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PILA Case Digest: Lim v. Executive Secretary (2002)

G.R. No. 151445      April 11, 2002
Lim v. Executive Secretary

Lessons Applicable:   Locus Standi,  International Law v. Muncipal Law, Certiorari, Incorporation Clause, Treaties

Laws Applicable: Constitution

FACTS:

    Pursuant to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) signed in 1999, personnel from the armed forces of the United States of America started arriving in Mindanao to take partin "Balikatan 02-1” on January 2002.  The Balikatan 02-1 exercises involves the simulation of joint military maneuvers pursuant to the Mutual Defense Treaty, a bilateral defense agreement entered into by the Philippines and the United States in 1951.  The exercise is rooted from the international anti-terrorism campaign declared by President George W. Bush in reaction to the 3 commercial aircrafts hijacking that smashed into twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. allegedly by the al-Qaeda headed by the Osama bin Laden that occurred on September 11, 2001.  Arthur D. Lim and Paulino P. Ersando as citizens, lawyers and taxpayers filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition attacking the constitutionality of the joint exercise.  Partylists Sanlakas and Partido Ng Manggagawa as  residents of Zamboanga and Sulu directly affected by the operations filed a petition-in-intervention.

    The Solicitor General commented the prematurity of the action as it is based only on a fear of future violation of the Terms of Reference and impropriety of availing of certiorari to ascertain a question of fact specifically interpretation of the VFA whether it is covers "Balikatan 02-1” and no question of constitutionality is involved.  Moreover, there is lack of locus standi since it does not involve tax spending and there is no proof of direct personal injury.

ISSUE: W/N the petition and the petition-in-intervention should prosper.

HELD: NO.  Petition and the petition-in-intervention are hereby DISMISSED without prejudice to the filing of a new petition sufficient in form and substance in the proper Regional Trial Court - Supreme Court is not a trier of facts

Doctrine of Importance to the Public
Considering however the importance to the public of the case at bar, and in keeping with the Court's duty, under the 1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws that they have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of this petition.

Although courts generally avoid having to decide a constitutional question based on the doctrine of separation of powers, which enjoins upon the department of the government a becoming respect for each other's act, this Court nevertheless resolves to take cognizance of the instant petition.
Interpretation of Treaty
The VFA permits United States personnel to engage, on an impermanent basis, in "activities," the exact meaning of which was left undefined. The expression is ambiguous, permitting a wide scope of undertakings subject only to the approval of the Philippine government. The sole encumbrance placed on its definition is couched in the negative, in that United States personnel must "abstain from any activity inconsistent with the spirit of this agreement, and in particular, from any political activity." All other activities, in other words, are fair game.
To aid in this, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Article 31 SECTION 3 and Article 32 contains provisos governing interpretations of international agreements.  It is clear from the foregoing that the cardinal rule of interpretation must involve an examination of the text, which is presumed to verbalize the parties' intentions. The Convention likewise dictates what may be used as aids to deduce the meaning of terms, which it refers to as the context of the treaty, as well as other elements may be taken into account alongside the aforesaid context.  According to Professor Briggs, writer on the Convention, the distinction between the general rule of interpretation and the supplementary means of interpretation is intended rather to ensure that the supplementary means do not constitute an alternative, autonomous method of interpretation divorced from the general rule.
The meaning of the word  “activities" was deliberately made that way to give both parties a certain leeway in negotiation. Thus, the VFA gives legitimacy to the current Balikatan exercises.  Both the history and intent of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the VFA support the conclusion that combat-related activities -as opposed to combat itself -such as the one subject of the instant petition, are indeed authorized.
The Terms of Reference are explicit enough. Paragraph 8 of section I stipulates that US exercise participants may not engage in combat "except in self-defense."  ." The indirect violation is actually petitioners' worry, that in reality, "Balikatan 02-1" is actually a war principally conducted by the United States government, and that the provision on self-defense serves only as camouflage to conceal the true nature of the exercise. A clear pronouncement on this matter thereby becomes crucial.  In our considered opinion, neither the MDT nor the VFA allow foreign troops to engage in an offensive war on Philippine territory.  Under the salutary proscription stated in Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Both the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, as in all other treaties and international agreements to which the Philippines is a party, must be read in the context of the 1987 Constitution especially Sec. 2, 7 and 8 of Article 2: Declaration of Principles and State Policies in this case.  The Constitution also regulates the foreign relations powers of the Chief Executive when it provides that "[n]o treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate."  Even more pointedly Sec. 25 on Transitory Provisions which shows antipathy towards foreign military presence in the country, or of foreign influence in general.  Hence, foreign troops are allowed entry into the Philippines only by way of direct exception.
International Law vs. Fundamental Law and Municipal Laws
Conflict arises then between the fundamental law and our obligations arising from international agreements.
Philip Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals: “Withal, the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of international law over national law in the municipal sphere. Under the doctrine of incorporation as applied in most countries, rules of international law are given a standing equal, not superior, to national legislation.”
From the perspective of public international law, a treaty is favored over municipal law pursuant to the principle of pacta sunt servanda. Hence, "[e]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith." Further, a party to a treaty is not allowed to "invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty."
Our Constitution espouses the opposing view as stated in section 5 of Article VIII: “The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxx
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and order of lower courts in:
(A) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.”
Ichong v. Hernandez: “provisions of a treaty are always subject to qualification or amendment by a subsequent law, or that it is subject to the police power of the State”
Gonzales v. Hechanova: “our Constitution authorizes the nullification of a treaty, not only when it conflicts with the fundamental law, but, also, when it runs counter to an act of Congress.”
The foregoing premises leave us no doubt that US forces are prohibited / from engaging in an offensive war on Philippine territory.

