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Case Digest: RE: Save the SC judicial independence and fiscal autonomy movement vs. abolition of judiciary development fund(JDF) and reduction of fiscal autonomy UDK-15143, Jan. 21, 2015
ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner Rolly Mijares has sufficiently shown grounds for this court to grant the petition and issue a writ of mandamus.
FACTS: Petitioner Rolly Mijares (Mijares) prays for the issuance of a writ of mandamus in order to compel this court to exercise its judicial independence and fiscal autonomy against the perceived hostility of Congress. In the letter-petition, Mijares alleges that he is "a Filipino citizen, and a concerned taxpayer. He filed this petition as part of his "continuing crusade to defend and uphold the Constitution" because he believes in the rule of law. He is concerned about the threats against the judiciary after this court promulgated Priority Development Assistance Fund. The complaint implied that certain acts of members of Congress and the President after the promulgation of these cases show a threat to judicial independence. Petitioner argues that Congress "gravely abused its discretion with a blatant usurpation of judicial independence and fiscal autonomy of the Supreme Court. Petitioner points out that Congress is exercising its power "in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility by abolishing the ‘Judiciary Development Fund’ (JDF) of the Supreme Court. With regard to his prayer for the issuance of the writ of mandamus, petitioner avers that Congress should not act as "wreckers of the law" by threatening "to clip the powers of the High Tribunal[.]" Congress committed a "blunder of monumental proportions" when it reduced the judiciary’s 2015 budget. Petitioner prays that this court exercise its powers to "REVOKE/ABROGATE and EXPUNGE whatever irreconcilable contravention of existing laws affecting the judicial independence and fiscal autonomy as mandated under the Constitution to better serve public interest and general welfare of the people."
RATIO DECIDENDI: The power of judicial review, like all powers granted by the Constitution, is subject to certain limitations. Petitioner must comply with all the requisites for judicial review before this court may take cognizance of the case. The requisites are: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case. The court held that there is no actual case or controversy and that the petitioner has no legal standing to question the validity of the proposed bill.