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G.R. No. 111953 December 12, 1997


HON. RENATO C. CORONA, in his capacity as Assistant Secretary for Legal
Affairs, HON. JESUS B. GARCIA, in his capacity as Acting Secretary, Department
of Transportation and Communications, and ROGELIO A. DAYAN, in his capacity
as
General
Manager
of
Philippine
Ports
Authority, petitioners,
vs.
UNITED HARBOR PILOTS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES and MANILA
PILOTS ASSOCIATION,respondents.

ROMERO, J.:
In issuing Administrative Order No. 04-92 (PPA-AO No. 04-92), limiting the term of
appointment of harbor pilots to one year subject to yearly renewal or cancellation, did the
Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) violate respondents' right to exercise their profession
and their right to due process of law?
The PPA was created on July 11, 1974, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 505. On
December 23, 1975, Presidential Decree No. 857 was issued revising the PPA's charter.
Pursuant to its power of control, regulation, and supervision of pilots and the pilotage
profession, 1 the PPA promulgated PPA-AO-03-85 2 on March 21, 1985, which
embodied the "Rules and Regulations Governing Pilotage Services, the Conduct of Pilots
and Pilotage Fees in Philippine Ports." These rules mandate, inter alia, that aspiring
pilots must be holders of pilot licenses 3 and must train as probationary pilots in outports
for three months and in the Port of Manila for four months. It is only after they have
achieved satisfactory performance 4 that they are given permanent and regular
appointments by the PPA itself 5 to exercise harbor pilotage until they reach the age of
70, unless sooner removed by reason of mental or physical unfitness by the PPA General
Manager. 6 Harbor pilots in every harbor district are further required to organize
themselves into pilot associations which would make available such equipment as may
be required by the PPA for effective pilotage services. In view of this mandate, pilot
associations invested in floating, communications, and office equipment. In fact, every
new pilot appointed by the PPA automatically becomes a member of a pilot association
and is required to pay a proportionate equivalent equity or capital before being allowed to
assume his duties, as reimbursement to the association concerned of the amount it paid
to his predecessor.
Subsequently, then PPA General Manager Rogelio A. Dayan issued PPA-AO No. 0492 7 on July 15, 1992, whose avowed policy was to "instill effective discipline and
thereby afford better protection to the port users through the improvement of pilotage

services." This was implemented by providing therein that "all existing regular
appointments which have been previously issued either by the Bureau of Customs or the
PPA shall remain valid up to 31 December 1992 only" and that "all appointments to
harbor pilot positions in all pilotage districts shall, henceforth, be only for a term of one
(1) year from date of effectivity subject to yearly renewal or cancellation by the Authority
after conduct of a rigid evaluation of performance."
On August 12, 1992, respondents United Harbor Pilots Association and the Manila Pilots
Association, through Capt. Alberto C. Compas, questioned PPA-AO No. 04-92 before the
Department of Transportation and Communication, but they were informed by then
DOTC Secretary Jesus B. Garcia that "the matter of reviewing, recalling or annulling
PPA's administrative issuances lies exclusively with its Board of Directors as its
governing body."
Meanwhile, on August 31, 1992, the PPA issued Memorandum Order No. 08-92 8 which
laid down the criteria or factors to be considered in the reappointment of harbor pilot, viz.:
(1) Qualifying Factors: 9 safety record and physical/mental medical exam report and (2)
Criteria for Evaluation: 10 promptness in servicing vessels, compliance with PPA Pilotage
Guidelines, number of years as a harbor pilot, average GRT of vessels serviced as pilot,
awards/commendations as harbor pilot, and age.
Respondents reiterated their request for the suspension of the implementation of PPAAO No. 04-92, but Secretary Garcia insisted on his position that the matter was within the
jurisdiction of the Board of Directors of the PPA. Compas appealed this ruling to the
Office of the President (OP), reiterating his arguments before the DOTC.
On December 23, 1992, the OP issued an order directing the PPA to hold in abeyance
the implementation of PPA-AO No. 04-92. In its answer, the PPA countered that said
administrative order was issued in the exercise of its administrative control and
supervision over harbor pilots under Section 6-a (viii), Article IV of P.D. No. 857, as
amended, and it, along with its implementing guidelines, was intended to restore order in
the ports and to improve the quality of port services.
On March 17, 1993, the OP, through then Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs
Renato C. Corona, dismissed the appeal/petition and lifted the restraining order issued
earlier. 11 He concluded that PPA-AO No. 04-92 applied to all harbor pilots and, for all
intents and purposes, was not the act of Dayan, but of the PPA, which was merely
implementing Section 6 of P.D. No. 857, mandating it "to control, regulate and supervise
pilotage and conduct of pilots in any port district."
On the alleged unconstitutionality and illegality of PPA-AO No. 04-92 and its
implementing memoranda and circulars, Secretary Corona opined that:

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The exercise of one's profession falls within the constitutional guarantee against wrongful
deprivation of, or interference with, property rights without due process. In the limited
context of this case. PPA-AO 04-92 does not constitute a wrongful interference with, let
alone a wrongful deprivation of, the property rights of those affected thereby. As may be
noted, the issuance aims no more than to improve pilotage services by limiting the
appointment to harbor pilot positions to one year, subject to renewal or cancellation after
a rigid evaluation of the appointee's performance.
PPA-AO 04-92 does not forbid, but merely regulates, the exercise by harbor pilots of
their profession in PPA's jurisdictional area. (Emphasis supplied)
Finally, as regards the alleged "absence of ample prior consultation" before the issuance
of the administrative order, Secretary Corona cited Section 26 of P.D. No. 857, which
merely requires the PPA to consult with "relevant Government agencies." Since the PPA
Board of Directors is composed of the Secretaries of the DOTC, the Department of
Public Works and Highways, the Department of Finance, and the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the Director-General of the National
Economic Development Agency, the Administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority
(MARINA), and the private sector representative who, due to his knowledge and
expertise, was appointed by the President to the Board, he concluded that the law has
been sufficiently complied with by the PPA in issuing the assailed administrative order.
Consequently, respondents filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with
prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and damages, before Branch 6
of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 93-65673.
On September 6, 1993, the trial court rendered the following judgment: 12
WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, this Court hereby rules that:
1. Respondents (herein petitioners) have acted excess jurisdiction and with grave abuse
of discretion and in a capricious, whimsical and arbitrary manner in promulgating PPA
Administrative Order 04-92 including all its implementing Memoranda, Circulars and
Orders;
2. PPA Administrative Order 04-92 and its implementing Circulars and Orders are
declared null and void;
3. The respondents are permanently enjoined from implementing PPA Administrative
Order 04-92 and its implementing Memoranda, Circulars and Orders.
No costs.

SO ORDERED.
The court a quo pointed out that the Bureau of Customs, the precursor of the PPA,
recognized pilotage as a profession and, therefore, a property right under Callanta
v. Carnation Philippines, Inc. 13 Thus, abbreviating the term within which that privilege
may be exercised would be an interference with the property rights of the harbor pilots.
Consequently, any "withdrawal or alteration" of such property right must be strictly made
in accordance with the constitutional mandate of due process of law. This was apparently
not followed by the PPA when it did not conduct public hearings prior to the issuance of
PPA-AO No. 04-92; respondents allegedly learned about it only after its publication in the
newspapers. From this decision, petitioners elevated their case to this Court on certiorari.
After carefully examining the records and deliberating on the arguments of the parties,
the Court is convinced that PPA-AO No. 04-92 was issued in stark disregard of
respondents' right against deprivation of property without due process of law.
Consequently, the instant petition must be denied.
Section 1 of the Bill of Rights lays down what is known as the "due process clause" of the
Constitution, viz.:
Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law,
...
In order to fall within the aegis of this provision, two conditions must concur, namely, that
there is a deprivation and that such deprivation is done without proper observance of due
process. When one speaks of due process of law, however, a distinction must be made
between matters of procedure and matters of substance. In essence, procedural due
process "refers to the method or manner by which the law is enforced," while substantive
due process "requires that the law itself, not merely the procedures by which the law
would be enforced, is fair, reasonable, and just." 14 PPA-AO No. 04-92 must be
examined in light of this distinction.
Respondents argue that due process was not observed in the adoption of PPA-AO No.
04-92 allegedly because no hearing was conducted whereby "relevant government
agencies" and the pilots themselves could ventilate their views. They are obviously
referring to the procedural aspect of the enactment. Fortunately, the Court has
maintained a clear position in this regard, a stance it has stressed in the recent case
of Lumiqued v. Hon. Exevea,15 where it declared that "(a)s long as a party was given the
opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he cannot be said to have been denied
due process of law, for this opportunity to be heard is the very essence of due process.
Moreover, this constitutional mandate is deemed satisfied if a person is granted an
opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of."

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In the case at bar, respondents questioned PPA-AO No. 04-92 no less than four
times 16 before the matter was finally elevated to this Tribunal. Their arguments on this
score, however, fail to persuade. While respondents emphasize that the Philippine Coast
Guard, "which issues the licenses of pilots after administering the pilots' examinations,"
was not consulted, 17 the facts show that the MARINA, which took over the licensing
function of the Philippine Coast Guard, was duly represented in the Board of Directors of
the PPA. Thus, petitioners correctly argued that, there being no matters of naval defense
involved in the issuance of the administrative order, the Philippine Coast Guard need not
be consulted. 18
Neither does the fact that the pilots themselves were not consulted in any way taint the
validity of the administrative order. As a general rule, notice and hearing, as the
fundamental requirements of procedural due process, are essential only when an
administrative body exercises its quasi-judicial function. In the performance of its
executive or legislative functions, such as issuing rules and regulations, an administrative
body need not comply with the requirements of notice and hearing. 19
Upon the other hand, it is also contended that the sole and exclusive right to the exercise
of harbor pilotage by pilots is a settled issue. Respondents aver that said right has
become vested and can only be "withdrawn or shortened" by observing the constitutional
mandate of due process of law. Their argument has thus shifted from the procedural to
one of substance. It is here where PPA-AO No. 04-92 fails to meet the condition set by
the organic law.
There is no dispute that pilotage as a profession has taken on the nature of a property
right. Even petitioner Corona recognized this when he stated in his March 17, 1993,
decision that "(t)he exercise of one's profession falls within the constitutional guarantee
against wrongful deprivation of, or interference with, property rights without due
process." 20 He merely expressed the opinion the "(i)n the limited context of this case,
PPA-AO 04-92 does not constitute a wrongful interference with, let alone a wrongful
deprivation of, the property rights of those affected thereby, and that "PPA-AO 04-95
does not forbid, but merely regulates, the exercise by harbor pilots of their profession."
As will be presently demonstrated, such supposition is gravely erroneous and tends to
perpetuate an administrative order which is not only unreasonable but also superfluous.
Pilotage, just like other professions, may be practiced only by duly licensed individuals.
Licensure is "the granting of license especially to practice a profession." It is also "the
system of granting licenses (as for professional practice) in accordance with
establishment standards." 21 A license is a right or permission granted by some
competent authority to carry on a business or do an act which, without such license,
would be illegal. 22

Before harbor pilots can earn a license to practice their profession, they literally have to
pass through the proverbial eye of a needle by taking, not one but five examinations,
each followed by actual training and practice. Thus, the court a quo observed:
Petitioners (herein respondents) contend, and the respondents (herein petitioners) do not
deny, the here (sic) in this jurisdiction, before a person can be a harbor pilot, he must
pass five (5) government professional examinations, namely, (1) For Third Mate and after
which he must work, train and practice on board a vessel for at least a year; (2) For
Second Mate and after which he must work, train and practice for at least a year; (3) For
Chief Mate and after which he must work, train and practice for at least a year; (4) For a
Master Mariner and after which he must work as Captain of vessel for at least two (2)
years to qualify for an examination to be a pilot; and finally, of course, that given for
pilots.
Their license is granted in the form of an appointment which allows them to engage in
pilotage until they retire at the age 70 years. This is a vested right. Under the terms of
PPA-AO No. 04-92, "(a)ll existing regular appointments which have been previously
issued by the Bureau of Customs or the PPA shall remain valid up to 31 December 1992
only," and "(a)ll appointments to harbor pilot positions in all pilotage districts shall,
henceforth, be only for a term of one (1) year from date of effectivity subject to renewal or
cancellation by the Authority after conduct of a rigid evaluation of performance."
It is readily apparent that PPA-AO No. 04-92 unduly restricts the right of harbor pilots to
enjoy their profession before their compulsory retirement. In the past, they enjoyed a
measure of security knowing that after passing five examinations and undergoing years
of on-the-job training, they would have a license which they could use until their
retirement, unless sooner revoked by the PPA for mental or physical unfitness. Under the
new issuance, they have to contend with an annual cancellation of their license which
can be temporary or permanent depending on the outcome of their performance
evaluation. Veteran pilots and neophytes alike are suddenly confronted with one-year
terms which ipso facto expire at the end of that period. Renewal of their license is now
dependent on a "rigid evaluation of performance" which is conducted only after the
license has already been cancelled. Hence, the use of the term "renewal." It is this preevaluation cancellation which primarily makes PPA-AO No. 04-92 unreasonable and
constitutionally infirm. In a real sense, it is a deprivation of property without due process
of law.
The Court notes that PPA-AO No. 04-92 and PPA-MO No. 08-92 are already covered by
PPA-AO No. 03-85, which is still operational. Respondents are correct in pointing out that
PPA-AO No. 04-92 is a "surplusage" 23 and, therefore, an unnecessary enactment. PPAAO 03-85 is a comprehensive order setting forth the "Rules and Regulations Governing
Pilotage Services, the Conduct of Pilots and Pilotage Fees in Philippine Ports." It

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provides, inter alia, for the qualification, appointment, performance evaluation,
disciplining and removal of harbor pilots matters which are duplicated in PPA-AO No.
04-92 and its implementing memorandum order. Since it adds nothing new or substantial,
PPA-AO No. 04-92 must be struck down.
Finally, respondents' insinuation that then PPA General Manager Dayan was responsible
for the issuance of the questioned administrative order may have some factual basis;
after all, power and authority were vested in his office to propose rules and regulations.
The trial court's finding of animosity between him and private respondents might likewise
have a grain of truth. Yet the number of cases filed in court between private respondents
and Dayan, including cases which have reached this Court, cannot certainly be
considered the primordial reason for the issuance of PPA-AO No. 04-92. In the absence
of proof to the contrary, Dayan should be presumed to have acted in accordance with law
and the best of professional motives. In any event, his actions are certainly always
subject to scrutiny by higher administrative authorities.

amnesty on unpaid income taxes, later amended to include estate and donor's taxes and
taxes on business, for the taxable years 1981 to 1985.
Availing itself of the amnesty, respondent R.O.H. Auto Products Philippines, Inc., filed, in
October 1986 and November 1986, its Tax Amnesty Return No. 34-F-00146-41 and
Supplemental Tax Amnesty Return No. 34-F-00146-64-B, respectively, and paid the
corresponding amnesty taxes due.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed decision of
the court a quo dated September 6, 1993, in Civil Case No. 93-65673 is AFFIRMED. No
pronouncement as to costs.

Prior to this availment, petitioner Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in a communication


received by private respondent on 13 August 1986, assessed the latter deficiency income
and business taxes for its fiscal years ended 30 September 1981 and 30 September
1982 in an aggregate amount of P1,410,157.71. The taxpayer wrote back to state that
since it had been able to avail itself of the tax amnesty, the deficiency tax notice should
forthwith be cancelled and withdrawn. The request was denied by the Commissioner, in
his letter of 22 November 1988, on the ground that Revenue Memorandum Order No. 487, dated 09 February 1987, implementing Executive Order No. 41, had construed the
amnesty coverage to include only assessments issued by the Bureau of Internal
Revenue after the promulgation of the executive order on 22 August 1986 and not to
assessments theretofore made. The invoked provisions of the memorandum order read:

SO ORDERED.

TO: All Internal Revenue Officers and Others Concerned:


1.0. To give effect and substance to the immunity provisions of the tax amnesty under
Executive Order No. 41, as expanded by Executive Order No. 64, the following
instructions are hereby issued:
xxx xxx xxx

G.R. No. 108358 January 20, 1995


COMMISSIONER
OF
INTERNAL
REVENUE, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, R.O.H. AUTO PRODUCTS PHILIPPINES, INC. and
THE HON. COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents.

VITUG, J.:
On 22 August 1986, during the period when the President of the Republic still wielded
legislative powers, Executive Order No. 41 was promulgated declaring a one-time tax

1.02. A certification by the Tax Amnesty Implementation Officer of the fact of availment of
the said tax amnesty shall be a sufficient basis for:
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1.02.3. In appropriate cases, the cancellation/withdrawal of assessment notices and
letters of demand issued after August 21, 1986 for the collection of income, business,
estate or donor's taxes due during the same taxable years. 1 (Emphasis supplied)
Private respondent appealed the Commissioner's denial to the Court of Tax Appeals.
Ruling for the taxpayer, the tax court said:

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Respondent (herein petitioner Commissioner) failed to present any case or law which
proves that an assessment can withstand or negate the force and effects of a tax
amnesty. This burden of proof on the petitioner (herein respondent taxpayer) was created
by the clear and express terms of the executive order's intention qualified availers of
the amnesty may pay an amnesty tax in lieu of said unpaid taxes which are forgiven
(Section 2, Section 5, Executive Order No. 41, as amended). More specifically, the plain
provisions in the statute granting tax amnesty for unpaid taxes for the period January 1,
1981 to December 31, 1985 shifted the burden of proof on respondent to show how the
issuance of an assessment before the date of the promulgation of the executive order
could have a reasonable relation with the objective periods of the amnesty, so as to
make petitioner still answerable for a tax liability which, through the statute, should have
been erased with the proper availment of the amnesty.

willing to reform a chance to do so and thereby become a part of the new society with a
clean slate. (Republic vs. Intermediate Appellate Court. 196 SCRA 335, 340 [1991] citing
Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Botelho Shipping Corp., 20 SCRA 487) To follow
[the restrictive application of Revenue Memorandum Order No. 4-87 pressed by
petitioner Commissioner would be to work against the raison d'etre of E.O. 41, as
amended, i.e., to raise government revenues by encouraging taxpayers to declare their
untaxed income and pay the tax due thereon. (E.O. 41, first paragraph)] 3

Additionally, the exceptions enumerated in Section 4 of Executive Order No. 41, as


amended, do not indicate any reference to an assessment or pending investigation aside
from one arising from information furnished by an informer. . . . Thus, we deem that the
rule in Revenue Memorandum Order No. 4-87 promulgating that only assessments
issued after August 21, 1986 shall be abated by the amnesty is beyond the
contemplation of Executive Order No. 41, as amended. 2

2. WHETHER OR NOT SAID DEFICIENCY ASSESSMENTS IN QUESTION WERE


EXTINGUISHED BY REASON OR PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S AVAILMENT OF
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 41 AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 64;

On appeal by the Commissioner to the Court of Appeals, the decision of the tax court
was affirmed. The appellate court further observed:
In the instant case, examining carefully the words used in Executive Order No. 41, as
amended, we find nothing which justifies petitioner Commissioner's ground for denying
respondent taxpayer's claim to the benefits of the amnesty law. Section 4 of the subject
law enumerates, in no uncertain terms, taxpayers who may not avail of the amnesty
granted,. . . .
Admittedly, respondent taxpayer does not fall under any of the . . . exceptions. The added
exception urged by petitioner Commissioner based on Revenue Memorandum Order No.
4-87, further restricting the scope of the amnesty clearly amounts to an act of
administrative legislation quite contrary to the mandate of the law which the regulation
ought to implement.
xxx xxx xxx
Lastly, by its very nature, a tax amnesty, being a general pardon or intentional
overlooking by the State of its authority to impose penalties on persons otherwise guilty
of evasion or violation of a revenue or tax law, partakes of an absolute forgiveness or
waiver by the Government of its right to collect what otherwise would be due it, and in
this sense, prejudicial thereto, particularly to give tax evaders, who wish to relent and are

In this petition for review, the Commissioner raises these related issues:
1. WHETHER OR NOT REVENUE MEMORANDUM
PROMULGATED TO IMPLEMENT E.O. NO. 41, IS VALID;

3. WHETHER OR NOT PRIVATE RESPONDENT


PRESUMPTION OF VALIDITY OF ASSESSMENTS. 4

ORDER

HAS

NO.

OVERCOME

4-87,

THE

The authority of the Minister of Finance (now the Secretary of Finance), in conjunction
with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, to promulgate all needful rules and
regulations for the effective enforcement of internal revenue laws cannot be controverted.
Neither can it be disputed that such rules and regulations, as well as administrative
opinions and rulings, ordinarily should deserve weight and respect by the courts. Much
more fundamental than either of the above, however, is that all such issuances must not
override, but must remain consistent and in harmony with, the law they seek to apply and
implement. Administrative rules and regulations are intended to carry out, neither to
supplant nor to modify, the law.
The real and only issue is whether or not the position taken by the Commissioner
coincides with the meaning and intent of executive Order No. 41.
We agree with both the court of Appeals and court of Tax Appeals that Executive Order
No. 41 is quite explicit and requires hardly anything beyond a simple application of its
provisions. It reads:
Sec. 1. Scope of Amnesty. A one-time tax amnesty covering unpaid income taxes for
the years 1981 to 1985 is hereby declared.

