3. Javellana vs Exec Sec DIGEST
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Javellana vs. The Executive Secretary The Facts:
being no sufficient time to inform the people of the contents thereof."
Sequence of events that lead to the filing of the “Plebiscite” then “Ratification” Cases.
On December 17, 1972, the President had issued an order temporarilysuspending the effects of Proclamation No. 1081, for
The Plebiscite Case
the purpose of free andopen debate on the Proposed Constitution.
On March 16, 1967, Congress of the Philippines passed Resolution No. 2,which was amended by Resolution No. 4 of said body, adopted on June 17,1969, calling a Convention to propose amendments to the Constitution of thePhilippines.
On December 23, the President announced the postponement of theplebiscite for the ratification or rejection of the Proposed Constitution. Noformal action to this effect was taken until January 7, 1973, when GeneralOrder No. 20 was issued,
Said Resolution No. 2, as amended, was implemented by Republic Act No.6132, approved on August 24, 1970, pursuant to the provisions of which theelection of delegates to the said Convention was held on November 10, 1970,and the 1971 Constitutional Convention began to perform its functions onJune 1, 1971. While the Convention was in session on September 21, 1972, the Presidentissued Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire Philippines under MartialLaw.
directing "that the plebiscite scheduled to be heldon January 15, 1978, be postponed until further notice." Said General OrderNo. 20, moreover, "suspended in the meantime" the "order of December 17,1972, temporarily suspending the effects of Proclamation No. 1081 forpurposes of free and open debate on the proposed Constitution."
Because of these events relative to the postponement of the aforementionedplebiscite, the Court deemed it fit to refrain, for the time being, from decidingthe aforementioned cases, for neither the date nor the conditions underwhich said plebiscite would be
On November 29, 1972, the Convention approved its Proposed Constitution ofthe Republic of the Philippines. The next day, November 30, 1972, thePresident of the Philippines issued Presidential Decree No. 73, "submitting tothe Filipino people for ratification or rejection the Constitution of the Republicof the the Philippines proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and appropriating funds therefor," as well as setting the plebiscite for saidratification or rejection of the Proposed Constitution on January 15, 1973.
held were known or announced officially.Then, again, Congress was, pursuant to the 1935 Constitution, scheduled tomeet in regular session on January 22, 1973, and since the main objection toPresidential Decree No. 73 was that the President does not have thelegislative authority to call a plebiscite and appropriate funds therefor, whichCongress unquestionably could do, particularly in view of the formalpostponement of the plebiscite by the President reportedly after consultationwith, among others, the leaders of Congress and the Commission on Electionsthe Court deemed it more imperative to defer its final
On December 7, 1972, Charito Planas filed a c ase against the
action on these cases.
Commission onElections, the Treasurer of the Philippines and the Auditor General, to enjoinsaid "respondents or their agents from implementing Presidential Decree No.73, in any manner, until further orders of the Court," upon the grounds, interalia, that said Presidential Decree "has no force and effect as law because the
"In the afternoon of January 12, 1973, the petitioners in Case G.R. No."L-35948 filed an "urgent motion," praying that said case be decided "as soonas possible, preferably not later than January 15, 1973."
