation to that effect is rendered unnecessary. An appropriate case for its
resolution will have to be awaited.

Having clarified the substance of the legal issue, we find now a need to explain the methodology for its resolution.
Our resolution of the issue will involve a two-tiered approach. We shall first resolve whether or not the President
has the power under the Constitution, to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. Then, we shall
determine, pursuant to the express power of the Court under the Constitution in Article VIII, Section 1, whether or
not the President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
when she determined that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious threat to national interest
and welfare and decided to bar their return.

Executive Power

The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of the three great branches of government. To
recall the words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], "the Constitution has
blocked but with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial
departments of the government." [At 157.1 Thus, the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative
power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines" Art VI, Sec. 11, "[t]he executive power shall bevested in
the President of the Philippines" [Art. VII, Sec. 11, and "[te judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court
and in such lower courts as may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1.] These provisions not only establish a
separation of powers by actual division [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra] but also confer plenary
legislative, executive and judicial powers subject only to limitations provided in the Constitution. For as the
Supreme Court in Ocampo v. Cabangis [15 Phil. 626 (1910)] pointed out "a grant of the legislative power means a
grant of all legislative power; and a grant of the judicial power means a grant of all the judicial power which may
be exercised under the government." [At 631-632.1 If this can be said of the legislative power which is exercised
by two chambers with a combined membership of more than two hundred members and of the judicial power
which is vested in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally be said of the executive power which is vested in one
official the President.

As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the
Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is meant by executive power" although in the
same article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all
executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws, the appointing power, the powers
under the commander-in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, the power to
grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to
enter into treaties or international agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to
address Congress [Art. VII, Sec. 14-23].

The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the
Constitution intend that the President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are these se enumerated
powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are
limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has
enumerated powers, and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. Inclusion unius est exclusio
alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4- Rollo p. 233.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the U.S.
Presidency after which ours is legally patterned.**

Corwin, in his monumental volume on the President of the United States grappled with the same problem. He
said:
Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To those who think that a constitution ought to
settle everything beforehand it should be a nightmare; by the same token, to those who think that constitution
makers ought to leave considerable leeway for the future play of political forces, it should be a vision realized.

We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: "The executive power shall be vested in a
President of the United States of America." . . .. [The President: Office and Powers, 17871957, pp. 3-4.]

Reviewing how the powers of the U.S. President were exercised by the different persons who held the office from
Washington to the early 1900's, and the swing from the presidency by commission to Lincoln's dictatorship, he
concluded that "what the presidency is at any particular moment depends in important measure on who is
President." [At 30.]

This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial Presidency:

For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution. it remained of course, an agency of
government subject to unvarying demands and duties no remained, of cas President. But, more than most
agencies of government, it changed shape, intensity and ethos according to the man in charge. Each President's
distinctive temperament and character, his values, standards, style, his habits, expectations, Idiosyncrasies,
compulsions, phobias recast the WhiteHouse and pervaded the entire government. The executive branch, said
Clark Clifford, was a chameleon, taking its color from the character and personality of the President. The thrust of
the office, its impact on the constitutional order, therefore altered from President to President. Above all, the way
each President understood it as his personal obligation to inform and involve the Congress, to earn and hold the
confidence of the electorate and to render an accounting to the nation and posterity determined whether he
strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. [At 212- 213.]

We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. Aquino says it is or what she does but, rather, that the
consideration of tradition and the development of presidential power under the different constitutions are essential
for a complete understanding of the extent of and limitations to the President's powers under the 1987
Constitution. The 1935 Constitution created a strong President with explicitly broader powers than the U.S.
President. The 1973 Constitution attempted to modify the system of government into the parliamentary type, with
the President as a mere figurehead, but through numerous amendments, the President became even more
powerful, to the point that he was also the de facto Legislature. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the
presidential system of government and restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by
their actual distribution among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the
President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to
the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution
of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve
the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise
of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of
"executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers
enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so
enumerated,

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to
be executive. Thus, in the landmark decision of Springer v. Government of the Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189
(1928), on the issue of who between the Governor-General of the Philippines and the Legislature may vote the
shares of stock held by the Government to elect directors in the National Coal Company and the Philippine
National Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the power of the Governor-General to do so, said:

...Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the "board" and "committee" respectively, are
not charged with the performance of any legislative functions or with the doing of anything which is in aid of
performance of any such functions by the legislature. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the
duties devolved upon these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General, it is clear that they
are not legislative in character, and still more clear that they are not judicial. The fact that they do not fall within the
authority of either of these two constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that of the
remaining one among which the powers of government are divided ....[At 202-203; Emphasis supplied.]

We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. But in his enduring words of dissent we find
reinforcement for the view that it would indeed be a folly to construe the powers of a branch of government to
embrace only what are specifically mentioned in the Constitution:

The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more
specific of them are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other. ....

xxx xxx xxx

It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and
cannot carry out the distinction between legislative and executive action with mathematical precision and divide
the branches into watertight compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far from believing that it
is, or that the Constitution requires. [At 210- 211.]

The Power Involved

The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and
protect the people" and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order,the protection of life, liberty, and property, and
the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of
democracy." [Art. II, Secs. 4 and 5.]

Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty
and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide governmental action. But
such does not mean that they are empty words. Thus, in the exercise of presidential functions, in drawing a plan
of government, and in directing implementing action for these plans, or from another point of view, in making any
decision as President of the Republic, the President has to consider these principles, among other things, and
adhere to them.

Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the Philippines, the
President is, under the Constitution, constrained to consider these basic principles in arriving at a decision. More
than that, having sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, the President has the obligation under the
Constitution to protect the people, promote their welfare and advance the national interest. It must be borne in
mind that the Constitution, aside from being an allocation of power is also a social contract whereby the people
have surrendered their sovereign powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers of the
Government exercising the powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers,
the Constitution reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all government authority
emanates from them." [Art. II, Sec. 1.]

The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the country are the
deposed dictator and his family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from whom billions of dollars
believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither
absolute nor inflexible. For the exercise of even the preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although
couched in absolute terms, admits of limits and must be adjusted to the requirements of equally important public
interests [Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, October 7, 1981.]

To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise
of rights of certain individuals. The power involved is the President's residual power to protect the general welfare
of the people. It is founded on the duty of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Theodore
Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the
Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand [See Corwin, supra, at 153]. It is a power borne by
the President's duty to preserve and defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the
President's duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the
author advances the view that an allowance of discretionary power is unavoidable in any government and is best
lodged in the President].
More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace. Rossiter The
American Presidency].The power of the President to keep the peace is not limited merely to exercising the
commander-in-chief powers in times of emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to
its existence. The President is not only clothed with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also
tasked with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and order and ensuring domestic
tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law, in
fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency
specified in the commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration
of powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the President's exercising as Commander-in- Chief powers short
of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law,
in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security.

That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has been recognized
by memembers of the Legislature, and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives
and signed by 103 of its members urging the President to allow Mr. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a
genuine unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to
uncompromising respect for human rights under the Constitution and our laws." [House Resolution No. 1342,
Rollo, p. 321.1 The Resolution does not question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the
Philippines, rather, it appeals to the President's sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his
country.

What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the
Philippines cannot be considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode
and the right to travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations
even remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those
residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and correlative to the paramount duty residing in
that office to safeguard and protect general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the
exercise of a broader discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.

The Extent of Review

Under the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government." [Art. VIII, Sec. 1] Given this wording, we cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue
constitutes a political question which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court to decide.

The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry
into areas which the Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to the political departments to
decide. But nonetheless there remain issues beyond the Court's jurisdiction the determination of which is
exclusively for the President, for Congress or for the people themselves through a plebiscite or referendum. We
cannot, for example, question the President's recognition of a foreign government, no matter how premature or
improvident such action may appear. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it may appear to us that
the beneficiary is totally undeserving of the grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of resolving
a dispute brought before us because the power is reserved to the people.

There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our determination thereof on the political question doctrine.
The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission cited by petitioners show that the framers intended to widen
the scope of judicial review but they did not intend courts of justice to settle all actual controversies before them.
When political questions are involved, the Constitution limits the determination to whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is
being questioned. If grave abuse is not established, the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the official
concerned and decide a matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to decide. In this light, it would
appear clear that the second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, defining "judicial power,"
which specifically empowers the courts to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government, incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling
in Lansang v. Garcia [G.R. No. L-33964, December 11, 1971, 42 SCRA 4481 that:]

Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to the principle of separation of powers underlying our system of
government, the Executive is supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of powers, under the
Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand in hand with the system of checks and balances, under
which the Executive is supreme, as regards the suspension of the privilege, but only if and when he acts within
the sphere alloted to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is
vested in the Judicial Department, which, in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme. In the exercise of
such authority, the function of the Court is merely to check — not to supplant the Executive, or to ascertain merely
whether he has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in him or
to determine the wisdom of his act [At 479-480.]

Accordingly, the question for the Court to determine is whether or not there exist factual bases for the President to
conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines. If such postulates
do exist, it cannot be said that she has acted, or acts, arbitrarily or that she has gravely abused her discretion in
deciding to bar their return.

We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral arguments, and the facts revealed during the
briefing in chambers by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Adviser,
wherein petitioners and respondents were represented, there exist factual bases for the President's decision..

The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from within by a
well-organized communist insurgency, a separatist movement in Mindanao, rightist conspiracies to grab power,
urban terrorism, the murder with impunity of military men, police officers and civilian officials, to mention only a
few. The documented history of the efforts of the Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country, as
earlier narrated in this ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of the Marcoses at this time would only
exacerbate and intensify the violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos.

As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be contained. The military establishment has
given assurances that it could handle the threats posed by particular groups. But it is the catalytic effect of the
return of the Marcoses that may prove to be the proverbial final straw that would break the camel's back. With
these before her, the President cannot be said to have acted arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in
determining that the return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the national interest and welfare and in
prohibiting their return.

It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of violence
against the State, that would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the commander-in-chief powers
granted her by the Constitution to suppress or stamp out such violence. The State, acting through the
Government, is not precluded from taking pre- emptive action against threats to its existence if, though still
nascent they are perceived as apt to become serious and direct. Protection of the people is the essence of the
duty of government. The preservation of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the
highest order. The President, sworn to preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the
laws, cannot shirk from that responsibility.

We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships brought
about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives, many of
whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize the country, while the Government has barely
scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in
foreign jurisdictions. Then, We cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the
excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the
root causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of
common knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice.

The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the
gains achieved during the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. Given what is within our individual
and common knowledge of the state of the economy, we cannot argue with that determination.

WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave
abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present time
and under present circumstances poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their
return to the Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 118295 May 2, 1997

WIGBERTO E. TAÑADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG, as members of the Philippine Senate and as
taxpayers; GREGORIO ANDOLANA and JOKER ARROYO as members of the House of Representatives
and as taxpayers; NICANOR P. PERLAS and HORACIO R. MORALES, both as taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES
UNION, NATIONAL ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM ASSOCIATION, CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE
DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES, LIKAS-KAYANG KAUNLARAN FOUNDATION, INC., PHILIPPINE RURAL
RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT, DEMOKRATIKONG KILUSAN NG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS, INC., and
PHILIPPINE PEASANT INSTITUTE, in representation of various taxpayers and as non-governmental
organizations, petitioners, 

vs.

EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-SHAHANI, HEHERSON ALVAREZ, AGAPITO
AQUINO, RODOLFO BIAZON, NEPTALI GONZALES, ERNESTO HERRERA, JOSE LINA, GLORIA.
MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, ORLANDO MERCADO, BLAS OPLE, JOHN OSMEÑA, SANTANINA RASUL,
RAMON REVILLA, RAUL ROCO, FRANCISCO TATAD and FREDDIE WEBB, in their respective capacities
as members of the Philippine Senate who concurred in the ratification by the President of the Philippines
of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization; SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as
Secretary of Budget and Management; CARIDAD VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National Treasurer;
RIZALINO NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade and Industry; ROBERTO SEBASTIAN, in his
capacity as Secretary of Agriculture; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance;
ROBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, in his
capacity as Executive Secretary, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, abetted by the membership thereto of the
vast majority of countries has revolutionized international business and economic relations amongst states. It has
irreversibly propelled the world towards trade liberalization and economic globalization. Liberalization,
globalization, deregulation and privatization, the third-millennium buzz words, are ushering in a new borderless
world of business by sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore traditional modes of promoting and
protecting national economies like tariffs, export subsidies, import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions
and currency controls. Finding market niches and becoming the best in specific industries in a market-driven and
export-oriented global scenario are replacing age-old "beggar-thy-neighbor" policies that unilaterally protect weak
and inefficient domestic producers of goods and services. In the words of Peter Drucker, the well-known
management guru, "Increased participation in the world economy has become the key to domestic economic
growth and prosperity."

Brief Historical Background

To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the Second World War, plans for the establishment
of three multilateral institutions — inspired by that grand political body, the United Nations — were discussed at
Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton Woods. The first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address the rehabilitation
and reconstruction of war-ravaged and later developing countries; the second, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the third, the International Trade Organization (ITO), which
was to foster order and predictability in world trade and to minimize unilateral protectionist policies that invite
challenge, even retaliation, from other states. However, for a variety of reasons, including its non-ratification by the
United States, the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never took off. What remained was only GATT — the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties governing access to the economies of treaty
adherents with no institutionalized body administering the agreements or dependable system of dispute
settlement.

After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, principally the Kennedy Round, the Tokyo Round
and the Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth to that administering body — the World Trade Organization —
with the signing of the "Final Act" in Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO Agreement by its
members.1

Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as a founding member with the goal, as
articulated by President Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate (infra), of improving "Philippine access to
foreign markets, especially its major trading partners, through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly
agricultural and industrial products." The President also saw in the WTO the opening of "new opportunities for the
services sector . . . , (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty associated with exporting . . . , and (the attraction of)
more investments into the country." Although the Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in his letter, the
Philippines — and this is of special interest to the legal profession — will benefit from the WTO system of dispute
settlement by judicial adjudication through the independent WTO settlement bodies called (1) Dispute Settlement
Panels and (2) Appellate Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly through negotiations where
solutions were arrived at frequently on the basis of relative bargaining strengths, and where naturally, weak and
underdeveloped countries were at a disadvantage.

The Petition in Brief

Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines "to place nationals and products of member-countries on
the same footing as Filipinos and local products" and (2) that the WTO "intrudes, limits and/or impairs" the
constitutional powers of both Congress and the Supreme Court, the instant petition before this Court assails the
WTO Agreement for violating the mandate of the 1987 Constitution to "develop a self-reliant and independent
national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos . . . (to) give preference to qualified Filipinos (and to) promote
the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods."

Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine participation in worldwide trade liberalization
and economic globalization? Does it proscribe Philippine integration into a global economy that is liberalized,
deregulated and privatized? These are the main questions raised in this petition for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying (1) for the nullification, on constitutional grounds, of
the concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement
Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity) and (2) for the prohibition of its
implementation and enforcement through the release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of public
officials and employees, as well as the use of government properties and resources by respondent-heads of
various executive offices concerned therewith. This concurrence is embodied in Senate Resolution No. 97, dated
December 14, 1994.

The Facts

On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of The Department of Trade and Industry
(Secretary Navarro, for brevity), representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, signed in
Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations
(Final Act, for brevity).

By signing the Final Act,2 Secretary Navarro on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, agreed:

(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities,
with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and

(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.

On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received a letter dated August 11, 1994 from the
President of the Philippines,3 stating among others that "the Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the
Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution."
On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received another letter from the President of the
Philippines4 likewise dated August 11, 1994, which stated among others that "the Uruguay Round Final Act, the
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services are hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence
pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution."

On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the necessity of the immediate adoption of P.S.
1083, a resolution entitled "Concurring in the Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization."5

On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution No. 97 which "Resolved, as it is hereby
resolved, that the Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization."6 The text of the WTO Agreement is written on pages
137 et seq. of Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and includes various
agreements and associated legal instruments (identified in the said Agreement as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto and
collectively referred to as Multilateral Trade Agreements, for brevity) as follows:

ANNEX 1

Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in Goods



General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994

Agreement on Agriculture

Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and

Phytosanitary Measures

Agreement on Textiles and Clothing 

Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade

Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures

Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of he 

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

1994

Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the

General on Tariffs and Trade 1994

Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection 

Agreement on Rules of Origin

Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures

Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating

Measures

Agreement on Safeguards

Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services and Annexes

Annex 1C: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual



Property Rights

ANNEX 2

Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing



the Settlement of Disputes

ANNEX 3

Trade Policy Review Mechanism

On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed7 the Instrument of Ratification, declaring:

NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, after
having seen and considered the aforementioned Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the
agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that
Agreement which are integral parts thereof, signed at Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April 1994, do hereby ratify and
confirm the same and every Article and Clause thereof.

To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the Philippines is composed of the Agreement
Proper and "the associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement
which are integral parts thereof."

On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro embodies not only the WTO Agreement (and its
integral annexes aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions and (2) the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996,8 the Solicitor
General describes these two latter documents as follows:

The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are twenty-five declarations and decisions on a wide range of matters,
such as measures in favor of least developed countries, notification procedures, relationship of WTO with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), and agreements on technical barriers to trade and on dispute settlement.

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services dwell on, among other things, standstill or limitations
and qualifications of commitments to existing non-conforming measures, market access, national treatment, and
definitions of non-resident supplier of financial services, commercial presence and new financial service.

On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful deliberation on respondents' comment and
petitioners' reply thereto, the Court resolved on December 12, 1995, to give due course to the petition, and the
parties thereafter filed their respective memoranda. The court also requested the Honorable Lilia R. Bautista, the
Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper, hereafter
referred to as "Bautista Paper,"9 for brevity, (1) providing a historical background of and (2) summarizing the said
agreements.

During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court directed:

(a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate Committee Report on the matter in controversy and (2) the transcript of
proceedings/hearings in the Senate; and

(b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for respondents, to file (1) a list of Philippine treaties signed prior to the
Philippine adherence to the WTO Agreement, which derogate from Philippine sovereignty and (2) copies of the
multi-volume WTO Agreement and other documents mentioned in the Final Act, as soon as possible.

After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would consider the case submitted for resolution. In a
Compliance dated September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General submitted a printed copy of the 36-volume Uruguay
Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October 24, 1996, he listed the
various "bilateral or multilateral treaties or international instruments involving derogation of Philippine sovereignty."
Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance dated January 28, 1997, on January 30, 1997.

The Issues

In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners summarized the issues as follows:

A. Whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable.

B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate who participated in the deliberations and voting leading to the
concurrence are estopped from impugning the validity of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization or of the validity of the concurrence.

C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization contravene the provisions
of Sec. 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, all of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization unduly limit, restrict and
impair Philippine sovereignty specifically the legislative power which, under Sec. 2, Article VI, 1987 Philippine
Constitution is "vested in the Congress of the Philippines";
E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization interfere with the exercise of
judicial power.

F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the constitutionally-infirm Agreement
Establishing the World Trade Organization.

G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction when they concurred only in the ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization, and not with the Presidential submission which included the Final Act, Ministerial Declaration and
Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.

On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents "synthesized the several issues raised by
petitioners into the following": 10

1. Whether or not the provisions of the "Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the
Agreements and Associated Legal Instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that
agreement" cited by petitioners directly contravene or undermine the letter, spirit and intent of Section 19, Article II
and Sections 10 and 12, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.

2. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement unduly limit, restrict or impair the exercise of legislative
power by Congress.

3. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement impair the exercise of judicial power by this Honorable
Court in promulgating the rules of evidence.

4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate "in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the
Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization" implied rejection of the treaty embodied in the Final Act.

By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented by petitioners, the Solicitor General has
effectively ignored three, namely: (1) whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not
justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-members of the Senate (Wigberto E. Tañada and Anna Dominique Coseteng)
are estopped from joining this suit; and (3) whether the respondent-members of the Senate acted in grave abuse
of discretion when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the WTO Agreement. The foregoing
notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with these three issues thus:

(1) The "political question" issue — being very fundamental and vital, and being a matter that probes into the very
jurisdiction of this Court to hear and decide this case — was deliberated upon by the Court and will thus be ruled
upon as the first issue;

(2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this defense is waivable and the respondents have
effectively waived it by not pursuing it in any of their pleadings; in any event, this issue, even if ruled in
respondents' favor, will not cause the petition's dismissal as there are petitioners other than the two senators, who
are not vulnerable to the defense of estoppel; and

(3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent senators will be taken up as an
integral part of the disposition of the four issues raised by the Solicitor General.

During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the respondents did not question the locus standi of
petitioners. Hence, they are also deemed to have waived the benefit of such issue. They probably realized that
grave constitutional issues, expenditures of public funds and serious international commitments of the nation are
involved here, and that transcendental public interest requires that the substantive issues be met head on and
decided on the merits, rather than skirted or deflected by procedural matters. 11

To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are:

(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE STATED, DOES THE
PETITION INVOLVE A POLITICAL QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION?
(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES CONTRAVENE SEC. 19,
ARTICLE II, AND SECS. 10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?

(3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT, OR IMPAIR THE
EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE POWER BY CONGRESS?

(4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL POWER BY
THIS COURT IN PROMULGATING RULES ON EVIDENCE?

(5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES SUFFICIENT
AND/OR VALID, CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT, MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS
AND DECISIONS, AND THE UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?

The First Issue: Does the Court



Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy?

In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition
no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have
infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute.
"The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the
supremacy of the Constitution is upheld." 12 Once a "controversy as to the application or interpretation of a
constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the
Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide." 13

The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters 14 raised in the petition is clearly set out in the 1987
Constitution, 15 as follows:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.

The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial department's duty and power to strike down grave abuse of discretion
on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government including Congress. It is an innovation in our political
law. 16As explained by former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, 17 "the judiciary is the final arbiter on the
question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess
of jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. This is
not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature."

As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, 18 it will not shirk, digress from or abandon its
sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought
before it in appropriate cases, committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government.

As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this petition should be given due course and the
vital questions raised therein ruled upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when
proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have no equivocation.

We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not review the wisdom of the
decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting the country into the WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade
liberalization as a policy espoused by said international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the
government's economic policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and other
import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty "to determine whether or not there had
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in ratifying
the WTO Agreement and its three annexes.

Second Issue: The WTO Agreement



and Economic Nationalism
This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.

Petitioners vigorously argue that the "letter, spirit and intent" of the Constitution mandating "economic nationalism"
are violated by the so-called "parity provisions" and "national treatment" clauses scattered in various parts not
only of the WTO Agreement and its annexes but also in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and in the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.

Specifically, the "flagship" constitutional provisions referred to are Sec 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article
XII, of the Constitution, which are worded as follows:

Article II

DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES

AND STATE POLICIES

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by
Filipinos.

xxx xxx xxx

Article XII

NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 10. . . . The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises
whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos.

In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall
give preference to qualified Filipinos.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced
goods, and adopt measures that help make them competitive.

Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are desecrated by the following WTO provisions quoted
in their memorandum: 19

a) In the area of investment measures related to trade in goods (TRIMS, for brevity):

Article 2

National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions.

1. Without prejudice to other rights and obligations under GATT 1994, no Member shall apply any TRIM that is
inconsistent with the provisions of Article II or Article XI of GATT 1994.

2. An illustrative list of TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative
restrictions provided for in paragraph I of Article XI of GATT 1994 is contained in the Annex to this
Agreement." (Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p.
22121, emphasis supplied).

The Annex referred to reads as follows:


ANNEX

Illustrative List

1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national treatment provided for in paragraph 4 of Article III of
GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic law or under administrative rulings,
or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which require:

(a) the purchase or use by an enterprise of products of domestic origin or from any domestic source, whether
specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of proportion of
volume or value of its local production; or

(b) that an enterprise's purchases or use of imported products be limited to an amount related to the volume or
value of local products that it exports.

2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in
paragraph 1 of Article XI of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic laws or
under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which restrict:

(a) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to the local production that it exports;

(b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local production by restricting its access to
foreign exchange inflows attributable to the enterprise; or

(c) the exportation or sale for export specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of
products, or in terms of a preparation of volume or value of its local production. (Annex to the Agreement on
Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round Legal Documents, p. 22125, emphasis supplied).

The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 referred to is quoted as follows:

The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other contracting party shall
be accorded treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like products of national origin in respect of laws,
regulations and requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or
use, the provisions of this paragraph shall not prevent the application of differential internal transportation charges
which are based exclusively on the economic operation of the means of transport and not on the nationality of the
product." (Article III, GATT 1947, as amended by the Protocol Modifying Part II, and Article XXVI of GATT, 14
September 1948, 62 UMTS 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
1994, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments p. 177, emphasis supplied).

(b) In the area of trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS, for brevity):

Each Member shall accord to the nationals of other Members treatment no less favourable than that it accords to
its own nationals with regard to the protection of intellectual property. . . (par. 1 Article 3, Agreement on Trade-
Related Aspect of Intellectual Property rights, Vol. 31, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p. 25432 (emphasis
supplied)

(c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade in Services:

National Treatment

1. In the sectors inscribed in its schedule, and subject to any conditions and qualifications set out therein, each
Member shall accord to services and service suppliers of any other Member, in respect of all measures affecting
the supply of services, treatment no less favourable than it accords to its own like services and service suppliers.

2. A Member may meet the requirement of paragraph I by according to services and service suppliers of any other
Member, either formally suppliers of any other Member, either formally identical treatment or formally different
treatment to that it accords to its own like services and service suppliers.
3. Formally identical or formally different treatment shall be considered to be less favourable if it modifies the
conditions of completion in favour of services or service suppliers of the Member compared to like services or
service suppliers of any other Member. (Article XVII, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Vol. 28, Uruguay
Round Legal Instruments, p. 22610 emphasis supplied).

It is petitioners' position that the foregoing "national treatment" and "parity provisions" of the WTO Agreement
"place nationals and products of member countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products," in
contravention of the "Filipino First" policy of the Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase
"effectively controlled by Filipinos." The constitutional conflict becomes more manifest when viewed in the context
of the clear duty imposed on the Philippines as a WTO member to ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations
and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed agreements. 20 Petitioners further
argue that these provisions contravene constitutional limitations on the role exports play in national development
and negate the preferential treatment accorded to Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods.