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Sec. 2. Conditions of the Amnesty. A taxpayer who wishes to avail himself of the tax
amnesty shall, on or before October 31, 1986;

g) Those liable under Title Seven, Chapter Three (Frauds, Illegal Exactions and
Transactions) and Chapter Four (Malversation of Public Funds and Property) of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended.

a) file a sworn statement declaring his net worth as of December 31, 1985;
xxx xxx xxx
b) file a certified true copy of his statement declaring his net worth as of December 31,
1980 on record with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, or if no such record exists, file a
statement of said net worth therewith, subject to verification by the Bureau of Internal
Revenue;

Sec. 9. The Minister of finance, upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of


Internal Revenue, shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement this
Executive Order.

c) file a return and pay a tax equivalent to ten per cent (10%) of the increase in net worth
from December 31, 1980 to December 31, 1985: Provided, That in no case shall the tax
be less than P5,000.00 for individuals and P10,000.00 for judicial persons.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 3. Computation of Net Worth. In computing the net worths referred to in Section 2
hereof, the following rules shall govern:

DONE in the City of Manila, this 22nd day of August in the year of Our Lord, nineteen
hundred and eighty-six.

a) Non-cash assets shall be valued at acquisition cost.

The period of the amnesty was later extended to 05 December 1986 from 31 October
1986 by Executive Order No. 54, dated 04 November 1986, and, its coverage expanded,
under Executive Order No. 64, dated 17 November 1986, to include estate and honors
taxes and taxes on business.

b) Foreign currencies shall be valued at the rates of exchange prevailing as of the date of
the net worth statement.
Sec. 4. Exceptions. The following taxpayers may not avail themselves of the amnesty
herein granted:
a) Those falling under the provisions of Executive Order Nos. 1, 2 and 14;
b) Those with income tax cases already filed in Court as of the effectivity hereof;
c) Those with criminal cases involving violations of the income tax already filed in court
as of the effectivity filed in court as of the effectivity hereof;
d) Those that have withholding tax liabilities under the National Internal Revenue Code,
as amended, insofar as the said liabilities are concerned;
e) Those with tax cases pending investigation by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as of
the effectivity hereof as a result of information furnished under Section 316 of the
National Internal Revenue Code, as amended;
f) Those with pending cases involving unexplained or unlawfully acquired wealth before
the Sandiganbayan;

Sec. 11. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

If, as the Commissioner argues, Executive Order No. 41 had not been intended to
include 1981-1985 tax liabilities already assessed (administratively) prior to 22 August
1986, the law could have simply so provided in its exclusionary clauses. It did not. The
conclusion is unavoidable, and it is that the executive order has been designed to be in
the nature of a general grant of tax amnesty subject only to the
cases specifically excepted by it.
It might not be amiss to recall that the taxable periods covered by the amnesty include
the years immediately preceding the 1986 revolution during which time there had been
persistent calls, all too vivid to be easily forgotten, for civil disobedience, most particularly
in the payment of taxes, to the martial law regime. It should be understandable then that
those who ultimately took over the reigns of government following the successful
revolution would promptly provide for abroad, and not a confined, tax amnesty.
Relative to the two other issued raised by the Commissioner, we need only quote from
Executive Order No. 41 itself; thus:

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Sec. 6. Immunities and Privileges. Upon full compliance with the conditions of the tax
amnesty and the rules and regulations issued pursuant to this Executive order, the
taxpayer shall enjoy the following immunities and privileges:
a) The taxpayer shall be relieved of any income tax liability on any untaxed income from
January 1, 1981 to December 31, 1985, including increments thereto and penalties on
account of the non-payment of the said tax. Civil, criminal or administrative liability arising
from the non-payment of the said tax, which are actionable under the National Internal
Revenue Code, as amended, are likewise deemed extinguished.

G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985

b) The taxpayer's tax amnesty declaration shall not be admissible in evidence in all
proceedings before judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative bodies, in which he is a
defendant or respondent, and the same shall not be examined, inquired or looked into by
any person, government official, bureau or office.

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,
c) The books of account and other records of the taxpayer for the period from January 1, HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the
1981 to December 31, 1985 shall not be examined for income tax purposes:Provided, President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacaang
That the Commissioner of Internal Revenue may authorize in writing the examination of Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his capacity as Director, Bureau of
the said books of accounts and other records to verify the validity or correctness of a Printing, respondents.
claim for grant of any tax refund, tax credit (other than refund on credit of withheld taxes
on wages), tax incentives, and/or exemptions under existing laws.
There is no pretension that the tax amnesty returns and due payments made by the
taxpayer did not conform with the conditions expressed in the amnesty order.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court of Appeals, sustaining that of the court of Tax
Appeals, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

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.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 8


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, 16061609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 17371742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 18021804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 18391840, 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, 20302044, 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, 788852, 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.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 9


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:

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 10


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.

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.

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.
A.M. No. RTJ-92-876 September 19, 1994
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."

STATE
PROSECUTORS, complainants,
vs.
JUDGE MANUEL T. MURO, Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Manila, respondent.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 11

PER CURIAM:
In assaying the requisite norms for qualifications and eminence of a magistrate, legal
authorities place a premium on how he has complied with his continuing duty to know the
law. A quality thus considered essential to the judicial character is that of "a man of
learning who spends tirelessly the weary hours after midnight acquainting himself with
the great body of traditions and the learning of the law; is profoundly learned in all the
learning of the law; and knows how to use that learning." 1
Obviously, it is the primary duty of a judge, which he owes to the public and to the legal
profession, to know the very law he is supposed to apply to a given controversy. He is
called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with the statutes and
procedural rules. Party litigants will have great faith in the administration of justice if
judges cannot justly be accused of apparent deficiency in their grasp of the legal
principles. For, service in the judiciary means a continuous study and research on the law
from beginning to end. 2
In a letter-complaint 3 dated August 19, 1992, respondent Judge Manuel T. Muro of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 54, was charged by State Prosecutors Nilo
C. Mariano, George C. Dee and Paterno V. Tac-an with ignorance of the law, grave
misconduct and violations of Rules 2.01, 3.01 and 3.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct,
committed as follows:
1. That on August 13, 1992, respondent judge issued an Order dismissing eleven (11)
cases (docketed as Crim. Cases Nos. 92-101959 to 92- 101969, inclusive) filed by the
undersigned complainant prosecutors (members of the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors)
against the accused Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, for Violation of Central Bank
Foreign Exchange Restrictions, as consolidated in CB Circular No. 960, in relation to the
penal provisions of Sec. 34 of R.A. 265, as amended, . . .;
2. That respondent Judge issued his Order solely on the basis of newspaper reports
(August 11, 1992 issues of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Daily Globe) concerning
the announcement on August 10, 1992 by the President of the Philippines of the lifting by
the government of all foreign exchange restrictions and the arrival at such decision by the
Monetary Board as per statement of Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia;
3. That claiming that the reported announcement of the Executive Department on the
lifting of foreign exchange restrictions by two newspapers which are reputable and of
national circulation had the effect of repealing Central Bank Circular No. 960, as
allegedly supported by Supreme Court decisions . . ., the Court contended that it was

deprived of jurisdiction, and, therefore, motu, prop(r)io had to dismiss all the eleven
cases aforementioned "for not to do so opens this Court to charges of trying cases over
which it has no more jurisdiction;"
4. That in dismissing aforecited cases on August 13, 1992 on the basis of a Central Bank
Circular or Monetary Board Resolution which as of date hereof, has not even been
officially issued, and basing his Order/decision on a mere newspaper account of the
advance announcement made by the President of the said fact of lifting or liberalizing
foreign exchange controls, respondent judge acted prematurely and in indecent haste, as
he had no way of determining the full intent of the new CB Circular or Monetary Board
resolution, and whether the same provided for exception, as in the case of persons who
had pending criminal cases before the courts for violations of Central Bank Circulars
and/or regulations previously issued on the matter;
5. That respondent Judge's arrogant and cavalier posture in taking judicial notice
purportedly as a matter of public knowledge a mere newspaper account that the
President had announced the lifting of foreign exchange restrictions as basis for his
assailed order of dismissal is highly irregular, erroneous and misplaced. For the
respondent judge to take judicial notice thereof even before it is officially released by the
Central Bank and its full text published as required by law to be effective shows his
precipitate action in utter disregard of the fundamental precept of due process which the
People is also entitled to and exposes his gross ignorance of the law, thereby tarnishing
public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. How can the Honorable Judge take
judicial notice of something which has not yet come into force and the contents, shape
and tenor of which have not yet been published and ascertained to be the basis of
judicial action? The Honorable Judge had miserably failed to "endeavor diligently to
ascertain the facts" in the case at bar contrary to Rule 3.02 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct constituting Grave Misconduct;
6. That respondent Judge did not even ha(ve) the prudence of requiring first the
comment of the prosecution on the effect of aforesaid Central Bank Circular/Monetary
Board resolution on the pending cases before dismissing the same, thereby denying the
Government of its right to due process;
7. That the lightning speed with which respondent Judge acted to dismiss the cases may
be gleaned from the fact that such precipitate action was undertaken despite already
scheduled continuation of trial dates set in the order of the court (the prosecution having
started presenting its evidence . . .) dated August 11, 1992 to wit: August 31, September
3, 10, 21, & 23 and October 1, 1992, all at 9:30 o'clock in the morning, in brazen
disregard of all notions of fair play, thereby depriving the Government of its right to be
heard, and clearly exposing his bias and partiality; and

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 12


8. That, in fact, the motive of respondent Judge in dismissing the case without even
waiting for a motion to quash filed by the counsel for accused has even placed his
dismissal Order suspect.
Pursuant to a resolution of this Court dated September 8, 1992, respondent judge filed
his comment, 4 contending,inter alia, that there was no need to await publication of the
Central Bank (CB) circular repealing the existing law on foreign exchange controls for the
simple reason that the public announcement made by the President in several
newspapers of general circulation lifting foreign exchange controls was total, absolute,
without qualification, and was immediately effective; that having acted only on the basis
of such announcement, he cannot be blamed for relying on the erroneous statement of
the President that the new foreign exchange rules rendered moot and academic the
cases filed against Mrs. Marcos, and which was corrected only on August 17, 1992 but
published in the newspapers on August 18, 1992, and only after respondent judge had
issued his order of dismissal dated August 13, 1992; that the President was ill-advised by
his advisers and, instead of rescuing the Chief Executive from embarrassment by
assuming responsibility for errors in the latter's announcement, they chose to toss the
blame for the consequence of their failures to respondent judge who merely acted on the
basis of the announcements of the President which had become of public knowledge;
that the "saving clause" under CB Circular No. 1353 specifically refers only to pending
actions or investigations involving violations of CB Circular No. 1318, whereas the eleven
cases dismissed involved charges for violations of CB Circular No. 960, hence the
accused cannot be tried and convicted under a law different from that under which she
was charged; that assuming that respondent judge erred in issuing the order of
dismissal, the proper remedy should have been an appeal therefrom but definitely not an
administrative complaint for his dismissal; that a mistake committed by a judge should
not necessarily be imputed as ignorance of the law; and that a "court can reverse or
modify a doctrine but it does not show ignorance of the justices or judges whose
decisions were reversed or modified" because "even doctrines initiated by the Supreme
Court are later reversed, so how much more for the lower courts?"
He further argued that no hearing was necessary since the prosecution had nothing to
explain because, as he theorized, "What explanation could have been given? That the
President was talking 'through his hat' (to use a colloquialism) and should not be
believed? That I should wait for the publication (as now alleged by complainants), of a
still then non-existent CB circular? . . . As it turned out, CB Circular No. 3153 (sic) does
not affect my dismissal order because the said circular's so-called saving clause does not
refer to CB Circular 960 under which the charges in the dismissed cases were based;"
that it was discretionary on him to take judicial notice of the facts which are of public
knowledge, pursuant to Section 2 of Rule 129; that the contention of complainants that
he acted prematurely and in indecent haste for basing his order of dismissal on a mere
newspaper account is contrary to the wordings of the newspaper report wherein the
President announced the lifting of controls as an accomplished fact, not as an intention to

be effected in the future, because of the use of the present perfect tense or past tense
"has lifted," not that he "intends to lift," foreign exchange controls.
Finally, respondent judge asseverates that complainants who are officers of the
Department of Justice, violated Section 6, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court which provides
that "proceedings against judges of first instance shall be private and confidential" when
they caused to be published in the newspapers the filing of the present administrative
case against him; and he emphasizes the fact that he had to immediately resolve a
simple and pure legal matter in consonance with the admonition of the Supreme Court
for speedy disposition of cases.
In their reply 5 and supplemental reply, 6 complainants aver that although the saving
clause under Section 16 of CB Circular No. 1353 made specific reference to CB Circular
No. 1318, it will be noted that Section 111 of Circular No. 1318, which contains a saving
clause substantially similar to that of the new circular, in turn refers to and includes
Circular No. 960. Hence, whether under Circular No. 1318 or Circular No. 1353, pending
cases involving violations of Circular No. 960 are excepted from the coverage thereof.
Further, it is alleged that the precipitate dismissal of the eleven cases, without according
the prosecution the opportunity to file a motion to quash or a comment, or even to show
cause why the cases against accused Imelda R. Marcos should not be dismissed, is
clearly reflective of respondent's partiality and bad faith. In effect, respondent judge acted
as if he were the advocate of the accused.
On December 9, 1993, this Court issued a resolution referring the complaint to the Office
of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and recommendation, pursuant to
Section 7, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as revised, there being no factual issues
involved. The corresponding report and recommendation, 7 dated February 14, 1994,
was submitted by Deputy Court Administrator Juanito A. Bernad, with the approval of
Court Administrator Ernani Cruz-Pao.
The questioned order 8 of respondent judge reads as follows:
These eleven (11) cases are for Violation of Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restrictions
as consolidated in CB Circular No. 960 in relation to the penal provision of Sec. 34 of
R.A. 265, as amended.
The accused Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos pleaded not guilty to all these cases; apparently the
other accused in some of these cases, Roberto S. Benedicto, was not arrested and
therefore the Court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person; trial was commenced as
against Mrs. Marcos.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 13


His Excellency, the President of the Philippines, announced on August 10, 1992 that the
government has lifted all foreign exchange restrictions and it is also reported that Central
Bank Governor Jose Cuisia said that the Monetary Board arrived at such decision (issue
of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 11, 1992 and issue of the Daily Globe of the same
date). The Court has to give full confidence and credit to the reported announcement of
the Executive Department, specially from the highest official of that department; the
Courts are charged with judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, without
introduction of proof, the announcement published in at least the two newspapers cited
above which are reputable and of national circulation.
Per several cases decided by the Supreme Court (People vs. Alcaras, 56 Phil. 520,
People vs. Francisco, 56 Phil. 572, People vs. Pastor, 77 Phil. 1000, People vs. Crisanto
Tamayo, 61 Phil. 225), among others, it was held that the repeal of a penal law without
re-enactment extinguishes the right to prosecute or punish the offense committed under
the old law and if the law repealing the prior penal law fails to penalize the acts which
constituted the offense defined and penalized in the repealed law, the repealed law
carries with it the deprivation of the courts of jurisdiction to try, convict and sentence
persons charged with violations of the old law prior to its repeal. Under the aforecited
decisions this doctrine applies to special laws and not only to the crimes punishable in
the Revised Penal Code, such as the Import Control Law. The Central Bank Circular No.
960 under which the accused Mrs. Marcos is charged is considered as a penal law
because violation thereof is penalized with specific reference to the provision of Section
34 of Republic Act 265, which penalizes violations of Central Bank Circular No. 960,
produces the effect cited in the Supreme Court decisions and since according to the
decisions that repeal deprives the Court of jurisdiction, this Court motu propriodismisses
all the eleven (11) cases as a forestated in the caption, for not to do so opens this Court
to charges of trying cases over which it has no more jurisdiction.
This order was subsequently assailed in a petition for certiorari filed with the Court of
Appeals, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Hon. Manuel T. Muro, Judge, RTC of
Manila, Br. 54 and Imelda R. Marcos," docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 29349. When
required to file her comment, private respondent Marcos failed to file any. Likewise, after
the appellate court gave due course to the petition, private respondent was ordered, but
again failed despite notice, to file an answer to the petition and to show cause why no
writ of preliminary injunction should issue. Eventually, on April 29, 1993, the Court of
Appeals rendered a decision 9 setting aside the order of August 13, 1992, and reinstating
Criminal Cases Nos. 92-101959 to 92-101969.
In finding that respondent judge acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the order of dismissal, the appellate court held that:

The order was issued motu proprio, i.e., without any motion to dismiss filed by counsel
for the accused, without giving an opportunity for the prosecution to be heard, and solely
on the basis of newspaper reports announcing that the President has lifted all foreign
exchange restrictions.
The newspaper report is not the publication required by law in order that the enactment
can become effective and binding. Laws take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general
circulation unless it is otherwise provided (Section 1, Executive Order No. 200). The full
text of CB Circular 1353, series of 1992, entitled "Further Liberalizing Foreign Exchange
Regulation" was published in the August 27, 1992 issue of the Manila Chronicle, the
Philippine Star and the Manila Bulletin. Per certification of the CB Corporate Affairs
Office, CB Circular No. 1353 took effect on September 2 . . . .
Considering that respondent judge admittedly had not seen the official text of CB Circular
No. 1353, he was in no position to rule judiciously on whether CB Circular No. 960, under
which the accused Mrs. Marcos is charged, was already repealed by CB Circular No.
1353. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
A cursory reading of the . . . provision would have readily shown that the repeal of the
regulations on non-trade foreign exchange transactions is not absolute, as there is a
provision that with respect to violations of former regulations that are the subject of
pending actions or investigations, they shall be governed by the regulations existing at
the time the cause of action (arose). Thus his conclusion that he has lost jurisdiction over
the criminal cases is precipitate and hasty. Had he awaited the filing of a motion to
dismiss by the accused, and given opportunity for the prosecution to comment/oppose
the same, his resolution would have been the result of deliberation, not speculation.
I. The doctrine of judicial notice rests on the wisdom and discretion of the courts. The
power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by courts with caution; care must be taken
that the requisite notoriety exists; and every reasonable doubt on the subject should be
promptly resolved in the negative. 10
Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the
matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and
authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be within
the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. 11 The provincial guide in determining what facts
may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. 12 Hence, it can be said that
judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general
notoriety. 13

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 14


To say that a court will take judicial notice of a fact is merely another way of saying that
the usual form of evidence will be dispensed with if knowledge of the fact can be
otherwise acquired. 14 This is because the court assumes that the matter is so notorious
that it will not be disputed. 15 But judicial notice is not judicial knowledge. The mere
personal knowledge of the judge is not the judicial knowledge of the court, and he is not
authorized to make his individual knowledge of a fact, not generally or professionally
known, the basis of his action. Judicial cognizance is taken only of those matters which
are "commonly" known. 16
Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial notice, may be matters
coming to the knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of
life, or they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are
capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. 17 Thus, facts which are universally
known, and which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are
judicially noticed, provided they are of such universal notoriety and so generally
understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of
every person. 18

amended or modified by this Circular, violations of which are the subject of pending
actions or investigations, shall not be considered repealed insofar as such pending
actions or investigations are concerned, it being understood that as to such pending
actions or investigations, the regulations existing at the time the cause of action accrued
shall govern.
Respondent judge contends that the saving clause refers only to the provisions of
Circular No. 1318, whereas the eleven criminal cases he dismissed involve a violation of
CB Circular No. 960. Hence, he insists, Circular No. 960 is deemed repealed by the new
circular and since the former is not covered by the saving clause in the latter, there is no
more basis for the charges involved in the criminal cases which therefore warrant a
dismissal of the same. The contention is patently unmeritorious.