Jurisprudence: G.R. No. 151445 April 11, 2002



EN BANC

G.R. No. 151445      April 11, 2002

ARTHUR D. LIM and PAULINO R. ERSANDO, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY as alter ego of HER EXCELLENCEY GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, and HONORABLE ANGELO REYES in his capacity as Secretary of National Defense, respondents.

----------------------------------------

SANLAKAS and PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA, petitioners-intervenors,
vs.
GLORIA MACAPAGA-ARROYO, ALBERTO ROMULO, ANGELO REYES, respondents.
DE LEON, JR., J.:

This case involves a petition for certiorari and prohibition as well as a petition-in-intervention, praying that respondents be restrained from proceeding with the so-called "Balikatan 02-1" and that after due notice and hearing, that judgment be rendered issuing a permanent writ of injunction and/or prohibition against the deployment of U.S. troops in Basilan and Mindanao for being illegal and in violation of the Constitution.

The facts are as follows:

Beginning January of this year 2002, personnel from the armed forces of the United States of America started arriving in Mindanao to take part, in conjunction with the Philippine military, in "Balikatan 02-1." These so-called "Balikatan" exercises are the largest combined training operations involving Filipino and American troops. In theory, they are a simulation of joint military maneuvers pursuant to the Mutual Defense Treaty, a bilateral defense agreement entered into by the Philippines and the United States in 1951.

Prior to the year 2002, the last "Balikatan" was held in 1995. This was due to the paucity of any formal agreement relative to the treatment of United States personnel visiting the Philippines. In the meantime, the respective governments of the two countries agreed to hold joint exercises on a reduced scale. The lack of consensus was eventually cured when the two nations concluded the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in 1999.

The entry of American troops into Philippine soil is proximately rooted in the international anti-terrorism campaign declared by President George W. Bush in reaction to the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001. On that day, three (3) commercial aircrafts were hijacked, flown and smashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. by terrorists with alleged links to the al-Qaeda ("the Base"), a Muslim extremist organization headed by the infamous Osama bin Laden. Of no comparable historical parallels, these acts caused billions of dollars worth of destruction of property and incalculable loss of hundreds of lives.

On February 1, 2002, petitioners Arthur D. Lim and Paulino P. Ersando filed this petition for certiorari and prohibition, attacking the constitutionality of the joint exercise. They were joined subsequently by SANLAKAS and PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA, both party-list organizations, who filed a petition-in-intervention on February 11, 2002.

Lim and Ersando filed suit in their capacities as citizens, lawyers and taxpayers. SANLAKAS and PARTIDO, on the other hand, aver that certain members of their organization are residents of Zamboanga and Sulu, and hence will be directly affected by the operations being conducted in Mindanao. They likewise pray for a relaxation on the rules relative to locus standi citing the unprecedented importance of the issue involved.

On February 71 2002 the Senate conducted a hearing on the "Balikatan" exercise wherein Vice-President Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr., who is concurrently Secretary of Foreign Affairs, presented the Draft Terms of Reference (TOR). Five days later, he approved the TOR, which we quote hereunder:

I. POLICY LEVEL

1. The Exercise shall be consistent with the Philippine Constitution and all its activities shall be in consonance with the laws of the land and the provisions of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

2. The conduct of this training Exercise is in accordance with pertinent United Nations resolutions against global terrorism as understood by the respective parties.

3. No permanent US basing and support facilities shall be established. Temporary structures such as those for troop billeting, classroom instruction and messing may be set up for use by RP and US Forces during the Exercise.

4. The Exercise shall be implemented jointly by RP and US Exercise Co-Directors under the authority of the Chief of Staff, AFP. In no instance will US Forces operate independently during field training exercises (FTX). AFP and US Unit Commanders will retain command over their respective forces under the overall authority of the Exercise Co-Directors. RP and US participants shall comply with operational instructions of the AFP during the FTX.

5. The exercise shall be conducted and completed within a period of not more than six months, with the projected participation of 660 US personnel and 3,800 RP Forces. The Chief of Staff, AFP shall direct the Exercise Co-Directors to wind up and terminate the Exercise and other activities within the six month Exercise period.

6. The Exercise is a mutual counter-terrorism advising, assisting and training Exercise relative to Philippine efforts against the ASG, and will be conducted on the Island of Basilan. Further advising, assisting and training exercises shall be conducted in Malagutay and the Zamboanga area. Related activities in Cebu will be for support of the Exercise.

7. Only 160 US Forces organized in 12-man Special Forces Teams shall be deployed with AFP field, commanders. The US teams shall remain at the Battalion Headquarters and, when approved, Company Tactical headquarters where they can observe and assess the performance of the AFP Forces.

8. US exercise participants shall not engage in combat, without prejudice to their right of self-defense.

9. These terms of Reference are for purposes of this Exercise only and do not create additional legal obligations between the US Government and the Republic of the Philippines.

II. EXERCISE LEVEL

1. TRAINING

a. The Exercise shall involve the conduct of mutual military assisting, advising and training of RP and US Forces with the primary objective of enhancing the operational capabilities of both forces to combat terrorism.

b. At no time shall US Forces operate independently within RP territory.

c. Flight plans of all aircraft involved in the exercise will comply with the local air traffic regulations.

2. ADMINISTRATION & LOGISTICS

a. RP and US participants shall be given a country and area briefing at the start of the Exercise. This briefing shall acquaint US Forces on the culture and sensitivities of the Filipinos and the provisions of the VF A. The briefing shall also promote the full cooperation on the part of the RP and US participants for the successful conduct of the Exercise.

b. RP and US participating forces may share, in accordance with their respective laws and regulations, in the use of their resources, equipment and other assets. They will use their respective logistics channels.

c. Medical evaluation shall be jointly planned and executed utilizing RP and US assets and resources.

d. Legal liaison officers from each respective party shall be appointed by the Exercise Directors.