On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General counter (1) that such Charter provisions are not
self-executing and merely set out general policies; (2) that these nationalistic portions of the Constitution invoked
by petitioners should not be read in isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art. XII,
particularly Secs. 1 and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the cited WTO clauses do not conflict with Constitution;
and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to protect developing countries like the Philippines
from the harshness of sudden trade liberalization.

We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.

Declaration of Principles

Not Self-Executing

By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a "declaration of principles and state policies." The counterpart of
this article in the 1935 Constitution 21 is called the "basic political creed of the nation" by Dean Vicente
Sinco. 22 These principles in Article II are not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement
through the courts. 23They are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its power of judicial
review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the leading case of Kilosbayan, Incorporated
vs. Morato, 24 the principles and state policies enumerated in Article II and some sections of Article XII are not
"self-executing provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of action in the courts. They do not
embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation."

In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor 25 that broad constitutional principles need legislative enactments
to implement the, thus:

On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personal Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth)
of Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987
Constitution, suffice it to state also that these are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they are
basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such
principles.

In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement
through the courts. They were rather directives addressed to the executive and to the legislature. If the executive
and the legislature failed to heed the directives of the article, the available remedy was not judicial but political.
The electorate could express their displeasure with the failure of the executive and the legislature through the
language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2).

The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of board constitutional principles are
sourced from basic considerations of due process and the lack of judicial authority to wade "into the uncharted
ocean of social and economic policy making." Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion
in Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr., 26 explained these reasons as follows:

My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific legal right — a right cast
in language of a significantly lower order of generality than Article II (15) of the Constitution — that is or may be
violated by the actions, or failures to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can
validly render judgment grating all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind, the court should be understood as
simply saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may well exist in our corpus of law, considering the
general policy principles found in the Constitution and the existence of the Philippine Environment Code, and that
the trial court should have given petitioners an effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the
proceedings on a motion to dismiss.

It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a cause of action be a specific,
operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at least two (2) reasons. One is that unless
the legal right claimed to have been violated or disregarded is given specification in operational terms, defendants
may well be unable to defend themselves intelligently and effectively; in other words, there are due process
dimensions to this matter.

The second is a broader-gauge consideration — where a specific violation of law or applicable regulation is not
alleged or proved, petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded conception of judicial power in the
second paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution which reads:

Sec. 1. . . .

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
(Emphasis supplied)

When substantive standards as general as "the right to a balanced and healthy ecology" and "the right to health"
are combined with remedial standards as broad ranging as "a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction," the result will be, it is respectfully submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of
social and economic policy making. At least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and
management, our courts have no claim to special technical competence and experience and professional
qualification. Where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the policy making
departments — the legislative and executive departments — must be given a real and effective opportunity to
fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement them before the courts should intervene.

Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with



Other Constitutional Mandates to Attain

Balanced Development of Economy

On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely laying down general principles relating to the
national economy and patrimony, should be read and understood in relation to the other sections in said article,
especially Secs. 1 and 13 thereof which read:

Sec. 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth;
a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people;
and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged.

The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and
agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are
competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against
unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum
opportunity to develop. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and
arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity.

As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic goals of national economic development, as
follows:
1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;

2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services provided by the nation for the benefit of the people;
and

3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged.

With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals of economic nationalism (1) by expressing
preference in favor of qualified Filipinos "in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national
economy and patrimony" 27 and in the use of "Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced goods"; (2)
by mandating the State to "adopt measures that help make them competitive; 28 and (3) by requiring the State to
"develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos." 29 In similar
language, the Constitution takes into account the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit of "a trade
policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality
ad reciprocity"; 30 and speaks of industries "which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets" as well
as of the protection of "Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices."

It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service Insurance System, et al., 31 this
Court held that "Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is
complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rule for its enforcement. From its
very words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in operation. It is per se judicially enforceable."
However, as the constitutional provision itself states, it is enforceable only in regard to "the grants of rights,
privileges and concessions covering national economy and patrimony" and not to every aspect of trade and
commerce. It refers to exceptions rather than the rule. The issue here is not whether this paragraph of Sec. 10 of
Art. XII is self-executing or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule, there are enough balancing provisions in
the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the WTO Agreement. And we hold that
there are.

All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises,
at the same time, it recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the world on the bases of equality
and reciprocity and limits protection of Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices
that are unfair. 32 In other words, the Constitution did not intend to pursue an isolationist policy. It did not shut out
foreign investments, goods and services in the development of the Philippine economy. While the Constitution
does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods, services and investments into the country, it does not
prohibit them either. In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign
competition that is unfair.

WTO Recognizes Need to



Protect Weak Economies

Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has some built-in advantages to protect weak and
developing economies, which comprise the vast majority of its members. Unlike in the UN where major states
have permanent seats and veto powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on the basis of
sovereign equality, with each member's vote equal in weight to that of any other. There is no WTO equivalent of
the UN Security Council.

WTO decides by consensus whenever possible, otherwise, decisions of the Ministerial Conference and the
General Council shall be taken by the majority of the votes cast, except in cases of interpretation of the
Agreement or waiver of the obligation of a member which would require three fourths vote. Amendments would
require two thirds vote in general. Amendments to MFN provisions and the Amendments provision will require
assent of all members. Any member may withdraw from the Agreement upon the expiration of six months from the
date of notice of withdrawals. 33

Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more effectively through the WTO than through one-on-
one negotiations with developed countries. Within the WTO, developing countries can form powerful blocs to push
their economic agenda more decisively than outside the Organization. This is not merely a matter of practical
alliances but a negotiating strategy rooted in law. Thus, the basic principles underlying the WTO Agreement
recognize the need of developing countries like the Philippines to "share in the growth in international
trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development." These basic principles are found in the
preamble 34of the WTO Agreement as follows:

The Parties to this Agreement,

Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to
raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and
effective demand, and expanding the production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the optimal
use of the world's resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect
and preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with their respective
needs and concerns at different levels of economic development,

Recognizing further that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and
especially the least developed among them, secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate
with the needs of their economic development,

Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous
arrangements directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the elimination of
discriminatory treatment in international trade relations,

Resolved, therefore, to develop an integrated, more viable and durable multilateral trading system encompassing
the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the results of past trade liberalization efforts, and all of the results of
the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations,

Determined to preserve the basic principles and to further the objectives underlying this multilateral trading
system, . . . (emphasis supplied.)

Specific WTO Provisos



Protect Developing Countries

So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and consistent with the foregoing basic principles, the
WTO Agreement grants developing countries a more lenient treatment, giving their domestic industries some
protection from the rush of foreign competition. Thus, with respect to tariffs in general, preferential treatment is
given to developing countries in terms of the amount of tariff reduction and the period within which the reduction is
to be spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an average tariff reduction rate of 36% for developed countries to be
effected within a period of six (6) years while developing countries — including the Philippines — are required to
effect an average tariff reduction of only 24% within ten (10) years.

In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed countries to reduce domestic support to agricultural
products by 20% over six (6) years, as compared to only 13% for developing countries to be effected within ten
(10) years.

In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT requires developed countries to reduce their budgetary
outlays for export subsidy by 36% and export volumes receiving export subsidy by 21% within a period of six (6)
years. For developing countries, however, the reduction rate is only two-thirds of that prescribed for developed
countries and a longer period of ten (10) years within which to effect such reduction.

Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair foreign competition and trade practices including
anti-dumping measures, countervailing measures and safeguards against import surges. Where local businesses
are jeopardized by unfair foreign competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures. There is hardly
therefore any basis for the statement that under the WTO, local industries and enterprises will all be wiped out
and that Filipinos will be deprived of control of the economy. Quite the contrary, the weaker situations of
developing nations like the Philippines have been taken into account; thus, there would be no basis to say that in
joining the WTO, the respondents have gravely abused their discretion. True, they have made a bold decision to
steer the ship of state into the yet uncharted sea of economic liberalization. But such decision cannot be set aside
on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, simply because we disagree with it or simply because we believe only
in other economic policies. As earlier stated, the Court in taking jurisdiction of this case will not pass upon the
advantages and disadvantages of trade liberalization as an economic policy. It will only perform its constitutional
duty of determining whether the Senate committed grave abuse of discretion.
Constitution Does Not

Rule Out Foreign Competition

Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a "self-reliant and independent national economy" 35 does not necessarily
rule out the entry of foreign investments, goods and services. It contemplates neither "economic seclusion" nor
"mendicancy in the international community." As explained by Constitutional Commissioner Bernardo Villegas,
sponsor of this constitutional policy:

Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a developing country that is keenly aware of overdependence on
external assistance for even its most basic needs. It does not mean autarky or economic seclusion; rather, it
means avoiding mendicancy in the international community. Independence refers to the freedom from undue
foreign control of the national economy, especially in such strategic industries as in the development of natural
resources and public utilities. 36

The WTO reliance on "most favored nation," "national treatment," and "trade without discrimination" cannot be
struck down as unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality and reciprocity that apply to all WTO members.
Aside from envisioning a trade policy based on "equality and reciprocity," 37 the fundamental law encourages
industries that are "competitive in both domestic and foreign markets," thereby demonstrating a clear policy
against a sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the gradual development of robust industries
that can compete with the best in the foreign markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino enterprises have
shown capability and tenacity to compete internationally. And given a free trade environment, Filipino
entrepreneurs and managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the Filipino capacity to grow and to prosper against
the best offered under a policy of laissez faire.

Constitution Favors Consumers,



Not Industries or Enterprises

The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in favor of any business or enterprise, nor does it
contain any specific pronouncement that Filipino companies should be pampered with a total proscription of
foreign competition. On the other hand, respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make available to the Filipino
consumer the best goods and services obtainable anywhere in the world at the most reasonable prices.
Consequently, the question boils down to whether WTO/GATT will favor the general welfare of the public at large.

Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the general welfare) to reality?

Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos' general welfare because it will — as promised by its
promoters — expand the country's exports and generate more employment?

Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and quality products at the most reasonable rates to
the Filipino public?

The responses to these questions involve "judgment calls" by our policy makers, for which they are answerable to
our people during appropriate electoral exercises. Such questions and the answers thereto are not subject to
judicial pronouncements based on grave abuse of discretion.

Constitution Designed to Meet



Future Events and Contingencies

No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when the Constitution was drafted and ratified in 1987.
That does not mean however that the Charter is necessarily flawed in the sense that its framers might not have
anticipated the advent of a borderless world of business. By the same token, the United Nations was not yet in
existence when the 1935 Constitution became effective. Did that necessarily mean that the then Constitution
might not have contemplated a diminution of the absoluteness of sovereignty when the Philippines signed the UN
Charter, thereby effectively surrendering part of its control over its foreign relations to the decisions of various UN
organs like the Security Council?

It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are designed to meet not only the vagaries of contemporary
events. They should be interpreted to cover even future and unknown circumstances. It is to the credit of its
drafters that a Constitution can withstand the assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same time bend with the
refreshing winds of change necessitated by unfolding events. As one eminent political law writer and respected
jurist 38explains:

The Constitution must be quintessential rather than superficial, the root and not the blossom, the base and frame-
work only of the edifice that is yet to rise. It is but the core of the dream that must take shape, not in a twinkling by
mandate of our delegates, but slowly "in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts," where it will in time develop its
sinews and gradually gather its strength and finally achieve its substance. In fine, the Constitution cannot, like the
goddess Athena, rise full-grown from the brow of the Constitutional Convention, nor can it conjure by mere fiat an
instant Utopia. It must grow with the society it seeks to re-structure and march apace with the progress of the
race, drawing from the vicissitudes of history the dynamism and vitality that will keep it, far from becoming a
petrified rule, a pulsing, living law attuned to the heartbeat of the nation.

Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power

The WTO Agreement provides that "(e)ach Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and
administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements." 39 Petitioners maintain that
this undertaking "unduly limits, restricts and impairs Philippine sovereignty, specifically the legislative power which
under Sec. 2, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the Congress of the Philippines. It is an
assault on the sovereign powers of the Philippines because this means that Congress could not pass legislation
that will be good for our national interest and general welfare if such legislation will not conform with the WTO
Agreement, which not only relates to the trade in goods . . . but also to the flow of investments and money . . . as
well as to a whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters . . . 40

More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso derogates from the power to tax, which is lodged in the
Congress. 41 And while the Constitution allows Congress to authorize the President to fix tariff rates, import and
export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, such authority is subject to "specified
limits and . . . such limitations and restrictions" as Congress may provide, 42 as in fact it did under Sec. 401 of the
Tariff and Customs Code.

Sovereignty Limited by



International Law and Treaties

This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which petitioners stressed their arguments on this
issue. However, while sovereignty has traditionally been deemed absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic
level, it is however subject to restrictions and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines, expressly or
impliedly, as a member of the family of nations. Unquestionably, the Constitution did not envision a hermit-type
isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its Declaration of Principles and State Policies, the
Constitution "adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and
adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity, with all nations." 43 By the
doctrine of incorporation, the country is bound by generally accepted principles of international law, which are
considered to be automatically part of our own laws. 44 One of the oldest and most fundamental rules in
international law is pacta sunt servanda — international agreements must be performed in good faith. "A treaty
engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on the parties . . . A state which
has contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its legislations such modifications as may be
necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken." 45

By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of sovereignty. By their voluntary act,
nations may surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange for greater benefits granted by or derived
from a convention or pact. After all, states, like individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually
covenanted objectives and benefits, they also commonly agree to limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute
rights. Thus, treaties have been used to record agreements between States concerning such widely diverse
matters as, for example, the lease of naval bases, the sale or cession of territory, the termination of war, the
regulation of conduct of hostilities, the formation of alliances, the regulation of commercial relations, the settling of
claims, the laying down of rules governing conduct in peace and the establishment of international
organizations. 46 The sovereignty of a state therefore cannot in fact and in reality be considered absolute. Certain
restrictions enter into the picture: (1) limitations imposed by the very nature of membership in the family of nations
and (2) limitations imposed by treaty stipulations. As aptly put by John F. Kennedy, "Today, no nation can build its
destiny alone. The age of self-sufficient nationalism is over. The age of interdependence is here." 47
UN Charter and Other Treaties

Limit Sovereignty

Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of its 51 charter members, it consented to restrict its
sovereign rights under the "concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation."47-A Under Article 2 of the UN Charter, "(a)ll
members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present
Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive
or enforcement action." Such assistance includes payment of its corresponding share not merely in administrative
expenses but also in expenditures for the peace-keeping operations of the organization. In its advisory opinion of
July 20, 1961, the International Court of Justice held that money used by the United Nations Emergency Force in
the Middle East and in the Congo were "expenses of the United Nations" under Article 17, paragraph 2, of the UN
Charter. Hence, all its members must bear their corresponding share in such expenses. In this sense, the
Philippine Congress is restricted in its power to appropriate. It is compelled to appropriate funds whether it agrees
with such peace-keeping expenses or not. So too, under Article 105 of the said Charter, the UN and its
representatives enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities, thereby limiting again the exercise of sovereignty of
members within their own territory. Another example: although "sovereign equality" and "domestic jurisdiction" of
all members are set forth as underlying principles in the UN Charter, such provisos are however subject to
enforcement measures decided by the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security
under Chapter VII of the Charter. A final example: under Article 103, "(i)n the event of a conflict between the
obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other
international agreement, their obligation under the present charter shall prevail," thus unquestionably denying the
Philippines — as a member — the sovereign power to make a choice as to which of conflicting obligations, if any,
to honor.

Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many other international pacts — both bilateral and
multilateral — that involve limitations on Philippine sovereignty. These are enumerated by the Solicitor General in
his Compliance dated October 24, 1996, as follows:

(a) Bilateral convention with the United States regarding taxes on income, where the Philippines agreed, among
others, to exempt from tax, income received in the Philippines by, among others, the Federal Reserve Bank of the
United States, the Export/Import Bank of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the
United States. Likewise, in said convention, wages, salaries and similar remunerations paid by the United States
to its citizens for labor and personal services performed by them as employees or officials of the United States are
exempt from income tax by the Philippines.

(b) Bilateral agreement with Belgium, providing, among others, for the avoidance of double taxation with respect
to taxes on income.

(c) Bilateral convention with the Kingdom of Sweden for the avoidance of double taxation.

(d) Bilateral convention with the French Republic for the avoidance of double taxation.

(e) Bilateral air transport agreement with Korea where the Philippines agreed to exempt from all customs duties,
inspection fees and other duties or taxes aircrafts of South Korea and the regular equipment, spare parts and
supplies arriving with said aircrafts.

(f) Bilateral air service agreement with Japan, where the Philippines agreed to exempt from customs duties,
excise taxes, inspection fees and other similar duties, taxes or charges fuel, lubricating oils, spare parts, regular
equipment, stores on board Japanese aircrafts while on Philippine soil.

(g) Bilateral air service agreement with Belgium where the Philippines granted Belgian air carriers the same
privileges as those granted to Japanese and Korean air carriers under separate air service agreements.

(h) Bilateral notes with Israel for the abolition of transit and visitor visas where the Philippines exempted Israeli
nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit or visitor visas for a sojourn in the Philippines not exceeding 59
days.

(i) Bilateral agreement with France exempting French nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit and
visitor visa for a sojourn not exceeding 59 days.
(j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, where the Philippines agreed that premises of Special Missions in
the Philippines are inviolable and its agents can not enter said premises without consent of the Head of Mission
concerned. Special Missions are also exempted from customs duties, taxes and related charges.

(k) Multilateral convention on the Law of Treaties. In this convention, the Philippines agreed to be governed by the
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

(l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of
Justice. The International Court of Justice has jurisdiction in all legal disputes concerning the interpretation of a
treaty, any question of international law, the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach
"of international obligation."

In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to limit the exercise of its sovereign powers of
taxation, eminent domain and police power. The underlying consideration in this partial surrender of sovereignty is
the reciprocal commitment of the other contracting states in granting the same privilege and immunities to the
Philippines, its officials and its citizens. The same reciprocity characterizes the Philippine commitments under
WTO-GATT.

International treaties, whether relating to nuclear disarmament, human rights, the environment, the law of the sea,
or trade, constrain domestic political sovereignty through the assumption of external obligations. But unless
anarchy in international relations is preferred as an alternative, in most cases we accept that the benefits of the
reciprocal obligations involved outweigh the costs associated with any loss of political sovereignty. (T)rade treaties
that structure relations by reference to durable, well-defined substantive norms and objective dispute resolution
procedures reduce the risks of larger countries exploiting raw economic power to bully smaller countries, by
subjecting power relations to some form of legal ordering. In addition, smaller countries typically stand to gain
disproportionately from trade liberalization. This is due to the simple fact that liberalization will provide access to a
larger set of potential new trading relationship than in case of the larger country gaining enhanced success to the
smaller country's market. 48

The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of sovereignty may be waived without violating the
Constitution, based on the rationale that the Philippines "adopts the generally accepted principles of international
law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of . . . cooperation and amity with all nations."

Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and Judicial Power

Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General Provisions and Basic Principles of the Agreement on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) 49 intrudes on the power of the Supreme Court to
promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedures. 50

To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS, 51 it will be fruitful to restate its full text as follows:

Article 34

Process Patents: Burden of Proof

1. For the purposes of civil proceedings in respect of the infringement of the rights of the owner referred to in
paragraph 1 (b) of Article 28, if the subject matter of a patent is a process for obtaining a product, the judicial
authorities shall have the authority to order the defendant to prove that the process to obtain an identical product
is different from the patented process. Therefore, Members shall provide, in at least one of the following
circumstances, that any identical product when produced without the consent of the patent owner shall, in the
absence of proof to the contrary, be deemed to have been obtained by the patented process:

(a) if the product obtained by the patented process is new;

(b) if there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the process and the owner of the
patent has been unable through reasonable efforts to determine the process actually used.
2. Any Member shall be free to provide that the burden of proof indicated in paragraph 1 shall be on the alleged
infringer only if the condition referred to in subparagraph (a) is fulfilled or only if the condition referred to in
subparagraph (b) is fulfilled.

3. In the adduction of proof to the contrary, the legitimate interests of defendants in protecting their manufacturing
and business secrets shall be taken into account.

From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of disputable (not the words "in the absence of proof
to the contrary") presumption that a product shown to be identical to one produced with the use of a patented
process shall be deemed to have been obtained by the (illegal) use of the said patented process, (1) where such
product obtained by the patented product is new, or (2) where there is "substantial likelihood" that the identical
product was made with the use of the said patented process but the owner of the patent could not determine the
exact process used in obtaining such identical product. Hence, the "burden of proof" contemplated by Article 34
should actually be understood as the duty of the alleged patent infringer to overthrow such presumption. Such
burden, properly understood, actually refers to the "burden of evidence" (burden of going forward) placed on the
producer of the identical (or fake) product to show that his product was produced without the use of the patented
process.

The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the "burden of proof" since, regardless of the
presumption provided under paragraph 1 of Article 34, such owner still has to introduce evidence of the existence
of the alleged identical product, the fact that it is "identical" to the genuine one produced by the patented process
and the fact of "newness" of the genuine product or the fact of "substantial likelihood" that the identical product
was made by the patented process.

The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the rules of evidence as the present law on the
subject, Republic Act No. 165, as amended, otherwise known as the Patent Law, provides a similar presumption
in cases of infringement of patented design or utility model, thus:

Sec. 60. Infringement. — Infringement of a design patent or of a patent for utility model shall consist in
unauthorized copying of the patented design or utility model for the purpose of trade or industry in the article or
product and in the making, using or selling of the article or product copying the patented design or utility
model. Identity or substantial identity with the patented design or utility model shall constitute evidence of copying.
(emphasis supplied)

Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to provide a disputable presumption applies only if
(1) the product obtained by the patented process in NEW or (2) there is a substantial likelihood that the identical
product was made by the process and the process owner has not been able through reasonable effort to
determine the process used. Where either of these two provisos does not obtain, members shall be free to
determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of TRIPS within their own internal systems and
processes.

By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our disposition of the third issue — derogation of
legislative power — will apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to say that the reciprocity clause more than
justifies such intrusion, if any actually exists. Besides, Article 34 does not contain an unreasonable burden,
consistent as it is with due process and the concept of adversarial dispute settlement inherent in our judicial
system.

So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international conventions on patents, trademarks and
copyrights, the adjustment in legislation and rules of procedure will not be substantial. 52

Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in the WTO Agreement and



Not in Other Documents Contained in the Final Act

Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO Agreement and its annexes — but not in the other
documents referred to in the Final Act, namely the Ministerial Declaration and Decisions and the Understanding
on Commitments in Financial Services — is defective and insufficient and thus constitutes abuse of discretion.
They submit that such concurrence in the WTO Agreement alone is flawed because it is in effect a rejection of the
Final Act, which in turn was the document signed by Secretary Navarro, in representation of the Republic upon
authority of the President. They contend that the second letter of the President to the Senate 53 which enumerated
what constitutes the Final Act should have been the subject of concurrence of the Senate.

"A final act, sometimes called protocol de cloture, is an instrument which records the winding up of the
proceedings of a diplomatic conference and usually includes a reproduction of the texts of treaties, conventions,
recommendations and other acts agreed upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the conference." 54 It
is not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a protracted conference which may have taken
place over several years. The text of the "Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral
Trade Negotiations" is contained in just one page 55 in Vol. I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations. By signing said Final Act, Secretary Navarro as representative of the Republic of the Philippines
undertook:

(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities
with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and

(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.

The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence in exactly what the Final Act required from its
signatories, namely, concurrence of the Senate in the WTO Agreement.

The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed adopted without need for ratification. They were
approved by the ministers by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT which provides that representatives of the members
can meet "to give effect to those provisions of this Agreement which invoke joint action, and generally with a view
to facilitating the operation and furthering the objectives of this Agreement." 56

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also approved in Marrakesh does not apply to the
Philippines. It applies only to those 27 Members which "have indicated in their respective schedules of
commitments on standstill, elimination of monopoly, expansion of operation of existing financial service suppliers,
temporary entry of personnel, free transfer and processing of information, and national treatment with respect to
access to payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in the normal course of business."57

On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what multilateral agreements are deemed included as its
integral parts, 58 as follows:

Article II

Scope of the WTO

1. The WTO shall provide the common institutional frame-work for the conduct of trade relations among its
Members in matters to the agreements and associated legal instruments included in the Annexes to this
Agreement.

2. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes 1, 2, and 3, (hereinafter referred to as
"Multilateral Agreements") are integral parts of this Agreement, binding on all Members.

3. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annex 4 (hereinafter referred to as "Plurilateral
Trade Agreements") are also part of this Agreement for those Members that have accepted them, and are binding
on those Members. The Plurilateral Trade Agreements do not create either obligation or rights for Members that
have not accepted them.

4. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 as specified in annex 1A (hereinafter referred to as "GATT
1994") is legally distinct from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, dated 30 October 1947, annexed to the
Final Act adopted at the conclusion of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Employment, as subsequently rectified, amended or modified (hereinafter referred to as
"GATT 1947").

It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was concurring in as shown by the members'
deliberation on August 25, 1994. After reading the letter of President Ramos dated August 11, 1994, 59 the
senators 

of the Republic minutely dissected what the Senate was concurring in, as follows: 60

THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Now, the question of the validity of the submission came up in the first day hearing of this
Committee yesterday. Was the observation made by Senator Tañada that what was submitted to the Senate was
not the agreement on establishing the World Trade Organization by the final act of the Uruguay Round which is
not the same as the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization? And on that basis, Senator Tolentino
raised a point of order which, however, he agreed to withdraw upon understanding that his suggestion for an
alternative solution at that time was acceptable. That suggestion was to treat the proceedings of the Committee as
being in the nature of briefings for Senators until the question of the submission could be clarified.

And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the President submitting a new . . . is he making a new submission which
improves on the clarity of the first submission?

MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it is clear cut and there should be no misunderstanding, it was
his intention to clarify all matters by giving this letter.

THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

Can this Committee hear from Senator Tañada and later on Senator Tolentino since they were the ones that
raised this question yesterday?