Firstly, the second part of the saving clause in Circular No. 1353 explicitly provides that
"any regulation on non-trade foreign transactions which has been repealed, amended or
modified by this Circular, violations of which are the subject of pending actions or
investigations, shall not be considered repealed insofar as such pending actions or
investigations are concerned, it being understood that as to such pending actions or
Respondent judge, in the guise of exercising discretion and on the basis of a mere investigations, theregulations existing at the time the cause of action accrued shall
newspaper account which is sometimes even referred to as hearsay evidence twice govern." The terms of the circular are clear and unambiguous and leave no room for
removed, took judicial notice of the supposed lifting of foreign exchange controls, a interpretation. In the case at bar, the accused in the eleven cases had already been
matter which was not and cannot be considered of common knowledge or of general arraigned, had pleaded not guilty to the charges of violations of Circular No. 960, and
notoriety. Worse, he took cognizance of an administrative regulation which was not yet in said cases had already been set for trial when Circular No. 1353 took effect.
force when the order of dismissal was issued. Jurisprudence dictates that judicial notice Consequently, the trial court was and is supposed to proceed with the hearing of the
cannot be taken of a statute before it becomes effective. 19 The reason is simple. A law cases in spite of the existence of Circular No. 1353.
which is not yet in force and hence, still inexistent, cannot be of common knowledge
capable of ready and unquestionable demonstration, which is one of the requirements Secondly, had respondent judge only bothered to read a little more carefully the texts of
before a court can take judicial notice of a fact.
the circulars involved, he would have readily perceived and known that Circular No. 1318
Evidently, it was impossible for respondent judge, and it was definitely not proper for him,
to have taken cognizance of CB Circular No. 1353, when the same was not yet in force
at the time the improvident order of dismissal was issued.
II. Central Bank Circular No. 1353, which took effect on September 1, 1992, further
liberalized the foreign exchange regulations on receipts and disbursements of residents
arising from non-trade and trade transactions. Section 16 thereof provides for a saving
clause, thus:
Sec. 16. Final Provisions of CB Circular No. 1318. - All the provisions in Chapter X of CB
Circular No. 1318 insofar as they are not inconsistent with, or contrary to the provisions
of this Circular, shall remain in full force and effect: Provided, however, that any
regulation on non-trade foreign exchange transactions which has been repealed,

also contains a substantially similar saving clause as that found in Circular No. 1353,
since Section 111 of the former provides:
Sec. 111. Repealing clause. - All existing provisions of Circulars 365, 960 and 1028,
including amendments thereto, with the exception of the second paragraph of Section 68
of Circular 1028, as well as all other existing Central Bank rules and regulations or parts
thereof, which are inconsistent with or contrary to the provisions of this Circular, are
hereby repealed or modified accordingly: Provided, however, that regulations, violations
of which are the subject of pending actions or investigations, shall be considered
repealed insofar as such pending actions or investigations are concerned, it being
understood that as to such pending actions or investigations, the regulations existing at
the time the cause of action accrued shall govern.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 15


It unequivocally appears from the section above quoted that although Circular No. 1318
repealed Circular No. 960, the former specifically excepted from its purview all cases
covered by the old regulations which were then pending at the time of the passage of the
new regulations. Thus, any reference made to Circular No. 1318 necessarily involves
and affects Circular No. 960.
III. It has been said that next in importance to the duty of rendering a righteous judgment
is that of doing it in such a manner as will beget no suspicion of the fairness and integrity
of the judge. 20 This means that a judge should not only render a just, correct and
impartial decision but should do so in such a manner as to be free from any suspicion as
to its fairness and impartiality and as to his integrity. While a judge should possess
proficiency in law in order that he can competently construe and enforce the law, it is
more important that he should act and behave in such a manner that the parties before
him should have confidence in his impartiality. Thus, it is not enough that he decides
cases without bias and favoritism. Nor is it sufficient that he in fact rids himself of
prepossessions. His actuations should moreover inspire that belief. Like Caesar's wife, a
judge must not only be pure but beyond suspicion. 21

even to give the appearance of catering to the at-times human failing of yielding to first
impressions. 24 He having done so, in the face of the foregoing premises, this Court is
hard put to believe that he indeed acted in good faith.
IV. This is not a simple case of a misapplication or erroneous interpretation of the law.
The very act of respondent judge in altogether dismissing sua sponte the eleven criminal
cases without even a motion to quash having been filed by the accused, and without at
least giving the prosecution the basic opportunity to be heard on the matter by way of a
written comment or on oral argument, is not only a blatant denial of elementary due
process to the Government but is palpably indicative of bad faith and partiality.
The avowed desire of respondent judge to speedily dispose of the cases as early as
possible is no license for abuse of judicial power and discretion, 25 nor does such
professed objective, even if true, justify a deprivation of the prosecution's right to be
heard
and
a
violation
of
its
right
to
due
process
of
law. 26

Moreover, it has always heretofore been the rule that in disposing of controverted cases,
judges should show their full understanding of the case, avoid the suspicion of arbitrary
conclusion, promote confidence in their intellectual integrity and contribute useful
precedents to the growth of the law. 22 A judge should be mindful that his duty is the
application of general law to particular instances, that ours is a government of laws and
not of men, and that he violates his duty as a minister of justice under such a system if
he seeks to do what he may personally consider substantial justice in a particular case
and disregards the general law as he knows it to be binding on him. Such action may
have detrimental consequences beyond the immediate controversy. He should
administer his office with due regard to the integrity of the system of the law itself,
remembering that he is not a depository of arbitrary power, but a judge under the
sanction of the law. 23 These are immutable principles that go into the very essence of
the task of dispensing justice and we see no reason why they should not be duly
considered in the present case.

The lightning speed, to borrow the words of complainants, with which respondent judge
resolved to dismiss the cases without the benefit of a hearing and without reasonable
notice to the prosecution inevitably opened him to suspicion of having acted out of
partiality for the accused. Regardless of how carefully he may have evaluated changes in
the factual situation and legal standing of the cases, as a result of the newspaper report,
the fact remains that he gave the prosecution no chance whatsoever to show or prove
that it had strong evidence of the guilt of the accused. To repeat, he thereby effectively
deprived the prosecution of its right to due process. 27 More importantly, notwithstanding
the fact that respondent was not sure of the effects and implications of the President's
announcement, as by his own admission he was in doubt whether or not he should
dismiss the cases, 28 he nonetheless deliberately refrained from requiring the
prosecution to comment thereon. In a puerile defense of his action, respondent judge can
but rhetorically ask: "What explanation could have been given? That the President was
talking 'through his hat' and should not be believed? That I should wait for the publication
of a still then non- existent CB Circular?" The pretended cogency of this ratiocination
cannot stand even the minutest legal scrutiny.

The assertion of respondent judge that there was no need to await publication of Circular
No. 1353 for the reason that the public announcement made by the President in several
newspapers of general circulation lifting foreign exchange controls is total, absolute,
without qualification, and immediately effective, is beyond comprehension. As a judge of
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, respondent is supposed to be well-versed in the
elementary legal mandates on the publication of laws before they take effect. It is
inconceivable that respondent should insist on an altogether different and illogical
interpretation of an established and well-entrenched rule if only to suit his own personal
opinion and, as it were, to defend his indefensible action. It was not for him to indulge or

In order that bias may not be imputed to a judge, he should have the patience and
circumspection to give the opposing party a chance to present his evidence even if he
thinks that the oppositor's proofs might not be adequate to overthrow the case for the
other party. A display of petulance and impatience in the conduct of the trial is a norm of
conduct which is inconsistent with the "cold neutrality of an impartial judge." 29 At the
very least, respondent judge acted injudiciously and with unjustified haste in the outright
dismissal of the eleven cases, and thereby rendered his actuation highly dubious.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 16


V. It bears stressing that the questioned order of respondent judge could have seriously
and substantially affected the rights of the prosecution had the accused invoked the
defense of double jeopardy, considering that the dismissal was ordered after arraignment
and without the consent of said accused. This could have spawned legal complications
and inevitable delay in the criminal proceedings, were it not for the holding of the Court of
Appeals that respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction. This saved the day for the People since in the absence of jurisdiction, double
jeopardy will not set in. To stress this point, and as acaveat to trial courts against falling
into the same judicial error, we reiterate what we have heretofore declared:
It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against this Court's setting
aside of the trial court's judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the prosecution which
represents the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due process. . . . .
Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case,
its right to due process is thereby violated.
The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, courts
are ousted of their jurisdiction. Thus, the violation of the State's right to due process
raises a serious jurisdictional issue . . . which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at
will. Where the denial of the fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision
rendered in disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction . . . . 30
It is also significant that accused Marcos, despite due notice, never submitted either her
comment on or an answer to the petition for certiorari as required by the Court of
Appeals, nor was double jeopardy invoked in her defense. This serves to further
underscore the fact that the order of dismissal was clearly unjustified and erroneous.
Furthermore, considering that the accused is a prominent public figure with a record of
influence and power, it is not easy to allay public skepticism and suspicions on how said
dismissal order came to be, to the consequent although undeserved discredit of the
entire judiciary.
VI. To hold a judge liable for rendering a manifestly unjust order through inexcusable
negligence or ignorance, it must be clearly shown that although he has acted without
malice, he failed to observe in the performance of his duty that diligence, prudence and
care which the law is entitled to exact in the rendering of any public service. Negligence
and ignorance are inexcusable if they imply a manifest injustice which cannot be
explained by a reasonable interpretation, and even though there is a misunderstanding
or error of the law applied, it nevertheless results logically and reasonably, and in a very
clear and indisputable manner, in the notorious violation of the legal precept. 31

In the present case, a cursory perusal of the comment filed by respondent judge reveals
that no substantial argument has been advanced in plausible justification of his act. He
utterly failed to show any legal, factual, or even equitable justification for the dismissal of
the eleven criminal cases. The explanation given is no explanation at all. The strained
and fallacious submissions therein do not speak well of respondent and cannot but
further depreciate his probity as a judge. On this point, it is best that pertinent unedited
excerpts from his comment 32 be quoted by way of graphic illustration and emphasis:
On the alleged ignorance of the law imputed to me, it is said that I issued the Order
dismissing the eleven (11) cases against Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos on the basis of
newspaper reports referred to in paragraph 2 of the letter complaint without awaiting the
official publication of the Central Bank Circular. Ordinarily a Central Bank
Circular/Resolution must be published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of
general circulation, but the lifting of "all foreign exchange controls" was announced by the
President of the Philippines WITHOUT QUALIFICATIONS; as published in the Daily
Globe, August 11, 1992" the government has lifted ALL foreign exchange controls," and
in the words of the Philippine Daily Inquirer report of the same date "The government
yesterday LIFTED the LAST remaining restrictions on foreign exchange
transactions, . . ." (emphasis in both quotations supplied) not only the President made
the announcement but also the Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia joined in the
announcement by saying that "the Monetary Board arrived at the decision after noting
how the "partial liberalization" initiated early this year worked."
Therefore, because of the ABSOLUTE lifting of ALL restrictions on foreign exchange
transactions, there was no need to await the publication of the repealing circular of the
Central Bank. The purpose of requiring publication of laws and administrative rules
affecting the public is to inform the latter as to how they will conduct their affairs and how
they will conform to the laws or the rules. In this particular case, with the total lifting of the
controls, there is no need to await publication. It would have been different if the circular
that in effect repealed Central Bank Circular No. 960, under which the accused was
charged in the cases dismissed by me, had provided for penalties and/or modified the
provisions of said Circular No. 960.
The Complainants state that the lifting of controls was not yet in force when I dismissed
the cases but it should be noted that in the report of the two (2) newspapers aforequoted,
the President's announcement of the lifting of controls was stated in the present perfect
tense (Globe) or past tense (Inquirer). In other words, it has already been lifted; the
announcement did not say that the government INTENDS to lift all foreign exchange
restrictions but instead says that the government "has LIFTED all foreign exchange
controls," and in the other newspaper cited above, that "The government yesterday lifted
the last remaining restrictions on foreign exchange transactions". The lifting of the last
remaining exchange regulations effectively cancelled or repealed Circular No. 960.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 17


The President, who is the Chief Executive, publicly announced the lifting of all foreign
exchange regulations. The President has within his control directly or indirectly the
Central Bank of the Philippines, the Secretary of Finance being the Chairman of the
Monetary Board which decides the policies of the Central Bank.
No official bothered to correct or qualify the President's announcement of August 10,
published the following day, nor made an announcement that the lifting of the controls do
not apply to cases already pending, not until August 17 (the fourth day after my Order,
and the third day after report of said order was published) and after the President said on
August 17, reported in the INQUIRER's issue of August 18, 1992, that the "new foreign
exchange rules have nullified government cases against Imelda R. Marcos, telling
reporters that the charges against the widow of former President Marcos "have become
moot and academic" because of new ruling(s) which allow free flow of currency in and
out of the country" (Note, parenthetically, the reference to "new rules" not to "rules still to
be drafted"). The INQUIRER report continues: "A few hours later, presidential
spokeswoman Annabelle Abaya said, RAMOS (sic) had "corrected himself'." "He had
been belatedly advised by the Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia and Justice Secretary
Franklin Drilon that the Monetary Board Regulation excluded from its coverage all
criminal cases pending in court and such a position shall stand legal scrutiny', Mrs.
Abaya, said."
I will elaborate on two points:
1. If the President was wrong in making the August 10 announcement (published in
August 11, 1992, newspapers) and in the August 17 announcement, SUPRA, and thus I
should have relied on the Presidential announcements, and there is basis to conclude
that the President was at the very least ILL-SERVED by his financial and legal advisers,
because no one bothered to advise the President to correct his announcements, not until
August 17, 1992, a few hours after the President had made another announcement as to
the charges against Imelda Marcos having been rendered moot and academic. The
President has a lot of work to do, and is not, to my knowledge, a financier, economist,
banker or lawyer. It therefore behooved his subalterns to give him timely (not "belated")
advice, and brief him on matters of immediate and far-reaching concerns (such as the
lifting of foreign exchange controls, designed, among others to encourage the entry of
foreign investments). Instead of rescuing the Chief Executive from embarrassment by
assuming responsibility for errors in the latter's announcement, these advisers have
chosen to toss the blame for the consequence of their failing to me, who only acted on
the basis of announcements of their Chief, which had become of public knowledge.
xxx xxx xxx

The Court strongly feels that it has every right to assume and expect that respondent
judge is possessed with more than ordinary credentials and qualifications to merit his
appointment as a presiding judge in the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital
Judicial Region, stationed in the City of Manila itself. It is, accordingly, disheartening and
regrettable to note the nature of the arguments and the kind of logic that respondent
judge would want to impose on this Court notwithstanding the manifest lack of cogency
thereof. This calls to mind similar scenarios and how this Court reacted thereto.
In one case, an RTC Judge was administratively charged for acquitting the accused of a
violation of CB Circular No. 960 despite the fact that the accused was apprehended with
US$355,349.00 while boarding a plane for Hongkong, erroneously ruling that the State
must first prove criminal intent to violate the law and benefit from the illegal act, and
further ordering the return of US$3,000.00 out of the total amount seized, on the
mistaken interpretation that the CB circular exempts such amount from seizure.
Respondent judge therein was ordered dismissed from the government service for gross
incompetence and ignorance of the law. 33
Subsequently, the Court dismissed another RTC judge, with forfeiture of retirement
benefits, for gross ignorance of the law and for knowingly rendering an unjust order or
judgment when he granted bail to an accused charged with raping an 11-year old girl,
despite the contrary recommendation of the investigating judge, and thereafter granted
the motion to dismiss the case allegedly executed by the complainant. 34
Similarly, an RTC judge who was described by this Court as one "who is ignorant of fairly
elementary and quite familiar legal principles and administrative regulations, has a
marked penchant for applying unorthodox, even strange theories and concepts in the
adjudication of controversies, exhibits indifference to and even disdain for due process
and the rule of law, applies the law whimsically, capriciously and oppressively, and
displays bias and impartiality," was dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all
retirement benefits and with prejudice to reinstatement in any branch of the government
or any of its agencies or instrumentalities. 35
Still in another administrative case, an RTJ judge was also dismissed by this Court for
gross ignorance of the law after she ordered, in a probate proceeding, the cancellation of
the certificates of title issued in the name of the complainant, without affording due
process to the latter and other interested parties. 36
Only recently, an RTC judge who had been reinstated in the service was dismissed after
he acquitted all the accused in four criminal cases for illegal possession of firearms, on
the ground that there was no proof of malice or deliberate intent on the part of the
accused to violate the law. The Court found him guilty of gross ignorance of the law, his

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 18


error of judgment being almost deliberate and tantamount to knowingly rendering an
incorrect and unjust judgment. 37
ACCORDINGLY, on the foregoing premises and considerations, the Court finds
respondent Judge Manuel T. Muro guilty of gross ignorance of the law. He is hereby
DISMISSED from the service, such dismissal to carry with it cancellation of eligibility,
forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits, and disqualification from reemployment
in the government service. 38
Respondent is hereby ordered to CEASE and DESIST immediately from rendering any
judgment or order, or continuing any judicial action or proceeding whatsoever, effective
upon receipt of this decision.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-47821 September 15, 1988


BENITO ROSALES, EMILIA R. ROSALES and ROMMEL ROSALES represented by
Guardian-Ad-Litem,
ROMMEL
ROSALES, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and DON BOSCO TECHNICAL INSTITUTE, FR. AGUSTIN
LOPEZ; MRS. S.A. MENDOZA, assisted by her husband GODOFREDO MENDOZA
and MISS FELICIDAD GORDON.respondents.
Antonio R. Rabago for petitioners.
Myrna Cruz-Feliciano for respondents.

BIDIN, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul and set aside the decision of
the Court of Appeals * dated July 26, 1977 in CA-G.R. No. 54674-R entitled "BENITO
ROSALES, et al, v. DON BOSCO TECHNICAL INSTITUTE" which affirmed the decision

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 19


of the courta quo ** dated September 14, 1973, dismissing petitioners' complaint for
damages. The decision of the Court of Appeals reads:

On May 5, 1972, the Director of Private Schools rendered a decision holding that
Rommel Rosales was the rightful valedictorian.

... (It) is clearly evident that plaintiffs were not candid when they maintained that they
knew nothing about the school's petition for reconsideration, and that after all there was
nothing 'mysterious' about the School's actuations. Further, it is likewise clear from the
evidence that plaintiffs did seek the review by the Secretary of Education of the Director's
ruling, and that at the time the School filed its motion to dismiss, the matter was still
pending resolution with the Secretary of Education. Hence, the court a quo incurred in no
error when it found that the decision of the Director of Private Schools dated May 5, 1972
was far from being final and that the administrative remedies availed of by plaintiffs had
not yet been exhausted.

On November 29, 1972, Rosales filed a complaint for damages itemized as follows:
P25,000.00 for moral damages; P15,000.00 for correctional damages and P5,000.00 for
attorney's fees, in view of the failure of the school to graduate Rommel Rosales as
valedictorian of his class.

As to the claim that plaintiffs have been denied due process, suffice it to say that the
dismissal of the complaint was based on the ground that it was premature, administrative
remedies not having been exhausted.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, decision appealed from is hereby affirmed in toto. No costs.
(pp. 26-27, Rollo)
The facts of the case as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
On April 11, 1972, the Don Bosco Technical Institute (School, for short) posted the list of
honor students for the graduation of its elementary department which was to take place
on April 22,1972. Rommel Rosales a student of Grade VI, candidate for graduation and
likewise candidate for Valedictorian, reported to his parents that he was not listed as
Valedictorian of the class but that it was another boy by the name of Conrado Valerie.
The parents of Rommel demanded for a re-computation of the grades of their son who,
they averred, should be class valedictorian and filed a formal complaint with the Director
of Bureau of Private Schools against the school claiming anomalous ranking of honor
pupils for the grade school with a request for a review of the computations made by the
school.

In its answer, respondent school prayed that the complaint be dismissed on the ground
that the Director of Private Schools acting on its motion dated May 11, 1972 reconsidered
and set aside his decision of May 5, 1972 and instead "approved and/or confirmed the
selection and award of honors to the students concerned for the school year 1971-1972
as effected by the school." (p. 14, Rollo [R.A., p. 31])
Petitioners, in their reply, averred that said motion for reconsideration was mysteriously
filed, there being no original copies of the same in the Office of the Director of Private
Schools which would show the date of filing thereof and their corresponding receipt of a
copy thereof by the petitioners.
Respondent school however, insisted that their motion for reconsideration was regularly
filed and the assailed decision was in fact reconsidered as above stated on December
18,1972. The records show that petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration on January
11, 1973 of said decision of December 18, 1972 but was denied on January 19, 1973.
Thus, on February 7, 1973, petitioners appealed both decisions of December 18, 1972
and January 19, 1973 to the Secretary of Education which appeal was still pending at the
time of the filing of their complaint in court.
At the pre-trial, plaintiffs (petitioners herein) confirmed their filing of said appeal with the
Secretary of Education. For this reason, respondent school moved to dismiss the
complaint for lack of cause of action on the ground of plaintiff's (petitioner's) failure to
exhaust administrative remedies.
On September 14, 1973, the trial court issued an order which reads:

On April 20, 1972, the Chief of the Legal Division of the Bureau of Private Schools sent a
copy of the complaint by first indorsement to the Rector of herein respondent school.
Said comment was made on April 21, 1972, stating, among others, that the complaint
had lost its validity because the same was filed on the eve of the commencement
exercises of the school, in violation of the provision of paragraph 176, Section XI of the
Manual of Regulation for Private Schools requiring complaints of the kind to be filed not
later than ten (10) days before commencement exercises. However, defendant Rector
indicated that he would welcome an investigation in order to erase any doubt as to the
selection of the honor students of the grade school concerned.

Acting on the motion to dismiss dated August 20, 1 973 and the opposition thereto filed
by the plaintiffs and after hearing the oral argument of the plaintiffs during the hearing of
the motion, the Court finds that plaintiffs have not exhausted all administrative remedies
against the defendants and that it does not fall within any of the recognized exceptions to
the requirement. Since the complaint does not allege exhaustion of said remedies
principally on appeal to the Secretary of Education which was available to him, the Court
finds that the complaint does not allege facts sufficient to constitute cause of action.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 20


WHEREFORE, the Motion to Dismiss is granted and the complaint is DISMISSED,
without costs. (Rollo, pp. 23-24)
On appeal, the Court of Appeals found that the court a quo incurred no error when it
found that the decision of the Director of Private Schools dated May 5, 1972 was far from
being final and that the administrative remedies availed of by plaintiffs had not yet been
exhausted and affirmed the decision appealed from in toto.

The first issue involves findings of fact of the Court of Appeals and of the trial court which
as a general rule are final and may not be reviewed on appeal to this Court, subject to
certain exceptions which have been recognized and accepted by this court at one time or
another (Manlapaz v. Court of Appeals, 147 SCRA 238 [1987]).
Petitioners' position is to the effect that there was no motion for reconsideration of the
May 5, 1972 decision of the Director of Private Schools, so that the same has become
final and executory.

Hence, this petition. Petitioners raised the following assignment of errors:


I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE DECISION OF THE
BUREAU OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS DATED MAY 5, 1972 HAS ALREADY BECOME
FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE EXHAUSTION OF
ADMIMSTRATIVE REMEDIES IS NOT APPLICABLE IN THIS INSTANT CASE.
III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ACTING AND DISREGARDING THE APPLICATION
OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW TO THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS.
IV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT OF THE
PLAINTIFFS- APPELLANT. (pp. 10-11, Rollo).
The main issues in this case are:
1. Whether or not the decision of the Director of the Bureau of Private Schools dated May
5, 1972 has already become final and conclusive; and
2. Whether or not the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies is applicable in
this case.

