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November 10, 2015

CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES, in her capacity as the Ombudsman, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS (SIXTH DIVISION) and JEJOMAR ERWIN S. BINAY, JR., respondents.
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

NATURE: petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing CAs issuance of a TRO against the Ombudsmans order preventively suspending Binay Jr.

SUMMARY: Ombudsman ordered the preventive suspension of Binay, Jr, Mayor of Makati, pending investigation as to his involvement in the
alleged corruption in the Makati Parking Building Project. Binay, Jr. filed a petition for certiorari before the CA seeking nullification of the preventive
suspension order. He successfully obtained from said court a TRO against the preventive suspension order. Later the CA granted him a writ of
preliminary injunction, enjoining the Ombudsman from enforcing the preventive suspension. The Ombudsman before the SC thus questioned the
jurisdiction of the CA to hear the certiorari case as well as issue the injunctive writs, invoking Sec. 14 of the Ombudsman Act which provided that
only the SC may take such actions against the Ombudsmans investigations, decisions, and findings. SC overruled the Ombudsmans contentions,
ruling that the invoked provisions were unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the SC abandoned the doctrine on which the CAs TRO/ WPI was based, and
also held that the injunctive writs were moot in light of the more recent Ombudsman decision finding Binay, Jr. guilty.

DOCTRINE:
Writs of injunction may be had as a remedy against the Ombudsmans investigations. Appeal and applications for other remedies against
the Ombudsmans decisions and findings are likewise available. Sec. 14 of RA 6770 prohibiting both is unconstitutional for unduly
encroaching on the powers and prerogatives of the judiciary.

FACTS:
A complaint-affidavit was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Binay, Jr. and other public officers and employees of the City
Government of Makati, accusing them of plunder and violation of RA 3019, in connection with 5 phases of the procurement and
construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building
The Ombudsman constituted a special panel of investigators to conduct a fact-finding investigation, submit an investigation report, and file
the necessary complaint, if warranted.
Pursuant to this directive, a complaint was indeed filed by the panel, charging Binay, Jr. et al with 6 administrative cases for Grave
Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service, and 6 criminal cases for violation of RA 3019,
Malversation of Public Funds, and Falsification of Public Documents.
As to Binay, Jr. himself, the OMB complaint alleged that he was involved in anomalous activities attending the procurement and
construction phases of the Makati Parking Building project, committed during his previous (2010-2013) and present terms (2013-2016) as
City Mayor of Makati
o He allegedly awarded phases of the project to Hilmarcs Construction Corp. and executed the corresponding contract without
the required publication and the lack of architectural design, and approved the release of funds therefor
o He likewise approved the release of funds for the remaining balance of the contract with MANA Architecture
The Ombudsman then created a 2nd Special Panel of Investigators to conduct a preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication
on the OMB Cases. Upon recommendation of the Ombudsman, this second panel issued a preventive suspension order, placing Binay,
Jr. et al. under preventive suspension for not more than 6 months without pay, during the pendency of the OMB cases.
Binay, Jr. then filed a petition for certiorari before the CA, seeking the nullification of the preventive suspension order, and praying for the
issuance of a TRO and/or WPI to enjoin its implementation. He argued that
o He could not be held administratively liable for any anomalous activity attending any of the 5 phases of the Makati Parking
Building project since phases I and II were undertaken before he was elected Mayor of Makati in 2010, and Phases III-V
transpired during his first term, and that his re-election as a City Mayor of Makati for a second term effectively condoned his
administrative liability therefor (condonation doctrine, as will be briefly discussed later), rendering the administrative cases
against him moot and academic.
o Ombudsmans preventive suspension order failed to show that the evidence of guilt presented against him is strong, and further,
that his suspension would undeservedly deprive the electorate of the services of the person they have conscientiously chosen
and voted into office
The CA issued a Resolution granting Binay, Jr.s prayer for a TRO, notwithstanding Vice Mayor Penas assumption of duties as Acting
Mayor that day. It applied the condonation doctrine: considering that it if it were established that the acts subject of the administrative
cases against Binay, Jr. were all committed during his prior term, his re-election meant that he can no longer be administratively charged.
Prior to the hearing of the oral arguments before the CA, Ombudsman filed the present petition before the SC, assailing the CA resolution
granting Binay Jrs TRO. Ombudsman argued that:
o CA had no jurisdiction to grant Binay, Jr.s prayer for a TRO, citing Sec. 14 of RA 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) which
states that no injunctive writ could be issued to delay the Ombudsmans investigation unless there is prima facie
evidence that the subject matter thereof is outside the latters jurisdiction.
Binay Jr on the other hand argues that
o Sec. 1 Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution specifically grants the CA judicial power to review acts of any branch or instrumentality
of the government including the Office of the Ombudsman, in case of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction
o Such grave abuse of discretion was committed when the Ombudsman issued the preventive suspension order, as it was
incumbent upon the latter to have ben apprised of the condonation doctrine
Meanwhile, the CA issued a Resolution granting Binays prayer for a WPI, which further enjoined the implementation of the preventive
suspension order. In view of this issuance the Ombudsman filed a supplemental petition before the SC, arguing:
o That the condonation doctrine is irrelevant to the determination of whether the evidence of guilt is strong for purposes of issuing
preventive suspension orders
o Reliance on the condonation doctrine is a matter of defense, which should have been raised by Binay, Jr. before it during the
administrative proceedings, and that any rate, no condonation because Binay committed acts subject of the OMB complaint
after his re-election in 2013

