18-Lopez-v.-Senate-and-House - [G.R.No.163556,June08,2004 ENBANC[G.R.No.163556,June08,2004 CONG.RUYELIASC.LOPEZV.[, ,ETAL Gentlemen

18-Lopez-v.-Senate-and-House - [G.R.No.163556,June08,2004...

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Unformatted text preview: 10/15/2016 [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] EN BANC [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] CONG. RUY ELIAS C. LOPEZ V. SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES [REPRESENTED BY FRANKLIN DRILON, PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE], HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ET AL. Gentlemen: Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the Court En Banc dated June 8, 2004 G.R. No. 163556 ­ CONG. RUY ELIAS C. LOPEZ v. SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES [represented by Franklin Drilon, President of the Senate], HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, et al. RESOLUTION Before the Court is a Petition for prohibition and mandamus seeking to nullify Section 13, Rule VIII of the Rules of the Joint Public Session of Congress, dated May 28, 2004, creating a Joint Committee which shall preliminarily canvass the votes of the candidates for President and Vice­President during the May 10, 2004 elections. At the outset, the Court stresses that it has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this controversy, because the herein Petition contains sufficient allegations claiming violations of the Constitution. Basic is the rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations of the initiatory pleading, like the complaint or petition. However, after careful deliberation on the merits of the Petition and the Comments filed by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, Speaker Jose C. De Venecia and the Office of the Solicitor General, the Court RESOLVES to DISMISS the Petition on the ground that it failed to show that Congress gravely abused its discretion in creating such Joint Committee. Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution expressly empowers Congress "to promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates." In Arroyo v. De Venecia (277 SCRA 268, August 14, 1997), the Court ruled that it had no power to review the internal proceedings of Congress, unless there is a clear violation of the Constitution. Likewise, Santiago v. Guingona, (298 SCRA 756, November 18, 1998) held that the Court ­­ under the doctrine of separation of powers ­­ has "no authority to interfere" in the "exclusive realm" of a co­ equal branch, absent a showing of grave abuse of discretion. The Court has no authority to restrict or limit the exercise of congressional prerogatives granted by the Constitution. The creation of the Joint Committee does not constitute grave abuse and cannot be said to have deprived petitioner and the other members of Congress of their congressional prerogatives, because under the very Rules under attack, the decisions and final report of … 1/65 10/15/2016 [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] the said Committee shall be subject to the approval of the joint session of both Houses of Congress, voting separately (See Sections 19, 23, 24 and 27 of the Rules). WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED. No costs. SO ORDERED. (As above­worded, the foregoing Resolution was approved unanimously, 14 to 0, by the Court. In addition, individual opinions, copies of which are attached hereto, were written by Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.; Justice Reynato S. Puno, joined by Justices Angelina Sandoval­Gutierrez, Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. who concurs in a Separate Opinion, and Adolfo S. Azcuna; Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing; Justice Conchita Carpio Morales; Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. and Justice Dante O. Tinga.) Very truly yours, (Sgd). LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO Clerk of Court SEPARATE OPINIONS FOLLOW. [ G.R. No. 163556. June 8, 2004 ] CONGRESSMAN RUY ELIAS C. LOPEZ VS. SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES (REPRESENTED HEREIN BY THE HON. FRANKLIN DRILON, PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE), HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (REPRESENTED HEREIN BY THE HON. JOSE DE VENECIA, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES), JOINT COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS TO CANVASS THE VOTES CAST FOR PRESIDENTIAL AND VICE­ PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IN THE MAY 10, 2004 NATIONAL ELECTIONS, THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND CHIEF BUDGET OFFICER OF THE SENATE, AND THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND CHIEF BUDGET OFFICER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SEPARATE OPINION DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: In his petition for prohibition and mandamus filed on 2 June 2004, Ruy Elias C. Lopez, Representative representing the 3rd Legislative District of the City of Davao, asks this Court to declare unconstitutional the Rules of the Joint Public Session of Congress on Canvassing the Votes Cast for Presidential and Vice­Presidential Candidates in the May 10, 2004 Elections (hereafter, Canvassing Rules), which the Senate and the House of Representatives, in joint session, approved, after much debate, on 28 May 2004. … 2/65 10/15/2016 [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] Petitioner alleges that the Canvassing Rules was adopted by both Houses of Congress with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and that he had no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy other than this petition. He requests the Court to issue a temporary restraining order directing Respondents to cease and desist from implementing, executing, and/or enforcing the Canvassing Rules. In the resolution of 4 June 2004, the Court, by a unanimous vote, denied the application for a temporary restraining order, and by a vote of 9­4 required Respondents and the Solicitor General to comment on the petition by 12 noon on Monday, 7 June 2004. The Senate, the House of Representatives and the Office of the Solicitor General seasonably filed their separate comments. The prefatory statement of petitioner summarizes the main arguments found throughout his petition: Under our constitutional system, the powers of government are distributed among three (3) independent branches of government. The very important and delicate power and authority to open all certificates of canvass of votes for Presidential and Vice­Presidential and Vice­Presidential Candidates are solely and exclusively vested by the Constitution in the President of the Senate, just as the very important and delicate power and authority to determine the authenticity and due executions (sic) of all certificates of canvass and to canvass the votes cast for Presidential and Vice­Presidential Candidates are solely and exclusively vested by the Constitution in the Congress as one whole body." Any attempt to delegate these powers or a portion thereof to any other person or entity — whether within or without the Congress — is unconstitutional on the principle that potestas delegata non potest delegari.