EN BANC

[G.R. No. 159085. February 3, 2004]

SANLAKAS, represented by REP. J.V. Bautista, and PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA, represented by REP. RENATO MAGTUBO petitioners, vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY SECRETARY ANGELO REYES, GENERAL NARCISO ABAYA, DIR. GEN. HERMOGENES EBDANE, respondents.

[G.R. No. 159103. February 3, 2004]

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS) OFFICERS/MEMBERS namely, SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, ED VINCENT S. ALBANO, RENE B. GOROSPE, EDWIN R. SANDOVAL and RODOLFO D. MAPILE, petitioners, vs. HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ALBERTO G. ROMULO, HON. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE SIMEON DATUMANONG, HON. SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ANGELO REYES, and HON. SECRETARY JOSE LINA, JR., respondents.

[G.R. No. 159185. February 3, 2004]

REP. ROLEX T. SUPLICO, REP. CARLOS M. PADILLA, REP. CELSO L. LOBREGAT, REP. HUSSIN U. AMIN, REP. ABRAHAM KAHLIL B. MITRA, REP. EMMYLOU J. TALINO-SANTOS, and REP. GEORGILU R. YUMUL-HERMIDA, petitioners, vs. PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO; and EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ALBERTO G. ROMULO, respondents.

[G.R. No. 159196. February 3, 2004]

AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR. as a Member of the Senate, petitioner, vs. SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; SECRETARY ANGELO REYES, AS SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; GENERAL NARCISO ABAYA, AS CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES; SECRETARY JOSE LINA, et al., respondents.

D E C I S I O N

TINGA, J.:

They came in the middle of the night. Armed with high-powered ammunitions and explosives, some three hundred junior officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stormed into the Oakwood Premiere apartments in Makati City in the wee hours of July 27, 2003. Bewailing the corruption in the AFP, the soldiers demanded, among other things, the resignation of the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).[1]

In the wake of the Oakwood occupation, the President issued later in the day Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, both declaring a state of rebellion and calling out the Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion. Proclamation No. 427 reads in full:

PROCLAMATION NO. 427

DECLARING A STATE OF REBELLION

WHEREAS, certain elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, armed with high-powered firearms and explosives, acting upon the instigation and command and direction of known and unknown leaders, have seized a building in Makati City, put bombs in the area, publicly declared withdrawal of support for, and took arms against the duly constituted Government, and continue to rise publicly and show open hostility, for the purpose of removing allegiance to the Government certain bodies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, and depriving the President of the Republic of the Philippines, wholly or partially, of her powers and prerogatives which constitute the crime of rebellion punishable under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;

WHEREAS, these misguided elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are being supported, abetted and aided by known and unknown leaders, conspirators and plotters in the government service and outside the government;

WHEREAS, under Section 18, Article VII of the present Constitution, whenever it becomes necessary, the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, may call out such Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, hereby confirm the existence of an actual and on-going rebellion, compelling me to declare a state of rebellion.

In view of the foregoing, I am issuing General Order No. 4 in accordance with Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, calling out the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to immediately carry out the necessary actions and measures to suppress and quell the rebellion with due regard to constitutional rights.

General Order No. 4 is similarly worded:

GENERAL ORDER NO. 4

DIRECTING THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE TO SUPPRESS REBELLION

WHEREAS, certain elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, armed with high-powered firearms and explosives, acting upon the instigation and command and direction of known and unknown leaders, have seized a building in Makati City, put bombs in the area, publicly declared withdrawal of support for, and took arms against the duly constituted Government, and continue to rise publicly and show open hostility, for the purpose of removing allegiance to the Government certain bodies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, and depriving the President of the Republic of the Philippines, wholly or partially, of her powers and prerogatives which constitute the crime of rebellion punishable under Article 134 et seq. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;

WHEREAS, these misguided elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are being supported, abetted and aided by known and unknown leaders, conspirators and plotters in the government service and outside the government;

WHEREAS, under Section 18, Article VII of the present Constitution, whenever it becomes necessary, the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the Philippines, may call out such Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution as President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces of the Philippines and pursuant to Proclamation No. 427 dated July 27, 2003, do hereby call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to suppress and quell the rebellion.

