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Nominees for Chief Justice (Part III)

November 29, 2006

Editor's Note: Re-posted to add more detailed CV of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

PUNO continued

Rulings:

• Penned the majority opinion in Estrada vs. Desierto and Macapagal-Arroyo, (G.R. Nos. 146710-15, 146738, March 2, 2001), declaring Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the de jure 14th President of the Republic, after the resignation of then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada;
• Wrote the opinion in Jinggoy Estrada’s petition for bail, holding that the Supreme Court is not in a position to grant petitioner’s prayer for bail, as the matter requires evidentiary hearing that should be conducted by the Sandiganbayan;
• He wrote the ponencia in Republic vs. MERALCO, upholding the rates to be refunded to MERALCO’s customers or correspondingly credited in their favor for future consumption, which was prescribed by the ERB.
• He also penned the majority opinion in Agan, Jr. vs. PIATCO (G.R. No. 155001. May 5, 2003), invalidating the contract for the construction, operation and maintenance of the NAIA IPT III granted by the PBC in favor of Paircargo Consortium, PIATCO’s predecessor.
On the constitutionality of laws

• In Escudero vs. Sec. Purisima, he voted against the issuance of a TRO to enjoin the implementation of Republic Act No. 9337 (VAT Law), stressing that the implementation of tax laws cannot be enjoined being the life blood of the government. He, nevertheless, voted to uphold the constitutionality of the law, but at the same time voted to declare some of its provisions unconstitutional;
• Also, he voted to uphold the constitutionality of RA No. 7080, otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA No. 7659; and of the Indigenous People’s Right Act (IPRA) of 1997;
• He, however, voted against the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 8551, otherwise known as the “Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998” insofar as it violates Canonizado’s security of tenure;
• He concurred with the ponencia in declaring unconstitutional the proviso in Section 3 (aq), Sections 23, 33 to 41, 56, the second and third paragraphs of Section 81 and (f) section 90, of RA No. 7942 otherwise known as the Mining Act of 1995, all the provisions of DENR Administrative Order No 96-40 and the financial and technical assistance agreement FTAA between the government and WMC Phils. However, when the majority, on motion for reconsideration, vacated its previous decision and uphold the constitutionality of the law, its implementing rules and FTAA (except Sections 7.8 and 7.9); he concurred with the result and with the majority’s holding declaring unconstitutional Sections 7.8 and 7.9 of the subject FTAA;
On other constitutional issues
He joined the majority in:

o Tecson vs. COMELEC, (G.R. No. 161434, March 3, 2004) upholding the Filipino citizenship of Fernando Poe Jr.; and in Poe Jr. vs. Macapagal-Arroyo (PET Case No. 002, March 29, 2005), dismissing Poe’s election protest on the ground that no real party in interest has come forward within the reasonable period allowed by law, to intervene in the case or be substituted for the deceased protestant.

o ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation vs. COMELEC (G.R. No.133486, January 28, 2000), allowing the holding of exit polls and the dissemination of their results through mass media.

o MMDA vs. Bel-air Village Association, Inc., (G.R. No. 135962, March 27, 2000); and MMDA vs. Garin, (G.R. No. 130230, April 15, 2005) respectively invalidating MMDA’s attempt to open a private village for public use to ease the traffic condition in Metro Manila and its act of confiscating and suspending or revoking driver’s license in the implementation of traffic rules, holding that MMDA’s act must be authorized by a valid law, or ordinance, or regulation arising from a legitimate source.

o People vs. Jalosjos, (G.R. Nos. 132875-76. February 3, 2000), ruling against the Jalosjos’ claim that re-election to public office gives priority to any other right or interest, and further holding that the performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison.

o Lacson vs. Secretary Perez, (G.R. No. 147780, May 10, 2001), dismissing the petition assailing the declaration of state of rebellion for being moot and academic.

o IBP vs. Hon. Zamora (G.R. No. 141284,August 15, 2000), upholding the deployment of the Marines to join the PNP in visibility patrols around the metropolis, stressing in his separate opinion that when private justiciable rights are involved in a suit, a court must not refuse to assume jurisdiction even though questions of extreme political importance are necessarily involved.

o Chavez vs. Hon. Romulo, (G.R. No. 157036, June 9, 2004), upholding the cancellation of all permit to carry firearm, ratiocinating that the right to bear arms cannot be classified as fundamental under the 1987 Philippine Constitution; PTCFR, just like ordinary licenses in other regulated fields, may be revoked any time. It does not confer an absolute right, but only a personal privilege to be exercised under existing restrictions, and such as may thereafter be reasonably imposed.

