Republic of the Philippines

Supreme Court

Manila

 

EN BANC

 

 

DANTE V. LIBAN, REYNALDO M. BERNARDO and SALVADOR M. VIARI,

Petitioners,

 

 

 

 

 

 

- versus -

 

 

 

 

 

 

RICHARD J. GORDON,

Respondent.

 

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RED CROSS,

Intervenor.

 

G. R. No. 175352

 

Present:

 

CORONA, C.J.,

CARPIO,

CARPIO MORALES,

VELASCO, JR.,

NACHURA,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

BRION,

PERALTA,

BERSAMIN,

DEL CASTILLO,

ABAD,

VILLARAMA, JR.,

PEREZ,

MENDOZA, and

SERENO, JJ.

 

Promulgated:

 

January 18, 2011

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

 

 

R E S O L U T I O N

 

 

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

 

 

This resolves the Motion for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration[1] filed on August 10, 2009 by respondent Richard J. Gordon (respondent) of the Decision promulgated by this Court on July 15, 2009 (the Decision), the Motion for Partial Reconsideration[2] filed on August 27, 2009 by movant-intervenor Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), and the latters Manifestation and Motion to Admit Attached Position Paper[3] filed on December 23, 2009.

 

In the Decision,[4] the Court held that respondent did not forfeit his seat in the Senate when he accepted the chairmanship of the PNRC Board of Governors, as the office of the PNRC Chairman 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.[5] The Decision, however, further declared void the PNRC Charter insofar as it creates the PNRC as a private corporation and consequently ruled that the PNRC should incorporate under the Corporation Code and register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if it wants to be a private corporation.[6] The dispositive portion of the Decision reads 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 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.[7]

In his Motion for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration, respondent raises the following grounds: (1) as the issue of constitutionality of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 95 was not raised by the parties, the Court went beyond the case in deciding such issue; and (2) as the Court decided that Petitioners did not have standing to file the instant Petition, the pronouncement of the Court on the validity of R.A. No. 95 should be considered obiter.[8]

 

Respondent argues that the validity of R.A. No. 95 was a non-issue; therefore, it was unnecessary for the Court to decide on that question. Respondent cites Laurel v. Garcia,[9] wherein the Court said that it will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by the record if the case can be disposed of on some other ground and goes on to claim that since this Court, in the Decision, disposed of the petition on some other ground, i.e., lack of standing of petitioners, there was no need for it to delve into the validity of R.A. No. 95, and the rest of the judgment should be deemed obiter.

 

In its Motion for Partial Reconsideration, PNRC prays that the Court sustain the constitutionality of its Charter on the following grounds:

 

A.                THE ASSAILED DECISION DECLARING UNCONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC ACT NO. 95 AS AMENDED DEPRIVED INTERVENOR PNRC OF ITS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.

 

1.      INTERVENOR PNRC WAS NEVER A PARTY TO THE INSTANT CONTROVERSY.

 

2.      THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 95, AS AMENDED WAS NEVER AN ISSUE IN THIS CASE.

 

B.     THE CURRENT CHARTER OF PNRC IS PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1264 AND NOT REPUBLIC ACT NO. 95. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1264 WAS NOT A CREATION OF CONGRESS.

 

C.     PNRCS STRUCTURE IS SUI GENERIS; IT IS A CLASS OF ITS OWN. WHILE IT IS PERFORMING HUMANITARIAN FUNCTIONS AS AN AUXILIARY TO GOVERNMENT, IT IS A NEUTRAL ENTITY SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT OF GOVERNMENT CONTROL, YET IT DOES NOT QUALIFY AS STRICTLY PRIVATE IN CHARACTER.

 

 

In his Comment and Manifestation[10] filed on November 9, 2009, respondent manifests: (1) that he agrees with the position taken by the PNRC in its Motion for Partial Reconsideration dated August 27, 2009; and (2) as of the writing of said Comment and Manifestation, there was pending before the Congress of the Philippines a proposed bill entitled An Act Recognizing the PNRC as an Independent, Autonomous, Non-Governmental Organization Auxiliary to the Authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the Humanitarian Field, to be Known as The Philippine Red Cross.[11]

 

After a thorough study of the arguments and points raised by the respondent as well as those of movant-intervenor in their respective motions, we have reconsidered our pronouncements in our Decision dated July 15, 2009 with regard to the nature of the PNRC and the constitutionality of some provisions of the PNRC Charter, R.A. No. 95, as amended.