The Court of Appeals found that although the Record on Appeal does not contain a copy
of the alleged motion for reconsideration of the subject decision of May 5, 1972, it was
however, mentioned in the letter of the Director of Private Schools dated January 19,
1973 addressed to counsel of plaintiffs (petitioners herein) which reads:
This has reference to your request in behalf of Mrs. Emilia R. Rosales, for
reconsideration of the action taken by this Office as per letter dated December 18, 1972,
reconsidering its original stand on the matter of the ranking of honor students at the Don
Bosco Technical Institute, Mandaluyong, Rizal, for the school year 1971-72, as contained
in a letter dated May 5, 1972.
After a careful review of the records of the present case, in the light of existing rules and
regulations on the matter, this Office finds no valid cause or reason to modify or disturb
its action as embodied in a letter dated December 18, 1972.
Accordingly, please be informed that your request for reconsideration, as per letter dated
January 11, 1973, is denied. (p. 14, Rollo [R.A. pp. 28-29].
Thus, as correctly concluded by the Court of Appeals, the contents of aforesaid letter
indubitably establish that there was in fact the questioned motion for reconsideration
which was acted upon by the Director of Private Schools on December 18, 1972,
reconsidering his stand on May 5,1972; that petitioners knew about this reconsidered
stand otherwise they would not have written said request for reconsideration of the
decision of said Director of December 18, 1972, and that the request for reconsideration
written by Atty. Rabago in behalf of his clients, the herein petitioners was dated January
11, 1973 which was denied on January 19, 1973.
Subject complaint, Civil Case No. 16998, was filed with the trial court on November
29,1972, showing beyond dispute that the request for reconsideration judicially admitted
to have been filed by the petitioners on February 7, 1973 with the Secretary of Education
and Culture had not yet been resolved at the time of the filing of Civil Case No. 16998.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 21


Hence, the said civil case which is an action for damages is premature. The finality of the
administrative case which gives life to petitioners' cause of action has not yet been
reached. This was still pending as evidenced in the certificate issued by the agency
trying the same (Record on Appeal, pp. 53-54; Rollo, p. 14). The court a quo was thus
correct in acting upon the motion to dismiss filed by the respondents on the ground that
plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
Under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, recourse through court
action, as a general rule, cannot prosper until all the remedies have been exhausted at
the administrative level, (Pacana vs. Consunji, 108 SCRA 631[1981]; Pestaas et al. v.
Dyogi, et al., 81 SCRA 574 [1978]; Antonio v. Tanco, 65 SCRA 448 [1975]).
Thus, in Abe-Abe et al. v. Manta (90 SCRA 524, 531 [1979]) we emphatically declared:
When an adequate remedy may be had within the Executive Department of the
government, but nevertheless, a litigant fails or refuses to avail himself of the same, the
judiciary shall decline to interfere. This traditional attitude of the courts is based not only
on convenience but likewise on respect; convenience of the party litigants and respect for
a co-equal office in the government. If a remedy is available within the administrative
machinery, this should be resorted to before resort can be made to (the) court. (citing
Cruz vs. Del Rosario, 119 Phil. 63, 66).
Petitioners however, claim that they were denied due process, obviously to show that
their case falls within one of the exceptions to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies.
Such contention is however untenable, because in the first place, they were made to
avail in the same administrative agency, the opportunity or right to oppose, which in fact
they did, when they filed a motion for reconsideration and later when the motion was
denied, they appealed to the Secretary of Education and Culture.
Precisely, a motion for reconsideration or appeal is curative in character on the issue of
alleged denial of due process (Sampang vs. Inciong, 137 SCRA 56 [19851; REMERCO
Garments v. MOLE, 135 SCRA 167 [1985])
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is Dismissed for lack of merit and the decision of the
Court of Appeals is Affirmed. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 22

G.R. No. 91551 August 16, 1991


U.P. BOARD OF REGENTS, DR. JOSE V. ABUEVA, in his capacity as U.P. President,
DR. ERNESTO O. DOMINGO, in his capacity as Chancellor of U.P. Manila, and the
Nomination Committee for the Director of the U.P.-P.G.H. Medical
Center, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JAINAL D. RASUL, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 69 of the
Regional Trial Court, Pasig, Metro Manila, and DR. FELIPE A. ESTRELLA,
JR., respondents.
Ledesma, Saludo & Associates for private respondent.

2. Permanently enjoining the UP Board of Regents from implementing the so-called


Reorganization Plan of UP-PGH, unless there is a prior legislative enactment of enabling
law authorizing it and finally,
3. Ordering the defendants to pay attorney's fees and litigation expenses for P50,000.00
and the costs of this suit.
SO ORDERED. 1
In an order dated October 23, 1989, the respondent Judge denied petitioners' motion for
reconsideration of the decision above-mentioned.
Assailing the above-mentioned rulings, petitioners allege as errors the following:
REASONS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF THE WRIT

GANCAYCO, J.:p
The principal issue in this case is whether or not respondent Dr. Felipe A. Estrella who
holds the position of Director of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) can invoke
security of tenure during his term of office notwithstanding the abolition of the said
position by the University of the Philippines Board of Regents.
Petitioners seek to annul and set aside the decision dated August 28, 1989 and the order
dated October 23, 1989 issued and rendered by respondent Judge, Honorable Jainal D.
Rasul of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 69, Pasig, Metro Manila. The dispositive
portion of the decision in question reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing and by virtue of preponderance of evidence, this
Court hereby renders judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants.
1. Permanently enjoining the Defendants Dr. Jose V. Abueva, in his capacity as UP
President; Dr. Ernesto Domingo, in his capacity as Chancellor of UP-Manila; the
Nomination Committee for the Director of the UP-PGH Medical Center and the UP Board
of Regents, from proceeding with the nomination of a Medical Director, until the
expiration of the term of office of the plaintiff, Dr. Felipe A. Estrella, Jr., in his capacity as
Director of the PGH or unless sooner removed, for cause provided by law;

I
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRELLA IS
ENTITLED TO THE PROTECTIVE MANTLE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE
OF SECURITY OF TENURE
II
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE REORGANIZATION OF U.P.
MANILA INCLUDING THE PGH, WAS DONE IN BAD FAITH
III
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRELLA NEED
NOT EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES BEFORE HE CAN BRING SUIT
AGAINST THE U.P. BOARD OF REGENTS, ET AL.
IV
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE REORGANIZATION PLAN FOR
THE U.P. PGH MEDICAL CENTER CANNOT YET BE IMPLEMENTED

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 23


V
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE U.P. BOARD OF REGENTS HAS
NO AUTHORITY TO REORGANIZE
VI
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT HE CAN SUBSTITUTE HIS OWN
JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE U.P. BOARD REGENTS.
VII
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING
TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT NON-IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
REORGANIZATION PLAN WILL NOT CAUSE CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE TO U.P. IN
GENERAL AND TO PGH IN PARTICULAR. 2
The petition is devoid of merit.
The facts and background of the case as narrated by the trial court are as follows
That on June 26, 1986, plaintiff Dr. Felipe A. Estrella, Jr., was appointed by the defendant
Board of Regents BOR as Director of the Philippine General Hospital, to take effect "1
September 1986 until 30 April 1992"(Exh. "A-14");that the defendant U.P. Board of
Regents speaking thru its then University Secretary Professor Martin Gregorio intended
to have the plaintiff serve his full term, as Director, since any other arrangement would
impede the hospital's development, not to mention the continuity of its service
operations (Exh. "A"); that the duties and responsibilities, under Chapter 29, of the
Revised Administrative Code, as PGH Director, inter alia, to direct and manage various
activities within the hospital; formulate and implement regulations; develop institutional
plans and policies; approve/recommend budget proposals of the hospital; execute
contracts; represent the hospital in proper functions; approve and sign warrants, checks,
vouchers and recommend or endorse appointments of personnel to higher
authorities (Exh. "M").
On September 16, 1987, barely two (2) weeks after assuming the presidency of the
University of the Philippines defendant Jose V. Abueva submitted a memorandum to the
Board of Regents to reorganize the U.P. Manila including the Philippine General Hospital
with a draft resolution for approval of the Board of Regents, recommending that certain

key positions of UP Manila including that of plaintiff be declared vacant (Exhs. "C" to "C3"): that on March 20, 1988, the defendant Board of Regent upon recommendation of
defendants Abueva and Domingo approved the so-called reorganization plan for the
Philippine General Hospital.
On April 29, 1988, defendant Dr. Ernesto Domingo acting on instruction of defendant Dr.
Jose v. Abueva, U.P. President, issued a memorandum creating the Nomination
Committee for the UP-PGH Medical Center Director; that on May 10, 1988, defendantmembers of the Nomination Committee thus created, are scheduled to nominate plaintiff
s replacement as Director; that consequently on May 2, 1988, plaintiff filed with this
Court, his complaint for Injunction with Preliminary Injunction of temporary restraining
Order, seeking to enjoin defendants Abueva, Domingo, the Nomination Committee and
the ITP Board of Regents from proceeding with the nomination of UP-PGH medical
Center Director, in order to forestall the consequent removal/dismissal of the plaintiff Dr.
Felipe A. Estrella, Jr., incumbent PGH Director, even before the expiration of his term of
office on April 30, 1992 without any cause provided by law.
On May 2, this Court issued the Restraining Order and on May 30, After due hearing this
Court, thru its then Presiding Judge Hon. Julio Logarta issued the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction, enjoining defendants from implementing the reorganization plan for the UPPGH medical Center (Exh. "A" Affidavit of plaintiff Dr. Felipe A. Estrella, Jr.; Exh. "10"
Affidavit of defendant Dr. Ernesto O. Domingo; TSN pp. 1-23, June 1, 1989, TSN pp. 1106, June 1, 1989; TSN pp.1-52, June 1, 1989). 3
Respondent Judge, based on the evidence presented, concluded that the reorganization
of PGH was done in bad faith. Accordingly, the lower court ruled that respondent Dr.
Estrella cannot be removed from office as a result of such defective abolition of the
position to which he was appointed. Significant in this regard is the following
pronouncement of the lower court:
Going over the organizational structure of present set-up of the PGH and proposed
reorganizational structure, it appears that there are other minor differences aside from
changes of designations and enlargement of functions and powers, namely: (1) The
positions of Assistant Director for Administration and Assistant Director for Fiscal matters
in the present set-up are combined into only one position of Assistant Director for
Administrative and Fiscal Matters in the reorganization plan; (2) The position of Assistant
Director for Health Operation in the present set-up was changed to position of Director of
Health Services, directly under the UP-PGH Medical Center Director with one Assistant
Director for Allied Medical Services, under it, in the reorganization plan and (3) The five
(5) Departments of Oncology, Out-Patient Department, Emergency Room, Charity Ward
and Pay Ward under the present set-up were converted into Institute of Oncology, Out-

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 24


Patient Hospital, Emergency Hospital, Charity Hospital and Non-Charity Hospital under
the reorganization plan.
In other words, these five (5) units were merely enlarged, expanded and called hospitals
headed each by a Director. The Director of the PGH under the present set-up became
Director of UP-PGH Medical Center. Aside from the three changes above and change of
designations and transfers of duties, the structure remains substantially the same. The
leadership element which the defendant Abueva wants to impress upon this Court,
encourages reorganization and justifies abolition of positions. But the whole
reorganization set-up under our law cannot or should not have the effect of abolishing the
position of the plaintiff unless legal requirements are complied with.(Brallo vs. Enage, 94
Phil. 732) If the reorganization plan results in abolishing the position of the plaintiff and in
putting in his place another one, with substantially the same duties, not to say
qualifications, in the name ofleadership, it will surely be considered a device to unseat
the incumbent and to circumvent the constitutional and statutory prohibition of removal
from office of a civil service officer even without cause provided by law. Plaintiffs position
should not therefore be deemed abolished by mere implication. (Cuneta vs. CA, 1 SCRA
663, 111 Phil. 249) If the abolition of office is made to circumvent the constitutional
security of tenure of civil service employees, our Supreme Court, has ruled that such
abolition is null and void. (Gutierrez vs. CA, 1-25972, 2 /26 / 68, 26 SCRA 32) 4
Respondent Dr. Estrella was appointed Director of PGH on June 26, 1986 by the LTP
Board of Regents. His appointment was to be effective September 1, 1986 until April 30,
1992 or unless sooner terminated. Appointees of the LTP Board of Regents enjoy
security of tenure during their term of office. In Tapales v. President of the University of
the Philippines, 5 We held that Director Tapales who was appointed by the UP Board of
Regents as Director of the Conservatory of Music for a term of five (5) years is entitled to
security of tenure during his term of office. Likewise, inSta. Maria v. President Salvador
P. Lopez, et. al., 6 We rejected the removal of Professor Sta. Maria as dean of the
College of Education. In that case, Professor Sta. Maria was appointed by the UP Board
of Regents as dean of the College of Education effective May 16,1967 until May 17,1972
or unless sooner terminated. Before the expiration of his term of office, President
Salvador P. Lopez removed him as dean of the College of Education and tranferred him
to the office of the UP President. Upholding the right of Professor Sta. Maria to security of
tenure, We explained out that "... a college dean holding an appointment with a fixed
term ... cannot, without his consent, be terminated before the end of his term. He cannot
be asked to give up his post. Nor may he be appointed as dean of another college. Much
less can he be transferred to another position even if it be dignified with a dean's rank."

It is clear from the record that the PGH itself was not abolished in the reorganization plan
approved by the UP Board of Regents. The PGH was merely renamed "UP-PGH Medical
Center" and some of it functions and objectives were expanded or consolidated. There is
no substantial distinction, in terms of functions, between PGH and the proposed UP-PGH
Medical Center.
While PGH itself was not abolished, the position of PGH Director was abolished and in its
place, the position of UP-PGH Medical Center Director was created. After abolishing said
position, it was proposed to be reclassified as Director, Charity hospital, one of the five
(5) hospital director positions proposed to be created in the reorganized PGH.
The UP Board of Regents acted within the scope and limitations of its charter, Act No.
1870, as amended when it approved the reorganization plan renaming the PGH and
expanding and consolidating some of its functions and objectives. The UP Board of
Regents did not and could not have abolished PGH. And rightly so. The PGH and one of
its component units, the Cancer Institute, are creations of special laws, the old
Administrative, Code (Chapter 29, Secs. 706-707) and Commonwealth Act No. 398,
respectively. The authority of the UP under Act No. 1870 as amended, to combine two or
more colleges in the interest of economy and efficiency does not empower UP to abolish
offices created by special laws. Section 6(b) of Act No. 1870, al amended, reads as
follows:
(b) To provide for the establishment of one or more Colleges of Liberal Arts; a College of
Law; a College of Social and Political Science; a College of Medicine and Surgery; a
College of Pharmacy; a College of Dentistry; a College of Veterinary Science; a College
of Engineering; a College of Mines; a College of Agriculture; a College of Education; a
School of Fine Arts; a School of Forestry; a Conservatory of Music, and such other
colleges and schools as the Board of Regents may deem necessary: Provided, That the
Board of Regents may establish these colleges, or any of them, in Manila or in any other
place in the Archipelago, as soon as in its judgment conditions shall favor their opening
and finds shall be available for their maintenance: And provided further, That the Board
of Regents shall have the power to combine two or more of the colleges authorized by
this Act, in the interests of economy and efficiency And provided finally, That the
Philippine Medical School as established by Act Numbered Fourteen Hundred and
Fifteen as amended, shall become the College of Medicine and Surgery of the Philippine
University as soon as two or more colleges of the University of the Philippines shall have
been established and in actual operation.

It is therefore clear that the authority of the UP is limited to what is expressly provided in
Petitioners argue, however, that the abolition of the position of respondent Dr. Estrella Jr. Act No. 1870 as amended, that is, to combine or merge colleges. that is all the law
negates his claim to security of tenure. The argument is devoid of merit.
speaks of in such instance.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 25


On the other hand, the power to create and abolish offices carries with it the power to fix
the number of positions, salaries, emoluments, and to provide funds for the operation of
the office created. 7 This power is inherently legislative in character. The UP Board of
Regents does not have such power. Hence, the abolition of the position of respondent Dr.
Estrella is not valid.

g was lacking. In this case, petitioners were poised to nominate and appoint a UP-PGH
Medical Center Director inspite of the absence of a staffing pattern. The absence of such
an important element in the reorganization plan contradicts the petitioners' claim of good
faith and only proves that petitioners were unreasonably in a hurry to remove respondent
Estrella from his office.

It is true that a valid and bona fide abolition of an office denies to the incumbent the right
to security of tenure. 8However, in this case, the renaming and restructuring of the PGH
and its component units cannot give rise to a valid and bona fide abolition of the position
of PGH Director. This is because where the abolished office and the offices created in its
place have similar functions, the abolition lacks good faith. 9 We hereby apply the
principle enunciated in Cesar Z. Dalio vs. Hon. Salvador M. Mison 10 that abolition which
merely changes the nomenclature of positions is invalid and does not result in the
removal of the incumbent.

Anent the issue regarding respondent Estrella's failure to exhaust all administrative
remedies, We hold that this case has special circumstances that made it fall under the
jurisprudentially accepted exceptions to the rule. As the facts show, respondent Dr.
Estrella was about to be replaced by the Nomination Committee. He must have believed
that airing his protest with the Board of Regents would only be fruitless and that unless
he goes to the courts, irreparable damage or injury on his part will be caused by the
implementation of the proposed reorganization.

The above notwithstanding, and assuming that the abolition of the position of the PGH
Director and the creation of a UP-PGH Medical Center Director are valid the removal of
the incumbent is still not justified for the reason that the duties and functions of the two
positions are basically the same. The UP-PGH Medical Center is essentially the same
PGH hence, the Medical Center Director will be performing duties very similar to the
present PGH Director. It cannot be invoked to sustain the argument that respondent is
not entitled to security of tenure. InPalma-Fernandez v. de la Paz, 11 the abolition of the
position of "Chief of Clinic" and the creation of the position of "Assistant Director,
Professional Services" were set aside for the reason that the two positions are basically
one and the same except for the change of nomenclature.
The proposal to establish five hospitals within the UP-PGH Medical Center, and with it,
the proposal to create five hospital director positions militate against the propriety of
giving due course to this petition. As presently organized, there is only one hospital
director position in the plantilla of positions of the PGH, the PGH Director. In the
proposed reorganization, such number will be increased to six, one UP-PGH Medical
Center Director and five directors for each of the five hospitals proposed to be
established namely, the Out-Patient Hospital, Emergency Hospital, Charity Hospital,
Non-Charity Hospital and Institute of Oncology. In Guerrero vs. Arizabal, 12 We held that
the creation of additional management positions in a proposed reorganization is evidence
of bad faith and is in violation of Republic Act No. 6656. We hold that the same applies to
the PGH reorganization.
Finally, the admission by petitioner Dr. Jose V. Abueva that the staffing pattern for the
reorganized PGH has not been prepared is fatal to petitioners' cause. In Dario v.
Mison, 13 We made the observation that no reorganization of the Bureau of Customs
actually took place since a staffing pattern which could have been the basis for hiring and

Respondent Judge did not commit any reversible error much less grave abuse of
discretion. The facts as supported by evidence established may no longer be disturbed.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated August 28,
1989 and Order dated October 23, 1989 of the respondent Judge are hereby
AFFIRMED in toto. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 26


SAMAHANG
MAGBUBUKID
NG
KAPDULA,
INC., petitioner-appellant,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, PONCIANO DUCUSIN, AQUILINO
DUCUSIN, EUFEMIO CABINGAN, LEONARDO DIAZ, REYNALDO PEREZ, SERAPIO
FIRME, RICARDO BRAZA, ANTONIO BAUTISTA, ROMULO BUCLATIN, EULOGIO
PARANAQUE, JR., AGAPITO DUCUSIN, DELFIN DUCUSIN, REYNALDO GARCIA,
MARTIN SALAZAR, MELECIO LAYON, CIRIACO ABEJERO, BASILIO BUCLATIN,
FERLITA BUCLATIN, RUFINA BUCLATIN, BONIFACIO BUCLATIN, LUNINING
BUCLATIN, LEONARDO BEJESON, REGENTOR CONTANER, DANILO GONZALES,
EMILIO DUCUSIN, GERMAN DUCUSIN, MARCIANO BACAY, IRENEO DUCUSIN,
LEONARDO DUCUSIN, ALEJANDRO DUCUSIN, WILLIE CADESALE, MARTIN DE
LA CUESTA, DOMINGO ORENSE, CRESENCIA LOPEZ, PONCIANO BELTRAN, JUN
DOYOLA, DONATO CRUZ, MIGUEL BUGAGAO, LUCIO ILAO, ALFREDO
COSTACIO, HILARION CARAIG, LARRY DE LA VEGA, RAYMUNDO SOBEJANO,
AVELINO DUCUSIN, ROSENDO DUCUSIN, VICENTE RIVERA, BONGBONG BACAY,
DONATO CASCANO, EDGARDO DUCUSIN, OLIVER DUCUSIN, ARMANDO
BEJESON, ROMEO OBIAS, JOMARIE LALAGON, ROGELIO SEVILLA, MICHAEL
DUCUSIN, MAURA BUCLATIN, ERNESTO MOGAR, FILEMON ANARNA, RUPERTO
ILAO, RUPERTO MENDOZA, CARLOS MENDOZA, ALFREDO DRIZ, MARIO
CABINGAN, JUAN SOMBILLO, EUGENIO MERCADO, CECILLIO BENIG, JR., ROMIE
LUYAS, ALFONSO BULAHAN, ADAM CARBADILLA, PEPITO CADESALE,
LIWAYWAY CAPARAS, EVARISTO CREUS, RAUL GONZAGA, ANTONIO GONZAGA,
SANO ADION, REYNALDO ZORINO, WILFREDO ALILING, and BERNARDO
ASUNCION, respondent-appellees.