In 2003, on the issue of whether the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide is barred under par. 5, section 3 of the Constitution, he concurred with the majority only insofar as it uphold the locus standi of the petitioner and in holding that issue raised before it was a justiciable one, which may be taken cognizance of by the Supreme Court; but dissented in declaring the second impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice barred under par. 5, section 3 of the Constitution, explaining that the coordinancy theory of the constitutional and jurisprudential interpretation demand that the Court defer the exercise of certiorari jurisdiction on the issue of alleged violation of Article XI, Sec 3(5) of the Constitution until after the remedies against impeachment still available in both House of Representatives and the Senate shall have been exhausted. (Francisco vs. Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, G.R. No. 160261. November 10, 2003)

• Also, he dissented with the majority ruling that Mark Jimenez is not entitled to bail while the extradition proceeding is pending. According to him, the mere silence of our extradition treaty with the US and our extradition law does not negate the right to bail of a potential extraditee, as the right to bail inheres from the rights to life, liberty and to due process. (Government of USA vs. Hon. Purganan and Mark B. Jimenez, G.R. No. 148571, September 24, 2002).

• He, likewise, joined the dissent of Justice Ynares-Santiago in Gregorio Honasan vs. Panel of Investigating Prosecutor of the DOJ (G.R. No. 159747. April 13, 2004), stating that where the concurrent authority is vested in both the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction should operate to restrain the Department of Justice from exercising its investigative authority if the case will likely be cognizable by the Sandiganbayan;

On economic issues or issues involving contracts entered into by the government -

• He initially joined the majority in invalidating the Amended Joint Venture Agreement between PEA and Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation (Chavez vs. PEA &Amari Coastal Bay Development Corp., G.R. No. 133250, July 9, 2002). However, on motion for reconsideration, he dissented with the majority and voted to give prospective application to the Decision of July 2002 (Chavez vs. PEA &Amari Coastal Bay Development Corp., G.R. No. 133250, May 6, 2003 & November 11, 2003);

• He concurred with the ponencia in invalidating COMELEC Resolution No. 6074 awarding the contract for Phase II of the CAES to Mega Pacific Consortium (Information Technology Foundation, Inc. vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 159139, January 13, 2004);

• He dissented in Republic vs. COCOFED( G.R. No. 147062-64, December 14, 2001), and vote to grant the petition in part and insofar as the shares of stock pertaining to the 10% of the 72% equity retention standing in the name of Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.; he opined that it would neither be right nor just to deprive him from meanwhile exercising his right to at least vote the same. Also, he dissented in Freedom from Debt Coalition vs. ERC & MERALCO, (G.R. No. 161113. June 15, 2004), invalidating the ERC’s provisional rate increases to the MERALCO for want of due process, stating that ERC did not commit any violation of the procedure set forth in the EPIRA’s Implementing Rules and Regulation in issuing the assailed Order;

• On labor and social legislation -he joined the majority in ordering the forfeiture of the Swiss deposits, in favor of the Republic, now deposited in escrow at the PNB in the estimated aggregate amount of US$658,175,373.60 (Republic vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 15215, July 15, 2003);

• He dissented when the majority decision simply ordered the payment of backwages, without reinstatement of the dismissed employee (Ruben Serrano vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 117040, January 27, 2000) or in the recent case, mere payment of P30,000.00 nominal damages without reinstatement and payment of backwages (Agabon vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 158693, November 17, 2004) in cases of dismissal with just cause but without due process.. He opined that the policy of "dismiss now and pay later" favors monied employers and is a mockery of the right of employees to social justice;

• Finally, in People vs. Marivic Genosa (G.R. No. 135981, January 15, 2004) he concurred with the ponencia in convicting Genosa of parricide rejecting her “battered woman syndrome” plea;

Recent Rulings:

• He voted against EO 464
• He voted against Calibrated Preemptive Response
• He did not vote on Proclamation 1017 because he was on leave, his wife died
• He voted for People’s Initiative

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