De La Llana v. Alba
Batasang Pambansa Blg. 129 entitled, “An act reorganizing the Judiciary, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes” was passed, providing for the separation of Justices and judges of inferior courts from the Court of Appeals to municipal circuit courts (except the occupants of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax appeals). The honorable petitioner sought to prohibit the respondents from implementing BP 129, alleging that the security of tenure provision of the Constitution has been ignored and disregarded. Furthermore, they assert that the reorganization was done in lack of good faith. However, the Solicitor General denies his claim and maintains that the allegation of lack of good faith is unwarranted and devoid of any support in law, and that BP 129 was a legitimate exercise of the power vested in the Batasang Pambansa to reorganize the judiciary.
Was there lack of good faith in reorganizing the judiciary?
No. The Court held that there was good faith in reorganizing the judiciary. Citing the separate opinion of Justice Laurel in the case of Zandueta v. De La Costa, the Court similarly maintains that the passage of BP 129 was in good faith seeing as its purpose was for the fulfillment of what was considered a great public need by the legislative department, not intended to adversely affect the tenure of judges or any particular judge. While it is possible that the legislature could deliberately abuse the power to reorganize the judiciary, thus lacking good faith, the Court is unconvinced that such was the case in this situation. Thus, where the Court holds that the reorganization of the judiciary by virtue of BP 129 was done in good faith, the “separation” of the petitioner due to the abolition of his office is valid and constitutional.