Download Bayan v Zamora (Case Digest) PDF

TitleBayan v Zamora (Case Digest)
TagsRatification Treaty Standing (Law) United States Senate United States Constitution
File Size77.6 KB
Total Pages4
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permanently in the Philippines.

It is inconsequential whether the United States treats the VFA only as an executive agreement
because, under international law, an executive agreement is as binding as a treaty.


The Visiting Forces Agreement, for which Senate concurrence was sought and received on May 27,
1999, is the subject of a number of Constitutional challenges.

Issue 1: Do the Petitioners have legal standing as concerned citizens, taxpayers, or legislators
to question the constitutionality of the VFA?
Petitioners Bayan Muna, etc. have no standing. A party bringing a suit challenging the
Constitutionality of a law must show not only that the law is invalid, but that he has sustained or is
in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely
that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. Petitioners have failed to show that they are in any
danger of direct injury as a result of the VFA.
As taxpayers, they have failed to establish that the VFA involves the exercise by Congress of its
taxing or spending powers. A taxpayer’s suit refers to a case where the act complained of directly
involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation. Before he can invoke the
power of judicial review, he must specifically prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing the
illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he will sustain a direct injury as a result of
the enforcement of the questioned statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general
interest common to all members of the public. Clearly, inasmuch as no public funds raised by
taxation are involved in this case, and in the absence of any allegation by petitioners that public
funds are being misspent or illegally expended, petitioners, as taxpayers, have no legal standing to
assail the legality of the VFA.
Similarly, the petitioner-legislators (Tanada, Arroyo, etc.) do not possess the requisite locus standi to
sue. In the absence of a clear showing of any direct injury to their person or to the institution to
which they belong, they cannot sue. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is also stripped of
standing in these cases. The IBP lacks the legal capacity to bring this suit in the absence of a board
resolution from its Board of Governors authorizing its National President to commence the present
Notwithstanding, in view of the paramount importance and the constitutional significance of the
issues raised, the Court may brush aside the procedural barrier and takes cognizance of the

Issue 2: Is the VFA governed by section 21, Art. VII, or section 25, Art. XVIII of the
Section 25, Art XVIII, not section 21, Art. VII, applies, as the VFA involves the presence of foreign
military troops in the Philippines.
The Constitution contains two provisions requiring the concurrence of the Senate on treaties or
international agreements. Section 21, Article VII reads: “[n]o treaty or international agreement shall
be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.”
Section 25, Article XVIII, provides:”[a]fter the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the
Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign
military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly
concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes
cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the
other contracting State.”
Section 21, Article VII deals with treaties or international agreements in general, in which case, the
concurrence of at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of the Senate is required to make the

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