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Session 2: The Philippine

Constitution

Constitutional Law 1
Atty. Vincent Pepito F.Yambao, Jr.
A. Evolution of the Philippine Constitution
Malolos Organic Acts 1935
Constitution (1902- Constitution
(1899-1901) 1935) (1935-
Phil. Organic 1943)
Act of 1902
Philippine (1945-1973)
Autonomy Act
of 1916
1943 1973 1986
Constitution Constitution Freedom
(1943-1945) (1973-1986) Constitution
(1986-1987)
1987
Constitution
B. Amendment and Revision
Amendment
envisages a change or only a few specific provisions.
The intention of an act to amend is not to consider the
advisability of changing the entire constitution or of
considering that possibility.
Intention is to improve specific parts of the existing
constitution or to add to it provisions deemed essential
on account of changed conditions or to suppress
portions of it that seem obsolete, or dangerous, or
misleading in their effect
Revision
the alterations of the different portions of the entire
document [Constitution].
may result in the rewriting whether the whole
constitution, or the greater portion of it, or perhaps some
of its important provisions.
the factor that characterizes it as an act of revision is the
original intention and plan authorized to be carried out.
That intention and plan must contemplate a
consideration of all the provisions of the Constitution to
determine which one should be altered or suppressed or
whether the whole document should be replaced with an
entirely new one.
Quantitative Test Qualitative Test

whether the proposed whether the change


change is so will accomplish such
extensive in its far reaching changes
provisions as to in the nature of our
change directly the basic governmental
substance entirety plan as to amount to
of the constitution by a revision
the deletion or
alteration of
numerous provisions

Lambino v. Comelec, G.R. No. 174153, October 25, 2006

Quantitative Test v. Qualitative Test


Process for Amending/Revising the
Constitution

Submissio
Proposal Ratification
n
Proposal to Amend/Revise the
Constitution

Constituent Constitutional Peoples


Assembly Convention Initiative
a. Constituent Assembly

House
to

Constitute House Senate
Constituent
Assembly Constituent
Senat Assembly
e
b. Constitutional Convention

House
2/3 to call 2/3 or 2/3 or
ConCon or House Senate
to submit Call
to electorate Concom/Su
bmit to
Senate Electorate
c. Peoples Initiative

3%
Legislative
district

3% 12% total 3%
Legislative registered Legislative
district voters district

3%
Legislative
district
Peoples Initiative
Proposed Amendments
must be Petition to the
Signature Gathering
attached/incorporated in COMELEC
the signature sheet

Certification by
>60 days < 90 days COMELEC of the
Plebiscite
Sufficiency of the
Petition

Valid when ratified by majority of the


Ratification
votes cast in the plebiscite
Delfin filed Petition praying that COMELEC:

fix the time and dates for signature gathering all over
the country
cause the necessary publications of said Order and
the attached Petition for Initiative on the 1987
Constitution, in newspapers of general and local
circulation;
instruct Municipal Election Registrars in all Regions of
the Philippines, to assist Petitioners and volunteers, in
establishing signing stations at the time and on the
dates designated for the purpose.
Proposed Amendment:

DO YOU APPROVE OF LIFTING THE TERM LIMITS


OF ALL ELECTIVE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,
AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTIONS 4 AND
7 OF ARTICLE VI, SECTION 4 OF ARTICLE VII, AND
SECTION 8 OF ARTICLE X OF THE 1987
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?
Issues:
Is there a law implementing the constitutional provision
on peoples initiative for the amendment of the
Constitution?
Is Comelec Resolution No. 2300, ultra vires in so far as
the provision on the peoples initiative for the
amendment of the Constitution?
Does the proposal to lift the term limits constitute
amendment or revision of the constitution?
Assuming Rep. Act No. 6735 is sufficient and Comelec
Resolution No. 2300 is valid, did Delfin comply with the
requirements for the filing of the Petition ?
SC RULING: Re Adequacy of the Mechanism for
Peoples Initiative (Rep. Act No. 6735)

