Political Law

Benigno Aquino, Jr. vs Commission on Elections

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G.R. No. L-40004 – 62 SCRA 275 – Political Law – Basic Concepts – Elements of a State – Government – De Jure vs De Facto Government – Marcos as a De Jure President Under the 1973 Constitution

In January 1975, a petition for prohibition was filed to seek the nullification of some Presidential Decrees issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos. It was alleged that Marcos does not hold any legal office nor possess any lawful authority under either the 1935 Constitution or the 1973 Constitution and therefore has no authority to issue the questioned proclamations, decrees and orders.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Marcos government is a lawful government.

HELD: Yes. First of, this is actually a quo warranto proceedings and Benigno Aquino, Jr. et al, have no legal personality to sue because they have no claim to the office of the president. Only the Solicitor General or the person who asserts title to the same office can legally file such a quo warranto petition.

On the issue at bar, the Supreme Court affirmed the validity of Martial Law Proclamation No. 1081 issued on September 22, 1972 by President Marcos because there was no arbitrariness in the issuance of said proclamation pursuant to the 1935 Constitution; that the factual bases (the circumstances of lawlessness then present) had not disappeared but had even been exacerbated; that the question as to the validity of the Martial Law proclamation has been foreclosed by Section 3(2) of Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution.

Under the (1973) Constitution, the President, if he so desires; can continue in office beyond 1973. While his term of office under the 1935 Constitution should have terminated on December 30, 1973, by the general referendum of July 27-28, 1973, the sovereign people expressly authorized him to continue in office even beyond 1973 under the 1973 Constitution (which was validly ratified on January 17, 1973 by the sovereign people) in order to finish the reforms he initiated under Martial Law; and as aforestated, as this was the decision of the people, in whom “sovereignty resides . . . and all government authority emanates . . .,” it is therefore beyond the scope of judicial inquiry. The logical consequence therefore is that President Marcos is a de jure President of the Republic of the Philippines.

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