Senator Tañada, please.

SEN. TAÑADA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Based on what Secretary Romulo has read, it would now clearly appear that what is being submitted to the
Senate for ratification is not the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, but rather the Agreement on the World Trade
Organization as well as the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding and Commitments in
Financial Services.

I am now satisfied with the wording of the new submission of President Ramos.

SEN. TAÑADA. . . . of President Ramos, Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tañada. Can we hear from Senator Tolentino? And after him Senator
Neptali Gonzales and Senator Lina.

SEN. TOLENTINO, Mr. Chairman, I have not seen the new submission actually transmitted to us but I saw the
draft of his earlier, and I think it now complies with the provisions of the Constitution, and with the Final Act
itself . The Constitution does not require us to ratify the Final Act. It requires us to ratify the Agreement which is
now being submitted. The Final Act itself specifies what is going to be submitted to with the governments of the
participants.

In paragraph 2 of the Final Act, we read and I quote:

By signing the present Final Act, the representatives agree: (a) to submit as appropriate the WTO Agreement for
the consideration of the respective competent authorities with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in
accordance with their procedures.

In other words, it is not the Final Act that was agreed to be submitted to the governments for ratification or
acceptance as whatever their constitutional procedures may provide but it is the World Trade Organization
Agreement. And if that is the one that is being submitted now, I think it satisfies both the Constitution and the Final
Act itself .

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tolentino, May I call on Senator Gonzales.
SEN. GONZALES. Mr. Chairman, my views on this matter are already a matter of record. And they had been
adequately reflected in the journal of yesterday's session and I don't see any need for repeating the same.

Now, I would consider the new submission as an act ex abudante cautela.

THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Gonzales. Senator Lina, do you want to make any comment on this?

SEN. LINA. Mr. President, I agree with the observation just made by Senator Gonzales out of the abundance of
question. Then the new submission is, I believe, stating the obvious and therefore I have no further comment to
make.

Epilogue

In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the WTO Agreement, petitioners are invoking this
Court's constitutionally imposed duty "to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in giving its concurrence therein via Senate
Resolution No. 97. Procedurally, a writ of certiorari grounded on grave abuse of discretion may be issued by the
Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when it is amply shown that petitioners have no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack
of jurisdiction. 61 Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. It must be grave abuse of discretion as when the power
is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent
and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to
act at all in contemplation of law. 62 Failure on the part of the petitioner to show grave abuse of discretion will
result in the dismissal of the petition. 63

In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the Senate, whose act is under review, is one of two
sovereign houses of Congress and is thus entitled to great respect in its actions. It is itself a constitutional body
independent and coordinate, and thus its actions are presumed regular and done in good faith. Unless convincing
proof and persuasive arguments are presented to overthrow such presumptions, this Court will resolve every
doubt in its favor. Using the foregoing well-accepted definition of grave abuse of discretion and the presumption of
regularity in the Senate's processes, this Court cannot find any cogent reason to impute grave abuse of discretion
to the Senate's exercise of its power of concurrence in the WTO Agreement granted it by Sec. 21 of Article VII of
the Constitution. 64

It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional principles require the State to develop an independent
national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos; and to protect and/or prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic
materials and locally produced goods. But it is equally true that such principles — while serving as judicial and
legislative guides — are not in themselves sources of causes of action. Moreover, there are other equally
fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by the Senate which mandate the pursuit of a "trade policy that
serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and
reciprocity" and the promotion of industries "which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets," thereby
justifying its acceptance of said treaty. So too, the alleged impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative
and judicial powers is balanced by the adoption of the generally accepted principles of international law as part of
the law of the land and the adherence of the Constitution to the policy of cooperation and amity with all nations.

That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and overwhelmingly gave its consent to the WTO
Agreement thereby making it "a part of the law of the land" is a legitimate exercise of its sovereign duty and
power. We find no "patent and gross" arbitrariness or despotism "by reason of passion or personal hostility" in
such exercise. It is not impossible to surmise that this Court, or at least some of its members, may even agree
with petitioners that it is more advantageous to the national interest to strike down Senate Resolution No. 97. But
that is not a legal reason to attribute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate and to nullify its decision. To do so
would constitute grave abuse in the exercise of our own judicial power and duty. Ineludably, what the Senate did
was a valid exercise of its authority. As to whether such exercise was wise, beneficial or viable is outside the
realm of judicial inquiry and review. That is a matter between the elected policy makers and the people. As to
whether the nation should join the worldwide march toward trade liberalization and economic globalization is a
matter that our people should determine in electing their policy makers. After all, the WTO Agreement allows
withdrawal of membership, should this be the political desire of a member.
The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best seller Megatrends, predicts an Asian Renaissance 65 where
"the East will become the dominant region of the world economically, politically and culturally in the next century."
He refers to the "free market" espoused by WTO as the "catalyst" in this coming Asian ascendancy. There are at
present about 31 countries including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia negotiating for membership in the WTO.
Notwithstanding objections against possible limitations on national sovereignty, the WTO remains as the only
viable structure for multilateral trading and the veritable forum for the development of international trade law. The
alternative to WTO is isolation, stagnation, if not economic self-destruction. Duly enriched with original
membership, keenly aware of the advantages and disadvantages of globalization with its on-line experience, and
endowed with a vision of the future, the Philippines now straddles the crossroads of an international strategy for
economic prosperity and stability in the new millennium. Let the people, through their duly authorized elected
officers, make their free choice.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 162994 September 17, 2004

DUNCAN ASSOCIATION OF DETAILMAN-PTGWO and PEDRO A. TECSON, petitioners, 



vs.

GLAXO WELLCOME PHILIPPINES, INC., Respondent.

RESOLUTION

TINGA, J.:

Confronting the Court in this petition is a novel question, with constitutional overtones, involving the validity of the
policy of a pharmaceutical company prohibiting its employees from marrying employees of any competitor
company.

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the Decision1 dated May 19, 2003 and the Resolution dated
March 26, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 62434.2

Petitioner Pedro A. Tecson (Tecson) was hired by respondent Glaxo Wellcome Philippines, Inc. (Glaxo) as
medical representative on October 24, 1995, after Tecson had undergone training and orientation.

Thereafter, Tecson signed a contract of employment which stipulates, among others, that he agrees to study and
abide by existing company rules; to disclose to management any existing or future relationship by consanguinity
or affinity with co-employees or employees of competing drug companies and should management find that such
relationship poses a possible conflict of interest, to resign from the company.

The Employee Code of Conduct of Glaxo similarly provides that an employee is expected to inform management
of any existing or future relationship by consanguinity or affinity with co-employees or employees of competing
drug companies. If management perceives a conflict of interest or a potential conflict between such relationship
and the employee’s employment with the company, the management and the employee will explore the possibility
of a "transfer to another department in a non-counterchecking position" or preparation for employment outside the
company after six months.

Tecson was initially assigned to market Glaxo’s products in the Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte sales area.

Subsequently, Tecson entered into a romantic relationship with Bettsy, an employee of Astra
Pharmaceuticals3(Astra), a competitor of Glaxo. Bettsy was Astra’s Branch Coordinator in Albay. She supervised
the district managers and medical representatives of her company and prepared marketing strategies for Astra in
that area.

Even before they got married, Tecson received several reminders from his District Manager regarding the conflict
of interest which his relationship with Bettsy might engender. Still, love prevailed, and Tecson married Bettsy in
September 1998.

In January 1999, Tecson’s superiors informed him that his marriage to Bettsy gave rise to a conflict of interest.
Tecson’s superiors reminded him that he and Bettsy should decide which one of them would resign from their
jobs, although they told him that they wanted to retain him as much as possible because he was performing his
job well.

Tecson requested for time to comply with the company policy against entering into a relationship with an
employee of a competitor company. He explained that Astra, Bettsy’s employer, was planning to merge with
Zeneca, another drug company; and Bettsy was planning to avail of the redundancy package to be offered by
Astra. With Bettsy’s separation from her company, the potential conflict of interest would be eliminated. At the
same time, they would be able to avail of the attractive redundancy package from Astra.
In August 1999, Tecson again requested for more time resolve the problem. In September 1999, Tecson applied
for a transfer in Glaxo’s milk division, thinking that since Astra did not have a milk division, the potential conflict of
interest would be eliminated. His application was denied in view of Glaxo’s "least-movement-possible" policy.

In November 1999, Glaxo transferred Tecson to the Butuan City-Surigao City-Agusan del Sur sales area. Tecson
asked Glaxo to reconsider its decision, but his request was denied.

Tecson sought Glaxo’s reconsideration regarding his transfer and brought the matter to Glaxo’s Grievance
Committee. Glaxo, however, remained firm in its decision and gave Tescon until February 7, 2000 to comply with
the transfer order. Tecson defied the transfer order and continued acting as medical representative in the
Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte sales area.

During the pendency of the grievance proceedings, Tecson was paid his salary, but was not issued samples of
products which were competing with similar products manufactured by Astra. He was also not included in product
conferences regarding such products.

Because the parties failed to resolve the issue at the grievance machinery level, they submitted the matter for
voluntary arbitration. Glaxo offered Tecson a separation pay of one-half (½) month pay for every year of service,
or a total of ₱50,000.00 but he declined the offer. On November 15, 2000, the National Conciliation and Mediation
Board (NCMB) rendered its Decision declaring as valid Glaxo’s policy on relationships between its employees and
persons employed with competitor companies, and affirming Glaxo’s right to transfer Tecson to another sales
territory.

Aggrieved, Tecson filed a Petition for Review with the Court of Appeals assailing the NCMB Decision.

On May 19, 2003, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision denying the Petition for Review on the ground
that the NCMB did not err in rendering its Decision. The appellate court held that Glaxo’s policy prohibiting its
employees from having personal relationships with employees of competitor companies is a valid exercise of its
management prerogatives.4

Tecson filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the appellate court’s Decision, but the motion was denied by the
appellate court in its Resolution dated March 26, 2004.5

Petitioners filed the instant petition, arguing therein that (i) the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the NCMB’s
finding that the Glaxo’s policy prohibiting its employees from marrying an employee of a competitor company is
valid; and (ii) the Court of Appeals also erred in not finding that Tecson was constructively dismissed when he was
transferred to a new sales territory, and deprived of the opportunity to attend products seminars and training
sessions.6

Petitioners contend that Glaxo’s policy against employees marrying employees of competitor companies violates
the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it creates invalid distinctions among employees on
account only of marriage. They claim that the policy restricts the employees’ right to marry.7

They also argue that Tecson was constructively dismissed as shown by the following circumstances: (1) he was
transferred from the Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte sales area to the Butuan-Surigao-Agusan sales area, (2) he
suffered a diminution in pay, (3) he was excluded from attending seminars and training sessions for medical
representatives, and (4) he was prohibited from promoting respondent’s products which were competing with
Astra’s products.8

In its Comment on the petition, Glaxo argues that the company policy prohibiting its employees from having a
relationship with and/or marrying an employee of a competitor company is a valid exercise of its management
prerogatives and does not violate the equal protection clause; and that Tecson’s reassignment from the
Camarines Norte-Camarines Sur sales area to the Butuan City-Surigao City and Agusan del Sur sales area does
not amount to constructive dismissal.9

Glaxo insists that as a company engaged in the promotion and sale of pharmaceutical products, it has a genuine
interest in ensuring that its employees avoid any activity, relationship or interest that may conflict with their
responsibilities to the company. Thus, it expects its employees to avoid having personal or family interests in any
competitor company which may influence their actions and decisions and consequently deprive Glaxo of
legitimate profits. The policy is also aimed at preventing a competitor company from gaining access to its secrets,
procedures and policies.10

It likewise asserts that the policy does not prohibit marriage per se but only proscribes existing or future
relationships with employees of competitor companies, and is therefore not violative of the equal protection
clause. It maintains that considering the nature of its business, the prohibition is based on valid grounds.11

According to Glaxo, Tecson’s marriage to Bettsy, an employee of Astra, posed a real and potential conflict of
interest. Astra’s products were in direct competition with 67% of the products sold by Glaxo. Hence, Glaxo’s
enforcement of the foregoing policy in Tecson’s case was a valid exercise of its management prerogatives.12 In
any case, Tecson was given several months to remedy the situation, and was even encouraged not to resign but
to ask his wife to resign form Astra instead.13

Glaxo also points out that Tecson can no longer question the assailed company policy because when he signed
his contract of employment, he was aware that such policy was stipulated therein. In said contract, he also agreed
to resign from respondent if the management finds that his relationship with an employee of a competitor
company would be detrimental to the interests of Glaxo.14

Glaxo likewise insists that Tecson’s reassignment to another sales area and his exclusion from seminars
regarding respondent’s new products did not amount to constructive dismissal.

It claims that in view of Tecson’s refusal to resign, he was relocated from the Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte
sales area to the Butuan City-Surigao City and Agusan del Sur sales area. Glaxo asserts that in effecting the
reassignment, it also considered the welfare of Tecson’s family. Since Tecson’s hometown was in Agusan del Sur
and his wife traces her roots to Butuan City, Glaxo assumed that his transfer from the Bicol region to the Butuan
City sales area would be favorable to him and his family as he would be relocating to a familiar territory and
minimizing his travel expenses.15

In addition, Glaxo avers that Tecson’s exclusion from the seminar concerning the new anti-asthma drug was due
to the fact that said product was in direct competition with a drug which was soon to be sold by Astra, and hence,
would pose a potential conflict of interest for him. Lastly, the delay in Tecson’s receipt of his sales paraphernalia
was due to the mix-up created by his refusal to transfer to the Butuan City sales area (his paraphernalia was
delivered to his new sales area instead of Naga City because the supplier thought he already transferred to
Butuan).16

The Court is tasked to resolve the following issues: (1) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Glaxo’s
policy against its employees marrying employees from competitor companies is valid, and in not holding that said
policy violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution; (2) Whether Tecson was constructively dismissed.

The Court finds no merit in the petition.

The stipulation in Tecson’s contract of employment with Glaxo being questioned by petitioners provides:

10. You agree to disclose to management any existing or future relationship you may have, either by
consanguinity or affinity with co-employees or employees of competing drug companies. Should it pose a possible
conflict of interest in management discretion, you agree to resign voluntarily from the Company as a matter of
Company policy.

…17

The same contract also stipulates that Tescon agrees to abide by the existing company rules of Glaxo, and to
study and become acquainted with such policies.18 In this regard, the Employee Handbook of Glaxo expressly
informs its employees of its rules regarding conflict of interest:

1. Conflict of Interest
Employees should avoid any activity, investment relationship, or interest that may run counter to the
responsibilities which they owe Glaxo Wellcome.

Specifically, this means that employees are expected:

a. To avoid having personal or family interest, financial or otherwise, in any competitor supplier or other
businesses which may consciously or unconsciously influence their actions or decisions and thus deprive Glaxo
Wellcome of legitimate profit.

b. To refrain from using their position in Glaxo Wellcome or knowledge of Company plans to advance their outside
personal interests, that of their relatives, friends and other businesses.

c. To avoid outside employment or other interests for income which would impair their effective job performance.

d. To consult with Management on such activities or relationships that may lead to conflict of interest.

1.1. Employee Relationships

Employees with existing or future relationships either by consanguinity or affinity with co-employees of competing
drug companies are expected to disclose such relationship to the Management. If management perceives a
conflict or potential conflict of interest, every effort shall be made, together by management and the employee, to
arrive at a solution within six (6) months, either by transfer to another department in a non-counter checking
position, or by career preparation toward outside employment after Glaxo Wellcome. Employees must be
prepared for possible resignation within six (6) months, if no other solution is feasible.19

No reversible error can be ascribed to the Court of Appeals when it ruled that Glaxo’s policy prohibiting an
employee from having a relationship with an employee of a competitor company is a valid exercise of
management prerogative.

Glaxo has a right to guard its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies and other confidential
programs and information from competitors, especially so that it and Astra are rival companies in the highly
competitive pharmaceutical industry.

The prohibition against personal or marital relationships with employees of competitor companies upon Glaxo’s
employees is reasonable under the circumstances because relationships of that nature might compromise the
interests of the company. In laying down the assailed company policy, Glaxo only aims to protect its interests
against the possibility that a competitor company will gain access to its secrets and procedures.

That Glaxo possesses the right to protect its economic interests cannot be denied. No less than the Constitution
recognizes the right of enterprises to adopt and enforce such a policy to protect its right to reasonable returns on
investments and to expansion and growth.20 Indeed, while our laws endeavor to give life to the constitutional
policy on social justice and the protection of labor, it does not mean that every labor dispute will be decided in
favor of the workers. The law also recognizes that management has rights which are also entitled to respect and
enforcement in the interest of fair play.21

As held in a Georgia, U.S.A case,22 it is a legitimate business practice to guard business confidentiality and
protect a competitive position by even-handedly disqualifying from jobs male and female applicants or employees
who are married to a competitor. Consequently, the court ruled than an employer that discharged an employee
who was married to an employee of an active competitor did not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964.23 The Court pointed out that the policy was applied to men and women equally, and noted that the
employer’s business was highly competitive and that gaining inside information would constitute a competitive
advantage.

The challenged company policy does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution as petitioners
erroneously suggest. It is a settled principle that the commands of the equal protection clause are addressed only
to the state or those acting under color of its authority.24 Corollarily, it has been held in a long array of U.S.
Supreme Court decisions that the equal protection clause erects no shield against merely private conduct,
however, discriminatory or wrongful.25 The only exception occurs when the state29 in any of its manifestations or
actions has been found to have become entwined or involved in the wrongful private conduct.27 Obviously,
however, the exception is not present in this case. Significantly, the company actually enforced the policy after
repeated requests to the employee to comply with the policy. Indeed, the application of the policy was made in an
impartial and even-handed manner, with due regard for the lot of the employee.

In any event, from the wordings of the contractual provision and the policy in its employee handbook, it is clear
that Glaxo does not impose an absolute prohibition against relationships between its employees and those of
competitor companies. Its employees are free to cultivate relationships with and marry persons of their own
choosing. What the company merely seeks to avoid is a conflict of interest between the employee and the
company that may arise out of such relationships. As succinctly explained by the appellate court, thus:

The policy being questioned is not a policy against marriage. An employee of the company remains free to marry
anyone of his or her choosing. The policy is not aimed at restricting a personal prerogative that belongs only to the
individual. However, an employee’s personal decision does not detract the employer from exercising management
prerogatives to ensure maximum profit and business success. . .28

The Court of Appeals also correctly noted that the assailed company policy which forms part of respondent’s
Employee Code of Conduct and of its contracts with its employees, such as that signed by Tescon, was made
known to him prior to his employment. Tecson, therefore, was aware of that restriction when he signed his
employment contract and when he entered into a relationship with Bettsy. Since Tecson knowingly and voluntarily
entered into a contract of employment with Glaxo, the stipulations therein have the force of law between them
and, thus, should be complied with in good faith."29 He is therefore estopped from questioning said policy.

The Court finds no merit in petitioners’ contention that Tescon was constructively dismissed when he was
transferred from the Camarines Norte-Camarines Sur sales area to the Butuan City-Surigao City-Agusan del Sur
sales area, and when he was excluded from attending the company’s seminar on new products which were
directly competing with similar products manufactured by Astra. Constructive dismissal is defined as a quitting, an
involuntary resignation resorted to when continued employment becomes impossible, unreasonable, or unlikely;
when there is a demotion in rank or diminution in pay; or when a clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an
employer becomes unbearable to the employee.30 None of these conditions are present in the instant case. The
record does not show that Tescon was demoted or unduly discriminated upon by reason of such transfer. As found
by the appellate court, Glaxo properly exercised its management prerogative in reassigning Tecson to the Butuan
City sales area:

. . . In this case, petitioner’s transfer to another place of assignment was merely in keeping with the policy of the
company in avoidance of conflict of interest, and thus valid…Note that [Tecson’s] wife holds a sensitive
supervisory position as Branch Coordinator in her employer-company which requires her to work in close
coordination with District Managers and Medical Representatives. Her duties include monitoring sales of Astra
products, conducting sales drives, establishing and furthering relationship with customers, collection, monitoring
and managing Astra’s inventory…she therefore takes an active participation in the market war characterized as it
is by stiff competition among pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, and this is significant, petitioner’s sales
territory covers Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte while his wife is supervising a branch of her employer in
Albay. The proximity of their areas of responsibility, all in the same Bicol Region, renders the conflict of interest not
only possible, but actual, as learning by one spouse of the other’s market strategies in the region would be
inevitable. [Management’s] appreciation of a conflict of interest is therefore not merely illusory and wanting in
factual basis…31

In Abbott Laboratories (Phils.), Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission,32 which involved a complaint filed by
a medical representative against his employer drug company for illegal dismissal for allegedly terminating his
employment when he refused to accept his reassignment to a new area, the Court upheld the right of the drug
company to transfer or reassign its employee in accordance with its operational demands and requirements. The
ruling of the Court therein, quoted hereunder, also finds application in the instant case:

By the very nature of his employment, a drug salesman or medical representative is expected to travel. He should
anticipate reassignment according to the demands of their business. It would be a poor drug corporation which
cannot even assign its representatives or detail men to new markets calling for opening or expansion or to areas
where the need for pushing its products is great. More so if such reassignments are part of the employment
contract.33
As noted earlier, the challenged policy has been implemented by Glaxo impartially and disinterestedly for a long
period of time. In the case at bar, the record shows that Glaxo gave Tecson several chances to eliminate the
conflict of interest brought about by his relationship with Bettsy. When their relationship was still in its initial stage,
Tecson’s supervisors at Glaxo constantly reminded him about its effects on his employment with the company and
on the company’s interests. After Tecson married Bettsy, Glaxo gave him time to resolve the conflict by either
resigning from the company or asking his wife to resign from Astra. Glaxo even expressed its desire to retain
Tecson in its employ because of his satisfactory performance and suggested that he ask Bettsy to resign from her
company instead. Glaxo likewise acceded to his repeated requests for more time to resolve the conflict of interest.
When the problem could not be resolved after several years of waiting, Glaxo was constrained to reassign Tecson
to a sales area different from that handled by his wife for Astra. Notably, the Court did not terminate Tecson from
employment but only reassigned him to another area where his home province, Agusan del Sur, was included. In
effecting Tecson’s transfer, Glaxo even considered the welfare of Tecson’s family. Clearly, the foregoing dispels
any suspicion of unfairness and bad faith on the part of Glaxo.34

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 127685 July 23, 1998

BLAS F. OPLE, petitioner,

vs.

RUBEN D. TORRES, ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, HECTOR VILLANUEVA, CIELITO HABITO, ROBERT


BARBERS, CARMENCITA REODICA, CESAR SARINO, RENATO VALENCIA, TOMAS P. AFRICA, HEAD OF
THE NATIONAL COMPUTER CENTER and CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondents.

PUNO, J.:

The petition at bar is a commendable effort on the part of Senator Blas F. Ople to prevent the shrinking of the right
to privacy, which the revered Mr. Justice Brandeis considered as "the most comprehensive of rights and the right
most valued by civilized men." 1 Petitioner Ople prays that we invalidate Administrative Order No. 308
entitled "Adoption of a National Computerized Identification Reference System" on two important
constitutional grounds, viz: one, it is a usurpation of the power of Congress to legislate, and two, it
impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry's protected zone of privacy. We grant the petition for the rights
sought to be vindicated by the petitioner need stronger barriers against further erosion.

A.O. No. 308 was issued by President Fidel V. Ramos On December 12, 1996 and reads as follows:

ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED

IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM

WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to conveniently
transact business with basic service and social security providers and other government instrumentalities;

WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons seeking basic
services on social security and reduce, if not totally eradicate fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations;

WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social security providing
agencies and other government intrumentalities is required to achieve such a system;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers
vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following:

Sec. 1. Establishment of a National Compoterized Identification Reference System. A decentralized Identification


Reference System among the key basic services and social security providers is hereby established.

Sec. 2. Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) to draw-up the
implementing guidelines and oversee the implementation of the System is hereby created, chaired by the
Executive Secretary, with the following as members:

Head, Presidential Management Staff


Secretary, National Economic Development Authority

Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government

Secretary, Department of Health

Administrator, Government Service Insurance System,

Administrator, Social Security System,

Administrator, National Statistics Office

Managing Director, National Computer Center.

Sec. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center (NCC) is hereby designated as secretariat to the IACC and as
such shall provide administrative and technical support to the IACC.

Sec. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the NSO shall serve as
the common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned agencies. The IACC Secretariat shall
coordinate with the different Social Security and Services Agencies to establish the standards in the use of
Biometrics Technology and in computer application designs of their respective systems.

Sec. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination Campaign. The Office of the Press Secretary, in coordination with
the National Statistics Office, the GSIS and SSS as lead agencies and other concerned agencies shall undertake
a massive tri-media information dissemination campaign to educate and raise public awareness on the
importance and use of the PRN and the Social Security Identification Reference.

Sec. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the implementation of the system shall be sourced from the respective
budgets of the concerned agencies.

Sec. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO, GSIS and SSS shall submit regular reports to the Office of the
President through the IACC, on the status of implementation of this undertaking.

Sec. 8. Effectivity. This Administrative Order shall take effect immediately.

DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Six.

(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS

A.O. No. 308 was published in four newspapers of general circulation on January 22, 1997 and January 23, 1997.
On January 24, 1997, petitioner filed the instant petition against respondents, then Executive Secretary Ruben
Torres and the heads of the government agencies, who as members of the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee,
are charged with the implementation of A.O. No. 308. On April 8, 1997, we issued a temporary restraining order
enjoining its implementation.

Petitioner contends:

A. THE ESTABLISNMENT OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM


REQUIRES A LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE ISSUANCE OF A.O. NO. 308 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
OF THE PHILIPPINES IS, THEREFORE, AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE
POWERS OF THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.

B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY THE PRESIDENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO.
308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF CONGRESS TO
APPROPRIATE PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EXPENDITURE.

C. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308 INSIDIOUSLY LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR A SYSTEM
WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION. 2
Respondents counter-argue:

A. THE INSTANT PETITION IS NOT A JUSTICIABLE CASE AS WOULD WARRANT A JUDICIAL REVIEW;

B. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] WAS ISSUED WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS OF THE
PRESIDENT WITHOUT ENCROACHING ON THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF CONGRESS;

C. THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM
MAY BE SOURCED FROM THE BUDGETS OF THE CONCERNED AGENCIES;

D. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] PROTECTS AN INDIVIDUAL'S INTEREST IN PRIVACY. 3

We now resolve.

