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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

[G.R. No. L-2821. March 4, 1949. ]

JOSE AVELINO, Petitioner, v. MARIANO J. CUENCO, Respondent.

Vicente J. Francisco for Petitioner.

Solicitor General Felix Angelo Bautista, Ramon Diokno and Lorenzo M. Tañada for Respondent.

Teehankee, Fernando, Sunico & Rodrigo; Vera, Montesines & Navarro; Felixberto M. Serrano and Vicente del Rosario as amici curiae.

SYLLABUS


1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEPARATION OF POWERS; SUPREME COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER SENATE CONTROVERSY FOR SELECTION OF PRESIDING OFFICER. — The subject matter of this quo warranto proceeding — to declare petitioner the rightful President of the Philippines Senate and oust respondent — is not within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, in view of the separation of powers, the political nature of the controversy (Alejandrino v. Quezon 46 Phil., 83., 1) and the constitutional grant to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which power should not be interfered with nor taken over by the judiciary. The selection of the presiding officer of the Philippine Senate affects only the senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CONSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL LAW; SEPARATION OF POWERS; WHEN MAY SUPREME COURT ASSUME JURISDICTION OVER SENATE CONTROVERSY FOR SELECTION OF PRESIDING OFFICER. — The Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction over this quo warranto proceeding, in the light of events subsequent to the original resolution.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; QUORUM OF PHILIPPINE SENATE. — The Court held that there was a quorum in the session of the Philippine Senate (composed of twenty-four Senators being in the United States.


R E S O L U T I O N


In G. R. No. L-2821, Avelino v. Cuenco, the Court by a vote of six justices against four resolved to deny the petition.

Without prejudice to the promulgation of a more extended opinion, this is now written briefly to explain the principal grounds for the denial.

The Court believes the following essential facts have been established:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

In the session of the Senate of February 18, 1949, Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada requested that his right to speak on the floor on the next session day, February 21, 1949, to formulate charges against the then Senate President Jose Avelino be reserved. His request was approved.

On February 21, 1949, hours before the opening of the session Senator Tañada and Senator Prospero Sanidad filed with the Secretary of the Senate a resolution enumerating charges against the then Senate President and ordering the investigation thereof.

Although a sufficient number of senators to constitute a quorum were at the Senate session hall at the appointed time (10:00 A. M.) , and the petitioner was already in his office, said petitioner delayed his appearance at the session hall until about 11:35 A. M. When he finally ascended the rostrum, he did not immediately open the session, but instead requested from the Secretary a copy of the resolution submitted by Senators Tañada and Sanidad and in the presence of the public he read slowly and carefully said resolution, after which he called and conferred with his colleagues Senators Francisco and Tirona.

Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the insistent requests of Senators Sanidad and Cuenco that the session be opened, the petitioner finally called the meeting to order. Except Senator Sotto who was confined in a hospital and Senator Confesor who is in the United States, all the Senators were present.

Senator Sanidad, following a long established practice, moved that the roll call be dispensed with, but Senator Tirona opposed said motion, obviously in pursuance of a premeditated plan of petitioner and his partisans to make use of dilatory tactics to prevent Senator Tañada from delivering his privilege speech. The roll was called.

Senator Sanidad next moved, as is the usual practice, to dispense with the reading of the minutes, but this motion was likewise opposed by Senators Tirona and David, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-mentioned conspiracy.

Before and after the roll call and before and after the reading of the minutes, Senator Tañada repeatedly stood up to claim his right to deliver his one-hour privilege speech but the petitioner, then presiding, continuously ignored him; and when after the reading of the minutes, Senator Tañada insisted on being recognized by the Chair, the petitioner announced that he would order the arrest of any senator who would speak without being previously recognized by him, but all the while, tolerating the actions of his follower, Senator Tirona, who was continuously shouting at Senator Sanidad "Out of order!" everytime the latter would ask for recognition of Senator Tañada.

At this juncture, some disorderly conduct broke out in the Senate gallery, as if by pre-arrangement. At about this same time Senator Pablo Angeles David, one of the petitioner’s followers, was recognized by petitioner, and he moved for adjournment of session, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-mentioned conspiracy to muzzle Senator Tañada.

Senator Sanidad registered his opposition to the adjournment of the session and this opposition was seconded by herein respondent who moved that the motion of adjournment be submitted to a vote. Another commotion ensued.

Senator David reiterated his motion for adjournment and herein respondent also reiterated his opposition to the adjournment and again moved that the motion of Senator David be submitted to a vote.

Suddenly, the petitioner banged the gavel and abandoning the Chair hurriedly walked out of the session hall followed by Senators David, Tirona, Francisco, Torres, Magalona and Clarin, while the rest of the senators remained. Whereupon Senator Melecio Arranz, Senate President Pro-tempore, urged by those senators present took the Chair and proceeded with the session.

Senator Cabili stood up, and asked that it be made of record — it was so made — that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it incumbent upon Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz and the remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to paralyze the functions of the Senate. Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz then suggested that respondent be designated to preside over the session, which suggestion was carried unanimously. The respondent thereupon took the Chair.

Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which was approved, Gregorio Abad was appointed Acting Secretary, because the Assistant Secretary, who was then acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter abandoned the session.

Senator Tañada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally able to deliver his privilege speech. Thereafter Senator Sanidad read aloud the complete text of said Resolution (No. 68), and submitted his motion for approval thereof and the same was unanimously approved.

With Senate President Pro-Tempore Arranz again occupying the Chair, after the respondent had yielded it to him, Senator Sanidad introduced Resolution No. 67, entitled "Resolution declaring vacant the position of the President of the Senate and designating the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco Acting President of the Senate." Put to a vote, the said resolution was unanimously approved.

Senator Cuenco took the oath.

The next day the President of the Philippines recognized the respondent as acting president of the Philippine Senate.

By his petition in this quo warranto proceeding petitioner asks the Court to declare him the rightful President of the Philippine Senate and oust Respondent.

The Court has examined all principal angles of the controversy and believes that these are the crucial points:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

a. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the subject-matter?

b. If it has, were resolutions Nos. 68 and 67 validly approved?

c. Should the petition be granted?

To the first question, the answer is in the negative, in view of the separation of powers, the political nature of the controversy (Alejandrino v. Quezon, 46 Phil., 83; Vera v. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192; Mabanag v. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil., 1) and the constitutional grant to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which power should not be interfered with, nor taken over, by the judiciary. We refused to take cognizance of the Vera case even if the rights of the electors of the suspended senators were allegedly affected without any immediate remedy. A fortiori we should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding officer affects only the Senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them. Anyway, if, as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the majority of the Senators want petitioner to preside, his remedy lies in the Senate Session Hall — not in the Supreme Court.

