Macalintal v. PET (G.R. No. 191618; June 7, 2011)


FACTS: Before us is a Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioner Atty. Romulo B. Macalintal of our Decision in G.R. No. 191618 dated November 23, 2010, dismissing his petition and declaring the establishment of respondent Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) as constitutional.Petitioner reiterates his arguments on the alleged unconstitutional creation of the PET:

[1] He has standing to file the petition as a taxpayer and a concerned citizen.
[2] He is not estopped from assailing the constitution of the PET simply by virtue of his appearance as counsel of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before respondent tribunal.
[3] Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution does not provide for the creation of the PET.
[4] The PET violates Section 12, Article VIII of the Constitution.

To bolster his arguments that the PET is an illegal and unauthorized progeny of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution, petitioner invokes our ruling on the constitutionality of the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC). Petitioner cites the concurring opinion of Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro that the PTC is a public office which cannot be created by the President, the power to do so being lodged exclusively with Congress. Thus, petitioner submits that if the President, as head of the Executive Department, cannot create the PTC, the Supreme Court, likewise, cannot create the PET in the absence of an act of legislature.
On the other hand, in its Comment to the Motion for Reconsideration, the Office of the Solicitor General maintains that:

[1] Petitioner is without standing to file the petition.
[2] Petitioner is estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the PET.
[3] The constitution of the PET is "on firm footing on the basis of the grant of authority to the [Supreme] Court to be the sole judge of all election contests for the President or Vice-President under paragraph 7, Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution."

ISSUE: Is PET unconstitutional?

HELD: We reiterate that the abstraction of the Supreme Court acting as a Presidential Electoral Tribunal from the unequivocal grant of jurisdiction in the last paragraph of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution is sound and tenable.

Petitioner is going to town under the misplaced assumption that the text of the provision itself was the only basis for this Court to sustain the PET's constitutionality.

We reiterate that the PET is authorized by the last paragraph of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution and as supported by the discussions of the Members of the Constitutional Commission, which drafted the present Constitution.

The explicit reference by the framers of our Constitution to constitutionalizing what was merely statutory before is not diluted by the absence of a phrase, line or word, mandating the Supreme Court to create a Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

Suffice it to state that the Constitution, verbose as it already is, cannot contain the specific wording required by petitioner in order for him to accept the constitutionality of the PET.

Judicial power granted to the Supreme Court by the same Constitution is plenary. And under the doctrine of necessary implication, the additional jurisdiction bestowed by the last paragraph of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution to decide presidential and vice-presidential elections contests includes the means necessary to carry it into effect. DENIED.