This is a petition for certiorari
and/or prohibition challenging the validity of Republic Act No. 8240, which amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code by imposing so-called "sin taxes" (actually specific taxes) on the manufacture and sale of beer and cigarettes.
Petitioners are members of the House of Representatives. They brought this suit against respondents Jose de Venecia, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Raul Daza, Majority Leader Rodolfo Albano, the Executive Secretary, the Secretary of Finance, and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, charging violation of the rules of the House which petitioners claim are "constitutionally mandated" so that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
The law originated in the House of Representatives as H. No. 7198. This bill was approved on third reading on September 12, 1996 and transmitted on September 16, 1996 to the Senate which approved it with certain amendments on third reading on November 17, 1996. A bicameral conference committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the bill.
The bicameral conference committee submitted its report to the House at 8 a.m. on November 21, 1996. At 11:48 a.m., after a recess, Rep. Exequiel Javier, chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, proceeded to deliver his sponsorship speech, after which he was interpellated. Rep. Rogelio Sarmiento was first to interpellate. He was interrupted when Rep. Arroyo moved to adjourn for lack of quorum. Rep. Antonio Cuenco objected to the motion and asked for a head count. After a roll call, the Chair (Deputy Speaker Raul Daza) declared the presence of a quorum. 1 Rep. Arroyo appealed the ruling of the Chair, but his motion was defeated when put to a vote. The interpellation of the sponsor thereafter proceeded.
Petitioner Rep. Joker Arroyo registered to interpellate. He was fourth in the order, following Rep. Rogelio Sarmiento, Rep. Edcel C. Lagman and Rep. Enrique Garcia. In the course of his interpellation, Rep. Arroyo announced that he was going to raise a question on the quorum, although until the end of his interpellation he never did. What happened thereafter is shown in the following transcript of the session on November 21, 1996 of the House of Representatives, as published by Congress in the newspaper issues of December 5 and 6, 1996:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
MR. ALBANO. Mr. Speaker, I move that we now approve and ratify the conference committee report.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). Any objection to the motion?
MR. ARROYO. What is that, Mr. Speaker?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). There being none, approved.
MR. ARROYO. No, no, no, wait a minute, Mr. Speaker, I stood up. I want to know what is the question that the Chair asked the distinguished sponsor.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). There was a motion by the Majority Leader for approval of the report, and the Chair called for the motion.
MR. ARROYO. Objection, I stood up, so I wanted to object.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). The session is suspended for one minute.
(It was 3:01 p.m.)
(3:40 p.m., the session was resumed)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). The session is resumed.
MR. ALBANO. Mr. Speaker, I move to adjourn until four o’clock, Wednesday, next week.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). The session is adjourned until four o’clock, Wednesday, next week.
(It was 3:40 p.m.)
On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress as having been finally passed by the House of Representatives and by the Senate on November 21, 1996. The enrolled bill was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on November 22, 1996.
Petitioners claim that there are actually four different versions of the transcript of this portion of Rep. Arroyo’s interpellation: (1) the transcript of audio-sound recording of the proceedings in the session hall immediately after the session adjourned at 3:40 p.m. on November 21, 1996, which petitioner Rep. Edcel C. Lagman obtained from the operators of the sound system; (2) the transcript of the proceedings from 3:00 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. of November 21, 1996, as certified by the Chief of the Transcription Division on November 21, 1996, also obtained by Rep. Lagman; (3) the transcript of the proceedings from 3:00 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. of November 21, 1996 as certified by the Chief of the Transcription Division on November 28, 1996, also obtained by Rep. Lagman; and (4) the published version abovequoted. According to petitioners, the four versions differ on three points, to wit: (1) in the audio-sound recording the word "approved," which appears on line 13 in the three other versions, cannot be heard; (2) in the transcript certified on November 21, 1996 the word "no" on line 17 appears only once, while in the other versions it is repeated three times; and (3) the published version does not contain the sentence" (Y)ou better prepare for a quorum because I will raise the question of the quorum," which appears in the other versions.
Petitioners’ allegations are vehemently denied by respondents. However, there is no need to discuss this point as petitioners have announced that, in order to expedite the resolution of this petition, they admit, without conceding, the correctness of the transcripts relied upon by the respondents. Petitioners agree that for purposes of this proceeding the word "approved" appears in the transcripts.
Only the proceedings of the House of Representatives on the conference committee report on H. No. 7198 are in question. Petitioners’ principal argument is that R.A. No. 8240 is null and void because it was passed in violation of the rules of the House; that these rules embody the "constitutional mandate" in Art. VI, §16(3) that "each House may determine the rules of its proceedings" and that, consequently, violation of the House rules is a violation of the Constitution itself. They contend that the certification of Speaker De Venecia that the law was properly passed is false and spurious.
More specifically, petitioners charge that (1) in violation of Rule VIII, §35 and Rule XVII, §103 of the rules of the House, 2 the Chair, in submitting the conference committee report to the House, did not call for the yeas or nays, but simply asked for its approval by motion in order to prevent petitioner Arroyo from questioning the presence of a quorum; (2) in violation of Rule XIX, §112, 3 the Chair deliberately ignored Rep. Arroyo’s question, "What is that . . . Mr. Speaker?" and did not repeat Rep. Albano’s motion to approve or ratify; (3) in violation of Rule XVI, §97, 4 the Chair refused to recognize Rep. Arroyo and instead proceeded to act on Rep. Albano’s motion and afterward declared the report approved; and (4) in violation of Rule XX, §§121-122, Rule XXI, §123, and Rule XVIII, §109, 5 the Chair suspended the session without first ruling on Rep. Arroyo’s question which, it is alleged, is a point of order or a privileged motion. It is argued that Rep. Arroyo’s query should have been resolved upon the resumption of the session on November 28, 1996, because the parliamentary situation at the time of the adjournment remained upon the resumption of the session.
Petitioners also charge that the session was hastily adjourned at 3:40 p.m. on November 21, 1996 and the bill certified by Speaker Jose De Venecia to prevent petitioner Rep. Arroyo from formally challenging the existence of a quorum and asking for a reconsideration.
Petitioners urge the Court not to feel bound by the certification of the Speaker of the House that the law had been properly passed, considering the Court’s power under Art. VIII, §1 to pass on claims of grave abuse of discretion by the other departments of the government, and they ask for a reexamination of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, 6 which affirmed the conclusiveness of an enrolled bill, in view of the changed membership of the Court.
The Solicitor General filed a comment in behalf of all respondents. In addition, respondent De Venecia filed a supplemental comment. Respondents’ defense is anchored on the principle of separation of powers and the enrolled bill doctrine. They argue that the Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of the rules of the House and that there is no justification for reconsidering the enrolled bill doctrine. Although the Constitution provides in Art. VI, §16(3) for the adoption by each House of its rules of proceedings, enforcement of the rules cannot be sought in the courts except insofar as they implement constitutional requirements such as that relating to three readings on separate days before a bill may be passed. At all events, respondents contend that, in passing the bill which became R.A. No. 8240, the rules of the House, as well as parliamentary precedents for approval of conference committee reports on mere motion, were faithfully observed.
In his supplemental comment, respondent De Venecia denies that his certification of H. No. 7198 is false and spurious and contends that under the journal entry rule, the judicial inquiry sought by the petitioners is barred. Indeed, Journal No. 39 of the House of Representatives, covering the sessions of November 20 and 21, 1996, shows that "On Motion of Mr. Albano, there being no objection, the Body approved the Conference Committee Report on House Bill No. 7198." 7 This Journal was approved on December 2, 1996 over the lone objection of petitioner Rep. Lagman. 8
After considering the arguments of the parties, the Court finds no ground for holding that Congress committed a grave abuse of discretion in enacting R.A. No. 8240. This case is therefore dismissed.
First. It is clear from the foregoing facts that what is alleged to have been violated in the enactment of R.A. No. 8240 are merely internal rules of procedure of the House rather than constitutional requirements for the enactment of a law, i.e., Art. VI, §§26-27. Petitioners do not claim that there was no quorum but only that, by some maneuver allegedly in violation of the rules of the House, Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
Petitioners contend that the House rules were adopted pursuant to the constitutional provision that "each House may determine the rules of its proceedings" 9 and that for this reason they are judicially enforceable. To begin with, this contention stands the principle on its head. In the decided cases, 10 the constitutional provision that "each House may determine the rules of its proceedings" was invoked by parties, although not successfully, precisely to support claims of autonomy of the legislative branch to conduct its business free from interference by courts. Here petitioners cite the provision for the opposite purpose of invoking judicial review.
But the cases, both here and abroad, in varying forms of expression, all deny to the courts the power to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a House of Congress failed to comply with its own rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of private individuals. In Osmeña v. Pendatun, 11 it was held: "At any rate, courts have declared that ‘the rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them.’ And it has been said that ‘Parliamentary rules are merely procedural, and with their observance, the courts have no concern. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body.’ Consequently, ‘mere failure to conform to parliamentary usage will not invalidate the action (taken by a deliberative body) when the requisite number of members have agreed to a particular measure.’"
