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CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

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FUNDAMENTAL POWERS OF THE STATE

POLICE POWER

POLICE POWER; THE STATE UNDER ITS POLICE POWER, MAY ALTER,
MODIFY OR AMEND MINING EXPLORATION PERMITS IN ACCORDANCE
WITH THE DEMANDS OF THE GENERAL WELFARE.

SOUTHEAST MINDANAO GOLDMINING CORP. vs. BALITE PORTAL


MINING COOP., et al.
[G.R. No. 135190, April 3, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On March 10, 1988, Marcopper Mining Corporation (Marcopper) was granted
Exploration Permit No. 133 (EP No. 133) over 4,491 hectares of land, which included the
Diwalwal area.
On June 27, 2991, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 7076, or the People's Small-
Scale Mining Act. The law established a People's Small-Scale Mining Program to be
implemented by the Secretary of the DENR and created the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board
(PMRB) under the DENR Secretary's direct supervision and control.
Subsequently, a petition for the cancellation of EP No. 133 and the admission of a
Mineral Production Sharing Arrangement (MPSA) proposal over Diwalwal was filed before the
DENR Regional Executive Director, docketed as RED Mines Case.
On February 16, 1994, while the RED Mines case was pending, Marcopper assigned its
EP No. 133 to petitioner Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corporation (SEM), which in turn
applied for an integrated MPSA over the land covered by the permit.
In due time, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. XI in Davao City
(MGB-XI) accepted and registered the integrated MPSA application of petitioner and thereafter,
several MAC cases were filed.
On March 3, 1995, Republic Act No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act, was enacted.
Pursuant to this statute, the MAC cases were referred to a Regional Panel of Arbitrators (RPA)
tasked to resolve disputes involving conflicting mining rights. The RPA subsequently took
cognizance of the RED Mines case, which was consolidated with the MAC cases.
On June 24, 1997, the DENR Secretary issued Memorandum Order No. 97-03 which
provided that the DENR shall study thoroughly and exhaustively the option of direct state
utilization of the mineral resources in the Diwalwal Gold-Rush Area.
On July 16, 1997, petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus before the Court of Appeals against PMRB-Davao, the DENR Secretary and Balite
Communal Portal Mining Cooperative (BCPMC). It prayed for the nullification of the above-quoted
Memorandum Order No. 97-03 on the ground that the "direct state utilization" espoused therein
would effectively impair its vested rights under EP No. 133; and that the memorandum order
arbitrarily imposed the unwarranted condition that certain studies be conducted before mining and
environmental laws are enforced by the DENR.

ISSUE: Whether or not the "direct state utilization scheme" espoused in MO 97-03 divested
petitioner of its vested right to the gold rush area under its EP No. 133.

HELD: NO. MO 97-03 did not conclusively adopt "direct state utilization" as a policy in
resolving the Diwalwal dispute. The terms of the memorandum clearly indicate that what was
directed thereunder was merely a study of this option and nothing else. Contrary to petitioner's
contention, it did not grant any management/operating or profit-sharing agreement to small-scale
miners or to any party, for that matter, but simply instructed the DENR officials concerned to
undertake studies to determine its feasibility.
As to the alleged "vested rights" claimed by petitioner, it is well to note that the same is
invariably based on EP No. 133, whose validity is still being disputed in the Consolidated Mines
cases. A reading of the appealed MAB decision reveals that the continued efficacy of EP No. 133

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POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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is one of the issues raised in said cases, with respondents therein asserting that Marcopper
cannot legally assign the permit which purportedly had expired. In other words, whether or not
petitioner actually has a vested right over Diwalwal under EP No. 133 is still an indefinite and
unsettled matter. And until a positive pronouncement is made by the appellate court in the
Consolidated Mines cases, EP No. 133 cannot be deemed as a source of any conclusive rights
that can be impaired by the issuance of MO 97-03.
It must likewise be pointed out that under no circumstances may petitioner's rights under
EP No. 133 be regarded as total and absolute. As correctly held by the Court of Appeals EP No.
133 merely evidences a privilege granted by the State, which may be amended, modified or
rescinded when the national interest so requires. This is necessarily so since the exploration,
development and utilization of the country's natural mineral resources are matters impressed with
great public interest. Like timber permits, mining exploration permits do not vest in the grantee
any permanent or irrevocable right within the purview of the non-impairment of contract and due
process clauses of the Constitution, since the State, under its all-encompassing police power,
may alter, modify or amend the same, in accordance with the demands of the general welfare.
Additionally, there can be no valid opposition raised against a mere study of an
alternative which the State, through the DENR, is authorized to undertake in the first place. Worth
noting is Article XII, Section 2, of the 1987 Constitution and Section 4, Chapter II of the Philippine
Mining Act of 1995.
Thus, the State may pursue the constitutional policy of full control and supervision of the
exploration, development and utilization of the country's natural mineral resources, by either
directly undertaking the same or by entering into agreements with qualified entities. The DENR
Secretary acted within his authority when he ordered a study of the first option, which may be
undertaken consistently in accordance with the constitutional policy enunciated above.
Obviously, the State may not be precluded from considering a direct takeover of the mines, if it is
the only plausible remedy in sight to the gnawing complexities generated by the gold rush.

EMINENT DOMAIN

EMINENT DOMAIN; JUST COMPENSATION IS DETERMINED AT THE DATE


OF THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT EXCEPT WHEN THE COURT FIXES
THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY AT THE DATE IT WAS TAKEN

CITY OF CEBU vs. SPOUSES APOLONIO and BLASA DEDAMO


[G.R. No. 142971, May 7, 2002]

DAVIDE, JR., C .J:


FACTS: On 17 September 1993, petitioner City of Cebu filed a complaint for eminent domain
against respondents spouses Apolonio and Blasa Dedamo. The petitioner alleged therein that it
needed the land for a public purpose, i.e., for the construction of a public road which shall serve
as an access/relief road of Gorordo Avenue to extend to the General Maxilum Avenue and the
back of Magellan International Hotel Roads in Cebu City. The lower court fixed the amount of just
compensation at P20,826,339.50.
Petitioner alleged that the lower court erred in fixing the amount of just compensation at
P20,826,339.50. The just compensation should be based on the prevailing market price of the
property at the commencement of the expropriation proceedings.
The petitioner did not convince the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court’s
decision in toto.

ISSUE: Whether or not just compensation should be determined as of the date of the filing of
the complaint.

HELD: NO. In the case at bar, the applicable law as to the point of reckoning for the
determination of just compensation is Section 19 of R.A. No. 7160, which expressly provides that
just compensation shall be determined as of the time of actual taking.
The petitioner has misread our ruling in The National Power Corp. vs. Court of Appeals.
We did not categorically rule in that case that just compensation should be determined as of the

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POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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filing of the complaint. We explicitly stated therein that although the general rule in determining
just compensation in eminent domain is the value of the property as of the date of the filing of the
complaint, the rule "admits of an exception: where this Court fixed the value of the property as of
the date it was taken and not at the date of the commencement of the expropriation proceedings."

BILL OF RIGHTS

DUE PROCESS

DUE PROCESS; PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS NOT PART OF THE DUE


PROCESS GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION

BENEDICTO and RIVERA vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 125359, September 4, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: On December 27, 1991, Mrs. Imelda Marcos and Messrs. Benedicto and Rivera were
indicted for violation of Section 10 of Circular No. 960 1 in relation to Section 34 of the Central
Bank Act (Republic Act No. 265, as amended) in five Informations filed with the Regional Trial
Court of Manila. Docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-101883, the charge sheets
alleged that the trio failed to submit reports of their foreign exchange earnings from abroad and/or
failed to register with the Foreign Exchange Department of the Central Bank within the period
mandated by Circular No. 960. Said Circular prohibited natural and juridical persons from
maintaining foreign exchange accounts abroad without prior authorization from the Central Bank.
On August 11, 1994, petitioners moved to quash all the Informations filed against them in
Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-101883; 91-101884 to 91-101892, and 91-101959 to 91-
101969. Their motion was grounded on lack of jurisdiction, forum shopping, absence of a
preliminary investigation and extinction of criminal liability with the repeal of Circular No. 960.
On September 6, 1994, the trial court denied petitioners' motion. A similar motion filed on
May 23, 1994 by Mrs. Marcos seeking to dismiss the dollar-salting cases against her due to the
repeal of Circular No. 960 had earlier been denied by the trial court in its order dated June 9,
1994. Petitioners then filed a motion for reconsideration, but the trial court likewise denied this
motion on October 18, 1994.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in denying the Motion to Quash for absence of a
valid preliminary investigation.
(2) Whether or not the repeal of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and Republic Act No. 265 by
Circular No. 1353 and Republic Act No. 7653 respectively, extinguish the criminal liability of
petitioners.

HELD:
(1) NO. Preliminary investigation is not part of the due process guaranteed by the
Constitution. It is an inquiry to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-
founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof.
Instead, the right to a preliminary investigation is personal. It is afforded to the accused by
statute, and can be waived, either expressly or by implication.
When the records of the case were disclosed to them, in opting to enter their respective
pleas to the charges, and filed various motions and pleadings, they are deemed to have made an
express waiver of their right to have a preliminary investigation.
(2) NO. In the instant case, it must be noted that despite the repeal of Circular No. 960,
Circular No. 1353 retained the same reportorial requirement for residents receiving earnings or
profits from non-trade foreign exchange transactions. Even the most cursory glance at the
repealing circulars, Circular Nos. 1318 and 1353 shows that both contain a saving clause,
expressly providing that the repeal of Circular No. 960 shall have no effect on pending actions for

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POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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violation of the latter Circular. A saving clause operates to except from the effect of the repealing
law what would otherwise be lost under the new law. In the present case, the respective saving
clauses of Circular Nos. 1318 and 1353 clearly manifest the intent to reserve the right of the State
to prosecute and punish offenses for violations of the repealed Circular No. 960, where the cases
are either pending or under investigation.

DUE PROCESS; THE RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS A


COMPONENT PART OF DUE PROCESS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

SALES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. No. 143802, November 16, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner, the incumbent town mayor of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, fatally shot the
former mayor and his political rival, Atty. Rafael Benemerito, in an alleged shootout after a heated
altercation between them. After the shooting incident, petitioner surrendered and placed himself
under the custody of the municipal police. The next day, a criminal complaint for Murder against
petitioner was filed. Municipal Judge Calvan then conducted a preliminary investigation as under
the old rules, with two stages: (1) the determination of whether there is reasonable ground to
believe that an offense has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof, so that a
warrant of arrest may be issued and the accused held for trial; and (2) the preliminary
investigation proper where the complaint or information is read to the accused after his arrest and
he is informed of the substance of the evidence adduced against him, after which he is allowed to
present evidence in his favor if he so desires.
Municipal Judge then forwarded the case records to the Provincial Prosecutor who,
instead of conducting a preliminary investigation of his own, merely forwarded the said records to
the Ombudsman for the latter to conduct the same. The Ombudsman then directed the petitioner
to file his counter-affidavit, which the latter found superfluous as he previously submitted such to
the Provincial Prosecutor. An Information for Murder was filed against petitioner.
This Court is tasked to resolve the issue of whether or not the proper procedure was
followed and whether petitioner's constitutional rights were safeguarded during the preliminary
investigation conducted before the filing of an Information for Murder against him and the
issuance of a warrant for his arrest by respondent Sandiganbayan. Petitioner asserts that the
Information was hastily filed and the warrant for his arrest was improper because of an
incomplete preliminary investigation. Respondents say otherwise.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the preliminary investigation conducted by the municipal judge was proper.
(2) Whether or not the preliminary investigation conducted by the Ombudsman was proper.

HELD:
(1) NO. Presidential Decree 911 (further amending Sec. 1, R.A. 5180, as amended by P.D.
77) upon which the present rule is based, removed the preliminary examination stage and
integrated it into the preliminary investigation proper. Now the proceedings consists of only one
stage.
Respondent Judge did not conduct the requisite investigation prior to issuance of the
arrest warrant. The Rules require an examination in writing under oath in the form of searching
questions and answers. The statements of witnesses were not sworn before him but before the
Provincial Prosecutor. The purported transcript of stenographic notes do not bear the signature
of the stenographer.
Moreover, he did not complete the preliminary investigation. He claimed to have
examined only the witnesses of the complainant. He issued a Resolution and forwarded the
records to the Provincial Prosecutor without giving the accused (petitioner) an opportunity to
submit counter-affidavits and supporting documents. While it is true that the usual remedy to an
irregular preliminary investigation is to ask for a new preliminary investigation, such normal
remedy would not be adequate to free petitioner from the warrant of arrest which stemmed from
that irregular investigation. The Provincial Prosecution has no power to recall the warrant of
arrest.

22
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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(2) NO. As this Court pointed out in Duterte v. Sandiganbayan, "the purpose of a preliminary
investigation or a previous inquiry of some kind, before an accused person is placed on trial, is to
secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution and to protect him from
an open and public accusation of a crime, from the trouble, expenses and anxiety of a public trial.
It is also intended to protect the state from having to conduct useless and expensive trials. While
the right is statutory rather than constitutional in its fundament, it is a component part of due
process in criminal justice. The right to have a preliminary investigation conducted before being
bound over to trial for a criminal offense and hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other
penalty, is not a mere formal or technical right; it is a substantive right. To deny the accused's
claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him of the full measure of his right to due
process."
Although a preliminary investigation is not a trial and is not intended to usurp the function
of the trial court, it is not a casual affair. The officer conducting the same investigates or inquires
into the facts concerning the commission of the crime with the end in view of determining whether
or not an information may be prepared against the accused. Indeed, preliminary investigation is
in effect a realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of the guilt of the
accused must be adduced so that when the case is tried, the trial court may not be bound as a
matter of law to order an acquittal. A preliminary investigation has been called a judicial inquiry.
It is a judicial proceeding. An act becomes a judicial proceeding when there is an opportunity to
be heard and for the production of and weighing of evidence, and a decision is rendered thereon.
The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer duly empowered to preside or to
conduct a preliminary investigation is no less than a municipal judge or even a regional trial court
judge. While the investigating officer, strictly speaking, is not a "judge" by the nature of his
functions, he is and must be considered to be a quasi-judicial officer because a preliminary
investigation is considered a judicial proceeding. A preliminary investigation should therefore be
scrupulously conducted so that the constitutional right to liberty of a potential accused can be
protected from any material damage.
Indeed, since a preliminary investigation is designed to screen cases for trial, only
evidence may be considered. While even raw information may justify the initiation of an
investigation, the stage of preliminary investigation can be held only after sufficient evidence has
been gathered and evaluated warranting the eventual prosecution of the case in court. In other
words, it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure
that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the
purposes of the State. More important, it is a part of the guarantee of freedom and fair play which
are the birthrights of all who live in our country. It is therefore imperative upon the fiscal or the
judge, as the case may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is
ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable
cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no general
formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in
the light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large
degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should
not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason.
Measured vis-a-vis the foregoing legal yardsticks, we hold that the proper procedure in
the conduct of the preliminary investigation was not followed, for the following reasons: First, the
records show that the supposed preliminary investigation was conducted in installments by at
least three (3) different investigating officers, none of whom completed the preliminary
investigation. There was not one continuous proceeding but rather a case of passing the buck,
so to speak, the last one being the Ombudsman hurriedly throwing the buck to the
Sandiganbayan. Second, the charge against herein petitioner is Murder, a non-bailable offense.
The gravity of the offense alone, not to mention the fact that the principal accused is an
incumbent mayor whose imprisonment during the pendency of the case would deprive his
constituents of their duly-elected municipal executive, should have merited a deeper; and more
thorough preliminary investigation. The Ombudsman, however, did nothing of the sort and
instead swallowed hook, line and sinker the resolution and recommendation of Graft Investigation
Officer. Third, it was patent error for the Sandiganbayan to have relied purely on the
Ombudsman's certification of probable cause given the prevailing facts of this case much more so
in the face of the latter's flawed report and one-sided factual findings. In the order of procedure
for criminal cases, the task of determining probable cause for purposes of issuing a warrant of
arrest is a responsibility which is exclusively reserved by the Constitution to judges. People v.
Inting clearly delineated the features of this constitutional mandate, viz: 1.] The determination of
probable cause is a function of the judge; it is not for the provincial fiscal or prosecutor to

23
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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ascertain. Only the judge and the judge alone makes this determination; 2.] The preliminary
inquiry made by a prosecutor does not bind the judge. It merely assists him in making the
determination of probable cause. It is the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic
notes, if any, and all other supporting documents behind the prosecutor's certification which are
material in assisting the judge in his determination of probable cause; and 3.] Judges and
prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for
the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains
whether the offender should be held for trial or be released. Even if the two inquiries be made in
one and the same proceeding, there should be no confusion about their objectives. The
determination of probable cause for purposes of issuing the warrant of arrest is made by the
judge. The preliminary investigation proper — whether or not there is reasonable ground to
believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he should
be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial — is the function of the
prosecutor. Stated differently, while the task of conducting a preliminary investigation is assigned
either to an inferior court magistrate or to a prosecutor, only a judge may issue a warrant of
arrest. When the preliminary investigation is conducted by an investigating prosecutor, in this
case the Ombudsman, the determination of probable cause by the investigating prosecutor
cannot serve as the sole basis for the issuance by the court of a warrant of arrest. This is
because the court with whom the information is filed is tasked to make its own independent
determination of probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest. Indeed the Judge
cannot ignore the clear words of the 1987 Constitution which requires probable cause to be
personally determined by the judge, not by any other officer or person.

DUE PROCESS; THE FACT THAT THE COMPLAINT WAS FILED BY THE
CSC ITSELF DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT COULD NOT BE AN IMPARTIAL
JUDGE.

CRUZ and PAITIM vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION


[G.R. No. 144464, November 22, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: On September 9, 1994 it was discovered by the Civil Service Commission that Paitim,
Municipal Treasurer of Bulacan took the non-professional examination for Cruz after the latter
had previously failed in the said examination three times.
The CSC found after a fact finding investigation that a prima facie case exists against you
for DISHONESTY, GRAVE MISCONDUCT and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST
INTEREST OF THE SERVICE.
The petitioners filed their Answer to the charge entering a general denial of the material
averments of the "Formal Charge." They also declared that they were electing a formal
investigation on the matter. The petitioners subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss averring that if
the investigation will continue, they will be deprived of their right to due process because the Civil
Service Commission was the complainant, the Prosecutor and the Judge, all at the same time.
On November 16, 1995, Dulce J. Cochon issued an "Investigation Report and Recommendation"
finding the Petitioners guilty of "Dishonesty" and ordering their dismissal from the government
service
Petitioners maintain that the CSC did not have original jurisdiction to hear and decide the
administrative case. Allegedly, in accordance with Section 47(1), Chapter 7, Subtitle A, Title 1,
Book V, Administrative Code of 1987, the CSC is vested with appellate jurisdiction only in all
administrative cases where the penalty imposed is removal or dismissal from the office and
where the complaint was filed by a private citizen against the government employee.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners’ right to due process was violated when the CSC acted as
investigator, complainant, prosecutor and jugde all at the same time.

HELD: NO. The fact that the complaint was filed by the CSC itself does not mean that it could
not be an impartial judge. As an administrative body, its decision was based on substantial
findings. Factual findings of administrative bodies, being considered experts in their field, are

24
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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binding on the Supreme Court. The records clearly disclose that the petitioners were duly
investigated by the CSC.
After a careful examination of the records, the Commission finds respondents guilty as
charged. The photograph pasted over the name Gilda Cruz in the Picture Seat Plan (PSP) during
the July 30, 1989 Career Service Examination is not that of Cruz but of Paitim. Also, the
signature over the name of Gilda Cruz in the said document is totally different from the signature
of Gilda Cruz.
Petitioners' contention that they were denied due process of law by the fact that the CSC
acted as investigator, complainant, prosecutor and judge, all at the same time against the
petitioners is untenable. The CA correctly explained that the CSC is mandated to hear and
decide administrative case instituted by it or instituted before it directly or on appeal including
actions of its officers and the agencies attached to it pursuant to Book V, Title 1, Subtitle A,
Chapter 3, Section 12, paragraph 11 of the Administrative Code of 1987.
It can not be denied that the petitioners were formally charged after a finding that a prima
facie case for dishonesty lies against them. They were properly informed of the charges. They
submitted an Answer and were given the opportunity to defend themselves. Petitioners can not,
therefore, claim that there was a denial of due process much less the lack of jurisdiction on the
part of the CSC to take cognizance of the case.

DUE PROCESS; DUE PROCESS OF LAW REQUIRES THAT EVERY


LITIGANT MUST BE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD.

MANUEL C. ROXAS, et al. vs. CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, et al.


[G.R. No. 114944, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Roxas was the Chairman, while Nacpil was a Member, of the Bids and
Awards Committee of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP). The PC-
INP invited bids for the supply of sixty-five units of fire trucks. The Bids and Awards Committee
voted to award the contract to the Tahei Co., Ltd., manufacturer of Nikko-Hino. Accordingly, the
contract was executed between PC-INP and Tahei Co.
The COA subsequently discovered that there was a discrepancy in the amounts indicated
on the disbursement voucher and the purchase order.
Consequently, the DILG Secretary filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against the
respondents.
After preliminary investigation, the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military recommended the
indictment of all respondents, except Ramirez. On review, the Office of the Special Prosecutor
recommended the dismissal of the complaints against Roxas, Nacpil, Codoy, Kairan and
Ramirez. Formal charges were filed with the Sandiganbayan against Nazareno, Flores,
Tanchanco, Custodio, Osia, Espeña and Santos. Petitioners were not included in the criminal
information.
Flores and Tanchanco moved for a reinvestigation, which was granted. Thereafter, the
Office of the Special Prosecutor recommended the dismissal of the charges against Flores and
Tanchanco. In the same resolution, however, the Special Prosecutor made a sudden turnabout
as regards Roxas, Nacpil and Kairan, and ordered their inclusion as accused.

ISSUE: Whether or not the inclusion of the petitioners as accused violated their right to due
process.

HELD: YES. It appears that the charge against respondents was previously dismissed. For
this reason, there being no motion or reconsideration filed by the complainant, said respondents
ceased to be parties. Consequently, the mere filing of motions for reconsideration by those
previously indicted, without questioning the dismissal of the charge against the said respondents,
could not and should not be made the basis for impleading them as accused in this case without
violating their right to due process.
Furthermore, it appears that petitioners were deprived of due process when the Special
Prosecutor reinstated the complaint against them without their knowledge. Due process of law
requires that every litigant must be given an opportunity to be heard. He has the right to be
present and defend himself in person at every stage of the proceedings.

25
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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SEARCHES AND SEIZURES

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; PROBABLE CAUSE REQUIRES THAT FACTS


AND CIRCUMSTANCES WARRANT A BELIEF THAT THE ACCUSED IS
GUILTY OF THE CRIME JUST COMMITTED.

SALES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. No. 143802, November 16, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: see page 22

ISSUE: Whether or not the warrant of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan was properly
issued.

HELD: NO. What the Sandiganbayan should have done, faced with such a slew of conflicting
evidence from the contending parties, was to take careful note of the contradictions in the
testimonies of the complainant's witnesses as well as the improbabilities in the prosecution
evidence. Certainly probable cause may not be established simply by showing that a trial judge
subjectively believes that he has good grounds for his action. Good faith is not enough. If
subjective good faith alone were the test, the constitutional protection would be demeaned and
the people would be "secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects" only in the fallible
discretion of the judge. On the contrary, the probable cause test is an objective one, for in order
that there be probable cause the facts and circumstances must be such as would warrant a belief
by a reasonably discreet and prudent man that the accused is guilty of the crime which has just
been committed. This, as we said is the standard.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; “PERSONAL DETERMINATION” MERELY


EMPHASIZES THE EXCLUSIVE AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE
ISSUING JUDGE TO SATISFY HIMSELF OF THE EXISTENCE OF
PROBALBE CAUSE.

ATTY. EDGAR H. TALINGDAN vs. JUDGE HENEDINO P. EDUARTE


[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1610, October 5, 2001]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Complainant alleged that sometime in April 2000 elements of the PNP stormed into
his residence to arrest him and his client, Luzano, on the strength of a Warrant of Arrest dated 12
April 2000 issued by respondent Judge Eduarte in Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1373 of the RTC-Br.
20, Cauayan, Isabela for the supposed crime of libel. Surprised that such a case existed against
him and his client as they had not been previously charged, complainant filed a Very Urgent
Motion to Quash and/or Set Aside Warrant of Arrest and Direct Prosecutor's Office to Conduct
Preliminary Investigation dated 5 May 2000 asking that the Warrant of Arrest be set aside for
being premature since they had not been previously notified of the charge against them and no
preliminary investigation was ever conducted by the public prosecutor's office yet, and for being
defective since the amount of bail was not specified therein in violation of their constitutional right
to bail. Respondent Judge granted the motion and recalled the warrant of arrest in an Order
dated 12 May 2000 admitting that he issued the same under the mistaken belief that a preliminary
investigation had already been conducted and an information already filed in court. Complainant
nonetheless filed this administrative case.

ISSUE: Whether or not the judge failed to follow the required procedure and was negligent in
the issuance of the warrant of arrest.

26
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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HELD: YES. Enshrined in our Constitution is the rule that "[n]o . . . warrant of arrest shall issue
except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing . . . the persons . . . to be seized." Interpreting the words "personal determination" we
said that it does not thereby mean that judges are obliged to conduct the personal examination of
the complainant and his witnesses themselves. To require thIs would be to unduly laden them
with preliminary examinations and investigations of criminal complaints instead of concentrating
on hearing and deciding cases filed before them. Rather what is emphasized merely is the
exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy himself as to the existence of
probable cause. To this end he may: (a) personally evaluate the report and the supporting
documents submitted by the prosecutor regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the
basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (b) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause,
disregard the prosecutor's report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses
to aid him in determining its existence. What he is never allowed to do is follow blindly the
prosecutor's bare certification as to the existence of probable cause. Much more is required by
the constitutional provision. Judges have to go over the report, the affidavits, the transcript of
stenographic notes if any, and other documents supporting the prosecutor's certification.
In the case at bench respondent Judge not only failed to follow the required procedure
but worse, was negligent enough not to have noticed that there was not even a prosecutor's
certification to rely upon since no information had even been filed yet in court, and that Crim.
Case No. Br. 20-1373 was merely docketed as such on the strength of a mere complaint filed by
the private complainant Leoncio Dalin Sr. himself. Respondent Judge admitted that he signed
the Warrant of Arrest against complainant and the latter's client simply because it was presented
to him for signature by the Criminal Docket Clerk. There was thus a total and unwarranted
abdication of a judicial function. Respondent cannot exculpate himself from administrative liability
by contending that the mistake was entirely attributable to the Criminal Docket Clerk who failed to
faithfully comply with her "duty" of going over the records of criminal cases and ensuring first that
an information had already been filed in court before preparing the warrant of arrest. A judge fails
in his bounden duty if he relies merely on the certification of the investigating officer as to the
existence of probable cause making him administratively liable.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT OF ARREST IS


DISCRETIONARY UPON THE INVESTIGATING JUDGE.

CRUZ and MONEDERO vs. JUDGE AREOLA


[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1642, March 6, 2002]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: On November 26, 1998, the Evaluation and Preliminary Investigation Bureau of the
Office of the Ombudsman issued a Resolution recommending the filing of an Information for
Estafa against Marilyn Carreon, an employee of the Land Transportation Office, based on the
complaint filed by herein complainants. The Office of the City Prosecutor found no cogent reason
to reverse, modify, or alter the resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman and recommended that
the case be set for trial.
Complainants filed the instant complaint charging both respondent Judge and his Branch
Clerk of Court with ignorance of the law. Complainants take issue of the fact that although
respondent Judge already issued a warrant of arrest, he still deferred its implementation to give
way to a reinvestigation of the case on motion of the accused. They believe that there is no
longer any reason why the respondent Judge should withhold the issuance of a warrant of arrest
considering that the Office of the City Prosecutor already made a finding that there exists
probable cause to indict the accused.
In their Joint Comment, respondent Judge manifests that the issuance of a warrant of
arrest is not a ministerial function of a judge as he is mandated to determine the existence of
probable cause before issuing a warrant. Respondent Branch Clerk of Court, on the other hand,
claims that it is a ministerial duty on her part to release duly signed orders, resolutions and
decisions of the presiding judge of her branch.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent Judge erred in deferring the implementations of the
warrant of arrest.

27
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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HELD: NO. The 1987 Constitution provides that no warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.
Preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to whether it is an investigation for
the determination of a sufficient ground for the filing of the information or it is an investigation for
the determination of a probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The first kind of
preliminary investigation is executive in nature. It is part of the prosecution’s job. The second
kind of preliminary investigation is judicial in nature and is lodged with the judge.
In making the required personal determination, a judge is not precluded from relying on
the evidence earlier gathered by responsible officers. The extent of reliance depends on the
circumstances of each case and is subject to the judge’s sound discretion.
It is not obligatory, but merely discretionary, upon the investigating judge to issue a
warrant for the arrest of the accused, even after having personally examined the complainant and
his witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers. For the determination of whether a
probable cause exists and whether it is necessary to arrest the accused in order not to frustrate
the ends of justice, is left to his sound judgment or discretion.
It appears from the records that the challenged Orders issued by the respondent Judge
were not at all baseless. The respondent Judge merely exercised his sound discretion in not
immediately issuing the warrant of arrest and in suspending further proceedings pending
reinvestigation of the case. On her part, respondent Branch Clerk of Court cannot be faulted for
performing a ministerial function, that is, releasing Orders duly signed by the respondent Judge.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; PARTICULARITY OF DESCRIPTION DOES


NOT REQUIRE PRECISE AND MINUTE DETAILS.

YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, et al. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 126859, September 4, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: Presiding judge of the RTC of Kalookan City, issued search warrants for the search
and seizure of certain items in Apartment No. 2 at 154 Obiniana Compound, Deparo Road,
Kalookan City. The police searched Apartment No. 8, in the same compound and found one (1) .
45 caliber pistol. Found in Apartment No. 2 were 2 M-16 rifles with 2 magazines and 20 live M-16
ammunitions, among others.
Petitioners were charged before the Regional Trial Court informations accusing them with
illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives, pursuant to Presidential Decree No.
1866. Thereafter, petitioners were arrested and detained.
At the hearing for bail, the RTC denied petitioners' motion for bail earlier filed for the
accused are being charged of two criminal offenses and both offenses under Presidential Decree
1866, Sections 1 and 3 thereof prescribe the penalty of Reclusion Temporal in its maximum
period to Reclusion Perpetua. Under Rule 114 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended
by Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 12-94, particularly Section 7 thereof, no person
charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of
the criminal prosecution.
Petitioners contend that the search and seizure orders violated Sections 2 and 3 of the
Bill of Rights as well as Section 3 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure
because the place searched and articles seized were not described with particularity.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion when it
ruled that the search and seizure orders in question were valid and the objects seized admissible
in evidence.

HELD: As held in PICOP v. Asuncion, the place to be searched cannot be changed, enlarged
nor amplified by the police. Policemen may not be restrained from pursuing their task with vigor,
but in doing so, care must be taken that constitutional and legal safeguards are not disregarded.
Exclusion of unlawfully seized evidence is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional

28
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. Hence, we are constrained to declare
that the search made at Apartment No. 8 is illegal and the .45 caliber pistol taken thereat is
inadmissible in evidence against petitioners. Now, in contrast, the search conducted at
Apartment No. 2 could not be similarly faulted. The search warrants in question specifically
mentioned Apartment No. 2. The search was done in the presence of its occupants, herein
petitioners, in accordance with Section 7 of Rule 126, Revised Rules of Court.
Petitioners allege lack of particularity in the description of objects to be seized pursuant to
the warrants. That the articles seized during the search of Apartment No. 2 are of the same kind
and nature as those items enumerated in the search warrant appears to be beyond cavil. The
items seized from Apartment No. 2 were described with specifity in the warrants in question. The
nature of the items ordered to be seized did not require a technical description. Moreover, the
law does not require that the things to be seized must be described in precise and minute details
as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the searching authorities, otherwise, it would be
virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a search warrant as they would not know exactly
what kind of things they are looking for. Substantial similarity of those articles described as a
class or species would suffice.
The case of Bache and Co. (Phil.), Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823, 835 (1971), pointed out
that one of the tests to determine the particularity in the description of objects to be seized under
a search warrant is when the things described are limited to those which bear direct relation to
the offense for which the warrant is being issued. A careful examination of the Search Warrants
shows that they were worded in such a manner that the enumerated items to be seized could
bear a direct relation to the offense of violation of Section 1 and 3 of Presidential Decree No.
1866, as amended, penalizing illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives. What
the warrants authorized was the seizure of articles proscribed by that decree, and no other.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; WARRANTLESS SEARCHES AND SEIZURES


WHEN VALID.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PO2 ALBERT ABRIOL


[G.R. NO. 123137, October 17, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: Appellants PO2 Albert Abriol of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Macario
Astellero, Januario Dosdos, and PNP P/Chief Inspector Gaudioso Navales were charged with
and convicted, of murder for having shot one Alejandro Flores, and of Illegal Possession of
Firearms for the handguns that they were armed with. On appeal, one of their contentions
against their conviction for murder is that the PNP cannot be presumed to have done their work
regularly due to the errors and blunders they committed in transferring the possession and
custody of the physical evidence and in having failed to issue acknowledgment receipts thereof.
They further contend, as against their conviction for Illegal Possession of Firearms, that the
handguns and ammunition taken from them by the police officers were illegally seized in the
absence of a warrant.

ISSUES: Whether or not the handguns and ammunitions used in the killing were illegally
seized from appellants in the absence of a warrant.

HELD: NO. There are eight (8) instances where a warrantless search and seizure is valid.
They are: (1) consented searches; (2) as an incident to a lawful arrest; (3) searches of vessels
and aircraft for violation of immigration, customs, and drug laws; (4) searches of moving vehicles;
(5) searches of automobiles at borders or constructive borders; (6) where the prohibited articles
are in "plain view;" (7) searches of buildings and premises to enforce fire, sanitary, and building
regulations; and (8) "stop and frisk" operations.
In this case, the warrantless search and seizure of the subject handguns and ammunition
is valid for two reasons. It was a search incidental to a lawful arrest. It was made after a fatal
shooting, and pursuit of a fast-moving vehicle seeking to elude pursuing police officers, and a
more than reasonable belief on the part of the police officers that the fleeing suspects aboard said
vehicle had just engaged in criminal activity. The urgent need of the police to take immediate
action in the light of the foregoing exigencies clearly satisfies the requirements for warrantless
arrests under the Rules of Court. Moreover, when caught in flagrante delicto with firearms and

29
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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ammunition which they were not authorized to carry, appellants were actually violating P.D. No.
1866, another ground for valid arrest under the Rules.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; THERE MUST BE A PRIOR JUSTIFICATION


FOR AN INTRUSION IN APPLYING THE PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE; SEIZURE
OF EVIDENCE DURING A VALID ARREST.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. CUBCUBIN


[G.R. No. 136267, July 10, 2001]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: At about 3:30 in the morning of August 26, 1997, Sgt. Rogel, desk officer of the Cavite
City police station, received a telephone call that a person had been shot near the cemetery
along Julian Felipe Boulevard in San Antonio, Cavite City. For this reason, a police team,
composed of SPO1 Malinao, Jr., PO3 Rosal, PO3 Estoy, Jr., PO3 Manicio, and SPO3 Manalo,
responded to the call and found Henry P. Piamonte slumped dead on his tricycle which was then
parked on the road
A tricycle driver, who refused to divulge his name, told him them accused-appellant and
the victim were last seen together coming out of the Sting Cafe, located in San Antonio near the
gate of Sangley Point, Cavite City, about a kilometer and a half away from the crime scene.
Armando Plata, another tricycle driver, told Rosal and Malinao, Jr. that Garcellano's
description fitted a person known as alias "Jun Dulce” and led the policemen where accused-
appellant lived.
Upon arriving the police asked permission if they could enter the house. After entering
they found a bloodied shirt and two spent .38 caliber shells. Accused appellant was then asked
to return to the cafe for identification. He was positively identified by the waitress to be the person
with whom the victim drank with. The police then went back to his house and there found a .38
paltik pistol.
An information for murder was then filed against accused-appellant. The trial court found
him guilty and sentenced him with the capital punishment.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the arrest of the accused appellant was valid.
(2) Whether or not there was a valid search and seizure.

HELD:
(1) NO. On the first issue, the arrest of accused-appellant was effected shortly after the
victim was killed. The question, therefore, is whether there was "probable cause" for PO3 Rosal
and SPO1 Malinao, Jr., the arresting officers, to believe that accused-appellant committed the
crime. We hold that there was none. The two did not have "personal knowledge of facts"
indicating that accused-appellant had committed the crime. Their knowledge of the
circumstances from which they allegedly inferred that accused-appellant was probably guilty was
based entirely on what they had been told by others, to wit: by someone who called the PNP
station in San Antonio, Cavite City at about 3:30 in the morning of August 26, 1997 and reported
that a man had been killed along Julian Felipe Boulevard of the said city; by an alleged witness
who saw accused-appellant and the victim coming out of the Sting Cafe; by Danet Garcellano,
waitress at the Sting Cafe, who said that the man last seen with the victim was lean,
mustachioed, dark-complexioned and was wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of brown short pants;
by a tricycle driver named Armando Plata who told them that the physical description given by
Garcellano fitted accused-appellant, alias "Jun Dulce" and who said he knew where accused-
appellant lived and accompanied them to accused-appellant's house. Thus, PO3 Rosal and
SPO1 Malinao, Jr. merely relied on information given to them by others.
(2) NO. On the second issue, accused-appellant contends that neither he nor his son gave
permission to the arresting police officers to search his house and, therefore, the "Hanes" t-shirt,
the two spent slugs, and the .38 caliber revolver allegedly found in his house are inadmissible in
evidence. The prosecution, on the other hand, insists that accused-appellant consented to the
search of his house.

