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Case Digest: Macalintal vs PET
ISSUE: Whether or not the creation of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is Constitutional.
FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Romulo B. Macalintal, through a Motion for Reconsideration reiterates his arguments that Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution does not provide for the creation of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and that the PET violates Section 12, Article VIII of the Constitution. In order to strengthen his position, petitioner cites the concurring opinion of Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro in “Barok” C. Biraogo v. The Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 that the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a public office which cannot be created by the president, the power to do so being lodged exclusively with Congress. Thus, petitioner submits that if the President, as head of the Executive Department, cannot create the PTC, the Supreme Court, likewise, cannot create the PET in the absence of an act of legislature.
RATIO DECIDENDI: The Court reiterates that the PET is authorized by the last paragraph of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution and as supported by the discussions of the Members of the Constitutional Commission, which drafted the present Constitution. With the explicit provision, the present Constitution has allocated to the Supreme Court, in conjunction with latter's exercise of judicial power inherent in all courts, the task of deciding presidential and vice-presidential election contests, with full authority in the exercise thereof. The power wielded by PET is a derivative of the plenary judicial power allocated to courts of law, expressly provided in the Constitution. On the whole, the Constitution draws a thin, but, nevertheless, distinct line between the PET and the Supreme Court. We have previously declared that the PET is not simply an agency to which Members of the Court were designated. Once again, the PET, as intended by the framers of the Constitution, is to be an institution independent, but not separate, from the judicial department, i.e., the Supreme Court.
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