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[G.R. No. 17539. December 23, 1921. ]

HONORABLE PEDRO CONCEPCION, judge of the Court of First Instance of the Ninth Judicial District, Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE QUINTIN PAREDES, Secretary of Justice, Respondent.

Fisher & DeWitt; Kincaid, Perkins & Kincaid; Gabriel La O and Eusebio Orense for Petitioner.

Araneta & Zaragoza; Wolfson, Wolfson & Schwarzkopf; Miranda, Delgado & Teotico; Jose Teodoro; Eduardo Gutierrez Repide and J. E. Blanco amici curiae.

Gregorio Perfecto as intervener in the case.

Acting Attorney-General Tuason for Respondent.

Jose A. Santos and Ramon Diokno amici curiae.


1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS; THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION. — The various Acts of the Congress of the United States which have been formally and expressly extended to the Philippines, especially the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, and the Acts of the Philippine Commission and Legislature which United States statutes have changed to organic laws, constitute the major portion of the so-called Constitution of the Philippine Islands.

2. ID.; ID.; ID. — It is beyond the power of any branch of the Government of the Philippine Islands to exercise its functions in any other way than that prescribed by the organic law or by local laws which conform to the organic law.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; POWER OF PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE. — An Act of the Philippine Legislature which has not been expressly disapproved by Congress is valid unless the subject-matter has been covered by Congressional legislation, or its enactment forbidden by some provision of the organic law. The Philippine Legislature is granted by the Organic Act, the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, general legislative power subject to specific restrictions.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; POWER OF GOVERNOR-GENERAL. — The Organic Act vests supreme executive power in the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands. Authority to appoint and commission officers is conferred upon him.

5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PUBLIC OFFICERS; APPOINTMENTS. — Appointment to office is intrinsically an executive act involving the exercise of discretion.

6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; APPOINTMENTS OF JUDGES OF FIRST INSTANCE. — Judges of first instance are not appointed judges of first instance of the Philippine Islands but are appointed judges of the Courts of First Instance of the respective judicial districts of the Philippine Islands. They hold these positions of judges of first instance of definite districts until they either resign, reach the age of retirement, or are removed through impeachment proceedings. The intention of the law is to recognize separate and distinct judicial offices.

7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ACT No. 2941; VALIDITY OF PORTION PROVIDING FOR JUDICIAL LOTTERY. — It is not within the power of the Philippine Legislature to enact laws which either expressly or impliedly diminish the authority conferred by an Act of Congress on the Chief Executive and a branch of the Legislature.

8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. — The organic law requires selection for judicial positions by the Governor-General with the assent of the Philippine Senate. Act No. 2941 requires a drawing of lots for judicial positions. The power of appointment and confirmation vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General and the Philippine Senate is usurped by a lottery of judicial positions every five years.

9. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. — The second paragraph of section 148 of the Administrative Code, as superseded by Act No. 2941, is in violation of the provisions of the Organic Act and, consequently, invalid.



Early in March, 1921, all the judges of first instance were called to Manila by the Secretary of Justice in order that they might participate in a "drawing of lots" for judicial districts. Prominent members of the Philippine Bar immediately united to halt the holding of the judicial lottery, and to challenge the validity of Act No. 2941, "An Act to amend and repeal certain provisions relative to the judiciary, etc." The petitioner in the test case was Honorable Pedro Concepcion, judge of First Instance of Manila, and the respondent was Honorable Quintin Paredes, Secretary of Justice. A preliminary injunction pendente lite was issued by the writer of this opinion, restraining the said Secretary of Justice from holding, or carrying into effect, the drawing o
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