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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985
LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. [MABINI], petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON. JOAQUIN
VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA
CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacaang Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his
capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents.

ESCOLIN, J .:
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in Section 6,
Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution,
1
as well as the principle that laws to be valid and
enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners
seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in
the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders, proclamations,
executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders.
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought:
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234,
265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406,
415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594,
599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030,
1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644,
1772, 1808, 1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847.
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, 155,
161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228,
231-239, 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293,
297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382,
385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576,
587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642, 665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837-
839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278.
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529,
1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606-
1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-
1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802-
1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-
1840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-1889,
1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030-
2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244.
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507,
509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568,
570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788-
852, 854-857.
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92,
94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439.
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case dismissed outright on the ground
that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. The view is submitted
that in the absence of any showing that petitioners are personally and directly affected or prejudiced by
the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in question
2
said petitioners are without the
requisite legal personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being "aggrieved parties"
within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote:
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.When any tribunal, corporation, board or person
unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty
resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use a rd
enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain,
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby
may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty and praying
that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant, immediately or at some other
specified time, to do the act required to be done to Protect the rights of the petitioner, and
to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the
defendant.
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition concerns a public right and
its object is to compel the performance of a public duty, they need not show any specific interest for their
petition to be given due course.
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of Severino vs. Governor
General,
3
this Court held that while the general rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted to a
private individual only in those cases where he has some private or particular interest to be subserved, or
some particular right to be protected, independent of that which he holds with the public at large," and "it
is for the public officers exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be subserved [Mithchell
vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is one of public right and the object of the
mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, the people are regarded as the real party in
interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted need not show that he has any
legal or special interest in the result, it being sufficient to show that he is a citizen and as such interested
in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431].
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private individual, as a proper party
to the mandamus proceedings brought to compel the Governor General to call a special election for the
position of municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for this Court, Mr.
Justice Grant T. Trent said:
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority supports the proposition that
the relator is a proper party to proceedings of this character when a public right is sought
to be enforced. If the general rule in America were otherwise, we think that it would not
be applicable to the case at bar for the reason 'that it is always dangerous to apply a
general rule to a particular case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule, because,
if under the particular circumstances the reason for the rule does not exist, the rule itself
is not applicable and reliance upon the rule may well lead to error'
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule insisted upon by counsel
for the respondent. The circumstances which surround this case are different from those
in the United States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these proceedings
no other person could be, as we have seen that it is not the duty of the law officer of the
Government to appear and represent the people in cases of this character.
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal personality in the aforementioned
case apply squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by petitioners herein
is a public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land. If petitioners were not
allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive of any other person to initiate
the same, considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer generally empowered to
represent the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in this case.
Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement for
the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus
submitted that since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to the date they
are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity. The point
stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication
in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ...
The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's construction of said article. In a long
line of decisions,
4
this Court has ruled that publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those cases
where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of publication is
material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its publication-but not
when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect.
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the effectivity of laws with
the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand, the
conclusion is easily reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in the
Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of
Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all important legisiative acts
and resolutions of a public nature of the, Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive
and administrative orders and proclamations, except such as have no general
applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court
of Appeals as may be deemed by said courts of sufficient importance to be so published;
[4] such documents or classes of documents as may be required so to be published by
law; and [5] such documents or classes of documents as the President of the Philippines
shall determine from time to time to have general applicability and legal effect, or which
he may authorize so to be published. ...
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate notice of the various
laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and publication,
there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It would be the
height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law of which he had
no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the publication of laws taken so
vital significance that at this time when the people have bestowed upon the President a power heretofore
enjoyed solely by the legislature. While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of the debates
and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansaand for the diligent ones, ready access to the legislative
recordsno such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the President. Thus, without
publication, the people have no means of knowing what presidential decrees have actually been
promulgated, much less a definite way of informing themselves of the specific contents and texts of such
decrees. As the Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden
tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordines dictadas de
conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad.
5

The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be published in the
Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent officials an imperative duty.
That duty must be enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of public
concern is to be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list of what should be published in
the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no discretion whatsoever as to
what must be included or excluded from such publication.
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is mandated
by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for their violation or
otherwise impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall within this category.
Other presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of persons such as
administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that they have been
circularized to all concerned.
6

It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general
applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person may be bound by
law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio Teehankee said
in Peralta vs. COMELEC
7
:
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions which all form part of
the law of the land, the requirement of due process and the Rule of Law demand that the
Official Gazette as the official government repository promulgate and publish the texts of
all such decrees, orders and instructions so that the people may know where to obtain
their official and specific contents.
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which have not been
published, shall have no force and effect. Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive about the
possible unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in reliance of the validity of those
presidential decrees which were published only during the pendency of this petition, have put the
question as to whether the Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or
implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past this
Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot County Drainage District vs. Baxter
Bank
8
to wit:
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress, having been
found to be unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was inoperative, conferring no rights
and imposing no duties, and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree. Norton
v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559,
566. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a
determination of unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. The actual
existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an operative fact and may have
consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a
new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to
be considered in various aspects-with respect to particular conduct, private and official.
Questions of rights claimed to have become vested, of status, of prior determinations
deemed to have finality and acted upon accordingly, of public policy in the light of the
nature both of the statute and of its previous application, demand examination. These
questions are among the most difficult of those which have engaged the attention of
courts, state and federal and it is manifest from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive
statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified.
Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban
9
sustained the right of a party
under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law was declared
unconstitutional by this Court.
Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their publication in the Official
Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be justly ignored. The past
cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of
absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that of the presidential decrees
sought by petitioners to be published in the Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030,
inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not been so published.
10
Neither the subject matters
nor the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no copies thereof are available. But whatever their
subject matter may be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever been implemented
or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles,
11
the Court, through Justice Ramon Aquino,
ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the public of the contents of [penal] regulations and make
the said penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The cogency of this holding is apparently
recognized by respondent officials considering the manifestation in their comment that "the government,
as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of criminal laws until the same shall have been
published in the Official Gazette or in some other publication, even though some criminal laws provide
that they shall take effect immediately.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all unpublished
presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so published, they shall have no
binding force and effect.
SO ORDERED.
Relova, J., concurs.
Aquino, J., took no part.
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.

Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, C.J ., concurring (with qualification):
There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written opinion of Justice
Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the requirement of
publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have binding force and
effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would arise if made to
apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act
having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not be confined to the
Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an advantage to be gained. It conduces to
certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases and
under all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other executive act of the same
category being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a constitutional
question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a legislative or
presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official Gazette. There is no
such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is true that what is decided
now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is, to my mind, needed to
avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any statute or presidential act to be
impressed with binding force or effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first paragraph
sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The Philippine
Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike some
Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws
to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by publication in
the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise.
1
I am likewise in agreement with its
closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before
laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary
fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the
Official Gazette.
2

3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the government "must
be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all.
3
It would indeed be to reduce it to the level of
mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and unknowable.
4
Publication, to repeat,
is thus essential. What I am not prepared to subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official
Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the ascertainable mode of determining the exact date
of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of the question of what is the jural effect of past
presidential decrees or executive acts not so published. For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of
their existence could have conducted themselves in accordance with their provisions. If no legal
consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official Gazette, then serious problems could
arise. Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances" could be open to question. Matters
deemed settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to hold that such an effect is contemplated
by our decision. Where such presidential decree or executive act is made the basis of a criminal
prosecution, then, of course, its ex post facto character becomes evident.
5
In civil cases though,
retroactivity as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect. There must still be a showing of
arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged presidential decree or executive act was issued under the
police power, the non-impairment clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked.
There must still be that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be
tainted by infirmity.
6
In traditional terminology, there could arise then a question of unconstitutional
application. That is as far as it goes.
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that publication is
essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general application. I am not in agreement
with the view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in its Article 2
expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after fifteen days following the completion of
their publication in the Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise provided."
Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No. 386. It does not and
cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act which has
the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that presidential
decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette would be devoid of any
legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as earlier noted, with
undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to yield assent to such a pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in this
separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.

TEEHANKEE, J ., concurring:
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme. Justice Herrera.
The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and ascertainable and of equal
application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under certain set
procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule of fair play and justice that
a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are commanded to obey
before they can be punished for its violation,
1
citing the settled principle based on due process
enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions,
a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specially informed of said
contents and its penalties.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and the
Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3 of
the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from the
public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no one
from compliance therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws which are
silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is manifestly
untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days
following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a
different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a law that has been
duly published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process. The best example of this
is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall take effect [only] one year [not
15 days] after such publication.
2
To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or decrees specify
the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the Official Gazette is not necessary for their
effectivity
3
would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's indispensable and essential
requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the simple expedient of providing for immediate
effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before the completion of 15 days following its
publication which is the period generally fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J ., concurring:
I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of effectivity, it has to
be published. What I would like to state in connection with that proposition is that when a date of
effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the date
of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will run
counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.

PLANA, J ., concurring (with qualification):
The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of due process requires
notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by
publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. Neither is the publication of
laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity, if said laws
already provide for their effectivity date.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion
of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may be said of this
provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to when it will take effect.
Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide not only a different period for reckoning its
effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it shall be published
elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their effectivity, laws
must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the Uniform
Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it authorizes the publication of
the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its sale and distribution, and defines the
authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be published in the
Official Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the
Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and proclamations, except such
as have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be published
in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature." Moreover, the said law does not
provide that publication in the Official Gazette is essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be,
for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, especially an earlier one of general
application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent
statute that has a provision of its own as to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, which is
the Constitution, can assume that role.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become effective,
for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to
disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.


GUTIERREZ, Jr., J ., concurring:
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such publication
being in the Official Gazette.

DE LA FUENTE, J ., concurring:
I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public nature or
general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.
Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, C.J ., concurring (with qualification):
There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written opinion of Justice
Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the requirement of
publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have binding force and
effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would arise if made to
apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act
having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not be confined to the
Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an advantage to be gained. It conduces to
certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases and
under all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other executive act of the same
category being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a constitutional
question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a legislative or
presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official Gazette. There is no
such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is true that what is decided
now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is, to my mind, needed to
avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any statute or presidential act to be
impressed with binding force or effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first paragraph
sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The Philippine
Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike some
Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws
to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by publication in
the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise.
1
I am likewise in agreement with its
closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before
laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary
fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the
Official Gazette.
2

3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the government "must
be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all.
3
It would indeed be to reduce it to the level of
mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and unknowable.
4
Publication, to repeat,
is thus essential. What I am not prepared to subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official
Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the ascertainable mode of determining the exact date
of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of the question of what is the jural effect of past
presidential decrees or executive acts not so published. For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of
their existence could have conducted themselves in accordance with their provisions. If no legal
consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official Gazette, then serious problems could
arise. Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances" could be open to question. Matters
deemed settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to hold that such an effect is contemplated
by our decision. Where such presidential decree or executive act is made the basis of a criminal
prosecution, then, of course, its ex post facto character becomes evident.
5
In civil cases though,
retroactivity as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect. There must still be a showing of
arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged presidential decree or executive act was issued under the
police power, the non-impairment clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked.
There must still be that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be
tainted by infirmity.
6
In traditional terminology, there could arise then a question of unconstitutional
application. That is as far as it goes.
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that publication is
essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general application. I am not in agreement
with the view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in its Article 2
expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after fifteen days following the completion of
their publication in the Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise provided."
Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No. 386. It does not and
cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act which has
the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that presidential
decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette would be devoid of any
legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as earlier noted, with
undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to yield assent to such a pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in this
separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.

TEEHANKEE, J ., concurring:
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme. Justice Herrera.
The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and ascertainable and of equal
application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under certain set
procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule of fair play and justice that
a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are commanded to obey
before they can be punished for its violation,
1
citing the settled principle based on due process
enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions,
a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specially informed of said
contents and its penalties.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and the
Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3 of
the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from the
public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no one
from compliance therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws which are
silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is manifestly
untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days
following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a
different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a law that has been
duly published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process. The best example of this
is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall take effect [only] one year [not
15 days] after such publication.
2
To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or decrees specify
the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the Official Gazette is not necessary for their
effectivity
3
would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's indispensable and essential
requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the simple expedient of providing for immediate
effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before the completion of 15 days following its
publication which is the period generally fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J ., concurring:
I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of effectivity, it has to
be published. What I would like to state in connection with that proposition is that when a date of
effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the date
of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will run
counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.

PLANA, J ., concurring (with qualification):
The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of due process requires
notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by
publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. Neither is the publication of
laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity, if said laws
already provide for their effectivity date.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion
of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may be said of this
provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to when it will take effect.
Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide not only a different period for reckoning its
effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it shall be published
elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their effectivity, laws
must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the Uniform
Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it authorizes the publication of
the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its sale and distribution, and defines the
authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be published in the
Official Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the
Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and proclamations, except such
as have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be published
in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature." Moreover, the said law does not
provide that publication in the Official Gazette is essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be,
for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, especially an earlier one of general
application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent
statute that has a provision of its own as to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, which is
the Constitution, can assume that role.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become effective,
for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to
disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.

GUTIERREZ, Jr., J ., concurring:
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such publication
being in the Official Gazette.

DE LA FUENTE, J ., concurring:
I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public nature or
general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.
Footnotes
1 Section 6. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shag be
recognized, access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official
acts, transactions, or decisions, shag be afforded the citizens subject to such limitation as
may be provided by law.
2 Anti-Chinese League vs. Felix, 77 Phil. 1012; Costas vs. Aidanese, 45 Phil. 345;
Almario vs. City Mayor, 16 SCRA 151;Parting vs. San Jose Petroleum, 18 SCRA 924;
Dumlao vs. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392.
3 16 Phil. 366, 378.
4 Camacho vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 80 Phil 848; Mejia vs. Balolong, 81 Phil.
486; Republic of the Philippines vs. Encamacion, 87 Phil. 843; Philippine Blooming Mills,
Inc. vs. Social Security System, 17 SCRA 1077; Askay vs. Cosalan, 46 Phil. 179.
5 1 Manresa, Codigo Civil 7th Ed., p. 146.
6 People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640; Balbuena et al. vs. Secretary of Education, et al.,
110 Phil. 150.
7 82 SCRA 30, dissenting opinion.
8 308 U.S. 371, 374.
9 93 Phil.. 68,.
10 The report was prepared by the Clerk of Court after Acting Director Florendo S. Pablo
Jr. of the Government Printing Office, failed to respond to her letter-request regarding the
respective dates of publication in the Official Gazette of the presidential issuances listed
therein. No report has been submitted by the Clerk of Court as to the publication or non-
publication of other presidential issuances.
11 129 SCRA 174.
Fernando, CJ.:
1 Separate Opinion of Justice Plana, first paragraph. He mentioned in tills connection
Article 7, Sec. 21 of the Wisconsin Constitution and State ex rel. White v. Grand Superior
Ct., 71 ALR 1354, citing the Constitution of Indiana, U.S.A
2 Ibid, closing paragraph.
3 Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty 104 (1960).
4 Cardozo, The Growth of the Law, 3 (1924).
5 Cf. Nunez v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 50581-50617, January 30, 1982, 111 SCRA
433.
6 Cf. Alalayan v. National Power Corporation, L-24396, July 29, 1968, 24 SCRA 172.
Teehankee, J.:
1 People vs. de Dios, G.R. No. 11003, Aug. 3l, 1959, per the late Chief Justice Paras.
2 Notes in brackets supplied.
3 Respondents: comment, pp. 14-15.
Plana, J.:
* See e.g., Wisconsin Constitution, Art. 7, Sec. 21: "The legislature shall provide
publication of all statute laws ... and no general law shall be in force until published." See
also S ate ex rel. White vs. Grand Superior Ct., 71 ALR 1354, citing Constitution of
Indiana, U.S.A.