30
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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To be sure, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right
which may be waived expressly or impliedly. But a waiver by implication cannot be presumed.
There must be persuasive evidence of an actual intention to relinquish the right. As in this cases,
a mere failure on the part of the accused to object to a search cannot be construed as a waiver of
this privilege.
Nor can the warrantless search in this case be justified under the "plain view" doctrine.
As this Court held in People v. Musa: The "plain view" doctrine is usually applied where a police
officer is not searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes
across an incriminating object.
What the "plain view" cases have in common is that the police officer in each of them had
a prior justification for an intrusion in the course of which he came inadvertently across a piece of
evidence incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to supplement the prior justification —
whether it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some
other legitimate reason for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused
— and permits the warrantless seizure.
Finally, the prosecution says the search can be justified as incidental to a valid arrest.
Even assuming the warrantless arrest to be valid, the search cannot be considered an incident
thereto. A valid arrest allows only the seizure of evidence or dangerous weapons either in the
person of the one arrested or within the area of his immediate control. The rationale for such
search and seizure is to prevent the person arrested either from destroying evidence or from
using the weapon against his captor. It is clear that the warrantless search in this case cannot be
justified on this ground. For neither the t-shirt nor the gun was within the area of accused-
appellant's immediate control. In fact, according to the prosecution, the police found the gun only
after going back to the house of accused-appellant.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; ELEMENTS NECESSARY TO APPLY THE


PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. COMPACION


[G.R. No. 124442, July 20, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Acting on a confidential tip supplied by a police informant that accused-appellant was
growing and cultivating marijuana plants, SPO1 Gilbert L. Linda and SPO2 Basilio Sarong of the
6th Narcotic Regional Field Unit of the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) of the Bacolod City
Detachment conducted a surveillance of the residence of accused-appellant who was then the
barangay captain of barangay Bagonbon, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental on July 9, 1995.
During the said surveillance, they saw two (2) tall plants in the backyard of the accused-appellant
which they suspected to be marijuana plants.
Despite failing to obtain a warrant, the team proceeded to barangay Bagonbon and
arrived at the residence of accused-appellant in the early morning of July 13, 1995. SPO4
Villamor knocked at the gate and called out for the accused-appellant. What happened thereafter
is subject to conflicting accounts. The prosecution contends that the accused-appellant opened
the gate and permitted them to come in. He was immediately asked by SPO4 Villamor about the
suspected marijuana plants and he admitted that he planted and cultivated the same for the use
of his wife who was suffering from migraine The operatives then uprooted the suspected
marijuana plants.
Accused-appellant’s version of what transpired is that around one-thirty in the early
morning of July 13, 1995 while he and his family were sleeping, he heard somebody knocking
outside his house. He went down bringing with him a flashlight. After he opened the gate, four (4)
persons who he thought were members of the military, entered the premises then went inside the
house. It was dark so he could not count the others who entered the house as the same was lit
only by a kerosene lamp. One of the four men told him to sit in the living room. Some of the men
went upstairs while the others went around the house. None of them asked for his permission to
search his house and the premises.

ISSUE: Whether or not the search and seizure performed at the backyard of the accused was
valid.

31
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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HELD: NO. In the instant case, the search and seizure conducted by the composite team in
the house of accused-appellant was not authorized by a search warrant. It does not appear
either that the situation falls under any of he exceptions. Consequently, accused-appellant's right
against unreasonable search and seizure was clearly violated.
It is extant from the records that accused-appellant did not consent to the warrantless
search and seizure conducted. While the right to be secure from unreasonable search and
seizure may, like every right, be waived either expressly or impliedly, such waiver must constitute
a valid waiver made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. The act of the accused-appellant in
allowing the members of the military to enter his premises and his consequent silence during the
unreasonable search and seizure could not be construed as voluntary submission or an implied
acquiescence to warrantless search and seizure especially so when members of the raiding team
were intimidatingly numerous and heavily armed.
As a general rule, objects in the "plain view" of an officer who has the right to be in the
position to have that view are subject to seizure without a warrant. It is usually applied where a
police officer is not searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently
comes across an incriminating object. Thus, the following elements must be present before the
doctrine may be applied: (a) a prior valid intention based on the valid warrantless arrest in which
the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (b) the evidence was
inadvertently discovered by the police who have the right to be where they are; (c) the evidence
must be immediately apparent; and (d) "plain view" justified were seizure of evidence without
further search.
Here, there was no valid warrantless arrest. They forced their way into accused-
appellant's premises without the latter's consent. It is undisputed that the NARCOM agents
conducted a surveillance of the residence of accused-appellant on July 9, 1995 on the suspicion
that he was growing and cultivating marijuana when they allegedly came in "plain view" of the
marijuana plants. When the agents entered his premises on July 13, 1995, their intention was to
seize the evidence against him. In fact, they initially wanted to secure a search warrant but could
not simply wait for one to be issued. The NARCOM agents, therefore, did not come across the
marijuana plants inadvertently when they conducted a surveillance and barged into accused-
appellant's residence.

RIGHT TO INFORMATION

RIGHT TO INFORMATION; COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL OF THE PLUNDER


CASES SHALL BE LIMITED TO AUDIOVISUAL RECORDING FOR
DOCUMENTARY PURPOSES.

RE: REQUEST FOR LIVE RADIO-TV COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL IN THE


SANDIGANBAYAN OF THE PLUNDER CASES AGAINST FORMER
PRESIDENT JOSEPH E. ESTRADA vs. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA and
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES
[A.M. No. 00-1-4-03-SC, September 13, 2001]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: This is a motion for reconsideration of the decision denying petitioners' request for
permission to televise and broadcast live the trial of former President Estrada before the
Sandiganbayan. The motion was filed by the Secretary of Justice, as one of the petitioners, who
argues that there is really no conflict between the right of the people to public information and the
freedom of the press, on the one hand, and, on the other, the right of the accused to a fair trial;
that if there is a clash between these rights, it must be resolved in favor or of the right of the
people and the press because the people, as the repository of sovereignty, are entitled to
information; and that live media coverage is a safeguard against attempts by any party to use the
courts as instruments for the pursuit of selfish interests.
On the other hand, former President Joseph E. Estrada reiterates his objection to the live
TV and radio coverage of his trial on the ground that its allowance will violate the sub judice rule
and that, based on his experience with the impeachment trial, live media coverage will only pave

32
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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the way for so-called "expert commentary" which can trigger massive demonstrations aimed at
pressuring the Sandiganbayan to render a decision one way or the other. Mr. Estrada contends
that the right of the people to information may be served through other means less distracting,
degrading, and prejudicial than live TV and radio coverage.

ISSUE: Whether or not the cases of a former President pending before the Sandiganbayan can
be covered by live television and radio broadcast without impairing the right of the accused to a
just and fair trial.

HELD: NO. The Court finds no reason to alter or in any way modify its decision prohibiting live
or real time broadcast by radio or television of the trial of the former president. In lieu of live TV
and radio coverage of the trial, the Court has resolved to order the audiovisual recording of the
trial for documentary purposes.
Considering the significance of the trial before the Sandiganbayan of former President
Estrada and the importance of preserving the records thereof, the Court believes that there
should be an audio-visual recording of the proceedings. The recordings will not be for live or real
time broadcast but for documentary purposes. Only later will they be available for public
showing, after the Sandiganbayan shall have promulgated its decision in every case to which the
recording pertains. The master film shall be deposited in the National Museum and the Records
Management and Archives Office for historical preservation and exhibition pursuant to law.
There are several reasons for such televised recording. First, the hearings are historic
significance. They are an affirmation of our commitment to the rule that "the King is under no
man, but he is under God and the law." (Quod Rex non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et
Lege). Second, the Estrada cases involve matters of vital concern to our people who have a
fundamental right to know how their government is conducted. This right can be enhanced by
audio-visual presentation. Third, audio-visual presentation is essential for the education and civic
training of the people.
They will be primarily for the use of appellate courts in the event a review of the
proceedings, rulings, or decisions of the Sandiganbayan is sought or becomes necessary. The
accuracy of the transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the trial can be checked by
reference to the tapes.
On the other hand, by delaying the release of the tapes for broadcast, concerns that
those taking part in the proceedings will be playing to the cameras and will thus be distracted
from the proper performance of their roles - whether as counsel, witnesses, court personnel, or
judges - will be allayed. The possibility that parallel trials before the bar of justice and the bar of
public opinion may jeopardize, or even prevent, the just determination of the cases can be
minimized. The possibility that judgment will be rendered by the popular tribunal before the court
of justice can render its own will be avoided.
At the same time, concerns about the regularity and fairness of the trial - which, it may be
assumed, is the concern of those opposed to, as much as of those in favor of, televised trials -
will be addressed since the tapes will not be released for public showing until after the decision of
the cases by the Sandiganbayan. By delaying the release of the tapes, much of the problem
posed by real time TV and radio broadcast will be avoided.
Thus, many important purposes for preserving the record of the trials can be served by
audio-visual recordings without impairing the right of the accused to a fair trial. Nor is the right of
privacy of the accused a bar to the production of such documentary. In Ayer Productions Pty.
Ltd. v. Capulong, this Court held: "A limited intrusion into a person's privacy has long been
regarded as permissible where that person is a public figure and the information sought to be
elicited from him or to be published about him constitute matters of a public character."

SEPARATE OPINION: VITUG, J:


In addressing the present motion for reconsideration, colleagues on the Court opine that
there should be an audio-visual recording of the proceedings for documentary purposes because,
first, the hearings are of historic significance; second, the Estrada cases involve matters of vital
concern to our people who have a fundamental right to know how their government works; third,
the audio-visual presentation is essential for education and civic training of the people; and fourth,
such recording can be used by appellate courts in the event that the review of the proceedings,
ruling, or decisions of the Sandiganbayan is sought or becomes necessary.

33
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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The proposition has novel features; regrettably, I still find it hard to believe that the
presence of the cameras inside the courtroom will not have an untoward impact on the court
proceedings. No empirical data has been shown to suggest otherwise. To the contrary,
experience attests to the intimidating effect of cameras and electronic devices in courtrooms on
the litigants, witnesses and jurors. In addition, the natural reticence of witnesses at the stand can
even easily be exacerbated by placing them on camera in contravention of normal experience.
The demeanor of the witnesses can also have an abstruse effect on the ability of the judge to
accurately assess the credibility of such witnesses. The presence of cameras, for whatever
reason, may not adequately address the dangers mentioned in the Court's decision of 29 June
2001. There are just too many imponderables.
Most importantly, it does not seem right to single out and make a spectacle of the cases
against Mr. Estrada. Dignity is a precious part of personality innate in every human being, and
there can be no cogent excuse for impinging it even to the slightest degree. It is not the problem
of privacy that can cause concern more than the erosion of reality that cameras tend to cast.

RIGHTS UNDER THE MIRANDA DOCTRINE

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL CANNOT BE CLAIMED


DURING INDENTIFICATION IN POLICE LINE-UP.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. AMESTUZO, et al.


[G.R. No. 104383, July 12, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: On February 26, 1991, four days after a reported robbery with multiple rape, a group
of policemen together with accused Federico Ampatin, who was then a suspect, went to the
handicrafts factory in NIA Road, Pasay City where accused-appellant was working as a stay-in
shell cutter. They were looking for a certain "Mario" and "searched the first and second floors of
the building. Failing to find said Mario, the police hit Ampatin at the back of his neck with a gun
and uttered, "Niloloko lang yata tayo ng taong ito" and "Magturo ka ng tao kahit sino." It was at
this juncture that Ampatin pointed to accused-appellant Bagas as he was the first person Ampatin
chanced to look upon.
Thereafter, Bagas was arrested and made to board the police vehicle together with
accused Ampatin. They were brought to the Urduja Police Station in Kalookan City and placed
under detention together with the other two accused, Amestuzo and Viñas.
When the complainants arrived, accused-appellant was brought out, instructed to turn to
the left and then to the right and he was asked to talk. Complainant Lacsamana asked him if he
knew accused Amestuzo and Viñas. Accused-appellant answered in the negative. The
policemen told the complainants that accused-appellant was one of the suspects. This incited
complainants to an emotional frenzy, kicking and hitting him. They only stopped when one of the
policemen intervened.
Accused-appellant alleges that the trial court committed a serious error when it deprived
him of his constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer during his investigation. His singular
presentation to the complainants for identification without the benefit of counsel, accused-
appellant avers, is a flagrant violation of the constitutional prerogative to be assisted by counsel
to which he was entitled from the moment he was arrested by the police and placed on detention.
He maintains that the identification was a critical stage of prosecution at which he was as much
entitled to the aid of counsel as during the trial proper.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not appellant’s right to counsel was violated.
(2) Whether or not there was a valid out-of-court identification of appellant to the complainants.

HELD:
(1) NO. Herein accused-appellant could not yet invoke his right to counsel when he was
presented for Identification by the complainants because the same was not yet part of the
investigation process. Moreover, there was no showing that during this identification by the

34
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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complainants, the police investigators sought to elicit any admission or confession from accused-
appellant. In fact, records show that the police did not at all talk to accused-appellant when he
was presented before the complainants. The alleged infringement of the constitutional rights of
the accused while under custodial investigation is relevant and material only to cases in which an
extrajudicial admission or confession extracted from the accused becomes the basis of his
conviction. In the present case, there is no such confession or extrajudicial admission.
(2) YES. The out-of-court identification of herein accused-appellant by complainants in the
police station appears to have been improperly suggestive. Even before complainants had the
opportunity to view accused-appellant face-to-face when he was brought out of the detention cell
to be presented to them for identification, the police made an announcement that he was one of
the suspects in the crime and that he was the one pointed to by accused Ampatin as one of
culprits.

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL ATTACHES ONLY UPON


THE START OF CRIMINAL CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION.

ESTELITO REMOLONA VS. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION


[G.R. No. 137473, August 2, 2001]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: Estelito Remolona is the Postmaster of Infanta, Quezon while his wife Nery is a
teacher in Kiborosa Elementary School. On January 3, 1991, Francisco America, the District
Supervisor of Infanta inquired about Nery’s Civil Service eligibility who purportedly got a rating of
81.25%. Mr. America also disclosed that he received information that Nery was campaigning for a
fee of 8,000 pesos per examinee for a passing mark in the board examination for teachers.
It was eventually revealed that Nery Remolona’s name did not appear in the passing and
failing examinees and that the exam no. 061285 as indicated in her report of rating belonged to a
certain Marlou Madelo who got a rating of 65%.
Estelito Remolona in his written statement of facts said that he met a certain Atty.
Salupadin in a bus, who offered to help his wife obtain eligibility for a fee of 3,000 pesos. Mr.
America however, informed Nery that there was no vacancy when she presented her rating
report, so Estelito went to Lucena to complain that America asked for money in exchange for the
appointment of his wife, and that from 1986-1988, America was able to receive 6 checks at 2,600
pesos each plus bonus of Nery Remolona. Remolona admitted that he was responsible for the
fake eligibility and that his wife had no knowledge thereof.
On recommendation of Regional Director Amilhasan of the Civil Service, the CSC found
the spouses guilty of dishonesty and imposed a penalty of dismissal and all its accessory
penalties. On Motion For Reconsideration, only Nery was exonerated and reinstated.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for review and denied the motion
for reconsideration and new trial.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was a violation of due process as the extra-judicial admission
allegedly signed by him was in blank form and that he was not assisted by counsel.

HELD: NO. Right to Counsel is meant to protect a suspect in a criminal case under custodial
investigation when questions are initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been
taken in custody. The right to counsel attaches only upon the start of such investigation. The
exclusionary rule under Paragraph 2, Section 12 applies only to admissions made in a criminal
investigation but not those made in an administrative investigation.

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION ON CUSTODIAL


INVESTIGATION DOES NOT APPLY TO A SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT
NOT ELICITED THROUGH QUESTIONING BY THE AUTHORITIES.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BALOLOY


[G.R. No. 140740, April 12, 2002]

35
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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PER CURIAM:
FACTS: At the waterfalls of Barangay Inasagan, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, on the evening
of August 3, 1996, the dead body of an 11-year-old girl Genelyn Camacho was found. Autopsy
reports found that Genelyn was raped before she was drowned. The one who caused its
discovery was accused-appellant Juanito Baloloy himself, who claimed that he had caught sight
of it while he was catching frogs in a nearby creek. While in the wake of Genelyn, Juanito
confessed to the Barangay Captain that he only wanted to frighten the girl but ended up raping
and throwing her body in the ravine. While in the custody of the authorities, he was asked
incriminating questions by Judge Dicon who justified his actions saying that Juanito was not yet in
custodial investigation. Based on his alleged extrajudicial confession, coupled with circumstantial
evidence, the trial court found Juanito guilty of rape with homicide and sentenced him to death.
On appeal, Juanito maintains that the trial court violated Section 12(1) of Article III of the
Constitution when it admitted in evidence his alleged extrajudicial confession to Barangay
Captain Ceniza and Judge Dicon. According to him, the two failed to inform him of his
constitutional rights before they took it upon themselves to elicit from him the incriminatory
information. It is of no moment that Ceniza and Dicon are not police investigators, for as public
officials it was incumbent upon them to observe the express mandate of the Constitution. While
these rights may be waived, the prosecution failed to show that he effectively waived his rights
through a written waiver executed in the presence of counsel. He concludes that his extrajudicial
confession is inadmissible in evidence.

ISSUE:
(1) Whether or not Juanito’s extrajudicial confession before the barangay captain was
admissible.
(2) Whether or not Juanito’s extrajudicial confession before the judge was admissible.

HELD:
(1) YES. As to his confession with the Baragay Captain Ceniza, it has been held that the
constitutional provision on custodial investigation does not apply to a spontaneous statement, not
elicited through questioning by the authorities but given in an ordinary manner whereby the
suspect orally admits having committed the crime. Neither can it apply to admissions or
confessions made by a suspect in the commission of a crime before he is placed under
investigation. What the Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of incriminating facts or
confessions. In the instant case, Juanito voluntarily narrated to Ceniza that he raped GENELYN
and thereafter threw her body into the ravine. This narration was a spontaneous answer, freely
and voluntarily given in an ordinary manner. It was given before he was arrested or placed under
custody for investigation in connection with the commission of the offense. Moreover, Juanito did
not offer any evidence of improper or ulterior motive on the part of Ceniza, which could have
compelled her to testify falsely against him.
(2) NO. However, there is merit in Juanito’s claim that his constitutional rights during
custodial investigation were violated by Judge Dicon when the latter propounded to him
incriminating questions without informing him of his constitutional rights. It is settled that at the
moment the accused voluntarily surrenders to, or is arrested by, the police officers, the custodial
investigation is deemed to have started. So, he could not thenceforth be asked about his
complicity in the offense without the assistance of counsel. Judge Dicon's claim that no complaint
has yet been filed and that neither was he conducting a preliminary investigation deserves scant
consideration. The fact remains that at that time Juanito was already under the custody of the
police authorities, who had already taken the statement of the witnesses who were then before
Judge Dicon for the administration of their oaths on their statements.

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; TWO KINDS OF INVOLUNTARY OR COERCED


CONFESSIONS TREATED IN SECTION 12 OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VALLEJO


[G.R. No. 144656, May 9, 2002]

PER CURIAM:

36
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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FACTS: The accused appellant, Gerrico Vallejo, was sentenced to death by the RTC of Cavite
City for the rape slaying of a 9-year old child, Daisy Diolola, in Rosario, Cavite on July 10, 1999.
Accused-appellant now questions the validity of the method by which his bloodstained
clothes were recovered. According to accused-appellant, the policemen questioned him as to the
clothes he wore the day before. Thereafter, they took him to his house and accused-appellant
accompanied them to the back of the house where dirty clothes were kept.
Accused-appellant challenges the validity of the oral and written confessions presented
as evidence against him. He alleges that the oral confessions were inadmissible in evidence for
being hearsay, while the extrajudicial confessions were obtained through force and intimidation.
Accused-appellant argues that the oral confessions given to Mayor Abutan of Rosario,
Cavite and to NBI Forensic Biologist should be deemed inadmissible for being violative of his
constitutional rights as these were made by one already under custodial investigation to persons
in authority without the presence of counsel.

ISSUE: Whether or not the oral and written confessions used against the accused is
inadmissible.

HELD: NO. Section 12 of Art. III of the Constitution provides in pertinent parts:
"(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to
be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel,
preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be
provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
counsel.
"(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free
will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other
similar forms of detention are prohibited.
"(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 shall be
inadmissible in evidence against him."
There are two kinds of involuntary or coerced confessions treated in this constitutional
provision: (1) coerced confessions, the product of third degree methods such as torture, force,
violence, threat, and intimidation, which are dealt with in paragraph 2 of Section 12, and (2)
uncounselled statements, given without the benefit of Miranda warnings, which are the subject of
paragraph 1 of the same section.
Clearly, accused-appellant cannot now claim that he was not apprised of the
consequences of the statements he was to make as well as the written confessions he was to
execute, for he was properly informed by Atty. Leyva that it may be used against him and there
was no attendance of force or any form of coercion. Neither can he question the qualifications of
Atty. Lupo Leyva who acted as his counsel during the investigation. To be an effective counsel, a
lawyer need not challenge all the questions being propounded to his client. The presence of a
lawyer is not intended to stop an accused from saying anything which might incriminate him but,
rather, it was adopted in our Constitution to preclude the slightest coercion as would lead the
accused to admit something false. Indeed, counsel should not prevent an accused from freely
and voluntarily telling the truth.

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; CONFESSION TO A RADIO REPORTER IS


ADMISSIBLE WHERE SAID REPORTER WAS NOT ACTING FOR THE
POLICE OR CONFESSION WAS NOT MADE OUT OF FEAR.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ABULENCIA


[G.R. No. 138403, August 22, 2001]

PER CURIAM:
FACTS: The accused Rolly Abulencia was charged of having raped and killed a 10 year old
girl named Rebelyn Garcia. The body of Rebelyn was found lifeless and naked while floating in a
creek in Pangasinan. The examination of the body found signs that she was raped and that she
died of drowning. According to eye witness accounts, the accused was last person who was
seen to have been with the victim before she died. While in detention, the accused was
interviewed by a radio commentator of DZWN Bombo Radio and admitted of having raped

37
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Rebelyn and that she fell off the bridge which caused her death. The interview was tape-
recorded and was submitted as evidence in court.
The trial court sentence the accused to a penalty of death hence this petition by the
accused arguing that there is no direct evidence linking him to the commission of the crime.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused can be convicted based on circumstantial evidence and
his admission in a radio interview.

HELD: YES. Normally, the crime of rape — whether simple, qualified or complexed with other
crimes — is committed in seclusion, thereby rendering its prosecution difficult owing to the
absence of witnesses to its commission. The prosecution of such crime becomes even more
intricate and complex if homicide is committed since the victim herself would no longer be able to
testify against the perpetrator. In most cases, only circumstantial evidence is available to prove its
commission. The absence of direct evidence, however, does not preclude the conviction of a
person accused of the complex crime of rape with homicide. Circumstantial evidence can be as
potent as direct evidence to sustain a conviction provided that there is a concurrence of all the
requisites prescribed in Section 5, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on Evidence. Likewise, the
Court held that an accused can be convicted based on circumstantial evidence if the
circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain which leads to a fair and reasonable
conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person.
The totality of all the circumstances obtaining, taken together with the condition of
Rebelyn's body when found, eloquently indicate that the appellant sexually assaulted her before
drowning her to death.
It bears stressing that appellant admitted having raped Rebelyn when he was interviewed
by Dennis Mojares, a radio commentator of Bombo Radio. Mojares' testimony lends support to
the court’s conclusion. We have held that "a confession to a radio reporter is admissible where it
was not shown that said reporter was acting for the police or that the interview was conducted
under circumstances where it is apparent that the suspect confessed to the killing out of fear."

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSIONS, WHEN


ADMISSIBLE.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PRINCIPE


[G.R. No. 135862, May 2, 2002]

PER CURIAM:
FACTS: Rafael Principe was accused of the rape slaying of one Arlene Ipurong who was then
6 years of age. An investigation was conducted by the police in the evening of August 9, 1998.
Several witnesses pointed to accused-appellant as the person who was last seen with the victim
Arlene.
Accused-appellant was subsequently taken into custody by the police. On August 17,
1998, accused-appellant was interrogated by the police, to whom, after reading his rights in
Tagalog and in the presence of accused-appellant's father and of his counsel Atty. Cesar Villar,
he admitted hitting Arlene with a large rock until she was unconscious and subsequently raping
her.
Accused-appellant contends that the trial court failed to ascertain whether accused-
appellant was fully apprised of the legal consequences of his plea, considering that he finished
only up to the sixth grade of the elementary school.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the trial court complied with the requirement of inquiring on the voluntariness
of the plea.
(2) Whether or not the extrajudicial confession of the accused is admissible.

HELD:
(1) NO. When an accused enters a plea of guilt to a capital offense, Section 3 of Rule 116 of
the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that it is the duty of the trial court to observe the
following rules: (1) it must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full

38
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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comprehension of the consequences of his plea; (2) it must require the prosecution to present
evidence to prove the guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his culpability; and (3) it
must ask the accused if he desires to present evidence in his behalf and allow him to do so if he
desires. This is because a plea of guilt must be based on a free and informed judgment. Thus,
the inquiry must focus on the voluntariness of the plea and the full comprehension of the
consequences of the plea.
In this case, the trial court failed to comply fully with the requirement to conduct a
searching inquiry to determine whether accused-appellant's plea was voluntary and done with full
comprehension of the consequences thereof.
Thus, in determining whether accused-appellant was aware of the full consequences of
his plea of guilt, the trial court simply asked him whether he knew that he "may" be sentenced to
death, implying that it was possible that the death penalty might not be imposed on him. A mere
warning that the accused faces the supreme penalty of death is insufficient.
(2) YES. With respect to accused-appellant's extrajudicial confession, the Constitution, R.A.
No. 7438, and case law lay down four fundamental requirements for the admissibility of
extrajudicial confessions in general, to wit: (a) the confession must be voluntary; (b) it must be
made with the assistance of competent and independent counsel; (c) the confession must be
express; and (d) it must be in writing. In this case, after accused-appellant was read his rights in
Tagalog, he signified his intention to confess his participation in the rape and killing of Arlene.
Accused-appellant's confession was placed in writing and it was signed by him, his counsel, and
the administering officer. Hence, the said confession is admissible it being in accordance with the
above requisites.

RIGHT TO BAIL

RIGHT TO BAIL; PRIOR TO CONVICTION BY THE TRIAL COURT FOR


ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITIONS AND EXPLOSIVES,
BAIL SHALL BE A MATTER OF RIGHT.

YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, et al. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 126859, September 4, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: see page 28

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners have the right to bail.

HELD: YES. The issue on bail has been resolved in our resolution dated November 24, 1998,
where this Court ruled: Consequent to the enactment of RA 8294, the penalty prescribed in
Section 1 and 3 of P.D. 1866 for illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives
under which petitioners were charged, has now been reduced to prision mayor in its minimum
period and prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal, respectively. Evidently,
petitioners are now entitled to bail as a matter of right prior to their conviction by the trial court
pursuant to Section 4 of SC Administrative Circular No. 12-94.

RIGHT TO BAIL; WHEN BAIL SHALL BE DENIED

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PALARCA


[G. R. No. 146020, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Accused Palarca was convicted of the crime of rape by the RTC sentencing him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

39
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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On appeal, appellant points out that the accusatory portion of the information failed to
specifically allege that the rape was committed through force or intimidation.

ISSUE: Whether the evidence for the prosecution established the guilt of accused-appellant
beyond reasonable doubt in order to deny the accused his right to bail.

HELD: NO. Accused-appellant makes much of the finding of the investigating judge during the
bail hearing that the evidence against accused-appellant was not strong. It must be stressed,
however, that the assessment of the evidence presented during a bail hearing is intended only for
the purpose of granting or denying an application for the provisional release of the accused. Not
being a final assessment, and merely for the purpose of determining the necessity of confinement
to avoid escape, courts tend to be fair and liberal in their appreciation of evidence. Thus in
People v. Baldoz, et al., the Court made the following pronouncements: “The assessment of the
evidence presented during a bail hearing is intended only for the purpose of granting or denying
an application for the provisional release of the accused. It is not a final assessment. Before
conviction, every one accused is entitled to bail, except when the offense charged is punishable
by reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment or death; and the evidence of guilt is strong.
“The denial of this fundamental right is justified only if there is a great probability of
escape. Confinement prior to conviction is warranted, in order to assure the presence of the
accused at the trial. Thus, the natural tendency of the courts has always been towards a fair and
liberal appreciation of the evidence in the determination of the degree of proof and in the
presumption of guilt necessary to warrant a deprivation of that right. Such appreciation is at best
preliminary and should not prevent the trial judge from making a final assessment of the evidence
before him after full trial. It is not an uncommon occurrence that an accused person granted bail
is convicted in due course.”

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; RATIONALE BEHIND THE RIGHT OF AN


ACCUSED TO BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE
ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MONTERON


[G.R. No. 130709, March 6, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Accused-appellant was formally charged with rape, he entered a plea of not guilty at
his arraignment. After trial, the lower court convicted him of the crime of rape.
Accused-appellant contends that the RTC of Davao has committed an error in not
acquitting him of the crime charged in the Information. He argues that his negative plea to the
information filed against him, his filing of the notice of appeal, and his denial of the rape charges
against him during trial, indicate his innocence.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contention of the accused-appellant is correct.

HELD: NO. Constitutional due process demands that the accused in a criminal case should be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. The rationale behind this
constitutional guarantee are: First, to furnish the accused with the description of the charge
against him as will enable him to make his defense; second, to avail himself of his conviction or
acquittal, for protection against a further prosecution for the same cause; and third, to inform the
court of the facts alleged, so that it may decide whether they are sufficient in law to support a
conviction, if one should be had.
The purpose of arraignment is to apprise the accused of the possible loss of freedom, even of
his life, depending on the nature of the crime imputed to him, or at the very least to inform him
why the prosecuting arm of the State is mobilized against him. Consequently, when the accused-
appellant entered a negative plea during his arraignment, the same was not binding on the court

40
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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as an indication of his innocence. Rather, it is a general denial of the charges impugned against
him and an exercise of his right to be heard of his plea.
Neither is the accused-appellant’s filing of a notice of appeal indicative of his innocence. On
the contrary, accused-appellant’s appeal was necessitated by the judgment of conviction
rendered against him by the trial court.
While the accused-appellant is guilty of rape, the same was committed only in its attempted
stage. This and the fact that the accused-appellant was still a minor when the crime was
committed warrant the modification of the decision of the RTC of Davao.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED CARRIES WITH


IT THE OBLIGATION TO EFFECTIVELY CONVEY TO THE ACCUSED
INFORMATION TO ENABLE HIM TO PREPARE HIS DEFENSE.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ALCALDE


[G.R. Nos. 139225-28, May 29, 2002]

DAVIDE, JR., C.J:


FACTS: On 24 September 1997, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna filed before
the trial court two informations for parricide and two informations for frustrated parricide.
Upon his arraignment on 22 October 1997, ARNEL, who was assisted by a counsel de
parte, refused to speak. Pursuant to Section 1(c) of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, the trial court
entered for him a plea of not guilty in each of the cases. On the same occasion, the defense
waived pre-trial. The cases were then consolidated and jointly tried.
After the prosecution rested its case and formally offered its exhibits, the defense filed a
motion for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence, which was granted. On 27 April 1998, the
defense, through counsel de parte, filed a demurrer to evidence based on the following grounds:
(a) The accused has not been adequately informed of the nature and cause of accusation
against him during the arraignment;
(b) Not an iota of incriminatory evidence, direct or circumstantial, has been adduced and
presented by the prosecution during the trial; and
(c) The constitutional presumption of innocence of the accused has not been overcome by
any evidence or contrary presumption.
In support thereof, the defense alleged that ARNEL was afflicted with psychosis and
could not comprehend, and that despite his strange behavior characterized by his deafening
silence, motionless appearance, and single direction blank stare the trial court insisted on his
arraignment. Thus, accused was not adequately apprised of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him. Moreover, no concrete evidence pointing to ARNEL as the culprit was
presented by the prosecution. Hence, the constitutional presumption of innocence of an accused
prevails.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused has been adequately informed of the nature and cause of
accusation against him during the arraignment.

HELD: NO. The physical and outward manifestations of ARNEL at the time of his arraignment,
which were brought to the attention of the trial court, indicated substantial demonstration of a
mental disorder that rendered ARNEL unfit to be arraigned or tried in the four criminal cases at
bar. The trial court failed to exercise utmost circumspection in assuming that ARNEL was in full
possession of his mental faculties and understood the proceedings against him.
The constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
him under the Bill of Rights carries with it the correlative obligation to effectively convey to the
accused the information to enable him to effectively prepare for his defense. At the bottom is the
issue of fair trial. While not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency on the
part of the accused is sufficient to justify suspension of the proceedings, the trial court must be
fully satisfied that the accused would have a fair trial with the assistance the law secures or gives.
Under the circumstances in these cases, the trial court gravely failed in this regard.
Solemn and inflexible is the constitutional behest that no person shall be deprived of life,
liberty or property without due process of law. Absolute heedfulness of this constitutional

41
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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injunction is most pronounced in criminal cases where the accused is in the gravest jeopardy of
losing his life. It constantly behooves every court to proceed with utmost care in each of such
cases before it, and nothing can be more demanding of judges in that respect than when the
possible punishment would be in its severest form like death — a penalty that, once carried out, is
irreversible and irreparable.
In light of the foregoing fatal infirmities committed by the trial court, as well as by the
defense counsel, we have no other alternative except to set aside the joint decision in question
and remand the cases to the trial court for further proceedings to allow the defense to present
evidence to prove that ARNEL was either unfit for arraignment and trial or was insane at the time
the crimes charged were committed.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; THE RECITAL OF THE ESSENTIALS OF A


CRIME DELINEATES THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF ACCUSATION
AGAINST AN ACCUSED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BERNAS


[G.R. Nos. 133583-85, February 20, 2002]

PANGANIBAN, J:
FACTS: For automatic review are decisions promulgated by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Libmanan, Camarines Sur finding appellant Roberto Bernas y Nacario guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of three counts of rape of her two minor daughters.
When first arraigned on the charges, appellant, with the assistance of his counsel,
pleaded not guilty. When the case was submitted for decision, the prosecution moved to reopen
the case to present the Birth Certificate of the victims as well as the Marriage contract of the
parents. This motion was granted over the objection of the defense counsel. Before the
prosecution presented its evidence, appellant, through his counsel, moved for the change of his
former plea of not guilty to that of guilty, a Motion which the RTC granted.
Appellant was thus rearraigned and pleaded guilty to the charges. The defense waived its
right to present evidence and submitted them for decision based on the evidence presented by
the prosecution. The RTC then rendered the assailed decisions.

ISSUE: Whether or not the conviction of the accused was proper.

HELD: NO. The Constitution guarantees the right of every person accused in a criminal
prosecution to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him. This right finds
amplification and implementation in the different provisions of the Rules of Court. Foremost
among these enabling provisions is the office of an Information. The facts stated in the body of
the Information determine the crime that the accused stands charged and for which he must be
tried. This recital of the essentials of a crime delineates the nature and cause of accusation
against an accused. Other than the allegation of carnal knowledge, no other element of rape as
defined by law is alleged in the Information.
Since the Information fails to allege the essential elements of qualified rape, appellant
should not have been convicted of that crime. Otherwise, his constitutional right to be informed of
the nature and cause of accusation against him would be violated.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; R.A. NO. 7080 WAS CRAFTED TO AVOID THE
FOLLY OF FILING MULTIPLE INFORMATIONS.

JOSE “JINGGOY” E. ESTRADA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[GR No. 148965, February 26, 2002]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: In November 2000, as an offshoot of the impeachment proceedings against Joseph E.
Estrada, then President of the Philippines, five criminal complaints against the former President
and members of his family, his associates, friends and conspirators were filed with the Office of

42
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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the Ombudsman. On April 4, 2001, the Ombudsman issued a Joint Resolution finding probable
cause warranting the filing with the Sandiganbayan of several criminal information against the
former President and the other respondents therein. One of the information was for the crime of
Plunder under RA 7080 and among the respondents was herein petitioner Jose “Jinggoy”
Estrada, then Mayor of San Juan, Metro Manila. It was docketed as Criminal Case No. 26558.
On April 24, 2001, petitioner filed a “Motion to Quash or Suspend” the Amended
Information on the ground that the Anti-Plunder Law, RA 7080, is unconstitutional and that it
charged more than one offense. On July 9, 2001, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution
denying petitioner’s “Motion to Quash and Suspend.” Hence, this petition.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the Anti-Plunder Law, RA 7080, is constitutional.
(2) Whether or not Jinggoy Estrada can be prosecuted for plunder under RA 7080 even if he has
been charged only on one count with what would constitute acts of plunder under paragraph
(a) of the Amended Information.

