Documents

abayon

Description
abayon vs hret
Categories
Published
of 4
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
  Abayon vs HRET Facts: These two cases are about the authority of the House of Representatives Electoral  Tribunal (HRET) to pass upon the eligibilities of the nominees of the party-list groups that won seats in the lower house of Congress. Abayon is the first nominee of the Aangat Tayo party-list organization that won a seat in the House of Representatives during the 2007 elections. Respondents Perfecto C. Lucaban all registered voters, filed a petition for quo    warranto   with respondent HRET against Aangat Tayo and its nominee, petitioner Abayon, in HRET Case 07-041. They claimed that Aangat Tayo was not eligible for a party-list seat in the House of Representatives, since it did not represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Further, they pointed out that petitioner Abayon herself was not qualified to sit in the House as a party-list nominee since she did not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, she being the wife of an incumbent congressional district representative. She moreover lost her bid as party-list representative of the party-list organization called An Waray in the immediately preceding elections. Abayon countered that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had already confirmed the status of Aangat Tayo as a national multi-sectoral party-list organization representing the workers, women, youth, urban poor, and elderly and that she belonged to the women sector. Abayon also claimed that although she was the second nominee of An Waray party-list organization during the 2004 elections, she could not be regarded as having lost a bid for an elective office. petitioner Abayon pointed out that respondent HRET had no jurisdiction over the petition for quo warranto since respondent Lucaban and the others with him collaterally attacked the registration of Aangat Tayo as a party-list organization, a matter that fell within the  jurisdiction of the COMELEC. It was Aangat Tayo that was taking a seat in the House of Representatives, and not Abayon who was just its nominee. All questions involving her eligibility as first nominee, said Abayon, were internal concerns of Aangat Tayo. HRET issued an order, dismissing the petition as against Aangat Tayo but upholding its  jurisdiction over the qualifications of petitioner Abayon. 1   The latter moved for reconsideration but the HRET denied the same on September 17, 2009, 2  prompting Abayon to file the present petition for special civil action of certiorari. Issue: Whether or not respondent HRET has jurisdiction over the question of qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan as nominees of Aangat Tayo and Bantay party-list organizations, respectively, who took the seats at the House of Representatives that such organizations won in the 2007 elections. Ruling: Since petitioners Abayon and Palparan were not elected into office but were chosen by their respective organizations under their internal rules, the HRET has no jurisdiction to inquire into and adjudicate their qualifications as nominees. If at all, says petitioner Abayon, such authority belongs to the COMELEC which already upheld her qualification as nominee of Aangat Tayo for the women sector. But, although it is the party-list organization that is voted for in the elections, it is not the organization that sits as and becomes a member of the House of Representatives. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, 5  identifies who the members of that House are: Sec. 5. (1). The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a   party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.   Clearly, the members of the House of Representatives are of two kinds: members x x x who shall be elected from legislative districts and those who x x x shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. This means that, from the Constitution’s point of view, it is the party  -list representatives who are elected into office, not their parties or organizations. These representatives are elected, however, through that peculiar party-list system that the Constitution authorized and that Congress by law established where the voters cast their votes for the organizations or parties to which such party-list representatives belong. It may not be amiss to point out that the Party-List System Act itself recognizes party-list nominees as members of the House of Representatives, thus: Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented   sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Both the Constitution and the Party-List System Act set the qualifications and grounds for disqualification of party-list nominees. Section 9 of R.A. 7941, echoing the Constitution, states: Sec. 9. Qualification of Party-List Nominees.  –   No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, bona fide  member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election. 1avvphi1   In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue until the expiration of his term.  