I hereby direct the Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Chief of the Philippine National Police and the officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to immediately carry out the necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and quell the rebellion with due regard to constitutional rights.

By the evening of July 27, 2003, the Oakwood occupation had ended. After hours-long negotiations, the soldiers agreed to return to barracks. The President, however, did not immediately lift the declaration of a state of rebellion and did so only on August 1, 2003, through Proclamation No. 435:

DECLARING THAT THE STATE OF REBELLION HAS CEASED TO EXIST

WHEREAS, by virtue of Proclamation No. 427 dated July 27, 2003, a state of rebellion was declared;

WHEREAS, by virtue of General Order No. 4 dated July 27, 2003, which was issued on the basis of Proclamation No. 427 dated July 27, 2003, and pursuant to Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police were directed to suppress and quell the rebellion;

WHEREAS, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have effectively suppressed and quelled the rebellion.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, hereby declare that the state of rebellion has ceased to exist.

In the interim, several petitions were filed before this Court challenging the validity of Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4.

In G.R. No. 159085 (Sanlakas and PM v. Executive Secretary, et al.),[2] party-list organizations Sanlakas and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), contend that Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution does not require the declaration of a state of rebellion to call out the armed forces.[3] They further submit that, because of the cessation of the Oakwood occupation, there exists no sufficient factual basis for the proclamation by the President of a state of rebellion for an indefinite period.[4]

Petitioners in G.R. No. 159103 (SJS Officers/Members v. Hon. Executive Secretary, et al.) are officers/members of the Social Justice Society (SJS), Filipino citizens, taxpayers, law professors and bar reviewers.[5] Like Sanlakas and PM, they claim that Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution does not authorize the declaration of a state of rebellion.[6] They contend that the declaration is a constitutional anomaly that confuses, confounds and misleads because [o]verzealous public officers, acting pursuant to such proclamation or general order, are liable to violate the constitutional right of private citizens.[7] Petitioners also submit that the proclamation is a circumvention of the report requirement under the same Section 18, Article VII, commanding the President to submit a report to Congress within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law.[8] Finally, they contend that the presidential issuances cannot be construed as an exercise of emergency powers as Congress has not delegated any such power to the President.[9]

In G.R. No. 159185 (Rep. Suplico et al. v. President Macapagal-Arroyo and Executive Secretary Romulo), petitioners brought suit as citizens and as Members of the House of Representatives whose rights, powers and functions were allegedly affected by the declaration of a state of rebellion.[10] Petitioners do not challenge the power of the President to call out the Armed Forces.[11] They argue, however, that the declaration of a state of rebellion is a superfluity, and is actually an exercise of emergency powers.[12] Such exercise, it is contended, amounts to a usurpation of the power of Congress granted by Section 23 (2), Article VI of the Constitution.[13]

In G.R. No. 159196 (Pimentel v. Romulo, et al.), petitioner Senator assails the subject presidential issuances as an unwarranted, illegal and abusive exercise of a martial law power that has no basis under the Constitution.[14] In the main, petitioner fears that the declaration of a state of rebellion opens the door to the unconstitutional implementation of warrantless arrests for the crime of rebellion.[15]

Required to comment, the Solicitor General argues that the petitions have been rendered moot by the lifting of the declaration.[16] In addition, the Solicitor General questions the standing of the petitioners to bring suit.[17]

The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that the issuance of Proclamation No. 435, declaring that the state of rebellion has ceased to exist, has rendered the case moot. As a rule, courts do not adjudicate moot cases, judicial power being limited to the determination of actual controversies.[18] Nevertheless, courts will decide a question, otherwise moot, if it is capable of repetition yet evading review.[19] The case at bar is one such case.