EN BANC
[G.R. No. 125350. December 3, 2002]
HON. RTC JUDGES MERCEDES G. DADOLE (Executive Judge, Branch 28), ULRIC R. CAETE
(Presiding Judge, Branch 25), AGUSTINE R. VESTIL (Presiding Judge, Branch 56), HON.
MTC JUDGES TEMISTOCLES M. BOHOLST (Presiding Judge, Branch 1), VICENTE C.
FANILAG (Judge Designate, Branch 2), and WILFREDO A. DAGATAN (Presiding Judge,
Branch 3), all of Mandaue City, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT,respondent.
D E C I S I O N
CORONA, J.:
Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 64 to annul the decision
[1]
and resolution
[2]
, dated
September 21, 1995 and May 28, 1996, respectively, of the respondent Commission on Audit (COA)
affirming the notices of the Mandaue City Auditor which diminished the monthly additional allowances
received by the petitioner judges of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and Municipal Trial Court (MTC)
stationed in Mandaue City.
The undisputed facts are as follows:
In 1986, the RTC and MTC judges of Mandaue City started receiving monthly allowances of P1,260
each through the yearly appropriation ordinance enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the said city.
In 1991, Mandaue City increased the amount to P1,500 for each judge.
On March 15, 1994, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued the disputed Local
Budget Circular No. 55 (LBC 55) which provided that:
xxx xxx xxx
2.3.2. In the light of the authority granted to the local government units under the Local Government Code
to provide for additional allowances and other benefits to national government officials and employees
assigned in their locality,such additional allowances in the form of honorarium at rates not exceeding
P1,000.00 in provinces and cities and P700.00 in municipalities may be granted subject to the following
conditions:
a) That the grant is not mandatory on the part of the LGUs;
b) That all contractual and statutory obligations of the LGU including the implementation of R.A. 6758
shall have been fully provided in the budget;
c) That the budgetary requirements/limitations under Section 324 and 325 of R.A. 7160 should be
satisfied and/or complied with; and
d) That the LGU has fully implemented the devolution of functions/personnel in accordance with R.A.
7160.
[3]
(italics supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
The said circular likewise provided for its immediate effectivity without need of publication:
5.0 EFFECTIVITY
This Circular shall take effect immediately.
Acting on the DBM directive, the Mandaue City Auditor issued notices of disallowance to herein
petitioners, namely, Honorable RTC Judges Mercedes G. Dadole, Ulric R. Caete, Agustin R. Vestil,
Honorable MTC Judges Temistocles M. Boholst, Vicente C. Fanilag and Wilfredo A. Dagatan, in excess
of the amount authorized by LBC 55. Beginning October, 1994, the additional monthly allowances of the
petitioner judges were reduced to P1,000 each. They were also asked to reimburse the amount they
received in excess of P1,000 from April to September, 1994.
The petitioner judges filed with the Office of the City Auditor a protest against the notices of
disallowance. But the City Auditor treated the protest as a motion for reconsideration and indorsed the
same to the COA Regional Office No. 7. In turn, the COA Regional Office referred the motion to the head
office with a recommendation that the same be denied.
On September 21, 1995, respondent COA rendered a decision denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration. The COA held that:
The issue to be resolved in the instant appeal is whether or not the City Ordinance of Mandaue which
provides a higher rate of allowances to the appellant judges may prevail over that fixed by the DBM under
Local Budget Circular No. 55 dated March 15, 1994.
xxx xxx xxx
Applying the foregoing doctrine, appropriation ordinance of local government units is subject to the
organizational, budgetary and compensation policies of budgetary authorities (COA 5
th
Ind., dated March
17, 1994 re: Province of Antique; COA letter dated May 17, 1994 re: Request of Hon. Renato Leviste,
Cong. 1
st
Dist. Oriental Mindoro). In this regard, attention is invited to Administrative Order No. 42 issued
on March 3, 1993 by the President of the Philippines clarifying the role of DBM in the compensation and
classification of local government positions under RA No. 7160 vis-avis the provisions of RA No. 6758 in
view of the abolition of the JCLGPA. Section 1 of said Administrative Order provides that:
Section 1. The Department of Budget and Management as the lead administrator of RA No. 6758 shall,
through its Compensation and Position Classification Bureau, continue to have the following
responsibilities in connection with the implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991:
a) Provide guidelines on the classification of local government positions and on the
specific rates of pay therefore;
b) Provide criteria and guidelines for the grant of all allowances and additional forms
of compensation to local government employees; xxx. (underscoring supplied)
To operationalize the aforecited presidential directive, DBM issued LBC No. 55, dated March 15, 1994,
whose effectivity clause provides that:
xxx xxx xxx
5.0 EFFECTIVITY
This Circular shall take effect immediately.
It is a well-settled rule that implementing rules and regulations promulgated by administrative or executive
officer in accordance with, and as authorized by law, has the force and effect of law or partake the nature
of a statute (Victorias Milling Co., Inc., vs. Social Security Commission, 114 Phil. 555, cited in Agpalos
Statutory Construction, 2
nd
Ed. P. 16; Justice Cruzs Phil. Political Law, 1984 Ed., p. 103; Espanol vs. Phil
Veterans Administration, 137 SCRA 314; Antique Sawmills Inc. vs. Tayco, 17 SCRA 316).
xxx xxx xxx
There being no statutory basis to grant additional allowance to judges in excess of P1,000.00 chargeable
against the local government units where they are stationed, this Commission finds no substantial
grounds or cogent reason to disturb the decision of the City Auditor, Mandaue City, disallowing in audit
the allowances in question. Accordingly, the above-captioned appeal of the MTC and RTC Judges of
Mandaue City, insofar as the same is not covered by Circular Letter No. 91-7, is hereby dismissed for lack
of merit.
xxx xxx xxx
[4]

On November 27, 1995, Executive Judge Mercedes Gozo-Dadole, for and in behalf of the petitioner
judges, filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the COA. In a resolution dated May 28, 1996,
the COA denied the motion.
Hence, this petition for certiorari by the petitioner judges, submitting the following questions for
resolution:
I
HAS THE CITY OF MANDAUE STATUTORY AND CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS TO PROVIDE
ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCES AND OTHER BENEFITS TO JUDGES STATIONED IN AND ASSIGNED
TO THE CITY?
II
CAN AN ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR OR GUIDELINE SUCH AS LOCAL BUDGET CIRCULAR NO.
55 RENDER INOPERATIVE THE POWER OF THE LEGISLATIVE BODY OF A CITY BY SETTING A
LIMIT TO THE EXTENT OF THE EXERCISE OF SUCH POWER?
III
HAS THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT CORRECTLY INTERPRETED LOCAL BUDGET CIRCULAR NO.
55 TO INCLUDE MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY IN FIXING THE CEILING OF ADDITIONAL
ALLOWANCES AND BENEFITS TO BE PROVIDED TO JUDGES STATIONED IN AND ASSIGNED TO
MANDAUE CITY BY THE CITY GOVERNMENT AT P1,000.00 PER MONTH NOTWITHSTANDING
THAT THEY HAVE BEEN RECEIVING ALLOWANCES OF P1,500.00 MONTHLY FOR THE PAST FIVE
YEARS?
IV
IS LOCAL BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. 55 DATED MARCH 15, 1994 ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF
BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT VALID AND ENFORCEABLE CONSIDERING THAT IT WAS NOT DULY
PUBLISHED IN ACCODANCE WITH LAW?
[5]

Petitioner judges argue that LBC 55 is void for infringing on the local autonomy of Mandaue City by
dictating a uniform amount that a local government unit can disburse as additional allowances to judges
stationed therein. They maintain that said circular is not supported by any law and therefore goes beyond
the supervisory powers of the President. They further allege that said circular is void for lack of
publication.
On the other hand, the yearly appropriation ordinance providing for additional allowances to judges is
allowed by Section 458, par. (a)(1)[xi], of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of
1991, which provides that:
Sec. 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the
legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the
general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code and in the proper
exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:
(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city government, and
in this connection, shall:
xxx xxx xxx
(xi) When the finances of the city government allow, provide for additional allowances and other benefits
to judges, prosecutors, public elementary and high school teachers, and other national government
officials stationed in or assigned to the city; (italics supplied)
Instead of filing a comment on behalf of respondent COA, the Solicitor General filed a manifestation
supporting the position of the petitioner judges. The Solicitor General argues that (1) DBM only enjoys the
power to review and determine whether the disbursements of funds were made in accordance with the
ordinance passed by a local government unit while (2) the COA has no more than auditorial visitation
powers over local government units pursuant to Section 348 of RA 7160 which provides for the power to
inspect at any time the financial accounts of local government units.
Moreover, the Solicitor General opines that the DBM and the respondent are only authorized under
RA 7160 to promulgate a Budget Operations Manual for local government units, to improve and
systematize methods, techniques and procedures employed in budget preparation, authorization,
execution and accountability pursuant to Section 354 of RA 7160. The Solicitor General points out that
LBC 55 was not exercised under any of the aforementioned provisions.
Respondent COA, on the other hand, insists that the constitutional and statutory authority of a city
government to provide allowances to judges stationed therein is not absolute. Congress may set
limitations on the exercise of autonomy. It is for the President, through the DBM, to check whether these
legislative limitations are being followed by the local government units.
One such law imposing a limitation on a local government units autonomy is Section 458, par. (a) (1)
[xi], of RA 7160, which authorizes the disbursement of additional allowances and other benefits to
judges subject to the condition that the finances of the city government should allow the same. Thus,
DBM is merely enforcing the condition of the law when it sets a uniform maximum amount for the
additional allowances that a city government can release to judges stationed therein.
Assuming arguendo that LBC 55 is void, respondent COA maintains that the provisions of the yearly
approved ordinance granting additional allowances to judges are still prohibited by the appropriation laws
passed by Congress every year. COA argues that Mandaue City gets the funds for the said additional
allowances of judges from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). But the General Appropriations Acts of
1994 and 1995 do not mention the disbursement of additional allowances to judges as one of the
allowable uses of the IRA. Hence, the provisions of said ordinance granting additional allowances, taken
from the IRA, to herein petitioner judges are void for being contrary to law.
To resolve the instant petition, there are two issues that we must address: (1) whether LBC 55 of the
DBM is void for going beyond the supervisory powers of the President and for not having been published
and (2) whether the yearly appropriation ordinance enacted by the City of Mandaue that provides for
additional allowances to judges contravenes the annual appropriation laws enacted by Congress.
We rule in favor of the petitioner judges.
On the first issue, we declare LBC 55 to be null and void.
We recognize that, although our Constitution
[6]
guarantees autonomy to local government units, the
exercise of local autonomy remains subject to the power of control by Congress and the power of
supervision by the President. Section 4 of Article X of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that:
Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local
governments. x x x
In Pimentel vs. Aguirre
[7]
, we defined the supervisory power of the President and distinguished it from
the power of control exercised by Congress. Thus:
This provision (Section 4 of Article X of the 1987 Philippine Constitution) has been interpreted to exclude
the power of control. In Mondano v. Silvosa,
[i][5]
the Court contrasted the President's power of supervision
over local government officials with that of his power of control over executive officials of the national
government. It was emphasized that the two terms -- supervision and control -- differed in meaning and
extent. The Court distinguished them as follows:
"x x x In administrative law, supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see
that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them, the former may take
such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand,
means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer ha[s]
done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter."
[ii][6]

In Taule v. Santos,
[iii][7]
we further stated that the Chief Executive wielded no more authority than that of
checking whether local governments or their officials were performing their duties as provided by the
fundamental law and by statutes. He cannot interfere with local governments, so long as they act within
the scope of their authority. "Supervisory power, when contrasted with control, is the power of mere
oversight over an inferior body; it does not include any restraining authority over such body,"
[iv][8]
we said.
In a more recent case, Drilon v. Lim,
[v][9]
the difference between control and supervision was further
delineated. Officers in control lay down the rules in the performance or accomplishment of an act. If
these rules are not followed, they may, in their discretion, order the act undone or redone by their
subordinates or even decide to do it themselves. On the other hand, supervision does not cover such
authority. Supervising officials merely see to it that the rules are followed, but they themselves do not lay
down such rules, nor do they have the discretion to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed,
they may order the work done or redone, but only to conform to such rules. They may not prescribe their
own manner of execution of the act. They have no discretion on this matter except to see to it that the
rules are followed.
Under our present system of government, executive power is vested in the President.
[vi][10]
The members
of the Cabinet and other executive officials are merely alter egos. As such, they are subject to the power
of control of the President, at whose will and behest they can be removed from office; or their actions and
decisions changed, suspended or reversed.
[vii][11]
In contrast, the heads of political subdivisions are
elected by the people. Their sovereign powers emanate from the electorate, to whom they are directly
accountable. By constitutional fiat, they are subject to the Presidents supervision only, not control, so
long as their acts are exercised within the sphere of their legitimate powers. By the same token, the
President may not withhold or alter any authority or power given them by the Constitution and the law.
Clearly then, the President can only interfere in the affairs and activities of a local government unit if
he or she finds that the latter has acted contrary to law. This is the scope of the Presidents supervisory
powers over local government units. Hence, the President or any of his or her alter egos cannot interfere
in local affairs as long as the concerned local government unit acts within the parameters of the law and
the Constitution. Any directive therefore by the President or any of his or her alter egos seeking to alter
the wisdom of a law-conforming judgment on local affairs of a local government unit is a patent nullity
because it violates the principle of local autonomy and separation of powers of the executive and
legislative departments in governing municipal corporations.
Does LBC 55 go beyond the law it seeks to implement? Yes.
LBC 55 provides that the additional monthly allowances to be given by a local government unit
should not exceed P1,000 in provinces and cities and P700 in municipalities. Section 458, par. (a)(1)(xi),
of RA 7160, the law that supposedly serves as the legal basis of LBC 55, allows the grant of additional
allowances to judges when the finances of the city government allow. The said provision does not
authorize setting a definite maximum limit to the additional allowances granted to judges. Thus, we need
not belabor the point that the finances of a city government may allow the grant of additional allowances
higher than P1,000 if the revenues of the said city government exceed its annual expenditures. Thus, to
illustrate, a city government with locally generated annual revenues of P40 million and expenditures
of P35 million can afford to grant additional allowances of more than P1,000 each to, say, ten judges
inasmuch as the finances of the city can afford it.
Setting a uniform amount for the grant of additional allowances is an inappropriate way of enforcing
the criterion found in Section 458, par. (a)(1)(xi), of RA 7160. The DBM over-stepped its power of
supervision over local government units by imposing a prohibition that did not correspond with the law it
sought to implement. In other words, the prohibitory nature of the circular had no legal basis.
Furthermore, LBC 55 is void on account of its lack of publication, in violation of our ruling in Taada
vs. Tuvera
[8]
where we held that:
xxx. Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or
implement existing law pursuant to a valid delegation.
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the personnel of an
administrative agency and the public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of the so-
called letters of instruction issued by administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be
followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties.
Respondent COA claims that publication is not required for LBC 55 inasmuch as it is merely an
interpretative regulation applicable to the personnel of an LGU. We disagree. In De Jesus vs.
Commission on Audit
[9]
where we dealt with the same issue, this Court declared void, for lack of
publication, a DBM circular that disallowed payment of allowances and other additional compensation to
government officials and employees. In refuting respondent COAs argument that said circular was
merely an internal regulation, we ruled that:
On the need for publication of subject DBM-CCC No. 10, we rule in the affirmative. Following the doctrine
enunciated in Taada v. Tuvera, publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general
circulation in the Philippines is required since DBM-CCC No. 10 is in the nature of an administrative
circular the purpose of which is to enforce or implement an existing law. Stated differently, to be
effective and enforceable, DBM-CCC No. 10 must go through the requisite publication in the Official
Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.
In the present case under scrutiny, it is decisively clear that DBM-CCC No. 10, which completely
disallows payment of allowances and other additional compensation to government officials and
employees, starting November 1, 1989, is not a mere interpretative or internal regulation. It is something
more than that. And why not, when it tends to deprive government workers of their allowance and
additional compensation sorely needed to keep body and soul together.At the very least, before the
said circular under attack may be permitted to substantially reduce their income, the government
officials and employees concerned should be apprised and alerted by the publication of subject
circular in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines to the
end that they be given amplest opportunity to voice out whatever opposition they may have, and
to ventilate their stance on the matter. This approach is more in keeping with democratic precepts
and rudiments of fairness and transparency. (emphasis supplied)
In Philippine International Trading Corporation vs. Commission on Audit
[10]
, we again declared the
same circular as void, for lack of publication, despite the fact that it was re-issued and then submitted for
publication. Emphasizing the importance of publication to the effectivity of a regulation, we therein held
that:
It has come to our knowledge that DBM-CCC No. 10 has been re-issued in its entirety and submitted for
publication in the Official Gazette per letter to the National Printing Office dated March 9, 1999. Would the
subsequent publication thereof cure the defect and retroact to the time that the above-mentioned items
were disallowed in audit?
The answer is in the negative, precisely for the reason that publication is required as a condition
precedent to the effectivity of a law to inform the public of the contents of the law or rules and regulations
before their rights and interests are affected by the same. From the time the COA disallowed the
expenses in audit up to the filing of herein petition the subject circular remained in legal limbo due to its
non-publication. As was stated in Taada v. Tuvera, prior publication of laws before they become
effective cannot be dispensed with, for the reason that it would deny the public knowledge of the laws that
are supposed to govern it.
[11]