 

As correctly pointed out in respondents Motion, 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.,[12] 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.[13]

 

 

Under the rule quoted above, therefore, this Court should not have declared void certain sections of R.A. No. 95, as amended by Presidential Decree (P.D.) Nos. 1264 and 1643, 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 originally 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.

 

Its existence as a chartered corporation remained unchallenged on ground of unconstitutionality notwithstanding that R.A. No. 95 was enacted on March 22, 1947 during the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, which provided for a proscription against the creation of private corporations by special law, to wit:

 

SEC. 7. The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations, unless such corporations are owned and controlled by the Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof. (Art. XIV, 1935 Constitution.)

 

Similar provisions are found in Article XIV, Section 4 of the 1973 Constitution and Article XII, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution. The latter reads:

 

SECTION 16. The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations. Government-owned or controlled corporations may be created or established by special charters in the interest of the common good and subject to the test of economic viability.

 

 

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 PNRCs 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 PNRCs contention that its structure is sui generis.

 

The PNRC succeeded the chapter of the American Red Cross which was in existence in the Philippines since 1917. It was created by an Act of Congress after the Republic of the Philippines became an independent nation on July 6, 1946 and proclaimed on February 14, 1947 its adherence to the Convention of Geneva of July 29, 1929 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field (the Geneva Red Cross Convention). By that action the Philippines indicated its desire to participate with the nations of the world in mitigating the suffering caused by war and to establish in the Philippines a voluntary organization for that purpose and like other volunteer organizations established in other countries which have ratified the Geneva Conventions, to promote the health and welfare of the people in peace and in war.[14]

 

The provisions of R.A. No. 95, as amended by R.A. Nos. 855 and 6373, and further amended by P.D. Nos. 1264 and 1643, show the historical background and legal basis of the creation of the PNRC by legislative fiat, as a voluntary organization impressed with public interest. Pertinently R.A. No. 95, as amended by P.D. 1264, provides:

 

WHEREAS, during the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 22 August 1894, the nations of the world unanimously agreed to diminish within their power the evils inherent in war;

 

WHEREAS, more than one hundred forty nations of the world have ratified or adhered to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armed Forces in the Field and at Sea, The Prisoners of War, and The Civilian Population in Time of War referred to in this Charter as the Geneva Conventions;

 

WHEREAS, the Republic of the Philippines became an independent nation on July 4, 1946, and proclaimed on February 14, 1947 its adherence to the Geneva Conventions of 1929, and by the action, indicated its desire to participate with the nations of the world in mitigating the suffering caused by war and to establish in the Philippines a voluntary organization for that purpose as contemplated by the Geneva Conventions;

 

WHEREAS, there existed in the Philippines since 1917 a chapter of the American National Red Cross which was terminated in view of the independence of the Philippines; and

 

WHEREAS, the volunteer organizations established in other countries which have ratified or adhered to the Geneva Conventions assist in promoting the health and welfare of their people in peace and in war, and through their mutual assistance and cooperation directly and through their international organizations promote better understanding and sympathy among the people of the world;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, and General Order No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, do hereby decree and order that Republic Act No. 95, Charter of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) as amended by Republic Acts No. 855 and 6373, be further amended as follows:

 

Section 1. There is hereby created in the Republic of the Philippines a body corporate and politic to be the voluntary organization officially designated to assist the Republic of the Philippines in discharging the obligations set forth in the Geneva Conventions and to perform such other duties as are inherent upon a national Red Cross Society. The national headquarters of this Corporation shall be located in Metropolitan Manila. (Emphasis supplied.)

 

 

The significant public service rendered by the PNRC can be gleaned from Section 3 of its Charter, which provides:

 

Section 3. That the purposes of this Corporation shall be as follows:

 

(a) To provide volunteer aid to the sick and wounded of armed forces in time of war, in accordance with the spirit of and under the conditions prescribed by the Geneva Conventions to which the Republic of the Philippines proclaimed its adherence;

 

(b) For the purposes mentioned in the preceding sub-section, to perform all duties devolving upon the Corporation as a result of the adherence of the Republic of the Philippines to the said Convention;

 

(c) To act in matters of voluntary relief and in accordance with the authorities of the armed forces as a medium of communication between people of the Republic of the Philippines and their Armed Forces, in time of peace and in time of war, and to act in such matters between similar national societies of other governments and the Governments and people and the Armed Forces of the Republic of the Philippines;

 

(d) To establish and maintain a system of national and international relief in time of peace and in time of war and apply the same in meeting and emergency needs caused by typhoons, flood, fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters and to devise and carry on measures for minimizing the suffering caused by such disasters;

 

(e) To devise and promote such other services in time of peace and in time of war as may be found desirable in improving the health, safety and welfare of the Filipino people;

 

(f) To devise such means as to make every citizen and/or resident of the Philippines a member of the Red Cross.