[1] Petitioner thus contends that the Canvassing Rules are unconstitutional because: 1) It constitutes a delegation of legislative power to a Joint Committee of Congress; 2) It constitutes an amendment of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution; 3) It deprives him of his rights and prerogatives as a Member of Congress; and 4) By the passage of the Canvassing Rules, Congress has neglected to perform an act which the Constitution specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from office. The arguments of respondents, the Solicitor General, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, are similar in that they agree that the adoption of the Canvassing Rules are internal matters of Congress which is beyond this Court's scope of judicial inquiry. They are likewise unanimous in their argument that there has been no invalid delegation to the Joint Committee of the Constitutional duties of Congress. This Court's jurisdiction over the issue raised in this case is founded on Section l of Article VIII of the Constitution which provides that judicial power includes the duty "to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government". This duty does not do away with the "political question" doctrine. It only clarifies it by limiting it to its definition laid down in Tañada v. Cuenco[2]. That case defines political questions as those "which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government." The clarification became necessary because prior to … 3/65 10/15/2016 [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] the 1987 Constitution, as long as an act or measure was invoked as involving a political question, the courts affirmed such invocation rather than risk the separation of powers. The result, then, was that the legality of an act or measure was likewise left to the political branch in question.[3] Thus, now plainly stated in the 1987 Constitution, the mere invocation of a political question does not warrant an immediate or summary dismissal of a case. It falls, as it always has, within judicial power to determine for itself whether the legality and the limits of the exercise of a power have been observed and respected. The contested provisions of the Canvassing Rules pertain to the functions of the Joint Committee, as follows: SEC. 13. A Joint Committee shall be created composed of eleven (11) members from the Senate to be appointed by the President of the Senate and eleven (11) members from the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker. The Members of Each House panel shall elect from among themselves their respective Chairman in the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee may sit en banc or, in its discretion, in two division of eleven (11) members each composed of a chairman, five (5) members from the Senate and five (5) members from the House of Representatives: Provided, That a member of Congress who is a candidate for President or Vice­President shall not be eligible for appointment to the Joint Committee. Each division shall be chaired by a Chairman of the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee shall, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass, preliminarily canvass the votes of candidates for the offices of the President and Vice­President. The Representatives of the province or city whose certificate of canvass is being canvassed shall be an ex officio member of the Joint Committee, without voting rights, for the duration of the canvassing of the aforesaid certificate of canvass. It is petitioner's position that the formation of a Joint Committee, which determines the authenticity and due execution of the certificate of canvass of the Presidential and Vice­ Presidential candidates and thereafter canvasses the votes, is a transfer or surrender to an entity of a duty imposed by the Constitution exclusively upon Congress as a whole body — that is, "in joint public session assembled.[4] Accordingly, petitioner claims that such transfer violates the principle that a delegated power cannot again be delegated,[5] potestas delegata non delegari potest. The source of the duty of Congress to act as the National Board of Canvassers for the office of the President and Vice­President is in paragraph 4, Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution, which provides: The returns of every election for President and Vice­President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the Senate shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, open all certificates in the presence of the … 4/65 10/15/2016 [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law, canvass the votes. It is true that where the Constitution has vested powers in a branch of government there can be no further delegation of such authority by that branch to any other body. Originating from the law on agency, the principle has evolved in Constitutional law as a natural corollary to the separation of governmental powers.[6] Thus, the foundation of the principle of potestas delegata non delegari potest in Constitutional law lies in the sovereignty that resides in the people from which all governmental authority emanates.[7] It is invoked as a prohibition against the three major branches of government — the executive, legislative, or the judiciary — from transferring the powers and duties conferred by the people upon it to another branch; neither does it allow any branch to invest in itself or its members the powers and duties belonging to another.[8] Moreover, there is no distinction as to what kind of power is delegated by the Constitution. Although the three branches of government each have its general functions in accordance with the principle of separation of powers, the system of checks and balances imposes upon each branch ­ or its members — powers outside of its usual functions.