We now resolve the second issue of whether the yearly appropriation ordinance enacted by
Mandaue City providing for fixed allowances for judges contravenes any law and should therefore be
struck down as null and void.
According to respondent COA, even if LBC 55 were void, the ordinances enacted by Mandaue City
granting additional allowances to the petitioner judges would still (be) bereft of legal basis for want of a
lawful source of funds considering that the IRA cannot be used for such purposes. Respondent COA
showed that Mandaue Citys funds consisted of locally generated revenues and the IRA. From 1989 to
1995, Mandaue Citys yearly expenditures exceeded its locally generated revenues, thus resulting in a
deficit. During all those years, it was the IRA that enabled Mandaue City to incur a surplus. Respondent
avers that Mandaue City used its IRA to pay for said additional allowances and this violated paragraph 2
of the Special Provisions, page 1060, of RA 7845 (The General Appropriations Act of 1995)
[12]
and
paragraph 3 of the Special Provision, page 1225, of RA 7663 (The General Appropriations Act of
1994)
[13]
which specifically identified the objects of expenditure of the IRA. Nowhere in said provisions of
the two budgetary laws does it say that the IRA can be used for additional allowances of judges.
Respondent COA thus argues that the provisions in the ordinance providing for such disbursement are
against the law, considering that the grant of the subject allowances is not within the specified use
allowed by the aforesaid yearly appropriations acts.
We disagree.
Respondent COA failed to prove that Mandaue City used the IRA to spend for the additional
allowances of the judges. There was no evidence submitted by COA showing the breakdown of the
expenses of the city government and the funds used for said expenses. All the COA presented were the
amounts expended, the locally generated revenues, the deficit, the surplus and the IRA received each
year. Aside from these items, no data or figures were presented to show that Mandaue City deducted the
subject allowances from the IRA. In other words, just because Mandaue Citys locally generated revenues
were not enough to cover its expenditures, this did not mean that the additional allowances of petitioner
judges were taken from the IRA and not from the citys own revenues.
Moreover, the DBM neither conducted a formal review nor ordered a disapproval of Mandaue Citys
appropriation ordinances, in accordance with the procedure outlined by Sections 326 and 327 of RA 7160
which provide that:
Section 326. Review of Appropriation Ordinances of Provinces, Highly Urbanized Cities, Independent
Component Cities, and Municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila Area. The Department of Budget and
Management shall review ordinances authorizing the annual or supplemental appropriations of provinces,
highly-urbanized cities, independent component cities, and municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila
Area in accordance with the immediately succeeding Section.
Section 327. Review of Appropriation Ordinances of Component Cities and Municipalities.- The
sangguninang panlalawigan shall review the ordinance authorizing annual or supplemental appropriations
of component cities and municipalities in the same manner and within the same period prescribed for the
review of other ordinances.
If within ninety (90) days from receipt of copies of such ordinance, the sangguniang panlalawigan
takes no action thereon, the same shall be deemed to have been reviewed in accordance with law
and shall continue to be in full force and effect. (emphasis supplied)
Within 90 days from receipt of the copies of the appropriation ordinance, the DBM should have taken
positive action. Otherwise, such ordinance was deemed to have been properly reviewed and deemed to
have taken effect. Inasmuch as, in the instant case, the DBM did not follow the appropriate procedure for
reviewing the subject ordinance of Mandaue City and allowed the 90-day period to lapse, it can no longer
question the legality of the provisions in the said ordinance granting additional allowances to judges
stationed in the said city.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED, and the assailed decision and resolution, dated
September 21, 1995 and May 28, 1996, respectively, of the Commission on Audit are hereby set aside.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-
Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.
Puno, J., on official business.
Azcuna, J., on leave.



[1]
COA Decision No. 95-568; Rollo, pp. 42-47.
[2]
COA Decision No. 96-282; Rollo, pp. 48-49.
[3]
Rollo, p. 128; Rollo, p. 47.
[4]
Rollo, pp. 44-47.
[5]
Rollo, p. 24.
[6]
Sec. 25, [Art. II]. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.
Sec. 2, [Art. X]. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.
[7]
336 SCRA 201, 214-215 (2000).
[8]
146 SCRA 453, 454 (1986).
[9]
294 SCRA 152, 157-158 (1998).
[10]
309 SCRA 179, 189 (1999).
[11]
Id., p. 189.
[12]
SPECIAL PROVISIONS
xxx xxx xxx
3. Use of Funds. The amount herein shall, pursuant to Section 17(g) of the Code, provide for the cost of
basic services and facilities enumerated under Section 17(b) thereof, particularly those which
have been devolved by the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and
Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources as well as other agencies of the national government, including (1)
construction/improvement, repair and maintenance of local roads; (2) concrete barangay
roads/multi-purpose pavements construction and improvement program to be implemented in
accordance with R.A. No. 6763; (3) construction, rehabilitation and improvement of communal
irrigation projects/systems; PROVIDED, That each local government unit shall, in accordance
with Section 287 of the Code, appropriate in its annual budget no less than twenty percent (20%)
of its share from internal revenue allotment for development projects; PROVIDED, FURTHER,
That enforcement of the provisions of Sections 325(a) and 331(b) of the Code shall be waived to
enable local government units to absorb national government personnel transferred on account of
devolution, create the mandatory positions specified in the Code, enable the barangay officials to
receive the minimum allowable level of remuneration provided under Section 393 of the Code as
well as continue the implementation of the salary standardization authorized under R.A. No.
6758: PROVIDED, FINALLY, That such amounts as may be determined by the Department of
Budget and Management corresponding to the requirements of health care and services as
devolved to Local Governments Units R.A. No. 7160 shall not be realigned or utilized by LGUs
concerned for any other expenditure or purpose.
[13]
SPECIAL PROVISIONS
xxx xxx xxx
2. Use of Funds. - The amount herein appropriated shall, pursuant to Section 17(g) of the Code, provide
for the cost of basic services and facilities enumerated under Section 17(b) thereof, particularly
those devolved by the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development,
the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as
well as other agencies of the National Government, including (1) construction/improvement,
repair and maintenance of local roads; (2) concrete barangay roads/multi-purpose pavements,
construction and improvement program to be implemented in accordance with R.A. No. 6763; (2)
construction, rehabilitation and improvement of communal irrigation projects/systems; and (4)
payment of not less than fifty percent (50%) of the total requirement for the Magna Carta benefits
of devolved health workers pursuant to the provisions of R.A. No. 7305 and such other guidelines
that may be issued by the Department of Health for the purpose: PROVIDED, That each local
government unit shall, in accordance with Section 287 of the Code, appropriate in its budget no
less than twenty percent (20%) of its share from Internal Revenue Allotment for development
projects; PROVIDED, FURTHER, That enforcement of the provisions of Sections 325(a) and
331(b) of the Code shall be waived enable local government units to absorb and/or maintain
national government personnel transferred on account of devolution, create the mandatory
positions specified in the Code, enable the barangay officials to receive the minimum allowable
level of remuneration provided under Section 393 of the Code, as well as continue the
implementation of the salary standardization authorized under R.A. No. 6758 and the payment of
not less than fifty percent (50%) of the total requirement for the Magna Carta benefits of health
workers mandated under R.A. No. 7305 and such other guidelines as may be issued by the
Department of Health for the purpose.








Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 170338 December 23, 2008
VIRGILIO O. GARCILLANO, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEES ON PUBLIC INFORMATION, PUBLIC ORDER
AND SAFETY, NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
TECHNOLOGY, and SUFFRAGE AND ELECTORAL REFORMS, respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
G.R. No. 179275 December 23, 2008
SANTIAGO JAVIER RANADA and OSWALDO D. AGCAOILI, petitioners,
vs.
THE SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE SENATE
PRESIDENT THE HONORABLE MANUEL VILLAR, respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
MAJ. LINDSAY REX SAGGE, petitioner-in-intervention
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., BENIGNO NOYNOY C. AQUINO, RODOLFO G. BIAZON, PANFILO M.
LACSON, LOREN B. LEGARDA, M.A. JAMBY A.S. MADRIGAL, and ANTONIO F.
TRILLANES, respondents-intervenors
D E C I S I O N
NACHURA, J .:
More than three years ago, tapes ostensibly containing a wiretapped conversation purportedly between
the President of the Philippines and a high-ranking official of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
surfaced. They captured unprecedented public attention and thrust the country into a controversy that
placed the legitimacy of the present administration on the line, and resulted in the near-collapse of the
Arroyo government. The tapes, notoriously referred to as the "Hello Garci" tapes, allegedly contained the
Presidents instructions to COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to manipulate in her favor results
of the 2004 presidential elections. These recordings were to become the subject of heated legislative
hearings conducted separately by committees of both Houses of Congress.
1

In the House of Representatives (House), on June 8, 2005, then Minority Floor Leader Francis G.
Escudero delivered a privilege speech, "Tale of Two Tapes," and set in motion a congressional
investigation jointly conducted by the Committees on Public Information, Public Order and Safety,
National Defense and Security, Information and Communications Technology, and Suffrage and Electoral
Reforms (respondent House Committees). During the inquiry, several versions of the wiretapped
conversation emerged. But on July 5, 2005, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Reynaldo
Wycoco, Atty. Alan Paguia and the lawyer of former NBI Deputy Director Samuel Ong submitted to the
respondent House Committees seven alleged "original" tape recordings of the supposed three-hour taped
conversation. After prolonged and impassioned debate by the committee members on the admissibility
and authenticity of the recordings, the tapes were eventually played in the chambers of the House.
2

On August 3, 2005, the respondent House Committees decided to suspend the hearings indefinitely.
Nevertheless, they decided to prepare committee reports based on the said recordings and the
testimonies of the resource persons.
3

Alarmed by these developments, petitioner Virgilio O. Garcillano (Garcillano) filed with this Court a
Petition for Prohibition and Injunction, with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of
Preliminary Injunction
4
docketed as G.R. No. 170338. He prayed that the respondent House Committees
be restrained from using these tape recordings of the "illegally obtained" wiretapped conversations in their
committee reports and for any other purpose. He further implored that the said recordings and any
reference thereto be ordered stricken off the records of the inquiry, and the respondent House
Committees directed to desist from further using the recordings in any of the House proceedings.
5

Without reaching its denouement, the House discussion and debates on the "Garci tapes" abruptly
stopped.
After more than two years of quiescence, Senator Panfilo Lacson roused the slumbering issue with a
privilege speech, "The Lighthouse That Brought Darkness." In his discourse, Senator Lacson promised to
provide the public "the whole unvarnished truth the whats, whens, wheres, whos and whys" of the
alleged wiretap, and sought an inquiry into the perceived willingness of telecommunications providers to
participate in nefarious wiretapping activities.
On motion of Senator Francis Pangilinan, Senator Lacsons speech was referred to the Senate
Committee on National Defense and Security, chaired by Senator Rodolfo Biazon, who had previously
filed two bills
6
seeking to regulate the sale, purchase and use of wiretapping equipment and to prohibit the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from performing electoral duties.
7

In the Senates plenary session the following day, a lengthy debate ensued when Senator Richard
Gordon aired his concern on the possible transgression of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 4200
8
if the body were
to conduct a legislative inquiry on the matter. On August 28, 2007, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago
delivered a privilege speech, articulating her considered view that the Constitution absolutely bans the
use, possession, replay or communication of the contents of the "Hello Garci" tapes. However, she
recommended a legislative investigation into the role of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), the
Philippine National Police or other government entities in the alleged illegal wiretapping of public officials.
9

On September 6, 2007, petitioners Santiago Ranada and Oswaldo Agcaoili, retired justices of the Court
of Appeals, filed before this Court a Petition for Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction,
10
docketed as G.R. No. 179275, seeking to bar
the Senate from conducting its scheduled legislative inquiry. They argued in the main that the intended
legislative inquiry violates R.A. No. 4200 and Section 3, Article III of the Constitution.
11

As the Court did not issue an injunctive writ, the Senate proceeded with its public hearings on the "Hello
Garci" tapes on September 7,
12
17
13
and October 1,
14
2007.
Intervening as respondents,
15
Senators Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., Benigno Noynoy C. Aquino, Rodolfo G.
Biazon, Panfilo M. Lacson, Loren B. Legarda, M.A. Jamby A.S. Madrigal and Antonio F. Trillanes filed
their Comment
16
on the petition on September 25, 2007.
The Court subsequently heard the case on oral argument.
17

