Political Law

Ernesto Hidalgo vs President Ferdinand Marcos and COMELEC

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G.R. No. L-47329 – 80 SCRA 538 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President – President’s Immunity From Suit

In December 1977, a referendum was scheduled to be held. The purpose of which was to merge the office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the President. At that time, Marcos was serving as the president and at the same time he was wielding legislative powers. The referendum was to ask the people whether or not they still want Marcos to serve as the president (and at the same time Prime Minister) after an interim Batasang Pambansa will be organized. Ernesto Hidalgo filed a petition for prohibition and mandamus before the Supreme Court to enjoin COMELEC and the president from proceeding with the said referendum as he averred that the referendum will effectively amend the Constitution, which he says is unconstitutional and improper.

ISSUE: Whether or not the president can be sued and compelled through a mandamus by the SC.

HELD: The Supreme Court did not pass upon the issue of the suability of the President in this case considering that the COMELEC, the body tasked to implement the referendum, was impleaded.

The SC however ruled that the referendum is valid and that the same will merely ask the people if they want Marcos to stay in power or not and that the referendum will not amend the Constitution as Hidalgo avers.

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