HELD:
(1) YES. Petitioner’s contention that RA 7080 is unconstitutional as applied to him is
principally perched on the premise that the Amended Information charged him with only one act
or one offense which cannot constitute plunder. Petitioner’s premise is patently false. A careful
examination of the Amended Information will show that it is divided into three parts: (1) the first
paragraph charges former President Estrada with the crime of plunder together with petitioner
Jinggoy Estrada, Charlie ‘Atong’ Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda Ricaforte and others; (2) the
second paragraph spells out in general terms how the accused conspired in committing the crime
of plunder; and (3) the following four sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) describe in detail the predicate
acts constitutive of the crime of plunder pursuant to items 1-6 of RA 7080.
Pertinent to the case at bar is the predicate act alleged in sub paragraph (a) of the
Amended Information which is of “receiving or collecting, directly or indirectly, on several
instances, money in the aggregate amount of P545,000,000.00 for illegal gambling in the form of
gift, share, percentage, kickback or any form of pecuniary benefit xxx” In this sub paragraph (a),
petitioner, in conspiracy with former President Estrada, is charged with the act of receiving or
collecting money from illegal gambling. Contrary to petitioner’s posture, the allegation is that he
received or collected money from illegal gambling “on several instances.” The phrase “on several
instances” means the petitioner committed the predicate acts in a series. To insist that the
amended Information charged the petitioner with only one act or offense despite the phrase
“several instances” is to indulge in a twisted, nay, “pretzel’ interpretation.
Respondent Ombudsman cannot be faulted for including the predicate acts alleged in
sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) of the Amended Information in one, and not in four separate
Informations. A study of the history of RA 7080 will show that the law was crafted to avoid the
mischief and folly of filing multiple informations. The said law was precisely enacted to address
this procedural problem.
(2) YES. There is no denying the fact that the “plunder of an entire nation resulting in
material damage to the national economy” is made up of a complex and manifold network of
crimes. In the crime of plunder, therefore, different parties may be united by a common purpose.
In the case at bar, the different accused and their different criminal acts have a commonality to
help the former president amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. Sub-paragraphs (a) to
(d) in the Amended Information alleged the different participation of each accused in the
conspiracy. The gravamen of the conspiracy charge therefore, is not that each accused agreed
to receive protection money from illegal gambling, that each misappropriated a certain portion of
the tobacco excise tax, that ach accused ordered the GSIS and SSS to purchase shares of Belle
Corporation and receive commissions from such sale, nor that each unjustly enriched himself
from commissions, gifts and kickbacks; rather, it is that each of them, by their individual acts,
agreed to participate directly or indirectly, in the amassing, accumulation, and acquisition of ill-
gotten wealth of and/or for former President Estrada.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; FAILURE TO OBJECT TO THE SUFFICIENCY


OF THE INFORMATION CONSTITUTES A WAIVER OF THE
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE
OF THE ACCUSATION.

43
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PALARCA


[G. R. No. 146020, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: see page 39

ISSUE: Whether or not accused-appellant may be validly convicted under the information
charging him with rape.

HELD: YES. While generally an accused cannot be convicted of an offense that is not clearly
charged in the complaint or information, this rule is not without exception. The right to assail the
sufficiency of the information or the admission of evidence may be waived by the accused-
appellant. In People v. Lopez, we held that an information which lacks certain essential
allegations may still sustain a conviction when the accused fails to object to its sufficiency during
the trial, and the deficiency was cured by competent evidence presented therein. Thus, “[F]ailure
to object was thus a waiver of the constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation. It is competent for a person to waive a right guaranteed by the Constitution, and
to consent to action which would be invalid if taken against his will.” This Court has, on more
than one occasion, recognized waivers of constitutional rights, e.g., the right against
unreasonable searches and seizures; the right to counsel and to remain silent; the right to be
heard; and the right to bail.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; A COUNSEL DE OFFICIO MUST BE GIVEN A


REASONABLE TIME TO CONSULT WITH THE ACCUSED AS TO HIS PLEA
BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THE ARRAIGNMENT.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BASCUGUIN


[G.R. No. 144404, September 24, 2001]

BUENA, J:
FACTS: Bascuguin, herein accused-appellant, was charged with the crime of rape with
homicide before the RTC of Balayan, Batangas. At his arraignment, he appeared without the
assistance of counsel. The trial court assigned a counsel de officio. He pleaded guilty to the
crime charged. A series of questions were propounded by the trial court to test accused-
appellant's voluntariness and comprehension of the consequences of his plea. Trial on the merits
was conducted thereafter to allow the prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of
culpability.
Trial court rendered its decision finding Leodegario Bascuguin guilty beyond reasonable
doubt.
The procedure observed by the trial court at the arraignment of accused-appellant is
graphically illustrated in the Transcript of Stenographic Notes [TSN] herein quoted as follows -
"COURT: Ready for arraignment? You asked the accused if he has a counsel?
"CLERK OF COURT: (Note: Asking the accused)
"ACCUSED: None, sir.
"COURT: Atty. Macasaet, I will appoint you as counsel de officio for the accused.
"ATTY. MACASAET: Yes, Your Honor.
"ATTY. MACASAET: May I confer with the accused, Your Honor. The accused is ready for
arraignment, your Honor.
"COURT: Arraigned (sic) the accused. (Note: the Clerk of Court is reading the Information to the
accused)
"CLERK OF COURT: The accused pleaded (sic) guilty, your Honor, for the crime charged.
"COURT: You ask the accused if he knows the consequences of his plea.
"COURT: Do you know that the penalty impossible (sic) in cases of this nature is death?
"ACCUSED: Yes, sir.
"COURT: Do you know that in your plea of guilt you can be sentenced by the Court?
"ACCUSED: Yes, sir.

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POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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"COURT: Do you admit having raped Marissa Moral?


"ACCUSED: Yes, sir.
"COURT: Do you admit that after raping Marissa Moral you stabbed and killed her?
"ACCUSED: Yes, sir."

ISSUE: Whether or not the constitutional guarantees of due process of an accused were
violated in the case at hand.

HELD: YES. Basic is the precept that every person accused of a crime must know the nature
and cause of accusation against him. This is effected, among others, by the reading of the
information in a language understood by the person accused. Reading the TSN, we are left to
speculate on whether the information was actually read in the dialect known to accused-
appellant, or whether it was translated to him or explained in a manner he can comprehend.
What is visible to us is the cryptic recording of the proceedings in the court a quo. Nevertheless,
the trial court's decision declared that the information was read in Tagalog, a language known to
accused-appellant. Granting, on presumption of correctness, that the information was read in
Tagalog as declared by the trial court, still, we cannot admit accused-appellant's conviction on the
basis of his improvident plea of guilt.
One of the constitutional guarantees of due process is the right of an accused to be
heard by himself and counsel. The trial court gave accused-appellant a counsel de officio to
represent him. However, accused-appellant impugns such assignment contending that he was
not given the opportunity to choose his own counsel. What is visible from the TSN is the fact that
when the court asked accused-appellant if he has a lawyer, and upon responding that he has
none, the trial court appointed a counsel de officio, as follows - COURT: Ready for arraignment?
You ask(ed) the accused if he has a counsel?; CLERK OF COURT: (Note: Asking the accused);
ACCUSED: None, sir.; COURT: Atty. Macasaet, I will appoint you as counsel de officio for the
accused."
It appears from the records that after the appointment of a counsel de officio, the
arraignment immediately followed. As glaringly reflected in the records, the appointed counsel de
officio conferred with the accused only for a few minutes, thus - COURT: Atty. Macasaet, I will
appoint you as counsel de officio for the accused; ATTY. MACASAET: Yes, Your Honor; ATTY.
MACASAET: May I confer with the accused, Your Honor. The accused is ready for arraignment,
your Honor. "
A criminal case is a serious matter that deserves serious attention especially in cases
involving capital punishment. Under the present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, whenever
a counsel de officio is appointed by the court to defend the accused at the arraignment, he shall
be given a reasonable time to consult with the accused as to his plea before proceeding with the
arraignment. Counsel de officio's haste in proceeding with the arraignment falls short of the
standard mandated by the rules for an effective and adequate counseling. The limited time
allotted for consultation with accused-appellant seriously casts doubt on whether counsel de
officio has indeed sufficiently explained to the accused-appellant the crime charged, the meaning
of his plea, and its consequences.
Verily, a judgment of conviction cannot stand upon an invalid arraignment. In the interest
of substantial justice then, this Court has no recourse but to remand the case to the trial court for
further and appropriate proceedings.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; A SEARCHING INQUIRY MUST FOCUS ON


THE VOLUNTARINESS AND THE FULL COMPREHENSION OF THE
CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ARANZADO


[G.R. Nos. 132442-44, September 24, 2001]

DAVIDE, C.J:
FACTS: ZENY was born on 19 November 1984 in Sto. Nino, South Cotabato. Her parents
were BERNARDINO and Lourdes Gerongani. At about midnight of 7 March 1997, she was
sleeping with her sisters and younger brother in their house at Poblacion, Esperanza, Sultan
Kudarat, when the knocking at the door of their room awakened her. When she opened the door,
her father immediately slapped her and demanded to know why she locked the door. Then,

45
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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BERNARDINO asked her daughter: "Can I touch your vagina?" Repulsed by the suggestion,
ZENY refused, only to find just as quickly that her father had poked a knife at her neck.
BERNARDINO thereafter pulled ZENY's hair, forcibly held her down the floor and boxed her
stomach. Recognizing the weakness of his daughter, he undressed her; and while choking her he
imposed his lechery. He was obstinate to her daughter's pleas for mercy and compassion. He
warned her not to tell anyone of the deed or he would kill her. He then stood up, dressed up and
left the daughter to her weeping. Unsatisfied with that single act of carnality, BERNARDINO
repeated the assault, twice on the honor and chastity of ZENY about midnight of 10 March 1997.
Upon arraignment on 19 May 1997, BERNARDINO, assisted by his counsel Atty. Balo,
entered a plea of not guilty in each case. On 20 October 1997, BERNARDINO, through his
counsel Atty. Balo, moved to withdraw his previous plea of not guilty in each of the three cases
and to substitute the same upon re-arraignment with pleas of guilty.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused was accorded with due process.

HELD: NO. The Court found that the trial court failed, albeit regrettably, to observe the rigid
and severe constitutional mandate on due process, more particularly the demands of Section 3,
Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, which reads:
SECTION 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. - When the accused
pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness
and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and shall require the prosecution to
prove his guilt and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may present evidence in his
behalf.
As pointed by the OSG, the Supreme Court had already outlined how compliance with
said rule, where an accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, should be attained by the trial
court, thus:
1. The court must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full
comprehension [by the accused] of the consequences of his plea;
2. The court must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of
the accused and precise degree of his culpability, and
3. The court must ask the accused if he desires to present evidence in his behalf
and allow him to do so if he desires.
There is no debate that the trial court had persuasively observed the second command of
the rule by directing the prosecution to adduce evidence to determine the exact culpability of the
accused, taking into account the presence of other possible aggravating or mitigating
circumstances. On the first requirement, it bears to note that a searching inquiry must focus on
the voluntariness of the plea and the full comprehension of the consequences of the plea so that
the plea of guilty can be truly said to be based on a free and informed judgment. While there can
be no hard and fast rule as to how a judge may conduct a "searching inquiry," it would be well for
the court to do the following:
1. Ascertain from the accused himself
a.) how he was brought into the custody of the law;
b.) whether he had the assistance of a competent counsel during the custodial and
preliminary investigations; and
c.) under what conditions he was detained and interrogated during the investigations.
These the court shall do in order to rule out the possibility that the accused has been
coerced or placed under a state of duress either by actual threats of physical harm
coming from malevolent or avenging quarters.
2. Ask the defense counsel a series of questions as to whether he had conferred with, and
completely explained to, the accused the meaning and consequences of a plea of guilty.
3. Elicit information about the personality profile of the accused, such as his age, socio-
economic status, and educational background, which may serve as a trustworthy index of his
capacity to give a free and informed plea of guilty.
4. Inform the accused the exact length of imprisonment or nature of the penalty under the law
and the certainty that he will serve such sentence. Not infrequently indeed an accused pleads
guilty in the hope of a lenient treatment or upon bad advice or because of promises of the
authorities or parties of a lighter penalty should he admit guilt or express remorse. It is the
duty of the judge to see to it that the accused does not labor under these mistaken
impressions.

46
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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5. Require the accused to fully narrate the incident that spawned the charges against him or
make him reenact the manner in which he perpetrated the crime, or cause him to supply
missing details of significance.
First, the questions were framed in English. The record of such inquiry is bereft of any
indication that the trial court attempted to ascertain whether BERNARDINO was well-versed in
the English language; neither does it reveal any information about his personality profile which
could "provide contributory insights for a proper verdict in the case." Nor does the record of the
searching inquiry shed light on matters concerning his apprehension, detention and prior
investigation. An examination of the records, however, disclosed that BERNARDINO signed a
"Waiver" whereby he waived his right to a preliminary investigation. Such waiver was attested to
by the Municipal Jail Warden, but there was nothing that would indicate that he was assisted by a
competent counsel at the time.
Second, while Atty. Balo manifested that after he conferred with BERNARDINO the latter
intimated that he was ready to withdraw his former plea of guilty, it is not clear whether the former
explained to the latter the implications of a plea of guilty.
Third, during the searching inquiry, the trial judge and BERNARDINO kept mentioning
about the "three cases filed" or "crimes charged" against the latter. BERNARDINO even hoisted,
as one of the reasons why he committed the crimes, the fact that he had a very big problem
because his house was burned. To ensure that he fully understood the nature of the crimes filed
against him to which he pleaded guilty, the court should have at least asked him to recount what
he exactly did.

RIGHT TO SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF CASES

RIGHT TO SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF CASES; THE RIGHT IS DEEMED


VIOLATED ONLY WHEN THE PROCEEDINGS IS ATTENDED BY
VEXATIOUS, CAPRICIOUS, AND OPPRESSIVE DELAYS.

JOSE P. LOPEZ vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 140529, September 6, 2001]

GONZAGA-REYES, J:
FACTS: The Office of the Ombudsman narrates that the verified audit report of the COA
special audit team was received on December 22, 1993, and finding the same sufficient in form
and substance was docketed as OMB Case No. 34-93-2791. On the basis thereof, a preliminary
investigation was conducted. On March 1, 1994, the respondents were ordered to file their
counter-affidavits. On May 10, 1994, the Office of the Ombudsman received the counter-
affidavits of respondents. On February 29, 1995, the Office of the Ombudsman received the
reply-affidavit of COA. In a Resolution dated July 17, 1998, graft investigation officer Ladrera
recommended the filing of thirty (30) informations against petitioner. The said recommendation
was approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Gervacio on February 27, 1999, and by
Ombudsman Desierto on April 30, 1999. The informations were filed with the Sandiganbayan on
May 5, 1999.
In this case, the preliminary investigation was resolved close to four (4) years from the
time all the counter and reply affidavits were submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman. After the
last reply-affidavit was filed on February 28, 1995, it was only on July 17, 1998 that a resolution
was issued recommending the filing of the corresponding criminal informations against the
petitioner and the others. It took eight months or on February 27, 1999 for Deputy Ombudsman
Margarito P. Gervacio, Jr. to approve the same and close to another year or on April 30, 1999 for
Ombudsman Aniano Desierto to approve the recommendation

ISSUE: Whether or not there was undue and unjustifiable delay on the part of the Ombudsman
in resolving the complaint filed against the petitioner, which violated his constitutional right to a
speedy disposition of the complaint against him.

47
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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HELD: YES. Article III of the Constitution provides that: SECTION 16. All persons shall have
the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasijudicial, or administrative
bodies.
The constitutional right to a "speedy disposition of cases" is not limited to the accused in
criminal proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, including civil and administrative
cases, and in all proceedings, including judicial and quasi-judicial hearings." Hence, under the
Constitution, any party to a case may demand expeditious action on all officials who are tasked
with the administration of justice.
However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is
deemed violated only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive
delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or even without
cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his
case tried. Equally applicable is the balancing test used to determine whether a defendant has
been denied his right to a speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which
the conduct of both the prosecution and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length
of the delay, the reasons for such delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the
accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay. The concept of speedy disposition is a relative
term and must necessarily be a flexible concept.
We find that the cases are not sufficiently complex to justify the length of time for their
resolution. Neither can the long delay in resolving the case under preliminary investigation be
justified on the basis of the number of informations filed before the Sandiganbayan nor of the
transactions involved.
Verily, the delay in this case disregarded the Ombudsman's duty, as mandated by the
Constitution and Republic Act No. 6770, to enforce the criminal liability of government officers or
employees in every case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service to the
people. The failure of said office to resolve the complaints that have been pending for almost four
years is clearly violative of this mandate and the rights of petitioner as a public official. In such
event, petitioner is entitled to the dismissal of the cases filed against him.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

DOUBLE JEOPARDY; ELEMENTS NECESSARY FOR DOUBLY JEOPARDY


TO ATTACH

LETICIA R. MERCIALES vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 124171, March 18, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On August 12, 1993, criminal cases for rape with homicide were filed against the
private respondents for the death of Maritess Ricafort Merciales.
During the trial, after presenting seven witnesses, the public prosecutor filed a motion for
the discharge of accused Joselito Nuada, in order that he may be utilized as a state witness.
However, the prosecution contended that it was not required to present evidence to warrant the
discharge of accused Nuada, since the latter had already been admitted into the Witness
Protection Program of the Department of Justice. Consequently, the respondent judge denied the
motion for discharge, for failure of the prosecution to present evidence as provided for by Section
9, Rule 119 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.
On July 13, 1994, private respondents filed a motion to set the case for hearing, invoking
their constitutional right to speedy trial. The respondent Judge granted the motion. On the said
date, the prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration, instead of presenting further evidence.
The respondent Judge postponed the hearing and reset the same for August 9, 1994.
On August 9, 1994, the respondent Judge called for a recess so as to let the prosecution
decide whether or not to present an NBI agent, who was then present, to prove the due execution
of the accused Nuada's extrajudicial confession. However, after the recess, the public prosecutor
declined to present the NBI agent, and instead manifested that he was not presenting any further
evidence.

48
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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On October 21, 1994, the trial court issued the assailed Order which acquitted all of the
accused. Petitioner Leticia Merciales, who is the mother of the victim in the said criminal cases,
filed before the respondent Court of Appeals a petition to annul the Order of the trial court.
However, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Order of the trial court is valid.

HELD: NO. The trial court, notwithstanding its knowledge that the evidence for the prosecution
was insufficient to convict, especially after the public prosecutor tenaciously insisted on utilizing
Nuada as state witness, the trial court passively watched as the public prosecutor bungled the
case. The trial court was well aware of the nature of the testimonies of the seven prosecution
witnesses that have so far been presented. Given this circumstance, the trial court, motu proprio,
should have called additional witnesses for the purpose of questioning them himself in order to
satisfy his mind with reference to particular facts or issues involved in the case.
It is evident that petitioner was deprived of her day in court. Indeed, it is not only the
State, but more so the offended party, that is entitled to due process in criminal cases. Inasmuch
as the acquittal of the accused by the court a quo was done without regard to due process of law,
the same is null and void. It is as if there was no acquittal at all, and the same cannot constitute a
claim for double jeopardy.
By contending that the challenged decision is void for having been issued with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the petition does not violate the
right of the accused against double jeopardy. It is elementary that double jeopardy attaches only
when the following elements concur: (1) the accused are charged under a complaint or
information sufficient in form and substance to sustain their conviction; (2) the court has
jurisdiction; (3) the accused have been arraigned and have pleaded; and (4) they are convicted or
acquitted, or the case is dismissed without their consent.
Thus, the accused would not be placed in double jeopardy because, from the very
beginning, the lower tribunal had acted without jurisdiction. Any ruling issued without jurisdiction
is in legal contemplation, necessarily null and void and does not exist. The dismissal of the case
below was invalid for lack of a fundamental prerequisite, that is, due process.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY; WHEN DOUBLE JEOPARDY ATTACHES EVEN IF


MOTION TO DISMISS IS MADE BY ACCUSED HIMSELF.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VERRA


[G.R. No. 134732, May 29, 2002]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: On November 14, 1988, respondent Acelo Verra was charged with the crime of
murder for killing a certain Elias Cortezo. A warrant of arrest was issued by the Regional Trial
Court against him on November 21, 1988. He remained at-large until May 24, 1996 when he
voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court accompanied by his counsel.
Immediately, arraignment proceeded during which he entered a plea of "Not Guilty."
On the same day, the prosecution called to the witness stand the wife of the victim,
private complainant Damiana Cortezo. She testified that: (1) she has executed an affidavit of
desistance; (2) she is no longer interested in prosecuting the case; and (3) other witnesses of the
shooting incident have turned hostile and have similarly lost concern in pursuing the same. T
hereafter, the prosecution, joined by the counsel for the accused, moved for the dismissal of the
case. Thus, the court dismissed the case and the warrant of arrest was cancelled.
Subsequently, two other witnesses appeared after learning of the dismissal of the case
and manifested their willingness to testify. On August 21, 1996, the trial court set aside the Order
of Dismissal dated May 24, 1996. Respondent moved for its reconsideration but his motion was
denied on September 26, 1996. He then instituted before the Court of Appeals a Petition for
Certiorari challenging the August 21 Order. The appellate court rendered a Decision on April 6,
1998 granting the petition. It ruled that the dismissal of the case against petitioner has attained
finality, and that its revival requires the filing of a new case or information.

49
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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ISSUE: Whether or not the revival of the case is violative of the constitutional right of the
accused against double jeopardy.

HELD: YES. Under Article III, Section 21 of the Constitution, "No person shall be twice put in
jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance,
conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act."
In a long line of decisions, we have enumerated the following requisites for double jeopardy to
attach: (1) upon a valid indictment; (2) before a competent court; (3) after arraignment; (4) when a
valid plea has been entered; and (5) when the defendant was acquitted or convicted or the case
was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express consent of the accused. There are
however two occasions when double jeopardy will attach even if the motion to dismiss the case is
made by the accused himself. The first is when the ground is insufficiency of evidence of the
prosecution, and the second is when the proceedings have been unreasonably prolonged in
violation of the right to a speedy trial.
In the case at bar, we find all the above-cited requisites present. First, there was a valid
information, sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction, filed on November 14, 1988
duly signed by the Assistant Provincial Fiscal. Second, the Regional Trial Court clearly had
jurisdiction to hear and try the murder charge against the respondent. Third, he was arraigned in
open court on May 24, 1996 with the assistance of a counsel de officio. Fourth, during the
arraignment, he entered a plea of not guilty. Finally, there was a valid termination of this case on
the basis of the trial judge's Order to Dismiss the case. While it is true that the respondent joined
the prosecution in praying for its dismissal, double jeopardy will still attach since the basis for the
ruling was the insufficiency of evidence of the prosecution. In view of private complainant's
desistance and her testimony that other witnesses have turned hostile and are also no longer
interested in prosecuting this case, petitioner clearly lacks the evidence to support the charge.

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

JUDICIAL SUPERVISION

JUDICIAL SUPERVISION; ONLY THE SUPREME COURT CAN OVERSEE


THE JUDGES' AND COURT PERSONNEL'S COMPLIANCE WITH ALL LAWS,
AND TAKE THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION AGAINST THEM IF
THEY COMMIT ANY VIOLATION THEREOF.

CAOIBES vs. OMBUDSMAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 132177, July 19, 2001]

BUENA, J:
FACTS: On May 23, 1997, respondent Florentino M. Alumbres, Presiding Judge of Branch 255
of the Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas City, filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, a
Criminal Complaint for physical injuries, malicious mischief for the destruction of complainant's
eyeglasses, and assault upon a person in authority. Respondent alleged therein that on May 20,
1997, at the hallway on the third floor of the Hall of Justice, Las Piñas City, he requested
petitioner to return the executive table he borrowed from respondent; that petitioner did not
answer so respondent reiterated his request but before he could finish talking, petitioner blurted
"Tarantado ito ah," and boxed him at his right eyebrow and left lower jaw so that the right lens of
his eyeglasses was thrown away, rendering his eyeglasses unserviceable; and that respondent
had the incident blottered with the Las Piñas Police Station. He prayed that criminal charges be
filed before the Sandiganbayan against the petitioner.
On June 13, 1997, respondent Judge lodged another Complaint against petitioner, this
time an administrative case with the Supreme Court, docketed as Adm. Case No. 97-387-RTJ,
praying for the dismissal of petitioner from the judiciary on the ground of grave misconduct or
conduct unbecoming a judicial officer. Said complaint is based on the same facts as those in the
complaint filed earlier with the Office of the Ombudsman.

50
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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In the Order 3 dated June 25, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman required petitioner to
file a counter-affidavit within ten (10) days from receipt thereof. Instead of filing a counter-
affidavit, petitioner filed on July 7, 1997 an "Ex-Parte Motion for Referral to the Honorable
Supreme Court," praying that the Office of the Ombudsman hold its investigation of Case No.
OMB-0-97-0903 in abeyance, and refer the same to the Supreme Court which, through the Office
of the Court Administrator, is already investigating what transpired on May 20, 1997.
Invoking Section 15 of R.A. 6770, the Office of the Ombudsman refuses to refrain from
taking cognizance of Case No. MB-0-97-0903 in favor of this Court on the ground that, allegedly,
the accusations therein against petitioner constitute simple criminal charges falling within the
parameters of its constitutional power and duty to investigate and prosecute any act or omission
of any public officer or employee which appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Office of the Ombudsman should defer action on Case No. OMB-0-
97-0903 pending resolution of Adm. Case No. 97-387-RTJ.

HELD: YES. It appears that the present case involves two members of the judiciary who were
entangled in a fight within court premises over a piece of office furniture. Under Section 6, Article
VIII of the Constitution, it is the Supreme Court which is vested with exclusive administrative
supervision over all courts and its personnel. Prescinding from this premise, the Ombudsman
cannot determine for itself and by itself whether a criminal complaint against a judge, or court
employee, involves an administrative matter. The Ombudsman is duty bound to have all cases
against judges and court personnel filed before it, referred to the Supreme Court for
determination as to whether an administrative aspect is involved therein. This rule should hold
true regardless of whether an administrative case based on the act subject of the complaint
before the Ombudsman is already pending with the Court. For, aside from the fact that the
Ombudsman would not know of this matter unless he is informed of it, he should give due respect
for and recognition of the administrative authority of the Court, because in determining whether
an administrative matter is involved, the Court passes upon not only administrative liabilities but
also other administrative concerns, as is clearly conveyed in the case of Maceda vs. Vasquez.

JUDICIAL SUPERVISION; THE OMBUDSMAN MAY NOT INITIATE OR


INVESTIGATE A CRIMINAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT BEFORE
HIS OFFICE AGAINST A JUDGE, PURSUANT TO HIS POWER TO
INVESTIGATE PUBLIC OFFICERS.

JUDGE RENATO A. FUENTES vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-


MINDANAO, et al.
[G.R. No. 124295, October 23, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: The Republic of the Philippines (represented by DPWH) filed an expropriation case
against the owners of the properties affected by the project before the trial court presided by
petitioner Judge Renato A. Fuentes. DPWH won the expropriation case and as of 19 May 1994,
it still owed the lot owners the following amounts: Reynaldo Lao – P489,000; Tessie Amadeo –
P1,094,200; and Alfonso Galo – P13,927,215. On 5 April 1994, the trial court granted Amadeo’s
motion for the issuance of a writ of execution against the DPWH to satisfy her unpaid claim. The
writ was served by Sheriff Paralisan to the DPWH-Region IX. On 3 May 1994, Paralisan issued a
Notice of Levy addressed to the Regional Director describing the properties subject of the levy.
The auction sale pushed through on 18 May 1994 with Alex Bacquial as the highest bidder and
the corresponding certificate of sale was issued by Paralisan.
On 19 May 1994, Bacquial and Paralisan attempted to withdraw the auctioned properties
but were prevented from doing so by the custodian of the subject DPWH properties. On 20 May
1994, Bacquial filed an ex-parte urgent motion for the issuance of a “break through” order to
enable him to effect the withdrawal of the auctioned properties. The motion was granted by
petitioner on the same date. Armed with the court order, Bacqiual succeeded in hauling off the
properties for 5 successive days until the lower court issued another order temporarily
suspending the writ of execution earlier issued. However, on 21 June 1994, the lower court
issued another order upholding the validity of the writ of execution.

51
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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On the basis of letters from Cong. Manuel Garcia of the 2 nd District of Davao City and the
DPWH custodian, the Court Administrator, Supreme Court directed petitioner and Paralisan to
comment on the report recommending the filing of an administrative case against the sheriff and
other persons responsible for the anomalous implementation of the writ of execution. By virtue of
an administrative complaint filed by the DPWH, Paralisan was dismissed from the service by the
Supreme Court on 23 August 1995. The Court further directed the Court Administrator to conduct
an investigation on petitioner and to charge him if the investigation so warrants.
On 15 January 1996, Dir. Antonio Valenzuela of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao
recommended that petitioner be charged before the Sandiganbayan with violation of R.A. 3019,
Sec. 3(e) and likewise be administratively charged before the Supreme Court for acts
unbecoming of a judge. On 22 January 1996, Valenzuela filed with the Office of the Deputy
Ombudsman for Mindanao a criminal complaint charging petitioner with violation of R.A. 3019,
Sec. 3(e). On 22 February 1996, petitioner filed with the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao a
motion to dismiss complaint and/or manifestation to forward all records to the Supreme Court.
The motion was denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ombudsman may conduct an investigation of acts of a judge in the
exercise of his official functions alleged to be in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act, in the absence of an administrative charge for the same acts before the Supreme Court.

HELD: NO. R.A. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989, provides:
“Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. – The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the
following powers, functions and duties: (1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on
complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or
agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It
has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of
this primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of the
Government, the investigation of such cases.”
“Sec. 21. Officials Subject to Disciplinary Authority, Exceptions. – The Office of the
Ombudsman shall have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the
Government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including members of the
Cabinet, local government, government-owned or controlled corporations and their
subsidiaries, except over officials who may be removed only be impeachment, or over
Members of Congress, and the Judiciary.”
Thus, the Ombudsman may not initiate or investigate a criminal or administrative
complaint before his office against petitioner judge, pursuant to his power to investigate public
officers. The Ombudsman must indorse the case to the Supreme Court, for appropriate action.
Article VIII, Section 6 of the Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative
supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeals
to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. Hence, it is the Supreme Court that is tasked to oversee
the judges and the court personnel and take the proper administrative action against them if they
commit any violation of the laws of the land. No other branch of government may intrude into this
power, without running afoul of the independence of the judiciary and the doctrine of separation of
powers.
Petitioner’s questioned orders directing the attachment of government property and
issuing a writ of execution were done in relation to his office, well within his official functions. The
order may be erroneous or void for lack or excess of jurisdiction. However, whether or not such
order of execution was valid under the given circumstances, must be inquired into in the course of
the judicial action only by the Supreme Court that is tasked to supervise the courts. “No other
entity or official of the Government, not the prosecution or investigation service of any other
branch, not any functionary thereof, has competence to review a judicial order or decision—
whether final and executory or not—and pronounce it erroneous so as to lay the basis for a
criminal or administrative complaint for rendering an unjust judgment or order. That prerogative
belongs to the courts alone.”

52
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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PERIODS FOR DECISION

PERIODS FOR DECISION; THE LOWER COURTS HAVE THREE MONTHS


WITHIN WHICH TO DECIDE CASES OR MATTERS PENDING BEFORE
THEM.

ELIEZER A. SIBAYAN-JOAQUIN vs. JUDGE ROBERTO S. JAVELLANA


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1601, November 13, 2001]

VITUG, J:
FACTS: In a complaint-affidavit, dated 17 September 1999, Eliezer A. Sibayan-Joaquin
charged Judge Roberto S. Javellana, acting presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
San Carlos City, Branch 57, with grave misconduct in the performance of official duties, graft and
gross ignorance of the law. The complaint was an offshoot of a case for estafa, docketed Criminal
Case No. RTC 1150, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Romeo Tan y Salazar," filed by
Sibayan-Joaquin for and in behalf of Andersons Group, Inc., against Romeo Tan before the San
Carlos City RTC. Complainant averred that there was an undue delay in the rendition of judgment
in the aforenumbered criminal case, the decision, dated 16 July 1999, that had acquitted the
accused Romeo Tan, having been rendered only on the tenth month after the case was
submitted for decision.
The matter was referred to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation.
The Investigating Justice ended his report to the Court by recommending respondent judge be
held administratively liable for failure to render judgment in Criminal Case No. RTC-1150 within
the period prescribed by law (in violation of §15, ARTICLE VIII OF THE PHILIPPINE
CONSTITUTION, CANON 1, RULE 1.02, and CANON 3, RULE 3.05 OF THE Code of Judicial
Conduct).

ISSUE: Whether or not a judge may be held administratively liable for failure to render
judgment within the period prescribe by law.

HELD: YES. Section 15, Article XVIII, of the Constitution provides that lower courts have three
months within which to decide cases or matters pending before them from the date of submission
of such cases or matters for decision or resolution. Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
holds similarly by mandating that the disposition of cases must be done promptly and seasonably.
Admittedly, respondent judge has taken ten months to finally decide Criminal Case No. RTC-
1150 from its submission for decision, a period clearly beyond the ninety-day reglementary
period. He could have asked for an extension of time to decide the case and explain why, but he
did not. Any undue delay in the resolution of cases often amounts to a denial of justice and can
easily undermine the people's faith and confidence in the judiciary. Aware of the heavy caseload
of judges, the Court has continued to act with great understanding on requests for extension of
time to decide cases.

PERIODS FOR DECISION; ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR 10-94 WHICH


DIRECTS ALL TRIAL JUDGES TO MAKE A PHYSICAL INVENTORY OF THE
CASES IN THEIR DOCKETS APPLIES TO THE SANDIGANBAYAN.

PROBLEM OF DELAYS IN CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN


[A.M. No. 00-8-05-SC, November 28, 2001]

PARDO J:
FACTS: On September 27, 2000, complying with the order, Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena submitted a report admitting a number of cases submitted for decision and motion
for reconsideration pending resolution before its divisions. We quote:
"Cases Submitted W/ Motions For
"For Decision Reconsideration
"1st Division 341 None

53
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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"2nd Division 5 None


"3rd Division 12 None
"4th Division 5 None
"5th Division 52 1
------------------------------------------------
"Total 415"

On July 31, 2000, the IBP, through its National President, Arthur D. Lim, transmitted to
the Court a Resolution 1 addressing the problem of delays in cases pending before the
Sandiganbayan.
On November 21, 2000, the Court resolved to direct then Court Administrator Alfredo L.
Benipayo (hereafter, the OCA) "to conduct a judicial audit of the Sandiganbayan, especially on
the cases subject of this administrative matter, and to submit a report thereon not later than 31
December 2000."
On December 4, 2000, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, Presiding Justice
Francis E. Garchitorena admitted that the First Division of the Sandiganbayan has a backlog of
cases; that one case alone made the backlog of the First Division so large, involving 156 cases
but the same has been set for promulgation of decision on December 8, 2000, which would
reduce the backlog by at least fifty percent (50%).

ISSUES: Whether or not Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 1094 is applicable to the
Sandiganbayan.

HELD: YES. Administrative Circular 10-94 directs all trial judges to make a physical inventory
of the cases in their dockets. Given the rationale behind the Administrative Circular, we hold that
it is applicable to the Sandiganbayan with respect to cases within its original and appellate
jurisdiction.
We reiterate the admonition we issued in our resolution of October 10, 2000: "This Court
has consistently impressed upon judges (which includes justices) to decide cases promptly and
expeditiously on the principle that justice delayed is justice denied. Decision-making is the
primordial and most important duty of the member of the bench. Hence, judges are enjoined to
decide cases with dispatch. Their failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency that warrants
disciplinary sanction including fine suspension and even dismissal. The rule particularly applies to
justices of the Sandiganbayan. Delays in the disposition of cases erode the faith and confidence
of our people in the judiciary, lower its standards, and bring it into disrepute. Delays cannot be
sanctioned or tolerated especially in the anti-graft court, the showcase of the nation's
determination to succeed in its war against graft.

JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT

JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT; THE APPELLATE


JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT OVER DECISIONS OR FINAL
ORDERS OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN IS LIMITED TO QUESTIONS OF LAW.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 135789. January 31, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On May 5, 1982, Manuel G. Montecillo, Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Cesar C.
Zalamea and Jose Y. Campos organized HMHMI to serve as a holding company for the shares of
stocks of Hans M. Menzi, Jose Y. Campos, Cesar C. Zalamea and Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. in
Bulletin Publishing Corporation and the shares of stocks of Hans M. Menzi in other companies,
including Liwayway Publishing Incorporated.
On June 27, 1984, Hans M. Menzi died. On July 6, 1984, the court appointed Manuel G.
Montecillo executor of the Estate of Hans M. Menzi and later the president of HMHMI. With the
lone exception of Montecillo, Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Cesar C. Zalamea and Jose Y.
Campos, constitute the principal stockholders and incorporators of HMHMI.

