Sanlakas vs. Executive Secretary Angelo Reyes G.R. No. 159085. February 3, 2004

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SANLAKAS
vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ANGELO REYES
G.R. No. 159085.  February 3, 2004

FACTS:

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). 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. 

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.

In G.R. No. 159085 (Sanlakas and PM v. Executive Secretary, et al.), 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. 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.

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not Sanalakas has no legal standing.

RULING:

1. Even assuming that petitioners are “people’s 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.

The Constitution provides that “the State shall respect the role of independent people’s 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 decision- making in the courts from decision- making in the political departments of the government and bars the bringing of suits by just any party.

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. 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. Again, no such injury is alleged in this case.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED.

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....
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