Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 79974 December 17, 1987
ULPIANO P. SARMIENTO III AND JUANITO G. ARCILLA, petitioners,
SALVADOR MISON, in his capacity as COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, AND GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET, respondents, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS, intervenor.
Once more the Court is called upon to delineate constitutional boundaries. In this petition for prohibition, the petitioners, who are taxpayers, lawyers, members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and professors of Constitutional Law, seek to enjoin the respondent Salvador Mison from performing the functions of the Office of Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and the respondent Guillermo Carague, as Secretary of the Department of Budget, from effecting disbursements in payment of Mison’s salaries and emoluments, on the ground that Mison’s appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs is unconstitutional by reason of its not having been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. The respondents, on the other hand, maintain the constitutionality of respondent Mison’s appointment without the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments.
Because of the demands of public interest, including the need for stability in the public service, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and decide, setting aside the finer procedural questions of whether prohibition is the proper remedy to test respondent Mison’s right to the Office of Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and of whether the petitioners have a standing to bring this suit.
By the same token, and for the same purpose, the Court allowed the Commission on Appointments to intervene and file a petition in intervention. Comment was required of respondents on said petition. The comment was filed, followed by intervenor’s reply thereto. The parties were also heard in oral argument on 8 December 1987.
This case assumes added significance because, at bottom line, it involves a conflict between two (2) great departments of government, the Executive and Legislative Departments. It also occurs early in the life of the 1987 Constitution.
The task of the Court is rendered lighter by the existence of relatively clear provisions in the Constitution. In cases like this, we follow what the Court, speaking through Mr. Justice (later, Chief Justice) Jose Abad Santos stated in Gold Creek Mining Corp. vs. Rodriguez, 1 that:
The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give effect to the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it. The intention to which force is to be given is that which is embodied and expressed in the constitutional provisions themselves.