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G.R. No.

L-28066 September 22, 1976

PEREGRINA ASTUDILLO, petitioner-appellant,


vs.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF PEOPLE'S HOMESITE AND HOUSING CORPORATION,
RAMON P. MITRA, SALUD O. MITRA, and REGISTER OF DEEDS, QUEZON CITY, respondents-
appellees.

Jose Villa Agustin for petitioner-appellant.

San Juan, Africa, Gonzales & San Agustin for appellees Mitras.

Manuel L. Lazaro & Leonardo A. Reyes, Gov't. Corp. Counsel's Office for appellee Board of Director
of the PHHC.

AQUlNO, J.: t .hqw

Peregrina Astudillo appealed from the "resolution" dated April 18, 1967 of the Court of First Instance
of Rizal, Quezon City Branch V, granting the motion for summary judgment filed by Ramon P. Mitra
and dismissing her petition for certiorari and mandamus (Civil Case No. Q-8741).

According to the pleadings of respondents Mitra and the People's Homesite and Housing
Corporation (PHHC) *, Mitra on December 28, 1957 applied, in behalf of his minor son, Ramon Mitra Ocampo, for the purchase of
Lot 16, Block E-155 of the East Avenue Subdivision of the PHHC in Piahan, Quezon City.

His application was approved on January 3, 1958. He made a downpayment of P840, an amount
equivalent to ten percent of the price of the lot. On September 9, 1961 the PHHC and Mitra executed
a contract of conditional sale. After Mitra had paid in full the price, which totalled more than nine
thousand pesos, a final deed of sale was executed in his favor on February 18, 1965. Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 89875 was issued to him on March 1, 1965.

The lot in question is acqually in the possession of Peregrina Astudillo. She constructed thereon a
residential house (a shanty, according to Mitra). She admits that she has been squatting on the said
lot "uninterruptedly since 1957 up to the present" (p. 52, Record). She filed with the administrative
investigating committee of the PHHC a request dated February 24, 1963, praying for the cancellation
of the award of Lot 16 to Congressman Mitra and asking the committee to recommend that it be re-
awarded to her. No action was taken on that request.

On May 3, 1965 Peregrina filed in the lower court her aforementioned petition against the PHHC
board of directors, the register of deeds of Quezon City and the spouses Ramon P. Mitra and Salud
O. Mitra. She questioned the legality of the award of Lot 16 to Mitra. She asked that Lot 16 be sold
to her.

After the respondents had filed their answers, the Mitra spouses filed a verified motion for summary
judgment. They assumed that there was no genuine issue as to any material fact. Peregrina
Astudillo opposed the motion. The parties submitted memoranda.

The lower court treated the motion for summary judgment as a motion to dismiss. It dismissed
Peregrina's petition on the grounds that she is a mala fide squatter and that the sale of Lot 16 to
Mitra cannot be assailed by means of certiorari and mandamus. Peregrina appealed to this Court.

Her four assignments of error raise questions of law. She contends that the lower court erred in
holding that certiorari and mandamus do not lie in this case and that she has no right to question the
award to Mitra, and in not holding that the award of Lot 16 to him was in contravention of the Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practice Law and of the constitutional provision that a Senator or Representative
should not directly or indirectly be financially interested in any contract with the government of any
subdivision or instrumentality thereof during his term of office.

In the ultimate analysis the issue is whether Peregrina Astudillo has a cause of action to annul the
sale of Lot 16 to Mitra and to compel the PHHC board to award that lot to her.
We hold that she has no cause of action to impugn the award to Mitra and to require that she be
allowed to purchase the lot. As a squatter, she has no possessory rights over Lot 16. In the eyes of
the law, the award to Mitra did not prejudice her since she was bereft of any rights over the said lot
which could have been impaired by that award (Baez vs. Court of Appeals, L-30351, September
11, 1974, 59 SCRA 15, 22).

The record does not show, and Peregrina does not claim, that she is a member of the Piahan
Homeowners Association some of whose members are "deserving squatters" (Kempis vs. Gonzales,
L-31701, October 31, 1974, 60 SCRA 439).

In the familiar language of procedure, she was not entitled to sue Mitra and the PHHC for the
enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention of a wrong. Those respondents did not commit
any delict or wrong in violation of her rights because, in the first place, she has no right to the lot. Not
being principally or subsidiarily bound in the contract of sale between Mitra and the PHHC, she is not
entitled to ask for its annulment (Art. 1397, Civil Code).

Peregrina invokes the PHHC charter (erroneously referred to as section 11 of Commonwealth Act
No. 648) which provides that the PHHC should acquire buildings so as to provide "decent housing
for those who may be unable otherwise to provide themselves therewith" and that it should acquire
large estates for their resale to bona fide occupants.

Those provisions do not sustain her action in this case. They do not justify her act of squatting on a
government-owned lot and then demanding that the lot be sold her because she does not yet own a
residential lot and house. She is not a bona fide occupant of Lot 16.

The State is committed to promote social justice and to maintain adequate social services in the field
of housing (Secs. 6 and 7, Art. II, New Constitution). But the State's solicitude for the destitute and
the have-nots does not mean that it should tolerate usurpations of property, public or private.

"In carrying out its social readjustment policies, the government could not simply lay aside moral
standards, and aim to favor usurpers, squatters, and intruders, unmindful of the lawful and unlawful
origin and character of their occupancy. Such a Policy would perpetuate conflicts instead of attaining
their just solution" (Bernardo vs. Bernards, 96 Phil. 202, 206).

Indeed, the government has enunciated a militant policy against squatters. Thus, Letter of Instruction
No. 19 dated October 2, 1972 orders city and district engineers "to remove all illegal constructions,
including buildings ... and those built without permits on public or private property" and provides for
the relocation of squatters (68 O.G. 7962. See Letter of Instruction No. 19-A). As noted by Justice
Sanchez, "since the last global war, squatting on another's property in this country has become a
widespread vice" (City of Manila vs. Garcia, L-26053, February 21, 1967, 19 SCRA 413, 418).

The lower court did not err in holding that Peregrina Astudillo cannot use the special civil actions of
certiorari and mandamus to secure a judicial review of the award of Lot 16 to Mitra. Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court provides: +.w ph!1

SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari. When any tribunal, board, or officer exercising
judicial functions, has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave
abuse of discretion and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified
petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment
be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings, as the law requires, of such
tribunal, board or officer.

The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment or order
subject thereof, together with copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and
pertinent thereto.

SEC. 3. Petition for mandamus. When any tribunal, corporation, board, or person
unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a
duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the
use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person
agrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant,
immediately or at some other specified time, to do the act required to be done to
protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the
petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant.

Respondent PHHC board is not the board contemplated in section 1 of Rule 65. It does not exercise
judicial functions. The award being questioned was a routinary corporate act that was within the
board's competence. No jurisdictional issue was involved in that award. certiorari lies only for the
correction of jurisdictional errors (Gov't. of the P.I. vs. Judge of 1st Instance of Iloilo 34 Phil 157,
159).

Nor is the relief sought by Peregrina Astudillo, which is to compel the PHHC board to cancel the
award of Lot 16 to Mitra and to resell it to her, a right that can be enforced by mandamus. What she
wants is to force the PHHC to execute a contract of sale in her favor. That is not within the purview
of the writ of mandamus.

Thus, it was held that "the writ of mandamus is not an appropriate or even admissible remedy to
enforce, the performance of a private contract which has not been fully performed by either party"
(Quiogue vs. Romualdez, 46 Phil. 337). In Jacinto vs. Director of Lands, 49 Phil. 853, a petition for a
writ of mandamus to compel the Director of Lands to execute a deed of conveyance for certain lots
in favor of the petitioner was denied. Generally, title to property cannot be litigated in a mandamus
proceeding (City of Manila vs. Posadas, 48 Phil. 309, 337).

It is not a ministerial duty of the PHHC board to award Lot 16 to Peregrina. Anyway, it has already
been shown that as a squatter she is not clothed with any right to Lot 16 that may be enforced in a
court of justice.

The PHHC board completely ignored the alleged demands of Peregrina for the purchase of Lot 16. It
did not render any decision against her. Its inaction cannot be assailed by certiorari or mandamus.

Peregrina's other assignment of error is that the award of Lot 16 to Congressman Mitra was a
violation of section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law and of section 17, Article VI of
the 1935 Constitution, now section 11, Article VIII of the new Constitution.

On the other hand, Mitra contends that the PHHC performs proprietary functions. He observed that
the following high-ranking officials were awarded PHHC lots: Felixberto Serrano, Dominador
Antonio, Manuel Lim, Fernando Lopez, Pacita M. Gonzales, Genaro Magsaysay, Daniel Romualdez,
Felipe A. Abrigo, Bartolome Cabangbang, Juan Duran, Manuel Enverga, Angel Fernandez, Jose
Nuguid, Antonio de Pio, Lorenzo Teves, Faustino Tobia, Pedro Trono, Marcelino Veloso and
Valeriano Yancha.

We are of the opinion that that assignment of error need not be resolved in this case. Having shown
that Peregrina has no cause of action to assail the award of Lot 16 to Mitra, it follows that in this
particular case she cannot assail that award by invoking the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Law and the Constitution. This is not the proper forum for the ventilation of that question.
(See Commonwealth Act No. 626; Hernandez vs. Albano, 112 Phil. 506; Solidum and Concepcion,
Jr. vs. Hernandez, 117 Phil. 335).

WHEREFORE, the lower court's order of dismissal is affirmed. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 85279 July 28, 1989

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (SSSEA), DIONISION T. BAYLON,


RAMON MODESTO, JUANITO MADURA, REUBEN ZAMORA, VIRGILIO DE ALDAY, SERGIO
ARANETA, PLACIDO AGUSTIN, VIRGILIO MAGPAYO, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM (SSS), HON. CEZAR C. PERALEJO,
RTC, BRANCH 98, QUEZON CITY, respondents.

Vicente T. Ocampo & Associates for petitioners.

CORTES, J:

Primarily, the issue raised in this petition is whether or not the Regional Trial Court can enjoin the
Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA) from striking and order the striking
employees to return to work. Collaterally, it is whether or not employees of the Social Security
System (SSS) have the right to strike.

The antecedents are as follows:

On June 11, 1987, the SSS filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for
damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners, alleging that on June 9,
1987, the officers and members of SSSEA staged an illegal strike and baricaded the entrances to
the SSS Building, preventing non-striking employees from reporting for work and SSS members
from transacting business with the SSS; that the strike was reported to the Public Sector Labor -
Management Council, which ordered the strikers to return to work; that the strikers refused to return
to work; and that the SSS suffered damages as a result of the strike. The complaint prayed that a
writ of preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the strike and that the strikers be ordered to return
to work; that the defendants (petitioners herein) be ordered to pay damages; and that the strike be
declared illegal.

It appears that the SSSEA went on strike after the SSS failed to act on the union's demands, which
included: implementation of the provisions of the old SSS-SSSEA collective bargaining agreement
(CBA) on check-off of union dues; payment of accrued overtime pay, night differential pay and
holiday pay; conversion of temporary or contractual employees with six (6) months or more of
service into regular and permanent employees and their entitlement to the same salaries,
allowances and benefits given to other regular employees of the SSS; and payment of the children's
allowance of P30.00, and after the SSS deducted certain amounts from the salaries of the
employees and allegedly committed acts of discrimination and unfair labor practices [Rollo, pp. 21-
241].

The court a quo, on June 11, 1987, issued a temporary restraining order pending resolution of the
application for a writ of preliminary injunction [Rollo, p. 71.] In the meantime, petitioners filed a
motion to dismiss alleging the trial court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter [Rollo, pp. 72-
82.] To this motion, the SSS filed an opposition, reiterating its prayer for the issuance of a writ of
injunction [Rollo, pp. 209-222]. On July 22,1987, in a four-page order, the court a quo denied the
motion to dismiss and converted the restraining order into an injunction upon posting of a bond, after
finding that the strike was illegal [Rollo, pp. 83- 86]. As petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of
the aforesaid order was also denied on August 14, 1988 [Rollo, p. 94], petitioners filed a petition
for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before this Court. Their petition was docketed
as G.R. No. 79577. In a resolution dated October 21, 1987, the Court, through the Third Division,
resolved to refer the case to the Court of Appeals. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration
thereof, but during its pendency the Court of Appeals on March 9,1988 promulgated its decision on
the referred case [Rollo, pp. 130-137]. Petitioners moved to recall the Court of Appeals' decision. In
the meantime, the Court on June 29,1988 denied the motion for reconsideration in G.R. No. 97577
for being moot and academic. Petitioners' motion to recall the decision of the Court of Appeals was
also denied in view of this Court's denial of the motion for reconsideration [Rollo, pp. 141- 143].
Hence, the instant petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals [Rollo, pp. 12-37].

Upon motion of the SSS on February 6,1989, the Court issued a temporary restraining order
enjoining the petitioners from staging another strike or from pursuing the notice of strike they filed
with the Department of Labor and Employment on January 25, 1989 and to maintain the status
quo [Rollo, pp. 151-152].

The Court, taking the comment as answer, and noting the reply and supplemental reply filed by
petitioners, considered the issues joined and the case submitted for decision.

The position of the petitioners is that the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case
initiated by the SSS and to issue the restraining order and the writ of preliminary injunction, as
jurisdiction lay with the Department of Labor and Employment or the National Labor Relations
Commission, since the case involves a labor dispute.

On the other hand, the SSS advances the contrary view, on the ground that the employees of the
SSS are covered by civil service laws and rules and regulations, not the Labor Code, therefore they
do not have the right to strike. Since neither the DOLE nor the NLRC has jurisdiction over the
dispute, the Regional Trial Court may enjoin the employees from striking.

In dismissing the petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed by petitioners,
the Court of Appeals held that since the employees of the SSS, are government employees, they are
not allowed to strike, and may be enjoined by the Regional Trial Court, which had jurisdiction over
the SSS' complaint for damages, from continuing with their strike.

Thus, the sequential questions to be resolved by the Court in deciding whether or not the Court of
Appeals erred in finding that the Regional Trial Court did not act without or in excess of jurisdiction
when it took cognizance of the case and enjoined the strike are as follows:

1. Do the employees of the SSS have the right to strike?

2. Does the Regional Trial Court have jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to enjoin
the strikers from continuing with the strike and to order them to return to work?

These shall be discussed and resolved seriatim

The 1987 Constitution, in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights, provides that the State
"shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations,
and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law" [Art. XIII, Sec.
31].

By itself, this provision would seem to recognize the right of all workers and employees, including
those in the public sector, to strike. But the Constitution itself fails to expressly confirm this
impression, for in the Sub-Article on the Civil Service Commission, it provides, after defining the
scope of the civil service as "all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the
Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters," that
"[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(l)
and (50)]. Parenthetically, the Bill of Rights also provides that "[tlhe right of the people, including
those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for
purposes not contrary to law shall not abridged" [Art. III, Sec. 8]. Thus, while there is no question that
the Constitution recognizes the right of government employees to organize, it is silent as to whether
such recognition also includes the right to strike.

Resort to the intent of the framers of the organic law becomes helpful in understanding the meaning
of these provisions. A reading of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the
1987 Constitution would show that in recognizing the right of government employees to organize, the
commissioners intended to limit the right to the formation of unions or associations only, without
including the right to strike.

Thus, Commissioner Eulogio R. Lerum, one of the sponsors of the provision that "[tlhe right to self-
organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(5)], in answer to the
apprehensions expressed by Commissioner Ambrosio B. Padilla, Vice-President of the Commission,
explained:
MR. LERUM. I think what I will try to say will not take that long. When we proposed
this amendment providing for self-organization of government employees, it does not
mean that because they have the right to organize, they also have the right to strike.
That is a different matter. We are only talking about organizing, uniting as a union.
With regard to the right to strike, everyone will remember that in the Bill of Rights,
there is a provision that the right to form associations or societies whose purpose is
not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Now then, if the purpose of the state is to
prohibit the strikes coming from employees exercising government functions, that
could be done because the moment that is prohibited, then the union which will go on
strike will be an illegal union. And that provision is carried in Republic Act 875. In
Republic Act 875, workers, including those from the government-owned and
controlled, are allowed to organize but they are prohibited from striking. So, the fear
of our honorable Vice- President is unfounded. It does not mean that because we
approve this resolution, it carries with it the right to strike. That is a different matter.
As a matter of fact, that subject is now being discussed in the Committee on Social
Justice because we are trying to find a solution to this problem. We know that this
problem exist; that the moment we allow anybody in the government to strike, then
what will happen if the members of the Armed Forces will go on strike? What will
happen to those people trying to protect us? So that is a matter of discussion in the
Committee on Social Justice. But, I repeat, the right to form an organization does not
carry with it the right to strike. [Record of the Constitutional Commission, vol. 1, p.
569].

It will be recalled that the Industrial Peace Act (R.A. No. 875), which was repealed by the Labor
Code (P.D. 442) in 1974, expressly banned strikes by employees in the Government, including
instrumentalities exercising governmental functions, but excluding entities entrusted with proprietary
functions:

.Sec. 11. Prohibition Against Strikes in the Government. The terms and conditions
of employment in the Government, including any political subdivision or
instrumentality thereof, are governed by law and it is declared to be the policy of this
Act that employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes or
modification in their terms and conditions of employment. Such employees may
belong to any labor organization which does not impose the obligation to strike or to
join in strike: Provided, however, That this section shall apply only to employees
employed in governmental functions and not those employed in proprietary functions
of the Government including but not limited to governmental corporations.

No similar provision is found in the Labor Code, although at one time it recognized the right of
employees of government corporations established under the Corporation Code to organize and
bargain collectively and those in the civil service to "form organizations for purposes not contrary to
law" [Art. 244, before its amendment by B.P. Blg. 70 in 1980], in the same breath it provided that
"[t]he terms and conditions of employment of all government employees, including employees of
government owned and controlled corporations, shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules
and regulations" [now Art. 276]. Understandably, the Labor Code is silent as to whether or not
government employees may strike, for such are excluded from its coverage [Ibid]. But then the Civil
Service Decree [P.D. No. 807], is equally silent on the matter.

On June 1, 1987, to implement the constitutional guarantee of the right of government employees to
organize, the President issued E.O. No. 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to
organize of government employees. In Section 14 thereof, it is provided that "[t]he Civil Service law
and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed,
subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress." The President was apparently referring
to Memorandum Circular No. 6, s. 1987 of the Civil Service Commission under date April 21, 1987
which, "prior to the enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government
employees ... enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions, all government officers and employees
from staging strikes, demonstrations, mass leaves, walk-outs and other forms of mass action which
will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service." The air was thus cleared of the
confusion. At present, in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees to strike,
recognizing their right to do so, or regulating the exercise of the right, they are prohibited from
striking, by express provision of Memorandum Circular No. 6 and as implied in E.O. No. 180. [At this
juncture, it must be stated that the validity of Memorandum Circular No. 6 is not at issue].

But are employees of the SSS covered by the prohibition against strikes?
The Court is of the considered view that they are. Considering that under the 1987 Constitution "[t]he
civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the
Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters" [Art.
IX(B), Sec. .2(l) see also Sec. 1 of E.O. No. 180 where the employees in the civil service are
denominated as "government employees"] and that the SSS is one such government-controlled
corporation with an original charter, having been created under R.A. No. 1161, its employees are
part of the civil service [NASECO v. NLRC, G.R. Nos. 69870 & 70295, November 24,1988] and are
covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. This being the case, the
strike staged by the employees of the SSS was illegal.

The statement of the Court in Alliance of Government Workers v. Minister of Labor and
Employment [G.R. No. 60403, August 3, 1:983, 124 SCRA 11 is relevant as it furnishes the rationale
for distinguishing between workers in the private sector and government employees with regard to
the right to strike:

The general rule in the past and up to the present is that 'the terms and conditions of
employment in the Government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality
thereof are governed by law" (Section 11, the Industrial Peace Act, R.A. No. 875, as
amended and Article 277, the Labor Code, P.D. No. 442, as amended). Since the
terms and conditions of government employment are fixed by law, government
workers cannot use the same weapons employed by workers in the private sector to
secure concessions from their employers. The principle behind labor unionism in
private industry is that industrial peace cannot be secured through compulsion by
law. Relations between private employers and their employees rest on an essentially
voluntary basis. Subject to the minimum requirements of wage laws and other labor
and welfare legislation, the terms and conditions of employment in the unionized
private sector are settled through the process of collective bargaining. In government
employment, however, it is the legislature and, where properly given delegated
power, the administrative heads of government which fix the terms and conditions of
employment. And this is effected through statutes or administrative circulars, rules,
and regulations, not through collective bargaining agreements. [At p. 13; Emphasis
supplied].

Apropos is the observation of the Acting Commissioner of Civil Service, in his position paper
submitted to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and quoted with approval by the Court in Alliance,
to wit:

It is the stand, therefore, of this Commission that by reason of the nature of the public
employer and the peculiar character of the public service, it must necessarily regard
the right to strike given to unions in private industry as not applying to public
employees and civil service employees. It has been stated that the Government, in
contrast to the private employer, protects the interest of all people in the public
service, and that accordingly, such conflicting interests as are present in private labor
relations could not exist in the relations between government and those whom they
employ. [At pp. 16-17; also quoted in National Housing Corporation v. Juco, G.R. No.
64313, January 17,1985,134 SCRA 172,178-179].

E.O. No. 180, which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government
employees, while clinging to the same philosophy, has, however, relaxed the rule to allow
negotiation where the terms and conditions of employment involved are not among those fixed by
law. Thus:

.SECTION 13. Terms and conditions of employment or improvements thereof, except


those that are fixed by law, may be the subject of negotiations between duly
recognized employees' organizations and appropriate government authorities.

The same executive order has also provided for the general mechanism for the settlement of labor
disputes in the public sector to wit:

.SECTION 16. The Civil Service and labor laws and procedures, whenever
applicable, shall be followed in the resolution of complaints, grievances and cases
involving government employees. In case any dispute remains unresolved after
exhausting all the available remedies under existing laws and procedures, the parties
may jointly refer the dispute to the [Public Sector Labor- Management] Council for
appropriate action.

Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or associations, either petition the
Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of
legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those
which are not fixed by law. If there be any unresolved grievances, the dispute may be referred to the
Public Sector Labor - Management Council for appropriate action. But employees in the civil service
may not resort to strikes, walk-outs and other temporary work stoppages, like workers in the private
sector, to pressure the Govemment to accede to their demands. As now provided under Sec. 4, Rule
III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government- Employees to
Self- Organization, which took effect after the instant dispute arose, "[t]he terms and conditions of
employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and
government- owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and
employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes thereof."

II

The strike staged by the employees of the SSS belonging to petitioner union being prohibited by law,
an injunction may be issued to restrain it.

It is futile for the petitioners to assert that the subject labor dispute falls within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the NLRC and, hence, the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of
injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike. The Labor Code itself provides that terms and
conditions of employment of government employees shall be governed by the Civil Service Law,
rules and regulations [Art. 276]. More importantly, E.O. No. 180 vests the Public Sector Labor -
Management Council with jurisdiction over unresolved labor disputes involving government
employees [Sec. 16]. Clearly, the NLRC has no jurisdiction over the dispute.

This being the case, the Regional Trial Court was not precluded, in the exercise of its general
jurisdiction under B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, from assuming jurisdiction over the SSS's complaint
for damages and issuing the injunctive writ prayed for therein. Unlike the NLRC, the Public Sector
Labor - Management Council has not been granted by law authority to issue writs of injunction in
labor disputes within its jurisdiction. Thus, since it is the Council, and not the NLRC, that has
jurisdiction over the instant labor dispute, resort to the general courts of law for the issuance of a writ
of injunction to enjoin the strike is appropriate.

Neither could the court a quo be accused of imprudence or overzealousness, for in fact it had
proceeded with caution. Thus, after issuing a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike
to prevent any further disruption of public service, the respondent judge, in the same order,
admonished the parties to refer the unresolved controversies emanating from their employer-
employee relationship to the Public Sector Labor - Management Council for appropriate action
[Rollo, p. 86].

III

In their "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction," and reiterated in their reply
and supplemental reply, petitioners allege that the SSS unlawfully withheld bonuses and benefits
due the individual petitioners and they pray that the Court issue a writ of preliminary prohibitive and
mandatory injunction to restrain the SSS and its agents from withholding payment thereof and to
compel the SSS to pay them. In their supplemental reply, petitioners annexed an order of the Civil
Service Commission, dated May 5, 1989, which ruled that the officers of the SSSEA who are not
preventively suspended and who are reporting for work pending the resolution of the administrative
cases against them are entitled to their salaries, year-end bonuses and other fringe benefits and
affirmed the previous order of the Merit Systems Promotion Board.

The matter being extraneous to the issues elevated to this Court, it is Our view that petitioners'
remedy is not to petition this Court to issue an injunction, but to cause the execution of the aforesaid
order, if it has already become final.

WHEREFORE, no reversible error having been committed by the Court of Appeals, the instant
petition for review is hereby DENIED and the decision of the appellate court dated March 9, 1988 in
CA-G.R. SP No. 13192 is AFFIRMED. Petitioners' "Petition/Application for Preliminary and
Mandatory Injunction" dated December 13,1988 is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 108725-26. September 25, 1998]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and FARMERS COOPERATIVE


MARKETING ASSOCIATION (FACOMA), San Jose, Occidental
Mindoro, petitioners, vs. THE HON. EMILIO L. LEACHON, JR.,
Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 46, 4th Judicial Region, San Jose,
Occidental Mindoro, respondents.

DECISION
PURISIMA, J.:

The People of the Philippines, represented by the Provincial Prosecutor of Occidental


Mindoro, and the private complainant, Farmers Cooperative Marketing Association (FACOMA),
brought this special civil action for certiorari and mandamus, to annul the orders, dated January
18 and February 4, 1993, respectively, of Presiding Judge Emilio L. Leachon, Jr. of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 46, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, who dismissed Criminal Case Nos. R-
2877 and R-2828, and denied herein petitioners motion for reconsideration. Petitioners further
pray that respondent Judge be ordered to proceed with the trial of said cases.
The antecedent facts that matter are, as follows:

On August 7, 1990, pursuant to the Resolution of the Municipal Trial Court of San
Jose, Occidental Mindoro, the Provincial Prosecutor of Occidental Mindoro filed two
separate informations for violation of P. D. 772, otherwise known as the Anti-
Squatting Law, against Noli Hablo, Edmundo Mapindan and Diego Escala, docketed
as Criminal Case Nos. R-2877 and R-2828, before the Regional Trial Court of
Occidental Mindoro presided over by respondent judge.

The cases proceeded to trial. After presenting its evidence, the prosecution rested the
cases, sending in a written offer of evidence on November 14, 1991.

On August 18, 1992, almost a year after the prosecution had rested, the respondent
Judge issued an Order dismissing the said cases motu proprio on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction.

From the aforesaid order of dismissal, petitioners appealed to this Court via a Petition
for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus, which was referred to the Court of Appeals
for proper disposition.

On December 24, 1992, the 12th Division of the Court of Appeals came out with a decision
reversing the appealed Order of dismissal, ordering continuation of trial of subject criminal
cases, and disposing, thus:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING considerations, the petition is given
due courseand the orders of respondent judge dated August 19, 1992 and
September 1, 1992 are set aside and declared null and void. Respondent judge
is hereby directed to proceed with the hearing of the case, i.e., with the
presentation of evidence by the accused, then the rebuttal or surrebuttal
evidence, if necessary and thereafter, to decide the case on the basis of the
evidence adduced. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
On January 19, 1993, instead of conducting the trial, as directed by the Court of Appeals, the
respondent judge dismissed the cases motu proprio, once more, opining that P.D. 772 is rendered
obsolete and deemed repealed by Sections 9 and 10, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution, which
provide that urban or rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted nor their dwellings demolished
except in accordance with law and in a just and humane manner.
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration interposed on January 29, 1993, having been denied
by the respondent Judge on February 4, 1993, petitioners found their way to this court via the
instant petition.
The issue posited here is whether or not the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing subject criminal cases for
violation of the Anti-Squatting Law, and in declaring the said law as repugnant to the provisions
of the 1987 Constitution.
To begin with, to every legislative act attaches the presumption of constitutionality. (Misolas
vs.Panga, 181 SCRA 648; Alvarez vs. Guingona, Jr., 252 SCRA 695). Unless otherwise repealed
by a subsequent law or adjudged unconstitutional by this Court, a law will always be presumed
valid and the first and fundamental duty of the court is to apply the law. (Lim vs. Pacquing, 240
SCRA 649; National Federation of Labor vs. Eisma, 127 SCRA 419)
Then, too, it is a basic rule of statutory construction that repeals by implication are not
favored unless it is manifest that such is the legislative intent. (Napocor vs. Province of Lanao
del Sur, 264 SCRA 271) This doctrine is premised on the rationale that the will of the legislature
cannot be overturned by the judicial function of construction and interpretation. (Ty vs. Trampe,
250 SCRA 500; Frivaldo vs. Comelec, 257 SCRA 727; Agujetas vs. Court of Appeals, 261
SCRA 17)
Presidential Decree No. 772, otherwise known as the Anti-Squatting Law, enjoys this
presumption of constitutionality. At the time the respondent Judge rendered the questioned
Decision and issued the orders of dismissal in 1993, Presidential Decree No. 772, Anti-Squatting
Law, was still effective. Neither has this Court declared its unconstitutionality, notwithstanding
the social justice provision of Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution, specifically on urban land
reform and housing.
Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution, provides:
Section 9. The State shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in
cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform
and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and
basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and
resettlement areas. It shall also promote adequate employment opportunities to
such citizens. In the implementation of such program the State shall respect
the rights of small property owners.
Sec. 10. Urban or rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted nor their dwellings
demolished, except in accordance with law and in a just and humane manner.
No resettlement of urban or rural dwellers shall be undertaken without
adequate consultation with them and the communities where they are to be
relocated."
Presidential Decree No. 772, on the other hand, states:
Sec. 1. Any person, with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking
advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds in occupying
or possessing the property of the latter against his will for residential,
commercial or any other purposes, shall be punished by imprisonment ranging
from six months to one year or a fine not less than one thousand or more
than five thousand pesos at the discretion of the Court, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency.
If the offender is a corporation or association, the maximum penalty of five
years and the fine of thousand pesos shall be imposed upon the president,
director, manager or managing partners thereof.
In dismissing subject criminal cases for anti-squatting, respondent Judge ratiocinated that if
all the accused in these cases were convicted and ordered evicted, it will run counter to the said
specific constitutional provisions because the conviction and eviction will not be in a just and
humane manner as the government has not yet undertaken the resettlement of urban and rural
dwellers (referring to all accused in the cases at bar) and neither has the government consulted all
the accused as to where they should be relocated.
From the aforequoted portion of the questioned disposition below, it can be gleaned that the
reason of respondent Judge in dismissing subject cases is that the eviction of the accused was not
effected in a just and humane manner as the government has not yet established a resettlement
area for the accused, and those who would be evicted have not been consulted as to the place of
their relocation. The import of the Order of dismissal under scrutiny is that- should the eviction
be in a just and humane manner, the same shall be valid and upheld.
The Court holds that the respondent judge did not err in so construing the aforecited
constitutional provision. Under the Constitution, what makes the eviction and demolition of
urban or rural poor dwellers illegal or unlawful is when the same are not done in accordance with
law and in a just and humane manner.
However, respondent Judge erred in predicating the validity or legality of eviction on the
existence of a resettlement plan and area. The constitutional requirement that the eviction and
demolition be in accordance with law and conducted in a just and humane manner does not mean
that the validity or legality of the demolition or eviction is hinged on the existence of a
resettlement area designated or earmarked by the government. What is meant by in accordance
with law and just and humane manner is that the person to be evicted be accorded due process or
an opportunity to controvert the allegation that his or her occupation or possession of the
property involved is unlawful or against the will of the landowner; that should the illegal or
unlawful occupation be proven, the occupant be sufficiently notified before actual eviction or
demolition is done; and that there be no loss of lives, physical injuries or unnecessary loss of or
damage to properties.
Precisely, the enactment of an anti-squatting law affords the alleged squatters the
opportunity to present their case before a competent court where their rights will be amply
protected and due process strictly observed. By filing the proper informations in court,
complainants have complied with the first requirement of due process, that is, the opportunity for
the accused to be heard and present evidence to show that his or her occupation or possession of
the property is not against the will or without the consent of the landowner and is not tainted by
the use of force, intimidation, threat or by the taking advantage of the absence of or tolerance by
the landowners.
Furthermore, what gives impetus to P. D. 772 is the constitutional mandate that - no person
shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Far from
contravening, P. D. 772 conforms with the 1987 Constitution, in that it protects the rights of a
property owner against unlawful and illegal intrusion.
It should likewise be noted that a constitutional question will not be decided unless it is
properly raised in appropriate cases (Tropical Homes Inc. vs. National Housing Authority, 142
SCRA 540). Before the court can assume jurisdiction over a constitutional question, the
following requisites must first be met: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy, including
a conflict of rights susceptible of judicial determination; (2) the constitutional question must be
raised by a proper party; (3) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity;
and (4) the resolution of the constitutional question must be necessary for the resolution of the
case. (Board of Optometry vs Colet, 260 SCRA 88)
In the case at bar, the respondent Judge dismissed subject cases motu proprio, after the
prosecution had rested the same and without giving the three accused an opportunity to present
their evidence. What is more, there is no showing that the issue of constitutionality of P. D. 772
was ever posed by the accused. Consequently, such an issue cannot be given due course for the
simple reason that it was not raised by the proper party at the earliest opportunity.
But the foregoing antecedent facts and proceedings notwithstanding, the petition cannot now
prosper because on October 27, 1997, Republic Act No. 8368, entitled An Act Repealing
Presidential Decree No. 772 Entitled Penalizing Squatting and Other Similar Acts was
enacted.Section 3 of the said Act provides that all pending cases under the provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 772 shall be dismissed upon the effectivity of this Act.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DISMISSED, without any pronouncement as to
costs.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 118978. May 23, 1997]

PHILIPPINE TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE COMPANY, petitioner, *

vs.NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and GRACE


DE GUZMAN, respondents.