PURISIMA, J.:
At bar is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court
assailing the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 26173.
The facts that matter are as follows:
Macario Aro was the former owner of two (2) parcels of agricultural land with an
aggregate area of 168.7 hectares, more or less in Barangay Malinta. Dasmarias Cavite.
The members of petitioner Samahang Magbubukid Ng Kapdula, Inc. were the tenants on
the two (2) parcels of land.

G.R. No. 103953 March 25, 1999

Sometimes in 1979 or 1980, Mr. Aro sold the said parcels of land to Arrow Head Golf
Club, Inc., which was founded by Ricardo Silverio who envisioned to establish a car

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 27


assembly plant within the area. In the process, the member of petitioner were evicted.
But the establishment of a car assembly plant in the place never materialized.

THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING THE PETITION


FOR CERTIORARI FOR NON-EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES.

The parcels of land in question were later leased to the spouse, Ruben Rodriguez and
Gloria Bugagao, for a term of seven (7) years from July 8, 1983 to July 8, 1990 2, and
where then developed into a sugarcane plantation, with the herein private respondents
as the regular farmworkers.

I-A

On July 13, 1984, the same property was acquired by the Philippine National Bank (PNB)
at a Sheriff auction sale.3

THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN ITS FINDING THAT HEREIN PRIVATE


RESPONDENTS WERE NOT GIVEN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD IN THE
ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS CONDUCTED PRECEDING THE ISSUANCE OF
THE AWARDS.
I-B

In 1986, the members of petitioner sought the assistance of the former Ministry of
Agrarian Reform (MART), now Department of Agrarian Reform ("DAR"), thought then
Minister Heherson Alvarez, for their reinstatement as farmworkers thereon, but nothing
came out of such efforts.
The ownership of subject parcels of land was later transferred to the Asset Privatization
Trust ("APT") which conveyed the same on March 19, 1991 to the Republic of the
Philippines, represented by the DAR. 4

THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN ITS FINDING THAT DETERMINATION OF


QUALIFIED BENEFICIARIES IS A DECISION OF THE SECRETARY AND THAT
RESORTING TO THE DAR ADJUDICATION BOARD OF QUESTION SUCH DECISION
IS UNAVAILING.
II

THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN ITS FINDING THAT THERE WAS FAILURE TO
On March 26, 1991, in furtherance of its objective of instituting agrarian reform in the OBSERVE DUE PROCESS IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE TCT NOS. CLOA-1116 AND
country, the DAR issued Certificate of Land Ownership ("CLOA") Nos. 1116 5 and CLOA-1117 IN THE NAME OF HEREIN PETITIONER.
1117 6 for the said parcels of the land in favor of the petitioner.
On September 27, 1991, the private respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari with Court
of Appeals, assailing the issuance of said CLOAs to the petitioner.
On January 30, 1992, the Court of Appeals granted the petition, disposing thus:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED in that the respondent. Department of
Agrarian Reform be directed to conduct a hearing and/or investigation, with due notice to
the herein petitioners, to determine the rightful beneficiaries of the subject parcels of land
in accordance with the R.A. No. 6657 or the CARP; and to cause the cancellation of the
Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. CLOA-1116 and 1117 in the name of private respondent
be found not intitled to the subject parcels of land. 7
Dissatisfied therewith, the petitioner has come to this Court to assail the Decision of the
Court of Appeals, contending that:
I

II-A
THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT UPHOLDING THE PRESUMPTION THAT
OFFICIAL DUTY HAS BEEN REGULARLY PERFORMED ABSENT EVIDENCE TO THE
CONTRARY.
III
THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN DIRECTING THE DAR TO CONDUCT A
HEARING AND/OR INVESTIGATION, WITH DUE NOTICE TO HEREIN PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS, TO DETERMINE THE RIGHTFUL BENEFICIARIES OF THE
SUBJECT PARCELS OF LAND IN ACCORDANCE WITH R.A. NO. 6657, AND TO
CAUSE THE CANCELLATION OF TCT NOS. CLOA-1116 AND CLOA-1117 IN THE
NAME OF HEREIN PETITIONER SHOULD IT BE FOUND NOT ENTITLED THERETO.
III-A

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 28


THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING RESPECT AND REGARDING
WITH FINALITY THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF DAR.

Republic Act. No. 6389, Presidential Decree No. 27 and other agrarian laws and their
implementing rules and regulations.

IV

Specifically, such jurisdiction shall extend over but not be limited to the following:

THE RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION


AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN ITS FINDING OF FACTS WHICH IS
NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE.

xxx xxx xxx

Petitioner-appellant's submission boil down to two pivotal issues:


1. Whether or not there was observance of due process by the Department of Agrarian
Reform prior to the issuance of CLOA Nos. 1116 and 1117 in favor of petitioner; and
2. Whether there was a need for the private respondents to exhaust administrative
remedies before filing their petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals.

(c) Cases involving the annulment or cancellation of orders or decisions or DAR officials
other than the secretary, lease contracts or deeds of sale or their amendments under the
administration and disposition of the DAR and LBP," (Rule II DARAB Revised Rules of
Procedure) (emphasis ours).
From the foregoing, it is decisively clear that DARAB may only entertain appeals from
decisions or orders of DAR officials other than the Secretary. It is also irrefutable that the
issuance of subject CLOAs constituted a decision of the Secretary, who issued and
signed the same. 10

Petitioner contends that before taking recourse to the Court of Appeals, the private
respondents should have first exhausted all administrative remedies available to them.
On the ground of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, the respondent court
should have dismissed the petition of private respondents. To buttress its stance,
petitioner cited Section 50 8 of Republic Act No. 6657 (RA 6657) and Section 1 Rule II of
the Revised Rules of the DAR Adjudication Board 9 vesting the DAR and DAR
Adjudication Board (DARAB) with jurisdiction to resolve agrarian reform disputes,
including the issuance of CLOAs.

Consequently, the propriety of the recourse by private respondents to the respondent


court on petition forcertiorari, to assail the issuance by the DAR of the CLOAs in
question, is beyond cavil. Under Section 54 of RA 6657, decisions and awards of the
DAR may be brought to the Court of Appeals by certiorari. 11

The Court Appeals, on the other hand, opined that determination by secretary of the
Department of Agrarian Reform as the rightful beneficiaries has the effect of a final ruling
or award by the DAR itself and therefore, resort to DARAB to question the ruling of the
Secretary would be improper. There is thus no need to exhaust administrative remedies,
under the premises.

But was there a denial of due process under the attendant facts and circumstances?
Respondent court found that the herein private respondents were denied the opportunity
to ventilate their stance before the DAR. But according to the petitioner, during the
investigation and conferences conducted on the question of inclusion of subject
properties in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of the government, Mr.
Ruben Rodriguez was notified of the same, as evidenced by Annexes "E" 13, "F" 14, "F1" 15, and "F-2". 16

From the DARAB Revised Rules of Procedure, it can be gleaned that decisions of the
DAR Secretary cannot be questioned before DARAB. Pertinent rules, provide:
Sec. 1. Primary, Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. The Agrarian Reform Adjudication
Board shall have primary jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and
adjudicate all agrarian disputes, cases, controversies, and matters or incidents involving
the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program under Republic Act.
6657, Executive Order Nos. 229, 228 and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844 as amended by

Time and again, this court has ruled that in cases of denial of due process, exhaustion of
available administrative remedies is unnecessary. 12 The aggrieved party may seek
judicial relief outright.

Records show, however, that the letter (Annex "E"), which was supposed to be the notice
to the private respondents regarding the inclusion of subject properties in the CARP, was
ineffective. First of all, the letter of Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Serapio T. Magpayo
to Mr. Ruben Rodriguez indicates no receipt of the same by Mr. Rodriguez nor was it
signed by Mr. Magpayo. Secondly, if it was ever sent, it was sent too late, the same being
dated June 5, 1991, when the said parcels of land had already been awarded to the
members petitioner. (The CLOAs under controversy were issued on March 26, 1991.)

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 29


Thirdly, the letter was addressed to Mr. Ruben Rodriguez, who no longer possessed the
said properties as his lease thereover ended on July 8, 1990.
There is thus a need for further hearings to determine the beneficiaries of subject parcels
of land. In such hearings, the private respondents, who were deprived of an opportunity
to be heard before the DAR, should participate. This is in pursuance of the provisions of
Section 40(4) 17, in relation to Section 22 18 of RA 6657, providing for the order of
priority of the qualified beneficiaries of CARP.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 26173 AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 123997 January 20, 1999


REPUBLIC
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN and BRIG. GEN. PEDRO R. BALBANERO, respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
This case emphasizes with great force the awesome responsibility of counsel to
represent a client's cause with due diligence and zeal which necessarily excludes
improvident and unreasonable requests for postponement of hearings that only serve to
impede the speedy and inexpensive administration of justice.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 30


The Republic of the Philippines, in this special civil action for certiorari, mandamus and
prohibition, assails the Order of the Sandiganbayan, First Division, dated 19 October
1995, in "Republic of the Philippines v. Brig. Gen Balbanero," Civil Case No. 0053,
denying petitioner's oral motion for postponement of the 19 and 20 October 1995
hearings and requiring it instead to submit a written offer of evidence, as well as the
Resolution of 3 January 1996 denying reconsideration thereof. Petitioner therefore prays
that it be allowed to present documentary and testimonial evidence in a formal trial and
that public respondent be prevented from conducting further proceedings pursuant to its
questioned Orders.
Civil Case No. 0053 is an action for forfeiture under RA No. 1379 1 instituted on 14
October 1988 by the Republic of the Philippines against retired Brig. Gen. Pedro R.
Balbanero alleging that the latter acquired funds, real properties and other assets
amounting to P10.5 million manifestly out of proportion to his total salary and
emoluments as an Army Officer and as income from business and other legitimately
acquired properties.
On 22 March 1989 private respondent filed his answer with counterclaim to which the
Republic filed a reply with motion to dismiss counterclaim. After the submission by private
respondent of documentary evidence and in view of the manifestation of Solicitor Felipe
Magat, Colonel Ernesto Punzalan and Captain Samuel Padilla of the AFP Anti-Graft
Board representing the Government that P8.4 million of the alleged over P10 million
unexplained wealth had been clarified, the Sandiganbayan in its Order dated 19
February 1990 required private respondent to prove the legal source of the remaining
"P1.3 million." The parties were required to meet to resolve the matter before trial. On the
basis of a "Complete Report" dated 2 August 1990 submitted by Capt. Padilla, the
amount of respondent's wealth deemed to be still unexplained dwindled to P165,043.00.
Thus the OSG in behalf of petitioner asked that a decision be rendered forfeiting the
amount in its favor.
To prove the legal source of the remaining P165,043.00, private respondent submitted a
document titled "Real Estate Mortgage Loan" purporting to show that the amount was the
purchase price he received for real estate sold to Ms. Iluminada S. Salvador et al. when
he failed to pay his mortgage indebtedness. In his Manifestation and Motion dated 7
December 1990 private respondent moved that the complaint against him be dismissed
on the ground that he had explained to the government's satisfaction the legal source of
all his alleged unexplained wealth.
In its answer to the foregoing Manifestation and Motion the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG) denied that private respondent had satisfactorily explained
the legitimate source of his wealth and added that the "Complete Report" submitted by
the AFP Anti-Graft Board was without its approval, hence, did not bind the Republic.

On 28 June 1991, without resolving private respondent's Manifestation and Motion of 7


December 1990, public respondent Sandiganbayan allowed the Republic to present oral
and documentary evidence to support its complaint for forfeiture.
On 7 June 1994 private respondent moved that petitioner be bound by the Solicitor
General's previous admission that only P165,043.00 had not been satisfactorily
explained, hence, the remaining issue to be resolved by the Sandiganbayan should be
limited to the amount. But Sandiganbayan denied the motion. Hence, on 3 May 1995
private respondent elevated the matter to this Court by way of a petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamusin "Pedro R. Balbanero v. the Hon. Sandiganbayan and the
Republic of the Philippines," docketed as G.R. No. 119633.
In view of the pendency of his petition, private respondent moved that the hearings on
18, 19 and 20 October 1995 be canceled and that no further schedule be set. Public
respondent denied the cancellation unless a restraining order was issued by this Court in
G.R. No. 119633, citing petitioner's readiness to present on the scheduled hearings
Major Samuel Padilla (earlier referred to as Captain Padilla) who purportedly conducted
the audit examination of the accounts of private respondent.
Upon urgent motion dated 5 October 1995 the Sandiganbayan granted private
respondent's request for cancellation of the 18 October 1995 hearing on the allegation
that his counsel was scheduled to attend an election case before the RTC of Gapan,
Nueva Ecija, but stressing that the cancellation was without prejudice to the settings on
19 and 20 October 1995. 2
On 19 October 1995 Associate Solicitor Rodolfo Tagapan, Jr., and Assistant Solicitor
General Cesario del Rosario manifested during the hearing that they had been relieved
from the case and that ASG Romeo C. de la Cruz and Solicitor Karl B. Miranda had been
designated in their stead. However, since the latter two were in the United Arab Emirates
attending to the case of convicted Filipina overseas contract worker Sarah Balabagan,
Associate Solicitor Tagapan asked that the hearing be reset, to which the Sandiganbayan
reacted adversely with its now assailed Order of 19 October 1995 which we quote
hereunder for a better appreciation of the factual milieu
When this case was called for hearing . . . respondent appeared . . . while the petitioner
Republic appeared through Associate Solicitor Rodolfo Tagapan together with Atty.
Cresencio Jaso of the PCGG. Associate Solicitor Tagapan informed the Court that he
had been relieved . . . from this case and in his stead Solicitor Karl B. Miranda had been
designated . . . but that Solicitor Miranda was . . . in Abu Dhabi on official mission, while
Atty. Jaso . . . informed this Court that this was his first appearance . . . and was,
therefore, not ready to be of assistance. Additionally, no witness had appeared allegedly

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 31


upon advice of Associate Solicitor Tagapan precisely, because of this (sic) reassignments relying on the postponement to be granted by this Court.

not cured by transferring a long standing case to probably experienced lawyers who are
not available and on short notice.

. . . Solicitor Rodolfo Reodica had been appearing until suddenly at the hearing on May
10, 1995 Associate Solicitor Tagapan appeared and had expressed his unreadiness to
proceed at that time. The petition for postponement was granted . . . over the objection of
the respondent, notwithstanding the pendency of a petition for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus already filed by the respondent to dispute a prior denial of his motion to
dismiss by reason of . . . the petitioner's earlier repeated failure to proceed . . . said
petition . . . now docketed as G.R. No. 119633. On September 22, 1995 . . . Associate
Solicitor. Tagapan informed the Court that he would be ready to present Major Samuel
Padilla on October 18, 19 and 20, 1995. Today, the Court is faced with the situation as
above stated.

The point of this Court's impatience on the transferring of cases to inexperienced lawyers
on short notice is that cases are unduly delayed and, perhaps, prejudiced by the
inexperienced; in fact, more than anything, the practice has demonstrated an apparent
low regard of Solicitors and Assistant Solicitors General for many "PCGG cases."

This case had been pending not only for a very long time but despite many false starts
from the petitioner. While indeed the Court has reacted negatively to the difficult
situations created by the assignment of young Solicitors such as Solicitor Reodica now
Solicitor Tagapan on short notice, the Court can not accept a rotation of young and
inexperienced Solicitors who are uninformed of the details of this case by reason of their
assignment on short notice as reasons for postponing this case on top of their informal
complaints of lack of cooperation from or coordination with the PCGG much less can the
Court accept the last minute substitutions of Solicitors with others who are not in this
country.
In view hereof, the petitioner is given ten (10) days from today within which to formally
offer whatever evidence exist (sic) on record with the respondent being given a like
period to comment thereon and to state his disposition on this matter with respect to the
presentation of his own evidence.
The setting for tomorrow is necessarily cancelled under the circumstances.
Petitioner moved that this Order be reconsidered and that it be allowed to present
evidence in a formal trial. The motion was denied by public respondent in its assailed
Resolution of 3 January 1996 thus
The "MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION" dated 7 December 1995 of the Plaintiff is
Denied.
It is true that this Court expressed its impatience and disapproval over the practice of the
Office of the Solicitor General of passing on, actually "dumping" of certain cases such as
these to a succession of young inexperienced lawyers on short notice. This, however, is

Assigning this case, which has suffered long and innumerable postponements
attributable to plaintiff, to lawyers of the Office of the Solicitor General who are not even
in the country at the time of the setting neither responds to the problem nor demonstrates
appropriate concern for the case.
The petitioner is given fifteen (15) days to submit its written offer of evidence after which
the case of the plaintiff will be deemed submitted, with or without the offer.
Hence, this special civil action for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus.
The QSG contends that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion when it
deprived the Republic of its right to present evidence in a full-blown hearing amounting to
a violation of its right to due process. Counsel contends that the reasons given for the
requested resettings of the 19 and 20 October 1995 hearings were meritorious grounds
which were not intended to delay the case nor violate private respondent's right to a
speedy trial. The OSG further contends that public respondent should not have taken
against the Republic the fact that Major Samuel Padilla was indisposed on the day of the
hearing as it was a circumstance beyond its control while the re-assignment of the case
to Solicitor Miranda and Atty. Jaso was effected only in response to public respondent's
plaintive about the assignment of the case to young and untrained solicitors.
On 17 April 1996 we required respondents to file their respective comments on the
petition
without
granting
the
TRO
sought
by
petitioner.
Private
respondent's Comment and petitioner's Reply thereto were noted on 8 July 1996 and 4
February 1998, respectively. On 6 July 1998 we considered this case submitted for
decision without public respondent's comment when it failed to file the required pleading
for more than two (2) years from the time it was first required to do so and despite our
Resolution of 4 February 1998 reiterating our Resolution of 17 April 1996.
Plainly stated, the issue before us is whether public respondent Sandiganbayan
committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the Republic's oral motion for
postponement of the 19 and 20 October 1995 hearings and in requiring it to just formally
offer its evidence within fifteen (15) days from notice.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 32


It is well-settled that motions for continuance or deferment of hearings are granted only
upon meritorious grounds3 and that the grant or denial thereof is addressed to the sound
discretion of the court 4 the exercise of which will not be disturbed except on a showing
of a patent and grave abuse of discretion.

presented, public respondent's factual conclusion to which this Court is bound in


a certiorari proceeding is that no witness appeared allegedly upon advice of Associate
Solicitor Tagapan relying on the postponement to be granted by public respondent
precisely because of the reassignment of solicitors. 12

Petitioner failed to show such patent and grave abuse of discretion on the part of public
respondent in denying its oral motion for postponement. Records show that the 18, 19
and 20 October hearings were scheduled some five (5) months earlier, or on 10 May
1995, for several reasons among which was to give Associate Solicitor Tagapan of the
OSG, who appeared for the first time vice Solicitor Reodica, an opportunity to study the
case. 5 In addition, on 13 October 1995 when public respondent Sandiganbayan
canceled the 18 October hearing, it cautioned the parties that such cancellation
was without prejudice to the settings on 19 and 20 October 1995. 6

The rule that a party asking for postponement has absolutely no right to assume that its
motion would be granted, especially on less than three (3) days' notice, and must be in
court prepared on the day of the hearing 13 applies with greater force in this case where
the OSG had in fact more reason not to presume a grant of its motion for postponement
considering that Major (formerly Captain) Samuel Padilla had already been previously
warned
by
public
respondent
thus

However, on 19 October 1995, Solicitor Tagapan appeared only to manifest that he had
just been relieved from the case and that other solicitors were assigned to take over but
unfortunately they were not then available. The OSG explains that the re-assignment
was effected in response to public respondent's complaint about the assignment of many
PCGG cases to young and inexperienced solicitors. But a careful reading of the
questioned Order of 19 October 1995 shows that public respondent objected not so
much on the assignment of the case to young and inexperienced solicitors but that such
re-assignment was done on short notice and very close to the date of scheduled
hearings. The excuse given by the OSG completely failed to justify why the reassignment had to be done so near to the scheduled hearing of 19 October 1995 and,
worse, to solicitors who were not even present.
Furthermore, it has not been shown that some other urgent circumstance prompted the
re-assignment to justify the OSG's non-compliance with the requisites of motions in
general set out in Rule 15 7 of the Rules of Court 8 Sec. 2 of which provides that "[a]ll
motions shall be in writing except motions for continuance made in the presence of the
adverse party, or those made in the course of a hearing or trial." A motion for
postponement should not be filed at the last hour 9 and that judges are cautioned against
granting improvident postponements. 10 Thus when the reason adduced in support of a
motion for postponement was not unavoidable or could have been foreseen but was
presented only on the day of the trial although there was no apparent reason why it could
not have been presented earlier, thus avoiding inconvenience to the adverse party, it is
proper for the court to deny postponement. 11
What exacerbates the case for the OSG is the fact that it appeared in the 19 October
1995 hearing without its promised witness, apparently expecting that public respondent
would just benevolently grant its precipitate oral motion for postponement. While the
OSG now claims that Major Padilla was "indisposed" for which reason he was not

Capt. Samuel Padilla is given five (5) days from receipt hereof to show why he should not
be held disciplinarily accountable for his failure to appear . . . when he knew as a matter
of fact that this case wherein he appears to be the principal government witness has
been pending since 1988 and that his testimony was suspended as far back as February
15, 1990, precisely by reason of the unorganized state of evidence of the petitioner at the
time so that all of the proceedings thereafter had been precisely to clarify and organize
whatever evidence the parties might have thereon. It is a cause of great wonder to the
Court what urgent meeting could have befallen Capt. Padilla resulting to his failure to
appear
in
Court
today. 14
Under the circumstances, it cannot rightly be said that the OSG was not guilty of
inexcusable carelessness, presumptiousness, indifference to and neglect of duty in
assuming that public respondent would grant its oral motion for postponement, coming to
court unprepared and without a witness. Hence public respondent was well within its
authority to deny the Republic's oral motion for postponement of the hearings set on 19
and 20 October 1995 and require it, instead, to just formally offer its evidence within
fifteen (15) days from notice. Petitioner is not guilty of abuse of discretion, much less
grave, nor can it be charged by petitioner with denial of due process. 15
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus is DENIED.
The questioned Order of public respondent Sandiganbayan dated 19 October 1995
denying the oral motion of petitioner Republic of the Philippines for the postponement of
the 19 and 20 October 1995 hearings as well as the Resolution dated 3 January 1996
denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 33

G.R. No. L-39655 March 21, 1975


ARROW
TRANSPORTATION
CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
BOARD OF TRANSPORTATION and SULTAN RENT-A-CAR, INC., respondents.
Manuel Imbong for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza and Assistant Solicitor General
Reynato S. Puno for respondent Board.
Pastor C. Bacani and Ernesto Ganiban for private respondent.

