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Unformatted text preview: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW REVIEW CONSTITUTIONAL LAW REVIEW 1st Semester, School Year 2018-20191 Under Atty. Enan Flores 3. Qualities of a good written constitution (Bar 2012) a. Broad. Not just because it provides for the organization of the entire government and covers all persons and things within the territory of the State but because it must be comprehensive enough to provide for every contingency. CHAPTER 1: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW b. Brief. It must confine itself to basic principles to be implemented with legislative details more adjustable to change and easier to amend. I. The Philippine Constitution c. Definite. To prevent ambiguity in its provisions which could result in confusion and divisiveness among the people. 1. Definition, nature, concept and purpose of Constitution a. Definition: That body of rules and maxims in accordance with which the powers of sovereignty are habitually exercised [Cooley]. With particular reference to the Constitution of the Philippines: That written instrument enacted by direct action of the people by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited and defined, and by which those powers are distributed among the several departments for their safe and useful exercise for the benefit of the body politic [Malcolm]. b. Purpose: To prescribe the permanent framework of a system of government, to assign to the several departments their respective powers and duties, and to establish certain first principles on which the government is founded. 2. Classification a. Written or unwritten. A written constitution is one whose precepts are embodied in one document or set of documents; while an unwritten constitution consists of rules which have not been integrated into a single, concrete form but are scattered in various sources, such as statutes of a fundamental character, judicial decisions, commentaries of publicists, customs and traditions, and certain common law principles. b. Enacted (Conventional) or Evolved (Cumulative). A conventional constitution is enacted, formally struck off at a definite time and place following a conscious or deliberate effort taken by a constituent body or ruler; while a cumulative constitution is the result of political evolution, not inaugurated at any specific time but changing by accretion rather than by any systematic method. c. Rigid or Flexible. A rigid Constitution is one that can be amended only by a formal and usually difficult process; while a flexible Constitution is one that can be changed by ordinary legislation. NOTE: Article XVII needs qualification. 4. Essential Parts of a written constitution a. Constitution of Liberty. The series of prescriptions setting forth the fundamental civil and political rights of the citizens and imposing limitations on the powers of government as a means of securing the enjoyment of those rights, e.g. Art. III, Art. IV. b. Constitution of Government. The series of provisions outlining the organization of the government, enumerating its powers, laying down certain rules relative to its administration, and defining the electorate, e.g., Arts. VI, VII, VIII and IX. c. Constitution of Sovereignty. The provisions pointing out the mode or procedure in accordance with which formal changes in the fundamental law may be brought about, e.g., Art. XVII. 5. Effectivity of the 1987 Philippine Constitution (Art. XVIII, Sec. 27) NOTE: The 1987 Constitution’s date of effectivity is February 2, 1987, the date of the plebiscite when the people ratified the Constitution. (De Leon v. Esguerra) a. De Leon vs. Esguerra, 153 SCRA 602, No. L78059, 31 August 1987 FACTS: Petitioners pray that the subject Memoranda of February 8, 1987 be declared null and void and that respondents be prohibited from taking over their positions. And maintains that pursuant to Section 3 of the Barangay Election Act of 1982 (BP Blg. 222), their terms of office "shall be six (6) years which shall commence on June 7, 1982 and shall continue until their successors shall have elected and shall have qualified," or up to June 7, 1988. ISSUE: Whether or not the designation respondents to replace petitioners was proper? of RULING: No. The 1987 Constitution was ratified in a plebiscite on Feb 2, 1987, therefore, the Provisional Constitution must be deemed to have 1 Updated: 06/15/2019. Cases in gold text are omitted in the new syllabus (S.Y. 2019-2020). Titles of the new cases are underlined. M.R.A.D.C. LUMBRE 1 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW REVIEW superseded. Having become inoperative, respondent OIC Gov could no longer rely on Sec 2, Art 3, thereof to designate respondents to the elective positions occupied by petitioners. Petitioners must now be held to have acquired security of tenure, Sec 8, Art 1 of the 1987 Constitution further provides in part: "The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years xxx." NOTE: Applicable rule: Article XVIII, Section 3. Where the old law is: (1) inconsistent; or (2) amended/repealed consequently, respondents can no longer rely on the old law. b. Laws and international agreements prior to the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution – Art. XVIII, Secs. 3 and 4 Section 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions, and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed, or revoked. Section 4. All existing treaties or international agreements which have not been ratified shall not be renewed or extended without the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate. 6. Amendments and revision (Art. XVII, Secs. 1 to 4) Section 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or a constitutional convention. Section 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter. The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. Section 3. The Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call a constitutional convention, or by a majority vote of all its Members, submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention. Section 4. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution under Section 1 hereof shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than sixty days nor later than ninety days after the approval of such amendment or revision. Any amendment under Section 2 hereof shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than sixty days nor later than ninety days after the certification by the Commission on Elections of the sufficiency of the petition. a. Difference Lambino v. Comelec enumerates the distinctions between revision and amendment, as follows: Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the Constitution, like altering the principle of separation of powers or the system of checks and balances. There is also revision if the change alters the substantial entirety of the Constitution. On the other hand, amendment broadly refers to a change that adds, reduces, deletes, without altering the basic principle involved. Revision generally affects several provisions of the Constitution; while amendment generally affects only the specific provision being amended. i. Lambino vs. Comelec, GR No. 174153, October 25, 2006 FACTS: On 25 August 2006, Lambino et al filed a petition with the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite that will ratify their initiative petition to change the 1987 Constitution under Section 5(b) and (c) and Section 73 of Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act. The Lambino Group alleged that their petition had the support of 6,327,952 individuals constituting at least twelve per centum (12%) of all registered voters, with each legislative district represented by at least three per centum (3%) of its registered voters. The Lambino Group also claimed that COMELEC election registrars had verified the signatures of the 6.3 million individuals. The Lambino Group’s initiative petition changes the 1987 Constitution by modifying Sections 17 of Article VI (Legislative Department) and Sections 1-4 of Article VII (Executive Department) and by adding Article XVIII entitled “Transitory Provisions.” These proposed changes will shift the present BicameralPresidential system to a UnicameralParliamentary form of government. RULING: The Initiative Petition Does Not Comply with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on Direct Proposal by the People Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution is the governing constitutional provision that allows a people’s initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution intended that the “draft of the proposed constitutional amendment” should be “ready and shown” to the people “before” they sign such proposal. The framers plainly stated that “before they sign there is already a draft shown to them.” The framers also “envisioned” that the people should sign on the proposal itself because the M.R.A.D.C. LUMBRE 2 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW REVIEW proponents must “prepare that proposal and pass it around for signature.” The essence of amendments “directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition” is that the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be present. First, the people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition. These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is first shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition. Thus, an amendment is “directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition” only if the people sign on a petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments. There is no presumption that the proponents observed the constitutional requirements in gathering the signatures. The proponents bear the burden gathering the signatures – that the petition contained, or incorporated by attachment, the full text of the proposed amendments. The Lambino Group did not attach to their present petition with this Court a copy of the paper that the people signed as their initiative petition. The Lambino Group submitted to this Court a copy of a signature sheet after the oral arguments of 26 September 2006 when they filed their Memorandum on 11 October 2006. 1. The Two-Part Test In determining whether the Lambino proposal involves an amendment or a revision, the Court considered the two-part test. First, the quantitative test asks whether the proposed change is so extensive in its provisions as to change directly the “substance entirety” of the Constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous provisions. The court examines only the number of provisions affected and does not consider the degree of the change. Second, the qualitative test, which inquires into the qualitative effects of the proposed change in the Constitution. The main inquiry is whether the change will “accomplish such far-reaching changes in the nature of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision”. 2. Provisions that needed to be changed to effect change from unitary to federal form of government, and from presidential to parliamentary form of government The Lambino Group’s initiative petition changes the 1987 Constitution by modifying Sections 1-7 of Article VI (Legislative Department) and Sections 1-4 of Article VII (Executive Department) and by adding Article XVIII entitled “Transitory Provisions.” b. Procedure i. Proposal 1. By Congress By a vote of 3/4 of all its members. Majority of authorities opine that this is to be understood as 3/4 of the Senate and 3/4 of the House of Representatives. 2. By a Constitutional Convention Which may be called into existence either by a 3/4 vote of all the members of Congress, or (if such vote is not obtained) by a majority vote of all the members of Congress with the question of whether or not to call a Convention to be resolved by the people in a plebiscite [Sec. 3, Art. XVII] a. Imbong v. COMELEC, 35 SCRA 28, (1970) FACTS: Two separate but related petitions for declaratory relief were filed pursuant to Sec. 19 of R.A. No. 6132 by petitioners Manuel B. Imbong and Raul M. Gonzales, both members of the Bar, taxpayers and interested in running as candidates for delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Both impugn the constitutionality of R.A. No. 6132, claiming during the oral argument that it prejudices their rights as such candidates. On March 16, 1967, Congress, acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the Constitution, passed Resolution No. 2 which among others called for a Constitutional