Here are selected May 2011 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on political law.
Declaration of unconstitutionality; doctrine of operative fact. An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is inoperative as if it has not been passed at all. The doctrine of operative fact is an exception this rule. It applies as a matter of equity and fair play, and nullifies the effects of an unconstitutional law by recognizing that the existence of a statute prior to a determination of unconstitutionality is an operative fact and may have consequences that cannot always be ignored. It applies when a declaration of unconstitutionality will impose an undue burden on those who have relied on the invalid law. The doctrine cannot be applied to this case, as to hold otherwise would be iniquitous to petitioner who was illegally dismissed from employment and would allow his employer to profit from a violation of an unconstitutional provision of law. Claudio S. Yap v. Thenamaris Ship’s Management and Intermare Maritime Agencies, Inc., G.R. No. 179532. May 30, 2011.
Judicial review; review of executive policy. Petitioner here seeks judicial review of a question of Executive policy, which the Court ruled is outside its jurisdiction. Despite the definition of judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, the determination of where, as between two possible routes, to construct a road extension is not within the province of courts. Such determination belongs exclusively to the Executive branch. Barangay Captain Beda Torrecampo v. Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, et al., G.R. No. 188296. May 30, 2011.
Administrative Law; Public Officers
Administrative cases; due process. Petitioners argue that they were denied due process because their order of dismissal was not accompanied by any justification from the Board of Directors of Philippine Estates Authority, which merely relied on the findings of the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission. The Court dismissed this argument on the basis that petitioners were given the opportunity to be heard in the course of PAGC’s investigation. The essence of due process in administrative proceedings is the opportunity to explain one’s side or seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of, and to submit any evidence a party may have in support of his defense. The demands of due process are sufficiently met when the parties are given the opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered. Petitioners here actively participated in the proceedings before PAGC where they were afforded the opportunity to explain their actions through their memoranda. The essence of due process is the right to be heard and this evidently was afforded to them. Theron V. Lacson v. The Hon. Executive Secretary, et al./Jaime R. Millan and Bernardo T. Viray v. The Hon. Executive Secretary, et al., G.R. No. 165399 & 165475/G.R. No. 165404 & 165489. May 30, 2011.