Once before, the President on May 1, 2001 declared a state of rebellion and called upon the AFP and the PNP to suppress the rebellion through Proclamation No. 38 and General Order No. 1. On that occasion, an angry and violent mob armed with explosives, firearms, bladed weapons, clubs, stones and other deadly weapons assaulted and attempted to break into Malacaang.[20] Petitions were filed before this Court assailing the validity of the Presidents declaration. Five days after such declaration, however, the President lifted the same. The mootness of the petitions in Lacson v. Perez and accompanying cases[21] precluded this Court from addressing the constitutionality of the declaration.

To prevent similar questions from reemerging, we seize this opportunity to finally lay to rest the validity of the declaration of a state of rebellion in the exercise of the Presidents calling out power, the mootness of the petitions notwithstanding.

Only petitioners Rep. Suplico et al. and Sen. Pimentel, as Members of Congress, have standing to challenge the subject issuances. In Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez, [22] this Court recognized that:

To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.

An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless substantial injury, which can be questioned by a member of Congress. In such a case, any member of Congress can have a resort to the courts.

Petitioner Members of Congress claim that the declaration of a state of rebellion by the President is tantamount to an exercise of Congress emergency powers, thus impairing the lawmakers legislative powers. Petitioners also maintain that the declaration is a subterfuge to avoid congressional scrutiny into the Presidents exercise of martial law powers.

Petitioners Sanlakas and PM, and SJS Officers/Members, have no legal standing or locus standi to bring suit. Legal standing or locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.[23]

Petitioners Sanlakas and PM assert that:

2. As a basic principle of the organizations and as an important plank in their programs, petitioners are committed to assert, defend, protect, uphold, and promote the rights, interests, and welfare of the people, especially the poor and marginalized classes and sectors of Philippine society. Petitioners are committed to defend and assert human rights, including political and civil rights, of the citizens.

3. Members of the petitioner organizations resort to mass actions and mobilizations in the exercise of their Constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and their freedom of speech and of expression under Section 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, as a vehicle to publicly ventilate their grievances and legitimate demands and to mobilize public opinion to support the same.[24] [Emphasis in the original.]

Petitioner party-list organizations claim no better right than the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, whose standing this Court rejected in Lacson v. Perez:

petitioner has not demonstrated any injury to itself which would justify the resort to the Court. Petitioner is a juridical person not subject to arrest. Thus, it cannot claim to be threatened by a warrantless arrest. Nor is it alleged that its leaders, members, and supporters are being threatened with warrantless arrest and detention for the crime of rebellion. Every action must be brought in the name of the party whose legal rights has been invaded or infringed, or whose legal right is under imminent threat of invasion or infringement.

At best, the instant petition may be considered as an action for declaratory relief, petitioner claiming that it[]s right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly is affected by the declaration of a state of rebellion and that said proclamation is invalid for being contrary to the Constitution.

However, to consider the petition as one for declaratory relief affords little comfort to petitioner, this Court not having jurisdiction in the first instance over such a petition. Section 5 [1], Article VIII of the Constitution limits the original jurisdiction of the court to cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.[25]

Even assuming that petitioners are peoples organizations, this status would not vest them with the requisite personality to question the validity of the presidential issuances, as this Court made clear in Kilosbayan v. Morato: [26]

The Constitution provides that the State shall respect the role of independent peoples organizations to enable the people to pursue and protect, within the democratic framework, their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means, that their right to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making shall not be abridged. (Art. XIII, 15-16)

These provisions have not changed the traditional rule that only real parties in interest or those with standing, as the case may be, may invoke the judicial power. The jurisdiction of this Court, even in cases involving constitutional questions, is limited by the case and controversy requirement of Art. VIII, 5. This requirement lies at the very heart of the judicial function. It is what differentiates decisionmaking in the courts from decisionmaking in the political departments of the government and bars the bringing of suits by just any party.[27]

That petitioner SJS officers/members are taxpayers and citizens does not necessarily endow them with standing. A taxpayer may bring suit where the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation.[28] No such illegal disbursement is alleged.

On the other hand, a citizen will be allowed to raise a constitutional question only when he can show that he has personally suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government; the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action; and the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action.[29] Again, no such injury is alleged in this case.

