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olitical Law Journal Adoption of the Enrolled Bill Theory

alejo vs. mabanag


Petitioners include 3 senators and 8 representatives. The three senators were suspended by senate
due to election irregularities. The 8 representatives were not allowed to take their seat in the
lower House except in the election of the House Speaker. They argued that some senators and
House Reps were not considered in determining the required vote (of each house) in order to
pass the Resolution (proposing amendments to the Constitution) which has been considered as
an enrolled bill by then. At the same time, the votes were already entered into the Journals of the
respective House. As a result, the Resolution was passed but it could have been otherwise were
they allowed to vote. If these members of Congress had been counted, the affirmative votes in
favor of the proposed amendment would have been short of the necessary three-fourths vote in
either branch of Congress. Petitioners filed or the prohibition of the furtherance of the said
resolution amending the constitution. Respondents argued that the SC cannot take cognizance of
the case because the Court is bound by the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill or resolution.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Court can take cognizance of the issue at bar. Whether or not the
said resolution was duly enacted by Congress.
HELD: As far as looking into the Journals is concerned, even if both the journals from each
House and an authenticated copy of the Act had been presented, the disposal of the issue by the
Court on the basis of the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as
already stated, the due enactment of a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified in
section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. The SC found in the journals no signs of irregularity in
the passage of the law and did not bother itself with considering the effects of an authenticated
copy if one had been introduced. It did not do what the opponents of the rule of conclusiveness
advocate, namely, look into the journals behind the enrolled copy in order to determine the
correctness of the latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the journals and the copy, be found in
conflict with each other. No discrepancy appears to have been noted between the two documents
and the court did not say or so much as give to understand that if discrepancy existed it would
give greater weight to the journals, disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified copies
shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof.
**Enrolled Bill that which has been duly introduced, finally passed by both houses, signed by
the proper officers of each, approved by the president and filed by the secretary of state.
Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure (Act 190), as amended by Act No. 2210,
provides: Official documents may be proved as follows: . . . (2) the proceedings of the
Philippine Commission, or of any legislatives body that may be provided for in the Philippine
Islands, or of Congress, by the journals of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by
published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk of secretary, or printed by
their order; Provided, That in the case of Acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine
Legislature, when there is an existence of a copy signed by the presiding officers and secretaries
of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due
enactment thereof.
The SC is bound by the contents of a duly authenticated resolution (enrolled bill) by the
legislature. In case of conflict, the contents of an enrolled bill shall prevail over those of the
journals.