In United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 12 the rule was stated thus: "The Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceeding established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force for a length of time. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the House, and within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal."cralaw virtua1aw library
In Crawford v. Gilchrist, 13 it was held: "The provision that each House shall determine the rules of its proceedings does not restrict the power given to a mere formulation of standing rules, or to the proceedings of the body in ordinary legislative matters; but in the absence of constitutional restraints, and when exercised by a majority of a constitutional quorum, such authority extends to a determination of the propriety and effect of any action as it is taken by the body as it proceeds in the exercise of any power, in the transaction of any business, or in the performance of any duty conferred upon it by the Constitution."cralaw virtua1aw library
In State ex rel. City Loan & Savings Co. v. Moore, 14 the Supreme Court of Ohio stated: "The provision for reconsideration is no part of the Constitution and is therefore entirely within the control of the General Assembly. Having made the rule, it should be regarded, but a failure to regard it is not the subject-matter of judicial inquiry. It has been decided by the courts of last resort of many states, and also by the United States Supreme Court, that a legislative act will not be declared invalid for noncompliance with rules."cralaw virtua1aw library
In State v. Savings Bank, 15 the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut declared itself as follows: "The Constitution declares that each house shall determine the rules of its own proceedings and shall have all powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free and independent state. Rules of proceedings are the servants of the House and subject to its authority. This authority may be abused, but when the House has acted in a matter clearly within its power, it would be an unwarranted invasion of the independence of the legislative department for the court to set aside such action as void because it may think that the House has misconstrued or departed from its own rules of procedure."cralaw virtua1aw library
In McDonald v. State, 16 the Wisconsin Supreme Court held: "When it appears that an act was so passed, no inquiry will be permitted to ascertain whether the two houses have or have not complied strictly with their own rules in their procedure upon the bill, intermediate its introduction and final passage. The presumption is conclusive that they have done so. We think no court has ever declared an act of the legislature void for non-compliance with the rules of procedure made by itself , or the respective branches thereof, and which it or they may change or suspend at will. If there are any such adjudications, we decline to follow them."cralaw virtua1aw library
Schweizer v. Territory 17 is illustrative of the rule in these cases. The 1893 Statutes of Oklahoma provided for three readings on separate days before a bill may be passed by each house of the legislature, with the proviso that in case of an emergency the house concerned may, by two-thirds vote, suspend the operation of the rule. Plaintiff was convicted in the district court of violation of a law punishing gambling. He appealed contending that the gambling statute was not properly passed by the legislature because the suspension of the rule on three readings had not been approved by the requisite two-thirds vote. Dismissing this contention, the State Supreme Court of Oklahoma held:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
We have no constitutional provision requiring that the legislature should read a bill in any particular manner. It may, then, read or deliberate upon a bill as it sees fit, either in accordance with its own rules, or in violation thereof, or without making any rules. The provision of section 17 referred to is merely a statutory provision for the direction of the legislature in its action upon proposed measures. It receives its entire force from legislative sanction, and it exists only at legislative pleasure. The failure of the legislature to properly weigh and consider an act, its passage through the legislature in a hasty manner, might be reasons for the governor withholding his signature thereto; but this alone, even though it is shown to be a violation of a rule which the legislature had made to govern its own proceedings, could be no reason for the court’s refusing its enforcement after it was actually passed by a majority of each branch of the legislature, and duly signed by the governor. The courts cannot declare an act of the legislature void on account of noncompliance with rules of procedure made by itself to govern its deliberations. McDonald v. State, 80 Wis. 407, 50 N.W. 185; In re Ryan, 80 Wis. 414, 50 N.W. 187; State v. Brown, 33 S.C. 151, 11 S.E. 641; Railway Co. v. Gill, 54 Ark. 101, 15 S.W. 18.
We conclude this survey with the useful summary of the rulings by former Chief Justice Fernando, commenting on the power of each House of Congress to determine its rules of proceedings. He wrote:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Rules are hardly permanent in character. The prevailing view is that they are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them as they are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have no concern with their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have the effect of nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members have agreed to a particular measure. The above principle is subject, however, to this qualification. Where the construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than members of the legislative body the question presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is open to question in a case where private rights are involved. 18
In this case no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of a member who, instead of seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the dispute to this Court. We have no more power to look into the internal proceedings of a House than members of that House have to look over our shoulders, as long as no violation of constitutional provisions is shown.
Petitioners must realize that each of the three departments of our government has its separate sphere which the others may not invade without upsetting the delicate balance on which our constitutional order rests. Due regard for the working of our system of government, more than mere comity, compels reluctance on our part to enter upon an inquiry into an alleged violation of the rules of the House. We must accordingly decline the invitation to exercise our power.
Second. Petitioners, quoting former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion’s sponsorship in the Constitutional Commission, contend that under Art. VIII, §1, "nothing involving abuse of discretion [by the other branches of the government] amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction is beyond judicial review." 19 Implicit in this statement of the former Chief Justice, however, is an acknowledgment that the jurisdiction of this Court is subject to the case and controversy requirement of Art. VIII, §5 and, therefore, to the requirement of a justiciable controversy before courts can adjudicate constitutional questions such as those which arise in the field of foreign relations. For while Art. VIII, §1 has broadened the scope of judicial inquiry into areas normally left to the political departments to decide, such as those relating to national security, 20 it has not altogether done away with political questions such as those which arise in the field of foreign relations. As we have already held, under Art. VIII, §1, this Court’s function is merely [to] check whether or not the governmental branch or agency has gone beyond the constitutional limits of its jurisdiction, not that it erred or has a different view. In the absence of a showing . . . [of] grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its corrective power. . . . It has no power to look into what it thinks is apparent error. 21
If, then, the established rule is that courts cannot declare an act of the legislature void on account merely of noncompliance with rules of procedure made by itself, it follows that such a case does not present a situation in which a branch of the government has "gone beyond the constitutional limits of its jurisdiction" so as to call for the exercise of our Art. VIII, §1 power.chanrobles.com : virtual law library
Third. Petitioners claim that the passage of the law in the House was "railroaded." They claim that Rep. Arroyo was still making a query to the Chair when the latter declared Rep. Albano’s motion approved.
What happened is that, after Rep. Arroyo’s interpellation of the sponsor of the committee report, Majority Leader Rodolfo Albano moved for the approval and ratification of the conference committee report. The Chair called out for objections to the motion. Then the Chair declared: "There being none, approved." At the same time the Chair was saying this, however, Rep. Arroyo was asking, "What is that . . . Mr. Speaker?" The Chair and Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus, although Rep. Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Leader’s motion, the approval of the conference committee report had by then already been declared by the Chair, symbolized by its banging of the gavel.
Petitioners argue that, in accordance with the rules of the House, Rep. Albano’s motion for the approval of the conference committee report should have been stated by the Chair and later the individual votes of the Members should have been taken. They say that the method used in this case is a legislator’s nightmare because it suggests unanimity when the fact was that one or some legislators opposed the report.
No rule of the House of Representatives has been cited which specifically requires that in cases such as this involving approval of a conference committee report, the Chair must restate the motion and conduct a viva voce or nominal voting. On the other hand, as the Solicitor General has pointed out, the manner in which the conference committee report on H. No. 7198 was approved was by no means a unique one. It has basis in legislative practice. It was the way the conference committee report on the bills which became the Local Government Code of 1991 and the conference committee report on the bills amending the Tariff and Customs Code were approved.
In 1957, the practice was questioned as being contrary to the rules of the House. The point was answered by Majority Leader Arturo M. Tolentino and his answer became the ruling of the Chair. Mr. Tolentino said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Mr. TOLENTINO. The fact that nobody objects means a unanimous action of the House. Insofar as the matter of procedure is concerned, this has been a precedent since I came here seven years ago, and it has been the procedure in this House that if somebody objects, then a debate follows and after the debate, then the voting comes in.
x x x
Mr. Speaker, a point of order was raised by the gentleman from Leyte, and I wonder what his attitude is now on his point of order. I should just like to state that I believe that we have had a substantial compliance with the Rules. The Rule invoked is not one that refers to statutory or constitutional requirement, and a substantial compliance, to my mind, is sufficient. When the Chair announces the vote by saying "Is there any objection?" and nobody objects, then the Chair announces "The bill is approved on second reading." If there was any doubt as to the vote, any motion to divide would have been proper. So, if that motion is not presented, we assume that the House approves the measure. So I believe there is substantial compliance here, and if anybody wants a division of the House he can always ask for it, and the Chair can announce how many are in favor and how many are against. 22
Indeed, it is no impeachment of the method to say that some other way would be better, more accurate and even more just. 23 The advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom or folly of a method do not present any matter for judicial consideration. 24 In the words of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, "this Court cannot provide a second opinion on what is the best procedure. Notwithstanding the deference and esteem that is properly tendered to individual congressional actors, our deference and esteem for the institution as a whole and for the constitutional command that the institution be allowed to manage its own affairs precludes us from even attempting a diagnosis of the problem."25cralaw:red
Nor does the Constitution require that the yeas and the nays of the Members be taken every time a House has to vote, except only in the following instances: upon the last and third readings of a bill, 26 at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, 27 and in repassing a bill over the veto of the President. 28 Indeed, considering the fact that in the approval of the original bill the votes of the Members by yeas and nays had already been taken, it would have been sheer tedium to repeat the process.
Petitioners claim that they were prevented from seeking reconsideration allegedly as a result of the precipitate suspension and subsequent adjournment of the session. 29 It would appear, however, that the session was suspended to allow the parties to settle the problem, because when it resumed at 3:40 p.m. on that day Rep. Arroyo did not say anything anymore. While it is true that the Majority Leader moved for adjournment until 4 p.m. of Wednesday of the following week, Rep. Arroyo could at least have objected if there was anything he wanted to say. The fact, however, is that he did not. The Journal of November 21, 1996 of the House shows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION
On motion of Mr. Albano, there being no objection, the Chair declared the session adjourned until four o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, November 27, 1996.
It was 3:40 p.m. Thursday, November 21, 1996. (Emphasis added)
This Journal was approved on December 2, 1996. Again, no one objected to its approval except Rep. Lagman.