DECISION
REGALADO, J.:

Seeking relief through the extraordinary writ of certiorari, petitioner


Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company (hereafter, PT&T) invokes the
alleged concealment of civil status and defalcation of company funds as
grounds to terminate the services of an employee. That employee, herein
private respondent Grace de Guzman, contrarily argues that what really
motivated PT&T to terminate her services was her having contracted marriage
during her employment, which is prohibited by petitioner in its company
policies. She thus claims that she was discriminated against in gross violation
of law, such a proscription by an employer being outlawed by Article 136 of
the Labor Code.
Grace de Guzman was initially hired by petitioner as a reliever, specifically
as a Supernumerary Project Worker, for a fixed period from November 21,
1990 until April 20, 1991 vice one C.F. Tenorio who went on maternity
leave. Under the Reliever Agreement which she signed with petitioner
[1]

company, her employment was to be immediately terminated upon expiration


of the agreed period. Thereafter, from June 10, 1991 to July 1, 1991, and from
July 19, 1991 to August 8, 1991, private respondents services as reliever
were again engaged by petitioner, this time in replacement of one Erlinda F.
Dizon who went on leave during both periods. After August 8, 1991, and
[2]

pursuant to their Reliever Agreement, her services were terminated.


On September 2, 1991, private respondent was once more asked to join
petitioner company as a probationary employee, the probationary period to
cover 150 days. In the job application form that was furnished her to be filled
up for the purpose, she indicated in the portion for civil status therein that she
was single although she had contracted marriage a few months earlier, that is,
on May 26, 1991. [3]

It now appears that private respondent had made the same representation
in the two successive reliever agreements which she signed on June 10, 1991
and July 8, 1991.When petitioner supposedly learned about the same later, its
branch supervisor in Baguio City, Delia M. Oficial, sent to private respondent a
memorandum dated January 15, 1992 requiring her to explain the
discrepancy. In that memorandum, she was reminded about the companys
policy of not accepting married women for employment. [4]

In her reply letter dated January 17, 1992, private respondent stated that
she was not aware of PT&Ts policy regarding married women at the time, and
that all along she had not deliberately hidden her true civil status. Petitioner
[5]

nonetheless remained unconvinced by her explanations. Private respondent


was dismissed from the company effective January 29, 1992, which she [6]
readily contested by initiating a complaint for illegal dismissal, coupled with a
claim for non-payment of cost of living allowances (COLA), before the
Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission in
Baguio City.
At the preliminary conference conducted in connection therewith, private
respondent volunteered the information, and this was incorporated in the
stipulation of facts between the parties, that she had failed to remit the amount
of P2,380.75 of her collections. She then executed a promissory note for that
amount in favor of petitioner. All of these took place in a formal proceeding
[7]

and with the agreement of the parties and/or their counsel.


On November 23, 1993, Labor Arbiter Irenarco R. Rimando handed down
a decision declaring that private respondent, who had already gained the
status of a regular employee, was illegally dismissed by petitioner. Her
reinstatement, plus payment of the corresponding back wages and COLA,
was correspondingly ordered, the labor arbiter being of the firmly expressed
view that the ground relied upon by petitioner in dismissing private respondent
was clearly insufficient, and that it was apparent that she had been
discriminated against on account of her having contracted marriage in
violation of company rules.
On appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), said
public respondent upheld the labor arbiter and, in its decision dated April 29,
1994, it ruled that private respondent had indeed been the subject of an unjust
and unlawful discrimination by her employer, PT&T. However, the decision of
the labor arbiter was modified with the qualification that Grace de Guzman
deserved to be suspended for three months in view of the dishonest nature of
her acts which should not be condoned. In all other respects, the NLRC
affirmed the decision of the labor arbiter, including the order for the
reinstatement of private respondent in her employment with PT&T.
The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner was rebuffed
by respondent NLRC in its resolution of November 9, 1994, hence this special
civil action assailing the aforestated decisions of the labor arbiter and
respondent NLRC, as well as the denial resolution of the latter.
1. Decreed in the Bible itself is the universal norm that women should be
regarded with love and respect but, through the ages, men have responded to
that injunction with indifference, on the hubristic conceit that women constitute
the inferior sex. Nowhere has that prejudice against womankind been so
pervasive as in the field of labor, especially on the matter of equal
employment opportunities and standards. In the Philippine setting, women
have traditionally been considered as falling within the vulnerable groups or
types of workers who must be safeguarded with preventive and remedial
social legislation against discriminatory and exploitative practices in hiring,
training, benefits, promotion and retention.
The Constitution, cognizant of the disparity in rights between men and
women in almost all phases of social and political life, provides a gamut of
protective provisions. To cite a few of the primordial ones, Section 14, Article
II on the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, expressly recognizes
[8]

the role of women in nation-building and commands the State to ensure, at all
times, the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Corollary
thereto, Section 3 of Article XIII (the progenitor whereof dates back to both
[9]

the 1935 and 1973 Constitution) pointedly requires the State to afford full
protection to labor and to promote full employment and equality of
employment opportunities for all, including an assurance of entitlement to
tenurial security of all workers. Similarly, Section 14 of Article XIII mandates
[10]

that the State shall protect working women through provisions for
opportunities that would enable them to reach their full potential.
2. Corrective labor and social laws on gender inequality have emerged
with more frequency in the years since the Labor Code was enacted on May
1, 1974 as Presidential Decree No. 442, largely due to our countrys
commitment as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). [11]

Principal among these laws are Republic Act No. 6727 which explicitly
[12]

prohibits discrimination against women with respect to terms and conditions of


employment, promotion, and training opportunities; Republic Act No.
6955 which bans the mail-order-bride practice for a fee and the export of
[13]

female labor to countries that cannot guarantee protection to the rights of


women workers; Republic Act No. 7192, also known as the Women in
[14]

Development and Nation Building Act, which affords women equal


opportunities with men to act and to enter into contracts, and for appointment,
admission, training, graduation, and commissioning in all military or similar
schools of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National
Police; Republic Act No. 7322 increasing the maternity benefits granted to
[15]

women in the private sector; Republic Act No. 7877 which outlaws and
[16]

punishes sexual harassment in the workplace and in the education and


training environment; and Republic Act No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers and
[17]

Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, which prescribes as a matter of policy, inter


alia, the deployment of migrant workers, with emphasis on women, only in
countries where their rights are secure. Likewise, it would not be amiss to
point out that in the Family Code, womens rights in the field of civil law have
[18]

been greatly enhanced and expanded.


In the Labor Code, provisions governing the rights of women workers are
found in Articles 130 to 138 thereof. Article 130 involves the right against
particular kinds of night work while Article 132 ensures the right of women to
be provided with facilities and standards which the Secretary of Labor may
establish to ensure their health and safety.For purposes of labor and social
legislation, a woman working in a nightclub, cocktail lounge, massage clinic,
bar or other similar establishments shall be considered as an employee under
Article 138. Article 135, on the other hand, recognizes a womans right against
discrimination with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account
simply of sex. Finally, and this brings us to the issue at hand, Article 136
explicitly prohibits discrimination merely by reason of the marriage of a female
employee.
3. Acknowledged as paramount in the due process scheme is the
constitutional guarantee of protection to labor and security of tenure. Thus, an
employer is required, as a condition sine qua non prior to severance of the
employment ties of an individual under his employ, to convincingly establish,
through substantial evidence, the existence of a valid and just cause in
dispensing with the services of such employee, ones labor being regarded as
constitutionally protected property.
On the other hand, it is recognized that regulation of manpower by the
company falls within the so-called management prerogatives, which
prescriptions encompass the matter of hiring, supervision of workers, work
assignments, working methods and assignments, as well as regulations on
the transfer of employees, lay-off of workers, and the discipline, dismissal, and
recall of employees. As put in a case, an employer is free to regulate,
[19]

according to his discretion and best business judgment, all aspects of


employment, from hiring to firing, except in cases of unlawful discrimination or
those which may be provided by law. [20]

In the case at bar, petitioners policy of not accepting or considering as


disqualified from work any woman worker who contracts marriage runs afoul
of the test of, and the right against, discrimination, afforded all women workers
by our labor laws and by no less than the Constitution. Contrary to petitioners
assertion that it dismissed private respondent from employment on account of
her dishonesty, the record discloses clearly that her ties with the company
were dissolved principally because of the companys policy that married
women are not qualified for employment in PT&T, and not merely because of
her supposed acts of dishonesty.
That it was so can easily be seen from the memorandum sent to private
respondent by Delia M. Oficial, the branch supervisor of the company, with the
reminder, in the words of the latter, that youre fully aware that the company is
not accepting married women employee (sic), as it was verbally instructed to
you. Again, in the termination notice sent to her by the same branch
[21]

supervisor, private respondent was made to understand that her severance


from the service was not only by reason of her concealment of her married
status but, over and on top of that, was her violation of the companys policy
against marriage (and even told you that married women employees are not
applicable [sic] or accepted in our company.) Parenthetically, this seems to
[22]

be the curious reason why it was made to appear in the initiatory pleadings
that petitioner was represented in this case only by its said supervisor and not
by its highest ranking officers who would otherwise be solidarily liable with the
corporation.[23]

Verily, private respondents act of concealing the true nature of her status
from PT&T could not be properly characterized as willful or in bad faith as she
was moved to act the way she did mainly because she wanted to retain a
permanent job in a stable company.In other words, she was practically forced
by that very same illegal company policy into misrepresenting her civil status
for fear of being disqualified from work. While loss of confidence is a just
cause for termination of employment, it should not be simulated. It must rest
[24]

on an actual breach of duty committed by the employee and not on the


employers caprices. Furthermore, it should never be used as a subterfuge
[25]

for causes which are improper, illegal, or unjustified.


[26]

In the present controversy, petitioners expostulations that it dismissed


private respondent, not because the latter got married but because she
concealed that fact, does have a hollow ring. Her concealment, so it is
claimed, bespeaks dishonesty hence the consequent loss of confidence in her
which justified her dismissal. Petitioner would asseverate, therefore, that while
it has nothing against marriage, it nonetheless takes umbrage over the
concealment of that fact. This improbable reasoning, with interstitial
distinctions, perturbs the Court since private respondent may well be minded
to claim that the imputation of dishonesty should be the other way around.
Petitioner would have the Court believe that although private respondent
defied its policy against its female employees contracting marriage, what
could be an act of insubordination was inconsequential. What it submits as
unforgivable is her concealment of that marriage yet, at the same time,
declaring that marriage as a trivial matter to which it supposedly has no
objection. In other words, PT&T says it gives its blessings to its female
employees contracting marriage, despite the maternity leaves and other
benefits it would consequently respond for and which obviously it would have
wanted to avoid. If that employee confesses such fact of marriage, there will
be no sanction; but if such employee conceals the same instead of
proceeding to the confessional, she will be dismissed. This line of reasoning
does not impress us as reflecting its true management policy or that we are
being regaled with responsible advocacy.
This Court should be spared the ennui of strained reasoning and
the tedium of propositions which confuse through less than candid
arguments. Indeed, petitioner glosses over the fact that it was its unlawful
policy against married women, both on the aspects of qualification and
retention, which compelled private respondent to conceal her supervenient
marriage. It was, however, that very policy alone which was the cause of
private respondents secretive conduct now complained of. It is
then apropos to recall the familiar saying that he who is the cause of the
cause is the cause of the evil caused.
Finally, petitioners collateral insistence on the admission of private
respondent that she supposedly misappropriated company funds, as an
additional ground to dismiss her from employment, is somewhat insincere and
self-serving. Concededly, private respondent admitted in the course of the
proceedings that she failed to remit some of her collections, but that is an
altogether different story. The fact is that she was dismissed solely because of
her concealment of her marital status, and not on the basis of that supposed
defalcation of company funds. That the labor arbiter would thus consider
petitioners submissions on this supposed dishonesty as a mere afterthought,
just to bolster its case for dismissal, is a perceptive conclusion born of
experience in labor cases. For, there was no showing that private respondent
deliberately misappropriated the amount or whether her failure to remit the
same was through negligence and, if so, whether the negligence was in
nature simple or grave. In fact, it was merely agreed that private respondent
execute a promissory note to refund the same, which she did, and the matter
was deemed settled as a peripheral issue in the labor case.
Private respondent, it must be observed, had gained regular status at the
time of her dismissal. When she was served her walking papers on January
29, 1992, she was about to complete the probationary period of 150 days as
she was contracted as a probationary employee on September 2, 1991. That
her dismissal would be effected just when her probationary period was
winding down clearly raises the plausible conclusion that it was done in order
to prevent her from earning security of tenure. On the other hand, her earlier
[27]

stints with the company as reliever were undoubtedly those of a regular


employee, even if the same were for fixed periods, as she performed activities
which were essential or necessary in the usual trade and business of
PT&T. The primary standard of determining regular employment is the
[28]

reasonable connection between the activity performed by the employee in


relation to the business or trade of the employer. [29]

As an employee who had therefore gained regular status, and as she had
been dismissed without just cause, she is entitled to reinstatement without
loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to full back wages, inclusive of
allowances and other benefits or their monetary equivalent. However, as she
[30]

had undeniably committed an act of dishonesty in concealing her status, albeit


under the compulsion of an unlawful imposition of petitioner, the three-month
suspension imposed by respondent NLRC must be upheld to obviate the
impression or inference that such act should be condoned. It would be unfair
to the employer if she were to return to its fold without any sanction
whatsoever for her act which was not totally justified. Thus, her entitlement to
back wages, which shall be computed from the time her compensation was
withheld up to the time of her actual reinstatement, shall be reduced by
deducting therefrom the amount corresponding to her three months
suspension.
4. The government, to repeat, abhors any stipulation or policy in the nature
of that adopted by petitioner PT&T. The Labor Code states, in no uncertain
terms, as follows:

ART. 136. Stipulation against marriage. - It shall be unlawful for an employer to


require as a condition of employment or continuation of employment that a woman
shall not get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a
woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss,
discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason
of marriage.

This provision had a studied history for its origin can be traced to Section 8
of Presidential Decree No. 148, better known as the Women and Child Labor
[31]

Law, which amended paragraph (c), Section 12 of Republic Act No.


679, entitled An Act to Regulate the Employment of Women and Children, to
[32]

Provide Penalties for Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes. The
forerunner to Republic Act No. 679, on the other hand, was Act No. 3071
which became law on March 16, 1923 and which regulated the employment of
women and children in shops, factories, industrial, agricultural, and mercantile
establishments and other places of labor in the then Philippine Islands.
It would be worthwhile to reflect upon and adopt here the rationalization
in Zialcita, et al. vs. Philippine Air Lines, a decision that emanated from the
[33]

Office of the President.There, a policy of Philippine Air Lines requiring that


prospective flight attendants must be single and that they will be automatically
separated from the service once they marry was declared void, it being
violative of the clear mandate in Article 136 of the Labor Code with regard to
discrimination against married women. Thus:
Of first impression is the incompatibility of the respondents policy or regulation with
the codal provision of law. Respondent is resolute in its contention that Article 136 of
the Labor Code applies only to women employed in ordinary occupations and that the
prohibition against marriage of women engaged in extraordinary occupations, like
flight attendants, is fair and reasonable, considering the pecularities of their chosen
profession.

We cannot subscribe to the line of reasoning pursued by respondent. All along, it


knew that the controverted policy has already met its doom as early as March 13,
1973 when Presidential Decree No. 148, otherwise known as the Women and Child
Labor Law, was promulgated. But for the timidity of those affected or their labor
unions in challenging the validity of the policy, the same was able to obtain a
momentary reprieve. A close look at Section 8 of said decree, which amended
paragraph (c) of Section 12 of Republic Act No. 679, reveals that it is exactly the
same provision reproduced verbatim in Article 136 of the Labor Code, which was
promulgated on May 1, 1974 to take effect six (6) months later, or on November 1,
1974.

It cannot be gainsaid that, with the reiteration of the same provision in the new Labor
Code, all policies and acts against it are deemed illegal and therefore abrogated. True,
Article 132 enjoins the Secretary of Labor to establish standards that will ensure the
safety and health of women employees and in appropriate cases shall by regulation
require employers to determine appropriate minimum standards for termination in
special occupations, such as those of flight attendants, but that is precisely the factor
that militates against the policy of respondent. The standards have not yet been
established as set forth in the first paragraph, nor has the Secretary of Labor issued
any regulation affecting flight attendants.

It is logical to presume that, in the absence of said standards or regulations which are
as yet to be established, the policy of respondent against marriage is patently
illegal. This finds support in Section 9 of the New Constitution, which provides:

Sec. 9. The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment and
equality in employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race, or
creed, and regulate the relations between workers and employees. The State shall
assure the rights of workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, security of
tenure, and just and humane conditions of work x x x.

Moreover, we cannot agree to the respondents proposition that termination from


employment of flight attendants on account of marriage is a fair and reasonable
standard designed for their own health, safety, protection and welfare, as no basis has
been laid therefor. Actually, respondent claims that its concern is not so much against
the continued employment of the flight attendant merely by reason of marriage as
observed by the Secretary of Labor, but rather on the consequence of marriage-
pregnancy. Respondent discussed at length in the instant appeal the supposed ill
effects of pregnancy on flight attendants in the course of their employment. We feel
that this needs no further discussion as it had been adequately explained by the
Secretary of Labor in his decision of May 2, 1976.

In a vain attempt to give meaning to its position, respondent went as far as invoking
the provisions of Articles 52 and 216 of the New Civil Code on the preservation of
marriage as an inviolable social institution and the family as a basic social institution,
respectively, as bases for its policy of non-marriage. In both instances, respondent
predicates absence of a flight attendant from her home for long periods of time as
contributory to an unhappy married life. This is pure conjecture not based on actual
conditions, considering that, in this modern world, sophisticated technology has
narrowed the distance from one place to another. Moreover, respondent overlooked
the fact that married flight attendants can program their lives to adapt to prevailing
circumstances and events.

Article 136 is not intended to apply only to women employed in ordinary occupations,
or it should have categorically expressed so. The sweeping intendment of the law, be
it on special or ordinary occupations, is reflected in the whole text and supported by
Article 135 that speaks of non-discrimination on the employment of women.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals in Gualberto, et al. vs. Marinduque


Mining & Industrial Corporation considered as void a policy of the same
[34]

nature. In said case, respondent, in dismissing from the service the


complainant, invoked a policy of the firm to consider female employees in the
project it was undertaking as separated the moment they get married due to
lack of facilities for married women. Respondent further claimed that
complainant was employed in the project with an oral understanding that her
services would be terminated when she gets married. Branding the policy of
the employer as an example of discriminatory chauvinism tantamount to
denying equal employment opportunities to women simply on account of their
sex, the appellate court struck down said employer policy as unlawful in view
of its repugnance to the Civil Code, Presidential Decree No. 148 and the
Constitution.
Under American jurisprudence, job requirements which establish employer
preference or conditions relating to the marital status of an employee are
categorized as a sex-plus discrimination where it is imposed on one sex and
not on the other. Further, the same should be evenly applied and must not
inflict adverse effects on a racial or sexual group which is protected by federal
job discrimination laws. Employment rules that forbid or restrict the
employment of married women, but do not apply to married men, have been
held to violate Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964, the main
federal statute prohibiting job discrimination against employees and applicants
on the basis of, among other things, sex. [35]

Further, it is not relevant that the rule is not directed against all women but
just against married women. And, where the employer discriminates against
married women, but not against married men, the variable is sex and the
discrimination is unlawful. Upon the other hand, a requirement that a woman
[36]

employee must remain unmarried could be justified as a bona fide


occupational qualification, or BFOQ, where the particular requirements of the
job would justify the same, but not on the ground of a general principle, such
as the desirability of spreading work in the workplace. A requirement of that
nature would be valid provided it reflects an inherent quality reasonably
necessary for satisfactory job performance. Thus, in one case, a no-marriage
rule applicable to both male and female flight attendants, was regarded as
unlawful since the restriction was not related to the job performance of the
flight attendants. [37]
5. Petitioners policy is not only in derogation of the provisions of Article
136 of the Labor Code on the right of a woman to be free from any kind of
stipulation against marriage in connection with her employment, but it likewise
assaults good morals and public policy, tending as it does to deprive a woman
of the freedom to choose her status, a privilege that by all accounts inheres in
the individual as an intangible and inalienable right. Hence, while it is true
[38]

that the parties to a contract may establish any agreements, terms, and
conditions that they may deem convenient, the same should not be contrary to
law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy. Carried to its
[39]

logical consequences, it may even be said that petitioners policy against


legitimate marital bonds would encourage illicit or common-law relations and
subvert the sacrament of marriage.
Parenthetically, the Civil Code provisions on the contract of labor state that
the relations between the parties, that is, of capital and labor, are not merely
contractual, impressed as they are with so much public interest that the same
should yield to the common good. It goes on to intone that neither capital nor
[40]

labor should visit acts of oppression against the other, nor impair the interest
or convenience of the public. In the final reckoning, the danger of just such a
[41]

policy against marriage followed by petitioner PT&T is that it strikes at the very
essence, ideals and purpose of marriage as an inviolable social institution
and, ultimately, of the family as the foundation of the nation. That it must be
[42]

effectively interdicted here in all its indirect, disguised or dissembled forms as


discriminatory conduct derogatory of the laws of the land is not only in order
but imperatively required.
ON THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the petition of Philippine Telegraph
and Telephone Company is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit, with double
costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 101476 April 14, 1992

EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, TERESITA VALLES, LORETO ALEDIA and PEDRO
ORDONEZ, respondents.

GRIO-AQUINO, J.:

On May 30, 1980, P.D. 1980 was issued reserving and designating certain parcels of land in Rosario
and General Trias, Cavite, as the "Cavite Export Processing Zone" (CEPZ). For purposes of
development, the area was divided into Phases I to IV. A parcel of Phase IV was bought by Filoil
Refinery Corporation, formerly Filoil Industrial Estate, Inc. The same parcel was later sold by Filoil to
the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA).

Before EPZA could take possession of the area, several individuals had entered the premises and
planted agricultural products therein without permission from EPZA or its predecessor, Filoil. To
convince the intruders to depart peacefully, EPZA, in 1981, paid a P10,000-financial-assistance to
those who accepted the same and signed quitclaims. Among them were Teresita Valles and Alfredo
Aledia, father of respondent Loreto Aledia.

Ten years later, on May 10, 1991, respondent Teresita Valles, Loreto Aledia and Pedro Ordoez
filed in the respondent Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a joint complaint (Pinagsamahang
Salaysay) praying for "justice and other reliefs and remedies" ("Katarungan at iba pang tulong"). The
CHR conducted an investigation of the complaint.

According to the CHR, the private respondents, who are farmers, filed in the Commission on May
10, 1991 a verified complaint for violation of their human rights. They alleged that on March 20,
1991, at 10:00 o'clock in the morning. Engineer Neron Damondamon, EPZA Project Engineer,
accompanied by his subordinates and members of the 215th PNP Company, brought a bulldozer
and a crane to level the area occupied by the private respondents who tried to stop them by showing
a copy of a letter from the Office of the President of the Philippines ordering postponement of the
bulldozing. However, the letter was crumpled and thrown to the ground by a member of
Damondamon's group who proclaimed that: "The President in Cavite is Governor Remulla!"

On April 3, 1991, mediamen who had been invited by the private respondents to cover the
happenings in the area were beaten up and their cameras were snatched from them by members of
the Philippine National Police and some government officials and their civilian followers.

On May 17, 1991, the CHR issued an Order of injunction commanding EPZA, the 125th PNP
Company and Governor Remulla and their subordinates to desist from committing further acts of
demolition, terrorism, and harassment until further orders from the Commission and to appeal before
the Commission on May 27, 1991 at 9:00 a.m. for a dialogue (Annex A).

On May 25, 1991, two weeks later, the same group accompanied by men of Governor Remulla,
again bulldozed the area. They allegedly handcuffed private respondent Teresita Valles, pointed
their firearms at the other respondents, and fired a shot in the air.

On May 28, 1991, CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista issued another injunction Order
reiterating her order of May 17, 1991 and expanded it to include the Secretary of Public Works and
Highways, the contractors, and their subordinates. The order reads as follows:

Considering the sworn statements of the farmers whose farmlands are being
bulldozed and the wanton destruction of their irrigation canals which prevent
cultivation at the farmlands as well as the claim of ownership of the lands by some
farmers-complainants, and their possession and cultivation thereof spanning
decades, including the failure of the officials concerned to comply with the
Constitutional provision on the eviction of rural "squatters", the Commission
reiterates its Order of May 17, 1991, andfurther orders the Secretary of Public Works
and Highways, their Contractors and representatives to refrain and desist from
bulldozing the farmlands of the complainants-farmers who have come to the
Commission for relief, during the pendency of this investigation and to refrain from
further destruction of the irrigation canals in the area until further orders of the
Commission.

This dialogue is reset to June 10, 1991 at 9 00 a.m. and the Secretary of the
Department of Public Works and Highways or his representative is requested to
appear. (p. 20, Rollo; emphasis supplied)

On July 1, 1991, EPZA filed in the CHR a motion to lift the Order of Injunction for lack of authority to
issue injunctive writs and temporary restraining orders.

On August 16, 1991, the Commission denied the motion.

On September 11, 1991, the petitioner, through the Government Corporate Counsel, filed in this
Court a special civil action of certiorari and prohibition with a prayer for the issuance of a restraining
order and/or preliminary injunction, alleging that the CHR acted in excess of its jurisdiction and with
grave abuse of discretion in issuing the restraining order and injunctive writ; that the private
respondents have no clear, positive right to be protected by an injunction; that the CHR abused its
discretion in entertaining the private respondent's complaint because the issue raised therein had
been decided by this Court, hence, it is barred by prior judgment.

On September 19, 1991, this Court issued a temporary restraining order, ordering the CHR to cease
and desist from enforcing and/or implementing the questioned injunction orders.

In its comment on the petition, the CHR asked for the immediate lifting of this Court's restraining
order, and for an order restraining petitioner EPZA from doing further acts of destruction and
harassment. The CHR contends that its principal function under Section 18, Art. 13 of the 1987
Constitution, "is not limited to mere investigation" because it is mandated, among others, to:

a. Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights
violations involving civil and political rights;

b. Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for
violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;

c. Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all
persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for
preventive measures and legal aid services to the under privileged whose human
rights have been violated or need protection;

d. Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty


obligations on human rights. (Emphasis supplied.) (p. 45, Rollo)

On November 14, 1991, the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and Motion praying that he be
excused from filing a Comment for the CHR on the ground that the Comment filed by the latter "fully
traversed and squarely met all the issues raised and discussed in the main Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition" (p. 83, Rollo).

Does the CHR have jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction or restraining order against supposed
violators of human rights, to compel them to cease and desist from continuing the acts complained
of?

In Hon. Isidro Cario, et al. vs. Commission on Human Rights, et al., G.R No. 96681, December 2,
1991, we held that the CHR is not a court of justice nor even a quasi-judicial body.

The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power
is that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards
claimed human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But fact-finding is
not adjudication, and cannot be likened to thejudicial function of a court of justice, or
even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and
ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly
speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making
factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority
of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may
be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitely, subject to such
appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the
Commission does not have.

xxx xxx xxx

Hence it is that the Commission on Human Rights, having merely the power "to
investigate," cannot and should not "try and resolve on the merits" (adjudicate) the
matters involved in Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has announced it
means to do; and it cannot do so even if there be a claim that in the administrative
disciplinary proceedings against the teachers in question, initiated and conducted by
the DECS, their human rights, or civil or political rights had been transgressed. More
particularly, the Commission has no power to "resolve on the merits" the question of
(a) whether or not the mass concerted actions engaged in by the teachers constitute
a strike and are prohibited or otherwise restricted by law; (b) whether or not the act of
carrying on and taking part in those actions, and the failure of the teachers to
discontinue those actions and return to their classes despite the order to this effect
by the Secretary of Education, constitute infractions of relevant rules and regulations
warranting administrative disciplinary sanctions, or are justified by the grievances
complained of by them; and (c) what were the particular acts done by each individual
teacher and what sanctions, if any, may properly be imposed for said acts or
omissions. (pp. 5 & 8.)

The constitutional provision directing the CHR to "provide for preventive measures and legal aid
services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection" may not
be construed to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of injunction
for, if that were the intention, the Constitution would have expressly said so. "Jurisdiction is conferred
only by the Constitution or by law" (Oroso, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 76828-32, 28 January
1991; Bacalso vs. Ramolete, G.R. No. L-22488, 26 October 1967, 21 SCRA 519). It is never derived
by implication (Garcia, et al. vs. De Jesus, et al., G.R. No. 88158; Tobon Uy vs. Commission on
Election, et al.. G.R. Nos. 97108-09, March 4, 1992).