3. PUBLIC AFFAIRS

a. Combined RP-US Information Bureaus shall be established at the Exercise Directorate in Zamboanga City and at GHQ, AFP in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

b. Local media relations will be the concern of the AFP and all public affairs guidelines shall be jointly developed by RP and US Forces.

c. Socio-Economic Assistance Projects shall be planned and executed jointly by RP and US Forces in accordance with their respective laws and regulations, and in consultation with community and local government officials.

Contemporaneously, Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Minerva Jean A. Falcon and United States Charge d' Affaires Robert Fitts signed the Agreed Minutes of the discussion between the Vice-President and Assistant Secretary Kelly.

Petitioners Lim and Ersando present the following arguments:

I

THE PHILIPPINES AND THE UNITED STATES SIGNED THE MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY (MDT) in 1951 TO PROVIDE MUTUAL MILITARY ASSISTANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 'CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESSES' OF EACH COUNTRY ONLY IN THE CASE OF AN ARMED ATTACK BY AN EXTERNAL AGGRESSOR, MEANING A THIRD COUNTRY AGAINST ONE OF THEM.

BY NO STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION CAN IT BE SAID THAT THE ABU SAYYAF BANDITS IN BASILAN CONSTITUTE AN EXTERNAL ARMED FORCE THAT HAS SUBJECT THE PHILIPPINES TO AN ARMED EXTERNAL ATTACK TO WARRANT U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE UNDER THE MDT OF 1951.

II

NEITHER DOES THE VFA OF 1999 AUTHORIZE AMERICAN SOLDIERS TO ENGAGE IN COMBAT OPERATIONS IN PHILIPPINE TERRITORY, NOT EVEN TO FIRE BACK "IF FIRED UPON".

Substantially the same points are advanced by petitioners SANLAKAS and PARTIDO.

In his Comment, the Solicitor General points to infirmities in the petitions regarding, inter alia, Lim and Ersando's standing to file suit, the prematurity of the action, as well as the impropriety of availing of certiorari to ascertain a question of fact. Anent their locus standi, the Solicitor General argues that first, they may not file suit in their capacities as, taxpayers inasmuch as it has not been shown that "Balikatan 02-1 " involves the exercise of Congress' taxing or spending powers. Second, their being lawyers does not invest them with sufficient personality to initiate the case, citing our ruling in Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora. Third, Lim and Ersando have failed to demonstrate the requisite showing of direct personal injury. We agree.

It is also contended that the petitioners are indulging in speculation. The Solicitor General is of the view that since the Terms of Reference are clear as to the extent and duration of "Balikatan 02-1," the issues raised by petitioners are premature, as they are based only on a fear of future violation of the Terms of Reference. Even petitioners' resort to a special civil action for certiorari is assailed on the ground that the writ may only issue on the basis of established facts.

Apart from these threshold issues, the Solicitor General claims that there is actually no question of constitutionality involved. The true object of the instant suit, it is said, is to obtain an interpretation of the VFA. The Solicitor General asks that we accord due deference to the executive determination that "Balikatan 02-1" is covered by the VFA, considering the President's monopoly in the field of foreign relations and her role as commander-in-chief of the Philippine armed forces.

Given the primordial importance of the issue involved, it will suffice to reiterate our view on this point in a related case:

Notwithstanding, in view of the paramount importance and the constitutional significance of the issues raised in the petitions, this Court, in the exercise of its sound discretion, brushes aside the procedural barrier and takes cognizance of the petitions, as we have done in the early Emergency Powers Cases, where we had occasion to rule:

'x x x ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President Quirino although they were involving only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that 'transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure.' We have since then applied the exception in many other cases. [citation omitted]

This principle was reiterated in the subsequent cases of Gonzales vs. COMELEC, Daza vs. Singson, and Basco vs. Phil, Amusement and Gaming Corporation, where we emphatically held:

Considering however the importance to the public of the case at bar, and in keeping with the Court's duty, under the 1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws that they have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of this petition. xxx'

Again, in the more recent case of Kilosbayan vs. Guingona, Jr., this Court ruled that in cases of transcendental importance, the Court may relax the standing requirements and allow a suit to prosper even where there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review.

Although courts generally avoid having to decide a constitutional question based on the doctrine of separation of powers, which enjoins upon the department of the government a becoming respect for each other's act, this Court nevertheless resolves to take cognizance of the instant petition.

Hence, we treat with similar dispatch the general objection to the supposed prematurity of the action. At any rate, petitioners' concerns on the lack of any specific regulation on the latitude of activity US personnel may undertake and the duration of their stay has been addressed in the Terms of Reference.

The holding of "Balikatan 02-1" must be studied in the framework of the treaty antecedents to which the Philippines bound itself. The first of these is the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT, for brevity). The MDT has been described as the "core" of the defense relationship between the Philippines and its traditional ally, the United States. Its aim is to enhance the strategic and technological capabilities of our armed forces through joint training with its American counterparts; the "Balikatan" is the largest such training exercise directly supporting the MDT's objectives. It is this treaty to which the VFA adverts and the obligations thereunder which it seeks to reaffirm.

The lapse of the US-Philippine Bases Agreement in 1992 and the decision not to renew it created a vacuum in US-Philippine defense relations, that is, until it was replaced by the Visiting Forces Agreement. It should be recalled that on October 10, 2000, by a vote of eleven to three, this Court upheld the validity of the VFA. The V FA provides the "regulatory mechanism" by which "United States military and civilian personnel [may visit] temporarily in the Philippines in connection with activities approved by the Philippine Government." It contains provisions relative to entry and departure of American personnel, driving and vehicle registration, criminal jurisdiction, claims, importation and exportation, movement of vessels and aircraft, as well as the duration of the agreement and its termination. It is the VFA which gives continued relevance to the MDT despite the passage of years. Its primary goal is to facilitate the promotion of optimal cooperation between American and Philippine military forces in the event of an attack by a common foe.

