Wednesday, November 2, 2011


1. What is a Bicameral Conference Committee? What is its function?

Under the provisions of both the Rules of the House of Representatives and Senate Rules, the Bicameral Conference Committee is mandated to settle the differences between the disagreeing provisions in the House bill and the Senate bill. The term “settle” is synonymous to “reconcile” and “harmonize.”[25] To reconcile or harmonize disagreeing provisions, the Bicameral Conference Committee may then (a) adopt the specific provisions of either the House bill or Senate bill, (b) decide that neither provisions in the House bill or the provisions in the Senate bill would be carried into the final form of the bill, and/or (c) try to arrive at a compromise between the disagreeing provisions.

2. What is a “no amendment rule”? What is its applicable use and limitations in the passing of a bill or its approval into law?

Article VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the Constitution, states:
No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.
Petitioners’ argument that the practice where a bicameral conference committee is allowed to add or delete provisions in the House bill and the Senate bill after these had passed three readings is in effect a circumvention of the “no amendment rule” (Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution), fails to convince the Court to deviate from its ruling in the Tolentino case that:
Nor is there any reason for requiring that the Committee’s Report in these cases must have undergone three readings in each of the two houses. If that be the case, there would be no end to negotiation since each house may seek modification of the compromise bill. . . .

Art. VI. § 26 (2) must, therefore, be construed as referring only to bills introduced for the first time in either house of Congress, not to the conference committee report.[32] (Emphasis supplied)
The Court reiterates here that the “no-amendment rule” refers only to the procedure to be followed by each house of Congress with regard to bills initiated in each of said respective houses, before said bill is transmitted to the other house for its concurrence or amendment. Verily, to construe said provision in a way as to proscribe any further changes to a bill after one house has voted on it would lead to absurdity as this would mean that the other house of Congress would be deprived of its constitutional power to amend or introduce changes to said bill. Thus, Art. VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the Constitution cannot be taken to mean that the introduction by the Bicameral Conference Committee of amendments and modifications to disagreeing provisions in bills that have been acted upon by both houses of Congress is prohibited.

3. When an international law is made part of the law of the land, pursuant to the doctrine of incorporation, what then is the standing of international law vis-à-vis our national law in the municipal sphere? How did the Supreme Court rule on this matter in the case of Ichong v. Hernandez and Gonzales v. Hechanova? Explain your answer.

A rather recent formulation of the relation of international law vis-à-vis municipal law was expressed in Philip Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, to wit:
xxx Withal, the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of international law over national law in the municipal sphere. Under the doctrine of incorporation as applied in most countries, rules of international law are given a standing equal, not superior, to national legislation.
This is not exactly helpful in solving the problem at hand since in trying to find a middle ground, it favors neither one law nor the other, which only leaves the hapless seeker with an unsolved dilemma. Other more traditional approaches may offer valuable insights.
From the perspective of public international law, a treaty is favored over municipal law pursuant to the principle of pacta sunt servanda. Hence, “[e]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.” Further, a party to a treaty is not allowed to “invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.”
Our Constitution espouses the opposing view. Witness our jurisdiction as stated in section 5 of Article VIII:
The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
xxx xxx xxx xxx
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and order of lower courts in:
(A) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
xxx xxx xxx xxx
In Ichong v. Hernandez, we ruled that the provisions of a treaty are always subject to qualification or amendment by a subsequent law, or that it is subject to the police power of the State. In Gonzales v. Hechanova,
xxx As regards the question whether an international agreement may be invalidated by our courts, suffice it to say that the Constitution of the Philippines has clearly settled it in the affirmative, by providing, in Section 2 of Article VIII thereof, that the Supreme Court may not be deprived “of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error as the law or the rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in —(1) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question.” In other words, our Constitution authorizes the nullification of a treaty, not only when it conflicts with the fundamental law, but, also, when it runs counter to an act of Congress.