Even granting these petitioners have standing on the ground that the issues they raise are of transcendental importance, the petitions must fail.

It is true that for the purpose of exercising the calling out power the Constitution does not require the President to make a declaration of a state of rebellion. Section 18, Article VII provides:

Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis for the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus 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 the jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released. [Emphasis supplied.]

The above provision grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a sequence of graduated power[s].[30] From the most to the least benign, these are: the calling out power, the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and the power to declare martial law. In the exercise of the latter two powers, the Constitution requires the concurrence of two conditions, namely, an actual invasion or rebellion, and that public safety requires the exercise of such power.[31] However, as we observed in Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora,[32] [t]hese conditions are not required in the exercise of the calling out power. The only criterion is that whenever it becomes necessary, the President may call the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.

Nevertheless, it is equally true that Section 18, Article VII does not expressly prohibit the President from declaring a state of rebellion. Note that the Constitution vests the President not only with Commander-in-Chief powers but, first and foremost, with Executive powers.

Section 1, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states: The executive power shall be vested in the President. As if by exposition, Section 17 of the same Article provides: He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. The provisions trace their history to the Constitution of the United States.

The specific provisions of the U.S. Constitution granting the U.S. President executive and commander-in-chief powers have remained in their original simple form since the Philadelphia Constitution of 1776, Article II of which states in part:

Section 1. 1. The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America . . . .

. . . .

Section 2. 1. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. . . .

. . . .

Section 3. he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. [Article II Executive Power]

Recalling in historical vignettes the use by the U.S. President of the above-quoted provisions, as juxtaposed against the corresponding action of the U.S. Supreme Court, is instructive. Clad with the prerogatives of the office and endowed with sovereign powers, which are drawn chiefly from the Executive Power and Commander-in-Chief provisions, as well as the presidential oath of office, the President serves as Chief of State or Chief of Government, Commander-in-Chief, Chief of Foreign Relations and Chief of Public Opinion.[33]

First to find definitive new piers for the authority of the Chief of State, as the protector of the people, was President Andrew Jackson. Coming to office by virtue of a political revolution, Jackson, as President not only kept faith with the people by driving the patricians from power. Old Hickory, as he was fondly called, was the first President to champion the indissolubility of the Union by defeating South Carolinas nullification effort.[34]

The Federal Tariff Acts of 1828 and 1832 that Congress enacted did not pacify the hotspurs from South Carolina. Its State Legislature ordered an election for a convention, whose members quickly passed an Ordinance of Nullification. The Ordinance declared the Tariff Acts unconstitutional, prohibited South Carolina citizens from obeying them after a certain date in 1833, and threatened secession if the Federal Government sought to oppose the tariff laws. The Legislature then implemented the Ordinance with bristling punitive laws aimed at any who sought to pay or collect customs duties.[35]

Jackson bided his time. His task of enforcement would not be easy. Technically, the President might send troops into a State only if the Governor called for help to suppress an insurrection, which would not occur in the instance. The President could also send troops to see to it that the laws enacted by Congress were faithfully executed. But these laws were aimed at individual citizens, and provided no enforcement machinery against violation by a State. Jackson prepared to ask Congress for a force bill.[36]

In a letter to a friend, the President gave the essence of his position. He wrote: . . . when a faction in a State attempts to nullify a constitutional law of Congress, or to destroy the Union, the balance of the people composing this Union have a perfect right to coerce them to obedience. Then in a Proclamation he issued on December 10, 1832, he called upon South Carolinians to realize that there could be no peaceable interference with the execution of the laws, and dared them, disunion by armed force is treason. Are you ready to incur its guilt? [37]

The Proclamation frightened nullifiers, non-nullifiers and tight-rope walkers. Soon, State Legislatures began to adopt resolutions of agreement, and the President announced that the national voice from Maine on the north to Louisiana on the south had declared nullification and accession confined to contempt and infamy.[38]

No other President entered office faced with problems so formidable, and enfeebled by personal and political handicaps so daunting, as Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln believed the Presidents power broad and that of Congress explicit and restricted, and sought some source of executive power not failed by misuse or wrecked by sabotage. He seized upon the Presidents designation by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief, coupled it to the executive power provision and joined them as the war power which authorized him to do many things beyond the competence of Congress.[39]