It is thus apparent that petitioners’ predicament was largely of their own making. Instead of submitting the proper motions for the House to act upon, petitioners insisted on the pendency of Rep. Arroyo’s question as an obstacle to the passage of the bill. But Rep. Arroyo’s question was not, in form or substance, a point of order or a question of privilege entitled to precedence. 30 And even if Rep. Arroyo’s question were so, Rep. Albano’s motion to adjourn would have precedence and would have put an end to any further consideration of the question. 31
Given this fact, it is difficult to see how it can plausibly be contended that in signing the bill which became R.A. No. 8240, respondent Speaker of the House acted with grave abuse of his discretion. Indeed, the phrase "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" has a settled meaning in the jurisprudence of procedure. It means such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment by a tribunal exercising judicial or quasi judicial power as to amount to lack of power. As Chief Justice Concepcion himself said in explaining this provision, the power granted to the courts by Art. VIII, §1 extends to cases where "a branch of the government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction." 32
Here, the matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House with which the Court should not be concerned. To repeat, the claim is not that there was no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyo’s earlier motion to adjourn for lack of quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the existence of a quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly — especially when the quorum is obviously present — for the purpose of delaying the business of the House. 33 Rep. Arroyo waived his objection by his continued interpellation of the sponsor for in so doing he in effect acknowledged the presence of a quorum. 34
At any rate it is noteworthy that of the 111 members of the House earlier found to be present on November 21, 1996, only the five, i.e. petitioners in this case, are questioning the manner by which the conference committee report on H. No. 7198 was approved on that day. No one except Rep. Arroyo, appears to have objected to the manner by which the report was approved. Rep. John Henry Osmeña did not participate in the bicameral conference committee proceedings. 35 Rep. Lagman and Rep. Zamora objected to the report 36 but not to the manner it was approved; while it is said that, if voting had been conducted, Rep. Tañada would have voted in favor of the conference committee report. 37
Fourth. Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H. No. 7198 by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate and the certification by the secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it was passed on November 21, 1996 are conclusive of its due enactment. Much energy and learning is devoted in the separate opinion of Justice Puno, joined by Justice Davide, to disputing this doctrine. To be sure, there is no claim either here or in the decision in the EVAT cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance] that the enrolled bill embodies a conclusive presumption. In one case 38 we "went behind" an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain provisions of a statute had been approved by the Senate.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
But, where as here there is no evidence to the contrary, this Court will respect the certification of the presiding officers of both Houses that a bill has been duly passed. Under this rule, this Court has refused to determine claims that the three-fourths vote needed to pass a proposed amendment to the Constitution had not been obtained, because "a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute verity and is binding on the courts." 39 This Court quoted from Wigmore on Evidence the following excerpt which embodies good, if old-fashioned democratic theory:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
The truth is that many have been carried away with the righteous desire to check at any cost the misdoings of Legislatures. They have set such store by the Judiciary for this purpose that they have almost made them a second and higher Legislature. But they aim in the wrong direction. Instead of trusting a faithful Judiciary to check an inefficient Legislature, they should turn to improve the Legislature. The sensible solution is not to patch and mend casual errors by asking the Judiciary to violate legal principle and to do impossibilities with the Constitution; but to represent ourselves with competent, careful, and honest legislators, the work of whose hands on the statute-roll may come to reflect credit upon the name of popular government. 40
This Court has refused to even look into allegations that the enrolled bill sent to the President contained provisions which had been "surreptitiously" inserted in the conference committee:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
[W]here allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not been observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference Committee "surreptitiously" inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we should decline the invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the "enrolled bill" rule in such cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two departments of our government. 41
It has refused to look into charges that an amendment was made upon the last reading of a bill in violation of Art. VI, §26(2) of the Constitution that "upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment shall be allowed." 42
In other cases, 43 this Court has denied claims that the tenor of a bill was otherwise than as certified by the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress.
The enrolled bill doctrine, as a rule of evidence, is well established. It is cited with approval by text writers here and abroad. 44 The enrolled bill rule rests on the following considerations:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
. . . As the President has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in the custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of the United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and executive departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of enacting and executing the laws, that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to coequal and independent departments requires the judicial department to act upon that assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated; leaving the court to determine, when the question properly arises, whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution. 45
To overrule the doctrine now, as the dissent urges, is to repudiate the massive teaching of our cases and overthrow an established rule of evidence.
Indeed, petitioners have advanced no argument to warrant a departure from the rule, except to say that, with a change in the membership of the Court, the three new members may be assumed to have an open mind on the question of the enrolled bill rule. Actually, not three but four (Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, and Quiason, JJ.
,) have departed from the Court since our decision in the EVAT cases and their places have since been taken by four new members (Francisco, Hermosisima, Panganiban, and Torres, JJ.
,) Petitioners are thus simply banking on the change in the membership of the Court.
Moreover, as already noted, the due enactment of the law in question is confirmed by the Journal of the House of November 21, 1996 which shows that the conference committee report on H. No. 7198, which became R.A. No. 8240, was approved on that day. The keeping of the Journal is required by the Constitution. Art. VI, §16(4) provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be entered in the Journal.
Each House shall also keep a Record of its proceedings.
The Journal is regarded as conclusive with respect to matters that are required by the Constitution to be recorded therein. 46 With respect to other matters, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the Journals have also been accorded conclusive effect. Thus, in United States v. Pons, 47 this Court spoke of the imperatives of public policy for regarding the Journals as "public memorials of the most permanent character," thus: "They should be public, because all are required to conform to them; they should be permanent, that rights acquired today upon the faith of what has been declared to be law shall not be destroyed tomorrow, or at some remote period of time, by facts resting only in the memory of individuals." As already noted, the bill which became R.A. No. 8240 is shown in the Journal. Hence its due enactment has been duly proven.
x x x
It would be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for this Court either to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the House has disregarded its own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when petitioners can find their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been invested with a roving commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of its discretion were it to do so. The suggestion made in a case 48 may instead appropriately be made here: petitioners can seek the enactment of a new law or the repeal or amendment of R.A. No. 8240. In the absence of anything to the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House thereof acted in the good faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and deference rather than disrespect is due the judgment of that body. 49 cdtech
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari
and prohibition is DISMISSED.
, Padilla, Melo, Kapunan, Francisco and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ.
, concurs in the result.
, took no part due to relationship to parties.
, took no part; former counsel of a party.
Torres, Jr., J.
, took no part; on leave during deliberations.
, concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
In filing this separate opinion for the dismissal of the instant petition, I am not backtracking from the dissent which I expressed in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance. 1 I am somewhat bothered that if I do not elaborate, the vote which I cast today might be wrongly construed as an implied abandonment of, and inconsistent with, my firm stance in Tolentino.
The landmark case of Tolentino, just like the one under consideration, involved a similar challenge to the constitutionality of a significant tax measure namely, Republic Act No. 7716, otherwise known as the Expanded Value-Added Tax (EVAT) Law. There, a number of issues, both substantive and procedural, were posed by petitioners, each of which was discussed by the majority opinion of Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza who, incidentally, is also the ponente of instant decision. At any rate, it is worth noting that I did not entirely disagree with each and every argument of the opinion, most especially those touching upon substantive issues. My main objection in Tolentino, it will be recalled, focused instead on what I perceived was a substantial breach and disregard by the Legislature of vital constitutional requirements ordaining the procedures to be followed in the passage of a bill which, in my opinion, the majority seemed to have cavalierly put to rest by hiding under the cloak of the enrolled bill theory 2 and the precept that the Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of internal legislative rules allegedly violated. 3 To me, the position then taken by the majority exhibited blind adherence to otherwise sound principles of law which did not, however, fit the facts as presented before the Court. Hence, I objected, not so much because I found these principles unwise or obsolete, but rather because they were applied, or misapplied, to a case which I believe did not call for their application.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary
When I differed from the majority opinion which applied the enrolled bill theory, I was very careful to emphasize that reliance thereon is not to be discontinued but that its application must be limited to minor matters relating more to form and factual issues which do not materially alter the essence and substance of the law itself. Thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"As applied to the instant petition, the issue posed is whether or not the procedural irregularities that attended the passage of House Bill No. 11197 and Senate Bill No. 1630, outside of the reading and printing requirements which were exempted by the Presidential certification, may no longer be impugned, having been ‘saved’ by the conclusiveness on us of the enrolled bill. I see no cogent reason why we cannot continue to place reliance on the enrolled bill, but only with respect to matters pertaining to the procedure followed in the enactment of bills in Congress and their subsequent engrossment, printing errors, omission of words and phrases and similar relatively minor matters relating more to form and factual issues which do not materially alter the essence and substance of the law itself .
Certainly, courts cannot claim greater ability to judge procedural legitimacy, since constitutional rules on legislative procedure are easily mastered. Procedural disputes are over facts — whether or not the bill had enough votes, or three readings, or whatever — not over the meaning of the constitution. Legislators, as eyewitnesses, are in a better position than a court to rule on the facts. The argument is also made that legislatures would be offended if courts examined legislative procedure.
Such a rationale, however, cannot conceivably apply to substantive changes in a bill introduced towards the end of its tortuous trip through Congress, catching both legislators and the public unawares and altering the same beyond recognition even by its sponsors.
This issue I wish to address forthwith." 4
As regards the principle that the Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of internal legislative rules, both the majority and I were actually of one mind such that I was quick to qualify the extent of the Court’s review power in respect of internal procedures in this wise:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"I wish to consider this issue in light of Article VIII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution which provides that ‘(j)udicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice . . . 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.’ We are also guided by the principle that a court may interfere with the internal procedures of its coordinate branch only to uphold the Constitution." 5
I differed, however, from the majority insofar as that principle was applied. In this respect, I showed that the introduction of several provisions in the Bicameral Conference Committee Report did not only violate the pertinent House and Senate Rules defining the limited power of the conference committee but that the Constitutional proscription against any amendment upon the last reading of a bill was likewise breached. Hence, in view of these lapses, I thought that judicial review would have been proper in order to uphold the Constitution. This the majority, however, disregarded invoking the same principle which should have justified the Court in questioning the actuations of the legislative branch.
