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EN BANC 1 member Gabay Bayan

2 members Independent
G.R. No. 134577 November 18, 1998
SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO and SEN. FRANCISCO S. 23 total number of senators 7 (The last six members are all classified by
TATAD, petitioners, petitioners as "independent".)
vs. On the agenda for the day was the election of officers. Nominated by Sen. Blas F.
SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. and SEN. MARCELO B. Ople to the position of Senate President was Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan. Sen. Francisco
FERNAN, respondents. S. Tatad was also nominated to the same position by Sen. Miriam Defenser Santiago.
By a vote of 20 to 2, 8 Senator Fernan was declared the duly elected President of the
PANGANIBAN, J.: Senate.
The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three great branches The following were likewise elected: Senator Ople as president pro tempore, and
of government has exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in matters falling within Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as majority leader.
its own constitutionally allocated sphere. Constitutional respect and a becoming Senator Tatad thereafter manifested that, with the agreement of Senator Santiago,
regard for she sovereign acts, of a coequal branch prevents this Court from prying allegedly the only other member of the minority, he was assuming the position of
into the internal workings of the Senate. Where no provision of the Constitution or minority leader. He explained that those who had voted for Senator Fernan
the laws or even the Rules of the Senate is clearly shown to have been violated, comprised the "majority," while only those who had voted for him, the losing
disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate nominee, belonged to the "minority."
officials for acts done within their competence and authority. This Court will be During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate "minority," Sen. Juan M.
neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in Flavier manifested that the senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party
upholding the rule and majesty of the law. numbering seven (7) and, thus, also a minority had chosen Senator Guingona as
The Case the minority leader. No consensus on the matter was arrived at. The following
On July 31, 1998, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Francisco S. Tatad session day, the debate on the question continued, with Senators Santiago and
instituted an original petition forquo warranto under Rule 66, Section 5, Rules of Tatad delivering privilege speeches. On the third session day, the Senate met in
Court, seeking the ouster of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. as minority leader of caucus, but still failed to resolve the issue.
the Senate and the declaration of Senator Tatad as the rightful minority leader. On July 30, 1998, the majority leader informed the body chat he was in receipt of a
On August 4, 1998, the Court, upon receipt of the Petition, required the respondents letter signed by the seven Lakas-NUCD-UMDP senators, 9 stating that they had
and the solicitor general "to file COMMENT thereon within a non-extendible period of elected Senator Guingona as the minority leader. By virtue thereof, the Senate
fifteen (15) days from notice." On August 25, 1998, both respondents and the President formally recognized Senator Guingona as the minority leader of the
solicitor general submitted their respective Comments. In compliance with a Senate.
Resolution of the Court dated September 1, 1998, petitioners filed their Consolidated The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court the subject
Reply on September 23, 1998. Noting said pleading, this Court gave due course to petition for quo warranto, alleging in the main that Senator Guingona had been
the petition and deemed the controversy submitted for decision, without need of usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate minority leader, a
memoranda, on September 29, 1998. position that, according to them, rightfully belonged to Senator Tatad.
In the regular course, the regional trial courts and this Court have concurrent Issues
jurisdiction 1 to hear and decide petitions for quo warranto (as well as certiorari, From the parties' pleadings, the Court formulated the following issues for resolution:
prohibition and mandamus), and a basic deference to the hierarchy of courts impels 1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?
a filing of such petitions in the lower tribunals. 2 However, for special and important 2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?
reasons or for exceptional and compelling circumstances, as in the present case, this 3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the
Court has allowed exceptions to this doctrine. 3In fact, original petitions for certiorari, position of Senate minority leader?
prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto assailing acts of legislative officers like the 4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in recognizing
Senate President 4 and the Speaker of the House 5 have been recognized as Respondent Guingona as the minority leader?
exceptions to this rule. The Court's Ruling
The Facts After a close perusal of the pleadings 10 and a careful deliberation on the
The Senate of the Philippines, with Sen. John Henry R. Osmea as presiding officer, arguments, pro and con, the Court finds that no constitutional or legal infirmity or
convened on July 27, 1998 for the first regular session of the eleventh Congress. At grave abuse of discretion attended the recognition of and the assumption into office
the time, in terms of party affiliation, the composition of the Senate was as follows: 6 by Respondent Guingona as the Senate minority leader.
10 members Laban ng Masang Pilipino (LAMP) First Issue:
7 members Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats-United The Court's Jurisdiction
Muslim Democrats of the Philippines (Lakas-NUCD- Petitioners principally invoke Avelino v. Cuenco 11 in arguing that this Court has
UMDP) jurisdiction to settle the issue of who is the lawful Senate minority leader. They
1 member Liberal Party (LP) submit that the definitions of "majority" and "minority" involve an interpretation of
1 member Aksyon Demokrasya the Constitution, specifically Section 16 (1), Article VI thereof, stating that "[t]he
1 member People's Reform Party (PRP)

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Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives its Speaker, by a government.' It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not [the]
majority vote of all its respective Members." legality, of a particular measure." 19
Respondents and the solicitor general, in their separate Comments, contend in The Court ruled that the validity of the selection of members of the Senate Electoral
common that the issue of who is the lawful Senate minority leader is an internal Tribunal by the senators was not a political question. The choice of these members
matter pertaining exclusively to the domain of the legislature, over which the Court did not depend on the Senate's "full discretionary authority," but was subject to
cannot exercise jurisdiction without transgressing the principle of separation of mandatory constitutional limitations. 20 Thus, the Court held that not only was it
powers. Allegedly, no constitutional issue is involved, as the fundamental law does clearly within its jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the selection proceedings,
not provide for the office of a minority leader in the Senate. The legislature alone but it was also its duty to consider and determine the issue.
has the full discretion to provide for such office and, in that event, to determine the In another landmark case, Lansang v. Garcia, 21 Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion
procedure of selecting its occupant. wrote that the Court "had authority to and should inquire into the existence of the
Respondents also maintain that Avelino cannot apply, because there exists no factual bases required by the Constitution for the suspension of the privilege of the
question involving an interpretation or application of the Constitution, the laws or writ [of habeas corpus]." This ruling was made in spite of the previous
even the Rules of the Senate; neither are there "peculiar circumstances" impelling pronouncements in Barcelon v. Baker 22 and Montenegro v. Castaeda 23 that "the
the Court to assume jurisdiction over the petition. The solicitor general adds that authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen requiring suspension (of the
there is not even any legislative practice to support the petitioners' theory that a privilege . . .) belongs to the President and his 'decision is final and conclusive' upon
senator who votes for the winning Senate President is precluded from becoming the the courts and upon all other persons." But the Chief Justice cautioned: "the function
minority leader. of the Court is merely to check not to supplant the Executive, or to ascertain
To resolve the issue of jurisdiction, this Court carefully reviewed and deliberated on merely whether he has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not
the various important cases involving this very important and basic question, which to exercise the power vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his act."
it has ruled upon in the past. The eminent Chief Justice aptly explained later in Javellana v. Executive Secretary: 24
The early case Avelino v. Cuenco cautiously tackled the scope of the Court's power The reason why the issue under consideration and other issues of similar character
of judicial review; that is, questions involving an interpretation or application of a are justiciable, not political, is plain and simple. One of the principal bases of the
provision of the Constitution or the law, including the rules of either house of non-justiciability of so-called political questions is the principle of separation of
Congress. Within this scope falls the jurisdiction of the Court over questions on the powers characteristic of the presidential system of government the functions of
validity of legislative or executive acts that are political in nature, whenever the which are classified or divided, by reason of their nature, into three (3) categories,
tribunal "finds constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon namely, 1) those involving the making of laws, which are allocated to the legislative
political bodies." 12 department; 2) those concerning mainly with the enforcement of such laws and of
In the aforementioned case, the Court initially declined to resolve the question of judicial decisions applying and/or interpreting the same, which belong to the
who was the rightful Senate President, since it was deemed a political controversy executive department; and 3) those dealing with the settlement of disputes,
falling exclusively within the domain of the Senate. Upon a motion for controversies or conflicts involving rights, duties or prerogatives that are legally
reconsideration, however, the Court ultimately assumed jurisdiction (1) "in the light demandable and enforceable, which are apportioned to courts of justice. Within its
of subsequent events which justify its intervention;" and (2) because the resolution own sphere but only within such sphere each department is supreme and
of the issue hinged on the interpretation of the constitutional provision on the independent of the others, and each is devoid of authority not only to encroach upon
presence of a quorum to hold a session 13 and therein elect a Senate President. the powers or field of action assigned to any of the other departments, but also to
Justice Feria elucidated in his Concurring Opinion: "[I] concur with the majority that inquire into or pass upon the advisability or wisdom of the acts performed, measures
this Court has jurisdiction over cases like the present . . . so as to establish in this taken or decisions made by the other departments provided that such acts,
country the judicial supremacy, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, to see measures or decisions are within the area allocated thereto by the Constitution.
that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, not Accordingly, when the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to
only in justiceable but political questions as well." 14 limitations, the issue of whether or not the prescribed qualifications or conditions
Justice Perfecto, also concurring, said in part: have been met, or the limitations respected is justiciable or non-political, the crux of
Indeed there is no denying that the situation, as obtaining in the upper chamber of the problem being one of legality or validity of the contested act, not its wisdom.
Congress, is highly explosive. It had echoed in the House of Representatives. It has Otherwise, said qualifications, conditions or limitations particularly those
already involved the President of the Philippines. The situation has created a prescribed by the Constitution would be set at naught. What is more, the judicial
veritable national crisis, and it is apparent that solution cannot be expected from inquiry into such issue and the settlement thereof are the main functions of the
any quarter other than this Supreme Court, upon which the hopes of the people for courts of justice under the presidential form of government adopted in our 1935
an effective settlement are pinned. 15 Constitution, and the system of checks and balances, one of its basic predicates. As
. . . This case raises vital constitutional questions which no one can settle or decide a consequence, we have neither the authority nor the discretion to decline passing
if this Court should refuse to decide them. 16 upon said issue, but are under the ineluctable obligation made particularly more
. . . The constitutional question of quorum should not be left unanswered. 17 exacting and peremptory by our oath, as members of the highest Court of the land,
In Taada v. Cueno, 18 this Court endeavored to define political question. And we said to support and defend the Constitution to settle it. This explains why, in Miller v.
that "it refers to 'those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by Johnson [92 Ky. 589, 18 SW 522, 523], it was held that courts have a "duty, rather
the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary than a power," to determine whether another branch of the government has
authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the "kept within constitutional limits."

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Unlike our previous constitutions, the 1987 Constitution is explicit in defining the grave abuse of discretion were it to do so. . . . In the absence of anything to the
scope of judicial power. The present Constitution now fortifies the authority of the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House thereof acted in the
courts to determine in an appropriate action the validity of the acts of the political good faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and deference rather
departments. It speaks of judicial prerogative in terms of duty, viz.: than disrespect is due the judgment of that body.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies In the instant controversy, the petitioners one of whom is Senator Santiago, a
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine well-known constitutionalist try to hew closely to these jurisprudential
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or parameters. They claim that Section 16 (1), Article VI of the constitution, has not
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the been observed in the selection of the Senate minority leader. They also invoke the
Government. 25 Court's "expanded" judicial power "to determine whether or not there has been a
This express definition has resulted in clearer and more resolute pronouncements of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of
the Court. Daza v. Singson,26 Coseteng v. Mitra, Jr. 27 and Guingona Jr. v. respondents.
Gonzales 28 similarly resolved issues assailing the acts of the leaders of both houses Dissenting in part, Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza submits that the Court has no
of Congress in apportioning among political parties the seats to which each chamber jurisdiction over the petition. Well-settled is the doctrine, however, that jurisdiction
was entitled in the Commission on Appointments. The Court held that the issue was over the subject matter of a case is determined by the allegations of the complaint
justiciable, "even if the question were political in nature," since it involved "the or petition, regardless of whether the plaintiff or petitioner is entitled to the relief
legality, not the wisdom, of the manner of filling the Commission on Appointments asserted. 35 In light of the aforesaid allegations of petitioners, it is clear that this
as prescribed by [Section 18, Article VI of] the Constitution." Court has jurisdiction over the petition. It is well within the power and jurisdiction of
The same question of jurisdiction was raised in Taada v. Angara, 29 wherein the the Court to inquire whether indeed the Senate or its officials committed a violation
petitioners sought to nullify the Senate's concurrence in the ratification of the World of the Constitution or gravely abused their discretion in the exercise of their
Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement. The Court ruled: "Where an action of the functions and prerogatives.
legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes Second Issue:
not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute." The Violation of the Constitution
Court en banc unanimously stressed that in taking jurisdiction over petitions Having assumed jurisdiction over the petition, we now go to the next crucial
questioning, an act of the political departments of government, it will not review the question: In recognizing Respondent Guingona as the Senate minority leader, did the
wisdom, merits or propriety of such action, and will strike it down only on either of Senate or its officials, particularly Senate President Fernan, violate the Constitution
two grounds: (1) unconstitutionality or illegality and (2) grave abuse of discretion. or the laws?
Earlier in Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives 30 (HRET), the Petitioners answer the above question in the affirmative. They contend that the
Court refused to reverse a decision of the HRET, in the absence of a showing that constitutional provision requiring the election of the Senate President "by majority
said tribunal had committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of vote of all members" carries with it a judicial duty to determine the concepts of
jurisdiction. The Court ruled that full authority had been conferred upon the electoral "majority" and "minority," as well as who may elect a minority leader. They argue
tribunals of the House of Representatives and of the Senate as sole judges of all that "majority" in the aforequoted constitutional provision refers to that group of
contests relating to the election, the returns, and the qualifications of their senators who (1) voted for the winning Senate President and (2) accepted
respective members. Such jurisdiction is original and exclusive. 31 The Court may committee chairmanships. Accordingly, those who voted for the losing nominee and
inquire into a decision or resolution of said tribunals only if such "decision or accepted no such chairmanships comprise the minority, to whom the right to
resolution was rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of determine the minority leader belongs. As a result, petitioners assert, Respondent
discretion" 32 Guingona cannot be the legitimate minority leader, since he voted for Respondent
Recently, the Court, in Arroyo v. De Venecia, 33 was asked to reexamine the enrolled Fernan as Senate President. Furthermore, the members of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
bill doctrine and to look beyond the certification of the Speaker of the House of cannot choose the minority leader, because they did not belong to the minority,
Representatives that the bill, which was later enacted as Republic Act 8240, was having voted for Fernan and accepted committee chairmanships.
properly approved by the legislative body. Petitioners claimed that certain We believe, however, that the interpretation proposed by petitioners finds no clear
procedural rules of the House had been breached in the passage of the bill. They support from the Constitution, the laws, the Rules of the Senate or even from
averred further that a violation of the constitutionally mandated House rules was a practices of the Upper House.
violation of the Constitution itself. The term "majority" has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to
The Court, however, dismissed the petition, because the matter complained of a certain number out of a total or aggregate, it simply "means the number greater
concerned the internal procedures of the House, with which the Court had no than half or more than half of any total." 36 The plain and unambiguous words of the
concern. It enucleated: 34 subject constitutional clause simply mean that the Senate President must obtain the
It would-be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for votes of more than one half of all the senators. Not by any construal does it thereby
this Court either to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks delineate who comprise the "majority," much less the "minority," in the said body.
the House has disregarded its own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in And there is no showing that the framers of our Constitution had in mind other than
the political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when petitioners can find the usual meanings of these terms.
their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been invested with a In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be
roving commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative elected by a number constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it
skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its power and would itself be guilty of does not provide that the members who will not vote for him shall ipso

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facto constitute the "minority," who could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and
no law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically become minority leaders. Neither is there an open clause providing specifically for such
the minority leader. offices and prescribing the manner of creating them or of choosing the holders
The Comment 37 of Respondent Guingona furnishes some relevant precedents, which thereof, At any rate, such offices, by tradition and long practice, are actually extant.
were not contested in petitioners' Reply. During the eighth Congress, which was the But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory guidelines or specific rules, this
first to convene after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, the nomination of Sen. Court is devoid of any basis upon which to determine the legality of the acts of the
Jovito R Salonga as Senate President was seconded by a member of the minority, Senate relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the basic concept of separation of
then Sen. Joseph E. Estrada. 38 During the ninth regular session, when Sen. Edgardo powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature; it is not
J. Angara assumed the Senate presidency in 1993, a consensus was reached to within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work. 46 Paraphrasing
assign committee chairmanships to all senators, including those belonging to the the words of Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, this Court is of the opinion that where no
minority. 39 This practice continued during the tenth Congress, where even the specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the legislature must
minority leader was allowed to chair a committee. 40 History would also show that be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate as well as to
the "majority" in either house of Congress has referred to the political party to which implement them, before the courts may intervene. 47
the most number of lawmakers belonged, while the "minority" normally referred to a Needless to state, legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of
party with a lesser number of members. permanence and obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they "are subject to
Let us go back to the definitions of the terms "majority" and "minority." Majority may revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting
also refer to "the group, party, or faction with the larger number of votes," 41 not them." 48 Being merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no concern to
necessarily more than one half. This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In the courts, for said rules may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body 49 at
contrast, minority is "a group, party, or faction with a smaller number of votes or will, upon the concurrence of a majority.
adherents than the majority." 42 Between two unequal parts or numbers comprising a In view of the foregoing, Congress verily has the power and prerogative to provide
whole or totality, the greater number would obviously be the majority while the for such officers as it may deem. And it is certainly within its own jurisdiction and
lesser would be the minority. But where there are more than two unequal groupings, discretion to prescribe the parameters for the exercise of this prerogative. This Court
it is not as easy to say which is the minority entitled to select the leader has no authority to interfere and unilaterally intrude into that exclusive realm,
representing all the minorities. In a government with a multi-party system such as in without running afoul of constitutional principles that it is bound to protect and
the Philippines (as pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be several uphold the very duty that justifies the Court's being. Constitutional respect and a
minority parties, one of which has to be indentified by the Comelec as the "dominant becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal branch prevents this Court from
minority party" for purposes of the general elections. In the prevailing composition prying into the internal workings of the Senate. To repeat, this Court will be neither a
of the present Senate, members either belong to different political parties or are tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in upholding the rule
independent. No constitutional or statutory provision prescribe which of the many and majesty of the law.
minority groups or the independents or a combination thereof has the right to select To accede, then, to the interpretation of petitioners would practically amount to
the minority leader. judicial legislation, a clear breach of the constitutional doctrine of separation of
While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a powers. If for this argument alone, the petition would easily fail.
House Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other While no provision of the Constitution or the laws or the rules and even the practice
officers in both chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that "[e]ach House of the Senate was violated, and while the judiciary is without power to decide
shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary." 43 To our mind, matters over which full discretionary authority has been lodged in the legislative
themethod of choosing who will be such other officers is merely a derivative of the department, this Court may still inquire whether an act of Congress or its officials
exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision. has been made with grave abuse of discretion. 50 This is the plain implication of
Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court. Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, which expressly confers upon the judiciary
In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the power "to the power and the duty not only "to settle actual controversies involving rights
determine the rules of its proceedings." 44 Pursuant thereto, the Senate formulated which are legally demandable and enforceable," but likewise "to determine whether
and adopted a set of rules to govern its internal affairs. 45Pertinent to the instant or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
case are Rules I and II thereof, which provide: jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."
Rule I Explaining the above-quoted clause, former Chief Justice Concepcion, who was a
ELECTIVE OFFICERS member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, said in part: 51
Sec 1. The Senate shall elect, in the manner hereinafter provided, a President, a . . . the powers of government are generally considered divided into three branches:
President Pro Tempore, a Secretary, and a Sergeant-at-Arms. the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme within its own
These officers shall take their oath of office before entering into the discharge of sphere and independent of the others. Because of that supremacy[, the] power to
their duties. determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice.
Rule II Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and
ELECTION OF OFFICER offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary
Sec. 2. The officers of the Senate shall be elected by the majority vote of all its is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of
Members. Should there be more than one candidate for the same office, a nominal its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so
vote shall be taken; otherwise, the elections shall be by viva voce or by resolution. capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of

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jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate
judgment on matters of this nature. officials for acts done within their competence and authority.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts WHEREFORE, for the above reasons, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that SO ORDERED.
such matters constitute a political question. Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo, Puno, Martinez, Quisumbing and Pardo, JJ., concur.
With this paradigm, we now examine the two other issues challenging the actions, Romero, J., Please see separate opinion.
first, of Respondent Guingona and, second, of Respondent Fernan. Bellosillo, J., No part. Did not take part in deliberation.
Third Issue: Vitug, J., Pls. see separate opinion.
Usurpation of Office Kapunan, J., I concur with Justice Mendoza's concurring and dissenting opinion.
Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and exercise of Mendoza, J., Please see concurring and dissenting opinion.
power 52 by one without color of title or who is not entitled by law thereto. 53 A quo Purisima, J., Join concurring and dissenting opinion of Justice Mendoza.
warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to determine the right or title to the
contested public office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment. 54 The action may
be brought by the solicitor general or a public prosecutor 55 or any person claiming [G.R. No. 130240.February 5, 2002]
to be entitled to the public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised DE VENECIA, JR., et al., vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (1st DIV.)
by another. 56 The action shall be brought against the person who allegedly usurped, EN BANC
intruded into or is unlawfully holding of exercising such office. 57 Gentlemen:
In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person suing must show Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court
that he or she has a clearright to the contested office or to use or exercise the dated FEB 5 2002.
functions of the office allegedly usurped or unlawfully held by the respondent. 58 In G.R. No. 130240(Jose de Venecia, Jr., in his capacity as Speaker of the
this case, petitioners present no sufficient proof of a clear and indubitable franchise House of Representatives; Roberto P. Nazareno, in his capacity as
to the office of the Senate minority leader. Secretary-General of the House of Representatives; Jose Ma. Antonio B.
As discussed earlier, the specific norms or standards that may be used in Tuao, Cashier, House of Representatives; Antonio M. Chan, Chief, Property
determining who may lawfully occupy the disputed position has not been laid down Division, House of Representatives, petitioners, vs. The Honorable
by the Constitution, the statutes, or the Senate itself in which the power has been Sandiganbayan (First Division), respondent.)
vested. Absent any clear-cut guideline, in no way can it be said that illegality or
irregularity tainted Respondent Guingona's assumption and exercise of the powers The principal issue in this petitioner for certiorari [1]cralaw is whether of not the
of the office of Senate minority leader. Furthermore, no grave abuse of discretion Sandiganbayan may cite in contempt of court the Speaker of the House of
has been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as minority leader. Representatives for refusing to implement the preventive suspension order it issued
Fourth Issue: in a criminal case against a member of the House.
Fernan's Recognition of Guingona Petitioners seek the annulment of:
The all-embracing and plenary power and duty of the Court "to determine whether (1) the Order dated August 18, 1997 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division),
[2]
or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of cralaw directing Speaker Jose de Venecia of the House of Representatives, to
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government" is implement the preventive suspension of then Congressman Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr.,
restricted only by the definition and confines of the term "grave abuse of discretion." in connection with Criminal Case No. 18857 entitled "People of the Philippines v.
By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious or whimsical exercise of Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr. and Gregorio S. Branzuela"; and
judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be (2) the Resolution dated August 29, 1997, [3]cralaw also of the Sandiganbayan,
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to declaring Speaker de Venecia in contempt of court for refusing to implement the
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the preventive suspension order.
power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and The facts are as follows:
hostility. 59 On March 12, 1993, an Information (docketed as Criminal Case No. 18857) was filed
By the above standard, we hold that Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his with the Sandiganbayan (First Division) against then Congressman Ceferino S.
discretion as Senate President in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the minority Paredes, Jr., of Agusan del Sur for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019
leader. Let us recall that the latter belongs to one of the minority parties in the (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended).
Senate, the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members of this After the accused pleaded not guilty, the prosecution filed a "Motion To Suspend The
party that he be the minority leader, he was recognized as such by the Senate Accused Pendente Lite."
President. Such formal recognition by Respondent Fernan came only after at least In its Resolution dated June 6, 1997, the Sandiganbayan granted the motion and
two Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein both sides were liberally allowed to ordered the Speaker to suspend the accused.But the Speaker did not comply.Thus,
articulate their standpoints. on August 12, 1997, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution requiring him to appear
Under these circumstances, we believe that the Senate President cannot be accused before it, on August 18, 1997 at 8:00 o'clock in the morning, to show cause why he
of "capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment" or of "an arbitrary and despotic should not be held in contempt of court.
manner by reason of passion or hostility." Where no provision of the Constitution, the Unrelenting, the Speaker filed, through counsel, a motion for reconsideration,
laws or even the rules of the Senate has been clearly shown to have been violated, invoking the rule on separation of powers and claiming that he can only act as may

Santiago v Guingona Page 5 of 106


be dictated by the House as a body pursuant to House Resolution No. 116 adopted PER CURIAM:
on August 13, 1997. Gentlemen:
On August 29, 1997, the Sandiganbayan rendered the now assailed For your information and guidance, the resolution of this Court on even date is
Resolution[4]cralaw declaring Speaker Jose C. de Venecia, Jr. in contempt of court and quoted below:
ordering him to pay a fine of P10,000.00 within 10 days from notice. In Civil Case G.R. No. L-19721 "Carlos Cunanan vs. Jorge Tan, Jr." the
Hence, the instant recourse. facts are:
The issue before us had long been settled by this Court in Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr. v. Petitioner Carlos Cunanan who claims to be a career employee, with more than
Sandiganbayan in G.R. No. 118354 (August 8, 1995).We ruled that the suspension thirty (30) years in the government service was, on June 6 or 8, 1961, appointed
provided for in the Anti-Graft law ismandatory and is of different nature and by the President of the Philippines as acting Deputy Administrator of the
purpose.It is imposed by the court, not as a penalty, but as a precautionary Reforestation Administration, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
measure resorted to upon the filing of a valid Information.Its purpose is to prevent Thereupon, he qualified and assumed the duties and functions of said office. On
the accused public officer from frustrating his prosecution by influencing witnesses November 6, 1961, the President extended to him an ad interim appointment as
or tampering with documentary evidence and from committing further acts of Deputy Administrator of the Reforestation Administration, Department of Agriculture
malfeasance while in office.It is thus an incident to the criminal proceedings before and Natural Resources. On April 3, 1962, six (6) Senators and seven (7) members of
the court.On the other hand, the suspension or expulsion contemplated in the the House of Representatives, purporting to act as the Commission on
Constitution is a House-imposed sanction against its members.It is, therefore, Appointments, rejected said ad interim appointment. On April 11, 1962, respondent
apenalty for disorderly behavior to enforce discipline, maintain order in its Jorge Tan, Jr. was designated by the President as Acting Deputy Administrator of the
proceedings, or vindicate its honor and integrity. Reforestation Administration, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and
Just recently, in Miriam Defensor Santiago v. Sandiganbayan, et al., this Court en performed the function of said office, without the consent of petitioner herein.
banc, through Justice Jose C. Vitug, held that the doctrine of separation of powers Hence, soon thereafter, or on April 27, 1962, petitioner commenced the present quo
does not exclude the members of Congress from the mandate of R.A. 3019, thus: warranto proceeding against respondent, contending that the latter's designation is
"The order of suspension prescribed by Republic Act No. 3019 is distinct invalid, the office of Deputy Administrator of the Reforestation Administration,
from the power of Congress to discipline its own ranks under the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, not being vacant when he was
Constitution. x x x. designated thereto, because the aforesaid rejection of petitioner's ad
"The suspension contemplated in the above constitutional provision is a punitive interim appointment is invalid for several reasons.
measure that is imposed upon a determination by the Senate or the House of When the first session of the Fifth Congress of the Philippines opened on January 22,
Representatives, as the case may be, upon an erring member. x x x. 1962, the members of the Senate were evenly divided into two (2) groups: there
"The doctrine of separation of powers by itself may not be deemed to have were twelve (12) Senators affiliated with the Liberal Party, on the one hand, and on
effectively excluded members of Congress from Republic Act No. 3019 nor the other were twelve (12) Senators affiliated with the Nacionalista Party and
from its sanctions.The maxim simply recognizes that each of the three co- Nationalist-Citizens' Party. Hence, the Senate has been unable to elect a new Senate
equal and independent, albeit coordinate, branches of the government President, and Senator Eulogio Rodriguez, Sr., who was President of the Senate
- the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary - has exclusive prerogatives and during the immediately preceding Congress, continued to hold said office in an
cognizance within its own sphere of influence and effectively prevents one acting capacity. The House of Representatives, consisting of seventy-two (72)
branch from unduly intruding into the internal affairs of either members affiliated with the Nacionalista Party, twenty-nine (29) affiliated with the
branch."(Emphasis ours) Liberal Party and one (1) not affiliated with any political party, elected Congressman
We note that the term of then Congressman Ceferino Paredes, Jr. expired on June 30, Daniel F. Romualdez as Speaker of said chamber.
1988.This rendered moot and academic the instant case. In due course, the Commission on Appointments was constituted pursuant to the
WHEREFORE, for being moot, this case is deemed CLOSED and TERMINATED. Constitution, on the basis of proportional representation of the political parties in
(Quisumbing, J., no part.Quisumbing and Carpio, JJ., abroad on official business) each House of Congress, as follows:
Very truly yours, On the Part of the Senate
LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO
Clerk of Court
Nacionalista Party Liberal Party
(Sgd.) MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA
Asst. Clerk of Court
Hon. Alejandro Almendras Hon. Eulogio Balao
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila Hon. Fernando Lopez Hon. Mariano J. Cuenco
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-19721 May 10, 1962
CARLOS CUNANAN, petitioner, Hon. Genaro Magsaysay Hon. Ferdinand Marcos
vs.
JORGE TAN, JR., respondents.

Santiago v Guingona Page 6 of 106


Hon. Cipriano Primicias Hon. Camilo Osias (b) Four (4) Congressmen affiliated with the same party, to wit: Hon. Eladio T. Balite,
Hon. Manuel T. Cases, Hon. Floro Crisologo, and Hon. Gerardo M. Roxas; and
(c) Three (3) Congressmen affiliated with the Nacionalista Party, but identified with
Hon. Jose Roy Hon. Francisco (Soc) Rodrigo the 'Allied Majority': Hon. Jose Alberto, Hon. Reynaldo Honrado and Hon. Jose
Cojuangco Jr.
Was the rejection of petitioner's ad interim appointment by the aforementioned
Hon. Gil J. Puyat Hon. Rogelio de la Rosa thirteen (13) members of Congress, purporting to act as the Commission on
Appointments, valid or not? The determination of this issue depends upon: (1) the
legality of the resolution of the House of Representatives of March 21, 1962,
On the Part of the House of Representatives declaring the seats of its twelve (12) members in the Commission on Appointments
vacant; and (2) the legality of the action of the House of Representatives in
Nacionalista Party Liberal Party reconstituting the membership of the Commission on Appointments for said House.
In view of the conclusion we have reached with respect to the first question, we
deem it unnecessary to pass upon the second question.
Hon. Jose M. Aldeguer Hon. Eladio T. Balite With respect to the first question, we hold that the same should be resolved in the
negative. The Commission on Appointments is it creature of the Constitution.
Although its membership is confined to members of Congress, said Commission is
Hon. Wenceslao R. Lagumbay Hon. Manuel T. Cases independent of Congress. The powers of the Commission do not come from
Congress, but emanate directly from the Constitution. Hence, it is not an agent of
Congress. In fact, the functions of the Commissioner are purely executive in nature.
Hon. Felix A. Fuentebella Hon. Floro Crisologo In order that the members of the Commission could properly discharge their duties
as such, it is essential that their tenure therein be provided with a certain measure
of stability to insure the necessary freedom of action.1wph1.t
Hon. Rodolfo Ganzon Hon. Gerardo M. Roxas Upon the other hand, the constitutional provision to the effect that "there shall be a
Commission on Appointments consisting of twelve (12) Senators and twelve (12)
members of the House of Representatives elected by each House, respectively, on
Hon. Agustin Gatuslao
the basis of proportional REPRESENTATION OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES THEREIN",
necessarily connotes the authority of each House of Congress to see to it that this
Hon. Rasid Lucman requirement is duly complied with. As a consequence, it may take appropriate
measures, not only upon the initial organization of the Commission, but, also,
subsequently thereto. If by reason of successful election protests against members
Hon. Apolonio V. Marasigan of a House, or of their expulsion from the political party to which they belonged
and/or of their affiliation with another political party, the ratio in the representation
of the political parties in the House is materially changed, the House is clothed with
Hon. Maximo Noel authority to declare vacant the necessary number of seats in the Commission on
Appointments held by members of said House belonging to the political party
adversely affected by the change and then fill said vacancies in conformity with the
On March 21, 1962, by the vote of twenty-nine (29) Congressmen affiliated with the
Constitution.
Liberal Party and twenty-five (25) Congressmen affiliated with the Nacionalista Party,
One thing, however, is to take these measures owing to changes of permanent
forming what is commonly known as the "Allied Majority," declared vacant the seats
character in the representation of the political parties in the House, and another
of the twelve (12) members of the House of Representatives in the Commission of
thing for some members thereof affiliated with a political party to make common
Appointments and re-elected, as members thereof for said Chamber, its former
cause in certain matters with members of the House belonging to another political
representatives in said Commission, except Congressmen Ganzon, Lucman and
party. In other words, a shifting of votes at a given time, even if due to
Lagumbay, in lieu of whom said "Allied Majority" elected Congressmen Jose Alberto,
arrangements of a more or less temporary nature, like the one that has led to the
Reynaldo Honrado and Jose Cojuangco, Jr. although still affiliated with the
formation of the so-called "Allied Majority", does not suffice to authorize a
Nacionalista Party, these three (3) Congressmen form part of the "Allied Majority".
reorganization of the membership of the Commission for said House. Otherwise, the
The members of Congress who took part in the alleged session of the Commission
Commission on Appointments may have to be reorganized as often as votes shift
on Appointments on April 3, 1962, and rejected the ad interimappointment of
from one side to another in the House. The framers of our Constitution could not
petitioner herein were:
have intended to thus place a constitutional organ, like the Commission on
(a) Six (6) Senators affiliated with the Liberal Party, namely: Hon. Eulogio Balao, Hon.
Appointments, at the mercy of each House of Congress.
Mariano J. Cuenco, Hon. Ferdinand Marcos, Hon. Camilo Osias, Hon. Francisco (Soc)
We are aware of the statements made on the floor of our Constitutional Convention
Rodrigo, Hon. Rogelio de la Rosa;
indicating the opinion of some officers thereof or delegates thereto that members of
the Commission on Appointments were to serve at the pleasure of the legislature. It

Santiago v Guingona Page 7 of 106


should be noted, however, that said statements were made with reference to the This is a Petition for Mandamus and Quo Warranto directed against respondents
Commission on Appointments of the National Assembly, the unicameral legislature Speaker Jose De Venecia and Secretary-General Roberto P. Nazareno of the House of
under our original Constitution. The statements did not refer and do not necessarily Representatives to compel them to implement the decision of the Commission on
apply to the Commission on Appointments under the present Constitution, as Elections en banc by (a) administering the oath of office to petitioner as the duly-
amended, for we now have a bicameral Congress, both Houses of which are elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of Leyte, and (b) registering the
represented in the Commission on Appointments. If a House of Congress were free, name of the petitioner in the Roll of Members of the House of Representatives, and
at any time, to declare vacant the position of its members in the Commission on against respondent Ma. Victoria L. Locsin for usurping, intruding into, and unlawfully
Appointments, such House could, in effect, paralyze the entire Commission, without holding and exercising the said public office on the basis of a void proclamation.
the consent of the other House. Such possibility could not have been countenanced The facts are uncontroverted. Petitioner and respondent Locsin were candidates for
by the Constitutional Convention. the position of Representative of the 4 th legislative district of Leyte during the May
In his amended petition petitioner alleges that on April 27, 1962, his ad 14, 2001 elections. At that time, petitioner was the Mayor of Ormoc City while
interim appointment was confirmed by the "legitimate" Commission on respondent Locsin was the sitting Representative of the 4 th legislative district of
Appointments, in a meeting said to have been presided over by its chairman ex Leyte. On May 8, 2001, one Josephine de la Cruz, a registered voter of Kananga,
oficio, Hon. Eulogio Rodriguez, Sr., and attended by six (6) Senators namely. Leyte, filed directly with the COMELEC main office a Petition for
Senators Almendras, Lopez, Magsaysay, Primicias, Roy and Puyat and eight (8) Disqualification[1] against the petitioner for indirectly soliciting votes from the
Congressmen namely, Congressmen Aldeguer, Lagumbay, Fuentebella, Ganzon, registered voters of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte, in violation of Section 68 (a) of
Gatuslao, Lucman, Marasigan and Noel. Respondent has denied such allegation, but the Omnibus Election Code. It was alleged that the petitioner used the equipments
this cannot affect our foregoing view. and vehicles owned by the City Government of Ormoc to extract, haul and distribute
Without prejudice to an extended decision later on, the Court holds, therefore, that gravel and sand to the residents of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte, for the purpose of
the resolution of the House of Representatives of March 21, 1962, declining vacant inducing, influencing or corrupting them to vote for him. Attached to the petition are
the seats of the twelve (12) members of the House of Representatives in the the (a) Affidavits of Basilio Bates,[2] Danilo D. Maglasang,[3] Cesar A. Laurente;[4] (b)
Commission on Appointments and appointing others in lieu of some of them, as well Joint Affidavit of Agripino C. Alferez and Rogelio T. Salvera; [5] (c) Extract Records from
as the rejection of the ad interim appointment of petitioner by thirteen (13) alleged the Police Blotter executed by Police Superintendent Elson G. Pecho; [6] and (d)
members of the Commission on Appointments as thus reorganized, and the Photographs showing government dump trucks, haulers and surfacers and portions
designation of respondent Jorge Tan, Jr., as Acting Deputy Administrator of the of public roads allegedly filled-in and surfaced through the intercession of the
Reforestation Administration, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, on respondent.[7] The case was docketed as SPA No. 01-208 and assigned to the
April 16, 1962, when said office was not vacant, are null and void; that petitioner is COMELECs Second Division.
entitled to hold said office; and that respondent should vacate the same and turn it On May 10, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division issued an Order delegating the
over to petitioner, with costs against said respondent. hearing and reception of evidence on the disqualification case to the Office of the
Mr. Justice Padilla voted to dismiss the petition, upon the ground that the effectivity Regional Director of Region VIII.[8] On May 11, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division
of petitioner's ad interim appointment expired on December 30, 1961, for the sent a telegram informing the petitioner that a disqualification case was filed against
reasons given in his concurring opinion in Aytona vs. Castillo, G.R. No. L-18313 him and that the petition was remanded to the Regional Election Director for
(January 19, 1962). investigation.[9]
Yours truly, At the time of the elections on May 14, 2001, the Regional Election Director had yet
(SGD.) PAULINO S. MARQUEZ to hear the disqualification case. Consequently, petitioner was included in the list of
Clerk of Court candidates for district representative and was voted for. The initial results showed
that petitioner was the winning candidate.
EN BANC On May 16, 2001, before the counting could be finished, respondent Locsin joined as
[G.R. No. 150605. December 10, 2002] intervenor in SPA No. 128 and filed a Most Urgent Motion to Suspend Proclamation of
EUFROCINO M. CODILLA, SR., petitioner, vs. HON. JOSE DE VENECIA, Respondent [herein petitioner] with the COMELEC Second Division. [10] Respondent
ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, in their official capacities as Speaker and Locsin alleged that the evidence on record against respondent is very strong and
Secretary-General of the House of Representatives, respectively, and MA. unless rebutted remains. She urged the Commission to set the hearing of the
VICTORIA L. LOCSIN, respondents. disqualification case and prayed for the suspension of the proclamation of the
respondent so as not to render the present disqualification case moot and
DECISION academic. A copy of the Motion was allegedly served on petitioner by registered
PUNO, J.: mail but no registry receipt was attached thereto.[11]
In a democracy, the first self-evident principle is that he who has been rejected by On May 18, 2001, respondent Locsin filed a Second Most Urgent Motion to Suspend
the people cannot represent the people. Respondent Ma. Victoria L. Locsin lost to Proclamation of Respondent stating there is clear and convincing evidence showing
petitioner Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr. by 17,903 votes in the May 14, 2001 elections as that the respondent is undoubtedly guilty of the charges against him and this
Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte. The most sophisticated legal remains unrebutted by the respondent. A copy of the Motion was sent to the
alchemy cannot justify her insistence that she should continue governing the people petitioner and the corresponding registry receipt was attached to the pleading.
[12]
of Leyte against their will. The enforcement of the sovereign will of the people is not The records, however, do not show the date the petitioner received the motion.
subject to the discretion of any official of the land.

Santiago v Guingona Page 8 of 106


On the same day, May 18, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division issued an Ex-Parte solicitation of votes and ordered his disqualification. It directed the immediate
Order[13] directing the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to suspend the proclamation of the candidate who garnered the highest number of votes xxx. A
proclamation of petitioner in case he obtains the highest number of votes by reason copy of said Resolution was sent by fax to the counsel of petitioner in Cebu City in
of the seriousness of the allegations in the petition for disqualification. [14] It also the afternoon of the following day.[36]
directed the Regional Election Director to speed up the reception of evidence and to By virtue of the said Resolution, the votes cast for petitioner, totaling 71,350, were
forward immediately the complete records together with its recommendation to the declared stray even before said Resolution could gain finality. On June 15, 2001,
Office of the Clerk of the Commission. [15] As a result, petitioner was not proclaimed respondent Locsin was proclaimed as the duly elected Representative of the
as winner even though the final election results showed that he garnered 71,350 4th legislative district of Leyte by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte. It
votes as against respondent Locsins 53,447 votes.[16] issued a Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation of the Winning Candidates
At the time that the COMELEC Second Division issued its Order suspending his for Member of the House of Representatives stating that MA. VICTORIA LARRAZABAL
proclamation, the petitioner has yet to be summoned to answer the petition for LOCSIN obtained a total of FIFTY THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN
disqualification. Neither has said petition been set for hearing. It was only on May (53,447) votes representing the highest number of votes legally cast in the
24, 2001 that petitioner was able to file an Answer to the petition for his legislative district for said office. [37] Respondent Locsin took her oath of office on
disqualification with the Regional Election Director, alleging that: (a) he has not June 18, 2001 and assumed office on June 30, 2001.
received the summons together with the copy of the petition; (b) he became aware On June 20, 2001, petitioner seasonably filed with the COMELEC en banc a Motion
of the matter only by virtue of the telegram sent by the COMELEC Second Division for Reconsideration[38] from the June 14, 2001 Resolution of the COMELEC Second
informing him that a petition was filed against him and that the Regional Election Division which ordered his disqualification, as well as an Addendum to the Motion for
Director was directed to investigate and receive evidence therewith; and (c) he Reconsideration.[39] Petitioner alleged in his Motion for Reconsideration that the
obtained a copy of the petition from the COMELEC Regional Office No. 8 at his own COMELEC Second Division erred: (1) in disqualifying petitioner on the basis solely of
instance.[17] Petitioner further alleged that the maintenance, repair and rehabilitation the dubious declaration of the witnesses for respondent Locsin; (2) in adopting in
of barangay roads in the municipalities of Matag-ob and Kananga were undertaken toto the allegations of the witnesses for respondent Locsin; and (3) in promulgating
without his authority, participation or directive as City Mayor of Ormoc. He attached the resolution in violation of its own rules of procedure and in directing therein the
in his Answer the following: (a) Affidavit of Alex B. Borinaga; [18](b) Copy of the immediate proclamation of the second highest vote getter. Respondent Locsin and
Excerpt from the Minutes of the Regular Session of Barangay Monterico; [19] (c) her co-petitioner in SPA No. 01-208 filed a joint Opposition to the Motion for
Affidavit of Wilfredo A. Fiel;[20] (d) Supplemental Affidavit of Wilfredo A. Fiel; [21] and Reconsideration.[40]
(e) Affidavit of Arnel Y. Padayao.[22] On June 21, 2001, petitioner filed with the COMELEC en banc a Petition for
On May 25, 2001, petitioner filed a Motion to Lift Order of Suspension,[23] alleging Declaration of Nullity of Proclamation,[41] docketed as SPC No. 01-324, assailing the
that (a) he did not receive a copy of the Motion to Suspend his Proclamation and validity of the proclamation of respondent Locsin who garnered only the second
hence, was denied the right to rebut and refute the allegations in the Motion; (b) highest number of votes. Respondent Locsin filed her Answer alleging that: (1) the
that he did not receive a copy of the summons on the petition for disqualification Commission lost jurisdiction to hear and decide the case because of the
and after personally obtaining a copy of the petition, filed the requisite answer only proclamation of Locsin and that any question on the election, returns, and
on May 24, 2001; and (c) that he received the telegraph Order of the COMELEC qualification of Locsin can only be taken cognizance of by the House of
Second Division suspending his proclamation only on May 22, 2001. He attached Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET); (2) the case should be filed and heard in
documentary evidence in support of his Motion to Lift the Suspension of his the first instance by a Division of the Commission and not directly by the
proclamation, and requested the setting of a hearing on his Motion. [24] Commission en banc; and (3) the proclamation of Locsin was valid because she
On May 30, 2001, an oral argument was conducted on the petitioners Motion and received the highest number of valid votes cast, the votes of Codilla being stray.
the parties were ordered to submit their respective memoranda. [25] On June 4, 2001, On June 28, 2001, petitioner filed an Urgent Manifestation[42] stating that he was
petitioner submitted his Memorandum[26] in support of his Motion assailing the deprived of a fair hearing on the disqualification case because while the
suspension of his proclamation on the grounds that: (a) he was not afforded due documentary evidence adduced in his Memorandum was in support of his Motion for
process; (b) the order has no legal and factual basis; and (c) evidence of his guilt is the lifting of the suspension of his proclamation, the COMELEC Second Division
patently inexistent for the purpose of suspending his proclamation. He prayed that instead ruled on the main disqualification case. In consonance with his prayer that a
his proclamation as winning congressional candidate be expediently made, even full-dress hearing be conducted on the disqualification case, he submitted Affidavits
while the disqualification case against him continue upon due notice and hearing. He of additional witnesses[43] which he claims would refute and substantially belie the
attached the following additional evidence in his Memorandum: (a) Copy of allegations of petitioners/intervenors witnesses. A Reply,[44] Rejoinder[45] and Sur-
certification issued by PNP Senior Inspector Benjamin T. Gorre; [27] (b) Certification Rejoinder[46] were respectively filed by the parties. Consequently, the motion for
issued by Elena S. Aviles, City Budget Officer; [28] (c) Copy of certification issued by reconsideration in SPA No. 01-208 and the petition for declaration of nullity in SPC
Wilfredo A. Fiel, City Engineer of Ormoc; [29] (d) Joint Affidavit of Antonio Patenio and No. 01-324 were submitted for resolution.
Pepito Restituto;[30] and (e) Affidavits of Demetrio Brion,[31] Igmedio Rita[32] and From the records, it appears that initially, a Resolution penned by Commissioner
Gerardo Monteza.[33] Respondent Locsins memorandum also contained additional Rufino S.B. Javier, dated July 24, 2001, was submitted to the Office of the Chairman,
affidavits of his witnesses.[34] dismissing the petition for declaration of nullity for lack of jurisdiction and denying
Petitioners Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension, however, was not the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Codilla. [47] Commissioners
resolved. Instead, on June 14, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division promulgated its Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. and Resurreccion Z. Borra submitted their respective
Resolution[35] in SPA No. 01-208 which found the petitioner guilty of indirect dissenting opinions[48] to the Javier resolution. It bears emphasis that Commissioner

Santiago v Guingona Page 9 of 106


Tuason, Jr. was the ponente of the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division which 2. On the petition for Declaration of Nullity of proclamation of respondent Ma.
ordered the disqualification of petitioner but after considering the additional Victoria L. Locsin (SPC No. 01-324), I vote:
evidence presented by the latter, he concluded that the totality of the evidence was (a) to GRANT the petition of Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., and declare as null and void the
clearly in petitioners favor. Equally worth mentioning is the fact that Commissioner proclamation of losing candidate Locsin, the proclamation being violative of election
Ralph C. Lantion, who was the Presiding Commissioner of the Second Division, also laws, established jurisprudence, and resolutions of the Commission on Elections;
dissented and voted to grant Codillas motion for reconsideration on the ground that (b) to lift the order of suspension of proclamation of petitioner Codilla, issued by the
[T]he people of Leyte have spoken and I respect the electorates will. x x x. [49] Commission (Second Division) on May 18, 2001, in SPA No. 01-208, having been
On August 29, 2001, then COMELEC Chairman Alfredo L. Benipayo issued a Vote and issued without hearing and without any finding that the evidence of guilt of
Opinion and Summary of Votes reversing the resolution of the Second Division and petitioner Codilla is strong and, thus, null and void;
declaring the proclamation of respondent Locsin as null and void. The dispositive (c) to nullify the order contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second
portion reads: Division) promulgated on June 14, 2001, in SPA No. 01-208, for (t)he immediate
JUDGMENT proclamation of the candidate who garnered the highest number of votes, to the
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, I concur with Commissioner exclusion of respondent and the concurrent order for the provincial Board of
Resurreccion Z. Borra, Commissioner Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. and Commissioner Canvasser (sic) of Leyte to immediately reconvene and thereafter proclaim forthwith
Ralph C. Lantion, in SPA No. 01-208, to GRANT the motion for reconsideration and to the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes counting out the
REVERSE the resolution of the Commission (Second Division) promulgated on June 1, Respondent the same being violative of election laws, established jurisprudence,
2001, disqualifying Codilla; and subsequently, in SPC No. 01-324, to GRANT the and resolutions of the Commission;
petition of Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., and declare as null and void the proclamation of (d) to nullify the ruling contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second
losing candidate Locsin. Division) promulgated on June 14, 2001, in SPA No. 01-208, that the votes of
Accordingly: respondent Codilla areconsidered stray and invalid said ruling being issued on the
1. On the Motion for Reconsideration of the disqualification resolution against basis of an inapplicable decision, and contrary to established jurisprudence;
Codilla, promulgated by the Commission (Second Division) on June 14, 2001 (SPA (e) to order the provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte, upon the finality of this
No. 01-208), I vote: resolution, to reconvene and proclaim petitioner Codilla as the winning candidate for
(a) to GRANT the Motion for Reconsideration of respondent-movant Eufrocino M. Representative of the Fourth legislative district of Leyte he (sic) having garnered the
Codilla, Sr., and to REVERSE the Resolution of the Commission (Second Division) highest number of votes in the elections for the position; and
promulgated on June 14, 2001, for insufficiency of evidence; (f) to order respondent Locsin, upon the finality of this resolution, to vacate the
(b) to lift the order of suspension of proclamation of petitioner Codilla, issued by the office of Representative of the House of Representatives representing the Fourth
Commission (Second Division) on May 18, 2001, having been issued without hearing Legislative district of Leyte and, for this purpose, to inform the House of
and without any finding that the evidence of guilt of petitioner Codilla is strong and, Representatives through the Honorable Speaker of this resolution for its attention
thus, null and void; and guidance.
(c) to nullify the order contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second Summary of Votes
Division) promulgated on June 14, 2001, for (t)he immediate proclamation of the Considering the FOUR (4) VOTES of the Chairman and Commissioners Resurreccion
candidate who garnered the highest number of votes, to the exclusion of respondent Z. Borra, Florentino A. Tuason, Jr., and Ralph C. Lantion, to grant the Motion for
and the concurrent order for the Provincial Board of Canvasser (sic) of Leyte to Reconsideration of Codilla and reverse the disqualification Resolution of the
immediately reconvene and thereafter proclaim forthwith the candidate who Commission (Second Division) in SPA No. 01-208, promulgated on June 14, 2001,
obtained the highest number of votes counting out the Respondent the same being and as an inevitable consequence, in voting to grant the petition for declaration of
violative of election laws, established jurisprudence, and resolutions of the nullity of the proclamation of Ma. Victoria L. Locsin in SPC No. 01-324, the
Commission; verdict/opinion of the Chairman and the three (3) Commissioners taken together
(d) to nullify the ruling contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second now stands, as it is, the MAJORITY DECISION of the Commission En Banc in both
Division) promulgated o June 14, 2001, that the votes of respondent Codilla cases; and the Resolution submitted by three (3) Commissioners, namely,
are considered stray and invalidsaid ruling being issued on the basis of an Commissioner Rufino S.B. Javier, Commissioner Luzviminda G. Tancangco, and
inapplicable decision, and contrary to established jurisprudence; Commissioner Mehol K. Sadain, is considered, as it is, the MINORITY DECISION of the
(e) to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte, upon the finality of this Commission En Banc in both cases.
resolution, to reconvene and proclaim petitioner Codilla as the winning candidate for The MAJORTIY DECISION was arrived at after proper consultation with those who
Representative of the Fourth Legislative district of Leyte to comply with its joined the majority. The Chairman and the three (3) Commissioners comprising the
ministerial duty to proclaim the candidate who garnered the highest number of majority decided that no one will be assigned to write a Majority Decision. Instead,
votes in the elections for that position; and each one will write his own separate opinion. Commissioners Borra, Tuason, Jr. and
(f) to order intervenor-oppositor Locsin, upon the finality of this resolution, to vacate the undersigned Chairman submitted separate opinions. Commissioner Lantion
the office of Representative of the House of Representatives representing the Fourth wrote an explanation on his vote.[50]
legislative district of Leyte and, for this purpose, to inform the House of The aforequoted judgment was adopted in a Vote of Adoption signed by
Representatives through the Honorable Speaker of this resolution for its attention Commissioners Ralph C. Lantion, Resurreccion Z. Borra and Florentino A. Tuason, Jr.
[51]
and guidance; and

Santiago v Guingona Page 10 of 106


Respondent Locsin did not appeal from this decision annulling her inserted in the HOUSE Journal dated September 4, 2001, that she shall openly defy
proclamation. Instead, she filed a Comment and Manifestation [52] with the and disobey the COMELEC ruling. This ultimately means that implementing the
COMELEC en banc questioning the procedure and the manner by which the decision decision would result in the spectacle of having two (2) legislators occupying the
was issued. In addition, respondent Locsin requested and was issued an opinion by same congressional seat, a legal situation, the only consideration, that effectively
House of Representatives Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel Leonardo B. deters the HOUSEs liberty to take action.
Palicte III declaring that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to nullify the proclamation In this light, the accepted wisdom is that the implementation of the COMELEC
of respondent Locsin after she had taken her oath and assumed office since it is the decision is a matter that can be best, and with finality, adjudicated by the Supreme
HRET which is the sole judge of election, returns and qualifications of Members of Court, which, hopefully, shall act on it most expeditiously. (emphases supplied)
the House.[53] Relying on this opinion, respondent Locsin submitted a written Hence, the present petition for mandamus and quo warranto.
privileged speech to the House during its regular session on September 4, 2001, Petitioner submits that by virtue of the resolution of the COMELEC en banc which
where she declared that she will not only disregard but will openly defy and disobey has become final and executory for failure of respondent Locsin to appeal therefrom,
the COMELEC en banc resolution ordering her to vacate her position. [54] it has become the ministerial duty: (1) of the Speaker of the House of
On September 6, 2001, the COMELEC en banc issued an Order[55] constituting the Representatives, as its Administrative Head and Presiding Officer, to implement the
members of the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to implement the aforesaid said resolution of the COMELEC en banc by installing him as the duly-elected
decision. It likewise ordered the Board to reconvene and proclaim the candidate who Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte; and (2) of the Secretary-
obtained the highest number of votes in the district, as the duly-elected General, as official custodian of the records of the House, to formally register his
Representative of the Fourth Legislative district of Leyte, and accordingly issue a name in the Roll of Members of the House and delete the name of respondent Locsin
Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation of Winning Candidate for Member of the therefrom. Petitioner further contends that respondent Locsin has been usurping and
House of Representatives x x x, based on the city/municipal certificates of canvass unlawfully holding the public office of Representative of the 4 th legislative district of
submitted beforehand to the previous Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte x x x. Leyte considering that her premature proclamation has been declared null and void
On September 12, 2001, petitioner Codilla was proclaimed by the Provincial Board of by the COMELEC en banc. He alleges that the action or inaction of public
Canvassers as the duly-elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of Leyte, respondents has deprived him of his lawful right to assume the office of
having obtained a total of 71,350 votes representing the highest number of votes Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte.
cast in the district.[56] On the same day, petitioner took his oath of office before In his Comment,[63] public respondent Speaker De Venecia alleged that mandamus
Executive Judge Fortunito L. Madrona of the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City. [57] will not lie to compel the implementation of the COMELEC decision which is not
On September 14, 2001, petitioner wrote the House of Representatives, thru merely a ministerial duty but one which requires the exercise of discretion by the
respondent Speaker De Venecia, informing the House of the August 29, 2001 Speaker of the House considering that: (1) it affects the membership of the House;
COMELEC en bancresolution annulling the proclamation of respondent Locsin, and and (2) there is nothing in the Rules of the House of Representatives which imposes
proclaiming him as the duly-elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of a duty on the House Speaker to implement a COMELEC decision that unseats an
Leyte.[58] Petitioner also served notice that I am assuming the duties and incumbent House member.
responsibilities as Representative of the fourth legislative district of Leyte to which In his Comment,[64] public respondent Secretary-General Nazareno alleged that in
position I have been lawfully elected and proclaimed. On behalf of my constituents, I reading the name of respondent Locsin during the roll call, and in allowing her to
therefore expect that all rights and privileges intended for the position of take her oath before the Speaker-elect and sit as Member of the House during the
Representative of the fourth legislative district of Leyte be accorded to me, including Joint Session of Congress, he was merely performing official acts in compliance with
all physical facilities and staff support. On the basis of this letter, a the opinions[65] rendered by House of Representatives Chief Counsel and Executive
Memorandum[59] dated October 8, 2001 was issued by Legal Affairs Deputy Director Leonardo C. Palicte III stating that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to
Secretary-General Gaudencio A. Mendoza, Jr., for Speaker De Venecia, stating that declare the proclamation of respondent Locsin as null and void since it is the HRET
there is no legal obstacle to complying with the duly promulgated and now final and which is the sole judge of all election, returns and qualifications of Members of the
executory COMELEC Decision of August 29, 2001 x x x. House. He also contends that the determination of who will sit as Member of the
These notwithstanding, and despite receipt by the House of Representatives of a House of Representatives is not a ministerial function and cannot, thus, be
copy of the COMELEC en banc resolution on September 20, 2001,[60] no action was compelled by mandamus.
taken by the House on the letter-appeal of petitioner. Hence, petitioner sought the Respondent Locsin, in her Comment,[66] alleged that the Supreme Court has no
assistance of his party, LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP, which sent a letter [61] addressed to original jurisdiction over an action for quo warranto involving a member of the
respondent Speaker De Venecia, dated October 25, 2001, and signed by Party House of Representatives for under Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution it is the
President Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr., Secretary-General Heherson T. Alvarez, and HRET which is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
Region VIII Party Chairman Sergio Antonio F. Apostol, requesting the House of qualifications of Members of the House of Representatives. She likewise asserts that
Representatives to act decisively on the matter in order that petitioner can avail of this Court cannot issue the writ of mandamus against a co-equal legislative
whatever remedy is available should their action remain unfavorable or otherwise department without grossly violating the principle of separation of powers. She
undecisive. contends that the act of recognizing who should be seated as a bona fide member of
In response, Speaker De Venecia sent a letter [62] dated October 30, 2001, stating the House of Representatives is not a ministerial function but a legislative
that: prerogative, the performance of which cannot be compelled by
We recognize the finality of the COMELEC decision and we are inclined to sustain mandamus. Moreover, the prayer for a writ of mandamus cannot be directed against
it. However, Rep. Locsin has officially notified the HOUSE in her privilege speech,

