G.R. No. L-1123 – 78 Phil. 1 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Legislative Department – Legislative Process – Journal – Adoption of the Enrolled Bill Theory – Courts Need Not Look Into the Legislative Journal
Petitioners include 3 senators and 8 representatives (this was in 1946). The three senators were suspended by senate due to election irregularities. The 8 representatives were not allowed to take their seats in the lower House except in the election of the House Speaker. They argued that some senators and House Reps were not considered in determining the required ¾ vote (of each house) in order to pass the Resolution (proposing amendments to the Constitution) – which has been considered as an enrolled bill by then. At the same time, the votes were already entered into the Journals of the respective House. As a result, the Resolution was passed but it could have been otherwise were they allowed to vote. If these members of Congress had been counted, the affirmative votes in favor of the proposed amendment would have been short of the necessary three-fourths vote in either branch of Congress. Petitioners filed for the prohibition of the furtherance of the said resolution amending the constitution. Respondents argued that the SC cannot take cognizance of the case because the Court is bound by the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill or resolution.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Court can take cognizance of the issue at bar. Whether or not the said resolution was duly enacted by Congress.
HELD: As far as looking into the Journals is concerned, even if both the journals from each House and an authenticated copy of the Act had been presented, the disposal of the issue by the Court on the basis of the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as already stated, the due enactment of a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified in section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. The SC found in the journals no signs of irregularity in the passage of the law and did not bother itself with considering the effects of an authenticated copy if one had been introduced. It did not do what the opponents of the rule of conclusiveness advocate, namely, look into the journals behind the enrolled copy in order to determine the correctness of the latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the journals and the copy, be found in conflict with each other. No discrepancy appears to have been noted between the two documents and the court did not say or so much as give to understand that if discrepancy existed it would give greater weight to the journals, disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified copies “shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof.”
**Enrolled Bill – that which has been duly introduced, finally passed by both houses, signed by the proper officers of each, approved by the president and filed by the secretary of state.
Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure (Act 190), as amended by Act No. 2210, provides: “Official documents may be proved as follows: . . . (2) the proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislatives body that may be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of Congress, by the journals of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk of secretary, or printed by their order; Provided, That in the case of Acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, when there is an existence of a copy signed by the presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof.”
The SC is bound by the contents of a duly authenticated resolution (enrolled bill) by the legislature. In case of conflict, the contents of an enrolled bill shall prevail over those of the journals.