The Court will not sally into the legitimate domain of the Senate on the plea that our refusal to intercede might lead into a crisis, even a revolution. No state of things has been proved that might change the temper of the Filipino people as a peaceful and law-abiding citizens. And we should not allow ourselves to be stampeded into a rash action inconsistent with the calm that should characterize judicial deliberations.

The precedent of Werts v. Rogers does not apply, because among other reasons, the situation is not where two sets of senators have constituted themselves into two senates actually functioning as such, (as in the said Werts case), there being no question that there is presently one Philippine Senate only. To their credit be it recorded that petitioner and his partisans have not erected themselves into another Senate. The petitioner’s claim is merely that respondent has not been duly elected in his place in the same one Philippine Senate.

It is furthermore believed that the recognition accorded by the Chief Executive to the respondent makes it adviseable, more than ever, to adopt the hands-off policy wisely enunciated by this Court in matters of similar nature.

The second question depends upon these sub-questions. (1) Was the session of the so-called rump Senate a continuation of the session validly assembled with twenty two Senators in the morning of February 21, 1949?; (2) Was there a quorum in that session? Mr. Justice Montemayor and Mr. Justice Reyes deem it useless, for the present to pass on these questions once it is held, as they do, that the Court has no jurisdiction over the case. What follows is the opinion of the other four on those subquestions.

Supposing that the Court has jurisdiction, there is unanimity in the view that the session under Senator Arranz was a continuation of the morning session and that a minority of ten senators may not, by leaving the Hall, prevent the other twelve senators from passing a resolution that met with their unanimous endorsement. The answer might be different had the resolution been approved only by ten or less.

If the rump session was not a continuation of the morning session, was it validly constituted? In other words, was there the majority required by the Constitution for the transaction of the business of the Senate? Justices Paras, Feria, Pablo and Bengzon say there was, firstly because the minutes say so, secondly, because at the beginning of such session there were at least fourteen senators including Senators Pendatun and Lopez, and thirdly because in view of the absence from the country of Senator Tomas Confesor twelve senators constitute a majority of the Senate of twenty three senators. When the Constitution declares that a majority of "each House" shall constitute a quorum, "the House" does not mean "all" the members. Even a majority of all the members constitute "the House." (Missouri Pac. v. Kansas, 63 Law ed. [U. S. ], p. 239). There is a difference between a majority of "all the members of the House" and a majority of "the House", the latter requiring less number than the first. Therefore an absolute majority (12) of all the members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional majority of the Senate for the purpose of a quorum. Mr. Justice Pablo believes furthermore that even if the twelve did not constitute a quorum, they could have ordered the arrest of one, at least, of the absent members; if one had been so arrested, there would be no doubt Quorum then, and Senator Cuenco would have been elected just the same inasmuch as there would be eleven for Cuenco, one against and one abstained.

In fine, all the four justices agree that the Court being confronted with the practical situation that of the twenty three senators who may participate in the Senate deliberations in the days immediately after this decision, twelve senators will support Senator Cuenco and, at most, eleven will side with Senator Avelino, it would be most injudicious to declare the latter as the rightful President of the Senate, that office being essentially one that depends exclusively upon the will of the majority of the senators, the rule of the Senate about tenure of the President of that body being amendable at any time by that majority. And at any session hereafter held with thirteen or more senators, in order to avoid all controversy arising from the divergence of opinion here about quorum and for the benefit of all concerned, the said twelve senators who approved the resolutions herein involved could ratify all their acts and thereby place them beyond the shadow of a doubt.

As already stated, the six justices hereinabove mentioned voted to dismiss the petition. Without costs.

Separate Opinions


MORAN, C.J., concurring in part and dissenting in part:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

I believe that this Court has jurisdiction over the case. 1 The present crisis in the Senate is one that imperatively calls for the intervention of this Court.

Respondent Cuenco cannot invoke the doctrine of noninterference by the courts with the Senate because the legal capacity of his group of twelve senators to act as a senate is being challenged by petitioner on the ground of lack of quorum (Attorney General ex rel. Werts v. Rogers Et. Al., 28 Atl. 726; 23 L. R. A., 354). If this group is found sufficient to constitute a quorum under the Constitution, then its proceedings should be free from interference. But if it is not possessed of a valid quorum, then its proceedings should be voided.

The issue as to the legal capacity of the Cuenco group to act as a senate cannot be considered a political question the determination of which devolves exclusively upon the Senate. That issue involves a constitutional question which cannot be validly decided either by the Cuenco group or by the Avelino group separately, for, if the Cuenco group has no quorum, the Avelino group has decidedly less. And for obvious reasons, the two groups cannot act together inasmuch as the members of the Avelino group, possibly to avoid trouble, do not attend the sessions presided by the respondent believing as they do that the latter was illegally elected. Upon the other hand, the Cuenco group believing itself as possessing the constitutional quorum and not desiring to make any semblance of admission to the contrary, does not find it convenient to compel the attendance of any senator of the Avelino group. Then the question arises — who will decide the conflict between the two groups? This anomalous situation will continue while the conflict remains unsettled, and the conflict will remain unsettled while this Court refuses to intervene. In the meantime, the validity of all the laws, resolutions and other measures which may be passed by the Cuenco group will be open to doubt because of an alleged lack of quorum in the body which authored them. This doubt may extend, in diverse forms, to the House of Representatives and to the other agencies of the government such as the Auditor General’s Office. Thus, a general situation of uncertainty, pregnant with grave dangers, is developing into confusion and chaos with severe harm to the nation. This situation may, to a large extent, be stopped and constitutional processes may be restored in the Senate if only this Court, as the guardian of the Constitution, were to pronounce the final word on the constitutional mandate governing the existing conflict between the two groups. And, in my opinion, under the present circumstances, this Court has no other alternative but to meet the challenge of the situation which demands the utmost of judicial temper and judicial statesmanship. As hereinbefore stated, the present crisis in the Senate is one that imperative]y calls for the intervention of this Court.