FERNANDO, J.:+.wph!1
It must have been the realization that a challenge to a provisional permit issued by
respondent Board of Transportation 1 based on the absence of a hearing is not likely to
be attended with success that prompted petitioner to rely on another aspect of procedural
due process, the infirmity alleged being traceable to what it considered lack of
jurisdiction. 2 There is the invocation of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v.
Medina 3 with its mention of both competitors and the public being notified. It does not
suffice. Something more, which more, is necessary. The reliance is misplaced. Its
applicability is by no means obvious. As was pointed out in the answer of respondent
Board of Transportation, such a claim is hardly persuasive with the procedure set forth in
Presidential Decree No. 101 being followed and the provisional authority to operate being
based on an urgent public need. Such a contention merits the approval of the Court. The
petition cannot prosper.

Both petitioner and private respondent Sultan Rent-a-Car are domestic


corporations. 4 The former has in his favor a certificate of public convenience to operate
a public utility bus air-conditioned-auto-truck service from Cebu City to Mactan
International Airport and vice-versa with the use of twenty (20) units. 5 Private
respondent on September 12, 1974 filed a petition with the respondent Board for the
issuance of a certificate of public convenience to operate a similar service on the same
line. 6 Eight days later, without the required publication, the Board issued an order
granting it provisional permit to operate such auto-truck service on the line applied
for. 7 There was a motion for reconsideration and for the cancellation of such provisional
permit filed on October 21, 1974, 8 but without awaiting final action thereon, this petition
was filed. 9 This is the explanation: "That petitioner has not waited for the resolution of
his Motion for Reconsideration before going to this Court considering that the question
involved herein is purely a legal one, aside from the fact that the issuance of the Order
without the Board having acquired jurisdiction of the case yet, is patently illegal or was
performed without jurisdiction." 10
So it was set forth in the petition filed on November 16, 1974. As a preliminary injunction
was likewise sought, a hearing was scheduled for November 29, 1974. It was cancelled,
this Court issuing a resolution instead, requiring respondents to file an answer not later
than December 6, 1974 and setting the hearing on the merits of the case on Wednesday,
December 11, 1974. In the answer submitted the facts alleged were substantially
admitted. 11 It denied the allegation that there must be a publication before a provisional
permit can be issued, reference being made, as noted, to Presidential Decree No. 101,
which authorized respondent Board to grant provisional permits when warranted by
compelling circumstances and to proceed promptly along the method of legislative
inquiry. 12 The case was then argued on December 11, 1974, Attorney Manuel Imbong
appearing for petitioner and Assistant Solicitor General Reynato S. Puno appearing for
respondent Board of Transportation. 13 Thereafter, the parties were given twenty days to
file their respective memoranda and an additional ten-day period to submit replies thereto
if so minded. In time all the pleadings were submitted, and the case was ready for
decision.
The petition, to repeat, cannot prosper.
1. It is to be, admitted that the claim for relief on the asserted constitutional deficiency
based on procedural due process, not from the standpoint of the absence of a hearing
but from the lack of jurisdiction without the required publication having been made, was
argued vigorously and developed exhaustively in the memoranda of petitioner. The
arguments set forth, while impressed with plausibility, do not suffice to justify the grant
of certiorari. Moreover, the doctrine announced in the Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Company decision, heavily leaned on by petitioner is, at the most, a frail and

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 34


insubstantial support and gives way to decisions of this Court that have an even more
specific bearing on this litigation.

3. The question of whether the controversy is ripe for judicial determination was likewise
argued by the parties. For it is undeniable that at the time the petition was filed. there
was pending with the respondent Board a motion for reconsideration. Ordinarily, its
2. A barrier to petitioner's pretension, not only formidable but also insurmountable, is the resolution should be awaited. Prior thereto, an objection grounded on prematurity can be
well-settled doctrine that for a provisional permit, an ex parte hearing suffices. 14 The raised. Nonetheless, counsel for petitioner would stress that certiorari lies as the failure
decisive consideration is the existence of the public need.15 That was shown in this to observe procedural due process ousted respondent Board of whatever jurisdiction it
case, respondent Board, on the basis of demonstrable data, being satisfied of the could have had in the premises. This Court was impelled to go into the merits of the
pressing necessity for the grant of the provisional permit sought. There is no warrant for controversy at this stage, not only because of the importance of the issue raised but also
the nullification of what was ordered by it. It must have been, as already noted, this state because of the strong public interest in having the matter settled. As was set forth in
of the law that did lead petitioner to harp on its interpretation of what for it is the teaching Executive Order No. 101 which prescribes the procedure to be followed by respondent
of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company decision. 16 There was therein Board, it is the policy of the State, as swiftly as possible, to improve the deplorable
stated that one of the compelling reasons that led this Court to hold that the defunct condition of vehicular traffic, obtain maximum utilization of existing public motor vehicles
Public Service Commission did not acquire jurisdiction was that no provision was made and eradicate the harmful and unlawful trade of clandestine operators, as well as update
for bringing in as parties thereto the competitors of the Philippine Long Distance the standard of those carrying such business, making it "imperative to provide, among
Telephone Company. 17 That is the basis for the objection on procedural due process other urgently needed measures, more expeditious methods in prescribing, redefining, or
ground. While no doubt such a holding was necessary for the decision of that case which modifying the lines and mode of operation of public utility motor vehicles that now or
dealt with a petition for the reexamination of a decision that was held to be final and thereafter, may operate in this country. 22 It is essential then both from the standpoint of
executory, it finds no application to this controversy dealing with a provisional permit. This the firms engaged as well as of the riding public to ascertain whether or not the
is made clear by this portion of the opinion of Justice Sanchez: "Araneta seeks procedure followed in this case and very likely in others of a similar nature satisfies the
reexamination of the rates approved by the Commission. Araneta avers that PLDT can procedural due process requirement. Thus its ripeness for adjudication becomes
carry out its improvement and expansion program at less onerous terms to the apparent.
subscribers. But Araneta [University] was not a party to the rate-fixing case or to any of
the other proceedings below. These rate-fixing and allied cases terminated with the final To paraphrase what was said in Edu v. Ericta 23 where the validity of a legislation was
judgment of January 9, 1964. Not being a party, it could not have moved to reconsider passed upon in a certiorari proceeding to annul and set aside a writ of preliminary
said decision. Nor could it have appealed from that decision it had no standing in that injunction, to so act would be to conserve both time and effort. Those desiring to engage
case. Even if we treat Araneta's reexamination petition as one for reconsideration, the in public utility business as well as the public are both vitally concerned with the final
time therefor has long passed. 18 It was then stated: The reexamination herein sought by determination of the standards to be followed in the procedure that must be observed.
Araneta, perforce seeks the fixing of new and different rates. 19 Further: Araneta in There is, to repeat, a great public interest in a definitive outcome of the crucial issue
effect,
institutes
a fresh involved. One of the most noted authorities on Administrative Law, professor Kenneth
petition for new rates different from those already established. Such petition is a Culp Davis, discussing the ripeness concept, is of the view that the resolution of what
proceeding separate and distinct from those concluded by the final judgment of PSC of could be a debilitating uncertainty with the conceded ability of the judiciary to work out a
January 9, 1964. 20 The conclusion, therefore, necessarily follows:" We hold that the solution of the problem posed is a potent argument for minimizing the emphasis laid on
Public Service Commission may not reduce or increase rates established in a judgment its technical aspect. 24
that has become final, without proper notice; and that a Commission order reducing or
increasing said rates without such notice is void." 21 Under the facts of that case, the WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is dismissed. No costs.
procedural due process infirmity amounting to lack of jurisdiction is quite apparent. The
opposite is true with this present petition which deals with a grant of provisional permit. It
would be to lift out of context the reference made in the aforesaid opinion with reference
to notification to the competitors to give a color of applicability to the situation before us.
Clearly then, the allegation of a failure to follow the command of the due process
guarantee is bereft of any legal foundation.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 35


Region IV of the Department of Agriculture ROGELIO P. MADRIAGA, RECTO
CORONADO and Municipal Mayor IGNACIO R. BUNYE, both in his capacity as
Municipal Mayor of Muntinlupa, Metro Manila and as Presiding Officer of
Sangguniang Bayan ng Muntinglupa, and JOHN DOES, respondents.
G.R. No. 91927 January 13, 1992
IGNACIO R. BUNYE, JAIME R. FRESNEDI, CARLOS G. TENSUAN, VICTOR E.
AGUINALDO, ALEJANDRO I. MARTINEZ, EPIFANIO A. ESPELETA, REY E. BULAY,
LUCIO B. CONSTANTINO, ROMAN E. NIEFES, NEMESIO O. MOZO, ROGER SMITH,
RUFINO B. JOAQUIN, NOLASCO I. DIAZ, RUFINO IBE and NESTOR
SANTOS, petitioners,
vs.
THE SANDIGANBAYAN, THE OMBUDSMAN and ROGER C. BERBANO, Special
Prosecutor III, respondents.
Jose O. Villanueva and Roberto B. Romanillos for petitioners in G.R. No. 85439.
Alampay & Manhit Law Offices for petitioners in G.R. No. 91927.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


These cases have been consolidated because they are closely linked with each other as
to factual antecedents and issues.

G.R. No. 85439 January 13, 1992


KILUSANG BAYAN SA PAGLILINGKOD NG MGA MAGTITINDA NG BAGONG
PAMILIHANG BAYAN NG MUNTINLUPA, INC. (KBMBPM), TERESITA A. FAJARDO,
NADYESDA B. PONSONES, MA. FE V. BOMBASE, LOIDA D. LUCES, MARIO S.
FRANCISCO, AMADO V. MANUEL and ROLANDO G. GARCIA, incumbent members
of the Board, AMADO G. PEREZ and MA. FE V. BOMBASE, incumbent General
Manager
and
Secretary-Treasurer,
respectively, petitioners,
vs.
HON. CARLOS G. DOMINGUEZ, Secretary of Agriculture, Regional Director of

The first case, G.R. No. 85439 (hereinafter referred to as the Kilusang Bayan case),
questions the validity of the order of 28 October 1988 of then Secretary of Agriculture
Hon. Carlos G. Dominguez which ordered: (1) the take-over by the Department of
Agriculture of the management of the petitioner Kilusang Bayan sa Paglilingkod Ng Mga
Magtitinda ng Bagong Pamilihang Bayan ng Muntilupa, Inc. (KBMBPM) pursuant to the
Department's regulatory and supervisory powers under Section 8 of P.D. No. 175, as
amended, and Section 4 of Executive Order No. 13, (2) the creation of a Management
Committee which shall assume the management of KBMBPM upon receipt of the order,
(3) the disbandment of the Board of Directors, and (4) the turn over of all assets,
properties and records of the KBMBPM the Management Committee.
The second case. G.R. No. 91927 (hereinafter referred to as the Bunye case), seeks the
nullification of the Resolution of 4 January 1990 of the Sandiganbayan admitting the
Amended Information against petitioners in Criminal Case No. 13966 and denying their

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 36


motion to order or direct preliminary investigation, and its Resolution of 1 February 1990
denying the motion to reconsider the former.

Municipality was taking over the management and operation of the facility, and that the
stallholders should henceforth pay their market fees to the Municipality, thru the Market
Commission, and no longer to the KBMBPM. 5

The procedural and factual antecedents are not disputed.


On 2 September 1985, the Municipal Government of Muntinlupa (hereinafter,
Municipality), Metro Manila, thru its then Mayor Santiago Carlos, Jr., entered into a
contract with the KILUSANG BAYAN SA PAGLILINGKOD NG MGA MAGTITINDA SA
BAGONG PAMILIHANG BAYAN NG MUNTINLUPA, INC. (KBMBPM) represented by its
General Manager, Amado Perez, for the latter's management and operation of the new
Muntinlupa public market. The contract provides for a twenty-five (25) year term
commencing on 2 September 1985, renewable for a like period, unless sooner
terminated and/or rescinded by mutual agreement of the parties, at a monthly
consideration of Thirty-Five Thousand Pesos (P35,000) to be paid by the KBMBPM
within the first five (5) days of each month which shall, however, be increased by ten
percent (10%) each year during the first five (5) years only. 1
The KBMBPM is a service cooperative organized by and composed of vendors
occupying the New Muntinlupa Public Market in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 175 and Letter of Implementation No. 23; its articles
of incorporation and by-laws were registered with the then Office of the Bureau of
Cooperatives Development (thereafter the Bureau of Agricultural Cooperatives
Development or BACOD and now the Cooperative Development Authority). 2
Following his assumption into office as the new mayor succeeding Santiago Carlos, Jr.,
petitioner Ignacio Bunye, claiming to be particularly scandalized by the "virtual 50-year
term of the agreement, contrary to the provision of Section 143, paragraph 3 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 337," and the "patently inequitable rental," directed a review of the
aforesaid contract. 3 He sought opinions from both the Commission on Audit and the
Metro Manila Commission (MMC) on the validity of the instrument. In separate letters,
these agencies urged that appropriate legal steps be taken towards its rescission. The
letter of Hon. Elfren Cruz of the MMC even granted the Municipality authority "to take the
necessary legal steps for the cancellation/recission of the above cited contract and make
representations with KBMBPM for the immediate transfer/takeover of the possession,
management and operation of the New Muntinlupa Market to the Municipal Government
of Muntinlupa." 4

On 22 August 1988, the KBMBPM filed with Branch 13 of the Regional Trial Court of
Makati a complaint for breach of contract, specific performance and damages with prayer
for a writ of preliminary injunction against the Municipality and its officers, which was
docketed as Civil Case No. 88-1702. 6 The complaint was premised on the alleged illegal
take-over of the public market effected "in excess of his (Bunye's) alleged authority" and
thus "constitutes breach of contract and duty as a public official."
The writ applied for having been denied, 7 the KBMBPM officers resisted the attempts of
Bunye and company to complete the take-over; they continued holding office in the KBS
building, under their respective official capacities. The matter having been elevated to
this Court by way of certiorari, 8 We remanded the same to the Court of Appeals which
docketed it as C.A.-G.R. No. L-16930. 9
On 26 August 1988, Amado Perez filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a lettercomplaint charging Bunye and his co-petitioners with oppression, harassment, abuse of
authority and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act 10 for taking over the
management and operation of the public market from KBMBPM. 11
In a subpoena dated 7 October 1988, prosecutor Mothalib C. Onos of the Office of the
Special Prosecutor directed Bunye and his co-petitioners to submit within ten (10) days
from receipt thereof counter-affidavits, affidavits of their witnesses and other supporting
documents. 12 The subpoena and letter-complaint were received on 12 October 1988.
On 20 October 1988, two (2) days before the expiration of the period granted to file said
documents, Bunye, et al. filed by mail an urgent motion for extension of "at least fifteen
(15) days from October 22, 1988" within which to comply 13 with the subpoena.
Thereafter, the following transpired which subsequently gave rise to these petitions:
G.R. No. 85439

In the early morning of 29 October 1988, a Saturday, respondent Madriaga and


Coronado, allegedly accompanied by Mayor Bunye and the latters' heavily armed men,
Consequently, upon representations made by Bunye with the Municipal Council, the
both in uniform and in civilian clothes, together with other civilians, namely: Romulo
latter approved on 1 August 1988 Resolution No. 45 abrogating the contract. To
Bunye II, Alfredo Bunye, Tomas Osias, Reynaldo Camilon, Benjamin Taguibao, Benjamin
implement this resolution, Bunye, together with his co-petitioners and elements of the
Bulos and other unidentified persons, allegedly through force, violence and intimidation,
Capital Command of the Philippine Constabulary, proceeded, on 19 August 1986, to the
forcibly broke open the doors of the offices of petitioners located at the second floor of
public market and announced to the general public and the stallholders thereat that the

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 37


the KBS Building, new Muntinlupa Public Market, purportedly to serve upon petitioners
the Order of respondent Secretary of Agriculture dated 28 October 1988, and to
implement the same, by taking over and assuming the management of KBMBPM,
disbanding the then incumbent Board of Directors for that purpose and excluding and
prohibiting the General Manager and the other officers from exercising their lawful
functions as such. 14 The Order of the Secretary reads as follows: 15
ORDER
WHEREAS, the KILUSANG BAYAN SA PAGLILINGKOD NG MGA MAGTITINDA NG
BAGONG PAMILIHANG BAYAN NG MUNTINLUPA, INC., (KBMBPM), Alabang,
Muntinlupa, Metro Manila is a Cooperative registered under the provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 175, as amended;
WHEREAS, the Department of Agriculture is empowered to regulate and supervise
cooperatives registered under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 175, as
amended;
WHEREAS, the general membership of the KBMBPM has petitioned the Department of
Agriculture for assistance in the removal of the members of the Board of Directors who
were not elected by the general membership of said cooperative;
WHEREAS, the on-going financial and management audit of the Department of
Agriculture auditors show (sic) that the management of the KBMBPM is not operating
that cooperative in accordance with PD. 175, LOI No. 23, the Circulars issued by
DA/BACOD and the provisions of the by-laws of KBMBPM;
WHEREAS, the interest of the public so demanding it is evident and urgently necessary
that the KBMBPM MUST BE PLACED UNDER MANAGEMENT TAKE-OVER of the
Department of Agriculture in order to preserve the financial interest of the members of the
cooperative and to enhance the cooperative development program of the government;

b) Atty. Rogelio P. Madriaga BACOD


c) Mr. Recto Coronado KBMBPM
d) Mrs. Nadjasda Ponsones KBMBPM
e) One (1) from the Municipal Government of Muntinlupa to be designated by the
Sangguniang Pambayan ng Muntinlupa;
2. THAT the Management Committee shall, upon receipt of this Order, assume the
management of KBMBPM;
3. THAT the present Board of Directors is hereby disbanded and the officers and
Manager of the KBMBPM are hereby directed to turnover all assets, properties and
records of the KBMBPM to the Management Committee herein created;
4. THAT the Management Committee is hereby empowered to promulgate rules of
procedure to govern its workings as a body;
5. THAT the Management Committee shall submit to the undersigned thru the Director of
BACOD monthly reports on the operations of KBMBPM;
6. THAT the Management Committee shall call a General Assembly of all registered
members of the KBMBPM within Ninety (90) days from date of this Order to decide such
matters affecting the KBMBPM, including the election of a new set of Board of Director
(sic).
This Order takes effect immediately and shall continue to be in force until the members of
the Board of Directors shall have been duly elected and qualified.
Done this 28th day of October, 1988 at Quezon City.

WHEREAS, it is ordered that the Department of Agriculture in the exercise of its


regulatory and supervisory powers under Section 8 of PD 175, as amended, and Section
4 of Executive Order No. 113, take over the management of KBMBPM under the
following directives:

As claimed by petitioners, the Order served on them was not written on the stationary of
the Department, does not bear its seal and is a mere xerox copy.

1. THAT a Management Committee is hereby created composed of the following:

The so-called petition upon which the Order is based appears to be an unverified petition
dated 10 October 1988 signed, according to Mayor Bunye, 16 by 371 members of the
KBMBPM.

a) Reg. Dir. or OIC RD DA Region IV

On 2 November 1988, petitioners filed the petition in this case alleging, inter alia, that:

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 38


(a) Respondent Secretary acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the Order
for he arrogated unto himself a judicial function by determining the alleged guilt of
petitioners on the strength of a mere unverified petition; the disbandment of the Board of
Directors was done without authority of law since under Letter of Implementation No. 23,
removal of officers, directors or committee members could be done only by the majority
of the members entitled to vote at an annual or special general assembly and only after
an opportunity to be heard at said assembly.

Respondent Bunye, by himself, filed his Comment on 23 January 1989. 21 He denies the
factual allegations in the petition and claims that petitioners failed to exhaust
administrative remedies. A reply thereto was filed by petitioners on 7 February 1989. 22

(b) Respondent Secretary acted in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary and despotic


manner, so patent and gross that it amounted to a grave abuse of discretion.