[9] Thus, even when the legislature is performing a non­legislative act as a National Board of Canvassers, its inability to delegate such function to another branch of government remains intact. In this context, the principle does not apply in this case insofar as no other branch of government has been tasked with the duties of Congress as a National Board of Canvassers. As to whether there has been an invalid delegation of power "within" Congress, such argument, and the basis of petitioner's discussion, is an imprudent one. From a cursory reading of the Canvassing Rules, it can readily be seen that there has been no delegation or abdication of any Constitutional authority, even within Congress itself. Key provisions throughout the Canvassing Rules reveal the nature of the Joint Committee and its relation to the duties of Congress, whether referring to the determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass or the canvassing of the votes itself. Some of these provisions, however, are conveniently omitted by petitioner in his arguments. For one, Section 19 thereof provides: Sec. 19. The Joint Committee, whether en banc or in divisions, shall decide any question involving the Certificate of Canvass by a majority vote of its Members, each House panel voting separately. Any such decision shall be subject to approval by the joint session, the Senate and House of Representatives voting separately. In case the two Houses disagree, the decision of the President of the Senate, in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall prevail." [Emphasis supplied] As to the canvassing of votes, paragraph 2, of Sec. 13 provides that "[t]he Joint Committee shall, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass, preliminarily canvass the votes of candidates for the offices of President and Vice­President." And again, in Sec. 23, the final report of the Joint … 5/65 10/15/2016 [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] Committee "shall be submitted by the Joint Committee en banc to the joint public session for its approval, each House voting separately.” Further, in Section 27, we find that: Upon termination of the canvass and approval of the Joint Committee report and the accompanying resolution by majority of all the Members of both Houses voting separately in the joint public session, Congress through the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall forthwith proclaim the President­elect and the "Vice­President­elect. [Emphasis supplied] Since the Canvassing Rules subjects the acts of the Joint Committee to the affirmation of Congress, the Committee's report is preliminary and recommendatory in nature. The Canvassing Rules leaves to both Houses of Congress, as an entire body, the final act of determining the authenticity in the manner provided by law, and due execution of the certificates of canvass, and the proclamation of the President­elect and Vice­President­ elect. Anent to his argument that the Canvassing Rules is an unlawful delegation of power, petitioner claims that the creation of the Joint Committee deprives him of his rights and prerogatives as a member of Congress to be present during the canvassing of genuine certificates of canvass, and to participate in its deliberations. He argues that by excluding him from the proceedings, the Canvassing Rules likewise deprives his constituents ­ the sovereign people ­ of representation and a voice in the affairs of government. Unfortunately, petitioner once again relies on his misreading of the Canvassing Rules. The fact that the findings of the Joint Committee are subject to a final act of Congress, then, by casting his vote and declaring his approval or disapproval of the final report, petitioner exercises his prerogatives as a Member of Congress. By claiming a sovereign duty to be present in all stages of the proceedings, petitioner confuses his rights as a Member of the Congress with the powers given to Congress itself. Under the Constitution, it is Congress that, in accordance with the law and its rules, canvasses the certificates of canvass certified by the Boards of Canvassers of provinces and cities after determining their authenticity and due execution in the manner provided by law. Being a member of Congress, his participation is likewise determined by the internal rules of congressional proceedings, and, in general, is determined by his vote. The quality of his participation is determined by such means as Congress deems fit to ensure the use of discretion when his vote is cast. As for the Canvassing Rules itself, petitioner's third argument is that Congress amends the Constitution by investing itself with powers beyond what was granted therein. He cites the three constitutional functions of Congress as a National Board of Canvassers: l) the opening by the President of the Senate of all the certificates of canvass in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives in joint public session; 2) the determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass; and 3) the canvassing of votes based on said certificates. It is his observation that with the enumeration of these three duties, the Constitutional mandate is specific, thereby foreclosing the need for implementing or procedural rules. The argument is bereft of merit. … 6/65 10/15/2016 [ G.R. No. 163556, June 08, 2004 ] The authority of Congress to adopt its own rules of procedure under par. (3), Sec. 16, Art. VI[10] is a right that has been recognized to apply regardless of whether Congress is exercising its legislative power or its other duties, such as in this case when it acts as the National Board of Canvassers.[11] Here, apart from the general authority of Congress to promulgate its internal rules, the Constitution itself specifically leaves it to Congress to determine the conditions and procedures of fulfilling its duty as a National Board of Canvassers. The sixth paragraph of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution, plainly and clearly states: "The Congress shall promulgate its rules for the canvassing of certificates." The reason for the insertion of this provision, and its relation to the determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass, was likewise explained during the deliberations of the 1987 Constitutional Commission: MR. DAVIDE. On page 2, between lines 22 and 23, I propose to insert a new paragraph to read as follows: CONGRESS SHALL PROMULGATE ITS RULES FOR THE CANVASSING OF THE CERTIFICATES. MR. SUMULONG. Will Commissioner Davide repeat the proposed amendment? MR. DAVIDE. CONGRESS SHALL PROMULGATE ITS RULES FOR THE CANVASS OF THE CERTIFICATES. THE PRESIDENT. Is this accepted by the Committee? MR. REGALADO For the benefit of the other Commissioners, will Commissioner Davide explain this proposal? MR. DAVIDE: This is necessary in order that Congress will have the authority now to promulgate the necessary rules for the canvassing of the certificates of canvass for the Offices of the President and the Vice­President. MR. REGALADO: How will that tie up with line 16 regarding the determination of the authe...
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