Evidently, the "preventive measures and legal aid services" mentioned in the Constitution refer to
extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a preliminary writ of injunction) which the CHR may
seek from the proper courts on behalf of the victims of human rights violations. Not being a court of
justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary injunction may only
be issued "by the judge of any court in which the action is pending [within his district], or by a Justice
of the Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. It may also be granted by the judge of a Court of
First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] in any action pending in an inferior court within his district."
(Sec. 2, Rule 58, Rules of Court). A writ of preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is
available only in a pending principal action, for the preservation or protection of the rights and
interest of a party thereto, and for no other purpose

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED. The orders of injunction dated
May 17 and 28, 1991 issued by the respondent Commission on Human Right are here by
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the temporary restraining order which this Court issued on
September 19, 1991, is hereby made PERMANENT.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Bidin, Medialdea, Regalado,
Devide, Jr., Romero and Nocon, JJ., concur.

Feliciano and Bellosillo, JJ., are on leave.

Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., concurring:

I dissent for the reasons stated in my separate opinion in Hon. Isidro Carino, et al. vs. Commission
on Human Rights, et al., G. R. No. 96681, 2 December 1991. In addition, it is my considered view
that the CHR has the unquestioned authority in appropriate cases to "provide for preventive
measures and legal aid services to the under privileged whose human rights have been violated
or need protection." (Section 18(c), Article XIII, 1987 Constitution)

If the CHR can not, by itself, issue any cease and desist order in order to maintain the status
quo pending its investigation of cases involving alleged human rights violations, then it is, in effect,
an ineffective instrument for the protection of human rights. I submit that the CHR, consistent with
the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, may issue cease and desist orders particularly in
situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which it intends to investigate, and such
cease and desist orders may be judicially challenged like the orders of the other constitutional
commissions, which are not courts of law under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, on grounds of
lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion.

ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for further
proceedings (investigation).

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., concurring:

I dissent for the reasons stated in my separate opinion in Hon. Isidro Carino, et al. vs. Commission
on Human Rights, et al., G. R. No. 96681, 2 December 1991. In addition, it is my considered view
that the CHR has the unquestioned authority in appropriate cases to "provide for preventive
measures and legal aid services to the under privileged whose human rights have been violated
or need protection." (Section 18(c), Article XIII, 1987 Constitution)

If the CHR can not, by itself, issue any cease and desist order in order to maintain the status
quo pending its investigation of cases involving alleged human rights violations, then it is, in effect,
an ineffective instrument for the protection of human rights. I submit that the CHR, consistent with
the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, may issue cease and desist orders particularly in
situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which it intends to investigate, and such
cease and desist orders may be judicially challenged like the orders of the other constitutional
commissions, which are not courts of law under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, on grounds of
lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion.

ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for further
proceedings (investigation).
G.R. No. 193854 September 24, 2012

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
DINA DULAY y PASCUAL, Appellant.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

This is to resolve an appeal from the Decision1 dated August 4, 2010 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 03725 affirming with modification the Decision2 dated October 8, 2008 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 194, Paraaque City, finding appellant Dina Dulay guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape under Article 266-A. No. 1 (a) of the Revised Penal Code
(RPC) as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) 8353 as a co-principal by indispensable cooperation.

The records bear the following factual antecedents:

Private complainant AAA3 was 12 years old when the whole incident happened. AAA's sister
introduced the appellant to AAA as someone who is nice. Thereafter, appellant convinced AAA to
accompany her at a wake at GI San Dionisio, Paraaque City. Before going to the said wake, they
went to a casino to look for appellant's boyfriend, but since he was not there, they went to Sto. Nio
at Don Galo. However, appellant's boyfriend was also not there. When they went to Bulungan Fish
Port along the coastal road to ask for some fish, they saw appellant's boyfriend. Afterwards, AAA,
appellant and the latter's boyfriend proceeded to the Kubuhan located at the back of the Bulungan
Fish Port. When they reached the Kubuhan, appellant suddenly pulled AAA inside a room where a
man known by the name "Speed" was waiting. AAA saw "Speed" give money to appellant and heard
"Speed" tell appellant to look for a younger girl. Thereafter, "Speed" wielded a knife and tied AAA's
hands to the papag and raped her. AAA asked for appellant's help when she saw the latter peeping
into the room while she was being raped, but appellant did not do so. After the rape, "Speed" and
appellant told AAA not to tell anyone what had happened or else they would get back at her.

AAA went to San Pedro, Laguna after the incident and told her sister what happened and the latter
informed their mother about it. AAA, her sister and mother, filed a complaint at Barangay San
Dionisio. Thereafter, the barangay officials of San Dionisio referred the complaint to the police
station.

The Paraaque City Police Office (Women's and Children Concern Desk) asked the assistance of
the Child Protection Unit of the Philippine General Hospital, upon which the latter assigned the case
to Dr. Merle Tan. Consequently, with the consent of AAA and her mother, and in the presence of a
social worker of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Dr. Tan conducted the
requisite interview and physical examination on AAA. Later on, Dr. Tan issued a Medico-Legal
Report4 stating that there was no evident injury in the body of AAA, but medical evaluation cannot
exclude sexual abuse. During her testimony, Dr. Tan explained that such impression or conclusion
pertains to the ano-genital examination and also stated that she found multiple abrasions on the
back portion of the body of AAA.5

Thus, an Information was filed, which reads as follows:

That on or about the 3rd day of July 2005, in the City of Paraaque, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating
together with one alias "Speed," whose true name and identity and present whereabouts is still
unknown, and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another, the herein accused Dina P.
Dulay having delivered and offered for a fee complainant AAA, 12 year old minor, to accused alias
"Speed," who with lewd design and by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge on said minor complainant AAA against her will
and without her consent, which act is prejudicial to the normal growth and development of the said
child.

CONTRARY TO LAW.6

With the assistance of counsel de oficio, on August 3, 2005, appellant entered a plea of not
guilty.7 Therafter, trial on the merits ensued.
To support the above allegations, the prosecution presented the testimonies of AAA and Dr. Merle
Tan. On the other hand, the defense presented the sole testimony of appellant which can be
summarized as follows:

Appellant met AAA a few days before June 2005 when the latter was introduced to her by her cousin
Eglay Akmad during the wake of a relative of AAA at Palanyag. The cousin of appellant was AAA's
neighbor at Palanyag. Around 1 o'clock in the morning of July 3, 2005, appellant averred that she
was at La Huerta, at the Bulungan Fish Port in Paraaque City with her cousin Eglay and stayed
there for about thirty (30) minutes. They then proceeded to the house of appellant's cousin in
Palanyag. In the said house, appellant saw "Speed" and two (2) other male persons. She also saw
AAA who was engaged in a conversation with "Speed" and his two (2) companions. She asked AAA
what she was doing there and the latter said that it was none of her business ("wala kang pakialam
sa akin"). Because of the response of AAA, appellant left the house and went home to General
Trias, Cavite.

On October 8, 2008, the RTC found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape
as co-principal by indispensable cooperation. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, finding Accused Danilo guilty beyond reasonable doubt for rape as a co-principal by
indispensable cooperation, she is hereby sentenced to suffer an imprisonment of Reclusion
Perpetua under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code and to pay the offended party the amount
of 50,000.00 by way of damages.

The period of her detention shall be considered part of the service of her sentence.

SO ORDERED.8

Not satisfied with the judgment of the trial court, the appellant brought the case to the CA. The latter,
on August 4, 2010, promulgated its decision affirming the ruling of the RTC with a modification on
the award of damages, thus:

WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision of the court a quo is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION
that the accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordered to
indemnify the offended party the sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos ( 50,000.00) as civil indemnity, Fifty
Thousand Pesos ( 50,000.00) as moral damages and Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos ( 25,000.00)
as exemplary damages.

SO ORDERED.9

Hence, the present appeal.

In her Brief, appellant assigned the following errors:

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT


GUILTY OF RAPE AS CO-PRINCIPAL BY INDISPENSABLE COOPERATION.

II

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING FULL WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO
THE TESTIMONY OF THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT AAA.10

The Office of the Solicitor General, representing the appellee, refutes the above assignment of
errors by stating the following arguments:

I.

CONSPIRACY WAS CLEARLY ESTABLISHED IN THIS CASE.

II.
THE LOWER COURT DID NOT ERR IN BELIEVING THE TESTIMONY OF PRIVATE
COMPLAINANT.

III.

ACCUSED-APPELLANT'S DEFENSE OF DENIAL CANNOT BE GIVEN GREATER


EVIDENTIARY WEIGHT THAN THE POSITIVE TESTIMONY OF PRIVATE
COMPLAINANT.11

An appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal
can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed judgment, or even reverse the trial court's
decision on the basis of grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors.12

The appellant in this case was charged in the Information as having committed the crime of Rape
under Article 266-A, No. 1 (a) of the RPC, as amended by R.A. 8353 in relation to Section 5 (b) of
R.A. 7610. She was eventually convicted by the trial court of the crime of rape as a co-principal by
indispensable cooperation and was sentenced to suffer imprisonment of reclusion perpetua as
provided under Article 266-B of the RPC.

In sustaining the conviction of the appellant as co-principal by indispensable cooperation, the CA,
ratiocinated:

To cooperate means to desire or wish in common a thing. But that common will or purpose does not
necessarily mean previous understanding, for it can be explained or inferred from the circumstances
of each case. The cooperation must be indispensable, that is, without which the commission of the
crime would not have been accomplished. x x x

xxxx

The proven facts and circumstances obtaining in this case fall squarely on the above-cited example.
It will be noted that the cooperation of the accused-appellant consisted in performing an act which is
different from the act of execution of the crime committed by the rapist. Accused-appellant
cooperated in the perpetration of the crime of rape committed by "Speed" by acts without which the
crime would not have been consummated, since she prepared the way for the perpetration thereof,
convinced the victim to go with her under the guise of looking for her boyfriend and upon arrival at
the kubuhan, she pulled the victim inside a room where "Speed" was waiting, delivered the victim to
him, and then after receiving some amount of money from "Speed" she settled in another room
together with her boyfriend so that "Speed" might freely consummate the rape with violence and
intimidation, as he did.13

However, this Court is of another view and does not subscribe to the findings of the trial court, as
sustained by the CA that appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt as co-principal by
indispensable cooperation in the crime of rape.

Under the Revised Penal Code,14 an accused may be considered a principal by direct participation,
by inducement, or by indispensable cooperation. To be a principal by indispensable cooperation,
one must participate in the criminal resolution, a conspiracy or unity in criminal purpose and
cooperation in the commission of the offense by performing another act without which it would not
have been accomplished.15 Nothing in the evidence presented by the prosecution does it show that
the acts committed by appellant are indispensable in the commission of the crime of rape. The
events narrated by the CA, from the time appellant convinced AAA to go with her until appellant
received money from the man who allegedly raped AAA, are not indispensable in the crime of rape.
Anyone could have accompanied AAA and offered the latter's services in exchange for money and
AAA could still have been raped. Even AAA could have offered her own services in exchange for
monetary consideration and still end up being raped. Thus, this disproves the indispensable aspect
of the appellant in the crime of rape. It must be remembered that in the Information, as well as in the
testimony of AAA, she was delivered and offered for a fee by appellant, thereafter, she was raped by
"Speed." Thus:

PROS. R. GARCIA: Now, what happened after you met this Dina Dulay?

WITNESS AAA: She invited me to go with her boyfriend, Sir.


xxxx

Q: You went to the bulungan, what happened when you reached the fish port or bulungan, AAA?

A: Pumunta kami sa kubuhan, Sir.

Q: Where is this kubuhan located in relation to the fish port?

A: At the back portion, Sir.

Q: And, when you said pumunta kami, who was then your companion in going to that kubuhan?

A: Dina Dulay and her boyfriend, Sir.

Q: Do you know the name of the boyfriend of Dina Dulay?

A: No, Sir.

xxxx

Q: All right. After reaching the kubuhan, what happened next?

A: Pina-rape po ako, Sir.

Q: What made you say AAA that accused here Dina Dulay had you raped at the kubuhan?

A: Kasi po binayaran siya nung lalaki, Sir.

Q: Now, do you know how much this Dina Dulay was paid by that person who was you said raped
you?

A: No, Sir. I just saw them.

Q: And what did you see that was paid to Dina?

A: Pera, Sir.

Q: Aside from seeing a guy giving money to Dina Dulay, did you hear any conversation between this
Dina Dulay and that man who gave money to her?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Can you tell this Honorable Court AAA, what was that conversation you heard between this Dina
Dulay and the person who gave money to her?

A: He said to look for a younger girl, Sir.16

xxxx

PROS. R. GARCIA:

Q: Okay. After that conversation and the giving of money to Dina Dulay, what happened to you and
the man?

A: He raped me, Sir.

Q: Where were you raped?

A: At the Kubuhan, Sir. Q: Can you describe to this Honorable Court how you were raped by that
person?
A: He tied me up, Sir.

Q: How were you tied up as you said?

A: He tied up both my hands, Sir.

Q: Then after tying your hands what happened next?

A: He raped me and he pointed a knife at me, Sir.

Q: When you said you were raped, are you referring to the insertion of his penis into your sex organ?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: And, how did you feel at that time when the organ of this man was inserted into your organ?

A: It was painful, Sir.

Q: And, how did you react when as you said you were being raped by this person?

A: I cannot talk. He put clothes in my mouth, Sir.

Q: For how long did you stay in that kubuhan with this man? May isang oras ba kayo doon?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Now, tell us how AAA many times did this person insert his penis into your organ?

A: Only one (1) AAA, Sir.17

It must be clear that this Court respects the findings of the trial court that AAA was indeed raped by
considering the credibility of the testimony of AAA. The rule is that factual findings of the trial court
and its evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to great respect
and will not be disturbed on appeal.18However, the review of a criminal case opens up the case in its
entirety. The totality of the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense are
weighed, thus, avoiding general conclusions based on isolated pieces of evidence.19 In the case of
rape, a review begins with the reality that rape is a very serious accusation that is painful to make; at
the same time, it is a charge that is not hard to lay against another by one with malice in her mind.
Because of the private nature of the crime that justifies the acceptance of the lone testimony of a
credible victim to convict, it is not easy for the accused, although innocent, to disprove his guilt.
These realities compel this Court to approach with great caution and to scrutinize the statements of
a victim on whose sole testimony conviction or acquittal depends.20

In this light, while this Court does not find appellant to have committed the crime of rape as a
principal by indispensable cooperation, she is still guilty of violation of Section 5 (a) of R.A. 7610, or
the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, which states
that:

Section 5. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse. Children, whether male or female, who for
money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate
or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be children exploited in
prostitution and other sexual abuse.

The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon
the following:

(a) Those who engage in or promote, facilitate or induce child prostitution which include, but are not
limited to, the following:

(1) Acting as a procurer of a child prostitute;


(2) Inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral
advertisements or other similar means;

(3) Taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as a prostitute;

(4) Threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute; or

(5) Giving monetary consideration goods or other pecuniary benefit to a child with intent to
engage such child in prostitution.21

The elements of paragraph (a) are:

1. the accused engages in, promotes, facilitates or induces child prostitution;

2. the act is done through, but not limited to, the following means:

a. acting as a procurer of a child prostitute;

b. inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral


advertisements or other similar means;

c. taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as a prostitute;

d. threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute; or

e. giving monetary consideration, goods or other pecuniary benefit to a child with


intent to engage such child in prostitution;

3. the child is exploited or intended to be exploited in prostitution and

4. the child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.22

Paragraph (a) essentially punishes acts pertaining to or connected with child prostitution. It
contemplates sexual abuse of a child exploited in prostitution. In other words, under paragraph (a),
the child is abused primarily for profit.23

As alleged in the Information and proven through the testimony of AAA, appellant facilitated or
induced child prostitution. Children, whether male or female, who for money, profit, or any other
consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual
intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other
sexual abuse.24 Thus, the act of apellant in convincing AAA, who was 12 years old at that time, to go
with her and thereafter, offer her for sex to a man in exchange for money makes her liable under the
above-mentioned law. The purpose of the law is to provide special protection to children from all
forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial to
their development.25 A child exploited in prostitution may seem to "consent" to what is being done to
her or him and may appear not to complain. However, we have held that a child who is "a person
below eighteen years of age or those unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves
from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of their age or mental disability or
condition" is incapable of giving rational consent26 to any lascivious act or sexual intercourse.

It must be noted that in the Information, it was alleged that appellant was accused of Rape under
Article 266-A, No. 1 (a) of the RPC, as amended by R.A. 8353 in relation to Section 5 (b) of R.A.
7610, and then went on to enumerate the elements of Section 5 (a) of R.A. 7610 in its body. The
Information partly reads:

x x x the herein accused Dina P. Dulay having delivered and offered for a fee complainant AAA, 12
year old minor, to accused alias "Speed," who with lewd design and by means of force and
intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge on said
minor complainant AAA against her will and without her consent x x x 27

Undoubtedly, the above-quoted falls under Section 5 (a) of R.A. 7610, the appellant acting as a
procurer of a child and inducing the latter into prostitution. It must be remembered that the character
of the crime is not determined by the caption or preamble of the information nor from the
specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they may be conclusions of law,
but by the recital of the ultimate facts and circumstances in the complaint or information.28 The
sufficiency of an information is not negated by an incomplete or defective designation of the crime in
the caption or other parts of the information but by the narration of facts and circumstances which
adequately depicts a crime and sufficiently apprises the accused of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him.29 1wphi 1

To dispute the allegation and the evidence presented by the prosecution, appellant merely
interposes the defense of denial. It is well settled that denial is essentially the weakest form of
defense and it can never overcome an affirmative testimony, particularly when it comes from the
mouth of a credible witness.30

Anent the penalty, for violation of the provisions of Section 5, Article III of R.A. 7610, the penalty
prescribed is reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua. Therefore, in the
absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the proper imposable penalty is reclusion
temporal in its maximum period, the medium of the penalty prescribed by the law.31 Notwithstanding
that R.A. 7610 is a special law, appellant may enjoy the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence
Law.32 Since the penalty provided in R.A. 7610 is taken from the range of penalties in the Revised
Penal Code, it is covered by the first clause of Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law.33 Thus,
appellant is entitled to a maximum term which should be within the range of the proper imposable
penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period (ranging from 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to
20 years) and a minimum term to be taken within the range of the penalty next lower to that
prescribed by the law: prision mayor in its medium period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period
(ranging from 8 years and 1 day to 14 years and 8 months).34

As to the award of damages, the same must be consistent with the objective of R.A. 7610 to afford
children special protection against abuse, exploitation and discrimination and with the principle that
every person who contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another shall indemnify
the latter for the same.35 Therefore, civil indemnity to the child is proper in a case involving violation of
Section 5 (a), Article III of R.A. 7610. This is also in compliance with Article 100 of the RPC which
states that every person criminally liable is civilly liable. Hence, the amount of 50,000.00 civil
indemnity ex delicto as awarded in cases of violation of Section 5 (b), Article III of R.A. 761036 shall
also be the same in cases of violation of Section 5 (a), Article III of R.A. 7610.

WHEREFORE, the appeal of appellant Dina Dulay y Pascual is hereby DISMISSED. However, the
Decision of the CA is hereby MODIFIED as appellant is not guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of rape, but of violating Section 5 (a), Article III R.A. 7610, amended, for which she is
sentenced to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to twenty
(20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum. Appellant is also ORDERED to pay AAA the amount
of 50,000.00 as civil indemnity.

SO ORDERED.
A.M. No. 11-10-03-O July 30, 2013

RE: LETTER DATED APRIL 18, 2011 OF CHIEF PUBLIC ATTORNEY PERSIDA RUEDA-COSTA
REQUESTING EXEMPTION FROM THE PAYMENT OF SHERIFF'S EXPENSES

RESOLUTION

REYES, J.:

This case stemmed from the February 7, 2011 letter1 of Attorney Persida V. Rueda-Acosta (Atty.
Acosta), Chief Public Attorney of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), to the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA). In the said letter, Atty. Acosta sought a clarification as to the exemption of
PAO's clients from the payment of sheriffs expenses, alleging that PAO's clients in its Regional
Office in Region VII are being charged with the payment of sheriffs expenses in the amount of
1,000.00 upon the filing of a civil action in court. She claimed that sheriffs expenses should not be
exacted from PAOs clients since Section 6 of Republic Act No. 94062 (R.A. No. 9406) specifically
exempts them from the payment of docket and other fees incidental to instituting an action in court
and other quasi-judicial bodies.

In its letter3 dated March 23, 2011 to Atty. Acosta, the OCA clarified that PAOs clients,
notwithstanding their exemption under Section 6 of R.A. No. 9406 from payment of "docket and
other fees incidental to instituting an action in court," are not exempted from the payment of sheriffs
expenses. The OCA explained that sheriffs expenses, strictly speaking, are not considered as "legal
fees" under Rule 141 of the Rules of Court since they are not payable to the government; they are
payable to the sheriff/process server to defray his travel expenses in serving court processes in
relation to the litigants case.

In her letter4 dated April 18, 2011 to the OCA, Atty. Acosta maintained that, while sheriffs expenses
may not be strictly considered as a legal fee, they are nevertheless considered as a fee which is
incidental to the filing of an action in court and, hence, should not be exacted from PAOs clients.
She pointed out that the imposition of sheriffs expenses on PAOs clients would render the latters
exemption from payment of docket and other fees under Section 6 of R.A. No. 9406 nugatory.
Considering that the matter involves an interpretation of R.A. No. 9406, Atty. Acosta requested that
the same be referred to the Court en banc for resolution.

In its report and recommendation5 dated September 14, 2011, the OCA maintained its position that
PAOs clients are not exempted from the payment of sheriffs expenses; it stressed that the
1,000.00 sheriffs expenses are not the same as the sheriffs fee fixed by Section 10, Rule 141 of
the Rules of Court and, hence, not covered by the exemption granted to PAOs clients under R.A.
No. 9406. The OCA further alleged that the grant of exemption to PAOs clients from the payment of
sheriffs expenses amounts to disbursement of public funds for the protection of private interests.
Accordingly, the OCA recommended that Atty. Acostas request for exemption of PAOs clients from
payment of sheriff s expenses be denied.

Adopting the recommendation of the OCA, the Court en banc issued Resolution6 dated November
22, 2011 which denied Atty. Acostas request for exemption from the payment of sheriffs expenses.

On January 2, 2012, Atty. Acosta sought a reconsideration7 of the Courts Resolution dated
November 22, 2011, which the Court en banc referred to the OCA for appropriate action. In its report
and recommendation8 dated March 22, 2012, the OCA averred that the exemption of PAOs clients
from payment of legal fees is not an absolute rule and that the Court is not precluded from providing
limitations thereto. Thus, the OCA recommended the denial of Atty. Acostas motion for
reconsideration.

On April 24, 2012, the Court en banc issued a Resolution9 which denied the Motion for
Reconsideration filed by Atty. Acosta.

Unperturbed, Atty. Acosta filed a motion for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration10 and a
Second Motion for Reconsideration11 of the Courts Resolution dated April 24, 2012, alleging that the
imposition of sheriffs expenses on PAOs clients is contrary to the language, intent and spirit of
Section 6 of R.A. No. 9406 since sheriffs expenses are considered as fees "incidental to instituting
an action in court." Further, she claimed that the said imposition on PAOs clients would hinder their
access to the courts contrary to the mandate of Section 11, Article III of the Constitution.
After a conscientious review of the contrasting legal disquisitions set forth in this case, the Court still
finds the instant petition devoid of merit.

At the outset, it bears stressing that this is already the third attempt of Atty. Acosta to obtain from this
Court a declaration exempting PAOs clients from the payment of sheriffs fees the initial request
therefor and the subsequent motion for reconsideration having been denied by this Court.

As a rule, a second motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading.12 This rule, however, is not
cast in stone. A second motion for reconsideration may be allowed if there are extraordinarily
persuasive reasons therefor, and upon express leave of court first obtained.13

Ordinarily, the Court would have dismissed outright Atty. Acostas second motion for
reconsideration. However, for reasons to be discussed at length later, there is a need to give due
course to the instant petition in order to reassess and clarify the Courts pronouncement in our
Resolutions dated November 22, 2011 and April 24, 2012.

In any case, it bears stressing that what is involved in this case is the Courts administrative power to
determine its policy vis--vis the exaction of legal fees from the litigants. The Courts policy
determination respecting administrative matters must not be unnecessarily bound by procedural
considerations. Surely, a rule of procedure may not debilitate the Court and render inutile its power
of administration and supervision over court procedures.

At the core of this case is the proper interpretation of Section 6 of R.A. No. 9406 which, in part,
reads:

Sec. 6. New sections are hereby inserted in Chapter 5, Title III, Book IV of Executive Order No. 292,
to read as follows:

xxxx

Sec. 16-D. Exemption from Fees and Costs of the Suit The clients of PAO shall be exempt from
payment of docket and other fees incidental to instituting an action in court and other quasi-judicial
bodies, as an original proceeding or on appeal.

The costs of the suit, attorneys fees and contingent fees imposed upon the adversary of the PAO
clients after a successful litigation shall be deposited in the National Treasury as trust fund and shall
be disbursed for special allowances of authorized officials and lawyers of the PAO. (Emphasis ours)

The OCA maintains that sheriffs expenses are not covered by the exemption granted to PAOs
clients under R.A. No. 9406 since the same are not considered as a legal fee under Rule 141 of the
Rules of Court. Stated differently, the OCA asserts that the exemption provided for under R.A. No.
9406 only covers the legal fees enumerated under Rule 141 of the Rules of Court.

The court agrees.

It is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be interpreted in their
natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is evident that the legislature
intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words. The intention of the lawmakerswho
are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographersto use statutory phraseology in such a
manner is always presumed.14

That Section 6 of R.A. No. 9406 exempts PAOs clients from the payment of "docket and other fees
incidental to instituting an action in court and other quasi-judicial bodies" is beyond cavil. However,
contrary to Atty. Acostas claim, a plain reading of the said provision clearly shows that the
exemption granted to PAOs clients cannot be extended to the payment of sheriffs expenses; the
exemption is specifically limited to the payment of fees, i.e., docket and other fees incidental to
instituting an action.

The term "fees" is defined as a charge fixed by law or by an institution for certain privileges or
services.15 Viewed from this context, the phrase "docket and other fees incidental to instituting an
action" refers to the totality of the legal fees imposed under Rule 14116 of the Rules of Court. In
particular, it includes filing or docket fees, appeal fees, fees for issuance of provisional remedies,
mediation fees, sheriffs fees, stenographers fees and commissioners fees.17 These are the fees
that are exacted for the services rendered by the court in connection with the action instituted before
it.

Sheriffs expenses, however, cannot be classified as a "fee" within the purview of the exemption
granted to PAOs clients under Section 6 of R.A. No. 9406. Sheriffs expenses are provided for under
Section 10, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, viz:

Sec. 10. Sheriffs, PROCESS SERVERS and other persons serving processes.

xxxx

In addition to the fees hereinabove fixed, the amount of ONE THOUSAND (1,000.00) PESOS shall
be deposited with the Clerk of Court upon filing of the complaint to defray the actual travel expenses
of the sheriff, process server or other court-authorized persons in the service of summons, subpoena
and other court processes that would be issued relative to the trial of the case. In case the initial
deposit of ONE THOUSAND (1,000.00) PESOS is not sufficient, then the plaintiff or petitioner shall
be required to make an additional deposit. The sheriff, process server or other court authorized
person shall submit to the court for its approval a statement of the estimated travel expenses for
service of summons and court processes. Once approved, the Clerk of Court shall release the
money to said sheriff or process server. After service, a statement of liquidation shall be submitted to
the court for approval. After rendition of judgment by the court, any excess from the deposit shall be
returned to the party who made the deposit. x x x x (Emphasis ours)

Sheriffs expenses are not exacted for any service rendered by the court; they are the amount
deposited to the Clerk of Court upon filing of the complaint to defray the actual travel expenses of
the sheriff, process server or other court-authorized persons in the service of summons, subpoena
and other court processes that would be issued relative to the trial of the case. It is not the same as
sheriffs fees under Section 10,18 Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, which refers to those imposed by
the court for services rendered to a party incident to the proceedings before it.

Thus, in In Re: Exemption of Cooperatives from Payment of Court and Sheriffs Fees Payable to the
Government in Actions Brought Under R.A. 6938,19 the Court clarified that sheriffs expenses are not
considered as legal fees, ratiocinating that:

The difference in the treatment between the sheriffs fees and the sheriffs expenses in relation with
the exemption enjoyed by cooperatives is further demonstrated by the wording of Section 10, Rule
141, which uses "fees" in delineating the enumeration in the first paragraph, and "expenses" in
qualifying the subsequent paragraphs of this provision. The intention to make a distinction between
the two charges is clear; otherwise, the Rules would not have used different designations. Likewise,
the difference between the two terms is highlighted by a consideration of the phraseology in the first
sentence of the second paragraph of Section 10, Rule 141, which uses the clause "in addition to the
fees hereinabove fixed," thereby unequivocally indicating that sheriffs expenses are separate
charges on top of the sheriffs fees. (Italics supplied)

The Court, however, is not unmindful of the predicament of PAOs clients. In exempting PAOs
clients from paying docket and other legal fees, R.A. No. 9406 intended to ensure that the indigents
and the less privileged, who do not have the means to pay the said fees, would not be denied
access to courts by reason of poverty. Indeed, requiring PAOs clients to pay sheriffs expenses,
despite their exemption from the payment of docket and other legal fees, would effectly fetter their
free access to the courts thereby negating the laudable intent of Congress in enacting R.A. No.
9406.

Free access to the courts and adequate legal assistance are among the fundamental rights which
the Constitution extends to the less privileged. Thus, Section 11, Article III of the 1987 Constitution
mandates that "free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance
shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty." The Constitution affords litigantsmoneyed
or poorequal access to the courts; moreover, it specifically provides that poverty shall not bar any
person from having access to the courts. Accordingly, laws and rules must be formulated,
interpreted, and implemented pursuant to the intent and spirit of this constitutional provision.20

Access to justice by all, especially by the poor, is not simply an ideal in our society. Its existence is
essential in a democracy and in the rule of law.21 Without doubt, one of the most precious rights
which must be shielded and secured is the unhampered access to the justice system by the poor,
the underprivileged and the marginalized.22
Having the foregoing principles in mind, the Court, heeding the constitutional mandate of ensuring
free access to the courts and adequate legal assistance to the marginalized and less privileged,
hereby authorizes the officials and employees of PAO to serve summons, subpoena and other court
processes pursuant to Section 3,23 Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. The authority given herein by the
Court to the officials and employees of PAO shall be limited only to cases involving their client. 1w phi1

Authorizing the officials and employees of P AO to serve the summons, subpoenas and other court
processes in behalf of their clients would relieve the latter from the burden of paying for the sheriff's
expenses despite their non-exemption from the payment thereof under Section 6 of R.A. No. 9406.
The amount to be defrayed in the service of summons, subpoena and other court processes in
behalf of its clients would consequently have to be taken from the operating expenses of P AO. In
turn, the amount advanced by PAO as actual travel expenses may be taken from the amount
recovered from the adversaries of PAO's clients as costs of suit, attorney's fees or contingent fees
prior to the deposit thereof in the National Treasury.

WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, the Second Motion for


Reconsideration filed by Atty. Persida V. Rueda-Acosta is DENIED. The Court's Resolutions dated
November 22, 2011 and April 24, 2012 are hereby AFFIRMED. The request of Atty. Persida V.
RuedaAcosta for the exemption of the clients of the Public Attorney's Office from the payment of
sheriff's expenses is DENIED.