On October 26, 2007, Maj. Lindsay Rex Sagge, a member of the ISAFP and one of the resource persons
summoned by the Senate to appear and testify at its hearings, moved to intervene as petitioner in G.R.
No. 179275.
18

On November 20, 2007, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. Nos. 170338 and 179275.
19

It may be noted that while both petitions involve the "Hello Garci" recordings, they have different
objectivesthe first is poised at preventing the playing of the tapes in the House and their subsequent
inclusion in the committee reports, and the second seeks to prohibit and stop the conduct of the Senate
inquiry on the wiretapped conversation.
The Court dismisses the first petition, G.R. No. 170338, and grants the second, G.R. No. 179275.
- I -
Before delving into the merits of the case, the Court shall first resolve the issue on the parties standing,
argued at length in their pleadings.
In Tolentino v. COMELEC,
20
we explained that "[l]egal standing or locus standi refers to a personal and
substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury because of the
challenged governmental act x x x," thus,
generally, a party will be allowed to litigate only when (1) he can show that he has personally
suffered some actual or threatened injury because of the allegedly illegal conduct of the
government; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action; and (3) the injury is likely to
be redressed by a favorable action.
21

The gist of the question of standing is whether a party has "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome
of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues
upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."
22

However, considering that locus standi is a mere procedural technicality, the Court, in recent cases, has
relaxed the stringent direct injury test. David v. Macapagal-Arroyo
23
articulates that a "liberal policy has
been observed, allowing ordinary citizens, members of Congress, and civic organizations to prosecute
actions involving the constitutionality or validity of laws, regulations and rulings."
24
The fairly
recent Chavez v. Gonzales
25
even permitted a non-member of the broadcast media, who failed to allege
a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy, to challenge the acts of the Secretary of Justice and
the National Telecommunications Commission. The majority, in the said case, echoed the current policy
that "this Court has repeatedly and consistently refused to wield procedural barriers as impediments to its
addressing and resolving serious legal questions that greatly impact on public interest, in keeping with the
Courts duty under the 1987 Constitution to determine whether or not other branches of government have
kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws, and that they have not abused the
discretion given to them."
26

In G.R. No. 170338, petitioner Garcillano justifies his standing to initiate the petition by alleging that he is
the person alluded to in the "Hello Garci" tapes. Further, his was publicly identified by the members of the
respondent committees as one of the voices in the recordings.
27
Obviously, therefore, petitioner
Garcillano stands to be directly injured by the House committees actions and charges of electoral fraud.
The Court recognizes his standing to institute the petition for prohibition.
In G.R. No. 179275, petitioners Ranada and Agcaoili justify their standing by alleging that they are
concerned citizens, taxpayers, and members of the IBP. They are of the firm conviction that any attempt
to use the "Hello Garci" tapes will further divide the country. They wish to see the legal and proper use of
public funds that will necessarily be defrayed in the ensuing public hearings. They are worried by the
continuous violation of the laws and individual rights, and the blatant attempt to abuse constitutional
processes through the conduct of legislative inquiries purportedly in aid of legislation.
28

Intervenor Sagge alleges violation of his right to due process considering that he is summoned to attend
the Senate hearings without being apprised not only of his rights therein through the publication of the
Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation, but also of the intended legislation
which underpins the investigation. He further intervenes as a taxpayer bewailing the useless and wasteful
expenditure of public funds involved in the conduct of the questioned hearings.
29

Given that petitioners Ranada and Agcaoili allege an interest in the execution of the laws and that
intervenor Sagge asserts his constitutional right to due process,
30
they satisfy the requisite personal stake
in the outcome of the controversy by merely being citizens of the Republic.
Following the Courts ruling in Francisco, Jr. v. The House of Representatives,
31
we find sufficient
petitioners Ranadas and Agcaoilis and intervenor Sagges allegation that the continuous conduct by the
Senate of the questioned legislative inquiry will necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds.
32
It
should be noted that inFrancisco, rights personal to then Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. had been
injured by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives, yet the Court granted
standing to the petitioners therein for, as in this case, they invariably invoked the vindication of their own
rightsas taxpayers, members of Congress, citizens, individually or in a class suit, and members of the
bar and of the legal professionwhich were also supposedly violated by the therein assailed
unconstitutional acts.
33

Likewise, a reading of the petition in G.R. No. 179275 shows that the petitioners and intervenor Sagge
advance constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness,
novelty and weight as precedents. The issues are of transcendental and paramount importance not only
to the public but also to the Bench and the Bar, and should be resolved for the guidance of all.
34

Thus, in the exercise of its sound discretion and given the liberal attitude it has shown in prior cases
climaxing in the more recent case of Chavez, the Court recognizes the legal standing of petitioners
Ranada and Agcaoili and intervenor Sagge.
- II -
The Court, however, dismisses G.R. No. 170338 for being moot and academic. Repeatedly stressed in
our prior decisions is the principle that the exercise by this Court of judicial power is limited to the
determination and resolution of actual cases and controversies.
35
By actual cases, we mean existing
conflicts appropriate or ripe for judicial determination, not conjectural or anticipatory, for otherwise the
decision of the Court will amount to an advisory opinion. The power of judicial inquiry does not extend to
hypothetical questions because any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal
questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities.
36
Neither will the Court determine a moot
question in a case in which no practical relief can be granted. A case becomes moot when its purpose
has become stale.
37
It is unnecessary to indulge in academic discussion of a case presenting a moot
question as a judgment thereon cannot have any practical legal effect or, in the nature of things, cannot
be enforced.
38

In G.R. No. 170338, petitioner Garcillano implores from the Court, as aforementioned, the issuance of an
injunctive writ to prohibit the respondent House Committees from playing the tape recordings and from
including the same in their committee report. He likewise prays that the said tapes be stricken off the
records of the House proceedings. But the Court notes that the recordings were already played in the
House and heard by its members.
39
There is also the widely publicized fact that the committee reports on
the "Hello Garci" inquiry were completed and submitted to the House in plenary by the respondent
committees.
40
Having been overtaken by these events, the Garcillano petition has to be dismissed for
being moot and academic. After all, prohibition is a preventive remedy to restrain the doing of an act
about to be done, and not intended to provide a remedy for an act already accomplished.
41

- III -
As to the petition in G.R. No. 179275, the Court grants the same. The Senate cannot be allowed to
continue with the conduct of the questioned legislative inquiry without duly published rules of procedure,
in clear derogation of the constitutional requirement.
Section 21, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[t]he Senate or the House of
Representatives, or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in
accordance with its duly published rules of procedure." The requisite of publication of the rules is intended
to satisfy the basic requirements of due process.
42
Publication is indeed imperative, for it will be the height
of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law or rule of which he had
no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
43
What constitutes publication is set forth in Article 2
of the Civil Code, which provides that "[l]aws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of
their publication either in the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the
Philippines."
44

The respondents in G.R. No. 179275 admit in their pleadings and even on oral argument that the Senate
Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation had been published in newspapers of
general circulation only in 1995 and in 2006.
45
With respect to the present Senate of the 14
th
Congress,
however, of which the term of half of its members commenced on June 30, 2007, no effort was
undertaken for the publication of these rules when they first opened their session.
Recently, the Court had occasion to rule on this very same question. In Neri v. Senate Committee on
Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations,
46
we said:
Fourth, we find merit in the argument of the OSG that respondent Committees likewise violated
Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution, requiring that the inquiry be in accordance with the
"duly published rules of procedure." We quote the OSGs explanation:
The phrase "duly published rules of procedure" requires the Senate of every Congress to
publish its rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation because every
Senate is distinct from the one before it or after it. Since Senatorial elections are held
every three (3) years for one-half of the Senates membership, the composition of the
Senate also changes by the end of each term. Each Senate may thus enact a different
set of rules as it may deem fit. Not having published its Rules of Procedure, the
subject hearings in aid of legislation conducted by the 14
th
Senate, are therefore,
procedurally infirm.
Justice Antonio T. Carpio, in his Dissenting and Concurring Opinion, reinforces this ruling with the
following rationalization:
The present Senate under the 1987 Constitution is no longer a continuing legislative body. The
present Senate has twenty-four members, twelve of whom are elected every three years for a
term of six years each. Thus, the term of twelve Senators expires every three years, leaving
less than a majority of Senators to continue into the next Congress. The 1987 Constitution,
like the 1935 Constitution, requires a majority of Senators to "constitute a quorum to do
business." Applying the same reasoning in Arnault v. Nazareno, the Senate under the 1987
Constitution is not a continuing body because less than majority of the Senators continue into the
next Congress. The consequence is that the Rules of Procedure must be republished by the
Senate after every expiry of the term of twelve Senators.
47

The subject was explained with greater lucidity in our Resolution
48
(On the Motion for Reconsideration) in
the same case, viz.:
On the nature of the Senate as a "continuing body," this Court sees fit to issue a clarification.
Certainly, there is no debate that the Senate as an institution is "continuing," as it is not
dissolved as an entity with each national election or change in the composition of its members.
However, in the conduct of its day-to-day business the Senate of each Congress acts separately
and independently of the Senate of the Congress before it. The Rules of the Senate itself
confirms this when it states:
RULE XLIV
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
SEC. 123. Unfinished business at the end of the session shall be taken up at the next
session in the same status.
All pending matters and proceedings shall terminate upon the expiration of one (1)
Congress, but may be taken by the succeeding Congress as if present for the first time.
Undeniably from the foregoing, all pending matters and proceedings, i.e., unpassed bills and
even legislative investigations, of the Senate of a particular Congress are
considered terminated upon the expiration of that Congress and it is merely optional on the
Senate of the succeeding Congress to take up such unfinished matters, not in the same status,
but as if presented for the first time. The logic and practicality of such a rule is readily apparent
considering that the Senate of the succeeding Congress (which will typically have a different
composition as that of the previous Congress) should not be bound by the acts and deliberations
of the Senate of which they had no part. If the Senate is a continuing body even with respect to
the conduct of its business, then pending matters will not be deemed terminated with the
expiration of one Congress but will, as a matter of course, continue into the next Congress with
the same status.
This dichotomy of the continuity of the Senate as an institution and of the opposite nature of the
conduct of its business is reflected in its Rules. The Rules of the Senate (i.e. the Senates main
rules of procedure) states:
RULE LI
AMENDMENTS TO, OR REVISIONS OF, THE RULES
SEC. 136. At the start of each session in which the Senators elected in the preceding
elections shall begin their term of office, the President may endorse the Rules to the
appropriate committee for amendment or revision.
The Rules may also be amended by means of a motion which should be presented at
least one day before its consideration, and the vote of the majority of the Senators
present in the session shall be required for its approval.
RULE LII
DATE OF TAKING EFFECT
SEC. 137. These Rules shall take effect on the date of their adoption and shall remain in
force until they are amended or repealed.
Section 136 of the Senate Rules quoted above takes into account the new composition of the
Senate after an election and the possibility of the amendment or revision of the Rules at the start
of each session in which the newly elected Senators shall begin their term.
However, it is evident that the Senate has determined that its main rules are intended to be valid
from the date of their adoption until they are amended or repealed. Such language is
conspicuously absent from theRules. The Rules simply state "(t)hese Rules shall take effect
seven (7) days after publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation." The latter does not
explicitly provide for the continued effectivity of such rules until they are amended or repealed. In
view of the difference in the language of the two sets of Senate rules, it cannot be presumed that
the Rules (on legislative inquiries) would continue into the next Congress. The Senate of the next
Congress may easily adopt different rules for its legislative inquiries which come within the rule on
unfinished business.
The language of Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution requiring that the inquiry be conducted
in accordance with the duly published rules of procedure is categorical. It is incumbent upon the
Senate to publish the rules for its legislative inquiries in each Congress or otherwise make the
published rules clearly state that the same shall be effective in subsequent Congresses or until
they are amended or repealed to sufficiently put public on notice.
If it was the intention of the Senate for its present rules on legislative inquiries to be effective even
in the next Congress, it could have easily adopted the same language it had used in its main
rules regarding effectivity.
Respondents justify their non-observance of the constitutionally mandated publication by arguing that the
rules have never been amended since 1995 and, despite that, they are published in booklet form
available to anyone for free, and accessible to the public at the Senates internet web page.
49

The Court does not agree. The absence of any amendment to the rules cannot justify the Senates
defiance of the clear and unambiguous language of Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution. The organic
law instructs, without more, that the Senate or its committees may conduct inquiries in aid of
legislation only in accordance with duly published rules of procedure, and does not make any distinction
whether or not these rules have undergone amendments or revision. The constitutional mandate to
publish the said rules prevails over any custom, practice or tradition followed by the Senate.
Justice Carpios response to the same argument raised by the respondents is illuminating:
The publication of the Rules of Procedure in the website of the Senate, or in pamphlet form
available at the Senate, is not sufficient under the Taada v. Tuvera ruling which requires
publication either in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. The Rules of
Procedure even provide that the rules "shall take effect seven (7) days after publication in two (2)
newspapers of general circulation," precluding any other form of publication. Publication in
accordance with Taada is mandatory to comply with the due process requirement because
the Rules of Procedure put a persons liberty at risk. A person who violates the Rules of
Procedure could be arrested and detained by the Senate.
The invocation by the respondents of the provisions of R.A. No. 8792,
50
otherwise known as the
Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, to support their claim of valid publication through the internet is all the
more incorrect. R.A. 8792 considers an electronic data message or an electronic document as the
functional equivalent of a written document only for evidentiary purposes.
51
In other words, the law merely
recognizes the admissibility in evidence (for their being the original) of electronic data messages and/or
electronic documents.
52
It does not make the internet a medium for publishing laws, rules and regulations.
Given this discussion, the respondent Senate Committees, therefore, could not, in violation of the
Constitution, use its unpublished rules in the legislative inquiry subject of these consolidated cases. The
conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation by the Senate has to be deferred until it shall have caused the
publication of the rules, because it can do so only "in accordance with its duly published rules of
procedure."
Very recently, the Senate caused the publication of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in
Aid of Legislation in the October 31, 2008 issues of Manila Bulletin and Malaya. While we take judicial
notice of this fact, the recent publication does not cure the infirmity of the inquiry sought to be prohibited
by the instant petitions. Insofar as the consolidated cases are concerned, the legislative investigation
subject thereof still could not be undertaken by the respondent Senate Committees, because no
published rules governed it, in clear contravention of the Constitution.
With the foregoing disquisition, the Court finds it unnecessary to discuss the other issues raised in the
consolidated petitions.
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 170338 is DISMISSED, and the petition in G.R. No. 179275 is
GRANTED. Let a writ of prohibition be issued enjoining the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines
and/or any of its committees from conducting any inquiry in aid of legislation centered on the "Hello Garci"
tapes.
SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice


WE CONCUR:
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice
*
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Associate Justice
DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
RUBEN T. REYES
Associate Justice
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the
above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Court.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice


Footnotes
*
On leave.
1
Rollo (G.R. No. 179275), p. 168.
2
Rollo (G.R. No. 170338), pp. 7-9.
3
Id. at 9.
4
Id. at 1-38.
5
Id. at 36-38.
6
Rollo (G.R. No. 179275), pp. 215-220.
7
Id. at 169.
8
An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations of the Privacy of
Communications and for Other Purposes.
9
Rollo (G.R. No. 179275), pp. 169-170.
10
Id. at 3-17.
11
Id. at 7-13.
12
Id. at 24.
13
Id. at 44.
14
Memorandum of Respondents-Intervenors, p. 6.
15
Rollo (G.R. No. 179275), pp. 68-70.
16
Id. at 71-90.
17
Id. at 62. The Court identified the following issues for discussion in the October 2, 2007 Oral
Argument:
1. Whether the petitioners have locus standi to bring this suit.
2. Whether the Rules of Procedure of the Senate and the Senate Committees governing
the conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation have been published, in accordance with
Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution. Corollarily:
(a) Whether these Rules must be published by every Congress.
(b) What mode/s of publication will comply with the constitutional requirement.
3. Whether the inquiry, which is centered on the so-called "Garci tapes," violates Section
3, Article III of the Constitution and/or Republic Act No. 4200. (Id. at 66.)
18
Motion for Leave to Intervene and Petition-in-Intervention filed on October 26, 2007.
19
Resolution dated November 20, 2007.
20
465 Phil. 385, 402 (2004).
21
Tolentino v. Commission on Elections, id.
22
Province of Batangas v. Romulo, G.R. No. 152774, May 27, 2004, 429 SCRA 736, 755.
23
G.R. Nos. 171396, 171409, 171485, 171483, 171400, 171489 and 171424, May 3, 2006, 489
SCRA 160.
24
David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, id. at 218.
25
G.R. No. 168338, February 15, 2008, 545 SCRA 441.
26
Id.
27
Reply in G.R. No. 170338, pp. 36-37.
28
Rollo (G.R. No. 179275), p. 4.
29
Petition-in-Intervention, p. 3.
30
David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, supra note 23, at 223.
31
460 Phil. 830 (2003).
32
Francisco, Jr. v. The House of Representatives, id. at 897.
33
Francisco, Jr. v. The House of Representatives, supra note 31, at 895.
34
Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, Jr., G.R. No. 113375, May 5, 1994, 232 SCRA 110, 139.
35
Dumlao v. COMELEC, 184 Phil. 369, 377 (1980). This case explains the standards that have to
be followed in the exercise of the power of judicial review, namely: (1) the existence of an
appropriate case; (2) an interest personal and substantial by the party raising the constitutional
question; (3) the plea that the function be exercised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the
necessity that the constitutional question be passed upon in order to decide the case.
36
La Bugal-Blaan Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos, 465 Phil. 860, 889-890 (2004).
37
Rufino v. Endriga, G.R. Nos. 139554 and 139565, July 21, 2006, 496 SCRA 13, 46.
38
Lanuza, Jr. v. Yuchengco, G.R. No. 157033, March 28, 2005, 454 SCRA 130, 138.
39
Rollo (G.R. No. 170338), p. 9.
40
See news article "Separate findings, no closure" by Michael Lim Umbac published in The
Philippine Daily Inquirer on March 29, 2006; News item "5 House committees in Garci probe file
report on Monday" published in The Manila Bulletin on March 25, 2006.
41
Simon, Jr. v. Commission on Human Rights, G.R. No. 100150, January 5, 1994, 229 SCRA
117, 135-136; Agustin v. De la Fuente, 84 Phil. 515, 517 (1949).
42
Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, A Commentary, 1996 ed., p. 679.
43
Taada v. Tuvera, 220 Phil. 422, 432-433 (1985).
44
As amended on June 18, 1987 by Executive Order No. 200 entitled "Providing for the
Publication of Laws Either in the Official Gazette or in a Newspaper of General Circulation in the
Philippines as a Requirement for their Effectivity".
45
Rollo (G.R. No. 179275), p. 179; Memorandum of Respondents-Intervenors, pp. 9-10.
46
G.R. No. 180643, March 25, 2008, 549 SCRA 77, 135-136.
47
Id. at 297-298.
48
Dated September 4, 2008.
49
TSN, Oral Arguments, March 4, 2008, (G.R. No. 179275), pp. 413-414.
50
Entitled "An Act Providing for the Recognition and Use of Electronic Commercial and Non-
Commercial Transactions and Documents, Penalties for Unlawful Use Thereof and For Other
Purposes," approved on June 14, 2000.
51
MCC Industrial Sales Corporation v. Ssangyong Corporation, G.R. No. 170633, October 15,
2007, 536 SCRA 408. (Emphasis supplied.)
52
Sections 6, 7 and 10 of R.A. No. 8792 read:
Sec. 6. Legal Recognition of Data Messages. - Information shall not be denied legal
effect, validity or enforceability solely on the grounds that it is in the data message
purporting to give rise to such legal effect, or that it is merely referred to in that electronic
data message.
Sec. 7. Legal Recognition of Electronic Documents. Electronic documents shall have
the legal effect, validity or enforceability as any other document or legal writing, and
(a) Where the law requires a document to be in writing, that requirement is met by an
electronic document if the said electronic document maintains its integrity and reliability,
and can be authenticated so as to be usable for subsequent reference, in that
(i) The electronic document has remained complete and unaltered, apart from the
addition of any endorsement and any authorized change, or any change which
arises in the normal course of communication, storage and display; and
(ii) The electronic document is reliable in the light of the purpose for which it was
generated and in the light of all the relevant circumstances.
(b) Paragraph (a) applies whether the requirement therein is in the form of an obligation
or whether the law simply provides consequences for the document not being presented
or retained in its original form.
(c) Where the law requires that a document be presented or retained in its original form,
that requirement is met by an electronic document if
(i) There exists a reliable assurance as to the integrity of the document from the
time when it was first generated in its final form; and
(ii) That document is capable of being displayed to the person to whom it is to be
presented: Provided, That no provision of this Act shall apply to vary any and all
requirements of existing laws on formalities required in the execution of
documents for their validity.
For evidentiary purposes, an electronic document shall be the functional equivalent of a
written document under existing laws.
This Act does not modify any statutory rule relating to the admissibility of electronic data
messages or electronic documents, except the rules relating to authentication and best
evidence.
Sec. 10. Original Documents. (1) Where the law requires information to be presented or
retained in its original form, that requirement is met by an electronic data message or
electronic document if:
(a) The integrity of the information from the time when it was first generated in its
final form, as an electronic data message or electronic document is shown by
evidence aliunde or otherwise; and
(b) Where it is required that information be presented, that the information is
capable of being displayed to the person to whom it is to be presented.
(2) Paragraph (1) applies whether the requirement therein is in the form of an obligation
or whether the law simply provides consequences for the information not being presented
or retained in its original form.
(3) For the purposes of subparagraph (a) of paragraph (1):
(a) the criteria for assessing integrity shall be whether the information has
remained complete and unaltered, apart from the addition of any endorsement
and any change which arises in the normal course of communication, storage
and display; and
(b) the standard of reliability required shall be assessed in the light of the
purpose for which the information was generated and in the light of all relevant
circumstances.




Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 164026 December 23, 2008
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, petitioner,
vs.
GMA NETWORK, INC., respondent.
D E C I S I O N
TINGA, J .:
Petitioner Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) assails the Decision
1
dated February 20, 2004 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 68163, which directed that SEC Memorandum Circular No. 1,
Series of 1986 should be the basis for computing the filing fee relative to GMA Network, Inc.s (GMAs)
application for the amendment of its articles of incorporation for purposes of extending its corporate term.
The undisputed facts as narrated by the appellate court are as follows:
On August 19, 1995, the petitioner, GMA NETWORK, INC., (GMA, for brevity), a domestic
corporation, filed an application for collective approval of various amendments to its Articles of
Incorporation and By-Laws with the respondent Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC, for
brevity). The amendments applied for include, among others, the change in the corporate name
of petitioner from "Republic Broadcasting System, Inc." to "GMA Network, Inc." as well as the
extension of the corporate term for another fifty (50) years from and after June 16, 2000.
Upon such filing, the petitioner had been assessed by the SECs Corporate and Legal
Department a separate filing fee for the application for extension of corporate term equivalent to
1/10 of 1% of its authorized capital stock plus 20% thereof or an amount of P1,212,200.00.
On September 26, 1995, the petitioner informed the SEC of its intention to contest the legality
and propriety of the said assessment. However, the petitioner requested the SEC to approve the
other amendments being requested by the petitioner without being deemed to have withdrawn its
application for extension of corporate term.
On October 20, 1995, the petitioner formally protested the assessment amounting
to P1,212,200.00 for its application for extension of corporate term.
On February 20, 1996, the SEC approved the other amendments to the petitioners Articles of
Incorporation, specifically Article 1 thereof referring to the corporate name of the petitioner as well
as Article 2 thereof referring to the principal purpose for which the petitioner was formed.
On March 19, 1996, the petitioner requested for an official opinion/ruling from the SEC on the
validity and propriety of the assessment for application for extension of its corporate term.
Consequently, the respondent SEC, through Associate Commissioner Fe Eloisa C. Gloria, on
April 18, 1996, issued its ruling upholding the validity of the questioned assessment, the
dispositive portion of which states:
"In light of the foregoing, we believe that the questioned assessment is in accordance with
law. Accordingly, you are hereby required to comply with the required filing fee."
An appeal from the aforequoted ruling of the respondent SEC was subsequently taken by the
petitioner on the ground that the assessment of filing fees for the petitioners application for
extension of corporate term equivalent to 1/10 of 1% of the authorized capital stock plus 20%
thereof is not in accordance with law.
On September 26, 2001, following three (3) motions for early resolution filed by the petitioner, the
respondent SEC En Banc issued the assailed order dismissing the petitioners appeal, the
dispositive portion of which provides as follows:
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the instant Appeal is hereby dismissed.
SO ORDERED.
2

In its petition for review
3
with the Court of Appeals, GMA argued that its application for the extension of its
corporate term is akin to an amendment and not to a filing of new articles of incorporation. It further
averred that SEC Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 1994, which the SEC used as basis for
assessing P1,212,200.00 as filing fee for the extension of GMAs corporate term, is not valid.
The appellate court agreed with the SECs submission that an extension of the corporate term is a grant
of a fresh license for a corporation to act as a juridical being endowed with the powers expressly
bestowed by the State. As such, it is not an ordinary amendment but is analogous to the filing of new
articles of incorporation.
However, the Court of Appeals ruled that Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 1994 is legally invalid
and ineffective for not having been published in accordance with law. The challenged memorandum
circular, according to the appellate court, is not merely an internal or interpretative rule, but affects the
public in general. Hence, its publication is required for its effectivity.
The appellate court denied reconsideration in a Resolution
4
dated June 9, 2004.
In its Memorandum
5
dated September 6, 2005, the SEC argues that it issued the questioned
memorandum circular in the exercise of its delegated legislative power to fix fees and charges. The filing
fees required by it are allegedly uniformly imposed on the transacting public and are essential to its
supervisory and regulatory functions. The fees are not a form of penalty or sanction and, therefore,
require no publication.
For its part, GMA points out in its Memorandum,
6
dated September 23, 2005, that SEC Memorandum
Circular No. 1, Series of 1986 refers to the filing fees for amended articles of incorporation where the
amendment consists of extending the term of corporate existence. The questioned circular, on the other
hand, refers only to filing fees for articles of incorporation. Thus, GMA argues that the former circular,
being the one that specifically treats of applications for the extension of corporate term, should apply to its
case.
Assuming that Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 1994 is applicable, GMA avers that the latter did
not take effect and cannot be the basis for the imposition of the fees stated therein for the reasons that it
was neither filed with the University of the Philippines Law Center nor published either in the Official
Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation as required under existing laws.
It should be mentioned at the outset that the authority of the SEC to collect and receive fees as
authorized by law is not in question.
7
Its power to collect fees for examining and filing articles of
incorporation and by-laws and amendments thereto, certificates of increase or decrease of the capital
stock, among others, is recognized. Likewise established is its power under Sec. 7 of P.D. No. 902-A to
recommend to the President the revision, alteration, amendment or adjustment of the charges which it is
authorized to collect.
The subject of the present inquiry is not the authority of the SEC to collect and receive fees and charges,
but rather the validity of its imposition on the basis of a memorandum circular which, the Court of Appeals
held, is ineffective.
Republic Act No. 3531 (R.A. No. 3531) provides that where the amendment consists in extending the
term of corporate existence, the SEC "shall be entitled to collect and receive for the filing of the amended
articles of incorporation the same fees collectible under existing law as the filing of articles of
incorporation."
8
As is clearly the import of this law, the SEC shall be entitled to collect and receive the
same fees it assesses and collects both for the filing of articles of incorporation and the filing of an
amended articles of incorporation for purposes of extending the term of corporate existence.
The SEC, effectuating its mandate under the aforequoted law and other pertinent laws,
9
issued SEC
Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 1986, imposing the filing fee of 1/10 of 1% of the authorized
capital stock but not less thanP300.00 nor more than P100,000.00 for stock corporations, and 1/10 of 1%
of the authorized capital stock but not less than P200.00 nor more than P100,000.00 for stock
corporations without par value, for the filing of amended articles of incorporation where the amendment
consists of extending the term of corporate existence.
Several years after, the SEC issued Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 1994, imposing new fees and
charges and deleting the maximum filing fee set forth in SEC Circular No. 1, Series of 1986, such that the
fee for the filing of articles of incorporation became 1/10 of 1% of the authorized capital stock plus 20%
thereof but not less thanP500.00.
A reading of the two circulars readily reveals that they indeed pertain to different matters, as GMA points
out. SEC Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 1986 refers to the filing fee for the amendment of articles
of incorporation to extend corporate life, while Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 1994 pertains to the
filing fee for articles of incorporation. Thus, as GMA argues, the former circular, being squarely applicable
and, more importantly, being more favorable to it, should be followed.
What this proposition fails to consider, however, is the clear directive of R.A. No. 3531 to impose the
same fees for the filing of articles of incorporation and the filing of amended articles of incorporation to
reflect an extension of corporate term. R.A. No. 3531 provides an unmistakable standard which should
guide the SEC in fixing and imposing its rates and fees. If such mandate were the only consideration, the
Court would have been inclined to rule that the SEC was correct in imposing the filing fees as outlined in
the questioned memorandum circular, GMAs argument notwithstanding.
However, we agree with the Court of Appeals that the questioned memorandum circular is invalid as it
does not appear from the records that it has been published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of
general circulation. Executive Order No. 200, which repealed Art. 2 of the Civil Code, provides that "laws
shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication either in the Official Gazette
or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, unless it is otherwise provided."
In Taada v. Tuvera,
10
the Court, expounding on the publication requirement, held:
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be
published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless
a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President
in the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature,
or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. Administrative rules and regulations must
also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid
delegation.
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the
personnel of the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published. Neither is
publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by administrative superiors
concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the performance of their
duties.
11

The questioned memorandum circular, furthermore, has not been filed with the Office of the National
Administrative Register of the University of the Philippines Law Center as required in the Administrative
Code of 1987.
12