calling ... of such plebiscite, the setting of guidelines for the conduct of thesame, the prescription of the ballots to be used and the question to beanswered by the voters, and the appropriation of public funds for thepurpose, are, by the Constitution, lodged exclusively in Congress ...," and"there is no proper submission to the people of said Proposed Constitution setfor January 15, 1973, there being no freedom of speech, press and assembly,and there
The next day, January 13, 1973, which was a Saturday, the Court issued aresolution requiring the respondents in said three (3) cases to comment onsaid "urgent motion" and "manifestation," "not later than Tuesday noon,January 16, 1973." Prior thereto, or on January 15, 1973, shortly before noon,the petitioners in said Case G.R. No. L-35948 riled a "supplemental motion forissuance of restraining order and inclusion of additional respondents,"
"WHEREAS, Citizens Assemblies were created in barrios, in
"... that a restraining order be issued enjoining and restraining
municipalities andin districts/wards in chartered cities pursuant to
respondentCommission on Elections, as well as the Department Presidential Decree No. 86,dated December 31, 1972, composed of Local Governmentsand its head, Secretary Jose Roño; the
of all persons who are residents of thebarrio, district or ward for at
Department of Agrarian Reforms andits head, Secretary Conrado least six months, fifteen years of age or over,citizens of the Estrella; the National Ratification CoordinatingCommittee and its Philippines and who are registered in the list of CitizenAssembly Chairman, Guillermo de Vega; their deputies, subordinatesand
members kept by the barrio, district or ward secretary;
substitutes, and all other officials and persons who may be assigned suchtask, from collecting, certifying, and announcing
"WHEREAS, the said Citizens Assemblies were established
and reporting to thePresident or other officials concerned, the so- precisely tobroaden the base of citizen participation in the called Citizens' Assembliesreferendum results allegedly obtained democratic process and toafford ample opportunity for the when they were supposed to have metduring the period
citizenry to express their views on importantnational issues;
comprised between January 10 and January 15, 1973, onthe two questions quoted in paragraph 1 of this Supplemental Urgent
"WHEREAS, responding to the clamor of the people and pursuant
toPresidential Decree No. 86-A, dated January 5, 1973, the following questionswere posed before the Citizens Assemblies or
On the same date January 15, 1973 the Court passed a
Barangays: Do you approve ofthe New Constitution? Do you still
resolution requiringthe respondents in said case G.R. No. L-
want a plebiscite to be called to ratify thenew Constitution?
35948 to file "file an answer to thesaid motion not later than 4 P.M., Tuesday, January 16, 1973," and setting themotion for
"WHEREAS, fourteen million nine hundred seventy-six thousand
hearing "on January 17, 1973, at 9:30 a.m." While the case was
five hundredsixty-one (14,976,561) members of all the Barangays
being heard, on the date last mentioned, at noontime, the
(Citizens Assemblies)voted for the adoption of the proposed
Secretary ofJustice called on the writer of this opinion and said
Constitution, as against sevenhundred forty-three thousand eight
that, upon instructions of the President, he (the Secretary of
hundred sixty-nine (743,869) who votedfor its rejection; while on
Justice) was delivering to him (the writer)a copy of Proclamation the question as to whether or not the people wouldstill like a No. 1102, which had just been signed by thePresident.
plebiscite to be called to ratify the new Constitution, fourteen
Thereupon, the writer returned to the Session Hall and
million two hundred ninety-eight thousand eight hundred fourteen
announcedto the Court, the parties in G.R. No. L-35948 inasmuch (14,298,814) answered that there was no need for a plebiscite as the hearing inconnection therewith was still going on and the
and that thevote of the Barangays (Citizens Assemblies) should
public there present that thePresident had, according to
be considered as a vote ina plebiscite;
information conveyed by the Secretary of Justice,signed said Proclamation No. 1102, earlier that morning.
"WHEREAS, since the referendum results show that more than ninety-five(95) per cent of the members of the Barangays
Thereupon, the writer read Proclamation No. 1102 which is of the (Citizens Assemblies) are infavor of the new Constitution, the following tenor: ____________________________ "BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES"
Katipunan ng Mga Barangay has stronglyrecommended that the new Constitution should already be deemed ratifiedby the Filipino people;
PROCLAMATION NO. 1102 "ANNOUNCING THE RATIFICATION BY THE FILIPINO
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of
PEOPLE OF THE CONSTITUTION PROPOSED BY THE 1971
the Philippines, byvirtue of the powers in me vested by the
Constitution, do hereby certify andproclaim that the Constitution proposed by the nineteen hundred and seventy-one (1971)
"WHEREAS, the Constitution proposed by the nineteen hundred Constitutional Convention has been ratified by anoverwhelming seventy-one Constitutional Convention is subject to ratification by majority of all of the votes cast by the members of all the the Filipino people;
Barangays (Citizens Assemblies) throughout the Philippines, and has therebycome into effect.
"IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and
3. Whether or not the aforementioned proposed Constitution, has
caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.
been acquiesced in (with or without valid ratification) by the
"Done in the City of Manila, this 17th day of January, in the year people? (acquiesced - "permission" given by making objections.) of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-three. (Sgd.) FERDINAND E. MARCOS"President of the Philippines" 4. Whether or not the petitioners entitled to relief? By the President: "ALEJANDRO MELCHOR" "Executive Secretary"
5. Whether or not the aforementioned proposed Constitution in force?
_________________________________ The Resolution: The Ratification Case Summary: On January 20, 1973, Josue Javellana filed Case G.R. No. L-
The court was severely divided on the following issues raised in
36142 against theExecutive Secretary and the Secretaries of
the petition:but when the crucial question of whether the
National Defense, Justice andFinance, to restrain said
petitioners are entitled to relief,six members of the court (Justices
respondents "and their subordinates or agents fromimplementing Makalintal, Castro, Barredo, Makasiar,Antonio and Esguerra) any of the provisions of the propose Constitution not found inthe voted to dismiss the petition. Concepcion, togetherJustices present Constitution" referring to that of 1935. The petition
Zaldivar, Fernando and Teehankee, voted to grant the relief being
therein, filedby Josue Javellana, as a "Filipino citizen, and a
sought, thus upholding the 1973 Constitution.
qualified and registered voter"and as "a class suit, for himself, and in behalf of all citizens and voterssimilarly situated," was
amended on or about January 24, 1973. After recitingin
1. Is the issue of the validity of Proclamation No. 1102 a
substance the facts set forth in the decision in the plebiscite
cases,Javellana alleged that the President had announced "the
political and therefore non-justiciable, question?
immediateimplementation of the New Constitution, thru his
On the first issue involving the political-question doctrine Justices
Cabinet, respondentsincluding," and that the latter "are acting
Makalintal,Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee and myself, or
without, or in excess of jurisdictionin implementing the said
six (6) members of theCourt, hold that the issue of the validity of
proposed Constitution" upon the ground: "that thePresident, as
Proclamation No. 1102 presents ajusticiable and non-political
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is
question. Justices Makalintal and Castro did notvote squarely on
without authority to create the Citizens Assemblies"; that the
this question, but, only inferentially, in their discussion ofthe
same "arewithout power to approve the proposed Constitution ..."; second question. Justice Barredo qualified his vote, stating that "that the President iswithout power to proclaim the ratification by "inasmuch as it is claimed there has been approval by the people, the Filipino people of theproposed Constitution"; and "that the
the Courtmay inquire into the question of whether or not there has
election held to ratify the proposedConstitution was not a free
actually been suchan approval, and, in the affirmative, the Court
election, hence null and void."
should keep hands-off out ofrespect to the people's will, but, in negative, the Court may determine fromboth factual and legal
angles whether or not Article XV of the 1935Constitution been
1. Whether or not the issue of the validity of Proclamation No.
complied with." Justices Makasiar, Antonio, Esguerra, orthree (3)
1102 a justiciable, or political and therefore non-justiciable,
members of the Court hold that the issue is political and "beyond
the ambit of judicial inquiry."
2. Whether or not the Constitution proposed by the 1971
2. Whether or not the Constitution proposed by the 1971
Constitutional Convention has been ratified validly (with
substantial, if not strict, compliance) conformably to the applicable substantial, if not strict, compliance) conformably to the applicable constitutional and statutory provisions?
constitutional and statutory provisions?
even been no expression, bythe people qualified to vote all over On the second question of validity of the ratification, Justicesthe Philippines, of their acceptance orrepudiation of the proposed Makalintal,Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee and myself, or Constitution under Martial Law. Justice Fernandostates that "(I)f it six (6) members of theCourt also hold that the Constitutionis conceded that the doctrine stated in some Americandecisions proposed by the 1971 ConstitutionalConvention was not validlyto the effect that independently of the validity of the ratification, a ratified in accordance with Article XV, section 1 of the 1935new Constitution once accepted acquiesced in by the people Constitution, which provides only one way for ratification, i.e., "in must beaccorded recognition by the Court, I am not at this stage an election or plebiscite held in accordance with law andprepared to statethat such doctrine calls for application in view of participated in only by qualified and duly r egistered voters.