Nevertheless, the officials and employees of the Public Attorney's Office are hereby AUTHORIZED
to serve summons, subpoenas and other court processes in behalf of their clients pursuant to
Section 3, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, in coordination with the concerned court. The amount to be
defrayed in serving the summons, subpoenas and other court processes could

be taken from the operating expenses of the Public Attorney's Office which, in turn, may be taken
from the amount recovered by it from the adversaries of PAO's clients as costs of suit, attorney's
fees or contingent fees prior to the deposit thereof in the National Treasury, or damages that said
clients may be decreed as entitled to in case of the success of P AO' s indigent clients.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 211362, February 24, 2015

FIRST CLASS CADET ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY,
REPRESENTED BY HIS FATHER RENATO P. CUDIA, WHO ALSO ACTS ON HIS OWN BEHALF, AND
BERTENI CATALUA CAUSING, Petitioners, v. THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE PHILIPPINE
MILITARY ACADEMY (PMA), THE HONOR COMMITTEE (HC) OF 2014 OF THE PMA AND HC
MEMBERS, AND THE CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS BOARD (CRAB), Respondents.

FILIPINA P. CUDIA, IN BEHALF OF CADET FIRST CLASS ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA, AND ON HER
OWN BEHALF, Petitioner-Intervenor.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

The true test of a cadets character as a leader rests on his personal commitment to uphold what is morally
and ethically righteous at the most critical and trying times, and at the most challenging circumstances.
When a cadet must face a dilemma between what is true and right as against his security, well-being,
pleasures and comfort, or dignity, what is at stake is his honor and those that [define] his values. A man of
an honorable character does not think twice and chooses the fore. This is the essence of and the Spirit of
the Honor Code it is championing truth and righteousness even if it may mean the surrender of ones basic
rights and privileges.1
The Procedural Antecedents

Six days prior to the March 16, 2014 graduation ceremonies of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA),
petitioners Renato P. Cudia, acting for himself and in behalf of his son, Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia
(Cadet 1CL Cudia), and Berteni Catalua Causing filed this petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus
with application for extremely urgent temporary restraining order (TRO).2 chan roble svi rtual lawlib rary

In a Resolution dated March 17, 2014, the Court denied the prayer for TRO and, instead, required
respondents to file their comment on the petition.3 chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

On March 25, 2014, Filipina P. Cudia, acting for herself and in behalf of her son Cadet 1CL Cudia, filed a
motion for leave to intervene, attaching thereto the petition-in-intervention.4 Per Resolution dated March 31,
2014, the Court granted the motion and resolved to await respondents comment on the petition.5 chan rob lesvi rtual lawlib rary

A manifestation was then filed by petitioners on April 3, 2014, recommending the admission of the petition-
in-intervention and adopting it as an integral part of their petition.6 On May 20, 2014, petitioner-intervenor
filed a manifestation with motion for leave to admit the Final Investigation Report of the Commission on
Human Rights (CHR) dated April 25, 2014.7 The Report8 was relative to CHR-CAR Case No. 2014-0029 filed
by the spouses Renato and Filipina Cudia (Spouses Cudia), for themselves and in behalf of their son, against
the PMA Honor Committee (HC) members and Major Vladimir P. Gracilla (Maj. Gracilla)9 for violation of
Cadet 1CL Cudias rights to due process, education, and privacy of communication. Subsequently, on June 3,
2014, petitioners filed a motion for leave to adopt the submission of the CHR Report.10 The manifestation
was granted and the motion was noted by the Court in its Resolution dated July 7, 2014.

After filing three motions for extension of time,11 respondents filed their Consolidated Comment12 on June
19, 2014. In a motion, petitioner-intervenor filed a Reply, which was later adopted by
petitioners.13Submitted as Annex A of the Reply was a copy of the CHR Resolution dated May 22, 2014
regarding CHR-CAR Case No. 2014-0029.14 We noted and granted the same on August 11, 2014 and
October 13, 2014.

Petitioner-intervenor twice filed a manifestation with motion to submit the case for early resolution,15which
the Court noted in a Resolution dated August 11, 2014 and October 13, 2014.16 chanro blesvi rtua llawli bra ry

The Facts

Cadet 1CL Cudia was a member of Siklab Diwa Class of 2014 of the PMA, the countrys premiere military
academy located at Fort Gregorio del Pilar in Baguio City. He belonged to the A Company and was the
Deputy Baron of his class. As claimed by petitioners and petitioner-intervenor (hereinafter collectively called
petitioners, unless otherwise indicated), he was supposed to graduate with honors as the class
salutatorian, receive the Philippine Navy Saber as the top Navy cadet graduate, and be commissioned as an
ensign of the Philippine Navy.

On November 14, 2013, the combined classes of the Navy and Air Force 1CL cadets had a lesson
examination (LE) on Operations Research (OR432) under Dr. Maria Monica C. Costales (Dr. Costales) at the
PMAFI Room. Per published schedule from the Headquarters Academic Group, the 4th period class in OR432
was from 1:30-3:00 p.m. (1330H-1500H), while the 5th period class in ENG412 was from 3:05-4:05 p.m.
(1505H-1605H).

Five days after, Professor Juanita Berong (Prof. Berong) of the 5th period class issued a Delinquency Report
(DR) against Cadet 1CL Cudia because he was [l]ate for two (2) minutes in his Eng 412 class x x
x.17 Cadets 1CL Narciso, Arcangel, Miranda, Pontillas, Diaz, Otila, and Dela Cruz were also reported late for
five minutes.18chan roble svi rtual lawlib rary
On December 4, 2013, the DRs reached the Department of Tactical Officers. They were logged and
transmitted to the Company Tactical Officers (CTO) for explanation of the concerned cadets. Two days later,
Cadet 1CL Cudia received his DR.

In his Explanation of Report dated December 8, 2013, Cadet 1CL Cudia reasoned out that: I came directly
from OR432 Class. We were dismissed a bit late by our instructor Sir.19 chanroble svirtual lawlib rary

On December 19, 2013, Major Rommel Dennis Hindang (Maj. Hindang), the CTO of Cadet 1CL Cudia, meted
out to him the penalty of 11 demerits and 13 touring hours. Immediately, Cadet 1CL Cudia clarified with
Maj. Hindang his alleged violation. The latter told him that the basis of the punishment was the result of his
conversation with Dr. Costales, who responded that she never dismissed her class late, and the protocol to
dismiss the class 10-15 minutes earlier than scheduled. When he expressed his intention to appeal and seek
reconsideration of the punishment, he was advised to put the request in writing. Hence, that same day,
Cadet 1CL Cudia addressed his Request for Reconsideration of Meted Punishment to Maj. Benjamin L.
Leander, Senior Tactical Officer (STO), asserting: chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

I strongly believe that I am not in control of the circumstances, our 4th period class ended 1500H and our
5th period class, which is ENG412, started 1500H also. Immediately after 4th period class, I went to my next
class without any intention of being late Sir.20
A day after, Maj. Leander instructed Maj. Hindang to give his comments on the request of Cadet 1CL Cudia
and to indicate if there were other cadets belonging to the same section who were also late.

On December 28, 2013, Maj. Hindang submitted his reply to Maj. Leander pointing out that, based on his
investigation, the 4th period class was not dismissed late. As a result, Maj. Leander sustained the penalty
imposed. Petitioners alleged that Cadet 1CL Cudia came to know of the denial of his request only on January
24, 2014 upon inquiry with Maj. Leander.

Several days passed, and on January 7, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia was informed that Maj. Hindang reported
him to the HC21 for violation of the Honor Code. The Honor Report stated: chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

Lying that is giving statement that perverts the truth in his written appeal, stating that his 4th period class
ended at 1500H that made him late in the succeeding class.22
Upon asking the HC Chairman, Cadet 1CL Mike Anthony P. Mogol (Cadet 1CL Mogol), as to what Maj.
Hindang meant in his Report, Cadet 1CL Cudia learned that it was based on Maj. Hindangs conversations
with their instructors and classmates as well as his statement in the request for reconsideration to Maj.
Leander. He then verbally applied for and was granted an extension of time to answer the charge against
him because Dr. Costales, who could shed light on the matter, was on emergency leave.

On January 13, 2014, Dr. Costales sent text messages to Cadet 1CL Cudia, conveying: chanRoble svirtual Lawli bra ry

Gud pm cdt cudia. Mam belandres gave me bkground na. She told me its a report dated november. When
maj hindang ask me, no time referens. (04:25:11 P.M.)

All the while I thot he was refering to dismisal during last day last december. Whc i told, i wud presume they
wil finish early bec its grp work. (04:29:21 P.M.)23
The next day, Cadets 1CL Cudia and Arcangel approached Dr. Costales, who reaffirmed that she and Maj.
Hindang were not in the same time reference when the latter asked her.

Later, Cadet 1CL Cudia submitted his letter of explanation on the Honor Report. He averred: cha nRoblesvi rtu alLaw lib rary

Sir,

We had an LE that day (14 November 2013) in OR432 class. When the first bell rang (1455), I stood up,
reviewed my paper and submitted it to my instructor, Ms. Costales. After which, I and Cadet 1cl Arcangel
asked for some query with regards (sic) to the deductions of our previous LE. Our instructor gladly answered
our question. She then told me that she will give the copy of our section grade, so I waited at the hallway
outside the ACAD5 office, and then she came out of the room and gave me a copy of the grades. Cadet
Arcangel, Cadet Narciso and I immediately went to our 5th period class which is ENG412.

With these statements, I would like to clarify the following: chanRoble svirtual Lawli bra ry

1. How could this be lying?

2. What is wrong with the side of Maj. Hindang (why did he come up to that honor report)?

3. What are his assumptions?

I appeal, in the name of clarity, fairness and truth[,] that my case be reopened and carefully reviewed for I
did not violate the honor code/system, I can answer NO to both questions (Did I intend to deceive? Did I
intend to take undue advantage?) and for the following reasons: chanRoblesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

1. The honor report of Maj. Hindang was already settled and finalized given the fact that no face-to-
face personal conversation with Ms. Costales was conducted to clarify what and when exactly was
the issue at hand.

2. Statements of the respondents support my explanation.


3. My explanation to my appeal to my DR (Request for reconsideration of meted punishment) further
supports my explanation in my delinquency report.

4. My understanding of the duration of the CLASS covers not just a lecture in a typical classroom
instruction but includes every transaction and communication a teacher does with her students,
especially that in our case some cadets asked for queries, and I am given instruction by which (sic)
were directly related to our CLASS. Her transaction and communication with our other classmates
may have already ended but ours extended for a little bit.

I agree and consider that because Cadet CUDIA is under my instruction to wait, and the other
cadets still have business with me, it is reasonable enough for him to say that Our class was
dismissed a bit late (dealing with matter of seconds or a minute particularly 45 seconds to 1
minute and 30 seconds)

And with concern to (sic) OR432 class, I can say it ended on time (1500H).

(signed)
M. COSTALES
w/ attached certification

5. I was transparent and honest in explaining the 2-minute delay and did not attempt to conceal
anything that happened or I did.

6. Furthermore, CPT DULAWAN PA, the Tactical Officer of Hawk Company[,] and I had a conversation
with regards (sic) to the same matter for which he can give important points of my case.

7. Cadet 1cl DIAZ D Co can also stand as a witness that I waited for Ms. Costales.24

On January 15, 2014, the HC constituted a team to conduct a preliminary investigation on the reported
honor violation of Cadet 1CL Cudia. The Foxtrot Company was designated as the investigating team and was
composed of Cadet 1CL Hasigan as Presiding Officer, and Cadets 1CL Mogol, 1CL Raguindin, 2CL Gumilab,
2CL Saldua, 3CL Espejo, and 3CL Poncardas as members.25 Soon after, the team submitted its Preliminary
Investigation Report recommending that the case be formalized.

The formal investigation against Cadet 1CL Cudia then ensued. The Presiding Officer was Cadet 1CL Rhona
K. Salvacion, while the nine (9) voting members were Cadets 1CL Jairus O. Fantin, 1CL Bryan Sonny S.
Arlegui, 1CL Kim Adrian R. Martal, 1CL Jeanelyn P. Cabrido, 1CL Shu-Aydan G. Ayada, 1CL Dalton John G.
Lagura, 2CL Renato A. Cario, Jr., 2CL Arwi C. Martinez, and 2CL Niko Angelo C. Tarayao.26 Acting as
recorders tasked to document the entire proceedings were 4CL Jennifer A. Cuarteron and 3CL Leoncio Nico
A. de Jesus II.27 Those who observed the trial were Cadets 1CL Balmeo, Dag-uman, Hasigan, Raguindin,
Paulino, Arcangel, and Narciso; Cadets 2CL Jocson and Saldua, Jr.; and Cadet 3CL Umaguing.28 chanrob lesvi rtua llawli bra ry

The first formal hearing started late evening of January 20, 2014 and lasted until early morning the next
day. Cadet 1CL Cudia was informed of the charge against him, as to which he pleaded Not Guilty. Among
those who testified were Cadet 1CL Cudia, Maj. Hindang, and Cadets 1CL Arcangel and Narciso. On the
second night of the hearing held on January 21, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia again appeared and was called to
the witness stand along with Cadets Brit and Barrawed. Dr. Costales also testified under oath via phone on a
loudspeaker. Deliberation among the HC voting members followed. After that, the ballot sheets were
distributed. The members cast their votes through secret balloting and submitted their accomplished ballot
sheets together with their written justification. The result was 8-1 in favor of a guilty verdict. Cadet 1CL
Dalton John G. Lagura (Cadet 1CL Lagura) was the lone dissenter. Allegedly, upon the order of HC Chairman
Cadet 1CL Mogol, the Presiding Officer and voting members went inside a chamber adjoining the court room
for further deliberation. After several minutes, they went out and the Presiding Officer announced the 9-0
guilty verdict. Cadet 1CL Cudia, who already served nine (9) touring hours, was then informed of the
unanimous votes finding him guilty of violating the Honor Code. He was immediately placed in the PMA
Holding Center until the resolution of his appeal.

On January 24, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia filed a written appeal addressed to the HC Chairman, the full text of
which stated: chanRoblesvi rt ualLaw lib rary

WRITTEN APPEAL

14 NOVEMBER 2013

This is when I was reported for Late for two (2) minutes in Eng412 class, my explanation on this
delinquency report when I received it, is that Our class was dismissed a (little) bit late and I came directly
from 4th period class... etc. Knowing the fact that in my delinquency report, it is stated that ENG412 classes
started 1500H and I am late for two minutes, it is logical enough for I (sic) to interpret it as I came 1502H
during that class. This is the explanation that came into my mind that time. (I just cannot recall the exact
words I used in explaining that delinquency report, but what I want to say is that I have no intention to be
late). In my statements, I convey my message as since I was not the only one left in that class, and the
instructor is with us, I used the term CLASS, I used the word DISMISSED because I was under
instruction (to wait for her to give the section grade) by the instructor, Ms. Costales. The other cadets (1CL
MIRANDA, 1CL ARCANGEL) still have queries and business with her that made me decide to use the word
CLASS, while the others who dont have queries and business with her (ex: 1CL NARCISO and 1CL DIAZ)
were also around.

Note:chanRoble svi rtual Lawli bra ry

The four named cadets were also reported late.

Reference: Para 171.0. (Leaving the Classroom Prior to Dismissal Time)(Sec XVII, CCAFPR s2008)

It is stated in this reference that Cadets shall not linger in the place of instruction after the section has
been dismissed. EXCEPT when told or allowed to do so by the instructor or by any competent authority for
official purposes.

The instruction by Ms. Costales was given to me before the two bells rang (indicating the end of class hour,
1500H). I waited for her for about 45 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds, that made me to decide to write
a little bit late in my explanation. Truly, the class ENDED 1500H but due to official purpose (instruction by
Ms. Costales to wait) and the conflict in academic schedule (to which I am not in control of the
circumstances, 4th PD class 1330H-1500H and 5th PD class 1500H-1600H), and since Ms. Costales, my other
classmates, and I were there, I used the word CLASS.

19 December 2013

I was informed that my delinquency report was awarded, 11 Demerits and 13 Touring hours. Not because I
dont want to serve punishment, but because I know I did nothing wrong, I obeyed instruction, and believing
that my reason is justifiable and valid, that is why I approached our tactical officer, MAJ HINDANG PAF, to
clarify and ask why it was awarded that day.

In our conversation, he said that he had a phone call to my instructor and he even added that they have a
protocol to dismiss the class, 15 minutes or 10 minutes before 1500H. I explained: chanRob lesvi rtualLaw lib rary

Sir, I strongly believe that I am not in control of the circumstances, our 4th period class ended 1500H and
our 5th period class, which is ENG412, started 1500H also. Immediately after 4th period class, I went to my
next class without any intention of being late Sir.

These statements are supplementary to my explanation in my delinquency report, in here, I specified the
conflict in the schedule and again, I have no intention to be late. After explaining it further with these
statements, my tactical officer said that since I was reported in a written form, I should make an appeal in a
written form. Thinking that he already understood what I want to say, I immediately made an appeal that
day stating the words that I used in having conversation with him.29
Attached to the written appeal was a Certification dated January 24, 2014, wherein Dr. Costales
attested: chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

1. That Cadet MIRANDA, ARCANGEL, [and] NARCISO was (sic) with Cadet CUDIA in making query
about their latest grades in OR432 and/or results of UE1 outside the ACADS office. The following
facts may explain their queries on 14 November 2013: chanRob lesvi rtua lLa wlibra ry

a. That I held my class in the PMAFI room instead of room 104.

b. That OR432 releases grades every Wednesday and cadets are informed during Thursday,
either in class or posted grades in the bulletin board (grades released was [sic] based on
the previous LEs: latest LE before UE was Decision Trees).

c. That UE papers were already checked but not yet recorded due to (sic) other cadets have
not taken the UE. Cadets were allowed to verify scores but not to look at the papers.

d. Last 23 January 2014, Captain Dulawan clarified if indeed Cadet NARCISO and ARCANGEL
verified grades. The two cadets said that they verified something with me after the OR432
class and they were with Cadet CUDIA. That the statements of the three (3) cadets are all
the same and consistent, thus[,] I honor that as true.

2. As to the aspect of dismissing late, I could not really account for the specific time that I dismissed
the class. To this date, I [cannot] really recall an account that is more than two (2) months earlier.
According to my records, there was a lecture followed by an LE during (sic) on 14 November 2013.
To determine the time of my dismissal, maybe it can be verified with the other members of class I
was handling on that said date.30

Respondents contend that the HC denied the appeal the same day, January 24, as it found no reason to
conduct a re-trial based on the arguments and evidence presented.31 Petitioners, however, claim that the
written appeal was not acted upon until the filing of the petition-in-intervention.32 chan roble svirtuallaw lib rary

From January 25 to February 7, 2014, respondents allege that the Headquarters Tactics Group (HTG)
conducted an informal review to check the findings of the HC. During the course of the investigation, Prof.
Berong was said to have confirmed with the Officer-in-Charge of the HC that classes started as scheduled
(i.e., 3:05 p.m. or 1505H), and that Cadet 1CL Barrawed, the acting class marcher of ENG412, verified
before the Commandant, Assistant Commandant, and STO that the class started not earlier than scheduled.

Meantime, on February 4, 2014, the OIC of the HC forwarded the Formal Investigation Report to the Staff
Judge Advocate (SJA) for review. The next day, the SJA found the report to be legally in order.

On February 8, 2014, Colonel Rozzano D. Briguez (Col. Briguez), the Commandant of Cadets, affirmed the
HC findings and recommended to Vice Admiral Edgar Abogado, then PMA Superintendent, the separation
from the PMA of Cadet 1CL Cudia for violation of the First Tenet of the Honor Code (Lying, pursuant to Sec.
VII.12.b of the CCAFPR S-2008). On the same date, Special Orders No. 26 was issued by the PMA
Headquarters placing Cadet 1CL Cudia on indefinite leave of absence without pay and allowances effective
February 10, 2014 pending approval of his separation by the AFP-GHQ, barring him from future appointment
and/or admission as cadet, and not permitting him to qualify for any entrance requirements to the PMA.33 chanrob lesvi rtua llawlib ra ry

Two days later, Vice Admiral Abogado approved the recommendation to dismiss Cadet 1CL Cudia.

On February 13, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia submitted a letter to the Office of the Commandant of Cadets
requesting for reinstatement by the PMA of his status as a cadet.34 chanroblesv irtuallaw lib rary

Four days passed, Annavee P. Cudia (Annavee), the sister of Cadet 1CL Cudia, posted his plight in her
Facebook account. The day after, the Spouses Cudia gave a letter to Major General Oscar Lopez (Maj. Gen.
Lopez), the new PMA Superintendent, asking to recognize the 8-1 voting of the HC,35 copies of which were
furnished to the AFP Chief of Staff and other concerned military officials. Subsequently, Maj. Gen. Lopez was
directed to review Cadet 1CL Cudias case. The latter, in turn, referred the matter to the Cadet Review and
Appeals Board (CRAB).

On February 19, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia made his personal appeal letter to Maj. Gen. Lopez. On even date,
the AFP Chief of Staff ordered a reinvestigation following the viral Facebook post of Annavee demanding the
intervention of the military leadership.

Petitioners claim that, on February 21, 2014, Special Order No. 1 was issued directing all PMA cadets to
ostracize Cadet 1CL Cudia by not talking to him and by separating him from all activities/functions of the
cadets. It is said that any violation shall be a Class 1 offense entailing 45 demerits, 90 hours touring, and
90 hours confinement. Cadet 1CL Cudia was not given a copy of the order and learned about it only from the
media.36 According to an alleged news report, PMA Spokesperson Major Agnes Lynette Flores (Maj. Flores)
confirmed the HC order to ostracize Cadet 1CL Cudia. Among his offenses were: breach of confidentiality by
putting documents in the social media, violation of the PMA Honor Code, lack of initiative to resign, and
smearing the name of the PMA.37 chanroblesv irtuallawl ib rary

On February 24, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia requested the CRAB for additional time, until March 4, 2014, to file
an appeal on the ground that his intended witnesses were in on-the-job training (OJT).38 As additional
evidence to support his appeal, he also requested for copies of the Minutes of the HC proceedings, relevant
documents pertaining to the case, and video footages and recordings of the HC hearings.

The next day, Cadet 1CL Cudia and his family engaged the services of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) in
Baguio City.

The CRAB conducted a review of the case based on the following: (a) letter of appeal of the Spouses Cudia
dated February 18, 2014; (b) directive from the AFP-GHQ to reinvestigate the case; and (c) guidance from
Maj. Gen. Lopez.

On February 26, 2014, Brigadier General Andre M. Costales, Jr. (Brig. Gen. Costales, Jr.), the CRAB
Chairman, informed Cadet 1CL Cudia that, pending approval of the latters request for extension, the CRAB
would continue to review the case and submit its recommendations based on whatever evidence and
testimonies received, and that it could not favorably consider his request for copies of the HC minutes,
relevant documents, and video footages and recordings of the HC hearings since it was neither the
appropriate nor the authorized body to take action thereon.39 Subsequently, upon verbal advice, Cadet 1CL
Cudia wrote a letter to Maj. Gen. Lopez reiterating his request.40 chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

Two days after, the Spouses Cudia filed a letter-complaint before the CHR-Cordillera Administrative Region
(CAR) Office against the HC members and Maj. Gracilla for alleged violation of the human rights of Cadet
1CL Cudia, particularly his rights to due process, education, and privacy of communication.41 chanrob lesvi rtua llawlib ra ry

On March 4, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia, through the PAO, moved for additional time, until March 19, 2014, to
file his appeal and submit evidence. PAO also wrote a letter to AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel T.
Bautista (Gen. Bautista) seeking for immediate directive to the PMA to expeditiously and favorably act on
Cadet 1CL Cudias requests.42 chan roble svirtuallaw lib rary

Exactly a week prior to the commencement exercises of Siklab Diwa Class, the following events
transpired:cha nRoblesvi rt ual Lawlib rary

On March 10, 2014, Annavee sought the assistance of PAO Chief Public Attorney Persida V. Rueda-
Acosta.43 On the other hand, the CRAB submitted a report to the AFP-GHQ upholding the dismissal of Cadet
1CL Cudia.44 chanroble svirtual lawlib rary
On March 11, 2014, PAO received a letter from Maj. Gen. Lopez stating the denial of Cadet 1CL Cudias
requests for extension of time to file an Appeal Memorandum in view of the ample time already given, and
to be furnished with a copy of relevant documents because of confidentiality and presumption of regularity
of the HC proceedings.45 Cadet 1CL Cudia, through PAO, then filed an Appeal Memorandum46before the
CRAB.

On March 12, 2014, Spouses Cudia wrote a letter to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III (Pres. Aquino),
who is the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP, attaching thereto the Appeal Memorandum.47 On the same day,
Special Orders No. 48 was issued by the PMA constituting a Fact-Finding Board/Investigation Body
composed of the CRAB members and PMA senior officers to conduct a deliberate investigation pertaining to
Cadet 1CL Cudias Appeal Memorandum.48 The focus of the inquiry was not just to find out whether the
appeal has merit or may be considered but also to investigate possible involvement of other cadets and
members of the command related to the incident and to establish specific violation of policy or regulations
that had been violated by other cadets and members of the HC.49 chanrob lesvi rtua llawlib ra ry

On March 13, 2014, the Cudia family and the Chief Public Attorney had a dialogue with Maj. Gen. Lopez.

On March 14, 2014, the CHR-CAR came out with its preliminary findings, which recommended the
following:chanRob lesvi rtual Lawl ibra ry

a. For the PMA and the Honor Committee to respect and uphold the 8 Guilty 1 Not guilty vote; cha nrob leslaw

b. For the PMA and the Honor Committee to officially pronounce Cdt Cudia as Not Guilty of the charge
filed against him before the Honor Committee; chan roble slaw

c. For the PMA to restore Cadet Cudias rights and entitlements as a full-fledge graduating cadet and
allow him to graduate on Sunday, 16 March 2014; chanroble slaw

d. For the PMA to fully cooperate with the CHR in the investigation of Cudias Case.50

On March 15, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia and his family had a meeting with Pres. Aquino and Department of
National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin. The President recommended that they put in writing
their appeal, requests, and other concerns. According to respondents, the parties agreed that Cadet 1CL
Cudia would not join the graduation but it was without prejudice to the result of the appeal, which was
elevated to the AFP Chief of Staff. The President then tasked Gen. Bautista to handle the reinvestigation of
the case, with Maj. Gen. Oscar Lopez supervising the group conducting the review.

Four days after Siklab Diwa Class graduation day, petitioner Renato S. Cudia received a letter dated March
11, 2014 from the Office of the AFP Adjutant General and signed by Brig. Gen. Ronald N. Albano for the AFP
Chief of Staff, affirming the CRABs denial of Cadet 1CL Cudias appeal. It held: chanRob lesvi rtual Lawl ibra ry

After review, The Judge Advocate General, AFP finds that the action of the PMA CRAB in denying the appeal
for reinvestigation is legally in order. There was enough evidence to sustain the finding of guilt and the
proprietary (sic) of the punishment imposed. Also, your son was afforded sufficient time to file his appeal
from the date he was informed of the final verdict on January 21, 2014, when the decision of the Honor
Committee was read to him in person, until the time the PMA CRAB conducted its review on the case.
Moreover, the continued stay of your son at the Academy was voluntary. As such, he remained subject to
the Academys policy regarding visitation. Further, there was no violation of his right to due process
considering that the procedure undertaken by the Honor Committee and PMA CRAB was consistent with
existing policy. Thus, the previous finding and recommendation of the Honor Committee finding your son,
subject Cadet guilty of Lying and recommending his separation from the Academy is sustained.

In view of the foregoing, this Headquarters resolved to deny your appeal for lack of merit.51
Thereafter, the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body issued its Final Investigation Report on March 23,
2014 denying Cadet 1CL Cudias appeal.52 Subsequently, on April 28, 2014, the special investigation board
tasked to probe the case submitted its final report to the President.53 Pursuant to the administrative appeals
process, the DND issued a Memorandum dated May 23, 2014, directing the Office of AFP Chief of Staff to
submit the complete records of the case for purposes of DND review and recommendation for disposition by
the President.54 chan roble svi rtual lawlib rary

Meanwhile, on May 22, 2014, the CHR-CAR issued its Resolution with respect to CHR-CAR Case No. 2014-
0029, concluding and recommending as follows: chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Commission on Human Rights-CAR Office finds PROBABLE
CAUSE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS against the officers and members of the PMA Honor
Committee and certain PMA officials, specifically for violations of the rights of CADET ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA
to dignity, due process, education, privacy/privacy of communication, and good life.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the CHR-CAR Office RESOLVED to indorse to competent authorities for
their immediate appropriate action on the following recommendations: chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

1. The Philippine Military Academy must set aside the 9-Guilty, 0-Not Guilty verdict against Cadet
Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia, for being null and void; to uphold and respect the 8-Guilty, 1-Not Guilty
voting result and make an official pronouncement of NOT GUILTY in favor of Cadet Cudia; chanrob leslaw
2. The PMA, the AFP Chief of Staff, and the President in whose hands rest the ends of justice and fate
of Cadet Cudia, to: chanRoblesvirtual Lawli bra ry

2.1 officially proclaim Cadet Cudia a graduate and alumnus of the Philippine
Military Academy;
2.2 issue to Cadet Cudia the corresponding Diploma for the degree of
Bachelors of Science; and
2.3 Issue to Cadet Cudia the corresponding official transcript of his academic
records for his BS degree, without conditions therein as to his status as a
PMA cadet.

3. The Public Attorneys Office to provide legal services to Cadet Cudia in pursuing administrative,
criminal and civil suits against the officers and members of the Honor Committee named hereunder,
for violation of the Honor Code and System and the Procedure in Formal Investigation, dishonesty,
violation of the secrecy of the ballot, tampering the true result of the voting, perjury, intentional
omission in the Minutes of substantive part of the formal trial proceedings which are prejudicial to
the interest of justice and Cadet Cudias fundamental rights to dignity, non-discrimination and due
process, which led to the infringement of his right to education and even transgressing his right to a
good life.