54
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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On February 12, 1987, the PCGG issued Sequestration Writ No. 87-0206 against all
shares of stocks, assets, properties, records and documents of HMHMI. Forthwith, on February
13, 1987, upon the request of PCGG, Central Bank Governor Fernandez instructed commercial
banks and non-bank financial institutions to withhold the withdrawal of funds and assets by
Liwayway Publishing Corporation and HMHMI.
On July 29, 1987, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan a complaint for reconveyance,
reversion, accounting, restitution and damages against the following defendants: Manuel G.
Montecillo, Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Cesar C. Zalamea, Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R.
Marcos. On October 17, 1990, the PCGG filed a Second Amended Complaint naming
specifically the estate of Hans M. Menzi as one of the defendants.
On November 27, 1992, the estate of Hans M. Menzi, in behalf of HMHMI, filed with the
Sandiganbayan a "Motion to Lift Freeze Order" dated February 12, 1987, alleging that: (1) The
stocks, assets, properties, records and documents of HMHMI were sequestered without any
judicial action having been filed against it, or without impleading it as a defendant in Civil Case
No. 0022; and (2) Such issuance of a writ of sequestration without filing a corresponding judicial
action against HMHMI within the reglementary period established by Section 26, Article XVIII of
the 1987 Constitution resulted in the automatic lifting of the sequestration order on August 12,
1987.
On April 2, 1992, the Sandiganbayan granted the motion. On October 2, 1992, the
Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. On January 15, 1993, the Republic
of the Philippines filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review assailing the resolution of the
Sandiganbayan lifting the freeze order.
On July 16, 1996, the Court set aside the Sandiganbayan's resolution lifting the freeze
order and remanded the case back to the Sandiganbayan for resolution. Sandiganbayan lifted
the writ of sequestration dated February 12, 1987, reasoning that there was no prima facie factual
basis for its issuance. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which the Sandiganbayan
denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan erred in lifitng the writ of sequestration over the
assets, shares of stock, property records and bank deposits of HMHMI.

HELD: NO. It is well settled that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over decisions
or final orders of the Sandiganbayan is limited to questions of law. A question of law exists when
the doubt or controversy concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set
of facts; or when the issue does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence
presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being admitted. A question of fact exists when the doubt
or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of facts or when the query invites calibration of the
whole evidence considering mainly the credibility of the witnesses, the existence and relevancy of
specific surrounding circumstances as well as their relation to each other and to the whole, and
the probability of the situation.
The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. It is not the Court's function to examine and
weigh all over again the evidence presented in the proceedings below.
At any rate, the Court agrees with respondents that the Sandiganbayan has full authority
to decide on all incidents in the ill-gotten case, including the propriety of the writs of sequestration
that the PCGG initially issued. Based on the evidence the PCGG submitted so far to the
Sandiganbayan, the late Hans M. Menzi owned the Bulletin Publishing Corporation almost one
hundred (100%) per cent since 1957, except those Bulletin shares sold to U. S. Automotive
Corporation in 1985, those converted to treasury shares in 1986, and those sold to the general
public at public offerings. In the absence of competent evidence showing thus far that President
Ferdinand E. Marcos or his cronies ever acquired Bulletin shares of the late Hans M. Menzi or
HMHMI that might be subject to sequestration, the Court may not void the resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan in question.

55
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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JUDICIAL REVIEW

JUDICIAL REVIEW; STATUTE WHEN VAGUE

ESTRADA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. NO. 148560, November 19, 2001]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under
RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder), as amended by RA 7659, wishes
to impress upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it crosses that thin but
distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He therefore makes a
stringent call for this Court to subject the Plunder Law to the crucible of constitutionality mainly
because, according to him, it suffers from the vice of vagueness.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Plunder Law is vague and is therefore unconstitutional?

HELD: NO. Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of
legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed to be in
harmony with the Constitution. Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule
whenever a legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional
adjudication. This strong predilection for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is
forbidden for one branch of the government to encroach upon the duties and powers of another.
Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the deference the judicial branch accords
to its coordinate branch — the legislature.
Hence in determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the fundamental
law, courts should proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. Every
intendment of the law must be adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity
being a measure of last resort. In construing therefore the provisions of a statute, courts must
first ascertain whether an interpretation is fairly possible to sidestep the question of
constitutionality.
In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon we held that as long as there is some
basis for the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the challenged law will not be touched
and the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the force of the presumption is not
sufficient to catapult a fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs of constitutionality. Of
course, where the law clearly and palpably transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law,
it must be struck down on sight lest the positive commands of the fundamental law be unduly
eroded.
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those
who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be
sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending one
charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the
proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty that what the assailed statute
punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least
P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the
Plunder Law.
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of
the terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or
criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec. 4. These
omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being
impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right to due process.
The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain
and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms
without defining them; much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides, there is no
positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define each and every
word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its
inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness

56
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the
whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be
interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is evident
that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words. The intention of
the lawmakers — who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers — to use
statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed.
Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is
manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but is most commonly
stated to the effect that a statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with
sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is
prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly
vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving clause or by construction.
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that
men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In
such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects — it violates due
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what
conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions
and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. But the doctrine does not apply as
against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify
a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly
applicable to certain types of activities. The first may be "saved" by proper construction, while no
challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed against such activities. With
more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is clear and free from
ambiguity, as in this case.
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the
language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by
common understanding and practice. It must be stressed, however, that the "vagueness"
doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld — not
absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather
than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are
clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit
in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the nature of the act, it
would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all other statutes.
The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the
doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of law." The
overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose may not be
achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected
freedoms.''
The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free
speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court
put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine
outside the limited context of the First Amendment." In Broadrick v Oklahoma, the Court ruled
that "claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by
their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if
entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are
sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been held that "a facial
challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the
challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid."
As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it
is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly
proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others.''
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools
developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in
American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is
involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to
whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground
that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its
application might be unconstitutional." As has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the
First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial invalidation, while

57
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a
particular defendant.'' Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review
the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety.
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the
Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined than
real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the
statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Every
provision of the law should be construed in relation and with reference to every other part. To be
sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of
constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance of
what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, petitioner
must be aware that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its appropriate
committees by reason of which he even registered his affirmative vote with full knowledge of its
legal implications and sound constitutional anchorage.

JUDICIAL REVIEW; THE SUPREME COURT IS NOT PRECLUDED FROM


RECTIFYING ERRORS OF JUDGMENT.

DE LEON vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 127182, December 5, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.
FACTS: In the Decision sought to be reconsidered, we ruled that private respondent's
appointment on August 28, 1986, as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV of the Ministry of Local
Government, was temporary. Applying the case of Achacoso v. Macaraig, we held that since
private respondent was not a Career Executive Service (CES) eligible, his appointment did not
attain permanency because he did not possess the required CES eligibility for the CES position to
which he was appointed. Hence, he can be transferred or reassigned without violating his right to
security of tenure.
It appears, however, that in Jacob Montesa v. Santos, et al., decided on September 26,
1990, where the nature of private respondent's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO
IV, of the Ministry of Local Government, was first contested, this Court issued a Minute
Resolution dated March 17, 1992, holding that Achacoso v. Macaraig is not applicable to the case
of private respondent.
There was no Career Executive Service Board during the Freedom Constitution or at the
time of appointment of petitioner. The CESO was only reconstituted by the appointment of its
Board of six (6) members sometime in August 1988. There was no CESO eligibility examination
during petitioner's incumbency in the Department, as there was no CESO board. The first CESO
examination was given on August 5 and 12, 1990. The CESO eligibility was not a requirement at
the time of the appointment of petitioner. The only eligibility required is that of a first grader and
petitioner is a first grade eligible. Therefore, having met all the requirements for the position to
which he was appointed, he cannot be removed in violation of the constitutional guarantee on
security of tenure and due process.
Invoking res judicata, private respondent contends that the nature of his appointment can
no longer be passed upon and controverted in the present case considering that said issue had
already been settled in the foregoing Minute Resolution of the Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not res judicata applies.

HELD: NO. Concededly, if we follow the conventional procedural path, i.e., the principle on
conclusiveness of judgment set forth in Rule 39, Section 47, paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court,
3 would bar a re-litigation of the nature of private respondent's appointment. Indeed, once an
issue has been adjudicated in a valid final judgment of a competent court, it can no longer be
controverted anew and should be finally laid to rest.
Yet, the Court is not precluded from re-examining its own ruling and rectifying errors of
judgment if blind and stubborn adherence to res judicata would involve the sacrifice of justice to
technicality. It must be stressed that this is not the first time in Philippine and American

58
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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jurisprudence that the principle of res judicata has been set aside in favor of substantial justice,
which is after all the avowed purpose of all law and jurisprudence.

CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS

CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

CIVIL SERVICE; THE CSC HAS JURISDICTION OVER CASES INVOLVING


ANOMALIES CONNECTED TO CIVIL SERVICE EXAMINATIONS.

CRUZ and PAITIM vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION


[G.R. No. 144464, November 22, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: see page 24

ISSUES: Whether or not the CSC had jurisdiction to hear and decide the complaint against
petitioners.

HELD: YES. Petitioners' invocation of the law is misplaced. The provision is applicable to
instances where administrative cases are filed against erring employees in connection with their
duties and functions of the office. This is, however, not the scenario contemplated in the case at
bar. It must be noted that the acts complained of arose from a cheating caused by the petitioners
in the Civil Service (Subprofessional) examination. The examinations were under the direct
control and supervision of the Civil Service Commission. The culprits are government employees
over whom the Civil Service Commission undeniably has jurisdiction. Thus, after the petitioners
were duly investigated and ascertained whether they were indeed guilty of dishonesty, the
penalty meted was dismissal from the office.
Section 28, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations explicitly
provides that the CSC can rightfully take cognizance over any irregularities or anomalies
connected to the examinations, as it reads:
“SECTION 28. The Commission shall have original disciplinary jurisdiction over all its
officials and employees and over all cases involving civil service examination anomalies or
irregularities.
It can not be denied that the petitioners were formally charged after a finding that a prima
facie case for dishonesty lies against them. They were properly informed of the charges. They
submitted an Answer and were given the opportunity to defend themselves. Petitioners can not,
therefore, claim that there was a denial of due process much less the lack of jurisdiction on the
part of the CSC to take cognizance of the case.

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

COMELEC; THE COMELEC EXERCISES SUPERVISION AND CONTROL


OVER BOARDS OF ELECTION INSPECTORS AND BOARDS OF
CANVASSERS.

O'HARA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 148941-42, March 12, 2002]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Petitioner and respondent Jovita Rodriguez were candidates for the position of vice-
governor, province of Rizal during the May 14, 2001 elections.

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POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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On May 19, 2001, upon conclusion of the canvassing of the certificates of canvass
coming from the thirteen municipalities and one component city of Rizal, the Provincial Board of
Canvassers (PBC) proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected vice-governor with 216,798 votes
over respondent Rodriguez's 215,443 votes.
On May 23, 2001, the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) of Binangonan, Rizal filed
with the COMELEC, a petition to correct entries in the certificate of canvass of votes. It was
alleged that there were typographical errors in the number of votes garnered by petitioner and
respondent resulting in the addition of 7,000 votes to petitioner.
The MBC of Binangonan submitted the affidavit of Evelyn Ramirez, the Municipal
Accountant of Binangonan, Rizal, admitting that she committed the mathematical error.
On May 25, 2001, respondent Rodriguez filed with the COMELEC a petition to annul the
proclamation of the winning candidate for vice-governor of the province of Rizal, and to correct
alleged manifest mathematical errors. Respondent Rodriguez asserted that after the
mathematical error would have been corrected, she would obtain a plurality of 215,422 votes as
against petitioner's 209,798.
Petitioner filed his answer to the petition, arguing that there was no manifest error
apparent in the certificate of canvass which respondent Rodriguez and the MBC of Binangonan
sought to correct.
On July 25, 2001, the COMELEC issued a resolution in the cases, wherein it ordered that
petitioner’s proclamation is annulled, the PBC of Rizal to reconvene and correct the manifest
mathmatical error in the votes, and to proclaim respondent as the duly elected Vice-Governor of
Rizal.
Accordingly, on July 27, 2001, the PBC of Rizal reconvened. However, petitioner was
not notified of the proceedings of the PBC of Rizal. On the same day, the PBC of Rizal issued
another certificate of canvass of votes and proclamation of the winning candidates for provincial
officers, and on the basis thereof proclaimed private respondent as the duly elected vice-governor
of Rizal. Immediately, respondent Rodriguez took her oath of office before Judge Leila Suarez
Acebo, Regional Trial Court, Pasig City.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it annulled the
proclamation of petitioner as vice-governor of Rizal and by ordering the PBC of Rizal to
reconvene and correct the alleged manifest mathematical error supposedly committed by the
MBC of Rizal.

HELD: YES. The COMELEC should have conducted further investigation or at least a technical
inspection or examination of election returns to verify the existence of the alleged error before it
gave credence to the statements of the MBC of Binangonan and concluding outright that the
Statement of Votes submitted by respondents were accurate.
The COMELEC cannot simply rely on these Statement of Votes because they were
prepared by the same members of the MBC who claimed to have made a mistake due to "fatigue,
sleepless nights and physical exhaustion." It would have been more prudent to make a
determination whether these same individuals committed any other mistake in the tabulation or
statement of votes.
Even based on the statements/affidavits of the MBC of Binangonan, it is apparent that
the errors sought to be corrected do not appear on the face of the certificate of canvass. As
above-stated, the alleged error which the COMELEC perceived to be manifest does not fall under
the definition of "manifest error" which was laid down in Chavez vs. COMELEC . . . “To be
manifest, the errors must appear on the face of the certificates of canvass or election returns
sought to be corrected and/or objections thereto must have been made before the board of
canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their respective proceedings.”
The Constitution gives the Commission on Elections the broad power "to enforce and
administer all laws and regulations to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum
and recall." The Commission indisputably exercises the power of supervision and control over
boards of election inspectors and boards of canvassers. The Commission must do everything in
its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of the votes cast in the elections. The Constitution
upgraded to a constitutional status the statutory authority under Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 to
grant the Commission broad and more flexible powers to effectively perform its duties and to
ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections, and to serve as the guardian of the
people's sacred right of suffrage.

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POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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In the absence of any manifest error in the certificate of canvass sought to be corrected,
the Commission should have ordered the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of
the ballots in the municipality of Binangonan in order to validate the claim of its MBC.
If after the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of the official ballots, the
clerical error or mathematical mistake in the addition of the votes had been established, the
Commission should have annulled the canvass and proclamation based on the erroneous
certificate of canvass. If the records had borne out that petitioner's proclamation was the result of
a clerical error or simple mathematical mistake in the addition of votes and did not reflect the true
and legitimate will of the electorate, there could have been no valid proclamation to speak of. The
issue would involve a pre-proclamation controversy.

COMMISSION ON AUDIT

COA; THE FACT THAT PRIVATE AUDITORS MAY AUDIT GOVERNMENT


AGENCIES FOES NOT DIVEST COA THE POWER TO AUDIT AND EXAMINE
THE SAME GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.

DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 88435, January 16, 2002]

CARPIO, J:
FACTS: In 1986, the Philippine Government, under the administration of then President
Corazon C. Aquino, obtained from the World Bank (WB) an Economic Recovery Loan (ERL) in
the amount of 310 Million US Dollars. The ERL was intended to support the recovery of the
Philippine economy, at the time suffering severely from the financial crisis that hit the country
during the latter part of the Marcos regime.
As a condition for granting the loan, the World Bank required the Philippine government
to rehabilitate the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) which was then saddled with huge
non-performing loans. The government’s commitment was embodied in the Policy Statement of
the DBP which, among others, provided that the mentioned bank will now be required to have a
private external auditor.
On November 28, 1986, the Monetary Board adopted Resolution No. 1079 amending the
Central Bank’s Manual of Regulation for Banks and other Financial Intermediaries. Thus, on
December 5, 1986, the Central Bank Governor issued Central Bank Circular No. 1124 which
substantially provides that “the requirements for an annual financial audit by an external
independent auditor shall extend to specialized and unique banks such as the Land Bank of the
Philippines and the DBP.” On December 12, 1986, pursuant to CB Circular No. 1124 and the
government’s commitment to the WB, DBP Chairman Jesus Estanislao wrote the Commission on
Audit (COA) seeking the approval of the DBP’s engagement of a private external auditor in
addition to the COA.
On January 20, 1987, the COA Chairman Teofisto Guingona, Jr. replied to the December
12, 1986 letter of the DBP Chairman with a statement that “the COA will interpose no objection to
your engagement of a private external auditor as required by the Economic Recovery Program
Loan Agrrement of 1987 provided that the terms for said audit are first reviewed and approved by
the Commission.” Cosequently, the Board of Directors of the DBP approve the hiring of Joaquin
Cunanan & Co. as the DBP’s private external auditor for calendar year 1986.
However, a change in the leadership of the COA reversed the course of events. On April
27, 1987, the new COA Chairman, Eufemio Doningo, wrote the CB Governor protesting the
issuance of Circular No. 1124 which allegedly encroached upon the COA’s constitutional and
statutory power to audit government agencies. On May 13, 1987, after learning that DBP had
signed a contract with above-mentioned auditing firm, the new COA Chairman wrote the DBP
Chairman that the COA resident auditors were under instruction to disallow any payment to the
private auditor whose services were unconstitutional, illegal and unnecessary.
On July 1, 1987, the DBP Chairman sent to the COA Chairman a copy of the DBP’s
contract with Joaquin Cunanan & Co., signed four months earlier on March 5, 1987. The DBP
Chairman’s covering hand-written note sought the COA’s concurrence to the contract. During the
pendency of COA’s concurrence to the contract, DBP paid the billings of the private auditor in the

61
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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total amount of Php 487,321.14 despite the former’s objection to the same. Thereafter, the COA
chairman issued a memorandum disallowing the payments. On January 19, 1988, the DBP
Chairman moved for a reconsideration of the memorandum issued by the COA which the latter
also denied ratiocinating that the said Commission has the “power, authority and duty to examine,
audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures of uses
of funds and property…pertaining to the government.” (Sec. 2, Art. IX-D, 1987 Philippine
Constitution)

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the constitutional power of the COA to examine and audit the DBP is
exclusive and precludes the concurrent audit of the DBP by a private external auditor.
(2) Whether or not there is a necessity of hiring a private auditor and the reasonableness of their
fees.

HELD:
(1) NO. The resolution of the issue herein requires an interpretation of Section 2, Article IX-
D of the 1987 Constituition, which provides:
“Sec. 2 (1) The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to
examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and
expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned and held in trust by, or pertaining to, the
Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-
owned or controlled corporations with original charters….
(2) The Commission shall have the exclusive authority, subject to the
limitations in this Article, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques
and methods required therefore, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations,
including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive,
extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties.”
The bare language of Section 2 shows that the COA’s power under the first paragraph is
not declared exclusive, while its authority under the second paragraph is declared “exclusive.”
The framers of the Constitution, in deleting the word “exclusive” in the first paragraph, deemed
that the inclusion of such word would constitute a disincentive or obstacle to private investment.
There are government institutions with private investments in them, and some of these investors
—Filipinos, as well as in some cases, foreigners—require the presence of private auditing firms,
not exclusively but concurrently.
The qualifying word “exclusive” in the second paragraph of Section 2 cannot be applied
to the first paragraph which is another sub-section of Section 2. A qualifying word is intended to
refer only to the phrase to which it is immediately associated. Thus, the first paragraph of Section
2 must be read the way it appears, without the word “exclusive,” signifying that non-COA auditors
can also examine and audit government agencies. Besides, the framers of the Constitution
intentionally omitted the word “exclusive” in the first paragraph of Section 2 precisely to allow
concurrent audit by private external auditors.
The clear and unmistakable conclusion from the reading of the entire Section 2 is that the
COA’s power to examine and audit is non-exclusive. On the other hand, the COA’s authority to
define the scope of its audit, promulgate auditing rules and regulations, and disallow unnecessary
expenditures is exclusive.
Further, the mere fact that private auditors may audit government agencies does not
divest COA of its power to examine and audit the same government agencies. The COA is
neither by-passed nor ignored since even with a private audit the COA will still conduct its usual
examination and audit, and its findings and conclusions will still bind the government agencies
and its officials. A concurrent private audit poses no danger whatsoever of public funds or assets
escaping the usual scrutiny of a COA audit.
(2) YES. The hiring of a private auditor being an express condition for the grant of the US $
310 Million Economic Recovery Loan, a major objective of which was DBP’s rehabilitation, the
same was a necessary corporate act on the part of the DBP. The national government,
represented by the Central Bank Governor, as well as the Ministers of Finance, Trade, and
Economic Planning, had already committed to the hiring by all government banks for private
auditors in addition to the COA. For the DBP to refuse to hire a private auditor would have
aborted the vital loan and derailed the national economic recovery, resulting in grave
consequences to the entire nation. The hiring of a private auditor was not only necessary based

62
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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on the government’s loan covenant with the World Bank, it was also necessary because it was
mandated by Central Bank No. 1124 under pain administrative and penal sanctions.
The hiring of a private auditor by the DBP being a condition of the loan, the fees of such
private auditors are in reality part of the government’s cost of borrowing from the World Bank. An
annual private audit fee of about half a million pesos added to the interest on a US $310 Million
loan would hardly make the cost of borrowing excessive, extravagant or unconscionable.
Besides, the condition imposed by a lender, whose money is at risk, requiring the borrower to
submit to audit by an independent public accountant, is a reasonable and normal business
practice.

ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

SANDIGANBAYAN

SANDIGANBAYAN; THE LIFTING OF THE WRITS OF SEQUESTRATION


DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE SEQUESTERED PROPERTY ARE NOT ILL-
GOTTEN.

PCGG vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 119609-10, September 21, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On August 28, 1990, PCGG sent Corporate Secretary Victor A. Africa of Oceanic
Wireless Network, Inc. (OWNI), a letter dated August 3, 1990, directing him to send notices to all
stockholders of record of OWNI for special stockholders' meeting. On September 17, 1990,
during the special stockholders' meeting of OWNI, PCGG voted all the Class "A" shares in the
election of directors and elected to the board of directors Commissioners Maceren, Parlade and
Gutierrez representing the Class "A" shares and Brooker and Miller representing Class "B" and
"C" shares. None of the registered Class "A" shareholders of OWNI was present in that, special
stockholders meeting. PCGG sequestered the Class "A" shareholding about 60% of the
outstanding capital stock, and PCGG voted all the Class "A" shares.
On October 9, 1990, Corporate Secretary Africa wrote the SEC questioning the election
of PCGG nominees as directors of the OWNI board on the ground that they were not
stockholders of OWNI.
On January 27, 1991, the special stockholders' meeting of OWNI took place.
Stockholders owning 63,573 Class "A" shares were represented. An election of directors for
Class "A" shares was held. Nieto, Jr., J. Africa and A. Africa were elected as directors for Class
"A" shares for 1991 until their successors are elected and qualified. Class "B" and "C"
shareholders did not attend the meeting. No new directors for them were elected.
On July 29, 1991, PCGG, acting for itself and in behalf of OWNI, filed with the
Sandiganbayan a complaint for injunction with damages against V. Africa, J. Africa, Nieto, Jr. and
Ocampo. PCGG sought to enjoin the defendants from interfering with PCGG's management of
OWNI and/or representing themselves as director.

ISSUE: Whether or not the PCGG's takeover of OWNI is legal.

HELD: NO. In PCGG v. Cojuanco, Jr., the Court ruled that who should vote the sequestered
shares requires the determination of the ill-gotten character of those shares and consequently the
rightful ownership thereof. The issue was still pending in the main case in the Sandiganbayan.
This is only an incident of the main case and is limited to the stockholders' meeting held on
September 17, 1990. This is without prejudice to the final disposition of the merits of the main
suit. The ownership of the shares is still under litigation. It is not known whether the shares are
part of the ill-gotten wealth of former President Marcos and his "cronies."
We find the writ of sequestration issued against OWNI not valid because the suit in Civil
Case No. 0009 against Nieto, Jr. and J. Africa as shareholders in OWNI is not a suit against

63
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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OWNI. This Court has held that "failure to implead these corporations as defendants and merely
annexing a list of such corporations to the complaints is a violation of their right to due process for
it would in effect be disregarding their distinct and separate personality without a hearing.''
Furthermore, PCGG issued the writs of sequestration on August 3, 1988, which was
beyond the period set by the Constitution. Article XVIII, Section 26, of the 1987 Constitution
provides:
"Sec. 26.The authority to issue sequestration or freeze orders under Proclamation No. 3
dated March 25, 1986 in relation to the recovery of ill-gotten wealth shall remain operative for
not more than eighteen months after the ratification of this Constitution. However, in the
national interest, as certified by the President, the Congress may extend said period.
"A sequestration or freeze order shall be issued only upon showing of a prima facie case.
The order and the list of the sequestered or frozen properties shall forthwith be registered
with the proper court. For orders issued before the ratification of this Constitution, the
corresponding judicial action or proceeding shall be filed within six months from its ratification.
For those issued after such ratification, the judicial action or proceeding shall be commenced
within six months from the issuance thereof.
"The sequestration or freeze order is deemed automatically lifted if no judicial action
or proceeding is commenced as herein provided."
The sequestration orders issued against respondents shall be deemed automatically
lifted due to the failure of PCGG to commence the proper judicial action or to implead the
respondents therein within the period prescribed by Article XVIII, Section 26 of the 1987
Constitution.
The lifting of the writs of sequestration will not necessarily be fatal to the main case since
the lifting of the subject orders does not ipso facto mean that the sequestered property are not ill-
gotten. The effect of the lifting of the sequestration against OWNI will merely be the termination
of the role of the government as conservator thereof. In other words, the PCGG may no longer
exercise administrative or housekeeping powers and its nominees may no longer vote the
sequestered shares to enable them to sit on the corporate board of the subject firm.

SANDIGANBAYAN; WHEN FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE


SANDIGANBAYAN NOT CONCLUSIVE BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT;
THE ACQUISITION COST OF THE PROPERTY SHALL BE THE BASIS FOR
ASCERTAINING THE VALUE THEREOF.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHLILPPINES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 102508, January 30, 2002]

DAVIDE, JR., C.J:


FACTS: Private respondent Jolly R. Bugarin, a government official during the Marcos regime,
is now being pursued by the petitioner to recover the alleged unexplained wealth amassed by the
former.
In a petition filed by the Republic, represented by the Presidential Commission on Good
Government (PCGG), with the Sandiganbayan on August 3, 1987, it averred that respondent
Bugarin acquired during his incumbency as Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),
real and personal properties whose aggregate fair market value at the time of their acquisition
was P6,313,632.56. Allegedly, those properties were manifestly in excess or out of proportion to
his salaries, allowances, and other emoluments from July 1, 1967 to march 15, 1986 totaling
P743,243.65 only.
In the respondent’s answer, he claimed that some of the properties enumerated were
acquired by him and his wife before he became the Director of NBI. The acquisition cost of the
properties he acquired during his incumbency was P2,793,141.26 only. He likewise alleged that
apart from his salary as NBI Director for the entire period of his service, he also received
allowances from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the National Police Commission, the Central
Bank, and the Law Firm of San Juan, Africa, Gonzales, and San Agustin. He also derived
substantial income from the investment and properties he and his wife acquired before he
became the Director of NBI.
Based on the findings of the Sandiganbayan, the said Tribunal dismissed the petition for
forfeiture on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.

64
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not respondent’s professional fees outside NBI should form part of his lawful
income.
(2) Whether or not respondent’s properties are manifestly out of proportion to his lawful income.

HELD:
(1) YES. The respondent’s professional fees outside the NBI should form part of his lawful
income. Before resolving the issues herein involved, it must be kept in mind that the Supreme
Court is not a trier of facts. It is not the Court’s function to examine and weigh all over again the
evidence presented in the proceedings. While the petitioner concedes that the Sandiganbayan’s
findings of facts are conclusive upon this Court, it invokes the exception laid down in Dischoso
vs. Court of Appeals, to wit: 1.) when the conclusion is a finding entirely grounded specultion,
surmise, and conjecture; 2.) when the inference made is manifestly absurd, mistaken, or
impossible; 3.) ….; 4.) when the judgment is premised on a misapprehension of facts. A plain
reading of the Sandiganbayan’s ruling exposed manifest errors prompting the Court to delve upon
the factual matters of the case.
Respondent was engaged as a consultant on “handwriting, document evaluation,
ballistics, fingerprinting and other specialized projects.” He claimed that he rendered his services
as such outside of office hours. He was given permission by his superior to act as consultant, but
he could not find among his files written permission allegedly given to him in 1967. At any rate,
he did not conceal his consultancy services and the corresponding fees he received: in fact, he
stated them in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities he submitted to the office of the Secretary
of Justice, as well as in his ITR.
Even assuming that he had no prior written authority to act as a consultant of private
entity, respondent’s violation of the rule – lack of prior permission – was a technical one. At most,
it would subject him to administrative penalty provided in the Civil Service rules had the proper
charge been filed against him. Such violation did not amount to a crime or graft and corrupt
practice as defined by law. Hence, we are of the opinion that his professional fees should be
included in the computation of his lawful income.
In ascertaining the value of respondent’s properties and shareholdings, it is not the fair
market value, as claimed by the petitioner that should be made the basis thereof, rather, as
correctly held by the Sandiganbayan, it is the acquisition cost thereof, since it is the actual
amount of money shelled out by respondent in acquiring them. It is the acquisition cost that must
be charged against respondent’s lawful income and funds.
Neither can we sustain petitioner’s bare allegation that the cost or consideration of the
subject properties stated in the contracts were understated for tax evasion purposes. Absent any
evidence to support it, such claim deserves a short shrift for being merely speculative or
conjectural.
(2) YES. In resolving the second issue, it would be noteworthy to have a reference on
Section 2 of R. A. No. 1379 which provides that whenever any public officer or employee has
acquired during his incumbency property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as
such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and income from legitimately
acquired property, the said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully
acquired.
From the summary of Bugarin’s assets, it can readily be seen that all of his real
properties were purchased or constructed as the case may be from 1968 to 1980. The total
acquisition cost thereof was P1,705,583. With the exception of those that had been liquidated,
those acquired from 1981 onward, and those whose year of acquisition could not be determined,
his shareholdings in various corporations and other investments amounted to P464,580. Hence,
for the period from 1968 to 1980, he amassed wealth in the amount of P2,170,163. On the other
hand, his total income from 1967 to 1980 amounted only to P766,548.
Premises considered, respondent’s properties acquired from 1968 to 1980 which were
out of proportion to his lawful income for the said period should be forfeited in favor of the
government for failure of the respondent to show to the Court’s satisfaction that the same were
lawfully acquired.

65
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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SANDIGANBAYAN; THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER


A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL EXCEPT WHEN HE IS CHARGED AS CO-
PRINCIPAL, ACCOMPLICE OR ACCESSORY OF A PUBLIC OFFICER.

MACALINO vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. Nos. 140199-200, February 6,2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Felicito S. Macalino was the Assistant Manager of the Treasury Division
and the Head of the Loans Administration & Insurance Section of the Philippines National
Construction Corporation (PNCC), a government-controlled corporation. On September 16,
1992, the Special Prosecutor, Office of the Ombudsman, with the approval of the Ombudsman,
filed with the Sandiganbayan two informations against the petitioner and his spouse Liwayway S.
Tan charging them with estafa through falsification of official documents and frustrated estafa
through falsification of mercantile documents.
During the initial presentation of evidence for the defense, petitioner moved for leave to
file a motion to dismiss on the ground that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over him since
he is not a public officer because the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC),
formerly Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP), is not a
government-owned or controlled corporation with original charter. The Sandiganbayan denied
petitioner’s motion to dismiss.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the petitioner.

HELD: NO. Inasmuch as the PNCC has no original charter as it was incorporated under the
general law on corporations, it follows inevitably that petitioner is not a public officer within the
coverage of RA 3019, as amended. Thus, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over him. The
only instance when the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a private individual is when the
complaint charges him either as a co-principal, accomplice, or accessory of a public officer who
has been charged with a crime within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
The cases cited by respondent People of the Philippines are inapplicable because they
were decided under the provisions of the 1973 Constitution which included as public officers,
officials and employees of corporations owned and controlled by the government through
organized and existing under the general corporation law. The 1987 Constitution excluded such
corporations.
The crime charged against petitioner was committed in 1989 and 1990. The criminal
actions were instituted in 1992. It is well-settled that “the jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal
case is determined by the law in force at the institution of the action.”

OMBUDSMAN

OMBUDSMAN; THE POWER TO INVESTIGATE AND TO PROSECUTE


GRANTED BY LAW TO THE OMBUDSMAN IS PLENARY AND
UNQUALIFIED.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs. RUBEN ENOC, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 145957-68, January 25, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: Respondents herein were employed at the Office of the Southern Cultural
Comminities (OSCC), Davao Del Sur, Provincial Office, Digos, Davao del Sur with below grade
27. They were charged with 11 counts of malversation through falsification, based on the alleged
purchases of medicine and food assistance for cultural community members, and 1 count of
violation of R.A. 3019 in connection with the purchases of supplies for the OSCC without
bidding/canvass. As none of the respondents has the rank required under R.A. 8249 to be tried

66
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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for the said crimes in the Sandiganbayan, the informations were filed by the Ombudsman in RTC
of Digos (Branch 19).
Thereafter, the respondents moved to for the quashal of the case before the RTC
averring , as in the case of Uy vs. Sandiganbayan, that the Ombudsman has no authority to
prosecute graft cases falling within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. The said motion was
granted by the lower court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ombudsman has the power to prosecute and investigate cases
cognizable by the regular courts.

HELD: YES. The power to investigate and prosecute granted by law to the Ombudsman is
plenary and unqualified. It pertains to any act or omission of any public officer or employee when
such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient. The law does not make
any distinction between cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and those cognizable by regular
courts. It has been held that the clause “any illegal act or omission of any public official” is broad
enough to embrace any crime committed by a public officer or employee.
The reference made by R.A. 6770 to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan,
particularly in Section 15(1) giving the Ombudsman primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by
the Sandiganbayan, and Section 11(4) granting the Special Prosecutor the power to conduct
preliminary investigation and prosecute criminal cases within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, should not be construed as confining the scope of the investigatory and
prosecutory power of the Ombudsman to such cases.
Section 15 of R.A. 6770 give the Ombudsman primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable
by the Sandiganbayan. The law defines such primary jurisdiction as authorizing the Ombudsman
“to take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of the government, the investigation of
such cases.” The grant of this authority does not necessarily imply the exclusion from its
jurisdiction of cases involving public officers and employees cognizable by other courts. The
exercise of the Ombudsman of his primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the
Sandiganbayan is not incompatible with the discharge of his duty to investigate and prosecute
other offenses committed by public officers and employees.
Moreover, the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman should not be equated with the
limited authority of the Special Prosecutor under Section 11 of R.A. 6770. The Office of the
Special Prosecutor is merely a component of the Office of the Ombudsman and may only act
under the supervision and control and upon authority of the Ombudsman. Its power to conduct
preliminary investigation and to prosecute criminal cases is within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. The Ombudsman is mandated by law to act on all complaints against officers
and employees of the government and to enforce their administrative, civil, and criminal liability in
every case where the evidence warrants. To carry out this duty, the law allows him to utilize the
perosonnel of his office and/or designate any fiscal, state prosecutor or lawyer in the government
service to act as special investigator or prosecutor to assist in investigation and prosecution of
certain cases. The law likewise allows him to direct the Speciall Prosecutor to prosecute cases
outside the Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction in accordance with Section 11(4c) of R.A. 6770.

OMBUDSMAN; THE OMBUDSMAN CANNOT SUBJECT AN ACCUSED TO


THE EXPENSE, RIGORS AND EMBARRASSMENT OF TRIAL ARBITRARILY.

CABAHUG vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, et al.


[G.R. NO. 132816, February 5, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: A negotiated contract was entered into by the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports (DECS), represented by petitioner Susana B. Cabahug, by virtue of her position as
Department of Education, Culture and Sports Director for Region XI, for the purchase of 46,000
units of topaz Monobloc Armchairs from Rubber worth Industries Corporation (RWIC), at P495
per unit. The negotiated contract was approved by Ricardo T. Gloria, then Secretary of the
DECS.
Before the consummation of the contract, another DECS supplier, Jesusa T. dela Cruz
wrote to Secretary Gloria objecting to the said contract for the reason that the chairs were

67
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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patently overpriced. The letter was referred to Antonio E.B. Nachura, DECS Undersecretary for
Legal Affairs, who after requiring petitioner Cabahug to comment on said letter, resolved to give
due course to the transaction. Consequently, a complaint was filed by dela Cruz before the
Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, against petitioner Cabahug, Secretary Gloria, and
Undersecretary Nachura.
The Office of the Ombudsman through Jovito Coresis, Jr., issued a Resolution finding
probable cause and recommending the filing of Information with the Sandiganbayan by the Office
of the Special Prosecutor and the dismissal of the case against Secretary Gloria and
Undersecretary Nachura. Unaware of the Information filed before the Sandiganbayan, petitioner
filed a Motion for Reconsideration before the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
After learning of the filing of the Information with the Sandiganbayan, petitioner filed a
Motion for Reinvestigation. Petitioner prayed that the Motion for Reconsideration filed before the
Office of the Special Prosecutor be admitted by the graft court as her Motion for Reinvestigation.
The Third Division of the Sandiganbayan granted the Motion for Reconsideration.
Accordingly, the case was evaluated by the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Cicero D.
Jurado, Jr., Special Prosecution Officer (SPO) II assigned to review the case, recommended
dismissal of the case, there being no showing that petitioner acted in bad faith or with gross
negligence. While Special Prosecutor Leonardo P. Tamayo and his Deputy Robert E. Kallos,
concurred in the findings, Ombudsman Aniano Disierto did not agree. Noting that bad faith
and/or gross inexcusable negligence is deducible from the acts of the accused, Ombudsman
Disierto ordered prosecution to proceed.
To this petitioner filed a Motion for Re-determination of Existence of Probable Cause.
This motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan and treated the same as a second Motion for
Reconsideration which is not allowed by the Rules of Court. Petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion
for Reconsideration arguing therein that the said motion cannot be considered a second motion
for reconsideration since it was addressed to the court, and not anymore to the Office of the
Special Prosecutor or the Ombudsman. The motion was denied and so was the subsequent Very
Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion.

