Here are selected October 2010 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on political law.
Bill of Rights; Presumption of Innocence. In this case, the so-called frame-up was virtually pure allegation bereft of credible proof. The narration of the police officer who implemented the search warrant was found, after trial and appellate review, as the true story. It is on firmer ground than the self-serving statement of the accused-appellant of frame-up. The defense cannot solely rely upon the constitutional presumption of innocence for, while it is constitutional, the presumption is not conclusive. Notably, the accused-appellant herself stated in her brief that “no proof was proffered by the accused-appellant of the police officers’ alleged ill motive.” Stated otherwise, the narration of the incident by law enforcers, buttressed by the presumption that they have regularly performed their duties in the absence of convincing proof to the contrary, must be given weight. People of the Philippines vs. Olive Rubio Mamaril. G.R. No. 171980, October 6, 2010.
Bill of Rights; Probable Cause. There is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the findings or opinion of the judge conducting the examination. It is presumed that a judicial function has been regularly performed, absent a showing to the contrary. The defense’s reliance of the quoted testimony of the police officer alone, without any other evidence to show that there was indeed lack of personal knowledge, is insufficient to overturn the finding of the trial court. The accused-appellant, having failed to present substantial rebuttal evidence to defeat the presumption of regularity of duty of the issuing judge, cannot not be sustained by the Court. People of the Philippines vs. Olive Rubio Mamaril. G.R. No. 171980, October 6, 2010.
Constitutionality; Actual Controversy; Standing to Sue. The power of judicial review can only be exercised in connection with a bona fide controversy involving a statute, its implementation or a government action. Without such controversy, courts will decline to pass upon constitutional issues through advisory opinions, bereft as they are of authority to resolve hypothetical or moot questions. The limitation on the power of judicial review to actual cases and controversies defines the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power, to assure that the courts will not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government. But even with the presence of an actual case or controversy, the Court may refuse judicial review unless the constitutional question or the assailed illegal government act is brought before it by a party who possesses locus standi or the standing to challenge it. To have standing, one must establish that he has a “personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement.” Particularly, he must show that (1) he has suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action; and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action.