3.1 Cdt 1CL MIKE ANTHONY MOGUL, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.2 Cdt 1CL RHONA K. SALVACION, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.3 Cdt 2CL ARWI C. MARTINEZ
3.4 Cdt 2CL RENATO A. CARIO, JR.
3.5 Cdt 2CL NIKO ANGELO C. TARAYAO
3.6 Cdt 1CL JEANELYN P. CABRIDO, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.7 Cdt 1CL KIM ADRIAN R. MARTAL, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.8 Cdt 1CL JAIRUS O. FANTIN, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.9 Cdt 1CL BRYAN SONNY S. ARLEGUI, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.10Cdt 1CL DALTON JOHN G. LAGURA, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.11Cdt 1CL BIANCHIHEIMER L. EDRA, now 2nd Lt. of the AFP
3.12Cdt 4CL JENNIFER A. CUARTERON (recorder)
3.13Cdt 3CL LEONCIO NICO A. DE JESUS II (recorder)

4. The Office of the AFP Chief of Staff and the PMA competent authorities should investigate and file
appropriate charges against Maj. VLADIMIR P. GRACILLA, for violation of the right to privacy of
Cadet Cudia and/or failure, as intelligence officer, to ensure the protection of the right to privacy of
Cudia who was then billeted at the PMA Holding Center; chanrobleslaw

5. The Office of the AFP Chief of Staff and PMA competent authorities should investigate Maj. DENNIS
ROMMEL HINDANG for his failure and ineptness to exercise his responsibility as a competent
Tactical Officer and a good father of his cadets, in this case, to Cadet Cudia; for failure to respect
exhaustion of administrative remedies; chan roble slaw

6. The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philppines, the PMA
Superintendent, to immediately cause the comprehensive review of all rules of procedures,
regulations, policies, including the so-called practices in the implementation of the Honor Code; and,
thereafter, adopt new policies, rules of procedures and relevant regulations which are human-rights
based and consistent with the Constitution and other applicable laws; chan robles law

7. The Congress of the Philippines to consider the enactment of a law defining and penalizing
ostracism and discrimination, which is apparently being practiced in the PMA, as a criminal offense
in this jurisdiction;
cha nrob leslaw

8. His Excellency The President of the Philippines to certify as priority, the passage of an anti-
ostracism and/or anti-discrimination law; and

9. Finally, for the AFP Chief of Staff and the PMA authorities to ensure respect and protection of the
rights of those who testified for the cause of justice and truth as well as human rights of Cadet
Cudia.

RESOLVED FURTHER, to monitor the actions by the competent authorities on the foregoing CHR
recommendations.
Let copy of this resolution be served by personal service or by substituted service to the complainants (the
spouses Renato and Filipina Cudia; and Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia), and all the respondents. Also, to the PMA
Superintendent, the AFP Chief of Staff, the Secretary of National Defense, His Excellency The President of
the Philippines, The Public Attorneys Office.

SO RESOLVED.55
On June 11, 2014, the Office of the President sustained the findings of the AFP Chief of Staff and the CRAB.
The letter, which was addressed to the Spouses Cudia and signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa,
Jr., stated in whole:
chanRoble svirtual Lawli bra ry

This refers to your letters to the President dated 12 March 2014 and 26 March 2014 appealing for a
reconsideration of the decision of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Honor Committee on the case of
your son, Cadet 1CL Aldrin Jeff Cudia.

After carefully studying the records of the case of Cadet Cudia, the decision of the Chief of Staff of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Honor Code System of the AFP Cadet Corps, this Office has
found no substantial basis to disturb the findings of the AFP and the PMA Cadet Review Appeals Board
(CRAB). There is no competent evidence to support the claim that the decision of the Honor Committee
members was initially at 8 Guilty votes and 1 Not Guilty vote. The lone affidavit of an officer, based on
his purported conversation with one Honor Committee member, lacks personal knowledge on the
deliberations of the said Committee and is hearsay at best.

Similarly, the initial recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights cannot be adopted as basis that
Cadet Cudias due process rights were violated. Apart from being explicitly preliminary in nature, such
recommendations are anchored on a finding that there was an 8-1 vote which, as discussed above, is not
supported by competent evidence.

In the evaluation of Cadet Cudias case, this Office has been guided by the precept that military law is
regarded to be in a class of its own, applicable only to military personnel because the military constitutes
an armed organization requiring a system of discipline separate from that of civilians (Gonzales v. Abaya,
G.R. No. 164007, 10 August 2005 citing Calley v. Callaway, 519 F. 2d 184 [1975] and Orloff v. Willoughby,
345 US 83 [1953]). Thus, this Office regarded the findings of the AFP Chief, particularly his conclusion that
there was nothing irregular in the proceedings that ensued, as carrying great weight.

Accordingly, please be informed that the President has sustained the findings of the AFP Chief and the PMA
CRAB.56
The Issues

To petitioners, the issues for resolution are: cha nRoblesvi rt ual Lawlib rary

I.

WHETHER THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY, THE HONOR COMMITTEE AND THE CADET REVIEW AND
APPEALS BOARD COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN DISMISSING CADET FIRST CLASS ALDRIN
JEFF P. CUDIA FROM THE ACADEMY IN UTTER DISREGARD OF HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS

CONSIDERING THAT:

A. Despite repeated requests for relevant documents regarding his case, Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff
Cudia was deprived of his right to have access to evidence which would have proven his defense,
would have totally belied the charge against him, and more importantly, would have shown the
irregularity in the Honor Committees hearing and rendition of decision

B. Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia was vaguely informed of the decisions arrived at by the Honor
Committee, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board and the Philippine Military Academy

C. The Honor Committee, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board and the Philippine Military Academy
have afforded Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia nothing but a sham trial

D. The Honor Committee, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board and the Philippine Military Academy
violated their own rules and principles as embodied in the Honor Code

E. The Honor Committee, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board and the Philippine Military Academy, in
deciding Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudias case, grossly and in bad faith, misapplied the Honor
Code so as to defy the 1987 Constitution, notwithstanding the unquestionable fact that the former
should yield to the latter.

II

WHETHER THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY, THE HONOR COMMITTEE AND THE CADET REVIEW AND
APPEALS BOARD COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT CADET FIRST CLASS
ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA LIED, THEREBY VIOLATING THE HONOR CODE

III
WHETHER THE RESULT OF THE FACT-FINDING INVESTIGATION INDEPENDENTLY CONDUCTED BY THE
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IS OF SUCH GREAT WEIGHT AND PERSUASIVE NATURE THAT THIS
HONORABLE COURT MAY HONOR, UPHOLD AND RESPECT57
On the other hand, in support of their prayer to dismiss the petition, respondents presented the issues
below:c hanRoblesv irtual Lawlib rary

PROCEDURAL GROUNDS

I.

THE MANDAMUS PETITION PRAYING THAT CADET CUDIA BE INCLUDED IN THE LIST OF GRADUATES OF
SIKLAB DIWA CLASS OF 2014 AND BE ALLOWED TO TAKE PART IN THE COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES HAS
ALREADY BEEN RENDERED MOOT.

II.

THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE PETITIONS ARE ACTUALLY FACTUAL WHICH ARE BEYOND THE SCOPE OF A
PETITION FOR CERTIORARI, PROHIBITION AND MANDAMUS.

III.

MANDAMUS DOES NOT LIE TO COMPEL RESPONDENTS TO GRANT THE RELIEFS PRAYED FOR.

IV.

IT IS PREMATURE TO INVOKE JUDICIAL REDRESS PENDING THE DECISION OF THE PRESIDENT ON CADET
CUDIAS APPEAL.

V.

WITH UTMOST DUE RESPECT, THE HONORABLE COURT MUST EXERCISE CAREFUL RESTRAINT AND
REFRAIN FROM UNDULY OR PREMATURELY INTERFERING WITH LEGITIMATE MILITARY MATTERS.

SUBSTANTIVE GROUNDS

VI.

CADET CUDIA HAS NECESSARILY AND VOLUNTARILY RELINQUISHED CERTAIN CIVIL LIBERTIES BY VIRTUE
OF HIS ENTRY INTO THE PMA.

VII.

THE PMA ENJOYS THE ACADEMIC FREEDOM WHICH AUTHORIZES IT TO IMPOSE DISCIPLINARY MEASURES
AND PUNISHMENT AS IT DEEMS FIT AND CONSISTENT WITH THE PECULIAR NEEDS OF THE ACADEMY.

VIII.

CADET CUDIA WAS PROPERLY AFFORDED PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS.


The PMA has regulatory authority to administratively terminate cadets despite the absence of statutory
authority.

Violation of the Honor Code warrants the administrative dismissal of a guilty cadet.

Cadet Cudia violated the first tenet of the Honor Code by providing untruthful statements in the explanation
for his tardiness.

The higher authorities of the PMA did not blindly adopt the findings of the Honor Committee.

The procedural safeguards in a student disciplinary case were properly accorded to Cadet Cudia.

The subtle evolution in the voting process of the Honor Committee, by incorporating executive
session/chambering, was adopted to further strengthen the voting procedure of the Honor Committee.

Cadet Lagura voluntarily changed his vote without any pressure from the other voting members of the
Honor Committee.

Ostracism is not a sanctioned practice of the PMA.

The findings of the Commission on Human Rights are not binding on the Honorable Court, and are, at best,
recommendatory.

Cadet Cudia was not effectively deprived of his future when he was dismissed from the PMA.58
The Ruling of the Court

PROCEDURAL GROUNDS
Propriety of a petition for mandamus

Respondents argue that the mandamus aspect of the petition praying that Cadet 1CL Cudia be included in
the list of graduating cadets and for him to take part in the commencement exercises was already rendered
moot and academic when the graduation ceremonies of the PMA Siklab Diwa Class took place on March 16,
2014. Also, a petition for mandamus is improper since it does not lie to compel the performance of a
discretionary duty. Invoking Garcia v. The Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of
Theology,59 respondents assert that a mandamus petition could not be availed of to compel an academic
institution to allow a student to continue studying therein because it is merely a privilege and not a right. In
this case, there is a clear failure on petitioners part to establish that the PMA has the ministerial duty to
include Cadet 1CL Cudia in the list, much less award him with academic honors and commission him to the
Philippine Navy. Similar to the case of University of San Agustin, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,60 it is submitted
that the PMA may rightfully exercise its discretionary power on who may be admitted to study pursuant to
its academic freedom.

In response, petitioners contend that while the plea to allow Cadet 1CL Cudia to participate in the PMA 2014
commencement exercises could no longer be had, the Court may still grant the other reliefs prayed for. They
add that Garcia enunciated that a respondent can be ordered to act in a particular manner when there is a
violation of a constitutional right, and that the certiorari aspect of the petition must still be considered
because it is within the province of the Court to determine whether a branch of the government or any of its
officials has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess thereof.

We agree that a petition for mandamus is improper.

Under Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, a petition for mandamus may be filed when any
tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station. It may also be filed when any
tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a
right or office to which such other is entitled.

For mandamus to lie, the act sought to be enjoined must be a ministerial act or duty. An act is ministerial if
the act should be performed "[under] a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the
mandate of a legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of [the tribunal or corporation's] own
judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done." The tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or
person must have no choice but to perform the act specifically enjoined by law. This is opposed to a
discretionary act whereby the officer has the choice to decide how or when to perform the duty.61 chanroble svi rtual lawlib rary

In this case, petitioners pray for, among others: chanRoblesvirtual Lawli bra ry

Also, after due notice and hearing, it is prayed of the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamusto: chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

1. direct the PMA to include Cadet Cudia in the list of graduates of Siklab Diwa Class of 2014 of the
PMA, including inclusion in the yearbook; chanrobles law

2. direct the PMA to allow Cadet Cudia to take part in the commencement exercises if he completed all
the requirements for his baccalaureate degree; chan rob leslaw

3. direct the PMA to award unto Cadet Cudia the academic honors he deserves, and the commission as
a new Philippine Navy ensign; chanrobles law

4. direct the Honor Committee to submit to the CRAB of the PMA all its records of the proceedings
taken against Cadet Cudia, including the video footage and audio recordings of the deliberations and
voting, for the purpose of allowing the CRAB to conduct intelligent review of the case of Cadet
Cudia;chanrob leslaw

5. direct the PMAs CRAB to conduct a review de novo of all the records without requiring Cadet
Cudia to submit new evidence if it was physically impossible to do so; c hanro bles law

6. direct the PMAs CRAB to take into account the certification signed by Dr. Costales, the new
evidence consisting of the affidavit of a military officer declaring under oath that the cadet who
voted not guilty revealed to this officer that this cadet was coerced into changing his vote, and
other new evidence if there is any; chanroble slaw

7. direct the PMAs CRAB to give Cadet Cudia the right to a counsel who is allowed to participate
actively in the proceedings as well as in the cross-examinations during the exercise of the right to
confront witnesses against him; and

8. direct the Honor Committee in case of remand of the case by the CRAB to allow Cadet Cudia a
representation of a counsel.62

Similarly, petitioner-intervenor seeks for the following reliefs: chanRoble svi rtual Lawli bra ry
A. x x x

B. a Writ of Mandamus be issued commanding: chanRoblesvi rt ualLaw lib rary

a.) The PMA, Honor Committee, and CRAB to respect and uphold the 8
Guilty - 1 Not Guilty vote;
b.) The PMA, Honor Committee, and CRAB to officially pronounce Cadet
Cudia as Not Guilty of the charge filed against him before the Honor
Committee;
c.) The PMA to restore Cadet Cudias rights and entitlements as a full-
fledged graduating cadet, including his diploma and awards.63
Anent the plea to direct the PMA to include Cadet 1CL Cudia in the list of graduates of Siklab Diwa Class of
2014 and to allow him to take part in the commencement exercises, the same was rendered moot and
academic when the graduation ceremonies pushed through on March 16, 2014 without including Cadet 1CL
Cudia in the roll of graduates.

With respect to the prayer directing the PMA to restore Cadet 1CL Cudias rights and entitlements as a full-
fledged graduating cadet, including his diploma, awards, and commission as a new Philippine Navy ensign,
the same cannot be granted in a petition for mandamus on the basis of academic freedom, which We shall
discuss in more detail below. Suffice it to say at this point that these matters are within the ambit of or
encompassed by the right of academic freedom; therefore, beyond the province of the Court to
decide.64 The powers to confer degrees at the PMA, grant awards, and commission officers in the military
service are discretionary acts on the part of the President as the AFP Commander-in-Chief. Borrowing the
words of Garcia: chanRoblesvi rt ual Lawlib rary

There are standards that must be met. There are policies to be pursued. Discretion appears to be of the
essence. In terms of Hohfeld's terminology, what a student in the position of petitioner possesses is a
privilege rather than a right. She [in this case, Cadet 1CL Cudia] cannot therefore satisfy the prime and
indispensable requisite of a mandamusproceeding.65
Certainly, mandamus is never issued in doubtful cases. It cannot be availed against an official or
government agency whose duty requires the exercise of discretion or judgment.66 For a writ to issue,
petitioners should have a clear legal right to the thing demanded, and there should be an imperative duty on
the part of respondents to perform the act sought to be mandated.67 chanroble svirtuallaw lib rary

The same reasons can be said as regards the other reliefs being sought by petitioners, which pertain to the
HC and the CRAB proceedings. In the absence of a clear and unmistakable provision of a law, a mandamus
petition does not lie to require anyone to a specific course of conduct or to control or review the exercise of
discretion; it will not issue to compel an official to do anything which is not his duty to do or which is his
duty not to do or give to the applicant anything to which he is not entitled by law.68 cha nrob lesvi rtuallawl ibra ry

The foregoing notwithstanding, the resolution of the case must proceed since, as argued by petitioners, the
Court is empowered to settle via petition for certiorari whether there is grave abuse of discretion on the part
of respondents in dismissing Cadet 1CL Cudia from the PMA.

Factual nature of the issues

According to respondents, the petition raises issues that actually require the Court to make findings of fact
because it sets forth several factual disputes which include, among others: the tardiness of Cadet 1CL Cudia
in his ENG412 class and his explanation thereto, the circumstances that transpired in the investigation of his
Honor Code violation, the proceedings before the HC, and the allegation that Cadet 1CL Lagura was forced
to change his vote during the executive session/chambering.

In opposition, petitioners claim that the instant controversy presents legal issues. Rather than determining
which between the two conflicting versions of the parties is true, the case allegedly centers on the
application, appreciation, and interpretation of a persons rights to due process, to education, and to
property; the interpretation of the PMA Honor Code and Honor System; and the conclusion on whether
Cadet 1CL Cudias explanation constitutes lying. Even if the instant case involves questions of fact,
petitioners still hold that the Court is empowered to settle mixed questions of fact and law.

Petitioners are correct.


There is a question of law when the issue does not call for an examination of the probative value of evidence
presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being admitted and the doubt concerns the correct application of
law and jurisprudence on the matter. On the other hand, there is a question of fact when the doubt or
controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. When there is no dispute as to fact, the
question of whether or not the conclusion drawn therefrom is correct is a question of law.69
The petition does not exclusively present factual matters for the Court to decide. As pointed out, the all-
encompassing issue of more importance is the determination of whether a PMA cadet has rights to due
process, to education, and to property in the context of the Honor Code and the Honor System, and, if in the
affirmative, the extent or limit thereof. Notably, even respondents themselves raise substantive grounds
that We have to resolve. In support of their contention that the Court must exercise careful restraint and
should refrain from unduly or prematurely interfering in legitimate military matters, they argue that Cadet
1CL Cudia has necessarily and voluntarily relinquished certain civil liberties by virtue of his entry into the
PMA, and that the Academy enjoys academic freedom authorizing the imposition of disciplinary measures
and punishment as it deems fit and consistent with the peculiar needs of the PMA. These issues, aside from
being purely legal questions, are of first impression; hence, the Court must not hesitate to make a
categorical ruling.

Exhaustion of administrative remedies

Respondents assert that the Court must decline jurisdiction over the petition pending President Aquinos
resolution of Cadet 1CL Cudia appeal. They say that there is an obvious non-exhaustion of the full
administrative process. While Cadet 1CL Cudia underwent the review procedures of his guilty verdict at the
Academy level the determination by the SJA of whether the HC acted according to the established
procedures of the Honor System, the assessment by the Commandant of Cadets of the procedural and legal
correctness of the guilty verdict, the evaluation of the PMA Superintendent to warrant the administrative
separation of the guilty cadet, and the appellate review proceedings before the CRAB he still appealed to
the President, who has the utmost latitude in making decisions affecting the military. It is contended that
the Presidents power over the persons and actions of the members of the armed forces is recognized
in B/Gen. (Ret.) Gudani v. Lt./Gen. Senga70 and in Section 3171 of Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 1 (also
known as "The National Defense Act"). As such, the President could still overturn the decision of the PMA. In
respondents view, the filing of this petition while the case is pending resolution of the President is an
irresponsible defiance, if not a personal affront. For them, comity dictates that courts of justice should shy
away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed.

From the unfolding of events, petitioners, however, consider that President Aquino effectively denied the
appeal of Cadet 1CL Cudia. They claim that his family exerted insurmountable efforts to seek
reconsideration of the HC recommendation from the AFP officials and the President, but was in vain. The
circumstances prior to, during, and after the PMA 2014 graduation rites, which was attended by President
Aquino after he talked to Cadet 1CL Cudias family the night before, foreclose the possibility that the
challenged findings would still be overturned. In any case, petitioners insist that the rule on exhaustion of
administrative remedies is not absolute based on the Corsiga v. Defensor72 and Verceles v. BLR-
DOLE73rulings.

We rule for petitioners.

In general, no one is entitled to judicial relief for a supposed or threatened injury until the prescribed
administrative remedy has been exhausted. The rationale behind the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies is that courts, for reasons of law, comity, and convenience, should not entertain
suits unless the available administrative remedies have first been resorted to and the proper authorities,
who are competent to act upon the matter complained of, have been given the appropriate opportunity to
act and correct their alleged errors, if any, committed in the administrative forum.74 In the U.S. case
of Ringgold v. United States,75 which was cited by respondents, it was specifically held that in a typical case
involving a decision by military authorities, the plaintiff must exhaust his remedies within the military before
appealing to the court, the doctrine being designed both to preserve the balance between military and
civilian authorities and to conserve judicial resources.

Nonetheless, there are exceptions to the rule. In this jurisdiction, a party may directly resort to judicial
remedies if any of the following is present: c hanRoble svirtual Lawli bra ry

1. when there is a violation of due process;


2. when the issue involved is purely a legal question;
3. when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction;
4. when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency concerned;
5. when there is irreparable injury;
6. when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bear the
implied and assumed approval of the latter;
7. when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be unreasonable;
8. when it would amount to a nullification of a claim;
9. when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings;
10. when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate remedy; and
11. when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention.76

Petitioners essentially raise the lack of due process in the dismissal of Cadet 1CL Cudia from the PMA. Thus,
it may be a ground to give due course to the petition despite the non-exhaustion of administrative remedies.
Yet more significant is the fact that during the pendency of this case, particularly on June 11, 2014, the
Office of the President finally issued its ruling, which sustained the findings of the AFP Chief and the CRAB.
Hence, the occurrence of this supervening event bars any objection to the petition based on failure to
exhaust administrative remedies.

Courts interference within military affairs

Respondents cite the U.S. cases of Bois v. Marsh77 and Schlesinger v. Councilman78 to support their
contention that judicial intervention would pose substantial threat to military discipline and that there should
be a deferential review of military statutes and regulations since political branches have particular expertise
and competence in assessing military needs. Likewise, in Orloff v. Willoughby79 and Parker v. Levy,80 it was
allegedly opined by the U.S. Supreme Court that the military constitutes a specialized community governed
by a separate discipline from that of the civilian. According to respondents, the U.S. courts respect to the
military recognizes that constitutional rights may apply differently in the military context than in civilian
society as a whole. Such military deference is exercised either by refusing to apply due process and equal
protection doctrines in military cases or applying them but with leniency.

In respondents view, although Philippine courts have the power of judicial review in cases attended with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, policy considerations call for the widest
latitude of deference to military affairs. Such respect is exercised by the court where the issues to be
resolved entail a substantial consideration of legitimate governmental interest. They suppose that allowing
Cadet 1CL Cudias case to prosper will set an institutionally dangerous precedent, opening a Pandoras box
of other challenges against the specialized system of discipline of the PMA. They state that with the PMAs
mandate to train cadets for permanent commission in the AFP, its disciplinary rules and procedure
necessarily must impose a different standard of conduct compared with civilian institutions.

Petitioners, on the other hand, consider that this Court is part of the States check-and-balance machinery,
specifically mandated by Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution to ensure that no branch of the government or
any of its officials acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction. They assert that judicial non-interference in military affairs is not deemed as
absolute even in the U.S. They cite Schlesinger and Parker, which were invoked by respondents, as well
as Burns v. Wilson81 and Harmon v. Brucker,82 wherein the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the proceedings of
military tribunals on account of issues posed concerning due process and violations of constitutional rights.
Also, in Magno v. De Villa83 decided by this Court, petitioners note that We, in fact, exercised the judicial
power to determine whether the AFP and the members of the court martial acted with grave abuse of
discretion in their military investigation.

Petitioners contentions are tenable.

Admittedly, the Constitution entrusts the political branches of the government, not the courts, with
superintendence and control over the military because the courts generally lack the competence and
expertise necessary to evaluate military decisions and they are ill-equipped to determine the impact upon
discipline that any particular intrusion upon military authority might have.84 Nevertheless, for the sake of
brevity, We rule that the facts as well as the legal issues in the U.S. cases cited by respondents are not on
all fours with the case of Cadet 1CL Cudia. Instead, what applies is the 1975 U.S. case of Andrews v.
Knowlton,85 which similarly involved cadets who were separated from the United States Military Academy
due to Honor Code violations. Following Wasson v. Trowbridge86 and Hagopian v. Knowlton,87 Andrews re-
affirmed the power of the district courts to review procedures used at the service academies in the
separation or dismissal of cadets and midshipmen. While it recognized the constitutional permissibility of
the military to set and enforce uncommonly high standards of conduct and ethics, it said that the courts
have expanded at an accelerated pace the scope of judicial access for review of military determinations.
Later, in Kolesa v. Lehman,88 it was opined that it has been well settled that federal courts have jurisdiction
"where there is a substantial claim that prescribed military procedures violates one's constitutional rights."
By 1983, the U.S. Congress eventually made major revisions to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
by expressly providing, among others, for a direct review by the U.S. Supreme Court of decisions by the
militarys highest appellate authority.89 chanrob lesvi rtua llawlib ra ry

Even without referring to U.S. cases, the position of petitioners is still formidable. In this jurisdiction, Section
1 Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution expanded the scope of judicial power by mandating that the duty of
the courts of justice includes not only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government even if the latter does not exercise judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions.90Grave
abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or
personal hostility, which must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a
virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.91 chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

The proceedings of the Cadet Honor Committee can, for purposes of the Due Process Clause, be considered
a governmental activity. As ruled in Andrews: cha nRoblesvi rt ual Lawlib rary

The relationship between the Cadet Honor Committee and the separation process at the Academy has been
sufficiently formalized, and is sufficiently interdependent, so as to bring that committee's activities within
the definition of governmental activity for the purposes of our review. While the Academy has long had the
informal practice of referring all alleged violations to the Cadet Honor Committee, the relationship between
that committee and the separation process has to a degree been formalized. x x x

Regardless of whether the relationship be deemed formal or informal, the Honor Committee under its own
procedures provides that a single "not guilty" vote by a member ends the matter, while a "guilty" finding
confronts a cadet with the hard choice of either resigning or electing to go before a Board of Officers. An
adverse finding there results not only in formal separation from the Academy but also in a damaging record
that will follow the cadet through life. Accordingly, we conclude that the Cadet Honor Committee, acting not
unlike a grand jury, is clearly part of the process whereby a cadet can ultimately be adjudged to have
violated the Cadet Honor Code and be separated from the Academy. Therefore, the effect of the committee's
procedures and determinations on the separation process is sufficiently intertwined with the formal
governmental activity which may follow as to bring it properly under judicial review.92
No one is above the law, including the military. In fact, the present Constitution declares it as a matter of
principle that civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military.93 Consistent with the republican
system of checks and balances, the Court has been entrusted, expressly or by necessary implication, with
both the duty and the obligation of determining, in appropriate cases, the validity of any assailed legislative
or executive action.94chan roble svirtuallaw lib rary
SUBSTANTIVE GROUNDS

Cadets relinquishment of certain civil liberties

Respondents assert that the standard of rights applicable to a cadet is not the same as that of a civilian
because the formers rights have already been recalibrated to best serve the military purpose and necessity.
They claim that both Gudani and Lt. Col. Kapunan, Jr. v. Gen. De Villa95 recognized that, to a certain degree,
individual rights of persons in the military service may be curtailed by the rules of military discipline in order
to ensure its effectiveness in fulfilling the duties required to be discharged under the law. Respondents
remind that, as a military student aspiring to a commissioned post in the military service, Cadet 1CL Cudia
voluntarily gave up certain civil and political rights which the rest of the civilian population enjoys. The
deliberate surrender of certain freedoms on his part is embodied in the cadets Honor Code Handbook. It is
noted that at the beginning of their academic life in the PMA, Cadet 1CL Cudia, along with the rest of Cadet
Corps, took an oath and undertaking to stand by the Honor Code and the Honor System.

To say that a PMA cadet surrenders his fundamental human rights, including the right to due process, is, for
petitioners, contrary to the provisions of Section 3, Article II of the 1987 Constitution,96 Executive Order
(E.O.) No. 17897 (as amended by E.O. No. 100598), AFP Code of Ethics, Oath of Cadet Corps to the Honor
Code and the Honor System, military professionalism, and, in general, military culture. They maintain that
the HC, the CRAB, and the PMA, grossly and in bad faith misapplied the Honor Code and the Honor System
in deciding Cadet 1CL Cudias case considering that these should not be implemented at the expense of
human rights, due process, and fair play. Further, under the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, they can
never overpower or defy the 1987 Constitution since the former should yield to the latter. Petitioners stress
that the statement that a cadet can be compelled to surrender some civil rights and liberties in order for
the Code and System to be implemented simply pertains to what cadets have to sacrifice in order to prove
that they are men or women of integrity and honor, such as the right to entertain vices and the right to
freely choose what they want to say or do. In the context of disciplinary investigation, it does not
contemplate a surrender of the right to due process but, at most, refers to the cadets rights to privacy and
to remain silent.

We concur with the stand of petitioners.

Of course, a student at a military academy must be prepared to subordinate his private interests for the
proper functioning of the educational institution he attends to, one that is with a greater degree than a
student at a civilian public school.99 In fact, the Honor Code and Honor System Handbook of the PMA
expresses that, [as] a training environment, the Cadet Corps is a society which has its own norms. Each
member binds himself to what is good for him, his subordinates, and his peers. To be part of the Cadet
Corps requires the surrender of some basic rights and liberties for the good of the group.100 chanro blesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

It is clear, however, from the teachings of Wasson and Hagopian, which were adopted by Andrews, that a
cadet facing dismissal from the military academy for misconduct has constitutionally protected private
interests (life, liberty, or property); hence, disciplinary proceedings conducted within the bounds of
procedural due process is a must.101 For that reason, the PMA is not immune from the strictures of due
process. Where a person's good name, reputation, honor, or integrity is at stake because of what the
government is doing to him, the minimal requirements of the due process clause must be
satisfied.102Likewise, the cadet faces far more severe sanctions of being expelled from a course of college
instruction which he or she has pursued with a view to becoming a career officer and of probably being
forever denied that career.103 chan roblesv irt uallawl ibrary

The cases of Gudani and Kapunan, Jr. are inapplicable as they do not specifically pertain to dismissal
proceedings of a cadet in a military academy due to honor violation. In Gudani, the Court denied the petition
that sought to annul the directive from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which enjoined petitioners
from testifying before the Congress without her consent. We ruled that petitioners may be subjected to
military discipline for their defiance of a direct order of the AFP Chief of Staff. On the other hand,
in Kapunan, Jr., this Court upheld the restriction imposed on petitioner since the conditions for his house
arrest (particularly, that he may not issue any press statements or give any press conference during the
period of his detention) are justified by the requirements of military discipline. In these two cases, the
constitutional rights to information, transparency in matters of public concern, and to free speech not to
due process clause were restricted to better serve the greater military purpose.

Academic freedom of the PMA

Petitioners posit that there is no law providing that a guilty finding by the HC may be used by the PMA to
dismiss or recommend the dismissal of a cadet from the PMA. They argue that Honor Code violation is not
among those listed as justifications for the attrition of cadets considering that the Honor Code and the Honor
System do not state that a guilty cadet is automatically terminated or dismissed from service. To them, the
Honor Code and Honor System are gentlemans agreement that cannot take precedence over public
interest in the defense of the nation and in view of the taxpayers money spent for each cadet. Petitioners
contend that, based on the Civil Code, all written or verbal agreements are null and void if they violate the
law, good morals, good customs, public policy, and public safety.

In opposition, respondents claim that the PMA may impose disciplinary measures and punishment as it
deems fit and consistent with the peculiar needs of the Academy. Even without express provision of a law,
the PMA has regulatory authority to administratively dismiss erring cadets since it is deemed reasonably
written into C.A. No. 1. Moreover, although said law grants to the President the authority of terminating a
cadets appointment, such power may be delegated to the PMA Superintendent, who may exercise direct
supervision and control over the cadets.

Respondents likewise contend that, as an academic institution, the PMA has the inherent right to promulgate
reasonable norms, rules and regulations that it may deem necessary for the maintenance of school
discipline, which is specifically mandated by Section 3 (2),104 Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution. As the
premiere military educational institution of the AFP in accordance with Section 30,105 Article III of C.A. No. 1
and Sections 58 and 59,106 Chapter 9, Subtitle II, Title VIII, Book IV of E.O. No. 292 (Administrative Code
of 1987?), the PMA is an institution that enjoys academic freedom guaranteed by Section 5 (2),107 Article
XIV of the 1987 Constitution. In Miriam College Foundation, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,108 it was held that
concomitant with such freedom is the right and duty to instill and impose discipline upon its students. Also,
consistent with Isabelo, Jr. v. Perpetual Help College of Rizal, Inc.109and Ateneo de Manila University v.
Capulong,110 the PMA has the freedom on who to admit (and, conversely, to expel) given the high degree of
discipline and honor expected from its students who are to form part of the AFP.

For respondents, Cadet 1CL Cudia cannot, therefore, belatedly assail the Honor Code as basis of the HCs
decision to recommend his dismissal from the PMA. When he enlisted for enrolment and studied in the PMA
for four years, he knew or should have been fully aware of the standards of discipline imposed on all cadets
and the corresponding penalty for failing to abide by these standards.

