Biraogo vs Philippine Truth Commission of 2010
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G.R. No. 192935 December 7, 2010
LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner,
THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010, Respondent.
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G.R. No. 193036
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A. DATUMANONG, and REP. ORLANDO B. FUA, SR., Petitioners, vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD, Respondents.
When the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. --- Justice Jose P. Laurel
The genesis of the foregoing cases can be traced to the events prior to the historic May 2010 elections, when then Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III declared his staunch condemnation of graft and corruption with his slogan, "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap." The Filipino people, convinced of his sincerity and of his ability to carry out this noble objective, catapulted the good senator to the presidency.
The first case is G.R. No. 192935, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Biraogo (Biraogo) in his capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order No. 1 for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article VI of the Constitution as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislature to create a public office and to appropriate funds therefor.
The second case, G.R. No. 193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioners Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives.
Thus, at the dawn of his administration, the President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order No. 1 establishing the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission).
1. Whether or not the petitioners have the legal standing to file their respective petitions and question Executive Order No. 1;
2. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping the powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and commissions;
3. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;
4. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause; and
5. Whether or not petitioners are entitled to injunctive relief.
Legal Standing of the Petitioners
The Court, however, finds reason in Biraogo’s assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in the petition which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Where the issues are of transcendental and paramount importance not only to the public but also to the Bench and the Bar, they should be resolved for the guidance of all.Undoubtedly, the Filipino people are more than interested to know the status of the President’s first effort to bring about a promised change to the country. The Court takes cognizance of the petition not due to overwhelming political undertones that clothe the issue in the eyes of the public, but because the Court stands firm in its oath to perform its constitutional duty to settle...
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