The first question that should be addressed is whether "Balikatan 02-1" is covered by the Visiting Forces Agreement. To resolve this, it is necessary to refer to the VFA itself: Not much help can be had therefrom, unfortunately, since the terminology employed is itself the source of the problem. The VFA permits United States personnel to engage, on an impermanent basis, in "activities," the exact meaning of which was left undefined. The expression is ambiguous, permitting a wide scope of undertakings subject only to the approval of the Philippine government. The sole encumbrance placed on its definition is couched in the negative, in that United States personnel must "abstain from any activity inconsistent with the spirit of this agreement, and in particular, from any political activity." All other activities, in other words, are fair game.

We are not left completely unaided, however. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which contains provisos governing interpretations of international agreements, state:

SECTION 3. INTERPRETATION OF TREATIES

Article 31

General rule of interpretation

1. A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith ill accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the tenus of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.

2. The context for the purpose of the interpretation of a treaty shall comprise, in addition to the text, including its preamble and annexes:

(a) any agreement relating to the treaty which was made between all the parties in connection with the conclusion of the treaty;

(b) any instrument which was made by one or more parties in connection with the conclusion of the treaty and accepted by the other parties as an instrument related to the party .

3. There shall be taken into account, together with the context:

(a) any subsequent agreement between the parties regarding the interpretation of the treaty or the application of its provisions;

(b) any subsequent practice in the application of the treaty which establishes the agreement of the parties regarding its interpretation;

(c) any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties.

4. A special meaning shall be given to a term if it is established that the parties so intended.

Article 32

Supplementary means of interpretation

Recourse may be had to supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning resulting from the application of article 31, or to determine the meaning when the interpretation according to article 31 :

(a) leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure; or

(b) leads to a result which is manifestly absurd unreasonable.

It is clear from the foregoing that the cardinal rule of interpretation must involve an examination of the text, which is presumed to verbalize the parties' intentions. The Convention likewise dictates what may be used as aids to deduce the meaning of terms, which it refers to as the context of the treaty, as well as other elements may be taken into account alongside the aforesaid context. As explained by a writer on the Convention,

[t]he Commission's proposals (which were adopted virtually without change by the conference and are now reflected in Articles 31 and 32 of the Convention) were clearly based on the view that the text of a treaty must be presumed to be the authentic expression of the intentions of the parties; the Commission accordingly came down firmly in favour of the view that 'the starting point of interpretation is the elucidation of the meaning of the text, not an investigation ab initio into the intentions of the parties'. This is not to say that the travauxpreparatoires of a treaty , or the circumstances of its conclusion, are relegated to a subordinate, and wholly ineffective, role. As Professor Briggs points out, no rigid temporal prohibition on resort to travaux preparatoires of a treaty was intended by the use of the phrase 'supplementary means of interpretation' in what is now Article 32 of the Vienna Convention. The distinction between the general rule of interpretation and the supplementary means of interpretation is intended rather to ensure that the supplementary means do not constitute an alternative, autonomous method of interpretation divorced from the general rule.

The Terms of Reference rightly fall within the context of the VFA.

After studied reflection, it appeared farfetched that the ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the word  “activities" arose from accident. In our view, it was deliberately made that way to give both parties a certain leeway in negotiation. In this manner, visiting US forces may sojourn in Philippine territory for purposes other than military. As conceived, the joint exercises may include training on new techniques of patrol and surveillance to protect the nation's marine resources, sea search-and-rescue operations to assist vessels in distress, disaster relief operations, civic action projects such as the building of school houses, medical and humanitarian missions, and the like.

Under these auspices, the VFA gives legitimacy to the current Balikatan exercises. It is only logical to assume that “Balikatan 02-1," a "mutual anti- terrorism advising, assisting and training exercise," falls under the umbrella of sanctioned or allowable activities in the context of the agreement. Both the history and intent of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the VFA support the conclusion that combat-related activities -as opposed to combat itself -such as the one subject of the instant petition, are indeed authorized.

That is not the end of the matter, though. Granted that "Balikatan 02-1" is permitted under the terms of the VFA, what may US forces legitimately do in furtherance of their aim to provide advice, assistance and training in the global effort against terrorism? Differently phrased, may American troops actually engage in combat in Philippine territory? The Terms of Reference are explicit enough. Paragraph 8 of section I stipulates that US exercise participants may not engage in combat "except in self-defense." We wryly note that this sentiment is admirable in the abstract but difficult in implementation. The target of "Balikatan 02-1" the Abu Sayyaf, cannot reasonably be expected to sit idly while the battle is brought to their very doorstep. They cannot be expected to pick and choose their targets for they will not have the luxury of doing so. We state this point if only to signify our awareness that the parties straddle a fine line, observing the honored legal maxim "Nemo potest facere per alium quod non potest facere per directum." The indirect violation is actually petitioners' worry, that in reality, "Balikatan 02-1" is actually a war principally conducted by the United States government, and that the provision on self-defense serves only as camouflage to conceal the true nature of the exercise. A clear pronouncement on this matter thereby becomes crucial.

In our considered opinion, neither the MDT nor the VFA allow foreign troops to engage in an offensive war on Philippine territory. We bear in mind the salutary proscription stated in the Charter of the United Nations, to wit:

Article 2

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

xxx      xxx      xxx      xxx

4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

xxx      xxx      xxx      xxx

In the same manner, both the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, as in all other treaties and international agreements to which the Philippines is a party, must be read in the context of the 1987 Constitution. In particular, the Mutual Defense Treaty was concluded way before the present Charter, though it nevertheless remains in effect as a valid source of international obligation. The present Constitution contains key provisions useful in determining the extent to which foreign military troops are allowed in Philippine territory. Thus, in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, it is provided that:

xxx      xxx      xxx      xxx

SEC. 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

xxx      xxx      xxx      xxx

SEC. 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self- determination.