As to the legality of respondent’s election as acting President of the Senate, 2 I firmly believe that although petitioner’s adjournment of the session of February 21, 1949, was illegal, such illegality cannot be countered with another illegality. The session wherein respondent was elected as acting President of the Senate was illegal because when Senator Mabanag raised the question of a quorum and the roll was called, only twelve senators were present. In the Philippines there are twenty-four senators, and therefore, the quorum must be thirteen. The authorities on the matter are clear.

"The constitution of our state ordains that a majority of each house shall constitute a quorum. The house of representatives consists of 125 members; 63 is a majority and a quorum. When a majority or quorum are present, the house can do business; not otherwise. A quorum possessed all the powers of the whole body, a majority of which quorum must, of course, govern." (In re Gunn, 50 Kan., 155; 32 P., 470, 476; 19 L. R. A., 519.)

"Quorum as used in U. S. C. A. Const. Art. 4, sec. 8, providing that a majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business, is, for the purposes of the Assembly, not less than the majority of the whole number of which the house may be composed. Vacancies from death, resignation or failure to elect cannot be deducted in ascertaining the quorum." (Opinion of Justices, 12 Fla. 653.)

"The general rule is that a quorum is a majority of all the members and a majority of this majority may legislate and do the work of the whole." (State v. Ellington 117 N. C., 158; 23 S. E., 250-252, 30 L. R. A., 532; 53 Am. SR., 580.)

". . . a majority of each House is necessary to transact business, and a minority cannot transact business, this view being in keeping with the provision of the Constitution permitting a smaller number than a quorum to adjourn from day to day merely." (Earp v. Riley, 40 Okl., 340; 138, P. 164; Ralls v. Wyand, 40 Okl., 323; 138 P. 158.)

"The Constitution provides that ’a majority of each (house) shall constitute a quorum to do business.’ In other words, when a majority are present the House is in a position to do business. Its capacity to transact business is then established, created by the mere presence of a majority, and does not depend upon the disposition or assent or action of any single member or faction of the majority present. All that the Constitution requires is the presence of a majority, and when that majority are present, the power of the House arises." (U. S. v. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 36 Law ed. 321, 325.)

"If all the members of the select body or committee, or if all the agents are assembled, or if all have been duly notified, and the minority refuse, or neglect to meet with the others, a majority of those present may act, provided those present constitute a majority of the whole number. In other words, in such case, a major part of the whole is necessary to constitute a quorum, and a majority of the quorum may act. If the major part withdraw so as to leave no quorum, the power of the minority to act is, in general, considered to cease." (1 Dillon, Mun. Corp. 4th ed., sec. 283.) 3 Therefore, without prejudice to writing a more extensive opinion, if necessary, I believe that respondent Mariano J. Cuenco has not been legally elected as acting President of the Senate. It is true that respondent Cuenco, in fact, must be the Senate President because he represents the majority of the members now present in Manila, and, at any new session with a quorum, upon the present senatorial alignment, he will be elected to said office. But precisely because he is now the master of the situation, he must win his victory in accordance with the Constitution. It is absolutely essential in the adolescent life of our Republic to insist, strictly and uncompromisingly, on the democratic principles consecrated in our Constitution. By such efforts alone can we insure the future of our political life as a republican form of government under the sovereignty of a Constitution from being a mockery.

The situation now in this Court is this — there are four members who believe that there was no quorum in respondent’s election as against four other members who believe that there was such quorum. Two members declined to render their opinion on the matter because of their refusal to assume jurisdiction. And, one member is absent from the Philippines. Thus, the question of whether or not respondent has been legally elected is, to say the least, doubtful in this Court under the present conditions. This doubt, which taints the validity of all the laws, resolutions and other measures that the Cuenco group has passed and may pass in the future, can easily be dispelled by them by convening a session wherein thirteen senators are present and by reiterating therein all that has been previously done by them. This is a suggestion coming from a humble citizen who is watching with a happy heart the movements of this gallant group of prominent leaders campaigning for a clean and honest government in this dear country of ours.

PERFECTO, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

In these quo warranto proceedings the question as to who among the parties is entitled to hold the position of President of the Senate is in issue.

There is no question that up to Monday, February 21, 1949, at the time the controversial incidents took place, petitioner Jose Avelino was the rightful occupant of the position. The litigation has arisen because of the opposing contentions as to petitioner’s ouster and as to respondent’s election as acting President of the Senate, on February 21, 1949.

Petitioner contends that the proceedings in which a resolution was passed declaring the position of President of the Senate vacant and electing respondent Mariano J. Cuenco as acting President of the Senate were illegal because, at the time, the session for said day has been properly adjourned, and the twelve Senators who remained in the session hall had no right to convene in a rump session, and said rump session lacked quorum, while respondent contends that the session which was opened by petitioner had not been legally adjourned, the Senators who remained in the session hall had only continued the same session, and there was quorum when the position of the President of the Senate was declared vacant and when respondent was elected as acting President of the Senate, to fill the vacated position.

Petitioner’s version of the facts, as alleged in his petition, is to the effect that on Monday, February 21, 1949, at the time petitioner opened the session in the Senate session hall, there were twenty two Senators present who answered the roll call: Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatum, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, Olegario Clarin, Melecio Arranz, Mariano Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo Tañada, Vicente Madrigal, Geronima Pecson, Camilo Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Mabanag, and the petitioner Jose Avelino. While the minutes of the preceding session was being read the crowd of more than 1,000 people who entered the Senate hall to witness the session, became unruly, the repeated efforts of petitioner as well as the sergeant-at-arms and other peace officers to maintain peace and order notwithstanding. Fights and commotions ensued and several shots were fired among the audience. The Senators who spoke could not be heard because the spectators would either shout to drown their voices or would demand that some other Senators should take the floor and be recognized by petitioner. Pandemonium reigned and it was impossible for the Senate to proceed with its deliberations free from undue pressure and without grave danger to its integrity as a body and to the personal safety of the members thereof. Senator Pablo Angeles David moved for adjournment until Thursday, February 24, 1949. There being no objection, petitioner adjourned the session until February 24, 1949. Thereupon petitioner and nine other Senators, namely, Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, and Olegario Clarin left the session hall. Senator Melecio Arranz, President Pro- Tempore of the Senate, went up the rostrum and, assuming the presidency of the chamber, convened the remaining twelve Senators into a rump session, in which a resolution was passed declaring vacant the position of the President of the Senate and electing respondent as President of the Senate. Thereupon respondent pretended to assume the office of President of the Senate and continues to pretend to assume said office.