RA 6735 is incomplete, inadequate or wanting in


essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on
amendments to the Constitution is concerned. Its
lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and
cannot be cured by empowering the COMELEC to
promulgate such rules and regulations as may be
necessary to carry the purposes of this act.
SC Ruling re: Whether proposal is an amendment
or revision of the Constitution

No categorical answer.
But made this statement:
It was made clear during the interpellations
that the aforementioned Section 2 is limited to
proposals to AMEND -- not to REVISE -- the
Constitution.
SC Ruling
Re: COMELEC Resolution No. 2300

COMELEC cannot validly promulgate rules and regulations to


implement the exercise of the right of the people to directly propose
amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative. It
does not have that power under R.A. No. 6735. Reliance on the
COMELECs power under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C of the
Constitution is misplaced, for the laws and regulations referred to
therein are those promulgated by the COMELEC under (a) Section 3
of Article IX-C of the Constitution, or (b) a law where subordinate
legislation is authorized and which satisfies the completeness and
the sufficient standard tests.
SC Ruling Re: Sufficiency of Delfin Petition

The Delfin Petition does not contain


signatures of the required number of
voters. Delfin himself admits that he has
not yet gathered signatures and that the
purpose of his petition is primarily to obtain
assistance in his drive to gather
signatures. Without the required signatures,
the petition cannot be deemed validly
initiated.
On 25 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed a petition
with the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite that will ratify
their initiative petition under Section 5(b) and (c)[2] and
Section 7[3] of Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative
and Referendum Act (RA 6735).
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 Groups initiative petition changes the
1987 Constitution by modifying Sections 1-7 of Article VI
(Legislative Department)[4] and Sections 1-4 of Article
VII (Executive Department)[5] and by adding Article XVIII
entitled Transitory Provisions.

These proposed changes will shift the present


Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-
Parliamentary form of government. The Lambino Group
prayed that after due publication of their petition, the
COMELEC should submit the following proposition in a
plebiscite for the voters ratification:
Proposition
DO YOU APPROVE THE AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES VI AND VII OF
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, CHANGING THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT
FROM THE PRESENT BICAMERAL-PRESIDENTIAL TO A UNICAMERAL-
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, AND PROVIDING ARTICLE XVIII AS
TRANSITORY PROVISIONS FOR THE ORDERLY SHIFT FROM ONE
SYSTEM TO THE OTHER?

On 30 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed an


Amended Petition with the COMELEC indicating
modifications in the proposed Article XVIII
(Transitory Provisions) of their initiative.
Issues:

Does the petition comply with the requirements of


the Constitution?
Are the proposed changes mere amendments or
are they revisions to the Constitution?
Is Rep. Act No. 6735 sufficient to propose
amendments to the Constitution via peoples
initiative?
SC Ruling: Re Sufficiency of the Petition

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 people should sign on the proposal itself because the
proponents must prepare that proposal and pass it around for
signature.
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.
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.
SC Ruling : Change from bicameral to
unicameral is a revision
Under both the quantitative and qualitative tests, the Lambino Groups
initiative is a revision and not merely an amendment. Quantitatively, the
Lambino Groups proposed changes overhaul two articles Article VI on
the Legislature and Article VII on the Executive affecting a total of 105
provisions in the entire Constitution. Qualitatively, the proposed changes
alter substantially the basic plan of government, from presidential to
parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature.

A change in the structure of government is a revision of the Constitution,


as when the three great co-equal branches of government in the present
Constitution are reduced into two. This alters the separation of powers in
the Constitution. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential system
to a Unicameral-Parliamentary system is a revision of the Constitution.
Merging the legislative and executive branches is a radical change in the
structure of government.
But CJ Puno dissents
relying on the quantitative test, oppositors-
intervenors assert that the amendments will result in
some one hundred (100) changes in the
Constitution. Using the same test, however, it is also
arguable that petitioners seek to change basically only
two (2) out of the eighteen (18) articles of the 1987
Constitution. In fine, we stand on unsafe ground if we
use simple arithmetic to determine whether the proposed
changes are simple or substantial.
The well-regarded political scientist, Garner, says that a
good constitution should contain at least three (3) sets of
provisions: the constitution of liberty ; the constitution of
government; and, the constitution of sovereignty ...

