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B. Sovereignty


a. Absolute power

The jurisdiction of the nation within its own territory is necessarily exclusive and absolute. It is susceptible of no limitation not imposed by itself. Any restriction upon it, deriving validity from an external source, would imply a diminution of its sovereignty to the extent of the restriction, and an investment of that sovereignty to the same extent in that power which could impose such restriction. All exceptions, therefore, to the full and complete power of a nation within its own territories, must be traced up to the consent of the nation itself. They can flow from no other legitimate source. (Schooner Exchange v. M’Faddon, 7 Cranch 116, 136, cited in Reagan v. CIR, G.R. No. L-26379, 27 December 1969)

Nothing is better settled than that the Philippines being independent and sovereign, its authority may be exercised over its entire domain. There is no portion thereof that is beyond its power. Within its limits, its decrees are supreme, its commands paramount. Its laws govern therein, and everyone to whom it applies must submit to its terms. That is the extent of its jurisdiction, both territorial and personal. Necessarily, likewise, it has to be exclusive. If it were not thus, there is a diminution of its sovereignty. (Reagan v. CIR, G.R. No. L-26379, 27 December 1969)

b. Exceptions

1) Auto-limitation

It is to be admitted that any state may, by its consent, express or implied, submit to a restriction of its sovereign rights. There may thus be a curtailment of what otherwise is a power plenary in character. That is the concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation, which, in the succinct language of Jellinek, “is the property of a state-force due to which it has the exclusive capacity of legal self-determination and self-restriction.” A state then, if it chooses to, may refrain from the exercise of what otherwise is illimitable competence. (Reagan v. CIR, G.R. No. L-26379, 27 December 1969)

The State’s laws may as to some persons found within its territory no longer control. Nor does the matter end there. It is not precluded from allowing another power to participate in the exercise of jurisdictional right over certain portions of its territory. If it does so, it by no means follows that such areas become impressed with an alien character. They retain their status as native soil. They are still subject to its authority. Its jurisdiction may be diminished, but it does not disappear. So it is with the bases under lease to the American armed forces by virtue of the military bases agreement of 1947. They are not and cannot be foreign territory. (Reagan v. CIR, G.R. No. L-26379, 27 December 1969)

It is in the same spirit that we approach the specific question confronting us in this litigation. We hold, as announced at the outset, that petitioner was liable for the income tax arising from a sale of his automobile in the Clark Field Air Base, which clearly is and cannot otherwise be other than, within our territorial jurisdiction to tax. (Reagan v. CIR, G.R. No. L-26379, 27 December 1969)

2) Bill of rights

The Constitution identifies the limitations to the awesome and near-limitless powers of the State. Chief among these limitations are the principles that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law and that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. These limitations are enshrined in no less than the Bill of Rights that guarantees the citizen protection from abuse by the State. (DOTC v. Sps. Abecina, G.R. No. 206484, 29 June 2016)

c. Resides in the people

Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. (Section 1, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory. (Section 3, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

Sovereignty is the very life of our people. (J. Perfecto, Concurring Opinion in Laurel v. Misa, G.R. No. L-409, 30 January 1947)

1) Permanent allegiance

A citizen or subject owes, not a qualified and temporary, but an absolute and permanent allegiance, which consists in the obligation of fidelity and obedience to his government or sovereign; and that this absolute and permanent allegiance should not be confused with the qualified and temporary allegiance which a foreigner owes to the government or sovereign of the territory wherein he resides, so long as he remains there, in return for the protection he receives, and which consists in the obedience to the laws of the government or sovereign. (Laurel v. Misa, G.R. No. L-409, 30 January 1947)

d. Over and within national territory

The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial, and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines. (Article I, 1987 Constitution)

e. Foreign policy

The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination. (Section 7, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

f. During enemy occupation

The absolute and permanent allegiance of the inhabitants of a territory occupied by the enemy of their legitimate government or sovereign is not abrogated or severed by the enemy occupation, because the sovereignty of the government or sovereign de jure is not transferred thereby to the occupier. (Laurel v. Misa, G.R. No. L-409, 30 January 1947)

