In re LAURETA IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. WENCESLAO LAURETA, AND OF CONTEMPTPROCEEDINGS AGAINST EVA MARAVILLA-ILUSTRE in G.R. No. 68635, entitled "EVA MARAVILLA- ILUSTRE, vs. HON. INTERMEDIATEAPPELLATE COURT, ET AL G.R. No. L-68635May 14, 1987 Facts: Maravilla Illustre wrote to the justices of the SC, complaining about the dismissal of the her case (aland dispute involving large estate) by a minute-resolution. Illustre claims that it was an unjust resolutiondeliberately and knowingly promulgated by the 1 st Division, that it was railroaded with such hurry beyondthe limits of legal and judicial ethics. Illustre also threatened in her letter that, “there is nothing final in this world. This case is far from finished by a long shot.” She threatened that she would call for a press conference.Illustre’s letter basically attacks the participation of Justice Pedro Yap in the first division. It was established that Justice Yap was previously a law partner of Atty. Ordonez, now the Solgen and counsel for theopponents.The letters were referred to the SC en banc. The SC clarified that when the minute-resolution was issued,the presiding justice then was not Justice Yap but Justice Abad Santos (who was about to retire), and thatJustice Yap was not aware that Atty Ordonez was the opponents counsel. It was also made clear thatJustice Yap eventually inhibited himself from the case.Still, Illustre wrote letters to the other justices (Narvasa, Herrera, Cruz), again
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. WENCESLAO LAURETA, AND OF CONTEMPTPROCEEDINGS AGAINST EVA MARAVILLA-ILUSTRE in G.R. No. 68635, entitled "EVA MARAVILLA-ILUSTRE, vs. HON. INTERMEDIATEAPPELLATE COURT, ET AL
G.R. No. L-68635May 14, 1987
Maravilla Illustre wrote to the justices of the SC, complaining about the dismissal of the her case (aland dispute involving large estate) by a minute-resolution. Illustre claims that it was an unjust resolutiondeliberately and knowingly promulgated by the 1 st Division, that it was railroaded with such hurry beyondthe limits of legal and judicial ethics. Illustre also threatened in her letter that, “there is nothing final in this world. This case is far from finished by a long shot.” She threatened that she would call for a press conference.Illustre’s letter basically attacks the participation of Justice Pedro Yap in the first division. It was established
that Justice Yap was previously a law partner of Atty. Ordonez, now the Solgen and counsel for theopponents.The letters were referred to the SC en banc. The SC clarified that when the minute-resolution was issued,the presiding justice then was not Justice Yap but Justice Abad Santos (who was about to retire), and thatJustice Yap was not aware that Atty Ordonez was the opponents counsel. It was also made clear thatJustice Yap eventually inhibited himself from the case.Still, Illustre wrote letters to the other justices (Narvasa, Herrera, Cruz), again
with more threats to “exposethe kind of judicial performance readily constituting travesty of justice.”
True to her threats, Illustre later filed a criminal complaint before the Tanodbayan, charging the Justiceswith knowingly rendering an unjust Minute Resolution. Justice Yap and Solgen Ordonez were also chargedof using their influence in the First Division in rendering said Minute Resolution.Atty LAURETA was the counsel of Illustre. He circulate copies of the complain to the press, without anycopy furnished the Court, nor the Justices charged. It was made to appear that the Justices were chargedwith graft and corruption.The Tanodbayan dismissed the complaint.Now, the SC is charging them with contempt.They claim that the letters were private communication, and that they did not intend to dishonor thecourt.
In the case of Demtria v. Alba, the issue of WoN the Supreme Court can act upon executive acts.
Petitioners assail the constitutionality of first paragraph of Sec 44 of PD 1177 (Budget Reform Decree of 1977)—as concerned citizens, members of the National Assembly, parties with general interest common to all people of the Philippines, and as taxpayers—on the primary grounds that Section 44 infringes upon the fundamental law by authorizing illegal transfer of public moneys, amounting to undue delegation of legislative powers and allowing the President to override the safeguards prescribed for approving appropriations.
The Solicitor General, for the public respondents, questioned the legal standing of the petitioners and held that one branch of the government cannot be enjoined by another, coordinate branch in its performance of duties within its sphere of responsibility. It also alleged that the petition has become moot and academic after the abrogation of Sec 16(5), Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution by the Freedom Constitution (which was where the provision under consideration was enacted in pursuant thereof), which states that “No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations, however, the President…may by law be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.”
