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Planas v Comelec

(49 SCRA 105)

Ponente: Concepcion, C.J.

On 1 June 1971, a Constitutional Convention was held to propose amendments to the
Constitution of the Philippines. While the Convention is in session on 21 September
1972, the entire Philippines were placed under martial law by virtue of Proclamation
No. 1081. On 29 November 1972, the Convention approved its proposed
Constitution. The next day the President issued PD No. 73 submitting to the
Filipino people for ratification or rejection the Constitution of the republic of the
Philippines proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and appropriating funds
therefor, as well as setting the Plebiscite for said ratification. On 7 December
1972, Charito Planas petitioned the Court to enjoin respondents from implementing
PD No. 73 on the grounds that the calling of plebiscite and appropriation of public
funds are lodged exclusively in the Congress and that there being no freedom of
speech, press and assembly and no sufficient time to inform the people of the
contents thereof, there is no proper submission to the people of said proposed
Constitution. On 17 December 1972, the President temporarily suspended the
effects of PD 1080 for purpose of free and open debate on the proposed
Constitution. On 23 December 1972, the Plebiscite was postponed until further
notice by the President. Thereby the Court refrained from ruling on the cases. On
12 January 1973, petitioners filed an urgent motion praying for the resolution of
the cases as soon as possible.

1. WON the validity of PD 73 is justiciable on the ground that the question at
hand is a political in nature.
2. WON PD 73 is valid.
3. WON the Constitutional Convention have the authority to pass the proposed
4. WON martial law affected the proper submission of the proposed
Constitution to a plebiscite.

1. Yes. The Court finds that the issue aforementioned is a justiciable one since
the assailed decree purports to have the force and effect of legislation, not
only because of the long list decided by the Court on the acts of the
Executive, but also of Subdivision (1) of Section 2, Article VIII of the 1935
2. The validity of PD 73 was declared moot and academic by the Court because
the plebiscite ordained in said Decree has been postponed.
3. Yes. The Court held that the Constitutional Convention was legally free to
postulate any amendment it may deem fit to propose for as long as they
adhere to Section 1 of Article XIV of the 1935 Constitution.
4. The issue involves question of fact which cannot be predetermined, and that
martial law per se does not necessarily bar the factual possibility of
adequate freedom.