SEC. 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in the country.

xxx      xxx      xxx      xxx

The Constitution also regulates the foreign relations powers of the Chief Executive when it provides that "[n]o treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate." Even more pointedly, the Transitory Provisions state:

Sec. 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state.

The aforequoted provisions betray a marked antipathy towards foreign military presence in the country, or of foreign influence in general. Hence, foreign troops are allowed entry into the Philippines only by way of direct exception. Conflict arises then between the fundamental law and our obligations arising from international agreements.

A rather recent formulation of the relation of international law vis-a-vis municipal law was expressed in Philip Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, to wit:

xxx Withal, the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of international law over national law in the municipal sphere. Under the doctrine of incorporation as applied in most countries, rules of international law are given a standing equal, not superior, to national legislation.

This is not exactly helpful in solving the problem at hand since in trying to find a middle ground, it favors neither one law nor the other, which only leaves the hapless seeker with an unsolved dilemma. Other more traditional approaches may offer valuable insights.

From the perspective of public international law, a treaty is favored over municipal law pursuant to the principle of pacta sunt servanda. Hence, "[e]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith." Further, a party to a treaty is not allowed to "invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty."

Our Constitution espouses the opposing view. Witness our jurisdiction as I stated in section 5 of Article VIII:

The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

xxx      xxx      xxx      xxx

(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and order of lower courts in:

(A) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.

xxx      xxx      xxx      xxx

In Ichong v. Hernandez, we ruled that the provisions of a treaty are always subject to qualification or amendment by a subsequent law, or that it is subject to the police power of the State. In Gonzales v. Hechanova,

xxx As regards the question whether an international agreement may be invalidated by our courts, suffice it to say that the Constitution of the Philippines has clearly settled it in the affirmative, by providing, in Section 2 of Article VIII thereof, that the Supreme Court may not be deprived "of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error as the law or the rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question." In other words, our Constitution authorizes the nullification of a treaty, not only when it conflicts with the fundamental law, but, also, when it runs counter to an act of Congress.

The foregoing premises leave us no doubt that US forces are prohibited / from engaging in an offensive war on Philippine territory.

Yet a nagging question remains: are American troops actively engaged in combat alongside Filipino soldiers under the guise of an alleged training and assistance exercise? Contrary to what petitioners would have us do, we cannot take judicial notice of the events transpiring down south, as reported from the saturation coverage of the media. As a rule, we do not take cognizance of newspaper or electronic reports per se, not because of any issue as to their truth, accuracy, or impartiality, but for the simple reason that facts must be established in accordance with the rules of evidence. As a result, we cannot accept, in the absence of concrete proof, petitioners' allegation that the Arroyo government is engaged in "doublespeak" in trying to pass off as a mere training exercise an offensive effort by foreign troops on native soil. The petitions invite us to speculate on what is really happening in Mindanao, to issue and make factual findings on matters well beyond our immediate perception, and this we are understandably loath to do.

It is all too apparent that the determination thereof involves basically a question of fact. On this point, we must concur with the Solicitor General that the present subject matter is not a fit topic for a special civil action for certiorari. We have held in too many instances that questions of fact are not entertained in such a remedy. The sole object of the writ is to correct errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion: The phrase "grave abuse of discretion" has a precise meaning in law, denoting abuse of discretion "too patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty, or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or act in contemplation of law, or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and personal hostility."

In this connection, it will not be amiss to add that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.

Under the expanded concept of judicial power under the Constitution, courts are charged with the duty "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government." From the facts obtaining, we find that the holding of "Balikatan 02-1" joint military exercise has not intruded into that penumbra of error that would otherwise call for correction on our part. In other words, respondents in the case at bar have not committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

WHEREFORE, the petition and the petition-in-intervention are hereby DISMISSED without prejudice to the filing of a new petition sufficient in form and substance in the proper Regional Trial Court.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Melo, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Carpio, JJ., concur.

Kapunan, dissenting opinion.

Ynares-Santiago, join the dissenting opinion.

Panganiban, separate opinion.

Davide., Jr., C.J., Puno, Sandoval-Gutierrez, join the main and separate opinion of J. Panganiban.

PILA Case Digest: Vinuya v. Malaya Lolas Organization (2014)

G.R. No. 162230  August 12, 2014

Vinuya v. Malaya Lolas Organization

Lessons Applicable: foreign policy prerogatives of the Executive Branch, Incorporation Clause

Laws Applicable: Constitution

Facts:

The Court in its April 28, 2010 decision held that:

(1)   Plagiarism were then already lodged with the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards of the Court

(2)   A writ of certiorari did not lie in the absence of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction

(3)   Waiver Clause in the Treaty of Peace with Japan is valid pursuant to the international law principle of pacta sunt servanda

(4)   Formal apology by the Government of Japan and the reparation the Government of Japan has provided through the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF) are sufficient to recompense petitioners on their claims

Petitioners Vinuya et al. filed a Motion for Reconsideration and a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, praying that the Court reverse its decision of April 28, 2010, and grant their petition for certiorari.

In their Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners contended that our constitutional and jurisprudential histories have rejected the Court’s ruling that the foreign policy prerogatives of the Executive Branch are unlimited and that the court has erred in holding that the Chief Executive has the prerogative whether to bring their claims against Japan because the foreign policy prerogatives are subject to obligations to promote international humanitarian law as incorporated into the laws of the land through the Incorporation Clause enshrined in Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution as cited in the cases of Yamashita v. Styer and Kuroda v. Jalandoni.