the shortness of time thathas elapsed and the difficulty of
Justice Barredo qualified his vote, stating that "(A)s to whether or ascertaining what is the mind of the peoplein the absence of the not the1973 Constitution has been validly ratified pursuant to
freedom of debate that is a concomitant feature ofmartial law." 88
Article XV, I stillmaintain that in the light of traditional concepts regarding the meaning andintent of said Article, the referendum in Three (3) members of the Court express their lack of knowledge the Citizens' Assemblies, specially inthe manner the votes therein and/orcompetence to rule on the question. Justices Makalintal were cast, reported and canvassed, falls shortof the requirements and Castro are joinedby Justice Teehankee in their statement that thereof. In view, however, of the fact that I have nomeans of
"Under a regime of martial law,with the free expression of
refusing to recognize as a judge that factually there was voting
opinions through the usual media vehiclerestricted, (they) have no
andthat the majority of the votes were for considering as
means of knowing, to the point of judicial certainty,whether the
approved the 1973Constitution without the necessity of the usual people have accepted the Constitution." form of plebiscite followed inpast ratifications, I am constrained to hold that, in the political sense, if not inthe orthodox legal sense, the people may be deemed to have cast theirfavorable votes in
4. Whether or not petitioners entitled to relief?
the belief that in doing so they did the part required ofthem by Article XV, hence, it may be said that in its political aspect, which iswhat counts most, after all, said Article has been substantially complied with,and, in effect, the 1973 Constitution has been
On the fourth question of relief, six (6) members of the Court, namely,Justices Makalintal, Castro, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra voted toDISMISS the petition. Justice Makalintal
and Castro so voted on the strengthof their view that "(T)he Justices Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, or three (3) members effectivity of the said Constitution, in the finalanalysis, is the basic of the Court hold that under their view there has been in effect and ultimate question posed by these cases to resolvewhich substantial compliance with the constitutional requirements for considerations other than judicial, and therefore beyond the valid ratification. competence of this Court, 90 are relevant and unavoidable." 91 3. Whether or not the aforementioned proposed Constitution has been acquiesced in (with or without valid ratification) by the people?
On the third question of acquiescence by the Filipino people in
Four (4) members of the Court, namely, Justices Zaldivar, Fernando,Teehankee and myself voted to deny respondents' motion to dismiss and togive due course to the petitions.
5. Is the aforementioned proposed Constitution in force?
theaforementioned proposed Constitution, no majority vote has been reached bythe Court.
On the fifth question of whether the new Constitution of 1973 is in force:
Four (4) of its members, namely, Justices Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra hold that "the people have already accepted the 1973 Constitution." Two (2) members of the Court, namely, Justice Zaldivar and myself hold thatthere can be no free expression, and there has
Four (4) members of the Court, namely, Justices Barredo, Makasiar, Antonioand Esguerra hold that it is in force by virtue of the people's acceptancethereof;
Four (4) members of the Court, namely, Justices Makalintal, Castro, Fernando and Teehankee cast no vote thereon on the
premise stated in their votes on the third question that they could not state with judicial certainty whether the people have accepted or not accepted the Constitution; and
Two (2) members of the Court, namely, Justice Zaldivar and myself voted thatthe Constitution proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention is not inforce; with the result that there are not enough votes to declare that the newConstitution is not in force.
ACCORDINGLY, by virtue of the majority of six (6) votes of Justices Makalintal, Castro, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra with the four (4) dissenting votes of the Chief Justice and Justices Zaldivar, Fernando and Teehankee, all the aforementioned cases are hereby dismissed. This being the vote of the majority, there is no further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being considered in force and effect. It is so ordered.