The Court’s power of judicial review may be exercised in constitutional cases only if all the following requisites are complied with, namely: (1) the existence of an actual and appropriate case or controversy; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question is the lis mota of the case.
In the instant case, there is no actual controversy requiring the exercise of the power of judicial review. While seeking to prevent a postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections, petitioners are nevertheless amenable to a resetting of the SK elections to any date not later than July 15, 2002. RA No. 9164 has reset the SK elections to July 15, 2002, a date acceptable to petitioners. With respect to the date of the SK elections, there is therefore no actual controversy requiring judicial intervention.
Petitioners’ prayer to prevent Congress from enacting into law a proposed bill lowering the membership age in the SK does not present an actual justiciable controversy. A proposed bill is not subject to judicial review because it is not a law. A proposed bill creates no right and imposes no duty legally enforceable by the Court. A proposed bill, having no legal effect, violates no constitutional right or duty. The Court has no power to declare a proposed bill constitutional or unconstitutional because that would be in the nature of rendering an advisory opinion on a proposed act of Congress. The power of judicial review cannot be exercised in vacuo. The second paragraph of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states –
“Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.” (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, there can be no justiciable controversy involving the constitutionality of a proposed bill. The Court can exercise its power of judicial review only after a law is enacted, not before.
ANTONIETTE V.C. MONTESCLAROS, MARICEL CARANZO, JOSEPHINE ATANGAN, RONALD ATANGAN and CLARIZA DECENA, and OTHER YOUTH OF THE LAND SIMILARLY SITUATED, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY of the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON in his capacity as Senate President and SENATOR AQUILINO PIMENTEL in his capacity as Minority Leader of the Senate of the Philippines, CONGRESSMAN JOSE DE VENECIA in his capacity as Speaker, CONGRESSMAN AGUSTO L. SYJOCO in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, and CONGRESSMAN EMILIO C. MACIAS II in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Local Government of the House of Representatives, THE PRESIDENT OF THE PAMBANSANG KATIPUNAN NG MGA SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN, AND ALL THEIR AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.