On 20 February 1989, petitioners filed a Reply to the first Comment of Coronado 25 and
an Ex-Parte Motion for the immediate issuance of a cease and desist order 26 praying
that the so-called new directors and officers of KBMBPM, namely: Tomas M. Osias,
Ildefonso B. Reyes, Paulino Moldez, Fortunato M. Medina, Aurora P. del Rosario, Moises
Abrenica, and Lamberto Casalla, be ordered to immediately cease and desist from filing
notices of withdrawals or motions to dismiss cases filed by the Cooperative now pending
before the courts, administrative offices and the Ombudsman and Tanodbayan, and that
if such motions or notices were already filed, to immediately withdraw and desist from
further pursuing the same until further orders of this Court. The latter was precipitated by
the Resolution No. 19 of the "new" board of directors withdrawing all cases filed by its
predecessors against Bunye, et al., and more particularly the following cases: (a) G.R.
No. 85439 (the instant petition), (b) Civil Case No. 88-1702, (c) OSP Case No. 88-2110
before the Ombudsman, (d) IBP Case No. 88-0119 before the Tanodbayan, and Civil
Case No. 88-118 for Mandamus. 27

(c) The Order is a clear violation of the By-Laws of KBMBPM and is likewise illegal and
unlawful for it allows or tolerates the violation of the penal provisions under paragraph
(c), Section 9 of P.D. No. 175.
(d) The Order is a clear violation of the constitutional right of the individual petitioners to
be heard. 17
They pray that upon the filing of the petition, respondents, their agents, representatives
or persons acting on their behalf be ordered to refrain, cease and desist from enforcing
and implementing the questioned Order or from excluding the individual petitioners from
the exercise of their rights as such officers and, in the event that said acts sought to be
restrained were already partially or wholly done, to immediately restore the management
and operation of the public market to petitioners, order respondents to vacate the
premises and, thereafter, preserve the status quo; and that, finally, the challenged Order
be declared null and void.
In the Resolution of 9 October 1988, 18 We required the respondents to Comment on the
petition. Before any Comment could be filed, petitioners filed on 2 January 1989 an
Urgent Ex-Parte Motion praying that respondent Atty. Rogelio Madriaga, who had
assumed the position of Chairman of the Management Committee, be ordered to stop
and/or cancel the scheduled elections of the officers of the KBMBPM on 6 January 1989
and, henceforth, desist from scheduling any election of officers or Members of the Board
of Directors thereof until further orders on the Court. 19 The elections were,
nevertheless, held and a new board of directors was elected. So, on 19 January 1989,
petitioners filed a supplemental motion 20 praying that respondent Madriaga and the
"newly elected Board of Directors be ordered to cease and desist from assuming,
performing or exercising powers as such, and/or from removing or replacing the counsels
of petitioners as counsels for KBMBPM and for Atty. Fernando Aquino, Jr., to cease and
desist from unduly interfering with the affairs and business of the cooperative."

Respondent Recto Coronado filed two (2) Comments. The first was filed on 6 February
1989 23 by his counsel, Atty. Fernando Aquino, Jr., and the second, which is for both him
and Atty. Madriaga, was filed by the latter on 10 February 1989. 24

On 1 March 1989, We required the Solicitor General to file his Comment to the petition
and the urgent motion for the immediate issuance of a cease and desist order. 28
A motion to dismiss the instant petition was filed on 30 March 1989. 29 On 19 April 1989,
We resolved to dismiss the case and consider it closed and terminated. 30 Thereupon,
after some petitioners filed a motion for clarification and reconsideration, We set aside
the dismissal order and required the new directors to comment on the Opposition to
Motion to Dismiss filed by the former. 31
The new board, on 14 June 1989, prayed that its Manifestation of 6 June 1989 and
Opposition dated 9 June 1989, earlier submitted it response to petitioners' motion for
reconsideration of the order dismissing the instant petition, be treated as its
Comment. 32 Both parties then continued their legal fencing, serving several pleadings
on each other.
In Our Resolution of 9 August 1989, 33 We gave the petition due course and required the
parties to submit their respective Memoranda.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 39


On 14 August 1989, petitioners filed an urgent ex-parte motion for the immediate
issuance of a cease and desist order 34 in view of the new board's plan to enter into a
new management contract; the motion was noted by this Court on 23 August 1989. A
second ex-parte motion, noted on 18 October 1989, was filed on 19 September 1989
asking this court to consider the "Invitation to pre-qualify and bid" for a new contract
published by respondent Bunye. 35

Petitioners filed a rejoinder asserting that the election of new directors is not a
supervening event independent of the main issue in the present petition and that to
subscribe to the argument that the issues in the instant petition became moot with their
assumption into office is to reward a wrong done.

In a belated Comment 36 for the respondent Secretary of Agriculture filed on 22


September 1989, the Office of the Solicitor General asserts that individual petitioners,
who were not allegedly elected by the members or duly designated by the BACOD
Director, have no right or authority to file this case; the assailed Order of the Secretary
was issued pursuant to P.D. No. 175, more particularly Section 8 thereof which
authorizes him "(d) to suspend the operation or cancel the registration of any cooperative
after hearing and when in its judgment and based on findings, such cooperative is
operating in violation of this Decree, rules and regulations, existing laws as well as the
by-laws of the cooperative itself;" the Order is reasonably necessary to correct serious
flaws in the cooperative and provide interim measures until election of regular members
to the board and officers thereof; the elections conducted on 6 January 1989 are valid;
and that the motion to dismiss filed by the new board of directors binds the cooperative. It
prays for the dismissal of the petition.

Petitioners claim that without ruling on their 20 October 1988 motion for an extension of
at last 15 days from 22 October 1988 within which to file their counter-affidavits, which
was received by the Office of the Special Prosecutor on 3 November 1988, Special
Prosecutor Onos promulgated on 11 November 1988 a Resolution finding the evidence
on hand sufficient to establish a prima facie case against respondents (herein petitioners)
and recommending the filing of the corresponding information against them before the
Sandiganbayan. 42Petitioners also claim that they submitted their counter-affidavits on 9
November 1988. 43

Respondent Secretary of Agriculture manifested on 22 September 1989 that he is


adopting the Comment submitted by the Office of the Solicitor General as his
memorandum; 37 petitioners and respondents Coronado and Madriaga filed their
separate Memoranda on 6 November 1989; 38 while the new board of directors
submitted its Memorandum on 11 December 1989. 39
The new KBMBPM board submitted additional pleadings on 16 February 1990 which it
deemed relevant to the issues involved herein. Reacting, petitioners filed a motion to
strike out improper and inadmissible pleadings and annexes and sought to have the
pleaders cited for contempt. Although We required respondents to comment, the latter
did not comply.

G. R. NO. 91927

In their motion dated 2 December 1988, petitioners move for a reconsideration of the
above Resolution, 44 which was denied by Onos 45 in his 18 January 1989 Order. The
information against the petitioners was attached to this order.
Upon submission of the records for his approval, the Ombudsman issued a first
indorsement on 4 April 1989 referring to "Judge Gualberto J. de la Llana, Acting Director ,
IEO/RSSO, this Office, the within records of OSP Case No. 88-02110 . . . for further
preliminary investigation . . ." 46
Thereafter, on 28 April 1989, Bunye and company received a subpoena from de la Llana
requiring them to appear before the latter on 25 April 1989, 47 submit a report and file
comment. After being granted an extension, Bunye and company submitted their
comment on 18 May 1989. 48
On 22 August 1989, de la Llana recommended the filing of an information for violation of
section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 49 The case was referred to
special prosecuting officer Jose Parentela, Jr. who, in his Memorandum 50 to the
Ombudsman through the Acting Special Prosecutor, likewise urged that an information
be filed against herein petitioners. On 3 October 1989, the Ombudsman signed his
conformity to the Memorandum and approved the 18 January information prepared by
Onos, which was then filed with the Sandiganbayan.

Nevertheless, a manifestation was filed by the same board on 25 February


1991 40 informing this Court of the holding, on 9 January 1991, of its annual general
assembly and election of its board of directors for 1991. It then reiterates the prayer that
the instant petition be considered withdrawn and dismissed. Petitioners filed a counter
manifestation alleging that the instant petition was already given due course on 9 August
1989. 41 In its traverse to the counter manifestation, the new board insists that it "did not
Consequently, Bunye, et al. were served arrest warrants issued by the Sandiganbayan.
derive authority from the October 28, 1988 Order, the acts of the Management
Detained at the NBI on 9 October 1989, they claim to have discovered only then the
Committee, nor (sic) from the elections held in (sic) January 6, 1989," but rather from the
existence of documents recommending and approving the filing of the complaint and a
members of the cooperative who elected them into office during the elections.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 40


memorandum by special prosecutor Bernardita G. Erum proposing the dismissal of the
same. 51
Arraignment was set for 18 October 1989. 52
However, on 14 October 1989, petitioners filed with the Sandiganbayan an "Omnibus
Motion to Remand to the Office of the Ombudsman; to Defer Arraignment and to
Suspend Proceedings." 53
Subsequently, through new counsel, petitioners filed on 17 October 1989 a Consolidated
Manifestation and Supplemental Motion 54 praying, inter alia, for the quashal of the
information on the ground that they were deprived of their right to a preliminary
investigation and that the information did not charge an offense.
The Sandiganbayan issued an order on 18 October 1989 deferring arraignment and
directing the parties to submit their respective memoranda, 55 which petitioners complied
with on 2 November 1989. 56 On 16 November 1989, special Prosecutor Berbano filed a
motion
to
admit
amended
information. 57
On 17 November 1989, the Sandiganbayan handed down a Resolution 58 denying for
lack of merit the Omnibus Motion to Remand the Case To The Office of the Ombudsman,
to Defer Arraignment and to Suspend Proceedings. Petitioners then filed a motion to
order a preliminary investigation 59 on the basis of the introduction by the amended
information of new, material and substantive allegations, which the special prosecutor
opposed, 60 thereby precipitating a rejoinder filed by petitioners. 61
On 4 January 1990, the Sandiganbayan handed down a Resolution 62 admitting the
Amended Information and denying the motion to direct preliminary investigation. Their
motion to reconsider this Resolution having been denied in the Resolution of 1 February
1990, 63 petitioners filed the instant petition on 12 February 1990.
Petitioners claim that respondent Sandiganbayan acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction or with manifest grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in
denying petitioners their right to preliminary investigation and in admitting the Amended
Information.

They then pray that: (a) the 4 January and 1 February 1990 Resolutions of
Sandiganbayan, admitting the amended information and denying the motion
reconsideration, respectively, be annulled; (b) a writ be issued enjoining
Sandiganbayan from proceeding further in Criminal Case No. 13966; and
respondents be enjoined from pursuing further actions in the graft case.

the
for
the
(c)

We required the respondents to Comment on the petition.


On 21 February 1990, petitioners' counsel filed a motion to drop Epifanio Espeleta and
Rey E. Dulay as petitioners, 64 and in the Comment they filed on 30 March 1990, in
compliance with Our Resolution of 1 March 1990, they state that they do not interpose
any objection to the motion.
On 20 March 1990, the Office of the Solicitor General moved that it be excused from
filing comment for the respondents as it cannot subscribe to the position taken by the
latter with respect to the questions of law involved.65 We granted this motion in the
resolution of 8 May 1990.
Respondent Berbano filed his comment on 10 September 1991 and petitioners replied on
20 December 1990; Berbano subsequently filed a Rejoinder thereto on 11 January
1991. 66 The Sandiganbayan then filed a manifestation proposing that it be excused
from
filing
comment
as
its
position
on the matters in issue is adequately stated in the resolutions sought to be
annulled. 67 On 7 March 1991, We resolved to note the manifestation and order the
instant petition consolidated with G.R. No. 85439.
The present dispute revolves around the validity of the antecedent proceedings which led
to the filing of the original information on 18 January 1989 and the amended information
afterwards.
THE ISSUES AND THEIR RESOLUTION
1. G. R. No. 85439.
As adverted to in the introductory portion of this Decision, the principal issue in G.R. No.
85439 is the validity of the 28 October 1988 Order of respondent Secretary of Agriculture.
The exordium of said Order unerringly indicates that its basis is the alleged petition of the
general membership of the KBMBPM requesting the Department for assistance "in the
removal of the members of the Board of Directors who were not elected by the general
membership" of the cooperative and that the "ongoing financial and management audit of
the Department of Agriculture auditors show (sic) that the management of the KBMBPM

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 41


is not operating that cooperative in accordance with P.D. 175, LOI 23, the Circulars
issued by DA/BACOD and the provisions and by-laws of KBMBPM." It is also professed
therein that the Order was issued by the Department "in the exercise of its regulatory and
supervisory powers under Section 8 of P.D. 175, as amended, and Section 4 of
Executive Order No. 113."
Respondents challenge the personality of the petitioners to bring this action, set up the
defense of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, and assert that the Order was
lawfully and validly issued under the above decree and Executive Order.
We find merit in the petition and the defenses interposed do not persuade Us.
Petitioners have the personality to file the instant petition and ask, in effect, for their
reinstatement as Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, defining an action
for mandamus, permits a person who has been excluded from the use and enjoyment of
a right or office to which he is entitled, to file suit. 68 Petitioners, as ousted directors of
the KBMBPM, are questioning precisely the act of respondent Secretary in disbanding
the board of directors; they then pray that this Court restore them to their prior stations.
As to failure to exhaust administrative remedies, the rule is well-settled that this
requirement does not apply where the respondent is a department secretary whose acts,
as an alter ego of the President, bear the implied approval of the latter, unless actually
disapproved by him. 69 This doctrine of qualified political agency ensures speedy access
to the courts when most needed. There was no need then to appeal the decision to the
office of the President; recourse to the courts could be had immediately. Moreover, the
doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies also yields to other exceptions, such as
when the question involved is purely legal, as in the instant case, 70 or where the
questioned act is patently illegal, arbitrary or oppressive. 71 Such is the claim of
petitioners which, as hereinafter shown, is correct.
And now on the validity of the assailed Order.
Regulation 34 of Letter of Implementation No. 23 (implementing P.D. No. 175) provides
the procedure for the removal of directors or officers of cooperatives, thus:
An elected officer, director or committee member may be removed by a vote of majority
of the members entitled to vote at an annual or special general assembly. The person
involved shall have an opportunity to be heard.
A substantially identical provision, found in Section 17, Article III of the KBMBPM's bylaws, reads:

Sec. 17. Removal of Directors and Committee Members. Any elected director or
committee member may be removed from office for cause by a majority vote of the
members in good standing present at the annual or special general assembly called for
the purpose after having been given the opportunity to be heard at the assembly.
Under the same article are found the requirements for the holding of both the annual
general assembly and a special general assembly.
Indubitably then, there is an established procedure for the removal of directors and
officers of cooperatives. It is likewise manifest that the right to due process is respected
by the express provision on the opportunity to be heard. But even without said provision,
petitioners cannot be deprived of that right.
The procedure was not followed in this case. Respondent Secretary of Agriculture
arrogated unto himself the power of the members of the KBMBPM who are authorized to
vote to remove the petitioning directors and officers. He cannot take refuge under
Section 8 of P.D. No. 175 which grants him authority to supervise and regulate all
cooperatives. This section does not give him that right.
An administrative officer has only such powers as are expressly granted to him and those
necessarily implied in the exercise thereof. 72 These powers should not be extended by
implication beyond what may to necessary for their just and reasonable execution. 73
Supervision and control include only the authority to: (a) act directly whenever a specific
function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; (b) direct the performance of
duty; restrain the commission of acts; (c) review, approve, reverse or modify acts and
decisions
of
subordinate
officials
or
units; (d) determine priorities in the execution of plans and programs; and (e) prescribe
standards, guidelines, plans and programs. Specifically, administrative supervision is
limited to the authority of the department or its equivalent to: (1) generally oversee the
operations of such agencies and insure that they are managed effectively, efficiently and
economically but without interference with day-to-day activities; (2) require the
submission of reports and cause the conduct of management audit, performance
evaluation and inspection to determine compliance with policies, standards and
guidelines of the department; (3) take such action as may be necessary for the proper
performance of official functions, including rectification of violations, abuses and other
forms of mal-administration; (4) review and pass upon budget proposals of such
agencies but may not increase or add to them. 74
The power to summarily disband the board of directors may not be inferred from any of
the foregoing as both P.D. No. 175 and the by-laws of the KBMBPM explicitly mandate
the manner by which directors and officers are to be removed. The Secretary should

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 42


have known better than to disregard these procedures and rely on a mere petition by the
general membership of the KBMBPM and an on-going audit by Department of Agriculture
auditors in exercising a power which he does not have, expressly or impliedly. We cannot
concede to the proposition of the Office of the Solicitor General that the Secretary's
power under paragraph (d), Section 8 of P.D. No. 175 above quoted to suspend the
operation or cancel the registration of any cooperative includes the "milder authority of
suspending officers and calling for the election of new officers." Firstly, neither
suspension nor cancellation includes the take-over and ouster of incumbent directors and
officers, otherwise the law itself would have expressly so stated. Secondly, even granting
that the law intended such as postulated, there is the requirement of a hearing. None
was conducted.
Likewise, even if We grant, for the sake of argument, that said power includes the power
to disband the board of directors and remove the officers of the KBMBPM, and that
a hearing was not expressly required in the law, still the Order can be validly issued only
after giving due process to the affected parties, herein petitioners.

assembly. Or, if such a remedy would be futile for some reason or another, judicial
recourse was available.
Be that as it may, petitioners cannot, however, be restored to their positions. Their terms
expired in 1989, thereby rendering their prayer for reinstatement moot and academic.
Pursuant to Section 13 of the by-laws, during the election at the first annual general
assembly after registration, one-half plus one (4) of the directors obtaining the highest
number of votes shall serve for two years, and the remaining directors (3) for one year;
thereafter, all shall be elected for a term of two years. Hence, in 1988, when the board
was disbanded, there was a number of directors whose terms would have expired the
next year (1989) and a number whose terms would have expired two years after (1990).
Reversion to the status quo preceding 29 October 1988 would not be feasible in view of
this turn of events. Besides, elections were held in 1990 and 1991. 79 The affairs of the
cooperative are presently being managed by a new board of directors duly elected in
accordance with the cooperative's by-laws.
2. G. R. No. 91927.

Due process is guaranteed by the Constitution 75 and extends to administrative


proceedings. In the landmark case ofAng Tibay vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 76 this
Court, through Justice Laurel, laid down the cardinal primary requirements of due
process in administrative proceedings, foremost of which is the right to a hearing, which
includes the right to present one's case and submit evidence in support thereof. The
need for notice and the opportunity to be heard is the heart of procedural due process,
be it in either judicial or administrative proceedings. 77 Nevertheless, a plea of a denial of
procedural due process does not lie where a defect consisting in an absence of notice of
hearing was thereafter cured by the aggrieved party himself as when he had the
opportunity to be heard on a subsequent motion for reconsideration. This is consistent
with the principle that what the law prohibits is not the absence of previous notice but the
absolute absence thereof and lack of an opportunity to be heard. 78
In the instant case, there was no notice of a hearing on the alleged petition of the general
membership of the KBMBPM; there was, as well, not even a semblance of a hearing.
The Order was based solely on an alleged petition by the general membership of the
KBMBPM. There was then a clear denial of due process. It is most unfortunate that it
was done after democracy was restored through the peaceful people revolt at EDSA and
the overwhelming ratification of a new Constitution thereafter, which preserves for the
generations to come the gains of that historic struggle which earned for this Republic
universal admiration.
If there were genuine grievances against petitioners, the affected members should have
timely raise these issues in the annual general assembly or in a special general

The right of an accused to a preliminary investigation is not among


the rights guaranteed him in the Bill of Rights. As stated in Marcos, et
al. vs. Cruz, 80 "the preliminary investigation in criminal cases is not a creation of the
Constitution; its origin is statutory and it exists and the right thereto can be invoked when
so established and granted by law. It is so specifically granted by procedural law. 81 If
not waived, absence thereof may amount to a denial of due process. 82 However, lack of
preliminary investigation is not a ground to quash or dismiss a complaint or information.
Much less does it affect the court's jurisdiction. In People vs. Casiano, 83 this Court
ruled:
Independently of the foregoing, the absence of such investigation [preliminary] did not
impair the validity of the information or otherwise render it defective. Much less did it
affect the jurisdiction of the court of first instance over the present case. Hence, had the
defendant-appellee been entitled to another preliminary investigation, and had his plea of
not guilty upon arraignment not implied a waiver of said right, the court of first instance
should have, either conducted such preliminary investigation, or ordered the Provincial
Fiscal to make it, in pursuance of section 1687 of the Revised Administrative Code (as
amended by Republic Act No. 732), or remanded the record for said investigation to the
justice of the peace court, instead of dismissing the case as it did in the order appealed
from.
This doctrine was thereafter reiterated or affirmed in several case. 84

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 43


In the instant case, even if it is to be conceded for argument's sake that there was in fact
no
preliminary
investigation,
the
Sandiganbayan,
per Doromal
vs. Sandiganbayan, 85 "should merely suspend or hold in abeyance proceedings upon
the questioned Amended Information and remand the case to the Office of the
Ombudsman for him to conduct a preliminary investigation."
It is Our view, however, that petitioners were not denied the right to preliminary
investigation. They, nevertheless, insist that the preliminary investigation conducted by
the Office of the Special Prosecutor existed more in form than in substance. This is
anchored on the failure by prosecutor Onos to consider the counter-affidavits filed by
petitioners. The same sin of omission is ascribed to Acting Director de la Llana who
purportedly failed to consider the comments submitted by the petitioners pursuant to a
subpoena dated 13 April 1989. The failure of special prosecutor Berbano to conduct a
preliminary investigation before amending the information is also challenged.
It is finally urged that the Sandiganbayan completely disregarded the "glaring anomaly
that on its face the Information filed by the Office of the Special Prosecutor" was
prepared and subscribed on 18 January 1989, while the records indicate that the
preliminary investigation was concluded on 3 October 1989.
In his Comment, respondent Berbano dispassionately traces the genesis of the criminal
information filed before the Sandiganbayan. His assessment that a preliminary
investigation sufficient in substance and manner was conducted prior to the filing of the
information reflects the view of the Sandiganbayan, maintained in both the 17 November
1989 and 4 January 1990 resolutions, that there was compliance with the requirements
of due process.
Petitioners were provided a reasonable period within which to submit their counteraffidavits; they did not avail of the original period; they moved for an extension of at least
fifteen (15) days from 22 October 1988. Despite the urgency of its nature, the motion was
sent by mail. The extension prayed for was good up to 6 November 1988. But, as
admitted by them, they filed the Counter-Affidavits only on 9 November 1988. Yet, they
blamed prosecutor Onos for promulgating the 11 November 1989 Resolution and for,
allegedly, not acting on the motion. Petitioners then should not lay the blame on Onos;
they should blame themselves for presuming that the motion would be granted.
This notwithstanding, petitioners were able to file a Motion for Reconsideration on 13
December 1988 requesting that the reviewing prosecutor consider the belatedly filed
documents; 86 thus, there is the recommendation of prosecutor Bernardita Erum calling
for the dismissal of the charges on 2 March 1989, which, however, was not sustained
upon subsequent review. The Sandiganbayan, in its 17 November 1989 Resolution,
succinctly summed up the matter when it asserted that "even granting, for the sake of

argument, that prosecutor Onos . . . failed to consider accused-movants' counteraffidavits, such defect was cured when a "Motion for Reconsideration" was filed, and
which . . . de la Llana took into account upon review."
It may not then be successfully asserted that the counter-affidavits were not considered
by the Ombudsman in approving the information. Perusal of the factual antecedents
reveals that a second investigation was conducted upon the "1st Indorsement" of the
Ombudsman of 4 April 1989. As a result, subpoenas were issued and comments were
asked to be submitted, which petitioners did, but only after a further extension of fifteen
(15) days from the expiration of the original deadline. From this submission the matter
underwent further review.
Moreover, in the 18 January 1989 Order of prosecutor Onos, there was an ample
discussion of the defenses raised by the petitioners in their counter-affidavits, thus
negating the charge that the issues raised by them were not considered at all. 87
It is indisputable that the respondents were not remiss in their duty to afford the
petitioners the opportunity to contest the charges thrown their way. Due process does not
require that the accused actually file his counter-affidavits before the preliminary
investigation is deemed completed. All that is required is that he be given the opportunity
to submit such if he is so minded. 88
In any event, petitioners did in fact, although belatedly, submit their counter-affidavits and
as a result thereof, the prosecutors concerned considered them in subsequent reviews of
the information, particularly in the re-investigation ordered by the Ombudsman.
And now, as to the protestation of lack of preliminary investigation prior to the filing of the
Amended Information. The prosecution may amend the information without leave of court
before arraignment, 89 and such does not prejudice the accused. 90 Reliance on the
pronouncements in Doromal vs. Sandiganbayan 91 is misplaced as what obtained
therein was the preparation of an entirely new information as contrasted with mere
amendments introduced in the amended information, which also charges petitioners with
violating Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft Law.
In Gaspar vs. Sandiganbayan, 92 We held that there is no rule or law requiring the
Tanodbayan to conduct another preliminary investigation of a case under review by it. On
the contrary, under P.D. No. 911, in relation to Rule 12, Administrative Order No. VII, the
Tanodbayan may, upon review, reverse the findings of the investigator and thereafter
"where he finds a prima facie case, to cause the filing of an information in court against
the respondent, based on the same sworn statements or evidence submitted, without the
necessity of conducting another preliminary investigation."