Where the legislature or executive acts beyond the scope of its constitutional powers, it becomes the duty of the judiciary to declare what the other branches of the government has assumed to do as void, as part of its constitutionally conferred judicial power. This is not to say that the judicial power is superior in degree or dignity. In exercising this high authority, the judges claim no judicial supremacy; they are only the administrators of the public will.
In the elections of Sept 17, 1935, Angara, and the respondents, Pedro Ynsua et al. were candidates voted for the position of member of the National Assembly for the first district of the Province of Tayabas. On Oct 7, 1935, Angara was proclaimed as member-elect of the NA for the said district. On November 15, 1935, he took his oath of office. On Dec 3, 1935, the NA in session assembled, passed Resolution No. 8 confirming the election of the members of the National Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filed. On Dec 8, 1935, Ynsua, filed before the Electoral Commission a “Motion of Protest” against the election of Angara. On Dec 9, 1935, the EC adopted a resolution, par. 6 of which fixed said date as the last day for the
filing of protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the NA, notwithstanding the previous confirmation made by the NA. Angara filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing that by virtue of the NA proclamation, Ynsua can no longer protest. Ynsua argued back by claiming that EC proclamation governs and that the EC can take cognizance of the election protest and that the EC cannot be subject to a writ of prohibition from the SC.
Miranda v. Aguire
1994, RA No. 7720 effected the conversion of the municipality of Santiago, Isabela, into an independent component city. July 4th, RA No. 7720 was approved by the people of Santiago in a plebiscite. 1998, RA No. 8528 was enacted and it amended RA No. 7720 that practically downgraded the City of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city. Petitioners assail the constitutionality of RA No. 8528 for the lack of provision to submit the law for the approval of the people of Santiago in a proper plebiscite.
Respondents defended the constitutionality of RA No. 8528 saying that the said act merely reclassified the City of Santiago from an independent component city into a component city. It allegedly did not involve any “creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units,” therefore, a plebiscite of the people of Santiago is unnecessary. They also questioned the standing of petitioners to file the petition and argued that the petition raises a political question over which the Court lacks jurisdiction.
Yes. RA No. 8528 is declared unconstitutional. That Supreme Court has the jurisdiction over said petition because it involves not a political question but a justiciable issue, and of which only the court could decide whether or not a law passed by the Congress is unconstitutional.
That when an amendment of the law involves creation, merger, division, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units, a plebiscite in the political units directly affected is mandatory.
Petitioners are directly affected in the imple-mentation of RA No. 8528. Miranda was the mayor of Santiago City, Afiado was the President of the Sangguniang Liga, together with 3 other petitioners were all residents and voters in the City of Santiago. It is their right to be heard in
the conversion of their city through a plebiscite to be conducted by the COMELEC. Thus, denial of their right in RA No. 8528 gives them proper standing to strike down the law as unconstitutional.
Francisco vs. House of Representatives
Posted by she lamsen Labels: Administrative Law, Case Digest, Political Law, Political Law Case Digest
TOPIC: Political Question
10 November 2003
Facts: On 28 November 2001, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings, superseding the previous House Impeachment Rules approved by the 11th Congress. On 22 July 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution, which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF). On 2 June 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint (first impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices of the Supreme Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes." The complaint was endorsed by House Representatives, and was referred to the House Committee on Justice on 5 August 2003 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. The House Committee on Justice ruled on 13 October 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," but voted to dismiss the same on 22 October 2003 for being insufficient in substance. The following day or on 23 October 2003, the second impeachment complaint was filed with the Secretary General of the House by House Representatives against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. The second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least 1/3 of all the Members of the House of Representatives. Various petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus were filed with the Supreme Court against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which petitions contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI
of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year."
Issue: Whether or not the petitions are plainly premature and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of filing of the petitions, no justiciable issue was presented before it.
Held: The court’s power of judicial review, like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, is subject to several limitations, namely: (1) an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have “standing” to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
This Court did not heed the call to adopt a hands-off stance as far as the question of the constitutionality of initiating the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide is concerned. The Court found the existence in full of all the requisite conditions for its exercise of its constitutionally vested power and duty of the judicial review over an issue whose resolution precisely called for the construction or interpretation of a provision of the fundamental law of the land. What lies in here is an issue of a genuine constitutional material which only this Court can properly and competently address and adjudicate in accordance with the clear-cut allocation of powers under our system of government.
This Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial scrutiny and resolved on the merits only the main issue of whether the impeachment proceedings initiated against the Chief Justice transgressed the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule. Beyond this, it did not go about assuming jurisdiction where it had none, nor indiscriminately turn justiciable issues out of decidedly political questions. Because it not at all the business of this Court to assert judicial dominance over the other two great branches of the government.
Political questions are “those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the Government.” It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.
Citing Chief Justice Concepcion, when he became a Constitutional Commissioner: “…The powers of government are generally considered divided into three branches: the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme within its own sphere and independent of the others. Because of that supremacy power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice… courts of justice determine the limits of powers of the agencies and offices of the government as well as those of its officers. The judiciary is the final arbiter on the question 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 or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but also a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature…” a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere specter of the political law doctrine.
The determination of a truly political question from a non-justiciable political question lies in the answer to the question of whether there are constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are, then our courts are duty-bound to examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the government properly acted within such limits.
The Court held that it has no jurisdiction over the issue that goes into the merits of the second impeachment complaint. More importantly, any discussion of this would require this Court to make a determination of what constitutes an impeachable offense. Such a determination is a purely political question which the Constitution has left to the sound discretion of the legislation.
LA BUGAL-B’LAAN TRIBAL ASSOCIATION INC. VS. DENR SECRETARY
G.R. No. 127882, January 27 2004
On July 25, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order (E.O.) No. 279 authorizing the DENR Secretary to accept, consider and evaluate proposals from foreign-owned corporations or foreign investors for contracts or agreements involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, which,
upon appropriate recommendation of the Secretary, the President may execute with the foreign proponent.
On March 3, 1995, President Fidel V. Ramos approved R.A. No. 7942 to “govern the exploration, development, utilization and processing of all mineral resources.”
On April 9, 1995, R.A. No. 7942 took effect. But shortly before the effectivity of R.A. No. 7942, (March 30th), the President entered into an Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with WMC Philippines, Inc. (WMCP) covering 99,387 hectares of land in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. Subsequently, DENR Secretary Victor O. Ramos issued DENRAdministrative Order (DAO) No. 95-23, s. 1995, otherwise known as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 7942 which was also later repealed by DAO No. 96-40, s. 1996.
Petitioners claim that the DENR Secretary acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in signing and promulgating DENR AdministrativeOrder No. 96-40 implementing Republic Act No. 7942, the latter being unconstitutional.
Whether or not the requisites for judicial review are present to raise the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7942.
When an issue of constitutionality is raised, this Court can exercise its power of judicial review only if the following requisites are present:
(1) The existence of an actual and appropriate case;
(2) A personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question;
(3) The exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and
(4) The constitutional question is the lis mota of the case.
Respondents claim that the first three requisites are not present. Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states that “judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.” The power of judicial review, therefore, is limited to the determination of actual cases and controversies.
An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount to an advisory opinion. The power does not extend to hypothetical questions since any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities.
“Legal standing” or locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged, alleging more than a generalized grievance. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges “such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.” Unless a person is injuriously affected in any of his constitutional rights by the operation of statute or ordinance, he has no standing.
Petitioners traverse a wide range of sectors. Among them are La Bugal B’laan Tribal Association, Inc., a farmers and indigenous people’s cooperative organized under Philippine laws representing a community actually affected by the mining activities of WMCP, members of said cooperative, as well as other residents of areas also affected by the mining activities of WMCP. These petitioners have standing to raise the constitutionality of the questioned FTAA as they allege a personal and substantial injury. They claim that they would suffer “irremediable displacement” as a result of the implementation of the FTAA allowing WMCP to conduct mining activities in their area of residence. They thus meet the appropriate case requirement as they assert an interest adverse to that of respondents who, on the other hand, insist on the FTAA’s validity.
In view of the alleged impending injury, petitioners also have standing to assail the validity of E.O. No. 279, by authority of which the FTAA was executed.
Public respondents maintain that petitioners, being strangers to the FTAA, cannot sue either or both contracting parties to annul it. In other words, they contend that petitioners are not real parties in interest in an action for the annulment of contract.
Public respondents’ contention fails. The present action is not merely one for annulment of contract but for prohibition and mandamus. Petitioners allege that public respondents acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in implementing the FTAA, which they submit is unconstitutional. As the case involves constitutional questions, the Court is not concerned with whether petitioners are real parties in interest, but with whether they have legal standing.
Misconstruing the application of the third requisite for judicial review – that the exercise of the review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity – WMCP points out that the petition was filed only almost two years after the execution of the FTAA, hence, not raised at the earliest opportunity.