Lincoln embraced the Jackson concept of the Presidents independent power and duty under his oath directly to represent and protect the people. In his Message of July 4, 1861, Lincoln declared that the Executive found the duty of employing the war power in defense of the government forced upon him. He could not but perform the duty or surrender the existence of the Government . . . . This concept began as a transition device, to be validated by Congress when it assembled. In less than two-years, it grew into an independent power under which he felt authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and restore reoccupied States.[40]

Lincolns Proclamation of April 15, 1861, called for 75,000 troops. Their first service, according to the proclamation, would be to recapture forts, places and property, taking care to avoid any devastation, any destruction of or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens.[41]

Early in 1863, the U.S. Supreme Court approved President Lincolns report to use the war powers without the benefit of Congress. The decision was handed in the celebrated Prize Cases[42] which involved suits attacking the Presidents right to legally institute a blockade. Although his Proclamation was subsequently validated by Congress, the claimants contended that under international law, a blockade could be instituted only as a measure of war under the sovereign power of the State. Since under the Constitution only Congress is exclusively empowered to declare war, it is only that body that could impose a blockade and all prizes seized before the legislative declaration were illegal. By a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld Lincolns right to act as he had.[43]

In the course of time, the U.S. Presidents power to call out armed forces and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus without prior legislative approval, in case of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion came to be recognized and accepted. The United States introduced the expanded presidential powers in the Philippines through the Philippine Bill of 1902.[44] The use of the power was put to judicial test and this Court held that the case raised a political question and said that it is beyond its province to inquire into the exercise of the power.[45] Later, the grant of the power was incorporated in the 1935 Constitution.[46]

Elected in 1884, Grover Cleveland took his ascent to the presidency to mean that it made him the trustee of all the people. Guided by the maxim that Public office is a public trust, which he practiced during his incumbency, Cleveland sent federal troops to Illinois to quell striking railway workers who defied a court injunction. The injunction banned all picketing and distribution of handbills. For leading the strikes and violating the injunction, Debs, who was the union president, was convicted of contempt of court. Brought to the Supreme Court, the principal issue was by what authority of the Constitution or statute had the President to send troops without the request of the Governor of the State.[47]

In In Re: Eugene Debs, et al,[48] the Supreme Court upheld the contempt conviction. It ruled that it is not the governments province to mix in merely individual present controversies. Still, so it went on, whenever wrongs complained of are such as affect the public at large, and are in respect of matters which by the Constitution are entrusted to the care of the Nation and concerning which the Nation owes the duty to all citizens of securing to them their common rights, then the mere fact that the Government has no pecuniary interest in the controversy is not sufficient to exclude it from the Courts, or prevent it from taking measures therein to fully discharge those constitutional duties.[49] Thus, Clevelands course had the Courts attest.

Taking off from President Cleveland, President Theodore Roosevelt launched what political scientists dub the stewardship theory. Calling himself the steward of the people, he felt that the executive power was limited only by the specific restrictions and prohibitions appearing in the Constitution, or impleaded by Congress under its constitutional powers.[50]

The most far-reaching extension of presidential power T.R. ever undertook to employ was his plan to occupy and operate Pennsylvanias coal mines under his authority as Commander-in-Chief. In the issue, he found means other than force to end the 1902 hard-coal strike, but he had made detailed plans to use his power as Commander-in-Chief to wrest the mines from the stubborn operators, so that coal production would begin again.[51]

Eventually, the power of the State to intervene in and even take over the operation of vital utilities in the public interest was accepted. In the Philippines, this led to the incorporation of Section 6,[52] Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution, which was later carried over with modifications in Section 7,[53] Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution, and thereafter in Section 18,[54] Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.

The lesson to be learned from the U.S. constitutional history is that the Commander-in-Chief powers are broad enough as it is and become more so when taken together with the provision on executive power and the presidential oath of office. Thus, the plenitude of the powers of the presidency equips the occupant with the means to address exigencies or threats which undermine the very existence of government or the integrity of the State.

