Case Brief: In Re Bermudez

G.R. No. 76180 October 24, 1986
IN RE: SATURNINO V. BERMUDEZ

Facts:
In a petition for declaratory relief with no respondents, petitioner asked the court if the provision of the Section 5 Article XVIII of the 1986 Constitution, to wit: “The six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice-President elected in the February 7, 1986 election is, for purposes of synchronization of elections, hereby extended to noon of June 30, 1992,” refers to the then-incumbent President Corazon Aquino and Vice-President Salvador Laurel or the previously-elected President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Vice-President Arturo M. Tolentino.

After the election of February 7, 1986 where Marcos and Tolentino were declared the winners, Aquino and Laurel were installed into the position last February 25, 1986 after the infamous People Power Revolution. The next regular election for the President and Vice-President was held last May 2, 1992.

Issue:
Whether the aforecited article applies to the then-incumbent President and Vice-President, or the previously elected President and Vice-President.

Held:
The petition was hereby dismissed outright for:

1. Lack of jurisdiction. Court has no jurisdiction over petition for declaratory relief. Rules of Court states that it is the RTC (Regional Trial Courts) who has the jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory relief. Also, incumbent Presidents are immune from suit or from being brought to court during the period of their incumbency and tenure.

2. Lack of cause of action on the part of petitioner. Petitioner had no personality to use, and his allegation was manifestly gratuitous. The legitimacy of the Aquino government was not a justiciable matter. It belongs to the realm of politics where only the people of the Philippines are the judge, and the people have made judgment.

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