 

The PNRC is one of the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the IFRC and RCS, make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement). They constitute a worldwide humanitarian movement, whose mission is:

 

[T]o prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health and ensure respect for the human being, in particular in times of armed conflict and other emergencies, to work for the prevention of disease and for the promotion of health and social welfare, to encourage voluntary service and a constant readiness to give help by the members of the Movement, and a universal sense of solidarity towards all those in need of its protection and assistance.[15]

 

 

The PNRC works closely with the ICRC and has been involved in humanitarian activities in the Philippines since 1982. Among others, these activities in the country include:

 

1.     Giving protection and assistance to civilians displaced or otherwise affected by armed clashes between the government and armed opposition groups, primarily in Mindanao;

2.     Working to minimize the effects of armed hostilities and violence on the population;

3.     Visiting detainees; and

4.     Promoting awareness of international humanitarian law in the public and private sectors.[16]

 

National Societies such as the PNRC act as auxiliaries to the public authorities of their own countries in the humanitarian field and provide a range of services including disaster relief and health and social programmes.

 

The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies (RCS) Position Paper,[17] submitted by the PNRC, is instructive with regard to the elements of the specific nature of the National Societies such as the PNRC, to wit:

 

National Societies, such as the Philippine National Red Cross and its sister Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, have certain specificities deriving from the 1949 Geneva Convention and the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement). They are also guided by the seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.

 

A National Society partakes of a sui generis character. It is a protected component of the Red Cross movement under Articles 24 and 26 of the First Geneva Convention, especially in times of armed conflict. These provisions require that the staff of a National Society shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. Such protection is not ordinarily afforded by an international treaty to ordinary private entities or even non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This sui generis character is also emphasized by the Fourth Geneva Convention which holds that an Occupying Power cannot require any change in the personnel or structure of a National Society. National societies are therefore organizations that are directly regulated by international humanitarian law, in contrast to other ordinary private entities, including NGOs.

 

x x x x

 

In addition, National Societies are not only officially recognized by their public authorities as voluntary aid societies, auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field, but also benefit from recognition at the International level. This is considered to be an element distinguishing National Societies from other organisations (mainly NGOs) and other forms of humanitarian response.

 

x x x. No other organisation belongs to a world-wide Movement in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other. This is considered to be the essence of the Fundamental Principle of Universality.

 

Furthermore, the National Societies are considered to be auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field. x x x.

 

The auxiliary status of [a] Red Cross Society means that it is at one and the same time a private institution and a public service organization because the very nature of its work implies cooperation with the authorities, a link with the State. In carrying out their major functions, Red Cross Societies give their humanitarian support to official bodies, in general having larger resources than the Societies, working towards comparable ends in a given sector.

 

x x x No other organization has a duty to be its governments humanitarian partner while remaining independent.[18] (Emphases ours.)

 

 

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.

 

In the Decision, the Court, citing Feliciano v. Commission on Audit,[19] explained that the purpose of the constitutional provision prohibiting Congress from creating private corporations was to prevent the granting of special privileges to certain individuals, families, or groups, which were denied to other groups. Based on the above discussion, it can be seen that the PNRC Charter does not come within the spirit of this constitutional provision, as it does not grant special privileges to a particular individual, family, or group, but creates an entity that strives to serve the common good.

 

Furthermore, a strict and mechanical interpretation of Article XII, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution will hinder the State in adopting measures that will serve the public good or national interest. It should be noted that a special law, R.A. No. 9520, the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, and not the general corporation code, vests corporate power and capacities upon cooperatives which are private corporations, in order to implement the States avowed policy.

 

In the Decision of July 15, 2009, the Court recognized the public service rendered by the PNRC as the governments partner in the observance of its international commitments, to wit:

 

The PNRC is a non-profit, donor-funded, voluntary, humanitarian organization, whose mission is to bring timely, effective, and compassionate humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable without consideration of nationality, race, religion, gender, social status, or political affiliation. The PNRC provides six major services: Blood Services, Disaster Management, Safety Services, Community Health and Nursing, Social Services and Voluntary Service.

