2005 BAR EXAMS QUESTIONS IN POLITICAL AND PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW
- I -
(a) The present Constitution introduced the concepts and processes of Initiative and Referendum. Compare and differentiate one from the other. (3%)
(b) To give the much needed help to the Province of Aurora which was devastated by typhoons and torrential rains, the President declared it in a “state of calamity.” Give at least four (4) legal effects of such declaration. (4%)
(c) Enumerate the rights of the coastal state in the exclusive economic zone. (3%)
- II -
(1.) Police Officer Henry Magiting of the Narcotics Section of the Western Police District applied for a search warrant in the Regional Trial Court of Manila for violation of Section 11, Article II (Possession of Prohibited Drugs) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) for the search and seizure of heroin in the cabin of the Captain of the MSS Seastar, a foreign-registered vessel which was moored at the South Harbor, Manila, its port of destination. Based on the affidavits of the applicant’s witnesses who were crew members of the vessel, they saw a box containing ten (10) kilograms of heroin under the bed in the Captain’s cabin. The RTC found probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant; nevertheless, it denied the application on the ground that Philippine courts have no criminal jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 9165 committed on foreign-registered vessels found in Philippine waters. Is the ruling of the court correct? Support your answer with reasons. (5%)
(2.) The Philippines and Australia entered into a Treaty of Extradition concurred in by the Senate of the Philippines on September 10, 1990. Both governments have notified each other that the requirements for the entry into force of the Treaty have been complied with. It took effect in 1990. The Australian government is requesting the Philippine government to extradite its citizen, Gibson, who has committed in his country the indictable offense of Obtaining Property by Deception in 1985. The said offense is among those enumerated as extraditable in the Treaty. For his defense, Gibson asserts that the retroactive application of the extradition treaty amounts to an ex post facto law. Rule on Gibson’s contention. (5%)
- III -
(1.) Italy, through its Ambassador, entered into a contract with Abad for the maintenance and repair of specified equipment at its Embassy and Ambassador’s Residence, such as air conditioning units, generator sets, electrical facilities, water heaters, and water motor pumps. It was stipulated that the agreement shall be effective for a period of four years and automatically renewed unless cancelled. Further, it provided that any suit arising from the contract shall be filed with the proper courts in the City of Manila. Claiming that the Maintenance Contract was unilaterally, baselessly and arbitrarily terminated, Abad sued the State of Italy and its Ambassador before a court in the City of Manila. Among the defenses they raised were “sovereign immunity” and “diplomatic immunity”.
(a) As counsel of Abad, refute the defenses of “sovereign immunity” and “diplomatic immunity” raised by the State of Italy and its Ambassador.
(b) At any rate, what should be the court’s ruling on the said defenses? (5%)
(2.) Adams and Baker are American citizens residing in the Philippines. Adams befriended Baker and became a frequent visitor at his house. One day, Adams arrived with 30 members of the Philippine National Police, armed with a Search Warrant authorizing the search of Baker’s house and its premises for dangerous drugs being trafficked to the United States of America. The search purportedly yielded positive results, and Baker was charged with Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Adams was the prosecution’s principal witness. However, for failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt, Baker was acquitted. Baker then sued Adams for damages for filing trumped-up charges against him. Among the defenses raised by Adams is that he has diplomatic immunity, conformably with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. He presented Diplomatic Notes from the American Embassy stating that he is an agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency tasked with “conducting surveillance operations” on suspected drug dealers in the Philippines believed to be the source of prohibited drugs being shipped to the U.S. It was also stated that after having ascertained the target, Adams would then inform the Philippine narcotic agents to make the actual arrest.
(a) As counsel of plaintiff Baker, argue why his complaint should not be dismissed on the ground of defendant Adams’ diplomatic immunity from suit.
(b) As counsel of defendant Adams, argue for the dismissal of the complaint. (5%)
- IV -
(1.) Squatters and vendors have put up structures in an area intended for a People’s Park, which are impeding the flow of traffic in the adjoining highway. Mayor Cruz gave notice for the structures to be removed, and the area vacated within a month, or else, face demolition and ejectment. The occupants filed a case with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to stop the Mayor’s move. The CHR then issued an “order to desist” against Mayor Cruz with warning that he would be held in contempt should he fail to comply with the desistance order. When the allotted time lapsed,
Mayor Cruz caused the demolition and removal of the structures. Accordingly, the CHR cited him for contempt.