In Philsa International Placement and Services Corp. v. Secretary of Labor and
Employment,
13
Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 1983 of the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration, which provided for the schedule of placement and documentation fees for private
employment agencies or authority holders, was struck down as it was not published or filed with the
National Administrative Register.
The questioned memorandum circular, it should be emphasized, cannot be construed as simply
interpretative of R.A. No. 3531. This administrative issuance is an implementation of the mandate of R.A.
No. 3531 and indubitably regulates and affects the public at large. It cannot, therefore, be considered a
mere internal rule or regulation, nor an interpretation of the law, but a rule which must be declared
ineffective as it was neither published nor filed with the Office of the National Administrative Register.
A related factor which precludes consideration of the questioned issuance as interpretative in nature
merely is the fact the SECs assessment amounting to P1,212,200.00 is exceedingly unreasonable and
amounts to an imposition. A filing fee, by legal definition, is that charged by a public official to accept a
document for processing. The fee should be just, fair, and proportionate to the service for which the fee is
being collected, in this case, the examination and verification of the documents submitted by GMA to
warrant an extension of its corporate term.
Rate-fixing is a legislative function which concededly has been delegated to the SEC by R.A. No. 3531
and other pertinent laws. The due process clause, however, permits the courts to determine whether the
regulation issued by the SEC is reasonable and within the bounds of its rate-fixing authority and to strike
it down when it arbitrarily infringes on a persons right to property.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 68163,
dated February 20, 2004, and its Resolution, dated June 9, 2004, are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as
to costs.
SO ORDERED.
DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice


WE CONCUR:
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
*
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson


CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons Attestation, it is
hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice


Footnotes
*
Additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion per Special Order.
1
Rollo, pp. 10-19; Penned by Associate Justice Amelita G. Tolentino and concurred in by
Associate Justices Eloy R. Bello, Jr. and Arturo D. Brion (now an Associate Justice of this Court).
2
Id. at 11-12.
3
Id. at 91-115.
4
Id. at 57.
5
Id. at 196-221.
6
Id. at 231-249.
7
Sec. 139 of B.P. Blg. 68 authorizes the SEC to collect and receive fees as authorized by law or
by rules and regulations promulgated by it.
8
An Act to Further Amend Section Eighteen of the Corporation Law.
x x x
The Securities and Exchange Commissioner shall be entitled to collect and receive the
sum of ten pesos for filing said copy of the amended articles of incorporation: Provided,
however, That where the amendment consists in extending the term of corporate
existence the Securities and Exchange Commissioner shall be entitled to collect and
receive for the filing of the amended articles of incorporation the same fees collectible
under existing law for the filing of articles of incorporation.
x x x
R.A. No. 3531 took effect on June 20, 1963.
9
Presidential Decree 902-A, R.A. No. 1143, and the Revised Securities Act.
10
230 Phil. 528 (1986).
11
Id. at 535.
12
Executive Order No. 292, Book VII, Chapter 2, Sec. 3 thereof states:
Sec. 3. Filing.(1) Every agency shall file with the University of the Philippines Law
Center three (3) certified copies of every rule adopted by it. Rules in force on the date of
effectivity of this Code which are not filed within three (3) months from that date shall not
thereafter be the basis of any sanction against any party or persons.
(2) The records officer of the agency, or his equivalent functionary, shall carry out the
requirements of this section under pain of disciplinary action.
(3) A permanent register of all rules shall be kept by the issuing agency and shall be
open to public inspection.
13
408 Phil. 270 (2001) cited in National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms
(NASECORE) v. Energy Regulatory Commission, G.R. No. 163935, February 2, 2006, 481 SCRA
480, 520.


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-30771 May 28, 1984
LIAM LAW, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
OLYMPIC SAWMILL CO. and ELINO LEE CHI, defendants-appellants.
Felizardo S.M. de Guzman for plaintiff-appellee.
Mariano M. de Joya for defendants-appellants.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J .:
This is an appeal by defendants from a Decision rendered by the then Court of First Instance of Bulacan.
The appeal was originally taken to the then Court of Appeals, which endorsed it to this instance stating
that the issue involved was one of law.
It appears that on or about September 7, 1957, plaintiff loaned P10,000.00, without interest, to defendant
partnership and defendant Elino Lee Chi, as the managing partner. The loan became ultimately due on
January 31, 1960, but was not paid on that date, with the debtors asking for an extension of three
months, or up to April 30, 1960.
On March 17, 1960, the parties executed another loan document. Payment of the P10,000.00 was
extended to April 30, 1960, but the obligation was increased by P6,000.00 as follows:
That the sum of SIX THOUSAND PESOS (P6,000.00), Philippine currency shall form part
of the principal obligation to answer for attorney's fees, legal interest, and other cost
incident thereto to be paid unto the creditor and his successors in interest upon the
termination of this agreement.
Defendants again failed to pay their obligation by April 30, 1960 and, on September 23, 1960, plaintiff
instituted this collection case. Defendants admitted the P10,000.00 principal obligation, but claimed that
the additional P6,000.00 constituted usurious interest.
Upon application of plaintiff, the Trial Court issued, on the same date of September 23, 1960, a writ of
Attachment on real and personal properties of defendants located at Karanglan, Nueva Ecija. After the
Writ of Attachment was implemented, proceedings before the Trial Court versed principally in regards to
the attachment.
On January 18, 1961, an Order was issued by the Trial Court stating that "after considering the
manifestation of both counsel in Chambers, the Court hereby allows both parties to simultaneously submit
a Motion for Summary Judgment. 1 The plaintiff filed his Motion for Summary Judgment on January 31,
1961, while defendants filed theirs on February 2, 196l.
2

On June 26, 1961, the Trial Court rendered decision ordering defendants to pay plaintiff "the amount of
P10,000.00 plus the further sum of P6,000.00 by way of liquidated damages . . . with legal rate of interest
on both amounts from April 30, 1960." It is from this judgment that defendants have appealed.
We have decided to affirm.
Under Article 1354 of the Civil Code, in regards to the agreement of the parties relative to the P6,000.00
obligation, "it is presumed that it exists and is lawful, unless the debtor proves the contrary". No
evidentiary hearing having been held, it has to be concluded that defendants had not proven that the
P6,000.00 obligation was illegal. Confirming the Trial Court's finding, we view the P6,000.00 obligation as
liquidated damages suffered by plaintiff, as of March 17, 1960, representing loss of interest income,
attorney's fees and incidentals.
The main thrust of defendants' appeal is the allegation in their Answer that the P6,000.00 constituted
usurious interest. They insist the claim of usury should have been deemed admitted by plaintiff as it was
"not denied specifically and under oath".
3

Section 9 of the Usury Law (Act 2655) provided:
SEC. 9. The person or corporation sued shall file its answer in writing under oath to any
complaint brought or filed against said person or corporation before a competent court to
recover the money or other personal or real property, seeds or agricultural products,
charged or received in violation of the provisions of this Act. The lack of taking an oath to
an answer to a complaint will mean the admission of the facts contained in the latter.
The foregoing provision envisages a complaint filed against an entity which has committed usury, for the
recovery of the usurious interest paid. In that case, if the entity sued shall not file its answer under oath
denying the allegation of usury, the defendant shall be deemed to have admitted the usury. The provision
does not apply to a case, as in the present, where it is the defendant, not the plaintiff, who is alleging
usury.
Moreover, for sometime now, usury has been legally non-existent. Interest can now be charged as lender
and borrower may agree upon.
4
The Rules of Court in regards to allegations of usury, procedural in
nature, should be considered repealed with retroactive effect.
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions
pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are
retrospective in that sense and to that extent.
5

... Section 24(d), Republic Act No. 876, known as the Arbitration Law, which took effect
on 19 December 1953, and may be retroactively applied to the case at bar because it is
procedural in nature. ...
6

WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Plana, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr. and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 p. 81, Record on Appeal.
2 p. 116, Ibid.
3 Section 1, Rule 9.
4 "SECTION 1. The rate of interest, including commissions, premiums, fees and other
charges, on a loan or forbearance of any money, goods, or credits, regardless of maturity
and whether secured or unsecured, that may be charged or collected by any person,
whether natural or judicial shag not be subject to any ceiling prescribed under or pursuant
to the Usury Law, as amended." (Central Bank Circular No. 905, Series of 1982, 78 Off.
Gaz. 7336).
5 People vs. Sumilang, 77 Phil. 764 (1946).
6 De Lopez, et al. vs. Vda. de Fajardo, et al., 101 Phil., pp. 1104, 1109 (1957).
































Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 80718 January 29, 1988
FELIZA P. DE ROY and VIRGILIO RAMOS, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS BERNAL, SR., GLENIA BERNAL, LUIS BERNAL, JR., HEIRS OF
MARISSA BERNAL, namely, GLICERIA DELA CRUZ BERNAL and LUIS BERNAL, SR., respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N

CORTES, J .:
This special civil action for certiorari seeks to declare null and void two (2) resolutions of the Special First
Division of the Court of Appeals in the case of Luis Bernal, Sr., et al. v. Felisa Perdosa De Roy, et al., CA-
G.R. CV No. 07286. The first resolution promulgated on 30 September 1987 denied petitioners' motion for
extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration and directed entry of judgment since the decision in
said case had become final; and the second Resolution dated 27 October 1987 denied petitioners' motion
for reconsideration for having been filed out of time.
At the outset, this Court could have denied the petition outright for not being verified as required by Rule
65 section 1 of the Rules of Court. However, even if the instant petition did not suffer from this defect, this
Court, on procedural and substantive grounds, would still resolve to deny it.
The facts of the case are undisputed. The firewall of a burned-out building owned by petitioners collapsed
and destroyed the tailoring shop occupied by the family of private respondents, resulting in injuries to
private respondents and the death of Marissa Bernal, a daughter. Private respondents had been warned
by petitioners to vacate their shop in view of its proximity to the weakened wall but the former failed to do
so. On the basis of the foregoing facts, the Regional Trial Court. First Judicial Region, Branch XXXVIII,
presided by the Hon. Antonio M. Belen, rendered judgment finding petitioners guilty of gross negligence
and awarding damages to private respondents. On appeal, the decision of the trial court was affirmed in
toto by the Court of Appeals in a decision promulgated on August 17, 1987, a copy of which was received
by petitioners on August 25, 1987. On September 9, 1987, the last day of the fifteen-day period to file an
appeal, petitioners filed a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration, which was
eventually denied by the appellate court in the Resolution of September 30, 1987. Petitioners filed their
motion for reconsideration on September 24, 1987 but this was denied in the Resolution of October 27,
1987.
This Court finds that the Court of Appeals did not commit a grave abuse of discretion when it denied
petitioners' motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration, directed entry of judgment and
denied their motion for reconsideration. It correctly applied the rule laid down in Habaluyas Enterprises,
Inc. v. Japzon, [G.R. No. 70895, August 5, 1985,138 SCRA 461, that the fifteen-day period for appealing
or for filing a motion for reconsideration cannot be extended. In its Resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration, promulgated on July 30, 1986 (142 SCRA 208), this Court en banc restated and clarified
the rule, to wit:
Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule shall be strictly enforced that no
motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan or
Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate Court. Such a motion
may be filed only in cases pending with the Supreme Court as the court of last resort, which may in its
sound discretion either grant or deny the extension requested. (at p. 212)
Lacsamana v. Second Special Cases Division of the intermediate Appellate Court, [G.R. No. 73146-53,
August 26, 1986, 143 SCRA 643], reiterated the rule and went further to restate and clarify the modes
and periods of appeal.
Bacaya v. Intermediate Appellate Court, [G.R. No. 74824, Sept. 15, 1986,144 SCRA 161],stressed the
prospective application of said rule, and explained the operation of the grace period, to wit:
In other words, there is a one-month grace period from the promulgation on May 30,
1986 of the Court's Resolution in the clarificatory Habaluyas case, or up to June 30,
1986, within which the rule barring extensions of time to file motions for new trial or
reconsideration is, as yet, not strictly enforceable.
Since petitioners herein filed their motion for extension on February 27, 1986, it is still
within the grace period, which expired on June 30, 1986, and may still be allowed.
This grace period was also applied in Mission v. Intermediate Appellate Court [G.R. No. 73669, October
28, 1986, 145 SCRA 306].]
In the instant case, however, petitioners' motion for extension of time was filed on September 9, 1987,
more than a year after the expiration of the grace period on June 30, 1986. Hence, it is no longer within
the coverage of the grace period. Considering the length of time from the expiration of the grace period to
the promulgation of the decision of the Court of Appeals on August 25, 1987, petitioners cannot seek
refuge in the ignorance of their counsel regarding said rule for their failure to file a motion for
reconsideration within the reglementary period.
Petitioners contend that the rule enunciated in the Habaluyas case should not be made to apply to the
case at bar owing to the non-publication of the Habaluyas decision in the Official Gazette as of the time
the subject decision of the Court of Appeals was promulgated. Contrary to petitioners' view, there is no
law requiring the publication of Supreme Court decisions in the Official Gazette before they can be
binding and as a condition to their becoming effective. It is the bounden duty of counsel as lawyer in
active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the Supreme Court particularly where issues have
been clarified, consistently reiterated, and published in the advance reports of Supreme Court decisions
(G. R. s) and in such publications as the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) and law journals.
This Court likewise finds that the Court of Appeals committed no grave abuse of discretion in affirming the
trial court's decision holding petitioner liable under Article 2190 of the Civil Code, which provides that "the
proprietor of a building or structure is responsible for the damage resulting from its total or partial
collapse, if it should be due to the lack of necessary repairs.
Nor was there error in rejecting petitioners argument that private respondents had the "last clear chance"
to avoid the accident if only they heeded the. warning to vacate the tailoring shop and , therefore,
petitioners prior negligence should be disregarded, since the doctrine of "last clear chance," which has
been applied to vehicular accidents, is inapplicable to this case.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court Resolved to DENY the instant petition for lack of merit.
Fernan (Chairman), Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-51841 June 30, 1987
REMIGIO QUIQUI, EMILIANA Q. ARELLANO, TURCUATA Q. DIPUTADO, APOLONIA Q.
SALCEDOR, LORETO QUIQUI, SUPLICIA Q. CHAN, ELDEGUNDA Q. MONASTERIO, ELSA Q.
ARBON and ANTIPAS Q. YANG, petitioners
vs.
The Honorable Judge ALEJANDRO R. BONCAROS of Branch V, Court of First Instance of Negros
Oriental, ESTEFANIA G. AMOLO, LOPE AMOLO, SOFIA G. ALBON, PASTOR GADINGAN, ANGEL
GADINGAN, ANTERO GADINGAN, TEOFILO GADINGAN and FELICITAS GADINGAN, respondents.