HELD: YES. While it is the function of the Ombudsman to determine whether or not the
petitioner should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial, he cannot do so
arbitrarily. When at the outset the evidence cannot sustain a prima facie case or that the
existence of probable cause to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused cannot be
ascertained, the prosecution must desist from inflicting on any person the trauma of going
through a trial.
There is nothing in the records that show Cabahug acted in bad faith or even with gross
inexcusable negligence. In the absence of bad faith, she cannot be held liable for violation of
Section 3(e) of RA 3019, as amended.
Judicial power of review includes the determination of whether there was grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
of the government [Section 1(2) Article VIII 1987 Constitution]. Under this definition, the
Sandiganbayan should have, considering the divergent positions in the Office of the
Ombudsman, granted the motion for redetermination of probable cause after reviewing the
evidence thus far submitted, and dismissed the case against petitioner. Thus, respondent court
committed grave abuse of discretion in allowing the case to proceed.

OMBUDSMAN; THE OMBUDSMAN CAN ONLY RECOMMEND THE


REMOVAL OF A PUBLIC OFFICIAL FOUND TO BE AT FAULT.

RENATO A. TAPIADOR vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 129124, March 15, 2002]

68
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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DE LEON, JR., J:
FACTS: On 4 July 1994, Walter H. Beck, a U.S. citizen, lodged a complaint-affidavit with the
Resident Ombudsman at the main office in Manila of the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation against petitioner Renato A. Tapiador, BID Special Investigator and assigned as
Technical Assistant in the office of the then Associate Commissioner Bayani M. Subido, Jr.
The complaint alleged in substance that petitioner Tapiador demanded and received from
Walter Beck the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) in exchange for the issuance
of an alien certificate of registration (ACR) which was subsequently withheld deliberately by
the petitioner despite repeated demands by Beck, unless the latter pay an additional amount
of Seven Thousand Pesos (P7,000.00). Accompanying the complaint was the affidavit
executed by a certain Purisima C. Terencio which essentially seeks to corroborate the
alleged payment of the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) by Walter Beck and
his wife to the petitioner in consideration for the issuance of the subject ACR.
After investigation, BID Resident Ombudsman Ronaldo P. Ledesma found the petitioner
liable for violating existing civil service rules and regulations as well as penal laws and thus,
recommended that criminal and administrative charges be filed against the petitioner.
Upon review of the case, the criminal charge was dismissed by the Ombudsman for lack
of evidence; however, the Ombudsman found the petitioner liable for grave misconduct in the
administrative aspect of the case and imposed the penalty of dismissal from the government
service.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner is liable for grave misconduct in the administrative case
against him.

HELD: NO. A thorough review of the records, however, showed that the subject affidavits of
Beck and Terencio were not even identified by the respective affiants during the fact-finding
investigation conducted by the BID Resident Ombudsman at the BID office in Manila. Neither did
they appear during the preliminary investigation to identify their respective sworn statements
despite prior notice before the investigating officer who subsequently dismissed the criminal
aspect of the case upon finding that the charge against the petitioner "was not supported by any
evidence". Hence, Beck's affidavit is hearsay and inadmissible in evidence. On this basis alone,
the Administrative Adjudication Bureau of the Office of the Ombudsman should have dismissed
the administrative complaint against the petitioner in the first instance.
Nonetheless, a perusal of the affidavit executed by Walter Beck does not categorically
state that it was petitioner Tapiador who personally demanded from Beck the amount of Ten
Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) in consideration for the issuance of the latter's ACR. On the other
hand, it appears that Walter Beck and his wife sought the assistance of Purisima Terencio
sometime in the later part of 1992 in facilitating the issuance of his ACR and in the process,
Terencio allegedly informed the couple that Beck could be granted the same and would be
allowed to stay in the Philippines permanently with the help of the petitioner and a certain Mr.
Angeles who was also with the BID, for a fee of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00). Hence,
Beck and his wife did not appear to have any direct or personal knowledge of the alleged demand
of the petitioner except through the information allegedly relayed to them by Terencio. Likewise,
although Beck claimed to have subsequently paid Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00), his
affidavit is silent as to the identity of the person who actually received the said amount from him.
In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving, by substantial
evidence, the allegations in the complaint. Substantial evidence does not necessarily import
preponderance of evidence as is required in an ordinary civil case; rather, it is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
The complainant clearly failed to present the quantum of proof necessary to prove the
charge in the subject administrative case, that is, with substantial evidence. Besides, assuming
arguendo, that petitioner were administratively liable, the Ombudsman has no authority to directly
dismiss the petitioner from the government service, more particularly from his position in the BID.
Under Section 13, subparagraph (3), of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman can
only "recommend" the removal of the public official or employee found to be at fault, to the public
official concerned.

69
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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OMBUDSMAN; APPEALS FROM THE ORDERS OF THE OMBUDSMAN ARE


COGNIZABLE BY THE COURT OF APPEALS.

SUSAN MENDOZA-ARCE vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN


[G.R. No. 149148, April 5, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: Respondent Santiago B. Villaruz was originally the administrator of the estate of his
mother Remedios Bermejo Villaruz. However, in an order issued by the trial court, he was
removed as such for patent neglect of his legal duties and failure to comply with the court orders.
In his place, respondent's eldest brother, Nicolas B. Villaruz, Jr., was appointed regular
administrator and was required to file a bond.
Thereafter, Nicolas filed a motion for the approval of his bond. Santiago and his brother,
Jose Ma. Villaruz, opposed Nicolas' motion and prayed that Jose Maria be instead appointed
regular administrator. Attached to their opposition was a certification executed by their mother
Remedios before she passed away. Subsequently, Judge Patricio denied the oppositors'
opposition, while recognizing the validity of the certification executed by Remedios Bermejo-
Villaruz.
On October 12, 1998, Judge Sergio Pestaño, to whom the case was in the meantime
reassigned, approved the administrator's bond of respondent Nicolas B. Villaruz, Jr.
After receiving a copy of Judge Pestaño's order, respondent Susan Mendoza-Arce, Clerk
of Court VI of the Regional Trial Court of Roxas City, prepared a Letter of Administration (LOA).
On December 7, 1998, administrator Nicolas B. Villaruz, Jr., accompanied by three
armed security guards and respondent's Deputy Sheriff Charles Aguiling, took possession of the
entire estate of the decedent. This gave rise to the present action. In a letter-complaint to the
Ombudsman, respondent Santiago B. Villaruz alleged that petitioner committed two crimes in
issuing the LOA, to wit: 1) falsification by a public officer under Article 171 of the Revised Penal
Code and 2) Corrupt practice in violation of §3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A.
No. 3019).
Respondent accused petitioner of acting "with manifest partiality, evident bad faith and
gross inexcusable negligence" by falsely attributing to Judge Pestaño the appointment of Nicolas
B. Villaruz as new administrator and investing him with "full authority to take possession of all
property/ies" of the decedent, because the fact was that it was Judge Patricio who had appointed
Nicolas administrator of the estate.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for certiorari in this case should have been filed in the Court
of Appeals.

HELD: NO. In Tirol, Jr. v. del Rosario, it is held that although as a consequence of the decision
in Fabian v. Desierto, appeals from the orders, directives, or decisions of the Ombudsman in
administrative cases are now cognizable by the Court of Appeals, nevertheless in cases in which
it is alleged that the Ombudsman has acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction, a special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 may be filed in the Court to
set aside the Ombudsman's order or resolution. In Kuizon v. Desierto it is again held that the
Court has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari questioning resolutions or orders of the Office of
the Ombudsman in criminal cases.
In Posadas v. Ombudsman, "the rule, of course, is that a criminal prosecution cannot be
enjoined. But as has been held, infinitely more important than conventional adherence to general
rules of criminal procedure is respect for the citizen's right to be free not only from arbitrary arrest
and punishment but also from unwarranted and vexatious prosecution."
Indeed, while the Court's policy is one of non-interference in the conduct of preliminary
investigations, leaving the investigating officers with a latitude of discretion in the determination of
probable cause, nonetheless exceptions to the general rule have been recognized, to wit:
1. When necessary to afford adequate protection to the
constitutional rights of the accused;
2. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to
avoid oppression or multiplicity of actions;
3. When there is a prejudicial question which is sub judice;

70
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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4. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of


authority;
5. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or
regulation;
6. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent;
7. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense;
8. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution;
9. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the
lust for vengeance.
10. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the
accused and motion to quash on that ground has been denied.

OMBUDSMAN; THE COURTS WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THE


DISCRETION OF THE OMBUDSMAN TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE
EXCEPT WHEN THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED ARE
IMPAIRED.

MANUEL C. ROXAS, et al. vs. CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, et al.


[G.R. No. 114944, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: see page 25

ISSUE: Whether or not the case warrants the intervention of the court.

HELD: YES. It appears that the charge against respondents was previously dismissed. For
this reason, there being no motion or reconsideration filed by the complainant, said respondents
ceased to be parties. Consequently, the mere filing of motions for reconsideration by those
previously indicted, without questioning the dismissal of the charge against the said respondents,
could not and should not be made the basis for impleading them as accused in this case without
violating their right to due process.
Ordinarily, the courts will not interfere with the discretion of the Ombudsman to determine
whether there exists reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding information with the
appropriate courts. However, the case at bar falls under one of the recognized exceptions to this
rule, more specifically, the constitutional rights of the accused are impaired and the charges are
manifestly false. In cases where the Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor were unable to
agree on whether or not probable cause exists, we may interfere with the findings and
conclusions.
The power to investigate offenses of this nature belongs to the Ombudsman and the
Special Prosecutor. While the Ombudsman may have erred in disregarding the
recommendations of the Special Prosecution Officers which appear to be substantiated by the
record, he should be allowed an opportunity to review his decision and, where necessary, correct
it.
Furthermore, it appears that petitioners were deprived of due process when the Special
Prosecutor reinstated the complaint against them without their knowledge. Due process of law
requires that every litigant must be given an opportunity to be heard. He has the right to be
present and defend himself in person at every stage of the proceedings.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES

71
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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EXHAUSTION OF REMEDIES; WHERE THE CASE INVOLVES ONLY LEGAL


QUESTIONS, THE LITIGANT NEED NOT EXHAUST ALL ADMINISTRATIVE
REMEDIES BEFORE SUCH JUDICIAL RELIEF CAN BE SOUGHT.

CASTRO vs. SECRETARY RICARDO T. GLORIA


[G.R. No. 132174, August 20, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIEREZ, J:
FACTS: Porfirio Gutang, Jr. filed with the Department of Education, Culture and Sports
(DECS) a complaint for disgraceful and immoral conduct against petitioner Gualberto Castro, a
teacher in Guibuangan Central School, Barili, Cebu. It was alleged that he has an illicit affair with
Gutang's wife, petitioner's co-teacher at the same school.
After hearing or on August 28, 1984, the DECS Regional Office VII, through Assistant
Superintendent Francisco B. Concillo, rendered a decision declaring petitioner guilty of the
offense charged. He was meted the penalty of dismissal from the service. 3 The DECS Central
Office affirmed Concillo's decision in an Indorsement dated March 25, 1986.
After his motion for reconsideration and subsequent appeal to the Central DECS office
were denied, petitioner filed a petition for mandamus with the Regional Trial Court, imploring that
judgment be rendered ordering respondent Secretary or anyone who may have assumed the
duties and functions of his office (1) to reduce his penalty from dismissal to one (1) year
suspension; 2) to consider the one (1) year suspension as already served considering that he has
been out of the service for more than ten (10) years; 3) to reinstate him to his former position; and
4) to pay his back salaries. On November 20, 1997, the trial court rendered the herein assailed
decision dismissing the petition on the ground of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies. It
ruled that petitioner should have appealed to the Civil Service Commission before coming to
court.
Petitioner insists that, "when the question to be settled is purely a question of law, he may
go directly to the proper court so that he can have proper redress." For its part, the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG) contends that petitioner's adequate remedy was to appeal the decision of
respondent Secretary to the Civil Service Commission.

ISSUE: Whether or not the following is a question of law — Is dismissal from the service the
proper penalty for the 1st offense of disgraceful and immoral conduct?

HELD: YES. In the case at bench, petitioner no longer disputes the administrative finding of
his guilt for the offense of disgraceful and immoral conduct. It is settled and final insofar as he is
concerned. What petitioner only impugns is the correctness of the penalty of "dismissal from the
service." He is convinced that the proper penalty for the first offense of disgraceful and immoral
conduct is only suspension from the service. Undoubtedly, the issue here is a pure question of
law. We need only to look at the applicable law or rule and we will be able to determine whether
the penalty of dismissal is in order.
As correctly pointed out by petitioner, the proper penalty for the 1st offense of disgraceful
and immoral conduct is only suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year. In
fact, this has been the consistent ruling of this Court. In Aquino v. Navarro, a secondary guidance
counselor in a public high school, was merely suspended for disgraceful and immoral conduct. In
Burgos v. Aquino, the Court suspended a court stenographer for six months for maintaining illicit
relations with the complainant's husband and for perjury in not disclosing in her personal
information sheet she has a daughter as a result of that relationship.

EXHAUSTION OF REMEDIES; THE PURPOSE OF THE MOTION FOR


RECONSIDERATION IS TO GIVE THE COMELEC AN OPPORTUNITY TO
CORRECT THE ERROR IMPUTED TO IT.

BERNARDO vs. ABALOS


[G.R. No. 137266, December 5. 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:

72
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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FACTS: On April 21, 1998, petitioners Antonio M. Bernardo, Ernesto A. Domingo, Jr. and
Jesus C. Cruz filed with the COMELEC a criminal complaint against respondents Benjamin S.
Abalos, Sr., Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr., Dr. Eden C. Diaz, Romeo Zapanta and Arcadio de Vera for
vote buying in violation of Section 261, paragraphs (a), (b) and (j) of the Omnibus Election Code
(OEC), in relation to Section 28 of Republic Act 6646 and Section 68 of the OEC. The complaint,
docketed as E.O. Case No. 98-110, alleged that:
“Respondents sponsored, arranged and conducted an all-expense-free transportation,
food and drinks affair for the Mandaluyong City public school teachers, registered voters of said
city, at the Tayabas Bay Beach Resort, Sariaya, Quezon Province.
“Mayor Benjamin Abalos, Sr. delivered a speech wherein he offered and promised the
Mandaluyong City public school teachers and employees a ‘hazard’ pay of P1,000.00, and
increasing their allowances from P1,500.00 to P2,000.00 for food, or with a total of P3,000.00
which they will get by the end of the month.
“The offers and promises to said public school teachers, who are members of the Board
of Election Inspectors of Mandaluyong City and registered voters thereat, were made a few
weeks before the election to induce or unduly influence the said teachers and the public in
general (the other guests) to vote for the candidacy of Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos, Jr.”
On December 1, 1998, the COMELEC En Banc issued the assailed Resolution No. 98-
3208 dismissing the complaint "for insufficiency of evidence to establish prima facie case."
On February 09, 1999, petitioners, without first submitting a motion for reconsideration,
filed the instant petition with this Court.

ISSUES: Whether petitioner’s failure to submit a motion for reconsideration was fatal to his
cause of action.

HELD: YES. Petitioners did not exhaust all the remedies available to them at the COMELEC
level. Specifically, they did not seek a reconsideration of the assailed COMELEC En Banc
Resolution as required by Section 1, Rule 13 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure,
Petitioners' failure to file the required motion for reconsideration utterly disregarded the
COMELEC Rules intended "to achieve an orderly, just, expeditious and inexpensive
determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the Commission."
Contrary to petitioners' statement that a resort to a motion for reconsideration is "dilatory,"
it bears stressing that the purpose of the said motion is to give the COMELEC an opportunity to
correct the error imputed to it. If the error is immediately corrected by way of a motion for
reconsideration, then it is the most expeditious and inexpensive recourse. But if the COMELEC
refuses to correct a patently erroneous act, then it commits a grave abuse of discretion justifying
a recourse by the aggrieved party to a petition for certiorari.
A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended,
can only be resorted to if "there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law.'' Having failed to file the required motion for reconsideration of the
challenged Resolution, petitioners' instant petition is certainly premature. Significantly, they have
not raised any plausible reason for their direct recourse to this Court.

JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS

JUDICIAL REVIEW; FINDINGS OF FACT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY


MUST BE RESPECTED BUT THE SAME SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY
SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.

OFELIA D. ARTUZ vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 142444, September 13, 2001]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Private respondent Rene A. Bornales, Legal Aide, Regional Health Office No. VI
(RHO VI),0 filed against petitioner Ofelia D. Artuz, then Legal Officer IV, RHO VI, DOH, for Estafa
or Swindling through Falsification of Public Documents and/or Falsification of Public Documents.

73
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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In view perhaps of the delay, private respondent Bornales went to the Merit System
Protection Board (MSPB) of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) which took cognizance of the
Letter-Complaint and directed Regional Office to conduct the necessary investigation, and to
submit its report and recommendation. Thereafter, on 28 May 1993 the MSPB formally charged
petitioner with Dishonesty and Falsification of Public Documents.
In her answer dated 20 July 1993 petitioner Artuz vehemently denied the charges against
her, contending that they were "malicious, fabricated and pure harassment." She maintained that
the charges had no factual and legal basis as she had regularly reported to office and performed
her duties as Legal Officer IV during the period in question, as shown by her Daily Time Records
(DTRs) for July and August 1991, which were duly verified by the Personnel Section and finally
approved by the Director of RHO VI. Moreover, she asserted that her Punch Cards for those
months would tally with her DTRs and further confirm the regularity of her office attendance.
According to her, their office was implementing the Bundy clock system, and there was no office
memorandum or circular requiring the use of the Logbook.
Subsequently, petitioner received copy of CSC Resolution No. 981650 finding her guilty
of dishonesty and falsification of public documents and imposed upon her the penalty of dismissal
from the service including all its accessory penalties. According to the CSC – …substantial
evidence establishes the fact that respondent falsified entries in her DTRs for the months of July
and August 1991 to enable her to claim her salaries in full. It is, therefore, clear that she benefited
from said deliberate acts of falsification. "In falsification or forgery, the person or persons who are
or were in possession of, or made use of, or benefited from the forged or falsified documents are
legally presumed to be forgers."

ISSUE: Whether or not the Logbook is the best evidence to prove the attendance of any
employee as against the DTRs.

HELD: NO. The CSC and the CA proceeded in disposing of this case on a wrong premise.
Both assumed that the Logbook alone would be the best evidence of an employee's attendance
in his office. This assumption is erroneous and baseless. Ordinarily, the Logbook is used as a
mere locator for those employees who now and then are required to render service or sent on
official business outside the office premises, or to record events or unusual happenings in the
office, unless otherwise specified or required in an office memorandum or circular. Just to
illustrate the fallacy of this assumption and the unreliability of the Logbook as piece of evidence:
RHO VI sits in Iloilo City. It comprises the Provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Negros
Occidental and the Cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Roxas, Silay, etc. If an employee of RHO VI is sent
on an official business to Bacolod City and takes the regular trip by boat that leaves Iloilo City at
6:00 o'clock in the morning, arriving at the pier of Bacolod City at 8:00 o'clock, he does not have
to go to the regional office before departure time to sign the Logbook. Similarly, when he leaves
Bacolod City after office hours at 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon and arrives in Iloilo at 8:00 o'clock
in the evening, he does not have to pass the office to sign the Logbook, as it would be
impractical, unreasonable and absurd! In such case, the office can only rely on his DTR which is
not only certified correct by him but also by his chief of office.
Findings of fact of an administrative agency must be respected and this Court should not
be tasked to weigh once more the evidence submitted before the administrative body. However,
it is axiomatic that such findings of fact should be supported by substantial evidence. We are not
convinced that the non-signing in the Logbook by petitioner Artuz alone is substantial evidence
considering that we have clearly shown in the above discussion that it is not "the best evidence to
prove attendance of an employee," unlike the questioned DTRs that were duly certified by the
employee concerned, verified by his immediate supervisor, and authenticated by the head of the
regional office.

JUDICIAL REVIEW; WHERE THE LAW PROVIDES FOR AN APPEAL FROM


THE ADMINISTRATIVE BODIES TO THE SUPREME COURT OR COURT OF
APPEALS, SUCH BODIES ARE CO-EQUAL WITH THE RTCS.

PHILIPPINE SINTER CORPORATION, et al. vs. CAGAYAN ELECTRIC


POWER and LIGHT CO., INC.
[G.R. No. 127371, April 25, 2002]

74
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: Pursuant to a Cabinet Memorandum issued by President Aquino, respondent
Cagayan Electric Power and Light, Co. (CEPALCO), grantee of a legislative franchise to
distribute electric power to the municipalities of Villanueva, Jasaan and Tagoloan, and the city of
Cagayan de Oro, all of the province of Misamis Oriental, filed with the Energy Regulatory Board
(ERB) a petition entitled "In Re: Petition for Implementation of Cabinet Policy Reforms in the
Power Sector". The petition sought the "discontinuation of all existing direct supply of power by
the National Power Corporation (NPC) within CEPALCO's franchise area."
After hearing, the ERB rendered a decision granting the petition, and declaring that the
petitioner has been proven to be capable of distributing power to its industrial consumers and
having passed the secondary considerations with a passing mark of 85 and that all direct
connection of industries to NPC within the franchise area of CEPALCO is no longer necessary.
Therefore, all existing NPC direct supply of power to industrial consumers within the franchise
area of CEPALCO is hereby ordered to be discontinued. The decision became final and
executory.
To implement the decision, CEPALCO wrote Philippine Sinter Corporation (PSC),
petitioner, and advised the latter of its desire "to have the power supply of PSC, directly taken
from NPC, disconnected, cut and transferred" to CEPALCO. PSC refused CEPALCO's request,
citing its contract for power supply with NPC effective until July 26, 1996. To restrain the
execution of the ERB Decision, PSC and PIA filed a complaint for injunction against CEPALCO
with the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City. On April 11, 1994, the trial court rendered
judgment in favor of PSC and PIA.
CEPALCO filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the trial court in its order
dated December 13, 1994. Aggrieved, CEPALCO appealed to the Court of Appeals. The
appellate court granted the petition and dissolved the injunction.

ISSUE: Whether or not an injunction ordered by the trial court can lie against the final judgment
of the ERB.

HELD: NO. "The rule indeed is, and has almost invariably been, that after a judgment has
gained finality, it becomes the ministerial duty of the court to order its execution. No court,
perforce, should interfere by injunction or otherwise to restrain such execution. The rule, however,
concededly admits of exceptions; hence, when facts and circumstances later transpire that would
render execution inequitable or unjust, the interested party may ask a competent court to stay its
execution or prevent its enforcement. So, also, a change in the situation of the parties can
warrant an injunctive relief."
Clearly, an injunction to stay a final and executory decision is unavailing except only after
a showing that facts and circumstances exist which would render execution unjust or inequitable,
or that a change in the situation of the parties occurred. Here, no such exception exists as shown
by the facts earlier narrated. To disturb the final and executory decision of the ERB in an
injunction suit is to brazenly disregard the rule on finality of judgments. Public interest requires
that proceedings already terminated should not be altered at every step, for the rule of non quieta
movere prescribes that what had already been terminated should not be disturbed. A disregard
of this principle does not commend itself to sound public policy. Corollarily, Section 10 of
Executive Order No. 172 (the law creating the ERB) provides that a review of its decisions or
orders is lodged in the Supreme Court. Settled is the rule that where the law provides for an
appeal from the decisions of administrative bodies to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals,
it means that such bodies are co-equal with the Regional Trial Courts in terms of rank and
stature, and logically, beyond the control of the latter. Hence, the trial court, being co-equal with
the ERB, cannot interfere with the decision of the latter. It bears stressing that this doctrine of
non-interference of trial courts with co-equal administrative bodies is intended to ensure judicial
stability in the administration of justice whereby the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction
may not be opened, modified or vacated by any court of concurrent jurisdiction.

LAW OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

75
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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DE FACTO OFFICERS

DE FACTO OFFICERS; A DE FACTO OFFICER TAKES THE SALARIES AT


HIS RISK.

THE GENERAL MANAGER, PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY (PPA) and


RAMON ANINO vs. JULIETA MONSERATE
[G.R. No. 129616, April 17, 2002]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: Julieta Monserate, respondent, started her government service in 1977 as
Bookkeeper II in the Port Management Office, PPA, Iloilo City. Barely a year later, she was
promoted to the position of Cashier II and then as Finance Officer (SG-16) in 1980. In the early
part of 1988, when the PPA underwent a reorganization, respondent applied for the permanent
position of Manager II (SG-19) of the Resource Management Division, same office. The
Comparative Data Sheet 4 accomplished by the PPA Reorganization Task Force showed that
respondent was ranked #1 in the eligibility.
On February 1, 1988, Maximo Dumlao, Jr., then General Manager of the PPA, appointed
respondent to the position of Manager II (Resource Management Division). On even date,
respondent assumed office and discharged the functions thereof. On July 8, 1988, the CSC,
through Guillermo R. Silva (Assistant Director of the Civil Service Field Office-PPA) approved her
appointment.
Meanwhile, on April 18, 1988, petitioner Ramon Anino, who ranked second to respondent
per the Comparative Data filed an appeal/petition with the PPA Appeals Board, protesting against
respondent's appointment. The PPA Appeals Board, in a Resolution dated August 11, 1988,
sustained the protest and rendered ineffective respondent's appointment based on "(1) CSC MC
No. 5, s. 1988, Par. 3; (2) CSC MC NO. 10, s. 1986, Par. A, 1.2 and Par. B; and (3) Civil Service
Eligibility." These grounds were not explained or discussed in the Resolution.
Aggrieved, respondent filed with the PPA General Manager an appeal/request for
clarification dated November 2, 1988. She questioned her replacement claiming that the
proceedings before the PPA Appeals Board were irregular because (1) she was not notified of the
hearing before it; (2) she was not furnished a copy of the August 11, 1988 PPA Appeals Board
Resolution or a copy of the protest filed by petitioner Anino; (3) she was not informed of the
reasons behind her replacement; and (4) their Port Manager (in Iloilo City), who was then an
official member of the Board, was not included in the said proceedings.
On November 8, 1988, pending resolution of her appeal/request for clarification,
respondent received a copy of PPA Special Order No. 492-88 dated October 21, 1988, also
issued by General Manager Dayan. This PPA Order officially reassigned her to the position of
Administrative Officer (SG-15) which was petitioner Anino's former position and was lower than
her previous position as Finance Officer (SG 16) before she was appointed as Division Manager
On January 16, 1989, respondent filed with the CSC an appeal formally protesting
against petitioner Anino's appointment and at the same time questioning the propriety of the
August 11, 1988 Resolution of the PPA Appeals Board. The CSC dismissed respondent's
appeal. On appeal to the CA, the appellate court nullified the resolutions of the Board and the
Civil Service due to lack of notice and hearing and that the appointment of respondent to the
position of Administrative officer constitutes a demotion which violates her rights to security of
tenure. The CA ordered also ordered the reinstatement of Monserate to the position of Resource
Management Division Manager.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not there was due process when respondent was replaced by petitioner Anino.
(2) Whether or not the appointment of petitioner Anino was valid.

HELD:
(1) NO. The grounds mentioned against respondent’s appointment were not supported by
the evidence and were in themselves ambiguous. Respondent never had any pending criminal or
administrative case at the time of her appointment as manager. She was not given the chance to

76
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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defend herself or air her side of the story as she was never notified of the resolution of the PPA
Appeals Board and was not furnished a copy of the resolution. What she received was the order
already ordering her demotion. Therefore the resolution of the PPA Appeals Board is irregular if
not null and void.
(2) NO. Nonetheless, he is considered a de facto officer during the period of his
incumbency. A de facto officer is one who is in possession of an office and who openly exercises
its functions under color of an appointment or election, even though such appointment or election
may be irregular. In Monroy vs. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled that a rightful incumbent of a
public office may recover from a de facto officer the salary received by the latter during the time of
his wrongful tenure, even though he (the de facto officer) occupied the office in good faith and
under color of title. A de facto officer, not having a good title, takes the salaries at his risk and
must, therefore, account to the de jure officer for whatever salary he received during the period of
his wrongful tenure. The rule is that where there is a de jure officer, a de facto officer, during his
wrongful incumbency, is not entitled to the emoluments attached to the office, even if he occupied
the office in good faith. This rule, however, cannot be applied squarely on the present case in
view of its peculiar circumstances. Respondent had assumed under protest the position of
Administrative Officer sometime in the latter part of 1988, which position she currently holds.
Since then, she has been receiving the emoluments, salary and other compensation attached to
such office. While her assumption to said lower position and her acceptance of the
corresponding emoluments cannot be considered as an abandonment of her claim to her rightful
office (Division Manager), she cannot recover full back wages for the period when she was
unlawfully deprived thereof. She is entitled only to back pay differentials for the period starting
from her assumption as Administrative Officer up to the time of her actual reinstatement to her
rightful position as Division Manager. Such back pay differentials pertain to the difference
between the salary rates for the positions of Manager II and Administrative Officer. The same
must be paid by petitioner Anino corresponding from the time he wrongfully assumed the
contested position up to the time of his retirement on November 30, 1997.

COMMENCEMENT OF OFFICIAL RELATIONS

COMMENCEMENT; A CES ELIGIBILITY IS A REQUIREMENT FOR A


POSITION EMBRACED IN THE CES.

DE LEON vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 127182, December 5, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: In the Decision sought to be reconsidered, we ruled that private respondent's
appointment on August 28, 1986, as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV of the Ministry of Local
Government, was temporary. Applying the case of Achacoso v. Macaraig, we held that since
private respondent was not a Career Executive Service (CES) eligible, his appointment did not
attain permanency because he did not possess the required CES eligibility for the CES position to
which he was appointed. Hence, he can be transferred or reassigned without violating his right to
security of tenure.
It appears, however, that in Jacob Montesa v. Santos, et al., decided on September 26,
1990, where the nature of private respondent's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO
IV, of the Ministry of Local Government, was first contested, this Court issued a Minute
Resolution dated March 17, 1992, holding that Achacoso v. Macaraig is not applicable to the case
of private respondent.
There was no Career Executive Service Board during the Freedom Constitution or at the
time of appointment of petitioner. The CESO was only reconstituted by the appointment of its
Board of six (6) members sometime in August 1988. There was no CESO eligibility examination
during petitioner's incumbency in the Department, as there was no CESO board. The first CESO
examination was given on August 5 and 12, 1990. The CESO eligibility was not a requirement at
the time of the appointment of petitioner. The only eligibility required is that of a first grader and
petitioner is a first grade eligible. Therefore, having met all the requirements for the position to

77
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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which he was appointed, he cannot be removed in violation of the constitutional guarantee on


security of tenure and due process.
Invoking res judicata, private respondent contends that the nature of his appointment can
no longer be passed upon and controverted in the present case considering that said issue had
already been settled in the foregoing Minute Resolution of the Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondents possessed eligibility for a permanent appointment which
entitles him to security of tenure.

HELD: NO. A reading, however, of the Integrated Reorganization Plan which was adopted and
declared part of the law of the land by Presidential Decree No. 1, dated September 24, 1972,
clearly shows that a CES eligibility is indeed a requirement for a position embraced in the CES.
It bears stressing that in Achacoso v. Macaraig, the questioned appointment was made
on October 16, 1987, before the CES Board was reconstituted in 1988, and before the first CESO
examination was given in 1990, as in the present case. Nevertheless, the Court, in Achacoso,
ruled that a CES eligibility is required for a CES position, such that an appointment of one who
does not possess such eligibility shall be temporary. Evidently, a CES eligibility has always been
one of the requirements for a position embraced in the CES. The Court finds no reason to make
an exception in the instant controversy.
The foregoing law and circular were never amended nor repealed by the Freedom
Constitution. A CES eligibility was an existing and operative requirement at the time of private
respondent's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV. Neither were the said law and
circular inconsistent with the Freedom Constitution as to render them modified or superseded. In
fact, the Integrated Reorganization Plan allows the appointment of non-CES eligibles, like private
respondent, provided they subsequently acquire the needed eligibility.

COMMENCEMENT; APPOINTMENT VS. REASSIGNMENT

DR. ELEANOR A. OSEA vs. DR. CORAZON E. MALAYA


[G.R. No. 139821, January 30, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On November 20, 1997, petitioner filed Protest Case No. 91120-004 with the Civil
Service Commission. She averred that she was appointed as Officer-in-Charge, Assistant
Schools Division Superintendent of Camarines Sur, by then Secretary Ricardo T. Gloria of the
Department of Education, Culture and Sports, upon the endorsement of the Provincial School
Board of Camarines Sur; that despite the recommendation of Secretary Gloria, President Fidel V.
Ramos appointed respondent to the position of Schools Division Superintendent of Camarines
Sur; that respondent's appointment was made without prior consultation with the Provincial
School Board, in violation of Section 99 of the Local Government Code of 1991. Hence,
petitioner prayed that respondent's appointment be recalled and set aside for being null and void.
In dismissing petitioner's protest, the Civil Service Commission held that Section 99 of the
Local Government Code of 1991 contemplates a situation where the Department of Education,
Culture and Sports issues the appointments, whereas respondent's appointment was made by no
less than the President, in the exercise of his appointing power. Moreover, the designation of
respondent as Schools Division Superintendent of Camarines Sur and of petitioner as Schools
Division Superintendent of Iriga City were in the nature of reassignments, in which case
consultation with the local school board was unnecessary.
Thus, petitioner filed a petition for review of both the Resolutions of the Civil Service
Commission before the Court of Appeals, which however dismissed the petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in deciding that the respondent
was merely reassigned to Camarines Sur and did not require the mandatory prior consultation
with the local school board under Section 99 of RA 7160.

HELD: NO. Clearly, Section 99 of the Local Government Code of 1991 applies to
appointments made by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. This is because at the
time of the enactment of the Local Government Code, schools division superintendents were

78
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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appointed by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports to specific division or location. In
1994, the Career Executive Service Board issued Memorandum Circular No. 21, Series of 1994,
placing the positions of schools division superintendent and assistant schools division
superintendent within the career executive service. Consequently, the power to appoint persons
to career executive service positions was transferred from the Department of Education, Culture
and Sports to the President.
Under the circumstances, the designation of respondent as Schools Division
Superintendent of Camarines Sur was not a case of appointment. Her designation partook of the
nature of a reassignment from Iriga City, where she previously exercised her functions as Officer-
in-Charge-Schools Division Superintendent, to Camarines Sur. Clearly, therefore, the
requirement in Section 99 of the Local Government Code of 1991 of prior consultation with the
local school board, does not apply. It only refers to appointments made by the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports. Such is the plain meaning of the said law.
Appointment should be distinguished from reassignment. An appointment may be
defined as the selection, by the authority vested with the power, of an individual who is to
exercise the functions of a given office. When completed, usually with its confirmation, the
appointment results in security of tenure for the person chosen unless he is replaceable at
pleasure because of the nature of his office.
On the other hand, a reassignment is merely a movement of an employee from one
organizational unit to another in the same department or agency which does not involve a
reduction in rank, status or salary and does not require the issuance of an appointment. In the
same vein, a designation connotes merely the imposition of additional duties on an incumbent
official.

COMMENCEMENT; AN AD INTERIM APPOINTMENT IS A PERMANENT


APPOINTMENT; DISAPPROVED AD INTERIM VS. BY-PASSSED AD
INTERIM.

MA. J. ANGELINA G. MATIBAG vs. ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, et al.


[G.R. No. 149036, April 2, 2002]

CARPIO, J:
FACTS: On February 2, 1999, the COMELEC appointed petitioner as "Acting Director IV" of
the EID. On February 15, 2000, then Chairperson Harriet O. Demetriou renewed the
appointment of petitioner as Director IV of EID in a "Temporary" capacity. On February 15, 2001,
Commissioner Rufino S. B. Javier renewed again the appointment of petitioner to the same
position in a "Temporary" capacity.
On March 22, 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed, ad interim, Benipayo
as COMELEC Chairman, and Borra and Tuason as COMELEC Commissioners, each for a term
of seven years and all expiring on February 2, 2008. Benipayo took his oath of office and
assumed the position of COMELEC Chairman; and Borra and Tuason likewise took their oaths of
office and assumed their positions as COMELEC Commissioners. The Office of the President
submitted to the Commission on Appointments on May 22, 2001 the ad interim appointments of
Benipayo, Borra and Tuason for confirmations. However, the Commission on Appointments did
not act on said appointments. This process was repeated twice.
On April 11, 2001, COMELEC Chairman Benipayo issued a Memorandum whereby he
reaasigned petitioner to the Law Department. Petitioner requested Benipayo to reconsider her
reassignment to the Law Department but to no avail. Upon denial, petitioner filed an
administrative and criminal complaint with the Law Department against Benipayo, alleging that
her reassignment violated Omnibus Election Code, COMELEC Resolution No. 3258, Civil Service
Memorandum Circular No. 07 and other pertinent administratve and civil service laws, rules and
regulations.
During the pendency of her complaint before the Law Department, petitioner filed the
instant petition questioning the appointment and the right to remain in office of Benipayo, Borra
and Tuason, as Chairman and Commissioners of the COMELEC, respectively.