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 44


Respondent Sandiganbayan did not then commit any grave abuse of discretion in
respect to its Resolutions of 4 January 1990 and 1 February 1990.
The petition then must fail.
CONCLUSION
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. GRANTING the petition in G.R. No. 85439; declaring null and void the challenged
Order of 28 October 1988 of the respondent Secretary of Agriculture; but denying, for
having become moot and academic, the prayer of petitioners that they be restored to
their positions in the KBMBPM.
2. DISMISSING, for lack of merit, the petition in G.R. No. 91927.

During the time pertinent to this case defendant was Governor of the Central Bank of the
Philippines. On January 13, 1949 Corpus was appointed Economist in the Department of
Economic Research of said bank. Thereafter he received promotions in position and
salary. By 1954 he was Director of the Department of Loans and Credit and Rural Banks
Administration. On December 15, 1954 a number of employee of the bank filed an
administrative complaint against him. Upon their petition he was suspended from office
on February 8, 1955. After investigation he was found guilty on five counts and upon
recommendation of the Governor was penalized with suspension without pay from
February 8, 1955 to August 30, 1955, the date the Monetary Board of the bank rendered
its decision.
On August 31, 1955 Corpus received a letter from Cuaderno informing him that be had
been "reinstated in the service of the bank" with the designation of "Technical Assistant to
the Governor." On January 17, 1956 he was appointed Special Assistant to the Governor,
in charge of the Export Department.
On March 7, 1958 several of his co-employees in the same department filed an
administrative complaint against him, alleging a number of acts of misfeasance. The
Monetary Board, upon recommendation of the Governor, suspended him on March 18.

No pronouncement as to costs.
IT IS SO ORDERED.

On March 25, 1958 Corpus instituted the present action, alleging that his suspension was
unwarranted and had been brought about by Cuaderno's malicious machinations. The
latter's counterclaim, after the denials and special defenses in his answer, alleged that
the complaint had been filed maliciously and that plaintiff had committed libel against
him.
G.R. No. L-16969

April 30, 1966

R.
MARINO
vs.
MIGUEL CUADERNO, SR., defendant-appellee.

CORPUS, plaintiff-appellant,

Rosauro
L.
Alvarez,
for
plaintiff-appellant.
G. B. Guevara, R. P. Guevara and E. S. Tipon, for defendant-appellee.
MAKALINTAL, J.:
This is a suit for damage commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila, where
plaintiff asked for half a million pesos and defendant, on his counterclaim, for one and a
half million. After trial the court dismissed the complaint and awarded P1,000.00 to
defendant. Plaintiff appealed directly to Us in view of the amount claimed by him.

On May 5, 1959, while this case was still pending in the lower court, the three-man
committee created to investigate the 1958 administrative charges against plaintiff
reported to the Monetary Board that if found no basis to recommend disciplinary action
against him and therefore urged that he be reinstated. But on July 20, 1959 the Monetary
Board resolved that:
After an exhaustive and mature deliberation of the report of the aforesaid fact-finding
committee, and representations of both complainants and respondent, through their
respective counsel; and, further, after a thorough review of the service record of the
respondent, particularly the various cases presented against him, object of Monetary
Board Resolution No. 1527 dated August 30, 1955, which all involve fitness, discipline,
etc. of respondent; and moreover, upon formal statement of the Governor that he has lost
confidence in the respondent as Special Assistant to the Governor and in charge of the
Export Department (such position being primarily confidential and highly technical in
nature), the Monetary Board finds that the continuance of the respondent in the service
of the Central Bank would be prejudicial to the best interest of the Central Bank and,

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 45


therefore, in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the Bank Charter, considers
the respondent, Mr. R. Marino Corpus, resigned as of the date of his suspension.
On March 22, 1960 the lower court rendered the decision appealed from, absolving
Cuaderno from liability but ordering Corpus to pay damages, as aforesaid, the allegation
of libel having been duly proven.
Appellant now avers that the lower court erred in holding (1) that appellee is not liable for
damages for illegally causing his suspension and eventual removal; and (2) that
appellant had committed libel against appellee.
In connection with the first issue it is pertinent to state that the question of legality of
appellant's removal by resolution of the Monetary Board of July 20, 1959 has been
decided by Us in another case (G.R. No. L-23721, March 31, 1965). We found there that
he had been removed not for any of the charges in the administrative complaint against
him in 1958 charges as to which no specific findings were made by the Monetary
Board but by reason of loss of confidence by the Governor of the Bank; and held that
loss of confidence alone is not a sufficient and legitimate cause for removal even if the
position involved, as in appellant's case, belongs to the category of policy-determining,
primarily confidential or highly technical positions referred to in the Constitution. In that
case, therefore, We ordered appellant's reinstatement in the service.
The question here now is whether appellant's removal was the result of malicious
machinations on the part of appellee, as alleged in the complaint. Appellant starts by
saying that Cuaderno harbored a feeling of professional jealousy against him because he
was a much solicited guest speaker on economic matters a subject appellee
considered his forte; and that on one occasion, during a hearing in Congress, appellant
gave testimony contrary to that which appellee had given, thus putting the latter in a bad
light. Resentment according to appellant was followed by overt acts, thus: Appellee
induced a number of bank employees to file the administrative complaints of 1955 and
1958. The 1955 complaint was dated January 20, but as early as January 11 appellee
saw to it that an investigating committee was created by the Monetary Board. And before
appellant was given a chance to explain his side he was suspended, upon appellee's
recommendation, on February 8, 1955. Appellant was not given a chance to read the
charges against him except during the trial of the instant case. After the investigation
appellant received a letter from appellee, informing him of his reinstatement, but without
mentioning the fact that he had been found guilty and given the penalty of suspension
without pay. Appellee even congratulated him on his exoneration. To completely convince
appellant of this, appellee ordered the preparation of the "back salary" check
corresponding to appellant's period of suspension, only to have the check cancelled later
on. After the second administrative complaint was filed in 1958 appellee hastily convened
an extraordinary meeting of the Monetary Board in order to magnify the false charges

against appellant although appellee knew that the meeting was violative of the Central
Bank charter, because the object of the meeting, as aforesaid, was not stated in the call,
and the object actually stated did not justify an extraordinary meeting at all. To lull
appellant into a false sense of security, appellee simply notified him, by letters, to prepare
comments on the administrative charges, leading him to believe that he had all the time
to do so, but afterwards appellee suddenly changed his tactics and directed the secretary
of the Monetary Board to demand that appellant answer the charges as soon as
possible. And on March 18, 1958 appellee informed appellant that he had been
suspended effective that day. The corresponding letters and notices were delivered to
appellant at his house by the bank's security guards, who were in uniform and fully
armed a manner of delivery that proved humiliating to appellant.
We first take up the question of appellant's removal from office as a result of the
administrative complaint filed against him in 1958. The removal was embodied in a
resolution of the Monetary Board, upon appellee's recommendation as Governor of the
Bank. The procedure adopted was in accordance with the provision of the bank charter
that the Monetary Board shall "on the recommendation of the Governor, appoint, fix the
remunerations, and remove all officers and employees of the Central Bank." (Section 14,
R.A. 265.) Under this provision the Board has the power to adopt or reject the
recommendation. The decisive action belonged to the Board, not to appellee.
In speaking of the action of the Board, this Court said in G.R. No. L-23721, supra: "we do
not believe that in opining that the position of Corpus was one dependent on confidence,
the defendant Monetary Board necessarily acted with vindictiveness or wantonness, and
not in the exercise of honest judgment."
The record does not show that it was appellee who instigated either or both of the
administrative cases against appellant. The 1955 complaint was filed by ten bank
employees, while the one in 1958 was filed by eighteen of appellant's subordinates in his
department persons who would naturally be expected to feel greater loyalty to
appellant, their immediate superior, than to appellee. None of the complainants in the first
group were in the second group. No acts are attributed to appellee from which it may be
inferred that he convinced all or a large number of them to file the charges.
Appellant stresses the fact that in the first administrative case, even before the
complainants filed their complaint of January 20, 1955 the Monetary Board had already
created an investigating committee, based on "papers presented by the Governor." The
resolution to that effect was passed January 11, 1955. The evidence shows, however,
that the complainants charged appellant as early as December 15, 1954, reiterated their
complaint on the following December 26, and again on January 3, 1955. The complaint
of January 20, 1955 was only a more formal and detailed narration of the charges.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 46


In any event, some of the charges were substantiated. True, appellant was absolved of
negligence in the performance of official duties and dishonesty, but he was found guilty
on five other counts, namely: (1) physical maltreatment of a co-employee; (2) use of
insulting language; (3) oppressive treatment of subordinates; (4) promulgation of
unreasonable office regulations; and (5) defiance to the Monetary Board. Under the
circumstances, malice can hardly be imputed to anybody in the formulation of those
charges.
Appellant says it was only during the trial of the present case that he read a copy of the
1955 administrative complaint against him. We are hard put to believe this. One who is
thus charged, and suspended by reason thereof, would lose no time finding out what the
charges are. And after the administrative investigations had been terminated and
appellant received a letter informing him of his restoration to office, he would want to
know whether he had been exonerated or not. The fact is that he requested appellee to
intercede for him in convincing the members of the Monetary Board to amend the
resolution imposing upon him the penalty of suspension without pay a fact which
certainly does not jibe with his alleged ignorance of the charges of which he had been
found guilty.
Contrary to appellant's claim, it was not appellee who was responsible for the
cancellation of the check covering the period of his suspension. In fact appellee was the
one who had the check prepared on September 6, 1955, just before he left on a trip to
Istanbul; but as appellant himself stated in a letter-complaint he sent to the Presidential
Complaints and Action Committee the check "was subsequently cancelled upon orders of
Acting Deputy Governor Castillo on the strength of the Monetary Board resolution which
was prepared after Governor Cuaderno's departure on September 6th." This is confirmed
by appellant's witness, Jose Carmona, who was Chief Accountant of the Central Bank at
the time.

Neither was appellee responsible for appellant's preventive suspension in connection


with the two administrative cases against him. The pertinent resolution of the Monetary
Board shows that it suspended appellant (in 1955) "after being appraised (sic) of the
findings and observations of the Committee created on January 11, 1955 on the matter at
its present stage." The Board was then acting on complainants' petition dated January 3,
1955, precisely urging appellant's suspension. Likewise it appears that in the 1958
administrative case the complainants filed, on March 12 of that year, a motion for the
immediate suspension or relief from office of appellant; and (to quote from the
corresponding resolution) "after a lengthy and mature deliberation on the matter and
upon the recommendation of the Governor, the Board, by unanimous vote, decided to
suspend from office effective today, March 18, 1958, Mr. R. Marino Corpus." Both acts of
suspension were by the Monetary Board, not by appellee. If appellee recommended
suspension, he did so in the performance of his duty as he saw it and not in pursuance of
an insidious scheme against appellant.
Concerning the alleged humiliating manner in which the communications from the
Monetary Board were served upon appellant, we fail to see how appellee may be held
responsible. The bank's security guards who delivered them may have been in uniform
and armed at the time, but it does not appear that they did anything to call the public's
attention to the import of the messages they were carrying. If they acted in an oppressive
and high-handed manner, it is they and not appellee who should be made to answer.
Appellant says that after appellee had lulled him into a false sense of security in
connection with the 1958 case, the latter suddenly pressed him to file his answer without
first furnishing him a copy of the complaint. The record fails to substantiate this
grievance. The complaint was filed on March 7, 1958. Appellant received a letter from
Deputy Governor Castillo asking him to appear at the Central Bank at 9 in the evening of
March 10, 1958, to furnish the Monetary Board with certain information. According to
appellant, when he went to the meeting hall as directed he found nobody there except
the Board Secretary, Attorney Filomeno Sta. Ana. In the afternoon of March 14, 1958
appellant received a letter from Sta. Ana asking him to answer the charges. Appellant
apparently did not reply to the letter. Then on March 17, 1958 Sta. Ana, upon appellee's
instructions, again sent appellant a memorandum asking him to submit his answer
without delay. Instead of answering the charges, or asking for a copy thereof if he did not
have a copy, as he now claims, appellant had his subordinate, Orlando Villanueva, write
a letter on March 18, 1958, telling Sta. Ana that "Mr. Corpus has instructed me to inform
you that his lawyer, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez (Roseller Lim and Rosauro Alvarez Law
Offices) is now sick with flu and is asking for time." Considering that appellant had
engaged a lawyer to defend him, his allegation of ignorance of the charges deserves
scant credit.

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 47


All that may be said about appellee's actuations is that he lost confidence in appellant in
view of the charges filed against him in 1958; and although they were not substantiated,
appellee believed in good faith that such loss of confidence was sufficient reason to
recommend appellant's removal.

The suspended CB official added that President Quezon ordered this official's dismissal
because he felt that the moment he (Mr. Quezon) was convinced a government official
holding a position of trust was unfit to remain in public service, out he would go.
ASK THEM

We come now to the question of libel, which is the subject of appellee's counterclaim.
The statements for which appellee seeks damages from appellant appeared in the March
21, 1958 issue of The Manila Chronicle, as follows:
CORPUS TALKS OF "INTRIGUER "
A suspended Central Bank official yesterday said that a high-ranking CB official, who was
dismissed for malversation from the Philippine National Bank before the war, intrigued
and instigated the filing of charges against him.
In an interview, R. Marino Corpus, who was suspended the other day as special assistant
to the CB governor and head of the CB export department asserted that the "intriguer"
was "dismissed from the PNB when my father, Judge Rafael Corpus, was president of
the bank.
Corpus was suspended on the basis of an administrative complaint filed by 18 of the 78
employees of the CB export department.
In a previous interview, Corpus preferred not to comment on his suspension beyond
saying that "time will tell who instigated the charges, and why."
Yesterday, Corpus called for the ouster of the CB official he was referring to, averring that
this official was automatically disqualified by the CB charter from holding a position in the
Bank which calls for "high moral integrity."
When this story hits the streets, the CB official who will be cussing me and will be
pushing hard to have me disqualified from the CB will be the one who instigated the
charges against me, Corpus added. "He will stop at nothing to run me down, because
now that he is exposed, he is automatically disqualified by the charter of the bank from
holding a position which calls for high moral integrity."
Recalling how this CB official was dismissed from the PNB before the war, Corpus said
the man was discovered "milking" a sugar central.1wph1.t

Pressed for the identification of the official he was referring to, Corpus said the following
would be in a position to reveal who the person was: CB Governor Miguel Cuaderno,
who was assistant general manager of the PNB then; CB legal counsel Natalio Balboa,
who was in the PNB legal department; CB chief accountant Jose Carmona, who was
also in the PNB accounting department, and others like Primitivo Lovina, president of the
Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; PNB President Arsenio Jison, Manuel
Marquez, president of the Commercial Bank and Trust Company, and Alfonso Calalang,
President of the Bankers Association of the Philippines.
In disclaiming liability, appellant points out that in the aforequoted news item it does not
appear that he was speaking of appellee.
In order to maintain a libel suit it is essential that the victim be identifiable (People vs.
Monton, L-16772, November 30, 1962), although it is not necessary that he be named
(91 A.L.R. 1161). It is enough if by intrinsic reference the allusion is apparent or if the
publication contains matters of description or reference to facts and circumstances from
which others reading the article may know the plaintiff was intended, or if he is pointed
out by extraneous circumstances so that persons knowing him could and did understand
that he was the person referred to.
While no name is mentioned in appellant's defamatory statements, the following
circumstances mentioned therein make the object ascertainable: (1) the person in
question was a high ranking Central Bank official; (2) he was formerly an official of the
Philippine National Bank, and at the time had something to do with sugar centrals; (3) his
identity is known by the persons named therein; and (4) he was the one who instigated
the aforementioned charges against appellant.
All these circumstances point to appellee. It is established by the evidence that at least
two other persons who read the article readily realized that it referred to appellee. Asked
how he immediately arrived at such a conclusion, Manuel Marquez explained that "there
is a paragraph in the article which says that this CB official was dismissed from the PNB
before the war, Corpus said the man was discovered milking a sugar central;" and that
"the only official who is at present in the Central Bank and who was with the Philippine
National Bank prior to the establishment of the Central Bank, who, to my knowledge, was
in some way or another connected with the Sugar Central was Governor Miguel
Cuaderno." Aside from appellee, two Central Bank officials who were also with the

ADMIN LAW DEC 5 2015 48


Philippine National Bank were Natalio Balboa, who was in the legal department thereof,
and Jose Carmona, who was in the auditing department. Balboa testified that he knew
the article was about appellee for the following reasons:
Because, as I said, the first paragraph of the article it refers to "Intriguer" and I know no
other, Mr. Corpus is referring to "intriguer" to Mr. Cuaderno because I know that he was
trying to prevail on Mr. Cuaderno to stop the administrative investigation against Mr.
Corpus, when he failed to prevail on Mr. Cuaderno because the other employees are
pressing the complaint and the complaint was submitted to the Monetary Board, and he
made the conclusion that it was Mr. Cuaderno as the intriguer, that is the first part of it.
The second part of it is that he was dismissed from the Philippine National Bank by
President Quezon. President Quezon will not dismiss any official of the Philippine
National Bank other than the President, Vice-President, General Manager, and Assistant
Manager. He would not dismiss the other executive officials or the legal counsel or
others, it must be the Philippine National Bank Board of Directors. The third of it is that
milking a sugar central, there is no other person connected with the sugar central but Mr.
Cuaderno, with the Bataan Sugar Central. I was connected as Secretary of the Ma-ao
Sugar Central and there was no complaint and we only met once a month, so, all those
there and my opinion was not based on one single item of the article, it was all those
three and the rest of the article may be.
Appellant pointed particularly to Marquez and Balboa as among the persons who could
identify the Central Bank official he was speaking of, and both declared that the article

referred to appellee. Furthermore, five days after he gave the press interview, appellant
instituted the present action wherein he accused appellee of having instigated the
administrative charges against him a fact which obviously proves that he was
speaking of appellee when he made the derogatory statement complained of.
In view of the evidence just considered, We cannot apply here the rule in Kunkle vs.
Cablenews-American, 42 Phil. 757, relied upon by appellant, that the publication of a
matter of a defamatory nature in a newspaper, without naming or accurately describing
the person to whom the reprobated acts are attributed, will not give rise to a civil action
for damages at the instance of a person claiming to be the injured party, unless it
appears that the description of the person referred to in the defamatory publication was
sufficiently clear that at least one third person would have understood the description as
relating to him. Here, more than one third person identified appellee as the object of the
libel.
Appellee has not appealed from the decision of the lower court and therefore his prayer
that the amount of damages awarded to him be increased must be denied..
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against plaintiff-appellant.