As is usual in constitutional litigation, respondents raise the threshold issues relating to the standing to sue of the
petitioner and the justiciability of the case at bar. More specifically, respondents aver that petitioner has no legal
interest to uphold and that the implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated.

These submissions do not deserve our sympathetic ear. Petitioner Ople is a distinguished member of our Senate.
As a Senator, petitioner is possessed of the requisite standing to bring suit raising the issue that the issuance of
A.O. No. 308 is a usurpation of legislative power. 4 As taxpayer and member of the Government Service
Insurance System (GSIS), petitioner can also impugn the legality of the misalignment of public funds and
the misuse of GSIS funds to implement A.O. No. 308. 5

The ripeness for adjudication of the Petition at bar is not affected by the fact that the implementing rules of A.O.
No. 308 have yet to be promulgated. Petitioner Ople assails A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on its
face. His action is not premature for the rules yet to be promulgated cannot cure its fatal defects. Moreover, the
respondents themselves have started the implementation of A.O. No. 308 without waiting for the rules. As early as
January 19, 1997, respondent Social Security System (SSS) caused the publication of a notice to bid for the
manufacture of the National Identification (ID) card. 6 Respondent Executive Secretary Torres has publicly
announced that representatives from the GSIS and the SSS have completed the guidelines for the
national identification system. 7 All signals from the respondents show their unswerving will to implement
A.O. No. 308 and we need not wait for the formality of the rules to pass judgment on its constitutionality.
In this light, the dissenters insistence that we tighten the rule on standing is not a commendable stance
as its result would be to throttle an important constitutional principle and a fundamental right.

II

We now come to the core issues. Petitioner claims that A.O. No. 308 is not a mere administrative order but a law
and hence, beyond the power of the President to issue. He alleges that A.O. No. 308 establishes a system of
identification that is all-encompassing in scope, affects the life and liberty of every Filipino citizen and foreign
resident, and more particularly, violates their right to privacy.

Petitioner's sedulous concern for the Executive not to trespass on the lawmaking domain of Congress is
understandable. The blurring of the demarcation line between the power of the Legislature to make laws and the
power of the Executive to execute laws will disturb their delicate balance of power and cannot be allowed. Hence,
the exercise by one branch of government of power belonging to another will be given a stricter scrutiny by this
Court.

The line that delineates Legislative and Executive power is not indistinct. Legislative power is "the authority, under
the Constitution, to make laws, and to alter and repeal them." 8 The Constitution, as the will of the people in
their original, sovereign and unlimited capacity, has vested this power in the Congress of the
Philippines. 9 The grant of legislative power to Congress is broad, general and comprehensive. 10 The
legislative body possesses plenary power for all purposes of civil government. 11 Any power, deemed to
be legislative by usage and tradition, is necessarily possessed by Congress, unless the Constitution has
lodged it elsewhere. 12 In fine, except as limited by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly,
legislative power embraces all subjects and extends to matters of general concern or common interest. 13
While Congress is vested with the power to enact laws, the President executes the laws. 14 The executive power
is vested in the Presidents. 15 It is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. 16 It
is the power of carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due observance. 17

As head of the Executive Department, the President is the Chief Executive. He represents the government as a
whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. 18 He has control
over the executive department, bureaus and offices. This means that he has the authority to assume
directly the functions of the executive department, bureau and office or interfere with the discretion of its
officials.19 Corollary to the power of control, the President also has the duty of supervising the
enforcement of laws for the maintenance of general peace and public order. Thus, he is granted
administrative power over bureaus and offices under his control to enable him to discharge his duties
effectively. 20

Administrative power is concerned with the work of applying policies and enforcing orders as determined by
proper governmental organs. 21 It enables the President to fix a uniform standard of administrative
efficiency and check the official conduct of his agents. 22 To this end, he can issue administrative orders,
rules and regulations.

Prescinding from these precepts, we hold that A.O. No. 308 involves a subject that is not appropriate to be
covered by an administrative order. An administrative order is:

Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. — Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of governmental
operation in pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be promulgated in administrative orders. 23

An administrative order is an ordinance issued by the President which relates to specific aspects in the
administrative operation of government. It must be in harmony with the law and should be for the sole purpose of
implementing the law and carrying out the legislative policy. 24 We reject the argument that A.O. No. 308
implements the legislative policy of the Administrative Code of 1987. The Code is a general law and
"incorporates in a unified document the major structural, functional and procedural principles of
governance." 25 and "embodies changes in administrative structure and procedures designed to serve the

people." 26 The Code is divided into seven (7) Books: Book I deals with Sovereignty and General
Administration, Book II with the Distribution of Powers of the three branches of Government, Book III on
the Office of the President, Book IV on the Executive Branch, Book V on Constitutional Commissions,
Book VI on National Government Budgeting, and Book VII on Administrative Procedure. These Books
contain provisions on the organization, powers and general administration of the executive, legislative
and judicial branches of government, the organization and administration of departments, bureaus and
offices under the executive branch, the organization and functions of the Constitutional Commissions
and other constitutional bodies, the rules on the national government budget, as well as guideline for the
exercise by administrative agencies of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers. The Code covers both
the internal administration of government, i.e, internal organization, personnel and recruitment,
supervision and discipline, and the effects of the functions performed by administrative officials on
private individuals or parties outside government. 27

It cannot be simplistically argued that A.O. No. 308 merely implements the Administrative Code of 1987. It
establishes for the first time a National Computerized Identification Reference System. Such a System requires a
delicate adjustment of various contending state policies — the primacy of national security, the extent of privacy
interest against dossier-gathering by government, the choice of policies, etc. Indeed, the dissent of Mr. Justice
Mendoza states that the A.O. No. 308 involves the all-important freedom of thought. As said administrative order
redefines the parameters of some basic rights of our citizenry vis-a-vis the State as well as the line that separates
the administrative power of the President to make rules and the legislative power of Congress, it ought to be
evident that it deals with a subject that should be covered by law.

Nor is it correct to argue as the dissenters do that A.D. No. 308 is not a law because it confers no right, imposes
no duty, affords no proctection, and creates no office. Under A.O. No. 308, a citizen cannot transact business with
government agencies delivering basic services to the people without the contemplated identification card. No
citizen will refuse to get this identification card for no one can avoid dealing with government. It is thus clear as
daylight that without the ID, a citizen will have difficulty exercising his rights and enjoying his privileges. Given this
reality, the contention that A.O. No. 308 gives no right and imposes no duty cannot stand.
Again, with due respect, the dissenting opinions unduly expand the limits of administrative legislation and
consequently erodes the plenary power of Congress to make laws. This is contrary to the established approach
defining the traditional limits of administrative legislation. As well stated by Fisher: ". . . Many regulations however,
bear directly on the public. It is here that administrative legislation must he restricted in its scope and application.
Regulations are not supposed to be a substitute for the general policy-making that Congress enacts in the form of
a public law. Although administrative regulations are entitled to respect, the authority to prescribe rules and
regulations is not an independent source of power to make laws." 28

III

Assuming, arguendo, that A.O. No. 308 need not be the subject of a law, still it cannot pass constitutional muster
as an administrative legislation because facially it violates the right to privacy. The essence of privacy is the "right
to be let alone." 29 In the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, 30 the United States Supreme Court gave
more substance to the right of privacy when it ruled that the right has a constitutional foundation. It held
that there is a right of privacy which can be found within the penumbras of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth
and Ninth Amendments, 31 viz:

Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras formed by emanations from these guarantees that help
give them life and substance . . . various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right of association contained in
the penumbra of the First Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third Amendment in its prohibition against
the quartering of soldiers "in any house" in time of peace without the consent of the owner is another facet of that
privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the ''right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." The Fifth Amendment in its Self-Incrimination Clause
enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government may not force him to surrender to his detriment.
The Ninth Amendment provides: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to
deny or disparage others retained by the people."

In the 1968 case of Morfe v. Mutuc, 32 we adopted the Griswold ruling that there is a constitutional right to
privacy. Speaking thru Mr. Justice, later Chief Justice, Enrique Fernando, we held:

xxx xxx xxx

The Griswold case invalidated a Connecticut statute which made the use of contraceptives a criminal
offence on the ground of its amounting to an unconstitutional invasion of the right of privacy of married
persons; rightfully it stressed "a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several
fundamental constitutional guarantees." It has wider implications though. The constitutional right to
privacy has come into its own.

So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy as such is accorded recognition independently of
its identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving of constitutional protection. The language of
Prof. Emerson is particularly apt: "The concept of limited government has always included the idea that
governmental powers stop short of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed
one of the basic distinctions between absolute and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of
the individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the absolute state. In contrast, a system of
limited government safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the individual, firmly distinguishing it
from the public sector, which the state can control. Protection of this private sector — protection, in other
words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual — has become increasingly important as modern
society has developed. All the forces of a technological age — industrialization, urbanization, and
organization — operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the
capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic
and a totalitarian society."

Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that the right of privacy is recognized and enshrined in several
provisions of our Constitution. 33 It is expressly recognized in section 3 (1) of the Bill of Rights:

Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the
court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.

Other facets of the right to privacy are protectad in various provisions of the Bill of Rights, viz: 34
Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be
denied the equal protection of the laws.

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses papers, and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired
except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national
security, public safety, or public health as may be provided by law.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions,
associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.

Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Zones of privacy are likewise recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil Code provides that "[e]very person
shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons" and punishes
as actionable torts several acts by a person of meddling and prying into the privacy of another. 35 It also holds a
public officer or employee or any private individual liable for damages for any violation of the rights and
liberties of another person, 36 and recognizes the privacy of letters and other private
communications. 37 The Revised Penal Code makes a crime the violation of secrets by an officer, 38the
revelation of trade and industrial secrets, 39 and trespass to dwelling. 40 Invasion of privacy is an offense
in special laws like the Anti-Wiretapping Law, 41 the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act 42 and the Intellectual
Property Code. 43 The Rules of Court on privileged communication likewise recognize the privacy of
certain information. 44

Unlike the dissenters, we prescind from the premise that the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by
the Constitution, hence, it is the burden of government to show that A.O. No. 308 is justified by some compelling
state interest and that it is narrowly drawn. A.O. No. 308 is predicated on two considerations: (1) the need to
provides our citizens and foreigners with the facility to conveniently transact business with basic service and social
security providers and other government instrumentalities and (2) the need to reduce, if not totally eradicate,
fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations by persons seeking basic services. It is debatable whether these
interests are compelling enough to warrant the issuance of A.O. No. 308. But what is not arguable is the
broadness, the vagueness, the overbreadth of A.O. No. 308 which if implemented will put our people's right to
privacy in clear and present danger.

The heart of A.O. No. 308 lies in its Section 4 which provides for a Population Reference Number (PRN) as a
"common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned agencies" through the use of "Biometrics
Technology" and "computer application designs."

Biometry or biometrics is "the science of the applicatin of statistical methods to biological facts; a mathematical
analysis of biological data." 45 The term "biometrics" has evolved into a broad category of technologies
which provide precise confirmation of an individual's identity through the use of the individual's own
physiological and behavioral characteristics. 46 A physiological characteristic is a relatively stable
physical characteristic such as a fingerprint, retinal scan, hand geometry or facial features. A behavioral
characteristic is influenced by the individual's personality and includes voice print, signature and
keystroke. 47 Most biometric idenfication systems use a card or personal identificatin number (PIN) for
initial identification. The biometric measurement is used to verify that the individual holding the card or
entering the PIN is the legitimate owner of the card or PIN. 48

A most common form of biological encoding is finger-scanning where technology scans a fingertip and turns the
unique pattern therein into an individual number which is called a biocrypt. The biocrypt is stored in computer data
banks 49 and becomes a means of identifying an individual using a service. This technology requires one's
fingertip to be scanned every time service or access is provided. 50 Another method is the retinal scan.
Retinal scan technology employs optical technology to map the capillary pattern of the retina of the eye.
This technology produces a unique print similar to a finger print. 51 Another biometric method is known as
the "artificial nose." This device chemically analyzes the unique combination of substances excreted from
the skin of people. 52 The latest on the list of biometric achievements is the thermogram. Scientists have
found that by taking pictures of a face using infra-red cameras, a unique heat distribution pattern is seen.
The different densities of bone, skin, fat and blood vessels all contribute to the individual's personal "heat
signature." 53

In the last few decades, technology has progressed at a galloping rate. Some science fictions are now science
facts. Today, biometrics is no longer limited to the use of fingerprint to identify an individual. It is a new science
that uses various technologies in encoding any and all biological characteristics of an individual for identification. It
is noteworthy that A.O. No. 308 does not state what specific biological characteristics and what particular
biometrics technology shall be used to identify people who will seek its coverage. Considering the banquest of
options available to the implementors of A.O. No. 308, the fear that it threatens the right to privacy of our people is
not groundless.

A.O. No. 308 should also raise our antennas for a further look will show that it does not state whether encoding of
data is limited to biological information alone for identification purposes. In fact, the Solicitor General claims that
the adoption of the Identification Reference System will contribute to the "generation of population data for
development planning." 54 This is an admission that the PRN will not be used solely for identification but the
generation of other data with remote relation to the avowed purposes of A.O. No. 308. Clearly, the indefiniteness
of A.O. No. 308 can give the government the roving authority to store and retrieve information for a purpose other
than the identification of the individual through his PRN.

The potential for misuse of the data to be gathered under A.O. No. 308 cannot be undarplayed as the dissenters
do. Pursuant to said administrative order, an individual must present his PRN everytime he deals with a
government agency to avail of basic services and security. His transactions with the government agency will
necessarily be recorded — whether it be in the computer or in the documentary file of the agency. The individual's
file may include his transactions for loan availments, income tax returns, statement of assets and liabilities,
reimbursements for medication, hospitalization, etc. The more frequent the use of the PRN, the better the chance
of building a huge formidable informatin base through the electronic linkage of the files. 55 The data may be
gathered for gainful and useful government purposes; but the existence of this vast reservoir of personal
information constitutes a covert invitation to misuse, a temptation that may be too great for some of our
authorities to resist. 56

We can even grant, arguendo, that the computer data file will be limited to the name, address and other basic
personal infomation about the individual. 57 Even that hospitable assumption will not save A.O. No. 308 from
constitutional infirmity for again said order does not tell us in clear and categorical terms how these
information gathered shall he handled. It does not provide who shall control and access the data, under
what circumstances and for what purpose. These factors are essential to safeguard the privacy and
guaranty the integrity of the information. 58 Well to note, the computer linkage gives other government
agencies access to the information. Yet, there are no controls to guard against leakage of information.
When the access code of the control programs of the particular computer system is broken, an intruder,
without fear of sanction or penalty, can make use of the data for whatever purpose, or worse, manipulate
the data stored within the system. 59

It is plain and we hold that A.O. No. 308 falls short of assuring that personal information which will be gathered
about our people will only be processed for unequivocally specified purposes. 60 The lack of proper safeguards
in this regard of A.O. No. 308 may interfere with the individual's liberty of abode and travel by enabling
authorities to track down his movement; it may also enable unscrupulous persons to access confidential
information and circumvent the right against self-incrimination; it may pave the way for "fishing
expeditions" by government authorities and evade the right against unreasonable searches and
seizures. 61 The possibilities of abuse and misuse of the PRN, biometrics and computer technology are
accentuated when we consider that the individual lacks control over what can be read or placed on his ID,
much less verify the correctness of the data encoded. 62 They threaten the very abuses that the Bill of
Rights seeks to prevent. 63
The ability of sophisticated data center to generate a comprehensive cradle-to-grave dossier on an individual and
transmit it over a national network is one of the most graphic threats of the computer revolution. 64 The computer
is capable of producing a comprehensive dossier on individuals out of information given at different
times and for varied purposes. 65 It can continue adding to the stored data and keeping the information up
to date. Retrieval of stored date is simple. When information of a privileged character finds its way into
the computer, it can be extracted together with other data on the subject. 66Once extracted, the
information is putty in the hands of any person. The end of privacy begins.

Though A.O. No. 308 is undoubtedly not narrowly drawn, the dissenting opinions would dismiss its danger to the
right to privacy as speculative and hypothetical. Again, we cannot countenance such a laidback posture. The
Court will not be true to its role as the ultimate guardian of the people's liberty if it would not immediately smother
the sparks that endanger their rights but would rather wait for the fire that could consume them.

We reject the argument of the Solicitor General that an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy with
regard to the Natioal ID and the use of biometrics technology as it stands on quicksand. The reasonableness of a
person's expectation of privacy depends on a two-part test: (1) whether by his conduct, the individual has
exhibited an expectation of privacy; and (2) whether this expectation is one that society recognizes as
reasonable. 67 The factual circumstances of the case determines the reasonableness of the
expectation. 68 However, other factors, such as customs, physical surroundings and practices of a
particular activity, may serve to create or diminish this expectation. 69 The use of biometrics and computer
technology in A.O. No. 308 does not assure the individual of a reasonable expectation of privacy. 70 As
technology advances, the level of reasonably expected privacy decreases. 71 The measure of protection
granted by the reasonable expectation diminishes as relevant technology becomes more widely
accepted. 72 The security of the computer data file depends not only on the physical inaccessibility of the
file but also on the advances in hardware and software computer technology. A.O. No. 308 is so widely
drawn that a minimum standard for a reasonable expectation of privacy, regardless of technology used,
cannot be inferred from its provisions.

The rules and regulations to be by the IACC cannot remedy this fatal defect. Rules and regulations merely
implement the policy of the law or order. On its face, A.O. No. gives the IACC virtually infettered discretion to
determine the metes and bounds of the ID System.

Nor do your present laws prvide adequate safeguards for a reasonable expectation of privacy. Commonwealth
Act. No. 591 penalizes the disclosure by any person of data furnished by the individual to the NSO with
imprisonment and fine. 73 Republic Act. No. 1161 prohibits public disclosure of SSS employment records
and reports. 74 These laws, however, apply to records and data with the NSO and the SSS. It is not clear
whether they may be applied to data with the other government agencies forming part of the National ID
System. The need to clarify the penal aspect of A.O. No. 308 is another reason why its enactment should
be given to Congress.

Next, the Solicitor General urges us to validate A.O. No. 308's abridgment of the right of privacy by using the
rational relationship test. 75 He stressed that the purposes of A.O. No. 308 are: (1) to streamline and speed
up the implementation of basic government services, (2) eradicate fraud by avoiding duplication of
services, and (3) generate population data for development planning. He cocludes that these purposes
justify the incursions into the right to privacy for the means are rationally related to the end. 76

We are not impressed by the argument. In Morfe v. Mutuc, 77 we upheld the constitutionality of R.A. 3019, the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as a valid police power measure. We declared that the law, in
compelling a public officer to make an annual report disclosing his assets and liabilities, his sources of
income and expenses, did not infringe on the individual's right to privacy. The law was enacted to
promote morality in public administration by curtailing and minimizing the opportunities for official
corruption and maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service. 78

The same circumstances do not obtain in the case at bar. For one, R.A. 3019 is a statute, not an administrative
order. Secondly, R.A. 3019 itself is sufficiently detailed. The law is clear on what practices were prohibited and
penalized, and it was narrowly drawn to avoid abuses. IN the case at bar, A.O. No. 308 may have been impelled
by a worthy purpose, but, it cannot pass constitutional scrutiny for it is not narrowly drawn. And we now hod that
when the integrity of a fundamental right is at stake, this court will give the challenged law, administrative order,
rule or regulation a stricter scrutiny. It will not do for the authorities to invoke the presumption of regularity in the
performance of official duties. Nor is it enough for the authorities to prove that their act is not irrational for a basic
right can be diminished, if not defeated, even when the government does not act irrationally. They must
satisfactorily show the presence of compelling state interests and that the law, rule or regulation is narrowly drawn
to preclude abuses. This approach is demanded by the 1987 Constitution whose entire matrix is designed to
protect human rights and to prevent authoritarianism. In case of doubt, the least we can do is to lean towards the
stance that will not put in danger the rights protected by the Constitutions.

The case of Whalen v. Roe 79 cited by the Solicitor General is also off-line. In Whalen, the United States
Supreme Court was presented with the question of whether the State of New York could keep a
centralized computer record of the names and addresses of all persons who obtained certain drugs
pursuant to a doctor's prescription. The New York State Controlled Substance Act of 1972 required
physicians to identify parties obtaining prescription drugs enumerated in the statute, i.e., drugs with a
recognized medical use but with a potential for abuse, so that the names and addresses of the patients
can be recorded in a centralized computer file of the State Department of Health. The plaintiffs, who were
patients and doctors, claimed that some people might decline necessary medication because of their fear
that the computerized data may be readily available and open to public disclosure; and that once
disclosed, it may stigmatize them as drug addicts. 80 The plaintiffs alleged that the statute invaded a
constitutionally protected zone of privacy, i.e., the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal
matters, and the interest in independence in making certain kinds of important decisions. The U.S.
Supreme Court held that while an individual's interest in avoiding disclosuer of personal matter is an
aspect of the right to privacy, the statute did not pose a grievous threat to establish a constitutional
violation. The Court found that the statute was necessary to aid in the enforcement of laws designed to
minimize the misuse of dangerous drugs. The patient-identification requirement was a product of an
orderly and rational legislative decision made upon recommmendation by a specially appointed
commission which held extensive hearings on the matter. Moreover, the statute was narrowly drawn and
contained numerous safeguards against indiscriminate disclosure. The statute laid down the procedure
and requirements for the gathering, storage and retrieval of the informatin. It ebumerated who were
authorized to access the data. It also prohibited public disclosure of the data by imposing penalties for its
violation. In view of these safeguards, the infringement of the patients' right to privacy was justified by a
valid exercise of police power. As we discussed above, A.O. No. 308 lacks these vital safeguards.

Even while we strike down A.O. No. 308, we spell out in neon that the Court is not per se agains the use of
computers to accumulate, store, process, retvieve and transmit data to improve our bureaucracy. Computers work
wonders to achieve the efficiency which both government and private industry seek. Many information system in
different countries make use of the computer to facilitate important social objective, such as better law
enforcement, faster delivery of public services, more efficient management of credit and insurance programs,
improvement of telecommunications and streamlining of financial activities. 81 Used wisely, data stored in the
computer could help good administration by making accurate and comprehensive information for those who have
to frame policy and make key decisions. 82 The benefits of the computer has revolutionized information
technology. It developed the internet, 83 introduced the concept of cyberspace 84 and the information
superhighway where the individual, armed only with his personal computer, may surf and search all kinds and
classes of information from libraries and databases connected to the net.

In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy does not bar all incursions into individual
privacy. The right is not intended to stifle scientific and technological advancements that enhance public service
and the common good. It merely requires that the law be narrowly focused 85 and a compelling interest justify
such intrusions. 86 Intrusions into the right must be accompanied by proper safeguards and well-defined standards
to prevent unconstitutional invasions. We reiterate that any law or order that invades individual privacy will be
subjected by this Court to strict scrutiny. The reason for this stance was laid down in Morfe v. Mutuc, to wit:

The concept of limited government has always included the idea that governmental powers stop short of certain
intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one of the basic disctinctions between absolute and
limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the
absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited government safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the
individual, firmly distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state can control. Protection of this private
sector — protection, in other words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual — has become increasingly
important as modern society has developed. All the forces of a technological age — industrialization, urbanization,
and organization — operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the
capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic and a
totalitarian society. 87
IV

The right to privacy is one of the most threatened rights of man living in a mass society. The threats emanate from
various sources — governments, journalists, employers, social scientists, etc. 88 In th case at bar, the threat
comes from the executive branch of government which by issuing A.O. No. 308 pressures the people to surrender
their privacy by giving information about themselves on the pretext that it will facilitate delivery of basic services.
Given the record-keeping power of the computer, only the indifferent fail to perceive the danger that A.O. No. 308
gives the government the power to compile a devastating dossier against unsuspecting citizens. It is timely to take
note of the well-worded warning of Kalvin, Jr., "the disturbing result could be that everyone will live burdened by
an unerasable record of his past and his limitations. In a way, the threat is that because of its record-keeping, the
society will have lost its benign capacity to forget." 89 Oblivious to this counsel, the dissents still say we should not
be too quick in labelling the right to privacy as a fundamental right. We close with the statement that the right to
privacy was not engraved in our Constitution for flattery.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Adminisrative Order No. 308 entitled "Adoption of a National
Computerized Identification Reference System" declared null and void for being unconstitutional.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 81561 January 18, 1991

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee 



vs.

ANDRE MARTI, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.



Reynaldo B. Tatoy and Abelardo E. Rogacion for accused-appellant.

BIDIN, J.:

This is an appeal from a decision * rendered by the Special Criminal Court of Manila (Regional Trial Court, Branch
XLIX) convicting accused-appellant of violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to Section 4, Article 11 and
Section 2 (e) (i), Article 1 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.

The facts as summarized in the brief of the prosecution are as follows:

On August 14, 1987, between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., the appellant and his common-law wife, Shirley Reyes, went
to the booth of the "Manila Packing and Export Forwarders" in the Pistang Pilipino Complex, Ermita, Manila,
carrying with them four (4) gift wrapped packages. Anita Reyes (the proprietress and no relation to Shirley Reyes)
attended to them. The appellant informed Anita Reyes that he was sending the packages to a friend in Zurich,
Switzerland. Appellant filled up the contract necessary for the transaction, writing therein his name, passport
number, the date of shipment and the name and address of the consignee, namely, "WALTER FIERZ, Mattacketr
II, 8052 Zurich, Switzerland" (Decision, p. 6)

Anita Reyes then asked the appellant if she could examine and inspect the packages. Appellant, however,
refused, assuring her that the packages simply contained books, cigars, and gloves and were gifts to his friend in
Zurich. In view of appellant's representation, Anita Reyes no longer insisted on inspecting the packages. The four
(4) packages were then placed inside a brown corrugated box one by two feet in size (1' x 2'). Styro-foam was
placed at the bottom and on top of the packages before the box was sealed with masking tape, thus making the
box ready for shipment (Decision, p. 8).