Santiago v Guingona Page 11 of 106


the Speaker and Secretary-General because they do not have the authority to qualifications or possessing same grounds for disqualification, may be filed any day
enforce and implement the resolution of the COMELEC. after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy but not later than the date of
Additionally, respondent Locsin urges that the resolution of the COMELEC en banc is proclamation.
null and void for lack of jurisdiction. First, it should have dismissed the case pending (2) The petition to disqualify a candidate pursuant to Sec. 68 of the Omnibus
before it after her proclamation and after she had taken her oath of Election Code shall be filed in ten (10) legible copies by any citizen of voting age, or
office. Jurisdiction then was vested in the HRET to unseat and remove a Member of duly registered political party, organization or coalition of political parties against
the House of Representatives. Second, the petition for declaration of nullity is clearly any candidate who in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final
a pre-proclamation controversy and the COMELEC en banc has no original decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of:
jurisdiction to hear and decide a pre-proclamation controversy. It must first be heard 2.a having given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or
by a COMELEC Division. Third, the questioned decision is actually a hodge-podge corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions;
decision because of the peculiar manner in which the COMELEC disposed of the 2.b having committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy;
case. 2.c having spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by
Finally, respondent Locsin asserts that the matter of her qualification and eligibility the Omnibus Election Code;
has been categorically affirmed by the HRET when it dismissed the quo 2.d having solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections
warranto case filed against her, docketed as HRET Case No. 01-043, entitled Paciano 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104 of the Omnibus Election Code;
Travero vs. Ma. Victoria Locsin, on the ground that the allegations stated therein are 2.e having violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v,
not proper grounds for a petition for quo warranto against a Member of the House of and cc, sub-paragraph 6 of the Omnibus Election Code, shall be disqualified from
Representatives under section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code and Rule 17 of the continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office.
HRET Rules, and that the petition was filed late. [67] xxxxxxxxx
In his Reply,[68] petitioner asserts that the remedy of respondent Locsin from the (4) Upon payment of the filing fee of P1,000.00 and legal research fee of P20.00, the
COMELEC decision was to file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, not to offices concerned shall docket the petition and assign to it a docket number which
seek an opinion from the Chief Legal Counsel of the House of Representatives; that must be consecutive, according to the order of receipt and must bear the year and
the HRET has no jurisdiction over a petition for declaration of nullity of proclamation prefixed as SPA with the corresponding initial of the name of the office, i.e. SPA
which is based not on ineligibility or disloyalty, but by reason that the candidate (RED) No. C01-001; SPA (PES) No. C01-001;
proclaimed as winner did not obtain the highest number of votes; that the petition (5) Within three (3) days from filing of the petitions, the offices concerned shall issue
for annulment of proclamation is a pre-proclamation controversy and, hence, falls summons to the respondent candidate together with a copy of the petition and its
within the exclusive jurisdiction of the COMELEC pursuant to section 242 of B.P. Blg. enclosures, if any;
881[69] and section 3, Article IX (C) of the Constitution; that respondent Speaker De (6) The respondent shall be given three (3) days from receipt of summons within
Venecia himself recognizes the finality of the COMELEC decision but has decided to which to file his verified answer (not a motion to dismiss) to the petition in ten (10)
refer the matter to the Supreme Court for adjudication; that the enforcement and legible copies, serving a copy thereof upon the petitioner. Grounds for Motion to
implementation of a final decision of the COMELEC involves a ministerial act and Dismiss may be raised as an affirmative defense;
does not encroach on the legislative power of Congress; and that the power to (7) The proceeding shall be summary in nature. In lieu of the testimonies, the parties
determine who will sit as Member of the House does not involve an exercise of shall submit their affidavits or counter-affidavits and other documentary evidences
legislative power but is vested in the sovereign will of the electorate. including their position paper;
The core issues in this case are: (a) whether the proclamation of respondent Locsin (8) The hearing must be completed within ten (10) days from the date of the filing of
by the COMELEC Second Division is valid; (b) whether said proclamation divested the answer. The hearing officer concerned shall submit to the Clerk of the
the COMELECen banc of jurisdiction to review its validity; and (c) assuming the Commission through the fastest means of communication, his findings, reports and
invalidity of said proclamation, whether it is the ministerial duty of the public recommendations within five (5) days from the completion of the hearing and
respondents to recognize petitioner Codilla, Sr. as the legally elected Representative reception of evidence together with the complete records of the case;
of the 4th legislative district of Leyte vice respondent Locsin. (9) Upon receipt of the records of the case of the findings, reports and
I recommendation of the hearing officer concerned, the Clerk of the Commission shall
Whether the proclamation of respondent Locsin is valid. immediately docket the case consecutively and calendar the same for raffle to a
After carefully reviewing the records of this case, we find that the proclamation of division;
respondent Locsin is null and void for the following reasons: (10) The division to whom the case is raffled, shall after consultation, assign the
First. The petitioner was denied due process during the entire proceedings leading to same to a member who shall pen the decision, within five (5) days from the date of
the proclamation of respondent Locsin. consultation.
COMELEC Resolution Nos. 3402[70] sets the procedure for disqualification cases Resolution No. 3402 clearly requires the COMELEC, through the Regional Election
pursuant to section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, viz: Director, to issue summons to the respondent candidate together with a copy of the
C. PETITION TO DISQUALIFY A CANDIDATE PURSUANT TO SEC. 68 OF THE OMNIBUS petition and its enclosures, if any, within three (3) days from the filing of the petition
ELECTION CODE AND PETITION TO DISQUALIFY FOR LACK OF QUALIFICATIONS OR for disqualification. Undoubtedly, this is to afford the respondent candidate the
POSSESSING SAME GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION opportunity to answer the allegations in the petition and hear his side. To ensure
(1) The verified petition to disqualify a candidate pursuant to Sec. 68 of the Omnibus compliance with this requirement, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure requires the
Election Code and the verified petition to disqualify a candidate for lack of

Santiago v Guingona Page 12 of 106


return of the summons together with the proof of service to the Clerk of Court of the especially on matters which the Commission or the Division may dispose of on its
COMELEC when service has been completed, viz: own motion.
Rule 14. Summons The notice shall be directed to the parties concerned and shall state the time and
xxxxxxxxx place of the hearing of the motion.
Section 5. Return.- When the service has been completed by personal service, the Section 5. Proof of Service.- No motion shall be acted upon by the Commission
server shall give notice thereof, by registered mail, to the protestant or his counsel without proof of service of notice thereof, except when the Commission or a Division
and shall return the summons to the Clerk of Court concerned who issued it, is satisfied that the rights of the adverse party or parties are not affected.
accompanied with the proof of service. Respondents Most Urgent Motion does not fall under the exceptions to notice and
Section 6. Proof of Service.- Proof of service of summons shall be made in the service of motions. First, the suspension of proclamation of a winning candidate is
manner provided for in the Rules of Court in the Philippines. not a matter which the COMELEC Second Division can dispose of motu proprio.
Thereafter, hearings, to be completed within ten (10) days from the filing of the Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 [73] requires that the suspension must be upon motion by
Answer, must be conducted. The hearing officer is required to submit to the Clerk of the complainant or any intervenor, viz:
the Commission his findings, reports and recommendations within five (5) days from Section 6. Effect of Disqualification Case.- Any candidate who has been declared by
the completion of the hearing and reception of evidence together with the complete final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him
records of the case. shall not be counted. If for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment
(a) Petitioner was not notified of the petition for his disqualification through the before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning
service of summons nor of the Motions to suspend his proclamation. number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission (COMELEC) shall
The records of the case do not show that summons was served on the continue with the trial or hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion
petitioner. They do not contain a copy of the summons allegedly served on the of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
petitioner and its corresponding proof of service. Furthermore, private respondent suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt
never rebutted petitioners repeated assertion that he was not properly notified of is strong. (emphases supplied)
the petition for his disqualification because he never received summons. Second, the right of an adverse party, in this case, the petitioner, is clearly
[71]
Petitioner claims that prior to receiving a telegraphed Order from the COMELEC affected. Given the lack of service of the Most Urgent Motion to the petitioner, said
Second Division on May 22, 2001, directing the District Board of Canvassers to Motion is a mere scrap of paper. [74] It cannot be acted upon by the COMELEC Second
suspend his proclamation, he was never summoned nor furnished a copy of the Division.
petition for his disqualification. He was able to obtain a copy of the petition and the On May 18, 2001 at exactly 5:00 p.m., [75] respondent Locsin filed a Second Most
May 22 Order of the COMELEC Second Division by personally going to the COMELEC Urgent Motion for the suspension of petitioners proclamation. Petitioner was served
Regional Office on May 23, 2001. Thus, he was able to file his Answer to the a copy of the Second Motion again by registered mail. A registry receipt [76] was
disqualification case only on May 24, 2001. attached evidencing service of the Second Most Urgent Motion to the petitioner but
More, the proclamation of the petitioner was suspended in gross violation of section it does not appear when the petitioner received a copy thereof. That same day, the
72 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides: COMELEC Second Division issued an Order suspending the proclamation of
Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority.- The Commission and the petitioner. Clearly, the petitioner was not given any opportunity to contest the
courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this allegations contained in the petition for disqualification. The Order was issued on the
Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven days very same day the Second Most Urgent Motion was filed. The petitioner could not
before the election in which the disqualification is sought. have received the Second Most Urgent Motion, let alone answer the same on time as
Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not he was served a copy thereof by registered mail.
be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for Under section 6 of R.A. No. 6646, the COMELEC can suspend proclamation only when
any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be evidence of the winning candidates guilt is strong. In the case at bar, the COMELEC
disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such Second Division did not make any specific finding that evidence of petitioners guilt is
election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent strong. Its only basis in suspending the proclamation of the petitioner is
his proclamation and assumption to office. (emphases supplied) the seriousness of the allegations in the petition for disqualification. Pertinent
In the instant case, petitioner has not been disqualified by final judgment when the portion of the Order reads:
elections were conducted on May 14, 2001. The Regional Election Director has yet to Without giving due course to the petition xxx the Commission (2 nd Division),
conduct hearing on the petition for his disqualification. After the elections, petitioner pursuant to Section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6,
was voted in office by a wide margin of 17,903. On May 16, 2001, however, Republic Act No. 6646 xxx andconsidering the serious allegations in the petition,
respondent Locsin filed a Most Urgent Motion for the suspension of petitioners hereby directs the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to suspend the
proclamation. The Most Urgent Motion contained a statement to the effect that a proclamation of respondent, if winning, until further orders.[77] (emphases supplied)
copy was served to the petitioner through registered mail.The records reveal that no We hold that absent any finding that the evidence on the guilt of the petitioner is
registry receipt was attached to prove such service. [72] This violates COMELEC Rules strong, the COMELEC Second Division gravely abused its power when it suspended
of Procedure requiring notice and service of the motion to all parties, viz: his proclamation.
Section 4. Notice.- Notice of a motion shall be served by the movant to all parties (b) The COMELEC Second Division did not give ample opportunity to the petitioner to
concerned, at least three (3) days before the hearing thereof, together with a copy adduce evidence in support of his defense in the petition for his disqualification.
of the motion. For good cause shown, the motion may be heard on shorter notice,

Santiago v Guingona Page 13 of 106


All throughout the proceeding, no hearing was conducted on the petition for (c) the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division disqualifying the petitioner is not
disqualification in gross violation of section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 which specifically based on substantial evidence.
enjoins the COMELEC tocontinue with the trial or hearing of the action, inquiry, or The Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division cannot be considered to be based
protest. This is also in violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 3402 requiring the on substantial evidence. It relied merely on affidavits of witnesses attached to the
Regional Election Director to complete the hearing and reception of evidence within petition for disqualification. As stressed, the COMELEC Second Division gave
ten (10) days from the filing of the Answer, and to submit his findings, reports, and credence to the affidavits without hearing the affiants. In reversing said Resolution,
recommendations within the five (5) days from completion of the hearing and the the COMELEC en banc correctly observed:
reception of evidence. Lacking evidence of Codilla, the Commission (Second Division) made its decisions
Petitioner filed a Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension of his proclamation on May based mainly on the allegation of the petitioner and the supporting affidavits. With
25, 2001. Although an oral argument on this Motion was held, and the parties were this lopsided evidence at hand, the result was predictable. The Commission (Second
allowed to file their respective memoranda, the Motion was not acted upon. Instead, Division) had no choice. Codilla was disqualified.[81]
the COMELEC Second Division issued a Resolution on the petition for disqualification Worse, the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division, even without the evidence
against the petitioner. It was based on the following evidence: (a) the affidavits coming from the petitioner, failed to prove the gravamen of the offense for which he
attached to the Petition for Disqualification; (b) the affidavits attached to the was charged.[82]
Answer; and (c) the respective memoranda of the parties. Petitioner allegedly violated section 68 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code which
On this score, it bears emphasis that the hearing for Motion to Lift the Order of reads:
Suspension cannot be substituted for the hearing in the disqualification case. Section 68. Disqualifications.- Any candidate who, in action or protest in which he is
Although intrinsically linked, it is not to be supposed that the evidence of the parties a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the
in the main disqualification case are the same as those in the Motion to Lift the Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence,
Order of Suspension. The parties may have other evidence which they may deem induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing official functions, xxx shall
proper to present only on the hearing for the disqualification case. Also, there may be disqualified from continuing as candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding
be evidence which are unavailable during the hearing for the Motion to Lift the Order office
of Suspension but which may be available during the hearing for the disqualification To be disqualified under the above-quoted provision, the following elements must be
case. proved: (a) the candidate, personally or through his instructions, must have given
In the case at bar, petitioner asserts that he submitted his Memorandum merely to money or other material consideration; and (b) the act of giving money or other
support his Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension. It was not intended to answer and material consideration must be for the purpose of influencing, inducing, or
refute the disqualification case against him. This submission was sustained by the corrupting the voters or public officials performing electoral functions.
COMELEC en banc. Hence, the members of the COMELEC en banc concluded, upon In the case at bar, the petition for disqualification alleged that (a) petitioner ordered
consideration of the additional affidavits attached in his Urgent Manifestation, that the extraction, hauling and distribution of gravel and sand, and (b) his purpose was
the evidence to disqualify the petitioner was insufficient. More specifically, to induce and influence the voters of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte to vote for him.
the ponente of the challenged Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division held: Pertinent portion of the petition reads:
Indeed, I find from the records that the May 30, 2001 hearing of the COMELEC [T]he respondent [herein petitioner], within the election period, took advantage of
(Second Division) concerns only the incident relating to the Motion to Lift Order of his current elective position as City Mayor of Ormoc City by illegally and unlawfully
Suspension of Proclamation. It also appears that the order for the submission of the using during the prohibited period, public equipments and vehicles belonging to and
parties respective memoranda was in lieu of the parties oral argument on the owned by the City Government of Ormoc City in extracting, hauling and distributing
motion. This would explain the fact that Codillas Memorandum refers mainly to the gravel and sand to the residents and voters of the Municipalities of Kananga and
validity of the issuance of the order of suspension of proclamation. There is, Matag-ob Leyte, well within the territorial limits of the 4 th Congressional District of
however, no record of any hearing on the urgent motion for the suspension of Leyte, which acts were executed without period, and clearly for the illicit purpose of
proclamation. Indeed, it was only upon the filing of the Urgent Manifestation by unduly inducing or directly corrupting various voters of Kananga and Matag-ob,
Codilla that the Members of the Commission (Second Division) and other Members within the 4th legislative district of Leyte, for the precise purpose of inducing and
of the Commission en banc had the opportunity to consider Codillas affidavits. This influencing the voters/beneficiaries of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte to cast their
time, Codilla was able to present his side, thus, completing the presentation of votes for said respondent.[83]
evidentiary documents from both sides.[78] (emphases supplied) The affidavits relied upon by the COMELEC Second Division failed to prove these
Indeed, careful reading of the petitioners Memorandum shows that he confined his allegations. For instance, Cesar A. Laurente merely stated that he saw three (3) ten-
arguments in support of his Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension. In said wheeler dump trucks and a Hyundai Payloader with the markings Ormoc City
Memorandum, petitioner raised the following issues: (a) he was utterly deprived of Government extracting and hauling sand and gravel from the riverbed adjacent to
procedural due process, and consequently, the order suspending his proclamation is the property owned by the Codilla family.[84]
null and void; (b) the said order of suspension of proclamation has no legal and Agripino C. Alferez and Rogelio T. Sulvera in their Joint Affidavit merely stated that
factual basis; and (c) evidence of guilt on his part is patently inexistent for the they saw white trucks owned by the City Government of Ormoc dumping gravel and
purpose of directing the suspension of his proclamation. [79] He urged the COMELEC sand on the road of Purok 6, San Vicente, Matag-ob, Leyte. A payloader then
Second Division to conduct a full dress hearing on the main disqualification case scattered the sand and gravel unloaded by the white trucks. [85]
should the suspension be lifted.[80]

Santiago v Guingona Page 14 of 106


On the other hand, Danilo D. Maglasang, a temporary employee of the City Section 265. Prosecution.- The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal
Government of Ormoc assigned to check and record the delivery of sand and gravel officers, have the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election
for the different barangays in Ormoc, stated as follows: offenses punishable under this Code, and to prosecute the same. The Commission
3. That on April 20, 2001, I was ordered by Engr. Arnel Padayo, an employee of the may avail of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the government: Provided,
City Engineering Office, Ormoc City to go to Tagaytay, Kangga (sic), Leyte as that however, That in the event that the Commission fails to act on any complaint within
will be the source of the sand and gravel. I inquired why we had to go to Kananga four months from his filing, the complainant may file the complaint with the office of
but Engr. Padayao said that its not a problem as it was Mayor Eufrocino M. Codilla, the fiscal or with the Ministry of Justice for proper investigation and prosecution, if
Sr. who ordered this and the property is owned by the family of Mayor Codilla. We warranted.
were to deliver sand and gravel to whoever requests from Mayor Codilla. [86] xxxxxxxxx
Similarly, the Affidavit of Basilio Bates cannot prove the offense charged against the Section 268. Jurisdiction.- The regional trial court shall have the exclusive original
petitioner. He alleged that on April 18, 2001, a white truck with the marking City jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or proceeding for violation of this
Government of Ormoc came to his lot at Montebello, Kananga, Leyte and unloaded Code, except those relating to the offense of failure to register or failure to vote
mixed sand and that the driver of the truck told him to vote for Codilla as which shall be under the jurisdictions of metropolitan or municipal trial courts. From
a (sic) congressman during election.[87] His statement is hearsay. He has no personal the decision of the courts, appeal will lie as in other criminal cases.
knowledge of the supposed order of the petitioner to distribute gravel and sand for The COMELEC Second Division grievously erred when it decided the disqualification
the purpose of inducing the voters to vote for him. The same could be said about the case based on section 261 (a) and (o), and not on section 68 of the Omnibus
affidavits of Randy T. Merin,[88] Alfredo C. De la Pea,[89] Miguel P. Pandac,[90] Paquito Election Code.
Bregeldo, Cristeta Alferez , Glicerio Rios, [91] Romulo Alkuino, Sr.,[92] Abner Casas, (d) Exclusion of the votes in favor of the petitioner and the proclamation of
[93]
Rita Trangia,[94] and Judith Erispe[95] attached to respondent Locsins Memorandum respondent Locsin was done with undue haste.
on the Motion to Lift the Suspension of Proclamation. The COMELEC Second Division ordered the exclusion of the votes cast in favor of the
Also valueless are the affidavits of other witnesses [96] of respondent Locsin, all petitioner, and the proclamation of the respondent Locsin, without affording the
similarly worded, which alleged that the petitioner ordered the repair of the road in petitioner the opportunity to challenge the same. In the morning of June 15, 2001,
Purok 6, Barangay San Vicente, Matag-ob, Leyte and the flattening of the area where the Provincial Board of Canvassers convened, and on the strength of the said
the cockfights were to be held. These allegations are extraneous to the charge in the Resolution excluding the votes received by the petitioner, certified that respondent
petition for disqualification. More importantly, these allegations do not constitute a Locsin received the highest number of votes. On this basis, respondent Locsin was
ground to disqualify the petitioner based on section 68 of the Omnibus Election proclaimed.
Code. Records reveal that the petitioner received notice of the Resolution of the COMELEC
To be sure, the petition for disqualification also ascribed other election offenses Second Division only through his counsel via a facsimile message in the afternoon of
against the petitioner, particularly section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, viz: June 15, 2001[98] when everything was already fait accompli. Undoubtedly, he was
Section 261. Prohibited Acts.- The following shall be guilty of an election offense: not able to contest the issuance of the Certificate of Canvass and the proclamation
(a) Vote-buying and vote-selling.- (1) Any person who gives, offers or promises of respondent Locsin. This is plain and simple denial of due process.
money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise The essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard. When a party is deprived
or grant, public or private, or make or offers to make an expenditure, directly or of that basic fairness, any decision by any tribunal in prejudice of his rights is void.
indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, Second. The votes cast in favor of the petitioner cannot be considered stray and
corporation, entity or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general, respondent cannot be validly proclaimed on that basis.
to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote The Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division in SPA No. 01-208 contains two
for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a dispositions: (1) it ruled that the petitioner was disqualified as a candidate for the
convention or similar selection process of a political party. position of Congressman of the Fourth District of Leyte; and (2) it ordered the
xxxxxxxxx immediate proclamation of the candidate who garnered the highest number of
(o) Use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or votes, to the exclusion of the respondent [herein petitioner].
controlled by the government for an election campaign.- Any person who uses under As previously stated, the disqualification of the petitioner is null and void for being
any guise whatsoever directly or indirectly, xxx (3) any equipment, vehicle, facility, violative of due process and for want of substantial factual basis. Even assuming,
apparatus, or paraphernalia owned by the government or by its political however, that the petitioner was validly disqualified, it is still improper for the
subdivisions, agencies including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by COMELEC Second Division to order the immediate exclusion of votes cast for the
the Armed Forces of the Philippines for any election campaign or for any partisan petitioner as stray, and on this basis, proclaim the respondent as having garnered
political activity x x x. the next highest number of votes.
However, the jurisdiction of the COMELEC to disqualify candidates is limited to those (a) The order of disqualification is not yet final, hence, the votes cast in favor of the
enumerated in section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. All other election offenses petitioner cannot be considered stray.
are beyond the ambit of COMELEC jurisdiction.[97] They are criminal and not Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 and section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code require
administrative in nature. Pursuant to sections 265 and 268 of the Omnibus Election a final judgment before the election for the votes of a disqualified candidate to be
Code, the power of the COMELEC is confined to the conduct of preliminary considered stray.Hence, when a candidate has not yet been disqualified by final
investigation on the alleged election offenses for the purpose of prosecuting the judgment during the election day and was voted for, the votes cast in his favor
alleged offenders before the regular courts of justice, viz: cannot be declared stray. To do so would amount to disenfranchising the electorate

Santiago v Guingona Page 15 of 106


in whom sovereignty resides. [99] For in voting for a candidate who has not been All resolutions, orders and rules inconsistent herewith are hereby modified or
disqualified by final judgment during the election day, the people voted for repealed.
him bona fide, without any intention to misapply their franchise, and in the honest Considering the timely filing of a Motion for Reconsideration, the COMELEC Second
belief that the candidate was then qualified to be the person to whom they would Division gravely abused its discretion in ordering the immediate disqualification of
entrust the exercise of the powers of government. [100] the petitioner and ordering the exclusion of the votes cast in his favor. Section 2,
This principle applies with greater force in the case at bar considering that Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure is very clear that a timely Motion for
the petitioner has not been declared by final judgment to be disqualified not only Reconsideration shall suspend the execution or implementation of the
before but even after the elections. The Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division resolution, viz:
disqualifying the petitioner did not attain finality, and hence, could not be executed, Section 2. Period for filing Motion for Reconsideration.- A motion to reconsider a
because of the timely filing of a Motion for Reconsideration. Section 13, Rule 18 of decision, resolution, order, or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five (5) days
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure on Finality of Decisions and Resolutions reads: from the promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not pro forma, suspends the
Sec. 13. Finality of Decisions or Resolutions.- (a) In ordinary actions, special execution or implementation of the decision, resolution, order or ruling. (emphases
proceedings, provisional remedies and special reliefs, a decision or resolution of the supplied)
Commission en banc shall become final and executory after thirty (30) days from its (b) Respondent Locsin, as a mere second placer, cannot be proclaimed.
promulgation. More brazen is the proclamation of respondent Locsin which violates the settled
(b) In Special Actions and Special Cases a decision or resolution of the Commission doctrine that the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may
en banc shall become final and executory after five (5) days in Special Actions and not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified. [102] In every
Special Cases and after fifteen (15) days in all other proceedings, following their election, the peoples choice is the paramount consideration and their expressed will
promulgation. must at all times be given effect. When the majority speaks and elects into office a
(c) Unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed, a decision or resolution of candidate by giving him the highest number of votes cast in the election for the
a Division shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days in Special office, no one can be declared elected in his place. [103] InDomino v. COMELEC,
[104]
Actions and Special Cases and after fifteen (15) days in all other actions or this Court ruled, viz:
proceedings, following its promulgation. (emphasis supplied) It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally
In this wise, COMELEC Resolution No. 4116,[101] issued in relation to the finality of guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or
resolutions or decisions in disqualification cases, provides: plurality of votes is proclaimed winner and imposed as representative of a
This pertains to the finality of decisions or resolutions of the Commission en banc or constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through their ballots
division, particularly on Special Actions (Disqualification Cases). that they do not choose him. To simplistically assume that the second placer would
Special Action cases refer to the following: have received that (sic) other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the
(a) Petition to deny due course to a certificate of candidacy; mind of the voters. He could not be considered the first among the qualified
(b) Petition to declare a candidate as a nuisance candidate; candidates because in a field which excludes the qualified candidate, the conditions
(c) Petition to disqualify a candidate; and would have substantially changed.
(d) Petition to postpone or suspend an election. xxxxxxxxx
Considering the foregoing and in order to guide field officials on the finality of The effect of a decision declaring a person ineligible to hold an office is only that the
decisions or resolutions on special action cases (disqualification cases) the election fails entirely, that the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from the
Commission, RESOLVES, as it is hereby RESOLVED, as follows: disqualified winner to the repudiated loser because the law then as now only
(1) the decision or resolution of the En Banc of the Commission on disqualification authorizes a declaration in favor of the person who has obtained a plurality of votes,
cases shall become final and executory after five (5) days from its promulgation and does not entitle the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be
unless restrained by the Supreme Court; declared elected. In such case, the electors have failed to make a choice and the
(2) the decision or resolution of a Division on disqualification cases shall become election is a nullity. To allow the defeated and repudiated candidate to take over the
final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days unless a motion for elective position despite his rejection by the electorate is to disenfranchise the
reconsideration is seasonably filed; electorate without any fault on their part and to undermine the importance and
(3) where the ground for disqualification case is by reason of non-residence, meaning of democracy and the peoples right to elect officials of their choice. [105]
citizenship, violation of election laws and other analogous cases and on the day of Respondent Locsin proffers a distinction between a disqualification based on
the election the resolution has not become final and executory the BEI shall tally and personal circumstances such as age, residence or citizenship and disqualification
count the votes for such disqualified candidate; based on election offenses. She contends that the election of candidates later
(4) the decision or resolution of the En Banc on nuisance candidates, particularly disqualified based on election offenses like those enumerated in section 68 of the
whether the nuisance candidate has the same name as the bona fide candidate shall Omnibus Election Code should be invalidated because they violate the very essence
be immediately executory; of suffrage and as such, the votes cast in his favor should not be considered. [106]
(5) the decision or resolution of a DIVISION on nuisance candidate, particularly This contention is without merit. In the recent case of Trinidad v. COMELEC,
[107]
where the nuisance candidate has the same name as the bona fide candidate shall this Court ruled that the effect of a judgment disqualifying a candidate, after
be immediately executory after the lapse of five (5) days unless a motion for winning the election, based on personal circumstances or section 68 of the Omnibus
reconsideration is seasonably filed. In which case, the votes cast shall not be Election Code is the same: the second placer could not take the place of the
considered stray but shall be counted and tallied for the bona fide candidate. disqualified winner.

Santiago v Guingona Page 16 of 106


II Section 4. Effect of Motion for Reconsideration on Period to Appeal.- A motion to
Whether the proclamation of respondent Locsin divested the COMELEC en banc of reconsider a decision, resolution, order or ruling when not pro forma, suspends the
jurisdiction to review its validity. running of the period to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.
Respondent Locsin submits that the COMELEC en banc has no jurisdiction to annul Section 5. How Motion for Reconsideration Disposed Of.- Upon the filing of a motion
her proclamation. She maintains that the COMELEC en banc was been divested of to reconsider a decision, resolution, order or ruling of a Division, the Clerk of Court
jurisdiction to review the validity of her proclamation because she has become a concerned shall, within twenty-four (24) hours from the filing thereof, notify the
member of the House of Representatives. Thus, she contends that the proper forum Presiding Commissioner. The latter shall within two (2) days thereafter certify the
to question her membership to the House of Representatives is the House of case to the Commission en banc.
Representative Electoral Tribunal (HRET). Section 6. Duty of the Clerk of Court of the Commission to set Motion for
We find no merit in these contentions. Hearing.- The Clerk of Court concerned shall calendar the motion for reconsideration
First. The validity of the respondents proclamation was a core issue in the Motion for for the resolution of the Commission en banc within ten (10) days from the
Reconsideration seasonably filed by the petitioner. certification thereof. (emphases supplied)
In his timely Motion for Reconsideration with the COMELEC en banc, petitioner Since the petitioner seasonably filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of the
argued that the COMELEC Second Division erred thus: Second Division suspending his proclamation and disqualifying him, the
(1) in disqualifying petitioner on the basis solely of the dubious declaration of the COMELEC en banc was not divested of its jurisdiction to review the validity of the
witnesses for respondent Locsin; said Order of the Second Division. The said Order of the Second Division was yet
(2) in adopting in toto the allegations of the witnesses for respondent Locsin; and unenforceable as it has not attained finality; the timely filing of the motion for
(3) in promulgating the resolution in violation of its own rules of procedure and in reconsideration suspends its execution. It cannot, thus, be used as the basis for the
directing therein the immediate proclamation of the second highest vote getter. assumption in office of the respondent as the duly elected Representative of the
(emphases supplied) 4th legislative district of Leyte.
In support of his third assignment of error, petitioner argued that the Second Second. It is the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) which has no
Divisions directive for the immediate proclamation of the second highest vote-getter jurisdiction in the instant case.
is premature considering that the Resolution has yet to become final and executory. Respondent contends that having been proclaimed and having taken oath as
[108]
Clearly, the validity of respondent Locsins proclamation was made a central representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte, any question relative to her
issue in the Motion for Reconsideration seasonably filed by the petitioner. Without election and eligibility should be brought before the HRET pursuant to section 17 of
doubt, the COMELEC en banc has the jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.[109]
The fact that the Petition for Nullity of Proclamation was filed directly with the We reject respondents contention.
COMELEC en banc is of no moment. Even without said Petition, the COMELEC en (a) The issue on the validity of the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division has
banc could still rule on the nullity of respondents proclamation because it was not yet been resolved by the COMELEC en banc.
properly raised in the Motion for Reconsideration. To stress again, at the time of the proclamation of respondent Locsin, the validity of
Section 3, Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution empowers the COMELEC en banc to the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division was seasonably challenged by the
review, on motion for reconsideration, decisions or resolutions decided by a petitioner in his Motion for Reconsideration. The issue was still within the exclusive
division, viz: jurisdiction of the COMELEC en banc to resolve. Hence, the HRET cannot assume
Sec. 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall jurisdiction over the matter.
promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, In Puzon vs. Cua,[110] even the HRET ruled that the doctrinal ruling that once a
including pre-proclamation controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and proclamation has been made and a candidate-elect has assumed office, it is this
decided in division, provided that motions for reconsideration of decision shall be Tribunal that has jurisdiction over an election contest involving members of the
decided by the Commission en banc. House of Representatives, could not have been immediately applicable due to the
Pursuant to this Constitutional mandate, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides: issue regarding the validity of the very COMELEC pronouncements themselves. This
Rule 19. Motions for Reconsideration.- is because the HRET has no jurisdiction to review resolutions or decisions of the
Section 1. Grounds for Motion for Reconsideration.- A motion for reconsideration COMELEC, whether issued by a division or en banc.
may be filed on the grounds that the evidence is insufficient to justify the decision, (b) The instant case does not involve the election and qualification of respondent
order or ruling, or that the said decision, order or ruling is contrary to law. Locsin.
Section 2. Period for filing Motion for Reconsideration.- A motion to reconsider a Respondent Locsin maintains that the proper recourse of the petitioner is to file a
decision, resolution, order, or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five (5) days petition for quo warranto with the HRET.
from the promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not pro forma, suspends the A petition for quo warranto may be filed only on the grounds of ineligibility and
execution or implementation of the decision, resolution, order or ruling. disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines. [111] In the case at bar, neither the
Section 3. Form and Contents of Motion for Reconsideration.- The motion shall be eligibility of the respondent Locsin nor her loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines
verified and shall point out specifically the findings or conclusions of the decision, is in question. There is no issue that she was qualified to run, and if she won, to
resolution, order or ruling which are not supported by the evidence or which are assume office.
contrary to law, making express reference to the testimonial or documentary A petition for quo warranto in the HRET is directed against one who has been duly
evidence or to the provisions of law alleged to be contrary to such findings or elected and proclaimed for having obtained the highest number of votes but whose
resolutions. eligibility is in question at the time of such proclamation. It is evident that

Santiago v Guingona Page 17 of 106


respondent Locsin cannot be the subject of quo warranto proceeding in the HRET. Carpio, J., no part.
She lost the elections to the petitioner by a wide margin. Her proclamation was a
patent nullity. Her premature assumption to office as Representative of the EN BANC
4th legislative district of Leyte was void from the beginning. It is the height of [G.R. No. 150605. December 10, 2002]
absurdity for the respondent, as a loser, to tell petitioner Codilla, Sr., the winner, to EUFROCINO M. CODILLA, SR., petitioner, vs. HON. JOSE DE VENECIA,
unseat her via a quo warranto proceeding. ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, in their official capacities as Speaker and
III Secretary-General of the House of Representatives, respectively, and MA.
Whether it is the ministerial duty of the public respondents to VICTORIA L. LOCSIN, respondents.
recognize petitioner Codilla, Sr. as the legally elected Representative
of the 4th legislative district of Leyte vice respondent Locsin. DECISION
Under Rule 65, section 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, any person may file a PUNO, J.:
verified petition for mandamus when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or In a democracy, the first self-evident principle is that he who has been rejected by
person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically the people cannot represent the people. Respondent Ma. Victoria L. Locsin lost to
enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes petitioner Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr. by 17,903 votes in the May 14, 2001 elections as
another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte. The most sophisticated legal
entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary alchemy cannot justify her insistence that she should continue governing the people
course of law.[112] For a petition for mandamus to prosper, it must be shown that the of Leyte against their will. The enforcement of the sovereign will of the people is not
subject of the petition for mandamus is a ministerial act or duty, and not purely subject to the discretion of any official of the land.
discretionary on the part of the board, officer or person, and that the petitioner has a This is a Petition for Mandamus and Quo Warranto directed against respondents
well-defined, clear and certain right to warrant the grant thereof. Speaker Jose De Venecia and Secretary-General Roberto P. Nazareno of the House of
The distinction between a ministerial and discretionary act is well delineated. A Representatives to compel them to implement the decision of the Commission on
purely ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given Elections en banc by (a) administering the oath of office to petitioner as the duly-
state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of Leyte, and (b) registering the
authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety name of the petitioner in the Roll of Members of the House of Representatives, and
or impropriety of the act done. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer and against respondent Ma. Victoria L. Locsin for usurping, intruding into, and unlawfully
gives him the right to decide how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is holding and exercising the said public office on the basis of a void proclamation.
discretionary and not ministerial. The duty is ministerial only when the discharge of The facts are uncontroverted. Petitioner and respondent Locsin were candidates for
the same requires neither the exercise of official discretion or judgment. [113] the position of Representative of the 4 th legislative district of Leyte during the May
In the case at bar, the administration of oath and the registration of the petitioner in 14, 2001 elections. At that time, petitioner was the Mayor of Ormoc City while
the Roll of Members of the House of Representatives representing the 4 th legislative respondent Locsin was the sitting Representative of the 4 th legislative district of
district of Leyte is no longer a matter of discretion on the part of the public Leyte. On May 8, 2001, one Josephine de la Cruz, a registered voter of Kananga,
respondents. The facts are settled and beyond dispute: petitioner garnered 71,350 Leyte, filed directly with the COMELEC main office a Petition for
votes as against respondent Locsin who only got 53, 447 votes in the May 14, 2001 Disqualification[1] against the petitioner for indirectly soliciting votes from the
elections. The COMELEC Second Division initially ordered the proclamation of registered voters of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte, in violation of Section 68 (a) of
respondent Locsin; on Motion for Reconsideration the COMELEC en banc set aside the Omnibus Election Code. It was alleged that the petitioner used the equipments
the order of its Second Division and ordered the proclamation of the petitioner. The and vehicles owned by the City Government of Ormoc to extract, haul and distribute
Decision of the COMELEC en banc has not been challenged before this Court by gravel and sand to the residents of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte, for the purpose of
respondent Locsin and said Decision has become final and executory. inducing, influencing or corrupting them to vote for him. Attached to the petition are
In sum, the issue of who is the rightful Representative of the 4 th legislative district of the (a) Affidavits of Basilio Bates,[2] Danilo D. Maglasang,[3] Cesar A. Laurente;[4] (b)
Leyte has been finally settled by the COMELEC en banc, the constitutional body with Joint Affidavit of Agripino C. Alferez and Rogelio T. Salvera; [5] (c) Extract Records from
jurisdiction on the matter. The rule of law demands that its Decision be obeyed by all the Police Blotter executed by Police Superintendent Elson G. Pecho; [6] and (d)
officials of the land. There is no alternative to the rule of law except the reign of Photographs showing government dump trucks, haulers and surfacers and portions
chaos and confusion. of public roads allegedly filled-in and surfaced through the intercession of the
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Petition for Mandamus is granted. Public Speaker of the respondent.[7] The case was docketed as SPA No. 01-208 and assigned to the
House of Representatives shall administer the oath of petitioner EUFROCINO M. COMELECs Second Division.
CODILLA, SR., as the duly-elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of On May 10, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division issued an Order delegating the
Leyte. Public respondent Secretary-General shall likewise register the name of the hearing and reception of evidence on the disqualification case to the Office of the
petitioner in the Roll of Members of the House of Representatives after he has taken Regional Director of Region VIII.[8] On May 11, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division
his oath of office. This decision shall be immediately executory. sent a telegram informing the petitioner that a disqualification case was filed against
SO ORDERED. him and that the petition was remanded to the Regional Election Director for
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares- investigation.[9]
Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, At the time of the elections on May 14, 2001, the Regional Election Director had yet
Sr., and Azcuna, JJ.,concur. to hear the disqualification case. Consequently, petitioner was included in the list of

Santiago v Guingona Page 18 of 106


candidates for district representative and was voted for. The initial results showed On May 30, 2001, an oral argument was conducted on the petitioners Motion and
that petitioner was the winning candidate. the parties were ordered to submit their respective memoranda. [25] On June 4, 2001,
On May 16, 2001, before the counting could be finished, respondent Locsin joined as petitioner submitted his Memorandum[26] in support of his Motion assailing the
intervenor in SPA No. 128 and filed a Most Urgent Motion to Suspend Proclamation of suspension of his proclamation on the grounds that: (a) he was not afforded due
Respondent [herein petitioner] with the COMELEC Second Division. [10] Respondent process; (b) the order has no legal and factual basis; and (c) evidence of his guilt is
Locsin alleged that the evidence on record against respondent is very strong and patently inexistent for the purpose of suspending his proclamation. He prayed that
unless rebutted remains. She urged the Commission to set the hearing of the his proclamation as winning congressional candidate be expediently made, even
disqualification case and prayed for the suspension of the proclamation of the while the disqualification case against him continue upon due notice and hearing. He
respondent so as not to render the present disqualification case moot and attached the following additional evidence in his Memorandum: (a) Copy of
academic. A copy of the Motion was allegedly served on petitioner by registered certification issued by PNP Senior Inspector Benjamin T. Gorre; [27] (b) Certification
mail but no registry receipt was attached thereto.[11] issued by Elena S. Aviles, City Budget Officer; [28] (c) Copy of certification issued by
On May 18, 2001, respondent Locsin filed a Second Most Urgent Motion to Suspend Wilfredo A. Fiel, City Engineer of Ormoc; [29] (d) Joint Affidavit of Antonio Patenio and
Proclamation of Respondent stating there is clear and convincing evidence showing Pepito Restituto;[30] and (e) Affidavits of Demetrio Brion,[31] Igmedio Rita[32] and
that the respondent is undoubtedly guilty of the charges against him and this Gerardo Monteza.[33] Respondent Locsins memorandum also contained additional
remains unrebutted by the respondent. A copy of the Motion was sent to the affidavits of his witnesses.[34]
petitioner and the corresponding registry receipt was attached to the pleading. Petitioners Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension, however, was not
[12]
The records, however, do not show the date the petitioner received the motion. resolved. Instead, on June 14, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division promulgated its
On the same day, May 18, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division issued an Ex-Parte Resolution[35] in SPA No. 01-208 which found the petitioner guilty of indirect
Order[13] directing the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to suspend the solicitation of votes and ordered his disqualification. It directed the immediate
proclamation of petitioner in case he obtains the highest number of votes by reason proclamation of the candidate who garnered the highest number of votes xxx. A
of the seriousness of the allegations in the petition for disqualification. [14] It also copy of said Resolution was sent by fax to the counsel of petitioner in Cebu City in
directed the Regional Election Director to speed up the reception of evidence and to the afternoon of the following day.[36]
forward immediately the complete records together with its recommendation to the By virtue of the said Resolution, the votes cast for petitioner, totaling 71,350, were
Office of the Clerk of the Commission. [15] As a result, petitioner was not proclaimed declared stray even before said Resolution could gain finality. On June 15, 2001,
as winner even though the final election results showed that he garnered 71,350 respondent Locsin was proclaimed as the duly elected Representative of the
votes as against respondent Locsins 53,447 votes.[16] 4th legislative district of Leyte by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte. It
At the time that the COMELEC Second Division issued its Order suspending his issued a Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation of the Winning Candidates
proclamation, the petitioner has yet to be summoned to answer the petition for for Member of the House of Representatives stating that MA. VICTORIA LARRAZABAL
disqualification. Neither has said petition been set for hearing. It was only on May LOCSIN obtained a total of FIFTY THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN
24, 2001 that petitioner was able to file an Answer to the petition for his (53,447) votes representing the highest number of votes legally cast in the
disqualification with the Regional Election Director, alleging that: (a) he has not legislative district for said office. [37] Respondent Locsin took her oath of office on
received the summons together with the copy of the petition; (b) he became aware June 18, 2001 and assumed office on June 30, 2001.
of the matter only by virtue of the telegram sent by the COMELEC Second Division On June 20, 2001, petitioner seasonably filed with the COMELEC en banc a Motion
informing him that a petition was filed against him and that the Regional Election for Reconsideration[38] from the June 14, 2001 Resolution of the COMELEC Second
Director was directed to investigate and receive evidence therewith; and (c) he Division which ordered his disqualification, as well as an Addendum to the Motion for
obtained a copy of the petition from the COMELEC Regional Office No. 8 at his own Reconsideration.[39] Petitioner alleged in his Motion for Reconsideration that the
instance.[17] Petitioner further alleged that the maintenance, repair and rehabilitation COMELEC Second Division erred: (1) in disqualifying petitioner on the basis solely of
of barangay roads in the municipalities of Matag-ob and Kananga were undertaken the dubious declaration of the witnesses for respondent Locsin; (2) in adopting in
without his authority, participation or directive as City Mayor of Ormoc. He attached toto the allegations of the witnesses for respondent Locsin; and (3) in promulgating
in his Answer the following: (a) Affidavit of Alex B. Borinaga; [18](b) Copy of the the resolution in violation of its own rules of procedure and in directing therein the
Excerpt from the Minutes of the Regular Session of Barangay Monterico; [19] (c) immediate proclamation of the second highest vote getter. Respondent Locsin and
Affidavit of Wilfredo A. Fiel;[20] (d) Supplemental Affidavit of Wilfredo A. Fiel; [21] and her co-petitioner in SPA No. 01-208 filed a joint Opposition to the Motion for
(e) Affidavit of Arnel Y. Padayao.[22] Reconsideration.[40]
On May 25, 2001, petitioner filed a Motion to Lift Order of Suspension,[23] alleging On June 21, 2001, petitioner filed with the COMELEC en banc a Petition for
that (a) he did not receive a copy of the Motion to Suspend his Proclamation and Declaration of Nullity of Proclamation,[41] docketed as SPC No. 01-324, assailing the
hence, was denied the right to rebut and refute the allegations in the Motion; (b) validity of the proclamation of respondent Locsin who garnered only the second
that he did not receive a copy of the summons on the petition for disqualification highest number of votes. Respondent Locsin filed her Answer alleging that: (1) the
and after personally obtaining a copy of the petition, filed the requisite answer only Commission lost jurisdiction to hear and decide the case because of the
on May 24, 2001; and (c) that he received the telegraph Order of the COMELEC proclamation of Locsin and that any question on the election, returns, and
Second Division suspending his proclamation only on May 22, 2001. He attached qualification of Locsin can only be taken cognizance of by the House of
documentary evidence in support of his Motion to Lift the Suspension of his Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET); (2) the case should be filed and heard in
proclamation, and requested the setting of a hearing on his Motion. [24] the first instance by a Division of the Commission and not directly by the

Santiago v Guingona Page 19 of 106


Commission en banc; and (3) the proclamation of Locsin was valid because she immediately reconvene and thereafter proclaim forthwith the candidate who
received the highest number of valid votes cast, the votes of Codilla being stray. obtained the highest number of votes counting out the Respondent the same being
On June 28, 2001, petitioner filed an Urgent Manifestation[42] stating that he was violative of election laws, established jurisprudence, and resolutions of the
deprived of a fair hearing on the disqualification case because while the Commission;
documentary evidence adduced in his Memorandum was in support of his Motion for (d) to nullify the ruling contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second
the lifting of the suspension of his proclamation, the COMELEC Second Division Division) promulgated o June 14, 2001, that the votes of respondent Codilla
instead ruled on the main disqualification case. In consonance with his prayer that a are considered stray and invalidsaid ruling being issued on the basis of an
full-dress hearing be conducted on the disqualification case, he submitted Affidavits inapplicable decision, and contrary to established jurisprudence;
of additional witnesses[43] which he claims would refute and substantially belie the (e) to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte, upon the finality of this
allegations of petitioners/intervenors witnesses. A Reply,[44] Rejoinder[45] and Sur- resolution, to reconvene and proclaim petitioner Codilla as the winning candidate for
Rejoinder[46] were respectively filed by the parties. Consequently, the motion for Representative of the Fourth Legislative district of Leyte to comply with its
reconsideration in SPA No. 01-208 and the petition for declaration of nullity in SPC ministerial duty to proclaim the candidate who garnered the highest number of
No. 01-324 were submitted for resolution. votes in the elections for that position; and
From the records, it appears that initially, a Resolution penned by Commissioner (f) to order intervenor-oppositor Locsin, upon the finality of this resolution, to vacate
Rufino S.B. Javier, dated July 24, 2001, was submitted to the Office of the Chairman, the office of Representative of the House of Representatives representing the Fourth
dismissing the petition for declaration of nullity for lack of jurisdiction and denying legislative district of Leyte and, for this purpose, to inform the House of
the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Codilla. [47] Commissioners Representatives through the Honorable Speaker of this resolution for its attention
Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. and Resurreccion Z. Borra submitted their respective and guidance; and
dissenting opinions[48] to the Javier resolution. It bears emphasis that Commissioner 2. On the petition for Declaration of Nullity of proclamation of respondent Ma.
Tuason, Jr. was the ponente of the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division which Victoria L. Locsin (SPC No. 01-324), I vote:
ordered the disqualification of petitioner but after considering the additional (a) to GRANT the petition of Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., and declare as null and void the
evidence presented by the latter, he concluded that the totality of the evidence was proclamation of losing candidate Locsin, the proclamation being violative of election
clearly in petitioners favor. Equally worth mentioning is the fact that Commissioner laws, established jurisprudence, and resolutions of the Commission on Elections;
Ralph C. Lantion, who was the Presiding Commissioner of the Second Division, also (b) to lift the order of suspension of proclamation of petitioner Codilla, issued by the
dissented and voted to grant Codillas motion for reconsideration on the ground that Commission (Second Division) on May 18, 2001, in SPA No. 01-208, having been
[T]he people of Leyte have spoken and I respect the electorates will. x x x. [49] issued without hearing and without any finding that the evidence of guilt of
On August 29, 2001, then COMELEC Chairman Alfredo L. Benipayo issued a Vote and petitioner Codilla is strong and, thus, null and void;
Opinion and Summary of Votes reversing the resolution of the Second Division and (c) to nullify the order contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second
declaring the proclamation of respondent Locsin as null and void. The dispositive Division) promulgated on June 14, 2001, in SPA No. 01-208, for (t)he immediate
portion reads: proclamation of the candidate who garnered the highest number of votes, to the
JUDGMENT exclusion of respondent and the concurrent order for the provincial Board of
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, I concur with Commissioner Canvasser (sic) of Leyte to immediately reconvene and thereafter proclaim forthwith
Resurreccion Z. Borra, Commissioner Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. and Commissioner the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes counting out the
Ralph C. Lantion, in SPA No. 01-208, to GRANT the motion for reconsideration and to Respondent the same being violative of election laws, established jurisprudence,
REVERSE the resolution of the Commission (Second Division) promulgated on June 1, and resolutions of the Commission;
2001, disqualifying Codilla; and subsequently, in SPC No. 01-324, to GRANT the (d) to nullify the ruling contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second
petition of Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., and declare as null and void the proclamation of Division) promulgated on June 14, 2001, in SPA No. 01-208, that the votes of
losing candidate Locsin. respondent Codilla areconsidered stray and invalid said ruling being issued on the
Accordingly: basis of an inapplicable decision, and contrary to established jurisprudence;
1. On the Motion for Reconsideration of the disqualification resolution against (e) to order the provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte, upon the finality of this
Codilla, promulgated by the Commission (Second Division) on June 14, 2001 (SPA resolution, to reconvene and proclaim petitioner Codilla as the winning candidate for
No. 01-208), I vote: Representative of the Fourth legislative district of Leyte he (sic) having garnered the
(a) to GRANT the Motion for Reconsideration of respondent-movant Eufrocino M. highest number of votes in the elections for the position; and
Codilla, Sr., and to REVERSE the Resolution of the Commission (Second Division) (f) to order respondent Locsin, upon the finality of this resolution, to vacate the
promulgated on June 14, 2001, for insufficiency of evidence; office of Representative of the House of Representatives representing the Fourth
(b) to lift the order of suspension of proclamation of petitioner Codilla, issued by the Legislative district of Leyte and, for this purpose, to inform the House of
Commission (Second Division) on May 18, 2001, having been issued without hearing Representatives through the Honorable Speaker of this resolution for its attention
and without any finding that the evidence of guilt of petitioner Codilla is strong and, and guidance.
thus, null and void; Summary of Votes
(c) to nullify the order contained in the Resolution of the Commission (Second Considering the FOUR (4) VOTES of the Chairman and Commissioners Resurreccion
Division) promulgated on June 14, 2001, for (t)he immediate proclamation of the Z. Borra, Florentino A. Tuason, Jr., and Ralph C. Lantion, to grant the Motion for
candidate who garnered the highest number of votes, to the exclusion of respondent Reconsideration of Codilla and reverse the disqualification Resolution of the
and the concurrent order for the Provincial Board of Canvasser (sic) of Leyte to Commission (Second Division) in SPA No. 01-208, promulgated on June 14, 2001,

Santiago v Guingona Page 20 of 106


and as an inevitable consequence, in voting to grant the petition for declaration of Secretary-General Gaudencio A. Mendoza, Jr., for Speaker De Venecia, stating that
nullity of the proclamation of Ma. Victoria L. Locsin in SPC No. 01-324, the there is no legal obstacle to complying with the duly promulgated and now final and
verdict/opinion of the Chairman and the three (3) Commissioners taken together executory COMELEC Decision of August 29, 2001 x x x.
now stands, as it is, the MAJORITY DECISION of the Commission En Banc in both These notwithstanding, and despite receipt by the House of Representatives of a
cases; and the Resolution submitted by three (3) Commissioners, namely, copy of the COMELEC en banc resolution on September 20, 2001,[60] no action was
Commissioner Rufino S.B. Javier, Commissioner Luzviminda G. Tancangco, and taken by the House on the letter-appeal of petitioner. Hence, petitioner sought the
Commissioner Mehol K. Sadain, is considered, as it is, the MINORITY DECISION of the assistance of his party, LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP, which sent a letter [61] addressed to
Commission En Banc in both cases. respondent Speaker De Venecia, dated October 25, 2001, and signed by Party
The MAJORTIY DECISION was arrived at after proper consultation with those who President Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr., Secretary-General Heherson T. Alvarez, and
joined the majority. The Chairman and the three (3) Commissioners comprising the Region VIII Party Chairman Sergio Antonio F. Apostol, requesting the House of
majority decided that no one will be assigned to write a Majority Decision. Instead, Representatives to act decisively on the matter in order that petitioner can avail of
each one will write his own separate opinion. Commissioners Borra, Tuason, Jr. and whatever remedy is available should their action remain unfavorable or otherwise
the undersigned Chairman submitted separate opinions. Commissioner Lantion undecisive.
wrote an explanation on his vote.[50] In response, Speaker De Venecia sent a letter [62] dated October 30, 2001, stating
The aforequoted judgment was adopted in a Vote of Adoption signed by that:
Commissioners Ralph C. Lantion, Resurreccion Z. Borra and Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. We recognize the finality of the COMELEC decision and we are inclined to sustain
[51]
it. However, Rep. Locsin has officially notified the HOUSE in her privilege speech,
Respondent Locsin did not appeal from this decision annulling her inserted in the HOUSE Journal dated September 4, 2001, that she shall openly defy
proclamation. Instead, she filed a Comment and Manifestation [52] with the and disobey the COMELEC ruling. This ultimately means that implementing the
COMELEC en banc questioning the procedure and the manner by which the decision decision would result in the spectacle of having two (2) legislators occupying the
was issued. In addition, respondent Locsin requested and was issued an opinion by same congressional seat, a legal situation, the only consideration, that effectively
House of Representatives Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel Leonardo B. deters the HOUSEs liberty to take action.
Palicte III declaring that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to nullify the proclamation In this light, the accepted wisdom is that the implementation of the COMELEC
of respondent Locsin after she had taken her oath and assumed office since it is the decision is a matter that can be best, and with finality, adjudicated by the Supreme
HRET which is the sole judge of election, returns and qualifications of Members of Court, which, hopefully, shall act on it most expeditiously. (emphases supplied)
the House.[53] Relying on this opinion, respondent Locsin submitted a written Hence, the present petition for mandamus and quo warranto.
privileged speech to the House during its regular session on September 4, 2001, Petitioner submits that by virtue of the resolution of the COMELEC en banc which
where she declared that she will not only disregard but will openly defy and disobey has become final and executory for failure of respondent Locsin to appeal therefrom,
the COMELEC en banc resolution ordering her to vacate her position. [54] it has become the ministerial duty: (1) of the Speaker of the House of
On September 6, 2001, the COMELEC en banc issued an Order[55] constituting the Representatives, as its Administrative Head and Presiding Officer, to implement the
members of the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to implement the aforesaid said resolution of the COMELEC en banc by installing him as the duly-elected
decision. It likewise ordered the Board to reconvene and proclaim the candidate who Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte; and (2) of the Secretary-
obtained the highest number of votes in the district, as the duly-elected General, as official custodian of the records of the House, to formally register his
Representative of the Fourth Legislative district of Leyte, and accordingly issue a name in the Roll of Members of the House and delete the name of respondent Locsin
Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation of Winning Candidate for Member of the therefrom. Petitioner further contends that respondent Locsin has been usurping and
House of Representatives x x x, based on the city/municipal certificates of canvass unlawfully holding the public office of Representative of the 4 th legislative district of
submitted beforehand to the previous Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte x x x. Leyte considering that her premature proclamation has been declared null and void
On September 12, 2001, petitioner Codilla was proclaimed by the Provincial Board of by the COMELEC en banc. He alleges that the action or inaction of public
Canvassers as the duly-elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of Leyte, respondents has deprived him of his lawful right to assume the office of
having obtained a total of 71,350 votes representing the highest number of votes Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte.
cast in the district.[56] On the same day, petitioner took his oath of office before In his Comment,[63] public respondent Speaker De Venecia alleged that mandamus
Executive Judge Fortunito L. Madrona of the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City. [57] will not lie to compel the implementation of the COMELEC decision which is not
On September 14, 2001, petitioner wrote the House of Representatives, thru merely a ministerial duty but one which requires the exercise of discretion by the
respondent Speaker De Venecia, informing the House of the August 29, 2001 Speaker of the House considering that: (1) it affects the membership of the House;
COMELEC en bancresolution annulling the proclamation of respondent Locsin, and and (2) there is nothing in the Rules of the House of Representatives which imposes
proclaiming him as the duly-elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of a duty on the House Speaker to implement a COMELEC decision that unseats an
Leyte.[58] Petitioner also served notice that I am assuming the duties and incumbent House member.
responsibilities as Representative of the fourth legislative district of Leyte to which In his Comment,[64] public respondent Secretary-General Nazareno alleged that in
position I have been lawfully elected and proclaimed. On behalf of my constituents, I reading the name of respondent Locsin during the roll call, and in allowing her to
therefore expect that all rights and privileges intended for the position of take her oath before the Speaker-elect and sit as Member of the House during the
Representative of the fourth legislative district of Leyte be accorded to me, including Joint Session of Congress, he was merely performing official acts in compliance with
all physical facilities and staff support. On the basis of this letter, a the opinions[65] rendered by House of Representatives Chief Counsel and Executive
Memorandum[59] dated October 8, 2001 was issued by Legal Affairs Deputy Director Leonardo C. Palicte III stating that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to

Santiago v Guingona Page 21 of 106


declare the proclamation of respondent Locsin as null and void since it is the HRET invalidity of said proclamation, whether it is the ministerial duty of the public
which is the sole judge of all election, returns and qualifications of Members of the respondents to recognize petitioner Codilla, Sr. as the legally elected Representative
House. He also contends that the determination of who will sit as Member of the of the 4th legislative district of Leyte vice respondent Locsin.
House of Representatives is not a ministerial function and cannot, thus, be I
compelled by mandamus. Whether the proclamation of respondent Locsin is valid.
Respondent Locsin, in her Comment,[66] alleged that the Supreme Court has no After carefully reviewing the records of this case, we find that the proclamation of
original jurisdiction over an action for quo warranto involving a member of the respondent Locsin is null and void for the following reasons:
House of Representatives for under Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution it is the First. The petitioner was denied due process during the entire proceedings leading to
HRET which is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and the proclamation of respondent Locsin.
qualifications of Members of the House of Representatives. She likewise asserts that COMELEC Resolution Nos. 3402[70] sets the procedure for disqualification cases
this Court cannot issue the writ of mandamus against a co-equal legislative pursuant to section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, viz:
department without grossly violating the principle of separation of powers. She C. PETITION TO DISQUALIFY A CANDIDATE PURSUANT TO SEC. 68 OF THE OMNIBUS
contends that the act of recognizing who should be seated as a bona fide member of ELECTION CODE AND PETITION TO DISQUALIFY FOR LACK OF QUALIFICATIONS OR
the House of Representatives is not a ministerial function but a legislative POSSESSING SAME GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION
prerogative, the performance of which cannot be compelled by (1) The verified petition to disqualify a candidate pursuant to Sec. 68 of the Omnibus
mandamus. Moreover, the prayer for a writ of mandamus cannot be directed against Election Code and the verified petition to disqualify a candidate for lack of
the Speaker and Secretary-General because they do not have the authority to qualifications or possessing same grounds for disqualification, may be filed any day
enforce and implement the resolution of the COMELEC. after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy but not later than the date of
Additionally, respondent Locsin urges that the resolution of the COMELEC en banc is proclamation.
null and void for lack of jurisdiction. First, it should have dismissed the case pending (2) The petition to disqualify a candidate pursuant to Sec. 68 of the Omnibus
before it after her proclamation and after she had taken her oath of Election Code shall be filed in ten (10) legible copies by any citizen of voting age, or
office. Jurisdiction then was vested in the HRET to unseat and remove a Member of duly registered political party, organization or coalition of political parties against
the House of Representatives. Second, the petition for declaration of nullity is clearly any candidate who in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final
a pre-proclamation controversy and the COMELEC en banc has no original decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of:
jurisdiction to hear and decide a pre-proclamation controversy. It must first be heard 2.a having given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or
by a COMELEC Division. Third, the questioned decision is actually a hodge-podge corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions;
decision because of the peculiar manner in which the COMELEC disposed of the 2.b having committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy;
case. 2.c having spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by
Finally, respondent Locsin asserts that the matter of her qualification and eligibility the Omnibus Election Code;
has been categorically affirmed by the HRET when it dismissed the quo 2.d having solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections
warranto case filed against her, docketed as HRET Case No. 01-043, entitled Paciano 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104 of the Omnibus Election Code;
Travero vs. Ma. Victoria Locsin, on the ground that the allegations stated therein are 2.e having violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v,
not proper grounds for a petition for quo warranto against a Member of the House of and cc, sub-paragraph 6 of the Omnibus Election Code, shall be disqualified from
Representatives under section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code and Rule 17 of the continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office.
HRET Rules, and that the petition was filed late. [67] xxxxxxxxx
In his Reply,[68] petitioner asserts that the remedy of respondent Locsin from the (4) Upon payment of the filing fee of P1,000.00 and legal research fee of P20.00, the
COMELEC decision was to file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, not to offices concerned shall docket the petition and assign to it a docket number which
seek an opinion from the Chief Legal Counsel of the House of Representatives; that must be consecutive, according to the order of receipt and must bear the year and
the HRET has no jurisdiction over a petition for declaration of nullity of proclamation prefixed as SPA with the corresponding initial of the name of the office, i.e. SPA
which is based not on ineligibility or disloyalty, but by reason that the candidate (RED) No. C01-001; SPA (PES) No. C01-001;
proclaimed as winner did not obtain the highest number of votes; that the petition (5) Within three (3) days from filing of the petitions, the offices concerned shall issue
for annulment of proclamation is a pre-proclamation controversy and, hence, falls summons to the respondent candidate together with a copy of the petition and its
within the exclusive jurisdiction of the COMELEC pursuant to section 242 of B.P. Blg. enclosures, if any;
881[69] and section 3, Article IX (C) of the Constitution; that respondent Speaker De (6) The respondent shall be given three (3) days from receipt of summons within
Venecia himself recognizes the finality of the COMELEC decision but has decided to which to file his verified answer (not a motion to dismiss) to the petition in ten (10)
refer the matter to the Supreme Court for adjudication; that the enforcement and legible copies, serving a copy thereof upon the petitioner. Grounds for Motion to
implementation of a final decision of the COMELEC involves a ministerial act and Dismiss may be raised as an affirmative defense;
does not encroach on the legislative power of Congress; and that the power to (7) The proceeding shall be summary in nature. In lieu of the testimonies, the parties
determine who will sit as Member of the House does not involve an exercise of shall submit their affidavits or counter-affidavits and other documentary evidences
legislative power but is vested in the sovereign will of the electorate. including their position paper;
The core issues in this case are: (a) whether the proclamation of respondent Locsin (8) The hearing must be completed within ten (10) days from the date of the filing of
by the COMELEC Second Division is valid; (b) whether said proclamation divested the answer. The hearing officer concerned shall submit to the Clerk of the
the COMELECen banc of jurisdiction to review its validity; and (c) assuming the Commission through the fastest means of communication, his findings, reports and