(a) What is your concept of Human Rights? Does this case involve violations of human rights within the scope of the CHR’s jurisdiction?
(b) Can the CHR issue an “order to desist” or restraining order?
(c) Is the CHR empowered to declare Mayor Cruz in contempt?
Does it have contempt powers at all? (5%)
(2.) In March 2001, while Congress was adjourned, the President appointed Santos as Chairman of the Commission on Elections. Santos immediately took his oath and assumed office. While his appointment was promptly submitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation, it was not acted upon and Congress again adjourned. In June 2001, the President extended a second ad interim appointment to Santos for the same position with the same term, and this appointment was again submitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation. Santos took his oath anew and performed the functions of his office. Reyes, a political rival, filed a suit assailing certain orders issued by Santos. He also questioned the validity of Santos’ appointment. Resolve the following issues:
(a) Does Santos’ assumption of office on the basis of the ad interim appointments issued by the President amount to a temporary appointment which is prohibited by Section 1(2), Article IX-C of the Constitution?
(b) Assuming the legality of the first ad interim appointment and assumption of office by Santos, were his second ad interim appointment and subsequent assumption of office to the same position violations of the prohibition on reappointment under Section 1(2), Article IX-C of the Constitution? (5%)
- V -
(1.) Bruno still had several years to serve on his sentence when he was conditionally pardoned by the President. Among the conditions imposed was that he would “not again violate any of the penal laws of the Philippines.” Bruno accepted all of the conditions and was released. Shortly thereafter, Bruno was charged with 20 counts of estafa. He was then incarcerated to serve the unexpired portion of his sentence following the revocation by the President of the pardon. Bruno’s family filed a petition for habeas corpus, alleging that it was error to have him recommitted as the charges were false, in fact, half of them were already dismissed. Resolve the petition with reasons. (4%)
(2.) Ricardo was elected Dean of the College of Education in a State University for a term of five (5) years unless sooner terminated. Many were not pleased with his performance. To appease those critical of him, the President created a new position, that of Special Assistant to the President with the rank of Dean, without reduction in salary, and appointed Ricardo to said position in the interest of the service. Contemporaneously, the University President appointed Santos as Acting Dean in place of Ricardo.
(a) Does the phrase “unless sooner terminated” mean that the position of Ricardo is terminable at will?
(b) Was Ricardo removed from his position as Dean of the College of Education or merely transferred to the position of Special Assistant to the President? Explain. (5%)
(3.) Pedro Masipag filed with the Ombudsman a complaint against RTC Judge Jose Palacpac with violation of Article 204 of the Revised Penal Code for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment in Criminal Case No. 617. Judge Palacpac filed a motion with the Ombudsman to refer the complaint to the Supreme Court to determine whether an administrative aspect was involved in the said case. The Ombudsman denied the motion on the ground that no administrative case against Judge Palacpac relative to the decision in Criminal Case No. 617 was filed and pending in his office. State with reasons whether the Ombudsman’s ruling is correct. (4%)
- VI -
(1.) The two accepted tests to determine whether or not there is a valid delegation of legislative power are the Completeness Test and the Sufficient Standard Test. Explain each. (4%) (2.) Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670 (The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers) reads: Sec. 32. Penal Provision.―A person who shall willfully interfere with, restrain or coerce any teacher in the exercise of his rights guaranteed by this Act or who shall in any other manner commit any act to defeat any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
Is the proviso granting the court the authority to impose a penalty of imprisonment in its discretion constitutional? Explain briefly. (4%)
- VII -
(1.) State with reason(s) whether bail is a matter of right or a matter of discretion in the following cases: (a) The imposable penalty for the crime charged is reclusion perpetua and the accused is a minor; (b) The imposable penalty for the crime charged is life imprisonment and the accused is a minor; (c) The accused has been convicted of homicide on a charge of murder and sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of from eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to twelve (12) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum. (4%)
(2.) State with reason(s) which of the following is a government agency or a government instrumentality:
(a) Department of Public Works and Highway;
(b) Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas;
(c) Philippine Ports Authority;
(d) Land Transportation Office;
(e) Land Bank of the Philippines. (5%)
- VIII -
(1.) Mariano was arrested by the NBI as a suspect in the shopping mall bombings. Advised of his rights, Mariano asked for the assistance of his relative, Atty. Santos. The NBI noticed that Atty. Santos was inexperienced, incompetent and inattentive. Deeming him unsuited to protect the rights of Mariano, the NBI dismissed Atty. Santos. Appointed in his place was Atty. Barroso, a bar topnotcher who was in the premises visiting a relative. Atty. Barroso ably assisted Mariano when the latter gave a statement. However, Mariano assailed the investigation claiming that he was deprived of counsel of his choice.