At this juncture, I wish to reiterate my continuing adherence to the aforesaid reasons I cited in the Tolentino dissent. At the same time, I realize that the arguments I raised in my dissent would not hold true in the instant petition.
For one thing, unlike in Tolentino, the rules of the House of Representatives allegedly violated by respondents in the instant petition are purely internal rules designed for the orderly conduct of the House’s business. They have no direct or reasonable nexus to the requirements and proscriptions of the Constitution in the passage of a bill which would otherwise warrant the Court’s intervention. Likewise, the petitioners are not in any way complaining that substantial alterations have been introduced in Republic Act No. 8240. The thrust of petitioners’ arguments in attacking the validity of the law is merely with respect to the fact that Rep. Joker Arroyo was effectively prevented from invoking the question of quorum and not that the substance thereof offends constitutional standards. This being the case, I do not now feel called upon to invoke my previous argument that the enrolled bill theory should not be conclusive as regards "substantive changes in a bill introduced towards the end of its tortuous trip through Congress," when it is palpably unwarranted under the circumstances of instant petition.
, concurring and dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
I concur in the result. I do appreciate the fine legal disquisition of Mr. Justice Mendoza to justify the dismissal of the case at bar. Nevertheless, I have to express my views on the alleged non-justiciability of the issue posed by the petitioner as well as the applicability of the archaic enroll bill doctrine in light of what I perceive as new wrinkles in our law brought about by the 1987 Constitution and the winds of changing time.
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor do I agree that we will trivialize the principle of separation of power if we assume jurisdiction over the case at bar. Even in the United States, the principle of separation of power is no longer an impregnable impediment against the interposition of judicial power on cases involving breach of rules of procedure by legislators.
Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v. Ballin, 1 as a window to view the issues before the Court. It is in Ballin where the US Supreme Court first defined the boundaries of the power of the judiciary to review congressional rules. 2 It held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that each house may determine the rules of its proceedings." It appears that in pursuance of this authority the House had, prior to that day, passed this as one of its rules:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of the Speaker, the names of members sufficient to make a quorum in the hall of the House who do not vote shall be noted by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and reported to the Speaker with the names of the members voting, and be counted and announced in determining the presence of a quorum to do business. (House Journal, 230, Feb. 14, 1890)chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
The action taken was in direct compliance with this rule. The question, therefore, is as to the validity of this rule, and not what methods the Speaker may of his own motion resort to for determining the presence of a quorum, nor what matters the Speaker or clerk may of their own volition place upon the journal. Neither do the advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of such a rule present any matters for judicial consideration. With the courts the question is only one of power. The Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceedings established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force for a length of time. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the House, and within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal."cralaw virtua1aw library
Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to pass upon the validity of congressional rules, i.e., whether they are constitutional. Rule XV was examined by the Court and it was found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did not ignore any constitutional restraint; (2) it did not violate any fundamental right; and (3) its method has a reasonable relationship with the result sought to be attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow its jurisdiction to be defeated by the mere invocation of the principle of separation of powers.
Ballin was followed in 1932 by the case of US v. Smith. 3 In Smith, the meaning of sections 3 and 4 of Rule XXXVIII of the US Senate was in issue, viz.:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"3. When a nomination is confirmed or rejected, any Senator voting in the majority may move for a reconsideration on the same day on which the vote was taken, or on either of the next two days of actual executive session of the Senate; but if a notification of the confirmation or rejection of a nomination shall have been sent to the President before the expiration of the time within which a motion to reconsider may be made, the motion to reconsider shall be accompanied by a motion to request the President to return such notification to the Senate. Any motion to reconsider the vote on a nomination may be laid on the table without prejudice to the nomination, and shall be a final disposition of such motion.
4. Nominations confirmed or rejected by the Senate shall not be returned by the Secretary to the President until the expiration of the time limited for making a motion to reconsider the same, or while a motion to reconsider is pending, unless otherwise ordered by the Senate."cralaw virtua1aw library
It appears that the nomination of Mr. Smith as member of the Federal Power Commission has been confirmed by the US Senate. The resolution of confirmation was sent to the US President who then signed the appointment of Mr. Smith. The Senate, however, reconsidered the confirmation of Mr. Smith and requested the President to return its resolution of confirmation. The President refused. A petition for quo warranto was filed against Mr. Smith. The Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice Brandeis, assumed jurisdiction over the dispute relying on Ballin. It exercised jurisdiction although "the question primarily at issue relates to the construction of the applicable rules, not to their constitutionality." Significantly, the Court rejected the Senate interpretation of its own rules even while it held that it must be accorded the most sympathetic consideration.
"x x x
"Sixth. To place upon the standing rules of the Senate a construction different from that adopted by the Senate itself when the present case was under debate is a serious and delicate exercise of judicial power. The Constitution commits to the Senate the power to make its own rules; and it is not the function of the Court to say that another rule would be better. A rule designed to ensure due deliberation in the performance of the vital function of advising and consenting to nominations for public office, moreover, should receive from the Court the most sympathetic consideration. But the reasons, above stated, against the Senate’s construction seem to us compelling. We are confirmed in the view we have taken by the fact, since the attempted reconsideration of Smith’s confirmation, the Senate itself seems uniformly to have treated the ordering of immediate notification to the President as tantamount to authorizing him to proceed to perfect the appointment.
Smith, of course, involves the right of a third person and its ruling falls within the test spelled out in Ballin.
Smith was followed by the 1948 case of Christoffel v. United States. 4 Christoffel testified before the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives. He denied he was a communist and was charged with perjury in the regular court. He adduced evidence during the trial that the committee had no quorum when the perjurious statement was given. Nonetheless, he was convicted in view of the judge’s charge to the members of the jury that to find Christoffel guilty, they had to find beyond a reasonable doubt that —
"x x x
". . . the defendant Christoffel appeared before a quorum of at least thirteen members of the said Committee, and that at least that number must have been actually and physically present . . . If such a Committee so met, that is, if thirteen members did meet at the beginning of the afternoon session of March 1, 1947, and thereafter during the progress of the hearing some of them left temporarily or otherwise and no question was raised as to the lack of a quorum, then the fact that the majority did not remain there would not affect, for the purposes of this case, the existence of that Committee as a competent tribunal provided that before the oath was administered and before the testimony of the defendant was given there were present as many as 13 members of that Committee at the beginning of the afternoon session . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
Christoffel objected to the charge on the ground that it allowed the jury to assume there was a continuous quorum simply because it was present at the start of the meeting of the Committee. Under the House rules, a quorum once established is presumed to continue until the lack of quorum is raised. Again, the court assumed jurisdiction over the case. A majority of the Court, with Mr. Justice Murphy, as ponente, defined the issue as "what rules the House had established and whether they have been followed." It held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"Congressional practice in the transaction of ordinary legislative business is of course none of our concern, and by the same token the considerations which may lead Congress as a matter of legislative practice to treat as valid the conduct of its committees do not control the issue before us. The question is neither what rules Congress may establish for its own governance, nor whether presumptions of continuity may protect the validity of its legislative conduct. The question is rather what rules the House has established and whether they have been followed. It of course has the power to define what tribunal is competent to exact testimony and the conditions that establish its competency to do so. The heart of this case is that by the charge that was given it the jury was allowed to assume that the conditions of competency were satisfied even though the basis in fact was not established and in face of a possible finding that the facts contradicted the assumption.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad
We are measuring a conviction of crime by the statute which defined it. As a consequence of this conviction, petitioner was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of from two to six years. An essential part of a procedure which can be said fairly to inflict such a punishment is that all the elements of the crime charged shall be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. An element of the crime charged in the instant indictment is the presence of a competent tribunal, and the trial court properly so instructed the jury. The House insists that to be such a tribunal a committee must consist of a quorum, and we agree with the trial court’s charge that to convict, the jury had to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that there were ‘actually and physically present’ a majority of the committee.
Then to charge, however, that such requirement is satisfied by a finding that there was a majority present two or three hours before the defendant offered his testimony, in the face of evidence indicating the contrary, is to rule as a matter of law that a quorum need not be present when the offense is committed. This not only seems to us contrary to the rules and practice of the Congress but denies petitioner a fundamental right. That right is that he be convicted of crime only on proof of all the elements of the crime charged against him. A tribunal that is not competent is no tribunal, and it is unthinkable that such a body can be the instrument of criminal conviction."cralaw virtua1aw library
The minority complained that the "House has adopted the rule and practice that a quorum once established is presumed to continue unless and until a point of no quorum is raised. By this decision, the Court, in effect, invalidates that rule . . ." The minority view commanded only the vote of three (3) justices.