4.Distinguish pardon from amnesty: (a) grantor (b) kind of act (c) judicial notice (d) conviction (e) forward

In the case of People vs. Casido, the difference between pardon and amnesty is given:
"Pardon is granted by the Chief Executive and as such it is a private act which must be pleaded and proved by the person pardoned, because the courts take no notice thereof; while amnesty by Proclamation of the Chief Executive with the concurrence of Congress, is a public act of which the courts should take judicial notice. Pardon is granted to one after conviction; while amnesty is granted to classes of persons or communities who may be guilty of political offenses, generally before or after the institution of the criminal prosecution and sometimes after conviction. Pardon looks forward and relieves the offender from the consequences of an offense of which he has been convicted, that is, it abolishes or forgives the punishment, and for that reason it does 'not work the restoration of the rights to hold public office, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the pardon,' and it 'in no case exempts the culprit from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence' (Article 36, Revised Penal Code). While amnesty looks backward and abolishes and puts into oblivion the offense itself, it so overlooks and obliterates the offense with which he is charged that the person released by amnesty stands before the law precisely as though he had committed no offense."
5. Accused-appellant Jose Patriarca, Jr., with the aliases of "Ka Django," "Carlos Narra" and "Ka Jessie," appeals the decision of the Regional Trial Court at Sorsogon, Sorsogon, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 2773 entitled "People of the Philippines versus Jose Patriarca, Jr. alias 'Ka Django,' 'Carlos Narra,' 'Ka Jessie,' and 21 John Does" convicting him of murder and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua. Accused-appellant applied for amnesty under Proclamation No. 724 amending Proclamation No. 347, dated March 25, 1994, entitled "Granting Amnesty to Rebels, Insurgents, and All Other Persons Who Have or May Have Committed Crimes Against Public Order, Other Crimes Committed in Furtherance of Political Ends, and Violations of the Article of War, and Creating a National Amnesty Commission."
Question: (1) Based on the above-mentioned facts, is it within the power of the President to grant him amnesty despite the fact that there is still a pending appeal of his conviction? Explain.

ANSWER: Yes. Amnesty can be granted in any stage of the proceedings, hence even if there is still a pending appeal of his conviction.

6. During the public hearings conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (hereafter called the Committee), it appeared that the AFP-RSBS purchased a lot in General Santos City, designated as Lot X, MR-1160, for P10,500.00 per square meter from private respondent Atty. Nilo J. Flaviano. However, the deed of sale filed with the Register of Deeds indicated that the purchase price of the lot was only P3,000.00 per square meter.
The Committee thereafter caused the service of a subpoena to respondent Atty. Flaviano, directing him to appear and testify before it. Respondent refused to appear at the hearing. Instead, he filed a petition for prohibition and preliminary injunction with prayer for temporary restraining order with the Regional Trial Court of General Santos City, Branch 23, which was docketed as SP Civil Case No. 496.
Question: If you were the Judge concerned, will you grant the Temporary Restraining Order, or eventually the petition for Prohibition? Explain.

ANSWER: The Judge should not grant the TRO, since that will be considered an an interference of the Judiciary over the affairs of Congress in its exercise of its investigations in aid of legislation.

7. Realizing the unfairness of the discrimination against the members of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Commissions, Congress approved in 1990 a bill for the reenactment of the repealed provisions of Republic Act No. 1797 and Republic Act No. 3595. Congress was under the impression that Presidential Decree 644 became law after it was published in the Official Gazette on April 7, 1977. In the explanatory note of House Bill No. 16297 and Senate Bill No. 740, the legislature saw the need to reenact Republic Act Nos. 1797 and 3595 to restore said retirement pensions and privileges of the retired Justices and members of the Constitutional Commissions, in order to assure those serving in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Constitutional Commissions adequate old age pensions even during the time when the purchasing power of the peso has been diminished substantially by worldwide recession or inflation. This is underscored by the fact that the petitioner retired Chief Justice, a retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and the retired Presiding Justice are presently receiving monthly pensions of P3,333.33, P2,666.66 and P2,333.33 respectively.
President Aquino, however vetoed House Bill No. 16297 on July 11, 1990 on the ground that according to her "it would erode the very foundation of the Government's collective effort to adhere faithfully to and enforce strictly the policy on standardization of compensation as articulated in Republic Act No. 6758 known as Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989." She further said that "the Government should not grant distinct privileges to select group of officials whose retirement benefits under existing laws already enjoy preferential treatment over those of the vast majority of our civil service servants."
Question: Is the exercise of the veto power of the president in this particular case valid? Explain.

