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Tañada vs.

Angara
G.R. No. 118295 | May 2, 1997 | Panganiban, J.

Jonathan Dy-Liacco LAW 116 – Legal Method Group A2

FACTS

- April 15, 1994: On behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, then
Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Rizalino Navarro signed in Marrakesh, Morocco the
Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations, which
included the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, as well as the Understanding on
Commitments in Financial Services.

- August 12, 1994: The Senate of the Philippines received a letter dated August 11, 1994 from
the President of the Philippines, Fidel V. Ramos, informing the former that the Uruguay Final
Act is submitted to the Senate for concurrence, pursuant to Section 21,

- December 9, 1994: Then President Ramos certified the necessity of the immediate adoption of
P.S. 1083 - Concurring in the Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization (WTO).

- December 14, 1994: The Senate adopted Resolution No. 27, concurring the ratification by the
President with regard to the Agreement Establishing the WTO.

- December 16, 1994: President Ramos signed the Instrument of Ratification of the WTO
Agreement

- December 29, 1994: The petition was filed, challenging the constitutionality of the WTO
Agreement

ISSUES

1. Whether or not the petition presents a justiciable controversy – Yes.

2. Whether or not the provisions of the WTO agreement, as well as its three annexes,
contravene Section 19, Article 2, and Sections 10 and 12, Article 13, of the Philippine
Constitution – No.

3. Whether or not the annexes of the said agreement limit, restrict, or impair the exercise of the
legislative power by Congress – No.

4. Whether or not the provisions unduly impair or interfere with the exercise of judicial power
by this court in promulgating rules on evidence – No.
5. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate in the WTO Agreement, as well as its annexes,
sufficient and/or valid, considering that it did not include the Final Act, Ministerial Declarations
and Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services – Yes.

6. Whether or not there had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of the Senate in ratifying the WTO Agreement and the aforementioned
three annexes – None.

RATIONALE

1. In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the
Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the
Legislative Branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only
the right, but in fact, the duty of the Judiciary to settle the dispute. The question posed is
judicial, rather than political. The duty to adjudicate remains to assure that the supremacy of
the Constitution is upheld.

2. The WTO Agreement, along with its three annexes, does not contravene the Constitution.
Article 2 just states general principles / policies, which are used as aids and guides, and are not
self-executing principles ready to be enforced through the courts.

3. By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of sovereignty. By
their voluntary act, nations may surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange for
greater benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact. After all, states, like
individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually-covenanted objectives and benefits,
they also commonly agree to limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute rights.

4. Article 34 of the General Provisions and Basic Principles of Agreement on Trade-Related


Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) does not really intrude on the power of the
Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedures. And if ever
such intrusion exists, the reciprocity clause more than justifies it. Moreover, Article 34 does not
contain unreasonable burden, consistent as it is with due process and the concept of adversarial
dispute settlement inherent in our judicial system. Since the Philippines is a signatory to most
international conventions on patents, trademarks and copyrights, the adjustment in legislation
and rules of procedure will not be substantial.

5. A Final Act is just an instrument which records the winding up of the proceedings of a
diplomatic conference and usually includes a reproduction of the texts of treaties, conventions,
recommendations and other acts agreed upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending
the conference. It is not the treaty itself; it’s just a summary of the proceedings of a protracted
conference. For the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, it did not need ratification for it was
deemed adopted. Lastly, the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services agrred upon
and approved in Marrakesh does not apply to the country.
6. By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as
is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. It must be grave
abuse of discretion as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason
of passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion
of positive duty, or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined, or to act at all in
contemplation of law.

*Since the petitioners failed to show grave abuse of discretion, the petition for certiorari,
prohibition, and mandamus was dismissed.