The US Supreme Court pursued the same line in 1963 in deciding the case of Yellin v. United States. 5 Yellin was indicted on five counts of willfully refusing to answer questions put to him by a sub-committee of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He was convicted by the District Court of contempt of Congress on four counts. The conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. On certiorari
, he assailed his conviction on the ground that the Committee illegally denied his request to be heard in executive session. He alleged there was a violation of Committee Rule IV which provides that "if a majority of the Committee or sub-committee, duly appointed as provided by the rules of the House of Representatives, believes that the interrogation of a witness in a public hearing might endanger national security or unjustly injure his reputation, or the reputation of other individuals, the Committee shall interrogate such witness in an executive session for the purpose of determining the necessity or admissibility of conducting such interrogation thereafter in a public hearing." In a 5-4 decision, the Court, speaking thru Mr. Chief Justice Warren, held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"Yellin should be permitted the same opportunity for judicial review when he discovers at trial that his rights have been violated. This is especially so when the Committee’s practice leads witnesses to misplaced reliance upon its rules. When reading a copy of the Committee’s rules, which must be distributed to every witness under Rule XVII, the witness’ reasonable expectation is that the Committee actually does what it purports to do, adhere to its own rules. To foreclose a defense based upon those rules, simply because the witness was deceived by the Committee’s appearance of regularity, is not fair. The Committee prepared the groundwork for prosecution in Yellin’s case meticulously. It is not too exacting to require that the Committee be equally meticulous in obeying its own rules."cralaw virtua1aw library
It additionally bears stressing that in the United States, the judiciary has pruned the "political thicket." In the benchmark case of Baker v. Carr, 6 the US Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction to hear a petition for re-apportionment of the Tennessee legislature ruling that "the political question doctrine, a tool for maintenance of government order, will not be so applied as to promote only disorder" and that "the courts cannot reject as ‘no law suit,’ a bona fide controversy as to whether some action denominated ‘political’ exceeds constitutional authority."cralaw virtua1aw library
In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling reason for courts to categorically reject the political question defense when its interposition will cover up abuse of power. For section 1, Article VIII of our Constitution was intentionally cobbled to empower courts." . . 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." This power is new and was not granted to our courts in the 1935 and 1972 Constitutions. It was not also xeroxed from the US Constitution or any foreign state constitution. The CONCOM granted this enormous power to our courts in view of our experience under martial law where abusive exercises of state power were shielded from judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political question doctrine. Led by the eminent former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, the CONCOM expanded and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis-a-vis the Executive and the Legislative departments of government. In cases involving the proclamation of martial law and suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus
, it is now beyond dubiety that the government can no longer invoke the political question defense. Section 18 of Article VII completely eliminated this defense when it provided:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ."cralaw virtua1aw library
The CONCOM did not only outlaw the use of the political question defense in national security cases. To a great degree, it diminished its use as a shield to protect other abuses of government by allowing courts to penetrate the shield with the new power to review acts of any branch or instrumentality of the government." . . to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction." In Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, 7 I posited the following postulates:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
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."cralaw virtua1aw library
Former Chief Justice Roberto R. Concepcion, the sponsor of this provision in the Constitutional Commission explained the sense and the reach of judicial power as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
‘x x x
‘. . . In other words, the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such matters constitute political question.’
The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted to this Court is not a mere power which it can decline to exercise. Precisely to deter this disinclination, the Constitution imposed it as a duty of this Court to strike down any act of a branch or instrumentality of government or any of its officials done with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the Constitution has elongated the checking powers of this Court against the other branches of government despite their more democratic character, the President and the legislators being elected by the people.
It is, however, theorized that this provision is nothing new. I beg to disagree for the view misses the significant changes made in our constitutional canvass to cure the legal deficiencies we discovered during martial law. One of the areas radically changed by the framers of the 1987 Constitution is the imbalance of power between and among the three great branches of our government — the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. To upgrade the powers of the Judiciary, the Constitutional Commission strengthened some more the independence of courts. Thus, it further protected the security of tenure of the members of the Judiciary by providing ‘No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members.’ It also guaranteed fiscal autonomy to the Judiciary.
More, it depoliticalized appointments in the judiciary by creating the Judicial and Bar Council which was tasked with screening the list of prospective appointees to the judiciary. The power of confirming appointments to the judiciary was also taken away from Congress. The President was likewise given a specific time to fill up vacancies in the judiciary — ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the vacancy in case of the Supreme Court and ninety (90) days from the submission of the list of recommendees by the Judicial and Bar Council in case of vacancies in the lower courts. To further insulate appointments in the judiciary from the virus of politics, the Supreme Court was given the power to ‘appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law.’ And to make the separation of the judiciary from the other branches of government more watertight, it prohibited members of the judiciary to be ‘. . . designated to any agency performing quasi judicial or administrative functions.’ While the Constitution strengthened the sinews of the Supreme Court, it reduced the powers of the two other branches of government, especially the Executive. Notable of the powers of the President clipped by the Constitution is his power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus
and to proclaim martial law. The exercise of this power is now subject to revocation by Congress. Likewise, the sufficiency of the factual basis for the exercise of said power may be reviewed by this Court in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The provision defining judicial power as including the ‘duty of the courts of justice . . . 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’ constitutes the capstone of the efforts of the Constitutional Commission to upgrade the powers of this court vis-a-vis the other branches of government. This provision was dictated by our experience under martial law which taught us that a stronger and more independent judiciary is needed to abort abuses in government. . . .
x x x
In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to annul acts of government committed with grave abuse of discretion, the new Constitution transformed this Court from passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by our distinct experience as a nation, is not merely evolutionary but revolutionary. Under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, this Court approached constitutional violations by initially determining what it cannot do; under the 1987 Constitution, there is a shift in stress — this Court is mandated to approach constitutional violations not by finding out what it should not do but what it must do. The Court must discharge this solemn duty by not resuscitating a past that petrifies the present.
I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious consideration to this new constitutional provision as the case at bar once more calls us to define the parameters of our power to review violations of the rules of the House. We will not be true to our trust as the last bulwark against government abuses if we refuse to exercise this new power or if we wield it with timidity. To be sure, it is this exceeding timidity to unsheath the judicial sword that has increasingly emboldened other branches of government to denigrate, if not defy, orders of our courts. In Tolentino, 8 I endorsed the view of former Senator Salonga that this novel provision stretching the latitude of judicial power is distinctly Filipino and its interpretation should not be depreciated by undue reliance on inapplicable foreign jurisprudence. In resolving the case at bar, the lessons of our own history should provide us the light and not the experience of foreigners.
Again with due respect, I dissent from the majority insofar as it relied on the enrolled bill doctrine to justify the dismissal of the petition at bar.
An enrolled bill is one which has been duly introduced, finally enacted by both Houses, signed by the proper officers of each House and approved by the President. 9 It is a declaration by the two Houses, through their presiding officers, to the President that a bill, thus attested, has received in due form the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that it is delivered to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which pass Congress shall be presented to him.
The enrolled bill originated in England where there is no written Constitution controlling the legislative branch of the government, and the acts of Parliament, being regarded in their nature as judicial — as emanating from the highest tribunal in the land — are placed on the same footing and regarded with the same veneration as the judgment of the courts which cannot be collaterally attacked. 10 In England, the conclusiveness of the bill was premised on the rationale that "an act of parliament thus made is the exercise of the highest authority that this kingdom acknowledges upon earth. And it cannot be altered, amended, dispensed with, suspended or repealed, but in the same forms and by the same authority of parliament; for it is a maxim in law that it requires the same strength to dissolve as to create an obligation. 11
Over the years, the enrolled bill theory has undergone important mutations. Some jurisdictions have adopted the modified entry or affirmative contradiction rule. Under this rule, the presumption in favor of the enrolled bill is not conclusive. The rule concedes validity to the enrolled bill unless there affirmatively appears in the journals of the legislature a statement that there has not been compliance with one or more of the constitutional requirements. 12 Other jurisdictions have adopted the Extrinsic Evidence Rule which holds that an enrolled bill is only prima facie evidence that it has been regularly enacted. The prima facie presumption, however, can be destroyed by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence that the constitutional requirements in enacting a law have been violated. For this purpose, journals and other extrinsic evidence are allowed to be received. 13 Some limit the use of extrinsic evidence to issues of fraud or mistakes. 14
These variants developed after a re-examination of the rationale of the enrolled bill. The modern rationale for the enrolled bill theory was spelled out in Field v. Clark, 15 viz.:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
x x x
"The signing by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and, by the President of the Senate, in open session, of an enrolled bill, is an official attestation by the two houses of such bill as one that has passed Congress. It is a declaration by the two Houses, through their presiding officers, to the President, that a bill, thus attested, has received, in due form, the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that it is delivered to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which pass Congress shall be presented to him. And when a bill, thus attested, receives his approval, and is deposited in the public archives, its authentication as a bill that has passed Congress should be deemed complete and unimpeachable. As the President has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in the custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of the United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and executive departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of enacting and executing the laws, that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to coequal and independent departments requires the judicial department to act upon the assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated; leaving the courts to determine, when the question properly arises, whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution.
The principle of separation of powers is thus the principal prop of the enrolled bill doctrine. The doctrine is also justified as a rule of convenience. Supposedly, it avoids difficult questions of evidence. 16 It is also believed that it will prevent the filing of too many cases which will cast a cloud of uncertainty on laws passed by the legislature. As explained in Ex Pacte Wren 17 "if the validity of every act published as law is to be tested by examining its history, as shown by the journals of the two houses of the legislature, there will be an amount of litigation, difficulty, and painful uncertainty appalling in its contemplation, and multiplying a hundredfold the alleged uncertainty of the law." The conclusiveness of the enrolled bill is also justified on the ground that journals and other extrinsic evidence are conducive to mistake, if not fraud.
These justifications for the enrolled bill theory have been rejected in various jurisdictions in the United States. In his Dissenting Opinion in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, and its companion cases, 18 Mr. Justice Regalado cited some of the leading American cases which discussed the reasons for the withering, if not demise of the enrolled bill theory, viz.:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"Even in the land of its source, the so-called conclusive presumption of validity originally attributed to that doctrine has long been revisited and qualified, if not altogether rejected. On the competency of judicial inquiry, it has been held that" (u)nder the ‘enrolled bill rule’ by which an enrolled bill is sole expository of its contents and conclusive evidence of its existence and valid enactment, it is nevertheless competent for courts to inquire as to what prerequisites are fixed by the Constitution of which journals of respective houses of Legislature are required to furnish the evidence.
In fact, in Gwynn v. Hardee, etc., Et Al., the Supreme Court of Florida declared:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(1) While the presumption is that the enrolled bill, as signed by the legislative offices and filed with the secretary of state, is the bill as it passed, yet this presumption is not conclusive, and when it is shown from the legislative journals that a bill though engrossed and enrolled, and signed by the legislative officers, contains provisions that have not passed both houses, such provisions will be held spurious and not a part of the law. As was said by Mr. Justice Cockrell in the case of Wade v. Atlantic Lumber Co., 51 Fla. 628, text 633, 41 So. 72, 73:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
‘This Court is firmly committed to the holding that when the journals speak they control, and against such proof the enrolled bill is not conclusive.’