They added that the status and applicability of the generally accepted principles of international law within the Philippine jurisdiction would be uncertain without the Incorporation Clause as it implied that the general international law forms part of Philippine law only insofar as they are expressly adopted.  They further cited The Holy See, v. Rosario, Jr. and U.S. v. Guinto where international law is deemed part of the Philippine law and Agustin v. Edu, where the Court declared that a treaty, though not yet ratified by the Philippines, was part of the law of the land through the Incorporation Clause.  Moreover, they argue that the Philippines is bound to abide by the erga omnes obligations arising from the jus cogens norms embodied in the laws of war and humanity that include the principle of the imprescriptibility of war crimes and that international legal obligations prevail over national legal norms.  Thus, the Chief Executive has the constitutional duty to afford redress and to give justice to the victims of the comfort women system in the Philippines.

They further argue that the crimes of rapes, sexual slavery, torture and other forms of sexual violence committed against the Filipina comfort women are not simple private claims that are the usual subject of diplomatic protection but are crimes that are shocking to the conscience of humanity.  Thus, they pray that the Court reconsider and declare:  (1) The crimes are against humanity and war crimes under customary international law. (2) The Philippines is not bound by the Treaty of Peace with Japan, insofar as the waiver of the claims of the Filipina comfort women against Japan is concerned; (3) The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women; (4) Petitioners are entitled to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the respondents; (5) Order the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary to espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women for an official apology, legal compensation and other forms of reparation from Japan and (6) It is improper to lift orders based on statements on plagiarism.

ISSUE: W/N the Executive Department has exclusive determination and judgment regarding the petitioners claim as part of their foreign policy prerogative.

HELD: YES. Court DENIES the Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration for their lack of merit.

            The Constitution has entrusted to the Executive Department the conduct of foreign relations for the Philippines. Whether or not to espouse petitioners’ claim against the Government of Japan is left to the exclusive determination and judgment of the Executive Department. The Court cannot interfere with or question the wisdom of the conduct of foreign relations by the Executive Department. Accordingly, we cannot direct the Executive Department, either by writ of certiorari or injunction, to conduct our foreign relations with Japan in a certain manner.

NOTE: The Court did not directly address the issue of incoporation clause but it is implied that the foreign policy prerogatives are NOT subject to obligations to promote international humanitarian law through the Incorporation Clause.

Jurisprudence: G.R. No. 162230, August 12, 2014



G.R. No. 162230, August 12, 2014

ISABELITA C. VINUYA, VICTORIA C. DELA PEÑA, HERMINIHILDA MANIMBO, LEONOR H. SUMAWANG, CANDELARIA L. SOLIMAN, MARIA L. QUILANTANG, MARIA L. MAGISA, NATALIA M. ALONZO, LOURDES M. NAVARO, FRANCISCA M. ATENCIO, ERLINDA MANALASTAS, TARCILA M. SAMPANG, ESTER M. PALACIO, MAXIMA R. DELA CRUZ, BELEN A. SAGUM, FELICIDAD TURLA, FLORENCIA M. DELA PEÑA, EUGENIA M. LALU, JULIANA G. MAGAT, CECILIA SANGUYO, ANA ALONZO, RUFINA P. MALLARI, ROSARIO M. ALARCON, RUFINA C. GULAPA, ZOILA B. MANALUS, CORAZON C. CALMA, MARTA A. GULAPA, TEODORA M. HERNANDEZ, FERMIN B. DELA PEÑA, MARIA DELA PAZ B. CULALA, ESPERANZA MANAPOL, JUANITA M. BRIONES, VERGINIA M. GUEVARRA, MAXIMA ANGULO, EMILIA SANGIL, TEOFILA R. PUNZALAN, JANUARIA G. GARCIA, PERLA B. BALINGIT, BELEN A. CULALA, PILAR Q. GALANG, ROSARIO C. BUCO, GAUDENCIA C. DELA PEÑA, RUFINA Q. CATACUTAN, FRANCIA A. BUCO, PASTORA C. GUEVARRA, VICTORIA M. DELA CRUZ, PETRONILA O. DELA CRUZ, ZENAIDA P. DELA CRUZ, CORAZON M. SUBA, EMERINCIANA A. VINUYA, LYDIA A. SANCHEZ, ROSALINA M. BUCO, PATRICIA A. BERNARDO, LUCILA H. PAYAWAL, MAGDALENA LIWAG, ESTER C. BALINGIT, JOVITA A. DAVID, EMILIA C. MANGILIT, VERGINIA M. BANGIT, GUILERMA S. BALINGIT, TERECITA PANGILINAN, MAMERTA C. PUNO, CRISENCIANA C. GULAPA, SEFERINA S. TURLA, MAXIMA B. TURLA, LEONICIA G. GUEVARRA, ROSALINA M. CULALA, CATALINA Y. MANIO, MAMERTA T. SAGUM, CARIDAD L. TURLA, et al. in their capacity and as members of the “Malaya Lolas Organizations,” Petitioners, v. THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ALBERTO G. ROMULO, THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DELIA DOMINGO-ALBERT, THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE MERCEDITAS N. GUTIERREZ, AND THE HONORABLE SOLICITOR GENERAL ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO,, Respondents.

R E S O L U T I O N

BERSAMIN, J.:

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration and a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, praying that the Court reverse its decision of April 28, 2010, and grant their petition for certiorari.

In their Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners argue that our constitutional and jurisprudential histories have rejected the Court’s ruling that the foreign policy prerogatives of the Executive Branch are unlimited; that under the relevant jurisprudence and constitutional provisions, such prerogatives are proscribed by international human rights and international conventions of which the Philippines is a party; that the Court, in holding that the Chief Executive has the prerogative whether to bring petitioners’ claims against Japan, has read the foreign policy powers of the Office of the President in isolation from the rest of the constitutional protections that expressly textualize international human rights; that the foreign policy prerogatives are subject to obligations to promote international humanitarian law as incorporated into the laws of the land through the Incorporation Clause; that the Court must re-visit its decisions in Yamashita v. Styer and Kuroda v. Jalandoni which have been noted for their prescient articulation of the import of laws of humanity; that in said decision, the Court ruled that the State was bound to observe the laws of war and humanity; that in Yamashita, the Court expressly recognized rape as an international crime under international humanitarian law, and in Jalandoni, the Court declared that even if the Philippines had not acceded or signed the Hague Convention on Rules and Regulations covering Land Warfare, the Rules and Regulations formed part of the law of the nation by virtue of the Incorporation Clause; that such commitment to the laws of war and humanity has been enshrined in Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which provides “that the Philippines…adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.”