ISSUES:

79
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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(1) Whether or not the assumption of office by Benipayo, Borra and Tuason on the basis of the
ad interim appointments issued by the President amounts to a temporary appointment
prohibited by Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution.
(2) Whether or not the renewal of their ad interim appointments and subsequent assumption of
office to the same positions violate the prohibition on reappointment under Section 1 (2),
Article IX-C of the Constitution.
(3) Whether or not Benipayo's removal of petitioner from her position as Director IV of the EID
and her reassignment to the Law Department is illegal and without authority, having been
done without the approval of the COMELEC as a collegial body.

HELD:
(1) NO. An ad interim appointment is a permanent appointment because it takes effect
immediately and can no longer be withdrawn by the President once the appointee has qualified
into office. The fact that it is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments does not
alter its permanent character. The Constitution itself makes an ad interim appointment permanent
in character by making it effective until disapproved by the Commission on Appointments or until
the next adjournment of Congress. The second paragraph of Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution provides as follows:
"The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the
Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only
until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the
Congress."
Thus, the ad interim appointment remains effective until such disapproval or next
adjournment, signifying that it can no longer be withdrawn or revoked by the President. The fear
that the President can withdraw or revoke at any time and for any reason an ad interim
appointment is utterly without basis.
Hence the ad interim appointments extended by the President to Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason, as COMELEC Chairman and Commissioners, respectively, do not constitute temporary
or acting appointments prohibited by Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution.
(2) NO. There is no dispute that an ad interim appointee disapproved by the Commission on
Appointments can no longer be extended a new appointment. The disapproval is a final decision
of the Commission on Appointments in the exercise of its checking power on the appointing
authority of the President. The disapproval is a decision on the merits, being a refusal by the
Commission on Appointments to give its consent after deliberating on the qualifications of the
appointee. Since the Constitution does not provide for any appeal from such decision, the
disapproval is final and binding on the appointee as well as on the appointing power. In this
instance, the President can no longer renew the appointment not because of the constitutional
prohibition on reappointment, but because of a final decision by the Commission on
Appointments to withhold its consent to the appointment.
An ad interim appointment that is by-passed because of lack of time or failure of the
Commission on Appointments to organize is another matter. A by-passed appointment is one
that has not been finally acted upon on the merits by the Commission on Appointments at the
close of the session of Congress. There is no final decision by the Commission on Appointments
to give or withhold its consent to the appointment as required by the Constitution. Absent such
decision, the President is free to renew the ad interim appointment of a by-passed appointee.
(3) NO. The Chairman, as the Chief Executive of the COMELEC, is expressly empowered on
his own authority to transfer or reassign COMELEC personnel in accordance with the Civil
Service Law. In the exercise of this power, the Chairman is not required by law to secure the
approval of the COMELEC en banc.
Petitioner's appointment papers dated February 2, 1999, February 15, 2000 and
February 15, 2001, indisputably show that she held her Director IV position in the EID only in an
acting or temporary capacity. Petitioner is not a Career Executive Service (CES) officer, and
neither does she hold Career Executive Service Eligibility, which are necessary qualifications for
holding the position of Director IV as prescribed in the Qualifications Standards (Revised 1987)
issued by the Civil Service Commission. Obviously, petitioner does not enjoy security of tenure as
Director IV.

80
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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POWERS AND DUTIES OF A PUBLIC OFFICER

POWERS AND DUTIES; MANDAMUS WILL LIE ONLY TO COMPEL THE


PERFORMANCE OF A MINISTERIAL DUTY BUT NOT TO FULFILL
CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS.

G & S TRANSPORT CORP. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 120287, May 28, 2002]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner G & S Transport Corporation (G & S), with the name and style Avis Rent-A-
Car, was the exclusive operator of coupon taxi services at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
(NAIA) under a five (5)-year contract of concession with respondent Manila International Airport
Authority (MIAA). The concession contract expired but was renewed by the parties on a monthly
basis "until such time when a new concessionaire (shall have been) chosen." Under the
arrangement, G & S was able to operate the coupon taxi service uninterruptedly beyond the
period of five (5) years originally awarded by MIAA.
On 12 July 1994 MIAA initiated proceedings for public bidding to choose two (2)
concessionaires of the coupon taxi services at the NAIA. Five (5) firms pre-qualified to join.
Consequently, MIAA selected 2000 TRANSPORT and NISSAN as the winning bidders and
issued in their favor the respective notice of awards of the coupon taxi service concession.
Petitioner G & S filed a complaint for injunction and mandamus with preliminary injunction
and temporary restraining order against MIAA and its General Manager, 2000 TRANSPORT and
NISSAN. The complaint sought to disqualify 2000 TRANSPORT from the award of the
concession contract the bidding including petitioner G & S and respondents 2000 TRANSPORT
and NISSAN and it also asserted that the concession contract should have been executed in
favor of G & S.
The trial court dismissed the complaint. It ruled that the complaint failed to state a cause
of action against herein respondents and that mandamus was unavailable to compel the award of
the concession contract in favor of G & S since such decision was discretionary upon the MIAA.
The Court of Appeals granted the petitions for certiorari of 2000 TRANSPORT and
NISSAN, set aside the order of the trial court issuing the writ of preliminary injunction, and
prohibited the trial court from "hearing and taking further cognizance of the case except to dismiss
the same. The appellate court held that the trial court gravely abused its discretion when it issued
the writ of preliminary injunction since under PD 1818 no court would have jurisdiction to restrain
the operation of a public utility and since the selection of winning bidders was solely the discretion
of the sponsoring government agency.

ISSUE: Whether or not a mandamus was available to compel the award of the concession
contract in favor of the petitioner.

HELD: NO. It is a settled rule that mandamus will lie only to compel the performance of a
ministerial duty but does not lie to require anyone to fulfill contractual obligations. Only such
duties as are clearly and peremptorily enjoined by law or by reason of official station are to be
enforced by the writ. Whether MIAA will enter into a contract for the provision of a coupon taxi
service at the international airport is entirely and exclusively within its corporate discretion. It
does not involve a duty the performance of which is enjoined by law and thus this Court cannot
direct the exercise of this prerogative.
Indeed the determination of the winning bidders should be left to the sound judgment of
the MIAA which is the agency in the best position to evaluate the proposals and to decide which
bid would most complement the NAIA's services. The exercise of such discretion is a policy
decision that necessitates such procedures as prior inquiry, investigation, comparison, evaluation
and deliberation. This process would necessarily entail the technical expertise of MIAA which the
courts do not possess in order to evaluate the standards affecting this matter -- courts, as a rule,
refuse to interfere with proceedings undertaken by administrative bodies or officials in the
exercise of administrative functions. This is so because such bodies are generally better

81
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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equipped technically to decide administrative questions and that non-legal factors, such as
government policy on the matter, are usually involved in the decisions.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; PUBLIC SERVICE REQUIRES UTMOST


INTEGRITY AND STRICTEST DISCIPLINE POSSIBLE OF EVERY PUBLIC
SERVANT.

BALTAZAR LL. FIRMALO vs. MELINDA C. QUIRREZ


[A.M. No. P-00-1401, January 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On May 20, 1996, then Presiding Judge, Cezar R. Maravilla, of RTC-Branch 82 of
Odiongan, issued an order reprimanding and censuring the respondent for insubordination and
gross inefficiency. The reprimand arose from the respondent’s failure to submit an inventory of
cases and to schedule certain criminal cases in the court’ calendar.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court required the respondent to submit a written explanation
why no administrative sanction should be rendered against her. Several months thereafter,
respondent was re-assigned to the typing of orders, decisions clearances, etc. However, she
failed to perform these tasks efficiently as shown by her works marred by omissions, spelling
syntax and error.
Respondent filed her comment stating that the matter of her failure to calendar the
criminal cases was deemed closed and terminated following the submission of her explanation.
She further pointed out that the errors she committed were already corrected and remedied.
Upon submission of this case to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for
evaluation and recommendation, the said office recommended that respondent be ordered to pay
a fine of Php 1,000.00 with a stern warning that that a commission of similar offense shall be
dealt with more severely.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is guilty as found by the OCA.

HELD: YES. Indeed, the respondent has all but admitted the wrongdoing complained of when
she stated, among others, that the “exhibits submitted to your Office are Orders of the then
judges (retired and returned to regular station) typewritten by me showing an error in the margin.
These, however, have been accordingly corrected….”
While indeed respondent may have “corrected” and “remedied” her mistakes and
shortcomings, it must be stressed that requisite competence and efficiency is not confined to
those isolated instances pointed out by complainant but is a continuous obligation demanded of
her for so long as she serves in the judiciary.
Sine the administration of justice is a sacred task, the person involved in it ought to live
up to the strictest standard of honesty, integrity and uprightness. It bears stressing once again
that public service requires utmost integrity and the strictest discipline possible of every public
servant. A public office is a public trust that enjoins all public officers and employees, particularly
those serving in the judiciary to respond to the highest degree of dedication often even beyond
personal interest. As held in the case Mendoza vs. Mabutas, the Court condemns and would
never countenance such conduct, act or omission on the part of all those involved in the
administration of justice which would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish and
even just tend to diminish the faith if the people in the Judiciary.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THOSE INVOLVED IN THE


ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE CARRY A HEAVY BURDEN OF
RESPONSIBILITY.

82
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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TERESITA H. ZIPAGAN vs. JOVENCIO N. TATTAO


[A.M. No. P-01-1512, September 24, 2001]

PANGANIBAN, J:
FACTS: Complainant claims that on 26 February 1998 she went to the Office of the Clerk of
Court of the Regional Trial Court of Cabagan, Isabela to discuss an important official matter with
the presiding judge of said Court. Thereafter she talked with a certain Mrs. Albano, the officer-in-
charge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 22, Cabagan, Isabela regarding her consultation with
the judge. It was at that juncture that respondent berated her saying “[G]et out of this place, we
don't receive orders from the Department of Justice because we are under the Supreme Court,
you [have been] a sucker ever since the time of Judge Vera Cruz.” Afterwards, respondent
slapped her right cheek and hit her right eye with a glass with water causing her to become wet.
As a result of the incident she suffered injury in her right eye.
In his COMMENT dated 02 June 1998, respondent avers that on 26 February 1998,
complainant entered their office and therein shouted ‘… so many utterances which disturbed the
people who [were] attending the trial of cases set for said date.' He told her not to shout since
their office [was] not a market place but complainant went near him and threw the 'glass of Sprite'
he was drinking (respondent was taking his merienda that time). Thereafter, Zipagan hit him with
a ballpen, wounding his right elbow in the process so he slapped her with his left hand. Still,
complainant kept on attacking him and was only pacified when Utility Worker Gerard Vinasoy
brought her out of the office.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent failed to measure up to that behavior expected of a court
employee.

HELD: YES. Time and time again, this Court has emphasized that "the conduct of every
employee of the judiciary must be at all times characterized [by] propriety 'and decorum and
above all else, it must be above and beyond suspicion." We have reiterated in several cases that
"the conduct and behavior of every official and employee of an agency involved in the
administration of justice, from the presiding judge to the most junior clerk, should be
circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct must at all times be
characterized by, among others, strict propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the respect
of the public for the judiciary.''
Moreover, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and Employees
(RA 6713) implements the State policy of promoting a high standard of ethical responsibility in the
public service. Specifically, Section 4 of the Code requires "[p]ublic officials and employees . . .
[to] respect the rights of others, and . . . refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals,
good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest."
Clearly, the brash and callow behavior of respondent is unbecoming a court employee.
Assuming that complainant was disturbing the orderly administration of justice with her noisy
chatter, respondent should have exercised more patience and adopted a more prudent manner in
asking her to leave the office. His abrupt interruption of the conversation, followed by his slapping
her face and hitting her right eye has shamed not only the court he was serving, but the entire
judiciary as well.
Clearly, respondent has degraded the dignity of the judiciary and undermined the
people's faith and confidence in it. Indeed, the Court looks with great disfavor [upon] any display
of animosity by any court employee. Court personnel must, at all times, act with strict propriety
and proper decorum so as to earn the public's regard for the judiciary. Improper behavior,
particularly during office hours, exhibits not only a paucity of professionalism at the workplace but
also a great disrespect to the court itself. Such a demeanor is a failure of circumspection
demanded of every public official and employee.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THE GROUND FOR REMOVAL OF A


JUDICIAL OFFICER SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.

ANG vs. JUDGE ASIS


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1590, January 15, 2002]

83
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: In a Complaint-Affidavit dated April 7, 2000 filed with the Office of the Court
Administrator, Gina B. Ang charged Judge Enrique C. Asis, Presiding Judge of Branch 16 of the
Regional Trial Court of Naval, Biliran, with Bribery, Extortion and Violation of the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act relative to Election Case No. 98-01.
Sometime in October 1998, while her election protest was pending, respondent allegedly
intimated to complainant's lawyers that he will decide the case in complainant's favor in exchange
for monetary consideration. Without her knowledge, complainant's father delivered to respondent
the total amount of P140,000.00 on three occasions in October 1998, January 1999, and April
1999.
Sometime in December 1998, complainant was told by her lawyers that respondent had
requested assistance in the promotion of his brother, then Examiner II at the Bureau of Customs,
through complainant's cousin, Atty. Ramon Salazar, Jr., who was the Chief of Staff of the
Customs Commissioner. Complainant refused but, unbeknown to her, her family immediately
contacted her cousin and respondent's brother was soon promoted.
Subsequently, complainant learned that respondent had requested that his son be
admitted for training at the Philippine Heart Center. Complainant refused as she might be
misinterpreted as extending any assistance to respondent in order to obtain a favorable decision.
Nevertheless, she acceded to her lawyer's request to bring respondent's son to Manila and even
paid for the latter's plane fare and accommodation until his application was granted by the
Philippine Heart Center.
In January 2000, complainant allegedly received a call from respondent telling her that
his son needed P4,000.00 for his training. Thinking that this was a request for a loan, she
agreed. Since she did not have cash at the time, she asked her friend to give a check to
respondent's son.
On March 14, 2000, respondent rendered his decision in the election protest declaring
Caridad Atok winner in the mayoralty race.
Respondent filed his Comment. He vehemently denied the charges of complainant and
instead, he cited various citations he received as a member of the Judiciary of Biliran because of
his integrity.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent judge is guilty of Bribery, Extortion and Violation of the Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

HELD: NO. From the affidavit-complaint of the complainant, it will be noted that all the charges
of complainant are based on informations (sic) allegedly given or passed on to her by her
lawyers. Complainant's lawyers in her electoral protest filed in the sala of respondent Judge Asis
were Attorneys Lee and Matriano.
However, complainant did not present any of these lawyers, Attys. Lee or Matriano, to
corroborate her allegations that they, Attys. Lee and Matriano, were approached by respondent
"intimating" that for a consideration he will render a favorable decision for complainant in the
electoral protest.
The ground for the removal of a judicial officer should be established beyond reasonable
doubt. Such is the rule where the charges on which the removal is sought is misconduct in office,
willful neglect, corruption, incompetency, etc. The general rule in regard to admissibility in
evidence in criminal trials apply.
In short, this Court can not give credence to charges based on mere suspicion or
speculation. While this Court will never tolerate or condone any act, conduct or omission that
would violate the norm of public accountability or diminish the people's faith in the judiciary,
neither will it hesitate to shield those under its employ from unfounded suits that only serve to
disrupt rather than promote the orderly administration of justice
For administrative liability to attach it must be established that respondent was moved by
bad faith, dishonesty, hatred or some other motive. Bad faith does not simply connote bad
judgment or negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious
doing of a wrong; a breach of a sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill-will; it partakes of
the nature of fraud. It contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or
some motive of self-interest or ill-will for ulterior purposes. Evident bad faith connotes a manifest
deliberate intent on the part of the accused to do wrong or cause damage.

84
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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In the case at bar, the record does not show that respondent judge was moved by ill-will
or bad faith in rendering the adverse judgment, or that his ruling was manifestly unjust.
Complainant has not, in fact, adduced any proof to show that impropriety attended the issuance
of the subject decision. To reiterate, bad faith is not presumed and he who alleges the same has
the onus of proving it.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; JUDGES MAY NOT BE HELD LIABLE


ADMINISTRATIVELY RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY ERROR OR MISTAKE IN
THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES.

GERRY JAUCIAN vs. SALVACION B. ESPINAS


[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1641, May 9, 2002]

PANGANIBAN, J:
FACTS: Complainant, as losing mayoral candidate for the Municipality of Daraga, Albay, in the
May 11, 1998 local elections, filed a petition, dated May 22, 1998, denominated as an 'election
protest and/or revision/recounting of votes,' on the ground that fraud and anomalies were
allegedly committed during the aforesaid local elections, both in the course of voting and during
the counting and tabulation of the ballots, to his prejudice. He prayed for the issuance of an order
directing the revision or recounting of the ballots in the contested 114 precincts as enumerated in
his petition, the nullification and setting aside of the proclamation of Wilson Andes as mayor, and
his own proclamation as mayor.
Later, respondent judge issued the assailed Order, dated March 8, 1999 which contained
a finding that 'only thirteen (13) ballot boxes were found well supported to warrant the approval of
the relief being sought by the protestant.
Complainant asserts that respondent judge should have ordered a revision of the ballots
in all the precincts alleged in the Complaint, pursuant to Section 255 of the Omnibus Election
Code. To justify her March 8, 1999 Order directing a partial revision of the ballots, respondent
cites The Updated Election Code of the Philippines as modified/amended.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent judge can be held administratively liable for gross
ignorance of the law.

HELD: YES. Judges may be held administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law when it
is shown that — motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption — they ignored,
contradicted or failed to apply settled law and jurisprudence.
In this case, respondent's Order on a very basic subject was patently erroneous. 16 Her
failure to observe the requirements prescribed by the Omnibus Election Code for an election
protest is inexcusable. First, the said Code took effect on December 3, 1985, long before the
1998 elections. Second, the evidence shows that she acted in bad faith.
Judges may not be held liable administratively responsible for every error or mistake in
the performance of their duties; otherwise, that would make their position unbearable. To merit
disciplinary sanction, the error or mistake must be gross or patent, malicious, deliberate, or in bad
faith. In the absence of proof to the contrary, a defective or erroneous decision or order is
presumed to have been issued in good faith.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; GOOD FAITH IS ALWAYS PRESUMED


UNLESS CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY IS ADDUCED.

ANDRADE vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 127932, December 7, 2001]

DE LEON JR, J:
FACTS: On July 6, 1971, petitioner was appointed as permanent teacher in the Division of City
Schools, Manila. She was initially assigned as English teacher at the Araullo High School, Manila.
On June 14, 1985, two (2) days before the opening of classes for the school year 1985-1986,
petitioner was not given any teaching load.

85
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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In an indorsement dated July 30, 1985, addressed to Superintendent Coronel, private


respondent Wingsing cited three (3) reasons why petitioner Andrade was not given any teaching
load: (1) drastic drop of enrollment; (2) she was declared an excess teacher; and (3) she ranked
lowest in her performance rating. Hence, on August 22, 1985, Superintendent Coronel informed
the petitioner, through private respondent Wingsing, that the petitioner would be designated to a
non-teaching position in the meantime that arrangements were being made for her eventual
reassignment to other schools where her services may be needed.
Feeling aggrieved, petitioner filed an action for damages with mandatory injunction
against private respondent Dominador S. Wingsing, English Department Head Virginia E. Fermin
and Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Arturo F. Coronel before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Quezon City.
Petitioner contends that public respondent Court of Appeals erred in applying the Orcino
Doctrine and that Sec. 31 of P.D. No. 807, otherwise known as the Civil Service Commission,
Sec. 6 of R.A. No. 4670, otherwise known as The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers and
R.A. No. 2260, as amended should be the applicable laws.
Petitioner asserts that private respondent Wingsing failed to comply with the said laws
considering that no performance evaluation plan which can be the basis for personal action was
ever presented in evidence to justify the latter's actions. What was shown were performance
rating sheets and the Certification on the Audit of Teachers, allegedly prepared by petitioner's co-
teachers and personnel from the Office of the Research and Evaluation Services, which petitioner
Andrade did not conform to nor sign.
Petitioner also doubts the veracity of private respondent Wingsing's claim that there was
a reduction of classes for the school year 1985-1986 as reason for her being declared as an
excess teacher since Araullo High School even hired three (3) more new teachers that school
year. To underscore her claim that she had been singled out, petitioner asserts that, contrary to
the declaration of respondent Wingsing, there was no other person declared as an excess
teacher in Araullo High School for that school year.

ISSUE: Whether or not private respondent is liable for damages.

HELD: NO. "Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his
duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."
The elements of abuse of one's rights under the said Article 19 (New Civil Code) are the
following: (1) there is a legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent
of prejudicing or injuring another. In this regard, it appeared that the complaint of petitioner
Andrade failed to meet the second and third requirements.
Wingsing was not at all dictated by whim or fancy, nor of spite against the petitioner but
was rather guided by the following factors: qualification to teach, seniority, teaching performance
and attitude towards the school community. For two (2) consecutive years petitioner received an
unsatisfactory rating, the lowest, from two (2) English Department Heads, namely: Herminia
Valdez and Virginia Fermin. Petitioner knew about her poor rating, but she refused to
acknowledge it. She did not question nor contest the same.
Contrary to the claim of petitioner, there were no new teachers hired that school year in
Araullo High School; rather, existing substitute teachers were merely given permanent
designation or assigned new subjects, significantly, prior to the teachers' audit or to the
declaration of excess teachers on July 27, 1985.
Entrenched is the rule that bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or
negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a
wrong; a breach of sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of
fraud. In the case at bar, we find that there was no "dishonest purpose," or "some moral
obliquity," or "conscious doing of a wrong," or "breach of a known duty," or "some motive or
interest or ill will" that can be attributed to the private respondent. It appeared that efforts to
accommodate petitioner were made as she was offered to handle two (2) non-teaching jobs, that
is, to handle Developmental Reading lessons and be an assistant Librarian, pending her re-
assignment or transfer to another work station, but she refused. The same would not have been
proposed if the intention of private respondent were to cause undue hardship on the petitioner.
Good faith is always presumed unless convincing evidence to the contrary is adduced. It is
incumbent upon the party alleging bad faith to sufficiently prove such allegation. Absent enough
proof thereof, the presumption of good faith prevails. In the case at bar, the burden of proving
alleged bad faith therefore was with petitioner but she failed to discharge such onus probandi.

86
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Without a clear and persuasive evidence of bad faith, the presumption of good faith in favor of
private respondent stands.
As explained by payroll clerk Aida Soliman, petitioner's name was not deleted from the
regular monthly payroll but merely transferred to the last page of the roll since she failed to submit
her Form 48 or Daily Time Record (DTR) sheet on time.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; WITHDRAWAL OF A COMPLAINT OR


SUBSEQUENT DESISTANCE BY THE COMPLAINANT IN AN
ADMINISTRATIVE CASE DOES NOT NECESSARILY WARRANT ITS
DISMISSAL.

ISAGANI RIZON vs. JUDGE OSCAR E. ZERNA


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1575, September 17, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Complainant Rizon filed an election protest before the RTC presided by respondent
Judge Zerna. Complainant contested the election of protestee Ong for the position of Mayor of
the Municipality of Baroy, Lanao del Norte, the latter having been proclaimed as winner in the
May 11, 1998 elections. On November 22, 1998, the parties submitted the case for decision but
the case had remained undecided within three (3) months after its submission. On February 26,
1998 complainant filed a "Motion to Render Early Decision," which according to complainant, fell
on "deaf ears." Complainant thus filed an affidavit-complaint before this Court charging
respondent with "willful, deliberate, and malicious delay in rendering the decision."
Upon evaluation of the complaint and respondent Judge's comment thereto, the OCA
submitted a report to this Court finding the judge guilty of gross inefficiency, the delay in the
disposition of the case being inexcusable. The report stated, among other things, that: “Judge
Zerna has a history of delay in deciding cases, he failed to render decision within the ninety (90)
day period and to accordingly render decision in twenty two (22) criminal cases, seventeen (17)
civil cases, five (5) criminal and nine (9) civil cases appealed from the lower courts, and other
pending matters in four (4) cases; to take appropriate action for the early resolution of twenty
eight (28) other cases; to take further action on thirty two (32) others which he failed to act on or
set in the court calendar after the lapse of considerable length of time; and to act on twenty three
(23) other cases that could already be archived.”
Pending resolution of this case, complainant filed before the Supreme Court an Affidavit
of Desistance, stating that "after careful deliberation," he found that the case "does not merit
further prosecution." Complainant informed the Court that he is "no longer interested in pursuing
the complaint."

ISSUE: Whether or not the Affidavit of Desistance filed by the complainant can absolve the
respondent from liability.

HELD: NO. Complainant's desistance cannot absolve respondent from liability. In Enojas, Jr.
vs. Gacott, Jr., we said: “To begin with, withdrawal of a complaint or subsequent desistance by
the complainant in an administrative case does not necessarily warrant its dismissal.
Administrative actions cannot depend on the will or pleasure of the complainant who may, for
reasons of his own, condone what may be detestable. Neither can the Court be bound by the
unilateral act of the complainant in a matter relating to its disciplinary power. The Court does not
dismiss administrative cases against members of the Bench merely on the basis of withdrawal of
the charges. Desistance cannot divest the Court of its jurisdiction to investigate and decide the
complaint against the respondent. To be sure, public interest is at stake in the conduct and
actuation of officials and employees of the judiciary. And the program and efforts of this Court in
improving the delivery of justice to the people should not be frustrated and put to naught by
private arrangements between the parties.”

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; IN THE ABSENCE OF SUBSTANTIAL


EVIDENCE, ANDMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY COULD NOT BE BASED ON THE
PRINCIPLE OF COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY.

87
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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ANTONIO G. PRINCIPE vs. FACT-FINDING AND INTELLIGENCE BUREAU


(FFIB), OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
[G.R. No. 145973, January 23, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On February 19, 1991, then City Mayor of Antipolo City, Daniel S. Garcia, endorsed
the Philjas Corporation to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) for the creation,
development and sale of lots of the Cherry Hills Subdivision (CHS) located in the above-
mentioned city. Thereafter, Philjas was issued different permits and documents for purposes of
proceeding with the project. Eventually, a Small Scale Mining Permit (SSMP) was issued to
Philjas to extract and remove 10,000 cu. Meters of filling materials from the area where the
proposed subdivision is to be constructed. However, another respondent (in the CA case)
informed Philjas that CHS is within the EIS System and as such must secure ECC from the
DENR. Subsequently, Philjas applied for an ECC permit.
Upon the recommendation of one of the subordinates of herein petitioner, the latter
approved Philjas’s application for an ECC permit. The petitioner approved the same based from
the Inspection Report conducted by petitioner’s subordinates.
The Ombudsman rendered a decision finding the petitioner Principe administratively
liable for Gross Neglect of Duty and imposed upon him the penalty of dismissal from office. The
CA affirmed the Ombudsman’s decision. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ombudsman may dismiss petitioner from the service on an
administrative charge for gross neglect of duty, initiated, investigated and decided by the
Ombudsman himself without substantial evidence to support his findings of gross neglect of duty
because the duty to monitor and inspect the project was not vested in the petitioner.

HELD: NO. DAO 38-1990 specifically points out the functions of the office attached to the
petitioner and nowhere in it can be found the latter’s responsibility of monitoring housing and land
development projects. The Ombudsman, without taking into consideration the lawfully mandated
duties and functions attached to petitioner’s position, immediately concluded that as the signing
and approving authority of the ECC issued to Philjas, it was incumbent upon the petitioner to
conduct actual monitoring and enforce strict compliance with the terms of the ECC.
Hence, how could petitioner be guilty of neglecting a duty, which is not even his to begin
with? Administrative liability could not be based on the fact that petitioner was the person who
signed and approved the ECC, without proof of actual act or omission constituting neglect of duty.
In the absence of substantial evidence of gross neglect of petitioner, administrative
liability could not be based on the principle of command responsibility. The negligence of the
petitioner’s subordinates is not tantamount to his own negligence.
It was not within the mandated responsibilities of petitioner to conduct actual monitoring
of projects. The principles governing public officers under the Revised Administrative Code of
1987 clearly provide that a head of a department or a superior officer shall not be civilly liable for
the wrongful acts, omissions of duty, negligence, or misfeasance of his subordinates, unless he
has actually authorized by written order the specific act or misconduct complained of.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; ADMINISTRATIVE OFFENSES DO NOT


PRESCRIBE.

FLORIA vs. SUNGA


[A.M. NO. CA-01-10-P 1, November 14, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: This is a motion for reconsideration for an administrative case filed against Alda Floria
by her fellow employees in the Court of Appeals, which was previously dismissed by this Court.
Said Floria was complained for immorality for having an illicit relationship with a married man, for
falsification for tampering her children’s birth certificates with a legitimate status, and for
misrepresentation by claiming that she earned a Masteral’s Degree. The prior case was

88
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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dismissed on the ground that the illicit relationship was ongoing and the presence of ill motive on
the part of the complainants.

ISSUE: Does the fact that the offense was no longer existing exculpate a person from an
administrative complaint?

HELD: NO. Administrative offenses do not prescribe. It bears stressing that it is not in
accordance with the norms of morality for a woman, even if single, to maintain an illicit
relationship with a married man. Even if such relationship had ended, the stigma of immorality
still attaches to the parties, especially the woman. This is specially so when the persons
concerned are public employees who are supposed to maintain a high standard of morality in
order to live up to their role as models in society. The fact that the illicit relationship has ceased
will only mitigate her culpability.
This Court demands that every employee of the judiciary must adhere to the exacting
standards of honesty, integrity, morality, and decency in his professional and personal conduct,
thus: "Every employee of the judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness and
honesty. Like any public servant, he must exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity not
only in the performance of his official duties but in his personal and private dealings with other
people, to preserve the court's good name and standing.” It cannot be overstressed that the
image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct, official and otherwise, of the personnel who
worked thereat, from the judge to the lowest of its personnel. Court personnel have been
enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and decency in their professional and
private conduct in order to preserve the good name and integrity of the courts of justice.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; NO ONE CAN BE SAID TO HAVE ANY


VESTED RIGHT IN AN OFFICE OR ITS SALARY; EXCEPTION.

BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY


[G.R. No. 142801-802, July 10, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: On 30 June 1987, former President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order (EO)
No. 1273 establishing the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) as part of the
structural organization of the Department of Finance. It was made as the agency of primary
responsibility for anti smuggling operations in all land areas and inland waters and waterways
outside the areas of sole jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs.
On 7 January 2000, motivated by the fact that “the designated functions of the EIIB are
also being performed by the other existing agencies of the government” and that “there is a need
to constantly monitor the overlapping functions” among these agencies, former President Joseph
Estrada issued EO No.1911 ordering the deactivation of EIIB and the transfer of its functions to
the Bureau of Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation. On 29 March 2000, former
President Estrada issued EO No. 2232 providing that all EIIB personnel occupying positions
specified therein shall be deemed separated from the service effective 30 April 2000, pursuant to
a bona fide reorganization resulting to abolition, redundancy, merger, division or consolidation of
positions.
Petitioners, who for themselves and in behalf of others with whom they share a common
or general interest, filed the instant petition seeking the nullification of EO Nos. 1911 and 2232
based on the grounds presented as issues below.

ISSUE: Whether or not the assailed EOs violate the right to security of tenure.

HELD: NO. Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the
competence of a legitimate body done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. Valid abolition of
offices is neither removal nor separation of the incumbents.

89
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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In Dario v. Mison, it was ruled that “reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been
regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. As a general rule, a reorganization is
carried out in ‘good faith’ if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more
efficient. In that event, no dismissal (in case of dismissal) or separation actually occurs because
the position itself ceases to exist. And in that case, security of tenure would not be a Chinese
wall. Be that as it may, if the ‘abolition,’ which is nothing else but a separation or removal, is done
for the political reasons or purposely to defeat security of tenure, otherwise not in good faith, no
valid abolition takes place and whatever abolition done is void ab initio. There is an invalid
abolition as where there is merely a change of nomenclature of positions or where claims of
economy are belied by the existence of ample funds.” Indeed, there is no such thing as an
absolute right to hold office. Except constitutional offices which provide for special immunity as
regards salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; DISTINCTION AMONG EMPLOYEES MUST


BE BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL DISTINCTIONS.

CRUZ, et, al. vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 134740, October 23, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Since 1963, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), a government owned
corporation, adopted various resolutions granting the payment of social amelioration benefits
(SAB) to all its employees, sourced from corporate funds. In May 1994, the Resident Auditor of
the Commission on Audit (COA) in the SRA, Juanita Villarosa examined the accounts of the SRA.
Pursuant to Section 12 of R.A. 6758, which provides that “such other additional compensation,
whether in cash or in kind, being received by the incumbents only as of 1 July 1989, not
integrated into the standardized rates shall continue to be authorized,” Villarosa questioned the
legality of the payment of the SAB to all employees of the SRA. In a letter dated 26 September
1994, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) ruled that the grant of the SAB had no
legal basis and was in violation of R.A. 6758. Accordingly, the auditor suspended the payment of
SAB to SRA employees.
The SRA Administrator filed a letter with the COA requesting the lifting of the suspension.
In the meantime, the affected SRA employees appealed to the Office of the President for the
continued grant of SAB. The COA denied the request for the lifting of suspension of payment of
SAB, claiming that upon the effectivity of R.A. 6758 (on 1 July 1989), the grant of the SAB was no
longer allowed unless there was a prior authority from the DBM or Office of the President or a
legislative issuance.
On 11 May 1996, the Office of the President, through Executive Secretary Ruben Torres,
issued a 1st Indorsement, granting post facto approval/ratification of the SAB to SRA employees.
On the basis thereof, SRA filed a motion for reconsideration with the COA for the lifting of the
suspension of payment of SAB to its employees. COA allowed the payment of SAB to SRA
employees but only to those hired before 31 October 1989. Other employees remained not
entitled to said benefits.

ISSUE: Whether or not COA gravely abused its discretion in denying SAB to SRA employees
hired before 31 October 1989.

HELD: YES. The classification of COA as to who were entitled to the SAB and excluding
therefrom those employees hired after 31 October 1989, has no legal basis. The date of hiring of
an employee cannot be considered as a substantial distinction. The employees, based on the
title or position they were holding, were exposed to the same type of work, regardless of the date
they were hired. The date of hiring is not among the factors that shall be taken into consideration
in fixing compensation or granting of benefits. R.A. 6758, Section 2 provides, thus: “Sec. 2.
Statement of Policy. – It is hereby declared the policy of the State to provide equal pay for
substantially equal work and to base differences in pay upon substantive differences in duties and
responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the positions. xxx” Evidently, any distinction
among employees must be based on substantial differences, that is, level or rank, degree of

90
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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difficulty and amount of work. To discriminate against some employees on the basis solely of the
date of hiring is to run against the progressive and social policy of the law.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THOSE WHO SIT AS ALTERNATES FOR


DEPARTMENT SECRETARIES ARE LIKEWISE PROHIBITED FROM
RECEIVING ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION.

DELA CRUZ, et al. vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 138489, November 29, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: On September 19, 1997, the COA issued Memorandum No. 97-038 directing all unit
heads/auditors/team leaders of the national government agencies and government-owned and
controlled corporations which have effected payment of any form of additional compensation or
remuneration to cabinet secretaries, their deputies and assistants, or their representatives, in
violation of the rule on multiple positions, to (a) immediately cause the disallowance of such
additional compensation or remuneration given to and received by the concerned officials, and (b)
effect the refund of the same from the time of the finality of the Supreme Court En Banc Decision
in the consolidated cases of Civil Liberties Union vs. Executive Secretary and Anti-Graft League
of the Philippines, Inc, et al. vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, et al., promulgated on February
22, 1991. The COA Memorandum further stated that the said Supreme Court Decision, which
became final and executory on August 19, 1991, declared Executive Order No. 284
unconstitutional insofar as it allows Cabinet members, their deputies and assistants to hold other
offices, in addition to their primary offices, and to receive compensation therefor.
Petitioners, through then Chairman Dionisio C. Dela Serna of the NHA Board of
Directors, appealed from the Notice of Disallowance to the Commission on Audit based on the
following grounds:
1. The Decision of the Supreme Court in Civil Liberties Union and Anti-Graft League of the
Philippines, Inc. was clarified in the Resolution of the Court En Banc on August 1, 1991,
in that the constitutional ban against dual or multiple positions applies only to the
members of the Cabinet, their deputies or assistants. It does not cover other appointive
officials with equivalent rank or those lower than the position of Assistant Secretary; and
2. The NHA Directors are not Secretaries, Undersecretaries or Assistant Secretaries and
that they occupy positions lower than the position of Assistant Secretary.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners, as mere alternates are entitled to their representation
allowances.