In The Philippine Presidency A Study of Executive Power, the late Mme. Justice Irene R. Cortes, proposed that the Philippine President was vested with residual power and that this is even greater than that of the U.S. President. She attributed this distinction to the unitary and highly centralized nature of the Philippine government. She noted that, There is no counterpart of the several states of the American union which have reserved powers under the United States constitution. Elaborating on the constitutional basis for her argument, she wrote:

. The [1935] Philippine [C]onstitution establishes the three departments of the government in this manner: The legislative power shall be vested in a Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the Philippines. The judicial powers shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be provided by law. These provisions not only establish a separation of powers by actual division but also confer plenary legislative, executive, and judicial powers. For as the Supreme Court of the Philippines pointed out in Ocampo v. Cabangis, a grant of legislative power means a grant of all the legislative power; and a grant of the judicial power means a grant of all the judicial power which may be exercised under the government. If this is true of the legislative power which is exercised by two chambers with a combined membership [at that time] of more than 120 and of the judicial power which is vested in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally if not more appropriately apply to the executive power which is vested in one official the president. He personifies the executive branch. There is a unity in the executive branch absent from the two other branches of government. The president is not the chief of many executives. He is the executive. His direction of the executive branch can be more immediate and direct than the United States president because he is given by express provision of the constitution control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices.[55]

The esteemed Justice conducted her study against the backdrop of the 1935 Constitution, the framers of which, early on, arrived at a general opinion in favor of a strong Executive in the Philippines.[56] Since then, reeling from the aftermath of martial law, our most recent Charter has restricted the Presidents powers as Commander-in-Chief. The same, however, cannot be said of the Presidents powers as Chief Executive.

In her ponencia in Marcos v. Manglapus, Justice Cortes put her thesis into jurisprudence. There, the Court, by a slim 8-7 margin, upheld the Presidents power to forbid the return of her exiled predecessor. The rationale for the majoritys ruling rested on the Presidents

unstated residual powers which are implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the Constitution. The powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. This is so, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of specific powers of the President, particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of executive power.[57] [Underscoring supplied. Italics in the original.]

Thus, the Presidents authority to declare a state of rebellion springs in the main from her powers as chief executive and, at the same time, draws strength from her Commander-in-Chief powers. Indeed, as the Solicitor General accurately points out, statutory authority for such a declaration may be found in Section 4, Chapter 2 (Ordinance Power), Book III (Office of the President) of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, which states:

SEC. 4. Proclamations. Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order. [Emphasis supplied.]

The foregoing discussion notwithstanding, in calling out the armed forces, a declaration of a state of rebellion is an utter superfluity.[58] At most, it only gives notice to the nation that such a state exists and that the armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it.[59] Perhaps the declaration may wreak emotional effects upon the perceived enemies of the State, even on the entire nation. But this Courts mandate is to probe only into the legal consequences of the declaration. This Court finds that such a declaration is devoid of any legal significance. For all legal intents, the declaration is deemed not written.

Should there be any confusion generated by the issuance of Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, we clarify that, as the dissenters in Lacson correctly pointed out, the mere declaration of a state of rebellion cannot diminish or violate constitutionally protected rights.[60] Indeed, if a state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution or automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,[61] then it is with more reason that a simple declaration of a state of rebellion could not bring about these conditions.[62] At any rate, the presidential issuances themselves call for the suppression of the rebellion with due regard to constitutional rights.

For the same reasons, apprehensions that the military and police authorities may resort to warrantless arrests are likewise unfounded. In Lacson vs. Perez, supra, majority of the Court held that [i]n quelling or suppressing the rebellion, the authorities may only resort to warrantless arrests of persons suspected of rebellion, as provided under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court,[63] if the circumstances so warrant. The warrantless arrest feared by petitioners is, thus, not based on the declaration of a state of rebellion.[64] In other words, a person may be subjected to a warrantless arrest for the crime of rebellion whether or not the President has declared a state of rebellion, so long as the requisites for a valid warrantless arrest are present.