Before delivery of appellant's box to the Bureau of Customs and/or Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (proprietor)
and husband of Anita (Reyes), following standard operating procedure, opened the boxes for final inspection.
When he opened appellant's box, a peculiar odor emitted therefrom. His curiousity aroused, he squeezed one of
the bundles allegedly containing gloves and felt dried leaves inside. Opening one of the bundles, he pulled out a
cellophane wrapper protruding from the opening of one of the gloves. He made an opening on one of the
cellophane wrappers and took several grams of the contents thereof (tsn, pp. 29-30, October 6, 1987; Emphasis
supplied).

Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting the shipment to the NBI and requesting a laboratory examination
of the samples he extracted from the cellophane wrapper (tsn, pp. 5-6, October 6, 1987).

He brought the letter and a sample of appellant's shipment to the Narcotics Section of the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI), at about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon of that date, i.e., August 14, 1987. He was interviewed
by the Chief of Narcotics Section. Job Reyes informed the NBI that the rest of the shipment was still in his office.
Therefore, Job Reyes and three (3) NBI agents, and a photographer, went to the Reyes' office at Ermita, Manila
(tsn, p. 30, October 6, 1987).
Job Reyes brought out the box in which appellant's packages were placed and, in the presence of the NBI agents,
opened the top flaps, removed the styro-foam and took out the cellophane wrappers from inside the gloves. Dried
marijuana leaves were found to have been contained inside the cellophane wrappers (tsn, p. 38, October 6, 1987;
Emphasis supplied).

The package which allegedly contained books was likewise opened by Job Reyes. He discovered that the
package contained bricks or cake-like dried marijuana leaves. The package which allegedly contained tabacalera
cigars was also opened. It turned out that dried marijuana leaves were neatly stocked underneath the cigars (tsn,
p. 39, October 6, 1987).

The NBI agents made an inventory and took charge of the box and of the contents thereof, after signing a
"Receipt" acknowledging custody of the said effects (tsn, pp. 2-3, October 7, 1987).

Thereupon, the NBI agents tried to locate appellant but to no avail. Appellant's stated address in his passport
being the Manila Central Post Office, the agents requested assistance from the latter's Chief Security. On August
27, 1987, appellant, while claiming his mail at the Central Post Office, was invited by the NBI to shed light on the
attempted shipment of the seized dried leaves. On the same day the Narcotics Section of the NBI submitted the
dried leaves to the Forensic Chemistry Section for laboratory examination. It turned out that the dried leaves were
marijuana flowering tops as certified by the forensic chemist. (Appellee's Brief, pp. 9-11, Rollo, pp. 132-134).

Thereafter, an Information was filed against appellant for violation of RA 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous
Drugs Act.

After trial, the court a quo rendered the assailed decision.

In this appeal, accused/appellant assigns the following errors, to wit:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE ILLEGALLY SEARCHED AND SEIZED
OBJECTS CONTAINED IN THE FOUR PARCELS.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING APPELLANT DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACT THAT HIS
RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION WHILE UNDER CUSTODIAL PROCEEDINGS WERE NOT OBSERVED.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE EXPLANATION OF THE APPELLANT ON
HOW THE FOUR PARCELS CAME INTO HIS POSSESSION (Appellant's Brief, p. 1; Rollo, p. 55)

1. Appellant contends that the evidence subject of the imputed offense had been obtained in violation of his
constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure and privacy of communication (Sec. 2 and 3, Art. III,
Constitution) and therefore argues that the same should be held inadmissible in evidence (Sec. 3 (2), Art. III).

Sections 2 and 3, Article III of the Constitution provide:

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the
court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.

(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any
proceeding.

Our present constitutional provision on the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure had its origin in
the 1935 Charter which, worded as follows:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches
and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the
judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Sec. 1 [3], Article III)

was in turn derived almost verbatim from the Fourth Amendment ** to the United States Constitution. As such, the
Court may turn to the pronouncements of the United States Federal Supreme Court and State Appellate Courts
which are considered doctrinal in this jurisdiction.

Thus, following the exclusionary rule laid down in Mapp v. Ohio by the US Federal Supreme Court (367 US 643,
81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed. 1081 [1961]), this Court, in Stonehill v. Diokno (20 SCRA 383 [1967]), declared as
inadmissible any evidence obtained by virtue of a defective search and seizure warrant, abandoning in the
process the ruling earlier adopted in Moncado v. People's Court (80 Phil. 1 [1948]) wherein the admissibility of
evidence was not affected by the illegality of its seizure. The 1973 Charter (Sec. 4 [2], Art. IV) constitutionalized
the Stonehill ruling and is carried over up to the present with the advent of the 1987 Constitution.

In a number of cases, the Court strictly adhered to the exclusionary rule and has struck down the admissibility of
evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional safeguard against unreasonable searches and seizures.
(Bache & Co., (Phil.), Inc., v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Lim v. Ponce de Leon, 66 SCRA 299 [1975]; People v.
Burgos, 144 SCRA 1 [1986]; Roan v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA 687 [1987]; See also Salazar v. Hon. Achacoso, et al.,
GR No. 81510, March 14, 1990).

It must be noted, however, that in all those cases adverted to, the evidence so obtained were invariably procured
by the State acting through the medium of its law enforcers or other authorized government agencies.

On the other hand, the case at bar assumes a peculiar character since the evidence sought to be excluded was
primarily discovered and obtained by a private person, acting in a private capacity and without the intervention
and participation of State authorities. Under the circumstances, can accused/appellant validly claim that his
constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizure has been violated? Stated otherwise, may an act
of a private individual, allegedly in violation of appellant's constitutional rights, be invoked against the State?

We hold in the negative. In the absence of governmental interference, the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution
cannot be invoked against the State.

As this Court held in Villanueva v. Querubin (48 SCRA 345 [1972]:

1. This constitutional right (against unreasonable search and seizure) refers to the immunity of one's person,
whether citizen or alien, from interference by government, included in which is his residence, his papers, and
other possessions. . . .

. . . There the state, however powerful, does not as such have the access except under the circumstances above
noted, for in the traditional formulation, his house, however humble, is his castle. Thus is outlawed any
unwarranted intrusion by government, which is called upon to refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and to
respect the privacies of his life. . . . (Cf. Schermerber v. California, 384 US 757 [1966] and Boyd v. United States,
116 US 616 [1886]; Emphasis supplied).

In Burdeau v. McDowell (256 US 465 (1921), 41 S Ct. 547; 65 L.Ed. 1048), the Court there in construing the right
against unreasonable searches and seizures declared that:

(t)he Fourth Amendment gives protection against unlawful searches and seizures, and as shown in previous
cases, its protection applies to governmental action. Its origin and history clearly show that it was intended as a
restraint upon the activities of sovereign authority, and was not intended to be a limitation upon other than
governmental agencies; as against such authority it was the purpose of the Fourth Amendment to secure the
citizen in the right of unmolested occupation of his dwelling and the possession of his property, subject to the right
of seizure by process duly served.

The above ruling was reiterated in State v. Bryan (457 P.2d 661 [1968]) where a parking attendant who searched
the automobile to ascertain the owner thereof found marijuana instead, without the knowledge and participation of
police authorities, was declared admissible in prosecution for illegal possession of narcotics.
And again in the 1969 case of Walker v. State (429 S.W.2d 121), it was held that the search and seizure clauses
are restraints upon the government and its agents, not upon private individuals (citing People v. Potter, 240 Cal.
App.2d 621, 49 Cap. Rptr, 892 (1966); State v. Brown, Mo., 391 S.W.2d 903 (1965); State v. Olsen, Or., 317 P.2d
938 (1957).

Likewise appropos is the case of Bernas v. US (373 F.2d 517 (1967). The Court there said:

The search of which appellant complains, however, was made by a private citizen — the owner of a motel in
which appellant stayed overnight and in which he left behind a travel case containing the evidence***complained
of. The search was made on the motel owner's own initiative. Because of it, he became suspicious, called the
local police, informed them of the bag's contents, and made it available to the authorities.

The fourth amendment and the case law applying it do not require exclusion of evidence obtained through a
search by a private citizen. Rather, the amendment only proscribes governmental action."

The contraband in the case at bar having come into possession of the Government without the latter
transgressing appellant's rights against unreasonable search and seizure, the Court sees no cogent reason why
the same should not be admitted against him in the prosecution of the offense charged.

Appellant, however, would like this court to believe that NBI agents made an illegal search and seizure of the
evidence later on used in prosecuting the case which resulted in his conviction.

The postulate advanced by accused/appellant needs to be clarified in two days. In both instances, the argument
stands to fall on its own weight, or the lack of it.

First, the factual considerations of the case at bar readily foreclose the proposition that NBI agents conducted an
illegal search and seizure of the prohibited merchandise. Records of the case clearly indicate that it was Mr. Job
Reyes, the proprietor of the forwarding agency, who made search/inspection of the packages. Said inspection was
reasonable and a standard operating procedure on the part of Mr. Reyes as a precautionary measure before
delivery of packages to the Bureau of Customs or the Bureau of Posts (TSN, October 6 & 7, 1987, pp. 15-18; pp.
7-8; Original Records, pp. 119-122; 167-168).

It will be recalled that after Reyes opened the box containing the illicit cargo, he took samples of the same to the
NBI and later summoned the agents to his place of business. Thereafter, he opened the parcel containing the rest
of the shipment and entrusted the care and custody thereof to the NBI agents. Clearly, the NBI agents made no
search and seizure, much less an illegal one, contrary to the postulate of accused/appellant.

Second, the mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the reasonable search effected by Reyes into a
warrantless search and seizure proscribed by the Constitution. Merely to observe and look at that which is in plain
sight is not a search. Having observed that which is open, where no trespass has been committed in aid thereof,
is not search (Chadwick v. State, 429 SW2d 135). Where the contraband articles are identified without a trespass
on the part of the arresting officer, there is not the search that is prohibited by the constitution (US v. Lee 274 US
559, 71 L.Ed. 1202 [1927]; Ker v. State of California 374 US 23, 10 L.Ed.2d. 726 [1963]; Moore v. State, 429
SW2d 122 [1968]).

In Gandy v. Watkins (237 F. Supp. 266 [1964]), it was likewise held that where the property was taken into custody
of the police at the specific request of the manager and where the search was initially made by the owner there is
no unreasonable search and seizure within the constitutional meaning of the term.

That the Bill of Rights embodied in the Constitution is not meant to be invoked against acts of private individuals
finds support in the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. True, the liberties guaranteed by the
fundamental law of the land must always be subject to protection. But protection against whom? Commissioner
Bernas in his sponsorship speech in the Bill of Rights answers the query which he himself posed, as follows:

First, the general reflections. The protection of fundamental liberties in the essence of constitutional democracy.
Protection against whom? Protection against the state. The Bill of Rights governs the relationship between the
individual and the state. Its concern is not the relation between individuals, between a private individual and other
individuals. What the Bill of Rights does is to declare some forbidden zones in the private sphere inaccessible to
any power holder. (Sponsorship Speech of Commissioner Bernas , Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol.
1, p. 674; July 17, 1986; Emphasis supplied)

The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures therefore applies as a restraint directed
only against the government and its agencies tasked with the enforcement of the law. Thus, it could only be
invoked against the State to whom the restraint against arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power is imposed.

If the search is made upon the request of law enforcers, a warrant must generally be first secured if it is to pass
the test of constitutionality. However, if the search is made at the behest or initiative of the proprietor of a private
establishment for its own and private purposes, as in the case at bar, and without the intervention of police
authorities, the right against unreasonable search and seizure cannot be invoked for only the act of private
individual, not the law enforcers, is involved. In sum, the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures
cannot be extended to acts committed by private individuals so as to bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful
intrusion by the government.

Appellant argues, however, that since the provisions of the 1935 Constitution has been modified by the present
phraseology found in the 1987 Charter, expressly declaring as inadmissible any evidence obtained in violation of
the constitutional prohibition against illegal search and seizure, it matters not whether the evidence was procured
by police authorities or private individuals (Appellant's Brief, p. 8, Rollo, p. 62).

The argument is untenable. For one thing, the constitution, in laying down the principles of the government and
fundamental liberties of the people, does not govern relationships between individuals. Moreover, it must be
emphasized that the modifications introduced in the 1987 Constitution (re: Sec. 2, Art. III) relate to the issuance of
either a search warrant or warrant of arrest vis-a-vis the responsibility of the judge in the issuance thereof
(SeeSoliven v. Makasiar, 167 SCRA 393 [1988]; Circular No. 13 [October 1, 1985] and Circular No. 12 [June 30,
1987]. The modifications introduced deviate in no manner as to whom the restriction or inhibition against
unreasonable search and seizure is directed against. The restraint stayed with the State and did not shift to
anyone else.

Corolarilly, alleged violations against unreasonable search and seizure may only be invoked against the State by
an individual unjustly traduced by the exercise of sovereign authority. To agree with appellant that an act of a
private individual in violation of the Bill of Rights should also be construed as an act of the State would result in
serious legal complications and an absurd interpretation of the constitution.

Similarly, the admissibility of the evidence procured by an individual effected through private seizure equally
applies, in pari passu, to the alleged violation, non-governmental as it is, of appellant's constitutional rights to
privacy and communication.

2. In his second assignment of error, appellant contends that the lower court erred in convicting him despite the
undisputed fact that his rights under the constitution while under custodial investigation were not observed.

Again, the contention is without merit, We have carefully examined the records of the case and found nothing to
indicate, as an "undisputed fact", that appellant was not informed of his constitutional rights or that he gave
statements without the assistance of counsel. The law enforcers testified that accused/appellant was informed of
his constitutional rights. It is presumed that they have regularly performed their duties (See. 5(m), Rule 131) and
their testimonies should be given full faith and credence, there being no evidence to the contrary. What is clear
from the records, on the other hand, is that appellant refused to give any written statement while under
investigation as testified by Atty. Lastimoso of the NBI, Thus:

Fiscal Formoso:

You said that you investigated Mr. and Mrs. Job Reyes. What about the accused here, did you investigate the
accused together with the girl?

WITNESS:

Yes, we have interviewed the accused together with the girl but the accused availed of his constitutional right not
to give any written statement, sir. (TSN, October 8, 1987, p. 62; Original Records, p. 240)
The above testimony of the witness for the prosecution was not contradicted by the defense on cross-
examination. As borne out by the records, neither was there any proof by the defense that appellant gave
uncounselled confession while being investigated. What is more, we have examined the assailed judgment of the
trial court and nowhere is there any reference made to the testimony of appellant while under custodial
investigation which was utilized in the finding of conviction. Appellant's second assignment of error is therefore
misplaced.

3. Coming now to appellant's third assignment of error, appellant would like us to believe that he was not the
owner of the packages which contained prohibited drugs but rather a certain Michael, a German national, whom
appellant met in a pub along Ermita, Manila: that in the course of their 30-minute conversation, Michael requested
him to ship the packages and gave him P2,000.00 for the cost of the shipment since the German national was
about to leave the country the next day (October 15, 1987, TSN, pp. 2-10).

Rather than give the appearance of veracity, we find appellant's disclaimer as incredulous, self-serving and
contrary to human experience. It can easily be fabricated. An acquaintance with a complete stranger struck in half
an hour could not have pushed a man to entrust the shipment of four (4) parcels and shell out P2,000.00 for the
purpose and for appellant to readily accede to comply with the undertaking without first ascertaining its contents.
As stated by the trial court, "(a) person would not simply entrust contraband and of considerable value at that as
the marijuana flowering tops, and the cash amount of P2,000.00 to a complete stranger like the Accused. The
Accused, on the other hand, would not simply accept such undertaking to take custody of the packages and ship
the same from a complete stranger on his mere say-so" (Decision, p. 19, Rollo, p. 91). As to why he readily
agreed to do the errand, appellant failed to explain. Denials, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence,
are negative self-serving evidence which deserve no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary weight
than the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters (People v. Esquillo, 171 SCRA 571
[1989]; People vs. Sariol, 174 SCRA 237 [1989]).

Appellant's bare denial is even made more suspect considering that, as per records of the Interpol, he was
previously convicted of possession of hashish by the Kleve Court in the Federal Republic of Germany on January
1, 1982 and that the consignee of the frustrated shipment, Walter Fierz, also a Swiss national, was likewise
convicted for drug abuse and is just about an hour's drive from appellant's residence in Zurich, Switzerland (TSN,
October 8, 1987, p. 66; Original Records, p. 244; Decision, p. 21; Rollo, p. 93).

Evidence to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but it must be credible in
itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the
circumstances (People v. Alto, 26 SCRA 342 [1968], citing Daggers v. Van Dyke, 37 N.J. Eg. 130; see also People
v. Sarda, 172 SCRA 651 [1989]; People v. Sunga, 123 SCRA 327 [1983]); Castañares v. CA, 92 SCRA 567
[1979]). As records further show, appellant did not even bother to ask Michael's full name, his complete address or
passport number. Furthermore, if indeed, the German national was the owner of the merchandise, appellant
should have so indicated in the contract of shipment (Exh. "B", Original Records, p. 40). On the contrary, appellant
signed the contract as the owner and shipper thereof giving more weight to the presumption that things which a
person possesses, or exercises acts of ownership over, are owned by him (Sec. 5 [j], Rule 131). At this point,
appellant is therefore estopped to claim otherwise.

Premises considered, we see no error committed by the trial court in rendering the assailed judgment.

WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged
is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 163087 February 20, 2006

SILAHIS INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, INC. and JOSE MARCEL PANLILIO, Petitioners, 



vs.

ROGELIO S. SOLUTA, JOSELITO SANTOS, EDNA BERNATE, VICENTA DELOLA, FLORENTINO MATILLA,
and GLOWHRAIN-SILAHIS UNION CHAPTER, Respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

The present Petition for Review on Certiorari partially assails the Court of Appeals Decision1 of March 26, 2004
holding herein petitioners Silahis International Hotel, Inc. and Jose Marcel Panlilio, along with Floro Maniego and
Steve Villanueva, civilly liable for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code, for violation of respondents’
constitutional right against unreasonable search of their office.

Petitioner Jose Marcel Panlilio (Panlilio) was the Vice President for Finance of his co-petitioner Silahis
International Hotel, Inc. (hotel), while respondents Rogelio Soluta (Soluta), Joselito Santos, Edna Bernate (Edna),
Vicenta Delola (Vicenta), and Florentino Matilla (Matilla) were employees of the hotel and officers of the
Glowhrain-Silahis Union Chapter, the hotel employees union (the union).

Petitioners’ version of the antecedents of the case are as follows:

In late 1987, as Coronel Floro Maniego (Maniego), General Manager of the Rapier Enforcement Professional
Investigation and Security Agency, Inc. (REPISA) which the hotel contracted to provide its security force, had
been receiving reports that sale and/or use of marijuana, dollar smuggling, and prostitution were going on in the
union office at the hotel and that there existed a theft syndicate, he conducted a surveillance, with the approval of
Panlilio, of suspected members and officers of the union.2

In the morning of January 11, 1988, Panlilio, his personal secretary Andy Dizon, Maniego, Bulletin reporter Nonoy
Rosales, and REPISA security guard Steve Villanueva (Villanueva) entered the union office located at the hotel
basement, with the permission of union officer Henry Babay (Babay) who was apprised about the suspected
illegal activities, and searched the premises in the course of which Villanueva found a plastic bag under a table.
When opened, the plastic bag yielded dry leaves of marijuana.3 Panlilio thereupon ordered Maniego to investigate
and report the matter to the authorities.

On the other hand, respondents’ version follows:

On January 10, 1988, Loida Somacera (Loida), a laundrywoman of the hotel, stayed overnight at the female
locker room at the basement of the hotel. At dawn of January 11, 1988, she heard pounding sounds outside,
prompting her to open the door of the locker room upon which she saw five men in barong tagalog whom she
failed to recognize but she was sure were not employees of the hotel,4 forcibly opening the door of the union
office.5 She even saw one of the men hid something behind his back. She then closed the door and went back to
bed. Soon after she heard the door of the union office opened.

In the morning of January 11, 1988, as union officer Soluta was trying in vain to open the door of the union office,
Loida narrated to him what she had witnessed at dawn.

Soluta thus immediately lodged a complaint before the Security Officer. And he fetched a locksmith, Efren
Guevarra, who tried to assist him, Edna, Arnold Ilustrisimo and Ed Bautista open the door. At that instant, men in
barong tagalog armed with clubs arrived and started hitting Soluta and his companions, drawing them to run to the
female locker room, and to thereafter proceed to the Engineering Office where they called for police assistance.6

While awaiting the arrival of the police, Babay and Panlilio, on the latter’s request, met. At the meeting, Panlilio
told Babay that they proceed to the union office where they would settle the mauling incident, to which Babay
replied that the door of the office could not be opened. Panlilio thereupon instructed Villanueva to force open the
door, and the latter did. Once inside, Panlilio and his companions began searching the office, over the objection of
Babay who even asked them if they had a search warrant.7 A plastic bag was found containing marijuana
flowering tops.

As a result of the discovery of the presence of marijuana in the union office and after the police conducted an
investigation of the incident, a complaint against the 13 union officers,8 namely: Babay, Isaac Asuncion, Jr.,
Soluta, Teodoro Gimpayan, Vicenta, Edna, Arnulfo Ilustrisimo, Irene Velarde, Joselito Santos, Renato Lina,
Avelino Meneses, Matilla, and Norman Agtani9 was filed before the Fiscal’s Office of Manila, for violation of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425, as amended by Batas Pambansa Bilang 179 (The Dangerous Drugs Act).

An Information10 indicting the union officers was subsequently filed by the Fiscal’s Office before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Manila.

After trial, Branch 5 of the RTC acquitted the accused. The trial court disposed:

WHEREFORE, with the specimen and/or the marijuana flowering tops allegedly found inside the Union Office
occupied by the accused not admissible in evidence, coupled by the suspicious circumstance of confiscation, for
lack of sufficient evidence, accused Henry Babay, Isaac Asuncion, Jr., Rogelio Soluta, Teodoro F. Gimpayan,
Vicente Delola, Edna Bernate, Arnulfo Ilustrisimo, Irene Velarde, Joselito Santos, Avelino Meneses, Florentino
Matilla and Norman Agtani, are ACQUITTED of the charge. The bonds they put up for their provisional liberty are
cancelled.

The Branch Clerk is directed to turn over the custody of the seized plastic bag containing flowering tops of
marijuana to the NBI Director as Permanent Custodian of the seized Dangerous Drugs.

SO ORDERED.11 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Soluta and his fellow union officers, together with the union, thereafter filed before the Manila RTC a
Complaint12against petitioners et al. including prosecuting Fiscal Jose Bautista and Atty. Eduardo Tutaan who
assisted in the prosecution of the case against them, for malicious prosecution and violation of their constitutional
right against illegal search.

After trial, Branch 55 of the Manila RTC, by Decision13 dated June 2, 1994, held the hotel, Panlilio, Maniego and
Villanueva jointly and severally liable for damages as a result of malicious prosecution and illegal search of the
union office. The dispositive portion of the trial court’s decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendants Silahis International
Hotel, Inc., Jose Marcel Panlilio, Floro Maniego and Steve Villanueva, individually and collectively, jointly and
severally, to pay to:

1. Plaintiffs Union, Rogelio S. Soluta, Joselito Santos, Florentino Matilla, Vicenta Delola and Edna Bernate-
Dacanay, jointly, the sum of P70,900.00 as actual damages, and the further sum of P1,000.00 each for the same
plaintiffs, except the Union, in the same concept and nature.

2. Plaintiffs Rogelio Soluta, Joselito Santos, Florentino Matilla, Vicenta Delola and Edna Bernate-Dacanay the
sum of P100,000.00 each for moral damages.

3. Plaintiffs Joselito Santos, Florentino Matilla, Vicenta Delola and Edna-Bernate-Dacanay the sum of
P30,000.00 each as exemplary damages.

4. To all the plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the sum of P30,000.00 for and as attorney’s fees.

The complaint, insofar as plaintiff Erlisa Ilustrisimo and defendants Ramos, Bautista and Tutaan are concerned, is
DISMISSED for lack of merit.

All the counterclaims of the defendants are likewise dismissed for lack of factual and legal basis.

Costs against the remaining defendants.


SO ORDERED.14 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the trial court’s decision. It found herein petitioners et
al. civilly liable for damages for violation of individual respondents’ constitutional right against illegal search, not for
malicious prosecution, set aside the award of actual damages to respondent union, and reduced the award of
actual damages to individual respondents to ₱50,000. The dispositive portion of the appellate court’s decision
reads:

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 55, is hereby AFFIRMED with the
modification that the first paragraph of the dispositive portion should read:

"1. Plaintiffs Rogelio Soluta, Joselito Santos, Florentino Matilla, Vicenta Delola and Edna Bernate-Dacanay, jointly,
the sum of P50,000.00 as actual damages, and the further sum of P1,000.00 each for the same plaintiffs in the
same concept and nature."

The Decision is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects.

SO ORDERED.15

Hence, the present petition of Panlilio and the hotel, they contending that:

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN ITS CONCLUSION THAT PETITIONERS ARE LIABLE FOR
DAMAGES UNDER ARTICLE 32 OF THE CIVIL CODE IN THAT:

1. THE COURT OF APPEALS’ APPLICATION OF PEOPLE V. ARUTA (288 SCRA 626[1998]) AND SECTION 13,
RULE 126 OF THE RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN THE INSTANT CASE IS LEGALLY FLAWED.

2. PETITIONERS’ SEARCH OF THE UNION OFFICE IN THE INSTANT CASE WAS ENTIRELY REASONABLE
UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.16

While petitioners concede that the appellate court correctly cited the principles enunciated in People v. Aruta17 and
Section 13, Rule 12618 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, it gravely erred when it applied Aruta to justify
petitioners’ alleged liability under Article 32 of the New Civil Code. They argue that Aruta does not involve Article
32 as nowhere in the decision is there any reference to Article 32.19

Similarly, petitioners argue that being private persons, they are not covered by the standards set forth in Aruta as
the constitutional protection against illegal searches and seizures is not meant to be invoked against private
individuals.20

Petitioners further argue that the search of the union office was reasonable under the circumstances,21 given that
the hotel owns the room where the union holds office; the search was not without probable cause as it was
conducted precisely due to reports received by petitioners that the union office was being used as a venue for
illegal activities, particularly the sale and/or use of prohibited drugs;22 and the search was conducted with the
consent and in the presence of union officer Babay.23

The petition fails.