Santiago v Guingona Page 22 of 106


recommendations within five (5) days from the completion of the hearing and disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such
reception of evidence together with the complete records of the case; election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent
(9) Upon receipt of the records of the case of the findings, reports and his proclamation and assumption to office. (emphases supplied)
recommendation of the hearing officer concerned, the Clerk of the Commission shall In the instant case, petitioner has not been disqualified by final judgment when the
immediately docket the case consecutively and calendar the same for raffle to a elections were conducted on May 14, 2001. The Regional Election Director has yet to
division; conduct hearing on the petition for his disqualification. After the elections, petitioner
(10) The division to whom the case is raffled, shall after consultation, assign the was voted in office by a wide margin of 17,903. On May 16, 2001, however,
same to a member who shall pen the decision, within five (5) days from the date of respondent Locsin filed a Most Urgent Motion for the suspension of petitioners
consultation. proclamation. The Most Urgent Motion contained a statement to the effect that a
Resolution No. 3402 clearly requires the COMELEC, through the Regional Election copy was served to the petitioner through registered mail.The records reveal that no
Director, to issue summons to the respondent candidate together with a copy of the registry receipt was attached to prove such service. [72] This violates COMELEC Rules
petition and its enclosures, if any, within three (3) days from the filing of the petition of Procedure requiring notice and service of the motion to all parties, viz:
for disqualification. Undoubtedly, this is to afford the respondent candidate the Section 4. Notice.- Notice of a motion shall be served by the movant to all parties
opportunity to answer the allegations in the petition and hear his side. To ensure concerned, at least three (3) days before the hearing thereof, together with a copy
compliance with this requirement, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure requires the of the motion. For good cause shown, the motion may be heard on shorter notice,
return of the summons together with the proof of service to the Clerk of Court of the especially on matters which the Commission or the Division may dispose of on its
COMELEC when service has been completed, viz: own motion.
Rule 14. Summons The notice shall be directed to the parties concerned and shall state the time and
xxxxxxxxx place of the hearing of the motion.
Section 5. Return.- When the service has been completed by personal service, the Section 5. Proof of Service.- No motion shall be acted upon by the Commission
server shall give notice thereof, by registered mail, to the protestant or his counsel without proof of service of notice thereof, except when the Commission or a Division
and shall return the summons to the Clerk of Court concerned who issued it, is satisfied that the rights of the adverse party or parties are not affected.
accompanied with the proof of service. Respondents Most Urgent Motion does not fall under the exceptions to notice and
Section 6. Proof of Service.- Proof of service of summons shall be made in the service of motions. First, the suspension of proclamation of a winning candidate is
manner provided for in the Rules of Court in the Philippines. not a matter which the COMELEC Second Division can dispose of motu proprio.
Thereafter, hearings, to be completed within ten (10) days from the filing of the Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 [73] requires that the suspension must be upon motion by
Answer, must be conducted. The hearing officer is required to submit to the Clerk of the complainant or any intervenor, viz:
the Commission his findings, reports and recommendations within five (5) days from Section 6. Effect of Disqualification Case.- Any candidate who has been declared by
the completion of the hearing and reception of evidence together with the complete final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him
records of the case. shall not be counted. If for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment
(a) Petitioner was not notified of the petition for his disqualification through the before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning
service of summons nor of the Motions to suspend his proclamation. number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission (COMELEC) shall
The records of the case do not show that summons was served on the continue with the trial or hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion
petitioner. They do not contain a copy of the summons allegedly served on the of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
petitioner and its corresponding proof of service. Furthermore, private respondent suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt
never rebutted petitioners repeated assertion that he was not properly notified of is strong. (emphases supplied)
the petition for his disqualification because he never received summons. Second, the right of an adverse party, in this case, the petitioner, is clearly
[71]
Petitioner claims that prior to receiving a telegraphed Order from the COMELEC affected. Given the lack of service of the Most Urgent Motion to the petitioner, said
Second Division on May 22, 2001, directing the District Board of Canvassers to Motion is a mere scrap of paper. [74] It cannot be acted upon by the COMELEC Second
suspend his proclamation, he was never summoned nor furnished a copy of the Division.
petition for his disqualification. He was able to obtain a copy of the petition and the On May 18, 2001 at exactly 5:00 p.m., [75] respondent Locsin filed a Second Most
May 22 Order of the COMELEC Second Division by personally going to the COMELEC Urgent Motion for the suspension of petitioners proclamation. Petitioner was served
Regional Office on May 23, 2001. Thus, he was able to file his Answer to the a copy of the Second Motion again by registered mail. A registry receipt [76] was
disqualification case only on May 24, 2001. attached evidencing service of the Second Most Urgent Motion to the petitioner but
More, the proclamation of the petitioner was suspended in gross violation of section it does not appear when the petitioner received a copy thereof. That same day, the
72 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides: COMELEC Second Division issued an Order suspending the proclamation of
Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority.- The Commission and the petitioner. Clearly, the petitioner was not given any opportunity to contest the
courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this allegations contained in the petition for disqualification. The Order was issued on the
Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven days very same day the Second Most Urgent Motion was filed. The petitioner could not
before the election in which the disqualification is sought. have received the Second Most Urgent Motion, let alone answer the same on time as
Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not he was served a copy thereof by registered mail.
be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for Under section 6 of R.A. No. 6646, the COMELEC can suspend proclamation only when
any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be evidence of the winning candidates guilt is strong. In the case at bar, the COMELEC

Santiago v Guingona Page 23 of 106


Second Division did not make any specific finding that evidence of petitioners guilt is Codilla that the Members of the Commission (Second Division) and other Members
strong. Its only basis in suspending the proclamation of the petitioner is of the Commission en banc had the opportunity to consider Codillas affidavits. This
the seriousness of the allegations in the petition for disqualification. Pertinent time, Codilla was able to present his side, thus, completing the presentation of
portion of the Order reads: evidentiary documents from both sides.[78] (emphases supplied)
Without giving due course to the petition xxx the Commission (2 nd Division), Indeed, careful reading of the petitioners Memorandum shows that he confined his
pursuant to Section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6, arguments in support of his Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension. In said
Republic Act No. 6646 xxx andconsidering the serious allegations in the petition, Memorandum, petitioner raised the following issues: (a) he was utterly deprived of
hereby directs the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to suspend the procedural due process, and consequently, the order suspending his proclamation is
proclamation of respondent, if winning, until further orders.[77] (emphases supplied) null and void; (b) the said order of suspension of proclamation has no legal and
We hold that absent any finding that the evidence on the guilt of the petitioner is factual basis; and (c) evidence of guilt on his part is patently inexistent for the
strong, the COMELEC Second Division gravely abused its power when it suspended purpose of directing the suspension of his proclamation. [79] He urged the COMELEC
his proclamation. Second Division to conduct a full dress hearing on the main disqualification case
(b) The COMELEC Second Division did not give ample opportunity to the petitioner to should the suspension be lifted.[80]
adduce evidence in support of his defense in the petition for his disqualification. (c) the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division disqualifying the petitioner is not
All throughout the proceeding, no hearing was conducted on the petition for based on substantial evidence.
disqualification in gross violation of section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 which specifically The Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division cannot be considered to be based
enjoins the COMELEC tocontinue with the trial or hearing of the action, inquiry, or on substantial evidence. It relied merely on affidavits of witnesses attached to the
protest. This is also in violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 3402 requiring the petition for disqualification. As stressed, the COMELEC Second Division gave
Regional Election Director to complete the hearing and reception of evidence within credence to the affidavits without hearing the affiants. In reversing said Resolution,
ten (10) days from the filing of the Answer, and to submit his findings, reports, and the COMELEC en banc correctly observed:
recommendations within the five (5) days from completion of the hearing and the Lacking evidence of Codilla, the Commission (Second Division) made its decisions
reception of evidence. based mainly on the allegation of the petitioner and the supporting affidavits. With
Petitioner filed a Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension of his proclamation on May this lopsided evidence at hand, the result was predictable. The Commission (Second
25, 2001. Although an oral argument on this Motion was held, and the parties were Division) had no choice. Codilla was disqualified.[81]
allowed to file their respective memoranda, the Motion was not acted upon. Instead, Worse, the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division, even without the evidence
the COMELEC Second Division issued a Resolution on the petition for disqualification coming from the petitioner, failed to prove the gravamen of the offense for which he
against the petitioner. It was based on the following evidence: (a) the affidavits was charged.[82]
attached to the Petition for Disqualification; (b) the affidavits attached to the Petitioner allegedly violated section 68 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code which
Answer; and (c) the respective memoranda of the parties. reads:
On this score, it bears emphasis that the hearing for Motion to Lift the Order of Section 68. Disqualifications.- Any candidate who, in action or protest in which he is
Suspension cannot be substituted for the hearing in the disqualification case. a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the
Although intrinsically linked, it is not to be supposed that the evidence of the parties Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence,
in the main disqualification case are the same as those in the Motion to Lift the induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing official functions, xxx shall
Order of Suspension. The parties may have other evidence which they may deem be disqualified from continuing as candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding
proper to present only on the hearing for the disqualification case. Also, there may office
be evidence which are unavailable during the hearing for the Motion to Lift the Order To be disqualified under the above-quoted provision, the following elements must be
of Suspension but which may be available during the hearing for the disqualification proved: (a) the candidate, personally or through his instructions, must have given
case. money or other material consideration; and (b) the act of giving money or other
In the case at bar, petitioner asserts that he submitted his Memorandum merely to material consideration must be for the purpose of influencing, inducing, or
support his Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension. It was not intended to answer and corrupting the voters or public officials performing electoral functions.
refute the disqualification case against him. This submission was sustained by the In the case at bar, the petition for disqualification alleged that (a) petitioner ordered
COMELEC en banc. Hence, the members of the COMELEC en banc concluded, upon the extraction, hauling and distribution of gravel and sand, and (b) his purpose was
consideration of the additional affidavits attached in his Urgent Manifestation, that to induce and influence the voters of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte to vote for him.
the evidence to disqualify the petitioner was insufficient. More specifically, Pertinent portion of the petition reads:
the ponente of the challenged Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division held: [T]he respondent [herein petitioner], within the election period, took advantage of
Indeed, I find from the records that the May 30, 2001 hearing of the COMELEC his current elective position as City Mayor of Ormoc City by illegally and unlawfully
(Second Division) concerns only the incident relating to the Motion to Lift Order of using during the prohibited period, public equipments and vehicles belonging to and
Suspension of Proclamation. It also appears that the order for the submission of the owned by the City Government of Ormoc City in extracting, hauling and distributing
parties respective memoranda was in lieu of the parties oral argument on the gravel and sand to the residents and voters of the Municipalities of Kananga and
motion. This would explain the fact that Codillas Memorandum refers mainly to the Matag-ob Leyte, well within the territorial limits of the 4 th Congressional District of
validity of the issuance of the order of suspension of proclamation. There is, Leyte, which acts were executed without period, and clearly for the illicit purpose of
however, no record of any hearing on the urgent motion for the suspension of unduly inducing or directly corrupting various voters of Kananga and Matag-ob,
proclamation. Indeed, it was only upon the filing of the Urgent Manifestation by within the 4th legislative district of Leyte, for the precise purpose of inducing and

Santiago v Guingona Page 24 of 106


influencing the voters/beneficiaries of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte to cast their apparatus, or paraphernalia owned by the government or by its political
votes for said respondent.[83] subdivisions, agencies including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by
The affidavits relied upon by the COMELEC Second Division failed to prove these the Armed Forces of the Philippines for any election campaign or for any partisan
allegations. For instance, Cesar A. Laurente merely stated that he saw three (3) ten- political activity x x x.
wheeler dump trucks and a Hyundai Payloader with the markings Ormoc City However, the jurisdiction of the COMELEC to disqualify candidates is limited to those
Government extracting and hauling sand and gravel from the riverbed adjacent to enumerated in section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. All other election offenses
the property owned by the Codilla family.[84] are beyond the ambit of COMELEC jurisdiction.[97] They are criminal and not
Agripino C. Alferez and Rogelio T. Sulvera in their Joint Affidavit merely stated that administrative in nature. Pursuant to sections 265 and 268 of the Omnibus Election
they saw white trucks owned by the City Government of Ormoc dumping gravel and Code, the power of the COMELEC is confined to the conduct of preliminary
sand on the road of Purok 6, San Vicente, Matag-ob, Leyte. A payloader then investigation on the alleged election offenses for the purpose of prosecuting the
scattered the sand and gravel unloaded by the white trucks. [85] alleged offenders before the regular courts of justice, viz:
On the other hand, Danilo D. Maglasang, a temporary employee of the City Section 265. Prosecution.- The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal
Government of Ormoc assigned to check and record the delivery of sand and gravel officers, have the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election
for the different barangays in Ormoc, stated as follows: offenses punishable under this Code, and to prosecute the same. The Commission
3. That on April 20, 2001, I was ordered by Engr. Arnel Padayo, an employee of the may avail of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the government: Provided,
City Engineering Office, Ormoc City to go to Tagaytay, Kangga (sic), Leyte as that however, That in the event that the Commission fails to act on any complaint within
will be the source of the sand and gravel. I inquired why we had to go to Kananga four months from his filing, the complainant may file the complaint with the office of
but Engr. Padayao said that its not a problem as it was Mayor Eufrocino M. Codilla, the fiscal or with the Ministry of Justice for proper investigation and prosecution, if
Sr. who ordered this and the property is owned by the family of Mayor Codilla. We warranted.
were to deliver sand and gravel to whoever requests from Mayor Codilla. [86] xxxxxxxxx
Similarly, the Affidavit of Basilio Bates cannot prove the offense charged against the Section 268. Jurisdiction.- The regional trial court shall have the exclusive original
petitioner. He alleged that on April 18, 2001, a white truck with the marking City jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or proceeding for violation of this
Government of Ormoc came to his lot at Montebello, Kananga, Leyte and unloaded Code, except those relating to the offense of failure to register or failure to vote
mixed sand and that the driver of the truck told him to vote for Codilla as which shall be under the jurisdictions of metropolitan or municipal trial courts. From
a (sic) congressman during election.[87] His statement is hearsay. He has no personal the decision of the courts, appeal will lie as in other criminal cases.
knowledge of the supposed order of the petitioner to distribute gravel and sand for The COMELEC Second Division grievously erred when it decided the disqualification
the purpose of inducing the voters to vote for him. The same could be said about the case based on section 261 (a) and (o), and not on section 68 of the Omnibus
affidavits of Randy T. Merin,[88] Alfredo C. De la Pea,[89] Miguel P. Pandac,[90] Paquito Election Code.
Bregeldo, Cristeta Alferez , Glicerio Rios, [91] Romulo Alkuino, Sr.,[92] Abner Casas, (d) Exclusion of the votes in favor of the petitioner and the proclamation of
[93]
Rita Trangia,[94] and Judith Erispe[95] attached to respondent Locsins Memorandum respondent Locsin was done with undue haste.
on the Motion to Lift the Suspension of Proclamation. The COMELEC Second Division ordered the exclusion of the votes cast in favor of the
Also valueless are the affidavits of other witnesses [96] of respondent Locsin, all petitioner, and the proclamation of the respondent Locsin, without affording the
similarly worded, which alleged that the petitioner ordered the repair of the road in petitioner the opportunity to challenge the same. In the morning of June 15, 2001,
Purok 6, Barangay San Vicente, Matag-ob, Leyte and the flattening of the area where the Provincial Board of Canvassers convened, and on the strength of the said
the cockfights were to be held. These allegations are extraneous to the charge in the Resolution excluding the votes received by the petitioner, certified that respondent
petition for disqualification. More importantly, these allegations do not constitute a Locsin received the highest number of votes. On this basis, respondent Locsin was
ground to disqualify the petitioner based on section 68 of the Omnibus Election proclaimed.
Code. Records reveal that the petitioner received notice of the Resolution of the COMELEC
To be sure, the petition for disqualification also ascribed other election offenses Second Division only through his counsel via a facsimile message in the afternoon of
against the petitioner, particularly section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, viz: June 15, 2001[98] when everything was already fait accompli. Undoubtedly, he was
Section 261. Prohibited Acts.- The following shall be guilty of an election offense: not able to contest the issuance of the Certificate of Canvass and the proclamation
(a) Vote-buying and vote-selling.- (1) Any person who gives, offers or promises of respondent Locsin. This is plain and simple denial of due process.
money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise The essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard. When a party is deprived
or grant, public or private, or make or offers to make an expenditure, directly or of that basic fairness, any decision by any tribunal in prejudice of his rights is void.
indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, Second. The votes cast in favor of the petitioner cannot be considered stray and
corporation, entity or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general, respondent cannot be validly proclaimed on that basis.
to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote The Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division in SPA No. 01-208 contains two
for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a dispositions: (1) it ruled that the petitioner was disqualified as a candidate for the
convention or similar selection process of a political party. position of Congressman of the Fourth District of Leyte; and (2) it ordered the
xxxxxxxxx immediate proclamation of the candidate who garnered the highest number of
(o) Use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or votes, to the exclusion of the respondent [herein petitioner].
controlled by the government for an election campaign.- Any person who uses under As previously stated, the disqualification of the petitioner is null and void for being
any guise whatsoever directly or indirectly, xxx (3) any equipment, vehicle, facility, violative of due process and for want of substantial factual basis. Even assuming,

Santiago v Guingona Page 25 of 106


however, that the petitioner was validly disqualified, it is still improper for the (3) where the ground for disqualification case is by reason of non-residence,
COMELEC Second Division to order the immediate exclusion of votes cast for the citizenship, violation of election laws and other analogous cases and on the day of
petitioner as stray, and on this basis, proclaim the respondent as having garnered the election the resolution has not become final and executory the BEI shall tally and
the next highest number of votes. count the votes for such disqualified candidate;
(a) The order of disqualification is not yet final, hence, the votes cast in favor of the (4) the decision or resolution of the En Banc on nuisance candidates, particularly
petitioner cannot be considered stray. whether the nuisance candidate has the same name as the bona fide candidate shall
Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 and section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code require be immediately executory;
a final judgment before the election for the votes of a disqualified candidate to be (5) the decision or resolution of a DIVISION on nuisance candidate, particularly
considered stray.Hence, when a candidate has not yet been disqualified by final where the nuisance candidate has the same name as the bona fide candidate shall
judgment during the election day and was voted for, the votes cast in his favor be immediately executory after the lapse of five (5) days unless a motion for
cannot be declared stray. To do so would amount to disenfranchising the electorate reconsideration is seasonably filed. In which case, the votes cast shall not be
in whom sovereignty resides. [99] For in voting for a candidate who has not been considered stray but shall be counted and tallied for the bona fide candidate.
disqualified by final judgment during the election day, the people voted for All resolutions, orders and rules inconsistent herewith are hereby modified or
him bona fide, without any intention to misapply their franchise, and in the honest repealed.
belief that the candidate was then qualified to be the person to whom they would Considering the timely filing of a Motion for Reconsideration, the COMELEC Second
entrust the exercise of the powers of government. [100] Division gravely abused its discretion in ordering the immediate disqualification of
This principle applies with greater force in the case at bar considering that the petitioner and ordering the exclusion of the votes cast in his favor. Section 2,
the petitioner has not been declared by final judgment to be disqualified not only Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure is very clear that a timely Motion for
before but even after the elections. The Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division Reconsideration shall suspend the execution or implementation of the
disqualifying the petitioner did not attain finality, and hence, could not be executed, resolution, viz:
because of the timely filing of a Motion for Reconsideration. Section 13, Rule 18 of Section 2. Period for filing Motion for Reconsideration.- A motion to reconsider a
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure on Finality of Decisions and Resolutions reads: decision, resolution, order, or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five (5) days
Sec. 13. Finality of Decisions or Resolutions.- (a) In ordinary actions, special from the promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not pro forma, suspends the
proceedings, provisional remedies and special reliefs, a decision or resolution of the execution or implementation of the decision, resolution, order or ruling. (emphases
Commission en banc shall become final and executory after thirty (30) days from its supplied)
promulgation. (b) Respondent Locsin, as a mere second placer, cannot be proclaimed.
(b) In Special Actions and Special Cases a decision or resolution of the Commission More brazen is the proclamation of respondent Locsin which violates the settled
en banc shall become final and executory after five (5) days in Special Actions and doctrine that the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may
Special Cases and after fifteen (15) days in all other proceedings, following their not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified. [102] In every
promulgation. election, the peoples choice is the paramount consideration and their expressed will
(c) Unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed, a decision or resolution of must at all times be given effect. When the majority speaks and elects into office a
a Division shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days in Special candidate by giving him the highest number of votes cast in the election for the
Actions and Special Cases and after fifteen (15) days in all other actions or office, no one can be declared elected in his place. [103] InDomino v. COMELEC,
[104]
proceedings, following its promulgation. (emphasis supplied) this Court ruled, viz:
In this wise, COMELEC Resolution No. 4116,[101] issued in relation to the finality of It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally
resolutions or decisions in disqualification cases, provides: guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or
This pertains to the finality of decisions or resolutions of the Commission en banc or plurality of votes is proclaimed winner and imposed as representative of a
division, particularly on Special Actions (Disqualification Cases). constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through their ballots
Special Action cases refer to the following: that they do not choose him. To simplistically assume that the second placer would
(a) Petition to deny due course to a certificate of candidacy; have received that (sic) other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the
(b) Petition to declare a candidate as a nuisance candidate; mind of the voters. He could not be considered the first among the qualified
(c) Petition to disqualify a candidate; and candidates because in a field which excludes the qualified candidate, the conditions
(d) Petition to postpone or suspend an election. would have substantially changed.
Considering the foregoing and in order to guide field officials on the finality of xxxxxxxxx
decisions or resolutions on special action cases (disqualification cases) the The effect of a decision declaring a person ineligible to hold an office is only that the
Commission, RESOLVES, as it is hereby RESOLVED, as follows: election fails entirely, that the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from the
(1) the decision or resolution of the En Banc of the Commission on disqualification disqualified winner to the repudiated loser because the law then as now only
cases shall become final and executory after five (5) days from its promulgation authorizes a declaration in favor of the person who has obtained a plurality of votes,
unless restrained by the Supreme Court; and does not entitle the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be
(2) the decision or resolution of a Division on disqualification cases shall become declared elected. In such case, the electors have failed to make a choice and the
final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days unless a motion for election is a nullity. To allow the defeated and repudiated candidate to take over the
reconsideration is seasonably filed; elective position despite his rejection by the electorate is to disenfranchise the

Santiago v Guingona Page 26 of 106


electorate without any fault on their part and to undermine the importance and Section 1. Grounds for Motion for Reconsideration.- A motion for reconsideration
meaning of democracy and the peoples right to elect officials of their choice. [105] may be filed on the grounds that the evidence is insufficient to justify the decision,
Respondent Locsin proffers a distinction between a disqualification based on order or ruling, or that the said decision, order or ruling is contrary to law.
personal circumstances such as age, residence or citizenship and disqualification Section 2. Period for filing Motion for Reconsideration.- A motion to reconsider a
based on election offenses. She contends that the election of candidates later decision, resolution, order, or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five (5) days
disqualified based on election offenses like those enumerated in section 68 of the from the promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not pro forma, suspends the
Omnibus Election Code should be invalidated because they violate the very essence execution or implementation of the decision, resolution, order or ruling.
of suffrage and as such, the votes cast in his favor should not be considered. [106] Section 3. Form and Contents of Motion for Reconsideration.- The motion shall be
This contention is without merit. In the recent case of Trinidad v. COMELEC, verified and shall point out specifically the findings or conclusions of the decision,
[107]
this Court ruled that the effect of a judgment disqualifying a candidate, after resolution, order or ruling which are not supported by the evidence or which are
winning the election, based on personal circumstances or section 68 of the Omnibus contrary to law, making express reference to the testimonial or documentary
Election Code is the same: the second placer could not take the place of the evidence or to the provisions of law alleged to be contrary to such findings or
disqualified winner. resolutions.
II Section 4. Effect of Motion for Reconsideration on Period to Appeal.- A motion to
Whether the proclamation of respondent Locsin divested the COMELEC en banc of reconsider a decision, resolution, order or ruling when not pro forma, suspends the
jurisdiction to review its validity. running of the period to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.
Respondent Locsin submits that the COMELEC en banc has no jurisdiction to annul Section 5. How Motion for Reconsideration Disposed Of.- Upon the filing of a motion
her proclamation. She maintains that the COMELEC en banc was been divested of to reconsider a decision, resolution, order or ruling of a Division, the Clerk of Court
jurisdiction to review the validity of her proclamation because she has become a concerned shall, within twenty-four (24) hours from the filing thereof, notify the
member of the House of Representatives. Thus, she contends that the proper forum Presiding Commissioner. The latter shall within two (2) days thereafter certify the
to question her membership to the House of Representatives is the House of case to the Commission en banc.
Representative Electoral Tribunal (HRET). Section 6. Duty of the Clerk of Court of the Commission to set Motion for
We find no merit in these contentions. Hearing.- The Clerk of Court concerned shall calendar the motion for reconsideration
First. The validity of the respondents proclamation was a core issue in the Motion for for the resolution of the Commission en banc within ten (10) days from the
Reconsideration seasonably filed by the petitioner. certification thereof. (emphases supplied)
In his timely Motion for Reconsideration with the COMELEC en banc, petitioner Since the petitioner seasonably filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of the
argued that the COMELEC Second Division erred thus: Second Division suspending his proclamation and disqualifying him, the
(1) in disqualifying petitioner on the basis solely of the dubious declaration of the COMELEC en banc was not divested of its jurisdiction to review the validity of the
witnesses for respondent Locsin; said Order of the Second Division. The said Order of the Second Division was yet
(2) in adopting in toto the allegations of the witnesses for respondent Locsin; and unenforceable as it has not attained finality; the timely filing of the motion for
(3) in promulgating the resolution in violation of its own rules of procedure and in reconsideration suspends its execution. It cannot, thus, be used as the basis for the
directing therein the immediate proclamation of the second highest vote getter. assumption in office of the respondent as the duly elected Representative of the
(emphases supplied) 4th legislative district of Leyte.
In support of his third assignment of error, petitioner argued that the Second Second. It is the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) which has no
Divisions directive for the immediate proclamation of the second highest vote-getter jurisdiction in the instant case.
is premature considering that the Resolution has yet to become final and executory. Respondent contends that having been proclaimed and having taken oath as
[108]
Clearly, the validity of respondent Locsins proclamation was made a central representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte, any question relative to her
issue in the Motion for Reconsideration seasonably filed by the petitioner. Without election and eligibility should be brought before the HRET pursuant to section 17 of
doubt, the COMELEC en banc has the jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.[109]
The fact that the Petition for Nullity of Proclamation was filed directly with the We reject respondents contention.
COMELEC en banc is of no moment. Even without said Petition, the COMELEC en (a) The issue on the validity of the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division has
banc could still rule on the nullity of respondents proclamation because it was not yet been resolved by the COMELEC en banc.
properly raised in the Motion for Reconsideration. To stress again, at the time of the proclamation of respondent Locsin, the validity of
Section 3, Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution empowers the COMELEC en banc to the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division was seasonably challenged by the
review, on motion for reconsideration, decisions or resolutions decided by a petitioner in his Motion for Reconsideration. The issue was still within the exclusive
division, viz: jurisdiction of the COMELEC en banc to resolve. Hence, the HRET cannot assume
Sec. 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall jurisdiction over the matter.
promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, In Puzon vs. Cua,[110] even the HRET ruled that the doctrinal ruling that once a
including pre-proclamation controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and proclamation has been made and a candidate-elect has assumed office, it is this
decided in division, provided that motions for reconsideration of decision shall be Tribunal that has jurisdiction over an election contest involving members of the
decided by the Commission en banc. House of Representatives, could not have been immediately applicable due to the
Pursuant to this Constitutional mandate, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides: issue regarding the validity of the very COMELEC pronouncements themselves. This
Rule 19. Motions for Reconsideration.-

Santiago v Guingona Page 27 of 106


is because the HRET has no jurisdiction to review resolutions or decisions of the In sum, the issue of who is the rightful Representative of the 4 th legislative district of
COMELEC, whether issued by a division or en banc. Leyte has been finally settled by the COMELEC en banc, the constitutional body with
(b) The instant case does not involve the election and qualification of respondent jurisdiction on the matter. The rule of law demands that its Decision be obeyed by all
Locsin. officials of the land. There is no alternative to the rule of law except the reign of
Respondent Locsin maintains that the proper recourse of the petitioner is to file a chaos and confusion.
petition for quo warranto with the HRET. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Petition for Mandamus is granted. Public Speaker of the
A petition for quo warranto may be filed only on the grounds of ineligibility and House of Representatives shall administer the oath of petitioner EUFROCINO M.
disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines. [111] In the case at bar, neither the CODILLA, SR., as the duly-elected Representative of the 4 th legislative district of
eligibility of the respondent Locsin nor her loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines Leyte. Public respondent Secretary-General shall likewise register the name of the
is in question. There is no issue that she was qualified to run, and if she won, to petitioner in the Roll of Members of the House of Representatives after he has taken
assume office. his oath of office. This decision shall be immediately executory.
A petition for quo warranto in the HRET is directed against one who has been duly SO ORDERED. EN BANC
elected and proclaimed for having obtained the highest number of votes but whose G.R. No. 97710 September 26, 1991
eligibility is in question at the time of such proclamation. It is evident that DR. EMIGDIO A. BONDOC, petitioner,
respondent Locsin cannot be the subject of quo warranto proceeding in the HRET. vs.
She lost the elections to the petitioner by a wide margin. Her proclamation was a REPRESENTATIVES MARCIANO M. PINEDA, MAGDALENO M. PALACOL, COL.
patent nullity. Her premature assumption to office as Representative of the JUANITO G. CAMASURA, JR., or any other representative who may be
4th legislative district of Leyte was void from the beginning. It is the height of appointed vice representative Juanita G. Camasura, Jr., and THE HOUSE OF
absurdity for the respondent, as a loser, to tell petitioner Codilla, Sr., the winner, to REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, respondents.
unseat her via a quo warranto proceeding. Estelito P. Mendoza, Romulo C. Felixmera and Horacio S.J. Apostol for
III petitioner.
Whether it is the ministerial duty of the public respondents to Nicanor S. Bautista for respondent Marciano M. Pineda.
recognize petitioner Codilla, Sr. as the legally elected Representative Benedicto R. Palacol for respondent M.M. Palacol.
of the 4th legislative district of Leyte vice respondent Locsin.
Under Rule 65, section 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, any person may file a GRIO-AQUIO, J.:p
verified petition for mandamus when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or This case involves a question of power. May the House of Representatives, at the
person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically request of the dominant political party therein, change that party's representation in
enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes the House Electoral Tribunal to thwart the promulgation of a decision freely reached
another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is by the tribunal in an election contest pending therein? May the Supreme Court
entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary review and annul that action of the House?
course of law.[112] For a petition for mandamus to prosper, it must be shown that the Even the Supreme Court of the United States over a century ago, in Marbury vs.
subject of the petition for mandamus is a ministerial act or duty, and not purely Madison, 2 L. ed. 60 (1803), had hesitated to embark upon a legal investigation of
discretionary on the part of the board, officer or person, and that the petitioner has a the acts of the other two branches of the Government, finding it "peculiarly irksome
well-defined, clear and certain right to warrant the grant thereof. as well as delicate" because it could be considered by some as "an attempt to
The distinction between a ministerial and discretionary act is well delineated. A intrude" into the affairs of the other two and to intermeddle with their prerogatives.
purely ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given In the past, the Supreme Court, as head of the third and weakest branch of our
state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal Government, was all too willing to avoid a political confrontation with the other two
authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety branches by burying its head ostrich-like in the sands of the "political question"
or impropriety of the act done. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer and doctrine, the accepted meaning of which is that 'where the matter involved is left to
gives him the right to decide how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is a decision by the people acting in their sovereign capacity or to the sole
discretionary and not ministerial. The duty is ministerial only when the discharge of determination by either or both the legislative or executive branch of the
the same requires neither the exercise of official discretion or judgment. [113] government, it is beyond judicial cognizance. Thus it was that in suits where the
In the case at bar, the administration of oath and the registration of the petitioner in party proceeded against was either the President or Congress, or any of its branches
the Roll of Members of the House of Representatives representing the 4 th legislative for that matter, the courts refused to act." (Aquino vs. Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183,
district of Leyte is no longer a matter of discretion on the part of the public 196.)
respondents. The facts are settled and beyond dispute: petitioner garnered 71,350 In time, however, the duty of the courts to look into the constitutionality and validity
votes as against respondent Locsin who only got 53, 447 votes in the May 14, 2001 of legislative or executive action, especially when private rights are affected came to
elections. The COMELEC Second Division initially ordered the proclamation of be recognized. As we pointed out in the celebrated Aquino case, a showing that
respondent Locsin; on Motion for Reconsideration the COMELEC en banc set aside plenary power is granted either department of government may not be an obstacle
the order of its Second Division and ordered the proclamation of the petitioner. The to judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or the abuse thereof may give rise to
Decision of the COMELEC en banc has not been challenged before this Court by a justiciable controversy. Since "a constitutional grant of authority is not usually
respondent Locsin and said Decision has become final and executory. unrestricted, limitations being provided for as to what may be done and how it is to
be accomplished, necessarily then, it becomes the responsibility of the courts to

Santiago v Guingona Page 28 of 106


ascertain whether the two coordinate branches have adhered to the mandate of the
Associate Justice
fundamental law. The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty
remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld" (Aquino vs.
Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196).
That duty is a part of the judicial power vested in the courts by an express grant Supreme Court
under Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines which defines
judicial power as both authority and duty of the courts 'to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine FLORENTINO P. FELICIANO Member
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." Associate Justice
The power and duty of the courts to nullify in appropriate cases, the actions of the
executive and legislative branches of the Government, does not mean that the
courts are superior to the President and the Legislature. It does mean though that Supreme Court
the judiciary may not shirk "the irksome task" of inquiring into the constitutionality
and legality of legislative or executive action when a justiciable controversy is
brought before the courts by someone who has been aggrieved or prejudiced by
HONORATO Y. AQUINO Member
such action, as in this case. It is
a plain exercise of the judicial power, that power vested in courts to enable them to
administer justice according to law. ... It is simply a necessary concomitant of the
power to hear and dispose of a case or controversy properly before the court, to the Congressman
determination of which must be brought the test and measure of the law. (Vera vs.
Avelino, 77 Phil. 192, 203.)
In the local and congressional elections held on May 11, 1987, Marciano M. Pineda of 1st District
the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and Dr. Emigdio A. Bondoc of the
Nacionalista Party (NP) were rival candidates for the position of Representative for
the Fourth District of the province of Pampanga. Each received the following votes in Benguet LDP
the canvass made by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Pampanga:
Marciano M. Pineda.................... 31,700 votes
Emigdio A. Bondoc..................... 28,400 votes DAVID A. PONCE DE LEON Member
Difference...................................... 3,300 votes
On May 19, 1987, Pineda was proclaimed winner in the election. In due time, Bondoc
filed a protest (HRET Case No. 25) in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
Congressman
( for short) which is composed of nine (9) members, three of whom are Justices of
the Supreme Court and the remaining six are members of the House of
Representatives chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political
parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system 1st District Palawan
represented therein (Sec. 17, Art. VI, 1987 Constitution) as follows:

LDP
AMEURFINA M. HERRERA Chairman

SIMEON E. GARCIA, JR. Member


Associate Justice

Congressman
Supreme Court

2nd District Nueva Ecija


ISAGANI A. CRUZ Member

LDP

Santiago v Guingona Page 29 of 106


Moved by candor and honesty, Congressman Camasura revealed on March 4, 1991,
to his 'Chief," Congressman Jose S. Cojuangco, Jr., LDP Secretary General, not only
the final tally in the Bondoc case but also that he voted for Bondoc "consistent with
truth and justice and self- respect," and to honor a "gentlemen's agreement" among
JUANITO G. CAMASURA, JR. Member the members of the HRET that they would "abide by the result of the appreciation of
the contested ballot 1Congressman Camasura's revelation stirred a hornets' nest in
the LDP which went into a flurry of plotting appropriate moves to neutralize the pro-
Congressman Bondoc majority in the Tribunal.
On March 5, 1991, the HRET issued a Notice of Promulgation of Decision on March
14, 1991 at 2:30 P.M. in HRET Case No. 25. A copy of the notice was received by
Bondoc's counsel on March 6, 1991.
1st District Davao del Sur
On March 13, 1991, the eve of the promulgation of the Bondoc decision,
Congressman Cojuangco informed Congressman Camasura by letter 2 that on
February 28, 1991 yet, the LDP Davao del Sur Chapter at Digos, Davao del Sur, by
LDP Resolution No. 03-91 had already expelled him and Congressman Benjamin Bautista
from the LDP for having allegedly helped to organize the Partido Pilipino of Eduardo
"Danding" Cojuangco, and for allegedly having invited LDP members in Davao del
JOSE E. CALINGASAN Member Sur to join said political party; and that as those acts are "not only inimical uncalled
for, unethical and immoral, but also a complete betrayal to (sic) the cause and
objectives, and loyalty to LDP," in a meeting on March 12, 1991, the LDP Executive
Congressman Committee unanimously confirmed the expulsions. 3
At the same time, Congressman Cojuangco notified Speaker Ramon V. Mitra about
the ouster of the two congressmen from the LDP, and asked the House of
4th District Batangas Representatives, through the Speaker, to take note of it 'especially in matters where
party membership is a prerequisite. 4
At 9:45 in the morning of March 4, 1991, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mme. Justice
Armeurfina M. Herrera, received the following letter dated March 13, 1991, from the
LDP
Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives, informing the
Tribunal that on the basis of the letter from the LDP, the House of Representatives,
during its plenary session on March 13, 1991, decided to withdraw the nomination
ANTONIO H. CERILLES Member and rescind the election of Congressman Camasura, Jr. to the House of Electoral
Tribunal. The letter reads as follows:
13 March 1991
Congressman Honorable Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera Chairman
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal Constitution Hills Quezon City
Dear Honorable Justice Melencio-Herrera:
2nd District Zamboanga del Sur I have the honor to notify the House of Electoral Tribunal of the decision of the House
of Representatives during its plenary session on 13 March 1991, to withdraw the
nomination and to rescind the election of the Honorable Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. to
(formerly GAD, now NP) the House Electoral Tribunal on the basis of an LDP communication which is self-
explanatory and copies of which are hereto attached.
Thank you.
After the revision of the ballots, the presentation of evidence, and submission of For the Secretary-General
memoranda, Bondoc's protest was submitted for decision in July, 1989. (SGD.) Josefina D. Azarcon Officer-in-charge Operations Department (p. 10, Rollo.)
By October 1990, a decision had been reached in which Bondoc won over Pineda by Justices Herrera, Cruz, and Feliciano promptly apprised the Chief Justice and
a margin of twenty-three (23) votes. At that point, the LDP members in the Tribunal Associate Justices of the Supreme Court in writing, of this "distressing development'
insisted on a reappreciation and recount of the ballots cast in some precincts, and asked to be relieved from their assignments in the HRET because
thereby delaying by at least four (4) months the finalization of the decision in the By the above action (of the House) the promulgation of the decision of the Tribunal
case. in the electoral protest entitled "Bondoc v. Pineda" (HRET Case No. 25), previously
The reexamination and re-appreciation of the ballots resulted in increasing Bondoc's scheduled for 14 March 1991, is sought to be aborted (See the Consolidated Bank
lead over Pineda to 107 votes. Congressman Camasura voted with the Supreme and Trust Corporation v. Hon. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 73777-78
Court Justices and Congressman Cerilles to proclaim Bondoc the winner of the promulgated 12 September 1990). Even if there were no legal impediment to its
contest. promulgation, the decision which was reached on a 5 to 4 vote may now be

Santiago v Guingona Page 30 of 106


confidently expected to be overturned on a motion for reconsideration by the party- In view of the formal notice the Tribunal has received at 9:45 tills morning from the
litigant which would have been defeated. House of Representatives that at its plenary session held on March 13, 1991, it had
The decision in Bondoc v. Pineda was ready as early as October 1990 with a margin voted to withdraw the nomination and rescind the election of Congressman
of 23 votes in favor of protestant Bondoc. Because some members of the Tribunal Camasura to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal,' the Tribunal Resolved
requested re-appreciation of some ballots, the finalization of the decision had to be to cancel the promulgation of its Decision in Bondoc vs. Pineda (HRET Case No. 25)
deferred by at least 4 months. scheduled for this afternoon. This is because, without Congressman Camasura's
With the re-appreciation completed, the decision, now with a margin of 107 votes in vote, the decision lacks the concurrence of five members as required by Section 24
favor of protestant Bondoc, and concurred in by Justices Ameurfina A. Melencio- of the Rules of the Tribunal and, therefore, cannot be validly promulgated.
Herrera, Isagani A. Cruz and Florentino P. Feliciano, and Congressmen Juanita G. The Tribunal noted that the three (3) Justices-members of the Supreme Court, being
Camasura and Antonio H. Cerilles, is set for promulgation on 14 March 1991, with of the opinion that this development undermines the independence of the Tribunal
Congressmen Honorato Y. Aquino, David A. Ponce de Leon Simeon E. Garcia, Jr. and and derails the orderly adjudication of electoral cases, they have asked the Chief
Jose E. Calingasan, dissenting. Justice, in a letter of even date, for their relief from membership in the Tribunal.
Congressman Casamura's vote in the Bondoc v. Pineda case was, in our view, a The Tribunal further Noted that Congressman Cerilles also manifested his intention
conscience vote, for which he earned the respect of the Tribunal but also the loss of to resign as a member of the Tribunal.
the confidence of the leader of his party. The Tribunal further Noted that Congressmen Aquino, Ponce de Leon, Garcia, Jr., and
Under the above circumstances an untenable situation has come about. It is Calingasan also manifested a similar intention. (p. 37, Rollo.)
extremely difficult to continue with membership in the Tribunal and for the Tribunal On March 19, 1991, this Court, after deliberating on the request for relief of Justices
to preserve it. 8 integrity and credibility as a constitutional body charged with a Herrera, Cruz and Feliciano, resolved to direct them to return to their duties in the
judicial task. It is clear to us that the unseating of an incumbent member of Tribunal. The Court observed that:
Congress is being prevented at all costs. We believe that the Tribunal should not be ... in view of the sensitive constitutional functions of the Electoral Tribunals as the
hampered in the performance of its constitutional function by factors which have 'sole judge' of all contests relationship to the election, returns and qualifications of
nothing to do with the merits of the cases before it. the members of Congress, all members of these bodies are appropriately guided
In this connection, our own experience teaches that the provision for proportional only by purely legal considerations in the decision of the cases before them and that
representation in the Tribunal found in Article VI, Section 17 of the 1987 in the contemplation of the Constitution the members-legislators, thereof, upon
Constitution, should be amended to provide instead for a return to the composition assumption of their duties therein, sit in the Tribunal no longer as representatives of
mandated in the 1935 Constitution, that is: three (3) members chosen by the House their respective political parties but as impartial judges. The view was also
or Senate upon nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and submitted that, to further bolster the independence of the Tribunals, the term of
three (3) of the party having the second largest number of votes: and a judicial office of every member thereof should be considered co-extensive with the
component consisting of three (3) justices from the Supreme Court. Thereby, no corresponding legislative term and may not be legally terminated except only by
party or coalition of parties can dominate the legislative component in the Tribunal. death, resignation, permanent disability, or removal for valid cause, not including
In the alternative, the Senate Electoral Tribunal could perhaps sit as the sole judge of political disloyalty.
all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved: a) to DECLINE the request of justices Herrera,
House of Representatives. Similarly, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal Cruz, and Feliciano to be relieved from their membership in the House of
could sit as the sole judge of all such contests involving members of the Senate. In Representatives Electoral Tribunal and instead to DIRECT them to resume their
this way, there should be lesser chances of non-judicial elements playing a decisive duties therein: b) to EXPRESS its concern over the intrusion of non-judicial factors in
role in the resolution of election contests. the proceedings of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, which performs
We suggest that there should also be a provision in the Constitution that upon functions purely judicial in character despite the inclusion of legislators in its
designation to membership in the Electoral Tribunal, those so designated should membership; and c) to NOTE the view that the term of all the members of the
divest themselves of affiliation with their respective political parties, to insure their Electoral Tribunals, including those from the legislature, is co-extensive with the
independence and objectivity as they sit in Tribunal deliberations. corresponding legislative term and cannot be terminated at will but only for valid
There are only three (3) remaining cases for decision by the Tribunal. Bondoc should legal cause, and to REQUIRE the Justices-members of the Tribunal to submit the
have been promulgated today, 14 March 1991. Cabrera v. Apacible (HRET Case No. issue to the said Tribunal in the first instance.
21) is scheduled for promulgation on 31 March 1991 and Lucman v. Dimaporo (HRET Paras J. filed this separate concurring opinion: 'I concur, but I wish to add that Rep.
Case No. 45), after the Holy Week recess. Camasura should be allowed to cast his original vote in favor of protestant Bondoc,
But political factors are blocking the accomplishment of the constitutionally otherwise a political and judicial travesty will take place.' Melencio-Herrera, Cruz and
mandated task of the Tribunal well ahead of the completion of the present Feliciano, JJ., took no part. Gancayco, J., is on leave.
congressional term. On March 21, 1991, a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus was filed by
Under these circumstances, we are compelled to ask to be relieved from the Dr. Emigdio A. Bondoc against Representatives Marciano M. Pineda, Magdaleno M.
chairmanship and membership in the Tribunal. Palacol, Juanita G. Camasura, Jr., or any other representative who may be appointed
xxx xxx xxx Vice Representative Juanita G. Camasura, Jr., and the House of Representatives
At the open session of the HRET in the afternoon of the same day, the Tribunal Electoral Tribunal, praying this Court to:
issued Resolution No. 91-0018 cancelling the promulgation of the decision in HRET
Case No. 25. The resolution reads:

Santiago v Guingona Page 31 of 106


1. Annul the decision of the House of Representatives of March 13, 1991, 'to Tribunal would have to acknowledge, give recognition, and implement the Supreme
withdraw the nomination and to rescind the nomination of Representative Juanita G. Court's decision as to whether the relief of respondent Congressman Camasura from
Camasura, Jr. to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal;" the Office of the Electoral Tribunal is valid." 15
2. Issue a wilt of prohibition restraining respondent Palacol or whomsoever may be In his reply to Congressman Palacol's Comment, the petitioner explained that
designated in place of respondent Camasura from assuming, occupying and Congressman Palacol was impleaded as one of the respondents in this case because
discharging functions as a member of the House of Representatives Electoral after the House of Representatives had announced the termination of Congressman
Tribunal; Camasura's membership in the HETH several newspapers of general circulation
3. Issue a writ of mandamus ordering respondent Camasura to immediately reported that the House of Representatives would nominate and elect Congressman
reassume and discharge his functions as a member of the House of Representatives Palacol to take Congressman Camasura's seat in the Tribunal. 16
Electoral Tribunal; and Now, is the House of Representatives empowered by the Constitution to do that, i.e.,
4. Grant such other relief as may be just and equitable. to interfere with the disposition of an election contest in the House Electoral Tribunal
Upon receipt of the petition, the Court, without giving it due course, required the through the ruse of "reorganizing" the representation in the tribunal of the majority
respondents to comment 5 on the petition within ten days from notice and to enjoin party?
the HRET 'from reorganizing and allowing participation in its proceedings of Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution supplies the answer to that question.
Honorable Magdaleno M. Palacol or whoever is designated to replace Honorable It provides:
Juanita G. Camasura in said House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, until the Section 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an
issue of the withdrawal of the nomination and rescission of the election of said Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
Congressman Camasura as member of the HRET by the House of Representatives is election, returns and qualifications of their respective members, Each Electoral
resolved by this Court, or until otherwise ordered by the Court." (p. 39, Rollo.) Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the
Congressman Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. did not oppose the petition. Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
Congressman Marciano M. Pineda's plea for the dismissal of the petition is centered Members of the Senate or House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall
on Congress' being the sole authority that nominates and elects from its members. be chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and
Upon recommendation by the political parties therein, those who are to sit in the the parties or organizations registered under the party list system represented
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (and in the Commission on therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
Appointments as well), hence, it allegedly has the sole power to remove any of them Section 17 reechoes Section 11, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution, except the
whenever the ratio in the representation of the political parties in the House or provision on the representation of the main political parties in the tribunal which is
Senate is materially changed on account of death, incapacity, removal or expulsion now based on proportional representation from all the political parties, instead
from the political party; 6 that a Tribunal member's term of office is not co-extensive of equal representation of three members from each of the first and second largest
with his legislative term, 7 for if a member of the Tribunal who changes his party political aggrupations in the Legislature. The 1935 constitutional provision reads as
affiliation is not removed from the Tribunal, the constitutional provision mandating follows:
representation based on political affiliation would be completely nullified; 8 and that Sec. 11. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall have an Electoral
the expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the LDP, is "purely a party affair" of Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns,
the LDP 9 and the decision to rescind his membership in the House Electoral Tribunal and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be
is the sole prerogative of the House-of-Representative Representatives, hence, it is a composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to
purely political question beyond the reach of judicial review. 10 be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the
In his comment, respondent Congressman Magdaleno M. Palacol alleged that the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen
petitioner has no cause of action against him because he has not yet been by each House, three upon nomination of the party having the largest number of
nominated by the LDP for membership in the HRET. 11 Moreover, the petition failed to votes and three of the party having the second largest member of votes therein. The
implead the House of Representatives as an indispensable party for it was the senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman. (1 935 Constitution of
House, not the HRET that withdrew and rescinded Congressman Camasura's the Philippines.)
membership in the HRET. 12 Under the above provision, the Justices held the deciding votes, aid it was
The Solicitor General, as counsel for the Tribunal, argued in a similar vein; that the impossible for any political party to control the voting in the tribunal.
inclusion of the HETH as a party respondent is erroneous because the petition states The 1973 Constitution did not provide for an electoral tribunal in the Batasang
no cause of action against the Tribunal. The petitioner does not question any act or Pambansa.
order of the HRET in violation of his rights. What he assails is the act of the House of The use of the word "sole" in both Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Section
Representatives of withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the election, of 11 of the 1935 Constitution underscores the exclusive jurisdiction of the House
Congressman Juanita nito Camasura as a member of the HRET. 13 Electoral Tribunal as judge of contests relating to the election, returns and
Replying to the Solicitor General's Manifestation, the petitioner argued that while the qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives (Robles vs. House of
Tribunal indeed had nothing to do with the assailed decision of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 86647, February 5, 1990). The tribunal
Representatives, it acknowledged that decision by cancelling the promulgation of its was created to function as a nonpartisan court although two-thirds of its members
decision in HRET Case No. 25 to his (Bondoc's) prejudice. 14 Hence, although the are politicians. It is a non-political body in a sea of politicians. What this Court had
Tribunal may not be an indispensable party, it is a necessary party to the suit, to earlier said about the Electoral Commission applies as well to the electoral tribunals
assure that complete relief is accorded to the petitioner for "in the ultimate, the of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Santiago v Guingona Page 32 of 106


The purpose of the constitutional convention creating the Electoral Commission was MR. AZCUNA. Yes, they are not separate departments because the separate
to provide an independent and impartial tribunal for the determination of contests to departments are the legislative, the executive and the judiciary; but they are
legislative office, devoid of partisan consideration, and to transfer to that tribunal all constitutional bodies.
the powers previously exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested MR. MAAMBONG. Although they are not separate departments of government, I
elections of its members. would like to know again if the ruling in Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 53 Phil.
The power granted to the electoral Commission to judge contests relating to the 139, would still be applicable to the present bodies we are deciding on, when the
election and qualification of members of the National Assembly is intended to be as Supreme court said that these electoral tribunals are independent from Congress,
complete and unimpaired as if it had remained in the legislature. devoid of partisan influence or consideration and, therefore, Congress has no power
The Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House were created by the to regulate proceedings of these electoral tribunals.
Constitution as special tribunals to be the sole judge of all contests relating to MR. AZCUNA. I think that is correct. They are independent although they are not a
election returns and qualifications of members of the legislative houses, and, as separate branch of government.
such, are independent bodies which must be permitted to select their own MR. MAAMBONG. There is a statement that in all parliaments of the world, the
employees, and to supervise and control them, without any legislative interference. invariable rule is to leave unto themselves the determination of controversies with
(Suanes vs. Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818.) respect to the election and qualifications of their members, and precisely they have
To be able to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, the House Electoral Tribunal must this Committee on Privileges which takes care of this particular controversy.
be independent. Its jurisdiction to hear and decide congressional election contests is Would the Gentleman say that the creation of electoral tribunals is an exception to
not to be shared by it with the Legislature nor with the Courts. this rule because apparently we have an independent electoral tribunal?
The Electoral Commission is a body separate from and independent of the MR. AZCUNA. To the extent that the electoral tribunals are independent, but the
legislature and though not a power in the tripartite scheme of government, it is to all Gentleman will notice that the wordings say: 'The Senate and the House of
intents and purposes, when acting within the limits of its authority, an independent Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal. 'It is still the Senate Electoral
organ; while composed of a majority of members of the legislature it is a body Tribunal and the House Electoral Tribunal. So, technically, it is the tribunal of the
separate from and independent of the legislature. House and tribunal of the Senate although they are independent.
xxx xxx xxx MR. MAAMBONG. But both of them, as we have agreed on, are independent from
The Electoral Commission, a constitutional organ created for the specific purpose of both bodies?
determining contests relating to election returns and qualifications of members of MR. AZCUNA. That is correct.
the National Assembly may not be interfered with by the judiciary when and while MR. MAAMBONG. This is the bottom line of my question. How can we say that these
acting within the limits of its authority, but the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over bodies are independent when we still have six politicians sitting in both tribunals?
the Electoral Commission for the purpose of determining the character, scope and MR. AZCUNA. Politicians can be independent, Madam President.
extent of the constitutional grant to the commission as sole judge of all contests MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, when we discussed a portion of this in the
relating to the election and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly. Committee on the Executive, there was a comment by Chief Justice Concepcion-
(Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139.) Commissioner Concepcion-that there seems to be some incongruity in these
The independence of the electoral tribunal was preserved undiminished in the 1987 electoral tribunals, considering that politicians still sit in the tribunals in spite of the
Constitution as the following exchanges on the subject between Commissioners fact that in the ruling in the case of Sanidad vs. Vera, Senate Electoral tribunal Case
Maambong and Azcuna in the 1986 Constitutional Commission, attest: No. 1, they are supposed to act in accordance with law and justice with complete
MR. MAAMBONG. Thank you. detachment from an political considerations. That is why I am asking now for the
My questions will be very basic so we can go as fast as we can. In the case of the record how we could achieve such detachment when there are six politicians sitting
electoral tribunal, either of the House or of the Senate, is it correct to say that these there.
tribunals are constitutional creations? I will distinguish these with the case of the MR. AZCUNA. The same reason that the Gentleman, while chosen on behalf of the
Tanodbayan and the Sandiganbayan which are created by mandate of the opposition, has, with sterling competence, shown independence in the proceedings
Constitution but they are not constitutional creations. Is that a good distinction? of this Commission. I think we can also trust that the members of the tribunals will
MR. AZCUNA. That is an excellent statement. be independent. (pp. 111-112, Journal, Tuesday, July 22, 1986, Emphasis supplied.)
MR. MAAMBONG. Could we, therefore, say that either the Senate Electoral Tribunal Resolution of the House of Representatives violates the independence of the HRET.
or the House Electoral Tribunal is a constitutional body.?
MR. AZCUNA. It is, Madam President. The independence of the House Electoral Tribunal so zealously guarded by the
MR. MAAMBONG. If it is a constitutional body, is it then subject to constitutional framers of our Constitution, would, however, by a myth and its proceedings a farce if
restrictions? the House of Representatives, or the majority party therein, may shuffle and
MR. AZCUNA It would be subject to constitutional restrictions intended for that body. manipulate the political (as distinguished from the judicial) component of the
MR. MAAMBONG. I see. But I want to find out if the ruling in the case of Vera vs. electoral tribunal, to serve the interests of the party in power.
Avelino, 77 Phil. 192, will still be applicable to the present bodies we are creating The resolution of the House of Representatives removing Congressman Camasura
since it ruled that the electoral tribunals are not separate departments of the from the House Electoral Tribunal for disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his vote
government. Would that ruling still be valid? in favor of the Nacionalista Party's candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment of the
constitutional prerogative of the House Electoral Tribunal to be the sole judge of the
election contest between Pineda and Bondoc.