ISSUE:
1. W/N the CA has subject matter jurisdiction over the main petition for certiorari (YES)
2. W/N the CA has subject matter jurisdiction to issue a TRO and/or WPI enjoining the implementation of a preventive suspension order
issued by the Ombudsman. YES
3. W/N the CA gravely abused its discretion in issuing the TRO, and later the WPI, enjoining the implementation of the preventive
suspension order against Binay, Jr. based on the condonation doctrine. NO

RATIO:
1. CAs subject matter jurisdiction over the main petition
Section 14. Restrictions. No writ of injunction shall be issued by any court to delay an investigation being conducted by the
Ombudsman under this Act, unless there is a prima facie evidence that the subject matter of the investigation is outside the
jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman.
No court shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against the decision or findings of the Ombudsman, except the Supreme
Court, on pure question of law.
The first par. Of Sec. 14 is a prohibition against any court (except the SC) from issuing a writ of injunction to delay an investigation
being conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman
An injunction is a judicial writ, process or proceeding whereby a party is ordered to do or refrain from doing a certain act
Exception: when there is prima facie evidence that the subject matter of the investigation is outside the offices
jurisdiction.
Office of the Ombudsman has disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the government and its
subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies, with the exception only of impeachable officers, Members of Congress,
and the Judiciary. Nonetheless, the Ombudsman retains the power to investigate any serious misconduct in office
allegedly committed by officials removable by impeachment, for the purpose of filing a verified complaint for
impeachment, if warranted. Note that the Ombudsman has concurrent jurisdiction over certain administrative cases
which are within the jurisdiction of the regular courts or administrative agencies, but has primary jurisdiction to investigate
any act or omission of a public officer or employee who is under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Second par. Provides that no appeal or application for remedy may be heard against the decision or findings of the Ombudsman,
with the exception of the SC on pure questions of law
Ombudsman particularly relies on this paragraph in arguing that the CA had no jurisdiction over the main petition
As a general rule, Sec.14 bans the whole range of remedies against issuances of the Ombudsman, prohibiting 1) an
appeal against any decision or finding of the Ombudsman, and b) any application of remedy against the same. It excepts
as the only allowable remedy against any decision or findings of the Ombudsman, a Rule 45 appeal before the SC on
pure questions of law
By confining the remedy to a Rule 45 appeal, the provision takes away the remedy of certiorari, grounded on errors of
jurisdiction, in denigration of the judicial power constitutionally vested in courts.
The provision also increased the Courts appellate jurisdiction, without a showing that it gave consent to the same, in
violation of Sec. 30, Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution. It is therefore unconstitutional. The CA therefore has subject matter
jurisdiction over the main petition.

2. CA jurisdiction to issue TRO/ WPI


Recap: Ombudsman invokes par. 1 of Sec. 14 to argue that CA has no jurisdiction to issue any provisional injunctive writ against her
office to enjoin its preventive suspension orders.
The concept of Ombudsman independence cannot be invoked as basis to insulate the Ombudsman from judicial power
constitutionally vested unto the courts. Courts are apolitical bodies, which are ordained to act as impartial tribunals and apply even
justice to all
Hence Ombudsmans notion that it can be exempt from an incident of judicial power (ie provisional writ of injunction against a
preventive suspension order) clearly strays from the concepts rationale of insulating the office from political harassment or pressure
In passing the first paragraph of Sec. 14, Congress took away from the courts their power to issue a TRO and/or WPI to enjoin an
investigation conducted by the Ombudsman, encroaching upon the Courts constitutional rule-making authority.
these issuances are matters of procedure which belong exclusively within the province of the SC.
The prerogative to amend, repeal, or even establish new rules of procedure solely belongs to the SC, to the exclusion of
the legislative and executive branches of the government
The first paragraph of Sec. 14 is not a jurisdiction vesting provision. Rather, through this provision, Congress interfered with a
provisional remedy that was created by this Court under its duly promulgated rules of procedure, which utility is both integral and
inherent to every courts exercise of judicial power. It practically dilutes a courts ability to carry out its functions. This is so since a
particular case can easily be mooted by supervening events if no provisional injunctive relief is extended while the court is hearing
the same.
It therefore remains that the CA had the authority to issue the questioned injunctive writs enjoining the implementation of the
preventive suspension order.

3. Propriety of Issuance of a TRO and a WPI against the Ombudsmans preventive suspension order.
A preventive suspension order is not a penalty but only a preventive measure. The purpose is to prevent the official to be suspended
from using his position and the powers and prerogatives of his office to influence potential witnesses or tamper with records which
may be vital in the prosecution case against him.
o Requisites under Sec. 24 of RA 6770:
1) Evidence of guilt is strong
2) either:
the charge involves dishonesty, oppression, or grave misconduct of neglect in the performance of duty
the charge would warrant removal from the service
or the respondents continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.
The TRO was based not on the Ombudsmans non-compliance with these requisites but rather the condonation doctrine.
While the Court disagreed with the Omudsman and agreed with the CA that it was not precluded from considering the same given
that it was material to the propriety of according provisional injunctive relief, the Court reviewed the basis for the doctrine (tracing it
back to US jurisprudence) and found that it was not uniformly applied across all state jurisdictions. In reviewing the applicability of this
doctrine to our jurisdiction, the Court likewise considered the Constitutional provisions on public office, that public office is a public
trust and the corollary requirement of accountability to the people at all times is inconsistent with the idea that an elective local
officials administrative liability for a misconduct committed during a prior term can be wiped off by the fact that he was elected to a
second term of office, or even another elective post.
SC held that election is not a mode of condoning administrative offenses, and that there is no constitutional or
statutory basis in our jurisdiction to support this notion.
However, by merely following settled precedents on the condonation doctrine, wthich at that time unwittingly remained good law, it
cannot be concluded that the CA committed a grave abuse of discretionbased on its legal attribution. The WPI was thus correctly
issued.
The ensuing course of action should have been for the CA to resolve the main petition for certiorari on the merits. However,
considering that the Ombudsman had already found Binay, Jr. administratively liable and imposed upon him the penalty of dismissal,
which carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification, the CA petition appears to have been mooted.
retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights.

DISPOSITIVE: Petition partly granted.