Convention to propose constitutional amendments to be composed of two delegates from each representative district who shall have the same qualifications as those of Congressmen, to be elected on the second Tuesday of November, 1970 in accordance with the Revised Election Code. On June 17, 1969, Congress, also acting as a Constituent Assembly, passed Resolution No. 4 amending the aforesaid Resolution No. 2 of March 16, 1967 by providing that the convention “shall be composed of 320 delegates apportioned among the existing representative districts according to the number of their respective inhabitants: Provided, that a representative district shall be entitled to at least two delegates, who shall have the same qualifications as those required of members of the House of Representatives,” 1 “and that any other details relating to the specific apportionment of delegates, election of delegates to, and the holding of, the M.R.A.D.C. LUMBRE 3 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW REVIEW Constitutional Convention shall be embodied in an implementing legislation: Provided, that it shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Resolution.” ISSUE: Whether RA 6132 was constitutional because it had to do with the calling of a Constitutional Convention but was not passed by 2/3 of all the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, voting separately. RULING: The Supreme Court upheld the validity of the law, declaring that after Congress had exercised its constituent power by adopting RBH 2 and RBH 4, with the requisite 2/3 vote as required by the 1935 Constitution, it may, by simply exercising legislative power, pass a law providing for the details for the implementation of the resolutions passed in the exercise of its constituent power. 3. By People’s Initiative; Requirements and limitations Initiative: The power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact a legislation through an election called for the purpose. There are three systems of initiative, namely: initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution; initiative on statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation; and initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial, city, municipal or bararigay law, resolution or ordinance [Sec. 2(a), R.A. 6735]. Indirect Initiative is exercise of initiative by the people through a proposition sent to Congress or the local legislative body for action [Sec. 2(b) R.A. 6735]. Requirements: A petition of at least 12% of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein. Limitation: No amendment in this manner shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor more often than once every five years thereafter. a. Defensor-Santiago vs. COMELEC, GR No. 127325, 19 March 1997 FACTS: Under the 1987 Constitution, in Section 2 of Article XVII, the system of initiative was introduced through which the people may directly propose amendments to the Constitution. In 1996, Atty. Jesus Delfin filed with COMELEC a "Petition to Amend the Constitution, to Lift Term Limits of Elective Officials, by People's Initiative" (Delfin Petition). Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and others filed an action for prohibition raising the argument that: (1) The constitutional provision on people's initiative to amend the Constitution can only be implemented by law and no such law has been passed. While Republic Act 6735 provides for three systems of initiative (on the Constitution, on statutes, and on local legislation), however, said law is inadequate with respect to a system of initiative on the Constitution. (2) The people's initiative is limited to amendments to the Constitution, not to revision thereof. Extending or lifting of term limits constitutes a revision and is, therefore, outside the power of the people's initiative. RULING: The Delfin petition was not granted. The system of initiative on the Constitution under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution is not self-executing. While the Constitution has recognized or granted the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative, the people cannot exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its implementation by way of a law or statute. Based on the interpellations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission which drafted the 1987 Constitution, initiative can only relate to "amendments" not "revision” of the Constitution. Moreover, the process of proposing amendments to the Constitution through initiative must be more rigorous and difficult than the initiative on legislation. RA 6735 is Inadequate to cover the System of Initiative on the Constitution. RA 6735 was, as its history reveals, intended to cover initiative to propose amendments M.R.A.D.C. LUMBRE 4 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW REVIEW to the Constitution. However, RA 6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned. Although Section 3 (Definition of Terms) of RA 6753 defines initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it does not provide for the contents of a petition for initiative on the Constitution. Other provisions of the Act cannot be made to apply to fill in the gap since these provisions expressly refer to “proposed laws sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed.” While RA 6735 provides separate Subtitles for initiative and referendum on laws and ordinances, no subtitle is provided for initiative on the Constitution. This omission means that the main thrust of RA 6753 is initiative and referendum on national and local laws. If Congress intended RA 6735 to fully provide for the implementation of the initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle therefor. This deliberate omission indicates that the matter of people's initiative to amend the Constitution was left to some separate and future law. b. Resolution on the MR filed in Lambino vs. COMELEC dated November 21, 2006 The Court held that R.A. No. 6735 is sufficient. ii. Ratification (Sec. 4, Art. XVII) The proposed amendment shall become part of the Constitution when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held not earlier than 60 nor later than 90 days after the approval of the proposal b...
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