It is plain that the proposed changes will basically affect


only the constitution of government. The constitutions of
liberty and sovereignty remain unaffected. Indeed, the
proposed changes will not change the fundamental nature
of our state as x x x a democratic and republican
state.[50] It is self-evident that a unicameral-
parliamentary form of government will not make our State
any less democratic or any less republican in
character. Hence, neither will the use of the qualitative
test resolve the issue of whether the proposed changes are
simple or substantial.
SC Ruling re: Sufficiency of Rep. Act No. 6735

No need to revisit Santiago v. COMELEC

But In the Minute Resolution of the petitioners Motion


for Reconsideration held that RA No. 6735 is
adequate and complete for the purpose of proposing
amendments to the Constitution through peoples
initiative by a vote of 10 members as per Certification
of the En Bancs Clerk of Court.
May Congress propose amendments to the
Constitution while at the same time calling for a
Constitutional Convention to amend the
Constitution?

Yes, there is no prohibition for Congress to propose


amendments to the Constitution and at the same time
call for the convening of a Constitutional Convention to
amend the Constitution. The word or in the provision
Congress, upon a vote of of all its members; OR [2]
A constitutional Convention under Section 1, Art.
XVII also means AND. (GONZALES VS. COMELEC, 21
SCRA 774)
What is the Doctrine of Proper Submission in
connection with proposed amendments to the
Constitution?

Doctrine of Proper Submission means all the proposed


amendments to the Constitution shall be presented to the
people for the ratification or rejection at the same time, not
piecemeal. (TOLENTINO VS. COMELEC, 41 SCRA 702)
C. Ratification
Ratification of the Constitution
Art. XVIII, Section 27

This Constitution shall take effect immediately


upon its ratification by a majority of the votes
cast in a plebiscite held for the purpose and
shall supersede all previous Constitutions.
Date of Plebiscite is date of Ratification

The 1987 Constitution was ratified in a


plebiscite on February 2, 1987. By that date,
therefore, the Provisional Constitution must be
deemed to have been superseded. Having
become inoperative, respondent OIC Governor
could no longer rely on Section 2, Article III,
thereof to designate respondents to the
elective positions occupied by petitioners.

De Leon v. Esguerra ,G.R. No. 78059 August 31, 1987


Further, the record of the proceedings of the Constitutional
Commission further shows the clear, unequivocal and express intent of
the Constitutional Commission that "the act of ratification is the act
of voting by the people. So that is the date of the ratification" and
that "the canvass thereafter [of the votes] is merely the mathematical
confirmation of what was done during the date of the plebiscite and
the proclamation of the President is merely the of facial confirmatory
declaration of an act which was actually done by the Filipino people
in adopting the Constitution when they cast their votes on the date
of the plebiscite. Therefor, the 1987 Constitution is deemed ratified
on February 2, 1987, the actual date of the voting and not February
8, 1987, the announcement of the resolution.
D. Interpretation of the Constitution
Plain Meaning Constitution as a
Intent Rule
Rule Whole
Verba Legis Ratio Legis Est ut magis valeat
wherever Anima quam pereat
possible, the where there is meaning that
words used in ambiguity, ratio the
the Constitutio legis est Constitution is
n should be anima, meanin to be
given their g that the interpreted as a
ordinary words of the whole
meaning except Constitution
where should be
technical terms interpreted
are employed in accordance
with the intent
of its framers
Section 8. (1) A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby
created under the supervision of the Supreme
Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex officio
Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a
representative of the Congress as ex officio
Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a
professor of law, a retired Member of the Supreme
Court, and a representative of the private sector.
1 House of Representatives (1/2 vote); 1 Senate (1/2 vote)
8 members; 7 votes
Scenario 1