More enlightening and apropos to the present controversy is the decision promulgated on May 13, 1980 by the Supreme Court of Kentucky in D & W Auto Supply, Et. Al. v. Department of Revenue, Et Al., pertinent excerpts wherefrom are extensively reproduced hereunder.
. . . In arriving at our decision we must, perforce, reconsider the validity of a long line of decisions of this court which created and nurtured the so-called ‘enrolled bill’ doctrine.
x x x
 Section 46 of the Kentucky Constitution sets out certain procedures that the legislature must follow before a bill can be considered for final passage. . . .
x x x
. . . Under the enrolled bill doctrine as it now exists in Kentucky, a court may not look behind such a bill, enrolled and certified by the appropriate officers, to determine if there are any defects.
x x x
. . . In Lafferty, passage of the law in question violated this provision, yet the bill was properly enrolled and approved by the governor. In declining to look behind the law to determine the propriety of its enactment, the court enunciated three reasons for adopting the enrolled bill rule. First, the court was reluctant to scrutinize the processes of the legislature, an equal branch of government. Second, reasons of convenience prevailed, which discouraged requiring the legislature to preserve its records and anticipated considerable complex litigation if the court ruled otherwise. Third, the court acknowledged the poor record-keeping abilities of the General Assembly and expressed a preference for accepting the final bill as enrolled, rather than opening up the records of the legislature. . . .
x x x
Nowhere has the rule been adopted without reason, or as a result of judicial whim. There are four historical bases for the doctrine. (1) An enrolled bill was a ‘record’ and, as such, was not subject to attack at common law. (2) Since the legislature is one of the three branches of government, the courts, being coequal, must indulge in every presumption that legislative acts are valid. (3) When the rule was originally formulated, record-keeping of the legislatures was so inadequate that a balancing of equities required that the final act, the enrolled bill, be given efficacy. (4) There were theories of convenience as expressed by the Kentucky court in Lafferty.
The rule is not unanimous in the several states, however and it has not been without its critics. From an examination of cases and treaties, we can summarize the criticism as follows: (1) Artificial presumptions, especially conclusive ones, are not favored. (2) Such a rule frequently (as in the present case) produces results which do not accord with facts or constitutional provisions. (3) The rule is conducive to fraud, forgery, corruption and other wrongdoings. (4) Modern automatic and electronic record-keeping devices now used by legislatures remove one of the original reasons for the rule. (5) The rule disregards the primary obligation of the courts to seek the truth and to provide a remedy for a wrong committed by any branch of government. In light of these considerations, we are convinced that the time has come to re-examine the enrolled bill doctrine.
 This court is not unmindful of the admonition of the doctrine of stare decisis. The maxim is "Stare decisis et non quieta movere," which simply suggests that we stand by precedents and to disturb settled points of law. Yet, this rule is not inflexible, nor is it of such a nature as to require perpetuation of error or logic. As we stated in Daniel’s Adm’r v. Hoofnel, 287 Ky 834, 155 S.W.2d 469, 471-72 (1941)."cralaw virtua1aw library
The force of the rule depends upon the nature of the question to be decided and the extent of the disturbance of rights and practices which a change in the interpretation of the law or the course of judicial opinions may create. Cogent considerations are whether there is clear error and urgent reasons ‘for neither justice nor wisdom requires a court to go from one doubtful rule to another,’ and whether or not the evils of the principle that has been followed will be more injurious than can possibly result from a change.’
Certainly, when a theory supporting a rule of law is not grounded on facts, or upon sound logic, or is unjust, or has been discredited by actual experience, it should be discarded, and with it the rule it supports.
 It is clear to us that the major premise of the Lafferty decision, the poor record-keeping of the legislature, has disappeared. Modern equipment and technology are the rule in record-keeping by our General Assembly. Tape recorders, electric typewriters, duplicating machines, recording equipment, printing presses, computers, electronic voting machines, and the like remove all doubts and fears as to the ability of the General Assembly to keep accurate and readily accessible records.
It is also apparent that the ‘convenience’ rule is not appropriate in today’s modern and developing judicial philosophy. The fact that the number and complexity of lawsuits may increase is not persuasive if one is mindful that the overriding purpose of our judicial system is to discover the truth and see that justice is done. The existence of difficulties and complexities should not deter this pursuit and we reject any doctrine or presumption that so provides.
Lastly, we address the premise that the equality of the various branches of government requires that we shut our eyes to constitutional failing and other errors of our copartners in government. We simply do not agree. Section 26 of the Kentucky Constitution provides that any law contrary to the constitution is ‘void.’ The proper exercise of judicial authority requires us to recognize any law which is unconstitutional and to declare it void. Without elaborating the point, we believe that under section 228 of the Kentucky Constitution it is our obligation to ‘support . . . the Constitution of the commonwealth.’ We are sworn to see that violations of the constitution — by any person, corporation, state agency or branch or government — are brought to light and corrected. To countenance an artificial rule of law that silences our voices when confronted with violations of our constitution is not acceptable to this court.
We believe that a more reasonable rule is the one which Professor Sutherland describes as the ‘extrinsic evidence.’ . . . Under this approach there is a prima facie presumption that an enrolled bill is valid, but such presumption may be overcome by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence establishing that constitutional requirements have not been met.
We therefore overrule Lafferty v. Huffman and all other cases following the so-called enrolled bill doctrine, to the extent that there is no longer a conclusive presumption that an enrolled bill is valid. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
Clearly, the enrolled bill doctrine no longer enjoys its once unassailable respectability in United States. Sutherland reveals that starting in the 1940’s,." . . the tendency seems to be toward the abandonment of the conclusive presumption rule and the adoption of the third rule leaving only a prima facie presumption of validity which may be attacked by any authoritative source of information." 19
It is high time we re-examine our preference for the enrolled bill doctrine. It was in the 1947 case of Mabanag v. Lopez Vito, 20 that this Court, with three (3) justices dissenting, first embraced the rule that a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute verity and is binding on the courts. In 1963, we firmed up this ruling in Casco Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenez, 21 thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"Hence, ‘urea formaldehyde’ is clearly a finished product which is patently distinct and different from ‘urea’ and ‘formaldehyde,’ as separate articles used in the manufacture of the synthetic resin known as ‘urea formaldehyde.’ Petitioner contends, however, that the bill approved in Congress contained the copulative conjunction ‘and’ between the term ‘urea’ and ‘formaldehyde,’ and that the members of Congress intended to exempt ‘urea’ and ‘formaldehyde’ separately as essential elements in the manufacture of the synthetic resin glue called ‘urea formaldehyde,’ not the latter as a finished product, citing in support of this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the consideration of the bill before said House, by members thereof. But said individual statements do not necessarily reflect the view of the Senate. Much less do they indicate the intent of the House of Representatives (see Song Kiat Chocolate Factory v. Central Bank, 54 Off Gaz. 615; Mayor Motors Inc. v. Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue, L-15000 [March 29, 1961]; Manila Jockey Club, Inc. v. Games and Amusement Board, L-12727 [February 19, 1960]). Furthermore, it is well settled that enrolled bill — which uses the term ‘urea formaldehyde’ instead of ‘urea and formaldehyde’ — conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President (Primicias v. Paredes, 61 Phil. 118, 120; Mabanag v. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias v. Comm. on Elections, L-18684, Sept. 14, 1961). If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive — on which we cannot speculate without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system — the remedy is by amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree." cdti
In the 1969 case of Morales v. Subido, 22 we reiterated our fidelity to the enrolled bill doctrine, viz.:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
". . . We cannot go behind the enrolled Act to discover what really happened. The respect due to the other branches of the Government demands that we act upon the faith and credit of what the officers of the said branches attest to as the official acts of their respective departments. Otherwise we would be cast in the unenviable and unwanted role of a sleuth trying to determine what actually did happen in the labyrinth of law-making, with consequent impairment of the integrity of the legislative process. The investigation which the petitioner would like this Court to make can be better done in Congress. After all, House cleaning — the immediate and imperative need for which seems to be suggested by the petitioner — can best be effected by the occupants thereof . Expressed elsewise, this is a matter worthy of the attention not of an Oliver Wendell Holmes but of a Sherlock Holmes."cralaw virtua1aw library
Significantly, however, Morales diluted the conclusiveness rule of the enrolled bill doctrine. The ponencia stressed:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"By what we have essayed above we are not of course to be understood as holding that in all cases the journals must yield to the enrolled bill. To be sure there are certain matters which the Constitution expressly requires must be entered on the journal of each house. To what extent the validity of a legislative act may be affected by a failure to have such matters entered on the journal, is a question which we do not now decide. All we hold is that with respect to matters not expressly required to be entered on the journal, the enrolled bill prevails in the event of any discrepancy."cralaw virtua1aw library
In the 1974 case of Astorga v. Villegas, 23 we further diluted the enrolled bill doctrine when we refused to apply it after the Senate President declared his signature on the bill as invalid. We ruled:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"Petitioner’s argument that the attestation of the presiding offices of Congress is conclusive proof of a bill’s due enactment, required, it is said, by the respect due to a co-equal department of the government, is neutralized in this case by the fact that the Senate President declared his signature on the bill to be invalid and issued a subsequent clarification that the invalidation for his signature meant that the bill he had signed had never been approved by the Senate. Obviously this declaration should be accorded even greater respect than the attestation it invalidated, which it did for a reason that is undisputed in fact and indisputable in logic.