The third requisite should not be taken to mean that the question of constitutionality must be raised immediately after the execution of the state action complained of. That the question of constitutionality has not been raised before is not a valid reason for refusing to allow it to be raised later. A contrary rule would mean that a law, otherwise unconstitutional, would lapse into constitutionality by the mere failure of the proper party to promptly file a case to challenge the same.
Facts: Petitioner seeks to have this Court declare as unconstitutional Sections 28 and 44 of Republic Act No. 7279, otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.He predicates his
on his being a consultant of the Department of Public Works andHighways (DPWH) pursuant to a Contract of Consultancy on Operation for Removal of Obstructions and Encroachments on Properties of Public Domain (executed immediately after hisretirement on 2 January 1992 from the Philippine National Police) and his being a taxpayer. As tothe first, he alleges that said Sections 28 and 44 "contain the seeds of a ripening controversy thatserve as drawback" to his "tasks and duties regarding demolition of illegal structures"; because of the said sections, he "is unable to continue the demolition of illegal structures which heassiduously and faithfully carried out in the past."
As a taxpayer, he alleges that "he has a directinterest in seeing to it that public funds are properly and lawfully disbursed."
On 14 May 1993, the Solicitor General filed his Comment to the petition. He maintainsthat, the instant petition is devoid of merit for non-compliance with the essential requisites for theexercise of judicial review in cases involving the constitutionality of a law. He contends that thereis no actual case or controversy with litigants asserting adverse legal rights or interests, that thepetitioner merely asks for an advisory opinion, that the petitioner is not the proper party toquestion the Act as he does not state that he has property "being squatted upon" and that thereis no showing that the question of constitutionality is the very
presented. He argues thatSections 28 and 44 of the Act are not constitutionality infirm.
Atlas Fertilizer Corp vs DAR
GR No 97855 June 19, 1997
This is a consolidated case questioning the constitutionality Sections 3 (b), 11, 13, 16 (d), 17 and 32 of RA 6657. That the said provision extends agrarian reform to aquaculture lands even as Sec. 4 of Art. XIII of the Constitution limits agrarian reform only to agricultural lands. The said provisions being violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution by similarly treating of aquaculture and agriculture lands when they are differently situated. That the said provisions
distort employment benefits and burdens in favor of aquaculture employees and against other industrial workers even as Section 1 and 3 of Art. XIII of the Constitution mandates the State to promote equality in economic and employment opportunities and that the questioned provisions deprived petitioner of its government-induced investments in aquaculture even as Sec. 2 and 3 of Art. XIII of the Constitution mandate the State to respect the freedom of enterprise and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns of investments and to expansion and growth.
In the petitioner's argument they contended that in the case of Luz Farms, Inc v. Secretary of Agrarian and Reform, the Court has already ruled impliedly that lands devoted to fishing are not agricultural lands. That in aquaculture, fishponds and prawn farms, the use of land is only incidental to and not the principal factor in productivity and hence, as held in the above-mentioned case, they too should be excluded from RA 6657 just as land devoted to livestock, swine, and poultry have been excluded for the same reason.
While this case is pending RA 7881 was approved by Congress amending RA 6657.
Whether or not the said provisions of RA 6657 are unconstitutional.
The question regarding the constitutionality of the above-mentioned provisions has become moot and academic with the passage of RA 7881 and RA 7881 expressly stat that fishponds and prawn farms are excluded from the coverage of RA 6657.
Petitioners assail Sections 3 (b), 11, 13, 16 (d), 17 and 32 of R.A. 6657, as well as the implementing guidelines and procedures contained in Administrative Order Nos. 8 and 10 Series of 1988 issued by public respondent Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform as unconstitutional. However, It was held by the Supreme Court that with the passage of R.A. No. 7881, the questioned provisions by Petitioner Atlas Fertilizer has already becomed moot.
Pimentel vs ermita
While Congress is in their regular session, President Arroyo, through Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, issued appointments to respondents as acting secretaries of their respective departments without the consent of the Commission on Appointments.
After the Congress had adjourned, President Arroyo issued ad interim appointments to respondents as secretaries of the departments to which they were previously appointed in an acting capacity.Petitioners senators filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to declare unconstitutional the appointments issued.
They assert that “while Congress is in session, there can be no appointments, whether regular or acting, to a vacant position of an office needing confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, without first having obtained its consent.
Respondent secretaries, on the other hand, maintain that the President can issue appointments in an acting capacity to department secretaries without the consent of the Commission on Appointments even while Congress is in session.
aiwa vs romulo
Facts: Automotive Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA) and its affiliated unions call upon the Supreme Court to exercise its power of judicial review to declare as unconstitutional an executive order assailed to be in derogation of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. In an original action for certiorari, they invoke their status as labor unions and as taxpayers whose rights and interests are allegedly violated and prejudiced by Executive Order 185 dated 10 March 2003 whereby administrative supervision over the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), its regional branches and all its personnel including the executive labor arbiters and labor arbiters was transferred from the NLRC Chairperson to the Secretary of Labor and Employment. In support of their position, the Unions argue that the NLRC -- created by Presidential Decree 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code, during Martial Law – was an integral part of the Department (then Ministry) of Labor and Employment (DOLE) under the
administrative supervision of the Secretary of Justice. During the time of President Corazon C. Aquino, and while she was endowed with legislative functions after EDSA I, Executive Order 292 was issued whereby the NLRC became an agency attached to the DOLE for policy and program coordination and for administrative supervision. On 2 March 1989, Article 213 of the Labor Code was expressly amended by Republic Act 6715 declaring that the NLRC was to be attached to the DOLE for program and policy coordination only while the administrative supervision over the NLRC, its regional branches and personnel, was turned over to the NLRC Chairman. The subject EO 185, in authorizing the Secretary of Labor to exercise administrative supervision over the NLRC, its regional branches and personnel, allegedly reverted to the pre-RA 6715 set-up, amending the latter law which only Congress can do. Alberto Romulo (in his capacity as Executive Secretary) and Patricia Sto. Tomas (in her capacity as Secretary of Labor and Employment), as represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, opposed the petition on procedural and substantive grounds.Issue: Whether the Unions -- which contend that they are suing for and in behalf of their members (more or less 50,000 workers) –-- has the requisite standing.
Fact:In 1973, the Comissioner on Public Highways entered into a contract to reclaim areas of Manila Bay with the Construction and Development Corportion of the Philippines (CDCP).
PEA (Public Estates Authority) was created by President Marcos under P.D. 1084, tasked with developing and leasing reclaimed lands. These lands were transferred to the care of PEA under P.D. 1085 as part of the Manila Cavite Road and Reclamation Project (MCRRP). CDCP and PEA entered into an agreement that all future projects under the MCRRP would be funded and owned by PEA.
By 1988, President Aquino issued Special Patent No. 3517 transferring lands to PEA. It was followed by the transfer of three Titles (7309, 7311 and 7312) by the Register of Deeds of Paranaque to PEA covering the three reclaimed islands known as the FREEDOM ISLANDS.
Subsquently, PEA entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with AMARI, a Thai-Philippine corporation to develop the Freedom Islands. Along with another 250 hectares, PEA and AMARI entered the JVA which would later transfer said lands to AMARI. This caused a stir especially when Sen. Maceda assailed the agreement, claiming that such lands were part of public domain (famously known as the “mother of all scams”).
Peitioner Frank J. Chavez filed case as a taxpayer praying for mandamus, a writ of preliminary injunction and a TRO against the sale of reclaimed lands by PEA to AMARI and from implementing the JVA. Following these events, under President Estrada’s admin, PEA and AMARI entered into an Amended JVA and Mr. Chaves claim that the contract is null and void.
Tax payer’s suit Facts: On June 7, 1995, Congress passed Republic Act 8046, which authorized Comelec to conduct a nationwide demonstration of a computerized election system and
allowed the poll body to pilot-test the system in the March 1996 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
On October 29, 2002, Comelec adopted in its Resolution 02-0170 a modernization program for the 2004 elections. It resolved to conduct biddings for the three (3) phases of its Automated Election System; namely, Phase I — Voter Registration and Validation System; Phase II — Automated Counting and Canvassing System; and Phase III — Electronic Transmission.
On January 24, 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 172, which allocated the sum of P2.5 billion to fund the AES for the May 10, 2004 elections. Upon the request of Comelec, she authorized the release of an additional P500 million.
On January 28, 2003, the Commission issued an "Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid".
On May 29, 2003, five individuals and entities (including the herein Petitioners Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines, represented by its president, Alfredo M. Torres; and Ma. Corazon Akol) wrote a letter to Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. They protested the award of the Contract to Respondent MPC "due to glaring irregularities in the manner in which the bidding process had been conducted." Citing therein the noncompliance with eligibility as well as technical and procedural requirements (many of which have been discussed at length in the Petition), they sought a re-bidding.