It is not disputed that the President has full discretionary power to call out the armed forces and to determine the necessity for the exercise of such power. While the Court may examine whether the power was exercised within constitutional limits or in a manner constituting grave abuse of discretion, none of the petitioners here have, by way of proof, supported their assertion that the President acted without factual basis.[65]

The argument that the declaration of a state of rebellion amounts to a declaration of martial law and, therefore, is a circumvention of the report requirement, is a leap of logic. There is no indication that military tribunals have replaced civil courts in the theater of war or that military authorities have taken over the functions of civil government. There is no allegation of curtailment of civil or political rights. There is no indication that the President has exercised judicial and legislative powers. In short, there is no illustration that the President has attempted to exercise or has exercised martial law powers.

Nor by any stretch of the imagination can the declaration constitute an indirect exercise of emergency powers, which exercise depends upon a grant of Congress pursuant to Section 23 (2), Article VI of the Constitution:

Sec. 23. (1) .

(2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof.

The petitions do not cite a specific instance where the President has attempted to or has exercised powers beyond her powers as Chief Executive or as Commander-in-Chief. The President, in declaring a state of rebellion and in calling out the armed forces, was merely exercising a wedding of her Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief powers. These are purely executive powers, vested on the President by Sections 1 and 18, Article VII, as opposed to the delegated legislative powers contemplated by Section 23 (2), Article VI.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Carpio, Corona, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.

Davide, Jr., C.J., in the result.

Puno, J., in the result.

Vitug, J., see separate opinion.

Panganiban, J., see separate opinion.

Quisumbing, J., joins J. Panganibans Opinion.

Ynares-Santiago, J., see separate opinion.

Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., please see dissenting opinion.

Austria-Martinez, J., concur in the result.

Callejo, Sr., J., concurs in the separate opinion of J. Panganiban.

Azcuna, J., on official leave.



[1] Rollo, G.R. No. 159085, p. 7; Rollo, G.R. No. 159103, pp. 4-5; Rollo, G.R. No. 159185, pp. 4-5; Rollo, G.R. No. 159186, p. 9.

[2] The Court in a Resolution dated August 5, 2003 (Rollo, G.R. No. 159086, p. 18) previously dismissed the Sanlakas petition for failure to attach certified true copies of Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, and for failure to explain why service of the petition on respondents was not made personally. Petitioners subsequently filed a motion for leave to admit the petition with compliance for reconsideration, attaching therewith a certified copy of the impugned Proclamation and General Order. The Court, in a Resolution dated August 12, 2003 (Id., at 73) granted petitioners motion for leave and reinstated the petition.

[3] Id., at 10-12.

[4] Id., at 13-14.

[5] Rollo, G.R. No. 159103, p. 4.

[6] Id., at 6.

[7] Id., at 8.

[8] Id., at 7.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Rollo, G.R. No. 159185, p. 5.

[11] Id., at 10.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Rollo, G.R. No. 159196, p. 7.

[15] Id., at 17.

[16] Rollo, G.R. No. 159085, p. 45; Rollo, G.R. No. 159103, p. 23; Rollo, G.R. No. 159185, p. 22; Rollo, G.R. No. 159186, p. 41.

[17] Rollo, G.R. No. 159085, pp. 44-45; Rollo, G.R. No. 159103, pp. 22-23; Rollo, G.R. No. 159185, pp. 21-22; Rollo, G.R. No. 159186, pp. 40-41.

[18] Const., art. VIII, sec. 1; Dumlao v. COMELEC, G.R. No. L-52245, January 22, 1980, 95 SCRA 392.

[19] Alunan III v. Mirasol, G.R. No. 108399, July 31, 1997, 276 SCRA 501.

[20] Lacson v. Perez, G.R. No. 147780, May 10, 2001, 357 SCRA 757, 762.

[21] Supra.

[22] G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994, 235 SCRA 506.

[24] Rollo, G.R. No. 159085, p. 6.