HELD: NO. Presidential Decree No. 757 is the law "Creating the National Housing Authority
and dissolving the existing housing agencies, defining its powers and functions, providing funds
therefor, and for other purposes." Section 7 thereof provides:
SECTION 7. Board of Directors. — The Authority shall be governed by a Board of
Directors, hereinafter referred to as the Board, which shall be composed of the Secretary of
Public Works, Transportation and Communication, the Director-General of the National
Economic and Development Authority, the Secretary of Finance, the Secretary of Labor, the
Secretary of Industry, the Executive Secretary and the General Manager of the Authority.
From among the members, the President will appoint a chairman. The members of the Board
may have their respective alternates who shall be the officials next in rank to them and whose
acts shall be considered the acts of their principals with the right to receive their benefit:
Provided, that in the absence of the Chairman, the Board shall elect a temporary presiding
officer.
The prohibition against holding dual or multiple offices or employment under Section 13,
Article VII of the Constitution must not, however, be construed as applying to posts occupied by
the Executive officials specified therein without additional compensation in an ex-officio capacity
as provided by law and as required by the primary functions of said officials' office. The reason is
that these posts do not comprise any other office within the contemplation of the constitutional
prohibition but are properly an imposition of additional duties and functions on said officials.

91
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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It may be conceded that the directors concerned occupy positions lower than Assistant
Secretary which may exempt them from the prohibition (under) the doctrine enunciated in Civil
Liberties Union vs. Executive Secretary, supra. However, their positions are merely derivative;
they derive their authority as agents of the authority they are representing; their power and
authority is sourced from the power and authority of the cabinet members they are sitting for.
Sans the cabinet members, they are non-entities, without power and without personality to act in
any manner with respect to the official transactions of the NHA. The agent or representative can
only validly act and receive benefits for such action if the principal authority he is representing can
legally do so for the agent can only do so much as his principal can do. The agent can never be
larger than the principal. If the principal is absolutely barred from holding any position in and
absolutely prohibited from receiving any remuneration from the NHA or any government agency,
for that matter, so must the agent be. Indeed, the water cannot rise above its source.
Since the Executive Department Secretaries, as ex-officio members of the NHA Board,
are prohibited from receiving "extra (additional) compensation, whether it be in the form of a per
diem or an honorarium or an allowance, or some other such euphemism," it follows that
petitioners who sit as their alternates cannot likewise be entitled to receive such compensation. A
contrary rule would give petitioners a better right than their principals.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; SECURITY OF TENURE DEPENDS UPON


THE NATURE OF THE APPOINTMENT WHICH IN TURN DEPENDS UPON
THE POSSESSION OF THE REQUISITE ELIGIBILITY.

MA. CHONA M. DIMAYUGA vs. MARIANO E. BENEDICTO II


[G.R. No. 144153, January 16, 2002]

DE LEON, JR., J:
FACTS: On October 26, 1992, then Secretary of Public Works and Highways Jose P.
Dimayuga issued a permanent appointment in favor of petitioner Chona M. Dimayuga as
Executive Director II of the Toll Regulatory Board (Board, for brevity). As its highest-ranking
working official, the petitioner exercised supervision and control over the board’s three divisions.
She also oversaw the Board’s Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects. At the time, the position of
Executive Director II was not deemed part of the Career Executive Service (CES), that is until
June 4, 1993, when it was included therein.
On May 31, 1994, the Civil Service Commission issued Memorandum Circular No. 21,
providing among others, that “incumbents of positions which are declared to be CES positions are
for the first time pursuant to this resolution who hold permanent appointment thereto shall remain
under permanent status in their respective positions. However, upon promotion or transfer to
other CES positions, these incumbents shall be under temporary status in said positions until they
qualify.”
Petitioner alleges that she had been a subject of several administrative and criminal
complaints which were all designed to coerce her removal. As a consequence of such
complaints, DPWH Secretary Vigilar issued a first 90-day suspension order which was followed
by another 90-day suspension issued this time by Executive Secretary Alexander Aguirre. After
the expiration of the last suspension order, petitioner was directed by DPWH Secretary Vigilar to
the Legal Service Department to assist in the implementation of P.D. 1096 (National Building
Code of the Philippines). As a gesture of protest to such order of the Secretary, the petitioner filed
a leave of absence rather than assume a position which she considered as a demotion.
On September 28, 1998, while she was on leave, petitioner received a letter from
Secretary Vigilar informing her that President Estrada had appointed Mariano Benedicto II as the
new Executive Director II of the Board. As a consequence thereof, petitioner filed a petition for
quo warranto before the Court of Appeals which the latter tribunal dismissed.

ISSUE: Whether or not the subsequent inclusion of the petitioner’s position under the CES
would automatically qualify the latter for the said position even in the absence of the required
eligibility.

HELD: NO. The mere fact that a position belongs to a Career Service does not automatically
confer security of tenure o its occupant even if he does not possess the required qualifications.

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POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Such right will have to depend on the nature of his appointment, which in turn depend on his
eligibility or lack of it. A person who does not have the requisite qualifications for the position
cannot be appointed to it in the first place or, only as an exception to the rule, may be appointed
to it merely in an acting capacity in the absence of appropriate eligibles. The appointment
extended to him cannot be so regarded as permanent even if it may be so designated.
In the doctrinal case of Cuevas vs. Bacal, the Court emphasized two (2) salient points, to
wit: First, in order to qualify an appointment as permanent, the appointee must possess the rank
appropriate to the position. Failure in this respect will render the appointment merely temporary.
Second, security of tenure in the Career Executive Service (CES) is thus acquired with respect to
rank and not to position. The guaranty of security of tenure to the members of the CES does not
extend to the particular positions to which they may be appointed—a concept which is applicable
only to first and second level employees in the civil service—but to the rank to which they are
appointed by the President.
The Court reiterates the above points if only to serve as a contradistinction to petitioner’s
arguments. If a career executive officer’s security of tenure pertains only to his rank and not to
his position, with greater reason then that petitioner herein, who is not even a CESO eligible, has
no security of tenure with regard to the position of Executive Director II of the Toll Regulatory
Board which was earlier classified on June 4, 1993 as part of the CES or prior to the issuance of
the CSC Memo. Circ. No. 21 dated May 31, 1994.
Lastly, and as correctly pointed out by the Solicitor-General, non-eligibles holding
permanent appointments to CES positions were never meant to remain immobile in their status.
Otherwise, their lack of eligibility would be a premium vesting them with permanency in the CES
positions, a privilege even their eligible counterpart do not enjoy.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THE EXERCISE OF MANAGEMENT


PREROGATIVE BY THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS IS LIMITED BY
THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF LAW.

BAYBAY WATER DISTRICT vs. COMMISSSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 147248-49, January 23, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: In 1996, the Resident Auditor of the BWD conducted an audit of its 1994 accounts. In
the course of the audit, the auditor disallowed payments of per diems in excess of those
authorized by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and P.D. 198, RATA
(representation and transportation allowance, etc. Respondents were served with notices of such
disallowance.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not members of the Board of Directors of water districts are entitled to receive
benefits in addition to those authorized to be paid pursuant to their charter and the guidelines
of the LWUA.
(2) Whether or not the disallowance of duplication of claims of transportation allowance of
various BWD employees, as well as the grant of RATA, rice allowance, and excessive per
diems to members of the board of directors of BWD, would impair vested rights, violate any
rule against diminution of benefits, and undermine the management prerogatives of water
districts.
(3) Whether or not the BWD officers and employees are entitled to receive benefits in excess of
that authorized by the law.

HELD:
(1) NO. Petitioners invoke the ruling of this Court in the cases of Kneebone vs. NLRC,
Vengco vs. Trajano and Philippine Duplicators, Inc. vs. NLRC, to support their contention that the
prohibition against the payment of compensation other than per diems does not include the
payment of allowances and other benefits. These cases are, however, not applicable. They refer
to exclusion made by this Court of allowances and other benefits from the salaries of employees
in the private sector, not to the compensation of members of the board of directors of water
districts, whose rights to compensation, as already stated, are governed by P.D. No. 198. Under

93
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Section 13 of this decree, per diem is precisely intended to be the compensation of the members
of the board of directors of water districts. Indeed, words and phrases in a statute must be given
their natural, ordinary and commonly-accepted meaning, due regard being given to the context in
which the words and phrases are used. By specifying the compensation which a director is
entitled to receive and by limiting the amount he/she is allowed to receive in a month, and, in the
same paragraph, providing “No director shall receive other compensation” than the amount
provided for per diems, the law quite clearly indicates that directors of water districts are
authorized to receive only the per diem authorized by law and no other compensation or
allowance in whatever form.
R.A. 6758, Section 4, specifically provides that the Salary Standardization Law applies to
“positions, appointive or elective, on full or part-time basis, now existing or hereafter created in
the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations and government
financial institutions. The positions in this category are assigned Salary Grade 1 to Salary Grade
10. It is obvious that the Salary Standardization Law does not apply to petitioners because
directors of water districts are in fact limited to policy-making and are prohibited from the
management of the districts.
(2) NO. Petitioners contend that even before this Court declared in Davao City Water
District vs. Civil Service Commission that water districts are government-owned and controlled
corporations subject to the jurisdiction of the COA, water districts had already been granting
additional benefits to members of the board of directors with the approval of the LWUA, and to
their officers and employees and that they continued doing so after the promulgation of the
decision in that case. This contention cannot be warranted. The erroneous application and
enforcement of the law by public officers does not estop the government from making the
subsequent correction of such errors. More specifically, where there is an express provision of
law prohibiting the grant of certain benefits, the law must be enforced even if it prejudices certain
parties due to an error committed by public officials in granting the benefits. As already stated,
P.D. no. 198 expressly prohibits the grant of compensation other than the payment of per diems
as determined by the LWUA pursuant to P. D. no. 198, to directors of water districts. Practice
without more, no matter how long continued, cannot give rise to any vested right if it is contrary to
law.
The same rule applies to the officers and employees of the BWD. R.A. no. 6686, which
then applied, provides that all government personnel are entitled to a Christmas Bonus of one
month basic salary and additional cash gift of one thousand pesos. The cash gift granted to the
BWD manager for the year 1994 amounted to P1,500. The resident auditor, therefore, properly
disallowed the 500 thereof as this amount was in excess of the authorized by law.
(3) NO. With respect to the officers and employees of BWD, it has been held that the terms
and conditions of employment of government employees are governed by law. Thus, the
exercise of management prerogative by government corporations are limited by the provisions of
the laws applicable to them. The cash gift granted to the general manager as part of his
Christmas bonus was in excess of that authorized by R. A. no. 6686. It cannot be justified by the
exercise of management prerogative as it is contrary to law.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; TRANSFERS OF OFFICERS AGAINST


THEIR WILL AMOUNT TO REMOVAL ONLY IF THEY ARE APPOINTED TO
PARTICULAR STATIONS.

CRISTINA JENNY CARIÑO vs. EXEC. DIR. DAVID DAOAS


[G.R. No. 144493, April 9, 2002]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: On 16 August 1995, Cristina Jenny Cariño was appointed Accountant III in the Office
of the Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC), now known as the National Commission for
Indigenous People.
On 05 November 1996, Cariño was reassigned by Atty. David Daoas, ONCC Executive
Director, to the position of Technical Assistant of the Socio-Economic Division of the ONCC.
Cariño alleged that her reassignment was an offshoot of her refusal to sign a Disbursement
Voucher for the travel expenses to Indonesia of ONCC Regional Director Rosalina Bistoyong.
She further alleged that the position was non-existent.

94
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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On 14 March 1997, Cariño received a faxed memorandum from Bistoyong directing her
to report to the ONCC Region II office. Thereafter, Cariño filed an administrative complaint for
Grave Misconduct, Oppression and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service against
Bistoyong. Bistoyong allegedly asked Cariño a number of times to withdraw the case in
exchange for reinstatement to her former position. Cariño refused whereupon Bistoyong
threatened to reassign her to the ONCC Region II in Cagayan or in Manila.
On 14 April 1997, Atty. Daoas issued a memorandum to petitioner, reprimanding her for
her failure to report at the Region II office, and stating that she was considered Absent Without
Leave (AWOL) since 17 March 1997. Still, Cariño continued to report for work in Region I
everyday despite the fact that she was not given any assignment.
On 11 September 1997, the Civil Service Commission issued Resolution No. 97-3754
dismissing the appeal of Atty. Daoas and Bistoyong and ordering them to return Cariño to Region
I. Cariño reported back to work only to be informed, through a memorandum, that the CSC
resolution was rendered moot and academic by her having been dropped from the rolls.
On 11 March 1998, the CSC issued Resolution No. 98-0488 dismissing Cariño's appeal
and affirming her dropping from the rolls. From this Carino appealed to the Court of Appeals,
which denied her petition for lack of merit.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the termination was valid.
(2) Whether or not the reassignment order of the petitioner that is null and void, being violative of
the Constitutional right to security of tenure, imposes upon her the obligation to comply with it
before it is declared illegal?

HELD:
(1) NO. As correctly stated by the Court of Appeals, the validity of the reassignment of
petitioner was already settled by the pronouncement of the Civil Service Commission that such
reassignment was not valid and that she could not be transferred to another region without her
consent. It is true that the transfer or detail of a public officer or employee is a prerogative of the
appointing authority and that it can be done as the exigencies of the public service may require.
As such, this Court in a number of cases allowed the reassignment of personnel but in such
instances, they were not appointed to a specific station or particular unit or agency. The rule
proscribes transfers without consent of officers appointed — not merely assigned — to a
particular station, such as in the case of herein petitioner who was appointed as Accountant III in
Region I. Hence, she could not be reassigned to another station or region without her consent.
Otherwise, the unconsented transfer would amount to a removal.
(2) NO. Petitioner is thus justified in not heeding her reassignment order because her basis
was not her "firm belief" that her transfer was illegal, but the legal opinion of a regional office of
the Civil Service Commission. Petitioner could not therefore be considered AWOL because she
was in fact reporting for work in Region I until 29 April 1997 when Bistoyong issued a
memorandum ordering her to refrain from reporting for work therein.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; A PUBLIC OFFICIAL MAY BE


TEMPORARILY ASSIGNED TO OTHER DUTIES FOR THE GOOD OF THE
PUBLIC SERVICE EVEN OVER HIS OBJECTION.

REMEDIOS PASTOR vs. CITY OF PASIG, et al.


[G.R. No. 146873, May 9, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Remedios Pastor is Budget Officer of the Municipality (now City) of Pasig.
In 1992, she was reassigned to the Office of the Municipal Administrator pending investigation of
reports against her concerning the issuance of Advice of Allotments by her. In 1995, after three
years with no case filed against her, she asked for reinstatement to her former position but she
was instead reassigned to another unit of the now city government. Upon her complaint, the Civil
Service Commission ordered her reinstatement as Budget Officer of the City of Pasig. However,
on appeal of the city government, the Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the Civil Service
Commission (CSC).

95
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner may be reinstated to her original position as Budget Officer.

HELD: YES. We agree with the CSC that petitioner should now be returned to her original
position for her indefinite detail to other positions would amount to her removal without cause
from the position to which she has been permanently appointed.
The CSC held that, while petitioner's reassignment was originally made in the exigency of
the service without reduction in her rank, status, or salary, respondent City Mayor failed to
advance "sufficient reason" to warrant petitioner's continuous reassignment for more than three
years which "appears too long for one to conduct the study assigned to her."
There is no question that we recognize the validity and indispensable necessity of the
well established rule that for the good of public service and whenever public interest demands, a
public official may be temporarily assigned or detailed to other duties even over his objection
without necessarily violating his fundamental and legal rights to security of tenure in the civil
service. But as we have already stated, "such cannot be undertaken when the transfer of the
employee is with a view to his removal" and "if the transfer is resorted to as a scheme to lure the
employee away from his permanent position" because "such attitude is improper as it would in
effect result in a circumvention of the prohibition which safeguards the tenure of office of those
who are in the civil service."

TERMINATION OF OFFICIAL RELATIONS

TERMINATION; EXCEPT WHERE THE OFFICE WAS CREATED BY THE


CONSTITUTION ITSELF, IT MAY BE ABOLISHED BY THE SAME
LEGISLATURE THAT BROUGHT IT INTO EXISTENCE; EXCEPTION.

BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY


[G.R. No. 142801-802, July 10, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: see page 89

ISSUE: Whether or not the President has the authority to abolish EIIB.

HELD: YES. The general rule has always been that the power to abolish a public office is
lodged with the legislature. This proceeds from the legal precept that the power to create
included the power to destroy. A public office is either created by the Constitution, by statute, or
by authority of law. Thus, except where the office was created by the Constitution itself, it may be
abolished by the same legislature that brought it into existence. The exception, however, is that
as far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the executive department are concerned, the President’s
power of control may justify him to inactivate the functions of a particular office or certain laws
may grant him the broad authority to carry our reorganization measures.
Under Section 31, Book III, of EO No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987), “the President,
subject to the policy in the Executive Office an in order to achieve simplicity, economy and
efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the
Office of the President.” For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or
Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre, it was ruled that reorganization
“involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason
economy or redundancy of functions.” It takes place when there is an alteration of the existing
structure of government offices or units therein, including lines of control, authority and
responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls
under the Office of the President. Hence it is subject to the President’s continuing authority to
reorganize.

TERMINATION; NATURE OF ABANDONMENT.

96
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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LACSASA M. ADIONG vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 136480, December 4, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On December 6, 1994, Mayor Sultan Serad A. Batua issued a permanent
appointment to Nasiba A. Nuska to the position of Municipal Local Civil Registrar. The same
appointment was duly approved by the Civil Service Commission Office, Marawi City on
December 9, 1994. The new mayor, Lacsasa M. Adiong issued a memorandum informing all
municipal employees of the termination of their appointment and directing them to clear
themselves from money and property accountabilities. On July 1, 1995, another memorandum
clarified this by specifying that the mass termination of services applied only to temporary or
casual workers and requiring those holding approved permanent appointments to submit copies
of their appointments. Due to respondent Nuska's failure to submit a copy of her appointment
coupled with her failure to make a courtesy call on the petitioner as the new mayor, he terminated
her services and appointed a certain Nanayaon Samporna in her stead.
On August 27, 1995, respondent Nuska wrote Mayor Adiong requesting for her
reinstatement and payment of salaries covering the period July 1,1995 to August 31, 1995.
Mayor Adiong failed to act on the request. Hence, on March 11, 1996, respondent Nuska
appealed to the Civil Service Commission (CSC). The latter issued a resolution declaring the
termination of Nuska’s employment to be invalid and ordering her immediate reinstatement.
On March 17, 1997, petitioner Mayor Adiong filed a motion for reconsideration. On
December 11, 1997, the CSC denied the motion. Mayor Adiong filed with the Court of Appeals a
petition for review with preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. The CA dismissed
the petition and affirmed the resolution of CSC.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Nuska’s termination of employment was valid.

HELD: NO. The Constitution provides that: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or
property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the
laws." It further mandates that: "No officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed are
suspended except for cause provided by law."
In this case, respondent Nuska had a permanent appointment to the position of municipal
civil registrar of Ditsaan Ramain, Lanao del Sur. She thus enjoyed security of tenure as
guaranteed by law. As an employee in the civil service and as a civil service eligible, respondent
Nuska entitled to the benefits, rights and privileges extended to those belonging to the classified
service. She could not be removed or dismissed from the service without just cause and without
observing the requirements of due process.
The reasons advanced by petitioner why respondent Nuska's employment was
terminated were the following: failure to make a courtesy call, failure to submit her appointment
papers, and failure to report to work which was tantamount to abandonment. The failure to make
a courtesy call to one's superior is not an offense, much less a ground to terminate a person's
employment. Respondent Nuska's failure to submit her appointment papers is not a cause for
her outright dismissal. It was not shown that respondent Nuska was informed of the July 1, 1995
memorandum requiring those with permanent appointments to submit their papers. At the very
least, petitioner could have reminded her to submit the documents without terminating her
employment immediately.
On the alleged abandonment by respondent Nuska of her position, the same is without
any basis. It is significant to note that Nuska, in her letter dated 27 August 1995, informed Mayor
Adiong that she did not resign and that the termination of her services was not in accordance with
existing Civil Service rules and regulations. She requested that she be reinstated to her lawful
position and her back salaries be paid accordingly. The foregoing explains that although Nuska
was physically absent in the office premises, all the while, she had the intention to return to work.
Hence, she could not be deemed to have abandoned or relinquished her right to the position
under an appointment with permanent employment status.
A person holding a public office may abandon such office by non-user or acquiescence.
Non-user refers to a neglect to use a right or privilege or to exercise an office. However,
nonperformance of the duties of an office does not constitute abandonment where such
nonperformance results from temporary disability or from involuntary failure perform.

97
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Abandonment may also result from an acquiescence by the officer in his wrongful removal or
discharge, for instance, after a summary removal, an unreasonable delay by an officer illegally
removed in taking steps to vindicate his rights may constitute an abandonment of the office. If a
person was still willing to return to work despite his physical absence, it would not constitute as
abandonment.

ELECTION LAW

PROCEDURE IN ELECTION CASES

FILING FEES; ERRORS IN THE PAYMENT OF FILING FEES IS NO LONGER


EXCUSABLE.

VILLOTA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. No. 146724, August 10, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: In the May 12, 1997 barangay elections, petitioner was proclaimed as the Punong
Barangay of Barangay 752, Zone 81, District V, over his opponent, herein private respondent.
Consequently, the latter filed an election protest against petitioner with the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 24. On December 29, 1999, the court, after due hearing rendered
decision declaring private respondent as the duly elected Punong Barangay.
On March 2, 2000, petitioner filed a notice of appeal and simultaneously paid with the
cashier of Metropolitan Trial Court the amount of P150.00 as appeal fee and another P20.00 as
legal research fee, or a total of P170.00.
On March 9, 2000, or nine (9) days after petitioner's receipt of the decision of the trial
court, he again paid with the Cash Division of the COMELEC the sum of P520.00 as appeal fee
and legal research fee. Private respondent filed a motion to dismiss petitioner's appeal for failure
to pay the appeal fee within the reglementary period.

ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in dismissing petitioner's appeal and in denying his motion for
reconsideration.

HELD: NO. In the case at bar, although petitioner filed his notice of appeal within the
reglementary period, however, he erroneously paid the required appeal fees with the cashier of
the Metropolitan Trial Court and not with the Cash Division of the COMELEC, as required in
Sections 3 and 4, Rule 40, of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. After he realized his mistake,
petitioner paid again with the Cash Division of the COMELEC the total amount of P520.00 only on
March 9, 2000 or four (4) days beyond the five (5) day reglementary period to appeal.
Verily, the present controversy is no different from the case of Rodillas v. COMELEC, et
al., where the necessary appeal fees were likewise paid out of time. The Court held therein that:
The mere filing of the notice of appeal was not enough. It should be accompanied by the payment
of the correct amount of appeal fee.
The payment of the full amount of the docket fee is an indispensable step for the
perfection of an appeal (Dorego v. Perez; Bello v. Fernandez). In both original and appellate
case, the court acquires jurisdiction over the case only upon the payment of the prescribed
docket fees as held in Acda v. Minister of Labor. The requirement of an appeal fee is by no
means a mere technicality of law or procedure. It is an essential requirement without which the
decision appealed from would become final and executory as if no appeal was filed at all. The
right to appeal is merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner prescribed
by, and in accordance with, the provision of the law.
In Soller v. COMELEC, et al., reiterating the cases of Loyola v. COMELEC, et al., and
Miranda v. Castillo, et al., the Court stressed the caveat that errors in the payment of filing fees in
election cases is no longer excusable. Thus, on the matter of non-payment or incomplete

98
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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payment of filing fees we opined that: "the Court would no longer tolerate any mistake in the
payment of the full amount of filing fees for election cases filed after the promulgation of the
Loyola decision on March 25, 1997."

DISPOSITION OF CASES; THE PERIOD PROVIDED BY ELECTION LAWS IN


THE DISPOSITION OF CASES MUST BE OBSERVED FAITHFULLY
BECAUSE AN ELECTION CASE, UNLIKE ORDINARY ACTIONS, INVOLVES
PUBLIC INTEREST.

ISAGANI RIZON vs. JUDGE OSCAR E. ZERNA


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1575, September 17, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: see page 86

ISSUE: Whether or not the delay in the disposition of cases, in the case at hand is inexcusable.

HELD: YES. Section 258 of the Omnibus Election Code provides:


SECTION 258. Preferential disposition of contests in courts. - The courts, in their
respective cases, shall give preference to election contests over all other cases, except those
of habeas corpus, and shall without delay, hear and, within thirty days from the date of their
submission for decision, but in every case within six months after filing, decide the same.
Judge Zerna did not contest the allegation of delay. He however ascribed it to the
process of going over each of the questioned ballot. This is a flimsy excuse considering that the
thirty-day period provided him under Sec. 258 of the Omnibus Election Code is more than
sufficient to examine a little over a hundred questioned ballots, and that he could have asked the
Court for an extension of time to render decision if he was having problems with the
"examination" of the contested ballots such that he could not be able to decide the case on time.
As the Court have held in Española vs. Panay (248 SCRA 684) asking for an extension of time to
dispose a case is to avoid or dispel any suspicion that something sinister or corrupt is going on.
In Bolalin vs. Occiano, it was held that: “… The period provided by [election] law[s] [in the
disposition of cases] must be observed faithfully because an election case, unlike ordinary
actions, involves public interest. Time is of the essence in its disposition since the uncertainty as
to who is the real choice of the people for the position must soonest be dispelled. It is neither fair
nor just that one whose right to the office is in doubt should remain in that office for an uncertain
period…”
Moreover, records of the OCA disclose that respondent had a "propensity [for] delay in
the disposition of his cases." The Court also concurs with this rationalization, and metes upon
respondent a fine of P5,000.00, with a warning that similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

DISQUALIFICATION OF CANDIDATES

DISQUALIFICATION; VIOLATION OF BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 22


CONSTITUTES MORAL TURPITUDE AND CONVICTION THEREFOR
DISQUALIFIES A PERSON FROM RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.

VILLABER vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. No. 148326, November 15, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: Villaber was a candidate for the congressional seat in the First District of Davao del
Sur during the May 14, 2001 elections. His rival filed a petition to disqualify him and to cancel his
certificate of candidacy on the ground that Villaber had been previously convicted for violating
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and the crime involves moral turpitude; hence under Section 12 of the

99
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Omnibus Election Code, he is disqualified to run for any public office. Villaber was subsequently
disqualified by the COMELEC resting its decision on the case of People vs. Atty. Fe Tuanda.
Hence this petition by Villaber, contending that violation of B.P. 22 does not involve moral
turpitude and that People vs. Tuanda is not applicable since he is not a lawyer.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner should be disqualified on the ground that violation of BP 22
constitutes moral turpitude.

HELD: YES. As to the meaning of "moral turpitude," we have consistently adopted the
definition in Black's Law Dictionary as "an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private
duties which a man owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and
customary rule of right and duty between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice,
honesty, modesty, or good morals.'' In In re Vinzon, the term "moral turpitude" is considered as
encompassing "everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals."
We, however, clarified in Dela Torre vs. Commission on Elections that "not every criminal
act involves moral turpitude," and that "as to what crime involves moral turpitude is for the
Supreme Court to determine." We further pronounced therein that: "…in International Rice
Research Institute vs. NLRC (221 SCRA 760 [1993]), the Court admitted that it cannot always be
ascertained whether moral turpitude does or does not exist by merely classifying a crime as
malum in se or as malum prohibitum. There are crimes which are mala in se and yet but rarely
involve moral turpitude, and there are crimes which involve moral turpitude and are mala prohibita
only. In the final analysis, whether or not a crime involves moral turpitude is ultimately a question
of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the violation of the statute."
We reiterate here our ruling in Dela Torre that the determination of whether a crime
involves moral turpitude is a question of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances
surrounding the violation of the statute. At any rate, the question of whether or not the crime
involves moral turpitude can be resolved by analyzing its elements alone. The elements of the
offense against BP 22 are: 1) The accused makes, draws or issues any check to apply to account
or for value; 2) The accused knows at the time of the issuance that he or she does not have
sufficient funds in, or credit with, drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its
presentment; and 3) The check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency
of funds or credit, or it would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer,
without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment. The presence of the second element
manifests moral turpitude. In People vs. Atty. Fe Tuanda we held that a conviction for violation of
B.P. Blg. 22 "imports deceit" and "certainly relates to and affects the good moral character of a
person…" The case did not make a distinction, hence it applies to petitioner.

DISQUALIFICATION; THE TERM LIMIT FOR ELECTIVE OFFICIALS REFERS


TO THE RIGHT TO BE ELECTED AND THE RIGHT TO SERVE IN THE SAME
ELECTIVE POSITION.

ADORMEO vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 147927, February 4, 2002]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: Petitioner and private respondent, who was then the incumbent mayor, were the only
candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy for mayor of Lucena City in the May 14, 2001
elections. Private respondent Talaga, Jr. was elected mayor in May 1992. He served the full term.
Again, he was re-elected in 1995-1998. In the election of 1998, he lost to Bernard G. Tagarao. In
the recall election of May 12, 2000, he again won and served the unexpired term of Tagarao until
June 30, 2001.
On March 2, 2001, petitioner filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor,
Lucena City a Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy and/or
Disqualification of Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr., on the ground that the latter was elected and had served
as city mayor for three (3) consecutive terms as follows: (1) in the election of May 1992; (2) in the
election of May 1995; and, (3) in the recall election of May 12, 2000, where he served only the
unexpired term of Tagarao after having lost to Tagarao in the 1998 election. Petitioner contended

100
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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that Talaga's candidacy as Mayor constituted a violation of Section 8, Article X of the 1987
Constitution which provides.
On March 9, 2001, private respondent responded that he was not elected City Mayor for
three (3) consecutive terms but only for two (2) consecutive terms. Because of his defeat in the
1998 election by Tagarao, the consecutiveness of his years as mayor was interrupted, and thus
his mayorship was not for three consecutive terms of three years each.
On April 20, 2001, the COMELEC, through the First Division, found private respondent
Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. disqualified for the position of city mayor on the ground that he had already
served three (3) consecutive terms, and his Certificate of Candidacy was ordered withdrawn
and/or cancelled.
On April 27, 2001, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration reiterating that
"three (3) consecutive terms" means continuous service for nine (9) years and that the two (2)
years service from 1998 to 2000 by Tagarao prevented him from having three consecutive years
of service. He further alleged that the recall election was not a regular election, but a separate
special election specifically to remove incompetent local officials.
On May 9, 2001, the COMELEC en banc ruled in favor of private respondent Ramon Y.
Talaga, Jr. It reversed the First Division's ruling and held that he did not fully serve the three (3)
consecutive terms, and his loss in the May 11, 1998 elections is considered an interruption in the
continuity of his service as Mayor of Lucena City.
On May 19, 2001, after canvassing, private respondent was proclaimed as the duly
elected Mayor of Lucena City.

ISSUE: Whether or not public respondent COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it declared private respondent Ramon Y. Talaga,
Jr. qualified to run for Mayor in Lucena City for the May 14, 2001 elections.

HELD: NO. The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be
elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough
that an individual has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also
have been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification
can apply. The Court held that the two conditions for the application of the disqualification must
concur: a) that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same
local government post and 2) that he has fully served three consecutive terms. Accordingly,
COMELEC's ruling that private respondent was not elected for three (3) consecutive terms should
be upheld. For nearly two years he was a private citizen. The continuity of his mayorship was
disrupted by his defeat in the 1998 elections.
Neither can respondent's victory in the recall election be deemed a violation of Section 8,
Article X of the Constitution as "voluntary renunciation" for clearly it is not. In Lonzanida vs.
COMELEC, the Court held that the second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny
states, "Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered as an
interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected." The clear intent
of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the three-term limit by a
voluntary renunciation of office and at the same time respect the people's choice and grant their
elected official full service of a term is evident in this provision. Voluntary renunciation of a term
does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three term limit; conversely,
involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term provided by law
amounts to an interruption of continuity of service. The petitioner vacated his post a few months
before the next mayoral elections, not by voluntary renunciation but in compliance with the legal
process of writ of execution issued by the COMELEC to that effect. Such involuntary severance
from office is an interruption of continuity of service and thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the
1995-1998 mayoral term.

DISQUALIFICATION; BEFORE A COMELEC RESOLUTION OF A


DISQUALIFICATION CASE BECOMES FINAL AND EXECUTORY, THE BEI
HAS THE MINISTERIAL DUTY TO COUNT AND TALLY THE VOTES IN
FAVOR OF THE CANDIDATE UNDER INVESTIGATION.

PAPANDAYAN, JR. vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. No. 147909, April 16, 2002]

101
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: In the May 14, 2001 elections, three candidates ran for the position of Mayor of
Tubaran, Lanao del Sur, namely: petitioner Mauyag B. Papandayan, Jr., respondent Fahida P.
Balt, who was the incumbent mayor seeking reelection, and Maiko Hassan Bantuas. Respondent
Balt sought the disqualification of petitioner in SPC Case No. 01-114 of the COMELEC, alleging
that petitioner was not a resident of Barangay Tangcal in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur but a
permanent resident of Bayang, Lanao del Sur.
In support of her allegation, respondent submitted the joint affidavit, dated February 14,
2001, of Barangay Chairman Hadji Bashir Ayonga and two members of the Sangguniang
Barangay of Tangcal, Tubaran, Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat, stating that petitioner
never resided in Barangay Tangcal, Tubaran. Respondent also submitted a similar affidavit,
dated February 17, 2001, of Samoranao Sarip, a member of the Sangguniang Barangay of
Tangcal. She averred that petitioner did not state in his Voter Registration Record, accomplished
on May 8, 1999, the number of years and months he had been a resident of the Municipality of
Tubaran. Hadji Ayonga and Samoranao Sarip later filed their Affidavits of Desistance retracting
their earlier statements.
In its resolution, dated May 8, 2001, the COMELEC (Second Division) in SPA No. 01-114
declared petitioner to be disqualified and ordered his name to be stricken off the list of candidates
and all votes cast in his favor not to be counted but considered as stray votes. On May 14, 2001,
elections were held in Tubaran. Petitioner was among those voted by the electorate for the
position of municipal mayor.
Meanwhile, on May 19, 2001, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC (First Division)
in SPC No. 01-039 seeking the issuance of an order directing the Board of Election Inspectors
(BEI) of Tubaran to count and tally the ballots cast in his favor during the May 14, 2001 elections
pursuant to COMELEC Resolution No. 4116. The said resolution provides that if the
disqualification case has not become final and executory on the day of the election, the BEI shall
tally and count the votes of the candidate declared disqualified
On the other hand, respondent filed a pre-proclamation case (SPC No. 01-259) in the
COMELEC. On May 29, 2001, the First Division of the COMELEC (in SPC No. 01-039) issued
an order suspending the proclamation of petitioner as the duly elected mayor of Tubaran pending
the resolution of this present petition. However, despite the said order (in SPC No. 01-039), the
Municipal Board of Canvassers of Tubaran proceeded with the proclamation of petitioner on June
3, 2001. Upon motion of respondent, therefore, the COMELEC (First Division), in an order, dated
June 25, 2001, set aside the proclamation of petitioner, without prejudice to the filing of the
appropriate charges against the members of the Board responsible for the proclamation.
Thereafter, the COMELEC en banc issued a resolution, dated January 30, 2002, sustaining the
annulment of the proclamation of petitioner and dismissing SPC No. 01-039 for being moot and
academic. It appears that, as a consequence thereof, the incumbent Vice-Mayor of Tubaran
assumed the position of mayor pursuant to the COMELEC en banc resolution dated June 30,
2002.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the Board of Election Inspectors is precluded from counting and tallying the
votes cast in petitioner’s favor.
(2) Whether or not the factual findings of the COMELEC declaring petitioner as disqualified
should be upheld.

HELD:
(1) NO. The resolution, dated May 12, 2001, of the COMELEC en banc was not yet final and
executory when the elections were held on May 14, 2001. Consequently, the Board of Election
Inspectors of Tubaran, in the exercise of its ministerial duty, had to count the votes cast in his
favor. At the time the elections were held in May 14, 2001, the assailed resolution, dated May 12,
2001, had not yet become final and executory. Hence, the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) was
duty bound to tally and count the votes cast in favor of petitioner.
(2) NO, even though if the question of whether or not petitioner is a resident of Tubaran is a
factual issue which has been thoroughly passed upon and determined by the and that the
COMELEC’s findings or conclusions are generally respected and even given finality, the evidence
is insufficient to sustain its resolution. The Supreme Court agreed with the Solicitor General that
petitioner has duly proven that, although he was formerly a resident of the Municipality of Bayang,

102
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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he later transferred residence to Tangcal in the Municipality of Tubaran as shown by his actual
and physical presence therein for ten years prior to the May 14, 2001 elections. The record
shows that when petitioner and his wife Raida Guina Dimaporo got married in 1990, they resided
in Tangcal, Tubaran. From then on, there was manifest intention on the part of petitioner to
reside in Tubaran, which he deemed to be the place of his conjugal abode with his wife. The fact
that he and his wife transferred residence from Bayang to Tubaran shows that petitioner was
relinquishing his former place of residence in Bayang and that he intended Tubaran to be his
place of domicile. Although petitioner worked as a private secretary of the mayor of Bayang, he
went home to Tubaran everyday after work. Further, the evidence shows that in the May 11,
1998 election, petitioner was registered as a voter in Tubaran and that in fact he filed his
certificate of candidacy although he later withdrew the same. In the May 8, 1999 registration of
voters, he was again registered as a voter in Precinct No. 28-A of Barangay Tangcal in Tubaran.

