Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 2005 > September 2005 Decisions > CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Erm:




CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. NO. 168056 : September 01, 2005]

ABAKADA GURO PARTY LIST (FORMERLY AASJAS) OFFICERS SAMSON S. ALCANTARA AND ED VINCENT S. ALBANO, Petitioners, v. THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA; HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE CESAR PURISIMA; AND HONORABLE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE GUILLERMO PARAYNO, JR., Respondents.

[G.R. NO. 168207]

AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., LUISA P. EJERCITO-ESTRADA, JINGGOY E. ESTRADA, PANFILO M. LACSON, ALFREDO S. LIM, JAMBY A.S. MADRIGAL, AND SERGIO R. OSMEÑA III, Petitioners, v. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, CESAR V. PURISIMA, SECRETARY OF FINANCE, GUILLERMO L. PARAYNO, JR., COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondents.

[G.R. NO. 168461]

ASSOCIATION OF PILIPINAS SHELL DEALERS, INC. REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, ROSARIO ANTONIO; PETRON DEALERS' ASSOCIATION REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, RUTH E. BARBIBI; ASSOCIATION OF CALTEX DEALERS' OF THE PHILIPPINES REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, MERCEDITAS A. GARCIA; ROSARIO ANTONIO DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "ANB NORTH SHELL SERVICE STATION”; LOURDES MARTINEZ DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "SHELL GATE - N. DOMINGO”; BETHZAIDA TAN DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "ADVANCE SHELL STATION”; REYNALDO P. MONTOYA DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "NEW LAMUAN SHELL SERVICE STATION”; EFREN SOTTO DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "RED FIELD SHELL SERVICE STATION”; DONICA CORPORATION REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, DESI TOMACRUZ; RUTH E. MARBIBI DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "R&R PETRON STATION”; PETER M. UNGSON DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "CLASSIC STAR GASOLINE SERVICE STATION”; MARIAN SHEILA A. LEE DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "NTE GASOLINE & SERVICE STATION”; JULIAN CESAR P. POSADAS DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "STARCARGA ENTERPRISES”; ADORACION MAÑEBO DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "CMA MOTORISTS CENTER”; SUSAN M. ENTRATA DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "LEONA'S GASOLINE STATION AND SERVICE CENTER”; CARMELITA BALDONADO DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "FIRST CHOICE SERVICE CENTER”; MERCEDITAS A. GARCIA DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "LORPED SERVICE CENTER”; RHEAMAR A. RAMOS DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "RJRAM PTT GAS STATION”; MA. ISABEL VIOLAGO DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "VIOLAGO-PTT SERVICE CENTER”; MOTORISTS' HEART CORPORATION REPRESENTED BY ITS VICE-PRESIDENT FOR OPERATIONS, JOSELITO F. FLORDELIZA; MOTORISTS' HARVARD CORPORATION REPRESENTED BY ITS VICE-PRESIDENT FOR OPERATIONS, JOSELITO F. FLORDELIZA; MOTORISTS' HERITAGE CORPORATION REPRESENTED BY ITS VICE-PRESIDENT FOR OPERATIONS, JOSELITO F. FLORDELIZA; PHILIPPINE STANDARD OIL CORPORATION REPRESENTED BY ITS VICE-PRESIDENT FOR OPERATIONS, JOSELITO F. FLORDELIZA; ROMEO MANUEL DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "ROMMAN GASOLINE STATION”; ANTHONY ALBERT CRUZ III DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF "TRUE SERVICE STATION”, Petitioners, v. CESAR V. PURISIMA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND GUILLERMO L. PARAYNO, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondents.

[G.R. NO. 168463]

FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO, VINCENT CRISOLOGO, EMMANUEL JOEL J. VILLANUEVA, RODOLFO G. PLAZA, DARLENE ANTONINO-CUSTODIO, OSCAR G. MALAPITAN, BENJAMIN C. AGARAO, JR. JUAN EDGARDO M. ANGARA, JUSTIN MARC SB. CHIPECO, FLORENCIO G. NOEL, MUJIV S. HATAMAN, RENATO B. MAGTUBO, JOSEPH A. SANTIAGO, TEOFISTO DL. GUINGONA III, RUY ELIAS C. LOPEZ, RODOLFO Q. AGBAYANI AND TEODORO A. CASIÑO, Petitioners, v. CESAR V. PURISIMA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF FINANCE, GUILLERMO L. PARAYNO, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, AND EDUARDO R. ERMITA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, Respondents.

[G.R. NO. 168730]

BATAAN GOVERNOR ENRIQUE T. GARCIA, JR., Petitioner, v. HON. EDUARDO R. ERMITA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; HON. MARGARITO TEVES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF FINANCE; HON. JOSE MARIO BUNAG, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE OIC COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE; AND HON. ALEXANDER AREVALO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE OIC COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, Respondents.

CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:



The ponencia states that under the provisions of the Rules of the House of Representatives and the Senate Rules, the Bicameral Conference Committee is mandated to settle differences between the disagreeing provisions in the House bill and Senate bill. However, the ponencia construed the term "settle" as synonymous to "reconcile" and "harmonize," and as such, the Bicameral Conference Committee may either (a) adopt the specific provisions of either the House bill or Senate bill, (b) decide that neither provisions in the House bill or the provisions in the Senate bill would be carried into the final form of the bill, and/or (c) try to arrive at a compromise between the disagreeing provisions.

I beg to differ on the third proposition.

Indeed, Section 16(3), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution explicitly allows each House to determine the rules of its proceedings. However, the rules must not contravene constitutional provisions. The rule-making power of Congress should take its bearings from the Constitution. If in the exercise of this rule-making power, Congress failed to set parameters in the functions of the committee and allowed the latter unbridled authority to perform acts which Congress itself is prohibited, like the passage of a law without undergoing the requisite three-reading and the so-called no-amendment rule, then the same amount to grave abuse of discretion which this Court is empowered to correct under its expanded certiorari jurisdiction. Notwithstanding the doctrine of separation of powers, therefore, it is the duty of the Court to declare as void a legislative enactment, either from want of constitutional power to enact or because the constitutional forms or conditions have not been observed.1 When the Court declares as unconstitutional a law or a specific provision thereof because procedural requirements for its passage were not complied, the Court is by no means asserting its ascendancy over the Legislature, but simply affirming the supremacy of the Constitution as repository of the sovereign will.2 The judicial branch must ensure that constitutional norms for the exercise of powers vested upon the two other branches are properly observed. This is the very essence of judicial authority conferred upon the Court under Section 1, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.

The Rules of the House of Representatives and the Rules of the Senate provide that in the event there is disagreement between the provisions of the House and Senate bills, the differences shall be settled by a bicameral conference committee.

By this, I fully subscribe to the theory advanced in the Dissenting Opinion of Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance3 that the authority of the bicameral conference committee was limited to the reconciliation of disagreeing provisions or the resolution of differences or inconsistencies. Thus, it could only either (a) restore, wholly or partly, the specific provisions of the House bill amended by the Senate bill, (b) sustain, wholly or partly, the Senate's amendments, or (c) by way of a compromise, to agree that neither provisions in the House bill amended by the Senate nor the latter's amendments thereto be carried into the final form of the former.

Otherwise stated, the Bicameral Conference Committee is authorized only to adopt either the version of the House bill or the Senate bill, or adopt neither. It cannot, as the ponencia proposed, "try to arrive at a compromise”, such as introducing provisions not included in either the House or Senate bill, as it would allow a mere ad hoc committee to substitute the will of the entire Congress and without undergoing the requisite three-reading, which are both constitutionally proscribed. To allow the committee unbridled discretion to overturn the collective will of the whole Congress defies logic considering that the bills are passed presumably after study, deliberation and debate in both houses. A lesser body like the Bicameral Conference Committee should not be allowed to substitute its judgment for that of the entire Congress, whose will is expressed collectively through the passed bills.

When the Bicameral Conference Committee goes beyond its limited function by substituting its own judgment for that of either of the two houses, it violates the internal rules of Congress and contravenes material restrictions imposed by the Constitution, particularly on the passage of law. While concededly, the internal rules of both Houses do not explicitly limit the Bicameral Conference Committee to a consideration only of conflicting provisions, it is understood that the provisions of the Constitution should be read into these rules as imposing limits on what the committee can or cannot do. As such, it cannot perform its delegated function in violation of the three-reading requirement and the no-amendment rule.

Section 26(2) of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides that:
(2) No bill shall be passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment hereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.
Thus, before a bill becomes a law, it must pass three readings. Hence, the ponencia's submission that despite its limited authority, the Bicameral Conference Committee could "compromise the disagreeing provisions" by substituting it with its own version - clearly violate the three-reading requirement, as the committee's version would no longer undergo the same since it would be immediately put into vote by the respective houses. In effect, it is not a bill that was passed by the entire Congress but by the members of the ad hoc committee only, which of course is constitutionally infirm.

I disagree that the no-amendment rule referred only to "the procedure to be followed by each house of Congress with regard to bills initiated in each of said respective houses" because it would relegate the no-amendment rule to a mere rule of procedure. To my mind, the no-amendment rule should be construed as prohibiting the Bicameral Conference Committee from introducing amendments and modifications to non-disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate bills. In sum, the committee could only either adopt the version of the House bill or the Senate bill, or adopt neither. As Justice Reynato S. Puno said in his Dissenting Opinion in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance,4 there is absolutely no legal warrant for the bold submission that a Bicameral Conference Committee possesses the power to add/delete provisions in bills already approved on third reading by both Houses or an ex post veto power.

In view thereof, it is my submission that the amendments introduced by the Bicameral Conference Committee which are not found either in the House or Senate versions of the VAT reform bills, but are inserted merely by the Bicameral Conference Committee and thereafter included in Republic Act No. 9337, should be declared unconstitutional. The insertions and deletions made do not merely settle conflicting provisions but materially altered the bill, thus giving rise to the instant petitions.

I, therefore, join the concurring and dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno.

Endnotes:


1 Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, 8th Ed., Vol. I, p. 332.

2 Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 158 [1936].

3 G.R. NOS. 115455, 115525, 115543, 115544, 115754, 115781, 115852, 115873, 115931, 25 August 1994, 235 SCRA 630, 750.

4Supra, p. 811.



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  • CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : AZCUNA, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et a

  • CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : CALLEJO, SR., J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita

  • CONCURRING OPINION : CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al.

  • SEPARATE CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: - G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Ed

  • SEPARATE OPINION : PANGANIBAN, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al.

  • CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : PUNO, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al.

  • RESOLUTION : G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al.

  • RESOLUTION : AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al.

  • CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : SANDOVAL - GUTIERREZ, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduard

  • DISSENTING and CONCURRING OPINION : TINGA, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al

  • CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION : YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Erm

  • G.R. No. 168168 - People of the Philippines v. Edgardo Dimaano

  • G.R. No. 168056, G.R. NO. 168207, G.R. NO. 168461, G.R. NO. 168463 and G.R. NO. 168730 - ABAKADA Guro Party List Officers Samson S. Alcantara, et al. v. The Honorable Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al.