ANSWER: The exercise of his veto power in this particular case is invalid.
“In the case at bar, the veto of these specific provisions in the General Appropriations Act is tantamount to dictating to the Judiciary how its funds should be utilized, which is clearly repugnant to fiscal autonomy. The freedom of the Chief Justice to make adjustments in the utilization of the funds appropriated for the expenditures of the judiciary, including the use of any savings from any particular item to cover deficits or shortages in other items of the Judiciary is withheld. Pursuant to the Constitutional mandate, the Judiciary must enjoy freedom in the disposition of the funds allocated to it in the appropriations law. It knows its priorities just as it is aware of the fiscal restraints. The Chief Justice must be given a free hand on how to augment appropriations where augmentation is needed.” (G.R. No. 103524 April 15, 1992CESAR BENGZON, QUERUBE MAKALINTAL, LINO M. PATAJO, JOSE LEUTERIO, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.HON. FRANKLIN N. DRILON, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of Department of Budget and Management, and HON. ROSALINA CAJUCOM, in her capacity as National Treasurer, respondents.)

8. (a) Where is executive power vested? (b) Is executive power defined under the 1987 Constitution? (c) Is it accurate to say that executive power is the power to enforce the laws? Explain.

As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is meant by "executive power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws, the appointing power, the powers under the commander-in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to enter into treaties or international agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to address Congress [Art. VII, Secs. 14-23]. LLphil
The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the Constitution intend that the President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are these enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has enumerated powers, and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius." [Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4; Rollo p. 233.] This argument brings to mind the institution of the U. S. Presidency after which ours is legally patterned.
XXX It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.
On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated.

9. The essence of due process is distilled in the immortal cry of Themistocles to Alcibiades "Strike — but hear me first!" It is this cry that the petitioner in effect repeats here as he challenges the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 626-A.
The said executive order reads in full as follows:
WHEREAS, the President has given orders prohibiting the interprovincial movement of carabaos and the slaughtering of carabaos not complying with the requirements of Executive Order No. 626 particularly with respect to age;
WHEREAS, it has been observed that despite such orders the violators still manage to circumvent the prohibition against inter-provincial movement of carabaos by transporting carabeef instead; and
WHEREAS, in order to achieve the purposes and objectives of Executive Order No. 626 and the prohibition against interprovincial movement of carabaos, it is necessary to strengthen the said Executive Order and provide for the disposition of the carabaos and carabeef subject of the violation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby promulgate the following:
SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 626 is hereby amended such that henceforth, no carabao regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose and no carabeef shall be transported from one province to another. The carabao or carabeef transported in violation of this Executive Order as amended shall be subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the government, to be distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commission may ay see fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit, in the case of carabaos.
SECTION 2. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 25th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty.
Republic of the Philippines
The petitioner had transported six carabaos in a pump boat from Masbate to Iloilo on January 13, 1984, when they were confiscated by the police station commander of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, for violation of the above measure. 1 The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ of replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After considering the merits of the case, the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order, as raise by the petitioner, for lack of authority and also for its presumed validity. 2 Questions: (1) Is the court correct in declining to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order? (2) Is the E.O. constitutional? (3) If unconstitutional, would it be proper to rule that the police station commander should be compelled to return the value of the confiscated carabao to petitioner? Explain.