 

 The Republic of the Philippines, adhering to the Geneva Conventions, established the PNRC as a voluntary organization for the purpose contemplated in the Geneva Convention of 27 July 1929. x x x.[20] (Citations omitted.)

 

 

So must this Court recognize too the countrys adherence to the Geneva Convention and respect the unique status of the PNRC in consonance with its treaty obligations. The Geneva Convention has the force and effect of law.[21] Under the Constitution, the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.[22] 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 PNRCs 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. Although the PNRC is called to be independent under its Fundamental Principles, it interprets such independence as inclusive of its duty to be the governments humanitarian partner. To be recognized in the International Committee, the PNRC must have an autonomous status, and carry out its humanitarian mission in a neutral and impartial manner.

 

However, in accordance with the Fundamental Principle of Voluntary Service of National Societies of the Movement, the PNRC must be distinguished from private and profit-making entities. It is the main characteristic of National Societies that they are not inspired by the desire for financial gain but by individual commitment and devotion to a humanitarian purpose freely chosen or accepted as part of the service that National Societies through its volunteers and/or members render to the Community.[23]

 

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 private corporation since it is regulated by international humanitarian law and is treated as an auxiliary of the State.[24]

 

Based on the above, the sui generis status of the PNRC is now sufficiently established. Although it is neither a subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the government, nor a government-owned or -controlled corporation or a subsidiary thereof, as succinctly explained in the Decision of July 15, 2009, 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. As correctly mentioned by Justice Roberto A. Abad, the 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 countrys 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.

 

WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent Richard J. Gordons Motion for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration and movant-intervenor PNRCs Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Decision in G.R. No. 175352 dated July 15, 2009 are GRANTED. The constitutionality of R.A. No. 95, as amended, the charter of the Philippine National Red Cross, was not raised by the parties as an issue and should not have been passed upon by this Court. The structure of the PNRC is sui generis being neither strictly private nor public in nature. R.A. No. 95 remains valid and constitutional in its entirety. The dispositive portion of the Decision should therefore be MODIFIED 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.

 

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

 

 

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO

Associate Justice

 

 

 

WE CONCUR:

 

 

 

No part

RENATO C. CORONA

Chief Justice

 

 

 

 

 

See dissenting opinion I join the dissent of J. Carpio

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I join the dissent of J. Carpio

 

ARTURO D. BRION

Associate Justice

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See my concurring opinion

 

ROBERTO A. ABAD

Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I join J. Carpio in his dissent

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ

Associate Justice

JOSE C. MENDOZA

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I agree with the dissent of J. Carpio

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO

Associate Justice

 

 

 

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

 

 

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.

 

 

 

 

 

RENATO C. CORONA

Chief Justice

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Rollo, pp. 256-264.

[2] Id. at 397-418.

[3] Id. at 434-439.

[4] Liban v. Gordon, G.R. No. 175352, July 15, 2009, 593 SCRA 68.

[5] Section 13, Article VI of the Constitution reads:

SEC. 13. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives 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. Neither shall he be appointed to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.

[6] Liban v. Gordon, supra note 4 at 97-98.

[7] Id. at 98.

[8] Rollo, p. 256.

[9] G.R. Nos. 92013 and 92047, July 25, 1990, 187 SCRA 797, 813.

[10] Rollo, pp. 421-431.

[11] Id. at 421.

[12] G.R. No. 162243, November 29, 2006, 508 SCRA 498.

[13] Id. at 552, citing Sotto v. Commission on Elections, 76 Phil. 516, 522 (1946).

[14] Whereas clause, Republic Act No. 95 (1947).

[15] Pamphlet entitled The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (April 2009), available with the ICRC, http://www.icrc.org.

[16] Id.

[17] Rollo, pp. 440-442.

[18] Id. at 440-441.

[19] 464 Phil. 439 (2004).

[20] Liban v. Gordon, supra note 4 at 77.

[21] Ebro III v. National Labor Relations Commission, 330 Phil. 93, 101 (1996).

[22] 1935 Constitution, ARTICLE II, SECTION 3. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy and adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the Nation.

1973 CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE II, SECTION 3. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

1987 CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE II, SECTION 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

[23] Supra note 15.

[24] Rollo, p. 433.