1) No suspension of sovereignty

If it is not transferred to the occupant it must necessarily remain vested in the legitimate government; that the sovereignty vested in the titular government (which is the supreme power which governs a body politic or society which constitute the state) must be distinguished from the exercise of the rights inherent thereto, and may be destroyed, or severed and transferred to another, but it cannot be suspended because the existence of sovereignty cannot be suspended without putting it out of existence or divesting the possessor thereof at least during the so-called period of suspension; that what may be suspended is the exercise of the rights of sovereignty with the control and government of the territory occupied by the enemy passes temporarily to the occupant; that the subsistence of the sovereignty of the legitimate government in a territory occupied by the military forces of the enemy during the war, “although the former is in fact prevented from exercising the supremacy over them” is one of the “rules of international law of our times”; recognized, by necessary implication, in articles 23, 44, 45, and 52 of Hague Regulation; and that, as a corollary of the conclusion that the sovereignty itself is not suspended and subsists during the enemy occupation, the allegiance of the inhabitants to their legitimate government or sovereign subsists, and therefore there is no such thing as suspended allegiance. (Laurel v. Misa, G.R. No. L-409, 30 January 1947)


a. Concepts

A de jure Government is the legitimate government. On the other hand, a de facto Government is a government created by a usurper and all attributes of sovereignty are transferred from the previous legitimate government.

The difference is material in times of war, particularly during an enemy occupation.

b. A political question

In deciding that the government established in these Islands by the Japanese military forces of occupation, under the name of Philippine Executive Commission and the Republic of the Philippines, were de facto governments, this Court attempted to exercise a power which exclusively belonged to the political departments of the United States and the Commonwealth Government; because according to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Jones vs. U.S. …, the question “Who is the sovereign, de jure or de facto of a territory is not a judicial, but a political question, the determination of which by the legislative and executive departments of any government conclusively binds, the judges, as well as other officers and subjects of the Government.” (Etorma v. Raveloi, En Banc,G.R. No. L-718, 24 March 1947)

A government established in a territory under a sovereign de jure is a government de jure, but it is not true that a government established in a territory under a sovereign de jure cannot be a government de facto. (Etorma v. Raveloi, En Banc,G.R. No. L-718, 24 March 1947)

c. The 3 classes of de facto Government

The three classes of governments de facto set forth in the decision of this Court in the case of Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon and recognized by all the publicist and decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, are governments de facto established in a territory which continued under the same sovereign de jure, or in which there was no change of sovereignty. (Etorma v. Raveloi, En Banc,G.R. No. L-718, 24 March 1947)

The first, or government de facto in a proper legal sense, is that government that gets possession and control of, or usurps, by force or by the voice of the majority, the rightful legal government and maintains itself against the will of the latter, such as the government of England under the Commonwealth, first by Parliament and later by Cromwell as Protector. (Etorma v. Raveloi, En Banc,G.R. No. L-718, 24 March 1947)

The second is that which is established and maintained by military forces who invade and occupy a territory of the enemy in the course of war, and which is denominated a government of paramount force, as the cases of Castine, in Maine, which was reduced to British possession in the war of 1812, and of Tampico, Mexico, occupied during the war with Mexico by the troops of the United States. (Etorma v. Raveloi, En Banc,G.R. No. L-718, 24 March 1947)

And the third is that established as an independent government by the inhabitants of a country who rise in insurrection against the parent state, such as the government of the Southern Confederacy in revolt against the Union during the war of secession. (Etorma v. Raveloi, En Banc,G.R. No. L-718, 24 March 1947)

d. Judicial decisions

The validity of judicial acts which are not of political complexion of de facto governments established by the military occupant in an enemy territory, is based on the Regulations of the Hague Convention that contain the generally accepted principles of International Law, adopted as a part of the law of the Nation in section 3 of our Constitution, and is supported by Dr. Lauterpacht in his 6th edition of Oppenheim. (Etorma v. Raveloi, En Banc,G.R. No. L-718, 24 March 1947)

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