SC Dismisses Petitions to Nullify “Con-Ass” ResolutionPosted: June 16, 2009
The Supreme Court en banc, in a unanimous resolution penned by Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, has dismissed the “con-ass” petitions for being premature and for lack of locus standi.
The Court refused to exercise its jurisdiction over the two consolidated petitions filed by concerned citizens Atty. Oliver O. Lozano together with Atty. Evangeline J. Lozano-Endriano, and Louis C. Biraogo, which both asked for the nullification of House Resolution No. 1109 calling for a Constituent Assembly in Congress, because “the fitness of petitioners’ case for the exercise of judicial review is grossly lacking.”
The Court’s power of review “is limited to actual cases and controversies dealing with parties having adversely legal claims, to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties.” The resolution further explains that “The case-or-controversy requirement bans this court from deciding ‘abstract, hypothetical or contingent questions.’”
The petitions filed were found to be premature or unripe for review because it lacked the showing of any proven “adverse injury or hardship from the act complained of.” The court also notes that “no actual convention has yet transpired and no rules of procedure have yet been adopted.” In fact, “no proposal has yet been made, and hence, no usurpation of power or gross abuse of discretion has yet taken place.” Thus, “the House has not yet performed a positive act that would warrant an intervention from this Court.”
Furthermore, petitioners Lozano, Endriano, and Biragao were found to have no standing to sue because they have no personal stake in the case. The claim that they are all concerned citizens and taxpayers do not warrant them a personal stake, as “a taxpayer’s suit requires that the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation.” In the case at hand, there has been no allocation or disbursement of public funds yet.
Neither can they claim locus standi based on “an issue of transcendental importance or [by showing that a] paramount public interest is involved,” because “the possible consequence of House Resolution No. 1109 is yet unrealized.” Locus Standi is a constitutional requirement – the Constitution mandates courts of justice to settle only “actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.” And “while the Court has taken an increasingly liberal approach to the rule of Locus Standi, it is not an open invitation for the ignorant and the ignoble to file petitions that prove nothing but their cerebial deficit.”
Ten justices concurred with the Chief Justice. One justice took no part while the other was on official leave. There are currently two vacancies in the High Court.