Santiago v Guingona Page 33 of 106


To sanction such interference by the House of Representatives in the work of the The judicial power of this Court has been invoked by Bondoc for the protection of his
House Electoral Tribunal would reduce the tribunal to a mere tool for the rights against the strong arm of the majority party in the House of Representatives.
aggrandizement of the party in power (LDP) which the three justices of the Supreme The Court cannot be deaf to his plea for relief, nor indifferent to his charge that the
Court and the lone NP member would be powerless to stop. A minority party House of Representatives had acted with grave abuse of discretion in removing
candidate may as well abandon all hope at the threshold of the tribunal. Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal. He calls upon the Court,
Disloyalty to party is not a valid cause for termination of membership in the HRET. as guardian of the Constitution, to exercise its judicial power and discharge its duty
As judges, the members of the tribunal must be non-partisan. They must discharge to protect his rights as the party aggrieved by the action of the House. The Court
their functions with complete detachment, impartiality, and independence even must perform its duty under the Constitution "even when the violator be the highest
independence from the political party to which they belong. Hence, "disloyalty to official of the land or the Government itself" (Concurring opinion of J. Antonio
party" and "breach of party discipline," are not valid grounds for the expulsion of a Barredo in Aquino vs. Ponce-Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 207).
member of the tribunal. In expelling Congressman Camasura from the HRET for Since the expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal by
having cast a conscience vote" in favor of Bondoc, based strictly on the result of the the House of Representatives was not for a lawful and valid cause, but to unjustly
examination and appreciation of the ballots and the recount of the votes by the interfere with the tribunal's disposition of the Bondoc case and to deprive Bondoc of
tribunal, the House of Representatives committed a grave abuse of discretion, an the fruits of the Tribunal's decision in his favor, the action of the House of
injustice, and a violation of the Constitution. Its resolution of expulsion against Representatives is clearly violative of the constitutional mandate (Sec. 17, Art. VI,
Congressman Camasura is, therefore, null and void. 1987 Constitution) which created the House Electoral Tribunal to be the "sole judge"
Expulsion of Congressman Camasura violates his right to security of tenure. of the election contest between Pineda and Bondoc. We, therefore, declare null and
Another reason for the nullity of the expulsion resolution of the House of void the resolution dated March 13, 1991 of the House of Representatives
Representatives is that it violates Congressman Camasura's right to security of withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the election, of Congressman Camasura
tenure. Members of the HRET as "sole judge" of congressional election contests, are as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal. The petitioner, Dr. Emigdio Bondoc, is
entitled to security of tenure just as members of the judiciary enjoy security of entitled to the reliefs he prays for in this case.
tenure under our Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). Therefore, WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus is granted. The
membership in the House Electoral Tribunal may not be terminated except for a just decision of the House of Representatives withdrawing the nomination and rescinding
cause, such as, the expiration of the member's congressional term of office, his the election of Congressman Juanita G. Camasura, Jr. as a member of the House
death, permanent disability, resignation from the political party he represents in the Electoral Tribunal is hereby declared null and void ab initio for being violative of the
tribunal, formal affiliation with another political party, or removal for other valid Constitution, and Congressman Juanita G. Camasura, Jr. is ordered reinstated to his
cause. A member may not be expelled by the House of Representatives for "party position as a member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. The HRET
disloyalty" short of proof that he has formally affiliated with another political group. Resolution No. 91-0018 dated March 14, 1991, cancelling the promulgation of the
As the records of this case fail to show that Congressman Camasura has become a decision in HRET Case No. 25 ("Dr. Emigdio Bondoc vs. Marciano A. Pineda") is also
registered member of another political party, his expulsion from the LDP and from set aside. Considering the unconscionable delay incurred in the promulgation of that
the HRET was not for a valid cause, hence, it violated his right to security of tenure. decision to the prejudice of the speedy resolution of electoral cases, the Court, in the
There is nothing to the argument of respondent Pineda that members of the House exercise of its equity jurisdiction, and in the interest of justice, hereby declares the
Electoral Tribunal are not entitled to security of tenure because, as a matter of fact, said decision DULY PROMULGATED, effective upon service of copies thereof on the
two Supreme Court Justices in the Tribunal were changed before the end of the parties, to be done immediately by the Tribunal. Costs against respondent Marciano
congressional term, namely: Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan who, upon his elevation A. Pineda.
to the office of Chief Justice, was replaced by Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, and the SO ORDERED.
latter, who was temporarily replaced by Justice Emilio A. Gancayco, when he (J. Narvasa, Paras, Bidin, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
Feliciano) took a leave of absence to deliver a lecture in Yale University. It should be Gutierrez, Jr., J., concurs as certified to by the Chief Justice.
stressed, however, that those changes in the judicial composition to the HRET had Fernan, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Cruz and Feliciano, JJ., took no part.
no political implications at all unlike the present attempt to remove Congressman
Camasura. No coercion was applied on Chief Justice Fernan to resign from the
tribunal, nor on Justice Feliciano to go on a leave of absence. They acted on their EN BANC
own free will, for valid reasons, and with no covert design to derail the disposition of G.R. No. 208566 November 19, 2013
a pending case in the HRET. GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA JOSE M. VILLEGAS JR. JOSE L.
The case of Congressman Camasura is different. He was expelled from, and by, the GONZALEZ REUBEN M. ABANTE and QUINTIN PAREDES SAN
LDP to punish him for "party disloyalty" after he had revealed to the Secretary- DIEGO, Petitioners,
General of the party how he voted in the Bondoc case. The purpose of the expulsion vs.
of Congressman Camasura was to nullify his vote in the Bondoc case so that the HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA JR. SECRETARY OF
HRET's decision may not be promulgated, and so that the way could be cleared for BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO B. ABAD, NATIONAL TREASURER
the LDP to nominate a replacement for Congressman Camasura in the Tribunal. That ROSALIA V. DE LEON SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by
stratagem of the LDP and the House of Representatives is clearly aimed to FRANKLIN M. DRILON m his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT and HOUSE OF
substitute Congressman Camasura's vote and, in effect, to change the judgment of REPRESENTATIVES represented by FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR. in his
the HRET in the Bondoc case. capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, Respondents.

Santiago v Guingona Page 34 of 106


x-----------------------x Communications."14 Also, in the area of fund realignment, the same section provides
G.R. No. 208493 that the said secretary, "with the approval of said joint committee, or of the
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS) PRESIDENT SAMSON S. authorized members thereof, may, for the purposes of said distribution, transfer
ALCANTARA, Petitioner, unexpended portions of any item of appropriation under this Act to any other item
vs. hereunder."
HONORABLE FRANKLIN M. DRILON in his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT In 1950, it has been documented 15 that post-enactment legislator participation
and HONORABLE FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR., in his capacity as SPEAKER broadened from the areas of fund release and realignment to the area of project
OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Respondents. identification. During that year, the mechanics of the public works act was modified
x-----------------------x to the extent that the discretion of choosing projects was transferred from the
G.R. No. 209251 Secretary of Commerce and Communications to legislators. "For the first time, the
PEDRITO M. NEPOMUCENO, Former Mayor-Boac, Marinduque Former law carried a list of projects selected by Members of Congress, they being the
Provincial Board Member -Province of Marinduque, Petitioner, representatives of the people, either on their own account or by consultation with
vs. local officials or civil leaders." 16 During this period, the pork barrel process
PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III* and SECRETARY FLORENCIO commenced with local government councils, civil groups, and individuals appealing
BUTCH ABAD, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, Respondents. to Congressmen or Senators for projects. Petitions that were accommodated formed
DECISION part of a legislators allocation, and the amount each legislator would eventually get
is determined in a caucus convened by the majority. The amount was then
integrated into the administration bill prepared by the Department of Public Works
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: and Communications. Thereafter, the Senate and the House of Representatives
"Experience is the oracle of truth."1 added their own provisions to the bill until it was signed into law by the President
-James Madison the Public Works Act.17 In the 1960s, however, pork barrel legislation reportedly
Before the Court are consolidated petitions 2 taken under Rule 65 of the Rules of ceased in view of the stalemate between the House of Representatives and the
Court, all of which assail the constitutionality of the Pork Barrel System. Due to the Senate.18
complexity of the subject matter, the Court shall heretofore discuss the systems B. Martial Law Era (1972-1986).
conceptual underpinnings before detailing the particulars of the constitutional While the previous" Congressional Pork Barrel" was apparently discontinued in 1972
challenge. after Martial Law was declared, an era when "one man controlled the
The Facts legislature,"19 the reprieve was only temporary. By 1982, the Batasang Pambansa
I. Pork Barrel: General Concept. had already introduced a new item in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) called
"Pork Barrel" is political parlance of American -English origin. 3 Historically, its usage the" Support for Local Development Projects" (SLDP) under the article on "National
may be traced to the degrading ritual of rolling out a barrel stuffed with pork to a Aid to Local Government Units". Based on reports, 20 it was under the SLDP that the
multitude of black slaves who would cast their famished bodies into the porcine practice of giving lump-sum allocations to individual legislators began, with each
feast to assuage their hunger with morsels coming from the generosity of their well- assemblyman receiving P500,000.00. Thereafter, assemblymen would communicate
fed master.4 This practice was later compared to the actions of American legislators their project preferences to the Ministry of Budget and Management for approval.
in trying to direct federal budgets in favor of their districts. 5 While the advent of Then, the said ministry would release the allocation papers to the Ministry of Local
refrigeration has made the actual pork barrel obsolete, it persists in reference to Governments, which would, in turn, issue the checks to the city or municipal
political bills that "bring home the bacon" to a legislators district and treasurers in the assemblymans locality. It has been further reported that
constituents.6 In a more technical sense, "Pork Barrel" refers to an appropriation of "Congressional Pork Barrel" projects under the SLDP also began to cover not only
government spending meant for localized projects and secured solely or primarily to public works projects, or so- called "hard projects", but also "soft projects", 21 or non-
bring money to a representative's district. 7 Some scholars on the subject further use public works projects such as those which would fall under the categories of, among
it to refer to legislative control of local appropriations.8 others, education, health and livelihood.22
In the Philippines, "Pork Barrel" has been commonly referred to as lump-sum, C. Post-Martial Law Era:
discretionary funds of Members of the Legislature, 9 although, as will be later Corazon Cojuangco Aquino Administration (1986-1992).
discussed, its usage would evolve in reference to certain funds of the Executive. After the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986 and the restoration of Philippine
II. History of Congressional Pork Barrel in the Philippines. democracy, "Congressional Pork Barrel" was revived in the form of the "Mindanao
A. Pre-Martial Law Era (1922-1972). Development Fund" and the "Visayas Development Fund" which were created with
Act 3044,10 or the Public Works Act of 1922, is considered11 as the earliest form of lump-sum appropriations of P480 Million and P240 Million, respectively, for the
"Congressional Pork Barrel" in the Philippines since the utilization of the funds funding of development projects in the Mindanao and Visayas areas in 1989. It has
appropriated therein were subjected to post-enactment legislator approval. been documented23 that the clamor raised by the Senators and the Luzon legislators
Particularly, in the area of fund release, Section 312 provides that the sums for a similar funding, prompted the creation of the "Countrywide Development Fund"
appropriated for certain public works projects 13"shall be distributed x x x subject to (CDF) which was integrated into the 1990 GAA24 with an initial funding ofP2.3 Billion
the approval of a joint committee elected by the Senate and the House of to cover "small local infrastructure and other priority community projects."
Representatives. "The committee from each House may also authorize one of its Under the GAAs for the years 1991 and 1992,25 CDF funds were, with the approval of
members to approve the distribution made by the Secretary of Commerce and the President, to be released directly to the implementing agencies but "subject to

Santiago v Guingona Page 35 of 106


the submission of the required list of projects and activities."Although the GAAs from Program Fund,"45 all of which contained a special provision requiring "prior
1990 to 1992 were silent as to the amounts of allocations of the individual consultation" with the Member s of Congress for the release of the funds.
legislators, as well as their participation in the identification of projects, it has been It was in the year 200046 that the "Priority Development Assistance Fund" (PDAF)
reported26 that by 1992, Representatives were receivingP12.5 Million each in CDF appeared in the GAA. The requirement of "prior consultation with the respective
funds, while Senators were receiving P18 Million each, without any limitation or Representative of the District" before PDAF funds were directly released to the
qualification, and that they could identify any kind of project, from hard or implementing agency concerned was explicitly stated in the 2000 PDAF Article.
infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and buildings to "soft projects" such Moreover, realignment of funds to any expense category was expressly allowed,
as textbooks, medicines, and scholarships.27 with the sole condition that no amount shall be used to fund personal services and
D. Fidel Valdez Ramos (Ramos) Administration (1992-1998). other personnel benefits.47 The succeeding PDAF provisions remained the same in
The following year, or in 1993, 28 the GAA explicitly stated that the release of CDF view of the re-enactment48 of the 2000 GAA for the year 2001.
funds was to be made upon the submission of the list of projects and activities F. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Arroyo) Administration (2001-2010).
identified by, among others, individual legislators. For the first time, the 1993 CDF The 200249 PDAF Article was brief and straightforward as it merely contained a single
Article included an allocation for the Vice-President. 29 As such, Representatives were special provision ordering the release of the funds directly to the implementing
allocated P12.5 Million each in CDF funds, Senators, P18 Million each, and the Vice- agency or local government unit concerned, without further qualifications. The
President, P20 Million. following year, 2003,50 the same single provision was present, with simply an
In 1994,30 1995,31 and 1996,32 the GAAs contained the same provisions on project expansion of purpose and express authority to realign. Nevertheless, the provisions
identification and fund release as found in the 1993 CDF Article. In addition, in the 2003 budgets of the Department of Public Works and Highways 51 (DPWH) and
however, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was directed to submit the DepEd52 required prior consultation with Members of Congress on the aspects of
reports to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on implementation delegation and project list submission, respectively. In 2004, the
Appropriations on the releases made from the funds.33 2003 GAA was re-enacted.53
Under the 199734 CDF Article, Members of Congress and the Vice-President, in In 2005,54 the PDAF Article provided that the PDAF shall be used "to fund priority
consultation with the implementing agency concerned, were directed to submit to programs and projects under the ten point agenda of the national government and
the DBM the list of 50% of projects to be funded from their respective CDF shall be released directly to the implementing agencies." It also introduced the
allocations which shall be duly endorsed by (a) the Senate President and the program menu concept,55 which is essentially a list of general programs and
Chairman of the Committee on Finance, in the case of the Senate, and (b) the implementing agencies from which a particular PDAF project may be subsequently
Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Committee on chosen by the identifying authority. The 2005 GAA was re-enacted 56 in 2006 and
Appropriations, in the case of the House of Representatives; while the list for the hence, operated on the same bases. In similar regard, the program menu concept
remaining 50% was to be submitted within six (6) months thereafter. The same was consistently integrated into the 2007, 57 2008,58 2009,59 and 201060 GAAs.
article also stated that the project list, which would be published by the DBM, 35 "shall Textually, the PDAF Articles from 2002 to 2010 were silent with respect to the
be the basis for the release of funds" and that "no funds appropriated herein shall be specific amounts allocated for the individual legislators, as well as their participation
disbursed for projects not included in the list herein required." in the proposal and identification of PDAF projects to be funded. In contrast to the
The following year, or in 1998, 36 the foregoing provisions regarding the required lists PDAF Articles, however, the provisions under the DepEd School Building Program
and endorsements were reproduced, except that the publication of the project list and the DPWH budget, similar to its predecessors, explicitly required prior
was no longer required as the list itself sufficed for the release of CDF Funds. consultation with the concerned Member of Congress 61anent certain aspects of
The CDF was not, however, the lone form of "Congressional Pork Barrel" at that time. project implementation.
Other forms of "Congressional Pork Barrel" were reportedly fashioned and inserted Significantly, it was during this era that provisions which allowed formal participation
into the GAA (called "Congressional Insertions" or "CIs") in order to perpetuate the of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the implementation of government
ad ministrations political agenda.37 It has been articulated that since CIs "formed projects were introduced. In the Supplemental Budget for 2006, with respect to the
part and parcel of the budgets of executive departments, they were not easily appropriation for school buildings, NGOs were, by law, encouraged to participate. For
identifiable and were thus harder to monitor." Nonetheless, the lawmakers such purpose, the law stated that "the amount of at least P250 Million of the P500
themselves as well as the finance and budget officials of the implementing agencies, Million allotted for the construction and completion of school buildings shall be made
as well as the DBM, purportedly knew about the insertions. 38 Examples of these CIs available to NGOs including the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of
are the Department of Education (DepEd) School Building Fund, the Congressional Commerce and Industry, Inc. for its "Operation Barrio School" program, with
Initiative Allocations, the Public Works Fund, the El Nio Fund, and the Poverty capability and proven track records in the construction of public school buildings x x
Alleviation Fund.39 The allocations for the School Building Fund, particularly, shall x."62 The same allocation was made available to NGOs in the 2007 and 2009 GAAs
be made upon prior consultation with the representative of the legislative district under the DepEd Budget.63 Also, it was in 2007 that the Government Procurement
concerned.40 Similarly, the legislators had the power to direct how, where and when Policy Board64(GPPB) issued Resolution No. 12-2007 dated June 29, 2007 (GPPB
these appropriations were to be spent.41 Resolution 12-2007), amending the implementing rules and regulations 65 of RA
E. Joseph Ejercito Estrada (Estrada) Administration (1998-2001). 9184,66 the Government Procurement Reform Act, to include, as a form of negotiated
In 1999,42 the CDF was removed in the GAA and replaced by three (3) separate procurement,67 the procedure whereby the Procuring Entity 68 (the implementing
forms of CIs, namely, the "Food Security Program Fund," 43 the "Lingap Para Sa agency) may enter into a memorandum of agreement with an NGO, provided that
Mahihirap Program Fund,"44and the "Rural/Urban Development Infrastructure "an appropriation law or ordinance earmarks an amount to be specifically contracted
out to NGOs."69

Santiago v Guingona Page 36 of 106


G. Present Administration (2010-Present). and administered by the Presidential Management Staff through which the President
Differing from previous PDAF Articles but similar to the CDF Articles, the 2011 70 PDAF provides direct assistance to priority programs and projects not funded under the
Article included an express statement on lump-sum amounts allocated for individual regular budget. It is sourced from the share of the government in the aggregate
legislators and the Vice-President: Representatives were given P70 Million each, gross earnings of PAGCOR.88
broken down into P40 Million for "hard projects" and P30 Million for "soft projects"; IV. Controversies in the Philippines.
while P200 Million was given to each Senator as well as the Vice-President, with Over the decades, "pork" funds in the Philippines have increased
a P100 Million allocation each for "hard" and "soft projects." Likewise, a provision on tremendously,89 owing in no small part to previous Presidents who reportedly used
realignment of funds was included, but with the qualification that it may be allowed the "Pork Barrel" in order to gain congressional support. 90 It was in 1996 when the
only once. The same provision also allowed the Secretaries of Education, Health, first controversy surrounding the "Pork Barrel" erupted. Former Marikina City
Social Welfare and Development, Interior and Local Government, Environment and Representative Romeo Candazo (Candazo), then an anonymous source, "blew the lid
Natural Resources, Energy, and Public Works and Highways to realign PDAF Funds, on the huge sums of government money that regularly went into the pockets of
with the further conditions that: (a) realignment is within the same implementing legislators in the form of kickbacks." 91 He said that "the kickbacks were SOP
unit and same project category as the original project, for infrastructure projects; (b) (standard operating procedure) among legislators and ranged from a low 19 percent
allotment released has not yet been obligated for the original scope of work, and (c) to a high 52 percent of the cost of each project, which could be anything from
the request for realignment is with the concurrence of the legislator concerned. 71 dredging, rip rapping, sphalting, concreting, and construction of school
In the 201272 and 201373 PDAF Articles, it is stated that the "identification of projects buildings."92 "Other sources of kickbacks that Candazo identified were public funds
and/or designation of beneficiaries shall conform to the priority list, standard or intended for medicines and textbooks. A few days later, the tale of the money trail
design prepared by each implementing agency (priority list requirement) x x x." became the banner story of the Philippine Daily Inquirer issue of August 13, 1996,
However, as practiced, it would still be the individual legislator who would choose accompanied by an illustration of a roasted pig." 93 "The publication of the stories,
and identify the project from the said priority list.74 including those about congressional initiative allocations of certain lawmakers,
Provisions on legislator allocations 75 as well as fund realignment 76 were included in including P3.6 Billion for a Congressman, sparked public outrage." 94
the 2012 and 2013 PDAF Articles; but the allocation for the Vice-President, which Thereafter, or in 2004, several concerned citizens sought the nullification of the
was pegged at P200 Million in the 2011 GAA, had been deleted. In addition, the PDAF as enacted in the 2004 GAA for being unconstitutional. Unfortunately, for lack
2013 PDAF Article now allowed LGUs to be identified as implementing agencies if of "any pertinent evidentiary support that illegal misuse of PDAF in the form of
they have the technical capability to implement the projects. 77 Legislators were also kickbacks has become a common exercise of unscrupulous Members of Congress,"
allowed to identify programs/projects, except for assistance to indigent patients and the petition was dismissed.95
scholarships, outside of his legislative district provided that he secures the written Recently, or in July of the present year, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
concurrence of the legislator of the intended outside-district, endorsed by the began its probe into allegations that "the government has been defrauded of
Speaker of the House.78 Finally, any realignment of PDAF funds, modification and some P10 Billion over the past 10 years by a syndicate using funds from the pork
revision of project identification, as well as requests for release of funds, were all barrel of lawmakers and various government agencies for scores of ghost
required to be favorably endorsed by the House Committee on Appropriations and projects."96 The investigation was spawned by sworn affidavits of six (6) whistle-
the Senate Committee on Finance, as the case may be.79 blowers who declared that JLN Corporation "JLN" standing for Janet Lim Napoles
III. History of Presidential Pork Barrel in the Philippines. (Napoles) had swindled billions of pesos from the public coffers for "ghost projects"
While the term "Pork Barrel" has been typically associated with lump-sum, using no fewer than 20 dummy NGOs for an entire decade. While the NGOs were
discretionary funds of Members of Congress, the present cases and the recent supposedly the ultimate recipients of PDAF funds, the whistle-blowers declared that
controversies on the matter have, however, shown that the terms usage has the money was diverted into Napoles private accounts. 97 Thus, after its
expanded to include certain funds of the President such as the Malampaya Funds investigation on the Napoles controversy, criminal complaints were filed before the
and the Presidential Social Fund. Office of the Ombudsman, charging five (5) lawmakers for Plunder, and three (3)
On the one hand, the Malampaya Funds was created as a special fund under Section other lawmakers for Malversation, Direct Bribery, and Violation of the Anti-Graft and
880 of Presidential Decree No. (PD) 910, 81 issued by then President Ferdinand E. Corrupt Practices Act. Also recommended to be charged in the complaints are some
Marcos (Marcos) on March 22, 1976. In enacting the said law, Marcos recognized the of the lawmakers chiefs -of-staff or representatives, the heads and other officials of
need to set up a special fund to help intensify, strengthen, and consolidate three (3) implementing agencies, and the several presidents of the NGOs set up by
government efforts relating to the exploration, exploitation, and development of Napoles.98
indigenous energy resources vital to economic growth. 82 Due to the energy-related On August 16, 2013, the Commission on Audit (CoA) released the results of a three-
activities of the government in the Malampaya natural gas field in Palawan, or the year audit investigation99 covering the use of legislators' PDAF from 2007 to 2009, or
"Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project", 83 the special fund created under PD during the last three (3) years of the Arroyo administration. The purpose of the audit
910 has been currently labeled as Malampaya Funds. was to determine the propriety of releases of funds under PDAF and the Various
On the other hand the Presidential Social Fund was created under Section 12, Title Infrastructures including Local Projects (VILP) 100 by the DBM, the application of these
IV84 of PD 1869,85 or the Charter of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming funds and the implementation of projects by the appropriate implementing agencies
Corporation (PAGCOR). PD 1869 was similarly issued by Marcos on July 11, 1983. and several government-owned-and-controlled corporations (GOCCs). 101 The total
More than two (2) years after, he amended PD 1869 and accordingly issued PD 1993 releases covered by the audit amounted to P8.374 Billion in PDAF and P32.664
on October 31, 1985,86 amending Section 1287 of the former law. As it stands, the Billion in VILP, representing 58% and 32%, respectively, of the total PDAF and VILP
Presidential Social Fund has been described as a special funding facility managed releases that were found to have been made nationwide during the audit

Santiago v Guingona Page 37 of 106


period.102 Accordingly, the Co As findings contained in its Report No. 2012-03 (CoA Court (Belgica Petition), seeking that the annual "Pork Barrel System," presently
Report), entitled "Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Various embodied in the provisions of the GAA of 2013 which provided for the 2013 PDAF,
Infrastructures including Local Projects (VILP)," were made public, the highlights of and the Executives lump-sum, discretionary funds, such as the Malampaya Funds
which are as follows:103 and the Presidential Social Fund,107 be declared unconstitutional and null and void for
Amounts released for projects identified by a considerable number of legislators being acts constituting grave abuse of discretion. Also, they pray that the Court
significantly exceeded their respective allocations. issue a TRO against respondents Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Florencio B. Abad (Secretary
Amounts were released for projects outside of legislative districts of sponsoring Abad) and Rosalia V. De Leon, in their respective capacities as the incumbent
members of the Lower House. Executive Secretary, Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management
Total VILP releases for the period exceeded the total amount appropriated under (DBM), and National Treasurer, or their agents, for them to immediately cease any
the 2007 to 2009 GAAs. expenditure under the aforesaid funds. Further, they pray that the Court order the
Infrastructure projects were constructed on private lots without these having been foregoing respondents to release to the CoA and to the public: (a) "the complete
turned over to the government. schedule/list of legislators who have availed of their PDAF and VILP from the years
Significant amounts were released to implementing agencies without the latters 2003 to 2013, specifying the use of the funds, the project or activity and the
endorsement and without considering their mandated functions, administrative and recipient entities or individuals, and all pertinent data thereto"; and (b) "the use of
technical capabilities to implement projects. the Executives lump-sum, discretionary funds, including the proceeds from the x x x
Implementation of most livelihood projects was not undertaken by the Malampaya Funds and remittances from the PAGCOR x x x from 2003 to 2013,
implementing agencies themselves but by NGOs endorsed by the proponent specifying the x x x project or activity and the recipient entities or individuals, and
legislators to which the Funds were transferred. all pertinent data thereto." 108 Also, they pray for the "inclusion in budgetary
The funds were transferred to the NGOs in spite of the absence of any deliberations with the Congress of all presently off-budget, lump-sum, discretionary
appropriation law or ordinance. funds including, but not limited to, proceeds from the Malampaya Funds and
Selection of the NGOs were not compliant with law and regulations. remittances from the PAGCOR."109 The Belgica Petition was docketed as G.R. No.
Eighty-Two (82) NGOs entrusted with implementation of seven hundred seventy 208566.110
two (772) projects amount to P6.156 Billion were either found questionable, or Lastly, on September 5, 2013, petitioner Pedrito M. Nepomuceno (Nepomuceno),
submitted questionable/spurious documents, or failed to liquidate in whole or in part filed a Petition dated August 23, 2012 (Nepomuceno Petition), seeking that the PDAF
their utilization of the Funds. be declared unconstitutional, and a cease and desist order be issued restraining
Procurement by the NGOs, as well as some implementing agencies, of goods and President Benigno Simeon S. Aquino III (President Aquino) and Secretary Abad from
services reportedly used in the projects were not compliant with law. releasing such funds to Members of Congress and, instead, allow their release to
As for the "Presidential Pork Barrel", whistle-blowers alleged that" at least P900 fund priority projects identified and approved by the Local Development Councils in
Million from royalties in the operation of the Malampaya gas project off Palawan consultation with the executive departments, such as the DPWH, the Department of
province intended for agrarian reform beneficiaries has gone into a dummy Tourism, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, and
NGO."104 According to incumbent CoA Chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido Tan (CoA Communication and the National Economic Development Authority. 111 The
Chairperson), the CoA is, as of this writing, in the process of preparing "one Nepomuceno Petition was docketed as UDK-14951.112
consolidated report" on the Malampaya Funds.105 On September 10, 2013, the Court issued a Resolution of even date (a) consolidating
V. The Procedural Antecedents. all cases; (b) requiring public respondents to comment on the consolidated petitions;
Spurred in large part by the findings contained in the CoA Report and the Napoles (c) issuing a TRO (September 10, 2013 TRO) enjoining the DBM, National Treasurer,
controversy, several petitions were lodged before the Court similarly seeking that the Executive Secretary, or any of the persons acting under their authority from
the "Pork Barrel System" be declared unconstitutional. To recount, the relevant releasing (1) the remaining PDAF allocated to Members of Congress under the GAA
procedural antecedents in these cases are as follows: of 2013, and (2) Malampaya Funds under the phrase "for such other purposes as
On August 28, 2013, petitioner Samson S. Alcantara (Alcantara), President of the may be hereafter directed by the President" pursuant to Section 8 of PD 910 but not
Social Justice Society, filed a Petition for Prohibition of even date under Rule 65 of for the purpose of "financing energy resource development and exploitation
the Rules of Court (Alcantara Petition), seeking that the "Pork Barrel System" be programs and projects of the government under the same provision; and (d) setting
declared unconstitutional, and a writ of prohibition be issued permanently the consolidated cases for Oral Arguments on October 8, 2013.
restraining respondents Franklin M. Drilon and Feliciano S. Belmonte, Jr., in their On September 23, 2013, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a
respective capacities as the incumbent Senate President and Speaker of the House Consolidated Comment (Comment) of even date before the Court, seeking the
of Representatives, from further taking any steps to enact legislation appropriating lifting, or in the alternative, the partial lifting with respect to educational and
funds for the "Pork Barrel System," in whatever form and by whatever name it may medical assistance purposes, of the Courts September 10, 2013 TRO, and that the
be called, and from approving further releases pursuant thereto. 106 The Alcantara consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of merit.113
Petition was docketed as G.R. No. 208493. On September 24, 2013, the Court issued a Resolution of even date directing
On September 3, 2013, petitioners Greco Antonious Beda B. Belgica, Jose L. petitioners to reply to the Comment.
Gonzalez, Reuben M. Abante, Quintin Paredes San Diego (Belgica, et al.), and Jose M. Petitioners, with the exception of Nepomuceno, filed their respective replies to the
Villegas, Jr. (Villegas) filed an Urgent Petition For Certiorari and Prohibition With Comment: (a) on September 30, 2013, Villegas filed a separate Reply dated
Prayer For The Immediate Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or September 27, 2013 (Villegas Reply); (b) on October 1, 2013, Belgica, et al. filed a
Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated August 27, 2013 under Rule 65 of the Rules of

Santiago v Guingona Page 38 of 106


Reply dated September 30, 2013 (Belgica Reply); and (c) on October 2, 2013, to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; (c) the question of
Alcantara filed a Reply dated October 1, 2013. constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity ; and (d) the issue of
On October 1, 2013, the Court issued an Advisory providing for the guidelines to be constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case. 118 Of these requisites, case
observed by the parties for the Oral Arguments scheduled on October 8, 2013. In law states that the first two are the most important 119 and, therefore, shall be
view of the technicality of the issues material to the present cases, incumbent discussed forthwith.
Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza (Solicitor General) was directed to bring with A. Existence of an Actual Case or Controversy.
him during the Oral Arguments representative/s from the DBM and Congress who By constitutional fiat, judicial power operates only when there is an actual case or
would be able to competently and completely answer questions related to, among controversy.120 This is embodied in Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution
others, the budgeting process and its implementation. Further, the CoA Chairperson which pertinently states that "judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice
was appointed as amicus curiae and thereby requested to appear before the Court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
during the Oral Arguments. enforceable x x x." Jurisprudence provides that an actual case or controversy is one
On October 8 and 10, 2013, the Oral Arguments were conducted. Thereafter, the which "involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims,
Court directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda within a period of susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract
seven (7) days, or until October 17, 2013, which the parties subsequently did. difference or dispute.121 In other words, "there must be a contrariety of legal rights
The Issues Before the Court that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and
Based on the pleadings, and as refined during the Oral Arguments, the following are jurisprudence."122 Related to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the
the main issues for the Courts resolution: requirement of "ripeness," meaning that the questions raised for constitutional
I. Procedural Issues. scrutiny are already ripe for adjudication. "A question is ripe for adjudication when
Whether or not (a) the issues raised in the consolidated petitions involve an actual the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual
and justiciable controversy; (b) the issues raised in the consolidated petitions are challenging it. It is a prerequisite that something had then been accomplished or
matters of policy not subject to judicial review; (c) petitioners have legal standing to performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture, and the
sue; and (d) the Courts Decision dated August 19, 1994 in G.R. Nos. 113105, petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to itself as
113174, 113766, and 113888, entitled "Philippine Constitution Association v. a result of the challenged action." 123 "Withal, courts will decline to pass upon
Enriquez"114 (Philconsa) and Decision dated April 24, 2012 in G.R. No. 164987, constitutional issues through advisory opinions, bereft as they are of authority to
entitled "Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty v. Secretary of Budget and resolve hypothetical or moot questions."124
Management"115 (LAMP) bar the re-litigatio n of the issue of constitutionality of the Based on these principles, the Court finds that there exists an actual and justiciable
"Pork Barrel System" under the principles of res judicata and stare decisis. controversy in these cases.
II. Substantive Issues on the "Congressional Pork Barrel." The requirement of contrariety of legal rights is clearly satisfied by the antagonistic
Whether or not the 2013 PDAF Article and all other Congressional Pork Barrel Laws positions of the parties on the constitutionality of the "Pork Barrel System." Also, the
similar thereto are unconstitutional considering that they violate the principles questions in these consolidated cases are ripe for adjudication since the challenged
of/constitutional provisions on (a) separation of powers; (b) non-delegability of funds and the provisions allowing for their utilization such as the 2013 GAA for the
legislative power; (c) checks and balances; (d) accountability; (e) political dynasties; PDAF, PD 910 for the Malampaya Funds and PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, for
and (f) local autonomy. the Presidential Social Fund are currently existing and operational; hence, there
III. Substantive Issues on the "Presidential Pork Barrel." exists an immediate or threatened injury to petitioners as a result of the
Whether or not the phrases (a) "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter unconstitutional use of these public funds.
directed by the President" under Section 8 of PD 910, 116 relating to the Malampaya As for the PDAF, the Court must dispel the notion that the issues related thereto had
Funds, and (b) "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects and to been rendered moot and academic by the reforms undertaken by respondents. A
finance the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may case becomes moot when there is no more actual controversy between the parties
be directed and authorized by the Office of the President of the Philippines" under or no useful purpose can be served in passing upon the merits. 125 Differing from this
Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, relating to the Presidential Social description, the Court observes that respondents proposed line-item budgeting
Fund, are unconstitutional insofar as they constitute undue delegations of legislative scheme would not terminate the controversy nor diminish the useful purpose for its
power. resolution since said reform is geared towards the 2014 budget, and not the 2013
These main issues shall be resolved in the order that they have been stated. In PDAF Article which, being a distinct subject matter, remains legally effective and
addition, the Court shall also tackle certain ancillary issues as prompted by the existing. Neither will the Presidents declaration that he had already "abolished the
present cases. PDAF" render the issues on PDAF moot precisely because the Executive branch of
The Courts Ruling government has no constitutional authority to nullify or annul its legal existence. By
The petitions are partly granted. constitutional design, the annulment or nullification of a law may be done either by
I. Procedural Issues. Congress, through the passage of a repealing law, or by the Court, through a
The prevailing rule in constitutional litigation is that no question involving the declaration of unconstitutionality. Instructive on this point is the following exchange
constitutionality or validity of a law or governmental act may be heard and decided between Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio (Justice Carpio) and the Solicitor General
by the Court unless there is compliance with the legal requisites for judicial during the Oral Arguments:126
inquiry,117 namely: (a) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the Justice Carpio: The President has taken an oath to faithfully execute the
exercise of judicial power; (b) the person challenging the act must have the standing law,127 correct? Solicitor General Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor.

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Justice Carpio: And so the President cannot refuse to implement the General mandated audit arm of the government. In Delos Santos v. CoA, 131 a recent case
Appropriations Act, correct? wherein the Court upheld the CoAs disallowance of irregularly disbursed PDAF
Solicitor General Jardeleza: Well, that is our answer, Your Honor. In the case, for funds, it was emphasized that:
example of the PDAF, the President has a duty to execute the laws but in the face of The COA is endowed with enough latitude to determine, prevent, and disallow
the outrage over PDAF, the President was saying, "I am not sure that I will continue irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditures of
the release of the soft projects," and that started, Your Honor. Now, whether or not government funds. It is tasked to be vigilant and conscientious in safeguarding the
that (interrupted) proper use of the government's, and ultimately the people's, property. The exercise
Justice Carpio: Yeah. I will grant the President if there are anomalies in the project, of its general audit power is among the constitutional mechanisms that gives life to
he has the power to stop the releases in the meantime, to investigate, and that is the check and balance system inherent in our form of government.
Section 38 of Chapter 5 of Book 6 of the Revised Administrative Code 128 x x x. So at It is the general policy of the Court to sustain the decisions of administrative
most the President can suspend, now if the President believes that the PDAF is authorities, especially one which is constitutionally-created, such as the CoA, not
unconstitutional, can he just refuse to implement it? only on the basis of the doctrine of separation of powers but also for their presumed
Solicitor General Jardeleza: No, Your Honor, as we were trying to say in the specific expertise in the laws they are entrusted to enforce. Findings of administrative
case of the PDAF because of the CoA Report, because of the reported irregularities agencies are accorded not only respect but also finality when the decision and order
and this Court can take judicial notice, even outside, outside of the COA Report, you are not tainted with unfairness or arbitrariness that would amount to grave abuse of
have the report of the whistle-blowers, the President was just exercising precisely discretion. It is only when the CoA has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or
the duty . with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, that this
xxxx Court entertains a petition questioning its rulings. x x x. (Emphases supplied)
Justice Carpio: Yes, and that is correct. Youve seen the CoA Report, there are Thus, if only for the purpose of validating the existence of an actual and justiciable
anomalies, you stop and investigate, and prosecute, he has done that. But, does controversy in these cases, the Court deems the findings under the CoA Report to be
that mean that PDAF has been repealed? sufficient.
Solicitor General Jardeleza: No, Your Honor x x x. The Court also finds the third exception to be applicable largely due to the practical
xxxx need for a definitive ruling on the systems constitutionality. As disclosed during the
Justice Carpio: So that PDAF can be legally abolished only in two (2) cases. Congress Oral Arguments, the CoA Chairperson estimates that thousands of notices of
passes a law to repeal it, or this Court declares it unconstitutional, correct? disallowances will be issued by her office in connection with the findings made in the
Solictor General Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor. CoA Report. In this relation, Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen (Justice
Justice Carpio: The President has no power to legally abolish PDAF. (Emphases Leonen) pointed out that all of these would eventually find their way to the
supplied) courts.132 Accordingly, there is a compelling need to formulate controlling principles
Even on the assumption of mootness, jurisprudence, nevertheless, dictates that "the relative to the issues raised herein in order to guide the bench, the bar, and the
moot and academic principle is not a magical formula that can automatically public, not just for the expeditious resolution of the anticipated disallowance cases,
dissuade the Court in resolving a case." The Court will decide cases, otherwise moot, but more importantly, so that the government may be guided on how public funds
if: first, there is a grave violation of the Constitution; second, the exceptional should be utilized in accordance with constitutional principles.
character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved; third, when Finally, the application of the fourth exception is called for by the recognition that
the constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the preparation and passage of the national budget is, by constitutional imprimatur,
the bench, the bar, and the public; and fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet an affair of annual occurrence.133 The relevance of the issues before the Court does
evading review.129 not cease with the passage of a "PDAF -free budget for 2014." 134 The evolution of the
The applicability of the first exception is clear from the fundamental posture of "Pork Barrel System," by its multifarious iterations throughout the course of history,
petitioners they essentially allege grave violations of the Constitution with respect lends a semblance of truth to petitioners claim that "the same dog will just
to, inter alia, the principles of separation of powers, non-delegability of legislative resurface wearing a different collar." 135 In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,136 the
power, checks and balances, accountability and local autonomy. government had already backtracked on a previous course of action yet the Court
The applicability of the second exception is also apparent from the nature of the used the "capable of repetition but evading review" exception in order "to prevent
interests involved similar questions from re- emerging." 137The situation similarly holds true to these
the constitutionality of the very system within which significant amounts of public cases. Indeed, the myriad of issues underlying the manner in which certain public
funds have been and continue to be utilized and expended undoubtedly presents a funds are spent, if not resolved at this most opportune time, are capable of
situation of exceptional character as well as a matter of paramount public interest. repetition and hence, must not evade judicial review.
The present petitions, in fact, have been lodged at a time when the systems flaws B. Matters of Policy: the Political Question Doctrine.
have never before been magnified. To the Courts mind, the coalescence of the CoA The "limitation on the power of judicial review to actual cases and controversies
Report, the accounts of numerous whistle-blowers, and the governments own carries the assurance that "the courts will not intrude into areas committed to the
recognition that reforms are needed "to address the reported abuses of the other branches of government."138 Essentially, the foregoing limitation is a
PDAF"130 demonstrates a prima facie pattern of abuse which only underscores the restatement of the political question doctrine which, under the classic formulation of
importance of the matter. It is also by this finding that the Court finds petitioners Baker v. Carr,139applies when there is found, among others, "a textually
claims as not merely theorized, speculative or hypothetical. Of note is the weight demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political
accorded by the Court to the findings made by the CoA which is the constitutionally- department," "a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for

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resolving it" or "the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination problems of society. For all these reasons, the Court cannot heed respondents plea
of a kind clearly for non- judicial discretion." Cast against this light, respondents for judicial restraint.
submit that the "the political branches are in the best position not only to perform C. Locus Standi.
budget-related reforms but also to do them in response to the specific demands of "The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake
their constituents" and, as such, "urge the Court not to impose a solution at this in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which
stage."140 sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of
The Court must deny respondents submission. difficult constitutional questions. Unless a person is injuriously affected in any of his
Suffice it to state that the issues raised before the Court do not present political but constitutional rights by the operation of statute or ordinance, he has no standing." 145
legal questions which are within its province to resolve. A political question refers to Petitioners have come before the Court in their respective capacities as citizen-
"those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in taxpayers and accordingly, assert that they "dutifully contribute to the coffers of the
their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been National Treasury."146 Clearly, as taxpayers, they possess the requisite standing to
delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the Government. It is concerned question the validity of the existing "Pork Barrel System" under which the taxes they
with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular pay have been and continue to be utilized. It is undeniable that petitioners, as
measure."141 The intrinsic constitutionality of the "Pork Barrel System" is not an issue taxpayers, are bound to suffer from the unconstitutional usage of public funds, if the
dependent upon the wisdom of the political branches of government but rather a Court so rules. Invariably, taxpayers have been allowed to sue where there is a claim
legal one which the Constitution itself has commanded the Court to act upon. that public funds are illegally disbursed or that public money is being deflected to
Scrutinizing the contours of the system along constitutional lines is a task that the any improper purpose, or that public funds are wasted through the enforcement of
political branches of government are incapable of rendering precisely because it is an invalid or unconstitutional law,147 as in these cases.
an exercise of judicial power. More importantly, the present Constitution has not only Moreover, as citizens, petitioners have equally fulfilled the standing requirement
vested the Judiciary the right to exercise judicial power but essentially makes it a given that the issues they have raised may be classified as matters "of
duty to proceed therewith. Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution cannot be transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount
any clearer: "The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such public interest."148 The CoA Chairpersons statement during the Oral Arguments that
lower courts as may be established by law. It includes the duty of the courts of the present controversy involves "not merely a systems failure" but a "complete
justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable breakdown of controls"149 amplifies, in addition to the matters above-discussed, the
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of seriousness of the issues involved herein. Indeed, of greater import than the
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or damage caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the mortal wound
instrumentality of the Government." In Estrada v. Desierto, 142 the expanded concept inflicted upon the fundamental law by the enforcement of an invalid statute. 150 All
of judicial power under the 1987 Constitution and its effect on the political question told, petitioners have sufficient locus standi to file the instant cases.
doctrine was explained as follows:143 D. Res Judicata and Stare Decisis.
To a great degree, the 1987 Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political Res judicata (which means a "matter adjudged") and stare decisis non quieta et
question doctrine when it expanded the power of judicial review of this court not movere (or simply, stare decisis which means "follow past precedents and do not
only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and disturb what has been settled") are general procedural law principles which both
enforceable but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of deal with the effects of previous but factually similar dispositions to subsequent
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or cases. For the cases at bar, the Court examines the applicability of these principles
instrumentality of government. Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the "thou in relation to its prior rulings in Philconsa and LAMP.
shalt not's" of the Constitution directed against the exercise of its jurisdiction. With The focal point of res judicata is the judgment. The principle states that a judgment
the new provision, however, courts are given a greater prerogative to determine on the merits in a previous case rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction would
what it can do to prevent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of bind a subsequent case if, between the first and second actions, there exists an
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Clearly, the identity of parties, of subject matter, and of causes of action. 151 This required
new provision did not just grant the Court power of doing nothing. x x x (Emphases identity is not, however, attendant hereto since Philconsa and LAMP, respectively
supplied) involved constitutional challenges against the 1994 CDF Article and 2004 PDAF
It must also be borne in mind that when the judiciary mediates to allocate Article, whereas the cases at bar call for a broader constitutional scrutiny of the
constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other entire "Pork Barrel System." Also, the ruling in LAMP is essentially a dismissal based
departments; does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature or the on a procedural technicality and, thus, hardly a judgment on the merits in that
executive, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the petitioners therein failed to present any "convincing proof x x x showing that,
Constitution."144 To a great extent, the Court is laudably cognizant of the reforms indeed, there were direct releases of funds to the Members of Congress, who
undertaken by its co-equal branches of government. But it is by constitutional force actually spend them according to their sole discretion" or "pertinent evidentiary
that the Court must faithfully perform its duty. Ultimately, it is the Courts avowed support to demonstrate the illegal misuse of PDAF in the form of kickbacks and has
intention that a resolution of these cases would not arrest or in any manner impede become a common exercise of unscrupulous Members of Congress." As such, the
the endeavors of the two other branches but, in fact, help ensure that the pillars of Court up held, in view of the presumption of constitutionality accorded to every law,
change are erected on firm constitutional grounds. After all, it is in the best interest the 2004 PDAF Article, and saw "no need to review or reverse the standing
of the people that each great branch of government, within its own sphere, pronouncements in the said case." Hence, for the foregoing reasons, the res judicata
contributes its share towards achieving a holistic and genuine solution to the principle, insofar as the Philconsa and LAMP cases are concerned, cannot apply.

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On the other hand, the focal point of stare decisis is the doctrine created. The now largely benefits from hindsight and current findings on the matter, among
principle, entrenched under Article 8 152 of the Civil Code, evokes the general rule others, the CoA Report, the Court must partially abandon its previous ruling in
that, for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be doctrinally Philconsa insofar as it validated the post-enactment identification authority of
applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the Members of Congress on the guise that the same was merely recommendatory. This
parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent postulate raises serious constitutional inconsistencies which cannot be simply
any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. excused on the ground that such mechanism is "imaginative as it is innovative."
Thus, where the same questions relating to the same event have been put forward Moreover, it must be pointed out that the recent case of Abakada Guro Party List v.
by the parties similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and decided by a Purisima155 (Abakada) has effectively overturned Philconsas allowance of post-
competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a bar to any attempt to re-litigate the enactment legislator participation in view of the separation of powers principle.
same issue.153 These constitutional inconsistencies and the Abakada rule will be discussed in
Philconsa was the first case where a constitutional challenge against a Pork Barrel greater detail in the ensuing section of this Decision.
provision, i.e., the 1994 CDF Article, was resolved by the Court. To properly As for LAMP, suffice it to restate that the said case was dismissed on a procedural
understand its context, petitioners posturing was that "the power given to the technicality and, hence, has not set any controlling doctrine susceptible of current
Members of Congress to propose and identify projects and activities to be funded by application to the substantive issues in these cases. In fine, stare decisis would not
the CDF is an encroachment by the legislature on executive power, since said power apply.
in an appropriation act is in implementation of the law" and that "the proposal and II. Substantive Issues.
identification of the projects do not involve the making of laws or the repeal and A. Definition of Terms.
amendment thereof, the only function given to the Congress by the Before the Court proceeds to resolve the substantive issues of these cases, it must
Constitution."154 In deference to the foregoing submissions, the Court reached the first define the terms "Pork Barrel System," "Congressional Pork Barrel," and
following main conclusions: one, under the Constitution, the power of appropriation, "Presidential Pork Barrel" as they are essential to the ensuing discourse.
or the "power of the purse," belongs to Congress; two, the power of appropriation Petitioners define the term "Pork Barrel System" as the "collusion between the
carries with it the power to specify the project or activity to be funded under the Legislative and Executive branches of government to accumulate lump-sum public
appropriation law and it can be detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be; funds in their offices with unchecked discretionary powers to determine its
and, three, the proposals and identifications made by Members of Congress are distribution as political largesse." 156 They assert that the following elements make up
merely recommendatory. At once, it is apparent that the Philconsa resolution was a the Pork Barrel System: (a) lump-sum funds are allocated through the appropriations
limited response to a separation of powers problem, specifically on the propriety of process to an individual officer; (b) the officer is given sole and broad discretion in
conferring post-enactment identification authority to Members of Congress. On the determining how the funds will be used or expended; (c) the guidelines on how to
contrary, the present cases call for a more holistic examination of (a) the inter- spend or use the funds in the appropriation are either vague, overbroad or
relation between the CDF and PDAF Articles with each other, formative as they are inexistent; and (d) projects funded are intended to benefit a definite constituency in
of the entire "Pork Barrel System" as well as (b) the intra-relation of post-enactment a particular part of the country and to help the political careers of the disbursing
measures contained within a particular CDF or PDAF Article, including not only those official by yielding rich patronage benefits. 157 They further state that the Pork Barrel
related to the area of project identification but also to the areas of fund release and System is comprised of two (2) kinds of discretionary public funds: first, the
realignment. The complexity of the issues and the broader legal analyses herein Congressional (or Legislative) Pork Barrel, currently known as the PDAF; 158 and,
warranted may be, therefore, considered as a powerful countervailing reason second, the Presidential (or Executive) Pork Barrel, specifically, the Malampaya
against a wholesale application of the stare decisis principle. Funds under PD 910 and the Presidential Social Fund under PD 1869, as amended by
In addition, the Court observes that the Philconsa ruling was actually riddled with PD 1993.159
inherent constitutional inconsistencies which similarly countervail against a full Considering petitioners submission and in reference to its local concept and legal
resort to stare decisis. As may be deduced from the main conclusions of the case, history, the Court defines the Pork Barrel System as the collective body of rules and
Philconsas fundamental premise in allowing Members of Congress to propose and practices that govern the manner by which lump-sum, discretionary funds, primarily
identify of projects would be that the said identification authority is but an aspect of intended for local projects, are utilized through the respective participations of the
the power of appropriation which has been constitutionally lodged in Congress. From Legislative and Executive branches of government, including its members. The Pork
this premise, the contradictions may be easily seen. If the authority to identify Barrel System involves two (2) kinds of lump-sum discretionary funds:
projects is an aspect of appropriation and the power of appropriation is a form of First, there is the Congressional Pork Barrel which is herein defined as a kind of
legislative power thereby lodged in Congress, then it follows that: (a) it is Congress lump-sum, discretionary fund wherein legislators, either individually or collectively
which should exercise such authority, and not its individual Members; (b) such organized into committees, are able to effectively control certain aspects of the
authority must be exercised within the prescribed procedure of law passage and, funds utilization through various post-enactment measures and/or practices. In
hence, should not be exercised after the GAA has already been passed; and (c) such particular, petitioners consider the PDAF, as it appears under the 2013 GAA, as
authority, as embodied in the GAA, has the force of law and, hence, cannot be Congressional Pork Barrel since it is, inter alia, a post-enactment measure that
merely recommendatory. Justice Vitugs Concurring Opinion in the same case sums allows individual legislators to wield a collective power;160 and
up the Philconsa quandary in this wise: "Neither would it be objectionable for Second, there is the Presidential Pork Barrel which is herein defined as a kind of
Congress, by law, to appropriate funds for such specific projects as it may be lump-sum, discretionary fund which allows the President to determine the manner of
minded; to give that authority, however, to the individual members of Congress in its utilization. For reasons earlier stated, 161 the Court shall delimit the use of such
whatever guise, I am afraid, would be constitutionally impermissible." As the Court term to refer only to the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund.

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With these definitions in mind, the Court shall now proceed to discuss the exercise of its own judgment and wisdom, formulates an appropriation act precisely
substantive issues of these cases. following the process established by the Constitution, which specifies that no money
B. Substantive Issues on the Congressional Pork Barrel. may be paid from the Treasury except in accordance with an appropriation made by
1. Separation of Powers. law." Upon approval and passage of the GAA, Congress law -making role necessarily
a. Statement of Principle. comes to an end and from there the Executives role of implementing the national
The principle of separation of powers refers to the constitutional demarcation of the budget begins. So as not to blur the constitutional boundaries between them,
three fundamental powers of government. In the celebrated words of Justice Laurel Congress must "not concern it self with details for implementation by the
in Angara v. Electoral Commission,162 it means that the "Constitution has blocked out Executive."176
with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the The foregoing cardinal postulates were definitively enunciated in Abakada where the
legislative and the judicial departments of the government." 163 To the legislative Court held that "from the moment the law becomes effective, any provision of law
branch of government, through Congress,164 belongs the power to make laws; to the that empowers Congress or any of its members to play any role in the
executive branch of government, through the President, 165belongs the power to implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of
enforce laws; and to the judicial branch of government, through the Court, 166 belongs powers and is thus unconstitutional." 177 It must be clarified, however, that since the
the power to interpret laws. Because the three great powers have been, by restriction only pertains to "any role in the implementation or enforcement of the
constitutional design, ordained in this respect, "each department of the government law," Congress may still exercise its oversight function which is a mechanism of
has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its checks and balances that the Constitution itself allows. But it must be made clear
own sphere."167 Thus, "the legislature has no authority to execute or construe the that Congress role must be confined to mere oversight. Any post-enactment-
law, the executive has no authority to make or construe the law, and the judiciary measure allowing legislator participation beyond oversight is bereft of any
has no power to make or execute the law."168 The principle of separation of powers constitutional basis and hence, tantamount to impermissible interference and/or
and its concepts of autonomy and independence stem from the notion that the assumption of executive functions. As the Court ruled in Abakada: 178
powers of government must be divided to avoid concentration of these powers in Any post-enactment congressional measure x x x should be limited to scrutiny and
any one branch; the division, it is hoped, would avoid any single branch from lording investigation.1wphi1 In particular, congressional oversight must be confined to the
its power over the other branches or the citizenry. 169 To achieve this purpose, the following:
divided power must be wielded by co-equal branches of government that are equally (1) scrutiny based primarily on Congress power of appropriation and the budget
capable of independent action in exercising their respective mandates. Lack of hearings conducted in connection with it, its power to ask heads of departments to
independence would result in the inability of one branch of government to check the appear before and be heard by either of its Houses on any matter pertaining to their
arbitrary or self-interest assertions of another or others.170 departments and its power of confirmation; and
Broadly speaking, there is a violation of the separation of powers principle when one (2) investigation and monitoring of the implementation of laws pursuant to the
branch of government unduly encroaches on the domain of another. US Supreme power of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.
Court decisions instruct that the principle of separation of powers may be violated in Any action or step beyond that will undermine the separation of powers guaranteed
two (2) ways: firstly, "one branch may interfere impermissibly with the others by the Constitution. (Emphases supplied)
performance of its constitutionally assigned function"; 171 and "alternatively, the b. Application.
doctrine may be violated when one branch assumes a function that more properly is In these cases, petitioners submit that the Congressional Pork Barrel among
entrusted to another."172 In other words, there is a violation of the principle when others, the 2013 PDAF Article "wrecks the assignment of responsibilities between
there is impermissible (a) interference with and/or (b) assumption of another the political branches" as it is designed to allow individual legislators to interfere
departments functions. "way past the time it should have ceased" or, particularly, "after the GAA is
The enforcement of the national budget, as primarily contained in the GAA, is passed."179 They state that the findings and recommendations in the CoA Report
indisputably a function both constitutionally assigned and properly entrusted to the provide "an illustration of how absolute and definitive the power of legislators wield
Executive branch of government. In Guingona, Jr. v. Hon. Carague 173 (Guingona, Jr.), over project implementation in complete violation of the constitutional principle of
the Court explained that the phase of budget execution "covers the various separation of powers."180 Further, they point out that the Court in the Philconsa case
operational aspects of budgeting" and accordingly includes "the evaluation of work only allowed the CDF to exist on the condition that individual legislators limited their
and financial plans for individual activities," the "regulation and release of funds" as role to recommending projects and not if they actually dictate their
well as all "other related activities" that comprise the budget execution cycle. 174 This implementation.181
is rooted in the principle that the allocation of power in the three principal branches For their part, respondents counter that the separations of powers principle has not
of government is a grant of all powers inherent in them. 175 Thus, unless the been violated since the President maintains "ultimate authority to control the
Constitution provides otherwise, the Executive department should exclusively execution of the GAA and that he "retains the final discretion to reject" the
exercise all roles and prerogatives which go into the implementation of the national legislators proposals.182 They maintain that the Court, in Philconsa, "upheld the
budget as provided under the GAA as well as any other appropriation law. constitutionality of the power of members of Congress to propose and identify
In view of the foregoing, the Legislative branch of government, much more any of its projects so long as such proposal and identification are recommendatory." 183 As
members, should not cross over the field of implementing the national budget since, such, they claim that "everything in the Special Provisions [of the 2013 PDAF Article
as earlier stated, the same is properly the domain of the Executive. Again, in follows the Philconsa framework, and hence, remains constitutional." 184
Guingona, Jr., the Court stated that "Congress enters the picture when it deliberates The Court rules in favor of petitioners.
or acts on the budget proposals of the President. Thereafter, Congress, "in the

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As may be observed from its legal history, the defining feature of all forms of cannot be overstated from the moment the law becomes effective, any provision
Congressional Pork Barrel would be the authority of legislators to participate in the of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to play any role in the
post-enactment phases of project implementation. implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of
At its core, legislators may it be through project lists,185 prior consultations186 or powers and is thus unconstitutional. 191 That the said authority is treated as merely
program menus187 have been consistently accorded post-enactment authority to recommendatory in nature does not alter its unconstitutional tenor since the
identify the projects they desire to be funded through various Congressional Pork prohibition, to repeat, covers any role in the implementation or enforcement of the
Barrel allocations. Under the 2013 PDAF Article, the statutory authority of legislators law. Towards this end, the Court must therefore abandon its ruling in Philconsa which
to identify projects post-GAA may be construed from the import of Special Provisions sanctioned the conduct of legislator identification on the guise that the same is
1 to 3 as well as the second paragraph of Special Provision 4. To elucidate, Special merely recommendatory and, as such, respondents reliance on the same falters
Provision 1 embodies the program menu feature which, as evinced from past PDAF altogether.
Articles, allows individual legislators to identify PDAF projects for as long as the Besides, it must be pointed out that respondents have nonetheless failed to
identified project falls under a general program listed in the said menu. Relatedly, substantiate their position that the identification authority of legislators is only of
Special Provision 2 provides that the implementing agencies shall, within 90 days recommendatory import. Quite the contrary, respondents through the statements
from the GAA is passed, submit to Congress a more detailed priority list, standard or of the Solicitor General during the Oral Arguments have admitted that the
design prepared and submitted by implementing agencies from which the legislator identification of the legislator constitutes a mandatory requirement before his PDAF
may make his choice. The same provision further authorizes legislators to identify can be tapped as a funding source, thereby highlighting the indispensability of the
PDAF projects outside his district for as long as the representative of the district said act to the entire budget execution process:192
concerned concurs in writing. Meanwhile, Special Provision 3 clarifies that PDAF Justice Bernabe: Now, without the individual legislators identification of the project,
projects refer to "projects to be identified by legislators" 188 and thereunder provides can the PDAF of the legislator be utilized?
the allocation limit for the total amount of projects identified by each legislator. Solicitor General Jardeleza: No, Your Honor.
Finally, paragraph 2 of Special Provision 4 requires that any modification and Justice Bernabe: It cannot?
revision of the project identification "shall be submitted to the House Committee on Solicitor General Jardeleza: It cannot (interrupted)
Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance for favorable endorsement to Justice Bernabe: So meaning you should have the identification of the project by the
the DBM or the implementing agency, as the case may be." From the foregoing individual legislator?
special provisions, it cannot be seriously doubted that legislators have been Solicitor General Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor.
accorded post-enactment authority to identify PDAF projects. xxxx
Aside from the area of project identification, legislators have also been accorded Justice Bernabe: In short, the act of identification is mandatory?
post-enactment authority in the areas of fund release and realignment. Under the Solictor General Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor. In the sense that if it is not done and
2013 PDAF Article, the statutory authority of legislators to participate in the area of then there is no identification.
fund release through congressional committees is contained in Special Provision 5 xxxx
which explicitly states that "all request for release of funds shall be supported by the Justice Bernabe: Now, would you know of specific instances when a project was
documents prescribed under Special Provision No. 1 and favorably endorsed by implemented without the identification by the individual legislator?
House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance, as the Solicitor General Jardeleza: I do not know, Your Honor; I do not think so but I have no
case may be"; while their statutory authority to participate in the area of fund specific examples. I would doubt very much, Your Honor, because to implement,
realignment is contained in: first , paragraph 2, Special Provision 4 189 which explicitly there is a need for a SARO and the NCA. And the SARO and the NCA are triggered by
state s, among others, that "any realignment of funds shall be submitted to the an identification from the legislator.
House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance for xxxx
favorable endorsement to the DBM or the implementing agency, as the case may Solictor General Jardeleza: What we mean by mandatory, Your Honor, is we were
be ; and, second , paragraph 1, also of Special Provision 4 which authorizes the replying to a question, "How can a legislator make sure that he is able to get PDAF
"Secretaries of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Interior and Local Government, Labor Funds?" It is mandatory in the sense that he must identify, in that sense, Your Honor.
and Employment, Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and Development and Otherwise, if he does not identify, he cannot avail of the PDAF Funds and his district
Trade and Industry190 x x x to approve realignment from one project/scope to another would not be able to have PDAF Funds, only in that sense, Your Honor. (Emphases
within the allotment received from this Fund, subject to among others (iii) the supplied)
request is with the concurrence of the legislator concerned." Thus, for all the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby declares the 2013 PDAF Article
Clearly, these post-enactment measures which govern the areas of project as well as all other provisions of law which similarly allow legislators to wield any
identification, fund release and fund realignment are not related to functions of form of post-enactment authority in the implementation or enforcement of the
congressional oversight and, hence, allow legislators to intervene and/or assume budget, unrelated to congressional oversight, as violative of the separation of
duties that properly belong to the sphere of budget execution. Indeed, by virtue of powers principle and thus unconstitutional. Corollary thereto, informal practices,
the foregoing, legislators have been, in one form or another, authorized to through which legislators have effectively intruded into the proper phases of budget
participate in as Guingona, Jr. puts it "the various operational aspects of execution, must be deemed as acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
budgeting," including "the evaluation of work and financial plans for individual or excess of jurisdiction and, hence, accorded the same unconstitutional treatment.
activities" and the "regulation and release of funds" in violation of the separation of That such informal practices do exist and have, in fact, been constantly observed
powers principle. The fundamental rule, as categorically articulated in Abakada, throughout the years has not been substantially disputed here. As pointed out by

