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IN RE SABIO: Section 4(b) limits or obstructs the power of Congress to

secure from PCGG members and staff information and

FACTS: other data in aid of its power to legislate. A statute may be
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago introduced Philippine declared unconstitutional because it is not within the
Senate Resolution No. 455 (Senate Res. No. 455), "directing an legislative power to enact; or it creates or establishes
inquiry in aid of legislation on the anomalous losses incurred methods or forms that infringe constitutional principles;
by the Philippines Overseas Telecommunications Corporation or its purpose or effect violates the Constitution or its
(POTC), Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation basic principles.
(PHILCOMSAT), and PHILCOMSAT Holdings Corporation (PHC)
due to the alleged improprieties in their operations by their Significantly, Article XVIII, Section 3 of the Constitution
respective Board of Directors." provides:
All existing laws, decrees, executive orders,
Chief of Staff Rio C. Inocencio, under the authority of Senator proclamations, letters of instructions, and
Richard J. Gordon, wrote Chairman Camilo L. Sabio of the other executive issuances not inconsistent
PCGG, one of the herein petitioners, inviting him to be one of with this Constitution shall remain operative
the resource persons in the public meeting jointly conducted until amended, repealed, or revoked.
by the Committee on Government Corporations and Public
Enterprises and Committee on Public Services. The purpose of The clear import of this provision is that all existing laws,
the public meeting was to deliberate on Senate Res. No. 455. executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions
and other executive issuances inconsistent or repugnant
However, Chairman Sabio refused to appear, invoking Section to the Constitution are repealed.
4(b) of EO No., provided as follows:
No member or staff of the Commission shall The Constitution is the highest law of the land. It is the
be required to testify or produce evidence in basic and paramount law to which all other laws must
any judicial legislative or administrative conform and to which all persons, including the highest
proceeding concerning matters within its officials of the land, must defer. No act shall be valid,
official cognizance. however noble its intentions, if it conflicts with the
Constitution. Consequently, this Court has no recourse but
Issue: to declare Section 4(b) of E.O. No. 1 repealed by the 1987
Whether or not the Houses themselves or their respective Constitution.
committees exercises the power of inquiry.
The power of inquiry is "an essential and appropriate
auxiliary to the legislative function. Although there is no
provision in the Constitution expressly investing either Before the Court are 3 consolidated petitions assailing the
House of Congress with power to make investigations constitutionality of Section 361 of RA 9165 or the
and exact testimony to the end that it may exercise its Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 insofar as it
legislative functions advisedly and effectively, such requires mandatory drug testing of candidates for public
power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to office, students of secondary and tertiary schools, officers and
be implied. employees of public and private offices, and persons charged
before the prosecutor’s office with certain offenses.
In other words, the power of inquiry – with process to
enforce it – is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the According to Aquilino Pimentel Jr., a senator of the RP and a
legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate candidate for re-election in May 2004 elections, said
wisely or effectively in the absence of information mandatory drug testing imposes an additional qualification for
respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended
Senators beyond that which are provided by the Constitution.
to affect or change; and where the legislation body does
No provision in the Constitution authorizes the Congress or the
not itself possess the requisite information – which is not
infrequently true – recourse must be had to others who COMELEC to expand the qualification requirements of
possess it." candidates for senator.

Notably, the 1987 Constitution recognizes the power of Meanwhile, SJS contends that Section 36(c)(d)(f) and (g) are
investigation, not just of Congress, but also of "any of its constitutionally infirm as it constitutes undue delegation of
committee." This is significant because it constitutes a legislative power when they give unbridled discretion to
direct conferral of investigatory power upon the schools and employers to determine the manner of drug
committees and it means that the mechanisms which the testing. It also violates the equal protection clause as it can be
Houses can take in order to effectively perform its used to harass a student or employee deemed undesirable.
investigative function are also available to the The constitutional right against unreasonable searches is also