1 House of Representatives (1 vote); 1 Senate (1 vote)


8 members; 8 votes
Scenario 2

Alternating Member
7 members; 7 votes
Scenario 3
Section 3. (1) the House of Representatives
shall have the exclusive power to initiate all
cases of impeachment.

xxx

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be


initiated against the same official more than
once within a period of one year.
June 2,
First Impeachment Complaint
2003
August Referred to Committee on
5, 2003 Justice
October
CoJ voted; Sufficient in Form
13, 2003
October CoJ voted; Insufficient in
22, 2003 Substance
October Second Impeachment
23, 2003 Complaint
Contention of the House of
Representative:
The House of Representatives, as a collective body, which has the exclusive power to
initiate all cases of impeachment;

To initiate could not possibly mean "to file" because filing can, as Section 3 (2), Article XI
of the Constitution provides, only be accomplished in 3 ways, to wit:
(1) by a verified complaint for impeachment by any member of the House
of Representatives; or
(2) by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any member; or
(3) by at least 1/3 of all the members of the House.

The one year bar prohibiting the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same
officials could not have been violated as the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice
Davide and seven Associate Justices had not been initiated as the House of
Representatives, acting as the collective body, has yet to act on it.
case v. proceedings
Following the principle of reddendo singuala sinuilis,
the term "cases" must be distinguished from the term
"proceedings."

An impeachment case is the legal controversy that


must be decided by the Senate. Above-quoted first
provision provides that the House, by a vote of one-third
of all its members, can bring a case to the Senate. It is
in that sense that the House has "exclusive power" to
initiate all cases of impeachment. No other body can do
it.

However, before a decision is made to initiate a case in


the Senate, a "proceeding" must be followed to arrive at
a conclusion.
To initiate
"Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary men to
mean, as dictionaries do, to begin, to commence, or set
going.

Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English


Language concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate
the first action.
Proceedings is a progressive noun

Filing of impeachment Middle Referral of the articles


complaint of impeachment to the
Referral to Committee Deliberative moments Senate
on Justice leading to the
formulation of the
articles of
impeachment
Beginning End
First Impeachment Second Impeachment
Complaint Complaint

Filing: July 22, 2010 Filing: August 3, 2010

Transmitted to Speaker: Transmittal to Speaker:


July 27, 2010 August 9, 2010

Referral to Committee on Transmittal to Committee


Rules: August 2, 2010 on Rules: August 9,2010

Inclusion in the Order of Inclusion in the Order of


Business: August 10, 2010 Business: August 10, 2010
Both Complaints referred to the
August 11,
2010
Committee on Justice

CoJ found both Complaints


September 1,
2010
Sufficient in Form

CoJ found both Complaints


September 7,
2010
sufficient in substance
Contentions:
Petitioner: The one-year bar from the filing of the first
impeachment complaint against her on July 22, 2010 or four
days before the opening on July 26, 2010 of the 15th Congress.

Respondent Belmonte: reckoning point of initiation should refer


to the disposition of the complaint by the vote of at least one-
third (1/3) of all the members of the House.

Reyes group: initiation means the act of transmitting the Articles


of Impeachment to the Senate.

Respondent-intervenor: it should last until the Committee on


Justices recommendation to the House plenary.
SC Ruling: One-Year bar has not set-in

As pointed out in Francisco, the impeachment


proceeding is not initiated "when the House
deliberates on the resolution passed on to it by the
Committee, because something prior to that has
already been done. The action of the House is already
a further step in the proceeding, not its initiation or
beginning. Rather, the proceeding is initiated or
begins, when a verified complaint is filed and referred
to the Committee on Justice for action. This is the
initiating step which triggers the series of steps that
follow.