GANCAYCO, J.:
This is a Petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus. It concerns a parcel of agricultural land
situated in Barangay Cabangan, Siaton, Negros Oriental with an area of about 450 square meters. The
said parcel of land is a portion of Lot No. 3217, Pls-659-D covered by Free Patent Title No. FV-13703.
The improvements on the parcel of land in question include several fruit trees and a modest residential
house.
The record of the case reveals that on May 22, 1973, the herein private respondents Estefania G. Amolo,
Lope Amolo, Sofia G. Albon, Pastor Gadingan, Angel Gadingan, Antero Gadingan, Teofilo Gadingan and
Felicitas Gadingan were able to secure Free Patent Title No. FV-13703 in their names. The 450-square
meter lot in question was included in the survey of the entire parcel of land covered by the said Title.
On the other hand, it is the position of the herein petitioners Remigio Quiqui, Emiliana Q. Arellano,
Turcuata Q. Diputado, Apolonia Q. Salcedor, Loreto Quiqui, Suplicia Q. Chan, Eldegunda Q. Monasterio,
Elsa Q. Arbon and Antipas Q. Yang that the 450-square meter lot in question belongs to them and not to
the private respondents. They contend that the said lot was purchased by their late father sometime in
1920 and that ever since then, they have been in actual possession thereof, peacefully, openly
continuously and adversely, for a period of 56 years already. They also contend that the private
respondents succeeded in putting the said property in their name by clandestinely including the said lot in
the survey of the premises undertaken by the Government sometime in the 1970s.
On November 9, 1976, the petitioners, assisted by the Citizens Legal Assistance Office of the then
Ministry of Justice, filed a Complaint in the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental for "reconveyance
and/or annulment of Title with damages" against the private respondents. 1 The said Complaint was
anchored on the theory that the title to the lot in question obtained by the private respondents in their
name was secured through fraud. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 6606.
On December 5, 1976, the private respondents filed their Answer to the Complaint, alleging, inter alia,
that the petitioners have no cause of action against them. By way of Counterclaim, the private
respondents sought the payment to them of moral damages and attorney's fees.
2

Thereafter, a pre-trial conference was scheduled by the trial court. Inasmuch as the parties could not
reach an amicable settlement of their case, the pre-trial conference was terminated and the case was set
for trial on the merits. In the course of the proceedings, more particularly on May 10, 1979, the private
respondents filed a Motion to dismiss the case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the trial
court.
3

On June 7, 1979, the petitioners submitted their Opposition to the said Motion, stressing that the trial
court has jurisdiction over cases for reconveyance.
4
In its Order dated July 16, 1979, the trial court, with
respondent Judge Alejandro R. Boncaros presiding, dismissed the Complaint for reconveyance on the
ground that it had no jurisdiction over the case.
5
Counsel for the petitioners received a copy of the said
Order on July 17, 1979.
6

On August 17, 1979, the petitioners filed a Motion for the reconsideration of the Order of the trial court
dismissing the Complaint.
7
The said Motion for Reconsideration is dated August 16, 1979.
The private respondents opposed the Motion for Reconsideration, stating that the same had been filed
beyond the 30 day reglementary period under the Rules. The private respondents maintain that inasmuch
as the petitioners received their copy of the Order of dismissal on July 17, 1979, they had up to August
16, 1979 to file the Motion for reconsideration, computed on the basis of the 30-day reglementary period.
They contend that since the said Motion was filed beyond the 30-day period, the Order of dismissal has
become final and executory and could no longer be the subject of a Motion for reconsideration.
8
In its
Order dated August 21, 1979, the trial court denied the Motion for Reconsideration on the ground
asserted by the private respondents.
9

On August 23, 1979, the petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal, seeking relief from the Court of Appeals.
They sought the Appeal on the ground that the Orders of the trial court dismissing their Complaint and
denying their Motion for Reconsideration are contrary to law and the evidence submitted. 10 On August
24, 1979, the petitioners filed their Appeal Bond, together with their Motion to approve the same.
In its Order dated August 28, 1979, the trial court denied the Notice of Appeal, including the Motion to
approve the Appeal Bond. The pertinent portion of the said Order are as follows
The order of dismissal of this Court which was dated July 16, 1979 was received by the
plaintiffs (the herein petitioners) on July 17, 1979. Under Section 3, Rule 41 of the
Revised Rules of Court, the period to appeal is thirty (30) days, so with the motion for a
reconsideration so that (sic) under Art. 13 of the Civil Code that in the computation of the
period exclude the first (day), include the last (sic), August 16, 1979 therefore was the
last day to file the motion for reconsideration but it was filed on August 17 or one day late
and this motion for reconsideration was denied by this Court on August 21, 1979 (sic).
The reason for the denial was the motion for reconsideration was filed (sic) beyond the
reglementary period, in which case, the notice of appeal ... (was) likewise filed beyond
the reglementary period ....
xxx xxx xxx 11
Finding the action taken by the trial court unsatisfactory, the petitioners brought their case directly to this
Court by way of the instant Petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court. They maintain that the Order of the trial court dated July 16, 1979 is illegal and void for having
been "issued without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, for the so
called "one day late" (ground) upon which it is based does not actually exist. " 12 They pray, inter alia,
that the trial court be ordered to approve their Notice of Appeal.13
Complying with the instructions of this Court, the private respondents submitted their Comment on the
Petition. 14
In the Resolution of this Court dated January 14, 1980, We gave due course to the instant
Petition. 15 The parties submitted their respective Memoranda after which the case was deemed
submitted for decision on June 11, 1980.
After a careful examination of the entire record of the case, We find the instant Petition devoid of merit.
At the time this litigation was instituted in the trial court, Section 3, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court was the
provision governing the period within which an Appeal may be taken to the Court of Appeals, to wit
SEC. 3. How appeal is taken. Appeal may be taken by serving upon the adverse party
and filing with the trial court within thirty (30) days from notice of order or judgment, a
notice of appeal, an appeal bond, and a record on appeal. The time during which a
motion to set aside the judgment or order or for a new trial has been pending shall be
deducted, unless such motion fails to satisfy the requirements of Rule 37.
But where such a motion has been filed during office hours of the last day of the period
herein provided, the appeal must be perfected within the day following that in which the
party appealing received notice of the denial of said motion.
Under this cited provision, the Appeal may be taken within 30 days from notice of the judgment or order of
the trial court. 16 In the event that the party aggrieved by the judgment or order of the trial court files a
Motion to set aside the judgment or order, i. e a Motion for Reconsideration, the time during which such
Motion is pending resolution shall, as a rule, be deducted from the 30-day period. 17 In relation thereto,
the New Civil Code states that in computing a period, the first day shall be excluded and the last day
included. 18
The petitioners admit that they received their copy of the Order of dismissal of their Complaint on July 17,
1979. Under Section 3, Rule 41, they had 30 days within which to appeal their case or to file a Motion for
Reconsideration of the judgment or order of the trial court. In computing the 30-day period, July 17, 1979
(the first day) is excluded, pursuant to Article 13 of the New Civil Code. Counting 30 days thereafter,
beginning on July 18, 1979, the petitioners had up to August 16, 1979 to file their Motion for
Reconsideration. Their Motion for Reconsideration, although dated August 16, 1979, was filed with the
trial court on August 17, 1979 or one day beyond the 30-day reglementary period prescribed by Section 3
of Rule 41.
Under these circumstances, the order of the trial court dismissing the Complaint has become final and
executory. As such, it is beyond the reach of a Motion for consideration. 19 The Notice of Appeal,
therefore, was properly denied. Perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period laid down by
law is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional and failure to perfect an appeal as required by the rules
has the effect of rendering the judgment final and executory. A strict observance of the reglementary
period within which to exercise the statutory right of appeal has been considered as absolutely
indispensable to the prevention of needless delays.
20

As a last recourse in support of their case, the petitioners invoke the following observations made by this
Court in De Las Alas v. Court of Appeals,
21
to wit:
Regardless, however, of the above findings and even assuming that respondents'
position were correct, WE find that a one-day delay does not justify the dismissal of the
appeal under the circumstances obtaining in this case. The real purpose behind the
limitation of the period of appeal is to forestall or avoid an unreasonable delay in the
administration of justice and to put an end to controversies ...
22

Unfortunately for the petitioners, the observation made by this Court in De Las Alas does not apply to
their case.
In De Las Alas, the view expressed by this Court to the effect that "a one-day delay does not justify the
dismissal of the appeal" is qualified by the phrase "under the circumstances obtaining in this case". Unlike
the situation faced by the herein petitioners, there is no showing that the petitioners in the De Las
Alas case failed to file their Motion for Reconsideration as well as their Record on Appeal within the
reglementary period. On the contrary, this Court noted therein the lack of delay on the part of the
petitioners in that case, viz
Furthermore, WE note from the records the absence or lack of the element of intent to
delay the administration of justice on the part of petitioners in this case. On the contrary,
petitioners' counsel have demonstrated cautiousness, concern and punctuality in the
prosecution of the appeal. They filed their motion for reconsideration October 7, 1972,
even if the respondent lower court judge had given them an extension up to October 24,
1972, within which to file the said motion. Petitioners had up to December 25, 1972,
within which to submit their record on appeal, yet they filed their record on appeal on
December 8, 1972, or 17 days before the deadline.
23

Moreover, a doubtful and controversial question of law confronted the parties in the De Las
Alas case, i.e., the matter of computing the reglementary period for filing an Appeal. The respondent court
found petitioner had only two (2) days left to perfect the appeal after the denial of the motion for
reconsideration while this Court held petitioners had three (3) days left deducting the period within which
the motion for reconsideration has been pending, excluding the first day in the computation of the period,
but since the last day falls on a Sunday the period of appeal is ipso jure extended to the first working day
immediately following.
24
In the case at bar, however, there is no such doubtful or controversial question
of law submitted for Our resolution.
For the petitioners to seek exception for their failure to comply strictly with the requirements for perfecting
their Appeal, strong compelling reasons, like the prevention of a grave miscarriage of justice, must be
shown to exist in order to warrant this Court to suspend the Rules.
25
No such reasons have been shown
to exist in this case. In fact, the petitioners did not even offer any reasonable explanation for their delay.
On the basis of the foregoing discussion, We find no jurisdictional infirmity, sufficient to call for the
issuance of the corrective writ of certiorari in the action taken by the trial court. As stated earlier, the
instant Petition is devoid of merit.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Petition for certiorari prohibition and mandamus is
hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. We make no pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Yap (Chairman), Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 Pages 13 to 16, Rollo.
2 Page 19, Rollo.
3 Pages 23 to 26, Rollo.
4 Pages 28 to 31, Rollo.
5 Pages 32 to 33, Rollo.
6 Pages 4 and 5, Petition.
7 Page 5, Petition; pages 34 to 36, Rollo.
8 Page 37, Rollo.
9 Page 38, Rollo.
10 Page 39, Rollo.
11 Page 44, Rollo.
12 Page 7, Petition.
13 Page 9, Petition.
14 Pages 47 to 49, Rollo.
15 Page 52, Rollo.
16 Section 3, Rule 41 has been modified by Section 39 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
otherwise known as The Judiciary Act of 1981. The period within which an Appeal may
be taken has been reduced to 15 days, except in habeas corpus cases.
17 First paragraph, Section 3, Rule 41.
18 Article 13, New Civil Code.
19 Elizalde & Co., Inc. v. Court of Industrial Relations, 25 SCRA 58, 61-62 (1968). See
also Carreon v. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 77 SCRA 297, 300 (1977).
20 Macabingkil vs. People's Homesite and Housing Corp., 72 SCRA 339, L-29080, Aug.
17, 1976; Luzon Stevedoring Corp. vs. Reyes, 71 SCRA 66 1, L-43469, June 30, 1976.
21 83 SCRA 200 (1978).
22 Citing Dy Cay v. Crossfield, 38 Phil. 521 (1918).
23 83 SCRA at 215.
24 Supra, applying Lloren vs. De Vera, 4 SCRA 637.
25 Workmen's Insurance Co., Inc. v. Augusto, 40 SCRA 123, 127 (1971). See also
Ronquillo v. Marasigan, 5 SCRA 304, 312-313 (1962).




FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 124371. November 23, 2000]
PAULA T. LLORENTE, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ALICIA F.
LLORENTE, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
PARDO, J .:
The Case
The case raises a conflict of laws issue.
What is before us is an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals
[1]
modifying that of the
Regional Trial Court, Camarines Sur, Branch 35, Iriga City
[2]
declaring respondent Alicia F. Llorente
(herinafter referred to as Alicia), as co-owners of whatever property she and the deceased Lorenzo N.
Llorente (hereinafter referred to as Lorenzo) may have acquired during the twenty-five (25) years that
they lived together as husband and wife.
The Facts
The deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente was an enlisted serviceman of the United States Navy from
March 10, 1927 to September 30, 1957.
[3]

On February 22, 1937, Lorenzo and petitioner Paula Llorente (hereinafter referred to as Paula)
were married before a parish priest, Roman Catholic Church, in Nabua, Camarines Sur.
[4]

Before the outbreak of the Pacific War, Lorenzo departed for the United States and Paula stayed in
the conjugal home in barrio Antipolo, Nabua, Camarines Sur.
[5]

On November 30, 1943, Lorenzo was admitted to United States citizenship and Certificate of
Naturalization No. 5579816 was issued in his favor by the United States District Court, Southern District
of New York.
[6]

Upon the liberation of the Philippines by the American Forces in 1945, Lorenzo was granted an
accrued leave by the U. S. Navy, to visit his wife and he visited the Philippines.
[7]
He discovered that his
wife Paula was pregnant and was living in and having an adulterous relationship with his brother,
Ceferino Llorente.
[8]

On December 4, 1945, Paula gave birth to a boy registered in the Office of the Registrar of Nabua as
Crisologo Llorente, with the certificate stating that the child was not legitimate and the line for the
fathers name was left blank.
[9]

Lorenzo refused to forgive Paula and live with her. In fact, on February 2, 1946, the couple drew a
written agreement to the effect that (1) all the family allowances allotted by the United States Navy as part
of Lorenzos salary and all other obligations for Paulas daily maintenance and support would be
suspended; (2) they would dissolve their marital union in accordance with judicial proceedings; (3) they
would make a separate agreement regarding their conjugal property acquired during their marital life; and
(4) Lorenzo would not prosecute Paula for her adulterous act since she voluntarily admitted her fault and
agreed to separate from Lorenzo peacefully. The agreement was signed by both Lorenzo and Paula and
was witnessed by Paulas father and stepmother. The agreement was notarized by Notary Public Pedro
Osabel.
[10]

Lorenzo returned to the United States and on November 16, 1951 filed for
divorce with the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego. Paula was
represented by counsel, John Riley, and actively participated in the proceedings. On November 27,
1951, the Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of San Diego found all factual
allegations to be true and issued an interlocutory judgment of divorce.
[11]

On December 4, 1952, the divorce decree became final.
[12]

In the meantime, Lorenzo returned to the Philippines.
On January 16, 1958, Lorenzo married Alicia F. Llorente in Manila.
[13]
Apparently, Alicia had no
knowledge of the first marriage even if they resided in the same town as Paula, who did not oppose the
marriage or cohabitation.
[14]

From 1958 to 1985, Lorenzo and Alicia lived together as husband and wife.
[15]
Their twenty-five (25)
year union produced three children, Raul, Luz and Beverly, all surnamed Llorente.
[16]