As far as Congress itself is concerned, there is nothing sacrosanct in the certification made by the presiding officers. It is merely a mode of authentication. The law-making process in Congress ends when the bill is approved by both Houses, and the certification does not add to the validity of the bill or cure any defect already present upon its passage. In other words it is the approval by Congress and not the signatures of the presiding officers that is essential. Thus the (1935) Constitution says that" [e]very bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes law, be presented to the President." In Brown v. Morris, supra, the Supreme Court of Missouri, interpreting a similar provision in the State Constitution, said that the same "makes it clear that the indispensable step is the final passage and it follows that if a bill, otherwise fully enacted as a law, is not attested by the presiding officer, the proof that it has ‘passed both houses’ will satisfy the constitutional requirement."cralaw virtua1aw library
Petitioner agrees that the attestation in the bill is not mandatory but argues that the disclaimer thereof by the Senate President, granting it to have been validly made, would only mean that there was no attestation at all, but would not affect the validity of the statute. Hence, it is pointed out, Republic Act No. 4065 would remain valid and binding. This argument begs the issue. It would limit the court’s inquiry to the presence or absence of the attestation and to the effect of its absence upon the validity of the statute. The inquiry, however, goes farther. Absent such attestation as a result of the disclaimer, and consequently there being no enrolled bill to speak of, what evidence is there to determine whether or not the bill had been duly enacted. In such a case the entries in the journal should be consulted.
The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary record. The Constitution requires it. While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is subject to the risk of misprinting and other errors, the point is irrelevant in this case. This Court is merely asked to inquire whether the text of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the Chief Executive was the same text passed by both Houses of Congress. Under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, this Court can do this and resort to the Senate journal for the purpose. The journal discloses that substantial and lengthy amendments were introduced on the floor and approved by the Senate but were not incorporated in the printed text sent to the President and signed by him. This Court is not asked to incorporate such amendments into the alleged law, which admittedly is a risky undertaking, but to declare that the bill was not duly enacted and therefore did not become law. This We do, as indeed both the President of the Senate and the Chief Executive did, when they withdrew their signatures therein. In the face of the manifest error committed and subsequently rectified by the President of the Senate and by the Chief Executive, for this Court to perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification and holding that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction and bring about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body."cralaw virtua1aw library
In 1993, the enrolled bill doctrine was again used as a secondary rationale in the case of Philippine Judges Association v. Prado. 24 In this case, the judges claimed that the pertinent part of section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 repealing the franking privilege of the judiciary appeared only in the Conference Committee Report. In rejecting this contention, this Court ruled:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"While it is true that a conference committee is the mechanism for compromising differences between the Senate and the House, it is not limited in its jurisdiction to this question. Its broader function is described thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
‘A conference committee may deal generally with the subject matter or it may be limited to resolving the precise differences between the two houses. Even where the conference committee is not by rule limited in its jurisdiction, legislative custom severely limits the freedom with which new subject matter can be inserted into the conference bill. But occasionally a conference committee produces unexpected results, results beyond its mandate. These excursions occur even where the rules impose strict limitations on conference committee jurisdiction. This is symptomatic of the authoritarian power of conference committee (Davies, Legislative Law and Process: In a Nutshell, 1986 Ed., p. 81).’chanrobles.com : virtual law library
It is a matter of record that the Conference Committee Report on the bill in question was returned to and duly approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Thereafter, the bill was enrolled with its certification by Senate President Neptali A. Gonzales and Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the House of Representatives as having been duly passed by both Houses of Congress. It was then presented to and approved by President Corazon C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Court may not inquire beyond the certification of the approval of a bill from the presiding officers of Congress. Casco Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenez laid down the rule that the enrolled bill is conclusive upon the Judiciary (except in matters that have to be entered in the journals like the yeas and nays on the final reading of the bill). The journals are themselves also binding on the Supreme Court, as we held in the old (but still valid) case of U.S. v. Pons, where we explained the reason thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
‘To inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine legislature when they are, as we have said, clear and explicit, would be to violate both the letter and spirit of the organic laws by which the Philippine Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and independent department of the Government, and to interfere with the legitimate powers and functions of the Legislature.’
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners’ charges that an amendment was made upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became R.A. No. 7354 and that copies thereof in its final form were not distributed among the members of each House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify that the measure was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with the Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution. We are bound by such official assurances from a coordinate department of the government, to which we owe, at the very least, a becoming courtesy."cralaw virtua1aw library
Finally in 1994 came the case of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, et al and its companion cases. 25 Involved in the case was the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7716, otherwise known as the Expanded Value Added Tax Law. The majority26 partly relied on the enrolled bill doctrine in dismissing challenges to the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7716. It held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"x x x
"Fourth. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of Republic Act No. 7716 must be resolved in its favor. Our cases manifest firm adherence to the rule that an enrolled copy of a bill is conclusive not only of its provisions but also of its due enactment. Not even claims that a proposed constitutional amendment was invalid because the requisite votes for its approval had not been obtained or that certain provisions of a statute had been ‘smuggled’ in the printing of the bill have moved or persuaded us to look behind the proceedings of a coequal branch of the government. There is no reason now to depart from this rule.
No claim is here made that the ‘enrolled bill’ rule is absolute. In fact in one case we ‘went behind’ an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain provisions of a statute had been approved by the Senate in view of the fact that the President of the Senate himself, who had signed the enrolled bill, admitted a mistake and withdrew his signature, so that in effect there was no longer an enrolled bill to consider.
But where allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not been observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference Committee ‘surreptitiously’ inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we should decline the invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the ‘enrolled bill’ rule in such cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two departments of our government."cralaw virtua1aw library
These cases show that we have not blindly accepted the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill. Even in Tolentino, Mr. Justice Mendoza was cautious enough to hold that "no claim is here made that the enrolled bill is absolute." I respectfully submit that it is now time for the Court to make a definitive pronouncement that we no longer give our unqualified support to the enrolled bill doctrine. There are compelling reasons for this suggested change in stance. For one, the enrolled bill is appropriate only in England where it originated because in England there is no written Constitution and the Parliament is supreme. For another, many of the courts in the United States have broken away from the rigidity and unrealism of the enrolled bill in light of contemporary developments in lawmaking. 27 And more important, our uncritical adherence to the enrolled bill is inconsistent with our Constitution, laws and rules. In Mabanag, 28 we relied on section 313 of the Old Code of Civil Procedure as amended by Act No. 2210 as a principal reason in embracing the enrolled bill. This section, however has long been repealed by our Rules of Court. A half glance at our Rules will show that its section on conclusive presumption does not carry the conclusive presumption we give to an enrolled bill. But this is not all. The conclusiveness of an enrolled bill which all too often results in the suppression of truth cannot be justified under the 1987 Constitution. The Preamble of our Constitution demands that we live not only under a rule of law but also under a regime of truth. Our Constitution also adopted a national policy 29 requiring full public disclosure of all state transactions involving public interest. Any rule which will defeat this policy on transparency ought to be disfavored. And to implement these policies, this Court was given the power to pry open and to strike down any act of any branch or instrumentality of government if it amounts to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. It is time to bury the enrolled bill for its fiction of conclusiveness shuts off truth in many litigations. We cannot dispense justice based on fiction for the search for justice is the search for truth. I submit that giving an enrolled bill a mere prima facie presumption of correctness will facilitate our task of dispensing justice based on truth.
In sum, I respectfully submit that the Court has jurisdiction over the petition at bar and that issues posed by petitioner are justiciable. Nonetheless, I do not find any grave abuse of discretion committed by the public respondents to justify granting said petition. As the ponencia points out, the petition merely involves the complaint that petitioner was prevented from raising the question of quorum. The petition does not concern violation of any rule mandated by the Constitution. Nor does it involve the right of a non-member of the House which requires constitutional protection. The rules on how to question the existence of a quorum are procedural in character. They are malleable by nature for they were drafted to help the House enact laws. As well stated, these rules are servants, not masters of the House. Their observance or non-observance is a matter of judgment call on the part of our legislators and it is not the business of the Court to reverse this judgment when untainted by grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
Davide, Jr., J.
, concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
When the 1987 Constitution has embodied, in its circumscription of judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII, of the Constitution, the determination of whether or not there is grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government, the Supreme Court, upon which that great burden has been imposed, could not have been thought of as likewise being thereby tasked with the awesome responsibility of overseeing the entire bureaucracy. The term grave abuse of discretion has long been understood in our jurisprudence as, and confined to, a capricious and whimsical or despotic exercise of judgment as amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
I see nothing of that sort in the case at bar. Absent a clear case of grave abuse of discretion, like the patent disregard of a Constitutional proscription, I would respect the judgment of Congress under whose province the specific responsibility falls and the authority to act is vested. To do otherwise would be an unwarranted intrusion into the internal affairs of a co-equal, independent and coordinate branch of government. At no time, it would seem to me, has it been intended by the framers of the fundamental law to cause a substantial deviation, let alone departure, from the time-honored and accepted principle of separation, but balanced, powers of the three branches of government. There is, of course, a basic variant between the old rule and the new Charter on the understanding of the term "judicial power." Now, the Court is under mandate to assume jurisdiction over, and to undertake judicial inquiry into, what may even be deemed to be political questions provided, however, that grave abuse of discretion — the sole test of justiciability on purely political issues — is shown to have attended the contested act.
All taken, I most humbly reiterate my separate opinion in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance and companion cases (G.R. No. 115455, etc., 235 SCRA 630) and vote to deny the instant petition.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary
1. JOURNAL No. 39, pp. 66, 68; Rollo, pp. 210, 212; Transcript of November 21, 1996 session, pp. 39-52; Rollo, pp. 368-381; Petition, p. 6. par. 10; Rollo, p. 8.
2. Rule VIII. §35. Voting. — Every member present in the session shall vote on every question put unless he inhibits himself on account of personal pecuniary interest therein.