Petitioner alleges five grounds to claim that respondent is usurping or illegally exercising the office of the President of the Senate: 1. Petitioner had adjourned the session of the Senate, the adjournment having been properly moved and, without objection, favorably acted upon; 2. Petitioner had full power to adjourn the session even without motion under Chapter II, Section 8, paragraph (e) of the Rules of the Senate; 3. The ordinary daily session having been adjourned, no other session could be called in the Senate on the same day; 4. The President Pro-tempore had no authority to assume the presidency except in the cases specified in Chapter I, section 4 of the Rules of the Senate, and none of the conditions therein mentioned obtained at the time in question; and 5. The twelve Senators that convened in the rump session did not constitute a quorum to do business under the Constitution and the rules of the Senate, being less than one-half plus one of the twenty four members of the Senate.

Respondent’s version of the events as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(a) Since Friday, February 18, 1949, when Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada announced and reserved in open session of the Senate that on Monday, February 21, 1949, he would make use of his one-hour privilege, it was known that formal charges would be filed against the then Senate President, petitioner in this case, on said date. Hours before the opening of the session on Monday, February 21, 1949, Senators Lorenzo M. Tañada and Prospero Sanidad registered in the Office of the Secretary of the Senate a resolution in which serious charges were preferred against the herein petitioner. A certified copy of said resolution, marked as Exhibit "1" is hereto attached and made an integral part hereof:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(b) Although a sufficient number of senators to constitute a quorum were at the Senate session hall at and before 10:00 A. M., scheduled time for the session to begin, and in spite of the fact that the petitioner was already in his office, said petitioner deliberately delayed his appearance at the session hall until about 11:30 A. M.;

"(c) When finally the petitioner ascended the rostrum, he did not immediately open the session, but instead requested from the Secretary a copy of the resolution submitted by Senators Tañada and Sanidad and in the presence of the public the petitioner read slowly and carefully said resolution, after which he called and conferred with his followers, Senators Francisco and Tirona;

"(d) Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the insistent requests of Senators Sanidad and Cuenco that the session be opened, the petitioner finally called the meeting to order;

"(e) Senator Sanidad, following a practice long established in the Senate, moved that the roll call be dispensed with as it was evident that with the presence of all the 22 senators who could discharge their functions, there could be no question of a quorum, but Senator Tirona opposed said motion, evidently in pursuance of a premeditated plan and conspiracy of petitioner and his followers to make use of all sorts of dilatory tactics to prevent Senator Tañada from delivering his privilege speech on the charges filed against petitioner. The roll call affirmatively showed the presence of the following 22 Senators; Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, Olegario Clarin, Melecio Arranz, M. Jesus Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo M. Tañada, Vicente Madrigal, Geronima Pecson, Camilo Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Mabanag and Jose Avelino;

"(f) Senator Sanidad next moved, as in the usual practice, to dispense with the reading of the minutes, but this motion was likewise opposed by Senators Tirona and David, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-mentioned conspiracy;

"(g) Before and after the roll call and before and after the reading of the minutes, Senator Tañada repeatedly took the floor to claim his right to deliver his one-hour privilege speech in support of the charges against petitioner, but the latter, then presiding, continually ignored him; and when after the reading of the minutes, Senator Tañada insisted on being recognized by the Chair, the petitioner announced that he would order the arrest of any senator who would speak without being previously recognized by him, but all the while, tolerating the antics of his follower, Senator Tirona, who was continuously and vociferously shouting at Senator Sanidad "Out of order! Out of order! Out of order! . . ." everytime the latter would ask the petitioner to recognize the right of Senator Tañada to speak.

"(h) At this juncture, some disorderly conduct broke out in the Senate gallery, as if by prearrangement, but the police officers present were able to maintain order. No shots were fired among the audience, as alleged in the petition. It was at about this same time that Senator Pablo Angeles David, one of petitioner’s followers, was recognized by petitioner, and he moved for adjournment of the session, evidently again, in pursuance of the abovementioned conspiracy to prevent Senator Tañada from speaking;

"(i) Senator Sanidad registered his opposition to the adjournment of the session and this opposition was seconded by herein respondent who moved that the motion of adjournment be submitted to a vote;

"(j) Senator David reiterated his motion for adjournment and herein respondent also reiterated his opposition to the adjournment and again moved that the motion of Senator David be submitted to a vote;

"(k) Suddenly, the petitioner abandoned the Chair and hurriedly walked out of the session hall.

"(l) Without the session being adjourned, Senators David, Tirona, Francisco, Torres, Magalona, and Clarin followed the petitioner out of the session hall, while the rest of the senators, as afore-named in sub-paragraph (e) hereof, remained to continue the session abandoned by petitioner, whereupon Senator Melecio Arranz, as Senate Pro- tempore, took the Chair and proceeded with the session.

"(m) Senator Cabili took the floor and delivered a speech, whereby he asked that it be made of record — as it was in fact so made — that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it incumbent upon Senate President Pro-Tempore Arranz and the remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to impede and paralyze the functions of the Senate;

"(n) Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz then suggested that respondent be designated to preside over the session, which suggestion was carried unanimously. The respondent thereupon took the Chair.

"(o) Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which was carried unanimously, Gregorio Abad was appointed Acting Secretary, as the Assistant Secretary, who was then acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter abandoned the session;

"(p) Senator Tañada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally able to deliver his privilege speech, which took more than two hours, on the charges against the petitioner contained in the Resolution, attached hereto as Exhibit "1", and moved for the immediate consideration and approval of said Resolution. Senator Sanidad reiterated this motion, after having first read aloud the complete text of said Resolution, and thereafter the same was unanimously approved;

"(q) With Senate President Pro-Tempore Arranz again occupying the Chair, after the respondent had yielded it to him, Senator Sanidad introduced Resolution No. 67, entitled "Resolution declaring vacant the position of the President of the Senate and designating the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco Acting President of the Senate," a copy of which is herewith attached and made an integral part hereof as Exhibit "2." Put to a vote, the said Resolution was unanimously approved, respondent having abstained from voting;

"(r) The respondent having been duly elected as Acting President of the Senate, immediately took is oath of Office in open session, before Senate President Pro-Tempore Melecio Arranz, and since then, has been discharging the duties and exercising the rights and prerogatives appertaining to said office;

"(s) From the allegations of the petition, it clearly appears that the petitioner had only nine senators in his favor and twelve, decidedly against him, which fact negates the petitioner’s assertion that there was no opposition to the motion for adjournment submitted by Senator David;