Issue: In addition to the abovementioned contentions, Atty. Manuel

Whether of not Section 4(b) of EO No. 1 is repealed by the J. Laserna, Jr., as a citizen and taxpayers maintains that said
1987 Constitution. provision should be struck down as unconstitutional for
infringing on the constitutional right to privacy, the right
Ruling: against unreasonable search and seizure, and the right against
self-incrimination, and for being contrary to the due process
Yes. Section 4(b) of EO No. 1 is repealed by the 1987 and equal protection guarantees.
Issue: WON Section 36 (c), (d), (f) and (g) are unconstitutional the Constitution, intrudes. Just as defining as the first factor is
the character of the intrusion authorized by the challenged
Ruling: Section 36 (c) and (d) are constitutional while (f) and law. Reduced to a question form, is the scope of the search or
(g) are not. intrusion clearly set forth, or, as formulated in Ople v. Torres,
is the enabling law authorizing a search "narrowly drawn" or
Section 36 (c) and (d) – as to students and employees of "narrowly focused"?
private and public offices
To reiterate, RA 9165 was enacted as a measure to stamp out
illegal drug in the country and thus protect the well - being of
Using US authorities, the Court ruled in favor of the
the citizens, especially the youth, from the deleterious effects
constitutionality of Section 36(c) applying the following
of dangerous drugs. Taking into account the foregoing
reasonable deductions: (1) schools and their administrators
factors, i.e., the reduced expectation of privacy on the part of
stand in loco parentis with respect to their students; (2) minor
the employees, the compelling state concern likely to be met
students have contextually fewer rights than an adult, and are
by the search, and the well - defined limits set forth in the law
subject to the custody and supervision of their parents,
to properly guide authorities in the conduct of the random
guardians, and schools; (3) schools, acting in loco parentis,
testing, we hold that the challenged drug test requirement is,
have a duty to safeguard the health and well - being of their
under the limited context of the case, reasonable and, ergo,
students and may adopt such measures as may reasonably be
necessary to discharge such duty; and (4) schools have the
right to impose conditions on applicants for admission that are
Like their counterparts in the private sector, government
fair, just, and non-discriminatory.
officials and employees also labor under reasonable
Therefore, the provisions of RA 9165 requiring mandatory, supervision and restrictions imposed by the Civil Service law
random, and suspicionless drug testing of students are and other laws on public officers, all enacted to promote a high
constitutional. Indeed, it is within the prerogative of standard of ethics in the public service. And if RA 9165 passes
educational institutions to require, as a condition for the norm of reasonableness for private employees, the more
admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and reason that it should pass the test for civil servants, who, by
regulations and policies. To be sure, the right to enroll is not constitutional command, are required to be accountable at all
absolute; it is subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable times to the people and to serve them with utmost
requirements. Just as in the case of secondary and tertiary responsibility and efficiency.
level students, the mandatory but random drug test prescribed
On the charge of being an undue delegation, the provision in
by Sec. 36 of RA 9165 for officers and employees of public and
question is not so extensively drawn as to give unbridled
private offices is justifiable, albeit not exactly for the same
options to schools and employers to determine the manner of
drug testing. It expressly provides how drug testing for
For another, the random drug testing shall be undertaken students of secondary and tertiary schools and
under conditions calculated to protect as much as possible the officers/employees of public/private offices should be
employee's privacy and dignity. As to the mechanics of the conducted. It enumerates the persons who shall undergo drug
test, the law specifies that the procedure shall employ two testing. In the case of students, the testing shall be in
testing methods, i.e., the screening test and the confirmatory accordance with the school rules as contained in the student
test, doubtless to ensure as much as possible the handbook and with notice to parents. On the part of
trustworthiness of the results. But the more important officers/employees, the testing shall take into account the
consideration lies in the fact that the test shall be conducted company's work rules. In either case, the random procedure
by trained professionals in access - controlled laboratories shall be observed, meaning that the persons to be subjected to
monitored by the Department of Health (DOH) to safeguard drug test shall be picked by chance or in an unplanned way.
against results tampering and to ensure an accurate chain of And in all cases, safeguards against misusing and
custody. All told, therefore, the intrusion into the employees' compromising the confidentiality of the test results are
privacy, under RA 9165, is accompanied by proper safeguards, established.
particularly against embarrassing leakages of test results, and
is relatively minimal. Section 36 (f) – as to persons charged before the prosecutor’s
office with criminal offenses
The essence of privacy is the right to be left alone. In context,
the right to privacy means the right to be free from The Court found the situation entirely different in the case of
unwarranted exploitation of one's person or from intrusion persons charged before the public prosecutor's office with
into one's private activities in such a way as to cause criminal offenses punishable with six (6) years and one (1) day
humiliation to a person's ordinary sensibilities. And while there imprisonment. The operative concepts in the mandatory drug
has been general agreement as to the basic function of the testing are "randomness" and "suspicionless." In the case of
guarantee against unwarranted search, "translation of the persons charged with a crime before the prosecutor's office, a
abstract prohibition against ‘unreasonable searches and mandatory drug testing can never be random or suspicionless.
seizures' into workable broad guidelines for the decision of The ideas of randomness and being suspicionless are
particular cases is a difficult task," to borrow from C. Camara antithetical to their being made defendants in a criminal
v. Municipal Court. Authorities are agreed though that the right complaint. They are not randomly picked; neither are they
to privacy yields to certain paramount rights of the public and beyond suspicion. When persons suspected of committing a
defers to the state's exercise of police power. crime are charged, they are singled out and are impleaded
The first factor to consider in the matter of reasonableness is against their will. The persons thus charged, by the bare fact of
the nature of the privacy interest upon which the drug testing, being haled before the prosecutor's office and peaceably
which effects a search within the meaning of Sec. 2, Art. III of submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do
not necessarily consent to the procedure, let alone waive their
right to privacy. To impose mandatory drug testing on the
accused is a blatant attempt to harness a medical test as a tool
for criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated objectives of
RA 9165. Drug testing in this case would violate a persons'
right to privacy guaranteed under Sec. 2, Art. III of the
Constitution. Worse still, the accused persons are veritably
forced to incriminate themselves.

Section 36 (g)- as to candidates for public office

It is basic that if a law or an administrative rule violates any

norm of the Constitution, that issuance is null and void and has
no effect. The Constitution is the basic law to which all laws
must conform; no act shall be valid if it conflicts with the
Constitution. In the discharge of their defined functions, the
three departments of government have no choice but to yield
obedience to the commands of the Constitution. Whatever
limits it imposes must be observed.

Congress' inherent legislative powers, broad as they may be,

are subject to certain limitations. Thus, legislative power
remains limited in the sense that it is subject to substantive
and constitutional limitations which circumscribe both the
exercise of the power itself and the allowable subjects of
legislation. The substantive constitutional limitations are
chiefly found in the Bill of Rights and other provisions, such as
Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution prescribing the qualifications
of candidates for senators.

In the same vein, the COMELEC cannot, in the guise of

enforcing and administering election laws or promulgating
rules and regulations to implement Sec. 36(g), validly impose
qualifications on candidates for senator in addition to what the
Constitution prescribes. If Congress cannot require a candidate
for senator to meet such additional qualification, the
COMELEC, to be sure, is also without such power. The right of
a citizen in the democratic process of election should not be
defeated by unwarranted impositions of requirement not
otherwise specified in the Constitution.