Article 32 of the New Civil Code provides:

ART. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats,
violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the following rights and liberties of another person shall be
liable to the latter for damages:

xxxx

(9) The right to be secure in one’s person, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures;
xxxx

The indemnity shall include moral damages. Exemplary damages may also be adjudicated. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

As constitutional rights, like the right to be secure in one’s person, house, papers, and effects against
unreasonable search and seizures, occupy a lofty position in every civilized and democratic community and not
infrequently susceptible to abuse, their violation, whether constituting a penal offense or not, must be guarded
against. As the Code Commission noted,

xxxx

(3) Direct and open violations of the Penal Code trampling upon the freedoms named are not so frequent as those
subtle, clever and indirect ways which do not come within the pale of the penal law. It is in these cunning devices
of suppressing or curtailing freedom, which are not criminally punishable, where the greatest danger to democracy
lies. The injured citizen will always have, under the new Civil Code, adequate civil remedies before the courts
because of the independent civil action, even in those instances where the act or omission complained of does
not constitute a criminal offense.24

The Code Commission thus deemed it necessary to hold not only public officers but also private individuals civilly
liable for violation of rights enumerated in Article 32 of the Civil Code. That is why it is not even necessary that the
defendant under this Article should have acted with malice or bad faith, otherwise, it would defeat its main
purpose, which is the effective protection of individual rights.25 It suffices that there is a violation of the
constitutional right of the plaintiff.

In the present case, as priorly stated, petitioners had, by their own claim, already received reports in late 1987 of
illegal activities allegedly undertaken in the union office and Maniego conducted surveillance of the union officers.
Yet, in the morning of January 11, 1988, petitioners and their companions barged into and searched the union
office without a search warrant, despite ample time for them to obtain one, and notwithstanding the objection of
Babay.

The course taken by petitioners and company stinks in illegality, it not falling under any of the exceptional
instances when a warrantless search is allowed by law. Petitioners’ violation of individual respondents’
constitutional right against unreasonable search thus furnishes the basis for the award of damages under Article
32 of the Civil Code.

In MHP Garments, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,26 a case for unfair competition, the progression of time between the
receipt of the information and the raid of the stores of the therein private respondents’ premises showed that there
was sufficient time for the therein petitioners and the raiding party to apply for a judicial warrant. Yet they did not
apply for one. They went on with the raid and seized the goods of the therein private Respondents. Under the
circumstances, this court upheld the grant of damages by the trial court to the therein private respondents for
violation of their right against unreasonable search and seizure.

As for petitioners’ contention that property rights justified the search of the union office, the same does not lie. For
respondents, being the lawful occupants of the office, had the right to raise the question of validity of the search
and seizure.27

Neither does petitioners’ claim that they were allowed by union officer Babay to enter the union office lie. Babay’s
account of why petitioners and company went to the union office – to consider Panlilio’s suggestion to settle the
mauling incident is more credible, as is his claim that he protested the search, and even asked if they were armed
with a search warrant.

While it is doctrinal that the right against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right which may be
waived expressly or impliedly, a waiver by implication cannot be presumed. There must be clear and convincing
evidence of an actual intention to relinquish it to constitute a waiver thereof.28 There must be proof of the
following: (a) that the right exists; (b) that the person involved had knowledge, either actual or constructive, of the
existence of such right; and, (c) that the said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right. In other words,
the waiver must be voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently made. The evidence shows otherwise, however.
That a violation of one’s constitutional right against illegal search and seizure can be the basis for the recovery of
damages under Article 32 in relation to Article 2219(6) and (10) of the New Civil Code, there is no doubt. Since the
complaint29 filed before the trial court was for damages due to malicious prosecution and violation of constitutional
right against illegal search and seizure, the award by the trial court of actual damages to respondent union was
correctly set aside by the appellate court.

Article 32 speaks of an officer or employee or person "directly or indirectly" responsible for the violation of the
constitutional rights and liberties of another. Hence, it is not the actor alone who must answer for damages under
Article 32; the person indirectly responsible has also to answer for the damages or injury caused to the aggrieved
party.30 Such being the case, petitioners, together with Maniego and Villanueva, the ones who orchestrated the
illegal search, are jointly and severally liable for actual, moral and exemplary damages to herein individual
respondents in accordance with the earlier-quoted pertinent provision of Article 32, in relation to Article 2219(6)
and (10) of the Civil Code which provides:

Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:

xxxx

(6) Illegal search;

xxxx

(10) Acts and action referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34 and 35. (Emphasis supplied)

Petitioners magnify the citation by the appellate court of Aruta allegedly "to justify [their] liability" under Article 32 of
the Civil Code, which petitioners allege is erroneous as said case did not involve Article 32.

Aruta was, however, cited by the appellate court, not to justify petitioners’ liability but to rule out the legality of the
search in the union office as the search was not done as an incident of a lawful arrest.

Petitioners cite People v. Marti31 to support their thesis that the determinants in the validity of the constitutional
right against searches and seizure cannot be invoked against private individuals.

But the ruling of this Court in Marti, a criminal case, bears on the issue of whether "an act of a private individual,
allegedly in violation of [one’s] constitutional rights, [may] be invoked against the State." In other words, the issue
in that case was whether the evidence obtained by a private person, acting in a private capacity without the
participation of the State, is admissible.

The issue in the present civil case, however, is whether respondent individual can recover damages for violation
of constitutional rights. As reflected above, Article 32, in relation to Article 2219(6) and (10) of the Civil Code,
allows so.

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing ratiocinations, the petition is DENIED.

Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-45081 July 15, 1936

JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner, 



vs.

THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL CASTILLO, and DIONISIO C.
MAYOR, respondents.

Godofredo Reyes for petitioner.



Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for respondent Electoral Commission.

Pedro Ynsua in his own behalf.

No appearance for other respondents.

LAUREL, J.:

This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, for the issuance of a writ of
prohibition to restrain and prohibit the Electoral Commission, one of the respondents, from taking further
cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua, another respondent, against the election of said petitioner as
member of the National Assembly for the first assembly district of the Province of Tayabas.

The facts of this case as they appear in the petition and as admitted by the respondents are as follows:

(1) That in the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro
Ynsua, Miguel Castillo and Dionisio Mayor, were candidates voted for the position of member of the National
Assembly for the first district of the Province of Tayabas;

(2) That on October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers, proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the
National Assembly for the said district, for having received the most number of votes;

(3) That on November 15, 1935, the petitioner took his oath of office;

(4) That on December 3, 1935, the National Assembly in session assembled, passed the following resolution:

[No. 8]

RESOLUCION CONFIRMANDO LAS ACTAS DE AQUELLOS DIPUTADOS CONTRA QUIENES NO SE HA


PRESENTADO PROTESTA.

Se resuelve: Que las actas de eleccion de los Diputados contra quienes no se hubiere presentado debidamente
una protesta antes de la adopcion de la presente resolucion sean, como por la presente, son aprobadas y
confirmadas.

Adoptada, 3 de diciembre, 1935.

(5) That on December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a
"Motion of Protest" against the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being the only protest filed after
the passage of Resolutions No. 8 aforequoted, and praying, among other-things, that said respondent be declared
elected member of the National Assembly for the first district of Tayabas, or that the election of said position be
nullified;

(6) That on December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a resolution, paragraph 6 of which provides:

6. La Comision no considerara ninguna protesta que no se haya presentado en o antes de este dia.

(7) That on December 20, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, one of the respondents in the aforesaid
protest, filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion to Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8
of Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly was adopted in the legitimate
exercise of its constitutional prerogative to prescribe the period during which protests against the election of its
members should be presented; (b) that the aforesaid resolution has for its object, and is the accepted formula for,
the limitation of said period; and (c) that the protest in question was filed out of the prescribed period;

(8) That on December 27, 1935, the herein respondent, Pedro Ynsua, filed an "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal"
alleging that there is no legal or constitutional provision barring the presentation of a protest against the election of
a member of the National Assembly after confirmation;

(9) That on December 31, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, filed a "Reply" to the aforesaid "Answer to
the Motion of Dismissal";

(10) That the case being submitted for decision, the Electoral Commission promulgated a resolution on January
23, 1936, denying herein petitioner's "Motion to Dismiss the Protest."

The application of the petitioner sets forth the following grounds for the issuance of the writ prayed for:

(a) That the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon the electoral Commission solely as regards the merits
of contested elections to the National Assembly;

(b) That the Constitution excludes from said jurisdiction the power to regulate the proceedings of said election
contests, which power has been reserved to the Legislative Department of the Government or the National
Assembly;

(c) That like the Supreme Court and other courts created in pursuance of the Constitution, whose exclusive
jurisdiction relates solely to deciding the merits of controversies submitted to them for decision and to matters
involving their internal organization, the Electoral Commission can regulate its proceedings only if the National
Assembly has not availed of its primary power to so regulate such proceedings;

(d) That Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly is, therefore, valid and should be respected and obeyed;

(e) That under paragraph 13 of section 1 of the ordinance appended to the Constitution and paragraph 6 of article
7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the United States) as well as under section 1 and
3 (should be sections 1 and 2) of article VIII of the Constitution, this Supreme Court has jurisdiction to pass upon
the fundamental question herein raised because it involves an interpretation of the Constitution of the Philippines.

On February 25, 1936, the Solicitor-General appeared and filed an answer in behalf of the respondent Electoral
Commission interposing the following special defenses:

(a) That the Electoral Commission has been created by the Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative
Department invested with the jurisdiction to decide "all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications
of the members of the National Assembly"; that in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, fixing this date as
the last day for the presentation of protests against the election of any member of the National Assembly, it acted
within its jurisdiction and in the legitimate exercise of the implied powers granted it by the Constitution to adopt the
rules and regulations essential to carry out the power and functions conferred upon the same by the fundamental
law; that in adopting its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the petitioner to dismiss the
election protest in question, and declaring itself with jurisdiction to take cognizance of said protest, it acted in the
legitimate exercise of its quasi-judicial functions a an instrumentality of the Legislative Department of the
Commonwealth Government, and hence said act is beyond the judicial cognizance or control of the Supreme
Court;

(b) That the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the members of
the National Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filed, could not and did not deprive the electoral
Commission of its jurisdiction to take cognizance of election protests filed within the time that might be set by its
own rules:

(c) That the Electoral Commission is a body invested with quasi-judicial functions, created by the Constitution as
an instrumentality of the Legislative Department, and is not an "inferior tribunal, or corporation, or board, or
person" within the purview of section 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure, against which prohibition would
lie.
The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his turn, appeared and filed an answer in his own behalf on March 2, 1936,
setting forth the following as his special defense:

(a) That at the time of the approval of the rules of the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, there was no
existing law fixing the period within which protests against the election of members of the National Assembly
should be filed; that in fixing December 9, 1935, as the last day for the filing of protests against the election of
members of the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission was exercising a power impliedly conferred upon it
by the Constitution, by reason of its quasi-judicial attributes;

(b) That said respondent presented his motion of protest before the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935,
the last day fixed by paragraph 6 of the rules of the said Electoral Commission;

(c) That therefore the Electoral Commission acquired jurisdiction over the protest filed by said respondent and
over the parties thereto, and the resolution of the Electoral Commission of January 23, 1936, denying petitioner's
motion to dismiss said protest was an act within the jurisdiction of the said commission, and is not reviewable by
means of a writ of prohibition;

(d) That neither the law nor the Constitution requires confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of its
members, and that such confirmation does not operate to limit the period within which protests should be filed as
to deprive the Electoral Commission of jurisdiction over protest filed subsequent thereto;

(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent entity created by the Constitution, endowed with quasi-
judicial functions, whose decision are final and unappealable;

( f ) That the electoral Commission, as a constitutional creation, is not an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or
person, within the terms of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure; and that neither under the
provisions of sections 1 and 2 of article II (should be article VIII) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of section 1
of the Ordinance appended thereto could it be subject in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions to a writ of
prohibition from the Supreme Court;

(g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the united States)
has no application to the case at bar.

The case was argued before us on March 13, 1936. Before it was submitted for decision, the petitioner prayed for
the issuance of a preliminary writ of injunction against the respondent Electoral Commission which petition was
denied "without passing upon the merits of the case" by resolution of this court of March 21, 1936.

There was no appearance for the other respondents.

The issues to be decided in the case at bar may be reduced to the following two principal propositions:

1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the controversy
upon the foregoing related facts, and in the affirmative,

2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in assuming to the cognizance
of the protest filed the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation of such election
by resolution of the National Assembly?

We could perhaps dispose of this case by passing directly upon the merits of the controversy. However, the
question of jurisdiction having been presented, we do not feel justified in evading the issue. Being a case primæ
impressionis, it would hardly be consistent with our sense of duty to overlook the broader aspect of the question
and leave it undecided. Neither would we be doing justice to the industry and vehemence of counsel were we not
to pass upon the question of jurisdiction squarely presented to our consideration.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express
provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance
of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the
three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely
unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and
balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. For example, the
Chief Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on the legislative power that this assent is required
in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the further check that a bill may become a law
notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths, as the case may
be, of the National Assembly. The President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special session
whenever he chooses. On the other hand, the National Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the
sense that its consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointments of certain
officers; and the concurrence of a majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties.
Furthermore, in its power to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be established, to define
their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial department
to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises the judicial power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in
turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its
power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution.

But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the
executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. The overlapping and interlacing of
functions and duties between the several departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where the
one leaves off and the other begins. In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of
the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial
department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers
between the several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.

As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was
within the power of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the
expression of their sovereignty however limited, has established a republican government intended to operate and
function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and
restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions
and limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it
would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of
government along constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of
rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good government mere political apothegms. Certainly,
the limitation and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be in any living constitution. In
the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this
moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by
popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is
granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our constitution.

The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of
such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And
when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other
departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and
sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and
guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the
power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases
and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the
constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to
dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is
in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More
than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the
legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual
cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their
representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the governments of the government.

But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less
to be remembered that, in the language of James Madison, the system itself is not "the chief palladium of
constitutional liberty . . . the people who are authors of this blessing must also be its guardians . . . their eyes must
be ever ready to mark, their voice to pronounce . . . aggression on the authority of their constitution." In the Last
and ultimate analysis, then, must the success of our government in the unfolding years to come be tested in the
crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in consultation rooms and court chambers.

In the case at bar, the national Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of
the herein petitioner to the said body. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission has by resolution adopted on
December 9, 1935, fixed said date as the last day for the filing of protests against the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, notwithstanding the previous confirmation made by the
National Assembly as aforesaid. If, as contended by the petitioner, the resolution of the National Assembly has the
effect of cutting off the power of the Electoral Commission to entertain protests against the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, submitted after December 3, 1935, then the resolution of the
Electoral Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere surplusage and had no effect. But, if, as contended by the
respondents, the Electoral Commission has the sole power of regulating its proceedings to the exclusion of the
National Assembly, then the resolution of December 9, 1935, by which the Electoral Commission fixed said date
as the last day for filing protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, should be upheld.

Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a conflict of a grave constitutional nature
between the National Assembly on the one hand, and the Electoral Commission on the other. From the very
nature of the republican government established in our country in the light of American experience and of our own,
upon the judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and
defining constitutional boundaries. The Electoral Commission, as we shall have occasion to refer hereafter, is a
constitutional organ, created for a specific purpose, namely to determine all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly. Although the Electoral Commission may not
be interfered with, when and while acting within the limits of its authority, it does not follow that it is beyond the
reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not subject to constitutional restrictions.
The Electoral Commission is not a separate department of the government, and even if it were, conflicting claims
of authority under the fundamental law between department powers and agencies of the government are
necessarily determined by the judiciary in justifiable and appropriate cases. Discarding the English type and other
European types of constitutional government, the framers of our constitution adopted the American type where the
written constitution is interpreted and given effect by the judicial department. In some countries which have
declined to follow the American example, provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the courts
from exercising the power to interpret the fundamental law. This is taken as a recognition of what otherwise would
be the rule that in the absence of direct prohibition courts are bound to assume what is logically their function. For
instance, the Constitution of Poland of 1921, expressly provides that courts shall have no power to examine the
validity of statutes (art. 81, chap. IV). The former Austrian Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries
whose constitutions are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this power. This is true in Norway, Greece,
Australia and South Africa. Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to constitutional Charter of
the Czechoslovak Republic, February 29, 1920) and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX, Constitutional of the Republic
of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to pass upon the validity of ordinary laws. In our case, the
nature of the present controversy shows the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to determine the conflict of
authority between two agencies created by the Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance of the
controversy, who will determine the conflict? And if the conflict were left undecided and undetermined, would not a
void be thus created in our constitutional system which may be in the long run prove destructive of the entire
framework? To ask these questions is to answer them. Natura vacuum abhorret, so must we avoid exhaustion in
our constitutional system. Upon principle, reason and authority, we are clearly of the opinion that upon the
admitted facts of the present case, this court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject mater
of the present controversy for the purpose of determining the character, scope and extent of the constitutional
grant to the Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly."

Having disposed of the question of jurisdiction, we shall now proceed to pass upon the second proposition and
determine whether the Electoral Commission has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in adopting its
resolution of December 9, 1935, and in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed against the election of the
herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation thereof by the National Assembly on December 3,
1935. As able counsel for the petitioner has pointed out, the issue hinges on the interpretation of section 4 of
Article VI of the Constitution which provides:

"SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justice of the Supreme Court designated by
the Chief Justice, and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the
party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party having the second largest number of votes
therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its Chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole
judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly." It
is imperative, therefore, that we delve into the origin and history of this constitutional provision and inquire into the
intention of its framers and the people who adopted it so that we may properly appreciate its full meaning, import
and significance.
The original provision regarding this subject in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5) laying down the
rule that "the assembly shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members", was taken
from clause 1 of section 5, Article I of the Constitution of the United States providing that "Each House shall be the
Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members, . . . ." The Act of Congress of August 29,
1916 (sec. 18, par. 1) modified this provision by the insertion of the word "sole" as follows: "That the Senate and
House of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of
their elective members . . ." apparently in order to emphasize the exclusive the Legislative over the particular case
s therein specified. This court has had occasion to characterize this grant of power to the Philippine Senate and
House of Representatives, respectively, as "full, clear and complete" (Veloso vs. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte
and Samar [1919], 39 Phil., 886, 888.)

The first step towards the creation of an independent tribunal for the purpose of deciding contested elections to
the legislature was taken by the sub-committee of five appointed by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees
of the Constitutional Convention, which sub-committee submitted a report on August 30, 1934, recommending the
creation of a Tribunal of Constitutional Security empowered to hear legislature but also against the election of
executive officers for whose election the vote of the whole nation is required, as well as to initiate impeachment
proceedings against specified executive and judicial officer. For the purpose of hearing legislative protests, the
tribunal was to be composed of three justices designated by the Supreme Court and six members of the house of
the legislature to which the contest corresponds, three members to be designed by the majority party and three by
the minority, to be presided over by the Senior Justice unless the Chief Justice is also a member in which case the
latter shall preside. The foregoing proposal was submitted by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees to the
Convention on September 15, 1934, with slight modifications consisting in the reduction of the legislative
representation to four members, that is, two senators to be designated one each from the two major parties in the
Senate and two representatives to be designated one each from the two major parties in the House of
Representatives, and in awarding representation to the executive department in the persons of two
representatives to be designated by the President.

Meanwhile, the Committee on Legislative Power was also preparing its report. As submitted to the Convention on
September 24, 1934 subsection 5, section 5, of the proposed Article on the Legislative Department, reads as
follows:

The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of either house and all cases contesting the election of
any of their members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, constituted, as to each House, by three
members elected by the members of the party having the largest number of votes therein, three elected by the
members of the party having the second largest number of votes, and as to its Chairman, one Justice of the
Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice.

The idea of creating a Tribunal of Constitutional Security with comprehensive jurisdiction as proposed by the
Committee on Constitutional Guarantees which was probably inspired by the Spanish plan (art. 121, Constitution
of the Spanish Republic of 1931), was soon abandoned in favor of the proposition of the Committee on Legislative
Power to create a similar body with reduced powers and with specific and limited jurisdiction, to be designated as
a Electoral Commission. The Sponsorship Committee modified the proposal of the Committee on Legislative
Power with respect to the composition of the Electoral Commission and made further changes in phraseology to
suit the project of adopting a unicameral instead of a bicameral legislature. The draft as finally submitted to the
Convention on October 26, 1934, reads as follows:

(6) The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the
election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected
by the party having the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of the
party having the second largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief
Justice, the Commission to be presided over by one of said justices.

During the discussion of the amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo, and others, proposing to
strike out the whole subsection of the foregoing draft and inserting in lieu thereof the following: "The National
Assembly shall be the soled and exclusive judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of the Members", the
following illuminating remarks were made on the floor of the Convention in its session of December 4, 1934, as to
the scope of the said draft:

xxx xxx xxx


Mr. VENTURA. Mr. President, we have a doubt here as to the scope of the meaning of the first four lines,
paragraph 6, page 11 of the draft, reading: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the
National Assembly and all cases contesting the election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral
Commission, . . ." I should like to ask from the gentleman from Capiz whether the election and qualification of the
member whose elections is not contested shall also be judged by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. ROXAS. If there is no question about the election of the members, there is nothing to be judged; that is why
the word "judge" is used to indicate a controversy. If there is no question about the election of a member, there is
nothing to be submitted to the Electoral Commission and there is nothing to be determined.

Mr. VENTURA. But does that carry the idea also that the Electoral Commission shall confirm also the election of
those whose election is not contested?

Mr. ROXAS. There is no need of confirmation. As the gentleman knows, the action of the House of
Representatives confirming the election of its members is just a matter of the rules of the assembly. It is not
constitutional. It is not necessary. After a man files his credentials that he has been elected, that is sufficient,
unless his election is contested.

Mr. VENTURA. But I do not believe that that is sufficient, as we have observed that for purposes of the auditor, in
the matter of election of a member to a legislative body, because he will not authorize his pay.

Mr. ROXAS. Well, what is the case with regards to the municipal president who is elected? What happens with
regards to the councilors of a municipality? Does anybody confirm their election? The municipal council does this:
it makes a canvass and proclaims — in this case the municipal council proclaims who has been elected, and it
ends there, unless there is a contest. It is the same case; there is no need on the part of the Electoral Commission
unless there is a contest. The first clause refers to the case referred to by the gentleman from Cavite where one
person tries to be elected in place of another who was declared elected. From example, in a case when the
residence of the man who has been elected is in question, or in case the citizenship of the man who has been
elected is in question.

However, if the assembly desires to annul the power of the commission, it may do so by certain maneuvers upon
its first meeting when the returns are submitted to the assembly. The purpose is to give to the Electoral
Commission all the powers exercised by the assembly referring to the elections, returns and qualifications of the
members. When there is no contest, there is nothing to be judged.

Mr. VENTURA. Then it should be eliminated.

Mr. ROXAS. But that is a different matter, I think Mr. Delegate.

Mr. CINCO. Mr. President, I have a similar question as that propounded by the gentleman from Ilocos Norte when
I arose a while ago. However I want to ask more questions from the delegate from Capiz. This paragraph 6 on
page 11 of the draft cites cases contesting the election as separate from the first part of the sections which refers
to elections, returns and qualifications.

Mr. ROXAS. That is merely for the sake of clarity. In fact the cases of contested elections are already included in
the phrase "the elections, returns and qualifications." This phrase "and contested elections" was inserted merely
for the sake of clarity.

Mr. CINCO. Under this paragraph, may not the Electoral Commission, at its own instance, refuse to confirm the
elections of the members."

Mr. ROXAS. I do not think so, unless there is a protest.

Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. President, will the gentleman yield?

THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman may yield, if he so desires.

Mr. ROXAS. Willingly.

Mr. LABRADOR. Does not the gentleman from Capiz believe that unless this power is granted to the assembly,
the assembly on its own motion does not have the right to contest the election and qualification of its members?
Mr. ROXAS. I have no doubt but that the gentleman is right. If this draft is retained as it is, even if two-thirds of the
assembly believe that a member has not the qualifications provided by law, they cannot remove him for that
reason.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that the right to remove shall only be retained by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. ROXAS. By the assembly for misconduct.

Mr. LABRADOR. I mean with respect to the qualifications of the members.

Mr. ROXAS. Yes, by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that under this draft, no member of the assembly has the right to question the eligibility of its
members?

Mr. ROXAS. Before a member can question the eligibility, he must go to the Electoral Commission and make the
question before the Electoral Commission.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that the Electoral Commission shall decide whether the election is contested or not
contested.

Mr. ROXAS. Yes, sir: that is the purpose.

Mr. PELAYO. Mr. President, I would like to be informed if the Electoral Commission has power and authority to
pass upon the qualifications of the members of the National Assembly even though that question has not been
raised.

Mr. ROXAS. I have just said that they have no power, because they can only judge.

In the same session, the first clause of the aforesaid draft reading "The election, returns and qualifications of the
members of the National Assembly and" was eliminated by the Sponsorship Committee in response to an
amendment introduced by Delegates Francisco, Ventura, Vinzons, Rafols, Lim, Mumar and others. In explaining
the difference between the original draft and the draft as amended, Delegate Roxas speaking for the Sponsorship
Committee said:

xxx xxx xxx

Sr. ROXAS. La diferencia, señor Presidente, consiste solamente en obviar la objecion apuntada por varios
Delegados al efecto de que la primera clausula del draft que dice: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the
members of the National Assembly" parece que da a la Comision Electoral la facultad de determinar tambien la
eleccion de los miembros que no ha sido protestados y para obviar esa dificultad, creemos que la enmienda tien
razon en ese sentido, si enmendamos el draft, de tal modo que se lea como sigue: "All cases contesting the
election", de modo que los jueces de la Comision Electoral se limitaran solamente a los casos en que haya
habido protesta contra las actas." Before the amendment of Delegate Labrador was voted upon the following
interpellation also took place:

El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera

El Sr. PRESIDENTE. ¿Que dice el Comite?