"(t) From the beginning of the session of February 21, 1949, to the alleged adjournment, it was evidently and manifestly the purpose of the petitioner to deprive Senator Tañada of his right to take the floor and to speak on the charges filed against said petitioner; that said petitioner resorted to all means to deprive the Senate of its right and prerogative to deliberate on Senate Resolution No. 68, Exhibit "I", and that when the petitioner realized that a majority of the Senators who were present in the said session was ready to approve said resolution, the petitioner abandoned the session;

"(u) The minutes of the session held on February 21, 1949, a copy of which is hereto attached and made an integral part hereof as Exhibit "3", show that the petitioner illegally abandoned the Chair while the Senate was in session and that the respondent has been duly elected Acting Senate President in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution."cralaw virtua1aw library

Respondent alleges further that Senator David’s motion for adjournment was objected to and was not submitted to a vote and, therefore, could not have been carried; that it is not true that petitioner had the power to adjourn the session even without motion; that the session presided over, first by petitioner and then by respondent, was orderly, no Senator having been threatened or intimidated by anybody, and after petitioner abandoned the session continued peacefully until its adjournment at 4:40 P.M.; that there was only one session held on said date; that petitioner’s abandonment of the Chair in the face of an impending ouster therefrom constituted a temporary incapacity entitling the Senate President Pro-tempore to assume the Chair; that there was quorum as, with the absence of Senator Tomas Confesor, who was in the U.S. and of Senator Vicente Sotto, who was seriously ill and confined in the Lourdes Hospital, the presence of at least twelve senators constitutes a quorum; that, despite petitioner’s claim that he adjourned the session to February 24, 1949, convinced that he did not count with the majority of the Senators and not wanting to be investigated by the special investigating committee regarding the grave charges preferred against him, the petitioner deliberately did not appear at the session hall on said date.

Three special defenses are advanced by respondent: (a) Lack of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court; (b) No cause of action as there are only nine Senators who had recognized petitioner’s claim against twelve Senators who have made patent their loss of confidence in him by voting in favor of his ouster; and (c) The object of the action is to make the Supreme Court a mere tool of a minority group of ten Senators to impose petitioner’s will over and above that of the twelve other members of the Senate, to entrench petitioner in power.

In impugning the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, respondent contends that the present case is not justiciable, because it involves a purely political question, the determination of which by the Senate is binding and conclusive upon the courts (Alejandro v. Quezon, 43 Phil., 83; Vera v. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192); respondent has been recognized as acting President of the as acting President of the Senate by the President of the Philippines and said recognition is binding and conclusive on the courts (Barcelon v. Baker, 5 Phil., 87; Severino v. Governor-General, 16 Phil., 366); the Senate is the only body that can determine from time to time who shall be its President and petitioner’s only recourse lies in said body; and this Court’s action in entertaining the petition would constitute an invasion and an encroachment upon the powers, rights and prerogatives solely and exclusively appertaining to Congress, of which the Senate is a branch.

Upon the conflicting claims of the parties as to the real events, this Court authorized the reception of evidence. Before passing to consider and to weigh said evidence so as to determine the true events, it is only logical that we should first pass upon the question of jurisdiction raised by Respondent.

In attacking the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court respondent alleges, as first ground, that the present controversy is not justiciable in nature, involving, as it does, a purely political question, the determination of which by the political agency concerned, the Senate, is binding and conclusive on the courts.

The contention is untenable. In the first place, it begs question. It assumes as premise that the question has been determined by the Senate, when the two opposing parties claim that each one of them represents the will of the Senate, and if the controversy should be allowed to remain unsettled, it would be impossible to determine who is right and who is wrong, and who really represents the Senate.

The questions raised in the petition, although political in nature, are justiciable because they involve the enforcement of legal precepts, such as the provisions of the Constitution and of the rules of the Senate. The power and authority to decide such questions of law form part of the jurisdiction, not only expressly conferred on the Supreme Court, but of which, by express prohibition of the Constitution, it cannot be divested.

"Sec 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, but may not deprive the supreme court of its original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, nor of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error, as the law or the rules of court may provide, final; Judgments and decrees of inferior courts in —

"(1) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance or executive order or regulations is in question.

"(2) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.

"(3) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any trial court is in issue.

"(4) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is death or life imprisonment.

"(5) All cases in which an error or question of law is involved."cralaw virtua1aw library

Because the legal questions raised in this case cannot be decided without deciding also what is the truth on the controversial facts, by the very nature of things, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court reached the settlement of the conflicting claims as to the real events.

Respondent alleges that he has been recognized by the President of the Philippines as acting President of the Senate and that executive recognition is binding and conclusive on the courts. The contention is erroneous. The actions of the President of the Philippines cannot deprive the Supreme Court of the jurisdiction vested in it by the Constitution. If the Congress of the Philippines, in which the Legislative power is vested, cannot deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction to decide questions Or law, much less can the President of the Philippines, on whom is vested the Executive power, which in the philosophical and political hierarchy is of subordinate category to that of the Legislative power, do so. The power to enact laws is higher than the power to execute them.

The third argument of respondent, although based on truth, has nothing to do with the legal questions raised in this ease. It is true that the Senate is the only body that can determine from time to time who is and shall be its President, but when the legal questions are raised in a litigation like in the present case, the proper court has the function, the province and the responsibility to decide them. To shirk that responsibility is to commit a dereliction of official duty.

Finally, it is alleged that for this Court to entertain the petition, is to invade and encroach upon the powers, rights and prerogatives solely and exclusively appertaining to the Legislative Department, of which the Senate is a branch. The contention is erroneous. The controversy as to the legality of the adjournment declared by petitioner, of petitioner’s ouster, as a result of the resolution declaring vacant the position of President of the Senate, of respondent’s election as acting President of the Senate, and as to whether or not the twelve Senators who remained in the session hall could continue holding session and if they constitute quorum, are all legal questions upon which courts of justice have jurisdiction and the Supreme Court is the final arbiter.

From the evidence, it appears that in the session of Friday, February 18, 1949, at the time the resolution of confidence in favor of petitioner, introduced by Senator Lopez, was being put to vote, Senator Tañada voted in the negative, alleging as ground damaging facts, supported by several checks, highly detrimental to the personal and official honesty of petitioner. At the same time, Senator Tañada announced his intention of filing in the next session, to be held on Monday, February 21, 1949, formal charges against petitioner and of delivering during the so-called privilege hour a speech in support of said charges.

