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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 10292. March 31, 1915. ]

USTAQUIO CONCHADA, Petitioner, v. THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, Respondent.

Reyes & Millar and Mariano A. Albert for Petitioner.

Solicitor-General Corpus for Respondent.

SYLLABUS


1. COURTS; NATURE AND SOURCE OF JUDICIAL AUTHORITY. — The provisions of Act No. 136 had for their object the organization, or rather the creation, of the judiciary in the Philippine Islands under the system of government established therein by the United States of America in substitution for that which existed when, by virtue of the Treaty of Paris, the’ Spanish Government transferred its sovereignty over said Islands to the United States of America. After the judiciary was organized, the jurisdiction corresponding to each of its divisions was assigned and, after the courts established by virtue of said Act were already in operation, the Congress of the United States passed the Act known as the "Philippine Bill," which among other things said in its ninth section: "That the Supreme Court and the Courts of First Instance of the Philippine Islands shall possess and exercise jurisdiction as heretofore provided and such additional jurisdiction as shall hereafter be prescribed by the Government of said Islands, subject to the power of said Government to change the practice and method of procedure."cralaw virtua1aw library

2. ID.; ID.; APPROVAL OF CONGRESS. — The Congress of the United States by the Philippine Bill placed its high sanction on the organization of the judiciary — that is, upon the institution for the administration of justice — in approving and confirming it, as it had been established by Act No. 136 and in, at the same time, setting forth what appears in said section 9 with relation to the jurisdiction of the different divisions of that branch, the appointment of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of first instance.

3. ID.; ID.; COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE NOT CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS. — The Courts of First Instance of these Islands are not constitutional courts or courts created by the Constitution, but by the Legislature of the Philippine Islands, as territory not incorporated into the United States of America and governed by the Congress of those States under the Philippine Bill, which has come to be the constitution of said Islands. The fact that the creation of said courts was sanctioned by that constitution did not convert them into constitutional courts in the sense understood by petitioner’s counsel — that is, in such manner that the Philippine Legislature cannot act with respect to the division of the judicial territory without awaiting the consent or approval of Congress.

4. ID.; ID.; REORGANIZATION OF THE COURTS BY ACT No. 2347. — In said Philippine constitution Congress did not arrogate to itself or assume any authority on this point, concerning the organization of the judiciary, and consequently the courts, that by virtue of Act No. 2347 have replaced or supplanted those previously established by Act No. 140 and the later Acts Nos. 450, 496, 501, 552, 867, 1345, 1708, 1952, and 2038, were also created by the Legislature by virtue of the powers conferred upon it by said constitution.

5. ID.; ID.; REORGANIZATION OF THE COURTS BY ACT No. 2347 NEITHER INCREASES NOR DIMINISHES JURISDICTION. — Jurisdiction is the power one has to govern or to execute the laws and especially the power with which judges are invested for administering justice — that is, for trying civil or criminal cases, or both, and deciding them and rendering judgment in accordance with the laws." (Escriche, Diccionario de Legislacion y Jurisprudencia, vol. 3, p. 743, ed. 1875.) If this be jurisdiction, the increase in the number of districts in the judicial division of the territory of the Philippine Islands and the formation of each of these new districts by a larger or smaller number of provinces than those assigned to each district by Act No. 140 and the other Acts mentioned above, as well as the change in the designation of some of these districts and of some of the provinces comprised in the former districts for others among those finally designated in Act No. 2347, and the reduction of the number of provinces in some of the new districts, do not constitute limitation or increase of the jurisdiction of the courts, because the power and authority to hear, try, and decide civil or criminal cases are always the same. What was increased or diminished by said Act No. 2347 was the places wherein said jurisdiction is exercised or the exercise of the jurisdiction itself with reference to the place in which it is publicly manifested.

6. ID.; ID.; TERRITORY WHEREIN JURISDICTION IS EXERCISED. — It is true that the word "jurisdiction" is also understood, according to Escriche, "as the district or territory over which a judge’s authority extends; and as the boundary o
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