Tolentino v comelec
Shortly after her succession to the Presidency in January 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo nominated then Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. (“Senator Guingona”) as Vice-President. Congress confirmed the nomination of Senator Guingona who took his oath as Vice-President on 9 February 2001.
Following Senator Guingona’s confirmation, the Senate on 8 February 2001 passed Resolution No. 84 (“Resolution No. 84”) certifying to the existence of a vacancy in the Senate. Resolution No. 84 called on COMELEC to fill the vacancy through a special election to be held simultaneously with the regular elections on 14 May 2001. Twelve Senators, with a 6-year term each, were due to be elected in that election. Resolution No. 84 further provided that the “Senatorial candidate garnering the 13thhighest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired term of former Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.,” which ends on 30 June 2004.
On 5 June 2001, after COMELEC had canvassed the election results from all the provinces but one (Lanao del Norte), COMELEC issued Resolution No. 01-005 provisionally proclaiming 13 candidates as the elected Senators. Resolution No. 01-005 also provided that “the first twelve (12) Senators shall serve for a term of six (6) years and the thirteenth (13th) Senator shall serve the unexpired term of three (3) years of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. who was appointed Vice-President.”Respondents Ralph Recto (“Recto”) and Gregorio Honasan (“Honasan”) ranked 12th and 13th, respectively, in Resolution No. 01-005.
On 20 June 2001, petitioners Arturo Tolentino and Arturo Mojica (“petitioners”), as voters and taxpayers, filed the instant petition for prohibition, impleading only COMELEC as respondent. Petitioners sought to enjoin COMELEC from proclaiming with finality the candidate for Senator receiving the 13th highest number of votes as the winner in the special election for a single three-year term seat. Accordingly, petitioners prayed for the nullification of Resolution No. 01-005 in so far as it makes a proclamation to such effect.
Petitioners contend that COMELEC issued Resolution No. 01-005 without jurisdiction because: (1) it failed to notify the electorate of the position to be filled in the special election as required under Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6645 (“R.A. No. 6645”); (2) it failed to require senatorial candidates to indicate in their certificates of candidacy whether they seek election under the special or regular elections as allegedly required under Section 73 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881; and, consequently, (3) it failed to specify in the Voters Information Sheet the candidates seeking election under the special or regular senatorial elections as purportedly required under Section 4, paragraph 4 of Republic Act No. 6646 (“R.A. No. 6646”). Petitioners add that because of these omissions, COMELEC canvassed all the votes cast for the senatorial candidates in the 14 May 2001 elections without distinction such that “there were no two separate Senate elections held simultaneously but just a single election for thirteen seats, irrespective of term.”
Stated otherwise, petitioners claim that if held simultaneously, a special and a regular election must be distinguished in the documentation as well as in the canvassing of their results. To support their claim, petitioners cite the special elections simultaneously held with the regular elections of 13 November 1951 and 8 November 1955 to fill the seats vacated by Senators Fernando Lopez and Carlos P. Garcia, respectively, who became Vice-Presidents during their tenures in the Senate. Petitioners point out that in those elections, COMELEC separately canvassed the votes cast for the senatorial candidates running under the regular elections from the votes cast for the candidates running under the special elections. COMELEC also separately proclaimed the winners in each of those elections.
Petitioners sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order during the pendency of their petition.
Without issuing any restraining order, we required COMELEC to Comment on the petition.
On 20 July 2001, after COMELEC had canvassed the results from all the provinces, it issued Resolution No. 01-006 declaring “official and final” the ranking of the 13 Senators proclaimed in Resolution No. 01-005. The 13 Senators took their oaths of office on 23 July 2001.
In view of the issuance of Resolution No. 01-006, the Court required petitioners to file an amended petition impleading Recto and Honasan as additional respondents. Petitioners accordingly filed an amended petition in which they reiterated the contentions raised in their original petition and, in addition, sought the nullification of Resolution No. 01-006.
In their Comments, COMELEC, Honasan, and Recto all claim that a special election to fill the seat vacated by Senator Guingona was validly held on 14 May 2001. COMELEC and Honasan further raise preliminary issues on the mootness of the petition and on petitioners’ standing to litigate. Honasan also claims that the petition, which seeks the nullity of his proclamation as Senator, is actually a quo warranto petition and the Court should dismiss the same for lack of jurisdiction. For his part, Recto, as the 12th ranking Senator, contends he is not a proper party to this case because the petition only involves the validity of the proclamation of the 13th placer in the 14 May 2001 senatorial elections.