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Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno (Chief Justice Sereno) during the Oral statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute. Rules that
Arguments of these cases:193 subvert the statute cannot be sanctioned. (Emphases supplied)
Chief Justice Sereno: b. Application.
Now, from the responses of the representative of both, the DBM and two (2) Houses In the cases at bar, the Court observes that the 2013 PDAF Article, insofar as it
of Congress, if we enforces the initial thought that I have, after I had seen the extent confers post-enactment identification authority to individual legislators, violates the
of this research made by my staff, that neither the Executive nor Congress frontally principle of non-delegability since said legislators are effectively allowed to
faced the question of constitutional compatibility of how they were engineering the individually exercise the power of appropriation, which as settled in Philconsa is
budget process. In fact, the words you have been using, as the three lawyers of the lodged in Congress.201 That the power to appropriate must be exercised only through
DBM, and both Houses of Congress has also been using is surprise; surprised that all legislation is clear from Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution which
of these things are now surfacing. In fact, I thought that what the 2013 PDAF states that: "No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an
provisions did was to codify in one section all the past practice that had been done appropriation made by law." To understand what constitutes an act of appropriation,
since 1991. In a certain sense, we should be thankful that they are all now in the the Court, in Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice and Insular Auditor 202 (Bengzon), held
PDAF Special Provisions. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) that the power of appropriation involves (a) the setting apart by law of a certain sum
Ultimately, legislators cannot exercise powers which they do not have, whether from the public revenue for (b) a specified purpose. Essentially, under the 2013
through formal measures written into the law or informal practices institutionalized PDAF Article, individual legislators are given a personal lump-sum fund from which
in government agencies, else the Executive department be deprived of what the they are able to dictate (a) how much from such fund would go to (b) a specific
Constitution has vested as its own. project or beneficiary that they themselves also determine. As these two (2) acts
2. Non-delegability of Legislative Power. comprise the exercise of the power of appropriation as described in Bengzon, and
a. Statement of Principle. given that the 2013 PDAF Article authorizes individual legislators to perform the
As an adjunct to the separation of powers principle, 194 legislative power shall be same, undoubtedly, said legislators have been conferred the power to legislate
exclusively exercised by the body to which the Constitution has conferred the same. which the Constitution does not, however, allow. Thus, keeping with the principle of
In particular, Section 1, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution states that such power non-delegability of legislative power, the Court hereby declares the 2013 PDAF
shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and Article, as well as all other forms of Congressional Pork Barrel which contain the
a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the similar legislative identification feature as herein discussed, as unconstitutional.
provision on initiative and referendum.195 Based on this provision, it is clear that only 3. Checks and Balances.
Congress, acting as a bicameral body, and the people, through the process of a. Statement of Principle; Item-Veto Power.
initiative and referendum, may constitutionally wield legislative power and no other. The fact that the three great powers of government are intended to be kept separate
This premise embodies the principle of non-delegability of legislative power, and the and distinct does not mean that they are absolutely unrestrained and independent
only recognized exceptions thereto would be: (a) delegated legislative power to local of each other. The Constitution has also provided for an elaborate system of checks
governments which, by immemorial practice, are allowed to legislate on purely local and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of
matters;196 and (b) constitutionally-grafted exceptions such as the authority of the the government.203
President to, by law, exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared A prime example of a constitutional check and balance would be the Presidents
national policy in times of war or other national emergency, 197 or fix within specified power to veto an item written into an appropriation, revenue or tariff bill submitted
limits, and subject to such limitations and restrictions as Congress may impose, tariff to him by Congress for approval through a process known as "bill presentment." The
rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or Presidents item-veto power is found in Section 27(2), Article VI of the 1987
imposts within the framework of the national development program of the Constitution which reads as follows:
Government.198 Sec. 27. x x x.
Notably, the principle of non-delegability should not be confused as a restriction to xxxx
delegate rule-making authority to implementing agencies for the limited purpose of (2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an
either filling up the details of the law for its enforcement (supplementary rule- appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to
making) or ascertaining facts to bring the law into actual operation (contingent rule- which he does not object.
making).199The conceptual treatment and limitations of delegated rule-making were The presentment of appropriation, revenue or tariff bills to the President, wherein he
explained in the case of People v. Maceren200 as follows: may exercise his power of item-veto, forms part of the "single, finely wrought and
The grant of the rule-making power to administrative agencies is a relaxation of the exhaustively considered, procedures" for law-passage as specified under the
principle of separation of powers and is an exception to the nondelegation of Constitution.204 As stated in Abakada, the final step in the law-making process is the
legislative powers. Administrative regulations or "subordinate legislation" calculated "submission of the bill to the President for approval. Once approved, it takes effect
to promote the public interest are necessary because of "the growing complexity of as law after the required publication."205
modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulations, and the Elaborating on the Presidents item-veto power and its relevance as a check on the
increased difficulty of administering the law." legislature, the Court, in Bengzon, explained that:206
xxxx The former Organic Act and the present Constitution of the Philippines make the
Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that the rule-making power must be confined Chief Executive an integral part of the law-making power. His disapproval of a bill,
to details for regulating the mode or proceeding to carry into effect the law as it has commonly known as a veto, is essentially a legislative act. The questions presented
been enacted. The power cannot be extended to amending or expanding the

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to the mind of the Chief Executive are precisely the same as those the legislature constitutional mechanism of item-veto for as long as they follow the rule on singular
must determine in passing a bill, except that his will be a broader point of view. correspondence as herein discussed. Anent special purpose funds, it must be added
The Constitution is a limitation upon the power of the legislative department of the that Section 25(4), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution requires that the "special
government, but in this respect it is a grant of power to the executive department. appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be
The Legislature has the affirmative power to enact laws; the Chief Executive has the supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or t o be
negative power by the constitutional exercise of which he may defeat the will of the raised by a corresponding revenue proposal therein." Meanwhile, with respect to
Legislature. It follows that the Chief Executive must find his authority in the discretionary funds, Section 2 5(6), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution requires that
Constitution. But in exercising that authority he may not be confined to rules of strict said funds "shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by
construction or hampered by the unwise interference of the judiciary. The courts will appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by law."
indulge every intendment in favor of the constitutionality of a veto in the same In contrast, what beckons constitutional infirmity are appropriations which merely
manner as they will presume the constitutionality of an act as originally passed by provide for a singular lump-sum amount to be tapped as a source of funding for
the Legislature. (Emphases supplied) multiple purposes. Since such appropriation type necessitates the further
The justification for the Presidents item-veto power rests on a variety of policy goals determination of both the actual amount to be expended and the actual purpose of
such as to prevent log-rolling legislation, 207 impose fiscal restrictions on the the appropriation which must still be chosen from the multiple purposes stated in
legislature, as well as to fortify the executive branchs role in the budgetary the law, it cannot be said that the appropriation law already indicates a "specific
process.208 In Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, the US Supreme appropriation of money and hence, without a proper line-item which the President
Court characterized the Presidents item-power as "a salutary check upon the may veto. As a practical result, the President would then be faced with the
legislative body, calculated to guard the community against the effects of factions, predicament of either vetoing the entire appropriation if he finds some of its
precipitancy, or of any impulse unfriendly to the public good, which may happen to purposes wasteful or undesirable, or approving the entire appropriation so as not to
influence a majority of that body"; phrased differently, it is meant to "increase the hinder some of its legitimate purposes. Finally, it may not be amiss to state that
chances in favor of the community against the passing of bad laws, through haste, such arrangement also raises non-delegability issues considering that the
inadvertence, or design."209 implementing authority would still have to determine, again, both the actual amount
For the President to exercise his item-veto power, it necessarily follows that there to be expended and the actual purpose of the appropriation. Since the foregoing
exists a proper "item" which may be the object of the veto. An item, as defined in determinations constitute the integral aspects of the power to appropriate, the
the field of appropriations, pertains to "the particulars, the details, the distinct and implementing authority would, in effect, be exercising legislative prerogatives in
severable parts of the appropriation or of the bill." In the case of Bengzon v. violation of the principle of non-delegability.
Secretary of Justice of the Philippine Islands, 210 the US Supreme Court characterized b. Application.
an item of appropriation as follows: In these cases, petitioners claim that "in the current x x x system where the PDAF is
An item of an appropriation bill obviously means an item which, in itself, is a specific a lump-sum appropriation, the legislators identification of the projects after the
appropriation of money, not some general provision of law which happens to be put passage of the GAA denies the President the chance to veto that item later
into an appropriation bill. (Emphases supplied) on."212 Accordingly, they submit that the "item veto power of the President mandates
On this premise, it may be concluded that an appropriation bill, to ensure that the that appropriations bills adopt line-item budgeting" and that "Congress cannot
President may be able to exercise his power of item veto, must contain "specific choose a mode of budgeting which effectively renders the constitutionally-given
appropriations of money" and not only "general provisions" which provide for power of the President useless."213
parameters of appropriation. On the other hand, respondents maintain that the text of the Constitution envisions
Further, it is significant to point out that an item of appropriation must be an item a process which is intended to meet the demands of a modernizing economy and, as
characterized by singular correspondence meaning an allocation of a specified such, lump-sum appropriations are essential to financially address situations which
singular amount for a specified singular purpose, otherwise known as a "line- are barely foreseen when a GAA is enacted. They argue that the decision of the
item."211 This treatment not only allows the item to be consistent with its definition Congress to create some lump-sum appropriations is constitutionally allowed and
as a "specific appropriation of money" but also ensures that the President may textually-grounded.214
discernibly veto the same. Based on the foregoing formulation, the existing Calamity The Court agrees with petitioners.
Fund, Contingent Fund and the Intelligence Fund, being appropriations which state a Under the 2013 PDAF Article, the amount of P24.79 Billion only appears as a
specified amount for a specific purpose, would then be considered as "line- item" collective allocation limit since the said amount would be further divided among
appropriations which are rightfully subject to item veto. Likewise, it must be individual legislators who would then receive personal lump-sum allocations and
observed that an appropriation may be validly apportioned into component could, after the GAA is passed, effectively appropriate PDAF funds based on their
percentages or values; however, it is crucial that each percentage or value must be own discretion. As these intermediate appropriations are made by legislators only
allocated for its own corresponding purpose for such component to be considered as after the GAA is passed and hence, outside of the law, it necessarily means that the
a proper line-item. Moreover, as Justice Carpio correctly pointed out, a valid actual items of PDAF appropriation would not have been written into the General
appropriation may even have several related purposes that are by accounting and Appropriations Bill and thus effectuated without veto consideration. This kind of
budgeting practice considered as one purpose, e.g., MOOE (maintenance and other lump-sum/post-enactment legislative identification budgeting system fosters the
operating expenses), in which case the related purposes shall be deemed creation of a budget within a budget" which subverts the prescribed procedure of
sufficiently specific for the exercise of the Presidents item veto power. Finally, presentment and consequently impairs the Presidents power of item veto. As
special purpose funds and discretionary funds would equally square with the petitioners aptly point out, the above-described system forces the President to

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decide between (a) accepting the entireP24.79 Billion PDAF allocation without The Court agrees with petitioners that certain features embedded in some forms of
knowing the specific projects of the legislators, which may or may not be consistent Congressional Pork Barrel, among others the 2013 PDAF Article, has an effect on
with his national agenda and (b) rejecting the whole PDAF to the detriment of all congressional oversight. The fact that individual legislators are given post-
other legislators with legitimate projects.215 enactment roles in the implementation of the budget makes it difficult for them to
Moreover, even without its post-enactment legislative identification feature, the become disinterested "observers" when scrutinizing, investigating or monitoring the
2013 PDAF Article would remain constitutionally flawed since it would then operate implementation of the appropriation law. To a certain extent, the conduct of
as a prohibited form of lump-sum appropriation above-characterized. In particular, oversight would be tainted as said legislators, who are vested with post-enactment
the lump-sum amount of P24.79 Billion would be treated as a mere funding source authority, would, in effect, be checking on activities in which they themselves
allotted for multiple purposes of spending, i.e., scholarships, medical missions, participate. Also, it must be pointed out that this very same concept of post-
assistance to indigents, preservation of historical materials, construction of roads, enactment authorization runs afoul of Section 14, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
flood control, etc. This setup connotes that the appropriation law leaves the actual which provides that:
amounts and purposes of the appropriation for further determination and, therefore, Sec. 14. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally
does not readily indicate a discernible item which may be subject to the Presidents appear as counsel before any court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or
power of item veto. quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies. Neither shall he, directly or indirectly,
In fact, on the accountability side, the same lump-sum budgeting scheme has, as be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege
the CoA Chairperson relays, "limited state auditors from obtaining relevant data and granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof,
information that would aid in more stringently auditing the utilization of said including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during
Funds."216 Accordingly, she recommends the adoption of a "line by line budget or his term of office. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the
amount per proposed program, activity or project, and per implementing agency." 217 Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on
Hence, in view of the reasons above-stated, the Court finds the 2013 PDAF Article, account of his office. (Emphasis supplied)
as well as all Congressional Pork Barrel Laws of similar operation, to be Clearly, allowing legislators to intervene in the various phases of project
unconstitutional. That such budgeting system provides for a greater degree of implementation a matter before another office of government renders them
flexibility to account for future contingencies cannot be an excuse to defeat what the susceptible to taking undue advantage of their own office.
Constitution requires. Clearly, the first and essential truth of the matter is that The Court, however, cannot completely agree that the same post-enactment
unconstitutional means do not justify even commendable ends.218 authority and/or the individual legislators control of his PDAF per se would allow him
c. Accountability. to perpetuate himself in office. Indeed, while the Congressional Pork Barrel and a
Petitioners further relate that the system under which various forms of legislators use thereof may be linked to this area of interest, the use of his PDAF for
Congressional Pork Barrel operate defies public accountability as it renders Congress re-election purposes is a matter which must be analyzed based on particular facts
incapable of checking itself or its Members. In particular, they point out that the and on a case-to-case basis.
Congressional Pork Barrel "gives each legislator a direct, financial interest in the Finally, while the Court accounts for the possibility that the close operational
smooth, speedy passing of the yearly budget" which turns them "from fiscalizers" proximity between legislators and the Executive department, through the formers
into "financially-interested partners."219 They also claim that the system has an post-enactment participation, may affect the process of impeachment, this matter
effect on re- election as "the PDAF excels in self-perpetuation of elective officials." largely borders on the domain of politics and does not strictly concern the Pork
Finally, they add that the "PDAF impairs the power of impeachment" as such "funds Barrel Systems intrinsic constitutionality. As such, it is an improper subject of
are indeed quite useful, to well, accelerate the decisions of senators." 220 judicial assessment.
The Court agrees in part. In sum, insofar as its post-enactment features dilute congressional oversight and
The aphorism forged under Section 1, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, which violate Section 14, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, thus impairing public
states that "public office is a public trust," is an overarching reminder that every accountability, the 2013 PDAF Article and other forms of Congressional Pork Barrel of
instrumentality of government should exercise their official functions only in similar nature are deemed as unconstitutional.
accordance with the principles of the Constitution which embodies the parameters of 4. Political Dynasties.
the peoples trust. The notion of a public trust connotes accountability,221 hence, the One of the petitioners submits that the Pork Barrel System enables politicians who
various mechanisms in the Constitution which are designed to exact accountability are members of political dynasties to accumulate funds to perpetuate themselves in
from public officers. power, in contravention of Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution 225 which
Among others, an accountability mechanism with which the proper expenditure of states that:
public funds may be checked is the power of congressional oversight. As mentioned Sec. 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service,
in Abakada,222 congressional oversight may be performed either through: (a) scrutiny and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law. (Emphasis and
based primarily on Congress power of appropriation and the budget hearings underscoring supplied)
conducted in connection with it, its power to ask heads of departments to appear At the outset, suffice it to state that the foregoing provision is considered as not self-
before and be heard by either of its Houses on any matter pertaining to their executing due to the qualifying phrase "as may be defined by law." In this respect,
departments and its power of confirmation; 223 or (b) investigation and monitoring of said provision does not, by and of itself, provide a judicially enforceable
the implementation of laws pursuant to the power of Congress to conduct inquiries constitutional right but merely specifies guideline for legislative or executive
in aid of legislation.224 action.226Therefore, since there appears to be no standing law which crystallizes the

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policy on political dynasties for enforcement, the Court must defer from ruling on conforms not only to the letter of the pertinent laws but also to the spirit of the
this issue. Constitution.229 (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
In any event, the Court finds the above-stated argument on this score to be largely In the cases at bar, petitioners contend that the Congressional Pork Barrel goes
speculative since it has not been properly demonstrated how the Pork Barrel System against the constitutional principles on local autonomy since it allows district
would be able to propagate political dynasties. representatives, who are national officers, to substitute their judgments in utilizing
5. Local Autonomy. public funds for local development.230 The Court agrees with petitioners.
The States policy on local autonomy is principally stated in Section 25, Article II and Philconsa described the 1994 CDF as an attempt "to make equal the unequal" and
Sections 2 and 3, Article X of the 1987 Constitution which read as follows: that "it is also a recognition that individual members of Congress, far more than the
ARTICLE II President and their congressional colleagues, are likely to be knowledgeable about
Sec. 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments. the needs of their respective constituents and the priority to be given each
ARTICLE X project."231Drawing strength from this pronouncement, previous legislators justified
Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy. its existence by stating that "the relatively small projects implemented under the
Sec. 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a Congressional Pork Barrel complement and link the national development goals to
more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a the countryside and grassroots as well as to depressed areas which are overlooked
system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and by central agencies which are preoccupied with mega-projects. 232 Similarly, in his
referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, August 23, 2013 speech on the "abolition" of PDAF and budgetary reforms, President
responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, Aquino mentioned that the Congressional Pork Barrel was originally established for a
appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local worthy goal, which is to enable the representatives to identify projects for
officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local communities that the LGU concerned cannot afford. 233
units. Notwithstanding these declarations, the Court, however, finds an inherent defect in
Pursuant thereto, Congress enacted RA 7160,227 otherwise known as the "Local the system which actually belies the avowed intention of "making equal the
Government Code of 1991" (LGC), wherein the policy on local autonomy had been unequal." In particular, the Court observes that the gauge of PDAF and CDF
more specifically explicated as follows: allocation/division is based solely on the fact of office, without taking into account
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. (a) It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the specific interests and peculiarities of the district the legislator represents. In this
the territorial and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and regard, the allocation/division limits are clearly not based on genuine parameters of
meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest development as equality, wherein economic or geographic indicators have been taken into
self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of consideration. As a result, a district representative of a highly-urbanized metropolis
national goals. Toward this end, the State shall provide for a more responsive and gets the same amount of funding as a district representative of a far-flung rural
accountable local government structure instituted through a system of province which would be relatively "underdeveloped" compared to the former. To
decentralization whereby local government units shall be given more powers, add, what rouses graver scrutiny is that even Senators and Party-List
authority, responsibilities, and resources. The process of decentralization shall Representatives and in some years, even the Vice-President who do not
proceed from the National Government to the local government units. represent any locality, receive funding from the Congressional Pork Barrel as well.
xxxx These certainly are anathema to the Congressional Pork Barrels original intent
(c) It is likewise the policy of the State to require all national agencies and offices to which is "to make equal the unequal." Ultimately, the PDAF and CDF had become
conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units, personal funds under the effective control of each legislator and given unto them on
nongovernmental and peoples organizations, and other concerned sectors of the the sole account of their office.
community before any project or program is implemented in their respective The Court also observes that this concept of legislator control underlying the CDF
jurisdictions. (Emphases and underscoring supplied) and PDAF conflicts with the functions of the various Local Development Councils
The above-quoted provisions of the Constitution and the LGC reveal the policy of the (LDCs) which are already legally mandated to "assist the corresponding sanggunian
State to empower local government units (LGUs) to develop and ultimately, become in setting the direction of economic and social development, and coordinating
self-sustaining and effective contributors to the national economy. As explained by development efforts within its territorial jurisdiction." 234 Considering that LDCs are
the Court in Philippine Gamefowl Commission v. Intermediate Appellate Court: 228 instrumentalities whose functions are essentially geared towards managing local
This is as good an occasion as any to stress the commitment of the Constitution to affairs,235 their programs, policies and resolutions should not be overridden nor
the policy of local autonomy which is intended to provide the needed impetus and duplicated by individual legislators, who are national officers that have no law-
encouragement to the development of our local political subdivisions as "self - making authority except only when acting as a body. The undermining effect on local
reliant communities." In the words of Jefferson, "Municipal corporations are the small autonomy caused by the post-enactment authority conferred to the latter was
republics from which the great one derives its strength." The vitalization of local succinctly put by petitioners in the following wise:236
governments will enable their inhabitants to fully exploit their resources and more With PDAF, a Congressman can simply bypass the local development council and
important, imbue them with a deepened sense of involvement in public affairs as initiate projects on his own, and even take sole credit for its execution. Indeed, this
members of the body politic. This objective could be blunted by undue interference type of personality-driven project identification has not only contributed little to the
by the national government in purely local affairs which are best resolved by the overall development of the district, but has even contributed to "further weakening
officials and inhabitants of such political units. The decision we reach today infrastructure planning and coordination efforts of the government."

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Thus, insofar as individual legislators are authorized to intervene in purely local constitution means the setting apart a portion of the public funds for a public
matters and thereby subvert genuine local autonomy, the 2013 PDAF Article as well purpose. No particular form of words is necessary for the purpose, if the intention to
as all other similar forms of Congressional Pork Barrel is deemed unconstitutional. appropriate is plainly manifested. (Emphases supplied)
With this final issue on the Congressional Pork Barrel resolved, the Court now turns Thus, based on the foregoing, the Court cannot sustain the argument that the
to the substantive issues involving the Presidential Pork Barrel. appropriation must be the "primary and specific" purpose of the law in order for a
C. Substantive Issues on the Presidential Pork Barrel. valid appropriation law to exist. To reiterate, if a legal provision designates a
1. Validity of Appropriation. determinate or determinable amount of money and allocates the same for a
Petitioners preliminarily assail Section 8 of PD 910 and Section 12 of PD1869 (now, particular public purpose, then the legislative intent to appropriate becomes
amended by PD 1993), which respectively provide for the Malampaya Funds and the apparent and, hence, already sufficient to satisfy the requirement of an
Presidential Social Fund, as invalid appropriations laws since they do not have the "appropriation made by law" under contemplation of the Constitution.
"primary and specific" purpose of authorizing the release of public funds from the Section 8 of PD 910 pertinently provides:
National Treasury. Petitioners submit that Section 8 of PD 910 is not an appropriation Section 8. Appropriations. x x x
law since the "primary and specific purpose of PD 910 is the creation of an Energy All fees, revenues and receipts of the Board from any and all sources including
Development Board and Section 8 thereof only created a Special Fund incidental receipts from service contracts and agreements such as application and processing
thereto.237 In similar regard, petitioners argue that Section 12 of PD 1869 is neither a fees, signature bonus, discovery bonus, production bonus; all money collected from
valid appropriations law since the allocation of the Presidential Social Fund is merely concessionaires, representing unspent work obligations, fines and penalties under
incidental to the "primary and specific" purpose of PD 1869 which is the amendment the Petroleum Act of 1949; as well as the government share representing royalties,
of the Franchise and Powers of PAGCOR. 238 In view of the foregoing, petitioners rentals, production share on service contracts and similar payments on the
suppose that such funds are being used without any valid law allowing for their exploration, development and exploitation of energy resources, shall form part of a
proper appropriation in violation of Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution Special Fund to be used to finance energy resource development and exploitation
which states that: "No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance programs and projects of the government and for such other purposes as may be
of an appropriation made by law."239 hereafter directed by the President. (Emphases supplied)
The Court disagrees. Whereas Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, reads:
"An appropriation made by law under the contemplation of Section 29(1), Article VI Sec. 12. Special Condition of Franchise. After deducting five (5%) percent as
of the 1987 Constitution exists when a provision of law (a) sets apart a determinate Franchise Tax, the Fifty (50%) percent share of the Government in the aggregate
or determinable240 amount of money and (b) allocates the same for a particular gross earnings of the Corporation from this Franchise, or 60% if the aggregate gross
public purpose. These two minimum designations of amount and purpose stem from earnings be less than P150,000,000.00 shall be set aside and shall accrue to the
the very definition of the word "appropriation," which means "to allot, assign, set General Fund to finance the priority infrastructure development projects and to
apart or apply to a particular use or purpose," and hence, if written into the law, finance the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may
demonstrate that the legislative intent to appropriate exists. As the Constitution be directed and authorized by the Office of the President of the Philippines.
"does not provide or prescribe any particular form of words or religious recitals in (Emphases supplied)
which an authorization or appropriation by Congress shall be made, except that it be Analyzing the legal text vis--vis the above-mentioned principles, it may then be
made by law," an appropriation law may according to Philconsa be "detailed concluded that (a) Section 8 of PD 910, which creates a Special Fund comprised of
and as broad as Congress wants it to be" for as long as the intent to appropriate "all fees, revenues, and receipts of the Energy Development Board from any and all
may be gleaned from the same. As held in the case of Guingona, Jr.: 241 sources" (a determinable amount) "to be used to finance energy resource
There is no provision in our Constitution that provides or prescribes any particular development and exploitation programs and projects of the government and for
form of words or religious recitals in which an authorization or appropriation by such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" (a specified
Congress shall be made, except that it be "made by law," such as precisely the public purpose), and (b) Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, which
authorization or appropriation under the questioned presidential decrees. In other similarly sets aside, "after deducting five (5%) percent as Franchise Tax, the Fifty
words, in terms of time horizons, an appropriation may be made impliedly (as by (50%) percent share of the Government in the aggregate gross earnings of PAGCOR,
past but subsisting legislations) as well as expressly for the current fiscal year (as by or 60%, if the aggregate gross earnings be less thanP150,000,000.00" (also a
enactment of laws by the present Congress), just as said appropriation may be made determinable amount) "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects
in general as well as in specific terms. The Congressional authorization may be and x x x the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as
embodied in annual laws, such as a general appropriations act or in special may be directed and authorized by the Office of the President of the Philippines"
provisions of laws of general or special application which appropriate public funds (also a specified public purpose), are legal appropriations under Section 29(1),
for specific public purposes, such as the questioned decrees. An appropriation Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
measure is sufficient if the legislative intention clearly and certainly appears from In this relation, it is apropos to note that the 2013 PDAF Article cannot be properly
the language employed (In re Continuing Appropriations, 32 P. 272), whether in the deemed as a legal appropriation under the said constitutional provision precisely
past or in the present. (Emphases and underscoring supplied) because, as earlier stated, it contains post-enactment measures which effectively
Likewise, as ruled by the US Supreme Court in State of Nevada v. La Grave: 242 create a system of intermediate appropriations. These intermediate appropriations
To constitute an appropriation there must be money placed in a fund applicable to are the actual appropriations meant for enforcement and since they are made by
the designated purpose. The word appropriate means to allot, assign, set apart or individual legislators after the GAA is passed, they occur outside the law. As such,
apply to a particular use or purpose. An appropriation in the sense of the the Court observes that the real appropriation made under the 2013 PDAF Article is

Santiago v Guingona Page 49 of 106


not the P24.79 Billion allocated for the entire PDAF, but rather the post-enactment only to "energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the
determinations made by the individual legislators which are, to repeat, occurrences government."251 Thus, while Section 8 of PD 910 may have passed the completeness
outside of the law. Irrefragably, the 2013 PDAF Article does not constitute an test since the policy of energy development is clearly deducible from its text, the
"appropriation made by law" since it, in its truest sense, only authorizes individual phrase "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President"
legislators to appropriate in violation of the non-delegability principle as afore- under the same provision of law should nonetheless be stricken down as
discussed. unconstitutional as it lies independently unfettered by any sufficient standard of the
2. Undue Delegation. delegating law. This notwithstanding, it must be underscored that the rest of Section
On a related matter, petitioners contend that Section 8 of PD 910 constitutes an 8, insofar as it allows for the use of the Malampaya Funds "to finance energy
undue delegation of legislative power since the phrase "and for such other purposes resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government,"
as may be hereafter directed by the President" gives the President "unbridled remains legally effective and subsisting. Truth be told, the declared
discretion to determine for what purpose the funds will be used." 243 Respondents, on unconstitutionality of the aforementioned phrase is but an assurance that the
the other hand, urged the Court to apply the principle of ejusdem generis to the Malampaya Funds would be used as it should be used only in accordance with
same section and thus, construe the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be the avowed purpose and intention of PD 910.
hereafter directed by the President" to refer only to other purposes related "to As for the Presidential Social Fund, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that
energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the Section 12 of PD 1869 has already been amended by PD 1993 which thus moots the
government."244 parties submissions on the same.252 Nevertheless, since the amendatory provision
The Court agrees with petitioners submissions. may be readily examined under the current parameters of discussion, the Court
While the designation of a determinate or determinable amount for a particular proceeds to resolve its constitutionality.
public purpose is sufficient for a legal appropriation to exist, the appropriation law Primarily, Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, indicates that the
must contain adequate legislative guidelines if the same law delegates rule-making Presidential Social Fund may be used "to first, finance the priority infrastructure
authority to the Executive245 either for the purpose of (a) filling up the details of the development projects and second, to finance the restoration of damaged or
law for its enforcement, known as supplementary rule-making, or (b) ascertaining destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may be directed and authorized by the
facts to bring the law into actual operation, referred to as contingent rule- Office of the President of the Philippines." The Court finds that while the second
making.246 There are two (2) fundamental tests to ensure that the legislative indicated purpose adequately curtails the authority of the President to spend the
guidelines for delegated rule-making are indeed adequate. The first test is called the Presidential Social Fund only for restoration purposes which arise from calamities,
"completeness test." Case law states that a law is complete when it sets forth the first indicated purpose, however, gives him carte blanche authority to use the
therein the policy to be executed, carried out, or implemented by the delegate. On same fund for any infrastructure project he may so determine as a "priority". Verily,
the other hand, the second test is called the "sufficient standard test." Jurisprudence the law does not supply a definition of "priority in frastructure development projects"
holds that a law lays down a sufficient standard when it provides adequate and hence, leaves the President without any guideline to construe the same. To
guidelines or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the delegates note, the delimitation of a project as one of "infrastructure" is too broad of a
authority and prevent the delegation from running riot. 247 To be sufficient, the classification since the said term could pertain to any kind of facility. This may be
standard must specify the limits of the delegates authority, announce the legislative deduced from its lexicographic definition as follows: "the underlying framework of a
policy, and identify the conditions under which it is to be implemented. 248 system, especially public services and facilities (such as highways, schools, bridges,
In view of the foregoing, the Court agrees with petitioners that the phrase "and for sewers, and water-systems) needed to support commerce as well as economic and
such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" under Section 8 residential development."253 In fine, the phrase "to finance the priority infrastructure
of PD 910 constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power insofar as it does not development projects" must be stricken down as unconstitutional since similar to
lay down a sufficient standard to adequately determine the limits of the Presidents the above-assailed provision under Section 8 of PD 910 it lies independently
authority with respect to the purpose for which the Malampaya Funds may be used. unfettered by any sufficient standard of the delegating law. As they are severable,
As it reads, the said phrase gives the President wide latitude to use the Malampaya all other provisions of Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, remains
Funds for any other purpose he may direct and, in effect, allows him to unilaterally legally effective and subsisting.
appropriate public funds beyond the purview of the law. That the subject phrase may D. Ancillary Prayers. 1.
be confined only to "energy resource development and exploitation programs and Petitioners Prayer to be Furnished Lists and Detailed Reports.
projects of the government" under the principle of ejusdem generis, meaning that Aside from seeking the Court to declare the Pork Barrel System unconstitutional as
the general word or phrase is to be construed to include or be restricted to things the Court did so in the context of its pronouncements made in this Decision
akin to, resembling, or of the same kind or class as those specifically petitioners equally pray that the Executive Secretary and/or the DBM be ordered to
mentioned,249 is belied by three (3) reasons: first, the phrase "energy resource release to the CoA and to the public: (a) "the complete schedule/list of legislators
development and exploitation programs and projects of the government" states a who have availed of their PDAF and VILP from the years 2003 to 2013, specifying the
singular and general class and hence, cannot be treated as a statutory reference of use of the funds, the project or activity and the recipient entities or individuals, and
specific things from which the general phrase "for such other purposes" may be all pertinent data thereto" (PDAF Use Schedule/List); 254 and (b) "the use of the
limited; second, the said phrase also exhausts the class it represents, namely energy Executives lump-sum, discretionary funds, including the proceeds from the x x x
development programs of the government;250 and, third, the Executive department Malampaya Funds and remittances from the PAGCOR x x x from 2003 to 2013,
has, in fact, used the Malampaya Funds for non-energy related purposes under the specifying the x x x project or activity and the recipient entities or individuals, and
subject phrase, thereby contradicting respondents own position that it is limited all pertinent data thereto" 255 (Presidential Pork Use Report). Petitioners prayer is

Santiago v Guingona Page 50 of 106


grounded on Section 28, Article II and Section 7, Article III of the 1987 Constitution and/or the DBM of their requested PDAF Use Schedule/List and Presidential Pork Use
which read as follows: Report. Neither did petitioners assert any law or administrative issuance which
ARTICLE II would form the bases of the latters duty to furnish them with the documents
Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and requested. While petitioners pray that said information be equally released to the
implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public CoA, it must be pointed out that the CoA has not been impleaded as a party to these
interest. cases nor has it filed any petition before the Court to be allowed access to or to
ARTICLE III Sec. 7. compel the release of any official document relevant to the conduct of its audit
The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be investigations. While the Court recognizes that the information requested is a matter
recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to of significant public concern, however, if only to ensure that the parameters of
official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used disclosure are properly foisted and so as not to unduly hamper the equally important
as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such interests of the government, it is constrained to deny petitioners prayer on this
limitations as may be provided by law. score, without prejudice to a proper mandamus case which they, or even the CoA,
The Court denies petitioners submission. may choose to pursue through a separate petition.
Case law instructs that the proper remedy to invoke the right to information is to file It bears clarification that the Courts denial herein should only cover petitioners plea
a petition for mandamus. As explained in the case of Legaspi v. Civil Service to be furnished with such schedule/list and report and not in any way deny them, or
Commission:256 the general public, access to official documents which are already existing and of
While the manner of examining public records may be subject to reasonable public record. Subject to reasonable regulation and absent any valid statutory
regulation by the government agency in custody thereof, the duty to disclose the prohibition, access to these documents should not be proscribed. Thus, in Valmonte,
information of public concern, and to afford access to public records cannot be while the Court denied the application for mandamus towards the preparation of the
discretionary on the part of said agencies. Certainly, its performance cannot be list requested by petitioners therein, it nonetheless allowed access to the documents
made contingent upon the discretion of such agencies. Otherwise, the enjoyment of sought for by the latter, subject, however, to the custodians reasonable
the constitutional right may be rendered nugatory by any whimsical exercise of regulations,viz.:259
agency discretion. The constitutional duty, not being discretionary, its performance In fine, petitioners are entitled to access to the documents evidencing loans granted
may be compelled by a writ of mandamus in a proper case. by the GSIS, subject to reasonable regulations that the latter may promulgate
But what is a proper case for Mandamus to issue? In the case before Us, the public relating to the manner and hours of examination, to the end that damage to or loss
right to be enforced and the concomitant duty of the State are unequivocably set of the records may be avoided, that undue interference with the duties of the
forth in the Constitution. custodian of the records may be prevented and that the right of other persons
The decisive question on the propriety of the issuance of the writ of mandamus in entitled to inspect the records may be insured Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission,
this case is, whether the information sought by the petitioner is within the ambit of supra at p. 538, quoting Subido v. Ozaeta, 80 Phil. 383, 387. The petition, as to the
the constitutional guarantee. (Emphases supplied) second and third alternative acts sought to be done by petitioners, is meritorious.
Corollarily, in the case of Valmonte v. Belmonte Jr. 257 (Valmonte), it has been clarified However, the same cannot be said with regard to the first act sought by petitioners,
that the right to information does not include the right to compel the preparation of i.e.,
"lists, abstracts, summaries and the like." In the same case, it was stressed that it is "to furnish petitioners the list of the names of the Batasang Pambansa members
essential that the "applicant has a well -defined, clear and certain legal right to the belonging to the UNIDO and PDP-Laban who were able to secure clean loans
thing demanded and that it is the imperative duty of defendant to perform the act immediately before the February 7 election thru the intercession/marginal note of
required." Hence, without the foregoing substantiations, the Court cannot grant a the then First Lady Imelda Marcos."
particular request for information. The pertinent portions of Valmonte are hereunder The Court, therefore, applies the same treatment here.
quoted:258 2. Petitioners Prayer to Include Matters in Congressional Deliberations.
Although citizens are afforded the right to information and, pursuant thereto, are Petitioners further seek that the Court "order the inclusion in budgetary
entitled to "access to official records," the Constitution does not accord them a right deliberations with the Congress of all presently, off-budget, lump sum, discretionary
to compel custodians of official records to prepare lists, abstracts, summaries and funds including but not limited to, proceeds from the x x x Malampaya Fund,
the like in their desire to acquire information on matters of public concern. remittances from the PAGCOR and the PCSO or the Executives Social Funds." 260
It must be stressed that it is essential for a writ of mandamus to issue that the Suffice it to state that the above-stated relief sought by petitioners covers a matter
applicant has a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to the thing demanded and which is generally left to the prerogative of the political branches of government.
that it is the imperative duty of defendant to perform the act required. The Hence, lest the Court itself overreach, it must equally deny their prayer on this
corresponding duty of the respondent to perform the required act must be clear and score.
specific Lemi v. Valencia, G.R. No. L-20768, November 29,1968,126 SCRA 203; 3. Respondents Prayer to Lift TRO; Consequential Effects of Decision.
Ocampo v. Subido, G.R. No. L-28344, August 27, 1976, 72 SCRA 443. The final issue to be resolved stems from the interpretation accorded by the DBM to
The request of the petitioners fails to meet this standard, there being no duty on the the concept of released funds. In response to the Courts September 10, 2013 TRO
part of respondent to prepare the list requested. (Emphases supplied) that enjoined the release of the remaining PDAF allocated for the year 2013, the
In these cases, aside from the fact that none of the petitions are in the nature of DBM issued Circular Letter No. 2013-8 dated September 27, 2013 (DBM Circular
mandamus actions, the Court finds that petitioners have failed to establish a "a well- 2013-8) which pertinently reads as follows:
defined, clear and certain legal right" to be furnished by the Executive Secretary

Santiago v Guingona Page 51 of 106


3.0 Nonetheless, PDAF projects funded under the FY 2013 GAA, where a Special for the MDS for the authorized government-disbursing banks to, therefore, pay the
Allotment Release Order (SARO) has been issued by the DBM and such SARO has payees depending on the projects or projects covered by the SARO and the NCA.
been obligated by the implementing agencies prior to the issuance of the TRO, may Justice Bernabe: Are there instances that SAROs are cancelled or revoked?
continually be implemented and disbursements thereto effected by the agencies Atty. Ruiz: Your Honor, I would like to instead submit that there are instances that the
concerned. SAROs issued are withdrawn by the DBM.
Based on the text of the foregoing, the DBM authorized the continued Justice Bernabe: They are withdrawn?
implementation and disbursement of PDAF funds as long as they are: first, covered Atty. Ruiz: Yes, Your Honor x x x. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
by a SARO; and, second, that said SARO had been obligated by the implementing Thus, unless an NCA has been issued, public funds should not be treated as funds
agency concerned prior to the issuance of the Courts September 10, 2013 TRO. which have been "released." In this respect, therefore, the disbursement of 2013
Petitioners take issue with the foregoing circular, arguing that "the issuance of the PDAF funds which are only covered by obligated SAROs, and without any
SARO does not yet involve the release of funds under the PDAF, as release is only corresponding NCAs issued, must, at the time of this Decisions promulgation, be
triggered by the issuance of a Notice of Cash Allocation [(NCA)]." 261 As such, PDAF enjoined and consequently reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the general
disbursements, even if covered by an obligated SARO, should remain enjoined. fund. Verily, in view of the declared unconstitutionality of the 2013 PDAF Article, the
For their part, respondents espouse that the subject TRO only covers "unreleased funds appropriated pursuant thereto cannot be disbursed even though already
and unobligated allotments." They explain that once a SARO has been issued and obligated, else the Court sanctions the dealing of funds coming from an
obligated by the implementing agency concerned, the PDAF funds covered by the unconstitutional source.
same are already "beyond the reach of the TRO because they cannot be considered This same pronouncement must be equally applied to (a) the Malampaya Funds
as remaining PDAF." They conclude that this is a reasonable interpretation of the which have been obligated but not released meaning, those merely covered by a
TRO by the DBM.262 SARO under the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed
The Court agrees with petitioners in part. by the President" pursuant to Section 8 of PD 910; and (b) funds sourced from the
At the outset, it must be observed that the issue of whether or not the Courts Presidential Social Fund under the phrase "to finance the priority infrastructure
September 10, 2013 TRO should be lifted is a matter rendered moot by the present development projects" pursuant to Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993,
Decision. The unconstitutionality of the 2013 PDAF Article as declared herein has the which were altogether declared by the Court as unconstitutional. However, these
consequential effect of converting the temporary injunction into a permanent one. funds should not be reverted to the general fund as afore-stated but instead,
Hence, from the promulgation of this Decision, the release of the remaining PDAF respectively remain under the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund to
funds for 2013, among others, is now permanently enjoined. be utilized for their corresponding special purposes not otherwise declared as
The propriety of the DBMs interpretation of the concept of "release" must, unconstitutional.
nevertheless, be resolved as it has a practical impact on the execution of the current E. Consequential Effects of Decision.
Decision. In particular, the Court must resolve the issue of whether or not PDAF As a final point, it must be stressed that the Courts pronouncement anent the
funds covered by obligated SAROs, at the time this Decision is promulgated, may unconstitutionality of (a) the 2013 PDAF Article and its Special Provisions, (b) all
still be disbursed following the DBMs interpretation in DBM Circular 2013-8. other Congressional Pork Barrel provisions similar thereto, and (c) the phrases (1)
On this score, the Court agrees with petitioners posturing for the fundamental "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" under
reason that funds covered by an obligated SARO are yet to be "released" under legal Section 8 of PD 910, and (2) "to finance the priority infrastructure development
contemplation. A SARO, as defined by the DBM itself in its website, is "aspecific projects" under Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, must only be
authority issued to identified agencies to incur obligations not exceeding a given treated as prospective in effect in view of the operative fact doctrine.
amount during a specified period for the purpose indicated. It shall cover To explain, the operative fact doctrine exhorts the recognition that until the judiciary,
expenditures the release of which is subject to compliance with specific laws or in an appropriate case, declares the invalidity of a certain legislative or executive
regulations, or is subject to separate approval or clearance by competent act, such act is presumed constitutional and thus, entitled to obedience and respect
authority."263 and should be properly enforced and complied with. As explained in the recent case
Based on this definition, it may be gleaned that a SARO only evinces the existence of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporation, 266 the doctrine
of an obligation and not the directive to pay. Practically speaking, the SARO does not merely "reflects awareness that precisely because the judiciary is the governmental
have the direct and immediate effect of placing public funds beyond the control of organ which has the final say on whether or not a legislative or executive measure is
the disbursing authority. In fact, a SARO may even be withdrawn under certain valid, a period of time may have elapsed before it can exercise the power of judicial
circumstances which will prevent the actual release of funds. On the other hand, the review that may lead to a declaration of nullity. It would be to deprive the law of its
actual release of funds is brought about by the issuance of the NCA, 264 which is quality of fairness and justice then, if there be no recognition of what had transpired
subsequent to the issuance of a SARO. As may be determined from the statements prior to such adjudication." 267 "In the language of an American Supreme Court
of the DBM representative during the Oral Arguments:265 decision: The actual existence of a statute, prior to such a determination of
Justice Bernabe: Is the notice of allocation issued simultaneously with the SARO? unconstitutionality, is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot
xxxx justly be ignored."268
Atty. Ruiz: It comes after. The SARO, Your Honor, is only the go signal for the For these reasons, this Decision should be heretofore applied prospectively.
agencies to obligate or to enter into commitments. The NCA, Your Honor, is already Conclusion
the go signal to the treasury for us to be able to pay or to liquidate the amounts The Court renders this Decision to rectify an error which has persisted in the
obligated in the SARO; so it comes after. x x x The NCA, Your Honor, is the go signal chronicles of our history. In the final analysis, the Court must strike down the Pork

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Barrel System as unconstitutional in view of the inherent defects in the rules within Decree No. 1993, for both failing the sufficient standard test in violation of the
which it operates. To recount, insofar as it has allowed legislators to wield, in varying principle of non-delegability of legislative power.
gradations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget Accordingly, the Courts temporary injunction dated September 10, 2013 is hereby
execution, the system has violated the principle of separation of powers; insofar as it declared to be PERMANENT. Thus, the disbursement/release of the remaining PDAF
has conferred unto legislators the power of appropriation by giving them personal, funds allocated for the year 2013, as well as for all previous years, and the funds
discretionary funds from which they are able to fund specific projects which they sourced from (1) the Malampaya Funds under the phrase "and for such other
themselves determine, it has similarly violated the principle of non-delegability of purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" pursuant to Section 8 of
legislative power ; insofar as it has created a system of budgeting wherein items are Presidential Decree No. 910, and (2) the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase
not textualized into the appropriations bill, it has flouted the prescribed procedure of "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects" pursuant to Section 12
presentment and, in the process, denied the President the power to veto items ; of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, which
insofar as it has diluted the effectiveness of congressional oversight by giving are, at the time this Decision is promulgated, not covered by Notice of Cash
legislators a stake in the affairs of budget execution, an aspect of governance which Allocations (NCAs) but only by Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs), whether
they may be called to monitor and scrutinize, the system has equally impaired obligated or not, are hereby ENJOINED. The remaining PDAF funds covered by this
public accountability ; insofar as it has authorized legislators, who are national permanent injunction shall not be disbursed/released but instead reverted to the
officers, to intervene in affairs of purely local nature, despite the existence of unappropriated surplus of the general fund, while the funds under the Malampaya
capable local institutions, it has likewise subverted genuine local autonomy ; and Funds and the Presidential Social Fund shall remain therein to be utilized for their
again, insofar as it has conferred to the President the power to appropriate funds respective special purposes not otherwise declared as unconstitutional.
intended by law for energy-related purposes only to other purposes he may deem fit On the other hand, due to improper recourse and lack of proper substantiation, the
as well as other public funds under the broad classification of "priority infrastructure Court hereby DENIES petitioners prayer seeking that the Executive Secretary and/or
development projects," it has once more transgressed the principle of non- the Department of Budget and Management be ordered to provide the public and
delegability. the Commission on Audit complete lists/schedules or detailed reports related to the
For as long as this nation adheres to the rule of law, any of the multifarious availments and utilization of the funds subject of these cases. Petitioners access to
unconstitutional methods and mechanisms the Court has herein pointed out should official documents already available and of public record which are related to these
never again be adopted in any system of governance, by any name or form, by any funds must, however, not be prohibited but merely subjected to the custodians
semblance or similarity, by any influence or effect. Disconcerting as it is to think that reasonable regulations or any valid statutory prohibition on the same. This denial is
a system so constitutionally unsound has monumentally endured, the Court urges without prejudice to a proper mandamus case which they or the Commission on
the people and its co-stewards in government to look forward with the optimism of Audit may choose to pursue through a separate petition.
change and the awareness of the past. At a time of great civic unrest and vociferous The Court also DENIES petitioners prayer to order the inclusion of the funds subject
public debate, the Court fervently hopes that its Decision today, while it may not of these cases in the budgetary deliberations of Congress as the same is a matter
purge all the wrongs of society nor bring back what has been lost, guides this nation left to the prerogative of the political branches of government.
to the path forged by the Constitution so that no one may heretofore detract from its Finally, the Court hereby DIRECTS all prosecutorial organs of the government to,
cause nor stray from its course. After all, this is the Courts bounden duty and no within the bounds of reasonable dispatch, investigate and accordingly prosecute all
others. government officials and/or private individuals for possible criminal offenses related
WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED. In view of the constitutional to the irregular, improper and/or unlawful disbursement/utilization of all funds under
violations discussed in this Decision, the Court hereby declares as the Pork Barrel System.
UNCONSTITUTIONAL: (a) the entire 2013 PDAF Article; (b) all legal provisions of past This Decision is immediately executory but prospective in effect.
and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF SO ORDERED.
Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which authorize/d legislators
whether individually or collectively organized into committees to intervene, EN BANC
assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget G.R. No. L-2821 March 4, 1949
execution, such as but not limited to the areas of project identification, modification JOSE AVELINO, petitioner,
and revision of project identification, fund release and/or fund realignment, vs.
unrelated to the power of congressional oversight; (c) all legal provisions of past and MARIANO J. CUENCO, respondent.
present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles Vicente J. Francisco for petitioner.
and the various Congressional Insertions, which confer/red personal, lump-sum Office of the Solicitor General Felix Angelo Bautista, Ramon Diokno and
allocations to legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which Lorenzo M. Taada for respondent.
they themselves determine; (d) all informal practices of similar import and effect, Teehankee, Fernando, Sunico & Rodrigo; Vera, Montesines & Navarro;
which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting Felixberto M. Serrano and Vicente del Rosario as amici curiae.
to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (e) the phrases (1) "and for such other purposes
as may be hereafter directed by the President" under Section 8 of Presidential RESOLUTION
Decree No. 910 and (2) "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects" In G.R. No. L-2821, Avelino vs. Cuenco, the Court by a vote of six justices against
under Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential four resolved to deny the petition.

Santiago v Guingona Page 53 of 106


Without prejudice to the promulgation of a more extended opinion, this is now Melencio Arranz, Senate President Pro-tempore, urged by those senators present
written briefly to explain the principal grounds for the denial. took the Chair and proceeded with the session.
The Court believes the following essential facts have been established: Senator Cabili stood up, and asked that it be made of record it was so made
In the session of the Senate of February 18, 1949, Senator Lorenzo M. Taadare that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it incumbent
quested that his right to speak on the next session day, February 21, 1949, to upon Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz and the remaining members of the
formulate charges against the then Senate President Jose Avelino be reserved. His Senate to continue the session in order not to paralyze the functions of the Senate.
request was approved. Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz then suggested that respondent be designated
On February 21, 1949, hours before the opening of the session Senator Taada and to preside over the session which suggestion was carried unanimously. the
Senator Taada and Senator Prospero Sanidad filed with the Secretary of the Senate respondent thereupon took the Chair.
a resolution enumerating charges against the then Senate President and ordering Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which was approved Gregorio Abad was
the investigation thereof. appointedActing Secretary, because the Assistance Secretary, who was then acting
Although a sufficient number of senators to constitute a quorum were at the Senate as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter abandoned the session.
session hall at the appointed time (10:00 A.M.), and the petitioner was already in his Senator Taada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally able to deliver
office, said petitioner delayed his appearance at the session hall until about 11:35 his privilege speech. Thereafter Senator Sanidad read aloud the complete text of
A.M. When he finally ascended the rostrum, he did not immediately open the said Resolution (No. 68), and submitted his motion for approval thereof and the
session, but instead requested from the Secretary a copy of the resolution submitted same was unanimously approved.
by Senators Taada and Sanidad and in the presence of the public he read slowly With Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz again occupying the Chair, after the
and carefully said resolution, after which he called and conferred with his colleagues respondent had yielded it to him, Senator Sanidad introduced Resolution No. 67,
Senator Francisco and Tirona. entitled "Resolution declaring vacant the position of the President of the Senate and
Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the session be opened, the petitioner finally called designated the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco Acting President of the Senate." Put
the meeting to order. Except Senator Sotto who was confined in a hospital and to a vote, the said resolution was unanimously approved.
Senator Confesor who is in the United States, all the Senator were present. Senator Cuenco took the oath.
Senator Sanidad, following a long established practice, moved that the roll call be The next day the President of the Philippines recognized the respondent as acting
dispensed with, but Senator Tirona opposed said motion, obviously in pursuance of a president of the Philippines Senate.
premeditated plan of petitioner and his partisans to make use of dilatory tactics to By his petition in this quo warranto proceeding petitioners asked the Court to
prevent Senator Taada from delivering his privilege speech. The roll was called. declare him the rightful President of the Philippines senate and oust respondent.
Senator Sanidad next moved, as is the usual practice, to dispense with the reading The Court has examined all principal angles of the controversy and believes that
of the minutes, but this motion was likewise opposed by Senator Tirona and David, these are the crucial points:
evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-mentioned conspiracy. a. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the subject-matter?
Before and after the roll call and before and after the reading of the minutes, b. If it is has, were resolution Nos. 68 and 67 validly approved?
Senator Taada repeatedly stood up to claim his right to deliver his one-hour c. Should the petition be granted?
privilege speech but the petitioner, then presiding, continuosly ignored him; and To the first question, the answer is in the negative, in view of the separation of
when after the reading of the minutes, Senator Taada instead on being recognized powers, the political nature of the controversy (Alejandrino vs. Quezon, 46 Phil., 83;
by the Chair, the petitioner announced that he would order the arrest of any senator Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil., 1) and the
who would speak without being previously recognized by him, but all the while, constitutional grant to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which
tolerating the actions of his follower, Senator Tirona, who was continuously shouting power should not be interfered with, nor taken over, by the judiciary. We refused to
at Senator Sanidad "Out of order!" everytime the latter would ask for recognition of take cognizance of the Vera case even if the rights of the electors of the suspended
Senator Taada. senators were alleged affected without any immediate remedy. A fortiori we should
At this juncture, some disorderly conduct broke out in the Senate gallery, as if by abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding officer affect only the
pre-arrangement. At about this same time Senator Pablo Angeles David, one of the Senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers, change
petitioner's followers, was recognized by petitioner, and he moved for adjournment or reinstate them. Anyway, if, as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the
of session, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-mentioned conspiracy to majority of the Senators want petitioner to preside, his remedy lies in the Senate
muzzle Senator Taada. Session Hall not in the Supreme Court.
Senator Sanidad registered his opposition to the adjournment of the session and this The Court will not sally into the legitimate domain of the Senate on the plea that our
opposition was seconded by herein respondent who moved that the motion of refusal to intercede might lead into a crisis, even a resolution. No state of things has
adjournment be submitted to a vote. Another commotion ensued. been proved that might change the temper of the Filipino people as a peaceful and
Senator David reiterated his motion for adjournment and herein respondent also law-abiding citizens. And we should not allow ourselves to be stampeded into a rash
reiterated his opposition to the adjournment and again moved that the motion of action inconsistent with the calm that should characterized judicial deliberations.
Senator David be submitted to a vote. The precedent of Werts vs. Roger does not apply, because among other reasons, the
Suddenly, the petitioner banged the gavel and abandoning the Chair hurriedly situation is not where two sets of senators have constituted themselves into two
walked out of the session hall followed by Senator David, Tirona, Francisco, Torres, senates actually functioning as such, (as in said Werts case), there being no
Magalona and Clarin, while the rest of the senators remained. Whereupon Senator question that there is presently one Philippines Senate only. To their credit be it
recorded that petitioner and his partisans have not erected themselves

Santiago v Guingona Page 54 of 106


into another Senate. The petitioner's claim is merely that respondent has not been MARIA CAROLINA P. ARAULLO, CHAIRPERSON, BAGONG ALYANSANG
duly elected in his place in the same one Philippines Senate. MAKABAYAN; JUDY M. TAGUIWALO, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF THE
It is furthermore believed that the recognition accorded by the Chief Executive to PHILIPPINES DILIMAN, CO-CHAIRPERSON, PAGBABAGO; HENRI KAHN,
the respondent makes it advisable, more than ever, to adopt the hands-off policy CONCERNED CITIZENS MOVEMENT; REP. LUZ ILAGAN, GABRIELA WOMEN'S
wisely enunciated by this Court in matters of similar nature. PARTY REPRESENTATIVE; REP. CARLOS ISAGANI ZARATE, BAY AN MUNA
The second question depends upon these sub-questions. (1) Was the session of the PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE; RENATO M. REYES, JR., SECRETARY GENERAL
so-called rump Senate a continuation of the session validly assembled with twenty OF BAYAN; MANUEL K. DAYRIT, CHAIRMAN, ANG KAPATIRAN PARTY; VENCER
two Senators in the morning of February 21, 1949?; (2) Was there a quorum in that MARI E. CRISOSTOMO, CHAIRPERSON, ANAKBAYAN; VICTOR VILLANUEVA,
session? Mr. Justice Montemayor and Mr. Justice Reyes deem it useless, for the CONVENOR, YOUTH ACT NOW, Petitioners,
present to pass on these questions once it is held, as they do, that the Court has no vs.
jurisdiction over the case. What follows is the opinion of the other four on those four BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
on those sub-questions. PHILIPPINES; PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; AND
Supposing that the Court has jurisdiction, there is unanimity in the view that the FLORENCIO B. ABAD, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND
session under Senator Arranz was a continuation of the morning session and that a MANAGEMENT, Respondents.
minority of ten senators may not, by leaving the Hall, prevent the other twelve x-----------------------x
senators from passing a resolution that met with their unanimous endorsement. The G.R. No. 209135
answer might be different had the resolution been approved only by ten or less. AUGUSTO L. SY JUCO JR., Ph.D., Petitioner,
If the rump session was not a continuation of the morning session, was it validly vs.
constituted? In other words, was there the majority required by the Constitution for FLORENCIO B. ABAD, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE SECRETARY OF DEPARTMENT
the transaction of the business of the Senate? Justice Paras, Feria, Pablo and OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT; AND HON. FRANKLIN MAGTUNAO DRILON,
Bengzon say there was, firstly because the minute say so, secondly, because at the IN HIS CAP A CITY AS THE SENATE PRESIDENT OF THE
beginning of such session there were at least fourteen senators including Senators PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
Pendatun and Lopez, and thirdly because in view of the absence from the country of x-----------------------x
Senator Tomas Confesor twelve senators constitute a majority of the Senate of G.R. No. 209136
twelve three senators. When the Constitution declares that a majority of "each MANUELITO R. LUNA, Petitioner,
House" shall constitute aquorum, "the House: does not mean "all" the members. vs.
Even a majority of all the members constitute "the House". (Missouri Pac. vs. Kansas, SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS HEAD OF THE
63 Law ed. [U. S.], p. 239). There is a difference between a majority of "the House", DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT; AND EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
the latter requiring less number than the first. Therefore an absolute majority (12) of PAQUITO OCHOA, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ALTER EGO OF THE
all the members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional majority of PRESIDENT, Respondents.
the Senate for the purpose of a quorum. Mr. Justice Pablo believes furthermore than x-----------------------x
even if the twelve did not constitute a quorum, they could have ordered the arrest of G.R. No. 209155
one, at least, of the absent members; if one had been so arrested, there would be no ATTY. JOSE MALV AR VILLEGAS, JR., Petitioner,
doubt Quorum then, and Senator Cuenco would have been elected just the same vs.
inasmuch as there would be eleven for Cuenco, one against and one abstained. THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.; AND THE
In fine, all the four justice agree that the Court being confronted with the practical SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO B.
situation that of the twenty three senators who may participate in the Senate ABAD, Respondents.
deliberations in the days immediately after this decision, twelve senators will x-----------------------x
support Senator Cuenco and, at most, eleven will side with Senator Avelino, it would G.R. No. 209164
be most injudicious to declare the latter as the rightful President of the Senate, that PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), REPRESENTED BY
office being essentially one that depends exclusively upon the will of the majority of DEAN FROILAN M. BACUNGAN, BENJAMIN E. DIOKNO AND LEONOR M.
the senators, the rule of the Senate about tenure of the President of that body being BRIONES, Petitioners,
amenable at any time by that majority. And at any session hereafter held with vs.
thirteen or more senators, in order to avoid all controversy arising from the DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT AND/OR HON. FLORENCIO B.
divergence of opinion here aboutquorum and for the benefit of all concerned,the ABAD, Respondents.
said twelve senators who approved the resolutions herein involved could ratify all x-----------------------x
their acts and thereby place them beyond the shadow of a doubt. G.R. No. 209260
As already stated, the six justices hereinabove mentioned voted to dismiss the INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), Petitioner,
petition. Without costs. vs.
SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND
EN BANC MANAGEMENT (DBM),Respondent.
G.R. No. 209287 July 1, 2014 x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 209442