In their Reply, petitioners counter that, as shown in Isabelo, Jr. and Ateneo, academic freedom is not
absolute and cannot be exercised in blatant disregard of the right to due process and the 1987 Constitution.
Although schools have the prerogative to choose what to teach, how to teach, and who to teach, the same
does not go so far as to deprive a student of the right to graduate when there is clear evidence that he is
entitled to the same since, in such a case, the right to graduate becomes a vested right which takes
precedence over the limited and restricted right of the educational institution.

While both parties have valid points to consider, the arguments of respondents are more in line with the
facts of this case.

We have ruled that the school-student relationship is contractual in nature. Once admitted, a students
enrolment is not only semestral in duration but for the entire period he or she is expected to complete
it.111 An institution of learning has an obligation to afford its students a fair opportunity to complete the
course they seek to pursue.112 Such contract is imbued with public interest because of the high priority given
by the Constitution to education and the grant to the State of supervisory and regulatory powers over all
educational institutions.113 chan roble svirtualla wlibra ry

The school-student relationship has also been held as reciprocal. [It] has consequences appurtenant to and
inherent in all contracts of such kind it gives rise to bilateral or reciprocal rights and obligations. The
school undertakes to provide students with education sufficient to enable them to pursue higher education
or a profession. On the other hand, the students agree to abide by the academic requirements of the school
and to observe its rules and regulations.114 chan roblesv irtuallawl ib rary

Academic freedom or, to be precise, the institutional autonomy of universities and institutions of higher
learning,115 has been enshrined in our

Constitutions of 1935, 1973, and 1987.116 In Garcia, this Court espoused the concurring opinion of U.S.
Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter in Sweezy v. New Hampshire,117 which enumerated the four
essential freedoms of a university: To determine for itself on academic grounds (1) who may teach, (2)
what may be taught, (3) how it shall be taught, and (4) who may be admitted to study.118 An educational
institution has the power to adopt and enforce such rules as may be deemed expedient for its government,
this being incident to the very object of incorporation, and indispensable to the successful management of
the college.119 It can decide for itself its aims and objectives and how best to attain them, free from outside
coercion or interference except when there is an overriding public welfare which would call for some
restraint.120 Indeed, academic freedom has never been meant to be an unabridged license. It is a privilege
that assumes a correlative duty to exercise it responsibly. An equally telling precept is a long recognized
mandate, so well expressed in Article 19 of the Civil Code, that every person must, in the exercise of his
rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and
good faith.121
chanrob lesvi rtual lawlib rary

The schools power to instill discipline in their students is subsumed in their academic freedom and that the
establishment of rules governing university-student relations, particularly those pertaining to student
discipline, may be regarded as vital, not merely to the smooth and efficient operation of the institution, but
to its very survival.122 As a Bohemian proverb puts it: "A school without discipline is like a mill without
water." Insofar as the water turns the mill, so does the school's disciplinary power assure its right to survive
and continue operating.123 In this regard, the Court has always recognized the right of schools to impose
disciplinary sanctions, which includes the power to dismiss or expel, on students who violate disciplinary
rules.124 In Miriam College Foundation, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,125 this Court elucidated: chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

The right of the school to discipline its students is at once apparent in the third freedom, i.e., "how it shall
be taught." A school certainly cannot function in an atmosphere of anarchy.

Thus, there can be no doubt that the establishment of an educational institution requires rules and
regulations necessary for the maintenance of an orderly educational program and the creation of an
educational environment conducive to learning. Such rules and regulations are equally necessary for the
protection of the students, faculty, and property.

Moreover, the school has an interest in teaching the student discipline, a necessary, if not indispensable,
value in any field of learning. By instilling discipline, the school teaches discipline. Accordingly, the right to
discipline the student likewise finds basis in the freedom "what to teach."

Incidentally, the school not only has the right but the duty to develop discipline in its students. The
Constitution no less imposes such duty.

[All educational institutions] shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for
human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach
the rights and duties of citizenship, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and
personal discipline, encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden scientific and technological knowledge,
and promote vocational efficiency.

In Angeles vs. Sison, we also said that discipline was a means for the school to carry out its responsibility to
help its students "grow and develop into mature, responsible, effective and worthy citizens of the
community."

Finally, nowhere in the above formulation is the right to discipline more evident than in "who may be
admitted to study." If a school has the freedom to determine whom to admit, logic dictates that it also has
the right to determine whom to exclude or expel, as well as upon whom to impose lesser sanctions such as
suspension and the withholding of graduation privileges.126
The power of the school to impose disciplinary measures extends even after graduation for any act done by
the student prior thereto. In University of the Phils. Board of Regents v. Court of Appeals,127 We upheld the
universitys withdrawal of a doctorate degree already conferred on a student who was found to have
committed intellectual dishonesty in her dissertation. Thus: chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

Art. XIV, 5 (2) of the Constitution provides that "[a]cademic freedom shall be enjoyed in all institutions of
higher learning." This is nothing new. The 1935 Constitution and the 1973 Constitution likewise provided for
the academic freedom or, more precisely, for the institutional autonomy of universities and institutions of
higher learning. As pointed out by this Court in Garcia v. Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of
Theology, it is a freedom granted to "institutions of higher learning" which is thus given "a wide sphere of
authority certainly extending to the choice of students." If such institution of higher learning can decide who
can and who cannot study in it, it certainly can also determine on whom it can confer the honor and
distinction of being its graduates.

Where it is shown that the conferment of an honor or distinction was obtained through fraud, a university
has the right to revoke or withdraw the honor or distinction it has thus conferred. This freedom of a
university does not terminate upon the "graduation" of a student, as the Court of Appeals held. For it is
precisely the "graduation" of such a student that is in question. It is noteworthy that the investigation of
private respondent's case began before her graduation. If she was able to join the graduation ceremonies on
April 24, 1993, it was because of too many investigations conducted before the Board of Regents finally
decided she should not have been allowed to graduate.

Wide indeed is the sphere of autonomy granted to institutions of higher learning, for the constitutional grant
of academic freedom, to quote again from Garcia v. Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of
Theology, "is not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a grudging fashion."

Under the U.P. Charter, the Board of Regents is the highest governing body of the University of the
Philippines. It has the power to confer degrees upon the recommendation of the University Council. It
follows that if the conferment of a degree is founded on error or fraud, the Board of Regents is also
empowered, subject to the observance of due process, to withdraw what it has granted without violating a
student's rights. An institution of higher learning cannot be powerless if it discovers that an academic degree
it has conferred is not rightfully deserved. Nothing can be more objectionable than bestowing a university's
highest academic degree upon an individual who has obtained the same through fraud or deceit. The pursuit
of academic excellence is the university's concern. It should be empowered, as an act of self-defense, to
take measures to protect itself from serious threats to its integrity.

While it is true that the students are entitled to the right to pursue their education, the USC as an
educational institution is also entitled to pursue its academic freedom and in the process has the
concomitant right to see to it that this freedom is not jeopardized.128
It must be borne in mind that schools are established, not merely to develop the intellect and skills of the
studentry, but to inculcate lofty values, ideals and attitudes; nay, the development, or flowering if you will,
of the total man.129 Essentially, education must ultimately be religious, i.e., one which inculcates duty and
reverence.130 Under the rubric of "right to education," students have a concomitant duty to learn under the
rules laid down by the school.131 Every citizen has a right to select a profession or course of study, subject to
fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and academic requirements.132 c han roblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

The PMA is not different. As the primary training and educational institution of the AFP, it certainly has the
right to invoke academic freedom in the enforcement of its internal rules and regulations, which are the
Honor Code and the Honor System in particular.

The Honor Code is a set of basic and fundamental ethical and moral principle. It is the minimum standard for
cadet behavior and serves as the guiding spirit behind each cadets action. It is the cadets responsibility to
maintain the highest standard of honor. Throughout a cadets stay in the PMA, he or she is absolutely bound
thereto. It binds as well the members of the Cadet Corps from its alumni or the member of the so-called
Long Gray Line.

Likewise, the Honor Code constitutes the foundation for the cadets character development. It defines the
desirable values they must possess to remain part of the Corps; it develops the atmosphere of trust so
essential in a military organization; and it makes them professional military soldiers.133 As it is for character
building, it should not only be kept within the society of cadets. It is best adopted by the Cadet Corps with
the end view of applying it outside as an officer of the AFP and as a product of the PMA.134 chanroble svirtual lawlib rary

The Honor Code and System could be justified as the primary means of achieving the cadets character
development and as ways by which the Academy has chosen to identify those who are deficient in
conduct.135 Upon the Code rests the ethical standards of the Cadet Corps and it is also an institutional goal,
ensuring that graduates have strong character, unimpeachable integrity, and moral standards of the highest
order.136 To emphasize, the Academy's disciplinary system as a whole is characterized as "correctional and
educational in nature rather than being legalistic and punitive." Its purpose is to teach the cadets "to be
prepared to accept full responsibility for all that they do or fail to do and to place loyalty to the service
above self-interest or loyalty to friends or associates."137 chan roblesv irt uallawl ibrary

Procedural safeguards in a student disciplinary case

Respondents stress that Guzman v. National University138 is more appropriate in determining the minimum
standards for the imposition of disciplinary sanctions in academic institutions. Similarly, with the guideposts
set in Andrews, they believe that Cadet 1CL Cudia was accorded due process.

On the other hand, petitioners argue that the HC, the CRAB and the PMA fell short in observing the
important safeguards laid down in Ang Tibay v. CIR139 and Non v. Judge Dames II,140 which set the
minimum standards to satisfy the demands of procedural due process in the imposition of disciplinary
sanctions. For them, Guzman did not entirely do away with the due process requirements outlined in Ang
Tibay as the Court merely stated that the minimum requirements in the Guzman case are more apropos.

Respondents rightly argued.

Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong141 already settled the issue as it held that although both Ang
Tibay and Guzman essentially deal with the requirements of due process, the latter case is
more apropossince it specifically deals with the minimum standards to be satisfied in the imposition of
disciplinary sanctions in academic institutions. That Guzman is the authority on the procedural rights of
students in disciplinary cases was reaffirmed by the Court in the fairly recent case of Go v. Colegio De San
Juan De Letran.142 chanroblesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

In Guzman, the Court held that there are minimum standards which must be met to satisfy the demands of
procedural due process, to wit: chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

(1) the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation against them; (2)
they shall have the right to answer the charges against them, with the assistance of counsel, if desired; (3)
they shall be informed of the evidence against them; (4) they shall have the right to adduce evidence in
their own behalf; and (5) the evidence must be duly considered by the investigating committee or official
designated by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.143
We have been consistent in reminding that due process in disciplinary cases involving students does not
entail proceedings and hearings similar to those prescribed for actions and proceedings in courts of
justice;144 that the proceedings may be summary;145 that cross-examination is not an essential part of the
investigation or hearing;146 and that the required proof in a student disciplinary action, which is an
administrative case, is neither proof beyond reasonable doubt nor preponderance of evidence but only
substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.147chanrob lesvi rtua llawli bra ry

What is crucial is that official action must meet minimum standards of fairness to the individual, which
generally encompass the right of adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.148 As held in De
La Salle University, Inc. v. Court of Appeals:149
Notice and hearing is the bulwark of administrative due process, the right to which is among the primary
rights that must be respected even in administrative proceedings. The essence of due process is simply an
opportunity to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain ones side or
an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. So long as the party is given
the opportunity to advocate her cause or defend her interest in due course, it cannot be said that there was
denial of due process.

A formal trial-type hearing is not, at all times and in all instances, essential to due process it is enough
that the parties are given a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the
controversy and to present supporting evidence on which a fair decision can be based. To be heard does
not only mean presentation of testimonial evidence in court one may also be heard through pleadings and
where the opportunity to be heard through pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of due process.150
The PMA Honor Code explicitly recognizes that an administrative proceeding conducted to investigate a
cadets honor violation need not be clothed with the attributes of a judicial proceeding. It articulates that
The Spirit of the Honor Code guides the Corps in identifying and assessing misconduct. While cadets are
interested in legal precedents in cases involving Honor violations, those who hold the Spirit of the Honor
Code dare not look into these precedents for loopholes to justify questionable acts and they are not to
interpret the system to their own advantage.

The Spirit of the Honor Code is a way for the cadets to internalize Honor in a substantive way. Technical and
procedural misgivings of the legal systems may avert the true essence of imparting the Spirit of the Code for
the reason that it can be used to make unlawful attempt to get into the truth of matters especially when a
cadet can be compelled to surrender some civil rights and liberties in order for the Code and System to be
implemented. By virtue of being a cadet, a member of the CCAFP becomes a subject of the Honor Code and
System. Cadets actions are bound by the existing norms that are logically applied through the Code and
System in order to realize the Academys mission to produce leaders of character men of integrity and
honor.151
One of the fundamental principles of the Honor System also states: chanRoblesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

2. The Honor System correlates with legal procedures of the states Justice System but it does not
demean its Spirit by reducing the Code to a systematic list of externally observed rules. Where
misinterpretations and loopholes arise through legalism and its technicalities, the objective of
building the character of the cadets becomes futile. While, generally, Public Law penalizes only the
faulty acts, the Honor System tries to examine both the action and the intention.152

Like in other institutions of higher learning, there is aversion towards undue judicialization of an
administrative hearing in the military academy. It has been said that the mission of the military is unique in
the sense that its primary business is to fight or be ready to fight wars should the occasion arise, and that
over-proceduralizing military determinations necessarily gives soldiers less time to accomplish this
task.153 Extensive cadet investigations and complex due process hearing could sacrifice simplicity,
practicality, and timeliness. Investigations that last for several days or weeks, sessions that become
increasingly involved with legal and procedural points, and legal motions and evidentiary objections that are
irrelevant and inconsequential tend to disrupt, delay, and confuse the dismissal proceedings and make them
unmanageable. Excessive delays cannot be tolerated since it is unfair to the accused, to his or her fellow
cadets, to the Academy, and, generally, to the Armed Forces. A good balance should, therefore, be struck to
achieve fairness, thoroughness, and efficiency.154 chanro blesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

Considering that the case of Cadet 1CL Cudia is one of first impression in the sense that this Court has not
previously dealt with the particular issue of a dismissed cadets right to due process, it is necessary for Us to
refer to U.S. jurisprudence for some guidance. Notably, our armed forces have been patterned after the U.S.
Army and the U.S. military code produced a salutary effect in the military justice system of the
Philippines.155 Hence, pertinent case laws interpreting the U.S. military code and practices have persuasive,
if not the same, effect in this jurisdiction.

We begin by stating that U.S. courts have uniformly viewed that due process is a flexible concept,
requiring consideration in each case of a variety of circumstances and calling for such procedural protections
as the particular situation demands.156Hagopian opined: chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

In approaching the question of what process is due before governmental action adversely affecting private
interests may properly be taken, it must be recognized that due process is not a rigid formula or simple rule
of thumb to be applied undeviatingly to any given set of facts. On the contrary, it is a flexible concept which
depends upon the balancing of various factors, including the nature of the private right or interest
that is threatened, the extent to which the proceeding is adversarial in character, the severity
and consequences of any action that might be taken, the burden that would be imposed by
requiring use of all or part of the full panoply of trial-type procedures, and the existence of other
overriding interests, such as the necessity for prompt action in the conduct of crucial military
operations. The full context must therefore be considered in each case.157 (Emphasis supplied)
Wasson, which was cited by Hagopian, broadly outlined the minimum standards of due process required in
the dismissal of a cadet. Thus:chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

[W]hen the government affects the private interests of individuals, it may not proceed arbitrarily but must
observe due process of law. x x x Nevertheless, the flexibility which is inherent in the concept of due process
of law precludes the dogmatic application of specific rules developed in one context to entirely distinct forms
of government action. "For, though 'due process of law' generally implies and includes actor, reus, judex,
regular allegations, opportunity to answer, and a trial according to some settled course of judicial
proceedings, * * * yet, this is not universally true." x x x Thus, to determine in any given case what
procedures due process requires, the court must carefully determine and balance the nature of the private
interest affected and of the government interest involved, taking account of history and the precise
circumstances surrounding the case at hand.

While the government must always have a legitimate concern with the subject matter before it may validly
affect private interests, in particularly vital and sensitive areas of government concern such as national
security and military affairs, the private interest must yield to a greater degree to the governmental. x x x
Few decisions properly rest so exclusively within the discretion of the appropriate government officials than
the selection, training, discipline and dismissal of the future officers of the military and Merchant Marine.
Instilling and maintaining discipline and morale in these young men who will be required to bear weighty
responsibility in the face of adversity -- at times extreme -- is a matter of substantial national importance
scarcely within the competence of the judiciary. And it cannot be doubted that because of these factors
historically the military has been permitted greater freedom to fashion its disciplinary procedures than the
civilian authorities.

We conclude, therefore, that due process only requires for the dismissal of a Cadet from the Merchant
Marine Academy that he be given a fair hearing at which he is apprised of the charges against him
and permitted a defense. x x x For the guidance of the parties x x x the rudiments of a fair hearing in
broad outline are plain. The Cadet must be apprised of the specific charges against him. He must be
given an adequate opportunity to present his defense both from the point of view of time and the
use of witnesses and other evidence. We do not suggest, however, that the Cadet must be given this
opportunity both when demerits are awarded and when dismissal is considered. The hearing may be
procedurally informal and need not be adversarial.158 (Emphasis supplied)
In Andrews, the U.S. Court of Appeals held that Wasson and Hagopian are equally controlling in cases where
cadets were separated from the military academy for violation of the Honor Code. Following the two
previous cases, it was ruled that in order to be proper and immune from constitutional infirmity, a cadet who
is sought to be dismissed or separated from the academy must be afforded a hearing, be apprised of the
specific charges against him, and be given an adequate opportunity to present his or her defense both from
the point of view of time and the use of witnesses and other evidence.159Conspicuously, these vital
conditions are not too far from what We have already set in Guzman and the subsequent rulings in Alcuaz v.
Philippine School of Business Administration160 and De La Salle University, Inc. v. Court of Appeals.161 chan rob lesvi rtua llawlib ra ry

In this case, the investigation of Cadet 1CL Cudias Honor Code violation followed the prescribed procedure
and existing practices in the PMA. He was notified of the Honor Report from Maj. Hindang. He was then
given the opportunity to explain the report against him. He was informed about his options and the entire
process that the case would undergo. The preliminary investigation immediately followed after he replied
and submitted a written explanation. Upon its completion, the investigating team submitted a written report
together with its recommendation to the HC Chairman. The HC thereafter reviewed the findings and
recommendations. When the honor case was submitted for formal investigation, a new team was assigned
to conduct the hearing. During the formal investigation/hearing, he was informed of the charge against him
and given the right to enter his plea. He had the chance to explain his side, confront the witnesses against
him, and present evidence in his behalf. After a thorough discussion of the HC voting members, he was
found to have violated the Honor Code. Thereafter, the guilty verdict underwent the review process at the
Academy level from the OIC of the HC, to the SJA, to the Commandant of Cadets, and to the PMA
Superintendent. A separate investigation was also conducted by the HTG. Then, upon the directive of the
AFP-GHQ to reinvestigate the case, a review was conducted by the CRAB. Further, a Fact-Finding
Board/Investigation Body composed of the CRAB members and the PMA senior officers was constituted to
conduct a deliberate investigation of the case. Finally, he had the opportunity to appeal to the President.
Sadly for him, all had issued unfavorable rulings.

It is well settled that by reason of their special knowledge and expertise gained from the handling of specific
matters falling under their respective jurisdictions, the factual findings of administrative tribunals are
ordinarily accorded respect if not finality by the Court, unless such findings are not supported by evidence or
vitiated by fraud, imposition or collusion; where the procedure which led to the findings is irregular; when
palpable errors are committed; or when a grave abuse of discretion, arbitrariness, or capriciousness is
manifest.162 In the case of Cadet 1CL Cudia, We find no reason to deviate from the general rule. The
grounds therefor are discussed below seriatim: cha nRoblesvi rt ualLaw lib rary

As to the right to be represented by a counsel

For petitioners, respondents must be compelled to give Cadet 1CL Cudia the right to be represented by a
counsel who could actively participate in the proceedings like in the cross-examination of the witnesses
against him before the CRAB or HC, if remanded. This is because while the CRAB allowed him to be
represented by a PAO lawyer, the counsel was only made an observer without any right to intervene and
demand respect of Cadet 1CL Cudias rights.163 According to them, he was not sufficiently given the
opportunity to seek a counsel and was not even asked if he would like to have one. He was only properly
represented when it was already nearing graduation day after his family sought the assistance of the PAO.
Petitioners assert that Guzman is specific in stating that the erring student has the right to answer the
charges against him or her with the assistance of counsel, if desired.

On the other hand, respondents cited Lumiqued v. Exevea164 and Nera v. The Auditor General165 in asserting
that the right to a counsel is not imperative in administrative investigations or non-criminal proceedings.
Also, based on Cadet 1CL Cudias academic standing, he is said to be obviously not untutored to fully
understand his rights and express himself. Moreover, the confidentiality of the HC proceedings worked
against his right to be represented by a counsel. In any event, respondents claim that Cadet 1CL Cudia was
not precluded from seeking a counsels advice in preparing his defense prior to the HC hearing.

Essentially, petitioners claim that Cadet 1CL Cudia is guaranteed the right to have his counsel not just in
assisting him in the preparation for the investigative hearing before the HC and the CRAB but in participating
fully in said hearings. The Court disagrees.

Consistent with Lumiqued and Nera, there is nothing in the 1987 Constitution stating that a party in a non-
litigation proceeding is entitled to be represented by counsel. The assistance of a lawyer, while desirable, is
not indispensable. Further, in Remolona v. Civil Service Commission,166 the Court held that a party in an
administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel, irrespective of the nature of the charges and
of the respondent's capacity to represent himself, and no duty rests on such body to furnish the person
being investigated with counsel. Hence, the administrative body is under no duty to provide the person with
counsel because assistance of counsel is not an absolute requirement.

More in point is the opinion in Wasson, which We adopt. Thus: chanRoblesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

The requirement of counsel as an ingredient of fairness is a function of all of the other aspects of the
hearing. Where the proceeding is non-criminal in nature, where the hearing is investigative and not
adversarial and the government does not proceed through counsel, where the individual concerned is
mature and educated, where his knowledge of the events x x x should enable him to develop the facts
adequately through available sources, and where the other aspects of the hearing taken as a whole are fair,
due process does not require representation by counsel.167
To note, U.S. courts, in general, have declined to recognize a right to representation by counsel, as a
function of due process, in military academy disciplinary proceedings.168 This rule is principally motivated by
the policy of "treading lightly on the military domain, with scrupulous regard for the power and authority of
the military establishment to govern its own affairs within the broad confines of constitutional due process"
and the courts' views that disciplinary proceedings are not judicial in nature and should be kept informal,
and that literate and educated cadets should be able to defend themselves.169 In Hagopian, it was ruled that
the importance of informality in the proceeding militates against a requirement that the cadet be accorded
the right to representation by counsel before the Academic Board and that unlike the welfare recipient who
lacks the training and education needed to understand his rights and express himself, the cadet should be
capable of doing so.170 In the subsequent case of Wimmer v. Lehman,171 the issue was not access to counsel
but the opportunity to have counsel, instead of oneself, examine and cross-examine witnesses, make
objections, and argue the case during the hearing. Disposing of the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit was not persuaded by the argument that an individual of a midshipman's presumed
intelligence, selected because he is expected to be able to care for himself and others, often under difficult
circumstances, and who has full awareness of what he is facing, with counsel's advice, was deprived of due
process by being required to present his defense in person at an investigatory hearing.

In the case before Us, while the records are bereft of evidence that Cadet 1CL Cudia was given the option or
was able to seek legal advice prior to and/or during the HC hearing, it is indubitable that he was assisted by
a counsel, a PAO lawyer to be exact, when the CRAB reviewed and reinvestigated the case. The requirement
of due process is already satisfied since, at the very least, the counsel aided him in the drafting and filing of
the Appeal Memorandum and even acted as an observer who had no right to actively participate in the
proceedings (such as conducting the cross-examination). Moreover, not to be missed out are the facts that
the offense committed by Cadet 1CL Cudia is not criminal in nature; that the hearings before the HC and the
CRAB were investigative and not adversarial; and that Cadet 1CL Cudias excellent academic standing puts
him in the best position to look after his own vested interest in the Academy.

As to the confidentiality of records of the proceedings

Petitioners allege that when Maj. Gen. Lopez denied in his March 11, 2014 letter Cadet 1CL Cudias request
for documents, footages, and recordings relevant to the HC hearings, the vital evidence negating the
regularity of the HC trial and supporting his defense have been surely overlooked by the CRAB in its case
review. Indeed, for them, the answers on whether Cadet 1CL Cudia was deprived of due process and
whether he lied could easily be unearthed from the video and other records of the HC investigation.
Respondents did not deny their existence but they refused to present them for the parties and the Court to
peruse. In particular, they note that the Minutes of the HC dated January 21, 2014 and the HC Formal
Investigation Report dated January 20, 2014 were considered by the CRAB but were not furnished to
petitioners and the Court; hence, there is no way to confirm the truth of the alleged statements therein. In
their view, failure to furnish these documents could only mean that it would be adverse if produced pursuant
to Section 3 (e), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court.172chanrob lesvi rtua llawli bra ry

For lack of legal basis on PMAs claim of confidentiality of records, petitioners contend that it is the
ministerial duty of the HC to submit to the CRAB, for the conduct of intelligent review of the case, all its
records of the proceedings, including video footages of the deliberations and voting. They likewise argue
that PMAs refusal to release relevant documents to Cadet 1CL Cudia under the guise of confidentiality
reveals another misapplication of the Honor Code, which merely provides: A cadet who becomes part of any
investigation is subject to the existing regulations pertaining to rules of confidentiality and, therefore, must
abide to the creed of secrecy. Nothing shall be disclosed without proper guidance from those with authority
(IV. The Honor System, Honor Committee, Cadet Observer). This provision, they say, does not deprive
Cadet 1CL Cudia of his right to obtain copies and examine relevant documents pertaining to his case.

Basically, petitioners want Us to assume that the documents, footages, and recordings relevant to the HC
hearings are favorable to Cadet 1CL Cudias cause, and, consequently, to rule that respondents refusal to
produce and have them examined is tantamount to the denial of his right to procedural due process. They
are mistaken.

In this case, petitioners have not particularly identified any documents, witness testimony, or oral or written
presentation of facts submitted at the hearing that would support Cadet 1CL Cudias defense. The Court may
require that an administrative record be supplemented, but only "where there is a 'strong showing of bad
faith or improper behavior' on the part of the agency,"173 both of which are not present here. Petitioners
have not specifically indicated the nature of the concealed evidence, if any, and the reason for withholding
it. What they did was simply supposing that Cadet 1CL Cudias guilty verdict would be overturned with the
production and examination of such documents, footages, and recordings. As will be further shown in the
discussions below, the requested matters, even if denied, would not relieve Cadet 1CL Cudias predicament.
If at all, such denial was a harmless procedural error since he was not seriously prejudiced thereby.

As to the ostracism in the PMA

To petitioners, the CRAB considered only biased testimonies and evidence because Special Order No. 1
issued on February 21, 2014, which directed the ostracism of Cadet 1CL Cudia, left him without any
opportunity to secure statements of his own witnesses. He could not have access to or approach the cadets
who were present during the trial and who saw the 8-1 voting result. It is argued that the Order directing
Cadet 1CL Cudias ostracism is of doubtful legal validity because the Honor Code unequivocally announced:
x x x But by wholeheartedly dismissing the cruel method of ostracizing Honor Code violators, PMA will not
have to resort to other humiliating means and shall only have the option to make known among its alumni
the names of those who have not sincerely felt remorse for violating the Honor Code.

On their part, respondents assert that neither the petition nor the petition-in-intervention attached a full
text copy of the alleged Special Order No. 1. In any case, attributing its issuance to PMA is improper and
misplaced because of petitioners admission that ostracism has been absolutely dismissed as an Academy-
sanctioned activity consistent with the trend in International Humanitarian Law that the PMA has included in
its curriculum. Assuming that said Order was issued, respondents contend that it purely originated from the
cadets themselves, the sole purpose of which was to give a strong voice to the Cadet Corps by declaring
that they did not tolerate Cadet 1CL Cudias honor violation and breach of confidentiality of the HC
proceedings.

More importantly, respondents add that it is highly improbable and unlikely that Cadet 1CL Cudia was
ostracized by his fellow cadets. They manifest that as early as January 22, 2014, he was already transferred
to the Holding Center. The practice of billeting an accused cadet at the Holding Center is provided for in the
Honor Code Handbook. Although within the PMA compound, the Holding Center is off-limits to cadets who do
not have any business to conduct therein. The cadets could not also ostracize him during mess times since
Cadet 1CL Cudia opted to take his meals at the Holding Center. The circumstances obtaining when Special
Order No. 1 was issued clearly foreclose the possibility that he was ostracized in common areas accessible to
other cadets. He remained in the Holding Center until March 16, 2014 when he voluntarily left the PMA.
Contrary to his claim, guests were also free to visit him in the Holding Center.

However, petitioners swear that Cadet 1CL Cudia suffered from ostracism in the PMA. The practice was
somehow recognized by respondents in their Consolidated Comment and by PMA Spokesperson Maj. Flores
in a news report. The CHR likewise confirmed the same in its Resolution dated May 22, 2014. For them, it
does not matter where the ostracism order originated from because the PMA appeared to sanction it even if
it came from the cadets themselves. There was a tacit approval of an illegal act. If not, those cadets
responsible for ostracism would have been charged by the PMA officials. Finally, it is claimed that Cadet 1CL
Cudia did not choose to take his meals at the Holding Center as he was not allowed to leave the place.
Petitioners opine that placing the accused cadet in the Holding Center is inconsistent with his or her
presumed innocence and certainly gives the implication of ostracism.

We agree with respondents. Neither the petition nor the petition-in-intervention attached a full text copy or
even a pertinent portion of the alleged Special Order No. 1, which authorized the ostracism of Cadet 1CL
Cudia. Being hearsay, its existence and contents are of doubtful veracity. Hence, a definite ruling on the
matter can never be granted in this case.

The Court cannot close its eyes though on what appears to be an admission of Cadet 1CL Mogol during the
CHR hearing that, upon consultation with the entire class, the baron, and the Cadet Conduct Policy Board,
they issued an ostracism order against Cadet 1CL Cudia.174 While not something new in a military
academy,175 ostracisms continued existence in the modern times should no longer be countenanced. There
are those who argue that the "silence" is a punishment resulting in the loss of private interests, primarily
that of reputation, and that such penalty may render illusory the possibility of vindication by the reviewing
body once found guilty by the HC.176 Furthermore, in Our mind, ostracism practically denies the accused
cadets protected rights to present witnesses or evidence in his or her behalf and to be presumed innocent
until finally proven otherwise in a proper proceeding.

