One-title, one-subject rule

Section 26(1), Article VI of the Constitution states:
SEC. 26 (1). Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.
In FariƱas v. The Executive Secretary,[1] the Supreme Court explained the provision as the proscription aimed against the evils of the so-called omnibus bills and log-rolling legislation as well as surreptitious and/or unconsidered encroaches. The provision merely calls for all parts of an act relating to its subject finding expression in its title.

To determine whether there has been compliance with the constitutional requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed in its title, the Court laid down the rule that –
Constitutional provisions relating to the subject matter and titles of statutes should not be so narrowly construed as to cripple or impede the power of legislation. The requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed in its title should receive a reasonable and not a technical construction. It is sufficient if the title be comprehensive enough reasonably to include the general object which a statute seeks to effect, without expressing each and every end and means necessary or convenient for the accomplishing of that object. Mere details need not be set forth. The title need not be an abstract or index of the Act.[2]
The High Court has previously ruled that the one-subject requirement under the Constitution is satisfied if all the parts of the statute are related, and are germane to the subject matter expressed in the title, or as long as they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the general subject and title.[3] An act having a single general subject, indicated in the title, may contain any number of provisions, no matter how diverse they may be, so long as they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the general subject, and may be considered in furtherance of such subject by providing for the method and means of carrying out the general object.[4]

It is also well-settled that the “one title-one subject” rule does not require the Congress to employ in the title of the enactment language of such precision as to mirror, fully index or catalogue all the contents and the minute details therein. The rule is sufficiently complied with if the title is comprehensive enough as to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect.[5] Indeed, the Court has invariably adopted a liberal rather than technical construction of the rule “so as not to cripple or impede legislation.”[6]

R.A. No. 9646 is entitled “An Act Regulating the Practice of Real Estate Service in the Philippines, Creating for the Purpose a Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service, Appropriating Funds Therefor and For Other Purposes.” Aside from provisions establishing a regulatory system for the professionalization of the real estate service sector, the new law extended its coverage to real estate developers with respect to their own properties. Henceforth, real estate developers are prohibited from performing acts or transactions constituting real estate service practice without first complying with registration and licensing requirements for their business, brokers or agents, appraisers, consultants and salespersons.

In Remman v. PRBRES (G.R. No. 197676, February 04, 2014), petitioners point out that since partnerships or corporations engaged in marketing or selling any real estate development project in the regular course of business are now required to be headed by full-time, registered and licensed real estate brokers, this requirement constitutes limitations on the property rights and business prerogatives of real estate developers which are not all reflected in the title of R.A. No. 9646. Neither are real estate developers, who are already regulated under a different law, P.D. No. 957, included in the definition of real estate service practitioners.The Supreme Court held that R.A. No. 9646 does NOT violate the one-title, one-subject rule.

The primary objective of R.A. No. 9646 is expressed as follows:
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State recognizes the vital role of real estate service practitioners in the social, political, economic development and progress of the country by promoting the real estate market, stimulating economic activity and enhancing government income from real property-based transactions. Hence, it shall develop and nurture through proper and effective regulation and supervision a corps of technically competent, responsible and respected professional real estate service practitioners whose standards of practice and service shall be globally competitive and will promote the growth of the real estate industry.
The High Court ruled that the inclusion of real estate developers is germane to the law’s primary goal of developing “a corps of technically competent, responsible and respected professional real estate service practitioners whose standards of practice and service shall be globally competitive and will promote the growth of the real estate industry.” Since the marketing aspect of real estate development projects entails the performance of those acts and transactions defined as real estate service practices under Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 9646, it is logically covered by the regulatory scheme to professionalize the entire real estate service sector. (G.R. No. 197676, February 4, 2014)

[1] 463 Phil. 179 (2003).

[2] Id. at 198.

[3] Cordero and Salazar v. Cabatuando and Sta. Romana, 116 Phil. 736, 740 (1962); see also Sumulong v. COMELEC, 73 Phil. 288, 291 (1941).

[4] Tio v. Videogram Regulatory Board, 235 Phil. 198, 204 (1987).

[5] Cawaling, Jr. v. COMELEC, 420 Phil. 524, 534 (2001), citing Tatad v. The Secretary of the Department of Energy, 346 Phil. 321, 405 (1997) and Hon. Lim v. Hon. Pacquing, 310 Phil. 722, 767 (1995).

[6] Id., citing Tobias v. Abalos, G.R. No. 114783, December 8, 1994, 239 SCRA 106, 111 and Sumulong v. COMELEC, supra note 11.

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