Santiago v Guingona Page 55 of 106


GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA; BISHOP REUBEN MABANTE AND REV. money pooled from programmed and unprogrammed funds of its various agencies in
JOSE L. GONZALEZ,Petitioners, the guise of the President exercising his constitutional authority under Section 25(5)
vs. of the 1987 Constitution to transfer funds out of savings to augment the
PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, THE SENATE OF THE appropriations of offices within the Executive Branch of the Government. But the
PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON; challenges are further complicated by the interjection of allegations of transfer of
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER FELICIANO funds to agencies or offices outside of the Executive.
BELMONTE, JR.; THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY EXECUTIVE Antecedents
SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.; THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND What has precipitated the controversy?
MANAGEMENT, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD; THE On September 25, 2013, Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada delivered a privilege speech in
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY CESAR V. the Senate of the Philippines to reveal that some Senators, including himself, had
PURISIMA; AND THE BUREAU OF TREASURY, REPRESENTED BY ROSALIA V. been allotted an additional P50 Million each as "incentive" for voting in favor of the
DE LEON, Respondents. impeachment of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.
x-----------------------x Responding to Sen. Estradas revelation, Secretary Florencio Abad of the DBM issued
G.R. No. 209517 a public statement entitled Abad: Releases to Senators Part of Spending Acceleration
CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADV AN CEMENT OF Program,1 explaining that the funds released to the Senators had been part of the
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE), REPRESENTED BY ITS 1ST VICE DAP, a program designed by the DBM to ramp up spending to accelerate economic
PRESIDENT, SANTIAGO DASMARINAS, JR.; ROSALINDA NARTATES, FOR expansion. He clarified that the funds had been released to the Senators based on
HERSELF AND AS NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE CONSOLIDATED UNION OF their letters of request for funding; and that it was not the first time that releases
EMPLOYEES NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (CUENHA); MANUEL from the DAP had been made because the DAP had already been instituted in 2011
BACLAGON, FOR HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIAL WELFARE to ramp up spending after sluggish disbursements had caused the growth of the
EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL gross domestic product (GDP) to slow down. He explained that the funds under the
WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRAL OFFICE (SWEAP-DSWD CO); DAP were usually taken from (1) unreleased appropriations under Personnel
ANTONIA PASCUAL, FOR HERSELF AND AS NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE Services;2 (2) unprogrammed funds; (3) carry-over appropriations unreleased from
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (DAREA); the previous year; and (4) budgets for slow-moving items or projects that had been
ALBERT MAGALANG, FOR HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE realigned to support faster-disbursing projects.
ENVIRONMENT AND MANAGEMENT BUREAU EMPLOYEES UNION (EMBEU); The DBM soon came out to claim in its website 3 that the DAP releases had been
AND MARCIAL ARABA, FOR HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE sourced from savings generated by the Government, and from unprogrammed
KAPISANAN PARA SA KAGALINGAN NG MGA KAW ANI NG MMDA funds; and that the savings had been derived from (1) the pooling of unreleased
(KKKMMDA), Petitioners, appropriations, like unreleased Personnel Services 4 appropriations that would lapse
vs. at the end of the year, unreleased appropriations of slow-moving projects and
BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO Ill, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE discontinued projects per zero based budgeting findings;5 and (2) the withdrawal of
PHILIPPINES; PAQUITO OCHOA, JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; AND HON. unobligated allotments also for slow-moving programs and projects that had been
FLORENCIO B. ABAD, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND earlier released to the agencies of the National Government.
MANAGEMENT, Respondents. The DBM listed the following as the legal bases for the DAPs use of
x-----------------------x savings,6 namely: (1) Section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, which
G.R. No. 209569 granted to the President the authority to augment an item for his office in the
VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION (VACC), REPRESENTED BY general appropriations law; (2) Section 49 (Authority to Use Savings for Certain
DANTE L. JIMENEZ,Petitioner, Purposes) and Section 38 (Suspension of Expenditure Appropriations), Chapter 5,
vs. Book VI of Executive Order (EO) No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987); and (3) the
PAQUITO N. OCHOA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, AND FLORENCIO B. ABAD, General Appropriations Acts (GAAs) of 2011, 2012 and 2013, particularly their
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND provisions on the (a) use of savings; (b) meanings of savings and augmentation; and
MANAGEMENT, Respondents. (c) priority in the use of savings.
DECISION As for the use of unprogrammed funds under the DAP, the DBM cited as legal bases
BERSAMIN, J.: the special provisions on unprogrammed fund contained in the GAAs of 2011, 2012
For resolution are the consolidated petitions assailing the constitutionality of the and 2013.
Disbursement Acceleration Program(DAP), National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 541, The revelation of Sen. Estrada and the reactions of Sec. Abad and the DBM brought
and related issuances of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the DAP to the consciousness of the Nation for the first time, and made this present
implementing the DAP. controversy inevitable. That the issues against the DAP came at a time when the
At the core of the controversy is Section 29(1) of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, Nation was still seething in anger over Congressional pork barrel "an appropriation
a provision of the fundamental law that firmly ordains that "[n]o money shall be paid of government spending meant for localized projects and secured solely or primarily
out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law." The tenor to bring money to a representatives district" 7 excited the Nation as heatedly as
and context of the challenges posed by the petitioners against the DAP indicate that the pork barrel controversy.
the DAP contravened this provision by allowing the Executive to allocate public

Santiago v Guingona Page 56 of 106


Nine petitions assailing the constitutionality of the DAP and the issuances relating to F. Whether or not the release of unprogrammed funds under the DAP was in accord
the DAP were filed within days of each other, as follows: G.R. No. 209135 (Syjuco), with the GAAs.
on October 7, 2013; G.R. No. 209136 (Luna), on October 7, 2013; G.R. No. 209155 During the oral arguments held on November 19, 2013, the Court directed Sec. Abad
(Villegas),8 on October 16, 2013; G.R. No. 209164 (PHILCONSA), on October 8, 2013; to submit a list of savings brought under the DAP that had been sourced from (a)
G.R. No. 209260 (IBP), on October 16, 2013; G.R. No. 209287 (Araullo), on October completed programs; (b) discontinued or abandoned programs; (c) unpaid
17, 2013; G.R. No. 209442 (Belgica), on October 29, 2013; G.R. No. 209517 appropriations for compensation; (d) a certified copy of the Presidents directive
(COURAGE), on November6, 2013; and G.R. No. 209569 (VACC), on November 8, dated June 27, 2012 referred to in NBC No. 541; and (e) all circulars or orders issued
2013. in relation to the DAP.9
In G.R. No. 209287 (Araullo), the petitioners brought to the Courts attention NBC No. In compliance, the OSG submitted several documents, as follows:
541 (Adoption of Operational Efficiency Measure Withdrawal of Agencies (1) A certified copy of the Memorandum for the President dated June 25, 2012
Unobligated Allotments as of June 30, 2012), alleging that NBC No. 541, which was (Omnibus Authority to Consolidate Savings/Unutilized Balances and their
issued to implement the DAP, directed the withdrawal of unobligated allotments as Realignment);10
of June 30, 2012 of government agencies and offices with low levels of obligations, (2) Circulars and orders, which the respondents identified as related to the DAP,
both for continuing and current allotments. namely:
In due time, the respondents filed their Consolidated Comment through the Office of a. NBC No. 528 dated January 3, 2011 (Guidelines on the Release of Funds for FY
the Solicitor General (OSG). 2011);
The Court directed the holding of oral arguments on the significant issues raised and b. NBC No. 535 dated December 29, 2011 (Guidelines on the Release of Funds for FY
joined. 2012);
Issues c. NBC No. 541 dated July 18, 2012 (Adoption of Operational Efficiency Measure
Under the Advisory issued on November 14, 2013, the presentations of the parties Withdrawal of Agencies Unobligated Allotments as of June 30, 2012);
during the oral arguments were limited to the following, to wit: d. NBC No. 545 dated January 2, 2013 (Guidelines on the Release of Funds for FY
Procedural Issue: 2013);
A. Whether or not certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus are proper remedies to e. DBM Circular Letter No. 2004-2 dated January 26, 2004 (Budgetary Treatment of
assail the constitutionality and validity of the Disbursement Acceleration Program Commitments/Obligations of the National Government);
(DAP), National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 541, and all other executive issuances f. COA-DBM Joint Circular No. 2013-1 dated March 15, 2013 (Revised Guidelines on
allegedly implementing the DAP. Subsumed in this issue are whether there is a the Submission of Quarterly Accountability Reports on Appropriations, Allotments,
controversy ripe for judicial determination, and the standing of petitioners. Obligations and Disbursements);
Substantive Issues: g. NBC No. 440 dated January 30, 1995 (Adoption of a Simplified Fund Release
B. Whether or not the DAP violates Sec. 29, Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution, which System in the Government).
provides: "No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an (3) A breakdown of the sources of savings, including savings from discontinued
appropriation made by law." projects and unpaid appropriations for compensation from 2011 to 2013
C. Whether or not the DAP, NBC No. 541, and all other executive issuances allegedly On January 28, 2014, the OSG, to comply with the Resolution issued on January 21,
implementing the DAP violate Sec. 25(5), Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution insofar as: 2014 directing the respondents to submit the documents not yet submitted in
(a)They treat the unreleased appropriations and unobligated allotments withdrawn compliance with the directives of the Court or its Members, submitted several
from government agencies as "savings" as the term is used in Sec. 25(5), in relation evidence packets to aid the Court in understanding the factual bases of the DAP, to
to the provisions of the GAAs of 2011, 2012 and 2013; wit:
(b)They authorize the disbursement of funds for projects or programs not provided in (1) First Evidence Packet11 containing seven memoranda issued by the DBM
the GAAs for the Executive Department; and through Sec. Abad, inclusive of annexes, listing in detail the 116 DAP identified
(c)They "augment" discretionary lump sum appropriations in the GAAs. projects approved and duly signed by the President, as follows:
D. Whether or not the DAP violates: (1) the Equal Protection Clause, (2) the system a. Memorandum for the President dated October 12, 2011 (FY 2011 Proposed
of checks and balances, and (3) the principle of public accountability enshrined in Disbursement Acceleration Program (Projects and Sources of Funds);
the 1987 Constitution considering that it authorizes the release of funds upon the b. Memorandum for the President dated December 12, 2011 (Omnibus Authority to
request of legislators. Consolidate Savings/Unutilized Balances and its Realignment);
E. Whether or not factual and legal justification exists to issue a temporary c. Memorandum for the President dated June 25, 2012 (Omnibus Authority to
restraining order to restrain the implementation of the DAP, NBC No. 541, and all Consolidate Savings/Unutilized Balances and their Realignment);
other executive issuances allegedly implementing the DAP. d. Memorandum for the President dated September 4, 2012 (Release of funds for
In its Consolidated Comment, the OSG raised the matter of unprogrammed funds in other priority projects and expenditures of the Government);
order to support its argument regarding the Presidents power to spend. During the e. Memorandum for the President dated December 19, 2012 (Proposed Priority
oral arguments, the propriety of releasing unprogrammed funds to support projects Projects and Expenditures of the Government);
under the DAP was considerably discussed. The petitioners in G.R. No. 209287 f. Memorandum for the President dated May 20, 2013 (Omnibus Authority to
(Araullo) and G.R. No. 209442 (Belgica) dwelled on unprogrammed funds in their Consolidate Savings/Unutilized Balances and their Realignment to Fund the
respective memoranda. Hence, an additional issue for the oral arguments is stated Quarterly Disbursement Acceleration Program); and
as follows:

Santiago v Guingona Page 57 of 106


g. Memorandum for the President dated September 25, 2013 (Funding for the Task G.R. No. 209442 (Belgica) Certiorari
Force Pablo Rehabilitation Plan).
(2) Second Evidence Packet12 consisting of 15 applications of the DAP, with their
corresponding Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) and appropriation covers; G.R. No. 209517 (COURAGE) Certiorari and Prohibition
(3) Third Evidence Packet13 containing a list and descriptions of 12 projects under
the DAP;
(4) Fourth Evidence Packet14 identifying the DAP-related portions of the Annual G.R. No. 209569 (VACC) Certiorari and Prohibition
Financial Report (AFR) of the Commission on Audit for 2011 and 2012;
(5) Fifth Evidence Packet15 containing a letter of Department of Transportation and
Communications(DOTC) Sec. Joseph Abaya addressed to Sec. Abad recommending The respondents submit that there is no actual controversy that is ripe for
the withdrawal of funds from his agency, inclusive of annexes; and adjudication in the absence of adverse claims between the parties; 19 that the
(6) Sixth Evidence Packet16 a print-out of the Solicitor Generals visual presentation petitioners lacked legal standing to sue because no allegations were made to the
for the January 28, 2014 oral arguments. effect that they had suffered any injury as a result of the adoption of the DAP and
On February 5, 2014,17 the OSG forwarded the Seventh Evidence Packet, 18 which issuance of NBC No. 541; that their being taxpayers did not immediately confer upon
listed the sources of funds brought under the DAP, the uses of such funds per project the petitioners the legal standing to sue considering that the adoption and
or activity pursuant to DAP, and the legal bases thereof. implementation of the DAP and the issuance of NBC No. 541 were not in the exercise
On February 14, 2014, the OSG submitted another set of documents in further of the taxing or spending power of Congress;20 and that even if the petitioners had
compliance with the Resolution dated January 28, 2014, viz: suffered injury, there were plain, speedy and adequate remedies in the ordinary
(1) Certified copies of the certifications issued by the Bureau of Treasury to the course of law available to them, like assailing the regularity of the DAP and related
effect that the revenue collections exceeded the original revenue targets for the issuances before the Commission on Audit (COA) or in the trial courts. 21
years 2011, 2012 and 2013, including collections arising from sources not The respondents aver that the special civil actions of certiorari and prohibition are
considered in the original revenue targets, which certifications were required for the not proper actions for directly assailing the constitutionality and validity of the DAP,
release of the unprogrammed funds as provided in Special Provision No. 1 of Article NBC No. 541, and the other executive issuances implementing the DAP. 22
XLV, Article XVI, and Article XLV of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 GAAs; and (2) A report In their memorandum, the respondents further contend that there is no authorized
on releases of savings of the Executive Department for the use of the Constitutional proceeding under the Constitution and the Rules of Court for questioning the validity
Commissions and other branches of the Government, as well as the fund releases to of any law unless there is an actual case or controversy the resolution of which
the Senate and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). requires the determination of the constitutional question; that the jurisdiction of the
RULING Court is largely appellate; that for a court of law to pass upon the constitutionality of
I. a law or any act of the Government when there is no case or controversy is for that
Procedural Issue: court to set itself up as a reviewer of the acts of Congress and of the President in
a) The petitions under Rule 65 are proper remedies violation of the principle of separation of powers; and that, in the absence of a
All the petitions are filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, and include pending case or controversy involving the DAP and NBC No. 541, any decision herein
applications for the issuance of writs of preliminary prohibitory injunction or could amount to a mere advisory opinion that no court can validly render. 23
temporary restraining orders. More specifically, the nature of the petitions is The respondents argue that it is the application of the DAP to actual situations that
individually set forth hereunder, to wit: the petitioners can question either in the trial courts or in the COA; that if the
petitioners are dissatisfied with the ruling either of the trial courts or of the COA,
they can appeal the decision of the trial courts by petition for review on certiorari, or
G.R. No. 209135 (Syjuco) Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus assail the decision or final order of the COA by special civil action for certiorari under
Rule 64 of the Rules of Court.24
The respondents arguments and submissions on the procedural issue are bereft of
G.R. No. 209136 (Luna) Certiorariand Prohibition merit.
Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution expressly provides:
Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
G.R. No. 209155 (Villegas) Certiorariand Prohibition courts as may be established by law.
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
G.R. No. 209164 (PHILCONSA) Certiorariand Prohibition
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
G.R. No. 209260 (IBP) Prohibition Government.
Thus, the Constitution vests judicial power in the Court and in such lower courts as
may be established by law. In creating a lower court, Congress concomitantly
G.R. No. 209287 (Araullo) Certiorariand Prohibition determines the jurisdiction of that court, and that court, upon its creation, becomes
by operation of the Constitution one of the repositories of judicial power. 25 However,

Santiago v Guingona Page 58 of 106


only the Court is a constitutionally created court, the rest being created by Congress May I ask the Commissioners opinion about that?
in its exercise of the legislative power. MR. CONCEPCION. The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to grant declaratory
The Constitution states that judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice judgments.
not only "to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman used the term "judicial power" but judicial power is
demandable and enforceable" but also "to determine whether or not there has been not vested in the Supreme Court alone but also in other lower courts as may be
a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of created by law.
any branch or instrumentality of the Government." It has thereby expanded the MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.
concept of judicial power, which up to then was confined to its traditional ambit of MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only an example?
settling actual controversies involving rights that were legally demandable and MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this is not. The Gentleman seems to identify political
enforceable. questions with jurisdictional questions. But there is a difference.
The background and rationale of the expansion of judicial power under the 1987 MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the expression "judicial power"?
Constitution were laid out during the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial power, as I said, refers to ordinary cases but where
Commission by Commissioner Roberto R. Concepcion (a former Chief Justice of the there is a question as to whether the government had authority or had abused its
Philippines) in his sponsorship of the proposed provisions on the Judiciary, where he authority to the extent of lacking jurisdiction or excess of jurisdiction, that is not a
said: political question. Therefore, the court has the duty to decide. 27
The Supreme Court, like all other courts, has one main function: to settle actual Our previous Constitutions equally recognized the extent of the power of judicial
controversies involving conflicts of rights which are demandable and enforceable. review and the great responsibility of the Judiciary in maintaining the allocation of
There are rights which are guaranteed by law but cannot be enforced by a judicial powers among the three great branches of Government. Speaking for the Court in
party. In a decided case, a husband complained that his wife was unwilling to Angara v. Electoral Commission,28 Justice Jose P. Laurel intoned:
perform her duties as a wife. The Court said: "We can tell your wife what her duties x x x In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of
as such are and that she is bound to comply with them, but we cannot force her the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In
physically to discharge her main marital duty to her husband. There are some rights cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can
guaranteed by law, but they are so personal that to enforce them by actual be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several
compulsion would be highly derogatory to human dignity." This is why the first part department and among the integral or constituent units thereof.
of the second paragraph of Section 1 provides that: Judicial power includes the duty xxxx
of courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine
or enforceable the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for
The courts, therefore, cannot entertain, much less decide, hypothetical questions. In the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary
a presidential system of government, the Supreme Court has, also, another mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority
important function. The powers of government are generally considered divided into over the other department; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the
three branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the
within its own sphere and independent of the others. Because of that supremacy Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and
power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice. to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed
offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the
is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of Constitution. x x x29
its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so What are the remedies by which the grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government
jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass may be determined under the Constitution?
judgmenton matters of this nature. The present Rules of Court uses two special civil actions for determining and
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts correcting grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that These are the special civil actions for certiorari and prohibition, and both are
such matters constitute a political question. (Bold emphasis supplied) 26 governed by Rule 65. A similar remedy of certiorari exists under Rule 64, but the
Upon interpellation by Commissioner Nolledo, Commissioner Concepcion clarified remedy is expressly applicable only to the judgments and final orders or resolutions
the scope of judicial power in the following manner: of the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit.
MR. NOLLEDO. x x x The ordinary nature and function of the writ of certiorari in our present system are
The second paragraph of Section 1 states: "Judicial power includes the duty of courts aptly explained in Delos Santos v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company: 30
of justice to settle actual controversies" The term "actual controversies" according In the common law, from which the remedy of certiorari evolved, the writ of
to the Commissioner should refer to questions which are political in nature and, certiorari was issued out of Chancery, or the Kings Bench, commanding agents or
therefore, the courts should not refuse to decide those political questions. But do I officers of the inferior courts to return the record of a cause pending before them, so
understand it right that this is restrictive or only an example? I know there are cases as to give the party more sure and speedy justice, for the writ would enable the
which are not actual yet the court can assume jurisdiction. An example is the superior court to determine from an inspection of the record whether the inferior
petition for declaratory relief. courts judgment was rendered without authority. The errors were of such a nature

Santiago v Guingona Page 59 of 106


that, if allowed to stand, they would result in a substantial injury to the petitioner to be issued to correct errors of jurisdiction committed not only by a tribunal,
whom no other remedy was available. If the inferior court acted without authority, corporation, board or officer exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions
the record was then revised and corrected in matters of law. The writ of certiorari but also to set right, undo and restrain any act of grave abuse of discretion
was limited to cases in which the inferior court was said to be exceeding its amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by any branch or instrumentality of the
jurisdiction or was not proceeding according to essential requirements of law and Government, even if the latter does not exercise judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial
would lie only to review judicial or quasi-judicial acts. functions. This application is expressly authorized by the text of the second
The concept of the remedy of certiorari in our judicial system remains much the paragraph of Section 1, supra.
same as it has been in the common law. In this jurisdiction, however, the exercise of Thus, petitions for certiorari and prohibition are appropriate remedies to raise
the power to issue the writ of certiorari is largely regulated by laying down the constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit or nullify the acts of legislative
instances or situations in the Rules of Court in which a superior court may issue the and executive officials.34
writ of certiorari to an inferior court or officer. Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Necessarily, in discharging its duty under Section 1, supra, to set right and undo any
Court compellingly provides the requirements for that purpose, viz: act of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by any
xxxx branch or instrumentality of the Government, the Court is not at all precluded from
The sole office of the writ of certiorari is the correction of errors of jurisdiction, which making the inquiry provided the challenge was properly brought by interested or
includes the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of affected parties. The Court has been thereby entrusted expressly or by necessary
jurisdiction. In this regard, mere abuse of discretion is not enough to warrant the implication with both the duty and the obligation of determining, in appropriate
issuance of the writ. The abuse of discretion must be grave, which means either that cases, the validity of any assailed legislative or executive action. This entrustment is
the judicial or quasi-judicial power was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner consistent with the republican system of checks and balances. 35
by reason of passion or personal hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or Following our recent dispositions concerning the congressional pork barrel, the Court
board evaded a positive duty, or virtually refused to perform the duty enjoined or to has become more alert to discharge its constitutional duty. We will not now refrain
act in contemplation of law, such as when such judge, tribunal or board exercising from exercising our expanded judicial power in order to review and determine, with
judicial or quasi-judicial powers acted in a capricious or whimsical manner as to be authority, the limitations on the Chief Executives spending power.
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.31 b) Requisites for the exercise of the
Although similar to prohibition in that it will lie for want or excess of jurisdiction, power of judicial review were
certiorari is to be distinguished from prohibition by the fact that it is a corrective complied with
remedy used for the re-examination of some action of an inferior tribunal, and is The requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial review are the following,
directed to the cause or proceeding in the lower court and not to the court itself, namely: (1) there must bean actual case or justiciable controversy before the Court;
while prohibition is a preventative remedy issuing to restrain future action, and is (2) the question before the Court must be ripe for adjudication; (3) the person
directed to the court itself.32 The Court expounded on the nature and function of the challenging the act must be a proper party; and (4) the issue of constitutionality
writ of prohibition in Holy Spirit Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Defensor: 33 must be raised at the earliest opportunity and must be the very litis mota of the
A petition for prohibition is also not the proper remedy to assail an IRR issued in the case.36
exercise of a quasi-legislative function. Prohibition is an extraordinary writ directed The first requisite demands that there be an actual case calling for the exercise of
against any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person, whether exercising judicial power by the Court.37 An actual case or controversy, in the words of Belgica
judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions, ordering said entity or person to desist v. Executive Secretary Ochoa:38
from further proceedings when said proceedings are without or in excess of said x x x is one which involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal
entitys or persons jurisdiction, or are accompanied with grave abuse of discretion, claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or
and there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the abstract difference or dispute. In other words, "[t]here must be a contrariety of legal
ordinary course of law. Prohibition lies against judicial or ministerial functions, but rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and
not against legislative or quasi-legislative functions. Generally, the purpose of a writ jurisprudence." Related to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the
of prohibition is to keep a lower court within the limits of its jurisdiction in order to requirement of "ripeness," meaning that the questions raised for constitutional
maintain the administration of justice in orderly channels. Prohibition is the proper scrutiny are already ripe for adjudication. "A question is ripe for adjudication when
remedy to afford relief against usurpation of jurisdiction or power by an inferior the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual
court, or when, in the exercise of jurisdiction in handling matters clearly within its challenging it. It is a prerequisite that something had then been accomplished or
cognizance the inferior court transgresses the bounds prescribed to it by the law, or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture, and the
where there is no adequate remedy available in the ordinary course of law by which petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to itself as
such relief can be obtained. Where the principal relief sought is to invalidate an IRR, a result of the challenged action." "Withal, courts will decline to pass upon
petitioners remedy is an ordinary action for its nullification, an action which properly constitutional issues through advisory opinions, bereft as they are of authority to
falls under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. In any case, petitioners resolve hypothetical or moot questions."
allegation that "respondents are performing or threatening to perform functions An actual and justiciable controversy exists in these consolidated cases. The
without or in excess of their jurisdiction" may appropriately be enjoined by the trial incompatibility of the perspectives of the parties on the constitutionality of the DAP
court through a writ of injunction or a temporary restraining order. and its relevant issuances satisfy the requirement for a conflict between legal rights.
With respect to the Court, however, the remedies of certiorari and prohibition are The issues being raised herein meet the requisite ripeness considering that the
necessarily broader in scope and reach, and the writ of certiorari or prohibition may challenged executive acts were already being implemented by the DBM, and there

Santiago v Guingona Page 60 of 106


are averments by the petitioners that such implementation was repugnant to the The question on legal standing is whether such parties have "alleged such a
letter and spirit of the Constitution. Moreover, the implementation of the DAP personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
entailed the allocation and expenditure of huge sums of public funds. The fact that adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so
public funds have been allocated, disbursed or utilized by reason or on account of largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." Accordingly, it
such challenged executive acts gave rise, therefore, to an actual controversy that is has been held that the interest of a person assailing the constitutionality of a statute
ripe for adjudication by the Court. must be direct and personal. He must be able to show, not only that the law or any
It is true that Sec. Abad manifested during the January 28, 2014 oral arguments that government act is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of
the DAP as a program had been meanwhile discontinued because it had fully served sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he
its purpose, saying: "In conclusion, Your Honors, may I inform the Court that because suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining
the DAP has already fully served its purpose, the Administrations economic has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully
managers have recommended its termination to the President. x x x." 39 entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason
The Solicitor General then quickly confirmed the termination of the DAP as a of the statute or act complained of.
program, and urged that its termination had already mooted the challenges to the It is true that as early as in 1937, in People v. Vera, the Court adopted the direct
DAPs constitutionality, viz: injury test for determining whether a petitioner in a public action had locus standi.
DAP as a program, no longer exists, thereby mooting these present cases brought to There, the Court held that the person who would assail the validity of a statute must
challenge its constitutionality. Any constitutional challenge should no longer be at have "a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or
the level of the program, which is now extinct, but at the level of its prior will sustain direct injury as a result." Vera was followed in Custodio v. President of
applications or the specific disbursements under the now defunct policy. We the Senate, Manila Race Horse Trainers Association v. De la Fuente, Anti-Chinese
challenge the petitioners to pick and choose which among the 116 DAP projects they League of the Philippines v. Felix, and Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works.
wish to nullify, the full details we will have provided by February 5. We urge this Yet, the Court has also held that the requirement of locus standi, being a mere
Court to be cautious in limiting the constitutional authority of the President and the procedural technicality, can be waived by the Court in the exercise of its discretion.
Legislature to respond to the dynamic needs of the country and the evolving For instance, in 1949, in Araneta v. Dinglasan, the Court liberalized the approach
demands of governance, lest we end up straight jacketing our elected when the cases had "transcendental importance." Some notable controversies
representatives in ways not consistent with our constitutional structure and whose petitioners did not pass the direct injury test were allowed to be treated in
democratic principles.40 the same way as in Araneta v. Dinglasan.
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by In the 1975 decision in Aquino v. Commission on Elections, this Court decided to
virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical resolve the issues raised by the petition due to their "far reaching implications,"
use or value.41 even if the petitioner had no personality to file the suit. The liberal approach of
The Court cannot agree that the termination of the DAP as a program was a Aquino v. Commission on Elections has been adopted in several notable cases,
supervening event that effectively mooted these consolidated cases. Verily, the permitting ordinary citizens, legislators, and civic organizations to bring their suits
Court had in the past exercised its power of judicial review despite the cases being involving the constitutionality or validity of laws, regulations, and rulings.
rendered moot and academic by supervening events, like: (1) when there was a However, the assertion of a public right as a predicate for challenging a supposedly
grave violation of the Constitution; (2) when the case involved a situation of illegal or unconstitutional executive or legislative action rests on the theory that the
exceptional character and was of paramount public interest; (3) when the petitioner represents the public in general. Although such petitioner may not be as
constitutional issue raised required the formulation of controlling principles to guide adversely affected by the action complained against as are others, it is enough that
the Bench, the Bar and the public; and (4) when the case was capable of repetition he sufficiently demonstrates in his petition that he is entitled to protection or relief
yet evading review.42 from the Court in the vindication of a public right.
Assuming that the petitioners several submissions against the DAP were ultimately Quite often, as here, the petitioner in a public action sues as a citizen or taxpayer to
sustained by the Court here, these cases would definitely come under all the gain locus standi. That is not surprising, for even if the issue may appear to concern
exceptions. Hence, the Court should not abstain from exercising its power of judicial only the public in general, such capacities nonetheless equip the petitioner with
review. adequate interest to sue. In David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, the Court aptly explains
Did the petitioners have the legal standing to sue? why:
Legal standing, as a requisite for the exercise of judicial review, refers to "a right of Case law in most jurisdiction snow allows both "citizen" and "taxpayer" standing in
appearance in a court of justice on a given question." 43 The concept of legal public actions. The distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk, where it was
standing, or locus standi, was particularly discussed in De Castro v. Judicial and Bar held that the plaintiff in a taxpayers suit is in a different category from the plaintiff
Council,44 where the Court said: in a citizens suit. In the former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public
In public or constitutional litigations, the Court is often burdened with the funds, while in the latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public concern. As
determination of the locus standi of the petitioners due to the ever-present need to held by the New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v. Collins: "In matter of
regulate the invocation of the intervention of the Court to correct any official action mere public right, howeverthe people are the real partiesIt is at least the right, if
or policy in order to avoid obstructing the efficient functioning of public officials and not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly
offices involved in public service. It is required, therefore, that the petitioner must pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied." With respect to
have a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy, for, as indicated in Agan, taxpayers suits, Terr v. Jordan held that "the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to
Jr. v. Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc.:

Santiago v Guingona Page 61 of 106


maintain an action in courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury beginning, enormous public expenditures were spent for war activities, preservation
cannot be denied."45 of peace and order, security, administration of justice, religion, and supply of limited
The Court has cogently observed in Agan, Jr. v. Philippine International Air Terminals goods and services.56 In order to finance those expenditures, the State raised
Co., Inc.46 that "[s]tanding is a peculiar concept in constitutional law because in revenues through taxes and impositions.57 Thus, budgeting became necessary to
some cases, suits are not brought by parties who have been personally injured by allocate public revenues for specific government functions. 58 The States budgeting
the operation of a law or any other government act but by concerned citizens, mechanism eventually developed through the years with the growing functions of its
taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest." government and changes in its market economy.
Except for PHILCONSA, a petitioner in G.R. No. 209164, the petitioners have invoked The Philippine Budget System has been greatly influenced by western public
their capacities as taxpayers who, by averring that the issuance and implementation financial institutions. This is because of the countrys past as a colony successively
of the DAP and its relevant issuances involved the illegal disbursements of public of Spain and the United States for a long period of time. Many aspects of the
funds, have an interest in preventing the further dissipation of public funds. The countrys public fiscal administration, including its Budget System, have been
petitioners in G.R. No. 209287 (Araullo) and G.R. No. 209442 (Belgica) also assert naturally patterned after the practices and experiences of the western public
their right as citizens to sue for the enforcement and observance of the financial institutions. At any rate, the Philippine Budget System is presently guided
constitutional limitations on the political branches of the Government. 47 by two principal objectives that are vital to the development of a progressive
On its part, PHILCONSA simply reminds that the Court has long recognized its legal democratic government, namely: (1) to carry on all government activities under a
standing to bring cases upon constitutional issues. 48 Luna, the petitioner in G.R. No. comprehensive fiscal plan developed, authorized and executed in accordance with
209136, cites his additional capacity as a lawyer. The IBP, the petitioner in G.R. No. the Constitution, prevailing statutes and the principles of sound public management;
209260, stands by "its avowed duty to work for the rule of law and of paramount and (2) to provide for the periodic review and disclosure of the budgetary status of
importance of the question in this action, not to mention its civic duty as the official the Government in such detail so that persons entrusted by law with the
association of all lawyers in this country."49 responsibility as well as the enlightened citizenry can determine the adequacy of the
Under their respective circumstances, each of the petitioners has established budget actions taken, authorized or proposed, as well as the true financial position
sufficient interest in the outcome of the controversy as to confer locus standi on of the Government.59
each of them. b) Evolution of the Philippine Budget System
In addition, considering that the issues center on the extent of the power of the The budget process in the Philippines evolved from the early years of the American
Chief Executive to disburse and allocate public funds, whether appropriated by Regime up to the passage of the Jones Law in 1916. A Budget Office was created
Congress or not, these cases pose issues that are of transcendental importance to within the Department of Finance by the Jones Law to discharge the budgeting
the entire Nation, the petitioners included. As such, the determination of such function, and was given the responsibility to assist in the preparation of an executive
important issues call for the Courts exercise of its broad and wise discretion "to budget for submission to the Philippine Legislature. 60
waive the requirement and so remove the impediment to its addressing and As early as under the 1935 Constitution, a budget policy and a budget procedure
resolving the serious constitutional questions raised." 50 were established, and subsequently strengthened through the enactment of laws
II. and executive acts.61 EO No. 25, issued by President Manuel L. Quezon on April 25,
Substantive Issues 1936, created the Budget Commission to serve as the agency that carried out the
1. Presidents responsibility of preparing the budget. 62 CA No. 246, the first budget law,
Overview of the Budget System went into effect on January 1, 1938 and established the Philippine budget process.
An understanding of the Budget System of the Philippines will aid the Court in The law also provided a line-item budget as the framework of the Governments
properly appreciating and justly resolving the substantive issues. budgeting system,63 with emphasis on the observance of a "balanced budget" to tie
a) Origin of the Budget System up proposed expenditures with existing revenues.
The term "budget" originated from the Middle English word bouget that had derived CA No. 246 governed the budget process until the passage on June 4, 1954 of
from the Latin word bulga (which means bag or purse).51 Republic Act (RA) No. 992,whereby Congress introduced performance-budgeting to
In the Philippine setting, Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 246 (Budget Act) defined give importance to functions, projects and activities in terms of expected
"budget" as the financial program of the National Government for a designated fiscal results.64 RA No. 992 also enhanced the role of the Budget Commission as the fiscal
year, consisting of the statements of estimated receipts and expenditures for the arm of the Government.65
fiscal year for which it was intended to be effective based on the results of The 1973 Constitution and various presidential decrees directed a series of
operations during the preceding fiscal years. The term was given a different budgetary reforms that culminated in the enactment of PD No. 1177 that President
meaning under Republic Act No. 992 (Revised Budget Act) by describing the budget Marcos issued on July30, 1977, and of PD No. 1405, issued on June 11, 1978. The
as the delineation of the services and products, or benefits that would accrue to the latter decree converted the Budget Commission into the Ministry of Budget, and
public together with the estimated unit cost of each type of service, product or gave its head the rank of a Cabinet member.
benefit.52 For a forthright definition, budget should simply be identified as the The Ministry of Budget was later renamed the Office of Budget and Management
financial plan of the Government,53 or "the master plan of government."54 (OBM) under EO No. 711. The OBM became the DBM pursuant to EO No. 292
The concept of budgeting has not been the product of recent economies. In reality, effective on November 24, 1989.
financing public goals and activities was an idea that existed from the creation of c) The Philippine Budget Cycle66
the State.55 To protect the people, the territory and sovereignty of the State, its Four phases comprise the Philippine budget process, specifically: (1) Budget
government must perform vital functions that required public expenditures. At the Preparation; (2) Budget Legislation; (3) Budget Execution; and (4) Accountability.

Santiago v Guingona Page 62 of 106


Each phase is distinctly separate from the others but they overlap in the resources, transportation and communications, commerce and industry, and other
implementation of the budget during the budget year. economic development efforts);71 (2) social services or social development
67
c.1.Budget Preparation expenditures (i.e., government outlay on education, public health and medicare,
The budget preparation phase is commenced through the issuance of a Budget Call labor and welfare and others);72(3) general government or general public services
by the DBM. The Budget Call contains budget parameters earlier set by the expenditures (i.e., expenditures for the general government, legislative services, the
Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) as well as policy guidelines administration of justice, and for pensions and gratuities); 73 (4) national defense
and procedures to aid government agencies in the preparation and submission of expenditures (i.e., sub-divided into national security expenditures and expenditures
their budget proposals. The Budget Call is of two kinds, namely: (1) a National for the maintenance of peace and order);74 and (5) public debt.75
Budget Call, which is addressed to all agencies, including state universities and Public expenditures may further be classified according to the nature of funds, i.e.,
colleges; and (2) a Corporate Budget Call, which is addressed to all government- general fund, special fund or bond fund.76
owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions On the other hand, public revenues complement public expenditures and cover all
(GFIs). income or receipts of the government treasury used to support government
Following the issuance of the Budget Call, the various departments and agencies expenditures.77
submit their respective Agency Budget Proposals to the DBM. To boost citizen Classical economist Adam Smith categorized public revenues based on two principal
participation, the current administration has tasked the various departments and sources, stating: "The revenue which must defraythe necessary expenses of
agencies to partner with civil society organizations and other citizen-stakeholders in government may be drawn either, first from some fund which peculiarly belongs to
the preparation of the Agency Budget Proposals, which proposals are then presented the sovereign or commonwealth, and which is independent of the revenue of the
before a technical panel of the DBM in scheduled budget hearings wherein the people, or, secondly, from the revenue of the people." 78 Adam Smiths classification
various departments and agencies are given the opportunity to defend their budget relied on the two aspects of the nature of the State: first, the State as a juristic
proposals. DBM bureaus thereafter review the Agency Budget Proposals and come person with an artificial personality, and, second, the State as a sovereign or entity
up with recommendations for the Executive Review Board, comprised by the DBM possessing supreme power. Under the first aspect, the State could hold property and
Secretary and the DBMs senior officials. The discussions of the Executive Review engage in trade, thereby deriving what is called its quasi private income or
Board cover the prioritization of programs and their corresponding support vis--vis revenues, and which "peculiarly belonged to the sovereign." Under the second
the priority agenda of the National Government, and their implementation. aspect, the State could collect by imposing charges on the revenues of its subjects
The DBM next consolidates the recommended agency budgets into the National in the form of taxes.79
Expenditure Program (NEP)and a Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing In the Philippines, public revenues are generally derived from the following sources,
(BESF). The NEP provides the details of spending for each department and agency to wit: (1) tax revenues(i.e., compulsory contributions to finance government
by program, activity or project (PAP), and is submitted in the form of a proposed activities); 80 (2) capital revenues(i.e., proceeds from sales of fixed capital assets or
GAA. The Details of Selected Programs and Projects is the more detailed scrap thereof and public domain, and gains on such sales like sale of public lands,
disaggregation of key PAPs in the NEP, especially those in line with the National buildings and other structures, equipment, and other properties recorded as fixed
Governments development plan. The Staffing Summary provides the staffing assets); 81 (3) grants(i.e., voluntary contributions and aids given to the Government
complement of each department and agency, including the number of positions and for its operation on specific purposes in the form of money and/or materials, and do
amounts allocated. not require any monetary commitment on the part of the recipient); 82 (4)
The NEP and BESF are thereafter presented by the DBM and the DBCC to the extraordinary income(i.e., repayment of loans and advances made by government
President and the Cabinet for further refinements or reprioritization. Once the NEP corporations and local governments and the receipts and shares in income of the
and the BESF are approved by the President and the Cabinet, the DBM prepares the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and other receipts); 83 and (5) public borrowings(i.e.,
budget documents for submission to Congress. The budget documents consist of: (1) proceeds of repayable obligations generally with interest from domestic and foreign
the Presidents Budget Message, through which the President explains the policy creditors of the Government in general, including the National Government and its
framework and budget priorities; (2) the BESF, mandated by Section 22, Article VII of political subdivisions).84
the Constitution,68 which contains the macroeconomic assumptions, public sector More specifically, public revenues are classified as follows: 85
context, breakdown of the expenditures and funding sources for the fiscal year and
the two previous years; and (3) the NEP. General Income Specific Income
Public or government expenditures are generally classified into two categories,
specifically: (1) capital expenditures or outlays; and (2) current operating
expenditures. Capital expenditures are the expenses whose usefulness lasts for Subsidy Income from Income Taxes
National
more than one year, and which add to the assets of the Government, including Government
investments in the capital of government-owned or controlled corporations and their Property Taxes
subsidiaries.69 Current operating expenditures are the purchases of goods and Subsidy from Central Office
services in current consumption the benefit of which does not extend beyond the
Taxes on Goods and Services
fiscal year.70 The two components of current expenditures are those for personal
Subsidy from Regional
services (PS), and those for maintenance and other operating expenses(MOOE).
Office/Staff Bureaus Taxes on International Trade an
Public expenditures are also broadly grouped according to their functions into: (1)
economic development expenditures (i.e., expenditures on agriculture and natural

Santiago v Guingona Page 63 of 106


Income from Transactions
Government After transmission, the Senate conducts its own committee hearings on the GAB. To
Services expedite proceedings, the Senate may conduct its committee hearings
simultaneously with the House of Representatives deliberations. The Senates
Other Taxes 6.Fines and Penalties-Tax Revenue Finance Committee and its Sub-Committees may submit the proposed amendments
Income from Government to the GAB to the plenary of the Senate only after the House of Representatives has
Business Operations Other Specific Income formally transmitted its version to the Senate. The Senate version of the GAB is
likewise approved on Third Reading.89
Sales Revenue The House of Representatives and the Senate then constitute a panel each to sit in
the Bicameral Conference Committee for the purpose of discussing and harmonizing
the conflicting provisions of their versions of the GAB. The "harmonized" version of
Rent Income
the GAB is next presented to the President for approval. 90 The President reviews the
GAB, and prepares the Veto Message where budget items are subjected to direct
Insurance Income veto,91 or are identified for conditional implementation.
If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the GAB for
Dividend Income the ensuing fiscal year, the GAA for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed re-
enacted and shall remain in force and effect until the GAB is passed by the
Congress.92
Interest Income c.3. Budget Execution93
With the GAA now in full force and effect, the next step is the implementation of the
Sale of Confiscated Goods and budget. The Budget Execution Phase is primarily the function of the DBM, which is
Properties tasked to perform the following procedures, namely: (1) to issue the programs and
guidelines for the release of funds; (2) to prepare an Allotment and Cash Release
Program; (3) to release allotments; and (4) to issue disbursement authorities.
Foreign Exchange (FOREX)
The implementation of the GAA is directed by the guidelines issued by the DBM.
Gains
Prior to this, the various departments and agencies are required to submit Budget
Execution Documents(BED) to outline their plans and performance targets by laying
Miscellaneous Operating and down the physical and financial plan, the monthly cash program, the estimate of
Service Income monthly income, and the list of obligations that are not yet due and demandable.
Thereafter, the DBM prepares an Allotment Release Program (ARP)and a Cash
Fines and Penalties-Government Release Program (CRP).The ARP sets a limit for allotments issued in general and to a
Services and Business Operations specific agency. The CRP fixes the monthly, quarterly and annual disbursement
levels.
Allotments, which authorize an agency to enter into obligations, are issued by the
Income from Grants and DBM. Allotments are lesser in scope than appropriations, in that the latter embrace
Donations the general legislative authority to spend. Allotments may be released in two forms
through a comprehensive Agency Budget Matrix (ABM), 94 or, individually, by
SARO.95
Armed with either the ABM or the SARO, agencies become authorized to incur
c.2. Budget Legislation86 obligations96 on behalf of the Government in order to implement their PAPs.
The Budget Legislation Phase covers the period commencing from the time Obligations may be incurred in various ways, like hiring of personnel, entering into
Congress receives the Presidents Budget, which is inclusive of the NEPand the BESF, contracts for the supply of goods and services, and using utilities.
up to the Presidents approval of the GAA. This phase is also known as the Budget In order to settle the obligations incurred by the agencies, the DBM issues a
Authorization Phase, and involves the significant participation of the Legislative disbursement authority so that cash may be allocated in payment of the obligations.
through its deliberations. A cash or disbursement authority that is periodically issued is referred to as a Notice
Initially, the Presidents Budget is assigned to the House of Representatives of Cash Allocation (NCA),97 which issuance is based upon an agencys submission of
Appropriations Committee on First Reading. The Appropriations Committee and its its Monthly Cash Program and other required documents. The NCA specifies the
various Sub-Committees schedule and conduct budget hearings to examine the PAPs maximum amount of cash that can be withdrawn from a government servicing bank
of the departments and agencies. Thereafter, the House of Representatives drafts for the period indicated. Apart from the NCA, the DBM may issue a Non-Cash
the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).87 Availment Authority(NCAA) to authorize non-cash disbursements, or a Cash
The GABis sponsored, presented and defended by the House of Representatives Disbursement Ceiling(CDC) for departments with overseas operations to allow the
Appropriations Committee and Sub-Committees in plenary session. As with other use of income collected by their foreign posts for their operating requirements.
laws, the GAB is approved on Third Reading before the House of Representatives Actual disbursement or spending of government funds terminates the Budget
version is transmitted to the Senate.88 Execution Phase and is usually accomplished through the Modified Disbursement

Santiago v Guingona Page 64 of 106


Scheme under which disbursements chargeable against the National Treasury are funded under the DAP were chosen for this reason based on their: (1) multiplier
coursed through the government servicing banks. impact on the economy and infrastructure development; (2) beneficial effect on the
98
c.4. Accountability poor; and (3) translation into disbursements. 114
Accountability is a significant phase of the budget cycle because it ensures that the b. History of the implementation of
government funds have been effectively and efficiently utilized to achieve the the DAP, and sources of funds
States socio-economic goals. It also allows the DBM to assess the performance of under the DAP
agencies during the fiscal year for the purpose of implementing reforms and How the Administrations economic managers conceptualized and developed the
establishing new policies. DAP, and finally presented it to the President remains unknown because the relevant
An agencys accountability may be examined and evaluated through (1) documents appear to be scarce.
performance targets and outcomes; (2) budget accountability reports; (3) review of The earliest available document relating to the genesis of the DAP was the
agency performance; and (4) audit conducted by the Commission on Audit(COA). memorandum of October 12,2011 from Sec. Abad seeking the approval of the
2. President to implement the proposed DAP. The memorandum, which contained a list
Nature of the DAP as a fiscal plan of the funding sources for P72.11 billion and of the proposed priority projects to be
a. DAP was a program designed to funded,115reads:
promote economic growth MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT
Policy is always a part of every budget and fiscal decision of any xxxx
Administration.99 The national budget the Executive prepares and presents to SUBJECT: FY 2011 PROPOSED DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM (PROJECTS
Congress represents the Administrations "blueprint for public policy" and reflects AND SOURCES OF FUNDS)
the Governments goals and strategies. 100 As such, the national budget becomes a DATE: OCTOBER 12, 2011
tangible representation of the programs of the Government in monetary terms, Mr. President, this is to formally confirm your approval of the Disbursement
specifying therein the PAPs and services for which specific amounts of public funds Acceleration Program totaling P72.11 billion. We are already working with all the
are proposed and allocated. 101 Embodied in every national budget is government agencies concerned for the immediate execution of the projects therein.
spending.102 A. Fund Sources for the Acceleration Program
When he assumed office in the middle of 2010, President Aquino made efficiency
and transparency in government spending a significant focus of his Administration.
Yet, although such focus resulted in an improved fiscal deficit of 0.5% in the gross Amount
Action
domestic product (GDP) from January to July of 2011, it also unfortunately Fund Sources (In million Description
Requested
decelerated government project implementation and payment schedules. The 103
Php)
World Bank observed that the Philippines economic growth could be reduced, and
potential growth could be weakened should the Government continue with its
underspending and fail to address the large deficiencies in infrastructure. 104 The
FY 2011 30,000 Unreleased Personnel Declare
economic situation prevailing in the middle of 2011 thus paved the way for the
Unreleased Services (PS) savings a
development and implementation of the DAP as a stimulus package intended to fast-
Personal appropriations which approve/
track public spending and to push economic growth by investing on high-impact
Services (PS) will lapse at the end of authorize its u
budgetary PAPs to be funded from the "savings" generated during the year as well
Appropriations FY 2011 but may be for the 20
as from unprogrammed funds.105 In that respect, the DAP was the product of "plain
pooled as savings and Disbursement
executive policy-making" to stimulate the economy by way of accelerated
106 realigned for priority Acceleration
spending. The Administration would thereby accelerate government spending by:
programs that require Program
(1) streamlining the implementation process through the clustering of infrastructure
immediate funding
projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the
Department of Education (DepEd),and (2) front loading PPP-related projects 107 due
for implementation in the following year.108
Did the stimulus package work? FY 2011 482 Unreleased
The March 2012 report of the World Bank,109 released after the initial implementation Unreleased appropriations (slow
of the DAP, revealed that the DAP was partially successful. The disbursements under Appropriations moving projects and
the DAP contributed 1.3 percentage points to GDP growth by the fourth quarter of programs for
2011.110 The continued implementation of the DAP strengthened growth by 11.8% discontinuance)
year on year while infrastructure spending rebounded from a 29% contraction to a
34% growth as of September 2013.111
The DAP thus proved to be a demonstration that expenditure was a policy
FY 2010 12,336 Supported by the GFI Approve a
instrument that the Government could use to direct the economies towards growth
112 Unprogrammed Dividends authorize its u
and development. The Government, by spending on public infrastructure, would
for the 20
signify its commitment of ensuring profitability for prospective investors. 113 The PAPs

Santiago v Guingona Page 65 of 106


Disbursement 500
Acceleration 10,000
Program
along dangerous 100
d. Relocation sites for informal settlers
along Iloilo River and its tributaries
2010 21,544 Unreleased With prior
3. PHIL. HEART CENTER: Upgrading of 357
rryover appropriations (slow approval from
ageing physical plant and medical equipment
propriation moving projects and the President in
programs for November 2010
discontinuance) and to declare as
savings from Zero-based Budgeting savings and 4.with CREDIT INFO CORP: Establishment of 75
Initiative authority to centralized
use credit information system
for priority
projects
5. PIDS: purchase of land to relocate the PIDS 100
office and building construction
2011 Budget 7,748 FY 2011 Agency For information
ms for Budget items that can
alignment be realigned within the 6. HGC: Equity infusion for credit insurance 400
agency to fund new fast and mortgage guaranty operations of HGC
disbursing projects
DPWH-3.981 Billion
DA 2.497 Billion 7. PHIC: Obligations incurred (premium 1,496
DOT 1.000 Billion subsidy for indigent families) in January-June
DepEd 270 Million 2010, booked for payment in Jul[y] Dec
2010. The delay in payment is due to the
delay in the certification of the LGU
counterpart. Without it, the NG is obliged to
TAL 72.110 pay the full amount.

B. Projects in the Disbursement Acceleration Program


8. Philpost: Purchase of foreclosed property. 644
(Descriptions of projects attached as Annex A)
Payment of Mandatory Obligations, (GSIS,
PhilHealth, ECC), Franking Privilege
GOCCs and GFIs

9. BSP: First equity infusion out of Php 40B 10,000


Agency/Project Allotment capitalization under the BSP Law
(SARO and NCA Release) (in Million Php)

10. PCMC: Capital and Equipment Renovation 280


1. LRTA: Rehabilitation of LRT 1 and 2 1,868

11. LCOP: 105


2. NHA: 11,050 a. Pediatric Pulmonary Program
b. Bio-regenerative Technology Program
a. Resettlement of North Triangle residents to (Stem-Cell Research subject to legal 35
Camarin A7 450
b. Housing for BFP/BJMP
c. On-site development for families living

Santiago v Guingona Page 66 of 106


70 17. DAR: 1,293 1,293
a. Agrarian Reform
review and presentation) Communities Project 2 1,293 132
12. TIDCORP: NG Equity infusion 570 b. Landowners Compensation 5,432

TOTAL 26,945 18. DBM: Conduct of National


Survey of
Farmers/Fisherfolks/Ips 625 625

19. DOJ: Operating requirements


NGAs/LGUs of 50 investigation agents and
15 state attorneys 11 11

Agency/Project Allotment
(SARO) Cash 20. DOT: Preservation of the Cine
(In Million Requirement Corregidor Complex 25 25
Php) (NCA)

21. OPAPP: Activities for Peace


13. DOF-BIR: NPSTAR Process (PAMANA- Project
centralization of data details: budget breakdown,
processing and others (To be implementation plan, and
synchronized with GFMIS conditions on fund release
activities) 758 758 attached as Annex B) 1,819 1,819

14. COA: IT infrastructure 22. DOST 425 425


program and hiring of a. Establishment of National
additional litigational experts 144 144 Meterological and Climate
Center 275 275
b. Enhancement of Doppler
15. DND-PAF: On Base Housing Radar Network for National
Facilities and Communication Weather Watch, Accurate
Equipment 30 30 Forecasting and Flood Early
Warning 190 190

16. DA: 2,959 2,223


a. Irrigation, FMRs and 23. DOF-BOC: To settle the
Integrated Community Based Multi-Species principal obligations with
Hatchery and Aquasilvi PDIC consistent with the
Farming 1,629 1,629 agreement with the CISS and
b. Mindanao Rural SGS 2,800 2,800
Development Project 919 183

c. NIA Agno River Integrated


Irrigation Project 411 411

Santiago v Guingona Page 67 of 106


24. OEO-FDCP: Establishment of TOTAL 45,165 44,000
the National Film Archive and
local cinematheques, and other
local activities 20 20 C. Summary

Fund Sources
25. DPWH: Various infrastructure Identified for Allotments Cash
projects 5,500 5,500 Approval for Release Requirements for
(In Million Release in FY
Php) 2011
26. DepEd/ERDT/DOST: Thin
Client Cloud Computing
Project 270 270 Total 72,110 72,110 70,895

27. DOH: Hiring of nurses and GOCCs 26,895 26,895


midwives 294 294

NGAs/LGUs 45,165 44,000


28. TESDA: Training Program in
partnership with BPO industry
and other sectors 1,100 1,100 For His Excellencys Consideration
(Sgd.) FLORENCIO B. ABAD
[/] APPROVED
29. DILG: Performance Challenge [ ] DISAPPROVED
Fund (People Empowered (Sgd.) H.E. BENIGNO S. AQUINO, III
Community Driven OCT 12, 2011
Development with DSWD and The memorandum of October 12, 2011 was followed by another memorandum for
NAPC) 250 50 the President dated December 12, 2011 116 requesting omnibus authority to
consolidate the savings and unutilized balances for fiscal year 2011. Pertinent
portions of the memorandum of December 12, 2011 read:
30. ARMM: Comprehensive Peace MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT
and Development Intervention 8,592 8,592 xxxx
SUBJECT: Omnibus Authority to Consolidate Savings/Unutilized Balances and its
Realignment
31. DOTC-MRT: Purchase of DATE: December 12, 2011
additional MRT cars 4,500 - This is to respectfully request for the grant of Omnibus Authority to consolidate
savings/unutilized balances in FY 2011 corresponding to completed or discontinued
projects which may be pooled to fund additional projects or expenditures.
In addition, Mr. President, this measure will allow us to undertake projects even if
32. LGU Support Fund 6,500 6,500 their implementation carries over to 2012 without necessarily impacting on our
budget deficit cap next year.
BACKGROUND
33. Various Other Local Projects 6,500 6,500 1.0 The DBM, during the course of performance reviews conducted on the agencies
operations, particularly on the implementation of their projects/activities, including
expenses incurred in undertaking the same, have identified savings out of the 2011
34. Development Assistance to the General Appropriations Act. Said savings correspond to completed or discontinued
Province of Quezon 750 750 projects under certain departments/agencies which may be pooled, for the following:
1.1 to provide for new activities which have not been anticipated during preparation
of the budget;
1.2 to augment additional requirements of on-going priority projects; and

Santiago v Guingona Page 68 of 106


1.3 to provide for deficiencies under the Special Purpose Funds, e.g., PDAF, Calamity TO: All Heads of Departments/Agencies/State Universities and Colleges and other
Fund, Contingent Fund Offices of the National Government, Budget and Planning Officers; Heads of
1.4 to cover for the modifications of the original allotment class allocation as a result Accounting Units and All Others Concerned
of on-going priority projects and implementation of new activities SUBJECT : Adoption of Operational Efficiency Measure Withdrawal of Agencies
2.0 x x x x Unobligated Allotments as of June 30, 2012
2.1 x x x 1.0 Rationale
2.2 x x x The DBM, as mandated by Executive Order (EO) No. 292 (Administrative Code of
ON THE UTILIZATION OF POOLED SAVINGS 1987), periodically reviews and evaluates the departments/agencies efficiency and
3.0 It may be recalled that the President approved our request for omnibus authority effectiveness in utilizing budgeted funds for the delivery of services and production
to pool savings/unutilized balances in FY 2010 last November 25, 2010. of goods, consistent with the government priorities.
4.0 It is understood that in the utilization of the pooled savings, the DBM shall secure In the event that a measure is necessary to further improve the operational
the corresponding approval/confirmation of the President. Furthermore, it is assured efficiency of the government, the President is authorized to suspend or stop further
that the proposed realignments shall be within the authorized Expenditure level. use of funds allotted for any agency or expenditure authorized in the General
5.0 Relative thereto, we have identified some expenditure items that may be Appropriations Act. Withdrawal and pooling of unutilized allotment releases can be
sourced from the said pooled appropriations in FY 2010 that will expire on December effected by DBM based on authority of the President, as mandated under Sections
31, 2011 and appropriations in FY 2011 that may be declared as savings to fund 38 and 39, Chapter 5, Book VI of EO 292.
additional expenditures. For the first five months of 2012, the National Government has not met its spending
5.1 The 2010 Continuing Appropriations (pooled savings) is proposed to be spent for targets. In order to accelerate spending and sustain the fiscal targets during the
the projects that we have identified to be immediate actual disbursements year, expenditure measures have to be implemented to optimize the utilization of
considering that this same fund source will expire on December 31, 2011. available resources.
5.2 With respect to the proposed expenditure items to be funded from the FY 2011 Departments/agencies have registered low spending levels, in terms of obligations
Unreleased Appropriations, most of these are the same projects for which the DBM is and disbursements per initial review of their 2012 performance. To enhance
directed by the Office of the President, thru the Executive Secretary, to source funds. agencies performance, the DBM conducts continuous consultation meetings and/or
6.0 Among others, the following are such proposed additional projects that have send call-up letters, requesting them to identify slow-moving programs/projects and
been chosen given their multiplier impact on economy and infrastructure the factors/issues affecting their performance (both pertaining to internal systems
development, their beneficial effect on the poor, and their translation into and those which are outside the agencies spheres of control). Also, they are asked
disbursements. Please note that we have classified the list of proposed projects as to formulate strategies and improvement plans for the rest of 2012.
follows: Notwithstanding these initiatives, some departments/agencies have continued to
7.0 x x x post low obligation levels as of end of first semester, thus resulting to substantial
FOR THE PRESIDENTS APPROVAL unobligated allotments.
8.0 Foregoing considered, may we respectfully request for the Presidents approval In line with this, the President, per directive dated June 27, 2012 authorized the
for the following: withdrawal of unobligated allotments of agencies with low levels of obligations as of
8.1 Grant of omnibus authority to consolidate FY 2011 savings/unutilized balances June 30, 2012, both for continuing and current allotments. This measure will allow
and its realignment; and the maximum utilization of available allotments to fund and undertake other priority
8.2 The proposed additional projects identified for funding. expenditures of the national government.
For His Excellencys consideration and approval. 2.0 Purpose
(Sgd.) 2.1 To provide the conditions and parameters on the withdrawal of unobligated
[/] APPROVED allotments of agencies as of June 30, 2012 to fund priority and/or fast-moving
[ ] DISAPPROVED programs/projects of the national government;
(Sgd.) H.E. BENIGNO S. AQUINO, III 2.2 To prescribe the reports and documents to be used as bases on the withdrawal of
DEC 21, 2011 said unobligated allotments; and
Substantially identical requests for authority to pool savings and to fund proposed 2.3 To provide guidelines in the utilization or reallocation of the withdrawn
projects were contained in various other memoranda from Sec. Abad dated June 25, allotments.
2012,117 September 4, 2012,118 December 19, 2012,119May 20, 2013,120 and 3.0 Coverage
September 25, 2013.121 The President apparently approved all the requests, 3.1 These guidelines shall cover the withdrawal of unobligated allotments as of June
withholding approval only of the proposed projects contained in the June 25, 2012 30, 2012 of all national government agencies (NGAs) charged against FY 2011
memorandum, as borne out by his marginal note therein to the effect that the Continuing Appropriation (R.A. No.10147) and FY 2012 Current Appropriation (R.A.
proposed projects should still be "subject to further discussions." 122 No. 10155), pertaining to:
In order to implement the June25, 2012 memorandum, Sec. Abad issued NBC No. 3.1.1 Capital Outlays (CO);
541 (Adoption of Operational Efficiency Measure Withdrawal of Agencies 3.1.2 Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) related to the
Unobligated Allotments as of June 30, 2012),123 reproduced herein as follows: implementation of programs and projects, as well as capitalized MOOE; and
NATIONAL BUDGET CIRCULAR No. 541
July 18, 2012

Santiago v Guingona Page 69 of 106


3.1.3 Personal Services corresponding to unutilized pension benefits declared as 5.4 All released allotments in FY 2011 charged against R.A. No. 10147 which
savings by the agencies concerned based on their updated/validated list of remained unobligated as of June 30, 2012 shall be immediately considered for
pensioners. withdrawal. This policy is based on the following considerations:
3.2 The withdrawal of unobligated allotments may cover the identified programs, 5.4.1 The departments/agencies approved priority programs and projects are
projects and activities of the departments/agencies reflected in the DBM list shown assumed to be implementation-ready and doable during the given fiscal year; and
as Annex A or specific programs and projects as may be identified by the agencies. 5.4.2 The practice of having substantial carryover appropriations may imply that the
4.0 Exemption agency has a slower-than-programmed implementation capacity or agency tends to
These guidelines shall not apply to the following: implement projects within a two-year timeframe.
4.1 NGAs 5.5. Consistent with the Presidents directive, the DBM shall, based on evaluation of
4.1.1 Constitutional Offices/Fiscal Autonomy Group, granted fiscal autonomy under the reports cited above and results of consultations with the departments/agencies,
the Philippine Constitution; and withdraw the unobligated allotments as of June 30, 2012 through issuance of
4.1.2 State Universities and Colleges, adopting the Normative Funding allocation negative Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs).
scheme i.e., distribution of a predetermined budget ceiling. 5.6 DBM shall prepare and submit to the President, a report on the magnitude of
4.2 Fund Sources withdrawn allotments. The report shall highlight the agencies which failed to submit
4.2.1 Personal Services other than pension benefits; the June 30 reports required under this Circular.
4.2.2 MOOE items earmarked for specific purposes or subject to realignment 5.7 The withdrawn allotments may be:
conditions per General Provisions of the GAA: 5.7.1 Reissued for the original programs and projects of the agencies/OUs
Confidential and Intelligence Fund; concerned, from which the allotments were withdrawn;
Savings from Traveling, Communication, Transportation and Delivery, Repair and 5.7.2 Realigned to cover additional funding for other existing programs and projects
Maintenance, Supplies and Materials and Utility which shall be used for the grant of of the agency/OU; or
Collective Negotiation Agreement incentive benefit; 5.7.3 Used to augment existing programs and projects of any agency and to fund
Savings from mandatory expenditures which can be realigned only in the last priority programs and projects not considered in the 2012 budget but expected to be
quarter after taking into consideration the agencys full year requirements, i.e., started or implemented during the current year.
Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants, Water, Illumination, Power Services, Telephone, other 5.8 For items 5.7.1 and 5.7.2 above, agencies/OUs concerned may submit to DBM a
Communication Services and Rent. Special Budget Request (SBR), supported with the following:
4.2.3 Foreign-Assisted Projects (loan proceeds and peso counterpart); 5.8.1 Physical and Financial Plan (PFP);
4.2.4 Special Purpose Funds such as: E-Government Fund, International 5.8.2 Monthly Cash Program (MCP); and
Commitments Fund, PAMANA, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Calamity Fund, 5.8.3 Proof that the project/activity has started the procurement processes i.e., Proof
Budgetary Support to GOCCs and Allocation to LGUs, among others; of Posting and/or Advertisement of the Invitation to Bid.
4.2.5 Quick Response Funds; and 5.9 The deadline for submission of request/s pertaining to these categories shall be
4.2.6 Automatic Appropriations i.e., Retirement Life Insurance Premium and Special until the end of the third quarter i.e., September 30, 2012. After said cut-off date,
Accounts in the General Fund. the withdrawn allotments shall be pooled and form part of the overall savings of the
5.0 Guidelines national government.
5.1 National government agencies shall continue to undertake procurement 5.10 Utilization of the consolidated withdrawn allotments for other priority programs
activities notwithstanding the implementation of the policy of withdrawal of and projects as cited under item 5.7.3 of this Circular, shall be subject to approval of
unobligated allotments until the end of the third quarter, FY 2012. Even without the the President. Based on the approval of the President, DBM shall issue the SARO to
allotments, the agency shall proceed in undertaking the procurement processes (i.e., cover the approved priority expenditures subject to submission by the agency/OU
procurement planning up to the conduct of bidding but short of awarding of concerned of the SBR and supported with PFP and MCP.
contract) pursuant to GPPB Circular Nos. 02-2008 and 01-2009 and DBM Circular 5.11 It is understood that all releases to be made out of the withdrawn allotments
Letter No. 2010-9. (both 2011 and 2012 unobligated allotments) shall be within the approved
5.2 For the purpose of determining the amount of unobligated allotments that shall Expenditure Program level of the national government for the current year. The
be withdrawn, all departments/agencies/operating units (OUs) shall submit to DBM SAROs to be issued shall properly disclose the appropriation source of the release to
not later than July 30, 2012, the following budget accountability reports as of June determine the extent of allotment validity, as follows:
30, 2012; For charges under R.A. 10147 allotments shall be valid up to December 31, 2012;
Statement of Allotments, Obligations and Balances (SAOB); and
Financial Report of Operations (FRO); and For charges under R.A. 10155 allotments shall be valid up to December 31, 2013.
Physical Report of Operations. 5.12 Timely compliance with the submission of existing BARs and other reportorial
5.3 In the absence of the June 30, 2012 reports cited under item 5.2 of this Circular, requirements is reiterated for monitoring purposes.
the agencys latest report available shall be used by DBM as basis for withdrawal of 6.0 Effectivity
allotment. The DBM shall compute/approximate the agencys obligation level as of This circular shall take effect immediately.
June 30 to derive its unobligated allotments as of same period. Example: If the (Sgd.) FLORENCIO B. ABAD
March 31 SAOB or FRO reflects actual obligations of P 800M then the June 30 Secretary
obligation level shall approximate to P1,600 M (i.e., P800 M x 2 quarters).