The petitioners added that the status and applicability of the generally accepted principles of international law within the Philippine jurisdiction would be uncertain without the Incorporation Clause, and that the clause implied that the general international law forms part of Philippine law only insofar as they are expressly adopted; that in its rulings in The Holy See, v. Rosario, Jr. and U.S. v. Guinto the Court has said that international law is deemed part of the Philippine law as a consequence of Statehood; that in Agustin v. Edu, the Court has declared that a treaty, though not yet ratified by the Philippines, was part of the law of the land through the Incorporation Clause; that by virtue of the Incorporation Clause, the Philippines is bound to abide by the erga omnes obligations arising from the jus cogens norms embodied in the laws of war and humanity that include the principle of the imprescriptibility of war crimes; that the crimes committed against petitioners are proscribed under international human rights law as there were undeniable violations of jus cogens norms; that the need to punish crimes against the laws of humanity has long become jus cogens norms, and that international legal obligations prevail over national legal norms; that the Court’s invocation of the political doctrine in the instant case is misplaced; and that the Chief Executive has the constitutional duty to afford redress and to give justice to the victims of the comfort women system in the Philippines.

Petitioners further argue that the Court has confused diplomatic protection with the broader responsibility of states to protect the human rights of their citizens, especially where the rights asserted are subject of erga omnes obligations and pertain to jus cogens norms; that the claims raised by petitioners are not simple private claims that are the usual subject of diplomatic protection; that the crimes committed against petitioners are shocking to the conscience of humanity; and that the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers against petitioners are not subject to the statute of limitations under international law.

Petitioners pray that the Court reconsider its April 28, 2010 decision, and declare: (1) that the rapes, sexual slavery, torture and other forms of sexual violence committed against the Filipina comfort women are crimes against humanity and war crimes under customary international law; (2) that the Philippines is not bound by the Treaty of Peace with Japan, insofar as the waiver of the claims of the Filipina comfort women against Japan is concerned; (3) that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women; and (4) that petitioners are entitled to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the respondents.

Petitioners also pray that the Court order the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary to espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women for an official apology, legal compensation and other forms of reparation from Japan.

In their Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners stress that it was highly improper for the April 28, 2010 decision to lift commentaries from at least three sources without proper attribution – an article published in 2009 in the Yale Law Journal of International Law; a book published by the Cambridge University Press in 2005; and an article published in 2006 in the Western Reserve Journal of International Law – and make it appear that such commentaries supported its arguments for dismissing the petition, when in truth the plagiarized sources even made a strong case in favour of petitioners’ claims.

In their Comment, respondents disagree with petitioners, maintaining that aside from the statements on plagiarism, the arguments raised by petitioners merely rehashed those made in their June 7, 2005 Memorandum; that they already refuted such arguments in their Memorandum of June 6, 2005 that the Court resolved through its April 28, 2010 decision, specifically as follows:

    1. The contentions pertaining to the alleged plagiarism were then already lodged with the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards of the Court; hence, the matter of alleged plagiarism should not be discussed or resolved herein.

    2. A writ of certiorari did not lie in the absence of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Hence, in view of the failure of petitioners to show any arbitrary or despotic act on the part of respondents, the relief of the writ of certiorari was not warranted.

    3. Respondents hold that the Waiver Clause in the Treaty of Peace with Japan, being valid, bound the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to the international law principle of pacta sunt servanda. The validity of the Treaty of Peace was the result of the ratification by two mutually consenting parties. Consequently, the obligations embodied in the Treaty of Peace must be carried out in accordance with the common and real intention of the parties at the time the treaty was concluded.

    4. Respondents assert that individuals did not have direct international remedies against any State that violated their human rights except where such remedies are provided by an international agreement. Herein, neither of the Treaty of Peace and the Reparations Agreement, the relevant agreements affecting herein petitioners, provided for the reparation of petitioners’ claims. Respondents aver that the formal apology by the Government of Japan and the reparation the Government of Japan has provided through the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF) are sufficient to recompense petitioners on their claims, specifically:

        About 700 million yen would be paid from the national treasury over the next 10 years as welfare and medical services;

        Instead of paying the money directly to the former comfort women, the services would be provided through organizations delegated by governmental bodies in the recipient countries (i.e., the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan); and

        Compensation would consist of assistance for nursing services (like home helpers), housing, environmental development, medical expenses, and medical goods.

Ruling

The Court DENIES the Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration for being devoid of merit.

1.      Petitioners did not show that their resort was timely under the Rules of Court.

Petitioners did not show that their bringing of the special civil action for certiorari was timely, i.e., within the 60-day period provided in Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, to wit:

    Section 4. When and where position filed. – The petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the sixty (60) day period shall be counted from notice of the denial of said motion.