El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto.

El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft, dando tres miembros a la mayoria, y otros tres a la minoria y tres a la
Corte Suprema, ¿no cree Su Señoria que esto equivale practicamente a dejar el asunto a los miembros del
Tribunal Supremo?

El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Creemos que si el tribunal o la Commission esta constituido en esa forma, tanto los
miembros de la mayoria como los de la minoria asi como los miembros de la Corte Suprema consideraran la
cuestion sobre la base de sus meritos, sabiendo que el partidismo no es suficiente para dar el triunfo.
El Sr. CONEJERO. ¿Cree Su Señoria que en un caso como ese, podriamos hacer que tanto los de la mayoria
como los de la minoria prescindieran del partidismo?

El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el triunfo.

xxx xxx xxx

The amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo and others seeking to restore the power to decide
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly to the National
Assembly itself, was defeated by a vote of ninety-eight (98) against fifty-six (56).

In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought to amend the draft by reducing the
representation of the minority party and the Supreme Court in the Electoral Commission to two members each, so
as to accord more representation to the majority party. The Convention rejected this amendment by a vote of
seventy-six (76) against forty-six (46), thus maintaining the non-partisan character of the commission.

As approved on January 31, 1935, the draft was made to read as follows:

(6) All cases contesting the elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly shall be
judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by the party having the largest number
of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of the party having the second largest number of
votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be presided
over by one of said justices.

The Style Committee to which the draft was submitted revised it as follows:

SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices of the Supreme Court designated by
the Chief Justice, and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the
party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party having the second largest number of votes
therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole
judge of the election, returns, and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly.

When the foregoing draft was submitted for approval on February 8, 1935, the Style Committee, through
President Recto, to effectuate the original intention of the Convention, agreed to insert the phrase "All contests
relating to" between the phrase "judge of" and the words "the elections", which was accordingly accepted by the
Convention.

The transfer of the power of determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the legislature
long lodged in the legislative body, to an independent, impartial and non-partisan tribunal, is by no means a mere
experiment in the science of government.

Cushing, in his Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (ninth edition, chapter VI, pages 57, 58), gives a vivid
account of the "scandalously notorious" canvassing of votes by political parties in the disposition of contests by
the House of Commons in the following passages which are partly quoted by the petitioner in his printed
memorandum of March 14, 1936:

153. From the time when the commons established their right to be the exclusive judges of the elections, returns,
and qualifications of their members, until the year 1770, two modes of proceeding prevailed, in the determination
of controverted elections, and rights of membership. One of the standing committees appointed at the
commencement of each session, was denominated the committee of privileges and elections, whose functions
was to hear and investigate all questions of this description which might be referred to them, and to report their
proceedings, with their opinion thereupon, to the house, from time to time. When an election petition was referred
to this committee they heard the parties and their witnesses and other evidence, and made a report of all the
evidence, together with their opinion thereupon, in the form of resolutions, which were considered and agreed or
disagreed to by the house. The other mode of proceeding was by a hearing at the bar of the house itself. When
this court was adopted, the case was heard and decided by the house, in substantially the same manner as by a
committee. The committee of privileges and elections although a select committee. The committee of privileges
and elections although a select committee was usually what is called an open one; that is to say, in order to
constitute the committee, a quorum of the members named was required to be present, but all the members of the
house were at liberty to attend the committee and vote if they pleased.
154. With the growth of political parties in parliament questions relating to the right of membership gradually
assumed a political character; so that for many years previous to the year 1770, controverted elections had been
tried and determined by the house of commons, as mere party questions, upon which the strength of contending
factions might be tested. Thus, for Example, in 1741, Sir Robert Walpole, after repeated attacks upon his
government, resigned his office in consequence of an adverse vote upon the Chippenham election. Mr. Hatsell
remarks, of the trial of election cases, as conducted under this system, that "Every principle of decency and
justice were notoriously and openly prostituted, from whence the younger part of the house were insensibly, but
too successfully, induced to adopt the same licentious conduct in more serious matters, and in questions of higher
importance to the public welfare." Mr. George Grenville, a distinguished member of the house of commons,
undertook to propose a remedy for the evil, and, on the 7th of March, 1770, obtained the unanimous leave of the
house to bring in a bill, "to regulate the trial of controverted elections, or returns of members to serve in
parliament." In his speech to explain his plan, on the motion for leave, Mr. Grenville alluded to the existing practice
in the following terms: "Instead of trusting to the merits of their respective causes, the principal dependence of
both parties is their private interest among us; and it is scandalously notorious that we are as earnestly canvassed
to attend in favor of the opposite sides, as if we were wholly self-elective, and not bound to act by the principles of
justice, but by the discretionary impulse of our own inclinations; nay, it is well known, that in every contested
election, many members of this house, who are ultimately to judge in a kind of judicial capacity between the
competitors, enlist themselves as parties in the contention, and take upon themselves the partial management of
the very business, upon which they should determine with the strictest impartiality."

155. It was to put an end to the practices thus described, that Mr. Grenville brought in a bill which met with the
approbation of both houses, and received the royal assent on the 12th of April, 1770. This was the celebrated law
since known by the name of the Grenville Act; of which Mr. Hatsell declares, that it "was one of the nobles works,
for the honor of the house of commons, and the security of the constitution, that was ever devised by any minister
or statesman." It is probable, that the magnitude of the evil, or the apparent success of the remedy, may have led
many of the contemporaries of the measure to the information of a judgement, which was not acquiesced in by
some of the leading statesmen of the day, and has not been entirely confirmed by subsequent experience. The bill
was objected to by Lord North, Mr. De Grey, afterwards chief justice of the common pleas, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Dyson,
who had been clerk of the house, and Mr. Charles James Fox, chiefly on the ground, that the introduction of the
new system was an essential alteration of the constitution of parliament, and a total abrogation of one of the most
important rights and jurisdictions of the house of commons.

As early as 1868, the House of Commons in England solved the problem of insuring the non-partisan settlement
of the controverted elections of its members by abdicating its prerogative to two judges of the King's Bench of the
High Court of Justice selected from a rota in accordance with rules of court made for the purpose. Having proved
successful, the practice has become imbedded in English jurisprudence (Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868 [31 &
32 Vict. c. 125] as amended by Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices Act. 1879 [42 & 43 Vict. c. 75], s. 2;
Corrupt and Illegal Practices Preventions Act, 1883 [46 & 47 Vict. c. 51;, s. 70; Expiring Laws Continuance Act,
1911 [1 & 2 Geo. 5, c. 22]; Laws of England, vol. XII, p. 408, vol. XXI, p. 787). In the Dominion of Canada, election
contests which were originally heard by the Committee of the House of Commons, are since 1922 tried in the
courts. Likewise, in the Commonwealth of Australia, election contests which were originally determined by each
house, are since 1922 tried in the High Court. In Hungary, the organic law provides that all protests against the
election of members of the Upper House of the Diet are to be resolved by the Supreme Administrative Court (Law
22 of 1916, chap. 2, art. 37, par. 6). The Constitution of Poland of March 17, 1921 (art. 19) and the Constitution of
the Free City of Danzig of May 13, 1922 (art. 10) vest the authority to decide contested elections to the Diet or
National Assembly in the Supreme Court. For the purpose of deciding legislative contests, the Constitution of the
German Reich of July 1, 1919 (art. 31), the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic of February 29, 1920 (art.
19) and the Constitution of the Grecian Republic of June 2, 1927 (art. 43), all provide for an Electoral Commission.

The creation of an Electoral Commission whose membership is recruited both from the legislature and the
judiciary is by no means unknown in the United States. In the presidential elections of 1876 there was a dispute
as to the number of electoral votes received by each of the two opposing candidates. As the Constitution made no
adequate provision for such a contingency, Congress passed a law on January 29, 1877 (United States Statutes
at Large, vol. 19, chap. 37, pp. 227-229), creating a special Electoral Commission composed of five members
elected by the Senate, five members elected by the House of Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme
Court, the fifth justice to be selected by the four designated in the Act. The decision of the commission was to be
binding unless rejected by the two houses voting separately. Although there is not much of a moral lesson to be
derived from the experience of America in this regard, judging from the observations of Justice Field, who was a
member of that body on the part of the Supreme Court (Countryman, the Supreme Court of the United States and
its Appellate Power under the Constitution [Albany, 1913] — Relentless Partisanship of Electoral Commission, p.
25 et seq.), the experiment has at least abiding historical interest.
The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our fundamental law were in their majority men
mature in years and experience. To be sure, many of them were familiar with the history and political development
of other countries of the world. When , therefore, they deemed it wise to create an Electoral Commission as a
constitutional organ and invested it with the exclusive function of passing upon and determining the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, they must have done so not only in the light of
their own experience but also having in view the experience of other enlightened peoples of the world. The
creation of the Electoral Commission was designed to remedy certain evils of which the framers of our
Constitution were cognizant. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of some members of the Convention to its
creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, was approved by that body by a vote of 98 against 58. All that can be
said now is that, upon the approval of the constitutional the creation of the Electoral Commission is the expression
of the wisdom and "ultimate justice of the people". (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.)

From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident that the purpose was to transfer in its totality
all the powers previously exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of its members,
to an independent and impartial tribunal. It was not so much the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary
constitutional precedents, however, as the long-felt need of determining legislative contests devoid of partisan
considerations which prompted the people, acting through their delegates to the Convention, to provide for this
body known as the Electoral Commission. With this end in view, a composite body in which both the majority and
minority parties are equally represented to off-set partisan influence in its deliberations was created, and further
endowed with judicial temper by including in its membership three justices of the Supreme Court.

The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with the necessary authority in the performance
and execution of the limited and specific function assigned to it by the Constitution. Although it is not a power in
our tripartite scheme of government, it is, to all intents and purposes, when acting within the limits of its authority,
an independent organ. It is, to be sure, closer to the legislative department than to any other. The location of the
provision (section 4) creating the Electoral Commission under Article VI entitled "Legislative Department" of our
Constitution is very indicative. Its compositions is also significant in that it is constituted by a majority of members
of the legislature. But it is a body separate from and independent of the legislature.

The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had
remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that power in the Electoral Commission is an implied
denial of the exercise of that power by the National Assembly. And this is as effective a restriction upon the
legislative power as an express prohibition in the Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, 45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1;
State vs.Whisman, 36 S.D., 260; L.R.A., 1917B, 1). If we concede the power claimed in behalf of the National
Assembly that said body may regulate the proceedings of the Electoral Commission and cut off the power of the
commission to lay down the period within which protests should be filed, the grant of power to the commission
would be ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be invested with the power to determine
contested cases involving the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly but
subject at all times to the regulative power of the National Assembly. Not only would the purpose of the framers of
our Constitution of totally transferring this authority from the legislative body be frustrated, but a dual authority
would be created with the resultant inevitable clash of powers from time to time. A sad spectacle would then be
presented of the Electoral Commission retaining the bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to, but
in reality without the necessary means to render that authority effective whenever and whenever the National
Assembly has chosen to act, a situation worse than that intended to be remedied by the framers of our
Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the National Assembly in procedural matters will inevitably lead
to the ultimate control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the Electoral Commission, and, by indirection,
to the entire abrogation of the constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not be permitted.

We are not insensible to the impassioned argument or the learned counsel for the petitioner regarding the
importance and necessity of respecting the dignity and independence of the national Assembly as a coordinate
department of the government and of according validity to its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be
practically an unlimited power of the commission in the admission of protests against members of the National
Assembly. But as we have pointed out hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral Commission carried with it ex
necesitate rei the power regulative in character to limit the time with which protests intrusted to its cognizance
should be filed. It is a settled rule of construction that where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every
particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or the performance of the other is also conferred (Cooley,
Constitutional Limitations, eight ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any further constitutional provision
relating to the procedure to be followed in filing protests before the Electoral Commission, therefore, the incidental
power to promulgate such rules necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all contests
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by
necessary implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.

It is, indeed, possible that, as suggested by counsel for the petitioner, the Electoral Commission may abuse its
regulative authority by admitting protests beyond any reasonable time, to the disturbance of the tranquillity and
peace of mind of the members of the National Assembly. But the possibility of abuse is not argument against the
concession of the power as there is no power that is not susceptible of abuse. In the second place, if any mistake
has been committed in the creation of an Electoral Commission and in investing it with exclusive jurisdiction in all
cases relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, the remedy is
political, not judicial, and must be sought through the ordinary processes of democracy. All the possible abuses of
the government are not intended to be corrected by the judiciary. We believe, however, that the people in creating
the Electoral Commission reposed as much confidence in this body in the exclusive determination of the specified
cases assigned to it, as they have given to the Supreme Court in the proper cases entrusted to it for decision. All
the agencies of the government were designed by the Constitution to achieve specific purposes, and each
constitutional organ working within its own particular sphere of discretionary action must be deemed to be
animated with the same zeal and honesty in accomplishing the great ends for which they were created by the
sovereign will. That the actuations of these constitutional agencies might leave much to be desired in given
instances, is inherent in the perfection of human institutions. In the third place, from the fact that the Electoral
Commission may not be interfered with in the exercise of its legitimate power, it does not follow that its acts,
however illegal or unconstitutional, may not be challenge in appropriate cases over which the courts may exercise
jurisdiction.

But independently of the legal and constitutional aspects of the present case, there are considerations of equitable
character that should not be overlooked in the appreciation of the intrinsic merits of the controversy. The
Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on November 15, 1935, on which date the Constitution, except as
to the provisions mentioned in section 6 of Article XV thereof, went into effect. The new National Assembly
convened on November 25th of that year, and the resolution confirming the election of the petitioner, Jose A.
Angara was approved by that body on December 3, 1935. The protest by the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua
against the election of the petitioner was filed on December 9 of the same year. The pleadings do not show when
the Electoral Commission was formally organized but it does appear that on December 9, 1935, the Electoral
Commission met for the first time and approved a resolution fixing said date as the last day for the filing of election
protest. When, therefore, the National Assembly passed its resolution of December 3, 1935, confirming the
election of the petitioner to the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission had not yet met; neither does it
appear that said body had actually been organized. As a mater of fact, according to certified copies of official
records on file in the archives division of the National Assembly attached to the record of this case upon the
petition of the petitioner, the three justices of the Supreme Court the six members of the National Assembly
constituting the Electoral Commission were respectively designated only on December 4 and 6, 1935. If
Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming non-protested elections of members of the National
Assembly had the effect of limiting or tolling the time for the presentation of protests, the result would be that the
National Assembly — on the hypothesis that it still retained the incidental power of regulation in such cases — had
already barred the presentation of protests before the Electoral Commission had had time to organize itself and
deliberate on the mode and method to be followed in a matter entrusted to its exclusive jurisdiction by the
Constitution. This result was not and could not have been contemplated, and should be avoided.

From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming the election of members against whom
no protests had been filed at the time of its passage on December 3, 1935, can not be construed as a limitation
upon the time for the initiation of election contests. While there might have been good reason for the legislative
practice of confirmation of the election of members of the legislature at the time when the power to decide election
contests was still lodged in the legislature, confirmation alone by the legislature cannot be construed as depriving
the Electoral Commission of the authority incidental to its constitutional power to be "the sole judge of all contest
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly", to fix the time for the
filing of said election protests. Confirmation by the National Assembly of the returns of its members against whose
election no protests have been filed is, to all legal purposes, unnecessary. As contended by the Electoral
Commission in its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the herein petitioner to dismiss the
protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua, confirmation of the election of any member is not required by the
Constitution before he can discharge his duties as such member. As a matter of fact, certification by the proper
provincial board of canvassers is sufficient to entitle a member-elect to a seat in the national Assembly and to
render him eligible to any office in said body (No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National Assembly, adopted December 6,
1935).
Under the practice prevailing both in the English House of Commons and in the Congress of the United States,
confirmation is neither necessary in order to entitle a member-elect to take his seat. The return of the proper
election officers is sufficient, and the member-elect presenting such return begins to enjoy the privileges of a
member from the time that he takes his oath of office (Laws of England, vol. 12, pp. 331. 332; vol. 21, pp. 694,
695; U. S. C. A., Title 2, secs. 21, 25, 26). Confirmation is in order only in cases of contested elections where the
decision is adverse to the claims of the protestant. In England, the judges' decision or report in controverted
elections is certified to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the House, upon being informed of such
certificate or report by the Speaker, is required to enter the same upon the Journals, and to give such directions
for confirming or altering the return, or for the issue of a writ for a new election, or for carrying into execution the
determination as circumstances may require (31 & 32 Vict., c. 125, sec. 13). In the United States, it is believed,
the order or decision of the particular house itself is generally regarded as sufficient, without any actual alternation
or amendment of the return (Cushing, Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., sec. 166).

Under the practice prevailing when the Jones Law was still in force, each house of the Philippine Legislature fixed
the time when protests against the election of any of its members should be filed. This was expressly authorized
by section 18 of the Jones Law making each house the sole judge of the election, return and qualifications of its
members, as well as by a law (sec. 478, Act No. 3387) empowering each house to respectively prescribe by
resolution the time and manner of filing contest in the election of member of said bodies. As a matter of formality,
after the time fixed by its rules for the filing of protests had already expired, each house passed a resolution
confirming or approving the returns of such members against whose election no protests had been filed within the
prescribed time. This was interpreted as cutting off the filing of further protests against the election of those
members not theretofore contested (Amistad vs. Claravall [Isabela], Second Philippine Legislature, Record —
First Period, p. 89; Urguello vs. Rama [Third District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature; Fetalvero vs. Festin
[Romblon], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, pp. 637-640; Kintanar vs. Aldanese [Fourth
District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, pp. 1121, 1122; Aguilar vs. Corpus [Masbate],
Eighth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp. 892, 893). The Constitution has repealed
section 18 of the Jones Law. Act No. 3387, section 478, must be deemed to have been impliedly abrogated also,
for the reason that with the power to determine all contest relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, is inseparably linked the authority to prescribe regulations for the exercise of
that power. There was thus no law nor constitutional provisions which authorized the National Assembly to fix, as
it is alleged to have fixed on December 3, 1935, the time for the filing of contests against the election of its
members. And what the National Assembly could not do directly, it could not do by indirection through the medium
of confirmation.

Summarizing, we conclude:

(a) That the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of separation of power
into the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

(b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping of functions and duties often makes difficult the
delimitation of the powers granted.

(c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and among the agencies thereof, the judiciary, with
the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, is the only constitutional mechanism devised finally to resolve the conflict
and allocate constitutional boundaries.

(d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies,
and is the power and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution,
which is the source of all authority.

(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent constitutional creation with specific powers and functions to
execute and perform, closer for purposes of classification to the legislative than to any of the other two
departments of the governments.

(f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly.

(g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present Constitution went into effect, each house of the
legislature was respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members.
(h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers previously exercised by the legislature with
respect to contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of its members, to the Electoral
Commission.

(i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the Electoral Commission was full, clear and complete, and
carried with it ex necesitate rei the implied power inter alia to prescribe the rules and regulations as to the time
and manner of filing protests.

( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission was to have an independent constitutional
organ pass upon all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, devoid of partisan influence or consideration, which object would be frustrated if the National Assembly
were to retain the power to prescribe rules and regulations regarding the manner of conducting said contests.

(k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not only section 18 of the Jones Law making each
house of the Philippine Legislature respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its
elective members, but also section 478 of Act No. 3387 empowering each house to prescribe by resolution the
time and manner of filing contests against the election of its members, the time and manner of notifying the
adverse party, and bond or bonds, to be required, if any, and to fix the costs and expenses of contest.

(l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election is contested or not, is not essential before such
member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

(m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member against whom no protest had been
filed prior to said confirmation, does not and cannot deprive the Electoral Commission of its incidental power to
prescribe the time within which protests against the election of any member of the National Assembly should be
filed.

We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional
prerogative in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the
election of the herein petitioner Jose A. Angara, and that the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3,
1935 can not in any manner toll the time for filing protests against the elections, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, nor prevent the filing of a protest within such time as the rules of the Electoral
Commission might prescribe.

In view of the conclusion reached by us relative to the character of the Electoral Commission as a constitutional
creation and as to the scope and extent of its authority under the facts of the present controversy, we deem it
unnecessary to determine whether the Electoral Commission is an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person
within the purview of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The petition for a writ of prohibition against the Electoral Commission is hereby denied, with costs against the
petitioner. So ordered.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 118910 November 16, 1995

KILOSBAYAN, INCORPORATED, JOVITO R. SALONGA, CIRILO A. RIGOS, ERME CAMBA, EMILIO C.


CAPULONG, JR., JOSE T. APOLO, EPHRAIM TENDERO, FERNANDO SANTIAGO, JOSE ABCEDE,
CHRISTINE TAN, RAFAEL G. FERNANDO, RAOUL V. VICTORINO, JOSE CUNANAN, QUINTIN S.
DOROMAL, SEN. FREDDIE WEBB, SEN. WIGBERTO TAÑADA, REP. JOKER P. ARROYO, petitioners, 

vs.

MANUEL L. MORATO, in his capacity as Chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the
PHILIPPINE GAMING MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, respondents.

RESOLUTION

MENDOZA, J.:

Petitioners seek reconsideration of our decision in this case. They insist that the decision in the first case has
already settled (1) whether petitioner Kilosbayan, Inc. has a standing to sue and (2) whether under its charter
(R.A. No. 1169, as amended) the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office can enter into any form of association or
collaboration with any party in operating an on-line lottery. Consequently, petitioners contend, these questions can
no longer be reopened.

Because two members of the Court did not consider themselves bound by the decision in the first case,
petitioners suggest that the two, in joining the dissenters in the first case in reexamining the questions in the
present case, acted otherwise than according to law. They cite the following statement in the opinion of the Court:

The voting on petitioners' standing in the previous case was a narrow one, with seven (7) members sustaining
petitioners' standing and six (6) denying petitioners' right to bring the suit. The majority was thus a tenuous one
that is not likely to be maintained in any subsequent litigation. In addition, there have been changes in the
membership of the Court, with the retirement of Justices Cruz and Bidin and the appointment of the writer of this
opinion and Justice Francisco. Given this fact it is hardly tenable to insist on the maintenance of the ruling as to
petitioners' standing.

Petitioners claim that this statement "conveys a none too subtle suggestion, perhaps a Freudian slip, that the two
new appointees, regardless of the merit of the Decision in the first Kilosbayan case against the lotto (Kilosbayan,
et al. v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 (1994)) must of necessity align themselves with all the Ramos appointees who
were dissenters in the first case and constitute the new majority in the second lotto case." And petitioners ask,
"why should it be so?"

Petitioners ask a question to which they have made up an answer. Their attempt at psychoanalysis, detecting a
Freudian slip where none exists, may be more revealing of their own unexpressed wish to find motives where
there are none which they can impute to some members of the Court.

For the truth is that the statement is no more than an effort to explain — rather than to justify — the majority's
decision to overrule the ruling in the previous case. It is simply meant to explain that because the five members of
the Court who dissented in the first case (Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ.) and the two new
members (Mendoza and Francisco, JJ.) thought the previous ruling to be erroneous and its reexamination not to
be barred by stare decisis, res judicata or conclusiveness of judgment, or law of the case, it was hardly tenable for
petitioners to insist on the first ruling.

Consequently to petitioners' question "What is the glue that holds them together," implying some ulterior motives
on the part of the new majority in reexamining the two questions, the answer is: None, except a conviction on the
part of the five, who had been members of the Court at the time they dissented in the first case, and the two new
members that the previous ruling was erroneous. The eighth Justice (Padilla, J.) on the other hand agrees with
the seven Justices that the ELA is in a real sense a lease agreement and therefore does not violate R.A. No.
1169.

The decision in the first case was a split decision: 7-6. With the retirement of one of the original majority (Cruz, J.)
and one of the dissenters (Bidin, J.) it was not surprising that the first decision in the first case was later reversed.

It is argued that, in any case, a reexamination of the two questions is barred because the PCSO and the
Philippine Gaming Management Corporation made a " formal commitment not to ask for a reconsideration of the
Decision in the first lotto case and instead submit a new agreement that would be in conformity with the PCSO
Charter (R.A. No. 1169, as amended) and with the Decision of the Supreme Court in the first Kilosbayan case
against on-line, hi-tech lotto."

To be sure, a new contract was entered into which the majority of the Court finds has been purged of the features
which made the first contract objectionable. Moreover, what the PCSO said in its manifestation in the first case
was the following:

1. They are no longer filing a motion for reconsideration of the Decision of this Honorable Court dated May 5,
1994, a copy of which was received on May 6, 1994.

2. Respondents PCSO and PGMC are presently negotiating a new lease agreement consistent with the authority
of PCSO under its charter (R.A. No. 1169, as amended by B.P. Blg. 42) and conformable with the
pronouncements of this Honorable Court in its Decision of May 5, 1995.

The PGMC made substantially the same manifestation as the PCSO.

There was thus no "formal commitment" — but only a manifestation — that the parties were not filing a motion for
reconsideration. Even if the parties made a "formal commitment," the six (6) dissenting Justices certainly could not
be bound thereby not to insist on their contrary view on the question of standing. Much less were the two new
members bound by any "formal commitment" made by the parties. They believed that the ruling in the first case
was erroneous. Since in their view reexamination was not barred by the doctrine of stare decisis, res judicata or
conclusiveness of judgment or law of the case, they voted the way they did with the remaining five (5) dissenters
in the first case to form a new majority of eight.

Petitioners ask, "Why should this be so?" Because, as explained in the decision, the first decision was
erroneous and no legal doctrine stood in the way of its reexamination. It can, therefore, be asked "with equal
candor": "Why should this not be so?"

Nor is this the first time a split decision was tested, if not reversed, in a subsequent case because of change in the
membership of a court. In 1957, this Court, voting 6-5, held in Feliciano v. Aquinas, G.R. No. L-10201, Sept. 23,
1957 that the phrase "at the time of the election" in §2174 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 meant that
a candidate for municipal elective position must be at least 23 years of age on the date of the election. On the
other hand, the dissenters argued that it was enough if he attained that age on the day he assumed office.