Was the NBI correct in dismissing Atty. Santos and appointing Atty. Barroso in his stead?
Is Mariano’s statement, made with the assistance of Atty. Barroso, admissible in evidence? (5%)
(2.) Emilio had long suspected that Alvin, his employee, had been passing trade secrets to his competitor, Randy, but he had no proof. One day, Emilio broke open the desk of Alvin and discovered a letter wherein Randy thanked Alvin for having passed on to him vital trade secrets of Emilio. Enclosed in the letter was a check for P50,000.00 drawn against the account of Randy and payable to Alvin. Emilio then dismissed Alvin from his employment. Emilio’s proof of Alvin’s perfidy are the said letter and check which are objected to as inadmissible for having been obtained through an illegal search. Alvin filed a suit assailing his dismissal.
Rule on the admissibility of the letter and check. (5%)
- IX -
(1.) In the May 8, 1995 elections for local officials whose terms were to commence on June 30, 1995, Ricky filed on March 20, 1995 his certificate of candidacy for the Office of Governor of Laguna. He won, but his qualifications as an elected official was questioned. It is admitted that he is a repatriated Filipino citizen and a resident of the Province of Laguna. To be qualified for the office to which a local official has been elected, when at the latest should he be:
(a) A Filipino Citizen? Explain.
(b) A resident of the locality? Explain. (5%)
(2.) Manuel was elected Mayor of the Municipality of Tuba in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998. He fully served his first two terms, and during his third term, the municipality was converted into the component City of Tuba. The said charter provided for a hold-over and so without interregnum Manuel went on to serve as the Mayor of the City of Tuba. In the 2001 elections, Manuel filed his certificate of candidacy for City Mayor. He disclosed, though, that he had already served for three consecutive terms as elected Mayor when Tuba was still a municipality. He also stated in his certificate of candidacy that he is running for the position of Mayor for the first time now that Tuba is a city. Reyes, an adversary, ran against Manuel and petitioned that he be disqualified because he had already served for three consecutive terms as Mayor. The petition was not timely acted upon, and Manuel was proclaimed the winner with 20,000 votes over the 10,000 votes received by Reyes as the only other candidate. It was only after Manuel took his oath and assumed office that the COMELEC ruled that he was disqualified for having ran and served for three consecutive terms.
(a) As lawyer of Manuel, present the possible arguments to prevent his disqualification and removal.
(b) How would you rule on whether or not Manuel is eligible to run as Mayor of the newly-created City of Tuba immediately after having already served for three (3) consecutive terms as Mayor of the Municipality of Tuba?
(c) Assuming that Manuel is not an eligible candidate, rebut Reyes’ claim that he should be proclaimed as winner having received the next higher number of votes. (5%)
- X -
(1.) There was a boundary dispute between Dueñas, a municipality, and Passi, an independent component city, both of the same province. State how the two local government units should settle their boundary dispute. (5%)
(2.) The Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Santa, Ilocos Sur passed Resolution No. 1 authorizing its Mayor to initiate a petition for the expropriation of a lot owned by Christina as site for its municipal sports center. This was approved by the Mayor. However, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Sur disapproved the Resolution as there might still be other available lots in Santa for a sports center. Nonetheless, the Municipality of Santa, through its Mayor, filed a complaint for eminent domain. Christina opposed this on the following grounds:
(a) the Municipality of Santa has no power to expropriate;
(b) Resolution No. 1 has been voided since the Sangguniang Panlalawigan disapproved it for being arbitrary; and
(c) the Municipality of Santa has other and better lots for that purpose. Resolve the case with reasons. (5%)