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As can be seen, NBC No. 541 specified that the unobligated allotments of all defined as nothing more than the legislative authorization prescribed by the
agencies and departments as of June 30, 2012 that were charged against the Constitution that money may be paid out of the Treasury, while appropriation made
continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2011 and the 2012 GAA (R.A. No. 10155) by law refers to the act of the legislature setting apart or assigning to a particular
were subject to withdrawal through the issuance of negative SAROs, but such use a certain sum to be used in the payment of debt or dues from the State to its
allotments could be either: (1) reissued for the original PAPs of the concerned creditors."126
agencies from which they were withdrawn; or (2) realigned to cover additional On the other hand, the President, in keeping with his duty to faithfully execute the
funding for other existing PAPs of the concerned agencies; or (3) used to augment laws, had sufficient discretion during the execution of the budget to adapt the
existing PAPs of any agency and to fund priority PAPs not considered in the 2012 budget to changes in the countrys economic situation. 127 He could adopt a plan like
budget but expected to be started or implemented in 2012. Financing the other the DAP for the purpose. He could pool the savings and identify the PAPs to be
priority PAPs was made subject to the approval of the President. Note here that NBC funded under the DAP. The pooling of savings pursuant to the DAP, and the
No. 541 used terminologies like "realignment" and "augmentation" in the application identification of the PAPs to be funded under the DAP did not involve appropriation in
of the withdrawn unobligated allotments. the strict sense because the money had been already set apart from the public
Taken together, all the issuances showed how the DAP was to be implemented and treasury by Congress through the GAAs. In such actions, the Executive did not usurp
funded, that is (1) by declaring "savings" coming from the various departments the power vested in Congress under Section 29(1), Article VI of the Constitution.
and agencies derived from pooling unobligated allotments and withdrawing 3.
unreleased appropriations; (2) releasing unprogrammed funds; and (3) applying the Unreleased appropriations and withdrawn
"savings" and unprogrammed funds to augment existing PAPs or to support other unobligated allotments under the DAP
priority PAPs. were not savings, and the use of such
c. DAP was not an appropriation appropriations contravened Section 25(5),
measure; hence, no appropriation Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
law was required to adopt or to Notwithstanding our appreciation of the DAP as a plan or strategy validly adopted by
implement it the Executive to ramp up spending to accelerate economic growth, the challenges
Petitioners Syjuco, Luna, Villegas and PHILCONSA state that Congress did not enact posed by the petitioners constrain us to dissect the mechanics of the actual
a law to establish the DAP, or to authorize the disbursement and release of public execution of the DAP. The management and utilization of the public wealth inevitably
funds to implement the DAP. Villegas, PHILCONSA, IBP, Araullo, and COURAGE demands a most careful scrutiny of whether the Executives implementation of the
observe that the appropriations funded under the DAP were not included in the DAP was consistent with the Constitution, the relevant GAAs and other existing laws.
2011, 2012 and 2013 GAAs. To petitioners IBP, Araullo, and COURAGE, the DAP, a. Although executive discretion
being actually an appropriation that set aside public funds for public use, should and flexibility are necessary in
require an enabling law for its validity. VACC maintains that the DAP, because it the execution of the budget, any
involved huge allocations that were separate and distinct from the GAAs, transfer of appropriated funds
circumvented and duplicated the GAAs without congressional authorization and should conform to Section 25(5),
control. Article VI of the Constitution
The petitioners contend in unison that based on how it was developed and We begin this dissection by reiterating that Congress cannot anticipate all issues and
implemented the DAP violated the mandate of Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987 needs that may come into play once the budget reaches its execution stage.
Constitution that "[n]o money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance Executive discretion is necessary at that stage to achieve a sound fiscal
of an appropriation made by law." administration and assure effective budget implementation. The heads of offices,
The OSG posits, however, that no law was necessary for the adoption and particularly the President, require flexibility in their operations under performance
implementation of the DAP because of its being neither a fund nor an appropriation, budgeting to enable them to make whatever adjustments are needed to meet
but a program or an administrative system of prioritizing spending; and that the established work goals under changing conditions. 128 In particular, the power to
adoption of the DAP was by virtue of the authority of the President as the Chief transfer funds can give the President the flexibility to meet unforeseen events that
Executive to ensure that laws were faithfully executed. may otherwise impede the efficient implementation of the PAPs set by Congress in
We agree with the OSGs position. the GAA.
The DAP was a government policy or strategy designed to stimulate the economy Congress has traditionally allowed much flexibility to the President in allocating
through accelerated spending. In the context of the DAPs adoption and funds pursuant to the GAAs,129particularly when the funds are grouped to form lump
implementation being a function pertaining to the Executive as the main actor sum accounts.130 It is assumed that the agencies of the Government enjoy more
during the Budget Execution Stage under its constitutional mandate to faithfully flexibility when the GAAs provide broader appropriation items. 131 This flexibility
execute the laws, including the GAAs, Congress did not need to legislate to adopt or comes in the form of policies that the Executive may adopt during the budget
to implement the DAP. Congress could appropriate but would have nothing more to execution phase. The DAP as a strategy to improve the countrys economic
do during the Budget Execution Stage. Indeed, appropriation was the act by which position was one policy that the President decided to carry out in order to fulfill his
Congress "designates a particular fund, or sets apart a specified portion of the public mandate under the GAAs.
revenue or of the money in the public treasury, to be applied to some general object Denying to the Executive flexibility in the expenditure process would be
of governmental expenditure, or to some individual purchase or expense." 124 As counterproductive. In Presidential Spending Power,132 Prof. Louis Fisher, an American
pointed out in Gonzales v. Raquiza: 125 "In a strict sense, appropriation has been

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constitutional scholar whose specialties have included budget policy, has justified In 1921, the ceiling on the amounts of funds to be transferred from items under
extending discretionary authority to the Executive thusly: miscellaneous expenses to any other item of a certain bureau or office was
[T]he impulse to deny discretionary authority altogether should be resisted. There removed.
are many number of reasons why obligations and outlays by administrators may During the Commonwealth period, the power of the President to transfer funds
have to differ from appropriations by legislators. Appropriations are made many continued to be governed by the GAAs despite the enactment of the Constitution in
months, and sometimes years, in advance of expenditures. Congress acts with 1935. It is notable that the 1935 Constitution did not include a provision on the
imperfect knowledge in trying to legislate in fields that are highly technical and power to transfer funds. At any rate, a shift in the extent of the Presidents power to
constantly undergoing change. New circumstances will develop to make obsolete transfer funds was again experienced during this era, with the President being given
and mistaken the decisions reached by Congress at the appropriation stage. It is not more flexibility in implementing the budget. The GAAs provided that the power to
practicable for Congress to adjust to each new development by passing separate transfer all or portions of the appropriations in the Executive Department could be
supplemental appropriation bills. Were Congress to control expenditures by confining made in the "interest of the public, as the President may determine." 136
administrators to narrow statutory details, it would perhaps protect its power of the In its time, the 1971 Constitutional Convention wanted to curtail the Presidents
purse but it would not protect the purse itself. The realities and complexities of seemingly unbounded discretion in transferring funds. 137 Its Committee on the
public policy require executive discretion for the sound management of public funds. Budget and Appropriation proposed to prohibit the transfer of funds among the
xxxx separate branches of the Government and the independent constitutional bodies,
x x x The expenditure process, by its very nature, requires substantial discretion for but to allow instead their respective heads to augment items of appropriations from
administrators. They need to exercise judgment and take responsibility for their savings in their respective budgets under certain limitations. 138 The clear intention of
actions, but those actions ought to be directed toward executing congressional, not the Convention was to further restrict, not to liberalize, the power to transfer
administrative policy. Let there be discretion, but channel it and use it to satisfy the appropriations.139 Thus, the Committee on the Budget and Appropriation initially
programs and priorities established by Congress. considered setting stringent limitations on the power to augment, and suggested
In contrast, by allowing to the heads of offices some power to transfer funds within that the augmentation of an item of appropriation could be made "by not more than
their respective offices, the Constitution itself ensures the fiscal autonomy of their ten percent if the original item of appropriation to be augmented does not exceed
offices, and at the same time maintains the separation of powers among the three one million pesos, or by not more than five percent if the original item of
main branches of the Government. The Court has recognized this, and emphasized appropriation to be augmented exceeds one million pesos." 140 But two members of
so in Bengzon v. Drilon,133 viz: the Committee objected to the P1,000,000.00 threshold, saying that the amount was
The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman must have the arbitrary and might not be reasonable in the future. The Committee agreed to
independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their constitutional duties. eliminate theP1,000,000.00 threshold, and settled on the ten percent limitation. 141
The imposition of restrictions and constraints on the manner the independent In the end, the ten percent limitation was discarded during the plenary of the
constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds appropriated for their operations Convention, which adopted the following final version under Section 16, Article VIII
is anathema to fiscal autonomy and violative not only of the express mandate of the of the 1973 Constitution, to wit:
Constitution but especially as regards the Supreme Court, of the independence and (5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the
separation of powers upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system is President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
based. and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may by law be authorized to augment
In the case of the President, the power to transfer funds from one item to another any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in
within the Executive has not been the mere offshoot of established usage, but has other items of their respective appropriations.
emanated from law itself. It has existed since the time of the American Governors- The 1973 Constitution explicitly and categorically prohibited the transfer of funds
General.134 Act No. 1902 (An Act authorizing the Governor-General to direct any from one item to another, unless Congress enacted a law authorizing the President,
unexpended balances of appropriations be returned to the general fund of the the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the
Insular Treasury and to transfer from the general fund moneys which have been heads of the Constitutional omissions to transfer funds for the purpose of
returned thereto), passed on May 18, 1909 by the First Philippine Legislature, 135was augmenting any item from savings in another item in the GAA of their respective
the first enabling law that granted statutory authority to the President to transfer offices. The leeway was limited to augmentation only, and was further constricted by
funds. The authority was without any limitation, for the Act explicitly empowered the the condition that the funds to be transferred should come from savings from
Governor-General to transfer any unexpended balance of appropriations for any another item in the appropriation of the office. 142
bureau or office to another, and to spend such balance as if it had originally been On July 30, 1977, President Marcos issued PD No. 1177, providing in its Section 44
appropriated for that bureau or office. that:
From 1916 until 1920, the appropriations laws set a cap on the amounts of funds Section 44. Authority to Approve Fund Transfers. The President shall have the
that could be transferred, thereby limiting the power to transfer funds. Only 10% of authority to transfer any fund appropriated for the different departments, bureaus,
the amounts appropriated for contingent or miscellaneous expenses could be offices and agencies of the Executive Department which are included in the General
transferred to a bureau or office, and the transferred funds were to be used to cover Appropriations Act, to any program, project, or activity of any department, bureau or
deficiencies in the appropriations also for miscellaneous expenses of said bureau or office included in the General Appropriations Act or approved after its enactment.
office. The President shall, likewise, have the authority to augment any appropriation of the
Executive Department in the General Appropriations Act, from savings in the

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appropriations of another department, bureau, office or agency within the Executive determining the applicability of the rule to inquire whether, in a particular case, it
Branch, pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII, Section 16 (5) of the Constitution. accords with reason and justice.
In Demetria v. Alba, however, the Court struck down the first paragraph of Section The appropriate and natural office of the exception is to exempt something from the
44 for contravening Section 16(5)of the 1973 Constitution, ruling: scope of the general words of a statute, which is otherwise within the scope and
Paragraph 1 of Section 44 of P.D. No. 1177 unduly over-extends the privilege granted meaning of such general words. Consequently, the existence of an exception in a
under said Section 16. It empowers the President to indiscriminately transfer funds statute clarifies the intent that the statute shall apply to all cases not excepted.
from one department, bureau, office or agency of the Executive Department to any Exceptions are subject to the rule of strict construction; hence, any doubt will be
program, project or activity of any department, bureau or office included in the resolved in favor of the general provision and against the exception. Indeed, the
General Appropriations Act or approved after its enactment, without regard as to liberal construction of a statute will seem to require in many circumstances that the
whether or not the funds to be transferred are actually savings in the item from exception, by which the operation of the statute is limited or abridged, should
which the same are to be taken, or whether or not the transfer is for the purpose of receive a restricted construction.
augmenting the item to which said transfer is to be made. It does not only Accordingly, we should interpret Section 25(5), supra, in the context of a limitation
completely disregard the standards set in the fundamental law, thereby amounting on the Presidents discretion over the appropriations during the Budget Execution
to an undue delegation of legislative powers, but likewise goes beyond the tenor Phase.
thereof. Indeed, such constitutional infirmities render the provision in question null b. Requisites for the valid transfer of
and void.143 appropriated funds under Section
It is significant that Demetria was promulgated 25 days after the ratification by the 25(5), Article VI of the 1987
people of the 1987 Constitution, whose Section 25(5) of Article VI is identical to Constitution
Section 16(5), Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, to wit: The transfer of appropriated funds, to be valid under Section 25(5), supra, must be
Section 25. x x x made upon a concurrence of the following requisites, namely:
xxxx (1) There is a law authorizing the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker
5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the
President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, heads of the Constitutional Commissions to transfer funds within their respective
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions offices;
may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law (2) The funds to be transferred are savings generated from the appropriations for
for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective their respective offices; and (3) The purpose of the transfer is to augment an item in
appropriations. the general appropriations law for their respective offices.
xxxx b.1. First RequisiteGAAs of 2011 and
The foregoing history makes it evident that the Constitutional Commission included 2012 lacked valid provisions to
Section 25(5), supra, to keep a tight rein on the exercise of the power to transfer authorize transfers of funds under
funds appropriated by Congress by the President and the other high officials of the the DAP; hence, transfers under the
Government named therein. The Court stated in Nazareth v. Villar: 144 DAP were unconstitutional
In the funding of current activities, projects, and programs, the general rule should Section 25(5), supra, not being a self-executing provision of the Constitution, must
still be that the budgetary amount contained in the appropriations bill is the extent have an implementing law for it to be operative. That law, generally, is the GAA of a
Congress will determine as sufficient for the budgetary allocation for the proponent given fiscal year. To comply with the first requisite, the GAAs should expressly
agency. The only exception is found in Section 25 (5), Article VI of the Constitution, authorize the transfer of funds.
by which the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Did the GAAs expressly authorize the transfer of funds?
Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of In the 2011 GAA, the provision that gave the President and the other high officials
Constitutional Commissions are authorized to transfer appropriations to augmentany the authority to transfer funds was Section 59, as follows:
item in the GAA for their respective offices from the savings in other items of their Section 59. Use of Savings. The President of the Philippines, the Senate President,
respective appropriations. The plain language of the constitutional restriction leaves the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
no room for the petitioners posture, which we should now dispose of as untenable. the Heads of Constitutional Commissions enjoying fiscal autonomy, and the
It bears emphasizing that the exception in favor of the high officials named in Ombudsman are hereby authorized to augment any item in this Act from savings in
Section 25(5), Article VI of the Constitution limiting the authority to transfer savings other items of their respective appropriations.
only to augment another item in the GAA is strictly but reasonably construed as In the 2012 GAA, the empowering provision was Section 53, to wit:
exclusive. As the Court has expounded in Lokin, Jr. v. Commission on Elections: Section 53. Use of Savings. The President of the Philippines, the Senate President,
When the statute itself enumerates the exceptions to the application of the general the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
rule, the exceptions are strictly but reasonably construed. The exceptions extend the Heads of Constitutional Commissions enjoying fiscal autonomy, and the
only as far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in Ombudsman are hereby authorized to augment any item in this Act from savings in
favor of the general provision rather than the exceptions. Where the general rule is other items of their respective appropriations.
established by a statute with exceptions, none but the enacting authority can curtail In fact, the foregoing provisions of the 2011 and 2012 GAAs were cited by the DBM
the former. Not even the courts may add to the latter by implication, and it is a rule as justification for the use of savings under the DAP.145
that an express exception excludes all others, although it is always proper in

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A reading shows, however, that the aforequoted provisions of the GAAs of 2011 and balances of any programmed appropriationfree from any obligation or
2012 were textually unfaithful to the Constitution for not carrying the phrase "for encumbrances which are (i) still available after the completion or final
their respective offices" contained in Section 25(5), supra. The impact of the phrase discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose for which the
"for their respective offices" was to authorize only transfers of funds within their appropriation is authorized"
offices (i.e., in the case of the President, the transfer was to an item of appropriation We partially find for the petitioners.
within the Executive). The provisions carried a different phrase ("to augment any In ascertaining the meaning of savings, certain principles should be borne in mind.
item in this Act"), and the effect was that the 2011 and 2012 GAAs thereby literally The first principle is that Congress wields the power of the purse. Congress decides
allowed the transfer of funds from savings to augment any item in the GAAs even if how the budget will be spent; what PAPs to fund; and the amounts of money to be
the item belonged to an office outside the Executive. To that extent did the 2011 and spent for each PAP. The second principle is that the Executive, as the department of
2012 GAAs contravene the Constitution. At the very least, the aforequoted the Government tasked to enforce the laws, is expected to faithfully execute the
provisions cannot be used to claim authority to transfer appropriations from the GAA and to spend the budget in accordance with the provisions of the GAA. 149 The
Executive to another branch, or to a constitutional commission. Executive is expected to faithfully implement the PAPs for which Congress allocated
Apparently realizing the problem, Congress inserted the omitted phrase in the funds, and to limit the expenditures within the allocations, unless exigencies result
counterpart provision in the 2013 GAA, to wit: to deficiencies for which augmentation is authorized, subject to the conditions
Section 52. Use of Savings. The President of the Philippines, the Senate President, provided by law. The third principle is that in making the Presidents power to
the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, augment operative under the GAA, Congress recognizes the need for flexibility in
the Heads of Constitutional Commissions enjoying fiscal autonomy, and the budget execution. In so doing, Congress diminishes its own power of the purse, for it
Ombudsman are hereby authorized to use savings in their respective appropriations delegates a fraction of its power to the Executive. But Congress does not thereby
to augment actual deficiencies incurred for the current year in any item of their allow the Executive to override its authority over the purse as to let the Executive
respective appropriations. exceed its delegated authority. And the fourth principle is that savings should be
Even had a valid law authorizing the transfer of funds pursuant to Section 25(5), actual. "Actual" denotes something that is real or substantial, or something that
supra, existed, there still remained two other requisites to be met, namely: that the exists presently in fact, as opposed to something that is merely theoretical, possible,
source of funds to be transferred were savings from appropriations within the potential or hypothetical.150
respective offices; and that the transfer must be for the purpose of augmenting an The foregoing principles caution us to construe savings strictly against expanding
item of appropriation within the respective offices. the scope of the power to augment. It is then indubitable that the power to augment
b.2. Second Requisite There were was to be used only when the purpose for which the funds had been allocated were
no savings from which funds already satisfied, or the need for such funds had ceased to exist, for only then could
could be sourced for the DAP savings be properly realized. This interpretation prevents the Executive from unduly
Were the funds used in the DAP actually savings? transgressing Congress power of the purse.
The petitioners claim that the funds used in the DAP the unreleased The definition of "savings" in the GAAs, particularly for 2011, 2012 and 2013,
appropriations and withdrawn unobligated allotments were not actual savings reflected this interpretation and made it operational, viz:
within the context of Section 25(5), supra, and the relevant provisions of the GAAs. Savings refer to portions or balances of any programmed appropriation in this Act
Belgica argues that "savings" should be understood to refer to the excess money free from any obligation or encumbrance which are: (i) still available after the
after the items that needed to be funded have been funded, or those that needed to completion or final discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose
be paid have been paid pursuant to the budget. 146The petitioners posit that there for which the appropriation is authorized; (ii) from appropriations balances arising
could be savings only when the PAPs for which the funds had been appropriated from unpaid compensation and related costs pertaining to vacant positions and
were actually implemented and completed, or finally discontinued or abandoned. leaves of absence without pay; and (iii) from appropriations balances realized from
They insist that savings could not be realized with certainty in the middle of the the implementation of measures resulting in improved systems and efficiencies and
fiscal year; and that the funds for "slow-moving" PAPs could not be considered as thus enabled agencies to meet and deliver the required or planned targets,
savings because such PAPs had not actually been abandoned or discontinued programs and services approved in this Act at a lesser cost.
yet.147 They stress that NBC No. 541, by allowing the withdrawn funds to be reissued The three instances listed in the GAAs aforequoted definition were a sure indication
to the "original program or project from which it was withdrawn," conceded that the that savings could be generated only upon the purpose of the appropriation being
PAPs from which the supposed savings were taken had not been completed, fulfilled, or upon the need for the appropriation being no longer existent.
abandoned or discontinued.148 The phrase "free from any obligation or encumbrance" in the definition of savings in
The OSG represents that "savings" were "appropriations balances," being the the GAAs conveyed the notion that the appropriation was at that stage when the
difference between the appropriation authorized by Congress and the actual amount appropriation was already obligated and the appropriation was already released.
allotted for the appropriation; that the definition of "savings" in the GAAs set only This interpretation was reinforced by the enumeration of the three instances for
the parameters for determining when savings occurred; that it was still the President savings to arise, which showed that the appropriation referred to had reached the
(as well as the other officers vested by the Constitution with the authority to agency level. It could not be otherwise, considering that only when the appropriation
augment) who ultimately determined when savings actually existed because savings had reached the agency level could it be determined whether (a) the PAP for which
could be determined only during the stage of budget execution; that the President the appropriation had been authorized was completed, finally discontinued, or
must be given a wide discretion to accomplish his tasks; and that the withdrawn abandoned; or (b) there were vacant positions and leaves of absence without pay; or
unobligated allotments were savings inasmuch as they were clearly "portions or (c) the required or planned targets, programs and services were realized at a lesser

Santiago v Guingona Page 74 of 106


cost because of the implementation of measures resulting in improved systems and 6.0 Said reminders were made in a series of consultation meetings with the
efficiencies. concerned agencies and with call-up letters sent.
The DBM declares that part of the savings brought under the DAP came from 7.0 Despite said reminders and the availability of funds at the departments
"pooling of unreleased appropriations such as unreleased Personnel Services disposal, the level of financial performance of some departments registered below
appropriations which will lapse at the end of the year, unreleased appropriations of program, with the targeted obligations/disbursements for the first semester still not
slow moving projects and discontinued projects per Zero-Based Budgeting findings." being met.
The declaration of the DBM by itself does not state the clear legal basis for the 8.0 In order to maximize the use of the available allotment, all unobligated balances
treatment of unreleased or unalloted appropriations as savings. as of June 30, 2012, both for continuing and current allotments shall be withdrawn
The fact alone that the appropriations are unreleased or unalloted is a mere and pooled to fund fast moving programs/projects.
description of the status of the items as unalloted or unreleased. They have not yet 9.0 It may be emphasized that the allotments to be withdrawn will be based on the
ripened into categories of items from which savings can be generated. list of slow moving projects to be identified by the agencies and their catch up plans
Appropriations have been considered "released" if there has already been an to be evaluated by the DBM.
allotment or authorization to incur obligations and disbursement authority. This It is apparent from the foregoing text that the withdrawal of unobligated allotments
means that the DBM has issued either an ABM (for those not needing clearance), or would be based on whether the allotments pertained to slow-moving projects, or
a SARO (for those needing clearance), and consequently an NCA, NCAA or CDC, as not. However, NBC No. 541 did not set in clear terms the criteria for the withdrawal
the case may be. Appropriations remain unreleased, for instance, because of of unobligated allotments, viz:
noncompliance with documentary requirements (like the Special Budget Request), or 3.1. These guidelines shall cover the withdrawal of unobligated allotments as of June
simply because of the unavailability of funds. But the appropriations do not actually 30, 2012 ofall national government agencies (NGAs) charged against FY 2011
reach the agencies to which they were allocated under the GAAs, and have Continuing Appropriation (R.A. No. 10147) and FY 2012 Current Appropriation (R.A.
remained with the DBM technically speaking. Ergo, unreleased appropriations refer No. 10155), pertaining to:
to appropriations with allotments but without disbursement authority. 3.1.1 Capital Outlays (CO);
For us to consider unreleased appropriations as savings, unless these met the 3.1.2 Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) related to the
statutory definition of savings, would seriously undercut the congressional power of implementation of programs and projects, as well as capitalized MOOE; and
the purse, because such appropriations had not even reached and been used by the 3.1.3 Personal Services corresponding to unutilized pension benefits declared as
agency concerned vis--vis the PAPs for which Congress had allocated them. savings by the agencies concerned based on their undated/validated list of
However, if an agency has unfilled positions in its plantilla and did not receive an pensioners.
allotment and NCA for such vacancies, appropriations for such positions, although A perusal of its various provisions reveals that NBC No. 541 targeted the "withdrawal
unreleased, may already constitute savings for that agency under the second of unobligated allotments of agencies with low levels of obligations" 151 "to fund
instance. priority and/or fast-moving programs/projects." 152 But the fact that the withdrawn
Unobligated allotments, on the other hand, were encompassed by the first part of allotments could be "[r]eissued for the original programs and projects of the
the definition of "savings" in the GAA, that is, as "portions or balances of any agencies/OUs concerned, from which the allotments were withdrawn" 153 supported
programmed appropriation in this Act free from any obligation or encumbrance." But the conclusion that the PAPs had not yet been finally discontinued or abandoned.
the first part of the definition was further qualified by the three enumerated Thus, the purpose for which the withdrawn funds had been appropriated was not yet
instances of when savings would be realized. As such, unobligated allotments could fulfilled, or did not yet cease to exist, rendering the declaration of the funds as
not be indiscriminately declared as savings without first determining whether any of savings impossible.
the three instances existed. This signified that the DBMs withdrawal of unobligated Worse, NBC No. 541 immediately considered for withdrawal all released allotments
allotments had disregarded the definition of savings under the GAAs. in 2011 charged against the 2011 GAA that had remained unobligated based on the
Justice Carpio has validly observed in his Separate Concurring Opinion that MOOE following considerations, to wit:
appropriations are deemed divided into twelve monthly allocations within the fiscal 5.4.1 The departments/agencies approved priority programs and projects are
year; hence, savings could be generated monthly from the excess or unused MOOE assumed to be implementation-ready and doable during the given fiscal year; and
appropriations other than the Mandatory Expenditures and Expenditures for 5.4.2 The practice of having substantial carryover appropriations may imply that the
Business-type Activities because of the physical impossibility to obligate and spend agency has a slower-than-programmed implementation capacity or agency tends to
such funds as MOOE for a period that already lapsed. Following this observation, implement projects within a two-year timeframe.
MOOE for future months are not savings and cannot be transferred. Such withdrawals pursuant to NBC No. 541, the circular that affected the
The DBMs Memorandum for the President dated June 25, 2012 (which became the unobligated allotments for continuing and current appropriations as of June 30,
basis of NBC No. 541) stated: 2012, disregarded the 2-year period of availability of the appropriations for MOOE
ON THE AUTHORITY TO WITHDRAW UNOBLIGATED ALLOTMENTS and capital outlay extended under Section 65, General Provisions of the 2011 GAA,
5.0 The DBM, during the course of performance reviews conducted on the agencies viz:
operations, particularly on the implementation of their projects/activities, including Section 65. Availability of Appropriations. Appropriations for MOOE and capital
expenses incurred in undertaking the same, have been continuously calling the outlays authorized in this Act shall be available for release and obligation for the
attention of all National Government agencies (NGAs) with low levels of obligations purpose specified, and under the same special provisions applicable thereto, for a
as of end of the first quarter to speedup the implementation of their programs and period extending to one fiscal year after the end of the year in which such items
projects in the second quarter. were appropriated: PROVIDED, That appropriations for MOOE and capital outlays

Santiago v Guingona Page 75 of 106


under R.A. No. 9970 shall be made available up to the end of FY 2011: PROVIDED, not later than July 30, 2012, the following budget accountability reports as of June
FURTHER, That a report on these releases and obligations shall be submitted to the 30, 2012;
Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Appropriations. Statement of Allotments, Obligation and Balances (SAOB);
and Section 63 General Provisions of the 2012 GAA, viz: Financial Report of Operations (FRO); and
Section 63. Availability of Appropriations. Appropriations for MOOE and capital Physical Report of Operations.
outlays authorized in this Act shall be available for release and obligation for the 5.3 In the absence of the June 30, 2012 reports cited under item 5.2 of this Circular,
purpose specified, and under the same special provisions applicable thereto, for a the agencys latest report available shall be used by DBM as basis for withdrawal of
period extending to one fiscal year after the end of the year in which such items allotment. The DBM shall compute/approximate the agencys obligation level as of
were appropriated: PROVIDED, That a report on these releases and obligations shall June 30 to derive its unobligated allotments as of same period. Example: If the
be submitted to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on March 31 SAOB or FRO reflects actual obligations of P 800M then the June 30
Appropriations, either in printed form or by way of electronic document. 154 obligation level shall approximate to P1,600 M (i.e., P800 M x 2 quarters).
Thus, another alleged area of constitutional infirmity was that the DAP and its The petitioners assert that no law had authorized the withdrawal and transfer of
relevant issuances shortened the period of availability of the appropriations for unobligated allotments and the pooling of unreleased appropriations; and that the
MOOE and capital outlays. unbridled withdrawal of unobligated allotments and the retention of appropriated
Congress provided a one-year period of availability of the funds for all allotment funds were akin to the impoundment of appropriations that could be allowed only in
classes in the 2013 GAA (R.A. No. 10352), to wit: case of "unmanageable national government budget deficit" under the GAAs, 157 thus
Section 63. Availability of Appropriations. All appropriations authorized in this Act violating the provisions of the GAAs of 2011, 2012 and 2013 prohibiting the
shall be available for release and obligation for the purposes specified, and under retention or deduction of allotments.158
the same special provisions applicable thereto, until the end of FY 2013: PROVIDED, In contrast, the respondents emphasize that NBC No. 541 adopted a spending, not
That a report on these releases and obligations shall be submitted to the Senate saving, policy as a last-ditch effort of the Executive to push agencies into actually
Committee on Finance and House Committee on Appropriations, either in printed spending their appropriations; that such policy did not amount to an impoundment
form or by way of electronic document. scheme, because impoundment referred to the decision of the Executive to refuse to
Yet, in his memorandum for the President dated May 20, 2013, Sec. Abad sought spend funds for political or ideological reasons; and that the withdrawal of
omnibus authority to consolidate savings and unutilized balances to fund the DAP on allotments under NBC No. 541 was made pursuant to Section 38, Chapter 5, Book VI
a quarterly basis, viz: of the Administrative Code, by which the President was granted the authority to
7.0 If the level of financial performance of some department will register below suspend or otherwise stop further expenditure of funds allotted to any agency
program, even with the availability of funds at their disposal, the targeted whenever in his judgment the public interest so required.
obligations/disbursements for each quarter will not be met. It is important to note The assertions of the petitioners are upheld. The withdrawal and transfer of
that these funds will lapse at the end of the fiscal year if these remain unobligated. unobligated allotments and the pooling of unreleased appropriations were invalid for
8.0 To maximize the use of the available allotment, all unobligated balances at the being bereft of legal support. Nonetheless, such withdrawal of unobligated
end of every quarter, both for continuing and current allotments shall be withdrawn allotments and the retention of appropriated funds cannot be considered as
and pooled to fund fast moving programs/projects. impoundment.
9.0 It may be emphasized that the allotments to be withdrawn will be based on the According to Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez: 159 "Impoundment refers
list of slow moving projects to be identified by the agencies and their catch up plans to a refusal by the President, for whatever reason, to spend funds made available by
to be evaluated by the DBM. Congress. It is the failure to spend or obligate budget authority of any type."
The validity period of the affected appropriations, already given the brief Lifes pan of Impoundment under the GAA is understood to mean the retention or deduction of
one year, was further shortened to only a quarter of a year under the DBMs appropriations. The 2011 GAA authorized impoundment only in case of
memorandum dated May 20, 2013. unmanageable National Government budget deficit, to wit:
The petitioners accuse the respondents of forcing the generation of savings in order Section 66. Prohibition Against Impoundment of Appropriations. No appropriations
to have a larger fund available for discretionary spending. They aver that the authorized under this Act shall be impounded through retention or deduction, unless
respondents, by withdrawing unobligated allotments in the middle of the fiscal year, in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the DBM: PROVIDED,
in effect deprived funding for PAPs with existing appropriations under the GAAs. 155 That all the funds appropriated for the purposes, programs, projects and activities
The respondents belie the accusation, insisting that the unobligated allotments were authorized under this Act, except those covered under the Unprogrammed Fund,
being withdrawn upon the instance of the implementing agencies based on their shall be released pursuant to Section 33 (3), Chapter 5, Book VI of E.O. No. 292.
own assessment that they could not obligate those allotments pursuant to the Section 67. Unmanageable National Government Budget Deficit. Retention or
Presidents directive for them to spend their appropriations as quickly as they could deduction of appropriations authorized in this Act shall be effected only in cases
in order to ramp up the economy.156 where there is an unmanageable national government budget deficit.
We agree with the petitioners. Unmanageable national government budget deficit as used in this section shall be
Contrary to the respondents insistence, the withdrawals were upon the initiative of construed to mean that (i) the actual national government budget deficit has
the DBM itself. The text of NBC No. 541 bears this out, to wit: exceeded the quarterly budget deficit targets consistent with the full-year target
5.2 For the purpose of determining the amount of unobligated allotments that shall deficit as indicated in the FY 2011 Budget of
be withdrawn, all departments/agencies/operating units (OUs) shall submit to DBM Expenditures and Sources of Financing submitted by the President and approved by
Congress pursuant to Section 22, Article VII of the Constitution, or (ii) there are clear

Santiago v Guingona Page 76 of 106


economic indications of an impending occurrence of such condition, as determined The Executive could not circumvent this provision by declaring unreleased
by the Development Budget Coordinating Committee and approved by the appropriations and unobligated allotments as savings prior to the end of the fiscal
President. year.
The 2012 and 2013 GAAs contained similar provisions. b.3. Third Requisite No funds from
The withdrawal of unobligated allotments under the DAP should not be regarded as savings could be transferred under
impoundment because it entailed only the transfer of funds, not the retention or the DAP to augment deficient items
deduction of appropriations. not provided in the GAA
Nor could Section 68 of the 2011 GAA (and the similar provisions of the 2012 and The third requisite for a valid transfer of funds is that the purpose of the transfer
2013 GAAs) be applicable. They uniformly stated: should be "to augment an item in the general appropriations law for the respective
Section 68. Prohibition Against Retention/Deduction of Allotment. Fund releases from offices." The term "augment" means to enlarge or increase in size, amount, or
appropriations provided in this Act shall be transmitted intact or in full to the office degree.160
or agency concerned. No retention or deduction as reserves or overhead shall be The GAAs for 2011, 2012 and 2013 set as a condition for augmentation that the
made, except as authorized by law, or upon direction of the President of the appropriation for the PAP item to be augmented must be deficient, to wit:
Philippines. The COA shall ensure compliance with this provision to the extent that x x x Augmentation implies the existence in this Act of a program, activity, or project
sub-allotments by agencies to their subordinate offices are in conformity with the with an appropriation, which upon implementation, or subsequent evaluation of
release documents issued by the DBM. needed resources, is determined to be deficient. In no case shall a non-existent
The provision obviously pertained to the retention or deduction of allotments upon program, activity, or project, be funded by augmentation from savings or by the use
their release from the DBM, which was a different matter altogether. The Court of appropriations otherwise authorized in this Act.
should not expand the meaning of the provision by applying it to the withdrawal of In other words, an appropriation for any PAP must first be determined to be deficient
allotments. before it could be augmented from savings. Note is taken of the fact that the 2013
The respondents rely on Section 38, Chapter 5, Book VI of the Administrative Code GAA already made this quite clear, thus:
of 1987 to justify the withdrawal of unobligated allotments. But the provision Section 52. Use of Savings. The President of the Philippines, the Senate President,
authorized only the suspension or stoppage of further expenditures, not the the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
withdrawal of unobligated allotments, to wit: the Heads of Constitutional Commissions enjoying fiscal autonomy, and the
Section 38. Suspension of Expenditure of Appropriations.- Except as otherwise Ombudsman are hereby authorized to use savings in their respective appropriations
provided in the General Appropriations Act and whenever in his judgment the public to augment actual deficiencies incurred for the current year in any item of their
interest so requires, the President, upon notice to the head of office concerned, is respective appropriations.
authorized to suspend or otherwise stop further expenditure of funds allotted for any As of 2013, a total of P144.4 billion worth of PAPs were implemented through the
agency, or any other expenditure authorized in the General Appropriations Act, DAP.161
except for personal services appropriations used for permanent officials and Of this amount P82.5 billion were released in 2011 and P54.8 billion in 2012.162 Sec.
employees. Abad has reported that 9% of the total DAP releases were applied to the PAPs
Moreover, the DBM did not suspend or stop further expenditures in accordance with identified by the legislators.163
Section 38, supra, but instead transferred the funds to other PAPs. The petitioners disagree, however, and insist that the DAP supported the following
It is relevant to remind at this juncture that the balances of appropriations that PAPs that had not been covered with appropriations in the respective GAAs, namely:
remained unexpended at the end of the fiscal year were to be reverted to the (i) P1.5 billion for the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army;
General Fund.1wphi1 This was the mandate of Section 28, Chapter IV, Book VI of (ii) P1.8 billion for the Moro National Liberation Front;
the Administrative Code, to wit: (iii) P700 million for assistance to Quezon Province; 164
Section 28. Reversion of Unexpended Balances of Appropriations, Continuing (iv) P50 million to P100 (million) each to certain senators;165
Appropriations.- Unexpended balances of appropriations authorized in the General (v) P10 billion for the relocation of families living along dangerous zones under the
Appropriation Act shall revert to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund at National Housing Authority;
the end of the fiscal year and shall not thereafter be available for expenditure (vi) P10 billion and P20 billion equity infusion under the Bangko Sentral;
except by subsequent legislative enactment: Provided, that appropriations for (vii) P5.4 billion landowners compensation under the Department of Agrarian
capital outlays shall remain valid until fully spent or reverted: provided, further, that Reform;
continuing appropriations for current operating expenditures may be specifically (viii) P8.6 billion for the ARMM comprehensive peace and development program;
recommended and approved as such in support of projects whose effective (ix) P6.5 billion augmentation of LGU internal revenue allotments
implementation calls for multi-year expenditure commitments: provided, finally, that (x) P5 billion for crucial projects like tourism road construction under the Department
the President may authorize the use of savings realized by an agency during given of Tourism and the Department of Public Works and Highways;
year to meet non-recurring expenditures in a subsequent year. (xi) P1.8 billion for the DAR-DPWH Tulay ng Pangulo;
The balances of continuing appropriations shall be reviewed as part of the annual (xii) P1.96 billion for the DOH-DPWH rehabilitation of regional health units; and
budget preparation process and the preparation process and the President may (xiii) P4 billion for the DepEd-PPP school infrastructure projects.166
approve upon recommendation of the Secretary, the reversion of funds no longer In refutation, the OSG argues that a total of 116 DAP-financed PAPs were
needed in connection with the activities funded by said continuing appropriations. implemented, had appropriation covers, and could properly be accounted for
because the funds were released following and pursuant to the standard practices

Santiago v Guingona Page 77 of 106


adopted by the DBM.167 In support of its argument, the OSG has submitted seven knowledge and
evidence packets containing memoranda, SAROs, and other pertinent documents technologies and
relative to the implementation and fund transfers under the DAP. 168 research
Upon careful review of the documents contained in the seven evidence packets, we capability building
conclude that the "savings" pooled under the DAP were allocated to PAPs that were in
not covered by any appropriations in the pertinent GAAs. priority areas
For example, the SARO issued on December 22, 2011 for the highly vaunted identified as
Disaster Risk, Exposure, Assessment and Mitigation (DREAM) project under the strategic to
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) covered the amount ofP1.6 National
Billion,169 broken down as follows: Development 0 0

PROPRIATION PARTICULARS AMOUNT Aside from this transfer under the DAP to the DREAM project exceeding by almost
DE AUTHORIZED 300% the appropriation by Congress for the program Generation of new knowledge
and technologies and research capability building in priority areas identified as
strategic to National Development, the Executive allotted funds for personnel
03.a.01.a Generation of new knowledge and technologies and services and capital outlays. The Executive thereby substituted its will to that of
research capability building in priority areas identified Congress. Worse, the Executive had not earlier proposed any amount for personnel
as strategic to National Development services and capital outlays in the NEP that became the basis of the 2011 GAA. 170
Personnel Services It is worth stressing in this connection that the failure of the GAAs to set aside any
Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses P amounts for an expense category sufficiently indicated that Congress purposely did
43,504,024
Capital Outlays 1,164,517,589 not see fit to fund, much less implement, the PAP concerned. This indication
391,978,387 becomes clearer when even the President himself did not recommend in the NEP to
P 1,600,000,000 fund the PAP. The consequence was that any PAP requiring expenditure that did not
receive any appropriation under the GAAs could only be a new PAP, any funding for
which would go beyond the authority laid down by Congress in enacting the GAAs.
the pertinent provision of the 2011 GAA (R.A. No. 10147) showed that Congress had That happened in some instances under the DAP.
appropriated onlyP537,910,000 for MOOE, but nothing for personnel services and In relation to the December 22, 2011 SARO issued to the Philippine Council for
capital outlays, to wit: Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-
PCIEETRD)171 for Establishment of the Advanced Failure Analysis Laboratory, which
Personnel Maintenanc Capital TOTAL reads:
Services e Outlays
and Other APPROPRIATI PARTICULARS AMOUNT
Operating AUTHORIZED
Expenditur
es

Development, integration and coordination of the National Research


III. Operations System for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology and Related
Fields
Capital Outlays P 300,000,000
a Funding Assistance to 177,406,0 1,887,365, 49,090,0 2,113,861,0
. Science 00 000 00 00
and Technology the appropriation code and the particulars appearing in the SARO did not correspond
Activities to the program specified in the GAA, whose particulars were Research and
Management Services(inclusive of the following activities: (1) Technological and
Economic Assessment for Industry, Energy and Utilities; (2) Dissemination of Science
1 Central Office 1,554,238, 1,554,238,0 and Technology Information; and (3) Management of PCIERD Information System for
. 000 00 Industry, Energy and Utilities. Even assuming that Development, integration and
coordination of the National Research System for Industry, Energy and Emerging
Technology and Related Fields the particulars stated in the SARO could fall under
a. Generation of 537,910,00 537,910,00 the broad program description of Research and Management Services as appearing
new in the SARO, it would nonetheless remain a new activity by reason of its not being

Santiago v Guingona Page 78 of 106


specifically stated in the GAA. As such, the DBM, sans legislative authorization, could Did any cross-border transfers or augmentations transpire?
not validly fund and implement such PAP under the DAP. During the oral arguments on January 28, 2014, Sec. Abad admitted making some
In defending the disbursements, however, the OSG contends that the Executive cross-border augmentations, to wit:
enjoyed sound discretion in implementing the budget given the generality in the JUSTICE BERSAMIN:
language and the broad policy objectives identified under the GAAs; 172 and that the Alright, the whole time that you have been Secretary of Department of Budget and
President enjoyed unlimited authority to spend the initial appropriations under his Management, did the Executive Department ever redirect any part of savings of the
authority to declare and utilize savings, 173 and in keeping with his duty to faithfully National Government under your control cross border to another department?
execute the laws. SECRETARY ABAD:
Although the OSG rightly contends that the Executive was authorized to spend in Well, in the Memos that we submitted to you, such an instance, Your Honor
line with its mandate to faithfully execute the laws (which included the GAAs), such JUSTICE BERSAMIN:
authority did not translate to unfettered discretion that allowed the President to Can you tell me two instances? I dont recall having read your material.
substitute his own will for that of Congress. He was still required to remain faithful to SECRETARY ABAD:
the provisions of the GAAs, given that his power to spend pursuant to the GAAs was Well, the first instance had to do with a request from the House of Representatives.
but a delegation to him from Congress. Verily, the power to spend the public wealth They started building their e-library in 2010 and they had a budget for about 207
resided in Congress, not in the Executive. 174 Moreover, leaving the spending power Million but they lack about 43 Million to complete its 250 Million requirements. Prior
of the Executive unrestricted would threaten to undo the principle of separation of to that, the COA, in an audit observation informed the Speaker that they had to
powers.175 continue with that construction otherwise the whole building, as well as the
Congress acts as the guardian of the public treasury in faithful discharge of its power equipments therein may suffer from serious deterioration. And at that time, since
of the purse whenever it deliberates and acts on the budget proposal submitted by the budget of the House of Representatives was not enough to complete 250 Million,
the Executive.176 Its power of the purse is touted as the very foundation of its they wrote to the President requesting for an augmentation of that particular item,
institutional strength,177 and underpins "all other legislative decisions and regulating which was granted, Your Honor. The second instance in the Memos is a request from
the balance of influence between the legislative and executive branches of the Commission on Audit. At the time they were pushing very strongly the good
government."178 Such enormous power encompasses the capacity to generate governance programs of the government and therefore, part of that is a requirement
money for the Government, to appropriate public funds, and to spend the to conduct audits as well as review financial reports of many agencies. And in the
money.179 Pertinently, when it exercises its power of the purse, Congress wields performance of that function, the Commission on Audit needed information
control by specifying the PAPs for which public money should be spent. technology equipment as well as hire consultants and litigators to help them with
It is the President who proposes the budget but it is Congress that has the final say their audit work and for that they requested funds from the Executive and the
on matters of appropriations.180 For this purpose, appropriation involves two President saw that it was important for the Commission to be provided with those IT
governing principles, namely: (1) "a Principle of the Public Fisc, asserting that all equipments and litigators and consultants and the request was granted, Your Honor.
monies received from whatever source by any part of the government are public JUSTICE BERSAMIN:
funds;" and (2) "a Principle of Appropriations Control, prohibiting expenditure of any These cross border examples, cross border augmentations were not supported by
public money without legislative authorization." 181 To conform with the governing appropriations
principles, the Executive cannot circumvent the prohibition by Congress of an SECRETARY ABAD:
expenditure for a PAP by resorting to either public or private funds. 182 Nor could the They were, we were augmenting existing items within their (interrupted)
Executive transfer appropriated funds resulting in an increase in the budget for one JUSTICE BERSAMIN:
PAP, for by so doing the appropriation for another PAP is necessarily decreased. The No, appropriations before you augmented because this is a cross border and the
terms of both appropriations will thereby be violated. tenor or text of the Constitution is quite clear as far as I am concerned. It says here,
b.4 Third Requisite Cross-border "The power to augment may only be made to increase any item in the General
augmentations from savings were Appropriations Law for their respective offices." Did you not feel constricted by this
prohibited by the Constitution provision?
By providing that the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the SECRETARY ABAD:
House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Heads of Well, as the Constitution provides, the prohibition we felt was on the transfer of
the Constitutional Commissions may be authorized to augment any item in the GAA appropriations, Your Honor. What we thought we did was to transfer savings which
"for their respective offices," Section 25(5), supra, has delineated borders between was needed by the Commission to address deficiency in an existing item in both the
their offices, such that funds appropriated for one office are prohibited from crossing Commission as well as in the House of Representatives; thats how we saw
over to another office even in the guise of augmentation of a deficient item or items. (interrupted)
Thus, we call such transfers of funds cross-border transfers or cross-border JUSTICE BERSAMIN:
augmentations. So your position as Secretary of Budget is that you could do that?
To be sure, the phrase "respective offices" used in Section 25(5), supra, refers to the SECRETARY ABAD:
entire Executive, with respect to the President; the Senate, with respect to the In an extreme instances because(interrupted)
Senate President; the House of Representatives, with respect to the Speaker; the JUSTICE BERSAMIN:
Judiciary, with respect to the Chief Justice; the Constitutional Commissions, with No, no, in all instances, extreme or not extreme, you could do that, thats your
respect to their respective Chairpersons. feeling.

Santiago v Guingona Page 79 of 106


SECRETARY ABAD: Executive Department solely in need of public funds. The President is there 24 hours
Well, in that particular situation when the request was made by the Commission and a day, 7 days a week. Hes in charge of the whole operation although six or seven
the House of Representatives, we felt that we needed to respond because we felt heads of government offices are given the power to augment. Only the President
(interrupted).183 stationed there and in effect in-charge and has the responsibility for the failure of
The records show, indeed, that funds amounting to P143,700,000.00 any part of the government. You have election, for one reason or another, the
and P250,000,000.00 were transferred under the DAP respectively to the COA 184 and money is not enough to hold election. There would be chaos if no money is given as
the House of Representatives.185 Those transfers of funds, which constituted cross- an aid, not to augment, but as an aid to a department like COA. The President is
border augmentations for being from the Executive to the COA and the House of responsible in a way that the other heads, given the power to augment, are not. So,
Representatives, are graphed as follows:186 he cannot very well allow this, if Your Honor please. 189
JUSTICE LEONEN:
May I move to another point, maybe just briefly. I am curious that the position now, I
think, of government is that some transfers of savings is now considered to be, if Im
AMOUNT
not mistaken, aid not augmentation. Am I correct in my hearing of your argument?
(In thousand pesos)
DATE HONORABLE MENDOZA:
PURPOSE RELEAS Thats our submission, if Your Honor, please.
ED
Reserve Releases JUSTICE LEONEN:
Imposed May I know, Justice, where can we situate this in the text of the Constitution? Where
do we actually derive the concepts that transfers of appropriation from one branch
to the other or what happened in DAP can be considered a said? What particular text
sion IT Infrastructure Program and hiring of additional 11/11/1 143,700 in the Constitution can we situate this?
litigation experts 1 HONORABLE MENDOZA:
There is no particular provision or statutory provision for that matter, if Your Honor
please. It is drawn from the fact that the Executive is the executive in-charge of the
success of the government.
s Completion of the construction of the Legislative 07/23/1 207,034 250,000 JUSTICE LEONEN:
of Library and Archives Building/Congressional e- 2 (Savings of HOR) So, the residual powers labelled in Marcos v. Manglapus would be the basis for this
ntati library theory of the government?
HONORABLE MENDOZA:
Yes, if Your Honor, please.
JUSTICE LEONEN:
The respondents further stated in their memorandum that the President "made
A while ago, Justice Carpio mentioned that the remedy is might be to go to
available" to the "Commission on Elections the savings of his department upon [its]
Congress. That there are opportunities and there have been opportunities of the
request for funds"187 This was another instance of a cross-border augmentation.
President to actually go to Congress and ask for supplemental budgets?
The respondents justified all the cross-border transfers thusly:
HONORABLE MENDOZA:
99. The Constitution does not prevent the President from transferring savings of his
If there is time to do that, I would say yes.
department to another department upon the latters request, provided it is the
JUSTICE LEONEN:
recipient department that uses such funds to augment its own appropriation. In such
So, the theory of aid rather than augmentation applies in extra-ordinary situation?
a case, the President merely gives the other department access to public funds but
HONORABLE MENDOZA:
he cannot dictate how they shall be applied by that department whose fiscal
188 Very extra-ordinary situations.
autonomy is guaranteed by the Constitution.
JUSTICE LEONEN:
In the oral arguments held on February 18, 2014, Justice Vicente V. Mendoza,
But Counsel, this would be new doctrine, in case?
representing Congress, announced a different characterization of the cross-border
HONORABLE MENDOZA:
transfers of funds as in the nature of "aid" instead of "augmentation," viz:
Yes, if Your Honor please.190
HONORABLE MENDOZA:
Regardless of the variant characterizations of the cross-border transfers of funds,
The cross-border transfers, if Your Honors please, is not an application of the DAP.
the plain text of Section 25(5), supra, disallowing cross border transfers was
What were these cross-border transfers? They are transfers of savings as defined in
disobeyed. Cross-border transfers, whether as augmentation, or as aid, were
the various General Appropriations Act. So, that makes it similar to the DAP, the use
prohibited under Section 25(5), supra.
of savings. There was a cross-border which appears to be in violation of Section 25,
4.
paragraph 5 of Article VI, in the sense that the border was crossed. But never has it
Sourcing the DAP from unprogrammed
been claimed that the purpose was to augment a deficient item in another
funds despite the original revenue targets
department of the government or agency of the government. The cross-border
not having been exceeded was invalid
transfers, if Your Honors please, were in the nature of [aid] rather than
Funding under the DAP were also sourced from unprogrammed funds provided in the
augmentations. Here is a government entity separate and independent from the
GAAs for 2011, 2012,and 2013. The respondents stress, however, that the

Santiago v Guingona Page 80 of 106


unprogrammed funds were not brought under the DAP as savings, but as separate 2012 GAA
sources of funds; and that, consequently, the release and use of unprogrammed 1. Release of the Fund. The amounts authorized herein shall be released only when
funds were not subject to the restrictions under Section 25(5), supra. the revenue collections exceed the original revenue targets submitted by the
The documents contained in the Evidence Packets by the OSG have confirmed that President of the Philippines to Congress pursuant to Section 22, Article VII of the
the unprogrammed funds were treated as separate sources of funds. Even so, the Constitution: PROVIDED, That collections arising from sources not considered in the
release and use of the unprogrammed funds were still subject to restrictions, for, to aforesaid original revenue targets may be used to cover releases from
start with, the GAAs precisely specified the instances when the unprogrammed appropriations in this Fund: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That in case of newly approved
funds could be released and the purposes for which they could be used. loans for foreign-assisted projects, the existence of a perfected loan agreement for
The petitioners point out that a condition for the release of the unprogrammed funds the purpose shall be sufficient basis for the issuance of a SARO covering the loan
was that the revenue collections must exceed revenue targets; and that the release proceeds.
of the unprogrammed funds was illegal because such condition was not met. 191 As can be noted, the provisos in both provisions to the effect that "collections arising
The respondents disagree, holding that the release and use of the unprogrammed from sources not considered in the aforesaid original revenue targets may be used
funds under the DAP were in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the GAAs. to cover releases from appropriations in this Fund" gave the authority to use such
In particular, the DBM avers that the unprogrammed funds could be availed of when additional revenues for appropriations funded from the unprogrammed funds. They
any of the following three instances occur, to wit: (1) the revenue collections did not at all waive compliance with the basic requirement that revenue collections
exceeded the original revenue targets proposed in the BESFs submitted by the must still exceed the original revenue targets.
President to Congress; (2) new revenues were collected or realized from sources not In contrast, the texts of the provisos with regard to additional revenues generated
originally considered in the BESFs; or(3) newly-approved loans for foreign assisted from newly-approved foreign loans were clear to the effect that the perfected loan
projects were secured, or when conditions were triggered for other sources of funds, agreement would be in itself "sufficient basis" for the issuance of a SARO to release
such as perfected loan agreements for foreign-assisted projects. 192 This view of the the funds but only to the extent of the amount of the loan. In such instance, the
DBM was adopted by all the respondents in their Consolidated Comment. 193 revenue collections need not exceed the revenue targets to warrant the release of
The BESFs for 2011, 2012 and 2013 uniformly defined "unprogrammed the loan proceeds, and the mere perfection of the loan agreement would suffice.
appropriations" as appropriations that provided standby authority to incur additional It can be inferred from the foregoing that under these provisions of the GAAs the
agency obligations for priority PAPs when revenue collections exceeded targets, and additional revenues from sources not considered in the BESFs must be taken into
when additional foreign funds are generated. 194 Contrary to the DBMs averment that account in determining if the revenue collections exceeded the revenue targets. The
there were three instances when unprogrammed funds could be released, the BESFs text of the relevant provision of the 2013 GAA, which was substantially similar to
envisioned only two instances. The third mentioned by the DBM the collection of those of the GAAs for 2011 and 2012, already made this explicit, thus:
new revenues from sources not originally considered in the BESFs was not 1. Release of the Fund. The amounts authorized herein shall be released only when
included. This meant that the collection of additional revenues from new sources did the revenue collections exceed the original revenue targets submitted by the
not warrant the release of the unprogrammed funds. Hence, even if the revenues President of the Philippines to Congress pursuant to Section 22, Article VII of the
not considered in the BESFs were collected or generated, the basic condition that Constitution, including collections arising from sources not considered in the
the revenue collections should exceed the revenue targets must still be complied aforesaid original revenue target, as certified by the BTr: PROVIDED, That in case of
with in order to justify the release of the unprogrammed funds. newly approved loans for foreign-assisted projects, the existence of a perfected loan
The view that there were only two instances when the unprogrammed funds could agreement for the purpose shall be sufficient basis for the issuance of a SARO
be released was bolstered by the following texts of the Special Provisions of the covering the loan proceeds.
2011 and 2012 GAAs, to wit: Consequently, that there were additional revenues from sources not considered in
2011 GAA the revenue target would not be enough. The total revenue collections must still
1. Release of Fund. The amounts authorized herein shall be released only when the exceed the original revenue targets to justify the release of the unprogrammed
revenue collections exceed the original revenue targets submitted by the President funds (other than those from newly-approved foreign loans).
of the Philippines to Congress pursuant to Section 22, Article VII of the Constitution, The present controversy on the unprogrammed funds was rooted in the correct
including savings generated from programmed appropriations for the year: interpretation of the phrase "revenue collections should exceed the original revenue
PROVIDED, That collections arising from sources not considered in the aforesaid targets." The petitioners take the phrase to mean that the total revenue collections
original revenue targets may be used to cover releases from appropriations in this must exceed the total revenue target stated in the BESF, but the respondents
Fund: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That in case of newly approved loans for foreign- understand the phrase to refer only to the collections for each source of revenue as
assisted projects, the existence of a perfected loan agreement for the purpose shall enumerated in the BESF, with the condition being deemed complied with once the
be sufficient basis for the issuance of a SARO covering the loan proceeds: revenue collections from a particular source already exceeded the stated target.
PROVIDED, FURTHERMORE, That if there are savings generated from the The BESF provided for the following sources of revenue, with the corresponding
programmed appropriations for the first two quarters of the year, the DBM may, revenue target stated for each source of revenue, to wit:
subject to the approval of the President, release the pertinent appropriations under TAX REVENUES
the Unprogrammed Fund corresponding to only fifty percent (50%) of the said Taxes on Net Income and Profits
savings net of revenue shortfall: PROVIDED, FINALLY, That the release of the balance Taxes on Property
of the total savings from programmed appropriations for the year shall be subject to Taxes on Domestic Goods and Services
fiscal programming and approval of the President.