As to Cadet 1CL Cudias stay in the Holding Center, the Court upholds the same. The Honor Code and Honor
System Handbook provides that, in case a cadet has been found guilty by the HC of violating the Honor
Code and has opted not to resign, he or she may stay and wait for the disposition of the case. In such
event, the cadet is not on full-duty status and shall be billeted at the HTG Holding Center.177Similarly, in the
U.S., the purpose of Boarders Ward is to quarter those cadets who are undergoing separation actions.
Permitted to attend classes, the cadet is sequestered therein until final disposition of the case. In Andrews,
it was opined that the segregation of cadets in the Ward was a proper exercise of the discretionary authority
of Academy officials. It relied on the traditional doctrine that "with respect to decisions made by Army
authorities, 'orderly government requires us to tread lightly on the military domain, with scrupulous regard
for the power and authority of the military establishment to govern its own affairs within the broad confines
of constitutional due process.'" Also, in Birdwell v. Schlesinger,178the administrative segregation was held
to be a reasonable exercise of military discipline and could not be considered an invasion of the rights to
freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Late and vague decisions

It is claimed that Cadet 1CL Cudia was kept in the dark as to the charge against him and the decisions
arrived at by the HC, the CRAB, and the PMA. No written decision was furnished to him, and if any, the
information was unjustly belated and the justifications for the decisions were vague. He had to constantly
seek clarification and queries just to be apprised of what he was confronted with.

Petitioners relate that upon being informed of the guilty verdict, Cadet 1CL Cudia immediately inquired as
to the grounds therefor, but Cadet 1CL Mogol answered that it is confidential since he would still appeal the
same. By March 11, 2014, Maj. Gen. Lopez informed Cadet 1CL Cudia that the CRAB already forwarded their
recommendation for his dismissal to the General Headquarters sometime in February-March 2014. Even
then, he received no decision/recommendation on his case, verbally or in writing. The PMA commencement
exercises pushed through with no written decision from the CRAB or the PMA on his appeal. The letter from
the Office of the Adjutant General of the AFP was suspiciously delayed when the Cudia family received the
same only on March 20, 2014. Moreover, it fell short in laying down with specificity the factual and legal
bases used by the CRAB and even by the Office of the Adjutant General. There remains no proof that the
CRAB and the PMA considered the evidence presented by Cadet 1CL Cudia, it being uncertain as to what
evidence was weighed by the CRAB, whether the same is substantial, and whether the new evidence
submitted by him was ever taken into account.
In refutation, respondents allege the existence of PMAs practice of orally declaring the HC finding, not
putting it in a written document so as to protect the integrity of the erring cadet and guard the
confidentiality of the HC proceedings pursuant to the Honor System. Further, they aver that a copy of the
report of the CRAB, dated March 10, 2014, was not furnished to Cadet 1CL Cudia because it was his parents
who filed the appeal, hence, were the ones who were given a copy thereof.

Petitioners contentions have no leg to stand on. While there is a constitutional mandate stating that [no]
decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the
law on which it is based,179 such provision does not apply in Cadet 1CL Cudias case.
Neither Guzman nor Andrews require a specific form and content of a decision issued in disciplinary
proceedings. The Honor Code and Honor System Handbook also has no written rule on the matter. Even if
the provision applies, nowhere does it demand that a point-by-point consideration and resolution of the
issues raised by the parties are necessary.180 What counts is that, albeit furnished to him late, Cadet 1CL
Cudia was informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of the factual and legal reasons that led to
the conclusions of the reviewing body, assuring that it went through the processes of legal reasoning. He
was not left in the dark as to how it was reached and he knows exactly the reasons why he lost, and is able
to pinpoint the possible errors for review.

As to the blind adoption of the HC findings

Petitioners assert that, conformably with Sections 30 and 31 of C.A. No. 1, only President Aquino as the
Commander-in-Chief has the power to appoint and remove a cadet for a valid/legal cause. The law gives no
authority to the HC as the sole body to determine the guilt or innocence of a cadet. It also does not
empower the PMA to adopt the guilty findings of the HC as a basis for recommending the cadets dismissal.
In the case of Cadet 1CL Cudia, it is claimed that the PMA blindly followed the HCs finding of guilt in
terminating his military service.

Further, it is the ministerial duty of the CRAB to conduct a review de novo of all records without requiring
Cadet 1CL Cudia to submit new evidence if it is physically impossible for him to do so. In their minds,
respondents cannot claim that the CRAB and the PMA thoroughly reviewed the HC recommendation and
heard Cadet 1CL Cudias side. As clearly stated in the letter from the Office of the AFP Adjutant General,
[in] its report dated March 10, 2014, PMA CRAB sustained the findings and recommendations of the Honor
Committee x x x It also resolved the appeal filed by the subject Cadet. However, the Final Investigation
Report of the CRAB was dated March 23, 2014. While such report states that a report was submitted to the
AFP General Headquarters on March 10, 2014 and that it was only on March 12, 2014 that it was designated
as a Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body, it is unusual that the CRAB would do the same things twice.
This raised a valid and well-grounded suspicion that the CRAB never undertook an in-depth
investigation/review the first time it came out with its report, and the Final Investigation Report was drafted
merely as an afterthought when the lack of written decision was pointed out by petitioners so as to remedy
the apparent lack of due process during the CRAB investigation and review.

Despite the arguments, respondents assure that there was a proper assessment of the procedural and legal
correctness of the guilty verdict against Cadet 1CL Cudia. They assert that the higher authorities of the PMA
did not merely rely on the findings of the HC, noting that there was also a separate investigation conducted
by the HTG from January 25 to February 7, 2014. Likewise, contrary to the contention of petitioners that the
CRAB continued with the review of the case despite the absence of necessary documents, the CRAB
conducted its own review of the case and even conducted another investigation by constituting the Fact-
Finding Board/Investigating Body. For respondents, petitioners failed to discharge the burden of proof in
showing bad faith on the part of the PMA. In the absence of evidence to the contrary and considering further
that petitioners allegations are merely self-serving and baseless, good faith on the part of the PMAs higher
authorities is presumed and should, therefore, prevail.

We agree with respondents.

The Honor Committee, acting on behalf of the Cadet Corps, has a limited role of investigating and
determining whether or not the alleged offender has actually violated the Honor Code.181 It is given the
responsibility of administering the Honor Code and, in case of breach, its task is entirely investigative,
examining in the first instance a suspected violation. As a means of encouraging self-discipline, without
ceding to it any authority to make final adjudications, the Academy has assigned it the function of
identifying suspected violators.182 Contrary to petitioners assertion, the HC does not have the authority to
order the separation of a cadet from the Academy. The results of its proceedings are purely
recommendatory and have no binding effect. The HC determination is somewhat like an indictment, an
allegation, which, in Cadet 1CL Cudias case, the PMA-CRAB investigated de novo.183 In the U.S., it was even
opined that due process safeguards do not actually apply at the Honor Committee level because it is only a
"charging body whose decisions had no effect other than to initiate de novo proceedings before a Board of
Officers."184
chanro blesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

Granting, for arguments sake, that the HC is covered by the due process clause and that irregularities in its
proceedings were in fact committed, still, We cannot rule for petitioners. It is not required that procedural
due process be afforded at every stage of developing disciplinary action. What is required is that an
adequate hearing be held before the final act of dismissing a cadet from the military academy.185In the case
of Cadet 1CL Cudia, the OIC of HC, the SJA, the Commandant of Cadets, and the PMA Superintendent
reviewed the HC findings. A separate investigation was also conducted by the HTG. Then, upon the directive
of the AFP-GHQ to reinvestigate the case, a review was conducted by the CRAB. Finally, a Fact-Finding
Board/Investigating Body composed of the CRAB members and the PMA senior officers was constituted to
conduct a deliberate investigation of the case. The Board/Body actually held hearings on March 12, 13, 14
and 20, 2014. Instead of commendation, petitioners find it unusual that the CRAB would do the same
things twice and suspect that it never undertook an in-depth investigation/review the first time it came out
with its report. Such assertion is mere conjecture that deserves scant consideration.

As to the dismissal proceedings as sham trial

According to petitioners, the proceedings before the HC were a sham. The people behind Cadet 1CL Cudias
charge, investigation, and conviction were actually the ones who had the intent to deceive and who took
advantage of the situation. Cadet 1CL Raguindin, who was a senior HC member and was the second in rank
to Cadet 1CL Cudia in the Navy cadet 1CL, was part of the team which conducted the preliminary
investigation. Also, Cadet 1CL Mogol, the HC Chairman, previously charged Cadet 1CL Cudia with honor
violation allegedly for cheating (particularly, conniving with and tutoring his fellow cadets on a difficult topic
by giving solutions to a retake exam) but the charge was dismissed for lack of merit. Even if he was a non-
voting member, he was in a position of influence and authority. Thus, it would be a futile exercise for Cadet
1CL Cudia to resort to the procedure for the removal of HC members.186 chan roble svirtuallaw lib rary

Further, no sufficient prior notice of the scheduled CRAB hearing was given to Cadet 1CL Cudia, his family,
or his PAO counsel. During one of her visits to him in the Holding Center, petitioner-intervenor was advised
to convince his son to resign and immediately leave the PMA. Brig. Gen. Costales, who later became the
CRAB Head, also categorically uttered to Annavee: Your brother, he lied! The CRAB conferences were
merely used to formalize his dismissal and the PMA never really intended to hear his side. For petitioners,
these are manifestations of PMAs clear resolve to dismiss him no matter what.

For their part, respondents contend that the CHRs allegation that Maj. Hindang acted in obvious bad faith
and that he failed to discharge his duty to be a good father of cadets when he paved the road to [Cadet
1CL Cudias] sham trial by the Honor Committee is an unfounded accusation. They note that when Maj.
Hindang was given the DR of Cadet 1CL Cudia, he revoked the penalty awarded because of his explanation.
However, all revocations of awarded penalties are subject to the review of the STO. Therefore, it was at the
instance of Maj. Leander and the established procedure followed at the PMA that Maj. Hindang was
prompted to investigate the circumstances surrounding Cadet 1 CL Cudias tardiness. Respondents add that
bad faith cannot likewise be imputed against Maj. Hindang by referring to the actions taken by Maj. Jekyll
Dulawan, the CTO of Cadets 1CL Narciso and Arcangel who also arrived late for their next class. Unlike the
other cadets, Cadet 1CL Cudia did not admit his being late and effectively evaded responsibility by ascribing
his tardiness to Dr. Costales.

As to the CHRs finding that Cadet 1CL Mogol was likewise in bad faith and determined to destroy [Cadet
1CL] Cudia, for reasons of his own because the former previously reported the latter for an honor violation
in November 2013, respondents argue that the bias ascribed against him is groundless as there is failure to
note that Cadet 1CL Mogol was a non-voting member of the HC. Further, he cannot be faulted for reporting
a possible honor violation since he is the HC Chairman and nothing less is expected of him. Respondents
emphasize that the representatives of the HC are elected from each company, while the HC Chairman is
elected by secret ballot from the incoming first class representatives. Thus, if Cadet 1CL Cudia believed that
there was bias against him, he should have resorted to the procedure for the removal of HC members
provided for in the Honor Code Handbook.

Finally, respondents declare that there is no reason or ill-motive on the part of the PMA to prevent Cadet
1CL Cudia from graduating because the Academy does not stand to gain anything from his dismissal. On the
contrary, in view of his academic standing, the separation militates against PMAs mission to produce
outstanding, honorable, and exceptional cadets.

The Court differs with petitioners.

Partiality, like fraudulent intent, can never be presumed. Absent some showing of actual bias, petitioners
allegations do not hold water. The mere imputation of ill-motive without proof is speculative at
best. Kolesa teaches us that to sustain the challenge, specific evidence must be presented to overcome
a presumption of honesty and integrity in those serving as adjudicators; and it must convince that, under a
realistic appraisal of psychological tendencies and human weaknesses, conferring investigative and
adjudicative powers on the same individual poses such a risk of actual bias or prejudgment that the practice
must be forbidden if the guarantee of due process is to be implemented.187
Although a CTO like Maj. Hindang must decide whether demerits are to be awarded, he is not an adversary
of the cadet but an educator who shares an identity of interest with the cadet, whom he counsels from time
to time as a future leader.188 When the occasion calls for it, cadets may be questioned as to the accuracy or
completeness of a submitted work. A particular point or issue may be clarified. In this case, the question
asked of Cadet 1CL Cudia concerning his being late in class is proper, since there is evidence indicating that
a breach of regulation may have occurred and there is reasonable cause to believe that he was involved in
the breach of regulations.189 cha nroble svirtual lawlib rary

For lack of actual proof of bad faith or ill-motive, the Court shall rely on the non-toleration clause of the
Honor Code, i.e., We do not tolerate those who violate the Code. Cadets are reminded that they are
charged with a tremendous duty far more superior to their personal feeling or friendship.190 They must learn
to help others by guiding them to accept the truth and do what is right, rather than tolerating actions
against truth and justice.191 Likewise, cadets are presumed to be characteristically honorable; they cannot
overlook or arbitrarily ignore the dishonorable action of their peers, seniors, or subordinates.192 These are
what Cadet 1CL Mogol exactly did, although he was later proven to have erred in his accusation. Note that
even the Honor Code and Honor System Handbook recognizes that interpretation of ones honor is generally
subjective.193
c hanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry
Moreover, assuming, for the sake of argument, that Cadets 1CL Raguindin and Mogol as well as Brig. Gen.
Costales have an axe to grind against Cadet 1CL Cudia and were bent on causing, no matter what, the
latters downfall, their nefarious conduct would still be insignificant. This is so since the HC (both the
preliminary and formal investigation), the CRAB, and the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body are collegial
bodies. Hence, the claim that the proceedings/hearings conducted were merely a farce because the three
personalities participated therein is tantamount to implying the existence of a conspiracy, distrusting the
competence, independence, and integrity of the other members who constituted the majority. Again, in the
absence of specifics and substantial evidence, the Court cannot easily give credence to this baseless
insinuation.

As to the HC executive session/chambering

Petitioners narrate that there was an irregular administrative hearing in the case of Cadet 1CL Cudia
because two voting rounds took place. After the result of the secret balloting, Cadet 1CL Mogol ordered the
voting members to go to a room without the cadet recorders. Therein, the lone dissenter, Cadet 1CL Lagura,
was asked to explain his not guilty vote. Pressured to change his vote, he was made to cast a new one
finding Cadet 1CL Cudia guilty. The original ballot was discarded and replaced. There was no record of the
change in vote from 8-1 to 9-0 that was mentioned in the HC formal report.

The Affidavit of Commander Junjie B. Tabuada executed on March 6, 2014 was submitted by petitioners
since he purportedly recalled Cadet 1CL Lagura telling him that he was pressured to change his not guilty
vote after the voting members were chambered. In the sworn statement, Commander Tabuada said: chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

1. That after CDT 1CL CUDIA [was] convicted for honor violation, I [cannot] remember exactly the
date but sometime in the morning of 23rd or 24th of January 2014, I was in my office filling up forms
for the renewal of my passport, CDT 1CL LAGURA entered and had business with my staff; chanrobles law

2. When he was about to leave I called him. Lags, halika muna dito, and he approached me and I
let him sit down on the chair in front of my table. I told and asked him, Talagang nadali si Cudia
ah... ano ba ang nangyari? Mag-Tagalog or mag-Bisaya ka. He replied, Talagang NOT
GUILTY ang vote ko sa kanya sir, and I asked him, Oh, bakit naging guilty di ba pag may
isang nag NOT GUILTY, abswelto na? He replied Chinamber ako sir, bale pinapa-justify
kung bakit NOT GUILTY vote ko, at na-pressure din ako sir kaya binago ko, sir. So, I told
him, Sayang sya, matalino at mabait pa namanand he replied oo nga sir. After that
conversation, I let him go.194

It is claimed that the HC gravely abused its discretion when it committed voting manipulation since, under
the rules, it is required to have a unanimous nine (9) votes finding an accused cadet guilty. There is nothing
in the procedure that permits the HC Chairman to order the chambering of a member who voted contrary
to the majority and subjects him or her to reconsider in order to reflect a unanimous vote. Neither is there
an order from the Chief of Staff or the President sanctioning the HC procedure or approving any change
therein pursuant to Sections 30 and 31 of C.A. No. 1. The HC, the CRAB, and the PMA violated their own
rules and principles as embodied in the Honor Code. Being a clear deviation from the established
procedures, the second deliberation should be considered null and void.

Petitioners further contend that the requirement of unanimous vote involves a substantive right which
cannot be unceremoniously changed without a corresponding amendment/revision in the Honor Code and
Honor System Handbook. In their view, chambering totally defeats the purpose of voting by secret ballot
as it glaringly destroys the very essence and philosophy behind the provisions of the Honor System, which is
to ensure that the voting member is free to vote what is in his or her heart and mind and that no one can
pressure or persuade another to change his or her vote. They suggest that if one voting member acquits an
accused cadet who is obviously guilty of the offense, the solution is to remove him or her from the HC
through the vote of non-confidence as provided for in the Honor Code.195 chan roble svirtuallaw lib rary

Anent the above arguments, respondents contend that a distinction must be made between the concepts of
the Honor Code and the Honor System. According to them, the former sets the standard for a cadets
minimum ethical and moral behavior and does not change, while the latter is a set of rules for the conduct
of the observance and implementation of the Honor Code and may undergo necessary adjustments as may
be warranted by the incumbent members of the HC in order to be more responsive to the moral training and
character development of the cadets. The HC may provide guidelines when the Honor System can be used
to supplement regulations. This being so, the voting process is continuously subject to change.

Respondents note that, historically, a non-unanimous guilty verdict automatically acquits a cadet from the
charge of Honor violation. The voting members only write either guilty or not guilty in the voting sheets
without stating their name or their justification. However, this situation drew criticisms since there were
instances where a reported cadet already admitted his honor violation but was acquitted due to the lone
vote of a sympathetic voting member.

In the case of Cadet 1CL Cudia, the HC adopted an existing practice that should the voting result in 7-2 or
8-1 the HC would automatically sanction a jury type of discussion called executive session or
chambering, which is intended to elicit the explanation and insights of the voting member/s. This prevents
the tyranny of the minority or lone dissenter from prevailing over the manifest proof of guilt. The assailed
voting practice has been adopted and widely accepted by the PMA Siklab Diwa Class of 2014 since their first
year in the Academy. The allegations of conspiracy and sham trial are, therefore, negated by the fact that
such practice was in place and applied to all cases of honor violations, not solely to the case of Cadet 1CL
Cudia.

It is emphasized by respondents that any decision to change vote rests solely on the personal conviction of
the dissenter/s, without any compulsion from the other voting members. There can also be no pressuring to
change ones vote to speak of since a vote may only be considered as final when the Presiding Officer has
affixed his signature.

To debunk Commander Tabuadas statements, respondents raise the argument that the Fact-Finding
Board/Investigating Body summoned Cadet 1CL Lagura for inquiry. Aside from his oral testimony made
under oath, he submitted to the Board/Body an affidavit explaining that: chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

11. Sometime on 23rd


or 24th
of January 2014, I went to the Department of
Naval Warfare to ask permission if it is possible not to attend the Navy
duty for the reason that I will be attending our baseball game outside
the Academy.
12. After I was permitted not to attend my Navy Duty and when I was about
to exit out of the Office, CDR JUNJIE B TABUADA PN, our Head
Department Naval Warfare Officer, called my attention. I approached
him and he said: Talagang nadali si Cudia ah. Ano ba talaga ang
nangyari? At first, I was hesitant to answer because of the
confidentiality of the Honor Committee proceedings. He again said: Wag
kang mag-alala, atin, atin lang ito, alam ko naman na bawal magsabi.
Then I answered: Ako yung isang not guilty Sir. Kaya [yung] Presiding
Officer nagsabi na pumunta muna kami sa Chamber. Nung nasa
chamber kami, nagsalita [yung] mga nagvote ng Guilty tapos isa-isa
nagsabi kung bakit ang boto nila Guilty. Nung pakinggan ko, eh
naliwanagan ako. Pinalitan ko yung boto ko from Not Guilty to Guilty
Sir. He replied: Sayang si Cudia ano? And I said: Oo nga sir,
[s]ayang si Cudia, mabait pa naman at matalino.196
Cadet 1CL Lagura restated the above in the Counter-Affidavit executed on March 12, 2014, which he
submitted before the CHR wherein he attested to the following:
3. I was chosen to be a voting member of the Honor Committee for Honor
Code violation committed by Cadet Cudia, for lying. As a voting
member, we are the one who assess or investigate the case whether the
reported Cadet is Guilty for his actions or not.
4. I was the only one who INITIALLY voted NOT GUILTY among the nine
(9) voting members of the Honor Committee in the case of Cdt Cudia for
Lying.
5. I initially voted NOT GUILTY for the reason that after the proceedings
and before the presiding Officer told the members to vote, I was
confused of the case of Cadet Cudia. I have gathered some facts from
the investigation to make my decision but for me it is not yet enough to
give my verdict of guilty to Cdt Cudia so I decided to vote NOT GUILTY
with a reservation in my mind that we will still be discussing our verdicts
if we will arrive at 8-1 or 7-2. Thus, I can still change my vote if I may
be enlightened with the others justifications.
6. After the votes were collected, the Presiding Officer told us that the vote
is 8 for guilty and 1 for not guilty. By way of practice and as I predicted,
we were told to go inside the anteroom for executive meeting and to
discuss our respective justifications. I have been a member for two (2)
years and the voting committee will always go for executive meeting
whenever it will meet 8-1 or 7-2 votes.
7. I listened to them and they listened to me, then I saw things that
enlightened my confusions that time. I gave a thumbs-up sign and asked
for another sheet of voting paper. I then changed my vote from NOT
GUILTY to GUILTY and the voting members of the Honor Committee
came up with the final vote of nine (9) votes for guilty and zero (0)
votes for not guilty.
9. Cdt Cudia was called inside the courtroom and told that the verdict was
GUILTY of LYING. After that, all persons inside the courtroom went back
to barracks.
10. Right after I changed to sleeping uniform, I was approached by Cdt
Jocson and Cdt Cudia, inquiring and said: Bakit ka naman nagpalit ng
boto? I answered: Nasa process yan, may mali talaga sa rason mo.
They also asked who were inside the Chamber and I mentioned only Cdt
Arlegui and Cdt Mogol. That was the last time that Cdt Cudia and Cdt
Jocson talked to me.
11. Sometime on 23rd or 24th of January 2014, I went to the Department of
Naval Warfare to asked (sic) permission if it is possible not to attend the
Navy duty for the reason that I will be attending our baseball game
outside the Academy.
12. After I was permitted not to attend my Navy Duty and when I was about
to exit out of the Office, CDR JUNJIE B TABUADA PN, our Head
Department Naval Warfare Officer, called my attention. I approached
him and he said: Talagang nadali si Cudia ah. Ano ba talaga ang
nangyari? At first, I was hesitant to answer because of the
confidentiality of the Honor Committee proceedings. He again said: Wag
kang mag-alala, atin, atin lang ito, alam ko naman na bawal magsabi.
Then I answered: Ako yung isang not guilty Sir. Kaya [yung] Presiding
Officer nagsabi na pumunta muna kami sa Chamber. Nung nasa
chamber kami, nagsalita [yung] mga nagvote ng Guilty tapos isa-isa
nagsabi kung bakit ang boto nila Guilty. Nung pakinggan ko, eh
naliwanagan ako. Pinalitan ko yung boto ko from Not Guilty to Guilty
Sir. He replied: Sayang si Cudia ano? And I said: Oo nga sir,
[s]ayang si Cudia, mabait pa naman at matalino.197
Still not to be outdone, petitioners argue that the very fact that Cadet 1CL Lagura, as the lone dissenter,
was made to explain in the presence of other HC members, who were in disagreement with him, gives a
semblance of intimidation, force, or pressure. For them, the records of the HC proceedings, which were not
presented assuming they actually exist, could have been the best way to ensure that he was free to express
his views, reject the opinion of the majority, and stick to his decision. Also, it was pointed out that Cadet
1CL Lagura failed to clearly explain in his affidavit why he initially found Cadet 1CL Cudia not guilty and
what made him change his mind. His use of general statements like he was confused of the case and saw
things that enlightened my confusions could hardly suffice to establish why he changed his vote. Finally,
petitioners note the admission of Cadet 1CL Lagura during the CHR investigation that he was the only one
who was given another ballot sheet while in the chamber and that he accomplished it in the barracks which
he only submitted the following day. However, as the CHR found, the announcement of the 9-0 vote was
done immediately after the HC came out from the chamber and before Cadet 1CL Lagura submitted his
accomplished ballot sheet.

We rule for respondents.

As to the manner of voting by the HC members, the Honor Code tersely provides: chanRob lesvi rtua l Lawlib rary

After a thorough discussion and deliberation, the presiding member of the Board will call for the members to
vote whether the accused is GUILTY or NOT GUILTY. A unanimous vote (9 votes) of GUILTY decides that a
cadet is found guilty of violating the Honor Code.198
From the above-quoted provision, it readily appears that the HC practice of conducting executive session
or chambering is not at all prohibited. The HC is given leeway on the voting procedures in actual cases
taking into account the exigency of the times. What is important is that, in the end, there must be a
unanimous nine votes in order to hold a cadet guilty of violating the Honor Code.

Granting, for arguments sake, that the HC violated its written procedure,199 We still rule that there is
nothing inherently wrong with the practice of chambering considering that the presence of intimidation or
force cannot automatically be inferred therefrom. The essence of secret balloting and the freedom to vote
based on what is in the heart and mind of the voting member is not necessarily diluted by the fact that a
second/final voting was conducted. As explained by Cadet 1CL Mogol before the CRAB: chanRoblesvirtual Lawli bra ry

13. x x x [The] dissenting voter would have to explain his side and insights regarding the case at hand.
The other members, on the other hand, would be given the chance to explain their votes as well as
their insights to the dissenting voter. The decision to change the vote of the dissenting voter rests
solely on his personal conviction. Thus, if he [or she] opted not to change his/her vote despite the
discussion, his [or her] vote is accorded respect by the Honor Committee.200
It is elementary that intimidation or force is never presumed. Mere allegation is definitely not evidence. It
must be substantiated and proved because a person is presumed to be innocent of a crime or wrong and
that official duty has been regularly performed.201cha nrob lesvi rtua llawli bra ry

The oral and written statements of Cadet 1CL Lagura should settle the issue. Before the Fact-Finding
Board/Investigating Body and the CHR, he consistently denied that he was pressured by the other voting
members of the HC. His representation must be accepted as it is regardless of whether he has satisfactorily
elaborated his decision to change his vote. Being the one who was chambered, he is more credible to
clarify the issue. In case of doubt, We have to rely on the faith that Cadet 1CL Lagura observed the Honor
Code, which clearly states that every cadet must be his or her own Final Authority in honor; that he or she
should not let other cadets dictate on him or her their sense of honor.202 Moreover, the Code implies that
any person can have confidence that a cadet and any graduate of the PMA will be fair and just in dealing
with him; that his actions, words and ways are sincere and true.203 chan roble svirtuallaw lib rary

As to the other alleged irregularities committed such as not putting on record the initial/first voting and
Cadet 1CL Laguras bringing of his ballot sheet to and accomplishing it in the barracks, the Court shall no
longer dwell on the same for being harmless procedural errors that do not materially affect the validity of
the HC proceedings.

Cadet 1CL Cudias alleged untruthful statements

Petitioners insist that Cadet 1CL Cudia did not lie. According to them, there is no clear time reference as to
when was the actual dismissal or what was the exact time of dismissal whether it should be the dismissal
inside the room or the dismissal after the section grade was given by Dr. Costales in the minds of Cadet
1CL Cudia, Maj. Hindang, and the HC investigators and voting members. They claim that during long
examinations, the time of dismissal was usually five minutes before the class was set to end and the
protocol of dismissing the class 15 minutes earlier was not observed. When Maj. Hindang stated in
accusatory language that Cadet 1CL Cudia perverted the truth by stating that OR432 class ended at 1500H,
he did not state what was the true time of dismissal. He did not mention whether the truth he was relying
on was 5 or 15 minutes before the scheduled end of class.

It is also averred that Cadet 1CL Cudias only business was to ask Dr. Costales a query such that his
business was already finished as soon as she gave an answer. However, a new business was initiated by Dr.
Costales, which is, Cadet 1CL Cudia must stay and wait for the section grade. At that point in time, he was
no longer in control of the circumstances. Petitioners claim that Dr. Costales never categorically stated that
Cadet 1CL Cudia was lying. She recognized the confusion. Her text messages to him clarified his alleged
violation. Also, the CHR noted during its investigation that she could not exactly recall what happened in her
class on November 14, 2013.

Furthermore, petitioners reasoned out that when respondents stated that ENG412 class started at 3:05
p.m., it proves that Cadet 1CL Cudia was obviously not late. If, as indicated in his Delinquency Report, he
was late two (2) minutes in his 1500-1600H class in ENG 412, he must have arrived 3:02 p.m.
Respondents, however, claim that the class started at 3:05 p.m. Thus, Cadet 1CL Cudia was not late.

Relative to his explanation to the delinquency report, petitioners were of the view that what appears to have
caused confusion in the minds of respondents is just a matter of semantics; that the entire incident was a
product of inaccuracy, not lying. It is malicious for them to insinuate that Cadet 1CL Cudia purposely used
incorrect language to hide the truth. Citing Merriam Websters Dictionary, petitioners argue that dismiss
means to permit or cause to leave, while class refers to a body of students meeting regularly to study the
same subject. According to them, these two words do not have definite and precise meanings but are
generic terms. Other than the words class and dismiss used by Cadet 1CL Cudia, which may actually be
used in their generic sense, there is nothing deceiving about what he said. Thus, the answer he chose might
be wrong or not correct, but it is not false or not true.

For petitioners, Cadet 1CL Cudias explanations are evidently truthful and with no intent to deceive or
mislead. He did not manipulate any fact and was truthful of his explanation. His statements were clear and
unambiguous but were given a narrow-minded interpretation. Even the Honor Code acknowledges that
[e]xperience demonstrates that human communication is imperfect at best, and some actions are often
misinterpreted.

Lastly, petitioners contend that Cadet 1CL Cudias transcript of records reflects not only his outstanding
academic performance but proves his good conduct during his four-year stay in the Academy. He has above-
average grades in Conduct, with grades ranging from 96 to 100 in Conduct I to XI. His propensity to lie is,
therefore, far from the truth.

On the other hand, respondents were equally adamant to contend that Cadet 1CL Cudia was obviously
quibbling, which, in the military parlance, is tantamount to lying. He fell short in telling a simple truth. He
lied by making untruthful statements in his written explanation. Respondents want Us to consider the
following:chanRob lesvi rtual Lawl ibra ry

First, their OR432 class was not dismissed late. During the formal investigation, Dr. Costales testified that a
class is dismissed as long as the instructor is not there and the bell has rung. In cases of lesson
examinations (LE), cadets are dismissed from the time they have answered their respective LEs. Here, as
Cadet Cudia stated in his Request for Reconsideration of Meted Punishment, We had an LE that day (14
November 2013) in OR432 class. When the first bell rang (1455), I stood up, reviewed my paper and
submitted it to my instructor, Ms. Costales. xxx Clearly, at the time Cadet Cudia submitted his papers, he
was already considered dismissed. Thus, he cannot claim that his [OR432] class ended at 3:00 in the
afternoon (1500H) or a bit late.

Second, Cadet Cudia was in control of the circumstances leading to his tardiness. After submitting his paper,
Cadet Cudia is free to leave and attend his next class. However, he initiated a conversation with Dr. Costales
regarding their grades. He was not under instruction by Dr. Costales to stay beyond the period of her class.

Furthermore, during the investigation of the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body, Dr. Costales clarified
her statements in her written explanation. She explained that the instruction to wait is a response to
Cadet Cudias request and that it was not her initiated instruction. Clearly, there was no directive from Dr.
Costales for Cadet Cudia and the other cadets to stay. On the contrary, it was them who wanted to meet
with the instructor.

