2014 (Political Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 2

[Answer/discuss the question below. Or see 2014 bar exam Political Law Instructions; 2014 Political Law Questions: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30; See also 2014 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]


Several citizens, unhappy with the proliferation of families dominating the political landscape, decided to take matters into their own hands. They proposed to come up with a people’s initiative defining political dynasties. They started a signature campaign for the purpose of coming up with a petition for that purpose. Some others expressed misgivings about a people’s initiative for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution, however. They cited the Court’s decision in Santiago v. Commission on Elections, 270 SCRA 106 (1997), as authority for their position that there is yet no enabling law for such purpose. On the other hand, there are also those who claim that the individual votes of the justices in Lambino v. Commission on Elections, 505 SCRA 160 (2006), mean that Santiago’s pronouncement has effectively been abandoned. If you were consulted by those behind the new attempt at a people’s initiative, how would you advise them? (4%)


  1. I advised that the pronouncement in the Santiago case remains. But my batchmate told me na may discussion about this sa Beda Red Notes na parang yung opinions ng 10 Justices in the Minute Resolution in the Lambino case operates as an abandonment of the pronouncement in the Santiago case and so the questioned implementing law on people’s intiative and referendum is now considered complete and valid. I am not sure though.

  2. I will advise that the ruling in Santiago vs COMELEC still stands.

    In Lambino vs. COMELEC, the SC stated that there is no need to revisit the sufficiency of R.A. 6735 under Santiago vs. COMMENCE. In other words, any discussion on the sufficiency of RA 6735 is an obiter dictum. The subsequent “reiteration” of the separate opinions of the 10 members of the Supreme Court does not change that fact. [Ref: http://attyatwork.com/republic-act-6735-now-sufficient/ ]

  3. Id advise that they follow the requisites laid out in Lambino, i.e., that the people must author the proposed amendments themselves and that the full text of the proposal must be attached to the petition itself.

  4. Pagpasencyahan nyo na sagot ko dito na medyo out of the box, ito kse pumasok sa utak ko during d exam.

    Advise ko sa kanila na neither amendment nor revision to d constitution is necessary since the issue may be addressed by a mere legislation.

    The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states in Article II Section 26, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

      1. yup this could be a good answer rin naman, my concern lang is the premise of the question itself. it states kasi na the people took matters in their own hands and the question is asking for an advice on peoples initiative. any proposal on peoples initiative when approved is also a legislation din naman. this is just my personal view lang naman as an ordinary lawyer so dont take it seriously dahil yung examiner ang may say dyan.

      2. you have a point.

        accordingly then perhaps, since the a people is asking for an advice on people’s initiative, it would be a good counsel for them to raise a strong public clamor or demand from the lawmakers to produce an anti-dynasty law instead of authoring the law by themselves. It rests on the basic principle that afterall they have elected lawmakers to represent and carry out the people’s wishes.

    1. I will advise the proponents to go ahead with the Initiative pursuant to RA 6735 and to strictly comply with the requirements of law as reiterated in Lambino case.
      The People’s Initiative that is being contemplated here is not for the purpose of amending the constitution pursuant to RA 6735 declared by the Supreme Court as Inadequate, ineffective and wanting of essential terms and conditions to implement the initiative clause on proposal to amend the constitution, but on initiative on statute that is, to propose a law defining “political dynasty”.
      People’s initiative to propose a national statute is allowed under RA 6735, thus, A law defining Political Dynasty may be proposed thru a petition signed by at least 10% of the total number registered voters, of which every legislative districts is represented by at lest 3% of the registered voters thereof, and such petition s filed with the Commission on Election

      1. i agree with your answer.

        The initiative being proposed is for a national legislation and not an amendment nor a revision on the Constitution. The proponents should just follow the requirements of RA 6735, it being a complete and adequate system of initiative that Congress provided for People’s Initiative on ?National and Local Legislation as declared in Lambino v. COMELEC.

    2. Tama sagot mo in part. But the proposed legislative measure which seeks to define political dynasties must be made applicable only to those elected officers whose qualifications are provided by law, not to those whose qualifications are provided in the Constitution, e.g. President, VP, Senators, HoR members. Or else, the Santiago case might be applicable. A disqualification is a qualification expressed in a negative way. Hence, to include these constitutionally qualified officers might be a constitutional amendment upon their qualifications.

  5. I will advise them to adhere to the case decided in Santiago in respect to stare decisis principle that judicial decisions forms part of the law.

  6. I will advise them to reconsider their options as the pronouncement in the case of Santiago v. COMELEC still holds water.
    The changes proposed in the case of Lambino v. COMELEC were characterized by the Supreme Court as revision, not amendment; this does not fall squarely within the scope of initiative and referendum.
    This being the case, those behind the attempt would still have to wait for an enabling law to achieve their purpose.

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