Less than three years later, the same question was before the Court again, as a candidate for municipal councilor
stated under oath in her certificate of candidacy that she was eligible for that position although she attained the
requisite age (23 years) only when she assumed office. The question was whether she could be prosecuted for
falsification. In People v. Yang, 107 Phi. 888 (1960), the Court ruled she could not. Justice, later Chief Justice,
Benison, who dissented in the first case, Feliciano v. Aquinas, supra, wrote the opinion of the Court, holding that
while the statement that the accused was eligible was "inexact or erroneous, according to the majority in the
Feliciano case," the accused could not be held liable for falsification, because

the question [whether the law really required candidates to have the required age on the day of the election or
whether it was sufficient that they attained it at the beginning of the term of office] has not been discussed
anew, despite the presence of new members; we simply assume for the purpose of this decision that the doctrine
stands.
Thus because in the meantime there had been a change in the membership of the Court with the retirement of
two members (Recess and Flex, JJ.) who had taken part in the decision in the first case and their replacement by
new members (Barrera and Gutierrez-David, JJ.) and the fact that the vote in the first case was a narrow one (6 to
5), the Court allowed that the continuing validity of its ruling in the first case might well be doubted. For this reason
it gave the accused the benefit of the doubt that she had acted in the good faith belief that it was sufficient that
she was 23 years of age when she assumed office.

In that case, the change in the membership of the Court and the possibility of change in the ruling were noted
without anyone — much less would-be psychoanalysts — finding in the statement of the Court any Freudian slip.
The possibility of change in the rule as a result of change in membership was accepted as a sufficient reason for
finding good faith and lack of criminal intent on the part of the accused.

Indeed, a change in the composition of the Court could prove the means of undoing an erroneous decision. This
was the lesson of Knox v. Lee, 12 Wall. 457 (1871). The Legal Tender Acts, which were passed during the Civil
War, made U.S. notes (greenbacks) legal tender for the payment of debts, public or private, with certain
exceptions. The validity of the acts, as applied to preexisting debts, was challenged in Hepburn v. Griswold, 8
Wall. 603 (1869). The Court was then composed of only eight (8) Justices because of Congressional effort to limit
the appointing power of President Johnson. Voting 5-3, the Court declared the acts void. Chief Justice Chase
wrote the opinion of the Court in which four others, including Justice Grier, concurred. Justices Miller, Swayne and
Davis dissented. A private memorandum left by the dissenting Justices described how an effort was made "to
convince an aged and infirm member of the court [Justice Grier] that he had not understood the question on which
he voted," with the result that what was originally a 4-4 vote was converted into a majority (5-3) for holding the
acts invalid.

On the day the decision was announced, President Grant nominated to the Court William Strong and Joseph P.
Bradley to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Justice Grier and to restore the membership of the Court
to nine. In 1871, Hepburn v. Griswold was overruled in the Legal Tender Cases, as Knox v. Lee came to be
known, in an opinion by Justice Strong, with a dissenting opinion by Chief Justice Chase and the three other
surviving members of the former majority. There were allegations that the new Justices were appointed for their
known views on the validity of the Legal Tender Acts, just as there were others who defended the character and
independence of the new Justices. History has vindicated the overruling of the Hepburn case by the new majority.
The Legal Tender Cases proved to be the Court's means of salvation from what Chief Justice Hughes later
described as one of the Court's "self-inflicted wounds."1

We now consider the specific grounds for petitioners' motion for reconsideration.

I. We have held that because there are no genuine issues of constitutionality in this case, the rule concerning real
party in interest, applicable to private litigation rather than the more liberal rule on standing, applies to petitioners.
Two objections are made against that ruling: (1) that the constitutional policies and principles invoked by
petitioners, while not supplying the basis for affirmative relief from the courts, may nonetheless be resorted to for
striking down laws or official actions which are inconsistent with them and (2) that the Constitution, by
guaranteeing to independent people's organizations "effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social,
political and economic decision-making" (Art. XIII, §16), grants them standing to sue on constitutional grounds.

The policies and principles of the Constitution invoked by petitioner read:

Art. II, §5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection life, liberty, and property, and thepromotion of the
general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

Id., §12. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and
the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

Id., §13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their
physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and
nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.

Id., §17. The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster
patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.
As already stated, however, these provisions are not self-executing. They do not confer rights which can be
enforced in the courts but only provide guidelines for legislative or executive action. By authorizing the holding of
lottery for charity, Congress has in effect determined that consistently with these policies and principles of the
Constitution, the PCSO may be given this authority. That is why we said with respect to the opening by the
PAGCOR of a casino in Cagayan de Oro, "the morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not
illegalper se. . . . It is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit." (Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp.,
Inc., 234 SCRA 255, 268 [1994]).

It is noteworthy that petitioners do not question the validity of the law allowing lotteries. It is the contract entered
into by the PCSO and the PGMC which they are assailing. This case, therefore, does not raise issues of
constitutionality but only of contract law, which petitioners, not being privies to the agreement, cannot raise.

Nor does Kilosbayan's status as a people's organization give it the requisite personality to question the validity of
the contract in this case. The Constitution provides that "the State shall respect the role of independent people's
organizations to enable the people to pursue and protect, within the democratic framework, their legitimate and
collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means," that their right to "effective and
reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making shall not be abridged." (Art.
XIII, §§ 15-16)

These provisions have not changed the traditional rule that only real parties in interest or those with standing, as
the case may be, may invoke the judicial power. The jurisdiction of this Court, even in cases involving
constitutional questions, is limited by the "case and controversy" requirement of Art. VIII, §5. This requirement lies
at the very heart of the judicial function. It is what differentiates decision-making in the courts from decision-
making in the political departments of the government and bars the bringing of suits by just any party.

Petitioners quote extensively from the speech of Commissioner Garcia before the Constitutional Commission,
explaining the provisions on independent people's organizations. There is nothing in the speech, however, which
supports their claim of standing. On the contrary, the speech points the way to the legislative and executive
branches of the government, rather than to the courts, as the appropriate fora for the advocacy of petitioners'
views.2 Indeed, the provisions on independent people's organizations may most usefully be read in connection
with the provision on initiative and referendum as a means whereby the people may propose or enact laws or
reject any of those passed by Congress. For the fact is that petitioners' opposition to the contract in question is
nothing more than an opposition to the government policy on lotteries.

It is nevertheless insisted that this Court has in the past accorded standing to taxpayers and concerned citizens in
cases involving "paramount public interest." Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens and legislators have indeed
been allowed to sue but then only (1) in cases involving constitutional issues and 

(2) under certain conditions. Petitioners do not meet these requirements on standing.

Taxpayers are allowed to sue, for example, where there is a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds. (Pascual
v. Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phi. 331 (1960); Sanidad v. Comelec, 73 SCRA 333 (1976); Bugnay Const. &
Dev. v. Laron, 176 SCRA 240 (1989); City Council of Cebu v. Cuizon, 47 SCRA 325 [1972]) or where a tax
measure is assailed as unconstitutional. (VAT Cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance], 235 SCRA 630
[1994]) Voters are allowed to question the validity of election laws because of their obvious interest in the validity
of such laws. (Gonzales v. Comelec, 21 SCRA 774 [1967]) Concerned citizens can bring suits if the constitutional
question they raise is of "transcendental importance" which must be settled early. (Emergency Powers Cases
[Araneta v. Dinglasan], 84 Phi. 368 (1949); Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters Ass'n v. Feliciano, 121 Phi. 358 (1965);
Philconsa v. Gimenez, 122 Phi. 894 (1965); CLU v. Executive Secretary, 194 SCRA 317 [1991]) Legislators are
allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which they claim infringes their
prerogatives qua legislators. (Philconsa v. Enriquez, 235 506 (1994); Guingona v. PCGG, 207 SCRA 659 (1992);
Gonzales v. Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452 (1990); Tolentino v. Comelec, 41 SCRA 702 (1971); Tatad v. Garcia, G.R.
No. 114222, April 16, 1995 (Mendoza, J., concurring))

Petitioners do not have the same kind of interest that these various litigants have. Petitioners assert an interest as
taxpayers, but they do not meet the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao
v. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392, 403 (1980), to wit:

While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition do
said petitioners allege that their tax money is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional
protections against abuses of legislative power" (Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S., 83 [1960]), or that there is a
misapplication of such funds by respondent COMELEC (see Pascual vs. Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phil. 331
[1960]), or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain
respondent from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. (Philippine
Constitution Association vs. Mathay, 18 SCRA 300 [1966]), citing Philippine Constitution Association vs. Gimenez,
15 SCRA 479 [1965]). Besides, the institution of a taxpayer's suit, per se, is no assurance of judicial review. As
held by this Court in Tan vs. Macapagal (43 SCRA 677 [1972]), speaking through our present Chief Justice, this
Court is vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained. (Emphasis added)

Petitioners' suit does not fall under any of these categories of taxpayers' suits.

Neither do the other cases cited by petitioners support their contention that taxpayers have standing to question
government contracts regardless of whether public funds are involved or not. In Gonzales v. National Housing,
Corp., 94 SCRA 786 (1979), petitioner filed a taxpayer's suit seeking the annulment of a contract between the
NHC and a foreign corporation. The case was dismissed by the trial court. The dismissal was affirmed by this
Court on the grounds of res judicata and pendency of a prejudicial question, thus avoiding the question of
petitioner's standing.

On the other hand, in Gonzales v. Raquiza, 180 SCRA 254 (1989), petitioner sought the annulment of a contract
made by the government with a foreign corporation for the purchase of road construction equipment. The question
of standing was not discussed, but even if it was, petitioner's standing could be sustained because he was a
minority stockholder of the Philippine National Bank, which was one of the defendants in the case.

In the other case cited by petitioners, City Council of Cebu v. Cuizon, 47 SCRA 325 (1972), members of the city
council were allowed to sue to question the validity of a contract entered into by the city government for the
purchase of road construction equipment because their contention was that the contract had been made without
their authority. In addition, as taxpayers they had an interest in seeing to it that public funds were spent pursuant
to an appropriation made by law.

But, in the case at bar, there is an allegation that public funds are being misapplied or misappropriated. The
controlling doctrine is that of Gonzales v. Marcos, 65 SCRA 624 (1975) where it was held that funds raised from
contributions for the benefit of the Cultural Center of the Philippines were not public funds and petitioner had no
standing to bring a taxpayer's suit to question their disbursement by the President of the Philippines.

Thus, petitioners' right to sue as taxpayers cannot be sustained. Nor as concerned citizens can they bring this suit
because no specific injury suffered by them is alleged. As for the petitioners, who are members of Congress, their
right to sue as legislators cannot be invoked because they do not complain of any infringement of their rights as
legislators.

Finally, in Valmonte v. PCSO, G.R. No. 78716, September 22, 1987, we threw out a petition questioning another
form of lottery conducted by the PCSO on the ground that petitioner, who claimed to be a "citizen, lawyer,
taxpayer and father of three minor children," had no direct and personal interest in the lottery. We said: "He must
be able to show, not only that the law is invalid, but also that he has sustained or is in immediate danger of
sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some
indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be denied some right or
privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason
of the statute complained of." In the case at bar, petitioners have not shown why, unlike petitioner in the Valmonte
case, they should be accorded standing to bring this suit.

The case of Oposa v. Factoran, Jr. 224 SCRA 792 (1993) is different. Citizens' standing to bring a suit seeking the
cancellation of timber licenses was sustained in that case because the Court considered Art. II, §16 a right-
conferring provision which can be enforced in the courts. That provision states:

The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the
rhythm and harmony of nature. (Emphasis)

In contrast, the policies and principles invoked by petitioners in this case do not permit of such categorization.
Indeed, as already stated, petitioners' opposition is not really to the validity of the ELA but to lotteries which they
regard to be immoral. This is not, however, a legal issue, but a policy matter for Congress to decide and Congress
has permitted lotteries for charity.

Nevertheless, although we have concluded that petitioners do not have standing, we have not stopped there and
dismissed their case. For in the view we take, whether a party has a cause of action and, therefore, is a real party
in interest or one with standing to raise a constitutional question must turn on whether he has a right which has
been violated. For this reason the Court has not ducked the substantive issues raised by petitioners.

II. R.A. No. 1169, as amended by B.P No . 42, states:

§1. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, hereinafter
designated the Office, shall be the principal government agency for raising and providing for funds for health
programs, medical assistance and services and charities of national character, and as such shall have the general
powers conferred in section thirteen of Act Numbered One Thousand Four Hundred Fifty-Nine, as amended, and
shall have the authority:

A. To hold and conduct charity sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar activities, in such frequency and
manner, as shall be determined, and subject to such rules and regulations as shall be promulgated by the Board
of Directors.

B. Subject to the approval of the Minister of Human Settlements, to engage in health and welfare-related
investments, programs, projects and activities which may be profit-oriented, by itself or in collaboration,
association or joint venture with any person, association, company or entity, whether domestic or foreign, except
for the activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph (A), for the purpose of providing for permanent and
continuing sources of funds for health programs, including the expansion of existing ones, medical assistance and
services, and/or charitable grants: Provided, That such investments will not compete with the private sector in
areas where investments are adequate as may be determined by the National Economic and Development
Authority.

Petitioners insist on the ruling in the previous case that the PCSO cannot hold and conduct charity sweepstakes,
lotteries and other similar activities in collaboration, association or joint venture with any other party because of
the clause "except for the activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph (A)" in paragraph (B) of §1. Petitioners
contend that the ruling is the law of this case because the parties are the same and the case involves the same
issue, i.e., the meaning of this statutory provision.

The "law of the case" doctrine is inapplicable, because this case is not a continuation of the first one. Petitioners
also say that inquiry into the same question as to the meaning of the statutory provision is barred by the doctrine
of res judicata. The general rule on the "conclusiveness of judgment," however, is subject to the exception that a
question may be reopened if it is a legal question and the two actions involve substantially different claims. This is
generally accepted in American law from which our Rules of Court was adopted. (Montana v. United States, 440
U.S. 59 L.Ed.2d 147, 210 (1979); RESTATEMENT OF THE LAW 2d, ON JUDGMENTS, §28; P. BATOR, D.
MELTZER, P. MISHKIN AND D. SHAPIRO, THE FEDERAL COURTS AND THE FEDERAL SYSTEM 1058, n.2
[3rd Ed., 1988]) There is nothing in the record of this case to suggest that this exception is inapplicable in this
jurisdiction.

Indeed, the questions raised in this case are legal questions and the claims involved are substantially different
from those involved in the prior case between the parties. As already stated, the ELA is substantially different from
the Contract of Lease declared void in the first case.

Borrowing from the dissenting opinion of Justice Feliciano, petitioners argue that the phrase "by itself or in
collaboration, association or joint venture with any other party" qualifies not only §1 (B) but also §1 (A), because
the exception clause ("except for the activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph [A]") "operates, as it were,
as a renvoi clause which refers back to Section 1(A) and in this manner avoids the necessity of simultaneously
amending the text of Section 1(A)."

This interpretation, however, fails to take into account not only the location of the phrase in paragraph (B), when it
should be in paragraph (A) had that been the intention of the lawmaking authority, but also the phrase "by itself."
In other words, under paragraph (B), the PCSO is prohibited from "engag[ing] in . . . investments, programs,
projects and activities" if these involve sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar activities not only "in
collaboration, association or joint venture" with any other party but also "by itself." Obviously, this prohibition
cannot apply when the PCSO conducts these activities itself. Otherwise, what paragraph (A) authorizes the PCSO
to do, paragraph (B) would prohibit.

The fact is that the phrase in question does not qualify the authority of the PCSO under paragraph (A), but rather
the authority granted to it by paragraph (B). The amendment of paragraph (B) by B.P. Blg. 42 was intended to
enable the PCSO to engage in certain investments, programs, projects and activities for the purpose of raising
funds for health programs and charity. That is why the law provides that such investments by the PCSO should
"not compete with the private sector in areas where investments are adequate as may be determined by the
National Economic and Development Authority." Justice Davide, then an Assemblyman, made a proposal which
was accepted, reflecting the understanding that the bill they were discussing concerned the authority of the PCSO
to invest in the business of others. The following excerpt from the Record of the Batasan Pambansa shows this to
be the subject of the discussion:

MR. DAVIDE. May I introduce an amendment after "adequate". The intention of the amendment is not to leave the
determination of whether it is adequate or not to anybody. And my amendment is to add after "adequate" the
words AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY. As a
mater of fact, it will strengthen the authority to invest in these areas, provided that the determination of whether
the private sector's activity is already adequate must be determined by the National Economic and Development
Authority.

Mr. ZAMORA. Mr. Speaker, the committee accepts the proposed amendment.

MR. DAVIDE. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

(2 RECORD OF THE BATASAN PAMBANSA, Sept. 6, 1979,



p. 1007)

Thus what the PCSO is prohibited from doing is from investing in a business engaged in sweepstakes races,
lotteries and other similar activities. It is prohibited from doing so whether "in collaboration, association or joint
venture" with others or "by itself." This seems to be the only possible interpretation of §1 (A) and (B) in light of its
text and its legislative history. That there is today no other entity engaged in sweepstakes races, lotteries and the
like does not detract from the validity of this interpretation.

III. The Court noted in its decision that the provisions of the first contract, which were considered to be features of
a joint venture agreement, had been removed in the new contract. For instance, §5 of the ELA provides that in the
operation of the on-line lottery, the PCSO must employ "its own competent and qualified personnel." Petitioners
claim, however, that the "contemporaneous interpretation" of PGMC officials of this provision is otherwise. They
cite the testimony of Glen Barroga of the PGMC before a Senate committee to the effect that under the ELA the
PGMC would be operating the lottery system "side by side" with PCSO personnel as part of the transfer of
technology.

Whether the transfer of technology would result in a violation of PCSO's franchise should be determined by facts
and not by what some officials of the PGMC state by way of opinion. In the absence of proof to the contrary, it
must be presumed that §5 reflects the true intention of the parties. Thus, Art. 1370 of the Civil Code says that "If
the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties, the literal
meaning of its stipulations shall control." The intention of the parties must be ascertained from their
"contemporaneous and subsequent acts." (Art. 1371; Atlantic Gulf Co. v. Insular Government, 10 Phil. 166 [1908])
It cannot simply be judged from what one of them says. On the other hand, the claim of third parties, like
petitioners, that the clause on upgrading of equipment would enable the parties after a while to change the
contract and enter into something else in violation of the law is mere speculation and cannot be a basis for judging
the validity of the contract.

IV. It is contended that §1 of E.O. No. 301 covers all types of "contract[s] for public services or for furnishing of
supplies, materials and equipment to the government or to any of its branches, agencies or instrumentalities" and
not only contracts of purchase and sale. Consequently, a lease of equipment, like the ELA, must be submitted to
public bidding in order to be valid. This contention is based on two premises: (1) that §1 of E.O. No. 301 applies to
any contract whereby the government acquires title to or the use of the equipment and (2) that the words
"supplies," "materials," and "equipment" are distinct from each other so that when an exception in §1 speaks of
"supplies," it cannot be construed to mean "equipment."

Petitioners' contention will not bear analysis. For example, the term "supplies" is used in paragraph (a), which
provides that a contract for the furnishing of "supplies" in order to meet an emergency is exempt from public
bidding. Unless "supplies" is construed to include "equipment," however, the lease of heavy equipment needed for
rescue operations in case of a calamity will have to be submitted to public bidding before it can be entered into by
the government.

In dissent Justice Feliciano says that in such a situation the government can simply resort to expropriation, paying
compensation afterward. This is just like purchasing the equipment through negotiation when the question is
whether the purchase should be by public bidding, not to mention the fact that the power to expropriate may not
be exercised when the government can very well negotiate with private owners.

Indeed, there are fundamental difficulties in simultaneously contending (1) that E.O. No. 301, §1 covers both
contracts of sale and lease agreements and (2) that the words "supplies," "materials" and "equipment" can not be
interchanged. Thus, under paragraph (b) of §1, public bidding is not required "whenever the supplies are to be
used in connection with a project or activity which cannot be delayed without causing detriment to the public
service." Following petitioners' theory, there should be a public bidding before the government can enter into a
contract for the lease of bulldozers and dredging equipment even if these are urgently needed in areas ravaged
by lahar because, first, lease contracts are covered by the general rule and, second, the exception to public
bidding in paragraph (b) covers only "supplies" but not equipment.

To take still another example. Paragraph (d), which does away with the requirement of public bidding "whenever
the supplies under procurement have been unsuccessfully placed on bid for at least two consecutive times, either
due to lack of bidders or the offers received in each instance were exorbitant or nonconforming to specifications."
Again, following the theory of the petitioners, a contract for the lease of equipment cannot be entered into even if
there are no bids because, first, lease contracts are governed by the general rule on public bidding and, second,
the exception to public bidding in paragraph (d) applies only to contracts for the furnishing of "supplies."

Other examples can be given to show the absurdity of interpreting §1 as applicable to any contract for the
furnishing of supplies, materials and equipment and of considering the words "supplies," "materials" and
"equipment" to be not interchangeable. Our ruling that §1 of E.O. No. 301 does not cover the lease of equipment
avoids these fundamental difficulties and is supported by the text of §1, which is entitled "Guidelines
for Negotiated Contracts" and by the fact that the only provisions of E.O. No. 301 on leases, namely, §§6 and 7,
concern the lease of buildings by or to the government. Thus the text of §1 reads:

§1. Guidelines for Negotiated Contracts. — Any provision of law, decree, executive order or other issuances to the
contrary notwithstanding, no contract for public services or for furnishing supplies, materials and equipment to the
government or any of its branches, agencies or instrumentalities shall be renewed or entered into without public
bidding, except under any of the following situations:

a. Whenever the supplies are urgently needed to meet an emergency which may involve the loss of, or danger to,
life and/or property;

b. Whenever the supplies are to be used in connection with a project or activity which cannot be delayed without
causing detriment to the public service;

c. Whenever the materials are sold by an exclusive distributor or manufacturer who does not have subdealers
selling at lower prices and for which no suitable substitute can be obtained elsewhere at more advantageous
terms to the government;

d. Whenever the supplies under procurement have been unsuccessfully placed on bid for at least two consecutive
times, either due to lack of bidders or the offers received in each instance were exhorbitant or non-conforming to
specifications;

e. In cases where it is apparent that the requisition of the needed supplies through negotiated purchase is most
advantageous to the government to be determined by the Department Head concerned; and
f. Whenever the purchase is made from an agency of the government.

Indeed, the purpose for promulgating E.O. No. 301 was merely to decentralize the system of reviewing negotiated
contracts of purchase for the furnishing of supplies, materials and equipment as well as lease contracts of
buildings. Theretofore, E.O. No. 298, promulgated on August 12, 1940, required consultation with the Secretary of
Justice and the Department Head concerned and the approval of the President of the Philippines before contracts
for the furnishing of supplies, materials and equipment could be made on a negotiated basis, without public
bidding. E.O. No. 301 changed this by providing as follows:

§2. Jurisdiction over Negotiated Contracts. — In line with the principles of decentralization and accountability,
negotiated contracts for public services or for furnishing supplies, materials or equipment may be entered into by
the department or agency head or the governing board of the government-owned or controlled corporation
concerned, without need of prior approval by higher authorities, subject to availability of funds, compliance with
the standards or guidelines prescribed in Section 1 hereof, and to the audit jurisdiction of the commission on Audit
in accordance with existing rules and regulations.

Negotiated contracts involving P2,000,000 up to P10,000,000 shall be signed by the Secretary and two other
Undersecretaries.

xxx xxx xxx

§7. Jurisdiction Over Lease Contracts. — The heads of agency intending to rent privately-owned buildings or
spaces for their use, or to lease out government-owned buildings or spaces for private use, shall have authority to
determine the reasonableness of the terms of the lease and the rental rates thereof, and to enter into such lease
contracts without need of prior approval by higher authorities, subject to compliance with the uniform standards or
guidelines established pursuant to Section 6 hereof by the DPWH and to the audit jurisdiction of COA or its duly
authorized representative in accordance with existing rules and regulations.

In sum, E.O. No. 301 applies only to contracts for the purchase of supplies, materials and equipment, and it was
merely to change the system of administrative review of emergency purchases, as theretofore prescribed by E.O.
No. 298, that E.O. No. 301 was issued on July 26, 1987. Part B of this Executive Order applies to leases of
buildings, not of equipment, and therefore does not govern the lease contract in this case. Even if it applies, it
does not require public bidding for entering into it.

Our holding that E.O. No. 301, §1 applies only to contracts of purchase and sale is conformable to P.D. No. 526,
promulgated on August 2, 1974, which is in pari materia. P.D. No. 526 requires local governments to hold public
bidding in the "procurement of supplies." By specifying "procurement of supplies" and excepting from the general
rule "purchases" when made under certain circumstances, P.D. No. 526, §12 indicates quite clearly that it applies
only to contracts of purchase and sale. This provision reads:

§12. Procurement without public bidding. — Procurement of supplies may be made without the benefit of public
bidding in the following modes:

(1) Personal canvass of responsible merchants;

(2) Emergency purchases;

(3) Direct purchases from manufacturers or exclusive distributors;

(4) Thru the Bureau of Supply Coordination; and

(5) Purchase from other government entities or foreign governments.

Sec. 3 broadly defines the term "supplies" as including —

everything except real estate, which may be needed in the transaction of public business, or in the pursuit of any
undertaking, project, or activity, whether of the nature of equipment, furniture, stationery, materials for
construction, or personal property of any sort, including non-personal or contractual services such as the repair
and maintenance of equipment and furniture, as well as trucking, hauling, janitorial, security, and related or
analogous services.

Thus, the texts of both E.O. No. 301, §1 and of P.D. No. 526, §§1 and 12, make it clear that only contracts for the
purchase and sale of supplies, materials and equipment are contemplated by the rule concerning public biddings.

Finally, it is contended that equipment leases are attractive and commonly used in place of contracts of purchase
and sale because of "multifarious credit and tax constraints" and therefore could not have been left out from the
requirement of public bidding. Obviously these credit and tax constraints can have no attraction to the government
when considering the advantages of sale over lease of equipment. The fact that lease contracts are in common
use is not a reason for implying that the rule on public bidding applies not only to government purchases but also
to lease contracts. For the fact also is that the government leases equipment, such as copying machines,
personal computers and the like, without going through public bidding.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the motion for reconsideration of petitioners is DENIED with finality.

SO ORDERED.