by Aliza

PHILIPPINE JUDGES ASSOCIATION v. PETE PRADO, GR No. 105371, 1993-11-11

Facts:

basic issue raised in this petition is the independence of the Judiciary.

It is asserted by the petitioners that this hallmark of republicanism is impaired by the statute and circular they are here challenging.

The main target of this petition is Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 as implemented by the Philippine Postal Corporation through its Circular No. 92-28. These measures withdraw the franking privilege from the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Regional Trial Courts, the

Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Land Registration Commission and its Registers of Deeds, along with certain other government offices.

petitioners are members of the lower courts who feel that their official functions as judges will be prejudiced by the above-named measures.

Issues:

constitutionality of R.A. No. 7354 on the grounds that: (1) its title embraces more than one subject and does not express its purposes; (2) it did not pass the required readings in both Houses of Congress and printed copies of the bill in its final... form were not distributed among the members before its passage; and (3) it is discriminatory and encroaches on the independence of the Judiciary.

Ruling:

We consider first the objection based on Article VI, Sec. 26(1), of the Constitution providing that "Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof."

The purposes of this rule are: (1) to prevent hodge-podge or "log-rolling" legislation; (2) to prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the title gives no intimation, and which might therefore be overlooked and carelessly and... unintentionally adopted; and (3) to fairly apprise the people, through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, of the subject of legislation that is being considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being heard thereon, by petition or... otherwise, if they shall so desire.

It is the submission of the petitioners that Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 which withdrew the franking privilege from the Judiciary is not expressed in the title of the law, nor does it reflect its purposes.

R.A. No. 7354 is entitled "An Act Creating the Philippine Postal Corporation, Defining its Powers, Functions and Responsibilities, Providing for Regulation of the Industry and for Other Purposes Connected Therewith."

The petitioners' contention is untenable. We do not agree that the title of the challenged act violates the Constitution.

The title of the bill is not required to be an index to the body of the act, or to be as comprehensive as to cover every single detail of the measure. It has been held that if the title fairly indicates the general subject, and reasonably covers all the provisions of the act,... and is not calculated to mislead the legislature or the people, there is sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement

To require every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of the general objectives of the statute to be expressed in its title would not only be unreasonable but would actually render legislation impossible

"The repeal of a statute on a given subject is properly connected with the subject matter of a new statute on the same subject; and therefore a repealing section in the new statute is valid,... notwithstanding that the title is silent on the subject. It would be difficult to conceive of a matter more germane to an act and to the object to be accomplished thereby than the repeal of previous legislations connected therewith."

The reason is that where a statute repeals a former law, such repeal is the effect and not the subject of the statute; and it is the subject, not the effect of a law, which is required to be briefly expressed in its title.

As... observed in one case,... if the title of an act embraces only one subject, we apprehend it was never claimed that every other act which it repeals or alters by implication must be mentioned in the title of the new act. Any such... rule would be neither within the reason of the Constitution, nor practicable.

We are convinced that the withdrawal of the franking privilege from some agencies is germane to the accomplishment of the principal objective of R.A. No. 7354, which is the creation of a more efficient and effective postal service system. Our ruling is that, by virtue of its... nature as a repealing clause, Section 35 did not have to be expressly included in the title of the said law.

Principles:

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