On March 13, 1981, Lorenzo executed a Last Will and Testament. The will was notarized by Notary
Public Salvador M. Occiano, duly signed by Lorenzo with attesting witnesses Francisco Hugo, Francisco
Neibres and Tito Trajano. In the will, Lorenzo bequeathed all his property to Alicia and their three
children, to wit:
(1) I give and bequeath to my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO exclusively my residential house and lot,
located at San Francisco, Nabua, Camarines Sur, Philippines, including ALL the personal properties and
other movables or belongings that may be found or existing therein;
(2) I give and bequeath exclusively to my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and to my children, Raul F. Llorente, Luz
F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in equal shares, all my real properties whatsoever and wheresoever
located, specifically my real properties located at Barangay Aro-Aldao, Nabua, Camarines Sur; Barangay
Paloyon, Nabua, Camarines Sur; Barangay Baras, Sitio Puga, Nabua, Camarines Sur; and Barangay
Paloyon, Sitio Nalilidong, Nabua, Camarines Sur;
(3) I likewise give and bequeath exclusively unto my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and unto my children, Raul F.
Llorente, Luz F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in equal shares, my real properties located in Quezon
City Philippines, and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 188652; and my lands in Antipolo, Rizal,
Philippines, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 124196 and 165188, both of the Registry of
Deeds of the province of Rizal, Philippines;
(4) That their respective shares in the above-mentioned properties, whether real or personal properties,
shall not be disposed of, ceded, sold and conveyed to any other persons, but could only be sold, ceded,
conveyed and disposed of by and among themselves;
(5) I designate my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO to be the sole executor of this my Last Will and Testament,
and in her default or incapacity of the latter to act, any of my children in the order of age, if of age;
(6) I hereby direct that the executor named herein or her lawful substitute should served (sic) without
bond;
(7) I hereby revoke any and all my other wills, codicils, or testamentary dispositions heretofore executed,
signed, or published, by me;
(8) It is my final wish and desire that if I die, no relatives of mine in any degree in the Llorentes Side
should ever bother and disturb in any manner whatsoever my wife Alicia R. Fortunato and my children
with respect to any real or personal properties I gave and bequeathed respectively to each one of them
by virtue of this Last Will and Testament.
[17]

On December 14, 1983, Lorenzo filed with the Regional Trial Court, Iriga, Camarines Sur, a petition
for the probate and allowance of his last will and testament wherein Lorenzo moved that Alicia be
appointed Special Administratrix of his estate.
[18]

On January 18, 1984, the trial court denied the motion for the reason that the testator Lorenzo was
still alive.
[19]

On January 24, 1984, finding that the will was duly executed, the trial court admitted the will to
probate.
[20]

On June 11, 1985, before the proceedings could be terminated, Lorenzo died.
[21]

On September 4, 1985, Paula filed with the same court a petition
[22]
for letters of administration over
Lorenzos estate in her favor. Paula contended (1) that she was Lorenzos surviving spouse, (2) that the
various property were acquired during their marriage, (3) that Lorenzos will disposed of all his property in
favor of Alicia and her children, encroaching on her legitime and 1/2 share in the conjugal property.
[23]

On December 13, 1985, Alicia filed in the testate proceeding (Sp. Proc. No. IR-755), a petition for the
issuance of letters testamentary.
[24]

On October 14, 1985, without terminating the testate proceedings, the trial court gave due course to
Paulas petition in Sp. Proc. No. IR-888.
[25]

On November 6, 13 and 20, 1985, the order was published in the newspaper Bicol Star.
[26]

On May 18, 1987, the Regional Trial Court issued a joint decision, thus:
Wherefore, considering that this court has so found that the divorce decree granted to the late Lorenzo
Llorente is void and inapplicable in the Philippines, therefore the marriage he contracted with Alicia
Fortunato on January 16, 1958 at Manila is likewise void. This being so the petition of Alicia F. Llorente
for the issuance of letters testamentary is denied. Likewise, she is not entitled to receive any share from
the estate even if the will especially said so her relationship with Lorenzo having gained the status of
paramour which is under Art. 739 (1).
On the other hand, the court finds the petition of Paula Titular Llorente, meritorious, and so declares the
intrinsic disposition of the will of Lorenzo Llorente dated March 13, 1981 as void and declares her entitled
as conjugal partner and entitled to one-half of their conjugal properties, and as primary compulsory heir,
Paula T. Llorente is also entitled to one-third of the estate and then one-third should go to the illegitimate
children, Raul, Luz and Beverly, all surname (sic) Llorente, for them to partition in equal shares and also
entitled to the remaining free portion in equal shares.
Petitioner, Paula Llorente is appointed legal administrator of the estate of the deceased, Lorenzo
Llorente. As such let the corresponding letters of administration issue in her favor upon her filing a bond
in the amount (sic) of P100,000.00 conditioned for her to make a return to the court within three (3)
months a true and complete inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, and credits, and estate which shall at
any time come to her possession or to the possession of any other person for her, and from the proceeds
to pay and discharge all debts, legacies and charges on the same, or such dividends thereon as shall be
decreed or required by this court; to render a true and just account of her administration to the court
within one (1) year, and at any other time when required by the court and to perform all orders of this
court by her to be performed.
On the other matters prayed for in respective petitions for want of evidence could not be granted.
SO ORDERED.
[27]

In time, Alicia filed with the trial court a motion for reconsideration of the aforequoted decision.
[28]

On September 14, 1987, the trial court denied Alicias motion for reconsideration but modified its
earlier decision, stating that Raul and Luz Llorente are not children legitimate or otherwise of Lorenzo
since they were not legally adopted by him.
[29]
Amending its decision of May 18, 1987, the trial court
declared Beverly Llorente as the only illegitimate child of Lorenzo, entitling her to one-third (1/3) of the
estate and one-third (1/3) of the free portion of the estate.
[30]

On September 28, 1987, respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals.
[31]

On July 31, 1995, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision, affirming with modification the
decision of the trial court in this wise:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that Alicia is
declared as co-owner of whatever properties she and the deceased may have acquired during the
twenty-five (25) years of cohabitation.
SO ORDERED.
[32]

On August 25, 1995, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for reconsideration of the
decision.
[33]

On March 21, 1996, the Court of Appeals,
[34]
denied the motion for lack of merit.
Hence, this petition.
[35]

The Issue
Stripping the petition of its legalese and sorting through the various arguments raised,
[36]
the issue is
simple. Who are entitled to inherit from the late Lorenzo N. Llorente?
We do not agree with the decision of the Court of Appeals. We remand the case to the trial court for
ruling on the intrinsic validity of the will of the deceased.
The Applicable Law
The fact that the late Lorenzo N. Llorente became an American citizen long before and at the time of:
(1) his divorce from Paula; (2) marriage to Alicia; (3) execution of his will; and (4) death, is duly
established, admitted and undisputed.
Thus, as a rule, issues arising from these incidents are necessarily governed by foreign law.
The Civil Code clearly provides:
Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons
are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
Art. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is
situated.
However, intestate and testamentary succession, both with respect to the order of succession and to the
amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated
by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the
nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. (emphasis
ours)
True, foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to
take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and proved.
[37]

While the substance of the foreign law was pleaded, the Court of Appeals did not admit the foreign
law. The Court of Appeals and the trial court called to the fore the renvoi doctrine, where the case was
referred back to the law of the decedents domicile, in this case, Philippine law.
We note that while the trial court stated that the law of New York was not sufficiently proven, in the
same breath it made the categorical, albeit equally unproven statement that American law follows the
domiciliary theory hence, Philippine law applies when determining the validity of Lorenzos will.
[38]

First, there is no such thing as one American law. The "national law" indicated in Article 16 of the
Civil Code cannot possibly apply to general American law. There is no such law governing the validity of
testamentary provisions in the United States. Each State of the union has its own law applicable to its
citizens and in force only within the State. It can therefore refer to no other than the law of the State of
which the decedent was a resident.
[39]
Second, there is no showing that the application of
the renvoi doctrine is called for or required by New York State law.
The trial court held that the will was intrinsically invalid since it contained dispositions in favor of
Alice, who in the trial courts opinion was a mere paramour. The trial court threw the will out, leaving
Alice, and her two children, Raul and Luz, with nothing.
The Court of Appeals also disregarded the will. It declared Alice entitled to one half (1/2) of whatever
property she and Lorenzo acquired during their cohabitation, applying Article 144 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines.
The hasty application of Philippine law and the complete disregard of the will, already probated as
duly executed in accordance with the formalities of Philippine law, is fatal, especially in light of the
factual and legal circumstances here obtaining.
Validity of the Foreign Divorce
In Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.
[40]
we held that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of
the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute divorces, the same
being considered contrary to our concept of public policy and morality. In the same case, the Court ruled
that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, provided they are valid according to their national law.
Citing this landmark case, the Court held in Quita v. Court of Appeals,
[41]
that once proven that
respondent was no longer a Filipino citizen when he obtained the divorce from petitioner, the ruling in Van
Dorn would become applicable and petitioner could very well lose her right to inherit from him.
In Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera,
[42]
we recognized the divorce obtained by the respondent in his country, the
Federal Republic of Germany. There, we stated that divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in
the Philippines insofar as respondent is concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on
the status of persons.
For failing to apply these doctrines, the decision of the Court of Appeals must be reversed.
[43]
We
hold that the divorce obtained by Lorenzo H. Llorente from his first wife Paula was valid and recognized in
this jurisdiction as a matter of comity. Now, the effects of this divorce (as to the succession to the estate
of the decedent) are matters best left to the determination of the trial court.
Validity of the Will
The Civil Code provides:
Art. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments shall be governed
by the laws of the country in which they are executed.
When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of the Republic of the
Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by Philippine laws shall be observed in their
execution. (underscoring ours)
The clear intent of Lorenzo to bequeath his property to his second wife and children by her is
glaringly shown in the will he executed. We do not wish to frustrate his wishes, since he was a foreigner,
not covered by our laws on family rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity.
[44]

Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are issues best proved by
foreign law which must be pleaded and proved. Whether the will was executed in accordance with the
formalities required is answered by referring to Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated.
As a guide however, the trial court should note that whatever public policy or good customs may be
involved in our system of legitimes, Congress did not intend to extend the same to the succession of
foreign nationals. Congress specifically left the amount of successional rights to the decedent's national
law.
[45]

Having thus ruled, we find it unnecessary to pass upon the other issues raised.
The Fallo
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. SP No.
17446 promulgated on July 31, 1995 is SET ASIDE.
In lieu thereof, the Court REVERSES the decision of the Regional Trial Court and RECOGNIZES as
VALID the decree of divorce granted in favor of the deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente by the Superior Court
of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego, made final on December 4, 1952.
Further, the Court REMANDS the cases to the court of origin for determination of the intrinsic validity
of Lorenzo N. Llorentes will and determination of the parties successional rights allowing proof of foreign
law with instructions that the trial court shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to settle the estate of the
deceased within the framework of the Rules of Court.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.



[1]
In CA-G. R. SP. No. 17446, promulgated on July 31, 1995, Lipana-Reyes
+
, J., ponente, Torres, Jr. and
Hofilena, JJ., concurring.
[2]
In Spec. Proc. No. IR-755 (In the Matter of the Probate and Allowance of the Last Will and Testament of
Lorenzo N. Llorente, Lorenzo N. Llorente, Petitioner) and Spec. Proc. No. IR-888 (Petition for the Grant
of Letters of Administration for the Estate of Lorenzo N. Llorente, Paula T. Llorente, Petitioner), dated
May 18, 1987, Judge Esteban B. Abonal, presiding.
[3]
Decision, Court of Appeals, Rollo, p. 51.
[4]
Exh. B, Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, p. 61.
[5]
Ibid.
[6]
This was issued pursuant to Lorenzos petition, Petition No. 4708849, filed with the U.S. Court. Exhs.
H and H-3 Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, p. 157, 159.
[7]
Decision, Court of Appeals, Rollo, p. 51; Exh. B, Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, p. 61.
[8]
Ibid.
[9]
Exh. A, Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, p. 60.
[10]
Exh. B-1 Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, p. 62.
[11]
Exh. D, Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, pp. 63-64.
[12]
Exh. E, Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, p. 69.
[13]
Exh. F, Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, p. 148.
[14]
Decision, Court of Appeals, Rollo, p. 52.
[15]
Comment, Rollo, p. 147.
[16]
Decision, Court of Appeals, Rollo, p. 52.
[17]
Exh. A, Trial Court Folder of Exhibits, pp. 3-4; Decision, Court of Appeals, Rollo, p. 52.
[18]
Docketed as Spec. Proc. No. IR-755.
[19]
Decision, RTC, Rollo, p. 37.
[20]
Ibid.
[21]
Ibid.
[22]
Docketed as Spec. Proc. No. IR-888.
[23]
Decision, RTC, Rollo, p. 38.
[24]
Decision, Court of Appeals, Rollo, p. 52.
[25]
Ibid., pp. 52-53.
[26]
Ibid., p. 53.
[27]
RTC Decision, Rollo, p. 37.
[28]
Order, Regional Trial Court in Spec. Proc. Nos. IR-755 and 888, Rollo, p. 46.
[29]
Citing Article 335 of the Civil Code, which states, The following cannot adopt: xxx
(3) a married person, without the consent of the other spouse; xxx, the trial court reasoned that since the
divorce obtained by Lorenzo did not dissolve his first marriage with Paula, then the adoption of Raul and
Luz was void, as Paula did not give her consent to it.
[30]
Order, Regional Trial Court, Rollo, p. 47.
[31]
Docketed as CA-G. R. SP No. 17446.
[32]
Decision, Court of Appeals, Rollo, p. 56.
[33]
On August 31, 1995, petitioner also filed with this Court a verified complaint against the members of
the Special Thirteenth Division, Court of Appeals, Associate Justices Justo P. Torres, Jr., Celia Lipana-
Reyes + and Hector Hofilena for gross ignorance of the law, manifest incompetence and extreme bias
(Rollo, p. 15).
[34]
Again with Associate Justice Celia Lipana-Reyes
+
, ponente, concurred in by Associate Justices Justo
P. Torres, Jr. and Hector Hofilena (Former Special Thirteenth Division).
[35]
Filed on May 10, 1996, Rollo, pp. 9-36.
[36]
Petitioner alleges (1) That the Court of Appeals lost its jurisdiction over the case when it issued the
resolution denying the motion for reconsideration; (2) That Art. 144 of the Civil Case has been repealed
by Arts. 253 and 147 of the Family Code and (3) That Alicia and her children not are entitled to any share
in the estate of the deceased (Rollo, p. 19).
[37]
Collector of Internal Revenue v. Fisher, 110 Phil. 686 (1961).
[38]
Joint Record on Appeal, p. 255; Rollo, p. 40.
[39]
In Re: Estate of Edward Christensen, Aznar v. Helen Garcia, 117 Phil. 96 (1963).
[40]
139 SCRA 139 (1985).
[41]
300 SCRA 406 (1998).
[42]
174 SCRA 653 (1989).
[43]
The ruling in the case of Tenchavez v. Escano (122 Phil. 752 [1965]) that provides that a foreign
divorce between Filipino citizens sought and decreed after the effectivity of the present civil code is not
entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction is NOT applicable in the case at bar as Lorenzo was no
longer a Filipino citizen when he obtained the divorce.
[44]
Article 15, Civil Code provides Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and
legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
(Underscoring ours)
[45]
Bellis v. Bellis, 126 Phil. 726 (1967).