[25] Lacson v. Perez, supra, at 766.

[26] G.R. No. 118910, November 19, 1995, 250 SCRA 130.

[27] Id., at 139.

[30] II Record of the Constitutional Commission 409.

[31] Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora, supra at 110.

[32] Ibid.

[33] In the Philippines, the President is called the Chief Executive.

[34] Milton, The Use of Presidential Power, 1789-1943, pp. 73, 86-90.

[35] Id., at 91.

[36] Id., at 92.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Milton, at 91-92.

[39] Id., at 109.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] 2 Black 635, 17 L. 459 (1863).

[43] Milton, at 110.

[44] A paragraph of section 5 of the act of the U.S. Congress of July 1, 1902, otherwise known as the Philippine Bill of 1902, provides: That the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion, insurrection, or invasion the public safety may require it, in either of which events the same may be suspended by the President, or by the Governor-General with the approval of the Philippine Commission, whenever during such period the necessity for such suspension shall exist.

[45] Barcelon v. Baker, 5 Phil. 87, 103 (1905).

[46] Sec. 10, Art. VII, 1935 Const.

[47] Milton, 168-170; Peter Irons, A Peoples History of the Supreme Court, Published by the Penguin Group: New York, N.Y. , 1999, pp. 245-247.

[48] 158 U.S. 1092 (1894).

[49] Id., at 1103.

[50] Milton, at 110. In An Autobiography, Roosevelt wrote:

The most important factor in getting the right spirit in my Administration, next to the insistence upon courage, honesty, and a genuine democracy of desire to serve the plain people, was my insistence upon the theory that the executive power was limited only by specific restrictions and prohibitions appearing in the Constitution or imposed by the Congress under its Constitutional powers. My view was that every executive officer, and above all, executive officer in high position was a steward of the people, and not to content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents undamaged in a napkin. I declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it. My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do anything that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws. Under this interpretation of the executive power, I did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the President and the heads of the Departments. I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power. In other words, I acted for the public welfare, I acted for the common well-being of all our people, whenever and in whatever manner was necessary, unless prevented by direct constitutional or legislative prohibition. I did not care a rap for the mere form and show of power; I cared immensely for the use that could be made of the substance. [An Autobiography, 389 (1913) New York.]

William Howard Taft took the opposite view. He opined that the President can exercise no power which cannot be fairly and reasonably traced to some specific grant of power or justly implied and included within such express grant as proper and necessary to its exercise. Such specific grant must be either in the Constitution or in an act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof. There is no undefined residuum of power which he can exercise because it seems to be in the public interest.50 (Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers, 139-142 (1916) New York.) Later, however, Taft, as Chief Justice, would change his view. See Myers v. United States, 272 US 52, 71 L Ed 160, 47 SC 21 (1926), holding that The words of 2, following the general grant of executive power under 1 were either an enumeration of specific functions of the Executive, not all inclusive, or were limitations upon the general grant of the executive power, and as such, being limitations, should not be enlarged beyond the words used.

[51] Milton, at 179.

[52] The State may, in the interest of national welfare and defense, establish and operate industries and means of transportation and communication, and upon payment of just compensation, transfer to public ownership utilities and other private enterprises to be operated by the Government.

[53] In times of national emergency when the public interest so requires, the State may temporarily take over and direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.

[54] In times of national emergency when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.

[55] Cortes, The Philippine Presidency, A Study of Executive Power, pp. 68-69.

[56] I Arugeo, The Framing of the Constitutional Convention 397 (1949) Manila.

[57] Marcos v. Manglapus, G.R. No. 88211, October 27, 1989, 178 SCRA 760, 763-764.

[58] See Lacson v. Perez, supra, Kapunan, J., dissenting, at 773, 776.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Const., art. VII, sec. 18.

[62] Lacson v. Perez, supra, Sandoval-Gutierrez dissenting, at 792-793.

[63] SEC. 5. Arrests without warrant; when lawful. A police officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, or is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it;

.

[64] Lacson v. Perez, supra, at 763.

[65] IBP v. Zamora, supra.