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CONSTI 2 CASES

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CONSTI 2 CASES SYLLABUS SOL
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    MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ALEXANDER PADILLA, and MARIA ISABEL ONGPIN ,  petitioners , vs  . COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, JESUS DELFIN, ALBERTO PEDROSA & CARMEN PEDROSA, in their capacities as founding members of the People's Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and Action (PIRMA) ,  respondents . SENATOR RAUL S. ROCO, DEMOKRASYA-IPAGTANGGOL ANG KONSTITUSYON (DIK), MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. (MABINI), INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), and LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LABAN),  petitioners-intervenors . Roco Bunag Kapunan & Migallos for movant Raul S. Roco. Rene V .  Sarmiento and R .  A . V .  Saguisag for movants DIK & MABINI. Pete Quirino Quadra for respondents Sps .  Alberto & Carmen Pedrosa . SYLLABUS  1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; COMELEC'S FAILURE TO ACT ON MOTION TO DISMISS AND ITS INSISTENCE TO HOLD ON TO THE PETITION RENDERED RIPE AND VIABLE THE PETITION UNDER SECTION 2 OF RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF COURT. —  Except for the petitioners and intervenor Roco, the parties paid no serious attention to the fifth issue, i.e., whether it is proper for this Court to take cognizance of this special civil action when there is a pending case before theCOMELEC. . . It must be recalled that intervenor Roco filed with the COMELEC a motion to dismiss the Delfin Petition on the ground that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction or authority  to entertain the petition. The COMELEC made no ruling thereon evidently because after having heard the arguments of Delfin and the oppositors at the hearing on 12 December 1996, it required them to submit within five days their memoranda or oppositions/memoranda. The COMELEC's failure to act on Roco's motion to dismiss and its insistence to hold onto the petition rendered ripe and viable the instant petition under Section 2 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. 2. ID.; ID.; THE COURT MAY BRUSH ASIDE TECHNICALITIES OF PROCEDURE IN CASES OF TRANSCENDENTAL IMPORTANCE. —  The Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure in cases of transcendental importance. As we stated in Kilosbayan, Inc .  v  .  Guingona, Jr  .: A Party's standing before this Court is a procedural technicality which it may, in the exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the importance of issues raised. In the landmark Emergency Powers Cases, this Court brushed aside this technicality because the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure. 3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; 1987 Constitution; AMENDMENTS OR REVISIONS; PROVISION ON THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO DIRECTLY PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, NOT SELF-EXECUTORY. —  Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution is not self-executory. In his book, Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, stated: Without implementing legislation Section 2 cannot operate. Thus, although this mode of amending the Constitution is a mode of amendment which bypasses congressional action, in the last analysis it still is dependent on congressional action. Bluntly stated the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative would remain entombed in the cold niche of the Constitution until Congress provides for its implementation. Stated otherwise, while the Constitution has recognized or granted that right, the people cannot exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its implementation.  4. ID.; ID.; ID.; R.A. 6735; INTENDED TO COVER INITIATIVE TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION. —  We agree that R.A. No. 6735 was, as its history reveals, intended to cover initiative  to propose amendments to the Constitution. The Act is a consolidation of House Bill No. 21505 and Senate Bill No. 17. The former was prepared by the committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms of Representatives on the basis of two House Bills referred to it, viz  ., (a) House Bill No. 497, which dealt with the initiative and referendum mentioned in Sections 1 and 32 of Article VI of the Constitution; and (b) House Bill No. 988, which dealt with the subject matter of House Bill No. 497, as well as with initiative and referendum under Section 3 of Article XVII of the Constitution. Senate Bill No. 17 solely, dealt with initiative and referendum concerning ordinances or resolutions of local government units. The Bicameral Conference Committee consolidated Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No. 21505 into a draft bill, which was subsequently approved on 8 June 1989 by the Senate and by the House of Representatives. This approved bill is now R.A. No. 6735. 5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CONGRESS, INVESTED WITH THE POWER TO PROVIDE FOR THE RULES IMPLEMENTING THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT. —  There is, of course, no other better way for Congress to implement the exercise of the right than through the passage of a statute or legislative act. This is the essence or rationale of the last minute amendment by the Constitutional Commission to substitute the last paragraph of Section 2 of Article XVII then reading: The Congress shall by law provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right with the Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. This substitute amendment was an investiture on Congress of a power to provide for the rules implementing the exercise of the right. The rules means the details on how [the right] is to be carried out. 6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE POWER AND DUTY OF CONGRESS TO PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT. —   First,  Contrary to the assertion of public respondent COMELEC, Section 2 of the Act does not suggest an initiative on amendments to the Constitution. The inclusion of the word Constitution therein  was a delayed afterthought. That word is neither germane nor relevant to said section, which exclusively relates to initiative and referendum on national laws and local laws, ordinances, and resolutions. That section is silent as to amendments on the Constitution. As pointed out earlier, initiative on the Constitution is confined only to proposals to AMEND. The people are not accorded the power to directly propose, enact, approve, or reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution through the system of initiative. They can only do so with respect to laws, ordinances, or resolutions. ' . . . Second  . It is true that Section 3 (Definition of Terms) of the Act defines initiative  on amendments to the Constitution and mentions it as one of the three systems of initiative,  and that Section 5 (Requirements) restates the constitutional requirements as to the percentage of the registered voters who must submit the proposal. But unlike in the case of the other systems of initiative,  the Act does not provide for the contents of a petition for initiative on the Constitution. Section 5 paragraph (c) requires, among other things, a statement of the  proposed law sought to be enacted  ,  approve or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be . It does not include, as among the contents of the petition, the provisions of the Constitution sought to be amended, in the case of initiative on the Constitution. . . . The use of the clause proposed laws sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed only strengthens the conclusion that Section 2, quoted earlier, excludes initiative on amendments to the Constitution. Third  . While the Act provides subtitles for National Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle, II) and for Local Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided for initiative  on the Constitution. This conspicuous silence as to the latter simply means that the main thrust of the Act is initiative  and referendum on national and local laws. If Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the implementation of the initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle therefor, considering that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more important than the initiative on national and local laws. . . . The foregoing brings us to the conclusion that R.A. No. 6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and
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