In the cases before the Court, those who challenged the qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan claim that the two do not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors that they ought to represent. It is for the HRET to interpret the meaning of this particular qualification of a nominee  —  the need for him or her to be a bona fide member or a representative of his party-list organization  —  in the context of the facts that characterize petitioners Abayon and Palparan’s relation to Aangat Tayo and Bantay, respectively, and the marginalized and underrepresented interests that they presumably embody. Petitioners Abayon and Palparan of course point out that the authority to determine the qualifications of a party-list nominee belongs to the party or organization that nominated him. This is true, initially. The right to examine the fitness of aspiring nominees and, eventually, to choose five from among them after all belongs to the party or organization that nominates them What is inevitable is that Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution 9  provides that the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to, among other things, the qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives. Since, as pointed out above, party-list nominees are elected members of the House of Representatives no less than the district representatives are, the HRET has jurisdiction to hear and pass upon their qualifications. By analogy with the cases of district representatives, once the party or organization of the party-list nominee has been proclaimed and the nominee has taken his oath and assumed office as member of the House of Representatives, the COMELEC’s  jurisdiction over election contests relating to his qualifications ends and the HRET’s own  jurisdiction begins. 10   The Court holds that respondent HRET did not gravely abuse its discretion when it dismissed the petitions for quo warranto   against Aangat Tayo party-list and Bantay party-list but upheld its jurisdiction over the question of the qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan. WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES  the consolidated petitions and AFFIRMS the Order dated July 16, 2009 and Resolution 09-183 dated September 17, 2009 in HRET Case Liban vs Gordon I.   THE FACTS  Petitioners Liban, et al., who were officers of the Board of Directors of the Quezon City Red Cross Chapter, filed with the Supreme Court what they styled as “Petition to Declare Richard J. Gordon as Having Forfeited His Seat in the Senate”   against respondent Gordon, who was elected Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Board of Governors during his incumbency as Senator. Petitioners alleged that by accepting the chairmanship of the PNRC Board of Governors, respondent Gordon ceased to be a member of the Senate pursuant to Sec. 13, Article VI of the Constitution, which provides that “[n]o Senator . . . may hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat.”   Petitioners cited the case of Camporedondo vs. NLRC  , G.R. No. 129049, decided August 6, 1999,   which held that the PNRC is a GOCC, in supporting their argument that respondent Gordon automatically forfeited his seat in the Senate when he accepted and held the position of Chairman of the PNRC Board of Governors. Formerly, in its Decision dated July 15, 2009, the Court, voting 7-5, [1]  held that the office of the PNRC Chairman is NOT a government office or an office in a GOCC for purposes of the prohibition in Sec. 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. The PNRC Chairman is elected by the PNRC Board of Governors; he is not appointed by the President or by any subordinate government official. Moreover, the PNRC is NOT a GOCC because it is a privately-owned, privately-funded, and privately-run charitable organization and because it is controlled by a Board of Governors four-fifths of which are private sector individuals. Therefore, respondent Gordon did not forfeit his legislative seat when he was elected as PNRC Chairman during his incumbency as Senator.  The Court however held further that the PNRC Charter, R.A. 95, as amended by PD 1264 and 1643, is void insofar as it creates the PNRC as a private corporation since Section 7, Article XIV of the 1935 Constitution states that “[t]he   Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations, unless such corporations are owned or controlled by the Government or any  subdivision or instrumentality thereof.”   The Court thus directed the PNRC to incorporate under the Corporation Code and register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if it wants to be a private corporation. The  fallo of the Decision read: WHEREFORE, we declare that the office of the Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross is not a government office or an office in a government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. We also declare that Sections 1, 2, 3, 4(a), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the Charter of the Philippine National Red Cross, or Republic Act No. 95, as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 1264 and 1643, are VOID because they create the PNRC as a private corporation or grant it corporate powers. Respondent Gordon filed a Motion for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration   of the Decision. The PNRC likewise moved to intervene and filed its own Motion for Partial Reconsideration  . They basically questioned the second part of the Decision with regard to the pronouncement on the nature of the PNRC  and the constitutionality of some provisions of the PNRC Charter .   II.   THE ISSUE  Was it correct for the Court to have passed upon and decided on the issue of the constitutionality of the PNRC charter? Corollarily: What is the nature of the PNRC? III.   THE RULING   [The Court GRANTED reconsideration and MODIFIED the dispositive portion of the Decision by deleting the second sentence thereof.]    NO, it was not correct for the Court to have decided on the constitutional issue because it was not the very lis mota of the case. The PNRC is sui generis in nature; it is neither strictly a GOCC nor a private corporation.   The issue of constitutionality of R.A. No. 95 was not raised by the parties, and was not among the issues defined in the body of the Decision; thus, it was not the very lis mota   of the case. We have reiterated the rule as to when the Court will consider the issue of constitutionality in Alvarez v. PICOP Resources, Inc. ,   thus:  This Court will not touch the issue of unconstitutionality unless it is the very lis mota  . It is a well-established rule that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law to be unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the record also presents some other ground upon which the court may [rest] its judgment, that course will be adopted and the constitutional question will be left for consideration until such question will be unavoidable. [T]his Court should not  have declared void certain sections of . . . the PNRC Charter. Instead, the Court should have exercised judicial restraint on this matter, especially since there was some other ground upon which the Court could have based its  judgment. Furthermore, the PNRC, the entity most adversely affected by this declaration of unconstitutionality, which was not even srcinally a party to this case, was being compelled, as a consequence of the Decision, to suddenly reorganize and incorporate under the Corporation Code, after more than sixty (60) years of existence in this country . Since its enactment, the PNRC Charter was amended several times, particularly on June 11, 1953, August 16, 1971, December 15, 1977, and October 1, 1979, by virtue of R.A. No. 855, R.A. No. 6373, P.D. No. 1264, and P.D. No. 1643, respectively. The passage of several laws relating to the PNRC’s corporate existence notwithstanding the effectivity of the constitutional proscription on the creation of private corporations by law is a recognition that the PNRC is not strictly in the nature of a private corporation contemplated by the aforesaid constitutional ban.  A closer look at the nature of the PNRC would show that there is none like it[,] not  just in terms of structure, but also in terms of history, public service and official status accorded to it by the State and the international community.  There is merit in PNRC’s contention that its structure is sui generis  . It is in recognition of this sui generis   character of the PNRC that R.A. No. 95 has remained valid and effective from the time of its enactment in March 22, 1947 under the 1935 Constitution and during the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 Constitution. The PNRC Charter and its amendatory laws have not been questioned or challenged on constitutional grounds, not even in this case before the Court now. [T]his Court [must] recognize the country’s adherence to the Geneva Convent ion and respect the unique status of the PNRC in consonance with its treaty obligations. The Geneva Convention has the force and effect of law. Under the Constitution, the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.  This constitutional provision must be reconciled and harmonized with Article XII, Section 16 of the Constitution, instead of using the latter to negate the former. By requiring the PNRC to organize under the Corporation Code just like any other private corporation, the Decision of July 15, 2009 lost sight of the PNRC’s special status under international humanitarian law and as an auxiliary of the State, designated to assist it in discharging its obligations under the Geneva Conventions.  The PNRC, as a National Society of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, can neither “be classified as an instrumentality of the State, so as not to lose its character of neutrality” as well as its independence, nor strictly as a pri vate corporation since it is regulated by international humanitarian law and is treated as an auxiliary  of the State. Although [the PNRC] is neither a subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the government, nor a GOCC or a subsidiary thereof . . . so much so that respondent, under the Decision, was correctly allowed to hold his position as Chairman thereof concurrently while he served as a Senator, such a conclusion does not   ipso facto imply that the PNRC is a “private corporation” within the contemplation of the provision of the Constitution, that must be organized under the Corporation Code. [T]he sui generis   character of PNRC requires us to approach controversies involving the PNRC on a case-to-case basis. In sum, the PNRC enjoys a special status as an important ally and auxiliary of the government in the humanitarian field in accordance with its commitments under international law. This Court cannot all of a sudden refuse to recognize its existence, especially since the issue of the constitutionality of the PNRC Charter was never raised by the parties. It bears emphasizing that the PNRC has responded to almost all national disasters since 1947, and is widely known to provide a substantial portion of the country’s blood requirements. Its humanitarian work is unparalleled. The Court should not shake its existence to the core in an untimely and drastic manner that would not only have negative consequences to those who depend on it in times of disaster and armed hostilities but also have adverse effects on the image of the Philippines in the international community. The sections of the PNRC Charter that were declared void must therefore stay. [Thus, R.A. No. 95 remains valid and constitutional in its entirety. The Court MODIFIED the dispositive portion of the Decision by deleting the second sentence, to now read as follows:    WHEREFORE  , we declare that the office of the Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross is not a government office or an office in a government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.]   
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks