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Admin Law cases

FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 47065. June 26, 1940.]
PANGASINAN TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., petitioner, vs. THE PUBLIC SERVICE
COMMISSION, respondent.
C. de G. Alvear for petitioner.
Evaristo R. Sandoval for respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION; COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 146 AS AMENDED
BY COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 454; CONSTITUTIONALITY; DELEGATION OF
LEGISLATIVE POWER. Section 8 of Article XIII of the Constitution provides, among
other things, that no franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the
operation of a public utility shall be "for a longer period than fifty years," and when
it was ordained. in section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as amended by
Commonwealth Act No. 454, that the Public Service Commission may prescribe as a
condition for the issuance of a certificate that it "shall be valid only for a definite
period of time" and, in section 16 (a) that "no such certificates shall be issued for a
period of more than fifty years," the National Assembly meant to give effect to the
aforesaid constitutional mandate. More than this. it has thereby also declared its will
that the period to be fixed by the Public Service Commission shall not be longer
than fifty years. All that has been delegated to the commission, therefore, is the
administrative function, involving the use of discretion, to carry out the will of the
National Assembly having in view, in addition, the promotion of "public interests in a
proper and suitable manner." The fact that the National Assembly may itself
exercise the function and authority thus conferred upon the Public Service
Commission does not make the provision in question constitutionally objectionable.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. With the growing complexity of modern life, the
multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulation, and the increased
difficulty of administering the laws, there is a constantly growing tendency toward
the delegation of greater powers by the legislature, and toward the approval of the
practice by the courts. In harmony with such growing tendency, this court, since the
decision in the case of Compaia General de Tabacos de Filipinas vs. Board of Public
Utility Commissioners (34 Phil., 136), relied upon by the petitioner, has, in
instances, extended its seal of approval to the "delegation of greater powers by the
legislature."
3.
ID; ID.; ID.; APPLICABILITY TO EXISTING CERTIFICATES OF PUBLIC
CONVENIENCE. Under the fourth paragraph of section 15 of Commonwealth Act
No. 146, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 454, the power of the Public

Service Commission to prescribe the conditions "that the service can be acquired by
the Commonwealth of the Philippines or by any instrumentality thereof upon
payment of the cost price of its useful equipment, less reasonable depreciation,"
and "that the certificate shall be valid only for a definite period of time" is expressly
made applicable "to any extension or amendment of certificates actually in force"
and "to authorizations to renew and increase equipment and properties." We have
examined the legislative proceedings on the subject and have found that these
conditions were purposely made applicable to existing certificates of public
convenience.
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; POWER OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO AMEND OR ALTER EXISTING
CERTIFICATES OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE. The National Assembly, by virtue of the
Constitution, logically succeeded to the Congress of the United States in the power
to amend, alter or repeal any franchise or right granted prior to or after the
approval of the Constitution; and when Commonwealth Acts Nos. 146 and 454 were
enacted, the National Assembly, to the extent therein provided, has declared its will
and purpose to amend or alter existing certificates of public convenience.
5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; POLICE POWER. Statutes enacted for the regulation of public
utilities, being a proper exercise by the state of its police power, are applicable not
only to those public utilities coming into existence after its passage, but likewise to
those already established and in operation.
6.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. Commonwealth Acts Nos. 146 and 454 are not only the
organic acts of the Public Service Commission but are "a part of the charter of every
utility company operating or seeking to operate a franchise" in the Philippines.
(Streator Aqueduct Co. vs. Smith et al., 295 Fed., 385.) The business of a common
carrier holds such a peculiar relation to the public interest that there is
superinduced upon it the right of public regulation. When private property is
"affected with a public interest it ceases to be juris privati only." When, therefore
one devotes his property to a use in which the public has an interest, he, in effect,
grants to the public an interest in that use, and must submit to be controlled by the
public for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has thus created. He
may withdraw his grant by discontinuing the use, but so long as he maintains the
use he must submit to control. Indeed, this right of regulation is so far beyond
question that it is well settled that the power of the state to exercise legislative
control over public utilities may be exercised through boards of commissioners.
7.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. This right of the state to regulate public utilities is founded
upon the police power, and statutes for the control and regulation of utilities are a
legitimate exercise thereof, for the protection of the public as well as of the utilities
themselves. Such statutes are, therefore, not unconstitutional, either as impairing
the obligation of contracts, taking property without due process, or denying the
equal protection of the laws, especially inasmuch as the question whether or not
private property shall be devoted to a public use and the consequent burdens

assumed is ordinarily for the owner to decide; and if he voluntarily places his
property in public service he cannot complain that it becomes subject to the
regulatory powers of the state. (51 C. J., sec. 21, pp. 9, 10.) This is the more so in
the light of authorities which hold that a certificate of public convenience
constitutes neither a franchise nor a contract, confers no property right, and is a
mere license or privilege.
8.
ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHT TO BE HEARD AND TO ADDUCE EVIDENCE; CASE
REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS. Whilst the challenged provisions of
Commonwealth Act No. 454 are valid and constitutional, Held: That the decision of
the Public Service Commission should be reversed and the case remanded thereto
for further proceedings for the reason now to be stated. On the matter of limitation
to twenty-five (25) years of the life of its certificates of public convenience, there
had been neither notice nor opportunity given the petitioner to be heard or present
evidence. The commission appears to have taken advantage of the petitioner to
augment petitioner's equipment in imposing the limitation of twenty-five (25) years
which might as well be twenty or fifteen or any number of years. This is, to say the
least, irregular and should not be sanctioned. There are cardinal primary rights
which must be respected even in proceedings of this character. The first of these
rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party interested or
affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. In the
language of Chief Justice Hughes, in Morgan vs. U.S. (304 U.S., 1; 58 Sup. Ct., 773,
999; 82 Law. ed., 1129), 'the liberty and property of the citizen shall be protected by
the rudimentary requirements of fair play." Not only must the party be given an
opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence tending to establish the
rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the evidence presented.
DECISION
LAUREL, J p:
The petitioner has been engaged for the past twenty years in the business of
transporting passengers in the Provinces of Pangasinan and Tarlac and, to a certain
extent, in the Provinces of Nueva Ecija and Zambales, by means of motor vehicles
commonly known as TPU buses, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the
certificates of public convenience issued in its favor by the former Public Utility
Commission in cases Nos. 24948, 30973, 36831, 32014 and 53090. On August 26,
1939, the petitioner filed with the Public Service Commission an application for
authorization to operate ten additional new Brockway trucks (case No. 56641), on
the ground that they were needed to comply with the terms and conditions of its
existing certificates and as a result of the application of the Eight Hour Labor Law. In
the decision of September 26, 1339, granting the petitioner's application for
increase of equipment, the Public Service Commission ordered:

"Y de acuerdo con lo que se provee por el articulo 15 de la Ley No. 146 del
Commonwealth, tal como ha sido enmendada por el articulo 1 de la Ley No. 454,
por la presente se enmienda las condiciones de los certificados de conveniencia
publica expedidos en los expedientes Nos. 24948, 30973, 36831, 32014 y la
autorizacion concedida en el expediente No. 53090, asi que se consideran
incorporadas en los mismos las dos siguientes condiciones:
"Que los certificados de conveniencia publica y autorizacion arriba mencionados
seran validos y subsistentes solamente durante el periodo de veinticinco (25) anos,
contados desde la fecha de la promulgacion de esta decision.
"Que la empresa de la solicitante podra ser adquirida por el Commonwealth de
Filipinas o por alguna dependencia del mismo en cualquier tiempo que lo deseare
previo pago del precio de costo de su equipo util, menos una depreciacion
razonable que se ha de fijar por la Comision al tiempo de su adquisicion."
Not being agreeable to the two new conditions thus incorporated in its existing
certificates, the petitioner filed on October 9, 1939 a motion for reconsideration
which was denied by the Public Service Commission on November 14, 1939.
Whereupon, on November 20, 1939, the present petition for a writ of certiorari was
instituted in this court praying that an order be issued directing the secretary of the
Public Service Commission to certify forthwith to this court the records of all
proceedings in case No. 56641; that this court, after hearing, render a decision
declaring section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 454 unconstitutional and void; that, if
this court should be of the opinion that section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 454 is
constitutional, a decision be rendered declaring that the provisions thereof are not
applicable to valid and subsisting certificates issued prior to June 8, 1939. Stated in
the language of the petitioner, it is contended:
"1.
That the legislative powers granted to the Public Service Commission by
section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 454, without limitation, guide or rule except the
unfettered discretion and judgment of the Commission, constitute a complete and
total abdication by the Legislature of its functions in the premises, and. for that
reason, the Act, in so far as those powers are concerned, is unconstitutional and
void.
"2.
That even if it be assumed that section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 454, is a
valid delegation of legislative powers, the Public Service Commission has exceeded
its authority because: (a) The Act applies only to future certificates and not to valid
and subsisting certificates issued prior to June 8, 1939, when said Act took effect,
and (b) the Act, as applied by the Commission, violates constitutional guarantees.
Section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as amended by section 1 of
Commonwealth Act No. 454, invoked by the respondent Public Service Commission
in the decision complained of in the present proceedings, reads as follows:

"With the exception of those enumerated in the preceding section, no public service
shall operate in the Philippines without possessing a valid and subsisting certificate
from the Public Service Commission, known as 'certificate of public convenience,' or
'certificate of convenience and public necessity,' as the case may be, to the effect
that the operation of said service and the authorization to do business will promote
the public interests in a proper and suitable manner.
"The Commission may prescribe as a condition for the issuance of the certificate
provided in the preceding paragraph that the service can be acquired by the
Commonwealth of the Philippines or by any instrumentality thereof upon payment
of the cost price of its useful equipment, less reasonable depreciation; and likewise,
that the certificate shall be valid only for a definite period of time; and that the
violation of any of these conditions shall produce the immediate cancellation of the
certificate without the necessity of any express action on the part of the
Commission.
"In estimating the depreciation, the effect of the use of the equipment, its actual
condition, the age of the model, or other circumstances affecting its value in the
market shall be taken into consideration.
"The foregoing is likewise applicable to any extension or amendment of certificates
actually in force and to those which may hereafter be issued, to permits to modify
itineraries and time schedules of public services and to authorizations to renew and
increase equipment and properties."
Under the first paragraph of the aforequoted section 15 of Act No. 146, as amended,
no public service can operate without a certificate of public convenience or
certificate of convenience and public necessity to the effect that the operation of
said service and the authorization to do business will promote "public interests in a
proper and suitable manner." Under the second paragraph, one of the conditions
which the Public Service Commission may prescribe for the issuance of the
certificate provided for in the first paragraph is that "the service can be acquired by
the Commonwealth of the Philippines or by any instrumentality thereof upon
payment of the cost price of its useful equipment, less reasonable depreciation," a
condition which is virtually a restatement of the principle already embodied the
Constitution, section 6 of Article XII, which provides at "the State may, in the
interest of national welfare and defense, establish and operate industries and
means of transportation and communication, and, upon payment of just
compensation, transfer to public ownership utilities d other private enterprises to be
operated by the Government." Another condition which the Commission may
prescribe, and which is assailed by the petitioner, is that the certificate "shall be
valid only for a definite period of time." As there is a relation between the first and
second paragraphs of said section 15, the two provisions must be read and
interpreted together. That is to say, in issuing a certificate, the Commission must
necessarily be satisfied that the operation of the service under said certificate

during a definite period fixed therein "will promote the public interests in a proper
and suitable manner." Under section 16 (a) of Commonwealth Act No. 146 which is a
complement of section 15, the Commission is empowered to issue certificates of
public convenience whenever it "finds that the operation of the public service
proposed and the authorization to do business will promote the public interests in a
proper and suitable manner." Inasmuch as the period to be fixed by the Commission
under section 15 is inseparable from the certificate itself, said period cannot be
disregarded by the Commission in determining the question whether the issuance of
the certificate will promote the public interests in a proper and suitable manner.
Conversely, in determining "a definite period of time," the Commission will be
guided by "public interests," the only limitation to its power being that said period
shall not exceed fifty years (sec. 16 (a), Commonwealth Act No. 146; Constitution,
Art. XIII, sec. 8. ) We have already ruled that "public interest" furnishes a sufficient
standard. (People vs. Fernandez and Trinidad, G. R. No. 45655, promulgated June 15,
1938; People vs. Rosenthal and Osmea, G. R. Nos. 46076 and 46077, promulgated
June 12, 1939, citing New York Central Securities Corporation vs. U. S. A., 287 U. S.
12, 24, 25, 77 Law. ed. 138, 145, 146; Schenchter Poultry Corporation vs. U. S., 295
U. S. 495, 540, 79 Law. ed. 1570,1585; Ferrazzini vs. Gsell, 34 Phil., 697, 711-712.)
Section 8 of Article XIII of the Constitution provides, among other things, that no
franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public
utility shall be "for a longer period than fifty years," and when it was ordained, in
section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as amended by Commonwealth Act No.
454, that the Public Service Commission may prescribe as a condition for the
issuance of a certificate that it "shall be valid only for a definite period of time" and,
in section 16 (a) that "no such certificates shall be issued for a period of more than
fifty years," the National Assembly meant to give effect to the aforesaid
constitutional mandate. More than this, it has thereby also declared its will that the
period to be fixed by the Public Service Commission shall not be longer than fifty
years. All that has been delegated to the Commission, therefore, is the
administrative function, involving the use of discretion, to carry out the will of the
National Assembly having in view, in addition, the promotion of "public interests in a
proper and suitable manner." The fact that the National Assembly may itself
exercise the function and authority thus conferred upon the Public Service
Commission does not make the provision in question constitutionally objectionable.
The theory of the separation of powers is designed by its originators to secure
action and at the same time to forestall over action which necessarily results from
undue concentration of powers, and thereby obtain efficiency and prevent
despotism. Thereby, the "rule of law" was established which narrows the range of
governmental action and makes it subject to control by certain legal devices. As a
corollary, we find the rule prohibiting delegation of legislative authority, and from
the earliest time American legal authorities have proceeded on the theory that
legislative power must be exercised by the legislature alone. It is frankness,

however, to confess that as one delves into the mass of judicial pronouncements,
he finds a great deal of confusion. One thing, however, is apparent in the
development of the principle of separation of powers and that is that the maxim of
delegatus non potest delegari or delegata potestas non potest delegari, attributed
to Bracton (De Legibus et Consuetudinious Angliae, edited by G.E. Woodbine, Yale
University Press, 1922, vol. 2, p. 167) but which is also recognized in principle in the
Roman Law (D. 17.18.3), has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of
modern governments, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the
principle of "subordinate legislation," not only in the United States and England but
in practically all modern governments. (People vs. Rosenthal and Osmea, G. R.
Nos. 46076 and 46077, promulgated June 12, 1939.) Accordingly, with the growing
complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental
regulation, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is a
constantly growing tendency toward the delegation of greater powers by the
legislature, and toward the approval of the practice by the courts. (Dillon Catfish
Drainage Dist. vs. Bank of Dillon, 141 S. E. 274, 275, 143 S. Ct. 178; State vs. Knox
County, 54 S. W. 2d. 973, 976, 165 Tenn. 319.) In harmony with such growing
tendency, this Court, since the decision in the case of Compania General de Tabacos
de Filipinas vs. Board of Public Utility Commissioners (34 Phil., 136), relied upon by
the petitioner, has, in instances, extended its seal of approval to the "delegation of
greater powers by the legislature." (Inchausti Steamship Co. vs. Public Utility
Commissioner, 44 Phil., 366; Alegre vs. Collector of Customs, 53 Phil., 394; Cebu
Autobus Co. vs. De Jesus, 56 Phil., 446; People vs. Fernandez & Trinidad, G. R. No,
45655, promulgated June 15, 1938 in People vs. Rosenthal & Osmea, G. R. Nos.
46076, 46077, promulgated June 12, 1939; and Robb and Hilscher vs. People, G.R.
No. 45866, promulgated June 12, 1939.)
Under the fourth paragraph of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as
amended by Commonwealth Act No. 454, the power of the Public Service
Commission to prescribe the conditions "that the service can be acquired by the
Commonwealth of the Philippines or by any instrumentality thereof upon payment
of the cost price of its useful equipment, less reasonable depreciation," and "that
the certificate shall be valid only for a definite period of time" is expressly made
applicable "to any extension or amendment of certificates actually in force" and "to
authorizations to renew and increase equipment and properties." We have
examined the legislative proceedings on the subject and have found that these
conditions were purposely made applicable to existing certificates of public
convenience. The history of Commonwealth Act No. 454 reveals that there was an
attempt to suppress, by way of amendment, the sentence "and likewise, that the
certificate shall be valid only for a definite period of time," but the attempt failed:
xxx

xxx

xxx

"Sr. CUENCO. Senor Presidente, para otra enmienda. En la misma pagina, lineas 23
y 24, pido que se supriman las palabras 'and likewise, that the certificate shall be

valid only for a definite period of time.' Esta disposicion del proyecto autoriza a la
Comision de Servicios Publicos a fijar un plazo de vigencia del certificado de
conveniencia publica. Todo el mundo sabe que no se puede determinar cuando los
intereses del servicio publico requieren la explotacion de un servicio publico y como
ha de saber la Comision de Servicios Publicos, si en un tiempo determinado, la
explotacion de algunos buses en cierta ruta ya no tiene razon de ser, sobre todo, si
se tiene en cuenta; que la explotacion de los servicios publicos depende de
condiciones fluctuantes, asi como del volumen del trafico y de otras condiciones.
Ademas, el servicio publico se concede por la Comision de Servicios Publicos
cuando el interes publico asi lo exige. El interes publico no tiene duracion fija, no es
permanente; es un proceso mas o menos indefinido en cuanto al tiempo. Se ha
acordado eso en el caucus de anoche.
"El PRESIDENTE PRO TEMPORE. Que dice el Comite?
"Sr. ALANO. El Comite siente tener que rechazar esa enmienda, en vista de que esto
de los certificados de conveniencia publica es igual que la franquicia: se puede
extender. Si los servicios prestados por la compania durante el tiempo de su
certificado lo requiere, puede pedir la extension y se le extendera; pero no creo
conveniente el que nosotros demos un certificado de conveniencia publica de urla
manera que podria pasar de cincuenta anos, porque seria anticonstitucional."
xxx

xxx

xxx

By a majority vote the proposed amendment was defeated. (Sesion de 17 de mayo


de 1939, Asamblea Nacional.)
The petitioner is mistaken in the suggestion that, simply because its existing
certificates had been granted before June 8, 1939, the date when Commonwealth
Act No. 454, amendatory of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, was
approved, it must be deemed to have the right of holding them in perpetuity.
Section 74 of the Philippine Bill provided that "no franchise, privilege, or concession
shall be granted to any corporation except under the conditions that it shall be
subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress of the United States."
The Jones Law, incorporating a similar mandate, provided, in section 28, that "no
franchise or right shall be granted to any individual, firm, or corporation except
under the conditions that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by
the Congress of the United States." Lastly, the Constitution of the Philippines
provides, in section 8 of Article XIII, that "no franchise or right shall be granted to
any individual, firm, or corporation, except under the condition that it shall be
subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the National Assembly when the
public interest so requires." The National Assembly, by virtue of the Constitution,
logically succeeded to the Congress of the United States in the power to amend,
alter or repeal any franchise or right granted prior to or after the approval of the
Constitution; and when Commonwealth Acts Nos. 146 and 454 were enacted, the

National Assembly, to the extent therein provided, has declared its will and purpose
to amend or alter existing certificates of public convenience.
Upon the other hand, statutes enacted for the regulation of public utilities, being a
proper exercise by the state of its police power, are applicable not only to those
public utilities coming into existence after its passage, but likewise to those already
established and in operation.
"Nor is there any merit in petitioner's contention, that, because of the establishment
of petitioner's operations prior to May 1, 1917, they are not subject to the
regulations of the Commission. Statutes for the regulation of public utilities are a
proper exercise by the state of its police power. As soon as the power is exercised,
all phases of operation of established utilities, become at once subject to the police
power thus called into operation. Producers' Transportation Co. v. Railroad
Commission, 251 U. S. 228, 40 Sup. Ct. 131, 64 Law. ed. 239, Law vs. Railroad
Commission, 184 Cal. 737, 195 Pac. 423, 14 A. L. R. 249. The statute is applicable
not only to those public utilities coming into existence after its passage, but likewise
to those already established and in operation. The 'Auto Stage and Truck
Transportation Act' (Stats. 1917, c. 213) is a statute passed in pursuance of the
police power. The only distinction recognized in the statute between those
established before and those established after the passage of the act is in the
method of the creation of their operative rights. A certificate of public convenience
and necessity is required for any new operation, but no such certificate is required
of any transportation company for the operation which was actually carried on in
good faith on May 1, 1917. This distinction in the creation of their operative rights in
no way affects the power of the Commission to supervise and regulate them.
Obviously the power of the Commission to hear and dispose of complaints is as
effective against companies securing their operative rights prior to May 1, 1917, as
against those subsequently securing such rights under a certificate of public
convenience and necessity. (Motor Transit Co. et al. vs. Railroad Commission of
California et al., 209 Pac. 586.)"
Moreover, Commonwealth Acts Nos. 146 and 454 are not only the organic acts of
the Public Service Commission but are "a part of the charter of every utility
company operating or seeking to operate a franchise" in the Philippines. (Streator
Aqueduct Co. v. Smith et al., 295 Fed. 385.) The business of a common carrier holds
such a peculiar relation to the public interest that there is superinduced upon it the
right of public regulation. When private property is "affected with a public interest it
ceased to be juris privati only." When, therefore, one devotes his property to a use
in which the public has an interest, he, in effect, grants to the public an interest in
that use, and must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, to
the extent of the interest he has thus created. He may withdraw his grant by
discontinuing the use, but so long as he maintains the use he must submit to
control. Indeed, this right of regulation is so far beyond question that it is well
settled that the power of the state to exercise legislative control over public utilities

may be exercised through boards of commissioners. (Fisher vs. Yangco Steamship


Company, 31 Phil., 1, citing Munn vs. Illinois, 94 U. S. 113; Georgia R. & Bkg. Co. vs.
Smith, 128 U. S. 174; Budd vs. New York, 143 U. S. 517; New York etc. R. Co. vs.
Bristol, 151 U. S. 556, 571; Connecticut etc. R. Co. vs. Woodruff, 153 U. S. 689;
Louisville etc. Ry Co. vs. Kentucky, 161 U. S. 677, 695.) This right of the state to
regulate public utilities is founded upon the police power, and statutes for the
control and regulation of utilities are a legitimate exercise thereof, for the protection
of the public as well as of the utilities themselves. Such statutes are, therefore, not
unconstitutional, either as impairing the obligation of contracts, taking property
without due process, or denying the equal protection of the laws, especially
inasmuch as the question whether or not private property shall be devoted to a
public use and the consequent burdens assumed is ordinarily for the owner to
decide; and if he voluntarily places his property in public service he cannot
complain that it becomes subject to the regulatory powers of the state. (51 C. J.,
sec. 21, pp. 9-10.) This is the more so in the light of authorities which hold that a
certificate of public convenience constitutes neither a franchise nor a contract,
confers no property right, and is a mere license or privilege. (Burgess vs. Mayor &
Aldermen of Brockton, 235 Mass. 95, 100, 126 N.E. 456; Roberto vs. Commissioners
of Department of Public Utilities, 262 Mass. 583, 160 N.E. 321, Scheible vs. Hogan,
113 Ohio St., 83 148 N.E. 581; Matz vs. Curtis [J.L.] Cartage Co., [1937], 132 Ohio
St. 271, 7 N.E. [2d] 220; Manila Yellow Taxicab Co. vs. Sabellano, 59 Phil. 773.)
Whilst the challenge provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 454 are valid and
constitutional, we are, however. of the opinion that the decision of the Public Service
Commission should be reversed and the case remanded thereto for further
proceedings for the reason now to be stated. The Public Service Commission has
power, upon proper notice and hearing, "to amend, modify or revoke at any time
any certificate issued under the provisions of this Act, whenever the facts and
circumstances of the strength of which said certificate was issued have been
misrepresented or materially changed." (Section 16, par. [m]. Commonwealth Act
No. 146.) The petitioner's application here was for an increase of its equipment to
enable it to comply with the conditions of its certificates of public convenience. On
the matter of limitation of twenty five (25) years of the life of its certificates of
public convenience, there had been neither notice not opportunity given the
petitioner to be heard or present evidence. The Commission appears to have taken
advantage of the petitioner to augment petitioner's equipment in imposing the
limitation to twenty-five (25) years which might as well be twenty of fifteen or any
number of years. This is, to say the least, irregular and should not be sanctioned.
There are cardinal primary rights which must be respected even in proceedings of
this character. The first of these rights is the right of a hearing, which includes the
right of the party interested or affected to present his own case and submit
evidence in support thereof. In the language of Chief Justice Hughes, in Morgan vs.
U. S., 304 U. S. 1, 58 S. Ct. 773, 999, 82 Law. ed. 1129, "the liberty and property of
the citizen shall be protected by the rudimentary requirements of fair play." Not only

must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence
tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the
evidence presented. (Chief Justice Hughes in Morgan vs. U. S., 298 U. S. 468, 56 S.
Ct. 906, 80 Law. ed. 1288.) In the language of this Court in Edwards vs. McCoy (22
Phil., 598), "the right to adduce evidence, without the corresponding duty on the
part of the board to consider it, is vain. Such right is conspicuously futile if the
person or persons to whom the evidence is presented can thrust it aside without
notice or consideration." While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation
to decide right, it does imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that
of having something to support its decision. A decision with absolutely nothing to
support it is a nullity, at least when directly attacked. (Edwards vs. McCoy, supra.)
This principle emanates from the more fundamental principle that the genius of
constitutional government is contrary to the vesting of unlimited power anywhere.
Law is both a grant and a limitation upon power.
The decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case remanded to the
Public Service Commission for further proceedings in accordance with law and this
decision, without any pronouncement regarding costs. So ordered.
Avancea, C.J., Imperial, Diaz, Concepcion, and Moran, JJ., concur.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 37878. November 25, 1932.]
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, petitioner, vs. PASAY TRANSPORTATION COMPANY,
INC., ET AL., respondents.
Ross, Lawrence & Selph for petitioner.
Rivera & Francisco for respondent Pasay Transportation Co.
P.A. Remigio for respondent E. B. Gutierrez.
A.M. Zarate for respondent Raymundo Transportation Co.
Vicente Ampil for respondent J. Ampil.
SYLLABUS
1.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; ACT NO. 1446, SECTION 11, VALIDITY OF; MEMBERS
OF THE SUPREME COURT SITTING AS A BOARD OF ARBITRATORS; DIVISION OF
POWERS. The Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands represents one of the three
divisions of power in the Philippine Government. It is judicial power and judicial
power only which is exercised by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court and its
members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to perform
any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the
administering of judicial functions.

2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT. The Supreme
Court exercises jurisdiction as a court and this jurisdiction does not include the
exercise of jurisdiction by the members of the Supreme Court sitting as a board of
arbitrators.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. A board of arbitrators is not a "court" in any proper
sense of the term and possesses none of the jurisdiction which the Organic Act
contemplates shall exercised by the Supreme Court.
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ARBITRATION AND AWARD. Arbitration represents a
method of the parties' own choice. A submission to arbitration is a contract. A
clause in a contract providing that all matters in dispute between the parties shall
be referred to arbitration is a contract. A clause in a contract providing that all
matters in dispute between the parties shall be referred to arbitrators and to them
alone is contrary to public policy and cannot oust the courts of jurisdiction.
However, unless the arbitration agreement is such as absolutely to close the doors
of the courts against the parties, the courts should look with favor upon such
amicable arrangements.
5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. Section 11 of Act No. 1446
contravenes the maxims which guide the operation of a democratic government
constitutionally established.
6.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. It would be improper and illegal for the
members of the Supreme Court, to sit as a board of arbitrators the decision of a
majority of whom shall be final.
DECISION
MALCOLM, J p:
The preliminary and basic question presented by the petition of the Manila Electric
Company, requesting the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of
arbitrators, to fix the terms upon which certain transportation companies shall be
permitted to use the Pasig bridge of the Manila Electric Company and the
compensation to be paid to the Manila Electric Company by such transportation
companies, relates to the validity of section 11 of Act No. 1446 and to the legal right
of the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, to act on the
petition. Act No. 1446 above referred to is entitled, "An Act granting a franchise to
Charles M. Swift to construct, maintain, and operate an electric railway, and to
construct, maintain, and operate an electric light, heat, and power system from a
point in the City of Manila in an easterly direction to the town in Pasig, in the
Province of Rizal." Section 11 of the Act provides: "Whenever any franchise or right
of way is granted to any other person or corporation, now or hereafter in existence,
over portions of the lines and tracks of the grantee herein, the terms on which said
other person or corporation shall use such right of way, and the compensation to be

paid to the grantee herein by such other person or corporation for said use, shall be
fixed by the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, the
decision of a majority of whom shall be final."
When the petition of the Manila Electric Company was filed in this court, it was
ordered that the petitioner be required to serve copies on the Attorney-General and
the transportation companies affected by the petition. Thereafter, the AttorneyGeneral disclaimed any interest in the proceedings, and opposition was entered to
the petition by a number of public utility operators. On the submission of
memoranda after an oral hearing, the petition was made ready for resolution.
Examining the statutory provision which is here invoked, it is first noted that power
is attempted to be granted to the members of the Supreme Court sitting as a board
of arbitrators and not to the Supreme Court as an entity. It is next seen that the
decision of a majority of the members of the Supreme Court is made final. And it is
finally observed that the franchise granted the Manila Electric Company by the
Government of the Philippine Islands, although only a contract between the parties
to it, is now made to effect the rights of persons not signatories to the covenant.
The law calls for arbitration which represents a method of the parties' own choice. A
submission to arbitration is a contract. The parties to an arbitration agreement may
not oust the courts of jurisdiction of the matters submitted to arbitration. These are
familiar rules which find support in articles 1820 and 1821 of the Civil Code. Citation
of authority is hardly necessary, except that it should be recalled that in the
Philippines, and in the United States for that matter, it has been held that a clause
in a contract, providing that all matters in dispute between the parties shall be
referred to arbitrators and to them alone, is contrary to public policy and cannot
oust the courts of jurisdiction. (Wahl and Wahl vs. Donaldson, Sims & Co. [1903], 2
Phil., 301; Puentebella vs. Negros Coal Co. [1927], 50 Phil., 69; Vega vs. San Carlos
Milling Co. [1924], 51 Phil., 908; District of Columbia vs. Bailey [1897], 171 U.S.,
161.)
We would not be understood as extending the principles governing arbitration and
award too far. Unless the arbitration agreement is such as absolutely to close the
doors of the courts against the parties, the courts should took with favor upon such
amicable arrangements. We can also perceive a distinction between a private
contract for submission to arbitration and agreements to arbitrate falling within the
terms of a statute enacted for such purpose and affecting others than the parties to
a particular franchise. Here, however, whatever else may be said in extenuation, it
remains true that the decision of the board of arbitrators is made final, which if
literally enforced would leave a public utility, not a party to the contract authorized
by Act No. 1446, without recourse to the courts for a judicial determination of the
question in dispute.

Counsel for the petitioner rely principally on the case of Tallassee Falls Mfg. Co. vs.
Commissioners' Court [1908], 158 Ala., 263. It was there held that an Act of a state
legislature authorizing the commissioners' court of a certain county to regulate and
fix the rate of toll to be charged by the owners of a bridge is not unconstitutional as
delegating legislative power to the courts. But that is not the question before us.
Here the question is not one of whether or not there has been a delegation of
legislative authority to a court. More precisely, the issue concerns the legal right of
the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators the decision of
a majority of whom shall be final, to act in that capacity.
We run counter to this dilemma. Either the members of the Supreme Court, sitting
as a board of arbitrators, exercise judicial functions, or the members of the Supreme
Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, exercise administrative or quasi judicial
functions. The first case would appear not to fall within the jurisdiction granted the
Supreme Court. Even conceding that it does, it would presuppose the right to bring
the matter in dispute before the courts, for any other construction would tend to
oust the courts of jurisdiction and render the award a nullity. But if this be the
proper construction, we would then have the anomaly of a decision by the members
of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, taken therefrom to the courts
and eventually coming before the Supreme Court, where the Supreme Court would
review the decision of its members acting as arbitrators. Or in the second case, if
the functions performed by the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of
arbitrators, be considered as administrative or quasi judicial in nature, that would
result in the performance of duties which the members of the Supreme Court could
not lawfully take it upon themselves to perform. The present petition also furnishes
an apt illustration of another anomaly, for we find the Supreme Court as a court
asked to determine if the members of the court may be constituted a board of
arbitrators, which is not a court of all.
The Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands represents one of the three divisions of
power in our government. It is judicial power and judicial power only which is
exercised by the Supreme Court. Just as the Supreme Court, as the guardian of
constitutional rights, should not sanction usurpations by any other department of
the government, so should it as strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the
powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act. The Supreme
Court and its members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or
to perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the
administering of judicial functions.
The Organic Act provides that the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands shall
possess and exercise jurisdiction as heretofore provided and such additional
jurisdiction as shall hereafter be prescribed by law (sec. 26). When the Organic Act
speaks of the exercise of "jurisdiction" by the Supreme Court, it could only mean the
exercise of "jurisdiction" by the Supreme Court acting as a court, and could hardly
mean the exercise of "jurisdiction" by the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as

a board of arbitrators. There is an important distinction between the Supreme Court


as an entity and the members of the Supreme Court. A board of arbitrators is not a
"court" in any proper sense of the term, and possess none of the jurisdiction which
the Organic Act contemplates shall be exercised by the Supreme Court.
In the last judicial paper from the pen of Chief Justice Taney, it was said:
"The power conferred on this court is exclusively judicial, and it cannot be required
or authorized to exercise any other. . . . Its jurisdiction and powers and duties being
defined in the organic law of the government, and being all strictly judicial,
Congress cannot require or authorize the court to exercise any other jurisdiction or
power, or perform any other duty. . . . The award of execution is a part, and an
essential part of every judgment passed by a court exercising judicial power. It is no
judgment, in the legal sense of the term, without it. Without such an award the
judgment would be inoperative and nugatory, leaving the aggrieved party without a
remedy. It would be merely an opinion, which would remain a dead letter, and
without any operation upon the rights of the parties, unless Congress should at
some future time sanction it, and pass a law authorizing the court to carry its
opinion into effect. Such is not the judicial power confided to this court, in the
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction; yet it is the whole power that the court is
allowed to exercise under this act of Congress. . . . And while it executes firmly all
the judicial powers entrusted to it, the court will carefully abstain from exercising
any power that is not strictly judicial in its character, and which is not clearly
confided to it by the Constitution. . . ." (Gordon vs. United States [1864], 2 Wall.,
561; 117 U.S., 697, Appendix.)
Confining the decision to the basic question at issue, the Supreme Court holds that
section 11 of Act No. 1446 contravenes the maxims which guide the operation of a
democratic government constitutionally established, and that it would be improper
and illegal for the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators,
the decision of a majority of whom shall be final, to act on the petition of the Manila
Electric Company. As a result, the members of the Supreme Court decline to
proceed further in the matter.
Avancea, C.J., Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Hull, Vickers,
Imperial and Butte, JJ., concur.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-28790. April 29, 1968.]
ANTONIO H. NOBLEJAS, as Commissioner of Land Registration, petitioner, vs.
CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, as Secretary of Justice, and RAFAEL SALAS, as Executive
Secretary, respondents.
DECISION

REYES, J.B.L., Actg. C.J. p:


Petition for a writ of prohibition with preliminary injunction to restrain the Secretary
of Justice from investigating the official actuations of the Commissioner of Land
Registration, and to declare inoperative his suspension by the Executive Secretary
pending investigation.
The facts are not in dispute. Petitioner Antonio H. Noblejas is the duly appointed,
confirmed and qualified Commissioner of Land Registration, a position created by
Republic Act No. 1151. By the terms of section 2 of said Act, the said Commissioner
is declared "entitled to the same compensation, emoluments and privileges as
those of a Judge of the Court of First Instance." The appropriation laws (Rep. Acts
4642, 4856 and 5170) in the item setting forth the salary of said officer, use the
following expression:
"1.
One Land Registration Commissioner, with the rank and privileges of district
judge P19,000.00."
On March 7, 1968, respondent Secretary of Justice coursed to the petitioner a letter
requiring him to explain in writing not later than March 9, 1968 why no disciplinary
action should be taken against petitioner for "approving or recommending approval
of subdivision, consolidation and consolidation-subdivision plans covering areas
greatly in excess of the areas covered by the original titles." Noblejas answered and
apprised the Secretary of Justice that, as he enjoyed the rank, privileges,
emoluments and compensation of a Judge of the Court of First Instance, he could
only be suspended and investigated in the same manner as a Judge of the Courts of
First Instance, and, therefore, the papers relative to his case should be submitted to
the Supreme Court, for action thereon conformably to section 67 of the Judiciary Act
(R.A. No. 296) and Revised Rule 140 of the Rules of Court.
On March 17, 1968, petitioner Noblejas received a communication signed by the
Executive Secretary, "by authority of the President", whereby, based on "finding
that a prima facie case exists against you for gross negligence and conduct
prejudicial to the public interest", petitioner was "hereby suspended, upon receipt
hereof, pending investigation of the above charges."
On March 18, 1968, petitioner applied to this Court, reiterating the contentions
advanced in his letter to the Secretary of Justice, claiming lack of jurisdiction and
abuse of discretion, and praying for restraining writs. In their answer respondents
admit the facts but deny that petitioner, as Land Registration Commissioner,
exercises judicial functions, or that the petitioner may be considered a Judge of First
Instance within the purview of the Judiciary Act and Revised Rules of Court 140; that
the function of investigating charges against public officers is administrative or
executive in nature; that the Legislature may not charge the judiciary with
nonjudicial functions or duties except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment

of judicial duties, as it would be in violation of the principle of the separation of


powers.
Thus, the stark issue before this Court is whether the Commissioner of Land
Registration may only be investigated by the Supreme Court, in view of the
conferment upon him by the Statutes heretofore mentioned (Rep. Act 1151 and
Appropriation Laws) of the rank and privileges of a Judge of the Court of First
Instance.
First to militate against petitioner's stand is the fact that section 67 of the Judiciary
Act providing for investigation, suspension or removal of Judges, specifically recites
that "No District Judge shall be separated or removed from office by the President of
the Philippines unless sufficient cause shall exist in the judgment of the Supreme
Court . . . " and it is nowhere claimed, much less shown, that the Commissioner of
Land Registration is a District Judge, or in fact a member of the Judiciary at all.
In the second place, petitioner's theory that the grant of "privileges of a Judge of
First Instance" includes by implication the right to be investigated only by the
Supreme Court and to be suspended or removed upon its recommendation, would
necessarily result in the same right being possessed by a variety of executive
officials upon whom the Legislature had indiscriminately conferred the same
privileges. These favoured officers include (a) the Judicial Superintendent of the
Department of Justice (Judiciary Act, sec. 42); (b) the Assistant Solicitors General,
seven in number (Rep. Act No. 4360); (c) the City Fiscal of Quezon City (R.A. No.
4495); (d) the City Fiscal of Manila (R.A. No. 4631 ) and (e) the Securities and
Exchange Commissioner (R.A. No, 5050, s. 2). To adopt petitioner's theory,
therefore, would mean placing upon the Supreme Court the duty of investigating
and disciplining all these officials whose functions are plainly executive, and the
consequent curtailment by mere implication from the Legislative grant, of the
President's power to discipline and remove administrative officials who are
presidential appointees, and which the Constitution expressly place under the
President's supervision and control (Constitution, Art. VII), sec. 10 [1]).
Incidentally, petitioner's stand would also lead to the conclusion that the Solicitor
General, another appointee of the President could not be removed by the latter,
since the Appropriation Acts confer upon the Solicitor General the rank and
privileges of a Justice of the Court of Appeals, and these Justices are only removable
by the Legislature, through the process of impeachment (Judiciary Act, sec. 24, par.
2).
In our opinion, such unusual corollaries could not have been intended by the
Legislature when it granted these executive officials the rank and privileges of
Judges of First Instance. This conclusion gains strength when account is taken of the
fact that in the case of the Judges of the Court of Agrarian Relations and those of
the Court of Tax Appeals, the organic statutes of said bodies (Republic Act 1206, as

amended by Act 1409; Rep. Act No. 1125) expressly provide that they are to be
removed from office for the same causes and in the same manner provided by law
for Judges of First Instance" or "members of the judiciary of appellate rank." The
same is true of Judges of the Court of Agrarian Relations (Comm. Act No. 103) and of
the Commissioner of Public Service (Public Service Act, Sec. 3). It is thereby shown
that where the legislative design is to make the suspension or removal procedure
prescribed for Judges of First Instance applicable to other officers, provision to that
effect is made in plain and unequivocal language.
But the more fundamental objection to the stand of petitioner Noblejas is that, if the
Legislature had really intended to include in the general grant of "privileges" or
"rank and privileges of Judges of the Court of First Instance" the right to be
investigated by the Supreme Court, and to be suspended or removed only upon
recommendation of that Court, then such grant of privileges would be
unconstitutional, since it would violate the fundamental doctrine of separation of
powers, by charging this court with the administrative function of supervisory
control over executive officials, and simultaneously reducing pro tanto the control of
the Chief Executive over such officials.
Justice Cardozo ruled in In re Richardson et al., Connolly vs. Scudder (247 N.Y. 401,
160 N.E. 655), saying:
"There is no inherent power in the Executive or Legislature to charge the judiciary
with administrative functions except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of
judicial duties."
The United States Supreme Court said in Federal Radio Commission vs. General
Electric Co., et al., 281 U.S. 469, 74 Law, Ed., 972,
"But this court cannot be invested with jurisdiction of that character, whether for
purposes of review or otherwise. It was brought into being by the judiciary article of
the Constitution, is invested with judicial power only and can have no jurisdiction
other than of cases and controversies falling within the classes enumerated in that
article. It cannot give decisions which are merely advisory nor can it exercise or
participate in the exercise of functions which are essentially legislative or
administrative. Keller v. Potomac Electric Power Co. supra (261 U.S. 444, 67 L. ed.
736, 43 Sup. Ct. Rep. 445) and cases cited; Postum Cereal Co. vs. California Fig. Nut
Co. supra (272 U.S. 700 701, 71 Led. 481, 47 Sup. Ct. Rep. 284); Liberty Warehouse
Co. v. Grannis, 273 U.S. 70, 74, 71 L. ed. 541, 544, 47 Sup. Ct. Rep. 282; Willing v.
Chicago Auditorium Asso. 277 U.S. 274, 289, 72 L. ed. 880, 884, 48 Sup. Ct. Rep.
507; Ex parte Bakelite Corp. 279 U.S. 438, 449, 73 L. ed. 789, 793, 49 Sup. Ct. Rep.
411. (Federal Radio Commission v. General Electric Company, 281 US. 469, 74 L. ed.
972) (Emphasis supplied.)
In this spirit, it has been held that the Supreme Court of the Philippines and its
members should not and can not be required to exercise any power or to perform

any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the
administration of judicial functions; and a law requiring the Supreme Court to
arbitrate disputes between public utilities was pronounced void in Manila Electric
Co. vs. Pasay Transportation Co. (57 Phil, 600).
Petitioner Noblejas seeks to differentiate his case from that of other executive
officials by claiming that under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 1151, he is endowed
with judicial functions. The section invoked runs as follows:
"Sec. 4. Reference of doubtful matters to Commissioner of Land Registration
When the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or
memorandum to be made in pursuance of any deed, mortgage, or other instrument
presented to him for registration, or where any party in interest does not agree with
the Register of Deeds with reference to any such matter, the question shall be
submitted to the Commissioner of Land Registration either upon the certification of
the Register of Deeds, stating the question upon which he is in doubt, or upon the
suggestion in writing by the party in interest; and thereupon the Commissioner,
after consideration of the matter shown by the records certified to him, and in case
of registered lands, after notice to the parties and hearing, shall enter an order
prescribing the step to be taken or memorandum to be made. His decision in such
cases shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of deeds: Provided, further,
That when a party in interest disagrees with the ruling or resolution of the
Commissioner and the issue involves a question of law, said decision may be
appealed to the Supreme Court within thirty days from and after receipt of the
notice thereof."
Serious doubt may well be entertained as to whether the resolution of a consulta by
a Register of Deeds is a judicial function, as contrasted with administrative process.
It will be noted that by specific provision of the section, the decision of the Land
Registration Commissioner "shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of
Deeds" alone, and not upon other parties. This limitation 1 in effect identifies the
resolutions of the Land Registration Commissioner with those of any other bureau
director, whose resolutions or orders bind his subordinates alone. That the
Commissioner's resolutions are appealable does not prove that they are not
administrative: any bureau director's ruling is likewise appealable to the
corresponding department head.
But even granting that the resolution of consultas by the Register of Deeds should
constitute a judicial (or more properly quasi judicial) function, analysis of the powers
and duties of the Land Registration Commissioner under Republic Act No. 1151,
sections 3 and 4, will show that the resolution of consultas are but a minimal portion
of his administrative or executive functions and merely incidental to the latter.
Conformably to the well-known principle of statutory construction that statutes
should be given, whenever possible, a meaning that will not bring them in conflict

with the Constitution, 2 We are constrained to rule that the grant by Republic Act
1151 to the Commissioner of Land Registration of the "same privileges as those of a
Judge of the Court of First Instance" did not include, and was not intended to
include, the right to demand investigation by the Supreme Court, and to be
suspended or removed only upon that Court's recommendation; for otherwise, the
said grant of privileges would be violative of the Constitution and be null and void.
Consequently, the investigation and suspension of the aforenamed Commissioner
pursuant to sections 32 and 34 of the Civil Service Law (R.A. 2260) are neither
abuses of discretion nor acts in excess of jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, the writs of prohibition and injunction applied for are denied, and the
petition is ordered dismissed. No costs.
Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando,
JJ., concur.
Concepcion, C.J., is on official leave.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 53869. March 25, 1982.]
RAUL A. VILLEGAS, petitioner, vs. ASSEMBLYMAN VALENTINO L. LEGASPI, COURT OF
FIRST INSTANCE OF CEBU, BRANCH II, presided by HON. FRANCISCO P. BURGOS,
District Judge; BRIGIDA VERA CRUZ, joined in and assisted by her husband JOSE
VERA CRUZ, and PRIMITIVO CANIA, JR., respondents.
[G.R. No. 51928. March 25, 1982.]
EUGENIO J. PUYAT, ERWIN L. CHIONGBIAN, EDGARDO P. REYES, ANTONIO G. PUYAT,
JAIME R. BLANCO, RAFAEL R. RECTO, and REYNALDO L. LARDIZABAL, petitioners, vs.
HON. SIXTO T.J. DE GUZMAN, JR., as Associate Commissioner of the Securities &
Exchange Commission, EUSTAQUIO T. C. ACERO, R.G. VILDZIUS, ENRIQUE M. BELO,
MANUEL G. ABELLO, SERVILLANO DOLINA, JUANITO MERCADO and ESTANISLAO A.
FERNANDEZ, respondents.
Pablo B. Badong for petitioners.
J.R. Blanco for petitioners.
Pelaez Adriano & Gregorio for respondents.
SYNOPSIS
These two cases involve the prohibition in Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973
Constitution, which used to read: "No member of the National Assembly shall
appear as counsel before any Court inferior to a Court with appellate
jurisdiction, . . ." Under the amendment, ratified in a national plebiscite held on April

7, 1981, the said provision now reads: "No member of the Batasang Pambansa shall
appear as counsel before any Court without appellate jurisdiction, . . . ."
In G.R. No. 53869, a complaint for annulment of bank checks and damages was filed
by petitioner against private respondents before the Court of First Instance of Cebu.
An answer was filed by private respondents through their counsel, Atty. Valentino
Legaspi, a member of the Batasang Pambansa. Petitioner "challenged" the
appearance of Assemblyman Legaspi" as counsel of record on the around that he is
barred under the Constitution from appearing before Courts of First Instance of
original jurisdiction. Respondent Judge denied the disqualification bid, as well as a
reconsideration thereof. Hence, this petition.
In G.R. No. 51928, petitioner Reyes filed Civil Case No. 33739 before the Court of
First Instance of Rizal against N.V. Verenigde Buinzenfabrieken Exelsior-De Maas and
private respondent Eustaquio Acero to annul the sale of Excelsior's shares in the
International Pipe Industries Corporation to Acero, allegedly on the ground that,
prior thereto, the same shares had already been sold to him (Reyes). Assemblyman
Fernandez entered his appearance as counsel for Excelsior. This appearance was
questioned on the ground that it was barred by Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973
Constitution.
In a joint resolution of the two cases, the Supreme Court held that what is prohibited
to a Batasang Pambansa member, under both the original and the amended
constitutional provision in issue, is" appearance as counsel" "before any Court
without appellate jurisdiction," hence, since the respective Courts of First Instance,
before which Assemblymen Legaspi and Fernandez appeared as counsel, were
acting in the exercise of original and not appellate jurisdiction, they are barred from
appearing as counsel before said Courts. Writs granted.
SYLLABUS
1.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; CONSTITUTIONS; EFFECTIVITY OF NEW OR AMENDED
PROVISIONS; CASES FILED PRIOR TO AMENDMENT SHOULD BE RESOLVED UNDER
THE AMENDED PROVISIONS; CASES AT BAR. The Supreme Court abides by the
proposition that "as a general rule, the provisions of a new constitution take effect
immediately and become operative on pending litigation." (16 Am Jur., 2d, p.219
citing Cassard vs. Tracy, 52 La Ann 835, 27 So 368.) Although the cases at bar were
filed prior to the amendment of Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 constitution,
ratified in a national plebiscite held on April 7, 1981, they should be resolved under
the amended provision.
2.
ID.; ID.; ASSEMBLYMEN BARRED FROM APPEARING AS COUNSEL; MEANING OF
THE PROHIBITION UNDER THE ORIGINAL AND AMENDED PROVISIONS OF THE
CONSTITUTION. The original provision of Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973
Constitution, used to read: "No member of the National Assembly shall appear as
counsel before any court inferior to a court with appellate jurisdiction, . . ." Under

the amendment ratified in a national plebiscite held on April 7, 1981, the same
section now reads: No member of the Batasang Pambansa shall appear as counsel
before any court without appellate jurisdiction, . . ." Clearly, what is prohibited to a
Batasang Pambansa member is "appearance as counsel" "before any Court without
appellate jurisdiction."
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; "APPEARANCE AS COUNSEL" CONSTRUED; CASE AT BAR.
"Appearance as counsel" is a voluntary submission to a court's jurisdiction by a
legal advocate or advising lawyer professionally engaged to represent and plead the
cause of another. This is the common, popular connotation of this word which the
Constitution must have adopted. Judging from the prescribed criteria, there should
be no question that. Assemblyman Valentino L. Legaspi, in preparing the Answer for
private respondents-spouses in Civil Case No. R-18857 before the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, Branch II, appears as their counsel. Similarly, Assemblyman
Estanislao A. Fernandez appears as counsel for Excelsior in Civil Case No. 33739 of
the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasig), Branch XXI. They represent and plead the
cause of another before a Court of Justice.
4.
REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; APPELLATE JURISDICTION; CRITERION.
There are authorities to the effect that the essential criterion of appellate
jurisdiction is that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a case already
instituted and does not create the cause (Marbury vs. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 175, 2L.
Ed. 60; In re: Constitutionality of House Bill No. 222, 90 SW 2d 692, 293.) Or, that it
necessarily implies that the subject matter has been instituted in and acted upon by
some other court whose judgment or proceedings are to be reviewed (Ex Parte
Evans, 52 S.E. 419, 420.) In an early Philippine case, U.S. vs. Atienza, 1 Phil. 737
(1903), it was held to mean jurisdiction to review the judgment of an inferior court.
And, that it calls for and demands previous legitimate jurisdiction by a court of
origin (De Rivera vs. Halili, 9 SCRA 59 [1963].
5.
ID.; ID.; COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE VESTED WITH BOTH ORIGINAL AND
APPELLATE JURISDICTION. Under Section 39 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, Courts of
First Instance are Courts of general original jurisdiction. However, under Section 43
of the same statute, their jurisdiction has been stated to be of two kinds: (a) original
and (b) appellate. They have appellate jurisdiction over all cases arising in City and
Municipal Courts in their respective provinces except over appeals from cases tried
by Municipal Judges of provincial capitals or City Judges pursuant to the authority
granted under the last paragraph of Section 87 of the Judiciary Act (Section 45,
Judiciary Act.)
6.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; 1973 CONSTITUTION, SECTION 11, ARTICLE VIII;
PROHIBITION ON APPEARANCE BY LEGISLATORS AS COUNSEL BEFORE COURTS OF
FIRST INSTANCE CONSTRUED AS LIMITED TO CASES WHEREIN SAID COURTS
EXERCISE APPELLATE JURISDICTION. We are of the considered opinion that, to
render effective Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, appearance by

legislators before Courts of First Instance should be limited to cases wherein said
Courts exercise appellate jurisdiction. This is true to the time-honored principle that
whatever is necessary to render effective any provision of a Constitution, whether
the same be a prohibition or a restriction, must be deemed implied and intended in
the provision itself (Black, on Interpretation of Laws, 2nd ed., 1911, p. 29.).
7.
ID.; ID.; ID.; OBJECTIVE OF THE PROHIBITION ON APPELLATE PRACTICE. The
objective of the prohibition in Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, both
under the original and the amended provisions, is clearly to remove any possibility
of undue influence upon the administration of justice, to eliminate the possible use
of office for personal gain, to ensure impartiality in trials and thus preserve the
independence of the Judiciary. The possible influence of an Assemblyman on a
single Judge of the Court of First Instance, though not entirely removed, is definitely
diminished where the latter Court acts in the exercise of its appellate instead of
original jurisdiction. The upper hand that a party represented by an Assemblyman
by virtue of his office possesses is more felt and could be more feared in original
cases than in appealed cases because the decision or resolution appealed from in
the latter situation has already a presumption not only of regularity but also of
correctness in its favor. In fine, "appellate practice" is an intended qualification
dictated by principles of reason, justice and public interest.
8.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RESPONDENT ASSEMBLYMEN BARRED FROM APPEARING IN
CASES AT BAR. Since the respective Courts of First Instance, before which
Assemblymen Legaspi and Fernandez appeared as counsel, were acting in the
exercise of original and not appellate jurisdiction, they must be held barred from
appearing as counsel before said Courts in the two cases involved herein.
DECISION
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J p:
These two cases (L-53869 and L-51928) filed in May, 1980 and September, 1979,
respectively, involve the prohibition in Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Charter,
which used to read:
"Sec. 11.
No member of the National Assembly shall appear as counsel before
any court inferior to a court with appellate jurisdiction, . . ."
The antecedent facts follow:
L-53869
On September 27, 1979, a complaint for annulment of bank checks and damages
was filed by Raul A. Villegas against the Vera Cruz spouses and Primitivo Cania, Jr.
(private respondents) before the Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch XVI, then
presided by Hon. Ceferino E. Dulay (Civil Case No. 43 1-L). An Answer, dated
October 11, 1979, was filed by private respondents through their counsel,

Assemblyman Valentino L. Legaspi, a member of the Batasang Pambansa from the


province of Cebu. Raul A. Villegas "challenged" the appearance of Assemblyman
Legaspi as counsel of record on the ground that he is barred under the Constitution
from appearing before Courts of First Instance, which are essentially trial Courts or
Courts of original jurisdiction. After the Opposition and Reply to the Opposition were
filed, Judge Dulay issued an Order inhibiting himself from the aforesaid case
because Assemblyman Legaspi was likewise the lawyer of his wife in two pending
cases. The case was re-raffled and re-docketed as Civil Case No. R-18857, and
transferred to Branch II, presided by Judge Francisco P. Burgos (respondent Court).
cdlaws06
In an Order, dated February 27, 1980, Judge Burgos denied the disqualification of
Assemblyman Legaspi, as well as the Motion for Reconsideration filed thereafter.
Hence, this recourse to Certiorari and Prohibition.
A temporary Restraining Order was issued ex-parte by this Tribunal on May 22, 1980
enjoining respondent Court from acting in Civil Case No. R-18857 below.
L -51928
Edgardo P. Reyes filed, on July 3, 1979, Civil Case No. 33739 before the Court of First
Instance of Rizal (Pasig), Branch XXI, against N.V. Verenigde Buinzenfabrieken
Excelsior-De Maas and private respondent Eustaquio T. C. Acero to annul the sale of
Excelsior's shares in the International Pipe Industries Corporation (IPI) to Eustaquio
T.C. Acero, allegedly on the ground that, prior thereto, the same shares had already
been sold to him (Reyes). Assemblyman Estanislao Fernandez entered his
appearance as counsel for Excelsior. This appearance was questioned on the ground
that it was barred by Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, above-quoted.
Initially, this case (L-51928) was filed as a Supplemental Petition to L-51122
(Eugenio Puyat, et als. vs. Hon. Sixto T. J. de Guzman), but this Court ordered it
docketed separately. And since the issue involved is on all fours with L-53869, the
Court opted to resolve Case No. L-51928 jointly with L-53869 instead of with L51122 as originally directed.
The novel issue for determination is whether or not members of the Batasang
Pambansa, like Attorneys Valentino L. Legaspi and Estanislao A. Fernandez, can
appear as counsel before Courts of First Instance.
A comparison of Section 11, Article VIII, of the 1973 Constitution prohibiting any
Assemblyman from appearing as counsel "before any Court inferior to a Court with
appellate jurisdiction," and the "similar" provision of Section 17, Article VI, of the
1935 Charter is elucidating. The last sentence of the latter provision reads:
". . . No member of the Commission on Appointments shall appear as counsel before
any Court inferior to a collegiate Court of Appellate Jurisdiction."

A significant amendment is the deletion of the term "collegiate." Further, the


limitation now comprehends all members of the Batasang Pambansa, and is no
longer confined to members of the Commission on Appointments, a body not
provided for under the 1973 Constitution.
Under the amendment to Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, ratified in a national
plebiscite held on April 7, 1981, Section 11 now reads:
"SEC. 11. No member of the Batasang Pambansa shall appear as counsel before any
court without appellate jurisdiction, . . ."
The term "collegiate" remains deleted, and the terminology is now "Court without
appellate jurisdiction."
Although the cases at bar were filed prior to the aforesaid amendment, they should
be resolved under the amended provision. We abide by the proposition that "as a
general rule, the provisions of a new Constitution take effect immediately and
become operative on pending litigation." 1
Clearly, what is prohibited to a Batasang Pambansa member is "appearance as
counsel" "before any Court without appellate jurisdiction."
"Appearance" has been defined as "voluntary submission to a court's jurisdiction." 2
"Counsel" means "an adviser, a person professionally engaged in the trial or
management of a cause in court; a legal advocate managing a case at law; a lawyer
appointed or engaged to advise and represent in legal matters a particular client,
public officer, or public body." 3 Ballantine's Law Dictionary says a counsel is a
"counselor; an attorney at law; one or more attorneys representing parties in an
action." 4 Thus, "appearance as counsel" is a voluntary submission to a court' s
jurisdiction by a legal advocate or advising lawyer professionally engaged to
represent and plead the cause of another. This is the common, popular connotation
of this word which the Constitution must have adopted. In one case, 5 in resolving
the question of what constitutes "appearance as an advocate," the Court held that "
advocate" means one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial
court, a counselor.
Judging from the prescribed criteria, there should be no question that Assemblyman
Valentino L. Legaspi, in preparing the Answer for private respondent-spouses in Civil
Case No. R-18857 before the Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch II, appears as
their counsel. Similarly, Assemblyman Estanislao A. Fernandez appears as counsel
for Excelsior in Civil Case No. 33739 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasig),
Branch XXI. They represent and plead the cause of another before a Court of justice.
The next poser then arises: are the Courts of First Instance, where Assemblymen
Legaspi and Fernandez, respectively, appear as counsel of record, Courts with
appellate jurisdiction?

There are authorities to the effect that the essential criterion of appellate
jurisdiction is that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a case already
instituted and does not create that cause. 6 Or, that it necessarily implies that the
subject-matter has been instituted in and acted upon by some other court whose
judgment or proceedings are to be reviewed. 7 In an early Philippine case, 8 it was
held to mean jurisdiction to review the judgment of an inferior court. And, that it
calls for and demands previous legitimate jurisdiction by a court of origin. 9
By law, Courts of First Instance are Courts of general original jurisdiction. 10
However, under the same statute, their jurisdiction has been stated to be of two
kinds: (a) original and (b) appellate. 11 They have appellate jurisdiction over all
cases arising in City and Municipal Courts in their respective provinces except over
appeals from cases tried by Municipal Judges of provincial capitals or City Judges
pursuant to the authority granted under the last paragraph of Section 87 of the
Judiciary Act. 12
It is rather clear that Courts of First Instance, by virtue of a specific bestowal by the
Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, can be Courts with appellate jurisdiction. And, by
the deliberate omission of the word "collegiate" in both the original and amended
Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, the obvious intention of the framers
is that Courts of First Instance, as appellate Tribunals, no longer fall within the ambit
of the previous prohibition. They are single-Judge Courts with appellate jurisdiction
from decisions and orders of City and Municipal Courts. 13 Stated otherwise, under
the amended proviso, Courts of First Instance are not Courts without appellate
jurisdiction.
It is contended, however, that the Courts of First Instance in these two cases took
cognizance of the suits in the exercise of their exclusive original and not appellate
jurisdiction, hence, Assemblymen Fernandez and Legaspi are still prohibited from
appearing before said Courts as counsel. There is merit to this contention.
It should be borne in mind that Courts of First Instance have dual "personality."
Depending on the case before it, said Courts can be either of appellate or original
jurisdiction. The question then to be resolved is whether or not Assemblymen can
appear as counsel before Courts of First Instance in cases originally filed with them.
We are of the considered opinion that, to render effective the Constitutional
provision, appearance by legislators before Courts of First Instance should be limited
to cases wherein said Courts exercise appellate jurisdiction. This is true to the timehonored principle that whatever is necessary to render effective any provision of a
Constitution, whether the same be a prohibition or a restriction, must be deemed
implied and intended in the provision itself. 14
It bears repeating that under Section 17, Article VI of the 1935 Charter, it was
provided that members of the Commission on Appointments shall not "appear as
counsel before any Court inferior to a collegiate Court of appellate jurisdiction." The

intent was clear that members of the Commission on Appointments could not
appear before Courts of First Instance. Uppermost in the minds of the framers was
"appellate jurisdiction" more than Court. Under Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973
Constitution, the scope of the prohibition was expanded to embrace all members of
the National Assembly who were barred from "appear(ing) as counsel before any
Court inferior to a Court with appellate jurisdiction." The common denominator was
still "appellate jurisdiction" more than "Court." Under the amendment ratified in the
April 7, 1981 referendum, members of the Batasang Pambansa are prohibited from
"appear(ing) as counsel before any Court without appellate jurisdiction."
Consistently, the principal criterion is, "appellate jurisdiction." So that, when a
legislator appears in an original case filed with a Court of First Instance, he would
not be appearing before a Court with "appellate jurisdiction."
Appellate practice is all that is permitted because of the admitted predominance of
lawyers in the legislature. 15 Their office has always favored them with the
influence and prestige that it carried. Today, as before, it is only "appellate practice"
that is allowed with the significant difference that, this time, the Court need not be
a collegial body. This is so because with the removal of the legislative power to
review appointments the source of power and influence that members of the
National Assembly could unduly exert in the exercise of the legal profession has
been greatly minimized.
This is a situation where the restricted meaning must prevail over the general
because the nature of the subject matter of the context clearly indicates that the
limited sense is intended. 16 In fact, the original amendment proposed by Antonio
V. Raquiza, Delegate of the First District, Ilocos Norte, in Resolution No. 345 entitled
"Prohibiting Members of the National Assembly to Use Their Office As a Means of
Promoting Self-Interest" was to bar a National Assembly member from appearing
as counsel before any Court. In the "Whereas" clauses, that proposal was believed
to be an "improvement" over Section 17, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution and the
purpose of the proposed amendment was explained as follows:
xxx

xxx

xxx

"2.
The Constitutional provision enumerates the kind of court or administrative
cases where a legislator cannot appear. In our proposal he is absolutely barred
because it is feared that the practice of his profession will interfere with the
performance of his duties or that because the power of his office might influence
the administration of justice.
xxx

xxx

xxx (Emphasis ours) 17

The co-author of Resolution No. 345, Delegate Leocadio E. Ignacio from the lone
District of Isabela, and Floor Leader of the 1971 Constitutional Convention,
elucidated further on the purpose behind the prohibition when he wrote in his
Position Paper that "The prohibition against appearing as counsel is necessary

because of the undue influence which members of Congress enjoy when they
practice before the Courts and especially before administrative agencies. It is an
accepted fact that our legislature is composed of a predominance of practicing
lawyers, and who are therefore expected to be naturally not averse to exerting all
influence that they can muster in the pursuit of their profession." Continuing, he
said: "The inability to practice as counsel . . . should be part of the sacrifices
entailed in running for the position of lawmaker. 18 The amendment proposed by
Delegate Gonzalo O. Catan, Jr. of Negros Oriental even went further: "No member of
the National Assembly shall, during his term of office, appear as counsel, directly or
indirectly, in any Court or administrative body . . ." 19 Delegate Emerito M. Salva
from the Second District, Ilocos Norte, substituted his own amendment thus:
"Section 13. No member of the National Assembly shall, during his term of office,
practice directly or indirectly any occupation or profession or be allowed to engage
directly or indirectly in any trade, business, or industry." 20
and explained:
"10.2 Explaining the substitute amendment, Delegate Salva said that the
assemblymen should render full-time service to the nation. He pointed out that they
should be barred from the practice of their respective professions since they would
reasonably be compensated for devoting their time to the work of the National
Assembly." 21
While Section 11, Article VIII, as finally adopted by the Constitutional Convention,
did not carry the several amendments proposed, they are reflective of the
sentiment prevailing at the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and reinforce the
conviction that appearance as counsel by Assemblymen was meant to be confined
to appellate practice and not unlimited practice before Courts of First Instance. That
sentiment has been carried over to the amendment ratified in the April, 1981
plebiscite. For, there is no substantial difference between "Court inferior to a Court
with appellate jurisdiction" (the original 1973 provision) and "Court without
appellate jurisdiction" (the amended provision).
The objective of the prohibition, then and now, is clearly to remove any possibility of
undue influence upon the administration of justice, to eliminate the possible use of
office for personal gain, to ensure impartiality in trials and thus preserve the
independence of the Judiciary. The possible influence of an Assemblyman on a
single Judge of the Court of First Instance, though not entirely removed, is definitely
diminished where the latter Court acts in the exercise of its appellate instead of
original jurisdiction. The upper hand that a party represented by an Assemblyman
by virtue of his office possesses is more felt and could be more feared in original
cases than in appealed cases because the decision or resolution appealed from in
the latter situation has already a presumption not only of regularity but also of
correctness in its favor.

In fine, "appellate practice" is an intended qualification dictated by principles of


reason, justice and public interest.
The limited application to "appellate practice" is a viewpoint favored by a
constitutionalist of eminence, Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, in his scholarly
work "The Constitution of the Philippines, 22 where he said:
"It is to be noted that at present he may appear as counsel in any criminal case, but
he cannot do so before any administrative body. Also, while it is only appellate
practice that is allowed a member of the National Assembly, formerly, such a
limitation applied solely to a Senator or Representative who was in the Commission
on Appointments, a body abolished under the present Constitution. Those
differences should be noted" (Emphasis supplied). 23
Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando also expounded on the reason behind the
Constitutional prohibition, thus:
". . . The need for it was felt by the 1934 Constitutional Convention, a sentiment
shared by the last Constitutional Convention, because of the widespread belief that
legislators found it difficult to resist, as perhaps most men, the promptings of selfinterest. Clearly, the purpose was and is to stress the fiduciary aspect of the
position. There is thus fidelity to the maxim that a public office is a public trust." 24
Since the respective Courts of First Instance, before which Assemblymen Legaspi
and Fernandez appeared as counsel, were acting in the exercise of original and not
appellate jurisdiction, they must be held barred from appearing as counsel before
said Courts in the two cases involved herein.
WHEREFORE, granting the Writs prayed for, the Order issued on February 27, 1980
by the Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch II, in Civil Case No. R-18857, is hereby
set aside, and Attorneys Estanislao A. Fernandez and Valentino Legaspi hereby
declared prohibited from appearing as counsel before the Court of First Instance of
Rizal (Pasig), Branch XXI, in Civil Case No. 33739, and before the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, Branch II, in Civil Case No. R-18857, respectively. The Restraining
Order issued heretofore in L-53869 is hereby made permanent.
No costs in either case.
SO ORDERED.
Fernando, C. J., Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero,
Abad Santos, De Castro, Ericta, Plana and Escolin, JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., took no part.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 98472. August 19, 1993.]

PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE EXPORTERS, INC. (PASEI), PHILIPPINE


ENTERTAINMENT EXPORTERS AND PROMOTERS ASSOCIATION (PEEPA), and
ASSOCIATION OF FILIPINO OVERSEAS WORKERS, INC. (AFOWI), petitioners, vs. HON.
RUBEN D. TORRES, SECRETARY OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT, respondent. JOBLINK
INTERNATIONAL, INC. (herein represented by FEBI L. ENRIQUEZ, Vice-President for
Operations) and PROSPECS INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANCY (herein represented by
QUINTIN C. FENIZA, Proprietor-General Manager), intervenors, RP-JAPAN
ENTERTAINMENT PROMOTERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (REPA), intervenor, AMADER
INTERNATIONAL, INC., IDG TRADING & GENERAL SERVICES, PHILCANGO
INTERNATIONAL RECRUITMENT SERVICES, PAN ASIA MANPOWER PLACEMENT, LYKA
INTERNATIONAL MANPOWER SERVICES, INTERNATIONAL MANPOWER SERVICES,
MAINLINE RECRUITMENT INTERNATIONAL, INC., WORLD MATRIX UNLIMITED
SERVICES CONSULTANCY & TRADING CO., NUBA INTERNATIONAL MANPOWER
SERVICES CORPORATION, EL BARY MANPOWER SERVICES, SOCIAL SERVICES CONT.
INT'L CO. LTD., CDD ENTERPRISES and VELREY RECRUITMENT COMPANY,
intervenors.
Gutierrez & Alo Law Office for petitioner.
Domingo F. Gonzales for Intervenor RP-Japan Entertainment Promoters Association.
Gil-Fernando C. Cruz for Intervenors JOBLINK International, Inc. et al.
Ceferino P. Padua for Intervenors Amader International, Inc. et al.
SYLLABUS
1.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; PRESIDENT; PRESIDENTIAL ISSUANCES; WHEN
CONSIDERED A LAW. In determining whether a presidential issuance under the
1973 Constitution may be considered a law, we held in Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile that
"[t]o form part of the law of the land, the decree, order of LOI must be issued by the
President in the exercise of his extraordinary power of legislation as contemplated in
Section 6 of the 1976 Amendments to the Constitution, whenever in his judgment,
there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the
interim Batasan Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act
adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate
action . . . Verily, not all LOI issued by the President should be dignified into forming
part of the law of the land."
2.
REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; PROPER-PARTY REQUIREMENT, CONSTRUED. The
"proper-party" requirement is satisfied if it is alleged that petitioners and
intervenors have sustained or are in danger of sustaining immediate injury resulting
from the acts or measures complained of.
3.
ID.; ID.; DISMISSAL; GROUNDS; WANT OF VALID CAUSE OF ACTION; ACTION IN
CASE AT BAR FOUNDED ON MERE SPECULATION. But, as regards petitioner

Association of Filipino Overseas Workers, Inc. (AFOWI), we are not persuaded that
the proliferation of recruitment agencies will necessarily result in exposure of
workers to exploitation by unscrupulous recruiters, for the stiffer competition may
even compel these agencies to seek better terms and conditions for overseas
workers. Hence, the petition being founded on mere speculation insofar as it affects
AFOWI, the same should be dismissed for want of a valid cause of action.
4.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; PRESIDENT; PRESIDENTIAL ISSUANCES; LETTER OF
INSTRUCTION NO. 1190, MERELY AN ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION, NOT A LAW. As we
view it, LOI 1190 simply imposes a presidential review of the authority of the
Minister of Labor and Employment to grant licenses, hence, directed to him alone.
Since this is undoubtedly an administrative action, LOI 1190 should properly be
treated as an administrative issuance. Unlike Presidential Decrees which by usage
have gained acceptance as laws promulgated by the President, Letters of
Instruction are presumed to be mere administrative issuances except when the
conditions set out in Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile exist. Consequently, to be considered
part of the law of the land, petitioners must establish that LOI 1190 was issued in
response to "a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the
interim Batasan Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act
adequately on any matter." The conspicuous absence of any of these conditions
fortifies the opinion that LOI 1190 cannot be any more than a mere administrative
issuance.
5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; DID NOT MODIFY THE RULE-MAKING POWER OF THE
MINISTER OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT. There is nothing in the LOI which repeals
or runs counter to Art. 25 of the Labor Code, as amended. Instead, contrary to the
perception of petitioners, LOI 1190 does not actually ban the grant of licenses nor
bar the entry of new licenses since anybody could still apply for license with the
Minister of Labor and Employment, although the grant thereof is subject to the prior
authority of the President. In fact, the LOI did not modify the rule-making power of
the Minister of Labor and Employment under the Labor Code; it only added another
tier of review. As we earlier stated, the LOI did not suspend the enforcement of Art.
25 of the Labor Code; it merely added another level of administrative review.
6.
ID.; ID.; CONTROL OVER EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS; MANIFEST IN REVIEW BY
THE PRESIDENT OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTER OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
TO GRANT LICENSES OF RECRUITMENT AGENCIES. Neither can petitioners
consider this additional review by the President as an amendment of Art. 25, for this
is within the scope of the exercise of his constitutionally sanctioned control over the
executive departments of government. Implicit in that power of control is the
President's "authority to go over, confirm, modify or reverse the action taken by his
department secretaries."
7.
CIVIL LAW; EFFECTIVITY OF LAWS; LAWS HAVE A CERTAIN DEGREE OF
PERMANENCE. Petitioners advance a rather outrageous interpretation of LOI 1190

when they claim that "[t]he then President was in effect saying that 'Art. 25 of the
Labor Code is hereby repealed as regards overseas workers until I otherwise
direct.'" By their nature, and their purpose to maintain stability in the polity, laws
have a certain degree of permanence such that they are not intended to be
repealed one hour after their enactment, then re-enacted the following hour, and so
on. If the law has to be applied on a case to case basis, as in the case of Art. 25 of
the Labor Code, it does not have to undergo the tedious process of repeal and reenactment every time its application is warranted.
8.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; PRESIDENT; PRESIDENTIAL ISSUANCES; LETTER OF
INSTRUCTION NO. 1190; MAY BE REPEALED, ALTERED OR MODIFIED BY EXECUTIVE
ORDER NO. 450. Petitioners also contend that EO 450 cannot repeal LOI 1190 for
Congress has not delegated that power to the President. We do not agree. There is
no need for legislative delegation of power to the President to revoke the LOI by way
of an EO in view of our finding that LOI 1190 is a mere administrative directive,
hence, may be repealed, altered or modified by EO 450, and DO 9 must
consequently be upheld.
9.
CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; ATTORNEY'S FEES; GRANT THEREOF NOT ALLOWED
WHERE COMPLEX LEGAL ISSUE WAS RAISED. Of the three (3) groups of
intervenors, only AMADER, et al., pray for attorney's fees claiming that they were
compelled to hire counsel to enforce and protect their rights. However, in view of
the complexity of the legal issue involved, the Court resolves not to grant attorney's
fees.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J p:
May an Executive Order (EO)1 repeal a Letter of Instruction (LOI)? 2
Ordinarily, since both LOI and EO are presidential issuances, one may repeal or
otherwise alter, modify or amend the other, depending on which comes later. The
case before us appears compounded by the circumstance that the LOI in question
was issued by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos when he was clothed with
legislative power, while the EO revoking the LOI was issued by then President
Corazon C. Aquino at a time when she had already lost her law-making power after
Congress convened on 27 July 1987. 3 Although the EO issued by President Aquino
is undoubtedly not a law but a mere administrative issuance, the parties here
debate whether the LOI issued by President Marcos was a law or simply an
administrative rule in view of his dual position then as chief executive and as
legislative authority. Petitioners contend that the LOI is a law, hence, the EO cannot
countermand it, while public respondent claims that the LOI is only an
administrative issuance which may be superseded by an EO. LLphil

In determining whether a presidential issuance under the 1973 Constitution may be


considered a law, we held in Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile 4 that "[t]o form part of the law
of the land, the decree, order or LOI must be issued by the President in the exercise
of his extraordinary power of legislation as contemplated in Section 6 of the 1976
Amendments to the Constitution, whenever in his judgment there exists a grave
emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the interim Batasan
Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on
any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action . . . Verily,
not all LOI issued by the President should be dignified into forming part of the law of
the land."
Article 25 of the Labor Code of the Philippines (P.D. 442, as amended)5 encourages
private sector participation in recruitment and placement of workers under
guidelines, rules and regulations to be issued by the Secretary of Labor. On 20
January 1982, President Marcos issued LOI 1190 withholding the grant of new
licenses to operate agencies for overseas employment effective 1 January 1982
except as he may otherwise direct. 6 On 19 March 1991, President Aquino issued
EO 450 lifting the ban on new applications for licenses to operate recruitment
agencies subject to guidelines and regulations the Secretary of Labor may
promulgate. 7 On 8 April 1991, respondent Secretary of Labor and Employment
promulgated Department Order (DO) No. 9, Series of 1991, entitled "Guidelines
Implementing Executive Order No. 450."
In this Petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction/Restraining Order filed 14
May 1991 petitioners Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI),
Philippine Entertainment Exporters and Promoters Association (PEEPA), and
Association of Filipino Overseas Workers, Inc. (AFOWI) pray that EO 450 be declared
invalid for being contrary to LOI 1190.
On 16 May 1991, we issued a temporary restraining order directing respondent
Secretary of Labor and Employment to cease and desist from enforcing EO 450 and
DO 9 until further orders. 8 Thereafter, three motions for intervention were filed, 9
which the Court eventually allowed. 10 Intervenors Joblink International, Inc.
(JOBLINK), Prospecs International Consultancy, Amader International, Inc. (AMADER),
IDG Trading & General Services, Philcango International Recruitment Services, Pan
Asia Manpower Placement, International Manpower Services, Lyka International
Manpower Services, Mainline Recruitment International, Inc., World Matrix Unlimited
Services Consultancy & Trading Co., Nuba International Manpower Services
Corporation, El Bary Manpower Services, Social Services Cont. Int'l Co., Ltd., CDD
Enterprises and Velrey Recruitment Company, all applicants for new licenses,
support the position of respondent that LOI 1190 was not a law.
On the other hand, intervenor RP-Japan Entertainment Promoters Association, Inc.
(REPA), a non-stock, non-profit domestic corporation composed of private
employment agencies authorized to recruit and deploy contract workers abroad,

prays for the modification of the restraining order we issued on 16 May 1991. We
addressed this incident on 4 July 1991 when we explained that our temporary
restraining order did not comprehend renewal of existing licenses since EO 450
covered only new applications. 11 The other pending issue relating to the lifting and
modification of our Resolution of 16 May 1991 will accordingly be resolved in this
decision.
First, on the challenge of intervenors AMADER, et al., that petitioners lack locus
standi, we need only reiterate that the "proper-party" requirement is satisfied if it is
alleged that petitioners and intervenors have sustained or are in danger of
sustaining immediate injury resulting from the acts or measures complained of. 12
Petitioners PASEI and PEEPA allege that their member agencies, which enjoy
protection against competition by new licensees pursuant to LOI 1190, will suffer
irreparable injury with the repeal of LOI 1190 by EO 450, considering further that
there is no additional demand for Filipino workers abroad. Hence, any gain made by
the new agencies on the supposed exclusive preserve of existing agencies
necessarily results in the latter's loss.
But, as regards petitioner Association of Filipino Overseas Workers, Inc. (AFOWI), we
are not persuaded that the proliferation of recruitment agencies will necessarily
result in exposure of workers to exploitation by unscrupulous recruiters, for the
stiffer competition may even compel these agencies to seek better terms and
conditions for overseas workers. Hence, the petition being founded on mere
speculation insofar as it affects AFOWI, the same should be dismissed for want of a
valid cause of action. prLL
On the issue raised by intervenors that the petition can be decided without touching
on the validity of EO 450, we cannot find any other way but to meet the question
squarely since petitioners' relief depends on its validity.
The central thesis of the petition is that LOI 1190 was issued pursuant to the lawmaking power of the President under Sec. 6 of the 1976 Amendments to the 1973
Constitution in response to "a grave emergency which cried for immediate and
decisive action," hence, should be considered part of the law of the land. Petitioners
argue that because of its repealing or modifying effect on Art. 25 of the Labor Code,
LOI 1190 could be valid only if treated as a law, and that a contrary interpretation
that would render LOI 1190 invalid could not have been intended by the then
incumbent President.
As we view it, LOI 1190 13 simply imposes a presidential review of the authority of
the Minister of Labor and Employment to grant licenses, hence, directed to him
alone. Since this is undoubtedly an administrative action, LOI 1190 should properly
be treated as an administrative issuance. Unlike Presidential Decrees which by
usage have gained acceptance as laws promulgated by the President, Letters of
Instruction are presumed to be mere administrative issuances except when the

conditions set out in Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile exist. Consequently, to be considered


part of the law of the land, petitioners must establish that LOI 1190 was issued in
response to "a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the
interim Batasan Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act
adequately on any matter." The conspicuous absence of any of these conditions
fortifies the opinion that LOI 1190 cannot be any more than a mere administrative
issuance.
In arguing that LOI 1190 was issued to cope with "a grave emergency," petitioners
point to the 3rd "Whereas" clause which speaks of the concern of the state against
cut-throat competition seriously affecting the integrity and viability of the overseas
recruitment industry, and the difficulty in the regulation and supervision of agencies
and the protection of the welfare of the workers. The petitioners' appraisal that the
3rd "Whereas" clause manifests a grave emergency situation is as good as anybody
else's contrary view. Moreover, even if we treat as emergency the "situation which
has seriously affected the integrity and viability of the overseas employment
industry," there is no indication that in the judgment of the President it is grave.
Petitioners argue that since the repeal of Art. 25 of the Labor Code could not be
done through an administrative issuance, LOI 1190 must of necessity be a law. This
reasoning is flawed.
There is nothing in the LOI which repeals or runs counter to Art. 25 of the Labor
Code, as amended. Instead, contrary to the perception of petitioners, LOI 1190 does
not actually ban the grant of licenses nor bar the entry of new licensees since
anybody could still apply for license with the Minister of Labor and Employment,
although the grant thereof is subject to the prior authority of the President. In fact,
the LOI did not modify the rule-making power of the Minister of Labor and
Employment under the Labor Code; it only added another tier of review.
Neither can petitioners consider this additional review by the President as an
amendment of Art. 25, for this is within the scope of the exercise of his
constitutionally sanctioned control over the executive departments of government.
14 Implicit in that power of control is the President's "authority to go over, confirm,
modify or reverse the action taken by his department secretaries."15 Moreover, if
we discern the intent of LOI 1190 from the manner it was enforced, the unrebutted
allegation of respondent - that 319 private employment agencies secured
administrative presidential approval from 1982 to 1989 16 shows that then
President Marcos merely intended to regulate, and not ban altogether, new
applications for licenses. For this reason, Marcos could not have contemplated
repealing Art. 25 of the Labor Code.
Petitioners advance a rather outrageous interpretation of LOI 1190 when they claim
that "[t]he then President was in effect saying that 'Art. 25 of the Labor Code is
hereby repealed as regards overseas workers until I otherwise direct.'" 17 By their

nature, and their purpose to maintain stability in the polity, laws have a certain
degree of permanence such that they are not intended to be repealed one hour
after their enactment, then re-enacted the following hour, and so on. If the law has
to be applied on a case to case basis, as in the case of Art. 25 of the Labor Code, it
does not have to undergo the tedious process of repeal and re-enactment every
time its application is warranted.
Petitioners would impress upon us the interpretation that LOI 1190 suspended the
effectivity of Art. 25, which could not be done because the chief executive is
constitutionally bound to "ensure that the laws be faithfully executed." 18 As we
earlier stated, the LOI did not suspend the enforcement of Art. 25 of the Labor Code;
it merely added another level of administrative review.
The discussion on whether the word "I" in the phrase "except as I may otherwise
direct" refers to the President as chief executive or as a legislator is meaningless,
for the correct interpretation would ultimately depend on whether the LOI is a law or
an administrative issuance. LexLib
Petitioners also contend that EO 450 cannot repeal LOI 1190 for Congress has not
delegated that power to the President. 19 We do not agree. There is no need for
legislative delegation of power to the President to revoke the LOI by way of an EO in
view of our finding that LOI 1190 is a mere administrative directive, 20 hence, may
be repealed, altered or modified by EO 450, and DO 9 must consequently be upheld.
Of the three (3) groups of intervenors, only AMADER, et al., pray for attorney's fees
claiming that they were compelled to hire counsel to enforce and protect their
rights. However, in view of the complexity of the legal issue involved, the Court
resolves not to grant attorney's fees.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The Temporary Restraining Order
we issued on 16 May 1991 is accordingly LIFTED and SET ASIDE. Executive Order
No. 450 and Department Order No. 9 of the Department of Labor and Employment
are SUSTAINED. Accordingly, Letter of Instruction No. 1190 is declared REPEALED
and SUPERSEDED by Executive Order No. 450.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,
Romero, Nocon, Melo, Quiason, Puno and Vitug, JJ., concur.

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 116356. June 29, 1998]


EASTERN SHIPPING LINES, INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and DAVAO
PILOTS ASSOCIATION, respondents.

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.
In Philippine Interisland Shipping Association of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals, i[1]
the Court, en banc, ruled that Executive Order 1088ii[2] was not unconstitutional. We
adhere to said ruling in this case.
The Case

This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the Decisioniii[3] of the Court of
Appealsiv[4] in CA-GR CV No. 34487 promulgated on July 18, 1994, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the
same is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. With costs against defendant-appellant.
The Decision affirmed by Respondent Court disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered directing the defendant:
1.To pay plaintiff the sum of P602,710.04 with legal rate of interest
commencing from the filing of the complaint representing unpaid
pilotage fees;
2.

To pay attorneys fees in the sum of P50,000.00;

3.

And costs.

SO ORDERED.
Hence, this appeal.v[5]
The Facts

As found by the trial court, these are the undisputed facts:


On September 25, 1989, plaintiff [herein private respondent] elevated a
complaint against defendant [herein petitioner] for sum of money and attorneys
fees alleging that plaintiff had rendered pilotage services to defendant between
January 14, 1987 to July 22, 1989 with total unpaid fees of P703,290.18.
Despite repeated demands, defendant failed to pay and prays that the latter be
directed to pay P703,290.18 with legal rate of interest from the filing of the
complaint; attorneys fees equivalent to 25% of the principal obligation and such
other relief.
On November 18, 1989 defendant answered vigorously disputing the claims of
plaintiff. It assailed the constitutionality of the Executive Order 1088 upon

which plaintiff bases its claims; alleged that there is a pending case before the
Court of Appeals elevated by the United Harbor Pilots Association of the
Philippines of which plaintiff is a member[;] whereas defendant is a member of
the Chamber of Maritime Industries of the Philippine[s] which is an Intervenor in
CA-G.R. SP No. 18072; that there therefore is lis pendens by Section 1 (e),
Rule 16 of the Rules; that the subject of the complaint falls within the scope and
authority of the Philippine Ports Authority by virtue of PD No. 857 dated
December 23, 1975; that Executive Order No. 1088 is an unwarranted repeal or
modification of the Philippine Ports Authority Charter; that the fees charged by
plaintiff are arbitrary and confiscatory; and the basis of the Executive Order
1088 is offensive, sourced from Amendment No. 6 of the 1973 Constitution and
rendered inoperative by the Freedom Constitution of March 25, 1986 and the
present Constitution; and that the only agency vested by law to prescribe such
rates, charges or fees for services rendered by any private organization like the
plaintiff within a Port District is governed by Section 20 of PD 857. As regular
patron of plaintiff, defendant has never been remiss in paying plaintiffs claim
for pilotage fees and the present complaint under the foregoing circumstances
is without legal foundation. Defendant prays that plaintiff be advised to await
the final outcome of the identical issues already elevated to and pending before
the Court of Appeals as CA-G.R. SP No. 18072. Defendant prays for an award
of damages, attorneys fees, litigation expense and costs.
At the Pre-Trial Conference, the only issue raised by plaintiff is whether the
defendant is liable to the plaintiff for the money claims alleged in the complaint.
The defendant on the other hand raised the following issues:
1.Whether or not Executive Order 1088 is constitutional;
2.

Whether or not Executive Order 1088 is illegal;

3.

Whether or not the plaintiff may motu proprio and independently of


the Public Estates Authority enforce Executive Order 1088 and
collect the pilotage fees prescribed thereunder;

4.

Assuming Executive Order 1088 is constitutional, valid and selfexecutory, whether or not the defendant is liable; and if so, to what
extent and for what particular items; and

5.

Whether or not the plaintiff is liable under the counterclaims (p.


102, Expediente).

On September 5, 1990, plaintiff presented witness Capt. Felix N. Galope, in


the course of which testimony identified among others EXHIBITS B to E-2
and J to to I-2 consisting of documents related to the collection of the
unpaid pilotage fees; basis for such computations; Statement of Accounts;
demand letter and official recipients of payment made.
On September 6, 1990, Simplicio Barao, plaintiffs Billing Clerk testified among
others on the records of plaintiffs Captains Certificate/Pilotage Chits and

Bills/Statements of Accounts on the claims against defendant (EXHIBITS G


to H-48-A) and the details of the outstanding accounts in favor of plaintiff.
The records show defendant raised no objection thereto and by virtue of which
all of plaintiffs documentary exhibits were admitted. (Order dated January 14,
1991, p. 277 Expediente).
On March 14, 1991, defendant presented Celso Occidental, employee of
defendant shipping company, in the course of which testimony submitted
EXHIBITS 1 to 1-D which is plaintiffs Billing Rate, both old and new with a
payment of P79,585.64; and 2 to 2-G representing plane ticket paid for by
defendant for transportation expenses of its counsel and cost of stenographic
transcripts.
Defendants last witness, Capt. Jose Dubouzet, Jr. and a Harbor Pilot was
briefly presented.vi[6]
After due trial, the trial court rendered its ruling, viz.:
Plaintiffs evidence as to the unpaid pilotage services due from defendant duly
supported by voluminous documentary exhibits has not been refuted nor
rebutted by defendant. On the contrary, when plaintiffs documentary exhibits
were formally offered, defendant did not raise any objection thereby leaving the
documents unchallenged and undisputed.
Upon the other hand, while the records show that defendant raised no less than
five (5) issues the evidence fails to show any proof to sustain defendants
posture. On the contrary, neither of defendants two witnesses appear to have
even grazed the outer peripheries of what could have been interesting issues
with far-reaching consequences if resolved.vii[7]
The factual antecedents of the controversy are simple. Petitioner insists on paying
pilotage fees prescribed under PPA circulars. Because EO 1088 sets a higher rate,
petitioner now assails its constitutionality.
Public Respondents Ruling

As stated earlier, Respondent Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts decision.
Respondent Court pointed out that petitioner, during the pre-trial, limited the issues to
whether: (1) EO 1088 is unconstitutional; (2) EO 1088 is illegal; (3) private
respondent itself may enforce and collect fees under EO 1088; and (4) petitioner is
liable and, if EO 1088 is legal, to what extent. It then affirmed the factual findings and
conclusion of the trial court that petitioner fail[ed] to show any proof to support its
position. Parenthetically, Respondent Court also noted two other cases decided by the
Court of Appeals, upholding the constitutionality of EO 1088. viii[8]
The Issue

In sum, petitioner raises this main issue: whether Executive Order 1088 is
unconstitutional.ix[9]
The Courts Ruling

The petition is unmeritorious.


EO 1088 Is Valid

Petitioner contends that EO 1088x[10] is unconstitutional, because (1) its interpretation


and application are left to private respondent, a private person, xi[11] and (2) it
constitutes an undue delegation of powers. Petitioner insists that it should pay pilotage
fees in accordance with and on the basis of the memorandum circulars issued by the
PPA, the administrative body vested under PD 857 xii[12] with the power to regulate and
prescribe pilotage fees. In assailing the constitutionality of EO 1088, the petitioner
repeatedly asks: Is the private respondent vested with power to interpret Executive
Order No. 1088?xiii[13]
The Court is not persuaded. The pertinent provisions of EO 1088 read:
SECTION 1. The following shall be the rate of pilotage fees or charges based
on tonnage for services rendered to both foreign and coastwise vessels:
For Foreign Vessels
Less than 500GT
500GT to 2,500GT
2,500GT to 5,000GT
5,000GT to 10,000GT
10,000GT to 15,000GT
15,000GT to 20,000GT
20,000GT to 30,000GT
30,000GT to 40,000GT
40,000GT to 60,000GT
60,000GT to 80,000GT
80,000GT to 100,000GT
100,000GT to 120,000GT
120,000GT to 130,000GT
130,000GT to 140,000GT

Rate in US$ &/or its


Peso Equivalent
$

30.00
43.33

71.33
133.67
181.67
247.00
300.00
416.67
483.33
550.00
616.67
666.67
716.67
766.67

Over 140,000 gross tonnage $0.05 or its peso equivalent every excess
tonnage. Rate for docking and undocking anchorage, conduction and shifting
other related special services is equal to 100%. Pilotage services shall be
compulsory in government and private wharves or piers.
For Coastwise Vessels

Regular

100 and under 500 gross tons


500 and under 600 gross tons
600 and under 1,000 gross tons
1,000 and under 3,000 gross tons
3,000 and under 5,000 gross tons
5,000 and over gross tons

41.70
55.60
69.60
139.20
300.00

SEC. 2. With respect to foreign vessels, payment of pilotage services shall be


made in dollars or in pesos at the prevailing exchange rate.
SEC. 3. All orders, letters of instructions, rules, regulations and other
issuances inconsistent with this Executive Order are hereby repealed or
amended accordingly.
SEC. 4. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
In Philippine Interisland Shipping Association of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals,xiv
[14] the Supreme Court, through Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, upheld the validity
and constitutionality of Executive Order 1088 in no uncertain terms. We aptly iterate our
pronouncement in said case, viz.:
It is not an answer to say that E.O. No. 1088 should not be considered a
statute because that would imply the withdrawal of power from the PPA. What
determines whether an act is a law or an administrative issuance is not its form
but its nature. Here as we have already said, the power to fix the rates of
charges for services, including pilotage service, has always been regarded as
legislative in character.
xxx

xxx

xxx

It is worthy to note that E.O. NO. 1088 provides for adjusted pilotage service
rates without withdrawing the power of the PPA to impose, prescribe, increase
or decrease rates, charges or fees. The reason is because E.O. No. 1088 is
not meant simply to fix new pilotage rates. Its legislative purpose is the
rationalization of pilotage service charges, through the imposition of uniform
and adjusted rates for foreign and coastwise vessels in all Philippine ports.
xxx

xxx

xxx

We conclude that E.O. No. 1088 is a valid statute and that the PPA is duty
bound to comply with its provisions. The PPA may increase the rates but it may
not decrease them below those mandated by E.O. No. 1088. x x x. xv[15]
We see no reason to depart from this ruling. The Courts holding clearly debunks
petitioners insistence on paying its pilotage fees based on memorandum circulars
issued by the PPA.xvi[16] Because the PPA circulars are inconsistent with EO 1088, they
are void and ineffective. Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall
be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution. xvii[17] As stated
by this Court in Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals,xviii[18] [t]he
conclusive effect of administrative construction is not absolute. Action of an

administrative agency may be disturbed or set aside by the judicial department if there
is an error of law, a grave abuse of power or lack of jurisdiction, or grave abuse of
discretion clearly conflicting with either the letter or spirit of the law. xix[19] It is axiomatic
that an administrative agency, like the PPA, has no discretion whether to implement the
law or not. Its duty is to enforce it. Unarguably, therefore, if there is any conflict
between the PPA circular and a law, such as EO 1088, the latter prevails. xx[20]
Based on the foregoing, petitioner has no legal basis to refuse payment of pilotage fees
to private respondent, as computed according to the rates set by EO 1088. Private
respondent cannot be faulted for relying on the clear and unmistakable provisions of EO
1088. In fact, EO 1088 leaves no room for interpretation, thereby unmistakably
showing the duplicity of petitioners query: Is the private respondent vested with power
to interpret Executive Order No. 1088?
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Davide Jr. (Chairman), Bellosillo, Vitug, and Quisumbing JJ., concur.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-6430. August 31, 1954.]
In the matter of the petition of EUSEBIO MANZANO DY CHAN TIAO to be admitted a
citizen of the Philippines. EUSEBIO MANZANO DY CHAN TIAO, petitioner-appellee, vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor-appellant.
Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor General Julio Villamor, for appellant.
Canuto Damaso, for appellee.
SYLLABUS
1.CITIZENSHIP; NATURALIZATION ; REQUIREMENT OF EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
The Revised Naturalization Law requires the applicant to have enrolled all his
children in public or private schools recognized by the Government in order to be
entitled to naturalization. In the case at bar, applicant admitted that his daughter
studied in China where she had always lived since she was brought there at the age
of two. She was not, therefore, educated in schools approved or recognized by the
Government of the Philippines. The fact that she was outside of the Philippines at
the time she was a minor does not excuse her father-applicant from complying with

the law as to her education when she was of school age (Quing Ku Chay vs. Republic
of the Philippines, 94 Phil., 736). Neither does the fact that at the time of the filing
of the application she had already reached the age of majority release him from said
obligation (Ibid.).
2.
ID.; ID.; REQUIREMENT OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER. The application for
naturalization was filed on June 30, 1948. In an affidavit dated September a12,
1948, the applicant admitted the existence of his tenth child. He did not amend his
application to insert therein this additional child, and neither did he make mention
of her until he was forced to admit it on cross-examination. Held: That existence of
this child is a material matter in the consideration of his application, as the
applicant would have succeeded in proving that he posses all the requirements of
the law not this matter been elicited at the time of the trial. In view of this
suppression of a material fact in his application, the applicant has not proved that
he possess good moral character.
DECISION
LABRADOR, J p:
This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo approving the
petition of Eusebio Manzano Dy Chan Tiao for naturalization. The evidence
submitted by petitioner shows that he came to the Philippines on June 10, 1909,
and since then has continuously resided in the Philippines; that he is married to
Irene Gonzales, with whom he has nine children, namely, Elena, Felipe, Felisa,
Ricardo, Lourdes, Loreto, Federico, Virginia, and Teresita, all of whom were born in
the Philippines in the years 1927, 1929, 1930, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1943, and
1946, respectively; that he has enrolled their children in schools recognized by the
Government, wherein Philippine Government is taught; that he knows how to speak
and write English and Ilongo; that he has lived and mingled with Filipinos; that he
has an annual income of more than P3,000 obtained through business; that he
believes in organized government, and is opposed to the principle of the necessity
of force or violence in asserting the success and predominance of political ideas and
principles; and that he is a Catholic, and does not believe in polygamy. In the course
of his cross-examination he admitted having another daughter by the name of
Fanny Dy, whom he and his wife had brought to China when only two years of age,
and who has not come to the Philippines, but has studied in Fusan, Amoy, China,
where she has lived since then, but who is now married there (Exhibit 2).
The original opposition of the Solicitor General was based on the ground that the
petitioner had not filed a declaration of intention as required by section 5 of the
Revised Naturalization Law, and has not complied with the requirement of section 6
thereof as to the education to be received by his children. After trial, in a
supplementary opposition, the Solicitor General further opposed the petition on the

ground that petitioner is not of good moral character, as he has deliberately omitted
the name of one of his children, Fanny Dy, from his application.
The lower court approved the petition over the opposition of the Solicitor General,
who now prosecutes this appeal, contending that the petitioner has not given
primary and secondary education to all his children in the private schools
recognized by the Government, and that petitioner does not, in addition, possess
good moral character.
The contention that petitioner has not educated all his children in schools
recognized by the Government is well founded. It is admitted by petitioner himself
that his daughter Fanny Dy studied in Hosan, Amoy, China (Exhibit 2), where she
has always lived since she was brought there at the age of two. She was not,
therefore, educated in schools approved or recognized by the Government of the
Philippines. The fact that Fanny Dy was outside of the Philippines at the time she
was a minor does not excuse her father-applicant from complying with the law as to
her education when she was of school age (Quing Ku Chay vs. Republic of the
Philippines, 94 Phil. 736). Neither does the fact at the time of the filing of the
application she had already reached the age of majority release him from said
obligation (Ibid.). The petitioner claims exemption from the obligation of filing his
declaration of intention under section 6 of the law. This section requires the
applicant to have enrolled all his children in public or private schools recognized by
the Government. Whereas section 5 requires the applicant to have given education
to his minor children of school age (in public or private schools recognized by the
Government), such is not the case with an applicant claiming exemption under
section 6. Whatever reason may have impelled the Legislature to make a
distinction, it is not for us to state. All that we are called upon to do is to apply the
law, and since the petitioner claims an exemption from the general rule, the
provision should be interpreted strictly against him.
The second ground of opposition to the approval of the petition is also well founded.
The application was filed on June 30, 1948. Petitioner made an admission of the
existence of his tenth child, Fanny Dy, in an affidavit made by him on September 12,
1948 (Exhibit 2). Petitioner did not amend his application to insert therein this
additional child, and neither did he make mention of her until he was forced to
admit it on cross-examination. The existence of this child is a material matter in the
consideration of his application, as the applicant would have succeeded in proving
that he possesses all the requirements of the law had not this matter been elicited
at the time of the trial. No explanation has been made why this fact was omitted by
petitioner in his application or in his testimony, and the fact that it would disqualify
him were it known, is sufficient to destroy the presumption of good faith that would
ordinarily be indulged in in his favor. We are not prepared to find the petitioner a
man of good moral character, in view of this suppression of a material fact in his
application, and we hold that the applicant has not proved that he possesses this
moral qualification.

The decision appealed from is, therefore, reversed, and the petition for
naturalization denied. With costs against the petitioner.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion and
Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., concur.
Montemayor, J., concurs in the result.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

G.R. No. L-6428 August 31, 1954


PATRICIO DAYO, ET AL. vs. FILEMON DAYO
095 Phil 703
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-6428. August 31, 1954.]
Testate Estate of the Deceased TOMASA DAYO. PATRICIO DAYO and HIPOLITO DAYO,
petitioners-appellants, vs. FILEMON, AGAPITA, CANDIDO, AMADO, JULIO, LAURA,
CRISPINA, FELIX, ADRIANO, HIPOLITO, CORNELIO, TOMAS, GREGORIA, CASTOR,
RITA, TEOFILA, GREGORIO, SILVINO, FELICIDAD, QUITERIO, IRENE, and EMILIO, all
surnamed DAYO, CORNELIA VILLAVERDE, MARIA JARDIN, ASUNCION VILLAVERDE,
RUFINO VILLAVERDE, SABINA TALABONG, LUCAS GAGAN, DIEGO SENO, and SOFIA
DE ASIS, oppositors-appellees.
Taada, Pelaez & Teehankee, for appellants.
SYLLABUS
1.
PLEADING AND PRACTICE; GENERAL CONSIDERATION FOR DISMISSAL OF
ACTIONS APPLIES TO SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS. Although no specific provision
exists in the Rules of court regarding the dismissal of special proceedings, the same
general consideration for the dismissal of actions should apply to their dismissal,
with the added circumstances that since they are not contentious suits depending
upon the will of an actor, but upon a state or condition of things or persons not
entirely within the control of the parties interested, dismissals should be ordered not
as penalty for neglect of the applicants, but only in extreme cases where the
termination of the proceeding by dismissal is the only remedy consistent with equity
and justice.
2.
ID.; ID.; PROBATE OF WILLS; PROBATE CAN NOT BE DISMISSED FUR TO
ABSENCE OF COUNSEL OF APPLICANTS. In the case at bar, the applicants for the

probate of a will were present in court, only that their lawyer was absent. The
probate court denied the motion of counsel for applicants for postponement and
dismissed the application with prejudice. Held: The Rules of Court do not provide for
dismissal of an action on the ground of the absence of counsel. The probate court
should have given the applicants an opportunity, even, in the absence of their
lawyer, to continue presenting their evidence (as the case only needed the formal
presentation of the deposition of the third attesting witness), instead of dismissing
the application for probate.
DECISION
LABRADOR, J p:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Quezon, the
Honorable Vicente Santiago presiding, dismissing the petition for probate filed and
pending continuation of trial in the above-entitled proceedings. The petition for
probate was filed on May 28, 1947, and was set for hearing on June 24,1947. Three
oppositions were filed against the petition, one by relatives of the decedent
represented by Attorney Felixberto M. Serrano, another by others represented by
Attorney Vicente Constantino, and a third by Sofia de Asis represented by Attorneys
De Mesa and De Mesa. The hearing of the petition took place as scheduled on June
24, 1947, and at said hearing the original will and a duplicate were presented, and
the testimonies of two attesting witnesses taken. The third attesting witness is
Attorney Nicodemus L. Dasig of Manila, and authority for the taking of his deposition
was obtained by the applicant. The deposition was actually taken on January 3,
1948, and certified to the court in May, 1948. No action appears to have been taken
on the case by the court or by the parties the rest of the year 1948, but in the year
1949 the following proceedings were taken:
Date Nature of Proceeding
February 9

Action taken

Motion by applicant to setCourt did not grant

case for continuation of


hearing

motion but ordered the

transcription of the

stenographic notes.
July 29

Motion of applicant to set Court order, August 9,

case for continuation of


hearing
August 23

setting trial for

September 1.

Motion for postponement Granted. Attorney for

by Atty. F. M. Serrano, on petitioners did not

the ground that he is busy


attending sessions of

appear; postponed to

to September 23rd.

Congress
September 23.

Telegraphic petition of

Atty. F. M. Serrano to
postpone trial.
November 15.

Granted in order of

September 29; post-

poned November 8

Order setting hearing for

December 6.
December 6.Order postponing for
December 21 trial of case
because of absence of clerk
of court and conformity of
parties.
December 12.

Motion for postponement of

Attys. De Mesa & De Mesa

Denied by Court

December 19th.

on the ground that the lawyer


was going to act as sponsor
in a wedding.
December 19.

Attorney for petitioner

telegraphs conformity

Denied by Court

December 19th.

to petition.
December 21.

Hearing, Present were

applicants without lawyer;


oppositors oppositors with
their attorneys.
Motion for postponement Denied by Court on

by attorney for applicants December 21 and


alleging: "que el infrascrito

dismissed petition

esta mejorandose de

for probate, with

su reciente ataque de

prejudice.

fiebre reumatica, y aunque


este dia ha podido bajar
un momento a la calle,
es el case de que no puede
todavia hacer un viaje
por tren o auto, como se
acredita por el adjunto
Certificado Medico," which
states that Atty. Salazar
Legarda, "is suffering
from rheumatoid arthritis
with acute episodes of attacks.
With his partial recovery,
it is advised that he should
keep and must avoid jerky
movements or any muscular
strenuous activity."
January 4, (1950)

Motion for reconsideration,

by attorney for applicants,


alleging partly that he himself
was to testify, as he is the
one who prepared the will,

Denied by Court on

March 31, 1950.

and the words "her mark"


were placed by him thereon,
etc.
January 9.

Opposition to motion for

reconsideration. Attention
called to fact that Atty. Salazar
appeared in Manila at hearing
of Electoral Tribunal on
December 21, 1949.
January 15, (1950) Oppositions of other oppositors
to motion for reconsideration.
On this appeal it is contended that the dismissal of the petition for probate is not
justified by the provisions of section 3 of Rule 30 of the Rules, and that inasmuch as
the proceedings are special in nature and no specific provision exists in the Rules
regarding their dismissal as in ordinary cases, the trial court should have given
opportunity to the applicants, even in the absence of their lawyer, to continue
presenting their evidence (as the case only needed the formal presentation of the
deposition of the third attesting witness), instead of dismissing the application.
It is true that the Rules do not expressly provide for the application of Rule 30 in
special proceedings, but the same general considerations should apply to their
dismissal (of special proceedings), with the added circumstance that since they are
not contentious suits depending upon the will of an actor, but upon a state or
condition of things or persons not entirely within the control of the parties
interested, dismissals should be ordered not as penalty for neglect of the
petitioners, but only in the extreme cases where the termination of the proceeding
by dismissal is the only remedy consistent with equity and justice. Here was a will of
a decedent, in accordance with the provisions of which his properties are to be
disposed of. The oppositors are not in court because they have been forced to do so
by summons, as in ordinary cases; they are in court voluntarily, claiming right by
intestate succession. Their right should not be considered paramount to those of the
deceased owner, who had tried to dispose of his properties. Every opportunity
should be afforded to the parties, who seek to have the decedent's will carried out,
to have the will admitted to probate before the oppositor's claims can be given
consideration. We hold that this opportunity was improperly refused the applicants
in these proceedings.

Even under the provisions of section 3 of Rule 30, the dismissal may not be justified.
Said rule provides:.
SEC. 3.
Failure to prosecute. When plaintiff fails to appear at the time of the
trial, or to prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time, or to comply with
these rules or any order of the court, the action may be dismissed upon motion of
the defendant or upon the court's own motion. This dismissal shall have the effect
of an adjudication upon the merits, unless otherwise provided by court.
In the case at bar, the petitioners were present in court, only that their lawyer was
absent. The rule does not provide a dismissal on the ground of the absence of
counsel. In a case decided by this court (Lourdes del Prado de Alegre vs. Jose
Nespral, G. R. No. L-3933, promulgated May 28, 1952), it was held that there is
failure to prosecute when the plaintiff, being present, is unwilling to proceed with
the scheduled trial, as when he or his attorney made no appearance at all. In the
case at bar, only counsel for petitioners were absent, not the parties interested in
the probate. Neither can it be said that they have failed "to prosecute their action
for an unreasonable length of time, or to comply with the rules or any order of the
court." Petitioner had also never asked for postponement; it was always the
oppositors who had asked for it, and at all times it was always granted by the court.
As appellants claim, the most that the judge below could have done, under the
circumstances, was to grant the petitioners an hour or two to engage the services of
a new lawyer to terminate with the formal presentation of the deposition of the last
attesting witness and the documentary evidence.
An examination of the order denying the motion for reconsideration seems to
indicate that the trial judge was peeved at what he thought to have been an act of
bad faith of counsel for petitioners in claiming that he was unable to appear at the
trial. There can be no justification for this conclusion, that petitioners' counsel tried
to mislead the court, misrepresenting that he was ill and could not attend. What
counsel actually stated is that he was prohibited by his condition to undertake the
trip to Lucena, Quezon, from Manila. And this is proved by the medical certificate
attached to the motion for postponement.
We, therefore, hold that the trial judge erred in dismissing the petition for probate.
The order appealed from is hereby reversed and the case ordered reinstated for
further proceedings. Without costs.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo,
Concepcion and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., concur.
EN BANC
[A.M. No. 88-7-1861-RTC. October 5, 1988.]

IN RE: DESIGNATION OF JUDGE RODOLFO U. MANZANO AS MEMBER OF THE ILOCOS


NORTE PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE.
SYLLABUS
1.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 856, AS AMENDED;
PROVINCIAL/CITY COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE; PERFORMS ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS.
It is evident that such Provincial/City Committees on Justice perform
administrative functions. Administrative functions are those which involve the
regulation and control over the conduct and affairs of individuals for their own
welfare and the promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy
of the legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the
organic law of its existence.
2.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEC, ART VIII, NEW CONSTITUTION; PROHIBITION TO
MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY REGARDING THEIR DISCHARGE OF ADMINISTRATIVE
FUNCTIONS I QUASI-JUDICIAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES. Under the
Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts established by
law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or
administrative functions (Section 12, Art. VIII, Constitution). Considering that
membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice,
which discharges administrative functions, will be in violation of the Constitution,
the Court is constrained to deny his request. This declaration does not mean that
RTC Judges should adopt an attitude of monastic insensibility or unbecoming
indifference to Province/City Committee on Justice. As incumbent RTC Judges, they
form part of the structure of government. Their integrity and performance in the
adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of such structure. As public officials,
they are trustees of an orderly society. Even as non-members of Provincial/City
Committees on Justice, RTC judges should render assistance to said Committees to
help promote the landable purposes for which they exist, but only when such
assistance may be reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of their judicial duties.
Gutierrez, Jr., J., dissenting:
1.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 856, AS AMENDED;
"ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS" HOW CONSTRUED. "Administrative functions" as
used in Section 12 refers to the executive machinery of government and the
performance by that machinery of governmental acts. It refers to the management
actions, determinations, and orders of executive officials as they administer the
laws and try to make government effective. There is an element of positive action,
of supervision or control.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; PROVINCIAL/CITY COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE; DOES NOT INVOLVE
ANY REGULATION OR CONTROL OVER CONDUCT OF ANY INDIVIDUAL.
Membership in the Provincial or City Committee on Justice would not involve any
regulation or control over the conduct and affairs of individuals. Neither will the

Committee on Justice promulgate rules and regulations nor exercise any quasilegislative functions. Its work is purely advisory. I do not see anything wrong in a
member of the judiciary joining any study group which concentrates on the
administration of justice as long as the group merely deliberates on problems
involving the speedy disposition of cases particularly those involving the poor and
needy litigants or detainees, pools the expertise and experiences of the members,
and limits itself to recommendations which may be adopted or rejected by those
who have the power to legislate or administer the particular function involved in
their implementation.
3.
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CONSTITUTIONAL
INTERPRETATION APPLY AS WELL TO THE PROVISIONS WHICH DEFINE OR
CIRCUMSCRIBE OUR POWERS AND FUNCTIONS AS THEY DO TO THE PROVISIONS
GOVERNING THE OTHER DEPARTMENTS OF GOVERNMENT. It is well for this Court
to be generally cautious, conservative or restrictive when it interprets provisions of
the Constitution or statutes vesting us with powers or delimiting the exercise of our
jurisdiction and functions. However, we should not overdo it. The basic principles of
constitutional interpretation apply as well to the provisions which define or
circumscribe our powers and functions as they do to the provisions governing the
other departments of government. The Court should not adopt a strained
construction which impairs its own efficiency to meet the responsibilities brought
about by the changing times and conditions of society. The familiar quotation is apt
in this case constitutional provisions are interpreted by the spirit which vivifies
and not by the letter which killeth.
Melencio-Herrera, J., dissenting:
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEC. 12, ART. VIII, 1987 CONSTITUTION; SHOULD NOT BE
GIVEN RESTRICTIVE INTERPRETATION; COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, NOT THE AGENCY
CONTEMPLATED BY THE PROHIBITION. Justices Melencio-Herrera hesitates to give
such a restrictive and impractical interpretation to Section 12, Article VIII of the
1987 Constitution, and thus join the dissent of Justice Gutierrez, Jr. What Justice
Melencio-Herrera believes as contemplated by the Constitutional prohibition is
designation, for example, to such quasi-judicial bodies as the SEC, or administrative
agencies like the BIR. Those are full-time positions involving running the affairs of
government, which will interfere with the discharge of judicial functions or totally
remove a Judge/Justice from the performance of his regular functions. The
Committee on Justice cannot be likened to such an administrative agency of
government. It is a study group with recommendatory functions. In fact,
membership by members of the Bench in said committee is called for by reason of
the primary functions of their position.
RESOLUTION
PADILLA, J p:

On 4 July 1988, Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, Executive Judge, RTC, Bangui, Ilocos
Norte, Branch 19, sent this Court a letter which reads:
"Hon. Marcelo Fernan
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of the Philippines
Manila
Thru channels: Hon. Leo Medialdea
Court Administrator
Supreme Court of the Philippines
Sir:
By Executive Order RF6-04 issued on June 21, 1988 by the Honorable Provincial
Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon. Rodolfo C. Farias, I was designated as a member of
the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice created pursuant to Presidential
Executive Order No. 856 of 12 December 1986, as amended by Executive Order No.
326 of June 1, 1988. In consonance with Executive Order RF6-04, the Honorable
Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte issued my appointment as a member of the
Committee. For your ready reference, I am enclosing herewith machine copies of
Executive Order RF6-04 and the appointment.
Before I may accept the appointment and enter in the discharge of the powers and
duties of the position as member of the Ilocos (Norte) Provincial Committee on
Justice, may I have the honor to request for the issuance by the Honorable Supreme
Court of a Resolution, as follows:
(1)
Authorizing me to accept the appointment and to assume and discharge the
powers and duties attached to the said position;
(2)
Considering my membership in the Committee as neither violative of the
Independence of the Judiciary nor a violation of Section 12, Article VIII, or of the
second paragraph of Section 7, Article IX (B), both of the Constitution, and will not in
any way amount to an abandonment of my present position as Executive Judge of
Branch XIX, Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region, and as a member of the
Judiciary; and
(3)
Consider my membership in the said Committee as part of the primary
functions of an Executive Judge.
May I please be favored soon by your action on this request.
Very respectfully yours,

(Sgd) RODOLFO U. MANZANO


Judge"
An examination of Executive Order No. 856, as amended, reveals that Provincial/City
Committees on Justice are created to insure the speedy disposition of cases of
detainees, particularly those involving the poor and indigent ones, thus alleviating
jail congestion and improving local jail conditions. Among the functions of the
Committee are
3.3
Receive complaints against any apprehending officer, jail warden, fiscal or
judge who may be found to have committed abuses in the discharge of his duties
and refer the same to proper authority for appropriate action;
3.5
Recommend revision of any law or regulation which is believed prejudicial to
the proper administration of criminal justice.
It is evident that such Provincial/City Committees on Justice perform administrative
functions. Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and
control over the conduct and affairs of individuals for their own welfare and the
promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature
or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the organic law of its
existence (Nasipit Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring Services Inc., vs. Tapucar,
SP-07599-R, 29 September 1978, Black's Law Dictionary).
Furthermore, under Executive Order No. 326 amending Executive Order No. 856, it
is provided that
"SECTION 6. Supervision. The Provincial/City Committees on Justice shall be
under the supervision of the Secretary of Justice. Quarterly accomplishment reports
shall be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Justice."
Under the Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts
established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial
or administrative functions (Section 12, Art. VIII, Constitution).
Considering that membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial
Committee on Justice, which discharges administrative functions, will be in violation
of the Constitution, the Court is constrained to deny his request.
Former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando in his concurring opinion in the case of
Garcia vs. Macaraig (39 SCRA 106) ably sets forth:
"2.
While the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be
enforced with pedantic rigor, the practical demands of government precluding its
doctrinaire application, it cannot justify a member of the judiciary being required to
assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial in character. That is implicit in the

principle. Otherwise there is a plain departure from its command. The essence of
the trust reposed in him is to decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by
Justice Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is not a subordinate of an executive
or legislative official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no
exception to the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the
task of adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no leas than the
maintenance of respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less."
This declaration does not mean that RTC Judges should adopt an attitude of
monastic insensibility or unbecoming indifference to Province/City Committee on
Justice. As incumbent RTC Judges, they form part of the structure of government.
Their integrity and performance in the adjudication of cases contribute to the
solidity of such structure. As public officials, they are trustees of an orderly society.
Even as non-members of Provincial/City Committees on Justice, RTC judges should
render assistance to said Committees to help promote the laudable purposes for
which they exist, but only when such assistance may be reasonably incidental to the
fulfillment of their judicial duties. cdll
ACCORDINGLY, the aforesaid request of Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Medialdea and Regalado,
JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
The Constitution prohibits the designation of members of the judiciary to any
agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions. (Section 12, Article
VIII, Constitution.).
Insofar as the term "quasi-judicial" is concerned, it has a fairly clear meaning and
Judges can confidently refrain from participating in the work of any administrative
agency which adjudicates disputes and controversies involving the rights of parties
within its jurisdiction. The issue involved in this case is where to draw the line
insofar as administrative functions are concerned.
"Administrative functions" as used in Section 12 refers to the executive machinery
of government and the performance by that machinery of governmental acts. It
refers to the management actions, determinations, and orders of executive officials
as they administer the laws and try to make government effective. There is an
element of positive action, of supervision or control.
Applying the definition given in the opinion of the majority which reads:

"Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control over
the conduct and affairs of individuals for their own welfare and the promulgation of
rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature or such as are
devolved upon the administrative agency by the organic law of its existence (Nasipit
Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring Services Inc. v. Tapucar, SP-07599-R, 29
September 1978, Black's Law Dictionary.)"
we can readily see that membership in the Provincial or City Committee on Justice
would not involve any regulation or control over the conduct and affairs of
individuals. Neither will the Committee on Justice promulgate rules and regulations
nor exercise any quasi-legislative functions. Its work is purely advisory. I do not see
anything wrong in a member of the judiciary joining any study group which
concentrates on the administration of justice as long as the group merely
deliberates on problems involving the speedy disposition of cases particularly those
involving the poor and needy litigants or detainees, pools the expertise and
experiences of the members, and limits itself to recommendations which may be
adopted or rejected by those who have the power to legislate or administer the
particular function involved in their implementation.
We who are Judges cannot operate in a vacuum or in a tight little world of our own.
The administration of justice cannot be pigeonholed into neat compartments with
Judges, Fiscals, Police, Wardens, and various other officials concerned erecting
watertight barriers against one another and limiting our interaction to timidly
peeping over these unnecessary and impractical barriers into one another's work,
all the while blaming the Constitution for such a quixotic and unreal interpretation.
As intimated in the majority opinion, we should not be monastically insensible or
indifferent to projects or movements cogitating on possible solutions to our common
problems of justice and afterwards forwarding their findings to the people, public or
private, where their findings would do the most good.
The majority opinion suggests the giving of assistance by Judges to the work of the
Committees on Justice. Assistance is a vague term. Can Judges be designated as
observers? Advisers? Consultants? Is it the act of being "designated" which is
proscribed by the Constitution or is it participation in the prohibited functions? If
Judges cannot become members, why should they be allowed or even encouraged
to assist these Committees? The line drawn by the majority is vague and unrealistic.
The constitutional provision is intended to shield Judges from participating in
activities which may compromise their independence or hamper their work.
Studying problems involving the administration of justice and arriving at purely
recommendatory solutions do not in any way involve the encroachment of the
judiciary into executive or legislative functions or into matters which are none of its
concerns. Much less is it an encroachment of the other departments into judicial
affairs.

As the visible representation of the law and of justice in his community, the Judge
should not shy away from public activities which do not interfere with the prompt
and proper performance of his office, but which, in fact, enhance his effectiveness
as a Judge. He cannot stop mingling in civic intercourse or shut himself into solitary
seclusion. The Committees on Justice will also be immensely benefited by the
presence of Judges in the study groups. The work of the Committees is quite
important. Let it not be said that the Judges the officials most concerned with
justice have hesitated to join in such a worthy undertaking because of a strained
interpretation of their functions.
It is well for this Court to be generally cautious, conservative or restrictive when it
interprets provisions of the Constitution or statutes vesting us with powers or
delimiting the exercise of our jurisdiction and functions. However, we should not
overdo it. The basic principles of constitutional interpretation apply as well to the
provisions which define or circumscribe our powers and functions as they do to the
provisions governing the other departments of government. The Court should not
adopt a strained construction which impairs its own efficiency to meet the
responsibilities brought about by the changing times and conditions of society. The
familiar quotation is apt in this case constitutional provisions are interpreted by
the spirit which vivifies and not by the letter which killeth. Cdpr
I, therefore, dissent from the majority opinion and vote to allow Judge Rodolfo U.
Manzano to become a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice.
Fernan (C.J.), Narvasa and Grio-Aquino, JJ., concur.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
I hesitate to give such a restrictive and impractical interpretation to Section 12,
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, and thus join the dissent of Justice Gutierrez, Jr.
What I believe is contemplated by the Constitutional prohibition is designation, for
example, to such quasi-judicial bodies as the SEC, or administrative agencies like
the BIR. Those are full-time positions involving running the affairs of government,
which will interfere with the discharge of judicial functions or totally remove a
Judge/Justice from the performance of his regular functions.
The Committee on Justice cannot be likened to such an administrative agency of
government. It is a study group with recommendatory functions. In fact,
membership by members of the Bench in said committee is called for by reason of
the primary functions of their position.
The matter of supervision by the Secretary of Justice provided for under EO No. 326
amending EO No. 856, need not be a cause for concern. That supervision is confined
to Committee work and will by no means extend to the performance of judicial
functions per se.

EN BANC
[A.C. No. 198-J. May 31, 1971.]
PAZ M. GARCIA, complainant, vs. HON. CATALINO MACARAIG, JR., respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
JUDICIAL ETHICS; ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT AGAINST JUDGE; IN CASE AT
BAR, RESPONDENT'S RECEIPT OF SALARIES WITHOUT ACTUALLY PERFORMING HIS
DUTIES AS JUDGE NOT DISHONESTY. Complainant's theory is that respondent
collected or received salaries as judge when in fact he has never acted as such,
since the date he took his oath up to the filing of the complaint. In the sense that
respondent has not yet performed any judicial function, it may be admitted that
respondent has not really performed the duties of judge. What is lost sight of,
however, is that after taking his oath and formally assuming his position as judge,
respondent had a perfect right to earn the salary of a judge even in the extreme
supposition that he did not perform any judicial function for he could, while
preparing himself for his new job or for any good reason, take a leave, as in fact, he
had planned to do, were it not for the request of the Secretary of Justice for him to
forego the idea and, instead, help the Department in whatever way possible which
would not, it must be presumed impair his position as a judge. This is more so,
when, as in this case, the government offices or officers in duty bound to furnish
him the necessary place and facilities for his court and the performance of his
functions have failed to provide him therewith without any fault on his part. That
respondent took it upon himself to personally work for early action on the part of
the corresponding officials in this direction and, in his spare time made himself
available to the Department of Justice to assist the Secretary, what with his vast
experience, having worked therein for sixteen years, is, far from being dishonesty,
to his credit. In the circumstances, it was certainly not improper that he rendered
some kind of service to the government, since he was receiving salaries, while
being unable to perform his regular duties as judge without any fault on his part.
2.
ID.; ID.; SECTIONS 5, 55 AND 58 OF THE JUDICIARY ACT AND CIRCULAR NO.
10 DATED FEBRUARY 6, 1952 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE; APPLICABLE ONLY
TO JUDGES ACTUALLY HOLDING TRIALS AND HEARINGS AND MAKING DECISIONS
AND ORDERS. Admittedly respondent has not prepared and submitted any of the
reports of accomplishments and status of cases in his sala which are usually
required of judges under existing laws as well as the corresponding circulars of the
Department of Justice. The reason is simple. He has not yet started performing any
judicial functions. None of those laws and circulars apply to him, for all of them
contemplate judges who are actually holding trials and hearings and making
decisions and orders. On the other hand, respondent could not be blamed for taking
his oath as he did, for he had a valid confirmed appointment in his favor. In other
words, he simply made himself available for the purposes for which he was

appointed. That he could not actually hold office in the court to which he was
appointed was not of his making. The other officials in charge of providing him
therewith seem to have been caught unprepared and have not had enough time to
have it ready. Conceivably, under the law, with the permission of this Court,
respondent could have been assigned to another court pending all these
preparations, but that is something within the initiative and control of the Secretary
of Justice and not of the respondent.
3.
POLITICAL LAW; DOCTRINE OF SEPARATION OF POWERS; LIMITS OF
COLLABORATION OF JUDGE WITH OFFICERS OR OFFICES UNDER THE OTHER GREAT
DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. Of course, none of these is to be taken as
meaning that this Court looks with favor at the practice of long standing, to be sure,
of judges being detailed in the Department of Justice to assist the Secretary even if
it were only in connection with his work of exercising administrative authority over
the courts. The line between what a judge may do and what he may not do in
collaborating or working with other offices or officers under the other great
departments of the government must always be kept clear and jealously observed,
lest the principle of separation of powers on which our government rests by
mandate of the people thru the Constitution be gradually eroded by practices
purportedly motivated by good intentions in the interest of the public service. The
fundamental advantages and the necessity of the independence of said three
departments from each other, limited only by the specific constitutional precepts on
check and balance between and among them, have long been acknowledged as
more paramount than the serving of any temporary or passing governmental
conveniences or exigencies. It is thus of grave importance to the judiciary under our
present constitutional scheme of government that no judge of even the lowest court
in this Republic should place himself in a position where his actuations on matters
submitted to him for action or resolution would be subject to review and prior
approval and, worst still, reversal, before they can have legal effect, by any
authority other than the Court of Appeals or this Supreme Court, as the case may
be. Needless to say, this Court feels very strongly that it is best that this practice is
discontinued.
FERNANDO, J., concurring:
1.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; DOCTRINE OF SEPARATION OF POWERS; PRINCIPLE
EMBODIED IN DOCTRINE; REASON FOR DOCTRINE. The doctrine of separation of
powers, a basic concept under our Constitution, embodies the principle of a
tripartite division of governmental authority entrusted to Congress, the President,
and the Supreme Court as well as such inferior courts as may be created by law.
Three departments of government are thus provided for, the legislative vested with
the lawmaking function, the executive with the enforcement of what has been thus
enacted, and the judiciary with the administration of justice, deciding cases
according to law. The reason for such a doctrine is to assure liberty, no one branch
being enabled to arrogate unto itself the whole power to govern and thus in a

position to impose its unfettered will. If it were so, the rights of the individual could
with impunity be disregarded; he could be placed at its mercy. The three
departments are coordinate and coequal, each having exclusive cognizance of
matters within its jurisdiction and supreme in its own sphere. That is to guarantee
independence, no interference being allowed on matters left to the exclusive
concern of each. Much less is control by only one of the three departments of any or
both of the others permissible.
2.
ID.; ID.; MEMBER OF JUDICIARY SHOULD NOT ASSUME A POSITION OR
PERFORM A DUTY NON-JUDICIAL IN CHARACTER; RATIONALE THEREFOR. While
the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be enforced with
pedantic rigor, the practical demands of government precluding its doctrinaire
application, it cannot justify a member of the judiciary being required to assume a
position or perform a duty non-judicial in character. That is implicit in the principle.
Otherwise there is a plain departure from its command. The essence of the trust
reposed in him is to decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by Justice
Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is not a subordinate of an executive or
legislative official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no exception
to the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the task of
adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no less than the maintenance of
respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less . . . Our holding today has
been foreshadowed in Noblejas v. Teehankee, a 1968 decision. Justice J.B.L. Reyes
who penned the opinion, first referred to the above Richardson decision as well as
to Federal Radio Commission v. General Electric Co. It went on to state: "In this
spirit, it has been held that the Supreme Court of the Philippines and its members
should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to perform any trust or
to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the administration of
judicial functions, and a law requiring the Supreme Court to arbitrate disputes
between public utilities was pronounced void in Manila Electric Co. vs. Pasay
Transportation Co. (57 Phil. 600)." It is clear from the above Noblejas decision that
even prior to the Constitution, there was a commitment to the principle that a
member of the judiciary cannot be asked to discharge non-judicial functions. For in
Manila Electric Co. v. Pasay Transportation Co., mentioned therein, Justice Malcolm,
speaking for this Court, was quite explicit. Thus: "The Supreme Court and its
members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to perform
any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the
administering of judicial functions."
RESOLUTION
BARREDO, J p:
Administrative complaint filed by one Paz M. Garcia against the Honorable Catalino
Macaraig, Jr., formerly Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, Branch VI, now
Undersecretary of Justice, in his former capacity as judge, for alleged "dishonesty,

violation of his oath of office as judge . . . gross incompetence, violation of Republic


Act 296 or the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, (particularly) Sections 5, 55 and
58 thereof, committed (allegedly) as follows:
"2.
That from July 1, 1970 up to February 28, 1971 inclusive, as such incumbent
Judge, respondent herein, has not submitted his monthly reports containing the
number of cases filed, disposed of, decided and/or resolved, the number of cases
pending decisions for one month, two months to over three months, together with
the title, number, number of hours of court session held a day, etc., as evidenced by
the certificate issued by Hon. Eulalio D. Pichay, Judicial Superintendent, Dept. of
Justice, copy of which is hereto attached as Annex 'A', Item No. 1, in violation of
Circular No. 10 of the Dept. of Justice dated February 6, 1952, copy of which is
hereto attached as Annex 'B';
"3.
That he has not submitted his certificate of service (New Judicial Form No. 86,
Revised 1966) from July to December, 1970 and from January to February, 1971
inclusive as evidenced by the certificate issued by Judge Pichay, Judicial
Superintendent, Dept. of Justice Annex 'A', Item No. 2 thereof;
"4.
That as incumbent Judge of Branch VI, Court of First Instance of Laguna and
San Pablo and knowing fully well that he has never performed his official duties or
discharged the duties appertaining to his office, he has collected and was paid his
salaries from July to December, 1970 and from January to February 1971 as
evidenced by the certificate issued by the cashier Mrs. Santos of the Department of
Justice hereto attached as Annex 'C' and the certificate of Mr. Pichay Annex 'A', last
paragraph thereof, aggravated by his repeated failure to submit the certificate of
service in flagrant violation of section 5 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as amended
which provides as follows:
'. . . District judges, judges of City Courts, and municipal Judges shall certify on their
application for leave, and upon salary vouchers presented by them for payment, or
upon the payrolls upon which their salaries are paid, that all special proceedings,
applications, petitions, motions, and all civil and criminal cases which have been
under submission for decision or determination for a period of ninety days or more
have been determined and decided on or before the date of making the certificate
and . . . x no salary shall be paid without such certificate' (Emphasis supplied).
"5.
That his deliberate failure to submit the monthly reports from July to
December, 1970 and from January, 1971 to February, 1971 stating therein the
number of hours of session that the Court holds daily, the accomplishments of the
Court constitutes a clear violation of Sections 55 and 58 of the Judiciary Act of 1948,
as amended.
"6.
That by his deliberate violation of his Oath of Office as a District Judge of the
Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo, Branch VI he has manifested such

moral bankruptcy as to deny his fitness to perform or discharge official duties in the
administration of justice.
"7.
That on June 29, 1970, respondent Judge wrote to the Honorable Secretary of
Justice informing him that he was entering upon the performance of his duties,
which letter of his reads in full:
'I have the honor to inform you that I am entering upon the performance of the
duties of the office of Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo
City (Branch VI) today, June 29, 1970.'
"That such actuation of deliberately telling a deliberate falsehood aggravates his
moral bankruptcy incompatible to the requirements of the highest degree of
honesty, integrity and good moral character appertaining to holding the position of
Judge in the administration of justice."
Upon being so required, in due time, respondent filed an answer alleging pertinently
that:
"THE FACTS
"Respondent took his oath as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San
Pablo City with station at Calamba on June 29, 1970. The court, being one of the
112 newly created CFI branches, had to be organized from scratch. After
consultations with the officials of the province of Laguna, the municipality of
Calamba and the Department of Justice, respondent decided to accept the offer of
the Calamba Municipal Government to supply the space for the courtroom and
offices of the court; to utilize the financial assistance promised by the Laguna
provincial government for the purchase of the necessary supplies and materials;
and to rely on the national government for the equipment needed by the court
(Under Section 190 of the Revised Administrative Code, all these items must be
furnished by the provincial government. The provincial officials of Laguna, however,
informed the respondent that the province was not in a position to do so).
"As to the space requirements of the court, the Municipal Mayor of Calamba assured
the respondent that the court could be accommodated in the west wing of the
Calamba municipal building as soon as the office of the municipal treasurer and his
personnel are transferred to another location. When the projected transfer of the
municipal treasurer's office was about to be effected, the treasurer and several
municipal councilors objected. The municipal mayor then requested the respondent
to look over some of the office spaces for rent in Calamba, with the commitment
that the municipal government will shoulder the payment of the rentals.
Respondent's first choice was the second floor of the Republic Bank branch in
Calamba, but the negotiations failed when the owner of the building refused to
reduce the rent to P300 a month. The next suitable space selected by respondent
was the second floor of the Laguna Development Bank. After a month's

negotiations, the municipality finally signed a lease agreement with the owner on
October 26, 1970. Another month passed before the municipal government could
release the amount necessary for the improvements to convert the space that was
rented, which was a big hall without partitions, into a courtroom and offices for the
personnel of the court and for the assistant provincial fiscal. Thereafter, upon
respondent's representations, the provincial government appropriated the amount
of P5,000 for the purchase of the supplies and materials needed by the court. Early
in December, 1970 respondent also placed his order for the necessary equipment
with the Property Officer of the Department of Justice but, unfortunately, the
appropriation for the equipment of courts of first instance was released only on
December 23, 1970 and the procurement of the equipment chargeable against this
allotment is still under way (please see enclosed certification of the Financial Officer
of the Department of Justice marked Annex 'A').
"When respondent realized that it would be sometime before he could actually
preside over his court, he applied for an extended leave (during the 16 years he had
worked in the Department of Justice, respondent had, due to pressure of duties,
never gone on extended leave, resulting in his forfeiting all the leave benefits he
had earned beyond the maximum ten months allowed by the law). The Secretary of
Justice, however, prevailed upon respondent to forego his leave and instead to
assist him, without being extended a formal detail, whenever respondent was not
busy attending to the needs of his court.
"Charges Have No Basis
"Complainant has charged respondent with dishonesty, violation of his oath of
office, grave incompetence and violation of Sections 5, 55 and 58 of the Judiciary
Act.
"It is respectfully submitted that
"A.
Respondent's inability to perform his judicial duties under the circumstances
mentioned above does not constitute incompetence. Respondent was, like every
lawyer who gets his first appointment to the bench, eager to assume his judicial
duties and rid himself of the stigma of being 'a judge without a sala', but forces and
circumstances beyond his control prevented him from discharging his judicial duties.
"B.
Respondent's collection of salaries as judge does not constitute dishonesty
because aside from the time, effort and money he spent in organizing the CFI at
Calamba, he worked in the Department of Justice (please see enclosed certification
of Undersecretary of Justice Guillermo S. Santos marked Annex 'B'). Indeed, even if
respondent did no more than exert efforts to organize his court, he could, as other
judges have done, have collected his salaries as judge without being guilty of
dishonesty.

"Incidentally, when respondent took his oath as CFI judge which position then
carried a salary of P19,000 per annum, he automatically ceased to be Chief of the
Technical Staff of the Department of Justice and Member of the Board of Pardons
and Parole, positions from which he was receiving P16,200 and P8,000 per annum,
respectively. Also, in anticipation of the judicial duties which he was about to
assume, respondent took a leave of absence from his professorial lecturer's duties
in the U.P. College of Law where he was receiving approximately P600 a month.
"C.
Sections 5, 55 and 58 of the Judiciary Act and Circular No. 10 dated February
6, 1952 of the Department of Justice are not applicable to a Judge not actually
discharging his judicial duties.
"The Department of Justice has never required judges who have not actually started
to perform their judicial duties to comply with the abovementioned statutory
provisions and circular (please see enclosed certification of Judge Eulalio D. Pichay,
Judicial Superintendent, marked Annex 'C').
"Moreover, a reading of these sections and circular makes evident the folly of
requiring a judge who has not entered into the performance of his judicial duties to
comply with them. Taking Section 5, how could a judge who has not started to
discharge his judicial duties certify that 'all special proceedings, applications,
petitions, motions, and all civil and criminal cases, which have been under
submission for decision or determination for a period of ninety days or more have
been determined and decided on or before the date of making the certificate.' And
how could such a judge hold court in his place of permanent station as required by
Section 55; observe the hours of daily sessions of the court as prescribed by Section
58: and render the reports required by Circular No. 10 when his court is not yet in
physical existence. Clearly, therefore, Sections 5, 55 and 58 of the Judiciary Act and
Circular No. 10 cannot apply to such a judge."
In view of the nature of the allegations of complainant and respondent in their
respective complaint and answer and considering, in the light thereof, that the
material facts are more or less undisputed, the Court feels that this case can be
disposed of without any further proceeding.
After mature study and deliberation, the Court is convinced that the complaint must
be dismissed. To begin with, We cannot discern any tinge of dishonesty in the
actuations of the respondent complained of. As We see it, the situation is not
exactly as complainant has attempted to portray it. Complainant's theory is that
respondent collected or received salaries as judge when in fact he has never acted
as such, since the date he took his oath up to the filing of the complaint. In the
sense that respondent has not yet performed any judicial function, it may be
admitted that respondent has not really performed the duties of judge. What is lost
sight of, however, is that after taking his oath and formally assuming this position as
judge, respondent had a perfect right to earn the salary of a judge even in the

extreme supposition that he did not perform any judicial function for he could, while
preparing himself for his new job or for any good reason, take a leave, as in fact, he
had planned to do, were it not for the request of the Secretary of Justice for him to
forego the idea and, instead, help the Department in whatever way possible which
would not, it must be presumed, impair his position as a judge. This is more so,
when, as in this case, the government offices or officers in duty bound to furnish
him the necessary place and facilities for his court and the performance of his
functions have failed to provide him therewith without any fault on his part. That
respondent took it upon himself to personally work for early action on the part of
the corresponding officials in this direction and, in his spare time, made himself
available to the Department of Justice to assist the Secretary, what with his vast
experience, having worked therein for sixteen years, is, far from being dishonesty,
to his credit. In the circumstances, it was certainly not improper that he rendered
some kind of service to the government, since he was receiving salaries, while
being unable to perform his regular duties as judge without any fault on his part. As
to whether or not in doing so he placed in jeopardy the independence of the
judiciary and failed to act according to the correct norm of conduct which a judge
should observe vis-a-vis service to the other departments of the government will be
discussed anon. At this juncture, the only point We settle is that complainant's
theory of dishonesty cannot hold water.
Admittedly respondent has not prepared and submitted any of the reports of
accomplishments and status of cases in his sala which are usually required of
judges under existing laws as well as the corresponding circulars of the Department
of Justice. The reason is simple. He has not yet started performing any judicial
functions. None of those laws and circulars apply to him, for all of them contemplate
judges who are actually holding trials and hearings and making decisions and
others. On the other hand, respondent could not be blamed for taking his oath as he
did, for he had a valid confirmed appointment in his favor. In other words, he simply
made himself available for the purpose for which he was appointed. That he could
not actually hold office in the court to which he was appointed was not of his
making. The other officials in charge of providing him there with seem to have been
caught unprepared and have not had enough time to have it ready. Conceivably,
under the law, with the permission of this Court, respondent could have been
assigned to another court pending all these preparations, but that is something
within the initiative and control of the Secretary of Justice and not of the
respondent.
Of course, none of these is to be taken as meaning that this Court looks with favor
at the practice of long standing, to be sure, of judges being detailed in the
Department of Justice to assist the Secretary even if it were only in connection with
his work of exercising administrative authority over the courts. The line between
what a judge may do and what he may not do in collaborating or working with other
offices or officers under the other great departments of the government must

always be kept clear and jealously observed, lest the principle of separation of
powers on which our government rests by mandate of the people thru the
Constitution be gradually eroded by practices purportedly motivated by good
intentions in the interest of the public service. The fundamental advantages and the
necessity of the independence of said three departments from each other, limited
only by the specific constitutional precepts on check and balance between and
among them, have long been acknowledged as more paramount than the serving of
any temporary or passing governmental conveniences or exigencies. It is thus of
grave importance to the judiciary under our present constitutional scheme of
government that no judge of even the lowest court in this Republic should place
himself in a position where his actuations on matters submitted to him for action or
resolution would be subject to review and prior approval and, worst still, reversal,
before they can have legal effect, by any authority other than the Court of Appeals
or this Supreme Court, as the case may be. Needless to say, this Court feels very
strongly that it is best that this practice is discontinued.
WHEREFORE, the herein administrative complaint is hereby dismissed. Let a copy of
this resolution be furnished the Secretary of Justice.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar and Villamor, JJ., concur.
Castro and Teehankee, JJ., took no part.
Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J., concurring:
I join the rest of my brethren in yielding concurrence to the ably-written opinion of
Justice Barredo. Respondent Judge clearly should be exculpated of the charge filed
against him. What is more the opinion of the Court possesses the merit of setting
forth in forthright and unequivocal language the disapproval of the practice hitherto
followed of having members of the judiciary perform non-judicial functions. There is
no doubt to my mind of its repugnancy to the fundamental concept of separation of
powers. It is to that aspect of the question as well as what, to my mind, is the
doubtful constitutionality of allowing the Secretary of Justice to exercise supervisory
authority over lower court judges that this brief concurring opinion addresses itself.
1.
The doctrine of separation of powers, a basic concept under our Constitution,
1 embodies the principle of a tripartite division of governmental authority entrusted
to Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court as well as such inferior courts as
may be created by law. Three departments of government are thus provided for, the
legislative vested with the lawmaking function, the executive with the enforcement
of what has been thus enacted, and the judiciary with the administration of justice,
deciding cases according to law. 2 The reason for such a doctrine is to assure
liberty, no one branch being enabled to arrogate unto itself the whole power to
govern and thus in a position to impose its unfettered will. If it were so, the rights of

the individual could with impunity be disregarded; he could be placed at its mercy.
The three departments are coordinate and co-equal, each having exclusive
cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction and supreme in its own sphere. That is
to guarantee independence, no interference being allowed on matters left to the
exclusive concern of each. Much less is control by only one of the three
departments of any or both of the others permissible. 3
It is to be admitted that the realities of government preclude the independence of
each of the departments from the other being absolute. This is so especially as
between the legislative and executive departments. What the former enacts, the
latter implements. To paraphrase Roosevelt, the letter of the Constitution requires a
separation, but the impulse of a common purpose compels cooperation, It could be
carried to the extent of such powers being blended, without undue danger to liberty
as proved by countries having the parliamentary forms of government. This is
especially so in England and in Switzerland, where the tradition of freedom
possesses strength and durability. It does not admit of doubt, however, that of the
three branches, the judiciary is entrusted with a function the most sensitive and
delicate. It passes upon controversies and disputes not only between citizens but
between citizens and government, the limits of whose authority must be respected.
In a system like ours, every exercise of governmental competence, whether coming
from the President or from the lowest official, may be challenged in court in an
appropriate legal proceeding. This is an aspect of the theory of checks and balance
likewise provided for in the Constitution. 4 It is thus indispensable that judicial
independence should, by all means, be made secure. Not only that. The feeling that
judges are not in any way subject to the influence of the executive and legislative
branches must be pervasive; otherwise, there would be loss of confidence in the
administration of justice. With that gone, the rule of law is placed in dire peril.
Nor is the force, to my mind, of the preceding observation blunted by the
recognition that there could be no precise delineation of the respective competence
allotted to the legislative, the executive and the judicial departments under the
Constitution. Necessarily, overlapping and interlacing of functions could not entirely
be avoided. For as observed by Justice Holmes in his famous dissent in a case of
Philippine origin: 5 "The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and
divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific of them are found to
terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other. . . .
When we come to the fundamental distinctions it is still more obvious that they
must be received with a certain latitude or our government could not go on." 6
Further on, he added: "It does not seem to need argument to show that however we
may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot carry out the distinction
between legislative and executive action with mathematical precision and divide the
branches into watertight compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I
am far from believing that it is, or that the Constitution requires." 7

2.
While the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be
enforced with pedantic rigor, the practical demands of government precluding its
doctrinaire application, it cannot justify a member of the judiciary being required to
assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial in character. That is implicit in the
principle. Otherwise there is a plain departure from its command. The essence of
the trust reposed in him is to decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by
Justice Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is not a subordinate of an executive
or legislative official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no
exception to the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the
task of adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no less than the
maintenance of respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less.
It is apposite to quote from an opinion of Justice Cardozo, as Chief Judge of the New
York Court of Appeals, 8 when that Court nullified a section of a New York statute
that would vest in a justice of its Supreme Court the power to investigate at the
instance of its governor. His opinion explained why: "He is made the delegate of the
Governor in aid of an executive act, the removal of a public officer . . . At the word
of command he is to give over the work of judging, and set himself to other work,
the work of probing and advising. His findings when made will have none of the
authority of a judgment. To borrow Bacon's phrase, they will not 'give the rule or
sentence.' They will not be preliminary or ancillary to any rule or sentence to be
pronounced by the judiciary in any of its branches. They will be mere advice to the
Governor, who may adopt them, or modify them, or reject them altogether. From
the beginnings of our history, the principle has been enforced that there is no
inherent power in Executive or Legislature to charge the judiciary with
administrative functions except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of
judicial duties . . . The exigencies of government have made it necessary to relax as
merely doctrinaire adherence to a principle so flexible and practical, so largely a
matter of sensible approximation, as that of the separation of powers. Elasticity has
not meant that what is of the essence of the judicial function may be destroyed by
turning the power to decide into a pallid opportunity to consult and recommend . . ."
9
Our holding today has been foreshadowed in Noblejas v. Teehankee, 10 a 1968
decision, Justice J.B.L. Reyes, who penned the opinion, first referred to the above
Richardson decision as well as to Federal Radio Commission v. General Electric Co.
11 It went on to state: "In this spirit, it has been held that the Supreme Court of the
Philippines and its members should not and cannot be required to exercise any
power or to perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected
with the administration of judicial functions; and a law requiring the Supreme Court
to arbitrate disputes between public utilities was pronounced void in Manila Electric
Co. vs. Pasay Transportation Co. (57 Phil. 600)." 12 It is clear from the above
Noblejas decision that even prior to the Constitution, there was a commitment to
the principle that a member of the judiciary cannot be asked to discharge non-

judicial functions. For in Manila Electric Co. v. Pasay Transportation Co., 13


mentioned therein, Justice Malcolm, speaking for this Court, was quite explicit. Thus:
"The Supreme Court and its members should not and cannot be required to exercise
any power or to perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or
connected with the administering of judicial functions." 14
3.
Nonetheless, as now decided, respondent Judge Macaraig should not be held
in any wise accountable. No taint of bad faith can be attached to his conduct. What
he was required to do was in accordance with the practice heretofore followed by
the Department of Justice. He is, under the statute in force, under the
administrative supervision of its head. Nor can the good faith of Secretary of Justice
Abad Santos be impugned. What was done by him was likewise in accordance with
what previous secretaries of justice were accustomed to do. The root of the evil then
is the statutory authority of the Department of Justice over courts of first instance
and other inferior courts. 15 While a distinction could be made between the
performance of judicial functions which in no way could be interfered with by the
Department and the task of administration which is executive in character, still the
conferment of such competence to a department head, an alter ego of the
President, is, to my mind, not only unwise but of doubtful constitutionality. For in
issuing administrative rules and regulations over matters deemed non-judicial, they
may trench upon the discretion of judges which should be exercised according to
their conscience alone. What is more, the influence that the Secretary has over
them is magnified. It is already unavoidable under our scheme of government that
they court his goodwill; their promotion may at times depend on it. With this grant
of authority, the assertion of independence becomes even more difficult. It is thus
objectionable in principle and pernicious in operation. That certainly is not the way
to reduce to the minimum any participation of the executive in judicial affairs arising
from the power to appoint. As it is, even when the government as the adverse party
in criminal cases, tax suits, and other litigations is in the right, a favorable decision
from the lower courts could be looked upon with suspicion. The judiciary must not
only be independent; it must appear to be so.
The presence in the statute books of such power of administrative oversight then,
is, to my mind, anomalous. More specifically, were it not for such power granted the
department head, respondent Judge in this case could not have been called upon to
assist the Secretary of Justice. Considering that the Constitutional Convention is
about to meet, it is to be hoped that it be made clear that the judiciary is to be
totally freed from any supervisory authority of an executive department.
Makasiar, J., concurs.

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