Rule XVII. §103. Manner of Voting. — The Speaker shall rise to put a question saying "As many as are in favor of (as the question may be), say Aye" and, after the affirmative vote is counted, "As many as are opposed, say Nay . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
3. Rule XIX. §112. Reading and Withdrawal of Motions. — The Speaker shall state the motion or, if in writing, shall cause it to be read by the Secretary General before being debated. A motion may be withdrawn any time before its approval.
4. Rule XVI. §97. Recognition of Member. — When two or more members rise at the same time, the Speaker shall recognize the Member who is to speak first.
5. Rule XX. §121. Definition. — Questions of privilege are those affecting the duties, conduct, rights, privileges, dignity, integrity or reputation of the House or of its members, collectively or individually.
§122. Precedence. — Subject to the ten-minute rule, questions of privilege shall have precedence over all other questions, except a motion to adjourn and a point of order.
Rule XXI. §123. Definition and Precedence. — A privileged motion pertains to a subject matter which, under the rules, takes precedence over others.
The order of precedence of privileged motions is determined in each case by the rules.
Rule XVIII. §109. Who May Vote; Procedure; Exceptions. — When a bill, report or motion is adopted or lost, a member who voted with the majority may move for its reconsideration on the same or succeeding session day. The motion shall take precedence over all other questions, except a motion to adjourn, a question of privilege, and a point of order.
6. 235 SCRA 630 (1994).
7. Rollo, p. 228.
8. Id., p. 229.
9. Art. VI, §16(3).
10. E. g., United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 144 U.S. 1, 36 L.Ed. 321 (1862); Exxon Corp. v. FTC, 589 F.2d 582 (1978); Murray v. Buchanan, 674 F.2d 14 (1982); Metzenbaum v. Federal Energy Regulatory Com’n. 675 F.2d 1282 (1982). See also Osmeña v. Pendatun, 109 Phil. 863 (1960).
11. 109 Phil. at 870-71. See also EVAT cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance], 235 SCRA 630.
12. 144 U.S. at 5.36 L.Ed. at 324-25 (emphasis added).
13. 64 Fla. 41; 59 So. 963, 968 (1912) (emphasis added).
14. 124 Ohio St. 256, 177 N.E. 910, 911 (1931) (emphasis added).
15. 79 Conn. 141, 64 Atl. 5, 9-10 (1906) (emphasis added).
16. 80 Wis. 407, 50 N.W. 185, 186 (1891) (emphasis added).
17. 5 Okl. 297, 47 Pac. 1094 (1897) (emphasis added).
18. ENRIQUE M. FERNANDO, CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES ANNOTATED 188-189 (1977); Pacete v. Secretary of the Commission on Appointments, 40 SCRA 58 (1971).
19. Petition, p. 25, quoting the sponsorship speech of former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, chairman of the Committee on Judiciary of the Constitutional Commission, in 1 RECORDS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 436 (Session of July 10, 1986).
20. Gonzales v. Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452 (1990); See Marcos v. Manglapus, 177 SCRA 668, 695 (1989); Lansang v. Garcia, 42 SCRA 448 (1971).
21. Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 199 SCRA 692, 701 (1991); Llamas v. Orbos, 202 SCRA 849, 857 (1991); Lansang v. Garcia, 42 SCRA at 480-481 (emphasis added).
22. 4 CONG. REC. 413-414 (Feb. 15, 1957).
23. United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 144 U.S. at 5, 36 L.Ed. at 324-25; State v. Lewis, 186 S.E. 625, 630 (1936).
24. United States v. Smith, 286 U.S. 6, 76 L.Ed. 954 (1931).
25. Gregg v. Barrett, 771 F.2d 539, 549 (1985).
26. Art. VI, §26(2).
27. Id., §16(4).
28. Id., §27(1).
29. Id., p. 17; id., p. 19.
30. INOCENCIO PAREJA, RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMENTED AND ANNOTATED 331 (1963); REYNALDO FAJARDO, PRINCIPLES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE 157-158, 172-173 (1963).
31. Rule XIX, §13.
32. 1 RECORDS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 436 (Session of July 10, 1986).
33. ALICE STURGIS, STANDARD CODE OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE, 17 (1950).
34. PAUL MASON, MANUAL OF LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE 335 (1953).
35. Conference Committee Report, Rollo, p. 36; Petition, p. 14; Rollo, p. 16.
37. Petition, p. 14; Rollo, p. 16.
38. Astorga v. Villegas, 56 SCRA 714 (1974).
39. Mabanag v. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1, 12 (1947).
40. Id. at 17, quoting 4 JOHN WIGMORE, TREATISE ON THE LAW ON EVIDENCE §1350 at 702 (1940). This excerpt is preserved in the Chadbourne edition of this locus classicus. See 4 WIGMORE ON EVIDENCE §1350 at 834 (James H. Chadbourne, ed. 1972).
41. EVAT cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance], 235 SCRA at 672. Cf . Morales v. Subido, 27 SCRA 131 (1969).
42. Philippine Judges Ass’n v. Prado, 227 SCRA 703, 710 (1993); Morales v. Subido, 27 SCRA 131.
43. Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc. v. Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347 (1963); Resins, Inc. v. Auditor General, 25 SCRA 754 (1968).
44. 4 WIGMORE ON EVIDENCE §1350 (James H. Chadbourne, ed. 1972); 6 MANUEL V. MORAN, COMMENTS ON THE RULES OF COURT 115 (1980); 7 VICENTE J. FRANCISCO, THE REVISED RULES OF COURT (Pt. II) 454 (1973).
45. Marshall Field & Co. v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 672, 36 L.Ed. 294, 303 (1891).
46. The following are required to be entered on the Journal: (1) The yeas and nays on the third and final reading of a bill (Art. VI, §26(2)); (2) the yeas and nays on any question, at the request of one-fifth of the members present (Id., §16(4)); (3) the yeas and nays upon repassing a bill over the President’s veto (Id., §27(1); and (4) the President’s objection to a bill which he has vetoed. (Id.)
47. 34 Phil. 729, 735 (1916), quoting State ex rel. Herron v. Smith, 44 Ohio 348 (1886).
48. Gregg v. Barrett, 771 F.2d 529.
49. Metzenbaum v. Federal Energy Regulatory Com’n. 675 F.2d 1282.
ROMERO, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. 235 SCRA 630.
2. Id., at p. 672: "Fourth. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of Republic Act No. 7716 must be resolved in its favor. Our cases manifest firm adherence to the rule that an enrolled copy of a bill is conclusive not only of its provisions but also of its due enactment. Not even claims that a proposed constitutional amendment was invalid because the requisite votes for its approval had not been obtained or that certain provisions of a state had been ‘smuggled’ in the printing of the bill have moved or persuaded us to look behind the proceedings of a coequal branch of the government. There is no reason now to depart from this rule.
No claim is here made that the ‘enrolled bill’ rule is absolute. In fact in one case we ‘went behind’ an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain provisions of a statute had been approved by the Senate in view of the fact that the President of the Senate himself, who had signed the enrolled bill, admitted a mistake and withdrew his signature, so that in effect there was no longer an enrolled bill to consider.
But where allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not been observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference Committee ‘surreptitiously’ inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we should decline the invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the ‘enrolled bill’ rule in such cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two departments of our government."cralaw virtua1aw library
3. Id., at p. 675: "Moreover, this Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of these internal Rules. To the contrary, as we have already ruled, ‘parliamentary rules are merely procedural and with their observance the courts have no concern.’ Our concern is with the procedural requirements of the Constitution for the enactment of laws. As far as these requirements are concerned, we are satisfied that they have been faithfully observed in these cases."cralaw virtua1aw library
4. Id., pp. 778-779; Emphasis supplied.
5. Id., p. 780; Emphasis supplied; compare to note 3, supra.
PUNO, J., concurring and dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. 144 US 1 (1891).
2. The case involved the validity of a law which allegedly was passed in violation of House Rule XV which provided that members present in the chamber but not voting would be "counted and announced in determining the presence of a quorum to do business."cralaw virtua1aw library
3. 286 US 6 (1932).
4. 338 US 89 (1948).
5. 374 US 109 (1963).
6. 369 US 186 (1962); see also Bond v. Floyd, 385 US 116 (1966).
7. 235 SCRA 630.
9. Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Rev. ed., p. 624.
10. Price v. Moundsville, 64 Am. St. Rep. 878, 879; 43 W. Virginia 523 .
11. Carr v. Coke, 47 Am. St. Rep. 801, 803 ; see also Note on ex rel. Reed v. Jones, 23 L.R.A. 211 . The rule of conclusiveness is similar to the common law rule of the inviolability of the Sheriff’s return. The Sheriff is considered as an officer of the King just as a parliamentary act is deemed as a regal act and no official can dispute the King’s word. Dallas, Sutherland Statutes and Statutory Construction, Vol. 1, 4th ed., pp. 408-418 (1972).
12. Sutherland, op cit., p. 410.
13. Sutherland, Vol. I, Section 1405 (3rd ed., 1943).
14. See e.g., Mogilner v. Metropolitan Plan Communication, 236 Ind. 298, 140 N.E. 2d 220 .
15. Op. cit, footnote No. 2.
16. 50 Am. Jur. Statutes, S. 150 (1938) 4 J. Wigmore Evidence, S. 1350 (3rd ed. 1940)
17. 63 Miss 512 (1886).
18. Op cit, pp. 729-732 (1994).
19. Sutherland, op. cit., pp. 224-225.
20. 78 Phil. 1 (1947).
21. 7 SCRA 374.
22. 27 SCRA 131, 134-135.
23. 56 SCRA 714.
24. 227 SCRA 703.
26. Justices Cruz, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo and Puno dissented.
27. See writer’s dissenting opinion in Tolentino, supra, p. 818.
28. Op cit.
29. Section 28 of Article II of the Constitution.