Santiago v Guingona Page 81 of 106


General Sales, Turnover or VAT 2011 and 2012, and only the P10 billion in target revenues in the form of dividends
Selected Excises on Goods from stocks in 2013.
Selected Taxes on Services However, the requirement that revenue collections exceed the original revenue
Taxes on the Use of Goods or Property or Permission to Perform Activities targets was to be construed in light of the purpose for which the unprogrammed
Other Taxes funds were incorporated in the GAAs as standby appropriations to support additional
Taxes on International Trade and Transactions expenditures for certain priority PAPs should the revenue collections exceed the
NON-TAX REVENUES resource targets assumed in the budget or when additional foreign project loan
Fees and Charges proceeds were realized. The unprogrammed funds were included in the GAAs to
BTR Income provide ready cover so as not to delay the implementation of the PAPs should new or
Government Services additional revenue sources be realized during the year. 200 Given the tenor of the
Interest on NG Deposits certifications, the unprogrammed funds were thus not yet supported by the
Interest on Advances to Government Corporations corresponding resources.201
Income from Investments The revenue targets stated in the BESF were intended to address the funding
Interest on Bond Holdings requirements of the proposed programmed appropriations. In contrast, the
Guarantee Fee unprogrammed funds, as standby appropriations, were to be released only when
Gain on Foreign Exchange there were revenues in excess of what the programmed appropriations required. As
NG Income Collected by BTr such, the revenue targets should be considered as a whole, not individually;
Dividends on Stocks otherwise, we would be dealing with artificial revenue surpluses. The requirement
NG Share from Airport Terminal Fee that revenue collections must exceed revenue target should be understood to mean
NG Share from PAGCOR Income that the revenue collections must exceed the total of the revenue targets stated in
NG Share from MIAA Profit the BESF. Moreover, to release the unprogrammed funds simply because there was
Privatization an excess revenue as to one source of revenue would be an unsound fiscal
Foreign Grants management measure because it would disregard the budget plan and foster
Thus, when the Court required the respondents to submit a certification from the budget deficits, in contravention of the Governments surplus budget policy. 202
Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to the effect that the revenue collections had exceeded the We cannot, therefore, subscribe to the respondents view.
original revenue targets,195 they complied by submitting certifications from the BTr 5.
and Department of Finance (DOF) pertaining to only one identified source of revenue Equal protection, checks and balances,
the dividends from the shares of stock held by the Government in government- and public accountability challenges
owned and controlled corporations. The DAP is further challenged as violative of the Equal Protection Clause, the system
To justify the release of the unprogrammed funds for 2011, the OSG presented the of checks and balances, and the principle of public accountability.
certification dated March 4, 2011 issued by DOF Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran, as With respect to the challenge against the DAP under the Equal Protection
follows: Clause,203 Luna argues that the implementation of the DAP was "unfair as it [was]
This is to certify that under the Budget for Expenditures and Sources of Financing for selective" because the funds released under the DAP was not made available to all
2011, the programmed income from dividends from shares of stock in government- the legislators, with some of them refusing to avail themselves of the DAP funds,
owned and controlled corporations is 5.5 billion. and others being unaware of the availability of such funds. Thus, the DAP practised
This is to certify further that based on the records of the Bureau of Treasury, the "undue favoritism" in favor of select legislators in contravention of the Equal
National Government has recorded dividend income amounting to P23.8 billion as of Protection Clause.
31 January 2011.196 Similarly, COURAGE contends that the DAP violated the Equal Protection Clause
For 2012, the OSG submitted the certification dated April 26, 2012 issued by because no reasonable classification was used in distributing the funds under the
National Treasurer Roberto B. Tan, viz: DAP; and that the Senators who supposedly availed themselves of said funds were
This is to certify that the actual dividend collections remitted to the National differently treated as to the amounts they respectively received.
Government for the period January to March 2012 amounted to P19.419 billion Anent the petitioners theory that the DAP violated the system of checks and
compared to the full year program of P5.5 billion for 2012.197 balances, Luna submits that the grant of the funds under the DAP to some
And, finally, for 2013, the OSG presented the certification dated July 3, 2013 issued legislators forced their silence about the issues and anomalies surrounding the DAP.
by National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon, to wit: Meanwhile, Belgica stresses that the DAP, by allowing the legislators to identify
This is to certify that the actual dividend collections remitted to the National PAPs, authorized them to take part in the implementation and execution of the
Government for the period January to May 2013 amounted to P12.438 billion GAAs, a function that exclusively belonged to the Executive; that such situation
compared to the full year program of P10.0198 billion for 2013. constituted undue and unjustified legislative encroachment in the functions of the
Moreover, the National Government accounted for the sale of the right to build and Executive; and that the President arrogated unto himself the power of appropriation
operate the NAIA expressway amounting to P11.0 billion in June 2013.199 vested in Congress because NBC No. 541 authorized the use of the funds under the
The certifications reflected that by collecting dividends amounting to P23.8 billion in DAP for PAPs not considered in the 2012 budget.
2011, P19.419 billion in 2012, and P12.438 billion in 2013 the BTr had exceeded only Finally, the petitioners insist that the DAP was repugnant to the principle of public
the P5.5 billion in target revenues in the form of dividends from stocks in each of accountability enshrined in the Constitution, 204 because the legislators relinquished

Santiago v Guingona Page 82 of 106


the power of appropriation to the Executive, and exhibited a reluctance to inquire Article 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-
into the legality of the DAP. observance shall not be excused by disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary.
The OSG counters the challenges, stating that the supposed discrimination in the When the courts declared a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former
release of funds under the DAP could be raised only by the affected Members of shall be void and the latter shall govern.
Congress themselves, and if the challenge based on the violation of the Equal Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when
Protection Clause was really against the constitutionality of the DAP, the arguments they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution.
of the petitioners should be directed to the entitlement of the legislators to the A legislative or executive act that is declared void for being unconstitutional cannot
funds, not to the proposition that all of the legislators should have been given such give rise to any right or obligation. 206 However, the generality of the rule makes us
entitlement. ponder whether rigidly applying the rule may at times be impracticable or wasteful.
The challenge based on the contravention of the Equal Protection Clause, which Should we not recognize the need to except from the rigid application of the rule the
focuses on the release of funds under the DAP to legislators, lacks factual and legal instances in which the void law or executive act produced an almost irreversible
basis. The allegations about Senators and Congressmen being unaware of the result?
existence and implementation of the DAP, and about some of them having refused The need is answered by the doctrine of operative fact. The doctrine, definitely not a
to accept such funds were unsupported with relevant data. Also, the claim that the novel one, has been exhaustively explained in De Agbayani v. Philippine National
Executive discriminated against some legislators on the ground alone of their Bank:207
receiving less than the others could not of itself warrant a finding of contravention of The decision now on appeal reflects the orthodox view that an unconstitutional act,
the Equal Protection Clause. The denial of equal protection of any law should be an for that matter an executive order or a municipal ordinance likewise suffering from
issue to be raised only by parties who supposedly suffer it, and, in these cases, such that infirmity, cannot be the source of any legal rights or duties. Nor can it justify
parties would be the few legislators claimed to have been discriminated against in any official act taken under it. Its repugnancy to the fundamental law once judicially
the releases of funds under the DAP. The reason for the requirement is that only declared results in its being to all intents and purposes a mere scrap of paper. As the
such affected legislators could properly and fully bring to the fore when and how the new Civil Code puts it: When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the
denial of equal protection occurred, and explain why there was a denial in their Constitution, the former shall be void and the latter shall govern. Administrative or
situation. The requirement was not met here. Consequently, the Court was not put in executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary
the position to determine if there was a denial of equal protection. To have the Court to the laws of the Constitution. It is understandable why it should be so, the
do so despite the inadequacy of the showing of factual and legal support would be Constitution being supreme and paramount. Any legislative or executive act
to compel it to speculate, and the outcome would not do justice to those for whose contrary to its terms cannot survive.
supposed benefit the claim of denial of equal protection has been made. Such a view has support in logic and possesses the merit of simplicity. It may not
The argument that the release of funds under the DAP effectively stayed the hands however be sufficiently realistic. It does not admit of doubt that prior to the
of the legislators from conducting congressional inquiries into the legality and declaration of nullity such challenged legislative or executive act must have been in
propriety of the DAP is speculative. That deficiency eliminated any need to consider force and had to be complied with. This is so as until after the judiciary, in an
and resolve the argument, for it is fundamental that speculation would not support appropriate case, declares its invalidity, it is entitled to obedience and respect.
any proper judicial determination of an issue simply because nothing concrete can Parties may have acted under it and may have changed their positions. What could
thereby be gained. In order to sustain their constitutional challenges against official be more fitting than that in a subsequent litigation regard be had to what has been
acts of the Government, the petitioners must discharge the basic burden of proving done while such legislative or executive act was in operation and presumed to be
that the constitutional infirmities actually existed. 205 Simply put, guesswork and valid in all respects. It is now accepted as a doctrine that prior to its being nullified,
speculation cannot overcome the presumption of the constitutionality of the assailed its existence as a fact must be reckoned with. This is merely to reflect awareness
executive act. that precisely because the judiciary is the governmental organ which has the final
We do not need to discuss whether or not the DAP and its implementation through say on whether or not a legislative or executive measure is valid, a period of time
the various circulars and memoranda of the DBM transgressed the system of checks may have elapsed before it can exercise the power of judicial review that may lead
and balances in place in our constitutional system. Our earlier expositions on the to a declaration of nullity. It would be to deprive the law of its quality of fairness and
DAP and its implementing issuances infringing the doctrine of separation of powers justice then, if there be no recognition of what had transpired prior to such
effectively addressed this particular concern. adjudication.
Anent the principle of public accountability being transgressed because the adoption In the language of an American Supreme Court decision: The actual existence of a
and implementation of the DAP constituted an assumption by the Executive of statute, prior to such a determination [of unconstitutionality], is an operative fact
Congress power of appropriation, we have already held that the DAP and its and may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot always
implementing issuances were policies and acts that the Executive could properly be erased by a new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to
adopt and do in the execution of the GAAs to the extent that they sought to invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects, with respect to particular
implement strategies to ramp up or accelerate the economy of the country. relations, individual and corporate, and particular conduct, private and official."
6. The doctrine of operative fact recognizes the existence of the law or executive act
Doctrine of operative fact was applicable prior to the determination of its unconstitutionality as an operative fact that
After declaring the DAP and its implementing issuances constitutionally infirm, we produced consequences that cannot always be erased, ignored or disregarded. In
must now deal with the consequences of the declaration. short, it nullifies the void law or executive act but sustains its effects. It provides an
Article 7 of the Civil Code provides: exception to the general rule that a void or unconstitutional law produces no

Santiago v Guingona Page 83 of 106


effect.208 But its use must be subjected to great scrutiny and circumspection, and it Evidently, the operative fact doctrine is not confined to statutes and rules and
cannot be invoked to validate an unconstitutional law or executive act, but is regulations issued by the executive department that are accorded the same status
resorted to only as a matter of equity and fair play. 209 It applies only to cases where as that of a statute or those which are quasi-legislative in nature.
extraordinary circumstances exist, and only when the extraordinary circumstances Even assuming that De Agbayani initially applied the operative fact doctrine only to
have met the stringent conditions that will permit its application. executive issuances like orders and rules and regulations, said principle can
We find the doctrine of operative fact applicable to the adoption and implementation nonetheless be applied, by analogy, to decisions made by the President or the
of the DAP. Its application to the DAP proceeds from equity and fair play. The agencies under the executive department. This doctrine, in the interest of justice
consequences resulting from the DAP and its related issuances could not be ignored and equity, can be applied liberally and in a broad sense to encompass said
or could no longer be undone. decisions of the executive branch. In keeping with the demands of equity, the Court
To be clear, the doctrine of operative fact extends to a void or unconstitutional can apply the operative fact doctrine to acts and consequences that resulted from
executive act. The term executive act is broad enough to include any and all acts of the reliance not only on a law or executive act which is quasi-legislative in nature
the Executive, including those that are quasi legislative and quasi-judicial in nature. but also on decisions or orders of the executive branch which were later nullified.
The Court held so in Hacienda Luisita, Inc. v. Presidential Agrarian Reform Council: 210 This Court is not unmindful that such acts and consequences must be recognized in
Nonetheless, the minority is of the persistent view that the applicability of the the higher interest of justice, equity and fairness.
operative fact doctrine should be limited to statutes and rules and regulations issued Significantly, a decision made by the President or the administrative agencies has to
by the executive department that are accorded the same status as that of a statute be complied with because it has the force and effect of law, springing from the
or those which are quasi-legislative in nature. Thus, the minority concludes that the powers of the President under the Constitution and existing laws. Prior to the
phrase executive act used in the case of De Agbayani v. Philippine National Bank nullification or recall of said decision, it may have produced acts and consequences
refers only to acts, orders, and rules and regulations that have the force and effect in conformity to and in reliance of said decision, which must be respected. It is on
of law. The minority also made mention of the Concurring Opinion of Justice Enrique this score that the operative fact doctrine should be applied to acts and
Fernando in Municipality of Malabang v. Benito, where it was supposedly made consequences that resulted from the implementation of the PARC Resolution
explicit that the operative fact doctrine applies to executive acts, which are approving the SDP of HLI. (Bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
ultimately quasi-legislative in nature. In Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporation, 211 the Court
We disagree. For one, neither the De Agbayani case nor the Municipality of likewise declared that "for the operative fact doctrine to apply, there must be a
Malabang case elaborates what executive act mean. Moreover, while orders, rules legislative or executive measure, meaning a law or executive issuance." Thus, the
and regulations issued by the President or the executive branch have fixed Court opined there that the operative fact doctrine did not apply to a mere
definitions and meaning in the Administrative Code and jurisprudence, the phrase administrative practice of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, viz:
executive act does not have such specific definition under existing laws. It should Under Section 246, taxpayers may rely upon a rule or ruling issued by the
be noted that in the cases cited by the minority, nowhere can it be found that the Commissioner from the time the rule or ruling is issued up to its reversal by the
term executive act is confined to the foregoing. Contrarily, the term executive act Commissioner or this Court. The reversal is not given retroactive effect. This, in
is broad enough to encompass decisions of administrative bodies and agencies essence, is the doctrine of operative fact. There must, however, be a rule or ruling
under the executive department which are subsequently revoked by the agency in issued by the Commissioner that is relied upon by the taxpayer in good faith. A mere
question or nullified by the Court. administrative practice, not formalized into a rule or ruling, will not suffice because
A case in point is the concurrent appointment of Magdangal B. Elma (Elma) as such a mere administrative practice may not be uniformly and consistently applied.
Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and as Chief An administrative practice, if not formalized as a rule or ruling, will not be known to
Presidential Legal Counsel (CPLC) which was declared unconstitutional by this Court the general public and can be availed of only by those with informal contacts with
in Public Interest Center, Inc. v. Elma. In said case, this Court ruled that the the government agency.
concurrent appointment of Elma to these offices is in violation of Section 7, par. 2, It is clear from the foregoing that the adoption and the implementation of the DAP
Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution, since these are incompatible offices. Notably, and its related issuances were executive acts.1avvphi1 The DAP itself, as a policy,
the appointment of Elma as Chairman of the PCGG and as CPLC is, without a transcended a merely administrative practice especially after the Executive, through
question, an executive act. Prior to the declaration of unconstitutionality of the said the DBM, implemented it by issuing various memoranda and circulars. The pooling
executive act, certain acts or transactions were made in good faith and in reliance of of savings pursuant to the DAP from the allotments made available to the different
the appointment of Elma which cannot just be set aside or invalidated by its agencies and departments was consistently applied throughout the entire Executive.
subsequent invalidation. With the Executive, through the DBM, being in charge of the third phase of the
In Tan v. Barrios, this Court, in applying the operative fact doctrine, held that despite budget cycle the budget execution phase, the President could legitimately adopt a
the invalidity of the jurisdiction of the military courts over civilians, certain operative policy like the DAP by virtue of his primary responsibility as the Chief Executive of
facts must be acknowledged to have existed so as not to trample upon the rights of directing the national economy towards growth and development. This is simply
the accused therein. Relevant thereto, in Olaguer v. Military Commission No. 34, it because savings could and should be determined only during the budget execution
was ruled that military tribunals pertain to the Executive Department of the phase.
Government and are simply instrumentalities of the executive power, provided by As already mentioned, the implementation of the DAP resulted into the use of
the legislature for the President as Commander-in-Chief to aid him in properly savings pooled by the Executive to finance the PAPs that were not covered in the
commanding the army and navy and enforcing discipline therein, and utilized under GAA, or that did not have proper appropriation covers, as well as to augment items
his orders or those of his authorized military representatives. pertaining to other departments of the Government in clear violation of the

Santiago v Guingona Page 84 of 106


Constitution. To declare the implementation of the DAP unconstitutional without VINCENT S. ALBANO,
recognizing that its prior implementation constituted an operative fact that produced
consequences in the real as well as juristic worlds of the Government and the Nation Petitioners, Present:
is to be impractical and unfair. Unless the doctrine is held to apply, the Executive as
the disburser and the offices under it and elsewhere as the recipients could be
required to undo everything that they had implemented in good faith under the DAP.
That scenario would be enormously burdensome for the Government. Equity DAVIDE, JR., C.J.,
alleviates such burden.
The other side of the coin is that it has been adequately shown as to be beyond PUNO,
debate that the implementation of the DAP yielded undeniably positive results that
enhanced the economic welfare of the country. To count the positive results may be PANGANIBAN,
impossible, but the visible ones, like public infrastructure, could easily include roads,
bridges, homes for the homeless, hospitals, classrooms and the like. Not to apply the QUISUMBING,
doctrine of operative fact to the DAP could literally cause the physical undoing of
such worthy results by destruction, and would result in most undesirable
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
wastefulness.
Nonetheless, as Justice Brion has pointed out during the deliberations, the doctrine
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
of operative fact does not always apply, and is not always the consequence of every
declaration of constitutional invalidity. It can be invoked only in situations where the
nullification of the effects of what used to be a valid law would result in inequity and - versus - CARPIO,
injustice;212 but where no such result would ensue, the general rule that an
unconstitutional law is totally ineffective should apply. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
In that context, as Justice Brion has clarified, the doctrine of operative fact can apply
only to the PAPs that can no longer be undone, and whose beneficiaries relied in CORONA,
good faith on the validity of the DAP, but cannot apply to the authors, proponents
and implementors of the DAP, unless there are concrete findings of good faith in CARPIO-MORALES,
their favor by the proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil, administrative
and other liabilities. CALLEJO, SR.,
WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the petitions for certiorari and
prohibition; and DECLARES the following acts and practices under the Disbursement AZCUNA,
Acceleration Program, National Budget Circular No. 541 and related executive
issuances UNCONSTITUTIONAL for being in violation of Section 25(5), Article VI of TINGA,
the 1987 Constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers, namely:
(a) The withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, and CHICO-NAZARIO, and
the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased
appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying GARCIA, JJ.
with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Acts;
(b) The cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
appropriations of other offices outside the Executive; and EDUARDO ERMITA; HONORABLE SECRETARY OF
(c) The funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE CESAR PURISIMA;
appropriation in the General Appropriations Act. and HONORABLE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
The Court further DECLARES VOID the use of unprogrammed funds despite the REVENUE GUILLERMO PARAYNO, JR.,
absence of a certification by the National Treasurer that the revenue collections
exceeded the revenue targets for non-compliance with the conditions provided in Respondents.
the relevant General Appropriations Acts.
SO ORDERED.

x-------------------------x
EN BANC

ABAKADA GURO PARTY LIST (Formerly AASJAS) G.R. No. 168056


AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., LUISA P. EJERCITO- G.R. No. 168207
OFFICERS SAMSON S. ALCANTARA and ED

Santiago v Guingona Page 85 of 106


ESTRADA, JINGGOY E. ESTRADA, PANFILO M. name and style of CMA MOTORISTS CENTER;
LACSON, ALFREDO S. LIM, JAMBY A.S. MADRIGAL, SUSAN M. ENTRATA doing business under the
AND SERGIO R. OSMEA III, name and style of LEONAS GASOLINE STATION
and SERVICE CENTER; CARMELITA BALDONADO
Petitioners, doing business under the name and style of FIRST
CHOICE SERVICE CENTER; MERCEDITAS A. GARCIA
doing business under the name and style of
LORPED SERVICE CENTER; RHEAMAR A. RAMOS
- versus - doing business under the name and style of
RJRAM PTT GAS STATION; MA. ISABEL VIOLAGO
doing business under the name and style of
VIOLAGO-PTT SERVICE CENTER; MOTORISTS
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, HEART CORPORATION represented by its Vice-
CESAR V. PURISIMA, SECRETARY OF FINANCE, President for Operations, JOSELITO F.
GUILLERMO L. PARAYNO, JR., COMMISSIONER OF FLORDELIZA; MOTORISTS HARVARD
THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, CORPORATION represented by its Vice-President
for Operations, JOSELITO F. FLORDELIZA;
Respondents. MOTORISTS HERITAGE CORPORATION represented
by its Vice-President for Operations, JOSELITO F.
FLORDELIZA; PHILIPPINE STANDARD OIL
CORPORATION represented by its Vice-President
for Operations, JOSELITO F. FLORDELIZA; ROMEO
x-------------------------x
MANUEL doing business under the name and style
of ROMMAN GASOLINE STATION; ANTHONY
ALBERT CRUZ III doing business under the name
and style of TRUE SERVICE STATION,
ASSOCIATION OF PILIPINAS SHELL DEALERS, INC. G.R. No. 168461
represented by its President, ROSARIO ANTONIO; Petitioners,
PETRON DEALERS ASSOCIATION represented by
its President, RUTH E. BARBIBI; ASSOCIATION OF
CALTEX DEALERS OF THE PHILIPPINES
represented by its President, MERCEDITAS A.
- versus -
GARCIA; ROSARIO ANTONIO doing business under
the name and style of ANB NORTH SHELL SERVICE
STATION; LOURDES MARTINEZ doing business
under the name and style of SHELL GATE N.
DOMINGO; BETHZAIDA TAN doing business under CESAR V. PURISIMA, in his capacity as Secretary
the name and style of ADVANCE SHELL STATION; of the Department of Finance and GUILLERMO L.
REYNALDO P. MONTOYA doing business under the PARAYNO, JR., in his capacity as Commissioner of
name and style of NEW LAMUAN SHELL SERVICE Internal Revenue,
STATION; EFREN SOTTO doing business under the
name and style of RED FIELD SHELL SERVICE Respondents.
STATION; DONICA CORPORATION represented by
its President, DESI TOMACRUZ; RUTH E. MARBIBI
doing business under the name and style of R&R
PETRON STATION; PETER M. UNGSON doing x-------------------------x
business under the name and style of CLASSIC
STAR GASOLINE SERVICE STATION; MARIAN
SHEILA A. LEE doing business under the name
and style of NTE GASOLINE & SERVICE STATION; FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO, VINCENT G.R. No. 168463
JULIAN CESAR P. POSADAS doing business under CRISOLOGO, EMMANUEL JOEL J. VILLANUEVA,
the name and style of STARCARGA ENTERPRISES; RODOLFO G. PLAZA, DARLENE ANTONINO-
ADORACION MAEBO doing business under the CUSTODIO, OSCAR G. MALAPITAN, BENJAMIN C.

Santiago v Guingona Page 86 of 106


AGARAO, JR. JUAN EDGARDO M. ANGARA, JUSTIN
MARC SB. CHIPECO, FLORENCIO G. NOEL, MUJIV S. DECISION
HATAMAN, RENATO B. MAGTUBO, JOSEPH A.
SANTIAGO, TEOFISTO DL. GUINGONA III, RUY AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
ELIAS C. LOPEZ, RODOLFO Q. AGBAYANI and
TEODORO A. CASIO, The expenses of government, having for their object the interest of all, should be
borne by everyone, and the more man enjoys the advantages of society, the more
Petitioners, he ought to hold himself honored in contributing to those expenses.
-Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727-1781)
French statesman and economist

- versus - Mounting budget deficit, revenue generation, inadequate fiscal allocation for
education, increased emoluments for health workers, and wider coverage for full
value-added tax benefits these are the reasons why Republic Act No. 9337 (R.A. No.
CESAR V. PURISIMA, in his capacity as Secretary 9337)[1] was enacted. Reasons, the wisdom of which, the Court even with its
of Finance, GUILLERMO L. PARAYNO, JR., in his extensive constitutional power of review, cannot probe. The petitioners in these
capacity as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, cases, however, question not only the wisdom of the law, but also perceived
and EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as constitutional infirmities in its passage.
Executive Secretary,
Every law enjoys in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. Their arguments
Respondents. notwithstanding, petitioners failed to justify their call for the invalidity of the law.
Hence, R.A. No. 9337 is not unconstitutional.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
x-------------------------x
R.A. No. 9337 is a consolidation of three legislative bills namely, House Bill Nos.
3555 and 3705, and Senate Bill No. 1950.

House Bill No. 3555[2] was introduced on first reading on January 7, 2005. The House
BATAAN GOVERNOR ENRIQUE T. GARCIA, JR. G.R. No. 168730 Committee on Ways and Means approved the bill, in substitution of House Bill No.
1468, which Representative (Rep.) Eric D. Singson introduced on August 8, 2004.
Petitioner, The President certified the bill on January 7, 2005 for immediate enactment.
On January 27, 2005, the House of Representatives approved the bill on second and
third reading.

- versus - House Bill No. 3705[3] on the other hand, substituted House Bill No. 3105 introduced
by Rep. Salacnib F. Baterina, and House Bill No. 3381 introduced by Rep. Jacinto V.
Paras. Its mother bill is House Bill No. 3555. The House Committee on Ways and
Means approved the bill on February 2, 2005. The President also certified it as
HON. EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as the urgent onFebruary 8, 2005. The House of Representatives approved the bill on
Executive Secretary; HON. MARGARITO TEVES, in second and third reading on February 28, 2005.
his capacity as Secretary of Finance; HON. JOSE
MARIO BUNAG, in his capacity as the OIC Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means approved Senate Bill No.
Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue; 1950[4] on March 7, 2005, in substitution of Senate Bill Nos. 1337, 1838 and 1873,
and HON. ALEXANDER AREVALO, in his capacity as taking into consideration House Bill Nos. 3555 and 3705. Senator Ralph G. Recto
the OIC Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, sponsored Senate Bill No. 1337, while Senate Bill Nos. 1838 and 1873 were both
sponsored by Sens. Franklin M. Drilon, Juan M. Flavier and Francis N. Pangilinan. The
Promulgated: President certified the bill on March 11, 2005, and was approved by the Senate on
second and third reading on April 13, 2005.
Respondents. September 1, 2005
On the same date, April 13, 2005, the Senate agreed to the request of the House of
Representatives for a committee conference on the disagreeing provisions of the
x-----------------------------------------------------------x proposed bills.

Santiago v Guingona Page 87 of 106


J. PANGANIBAN : And therefore, there is no justification for increasing the retail price
Before long, the Conference Committee on the Disagreeing Provisions of House Bill by 10% to cover the E-Vat tax. If you consider the excise tax and the import duties,
No. 3555, House Bill No. 3705, and Senate Bill No. 1950, after having met and the Net Tax would probably be in the neighborhood of 7%? We are not going into
discussed in full free and conference, recommended the approval of its report, which exact figures I am just trying to deliver a point that different industries, different
the Senate did on May 10, 2005, and with the House of Representatives agreeing products, different services are hit differently. So its not correct to say that all prices
thereto the next day, May 11, 2005. must go up by 10%.
ATTY. BANIQUED : Youre right, Your Honor.
On May 23, 2005, the enrolled copy of the consolidated House and Senate version
was transmitted to the President, who signed the same into law on May 24, 2005.
Thus, came R.A. No. 9337. J. PANGANIBAN : Now. For instance, Domestic Airline companies, Mr. Counsel, are at
present imposed a Sales Tax of 3%. When this E-Vat law took effect the Sales Tax
[5]
July 1, 2005 is the effectivity date of R.A. No. 9337. When said date came, the was also removed as a mitigating measure. So, therefore, there is no justification to
Court issued a temporary restraining order, effective immediately and continuing increase the fares by 10% at best 7%, correct?
until further orders, enjoining respondents from enforcing and implementing the law.
ATTY. BANIQUED : I guess so, Your Honor, yes.
Oral arguments were held on July 14, 2005. Significantly, during the hearing, the
Court speaking through Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, voiced the rationale for its J. PANGANIBAN : There are other products that the people were complaining on that
issuance of the temporary restraining order on July 1, 2005, to wit: first day, were being increased arbitrarily by 10%. And thats one reason among
J. PANGANIBAN : . . . But before I go into the details of your presentation, let me just many others this Court had to issue TRO because of the confusion in the
tell you a little background. You know when the law took effect on July 1, 2005, the implementation. Thats why we added as an issue in this case, even if its tangentially
Court issued a TRO at about 5 oclock in the afternoon. But before that, there was a taken up by the pleadings of the parties, the confusion in the implementation of the
lot of complaints aired on television and on radio. Some people in a gas station were E-vat. Our people were subjected to the mercy of that confusion of an across the
complaining that the gas prices went up by 10%. Some people were complaining board increase of 10%, which you yourself now admit and I think even the
that their electric bill will go up by 10%. Other times people riding in domestic air Government will admit is incorrect. In some cases, it should be 3% only, in some
carrier were complaining that the prices that theyll have to pay would have to go up cases it should be 6% depending on these mitigating measures and the location and
by 10%. While all that was being aired, per your presentation and per our own situation of each product, of each service, of each company, isnt it?
understanding of the law, thats not true. Its not true that the e-vat law necessarily
increased prices by 10% uniformly isnt it? ATTY. BANIQUED : Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. BANIQUED : No, Your Honor. J. PANGANIBAN : Alright. So thats one reason why we had to issue a TRO pending the
clarification of all these and we wish the government will take time to clarify all
J. PANGANIBAN : It is not? these by means of a more detailed implementing rules, in case the law is upheld by
this Court. . . .[6]
ATTY. BANIQUED : Its not, because, Your Honor, there is an Executive Order that
granted the Petroleum companies some subsidy . . . interrupted
The Court also directed the parties to file their respective Memoranda.

J. PANGANIBAN : Thats correct . . . G.R. No. 168056

ATTY. BANIQUED : . . . and therefore that was meant to temper the impact . . . Before R.A. No. 9337 took effect, petitioners ABAKADA GURO Party List, et al., filed a
interrupted petition for prohibition on May 27, 2005. They question the constitutionality of
Sections 4, 5 and 6 of R.A. No. 9337, amending Sections 106, 107 and 108,
respectively, of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). Section 4 imposes a 10%
J. PANGANIBAN : . . . mitigating measures . . . VAT on sale of goods and properties, Section 5 imposes a 10% VAT on importation of
goods, and Section 6 imposes a 10% VAT on sale of services and use or lease of
ATTY. BANIQUED : Yes, Your Honor. properties. These questioned provisions contain a uniform proviso authorizing the
President, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Finance, to raise the VAT rate to
J. PANGANIBAN : As a matter of fact a part of the mitigating measures would be the 12%, effective January 1, 2006, after any of the following conditions have been
elimination of the Excise Tax and the import duties. That is why, it is not correct to satisfied, to wit:
say that the VAT as to petroleum dealers increased prices by 10%.
. . . That the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Finance, shall,
ATTY. BANIQUED : Yes, Your Honor. effective January 1, 2006, raise the rate of value-added tax to twelve percent (12%),
after any of the following conditions has been satisfied:

Santiago v Guingona Page 88 of 106


(i) Value-added tax collection as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Petitioners contend that these provisions are unconstitutional for being arbitrary,
the previous year exceeds two and four-fifth percent (2 4/5%); or oppressive, excessive, and confiscatory.

(ii) National government deficit as a percentage of GDP of the previous year exceeds Petitioners argument is premised on the constitutional right of non-deprivation of
one and one-half percent (1 %). life, liberty or property without due process of law under Article III, Section 1 of the
Constitution. According to petitioners, the contested sections impose limitations on
the amount of input tax that may be claimed. Petitioners also argue that the input
Petitioners argue that the law is unconstitutional, as it constitutes abandonment by tax partakes the nature of a property that may not be confiscated, appropriated, or
Congress of its exclusive authority to fix the rate of taxes under Article VI, Section limited without due process of law. Petitioners further contend that like any other
28(2) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. property or property right, the input tax credit may be transferred or disposed of,
and that by limiting the same, the government gets to tax a profit or value-added
G.R. No. 168207 even if there is no profit or value-added.

On June 9, 2005, Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., et al., filed a petition Petitioners also believe that these provisions violate the constitutional guarantee of
for certiorari likewise assailing the constitutionality of Sections 4, 5 and 6 of R.A. No. equal protection of the law under Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, as the
9337. limitation on the creditable input tax if: (1) the entity has a high ratio of input tax; or
Aside from questioning the so-called stand-by authority of the President to increase (2) invests in capital equipment; or (3) has several transactions with the
the VAT rate to 12%, on the ground that it amounts to an undue delegation of government, is not based on real and substantial differences to meet a valid
legislative power, petitioners also contend that the increase in the VAT rate to 12% classification.
contingent on any of the two conditions being satisfied violates the due process
clause embodied in Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, as it imposes an unfair Lastly, petitioners contend that the 70% limit is anything but progressive, violative
and additional tax burden on the people, in that: (1) the 12% increase is ambiguous of Article VI, Section 28(1) of the Constitution, and that it is the smaller businesses
because it does not state if the rate would be returned to the original 10% if the with higher input tax to output tax ratio that will suffer the consequences thereof for
conditions are no longer satisfied; (2) the rate is unfair and unreasonable, as the it wipes out whatever meager margins the petitioners make.
people are unsure of the applicable VAT rate from year to year; and (3) the increase
in the VAT rate, which is supposed to be an incentive to the President to raise the G.R. No. 168463
VAT collection to at least 2 4/5 of the GDP of the previous year, should only be based
on fiscal adequacy. Several members of the House of Representatives led by Rep. Francis Joseph G.
Escudero filed this petition for certiorari on June 30, 2005. They question the
Petitioners further claim that the inclusion of a stand-by authority granted to the constitutionality of R.A. No. 9337 on the following grounds:
President by the Bicameral Conference Committee is a violation of the no-
amendment rule upon last reading of a bill laid down in Article VI, Section 26(2) of 1) Sections 4, 5, and 6 of R.A. No. 9337 constitute an undue delegation of legislative
the Constitution. power, in violation of Article VI, Section 28(2) of the Constitution;

G.R. No. 168461 2) The Bicameral Conference Committee acted without jurisdiction in deleting the no
pass on provisions present in Senate Bill No. 1950 and House Bill No. 3705; and
Thereafter, a petition for prohibition was filed on June 29, 2005, by the Association
of Pilipinas Shell Dealers, Inc., et al., assailing the following provisions of R.A. No. 3) Insertion by the Bicameral Conference Committee of Sections 27, 28, 34, 116,
9337: 117, 119, 121, 125,[7] 148, 151, 236, 237 and 288, which were present in Senate Bill
1) Section 8, amending Section 110 (A)(2) of the NIRC, requiring that the input tax No. 1950, violates Article VI, Section 24(1) of the Constitution, which provides that
on depreciable goods shall be amortized over a 60-month period, if the acquisition, all appropriation, revenue or tariff bills shall originate exclusively in the House of
excluding the VAT components, exceeds One Million Pesos (P1, 000,000.00); Representatives

2) Section 8, amending Section 110 (B) of the NIRC, imposing a 70% limit on the G.R. No. 168730
amount of input tax to be credited against the output tax; and
On the eleventh hour, Governor Enrique T. Garcia filed a petition for certiorari and
3) Section 12, amending Section 114 (c) of the NIRC, authorizing the Government or prohibition on July 20, 2005, alleging unconstitutionality of the law on the ground
any of its political subdivisions, instrumentalities or agencies, including GOCCs, to that the limitation on the creditable input tax in effect allows VAT-registered
deduct a 5% final withholding tax on gross payments of goods and services, which establishments to retain a portion of the taxes they collect, thus violating the
are subject to 10% VAT under Sections 106 (sale of goods and properties) and 108 principle that tax collection and revenue should be solely allocated for public
(sale of services and use or lease of properties) of the NIRC. purposes and expenditures. Petitioner Garcia further claims that allowing these

Santiago v Guingona Page 89 of 106


establishments to pass on the tax to the consumers is inequitable, in violation of a. Article VI, Section 28(1), and
Article VI, Section 28(1) of the Constitution. b. Article III, Section 1

RESPONDENTS COMMENT
RULING OF THE COURT
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Comment in behalf of respondents.
Preliminarily, respondents contend that R.A. No. 9337 enjoys the presumption of As a prelude, the Court deems it apt to restate the general principles and concepts
constitutionality and petitioners failed to cast doubt on its validity. of value-added tax (VAT), as the confusion and inevitably, litigation, breeds from a
fallacious notion of its nature.
Relying on the case of Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance, 235 SCRA
630 (1994), respondents argue that the procedural issues raised by petitioners, i.e., The VAT is a tax on spending or consumption. It is levied on the sale, barter,
legality of the bicameral proceedings, exclusive origination of revenue measures and exchange or lease of goods or properties and services. [8] Being an indirect tax on
the power of the Senate concomitant thereto, have already been settled. With expenditure, the seller of goods or services may pass on the amount of tax paid to
regard to the issue of undue delegation of legislative power to the President, the buyer,[9] with the seller acting merely as a tax collector. [10] The burden of VAT is
respondents contend that the law is complete and leaves no discretion to the intended to fall on the immediate buyers and ultimately, the end-consumers.
President but to increase the rate to 12% once any of the two conditions provided
therein arise. In contrast, a direct tax is a tax for which a taxpayer is directly liable on the
transaction or business it engages in, without transferring the burden to someone
Respondents also refute petitioners argument that the increase to 12%, as well as else.[11]Examples are individual and corporate income taxes, transfer taxes, and
the 70% limitation on the creditable input tax, the 60-month amortization on the residence taxes.[12]
purchase or importation of capital goods exceeding P1,000,000.00, and the 5% final
withholding tax by government agencies, is arbitrary, oppressive, and confiscatory, In the Philippines, the value-added system of sales taxation has long been in
and that it violates the constitutional principle on progressive taxation, among existence, albeit in a different mode. Prior to 1978, the system was a single-stage
others. tax computed under the cost deduction method and was payable only by the
original sellers. The single-stage system was subsequently modified, and a mixture
Finally, respondents manifest that R.A. No. 9337 is the anchor of the governments of the cost deduction method and tax credit method was used to determine the
fiscal reform agenda. A reform in the value-added system of taxation is the core value-added tax payable.[13] Under the tax credit method, an entity can credit
revenue measure that will tilt the balance towards a sustainable macroeconomic against or subtract from the VAT charged on its sales or outputs the VAT paid on its
environment necessary for economic growth. purchases, inputs and imports.[14]

ISSUES It was only in 1987, when President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No.
273, that the VAT system was rationalized by imposing a multi-stage tax rate of 0%
The Court defined the issues, as follows: or 10% on all sales using the tax credit method.[15]

PROCEDURAL ISSUE
E.O. No. 273 was followed by R.A. No. 7716 or the Expanded VAT Law, [16] R.A. No.
Whether R.A. No. 9337 violates the following provisions of the Constitution: 8241 or the Improved VAT Law,[17] R.A. No. 8424 or the Tax Reform Act of 1997,
[18]
and finally, the presently beleaguered R.A. No. 9337, also referred to by
a. Article VI, Section 24, and respondents as the VAT Reform Act.
b. Article VI, Section 26(2)
The Court will now discuss the issues in logical sequence.
SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES
PROCEDURAL ISSUE
1. Whether Sections 4, 5 and 6 of R.A. No. 9337, amending Sections 106, 107 and I.
108 of the NIRC, violate the following provisions of the Constitution: Whether R.A. No. 9337 violates the following provisions of the Constitution:

a. Article VI, Section 28(1), and a. Article VI, Section 24, and
b. Article VI, Section 28(2) b. Article VI, Section 26(2)

2. Whether Section 8 of R.A. No. 9337, amending Sections 110(A)(2) and 110(B) of A. The Bicameral Conference Committee
the NIRC; and Section 12 of R.A. No. 9337, amending Section 114(C) of the NIRC,
violate the following provisions of the Constitution: Petitioners Escudero, et al., and Pimentel, et al., allege that the Bicameral
Conference Committee exceeded its authority by:

Santiago v Guingona Page 90 of 106


Sec. 35. In the event that the Senate does not agree with the House of
1) Inserting the stand-by authority in favor of the President in Sections 4, 5, and 6 of Representatives on the provision of any bill or joint resolution, the differences shall
R.A. No. 9337; be settled by a conference committee of both Houses which shall meet within ten
(10) days after their composition. The President shall designate the members of the
2) Deleting entirely the no pass-on provisions found in both the House and Senate Senate Panel in the conference committee with the approval of the Senate.
bills;
Each Conference Committee Report shall contain a detailed and sufficiently explicit
3) Inserting the provision imposing a 70% limit on the amount of input tax to be statement of the changes in, or amendments to the subject measure, and shall be
credited against the output tax; and signed by a majority of the members of each House panel, voting separately.

4) Including the amendments introduced only by Senate Bill No. 1950 regarding A comparative presentation of the conflicting House and Senate provisions and a
other kinds of taxes in addition to the value-added tax. reconciled version thereof with the explanatory statement of the conference
committee shall be attached to the report.

Petitioners now beseech the Court to define the powers of the Bicameral Conference ...
Committee.

It should be borne in mind that the power of internal regulation and discipline are The creation of such conference committee was apparently in response to a
intrinsic in any legislative body for, as unerringly elucidated by Justice Story, [i]f the problem, not addressed by any constitutional provision, where the two houses of
power did not exist, it would be utterly impracticable to transact the business of the Congress find themselves in disagreement over changes or amendments introduced
nation, either at all, or at least with decency, deliberation, and order. [19] Thus, Article by the other house in a legislative bill. Given that one of the most basic powers of
VI, Section 16 (3) of the Constitution provides that each House may determine the the legislative branch is to formulate and implement its own rules of proceedings
rules of its proceedings. Pursuant to this inherent constitutional power to promulgate and to discipline its members, may the Court then delve into the details of how
and implement its own rules of procedure, the respective rules of each house of Congress complies with its internal rules or how it conducts its business of passing
Congress provided for the creation of a Bicameral Conference Committee. legislation? Note that in the present petitions, the issue is not whether provisions of
the rules of both houses creating the bicameral conference committee are
Thus, Rule XIV, Sections 88 and 89 of the Rules of House of Representatives provides unconstitutional, but whether the bicameral conference committee has strictly
as follows: complied with the rules of both houses, thereby remaining within the jurisdiction
conferred upon it by Congress.
Sec. 88. Conference Committee. In the event that the House does not agree with the
Senate on the amendment to any bill or joint resolution, the differences may be In the recent case of Farias vs. The Executive Secretary,[20] the Court En
settled by the conference committees of both chambers. Banc, unanimously reiterated and emphasized its adherence to the enrolled bill
doctrine, thus, declining therein petitioners plea for the Court to go behind the
In resolving the differences with the Senate, the House panel shall, as much as enrolled copy of the bill. Assailed in said case was Congresss creation of two sets of
possible, adhere to and support the House Bill. If the differences with the Senate are bicameral conference committees, the lack of records of said committees
so substantial that they materially impair the House Bill, the panel shall report such proceedings, the alleged violation of said committees of the rules of both houses,
fact to the House for the latters appropriate action. and the disappearance or deletion of one of the provisions in the compromise bill
submitted by the bicameral conference committee. It was argued that such
Sec. 89. Conference Committee Reports. . . . Each report shall contain a detailed, irregularities in the passage of the law nullified R.A. No. 9006, or the Fair Election
sufficiently explicit statement of the changes in or amendments to the subject Act.
measure.
Striking down such argument, the Court held thus:
...
Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of a bill by the Speaker of the House and
The Chairman of the House panel may be interpellated on the Conference the Senate President and the certification of the Secretaries of both Houses of
Committee Report prior to the voting thereon. The House shall vote on the Congress that it was passed are conclusive of its due enactment. A review of cases
Conference Committee Report in the same manner and procedure as it votes on a reveals the Courts consistent adherence to the rule. The Court finds no reason to
bill on third and final reading. deviate from the salutary rule in this case where the irregularities alleged by the
petitioners mostly involved the internal rules of Congress, e.g., creation of the 2nd or
3rd Bicameral Conference Committee by the House. This Court is not the proper
Rule XII, Section 35 of the Rules of the Senate states: forum for the enforcement of these internal rules of Congress, whether House or
Senate. Parliamentary rules are merely procedural and with their observance the
courts have no concern. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of

Santiago v Guingona Page 91 of 106


Rep. Act No. 9006 must be resolved in its favor. The Court reiterates its ruling
inArroyo vs. De Venecia, viz.: With regard to Stand-By Authority in favor of President

But the cases, both here and abroad, in varying forms of expression, all deny to the
courts the power to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a House of Provides for 12% Provides for 12% VAT in Provides for a single rate
Congress failed to comply with its own rules, in the absence of showing that there VAT on every sale of general on sales of of 10% VAT on sale of
was a violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of private goods or properties goods or properties and goods or properties
individuals. InOsmea v. Pendatun, it was held: At any rate, courts have declared that (amending Sec. 106 reduced rates for sale of (amending Sec. 106 of
the rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject to revocation, modification or of NIRC); 12% VAT certain locally NIRC), 10% VAT on sale
waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them. And it has been said that on importation of manufactured goods of services including sale
Parliamentary rules are merely procedural, and with their observance, the courts goods (amending and petroleum products of electricity by
have no concern. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body. Sec. 107 of NIRC); and raw materials to be generation companies,
Consequently, mere failure to conform to parliamentary usage will not invalidate the and 12% VAT on sale used in the transmission and
action (taken by a deliberative body) when the requisite number of members have of services and use manufacture thereof distribution companies,
agreed to a particular measure.[21] (Emphasis supplied) or lease of (amending Sec. 106 of and use or lease of
properties NIRC); 12% VAT on properties (amending
(amending Sec. 108 importation of goods Sec. 108 of NIRC)
The foregoing declaration is exactly in point with the present cases, where of NIRC) and reduced rates for
petitioners allege irregularities committed by the conference committee in certain imported
introducing changes or deleting provisions in the House and Senate bills. Akin to products including
the Farias case,[22] the present petitions also raise an issue regarding the actions petroleum products
taken by the conference committee on matters regarding Congress compliance with (amending Sec. 107 of
its own internal rules. As stated earlier, one of the most basic and inherent power of NIRC); and 12% VAT on
the legislature is the power to formulate rules for its proceedings and the discipline sale of services and use
of its members. Congress is the best judge of how it should conduct its own business or lease of properties
expeditiously and in the most orderly manner. It is also the sole and a reduced rate for
concern of Congress to instill discipline among the members of its conference certain services
committee if it believes that said members violated any of its rules of proceedings. including power
Even the expanded jurisdiction of this Court cannot apply to questions regarding generation (amending
only the internal operation of Congress, thus, the Court is wont to deny a review of Sec. 108 of NIRC)
the internal proceedings of a co-equal branch of government.

Moreover, as far back as 1994 or more than ten years ago, in the case of Tolentino
vs. Secretary of Finance, [23] the Court already made the pronouncement that [i]f a With regard to the no pass-on provision
change is desired in the practice [of the Bicameral Conference Committee] it must
be sought in Congress since this question is not covered by any constitutional
provision but is only an internal rule of each house. [24] To date, Congress has not No similar provision Provides that the VAT Provides that the VAT
seen it fit to make such changes adverted to by the Court. It seems, therefore, that imposed on power imposed on sales of
Congress finds the practices of the bicameral conference committee to be very generation and on the electricity by generation
useful for purposes of prompt and efficient legislative action. sale of petroleum companies and services
products shall be of transmission
Nevertheless, just to put minds at ease that no blatant irregularities tainted the absorbed by generation companies and
proceedings of the bicameral conference committees, the Court deems it necessary companies or sellers, distribution companies,
to dwell on the issue. The Court observes that there was a necessity for a respectively, and shall as well as those of
conference committee because a comparison of the provisions of House Bill Nos. not be passed on to franchise grantees of
3555 and 3705 on one hand, and Senate Bill No. 1950 on the other, reveals that consumers electric utilities shall not
there were indeed disagreements. As pointed out in the petitions, said apply to residential
disagreements were as follows: end-users. VAT shall be
absorbed by generation,
transmission, and
House Bill No. 3555 House Bill No.3705 Senate Bill No. 1950 distribution companies.

With regard to 70% limit on input tax credit


Santiago v Guingona Page 92 of 106
(4) and whether the NIRC provisions on corporate income taxes, percentage,
franchise and excise taxes should be amended.

There being differences and/or disagreements on the foregoing provisions of the


Provides that the No similar provision Provides that the input
House and Senate bills, the Bicameral Conference Committee was mandated by the
input tax credit for tax credit for capital
rules of both houses of Congress to act on the same by settling said differences
capital goods on goods on which a VAT
and/or disagreements. The Bicameral Conference Committee acted on the
which a VAT has has been paid shall be
disagreeing provisions by making the following changes:
been paid shall be equally distributed over
equally distributed 5 years or the
1. With regard to the disagreement on the rate of VAT to be imposed, it would
over 5 years or the depreciable life of such
appear from the Conference Committee Report that the Bicameral Conference
depreciable life of capital goods; the input
Committee tried to bridge the gap in the difference between the 10% VAT rate
such capital goods; tax credit for goods and
proposed by the Senate, and the various rates with 12% as the highest VAT rate
the input tax credit services other than
proposed by the House, by striking a compromise whereby the present 10% VAT rate
for goods and capital goods shall not
would be retained until certain conditions arise, i.e., the value-added tax collection
services other than exceed 90% of the
as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) of the previous year exceeds 2
capital goods shall output VAT.
4/5%, or National Government deficit as a percentage of GDP of the previous year
not exceed 5% of
exceeds 1%, when the President, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Finance
the total amount of
shall raise the rate of VAT to 12% effective January 1, 2006.
such goods and
services; and for
2. With regard to the disagreement on whether only the VAT imposed on electricity
persons engaged in
generation, transmission and distribution companies should not be passed on to
retail trading of
consumers or whether both the VAT imposed on electricity generation, transmission
goods, the allowable
and distribution companies and the VAT imposed on sale of petroleum products may
input tax credit shall
be passed on to consumers, the Bicameral Conference Committee chose to settle
not exceed 11% of
such disagreement by altogether deleting from its Report any no pass-on provision.
the total amount of
goods purchased.
3. With regard to the disagreement on whether input tax credits should be limited or
not, the Bicameral Conference Committee decided to adopt the position of the
House by putting a limitation on the amount of input tax that may be credited
against the output tax, although it crafted its own language as to the amount of the
limitation on input tax credits and the manner of computing the same by providing
With regard to amendments to be made to NIRC provisions regarding income and thus:
excise taxes
(A) Creditable Input Tax. . . .
No similar provision No similar provision Provided for ...
amendments to several
NIRC provisions Provided, The input tax on goods purchased or imported in a calendar month for use
regarding corporate in trade or business for which deduction for depreciation is allowed under this Code,
income, percentage, shall be spread evenly over the month of acquisition and the fifty-nine (59)
franchise and excise succeeding months if the aggregate acquisition cost for such goods, excluding the
taxes VAT component thereof, exceeds one million Pesos (P1,000,000.00): PROVIDED,
however, that if the estimated useful life of the capital good is less than five (5)
years, as used for depreciation purposes, then the input VAT shall be spread over
such shorter period: . . .
The disagreements between the provisions in the House bills and the Senate bill
were with regard to (1) what rate of VAT is to be imposed; (2) whether only the VAT (B) Excess Output or Input Tax. If at the end of any taxable quarter the output tax
imposed on electricity generation, transmission and distribution companies should exceeds the input tax, the excess shall be paid by the VAT-registered person. If the
not be passed on to consumers, as proposed in the Senate bill, or both the VAT input tax exceeds the output tax, the excess shall be carried over to the succeeding
imposed on electricity generation, transmission and distribution companies and the quarter or quarters: PROVIDED that the input tax inclusive of input VAT carried over
VAT imposed on sale of petroleum products should not be passed on to consumers, from the previous quarter that may be credited in every quarter shall not exceed
as proposed in the House bill; (3) in what manner input tax credits should be limited; seventy percent (70%) of the output VAT: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT any input tax

Santiago v Guingona Page 93 of 106


attributable to zero-rated sales by a VAT-registered person may at his option be credited against the output tax. From the inception of the subject revenue bill in the
refunded or credited against other internal revenue taxes, . . . House of Representatives, one of the major objectives was to plug a glaring loophole
in the tax policy and administration by creating vital restrictions on the claiming of
input VAT tax credits . . . and [b]y introducing limitations on the claiming of tax
4. With regard to the amendments to other provisions of the NIRC on corporate credit, we are capping a major leakage that has placed our collection efforts at an
income tax, franchise, percentage and excise taxes, the conference committee apparent disadvantage.[28]
decided to include such amendments and basically adopted the provisions found in
Senate Bill No. 1950, with some changes as to the rate of the tax to be imposed. As to the amendments to NIRC provisions on taxes other than the value-added tax
proposed in Senate Bill No. 1950, since said provisions were among those referred to
Under the provisions of both the Rules of the House of Representatives and Senate it, the conference committee had to act on the same and it basically adopted the
Rules, the Bicameral Conference Committee is mandated to settle the differences version of the Senate.
between the disagreeing provisions in the House bill and the Senate bill. The term
settle is synonymous to reconcile and harmonize. [25] To reconcile or harmonize Thus, all the changes or modifications made by the Bicameral Conference
disagreeing provisions, the Bicameral Conference Committee may then (a) adopt the Committee were germane to subjects of the provisions referred
specific provisions of either the House bill or Senate bill, (b) decide that neither to it for reconciliation. Such being the case, the Court does not see any grave abuse
provisions in the House bill or the provisions in the Senate bill would of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction committed by the Bicameral
be carried into the final form of the bill, and/or (c) try to arrive at a compromise Conference Committee. In the earlier cases of Philippine Judges Association vs.
between the disagreeing provisions. Prado[29] and Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance, [30] the Court recognized the long-
standing legislative practice of giving said conference committee ample latitude for
compromising differences between the Senate and the House. Thus, in
In the present case, the changes introduced by the Bicameral Conference the Tolentino case, it was held that:
Committee on disagreeing provisions were meant only to reconcile and harmonize
the disagreeing provisions for it did not inject any idea or intent that is wholly . . . it is within the power of a conference committee to include in its report an
foreign to the subject embraced by the original provisions. entirely new provision that is not found either in the House bill or in the Senate bill. If
the committee can propose an amendment consisting of one or two provisions, there
The so-called stand-by authority in favor of the President, whereby the rate of 10% is no reason why it cannot propose several provisions, collectively considered as an
VAT wanted by the Senate is retained until such time that certain conditions arise amendment in the nature of a substitute, so long as such amendment is germane to
when the 12% VAT wanted by the House shall be imposed, appears to be a the subject of the bills before the committee. After all, its report was not final but
compromise to try to bridge the difference in the rate of VAT proposed by the two needed the approval of both houses of Congress to become valid as an act of the
houses of Congress. Nevertheless, such compromise is still totally within the subject legislative department. The charge that in this case the Conference Committee
of what rate of VAT should be imposed on taxpayers. acted as a third legislative chamber is thus without any basis. [31] (Emphasis supplied)

The no pass-on provision was deleted altogether. In the transcripts of the


proceedings of the Bicameral Conference Committee held on May 10, 2005, Sen. B. R.A. No. 9337 Does Not Violate Article VI, Section 26(2) of the Constitution on the
Ralph Recto, Chairman of the Senate Panel, explained the reason for deleting the no No-Amendment Rule
pass-on provision in this wise:

. . . the thinking was just to keep the VAT law or the VAT bill simple. And we were Article VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the Constitution, states:
thinking that no sector should be a beneficiary of legislative grace, neither should
any sector be discriminated on. The VAT is an indirect tax. It is a pass on-tax. And No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three
lets keep it plain and simple. Lets not confuse the bill and put a no pass-on readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been
provision. Two-thirds of the world have a VAT system and in this two-thirds of the distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President
globe, I have yet to see a VAT with a no pass-though provision. So, the thinking of certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or
the Senate is basically simple, lets keep the VAT simple.[26] (Emphasis supplied) emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed,
Rep. Teodoro Locsin further made the manifestation that the no pass-on provision and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays
never really enjoyed the support of either House.[27] entered in the Journal.

With regard to the amount of input tax to be credited against output tax, the
Bicameral Conference Committee came to a compromise on the percentage rate of Petitioners argument that the practice where a bicameral conference committee is
the limitation or cap on such input tax credit, but again, the change introduced by allowed to ad