As the rule indicates, the 60-day period starts to run from the date petitioner receives the assailed judgment, final order or resolution, or the denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial timely filed, whether such motion is required or not. To establish the timeliness of the petition for certiorari, the date of receipt of the assailed judgment, final order or resolution or the denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial must be stated in the petition; otherwise, the petition for certiorari must be dismissed. The importance of the dates cannot be understated, for such dates determine the timeliness of the filing of the petition for certiorari. As the Court has emphasized in Tambong v. R. Jorge Development Corporation:

    There are three essential dates that must be stated in a petition for certiorari brought under Rule 65. First, the date when notice of the judgment or final order or resolution was received; second, when a motion for new trial or reconsideration was filed; and third, when notice of the denial thereof was received. Failure of petitioner to comply with this requirement shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. Substantial compliance will not suffice in a matter involving strict observance with the Rules. (Emphasis supplied)

The Court has further said in Santos v. Court of Appeals:

    The requirement of setting forth the three (3) dates in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is for the purpose of determining its timeliness. Such a petition is required to be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or Resolution sought to be assailed. Therefore, that the petition for certiorari was filed forty-one (41) days from receipt of the denial of the motion for reconsideration is hardly relevant. The Court of Appeals was not in any position to determine when this period commenced to run and whether the motion for reconsideration itself was filed on time since the material dates were not stated. It should not be assumed that in no event would the motion be filed later than fifteen (15) days. Technical rules of procedure are not designed to frustrate the ends of justice. These are provided to effect the proper and orderly disposition of cases and thus effectively prevent the clogging of court dockets. Utter disregard of the Rules cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the policy of liberal construction.

The petition for certiorari contains the following averments, viz:

    82. Since 1998, petitioners and other victims of the “comfort women system,” approached the Executive Department through the Department of Justice in order to request for assistance to file a claim against the Japanese officials and military officers who ordered the establishment of the “comfort women” stations in the Philippines;

    83. Officials of the Executive Department ignored their request and refused to file a claim against the said Japanese officials and military officers;

    84. Undaunted, the Petitioners in turn approached the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice and Office of the of the Solicitor General to file their claim against the responsible Japanese officials and military officers, but their efforts were similarly and carelessly disregarded;20

The petition thus mentions the year 1998 only as the time when petitioners approached the Department of Justice for assistance, but does not specifically state when they received the denial of their request for assistance by the Executive Department of the Government. This alone warranted the outright dismissal of the petition.

Even assuming that petitioners received the notice of the denial of their request for assistance in 1998, their filing of the petition only on March 8, 2004 was still way beyond the 60-day period. Only the most compelling reasons could justify the Court’s acts of disregarding and lifting the strictures of the rule on the period. As we pointed out in MTM Garment Mfg. Inc. v. Court of Appeals:

    All these do not mean, however, that procedural rules are to be ignored or disdained at will to suit the convenience of a party. Procedural law has its own rationale in the orderly administration of justice, namely: to ensure the effective enforcement of substantive rights by providing for a system that obviates arbitrariness, caprice, despotism, or whimsicality in the settlement of disputes. Hence, it is a mistake to suppose that substantive law and procedural law are contradictory to each other, or as often suggested, that enforcement of procedural rules should never be permitted if it would result in prejudice to the substantive rights of the litigants.

    As we have repeatedly stressed, the right to file a special civil action of certiorari is neither a natural right nor an essential element of due process; a writ of certiorari is a prerogative writ, never demandable as a matter of right, and never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion. Hence, he who seeks a writ of certiorari must apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Rules.

    Herein petitioners have not shown any compelling reason for us to relax the rule and the requirements under current jurisprudence. x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

2.      Petitioners did not show that the assailed act was either judicial or quasi-judicial on the part of respondents.

Petitioners were required to show in their petition for certiorari that the assailed act was either judicial or quasi-judicial in character. Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court requires such showing, to wit:

    Section 1. Petition for certiorari.—When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require.

    The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order, or resolution subject thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46.

However, petitioners did not make such a showing.

3.      Petitioners were not entitled to the injunction.

The Court cannot grant petitioners’ prayer for the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction.

Preliminary injunction is merely a provisional remedy that is adjunct to the main case, and is subject to the latter’s outcome. It is not a cause of action itself. It is provisional because it constitutes a temporary measure availed of during the pendency of the action; and it is ancillary because it is a mere incident in and is dependent upon the result of the main action. Following the dismissal of the petition for certiorari, there is no more legal basis to issue the writ of injunction sought. As an auxiliary remedy, the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction cannot be issued independently of the principal action.

In any event, a mandatory injunction requires the performance of a particular act. Hence, it is an extreme remedy, to be granted only if the following requisites are attendant, namely:

    (a) The applicant has a clear and unmistakable right, that is, a right in esse;

    (b) There is a material and substantial invasion of such right; and

    (c) There is an urgent need for the writ to prevent irreparable injury to the applicant; and no other ordinary, speedy, and adequate remedy exists to prevent the infliction of irreparable injury.

In Marquez v. The Presiding Judge (Hon. Ismael B. Sanchez), RTC Br. 58, Lucena City, we expounded as follows:

    It is basic that the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, conditioned on the existence of a clear and positive right of the applicant which should be protected. It is an extraordinary, peremptory remedy available only on the grounds expressly provided by law, specifically Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, extreme caution must be observed in the exercise of such discretion. It should be granted only when the court is fully satisfied that the law permits it and the emergency demands it. The very foundation of the jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction rests in the existence of a cause of action and in the probability of irreparable injury, inadequacy of pecuniary compensation, and the prevention of multiplicity of suits. Where facts are not shown to bring the case within these conditions, the relief of injunction should be refused.

Here, the Constitution has entrusted to the Executive Department the conduct of foreign relations for the Philippines. Whether or not to espouse petitioners’ claim against the Government of Japan is left to the exclusive determination and judgment of the Executive Department. The Court cannot interfere with or question the wisdom of the conduct of foreign relations by the Executive Department. Accordingly, we cannot direct the Executive Department, either by writ of certiorari or injunction, to conduct our foreign relations with Japan in a certain manner.

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration for their lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Brion, Peralta, Villarama, Jr., Perez, Mendoza, Reyes, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.

Del Castillo, and Leonen, JJ., no part.

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