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY; THE FACT THAT A CANDIDATE


PROCLAIMED HAS ASSUMED OFFICE DOES NOT DEPRIVE THE
COMELEC OF ITS AUTHORITY TO ANNUL ANY CANVASS AND ILLEGAL
PROCLAMATION.

AMPATUAN, et al. vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 149803, January 31, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Petitioners and respondents were candidates for the provincial elective positions in
the province of Maguindanao in the May 14, 2001 election. Petitioner Ampatuan and respondent
Candao contended for the position of governor. The slate of Ampatuan emerged as winners as
per election returns.
On May 23, 2001, respondents filed a petition with the Comelec for the annulment of
election results and/or declaration of failure of elections in several municipalities in the province of
Maguindanao. They claimed that the ballots were filled-up en masse by a few persons the night
before election day, and in some precincts, the ballot boxes, official ballots and other election
paraphernalia were not delivered at all.
On May 25, 2001, the Comelec issued an order suspending the proclamation of the
winning candidates for congressman of the second district, governor, vice-governor and board
members of Maguindanao. It was however lifted by Comelec on June 14, 2001 in response to
the petition filed by the petitioners on May 30, 2001.Consequently, the Provincial Board of
Canvassers proclaimed petitioners winners.
On June 16, 2001, respondents filed with the Supreme Court a petition to set aside the
Comelec order dated June 14, 2001, and preliminary injunction to suspend the effects of the
proclamation of the petitioners. Meantime, petitioners assumed their respective offices on June
30, 2001. On July 17, 2001, the Court resolved to deny respondents' petition.
Petitioners' assumption into office notwithstanding, on July 26, 2001, the Comelec
ordered the consolidation of respondents' petition for declaration of failure of elections with SPA
Nos. 01-244, 01-332, 01-360, 01-388 and 01-390. The COMELEC further ordered a random
technical examination on four to seven precincts per municipality on the thumb-marks and
signatures of the voters who voted and affixed in their voter's registration records, and forthwith
directed the production of relevant election documents in these municipalities.
On August 28, 2001, the Comelec issued another order directing the continuation of the
hearing and disposition of the consolidated SPAs on the failure of elections and other incidents
related thereto. It likewise ordered the continuation of the technical examination of election
documents as authorized in the July 26, 2001 order.
On September 26, 2001, petitioners filed the present petition. They claimed that by virtue
of their proclamation pursuant to the June 14, 2001 order issued by the Comelec, the proper
remedy available to respondents was not a petition for declaration of failure of elections but an
election protest. The former is heard summarily while the latter involves a full-blown trial.

103
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Petitioners argued that the manner by which the technical examination is to be conducted would
defeat the summary nature of a petition for declaration of failure of elections.
On October 22, 2001, the Comelec issued an order suspending the implementation of the
two (2) assailed orders. However, on November 13, 2001, the Comelec issued another order
lifting the suspension. On November 20, 2001, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining
order.

ISSUE: Whether the Commission on Elections was divested of its jurisdiction to hear and
decide respondents' petition for declaration of failure of elections after petitioners had been
proclaimed.

HELD: NO. Petitioners submit that by virtue of their proclamation as winners, the only
remedy left for private respondents is to file an election protest, in which case, original jurisdiction
lies with the regular courts. In Loong v. Commission on Elections, the court ruled that "a pre-
proclamation controversy is not the same as an action for annulment of election results, or failure
of elections." These two remedies were more specifically distinguished in this wise:
"While, however, the Comelec is restricted, in pre-proclamation cases, to an examination
of the election returns on their face and is without jurisdiction to go beyond or behind them and
investigate election irregularities, the Comelec is duty bound to investigate allegations of fraud,
terrorism, violence, and other analogous causes in actions for annulment of election results or for
declaration of failure of elections, as the Omnibus Election Code denominates the same. Thus,
the Comelec, in the case of actions for annulment of election results or declaration of failure of
elections, may conduct technical examination of election documents and compare and analyze
voters' signatures and thumbprints in order to determine whether or not the elections had indeed
been free, honest and clean."
The fact that a candidate proclaimed has assumed office does not deprive the Comelec
of its authority to annul any canvass and illegal proclamation. Respondents' allegation of
massive fraud and terrorism that attended the May 14, 2001 election in the affected municipalities
cannot be taken lightly as to warrant the dismissal of their petition by the Comelec on the simple
pretext that petitioners had been proclaimed winners.
Elucidating on the concept of failure of election, the Court held that: " . . . before Comelec
can act on a verified petition seeking to declare a failure of election, two (2) conditions must
concur: first, no voting has taken place in the precincts concerned on the date fixed by law or,
even if there was voting, the election nevertheless resulted in a failure to elect; and second, the
votes cast would affect the result of the election. In Loong vs. Commission on Elections, this
Court added that the cause of such failure of election should have been any of the following: force
majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud or other analogous cases."

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY; AN INCOMPLETE CANVASS IS


ILLEGAL AND CANNOT BE MADE THE BASIS OF A PROCLAMATION.

UTTO vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 150111, January 31, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Abdulkarim D. Utto and respondent Datu Almansa B. Angas were
candidates for the position of the mayor of the municipality of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao
in the May 14, 2001 election.
The original municipal board of canvassers was composed of Nena Alid as chairman,
and Maceda Lidasan Abo and Noron Gonina, as members. During the canvassing on May 16,
2001, election returns in Precinct Nos. 15A, 25A/26A, 66A, and 68A/69A were presented.
On May 18, 2001, respondent filed a petition to inhibit Alid and Abo, which resulted in the
suspension of the canvassing. Alid and Abo inhibited themselves from the proceedings. On May
24, 2001, Bai Haidy D. Mamalinta took over as chairperson, with Roihaida Khalid and Noron
Gonina, as members of the municipal board of canvassers. The canvassing was again
suspended when both Khalid and Gonina also inhibited themselves from participating in the
proceedings.

104
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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On May 27, 2001, the provincial election supervisor designated Rufden Mangelen and
Tamano Diolanen as members of the municipal board of canvassers.
In the morning of May 31, 2001, the municipal board of canvassers convened with
chairperson Mamalinta and member Asuncion Corazon Reneido present. The other member,
Mowakiram Samuang was absent. Before the start of the canvass, chairperson Mamalinta
distributed to the parties present a report on the status of canvassing. Out of the 98 precincts,
the municipal board of canvassers issued four (4) separate rulings excluding the above-cited five
(5) election returns.
At this point, respondent orally manifested his intention to appeal the ruling, and
simultaneously filed a verified notice of appeal, which Bai Haidy D. Mamalinta (chairperson of the
municipal board of canvassers) refused to accept. Meanwhile, despite respondent's
manifestation, the municipal board of canvassers proceeded with the proclamation of the
candidates for municipal offices. The board proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected mayor of
the municipality.
On June 1, 2001, Corazon Reniedo sent a letter to Atty. Wynne Asdala, acting provincial
election supervisor of Maguindanao irrevocably resigning as member of the municipal board of
canvassers of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao in connection with the canvass of the election
returns because she was being pressured to proclaim mayoralty candidate Abdulkarim Utto in
gross violation of Section 20, Republic Act No. 7166 and Section 38 (9), Comelec Resolution No.
3848. Based on the canvass of 93 election returns, petitioner obtained a margin of 149 votes
over respondent. The total number of registered voters from the five excluded election returns is
944.
On June 7, 2001, respondent filed with Comelec a motion to annul pendente lite
petitioner's proclamation contending that such proclamation violated Section 20 (i), Republic Act
No. 7166. 15. In spite of the law's mandate to suspend the canvassing and await the decision of
the Comelec on the appeal, the municipal board of canvassers proceeded with the proclamation.
On June 14, 2001, petitioner, with vice-mayoralty candidate and Sangguniang Bayan candidates
who were proclaimed by the municipal board of canvassers on May 31, 2001 filed with Comelec
motions for intervention contending that their proclamation would not be affected by the five (5)
election returns.
On June 23, 2001, Comelec sent petitioner via telegram summons with notice of hearing
attaching thereto a copy of respondent's verified appeal.
When the case was called for hearing on June 29, 2001, before the Comelec, First
Division, only counsel for respondent and intervenor vice-mayor appeared. Petitioner was notified
via telegram of the resetting of the hearing.
On June 30, 2001, Comelec (First Division) promulgated a resolution ordering the
inclusion of the uncanvassed election returns, and setting aside petitioner's proclamation. The
Comelec (First Division) found petitioner's proclamation to be illegal.
Meanwhile, petitioner took his oath at noon of the same day and immediately assumed
office as mayor of the municipality of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao.
On July 5, 2001, petitioner filed with Comelec, First Division, a motion to reconsider the
resolution of June 30, 2001, assailing it as contrary to law and the evidence and issued without
affording him notice and opportunity to be heard as he was not impleaded as a party to the
petition. Petitioner prayed that the inclusion of the uncanvassed return be set aside and the case
remanded to the Comelec (First Division) for the amendment of the petition to include all
indispensable parties.
Petitioner claims that respondent by "skillful strategy" made it appear that he (petitioner)
was a party in the appeal proceedings by filing a motion to annul proclamation in the same
proceedings and naming him party respondent without obtaining prior leave of the Comelec.

ISSUE: Whether or not the proclamation of petitioner was legal.

HELD: NO. Assuming arguendo that petitioner was not given notice or an opportunity to be
heard, the petition would still be denied. The twin-requirement of notice and hearing in annulment
of proclamation is not applicable because of the illegality of petitioner's proclamation.
Section 38 (9), Comelec Resolution No. 3848 45 provided the procedure in the
disposition of contested election returns and certificate of canvass. The Comelec precludes the
board of canvassers from proclaiming any candidate as winner, except upon its authorization
after it has ruled on the appeal of the losing party. Any proclamation made in violation thereof

105
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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shall be void ab initio, unless the contested returns will not adversely affect the results of the
election. This provision is mandatory and requires strict observance.
Within the reglementary period for filing an appeal, respondent went to the Comelec.
Pursuant to Section 20 (i), Republic Act No. 7166, the municipal board of canvassers may not
proclaim any candidate without waiting for the authorization of the Comelec. Considering that
petitioner had a very small margin of 149 votes over respondent, and there were 944 registered
voters from the five excluded election returns, the results of the municipal election would be
undoubtedly adversely affected by the contested returns. The proclamation thus made is void ab
initio.
It is now settled that an incomplete canvass of votes is illegal and cannot be the basis of
a proclamation. A canvass cannot be reflective of the true vote of the electorate unless all returns
are considered and none is omitted. When the municipal board of canvassers disregarded the
five (5) election returns, it in effect disenfranchised the voters of the excluded precincts.
Time and again, the Court has given its imprimatur on the principle that Comelec is with
authority to annul any canvass and proclamation illegally made. The fact that a candidate illegally
proclaimed has assumed office is not a bar to the exercise of such power. It is also true that after
proclamation, the remedy of a party aggrieved in an election is an election protest. This is on the
assumption, however, that there has been a valid proclamation. Where a proclamation is null and
void, the proclaimed candidate's assumption of office cannot deprive Comelec of the power to
declare such proclamation a nullity.

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY; IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY


MANIFEST ERROR IN THE CERTIFICATE OF CANVASS SOUGHT TO BE
CORRECTED, THE COMELEC SHOULD HAVE ORDERED THE RE-
CANVASS OR RE-COUNTING.

O'HARA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 148941-42, March 12, 2002]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: see page 59

ISSUE: Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it annulled the
proclamation of petitioner as vice-governor of Rizal and by ordering the PBC of Rizal to
reconvene and correct the alleged manifest mathematical error supposedly committed by the
MBC of Rizal.

HELD: YES. The COMELEC should have conducted further investigation or at least a technical
inspection or examination of election returns to verify the existence of the alleged error before it
gave credence to the statements of the MBC of Binangonan and concluding outright that the
Statement of Votes submitted by respondents were accurate.
The COMELEC cannot simply rely on these Statement of Votes because they were
prepared by the same members of the MBC who claimed to have made a mistake due to "fatigue,
sleepless nights and physical exhaustion." It would have been more prudent to make a
determination whether these same individuals committed any other mistake in the tabulation or
statement of votes.
Even based on the statements/affidavits of the MBC of Binangonan, it is apparent that
the errors sought to be corrected do not appear on the face of the certificate of canvass. As
above-stated, the alleged error which the COMELEC perceived to be manifest does not fall under
the definition of "manifest error" which was laid down in Chavez vs. COMELEC . . . “To be
manifest, the errors must appear on the face of the certificates of canvass or election returns
sought to be corrected and/or objections thereto must have been made before the board of
canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their respective proceedings.”
The Constitution gives the Commission on Elections the broad power "to enforce and
administer all laws and regulations to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum
and recall." The Commission indisputably exercises the power of supervision and control over
boards of election inspectors and boards of canvassers. The Commission must do everything in
its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of the votes cast in the elections. The Constitution

106
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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upgraded to a constitutional status the statutory authority under Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 to
grant the Commission broad and more flexible powers to effectively perform its duties and to
ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections, and to serve as the guardian of the
people's sacred right of suffrage.
In the absence of any manifest error in the certificate of canvass sought to be corrected,
the Commission should have ordered the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of
the ballots in the municipality of Binangonan in order to validate the claim of its MBC.
If after the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of the official ballots, the
clerical error or mathematical mistake in the addition of the votes had been established, the
Commission should have annulled the canvass and proclamation based on the erroneous
certificate of canvass. If the records had borne out that petitioner's proclamation was the result of
a clerical error or simple mathematical mistake in the addition of votes and did not reflect the true
and legitimate will of the electorate, there could have been no valid proclamation to speak of.
The issue would involve a pre-proclamation controversy.

ELECTION CONTESTS

ELECTION CONTESTS; PRE-CONDITIONS FOR DECLARING A FAILURE


OF ELECTION.

CAWASA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 150469, May 30, 2002]

CARPIO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Jun Cawasa and private respondent Adbulmalik Manamparan were among
the candidates for mayor in the Municipality of Nunungan, Lanao del Norte. Out of the 40
precincts in Nunungan, only 36 functioned, as there was a failure of election in the remaining 4
precincts. Special elections were set considering that that the number of registered voters in the
remaining 4 precincts would affect the election results. Comelec, en banc, however took
cognizance of the petition of private respondent for the annulment of election results for the
following reasons:
a) The case pending before the second division of the Comelec is a pre-proclamation
controversy, while the case pending before the Comelec en banc is a case for annulment
of election results.
b) Comelec found that the special elections were not held in the designated polling places in
Nunungan but were transferred to the different municipalities without any authority from
the Comelec, in violation of the due process requisites. Moreover, nothing in the records
could show that notice was given to the political candidates and to the registered voters
affected by the special elections of the said transfer of polling places.
c) The Comelec found that members of the Philippine Army 26th Infantry Battalion served as
election inspectors without authority from Comelec.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Comelec en banc resolution was issued without jurisdiction and/or
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

HELD: NO. The transfer was made not only in blatant disregard of the Comelec resolution
specifying the polling places but also provisions of the Election Code (Sections 153 and 154). As
clearly provided by the law, the location of polling places shall be the same as that of the
preceding regular election. However, charges may be initiated by written petition of the majority
of the voters of the precinct or agreement of all the political parties or by resolution of the
Comelec after notice and hearing. But ultimately, it is the Comelec which determines whether a
change is necessary after notice and hearing. The Comelec has unequivocally stated that
nothing in the records showed that notice was given to the political candidates and registered
voters affected by the transfer. There is no cogent reason for us to disturb the findings of the
Comelec on this matter. Indeed, the factual findings of the Comelec supported by the substantial,
evidence shall be final and non-reviewable.

107
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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Next, the appointment of military personnel as members of the BEI is another grave
irregularity that attended the special elections. There was absolutely no legal basis for the
appointment of military personnel as members of the BEI. (Sec OEC Sections 164, 165, 166,
170, and Sec. 13 of RA No. 6646).
Prayers to annul election results, as in the instant case, and a prayer to declare failure of
elections based on allegations of fraud, terrorism, violence or analogous cases, are actually of the
same nature and the Election Code denominates them similarly. The Comelec may exercise the
power to annul election results or declare a failure of election motu propio, or upon a verified
petition. The hearing of the case shall be summary in nature. A formal trial-type hearing is not at
all times and in all instances essential to due process – it is enough that the parties are given a
fair and reassurable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy and to present
evidence on which a fair decision can be based. In fine, a trial is not at all indispensable to satisfy
the demands of due process.
The pre-conditions for declaring a failure of election are:
1) That no voting has been held in any precinct or precincts because of force majeure,
violence, terrorism, fraud or other analogous cases; and
2) That the votes not cast therein are sufficient to affect the results of the elections.
The concurrence of these two circumstances justifies the calling of special elections. Here, the
Comelec found that the special elections were vitiated by fraud due to the illegal transfer of the
polling places and the appointment of military personnel as members of the BEI. Inevitably, the
Comelec could not ascertain who voted during the special elections. The circumstances were
such that the entire electoral process was not worthy of faith and credit, hence, in practical effect,
no election was held.

LAW ON PUBLIC CORPORATIONS

LOCAL AUTONOMY

LOCAL AUTONOMY; LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS CANNOT ENACT


ORDINANCES THAT GO AGAINST THE LAWS DULY ENACTED BY
CONGRESS.

LINA vs. PAŇO


[G.R. No. 129093, August 30, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: On December 29, 1995, respondent Tony Calvento was appointed agent by the
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to install Terminal OM 20 for the operation of lotto.
He asked Mayor Calixto Cataquiz, Mayor of San Pedro, Laguna, for a mayor's permit to open the
lotto outlet. This was denied by Mayor Cataquiz in a letter dated February 19, 1996. The ground
for said denial was an ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Laguna entitled
Kapasiyahan Blg. 508 which declared its policy against the operation of lotto within the province.
As a result of this resolution of denial, respondent Calvento filed a complaint for
declaratory relief with prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. On
February 10, 1997, the respondent judge, Francisco Dizon Paño, promulgated his decision
enjoining the petitioners from implementing or enforcing resolution or Kapasiyahan Blg. 508.
Petitioners contend that the assailed resolution is a valid policy declaration of the
Provincial Government of Laguna of its vehement objection to the operation of lotto and all forms
of gambling. It is likewise a valid exercise of the provincial government's police power under the
General Welfare Clause of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code
of 1991. They also maintain that respondent's lotto operation is illegal because no prior
consultations and approval by the local government were sought before it was implemented
contrary to the express provisions of Sections 2 (c) and 27 of R.A. 7160.

ISSUES:

108
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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(1) Whether Kapasiyahan Blg. 508, T. 1995 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Laguna and the
denial of a mayor's permit based thereon are valid.
(2) Whether prior consultations and approval by the concerned Sanggunian are needed before a
lotto system can be operated in a given local government unit.

HELD:
(1) YES. The entire controversy stemmed from the refusal of Mayor Cataquiz to issue a
mayor's permit for the operation of a lotto outlet in favor of private respondent. According to the
mayor, he based his decision on an existing ordinance prohibiting the operation of lotto in the
province of Laguna. The ordinance, however, merely states the "objection" of the council to the
said game. It is but a mere policy statement on the part of the local council, which is not self-
executing.
As a policy statement expressing the local government's objection to the lotto, such
resolution is valid. This is part of the local government's autonomy to air its views which may be
contrary to that of the national government's. However, this freedom to exercise contrary views
does not mean that local governments may actually enact ordinances that go against laws duly
enacted by Congress. Given this premise, the assailed resolution in this case could not and
should not be interpreted as a measure or ordinance prohibiting the operation of lotto. The game
of lotto is a game of chance duly authorized by the national government through an Act of
Congress. Republic Act 1169, as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 42, is the law which grants
a franchise to the PCSO and allows it to operate the lotteries.
Municipal governments are only agents of the national government. Local councils
exercise only delegated legislative powers conferred upon them by Congress as the national
lawmaking body. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than
those of the latter. It is a heresy to suggest that the local government units can undo the acts of
Congress, from which they have derived their power in the first place, and negate by mere
ordinance the mandate of the statute.
(2) NO. As for the second issue, we hold that petitioners erred in declaring that Sections 2
(c) and 27 of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, apply
mandatorily in the setting up of lotto outlets around the country.
From a careful reading of said provisions, we find that these apply only to national
programs and/or projects which are to be implemented in a particular local community. Lotto is
neither a program nor a project of the national government, but of a charitable institution, the
PCSO. Though sanctioned by the national government, it is far fetched to say that lotto falls
within the contemplation of Sections 2 (c) and 27 of the Local Government Code.

CREATION OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS

CREATION OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; THE CREATION OF A NEW


LGU THROUGH A DIVISION OR MERGER OF EXISTING LGUs IS
RECOGNIZED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.

CAWALING vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. NO. 146319, October 26, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: By virtue of Republic Act 8806, the City of Sorsogon was created by merging the
Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon in the Province of Sorsogon. A plebiscite was conducted
which was approved by the majority of the votes cast, and ratified the Act. Petitioner as a
taxpayer, now assails the validity of the said Act on the ground that it violates Section 450(a) of
the Local Government Code of 1991 in relation with Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution
which requires that only a “municipality or cluster of barangays may be converted into a
component city.” He is thus assailing its mode of creation and that under Section 450(a) of the
Code, a component city may be created only by converting "a municipality or a cluster of
barangays," not by merging two municipalities, as what R.A. No. 8806 has done.
Petitioner further assails the validity of the plebiscite conducted by the COMELEC for the
ratification of the creation of Sorsogon City asserting that the plebiscite required by R.A. No. 8806

109
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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should be conducted within 120 days from the "approval" of said Act per express provision of its
Section 54. The Act was approved on August 16, 2000 by former President Joseph E. Estrada.
Thus, petitioner claims, the December 16, 2000 plebiscite was conducted one (1) day late from
the expiration of the 120-day period after the approval of the Act; as the 120-day period expired
without a plebiscite conducted, the Act itself expired and could no longer be ratified and approved
in the plebiscite held on December 16, 2000. In its comment, the COMELEC asserts that it
scheduled the plebiscite on December 16, 2000 based on the date of the effectivity of the Act as
under its Section 65, the Act shall take effect upon its publication in at least two (2) newspapers
of general and local circulation.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the law is constitutional.
(2) Whether or not the said law violates the provisions of the Local Government Code and
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution.
(3) Whether or not the plebiscite conducted by the COMELEC is valid.

HELD:
(1) YES. Every statute has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. This presumption
is rooted in the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon the three coordinate
departments of the Government a becoming courtesy for each other's acts. The theory is that
every law, being the joint act of the Legislature and the Executive, has passed careful scrutiny to
ensure that it is in accord with the fundamental law. This Court, however, may declare a law, or
portions thereof, unconstitutional where a petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of
the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one. In other words the grounds for
nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt, for to doubt is to sustain.
(2) NO. Petitioner's constricted reading of Section 450(a) of the Code is erroneous. The
phrase "A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city" is not a
criterion but simply one of the modes by which a city may be created. Section 10, Article X of the
Constitution, quoted earlier and which petitioner cited in support of his posture, allows the merger
of local government units to create a province city, municipality or barangay in accordance with
the criteria established by the Code. Thus, Section 8 of the Code distinctly provides:
"SECTION 8. Division and Merger. — Division and merger of existing local government
units shall comply with the same requirements herein prescribed for their creation: Provided,
however, That such division shall not reduce the income, population, or land area of the local
government unit or units concerned to less than the minimum requirements prescribed in this
Code: Provided, further, That the income classification of the original local government unit or
units shall not fall below its current income classification prior to such division. . . . ."
Verily, the creation of an entirely new local government unit through a division or a
merger of existing local government units is recognized under the Constitution, provided that such
merger or division shall comply with the requirements prescribed by the Code.
(3) YES. The law was first published in the August 25, 2000 issue of TODAY a newspaper
of general circulation. Then on September 01, 2000, it was published in a newspaper of local
circulation in the Province of Sorsogon. Thus, the publication of the law was completed on
September 1, 2000, which date, according to the COMELEC, should be the reckoning point in
determining the 120-day period within which to conduct the plebiscite, not from the date of its
approval (August 16, 2000) when the law had not yet been published. Since publication is
indispensable for the effectivity of a law, citing the landmark case of Tañada vs. Tuvera, it could
only schedule the plebiscite after the Act took effect. Thus, the December 16, 2000 plebiscite
was well within the 120-day period from the effectivity of the law on September 1, 2000.

POWERS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS

POWERS OF LGUs; THE ALLOCATION OF THE SPECIAL EDUCATION


FUND FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF EXTENSION
CLASSES LOGICALLY IMPLIES THE HIRING AND COMPENSATION OF
TEACHERS BUT NOT THE GRANTING OF SCHOLARSHIPS.

110
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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COA of the PROVINCE of CEBU vs. PROVINCE of CEBU


[G.R. No. 141386, November 29, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: The provincial governor of the province of Cebu, as chairman of the local school
board, under Section 98 of the Local Government Code, appointed classroom teachers who have
no items in the DECS plantilla to handle extension classes that would accommodate students in
the public schools.
In the audit of accounts conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA) of the Province of
Cebu, for the period January to June 1998, it appeared that the salaries and personnel-related
benefits of the teachers appointed by the province for the extension classes were charged
against the provincial Special Education Fund (SEF). Likewise charged to the SEF were the
college scholarship grants of the province. Consequently, the COA issued Notices of Suspension
to the province of Cebu, saying that disbursements for the salaries of teachers and scholarship
grants are not chargeable to the provincial SEF.
Faced with the Notices of Suspension issued by the COA, the province of Cebu,
represented by its governor, filed a petition for declaratory relief with the trial court.
Invoking the legal maxim "expressio unius est exclusio alterius," petitioner alleges that
since salaries, personnel-related benefits and scholarship grants are not among those authorized
as lawful expenditures of the SEF under the Local Government Code, they should be deemed
excluded therefrom.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the salaries and personnel-related benefits of public school teachers
appointed by local chief executives in connection with the establishment and maintenance of
extension classes may be charged to the Special Education Fund (SEF) of the local
government unit concerned.
(2) Whether or not the expenses for college scholarship grants may be charged to the Special
Education Fund (SEF) of the local government unit concerned.

HELD:
(1) YES. It is a basic precept in statutory construction that the intent of the legislature is the
controlling factor in the interpretation of a statute. In this connection, the following portions of the
deliberations of the Senate on the second reading of the Local Government Code on July 30,
1990 are significant:
“Senator Pimentel: Mr. President, pursuant to the wording of the proposed transfer of this
elementary school system to local government units, what are specifically covered here are
merely the construction, repair, and maintenance of elementary school buildings and other
structures connected with public elementary school education, payment of salaries,
emoluments, allowances et cetera, procurement of books, other teaching materials and
equipment needed for the proper implementation of the program. There is nothing here that
will indicate that the local government will have any right to alter the curriculum.”
Undoubtedly, the aforecited exchange of views clearly demonstrates that the legislature
intended the SEF to answer for the compensation of teachers handling extension classes
Even under the doctrine of necessary implication, the allocation of the SEF for the
establishment and maintenance of extension classes logically implies the hiring of teachers who
should, as a matter of course be compensated for their services. Every statute is understood, by
implication, to contain all such provisions as may be necessary to effectuate its object and
purpose, or to make effective rights, powers, privileges or jurisdiction which it grants, including all
such collateral and subsidiary consequences as may be fairly and logically inferred from its terms.
Ex necessitate legis. Verily, the services and the corresponding compensation of these teachers
are necessary and indispensable to the establishment and maintenance of extension classes.
(2) NO. With respect, however, to college scholarship grants, a reading of the pertinent laws
of the Local Government Code reveals that said grants are not among the projects for which the
proceeds of the SEF may be appropriated. It should be noted that Sections 100 (c) and 272 of the
Local Government Code substantially reproduced Section 1, of R.A. No. 5447. But, unlike
payment of salaries of teachers which falls within the ambit of "establishment and maintenance of
extension classes" and "operation and maintenance of public schools," the "granting of

111
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
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government scholarship to poor but deserving students" was omitted in Sections 100 (c) and 272
of the Local Government Code. Casus omissus pro omisso habendus est. A person, object, or
thing omitted from an enumeration in a statute must be held to have been omitted intentionally. It
is not for this Court to supply such grant of scholarship where the legislature has omitted it.

PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW

TREATIES

TREATIES; THE PARIS CONVENTION RESPECTS THE RIGHTS OF


MEMBER COUNTRIES TO ADOPT LEGISLATIVE MEASURES TO PREVENT
ABUSES WHICH MIGHT RESULT FROM THE EXERCISE OF EXCLUSIVE
RIGHTS CONFERRED BY THE PATENT.

SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LABORATORIES vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 121267, October 23, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Petitioner is the assignee of Letters Patent No. 12207 covering the pharmaceutical
product Cimetidine, which relates to derivatives of heterocyclicthio or lower alkoxy or amino lower
alkyl thiourea, ureas or guanadines issued by the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and
Technology Transfer (BPTTT). Private respondent filed with the BPTTT a petition for compulsory
license to manufacture and produce its own brand of medicines using Cimetidine. Petitioner
opposed the petition for compulsory license, arguing that the private respondent had no cause of
action and failed to allege how it intended to work the patented product. After both parties were
heard, the BPTTT rendered a decision directing the issuance of a compulsory license to private
respondent to use, manufacture and sell in the Philippines its own brand of pharmaceutical
products containing.
Petitioner thereafter filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review of the decision of
the BPTTT, arguing that said decision is an invalid exercise of police power and is violative of
international law. Petitioner states that the grant of a compulsory license to private respondent is
an invalid exercise of police power since it was not shown that there is an overwhelming public
necessity for such grant, considering that petitioner is able to provide an adequate supply of
Cimetidine to satisfy the needs of the Philippine market. It argues further that the provisions of
the Patent Law on compulsory licensing contravene the Convention of Paris for the Protection of
Industrial Property (Paris Convention), which allegedly permits the granting of a compulsory
license over a patented product only to prevent abuses which might result from the exercise of
the exclusive rights conferred by the patent, or on the ground of failure to work or insufficient
working of the patented product, within four years from the date of filing of the patent application
or three years from the date of grant of the patent, whichever expires last. Petitioner opines that
the inclusion of grounds for the grant of a compulsory license in Section 34 of the Patent Law
other than those provided under the Paris Convention constitutes a violation of the Philippines'
obligation to adhere to the provisions of said treaty.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the said grant of compulsory license was an invalid exercise of police power.
(2) Whether or not the grant violated the international law, particularly the Paris Convention.

HELD:
(1) NO. The grant of the compulsory license satisfies the requirements of the provisions of
Section 34 of the Patent Law. More than ten years have passed since the patent for Cimetidine
was issued to petitioner and its predecessors-in-interest, and the compulsory license applied for
by private respondent is for the use, manufacture and sale of a medicinal product. Furthermore,
both the appellate court and the BPTTT found that private respondent had the capability to work
Cimetidine or to make use thereof in the manufacture of a useful product.

112
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW
SAN BEDA COLLEGE OF LAW – 2003 CENTRALIZED BAR OPERATIONS
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(2) NO. Petitioner's contention that Section 34 of the Patent Law contravenes the Paris
Convention because the former provides for grounds for the grant of a compulsory license in
addition to those found in the latter, is likewise incorrect. Article 5, Section A(2) of the Paris
Convention states:
Each country of the union shall have the right to take legislative measures providing for the
grant of compulsory licenses to prevent the abuses which might result from the exercise of
the exclusive rights conferred by the patent, for example, failure to work.
Section A(2) of Article 5 of the Paris Conventional unequivocally and explicitly respects
the right of member countries to adopt legislative measures to provide for the grant of compulsory
licenses to prevent abuses which might result from the exercise of the exclusive rights conferred
by the patent. An example provided of possible abuses is "failure to work;" however, as such, is
merely supplied by way of an example, it is plain that the treaty does not preclude the inclusion of
other forms of categories of abuses.

TREATIES; THE VFA GIVES LEGITIMACY TO THE BALIKATAN


EXERCISES; THERE IS NO TREATY ALLOWING US TROOPS TO ENGAGE
IN COMBAT IN THE PHILIPPINES.

LIM vs. HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY


[G.R. No. 151445, April 11, 2002]

DE LEON, JR., J:
FACTS: Beginning January of this year 2002, personnel from the armed forces of the United
States of America started arriving in Mindanao to take part, in conjunction with the Philippine
military, in "Balikatan 02-1." These so-called "Balikatan" exercises are the largest combined
training operations involving Filipino and American troops. In theory, they are a simulation of joint
military maneuvers pursuant to the Mutual Defense Treaty, a bilateral defense agreement entered
into by the Philippines and the United States in 1951.
On February 1, 2002, petitioners Arthur D. Lim and Paulino P. Ersando filed this petition
for certiorari and prohibition, attacking the constitutionality of the joint exercise and seeking the
issuance of a writ of prohibition/injunction to prevent US troops from participating in areas of
armed conflict on the ground that such is in gross violation of the Constitution. They argue that:
I. The Philippines and the United States signed the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in 1951
to provide mutual military assistance in accordance with the “Constitutional Processes” of
each country only in the case of an armed attack by an external aggressor, meaning a
third country against one of them.
By no stretch of the imagination can it be said that the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan
constitute an external armed force that has subjected the Philippines to an armed
external attack to warrant US military assistance under the MDT of 1951.
II. Neither does the VFA of 1999 authorize American soldiers to engage in combat
operations in Philippine territory, not even to fire beck “if fired upon.”
They were joined subsequently by SANLAKAS and PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA,
both party-list organizations, who filed a petition-in-intervention on February 11, 2002. Lim and
Ersando filed suit in their capacities as citizens, lawyers and taxpayers. SANLAKAS and
PARTIDO, on the other hand, aver that certain members of their organization are residents of
Zamboanga and Sulu, and hence will be directly affected by the operations being conducted in
Mindanao.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the “Balikatan” activities are covered under the Visiting Forces Agreement
and are therefore valid.
(2) Whether or not the American soldiers are authorized to engage in combat in the Philippines.

113
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW
SAN BEDA COLLEGE OF LAW – 2003 CENTRALIZED BAR OPERATIONS
Reproduction in any form of this copy is strictly prohibited!!!

HELD:
(1) YES. The VFA permits United States personnel to engage, on an impermanent basis, in
"activities," the exact meaning of which was left undefined. The expression is ambiguous,
permitting a wide scope of undertakings subject only to the approval of the Philippine
government. After studied reflection, it appeared farfetched that the ambiguity surrounding the
meaning of the word "activities" arose from accident. In our view, it was deliberately made that
way to give both parties a certain leeway in negotiation. In this manner, visiting US forces may
sojourn in Philippine territory for purposes other than military. As conceived, the joint exercises
may include training on new techniques of patrol and surveillance to protect the nation's marine
resources, sea search-and-rescue operations to assist vessels in distress, disaster relief
operations, civic action projects such as the building of school houses, medical and humanitarian
missions, and the like.
Under these auspices, the VFA gives legitimacy to the current Balikatan exercises. It is
only logical to assume that "Balikatan 02-1," a "mutual antiterrorism advising, assisting and
training exercise," falls under the umbrella of sanctioned or allowable activities in the context of
the agreement. Both the history and intent of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the VFA support the
conclusion that combat-related activities — as opposed to combat itself — such as the one
subject of the instant petition, are indeed authorized.
(2) NO. There is no treaty or agreement allowing US troops to engage in combat in the
Philippines. Paragraph 8 of section I of the VFA stipulates that US exercise participants may not
engage in combat "except in self-defense. Neither the MDT nor the VFA allow foreign troops to
engage in an offensive war on Philippine territory. Both the Mutual Defense Treaty and the
Visiting Forces Agreement, as in all other treaties and international agreements to which the
Philippines is a party, must be read in the context of the 1987 Constitution. The present
Constitution contains key provisions useful in determining the extent to which foreign military
troops are allowed in Philippine territory.
Thus, in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, it is provided that:
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 2. — The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to
the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 7. — 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.
SEC. 8. — The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy
of freedom from nuclear weapons in the country.
xxx xxx xxx
The aforequoted provisions betray a marked antipathy towards foreign military presence
in the country, or of foreign influence in general. Hence, foreign troops are allowed entry into the
Philippines only by way of direct exception.

114
POLITICAL LAW COMMITTEE: Andy Nachura, Alexander Ragonjan, Maricel Abarentos, Jennifer Balboa, Avito Cahig, Jr., Ma. Cristina Constantino,
Ricardo de Guzman, Ethel Degollado, Alder Delloro, Joyce Diňo, Christopher Godinez, Andre Jacob, Juanito Lim, Jr., Jonathan Mangundayao, Raji
Mendoza, Jeanne Montes, Charo Rejuso, Aimee Sabilala, Jennifer Sobremonte, Gerald Sotto, Jemina Sy, Ryan Sy Lita, Gloriosa Sze, Maria Fe
Taal, Joeshias Tambago, Mae Ventura, Elsa Villaflor.