On said Monday morning, hours before the opening of the ordinary daily session, Senators Tañada and Sanidad registered with the Secretary of the Senate a resolution for the appointment of a Committee of Three, composed of Senators Cuenco, Angeles David, and Mabanag, with instructions to proceed immediately to investigate the serious charges against petitioner embodied in the document. Said resolution, marked as Exhibit 1 of respondent’s answer, is as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

RESOLUTION ORDERING THE INVESTIGATION OF CHARGES FILED AGAINST THE SENATE PRESIDENT JOSE AVELINO.

WHEREAS, Senate President Jose Avelino, in a caucus of high government officials of the Philippine Government and leaders of the Liberal Party held at Malacañan Palace on January 15, 1949, delivered a speech, wherein he advocated the protection, or, at least, tolerance, of graft and corruption in the government, and placed the interest of grafters and corrupt officials as supreme and above the welfare of the people, a doctrine under which it is impossible for an honest and clean government to exist;

WHEREAS, this speech of Senate President Jose Avelino was given wide publicity by the press, especially the Chronicle Publications in their issues of January 16 and 18, 1949, as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The Senate President defended the abuses perpetrated by Liberal Party men. He called the investigations of the surplus property commission irregularities and the immigration quota scandal as acts of injustice. He described the probe as ’criminal’ and ’odious’. He flayed the National Bureau of Investigation agents for persecuting Liberal party leaders.

"‘We are not angels’, he said.’When we die we all go to hell. It is better to be in hell because in that place there are no investigations, no secretary of justice, no secretary of interior to go after us.’

"Avelino, who is the present President of the Liberal Party, censured the President for his actuations which, he claimed, were mainly responsible for the division of the party into two hostile camps. "Avelino asked the President to ’tolerate’ if he could not ’permit’, the abuses of the party in power, because why should we be saints when in reality we are not?

"He stressed that the present investigation being conducted by President Quirino on the surplus property scandal and the immigration quota racket has lowered the prestige of the Liberal Party in the eyes of the people, and is a desecration to the memory of the late President Manuel Roxas.’It is a crime against the Liberal Party’, Avelino said.

"Defining his attitude regarding rights and privileges of those who are in power in the government, Avelino maintained that the Liberal Party men are entitled to more considerations and should be given allowance to use power and privileges. If they abuse their power as all humans are prone to do, they will be given a certain measure of tolerance, Avelino said, adding, ’What are we in power for?’

"Avelino cited the surplus property investigation as an attempt to besmear the memory of President Roxas. As a result of these investigations, the members of Congress are subjected to unjust and embarrassing questionings by NBI, Avelino said. And what is worse is the fact that these senators and representatives are being pilloried in public without formal charges filed against them." (Manila Chronicle issue of Jan. 16, 1949).

"At last Saturday night’s caucus Senate President Avelino for two hours lectured to President Quirino on Liberal Party discipline. At the same time he demanded ’tolerance’ on the part of the Chief Executive by the party in power.

"The investigations were conducted on vague charges, Avelino claimed. Nothing specific has been filed against any top Liberal Party man. And yet National Bureau of Investigation agents have persecuted top leaders of the Liberal Party. That is not justice. That is injustice . . . It is odious . . . It is criminal.

"Why did you have to order an investigation Honorable Mr. President? If you cannot permit abuses, you must at least tolerate them. What are we in power for? We are not hypocrites. Why should we pretend to be saints when in reality we are not? We are not angels. And besides when we die we all go to hell. Anyway, it is preferable to go to hell where there are no investigations, no Secretary of Justice, no Secretary of Interior to go after us.

"When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He made a distinction between a good crook and the bad crooks. We can prepare to be good crooks.

"Avelino related the story of St. Francis of Assissi. A thief sought sanctuary in St. Francis’ convent. When the soldiers came to the convent and ordered St. Francis to produce the wanted thief, St. Francis told the soldiers that the hunted man had gone the other way.

"Avelino then pointed out that even a saint had condoned the sins of a thief.

x       x       x


"The investigations ordered by President Quirino, Avelino said, was a desecration of the memory of the late President Roxas. The probe has lowered, instead of enhanced, the prestige of the Liberal Party and its leaders in the eyes of the public.

"If the present administration fails, it is Roxas and not Quirino that suffers by it, because Quirino’s administration is only a continuation of Roxas, Avelino said.

"Avelino compared all political parties to business corporations, of which all members are stockholders. Every year the Liberal Party makes an accounting of its loss and profit. The Liberal Party, he said, has practically no dividends at all. It has lost even its original capital. Then he mentioned the appointments to the government of Nacionalistas like: Lino Castillejo, as governor of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Nicanor Carag, consul to Madrid; and Vicente Formoso, General Manager of the National Tobacco Corporation." (Manila Chronicle issue of Jan. 18, 1949.)

WHEREAS, after the first publication of the said speech in the Manila Chronicle issue of January 16, 1949, the Senate President, in a letter to the Chronicle Publications dated January 17, 1949, asserted that the said news report was a "maliciously distorted presentation of my remarks at that caucus, under a tendentious headline", and threatened that "unless the proper redress is given to me, therefore, I shall feel compelled to take the necessary steps to protect my reputation and good name" ;

WHEREAS, the Chronicle Publications not only refused to retract or make the rectification demanded by the Senate President, but on the contrary, in their issue of January 18, 1949, challenged him to take his threatened action, stating that "in order to establish the truth, we are inviting the Senate President to file a libel suit against the Chronicle" and further repeated the publications of their reports on the Senate President’s speech in the same issue of January 18, 1949 as quoted above;

WHEREAS, notwithstanding in the considerable length of time that has elapsed, the Senate President has not carried out his threat of filing action against the Chronicle Publications, thereby confirming, in effect, his doctrine of toleration of graft and corruption;

WHEREAS, in open and public session of the Senate on February 18, 1949, there were exhibited photostatic copies of four checks totalling P566,405.60, which appear to have come into the possession and control of the Senate President, after he had assumed his office;

WHEREAS, the first of the aforesaid checks, which is Manager’s Check No. M5375 of the National City Bank of New York, drawn on September 24, 1946, in favor of the Senate President in the amount of P312,500.00, was indorsed by him to his wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, who deposited it in her current account with the Philippine National Bank on October 26, 1946;

WHEREAS, the second of the aforesaid checks, which is Manager’s Check No. 49706 of the Nederlandsch Indische Hardelsbank, drawn on October 21, 1946, in favor of the Senate President in the amount of P196,905.60, was indorsed by him to his son, Mr. Jose Avelino, Jr., who cashed it ml October 22, 1946;