Answer1) The court is wrong. The regional trial court is an established court created by law and possesses judicial power, which of course, includes the power to determine whether any part of the government gravely abused its discretion. (2) In the case of Ynot v. IAC, the SC declared it as unconstitutional. (3) The Station Commander however cannot be compelled to return the value of the carabao, pursuant to the doctrine of operative fact (i.e. he was just merely doing his duty when the law was still considered as constitutional). Thus the SC said: To sum up then, we find that the challenged measure is an invalid exercise of the police power because the method employed to conserve the carabaos is not reasonably necessary to the purpose of the law and, worse, is unduly oppressive. Due process is violated because the owner of the property confiscated is denied the right to be heard in his defense and is immediately condemned and punished. The conferment on the administrative authorities of the power to adjudge the guilt of the supposed offender is a clear encroachment on judicial functions and militates against the doctrine of separation of powers. There is, finally, also an invalid delegation of legislative powers to the officers mentioned therein who are granted unlimited discretion in the distribution of the properties arbitrarily taken. For these reasons, we hereby declare Executive Order No. 626-A unconstitutional.
We agree with the respondent court, however, that the police station commander who confiscated the petitioner's carabaos is not liable in damages for enforcing the executive order in accordance with its mandate. The law was at that time presumptively valid, and it was his obligation, as a member of the police, to enforce it. It would have been impertinent of him, being a mere subordinate of the President, to declare the executive order unconstitutional and, on his own responsibility alone, refuse to execute it. Even the trial court, in fact, and the Court of Appeals itself did not feel they had the competence, for all their superior authority, to question the order we now annul.
The Court notes that if the petitioner had not seen fit to assert and protect his rights as he saw them, this case would never have reached us and the taking of his property under the challenged measure would have become a fait accompli despite its invalidity. We commend him for his spirit. Without the present challenge, the matter would have ended in that pump boat in Masbate and another violation of the Constitution, for all its obviousness, would have been perpetrated, allowed without protest, and soon forgotten in the limbo of relinquished rights.
The strength of democracy lies not in the rights it guarantees but in the courage of the people to invoke them whenever they are ignored or violated. Rights are but weapons on the wall if, like expensive tapestry, all they do is embellish and impress. Rights, as weapons, must be a promise of protection. They become truly meaningful, and fulfill the role assigned to them in the free society, if they are kept bright and sharp with use by those who are not afraid to assert them.

10. The Roppongi property was acquired from the Japanese government under the Second Year Schedule and listed under the heading "Government Sector", through Reparations Contract No. 300 dated June 27, 1958. The Roppongi property consists of the land and building "for the Chancery of the Philippine Embassy". As intended, it became the site of the Philippine Embassy until the latter was transferred to Nampeidai on July 22, 1976 when the Roppongi building needed major repairs. Due to the failure of our government to provide necessary funds, the Roppongi property has remained undeveloped since that time.

Questions: (1) What is the nature of the Roppongi property?
(2) Can the Roppongi property be alienated by the Philippine Government?
(3) Does the Chief Executive, her officers and agents, have the authority and jurisdiction, to sell the Roppongi property? Explain.

Answer: (1)The nature of the Roppongi lot as property for public service is expressly spelled out. It is dictated by the terms of the Reparations Agreement and the corresponding contract of procurement which bind both the Philippine government and the Japanese government.
There can be no doubt that it is of public dominion unless it is convincingly shown that the property has become patrimonial. This, the respondents have failed to do.
(2) As property of public dominion, the Roppongi lot is outside the commerce of man. It cannot be alienated. Its ownership is a special collective ownership for general use and enjoyment, an application to the satisfaction of collective needs, and resides in the social group. The purpose is not to serve the State as a juridical person, but the citizens; it is intended for the common and public welfare and cannot be the object of appropration. (Taken from 3 Manresa, 66-69; cited in Tolentino, Commentaries on the Civil Code of the Philippines, 1963 Edition, Vol. II, p. 26).
The applicable provisions of the Civil Code are:
ART. 419. Property is either of public dominion or of private ownership.
ART. 420. The following things are property of public dominion
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks shores roadsteads, and others of similar character;
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth.
ART. 421. All other property of the State, which is not of the character stated in the preceding article, is patrimonial property.
The Roppongi property is correctly classified under paragraph 2 of Article 420 of the Civil Code as property belonging to the State and intended for some public service.
(3) it is not for the President to convey valuable real property of the government on his or her own sole will. Any such conveyance must be authorized and approved by a law enacted by the Congress. It requires executive and legislative concurrence.(see SALVADOR H. LAUREL, petitioner, vs.RAMON GARCIA, as head of the Asset Privatization Trust, RAUL MANGLAPUS, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and CATALINO MACARAIG, as Executive Secretary, respondents.G.R. No. 92047 July 25, 1990 )

No comments: