Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bengzon vs Senate Blue Ribbon Committee - A case digest

JOSE F.S. BENGZON JR., ET. AL. vs. SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE

Facts:

Senator Enrile asks the Senate to look into the matter of the alleged acquisition of the Lopa Group of the properties of Kokoy Romualdez which is a subject of sequestration by the PCGG. Senator Enrile citing probable violations of Republic Act No. 3019 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Section 5.

The petitioners representing Ricardo Lopa who passed away prior the decision of the court issued this petition for prohibition and an issuance a temporary restraining order and/or injuctive relief enjoin the Blue Ribbon committee of compelling them to appear before them.

Issues:

Coming to the specific issues raised in this case, petitioners contend that (1) the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's inquiry has no valid legislative purpose, i.e., it is not done in aid of legislation; (2) the sale or disposition of hte Romualdez corporations is a "purely private transaction" which is beyond the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to inquire into; and (3) the inquiry violates their right to due process.

Ruling:

The Supreme court granted the petition. The committee investigation wanted by Senator Enrile is not in aid of a legislation, therefore is violative of the separation of powers between the Senate or Congress and that Judiciary. The pending civil case of the petitioners under Civil Case No. 0035 before the Sandiganbayan is where these issues by the Senate should be discussed.

Saying further that the power of the Senate and Congress to conduct investigation in aid of legislation is not absolute or without limitation.




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Cunanan vs Tan - A case digest

CARLOS CUNANAN vs. JORGE TAN, JR.

Facts:

Petitioner sought to nullify the ad interim appointment of Jorge Tan Jr as acting Deputy Administrator of the Reforestation Administration. Cunanan was formerly appointed in the same position but was later on rejected by the Commision of Appointment prompting the President to replace him with Jorge Tan Jr immediately without his consent.

Filing the quo warranto proceeding to the Supreme Court, Cunanan questions the validity of the convened Commission of Appointments citing irregularities as to the numbers of members comprising the same.

Issue:

WON the appointment of Jorge Tan Jr is valid.

Ruling:


With the reorganization of the Commission of Appointment, it was ruled that such is a power vested in the Congress as they deem it proper taking into consideration the proportionate numbers of the members of the Commission of Appointment members as to their political affiliations. However, with their reorganization, this affected a third party's right which they rejected as its result. To correct this, the Supreme Court declared the reinstatement of the petitioner and ordered respondent to vacate and turn over the office in contention.

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Tobias vs Abalos - A case digest

ROBERT V. TOBIAS, ET AL. vs. BENJAMIN S. ABALOS, ET AL.

Facts:

Mandaluyong and San Juan were one legislative district until the passage of the RA 7675 with title An Act Converting the Municipality of Mandaluyong into a Highly Urbanized City to be known as the City of Mandaluyong." Same bill is now in question at to its constitutionality by the petitioners by invoking their right as tax payers and residents of Mandaluyong.

With a plebiscite held on April 10, 1994, people of Mandaluyong voted to for the the conversion of Mandaluyong to a highly urbanized city ratifying RA 7675 and making it in effect.

Issues:

WON RA 7675 is in:

1. Violation of Article VI, Section 26(1) of the Constitution regarding 'one subject one bill rule".

2. Violation of Article VI, Sections 5(1) and (4) as to the number of members of the Congress to 250 and reappropriating the legislative districts.


Ruling:

Applying liberal construction the Supreme Court dismissed the contention of constitutionality pertaining to Art VI 26(1) saying "should be given a practical rather than a technical construction. It should be sufficient compliance with such requirement if the title expresses the general subject and all the provisions are germane to that general subject."

As to Article VI Sec 5(1), the clause "unless otherwise provided by law" was enforced justifying the act of the legislature to increase the number of the members of the congress.

Article VI Sec 5 (4) was also overruled as it was the Congress itself which drafted the bill reapportioning the legislative district.

In view of the foregoing facts, the petition was dismissed for lack of merit.

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