WHEREAS, the third of the aforesaid checks, which is Check No. 37262 of the Nederlandsch Indische Handelsbank, drawn on October 23, 1946 by Chung Liu Ching Long & Co., Ltd., a Chinese concern, in favor of "Cash", in the amount of P10,000.00, was indorsed by the Senate President to his wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, who deposited it in her Savings Account No. 63436 with the Philippine National Bank on October 26, 1946;

WHEREAS, the fourth of the aforesaid checks, which is Check No. 37268 of the Nederlandsch Indische Handelsbank, drawn by the aforementioned Chinese concern, Chiung Liu Ching Long and Co, Ltd., in the amount of P47,500.00 in favor of the Senate President, was indorsed by him to his wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, who deposited it in her current account with the Philippine National Bank on October 26, 1946;

WHEREAS, of the four checks aforementioned, the one for P196,905.60 was cashed by the Senate President’s son, Jose Avelino, Jr., on October 22, 1946; while of the three other checks totalling P370,000.00, which was deposited by the Senate President’s wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, in her savings and current accounts with the Philippine National Bank on October 26, 1946, P325,000.00 were withdrawn by her on the same day;

WHEREAS, in the course of the speech delivered by the Senate President on the floor of the Senate on February 18, 1946, in an attempt to explain the foregoing checks, he refused to be interpellated on the same, and his explanation lacked such details and definiteness that it has left many doubts unsettled;

WHEREAS, in the case of the check for P312,500.00, the Senate President’s explanation that the same represented proceeds from the sale of surplus beer to cover party obligations is directly contradicted by the source of the same, Ching Ban Yek, who declared under oath before the Horilleno Investigating Committee that the said sum of P312,500.00 had been loaned by him to the Senate President, who repaid the same within ten days;

WHEREAS, it appears that during the period from December 29, 1945 to April 30, 1948, deposits totalling P803,865.45 were made in the current account of the Senate President’s wife Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, in the Philippine National Bank, of which amoumt P6,204.86 were deposited before his election to office and the sum of P797,660.59 was deposited after his election;

WHEREAS, the tax returns of the Senate President do not bear explanations made in his speech of February 18, 1949 to the effect that he and his wife had made substantial amounts in commercial transactions in shoes and liquor;

WHEREAS, in his said speech of February 18, 1949, the Senate President said that "en politica todo vale", and that inasmuch as the Nacionalistas were prone to commit frauds, it was right for the Liberals to commit frauds in the elections to even up with frauds committed by the opposition;

WHEREAS, the said speech of February 18, 1949 delivered by the Senate President justified the commission of electoral frauds, which justification is a direct attack on the sovereignty of the people and may be a cause of unrest or revolution;

WHEREAS, the Senate President, as ex-officio Chairman of the Commission on Appointments which passes upon all Presidential appointments, including those to the judiciary, has abused the prerogatives of his office by seeking in several instances to interfere with and influence some judges in deciding cases pending before them, thereby imperiling the independence of the judiciary and jeopardizing the impartial administration of justice;

WHEREAS, the honor, dignity and prestige of the people and of the members of the Senate demand a thorough, impartial and immediate investigation of all the foregoing; Now, therefore,

1 Be it resolved, To appoint, as they are hereby appointed

2 a Committee of three (3) members of this Senate, to be com-

3 posed of Senators Cuenco, Angeles David and Mabanag, who

4 shall immediately proceed to investigate the charges mentioned

5 above, with full powers to compel the attendance of witnesses

6 and the production of books of account, documents, and other

7 evidence, and to utilize the facilities and the services of such

8 personnel of this Senate as it may deem necessary, with

9 instructions to render its report and recommendations to the

10. Senate on or before Friday, February 25, 1949.

Adopted, February 21, 1949.

Although a sufficient number of Senators to constitute quorum were already present in said morning at and before 10:00 o’clock, the scheduled time for the daily session to begin, the session was not then opened, because petitioner failed to appear in the hall until about 11:35, the time petitioner ascended the rostrum where, instead of calling the meeting to order, he asked for a copy of the resolution introduced by Senators Tañada and Sanidad and, after reading it slowly, he called to his side Senators Angeles David and Tirona and conferred with them.

Only after the insistent requests of Senators Sanidad and Cuenco that the session be opened, that petitioner called the meeting to order shortly before 12:00 o’clock noon.

Senator Sanidad moved that the roll call he dispensed with. Senator Tirona opposed the motion and the roll call showed the presence of the following twenty two Senators: Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Callos Tan, Olegario Clarin, Melecio Arranz, Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo Tañada, Vicente Madrigal, Geronima Pecson, Camilo Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Manag and Tose Avelino.

Senator Sanidad again moved that the reading of the minutes be dispensed with, but the motion was again opposed by Senator Tirona whose opposition was joined by Senator Angeles David, and the reading of the minutes proceeded.

Senator Tañada repeatedly took the floor to claim his right to deliver his one-hour privilege speech in support of the charges against petitioner, pursuant to the announcement he made in the session of February 18, 1949; he did it before and after the roll call and the reading of the minutes. He was ignored by the Chair and petitioner announced that he would order the arrest of any Senator who would speak without having been previously recognized by him. Senator Sanidad requested the Chair to recognize the right of Senator Tañada to speak, and every time he would make the request, Senator Tirona would oppose him upon the ground that the requests were out of order.

Meanwhile, commotion and disorder took place in the Senate gallery. Shouts were heard from individuals of the audience, where two fist fights took place. The detonation of a gun shot was heard from outside. Senator Angeles David, after being recognized by the Chair, moved for adjournment of the session. The motion was objected by Senator Cuenco who, at the same time, moved that the motion be submitted to vote. Petitioner, instead of submitting to vote the motion to adjourn, banged the gavel and declared the session adjourned until next Thursday, February 24, 1949, and, thereupon, left the session hall followed by the nine Senators (Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, and Olegario Clarin), supporting him. Twelve Senators, respondent and his eleven supporters, remained in the session hall. Senator Arranz, President Pro-tempore of the Senate, ascended the rostrum, and called those Senators present to order. Senator Mabanag raised the question of quorum and the President Pro-tempore ordered a roll call, to which all the twelve Senators remaining in the session hall answered.

The President Pro-tempore declared the presence of quorum and those present proceeded to continue transacting business. Senator Cabili took the door and made it of record that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by petitioner made it incumbent upon the Senate President Pro-tempore and those remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to impede and paralyze the functions of the Senate. Senator Arranz suggested that respondent be designated to preside over the session and the suggestion was carried unanimously and respondent took the Chair.

Senator Tañada delivered his privileged speech, which took two hours on the charge against petitioner contained in Resolution No. 68, Exhibit "1", and moved for the immediate consideration and approval of said resolution, the complete text of which was read. The motion was seconded by Senator Sanidad, and the resolution was unanimously approved. Respondent yielded the Chair to the President Pro-tempore and Senator Sanidad introduced Resolution No. 67, Exhibit "2", which read as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

RESOLUTION DECLARING VACANT THE POSITION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND DESIGNATING THE HONORABLE MARIANO JESUS CUENCO ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.

Resolved by the Senate in session assembled, That a quorum exists; that the Honorable Jose Avelino, President of the Senate, having abandoned the chair, his position is hereby declared vacant; and that, the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco of Cebu, be designated Acting President of the Senate, until further orders from this Body.

Adopted, February 21, 1949.

The resolution was unanimously approved, with respondent abstaining from voting. Pursuant to said resolution, respondent took his oath of office in open session before President Pro-Tempore Arranz and has started, since then, to discharge the duties, rights and privileges of acting President of the Senate.

The above recital of facts is based on our findings on the evidence on record. From the said facts we believe the following conclusions are unavoidable.

1. The adjournment declared by petitioner was arbitrary and illegal.

2. After petitioner and the 9 Senators supporting him had walked out from the session hall, the Senate could not continue holding session and transact business for lack of quorum.

In the following discussion we will express the reasons in support of the above conclusions.

ILLEGAL ADJOURNMENT

A motion to adjourn has the highest precedence when a question is under debate and, with certain restrictions, it has the highest privilege under all other conditions. Under parliamentary practice, even questions of privilege and the motion to reconsider yield to it. The motion to adjourn may be made after the "yeas" and "nays" are ordered and before the roll call has begun, before reading of the journal. The motion is not debatable and, after the motion is made, neither another motion nor an appeal may intervene before the taking of the vote.

The power to adjourn is one of the exclusive prerogatives of a legislative chamber. It cannot be exercised by any single individual, without usurpation of the collective prerogatives. It is too tremendous a power to be wielded by a single individual. The functions of the Senate and its opportunity to transact official business cannot be left to the discretion of a single individual without jeopardizing the high purposes for which a legislative deliberative body is established in a democratic social order. Single-handed individual discretion on the matter may not mean anything other than placing the legislative chamber under a unipersonal tyranny.

There is no provision in the present rules of the Senate which expressly or impliedly authorizes an adjournment without the consent of the body or one which authorizes the presiding officer to decree motu proprio said adjournment, and the sound parliamentary practice and experience in this country and in the United States of America, upon which ours is patterned, would not authorize the existence of such a provision.

Petitioner alleges that he ordered the adjournment because the motion of Senator Angeles David to said effect was properly made and met with no objection. If this version of the facts is true, then it was right for petitioner to declare the adjournment, because the absence of any objection, provided the motion was properly made and the other Senators after having been properly apprised of the motion, did not object to it, was an evidence of an implied consent of all the members. The evidence, however, fails to support petitioner’s claim.

We are inclined to consider respondent’s version to be more in consonance with truth. We are of opinion that the motion to adjourn was actually objected to. Senator Tañada was bent on delivering a speech he had ready on the charges embodied in a resolution fathered by himself and by Senator Sanidad, which both filed early in the morning, long before the session was opened. The formulation of said charges had been announced days before, since the session of Friday, February 18, 1949, when he showed photostatic copies of some checks as basis of a part of the charges to be filed. In said Friday session respondent’s group suffered defeat on the approval of the resolution of confidence fathered by Senator Lopez. And it is understandable that respondent’s group of Senators, believing themselves to constiute the majority, did not want to waste any time to give a showing of said majority and must have decided to depose petitioner as soon as possible to wrest from him the Senate leadership that upon democratic principles rightly belongs to them.

As a showing of eargerness to hurry up the unfolding events that would give them the control of the Senate, Senator Sanidad moved to dispense with the roll call and the reading of the minutes, and had been requesting that Senator Tañada be recognized to take the floor. Senator Tañada himself made attempts to deliver his speech.

Evidently, petitioner and his supporters decided to adopt a blocking strategy to obstruct the processes that would give due course to the investigation of the serious charges made in resolution No. 68, Exhibit 1, and would effect petitioner’s ouster as President of the Senate.

This strategy is evidenced by the belated appearance of petitioner and his supporters at the session hall and petitioner’s procrastination in opening the session, by taking all his time in reading first the Tañada and Sanidad resolution, formulating charges against him, and conferring with Senators Angeles David and Tirona and in not calling to order the members of the Senate before Senators Cuenco and Sanidad began urging that the session be opened.

Petitioner’s allegation that, even without motion from any member, he could adjourn the session under the rules of the Senate, is not well taken. There is nothing in the rules of the Senate giving petitioner such authority. The provisions quoted in the petition authorizes the Senate President to take measures to stop disorder, but that power does not include the one to adjourn.

The circumstances lead us to the conclusion that illegal adjournment and the walk out of the petitioner and his supporters from the session hall had the purpose of defeating or, at least, delaying, action on the proposed investigation of the charges against petitioner and of his impeding ouster, by the decisive votes of respondent’s group of Senators.

The adjournment decreed by petitioner was arbitrary and illegal.

QUORUM

There is no controversy that at the session in question there were present in the session hall only twelve Senators, those composing respondent’s group, and this fact had been ascertained by the roll call ordered by President Pro-Tempore Arranz, after Senator Mabanag had raised the question of quorum.

The Constitution provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner and under such penalties as such House may provide." (Sec. 10, Sub-sec. 2 Article VI.)

The majority mentioned in the above provision cannot be other than the majority of the actual members of the Senate. The words "each House" in the above provision refer to the full membership of each chamber of Congress.

The Senate was and actually is composed of 24 Senators, and a majority of them cannot be less than thirteen. Twelve is only half of twenty-four. Nowhere and at no time has one-half ever been the majority. Majority necessarily has to be more than one-half.

We have heard with interest the arguments advanced by respondent’s counsel, premised on the fact that the above constitutional provision does not use the words "of the members" and the theory of the amicus curi
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