Third, contrary to Cadet Cudias explanation, his subsequent class, ENG412, did not exactly start at 3:00 in
the afternoon (1500H). In the informal review conducted by the HTG to check the findings of the HC,
Professor Berong confirmed that her English class started as scheduled (3:05 in the afternoon, or 1505H)
and not earlier. Cadet 1 CL Barrawed, the acting class marcher of ENG412 also testified that their class
started as scheduled (3:05 in the afternoon, or 1505) and not earlier.204
Respondents were unimpressed with the excuse that Cadet 1CL Cudia had no intention to mislead or deceive
but merely used wrong and unfitting words in his explanations. For them, considering his academic
standing, it is highly improbable that he used incorrect language to justify his mistake.

Respondents arguments are tenable.

The issue of whether Cadet 1CL Cudia committed lying is an issue of fact. Unfortunately for petitioners, the
Court, not being a trier of facts, cannot pass upon factual matters as it is not duty-bound to analyze and
weigh again the evidence considered in the proceedings below. Moreover, We reiterate the long standing
rule that factual findings of administrative tribunals are ordinarily accorded respect if not finality by the
Court. In this case, as shown in the previous discussions, there is no evidence that the findings of the
investigating and reviewing bodies below are not supported by evidence or vitiated by fraud, imposition or
collusion; that the procedure which led to the findings is irregular; that palpable errors were committed; or
that a grave abuse of discretion, arbitrariness, or capriciousness is manifest. With respect to the core issue
of whether lying is present in this case, all investigating and reviewing bodies are in consonance in holding
that Cadet 1CL Cudia in truth and in fact lied.

For purposes of emphasis though, We shall supplement some points.

As succinctly worded, the Honor Code of the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines (CCAFP) states:
We, the Cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do.

The First Tenet of the Honor Code is We do not lie. Cadets violate the Honor Code by lying if they make an
oral or written statement which is contrary to what is true or use doubtful information with the intent to
deceive or mislead.205 It is expected that every cadets word is accepted without challenge on its
truthfulness; that it is true without qualification; and that the cadets must answer directly, completely and
truthfully even though the answer may result in punitive action under the CCPB and CCAFPR.206 chanroble svirtuallaw lib rary

To refresh, in his Explanation of Report dated December 8, 2013, Cadet 1CL Cudia justified that: I came
directly from OR432 Class. We were dismissed a bit late by our instructor Sir. Subsequently, in his Request
for Reconsideration of Meted Punishment to Maj. Leander, he reasoned out as follows: chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

I strongly believe that I am not in control of the circumstances, our 4th period class ended 1500H and our
5th period class, which is ENG412, started 1500H also. Immediately after 4th period class, I went to my next
class without any intention of being late Sir.207
In this case, the Court agrees with respondents that Cadet 1CL Cudia committed quibbling; hence, he lied in
violation of the Honor Code.

Following an Honor Reference Handbook, the term "Quibbling" has been defined in one U.S. case as
follows:cha nRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

A person can easily create a false impression in the mind of his listener by cleverly wording what he says,
omitting relevant facts, or telling a partial truth. When he knowingly does so with the intent to deceive or
mislead, he is quibbling. Because it is an intentional deception, quibbling is a form of lying.208
The above definition can be applied in the instant case. Here, instead of directly and completely telling the
cause of his being late in the ENG412 class of Prof. Berong, Cadet 1CL Cudia chose to omit relevant facts,
thereby, telling a half-truth.

The two elements that must be presented for a cadet to have committed an honor violation are: chanRoble svi rtual Lawli bra ry

1. The act and/or omission, and


2. The intent pertinent to it. cralawred

Intent does not only refer to the intent to violate the Honor Code, but intent to commit or omit the act
itself.209
c hanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

The basic questions a cadet must always seek to answer unequivocally are: chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

1. Do I intend to deceive?
2. Do I intend to take undue advantage?
If a cadet can answer NO to BOTH questions, he or she is doing the honorable thing.210 chan roble svirtual lawlib rary

Intent, being a state of mind, is rarely susceptible of direct proof, but must ordinarily be inferred from the
facts, and therefore, can only be proved by unguarded expressions, conduct and circumstances
generally.211 In this case, Cadet 1CL Cudias intent to deceive is manifested from the very act of capitalizing
on the use of the words dismiss and class. The truth of the matter is that the ordinary usage of these
two terms, in the context of an educational institution, does not correspond to what Cadet 1CL Cudia is
trying to make it appear. In that sense, the words are not generic and have definite and precise meaning.

By no stretch of the imagination can Cadets 1CL Cudia, Miranda, Arcangel, and Narciso already constitute a
class. The Court cannot agree that such term includes every transaction and communication a teacher
does with her students. Clearly, it does not take too much intelligence to conclude that Cadet 1CL Cudia
should have been accurate by pinpointing who were with him when he was late in the next class. His
deceptive explanation is made more obvious when compared with what Cadets 1CL Archangel and Narciso
wrote in their DR explanation, which was: We approached our instructor after our class.212 chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

Further, it is unimportant whether the time of dismissal on November 14, 2013 was five or fifteen minutes
ahead of the scheduled end of class. Worth noting is that even Dr. Costales, who stood as a witness for
Cadet 1CL Cudia, consistently admitted before the HC, the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body, and the
CHR that he was already dismissed when he passed his LE paper.213 During the hearing of the Board/Body,
she also declared that she merely responded to his request to see the results of the UE1 and that she had
reservations on the phrases under my instruction and dismissed a bit late used in his letter of
explanation to the HC. In addition, Dr. Costales manifested her view before the CHR that the act of Cadet
1CL Cudia of inquiring about his grade outside their classroom after he submitted his LE paper is not part of
the class time because the consultation, being cadet-initiated, is voluntary.214 chanrob lesvi rtual lawlib rary

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that a new business was initiated by Dr. Costales when Cadet 1CL
Cudia was asked to stay and wait for the section grade, still, this does not acquit him. Given such situation,
a responsible cadet who is fully aware of the time constraint has the last say, that is, to politely decline the
invitation and immediately go to the next class. This was not done by Cadet 1CL Cudia. Thus, it cannot be
said that he already lost control over the circumstances.

It is apparent, therefore, that Cadet 1CL Cudia cunningly chose words which led to confusion in the minds of
respondents and eventually commenced the HC inquiry. His case is not just a matter of semantics and a
product of plain and simple inaccuracy. There is manipulation of facts and presentation of untruthful
explanation constitutive of Honor Code violation.

Evidence of prior good conduct cannot clear Cadet 1CL Cudia. While his Transcript of Records (TOR) may
reflect not only his outstanding academic performance but his excellent grade in subjects on Conduct during
his four-year stay in the PMA,215 it does not necessarily follow that he is innocent of the offense charged. It
is enough to say that evidence that one did or did not do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to
prove that he did or did not do the same or similar thing at another time.216 While the TOR may be received
to prove his identity or habit as an exceptional PMA student, it does not show his specific intent, plan, or
scheme as cadet accused of committing a specific Honor Code violation.

Dismissal from the PMA as unjust and cruel punishment

Respondents insist that violation of the Honor Code warrants separation of the guilty cadet from the cadet
corps. Under the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines Regulation (CCAFPR), a violation of the Cadet
Honor Code is considered Grave (Class 1) delinquency which merits a recommendation for a cadets
dismissal from the PMA Superintendent. The same is likewise clear from the Honor Code and Honor System
Handbook. Cadet 1CL Cudia is, therefore, presumed to know that the Honor Code does not accommodate a
gradation or degree of offenses. There is no difference between a little lie and a huge falsehood.
Respondents emphasize that the Honor Code has always been considered as an absolute yardstick against
which cadets have measured themselves ever since the PMA began and that the Honor Code and System
seek to assure that only those who are able to meet the high standards of integrity and honor are produced
by the PMA. As held in Andrews, it is constitutionally permissible for the military to set and enforce
uncommonly high standards of conduct and ethics. Thus, in violating the Honor Code, Cadet 1CL Cudia
forfeits his privilege to graduate from the PMA.

On their part, petitioners concede that if it is proven that a cadet breached the Honor Code, the offense
warrants his or her dismissal since such a policy may be the only means to maintain and uphold the spirit of
integrity in the military.217 They maintain though that in Cadet 1CL Cudias case there is no need to
distinguish between a little lie and a huge falsehood since he did not lie at all. Absent any intent to
deceive and to take undue advantage, the penalty imposed on him is considered as unjust and cruel. Under
the circumstances obtaining in this case, the penalty of dismissal is not commensurate to the fact that he is
a graduating cadet with honors and what he allegedly committed does not amount to an academic deficiency
or an intentional and flagrant violation of the PMA non-academic rules and regulations. Citing Non,
petitioners argue that the penalty imposed must be proportionate to the offense. Further, Isabelo, Jr. is
squarely applicable to the facts of the case. Cadet 1CL Cudia was deprived of his right to education, the only
means by which he may have a secure life and future.

Considering Our finding that Cadet 1CL Cudia in truth and in fact lied and his acceptance that violation of the
Honor Code warrants the ultimate penalty of dismissal from the PMA, there is actually no more dispute to
resolve. Indeed, the sanction is clearly set forth and Cadet 1CL Cudia, by contract, risked this when he
entered the Academy.218 We adopt the ruling in Andrews219 wherein it was held that, while the penalty is
severe, it is nevertheless reasonable and not arbitrary, and, therefore, not in violation of due process. It
quoted the disposition of the district court, thus:
chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

The fact that a cadet will be separated from the Academy upon a finding that he has violated the Honor
Code is known to all cadets even prior to the beginning of their careers there. The finding of a Code violation
by hypothesis includes a finding of scienter on the part of the offender. While separation is admittedly a
drastic and tragic consequence of a cadet's transgression, it is not an unconstitutionally arbitrary one, but
rather a reasonable albeit severe method of preventing men who have suffered ethical lapses from
becoming career officers. That a policy of admonitions or lesser penalties for single violations might be more
compassionate -- or even more effective in achieving the intended result -- is quite immaterial to the
question of whether the harsher penalty violates due process.220
Nature of the CHR Findings

Petitioners contend that the PMA turned a blind eye on the CHRs recommendations. The CHR, they note, is
a constitutional body mandated by the 1987 Constitution to investigate all forms of human rights violations
involving civil and political rights, and to conduct investigative monitoring of economic, social, and cultural
rights, particularly of vulnerable sectors of society. Further, it was contended that the results of CHRs
investigation and recommendations are so persuasive that this Court, on several occasions like in the cases
of Cruz v. Sec. of Environment & Natural Resources221 and Ang Ladlad LGBT Party v. Commission on
Elections,222 gave its findings serious consideration. It is not, therefore, too late for the Court to hear what
an independent and unbiased fact-finding body has to say on the case.

In opposition, respondents assert that Simon, Jr. v. Commission on Human Rights223 ruled that the CHR is
merely a recommendatory body that is not empowered to arrive at a conclusive determination of any
controversy.

We are in accord with respondents.

The findings of fact and the conclusions of law of the CHR are merely recommendatory and, therefore, not
binding to this Court. The reason is that the CHRs constitutional mandate extends only to the investigation
of all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.224 As held in Cario v. Commission
on Human Rights225 and a number of subsequent cases,226 the CHR is only a fact-finding body, not a court of
justice or a quasi-judicial agency. It is not empowered to adjudicate claims on the merits or settle actual
case or controversies. The power to investigate is not the same as adjudication: chanRoble svirtual Lawli bra ry

The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it
may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations
involving civil and political rights. But fact-finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial
function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence
and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be
considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be
accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the
controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to such appeals or
modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the Commission does not have.

xxxx

[i]t cannot try and decide cases (or hear and determine causes) as courts of justice, or even quasi-judicial
bodies do. To investigate is not to adjudicate or adjudge. Whether in the popular or the technical sense,
these terms have well understood and quite distinct meanings.

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research
on, study. The dictionary definition of investigate is "to observe or study closely: inquire into
systematically: "to search or inquire into: x x x to subject to an official probe x x x: to conduct an official
inquiry;" The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information.
Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the
facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts established by the inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient inquiry or
observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find
out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to inquire; to make an
investigation," "investigation" being in turn described as "(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which
ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; x x x an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for
the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter or matters."

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine,
resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the
parties to a court case) on the merits of issues raised: xx to pass judgment on: settle judicially: x x x act as
judge." And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: xx
to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy x x x."

In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally.
Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide,
settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. x x x Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of
a judgment."227
All told, petitioners are not entitled to moral and exemplary damages in accordance with Articles 19, 2217,
2219 and 2229 of the Civil Code. The dismissal of Cadet 1CL Cudia from the PMA did not effectively deprive
him of a future. Clich though it may sound, being a PMA graduate is not the be-all and end-all of his
existence. A cadet separated from the PMA may still continue to pursue military or civilian career elsewhere
without suffering the stigma attached to his or her dismissal. For one, as suggested by respondents, DND-
AFP Circular No. 13, dated July 15, 1991, on the enlistment and reenlistment in the AFP Regular Force,
provides under Section 14 (b) thereof that priority shall be given to, among others, the ex-PMA or PAFFFS
cadets.228 If the positions open does not appeal to his interest for being way below the rank he could have
achieved as a PMA graduate, Cadet 1CL Cudia could still practice other equally noble profession or calling
that is best suited to his credentials, competence, and potential. Definitely, nobody can deprive him of that
choice.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The dismissal of Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia from the
Philippine Military Academy is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 209283, March 11, 2015

CECILIA RACHEL V. QUISUMBING, Petitioner, v. LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, MA. VICTORIA V.


CARDONA AND NORBERTO DELA CRUZ, IN THEIR CAPACITIES AS CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBERS,
RESPECTIVELY, OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, Respondent.

DECISION

BRION, J.:

Before this Court is the petition for certiorari and prohibition1 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by
petitioner Commissioner Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing (petitioner) to annul and set aside the Show Cause
Order dated September 18, 2013 issued by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), through its
Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales (Chairperson Rosales).

The Antecedents

In a meeting of the CHR held on September 18, 2013, several complaints of former employees of the
petitioner, namely: Ma. Regina D. Eugenio (Eugenio), Elizabeth Diego-Buizon (Buizon), Alexander B.
Fernandez (Fernandez), and Jesse Ayuste (Ayuste) were taken up by the CHR. Only respondents
Chairperson Rosales, Commissioner Ma. Victoria V. Cardona and Commissioner Norberto dela Cruz
(Commissioner dela Cruz) were present during the meeting; the petitioner was on sick leave while
Commissioner Jose Manuel S. Mamauag (Commissioner Mamauag) was away on official business.

In their affidavits, Eugenio, Buizon, Fernandez and Ayuste accused the petitioner of: (1) seriously
maltreating and inflicting upon them mental abuse through her unreasonable behavior and demands on how
they should work in or out of the office; (2) taking a cut from some of her employees salaries to form an
office fund under her sole control; (3) repeatedly misplacing and taking no action on official documents
requiring her action; (4) forging another commissioners signature; (5) hiring employees who do not come
to work; and (6) contracting consultancy work for another government agency.

On the bases of these affidavits, the CHR issued on the same day Resolution CHR (IV) No. A2013-148 (CHR
Resolution), through Chairperson Rosales, a Show Cause Order (dated September 18, 2013), requesting the
petitioner to submit within five (5) days from receipt, a written explanation as to why she should not be held
liable for any administrative disciplinary actions, and to transmit the written explanation together with her
supporting documents to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Show Cause Order specified allegations of the
petitioners involvement in the commission of certain acts of malfeasance or misfeasance constituting
misconduct, dishonesty, oppression, grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of
service, all in violation of the Civil Service Laws and Rules and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
for Public Officials and Employees. The Show Cause Order was served at the petitioners office on September
19, 2013.

On September 26, 2013, Commissioner Mamauag issued a Memorandum stating his concurrence with the
September 18, 2013 CHR Resolution.

On September 27, 2013, Chairperson Rosales sent letters to the President of the Republic of the Philippines
and the Office of the Ombudsman regarding the complaints and allegations against the petitioner. Attached
to the letters were copies of the Show Cause Order and the CHR Resolution. Chairperson Rosales brought
attention to the serious allegations against the petitioner and prayed for the Offices appropriate action.
Chairperson Rosales also requested the Office of the Ombudsman to act on the complaint in accordance with
the established investigation and prosecutorial procedures.

On October 4, 2013, the petitioner filed with the CHR Secretariat a Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss the
Show Cause Order. The petitioner assailed the validity of the Show Cause Order, claiming that its issuance is
null and void because it denied her due process.

Without waiting for the CHR to act on her motion, the petitioner filed on October 16, 2013, the present
Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition before this Court.

On October 23, 2013, the CHR through Chairperson Rosales and Commissioners dela Cruz and Mamauag
issued an Order stating that it could no longer act on petitioners Motion to Dismiss since the case had been
forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman by virtue of its letter dated September 27, 2013.

The Petition

The petitioner imputes the following errors committed by the respondents:

I. The respondents acted without jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
of jurisdiction in ordering the petitioner to show cause why she should not be held liable for
administrative disciplinary actions on the bases of the allegations stated in the Show Cause Order,
in violation of the petitioners right to due process of law.
II. The respondents acted without jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
of jurisdiction in filing charges with the President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Office of
the Ombudsman against the petitioner without due process of law.

The petitioner argues that the respondents gravely abused their discretion when they issued the Show
Cause Order and the CHR Resolution during the meeting held on September 18, 2013, knowing fully well
that the petitioner would not be able to attend the same. The petitioner claims that the respondents acted
in bad faith and with malice when they brought up at this meeting, during her absence, the complaints of
her former employees, thereby depriving her of the opportunity to refute the allegations and to participate
as a member of the CHR.

The petitioner also questions the validity of the Show Cause Order as it appears to have been issued by
Chairperson Rosales alone. She points out that Chairperson Rosales, without reference to the other
members of the CHR, solely signed and issued the Show Cause Order. Citing GMCR, Inc. v. Bell
Telecommunication Philippines, Inc.,2 the petitioner contends that the act of a single member, though he
may be its head, done without the participation of others, cannot be considered the act of the collegial body
itself. Since the CHR is a collegial body requiring the concurrence of majority of its members in order to
validly arrive at a decision, the act of Chairperson Rosales in issuing the Show Cause Order amounted to
usurpation of the authority and prerogative of the CHR.

The petitioner further maintains that the Show Cause Order is insufficient to enable her to respond to the
allegations made because it does not specifically state: (1) the acts of malfeasance or misfeasance by way
of misconduct, grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service that she
allegedly committed; and (2) the civil service laws and rules, and the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees that she allegedly violated. Thus, the petitioner claims that
she was denied due process of law.

The petitioner lastly alleged that the respondents gravely abused their discretion when they referred the
affidavits of her former employees to the President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Office of the
Ombudsman. She claims that since the CHR, as a body, was not empowered by law to act on disciplinary
complaints against its own members, the respondents have no authority to issue the Show Cause Order.

The Office of the Solicitor Generals Comment

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its Comment3 dated January 13, 2014, on behalf of the
respondents, arguing that the petitioner availed of the wrong remedy when she filed the special civil action
for certiorari to assail the Show Cause Order. The OSG points out that a special civil action for certiorari is
available only when any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functionshas acted
without or in excess or its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. Since the respondents, acting in their official capacities as Chairperson and Members of the
CHR, were not engaged in judicial or quasi-judicial functions when they issued the assailed Show Cause
Order, the petition for certiorari should be dismissed for being an improper remedy.

The OSG also asserts that the petitioner failed to show that the respondents acted with grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the Show Cause Order. The OSG emphasizes that aside from petitioners bare
allegations of malice and bad faith, she did not offer any convincing evidence proving that the respondents
exercised their power in an arbitrary or despotic manner, by reason of passion or personal hostility.

The OSG lastly submits that the petitioner failed to exhaust all administrative remedies available to her
before instituting the present petition. Since the petitioner had an ample administrative remedy under the
law to protect her right, it was premature for her to commence the present petition before the Court.

The Issue

The ultimate issue to be resolved is whether the petitioner is entitled to the issuance of the writs
of certiorari and prohibition.

The Courts Ruling

We dismiss the petition.

We stress, at the outset, that the subsequent referral of the case to the Office of the Ombudsman for
appropriate prosecutorial action rendered the issues raised in the present petition moot and academic
insofar as the CHR is concerned.

Records disclose that the CHR, through Chairperson Rosales and Commissioners Dela Cruz and Mamauag,
issued an Order stating that it could no longer act on the petitioners Motion to Dismiss since the case had
been forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman. Thus, no practical relief can be granted to the petitioner
by resolving the present petition since the proceedings before the CHR the initiation of an investigation
through the issuance of the assailed Show Cause Order had been terminated.

The petition likewise fails for plain lack of merit. The OSG correctly argued that the respondents, in their
official capacities as Chairperson and Members of the CHR, did not engage in judicial or quasi-judicial
functions; they did not adjudicate the rights and obligations of the contending parties but simply undertook
to initiate the investigation of the allegations against the petitioner. The inquiry was not a quasi-judicial
proceeding, where offenses were charged, parties were heard and penalties were imposed. It was at most,
an exercise of fact-finding investigation, which is entirely distinct and different from the concept of
adjudication.4 The power to initiate an investigation and to refer the matter to the Office of the Ombudsman
is within the power of the CHR as an entity with its own distinct personality and is recognized by no less
than the Constitution.5 Thus, the CHR did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in its actions.

The petition also fails with respect to the petitioners claim of denial of due process. There can be no denial
of due process where a party was afforded an opportunity to present his case.6 In the present case, the
petitioner was given ample opportunity to air her side on the allegations against her after being sufficiently
apprised of the allegations against her; she was afforded the chance to submit her written explanation.
Unfortunately, the petitioner failed to avail of that right, and chose to directly seek the intervention of this
Court. These circumstances, by themselves, point the prematurity of the petition.

Jurisprudence tells us that the essence of due process in administrative proceedings is the chance to explain
ones side, or seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. As long as the parties are given
the opportunity to be heard before any definitive action is taken, the demands of due process are sufficiently
met.7

In sum, we find that the petition for certiorari and prohibition should be dismissed for mootness and for lack
of merit.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DISMISS the petition for certiorari and prohibition.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 100150 January 5, 1994

BRIGIDO R. SIMON, JR., CARLOS QUIMPO, CARLITO ABELARDO, AND GENEROSO


OCAMPO, petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, ROQUE FERMO, AND OTHERS AS JOHN
DOES, respondents.

The City Attorney for petitioners.

The Solicitor General for public respondent.

VITUG, J.:

The extent of the authority and power of the Commission on Human Rights ("CHR") is again placed
into focus in this petition for prohibition, with prayer for a restraining order and preliminary injunction.
The petitioners ask us to prohibit public respondent CHR from further hearing and investigating CHR
Case No. 90-1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo, et al."

The case all started when a "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo (one
of the petitioners) in his capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers
Management Council under the Office of the City Mayor, was sent to, and received by, the private
respondents (being the officers and members of the North EDSA Vendors Association,
Incorporated). In said notice, the respondents were given a grace-period of three (3) days (up to 12
July 1990) within which to vacate the questioned premises of North EDSA.1Prior to their receipt of
the demolition notice, the private respondents were informed by petitioner Quimpo that their stalls
should be removed to give way to the "People's Park".2 On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their
President Roque Fermo, filed a letter-complaint (Pinag-samang Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the
CHR against the petitioners, asking the late CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista for a letter to
be addressed to then Mayor Brigido Simon, Jr., of Quezon City to stop the demolition of the private
respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia along North EDSA. The complaint was docketed
as CHR Case No. 90-1580.3 On 23 July 1990, the CHR issued an Order, directing the petitioners "to
desist from demolishing the stalls and shanties at North EDSA pending resolution of the
vendors/squatters' complaint before the Commission" and ordering said petitioners to appear before
the CHR.4

On the basis of the sworn statements submitted by the private respondents on 31 July 1990, as well
as CHR's own ocular inspection, and convinced that on 28 July 1990 the petitioners carried out the
demolition of private respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia,5 the CHR, in its resolution of
1 August 1990, ordered the disbursement of financial assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in
favor of the private respondents to purchase light housing materials and food under the
Commission's supervision and again directed the petitioners to "desist from further demolition, with
the warning that violation of said order would lead to a citation for contempt and arrest."6

A motion to dismiss,7 dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's jurisdiction. The motion also
averred, among other things, that:

1. this case came about due to the alleged violation by the (petitioners) of the Inter-
Agency Memorandum of Agreement whereby Metro-Manila Mayors agreed on a
moratorium in the demolition of the dwellings of poor dwellers in Metro-Manila;

xxx xxx xxx

3. . . . , a perusal of the said Agreement (revealed) that the moratorium referred to


therein refers to moratorium in the demolition of the structures of poor dwellers;

4. that the complainants in this case (were) not poor dwellers but independent
business entrepreneurs even this Honorable Office admitted in its resolution of 1
August 1990 that the complainants are indeed, vendors;
5. that the complainants (were) occupying government land, particularly the sidewalk
of EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City; . . . and

6. that the City Mayor of Quezon City (had) the sole and exclusive discretion and
authority whether or not a certain business establishment (should) be allowed to
operate within the jurisdiction of Quezon City, to revoke or cancel a permit, if already
issued, upon grounds clearly specified by law and ordinance.8

During the 12 September 1990 hearing, the petitioners moved for postponement, arguing that the
motion to dismiss set for 21 September 1990 had yet to be resolved. The petitioners likewise
manifested that they would bring the case to the courts.

On 18 September 1990 a supplemental motion to dismiss was filed by the petitioners, stating that
the Commission's authority should be understood as being confined only to the investigation of
violations of civil and political rights, and that "the rights allegedly violated in this case (were) not civil
and political rights, (but) their privilege to engage in business."9

On 21 September 1990, the motion to dismiss was heard and submitted for resolution, along with
the contempt charge that had meantime been filed by the private respondents, albeit vigorously
objected to by petitioners (on the ground that the motion to dismiss was still then unresolved).10

In an Order,11 dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited the petitioners in contempt for carrying out
the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to desist", and it
imposed a fine of P500.00 on each of them.

On 1 March 1991,12 the CHR issued an Order, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss and
supplemental motion to dismiss, in this wise:

Clearly, the Commission on Human Rights under its constitutional mandate had
jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the squatters-vendors who complained of the
gross violations of their human and constitutional rights. The motion to dismiss
should be and is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.13

The CHR opined that "it was not the intention of the (Constitutional) Commission to create only a
paper tiger limited only to investigating civil and political rights, but it (should) be (considered) a
quasi-judicial body with the power to provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human
rights of all persons within the Philippines . . . ." It added:

The right to earn a living is a right essential to one's right to development, to life and
to dignity. All these brazenly and violently ignored and trampled upon by respondents
with little regard at the same time for the basic rights of women and children, and
their health, safety and welfare. Their actions have psychologically scarred and
traumatized the children, who were witness and exposed to such a violent
demonstration of Man's inhumanity to man.

In an Order,14 dated 25 April 1991, petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied.

Hence, this recourse.

The petition was initially dismissed in our resolution15 of 25 June 1991; it was subsequently
reinstated, however, in our resolution16 of 18 June 1991, in which we also issued a temporary
restraining order, directing the CHR to "CEASE and DESIST from further hearing CHR No. 90-
1580."17

The petitioners pose the following:

Whether or not the public respondent has jurisdiction:

a) to investigate the alleged violations of the "business rights" of the private respondents whose
stalls were demolished by the petitioners at the instance and authority given by the Mayor of Quezon
City;

b) to impose the fine of P500.00 each on the petitioners; and


c) to disburse the amount of P200,000.00 as financial aid to the vendors affected by the demolition.

In the Court's resolution of 10 October 1991, the Solicitor-General was excused from filing his
comment for public respondent CHR. The latter thus filed its own comment,18 through Hon. Samuel
Soriano, one of its Commissioners. The Court also resolved to dispense with the comment of private
respondent Roque Fermo, who had since failed to comply with the resolution, dated 18 July 1991,
requiring such comment.

The petition has merit.

The Commission on Human Rights was created by the 1987


Constitution.19 It was formally constituted by then President Corazon Aquino via Executive Order No.
163,20 issued on 5 May 1987, in the exercise of her legislative power at the time. It succeeded, but so
superseded as well, the Presidential Committee on Human Rights.21

The powers and functions22 of the Commission are defined by the 1987 Constitution, thus: to

(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights
violations involving civil and political rights;

(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for
violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;

(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all
persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for
preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human
rights have been violated or need protection;

(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;

(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to


enhance respect for the primacy of human rights;

(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to
provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;

(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty


obligations on human rights;

(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose
possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine
the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;

(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the
performance of its functions;

(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and

(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.

In its Order of 1 March 1991, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss, the CHR theorizes that the
intention of the members of the Constitutional Commission is to make CHR a quasi-judicial
body.23 This view, however, has not heretofore been shared by this Court. In Cario v. Commission
on Human Rights,24 the Court, through then Associate Justice, now Chief Justice Andres Narvasa,
has observed that it is "only the first of the enumerated powers and functions that bears any
resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment," but that resemblance can in no way be synonymous to
the adjudicatory power itself. The Court explained:

. . . (T)he Commission on Human Rights . . . was not meant by the fundamental law
to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less
take over the functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power
is that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards
claimed human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is
not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or
even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and
ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly
speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making
factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of
applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be
decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to such appeals
or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the
Commission does not have.

After thus laying down at the outset the above rule, we now proceed to the other kernel of this
controversy and, its is, to determine the extent of CHR's investigative power.

It can hardly be disputed that the phrase "human rights" is so generic a term that any attempt to
define it, albeit not a few have tried, could at best be described as inconclusive. Let us observe. In a
symposium on human rights in the Philippines, sponsored by the University of the Philippines in
1977, one of the questions that has been propounded is "(w)hat do you understand by "human
rights?" The participants, representing different sectors of the society, have given the following
varied answers:

Human rights are the basic rights which inhere in man by virtue of his humanity. They
are the same in all parts of the world, whether the Philippines or England, Kenya or
the Soviet Union, the United States or Japan, Kenya or Indonesia . . . .

Human rights include civil rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property;
freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, academic freedom, and the rights of the
accused to due process of law; political rights, such as the right to elect public
officials, to be elected to public office, and to form political associations and engage
in politics; and social rights, such as the right to an education, employment, and
social services.25

Human rights are the entitlement that inhere in the individual person from the sheer
fact of his humanity. . . . Because they are inherent, human rights are not granted by
the State but can only be recognized and protected by it.26

(Human rights include all) the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights
defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.27

Human rights are rights that pertain to man simply because he is human. They are
part of his natural birth, right, innate and inalienable.28

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as, or more specifically, the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, suggests that the scope of human rights can be understood to include those that relate to an
individual's social, economic, cultural, political and civil relations. It thus seems to closely identify the
term to the universally accepted traits and attributes of an individual, along with what is generally
considered to be his inherent and inalienable rights, encompassing almost all aspects of life.

Have these broad concepts been equally contemplated by the framers of our 1986 Constitutional
Commission in adopting the specific provisions on human rights and in creating an independent
commission to safeguard these rights? It may of value to look back at the country's experience under
the martial law regime which may have, in fact, impelled the inclusions of those provisions in our
fundamental law. Many voices have been heard. Among those voices, aptly represented perhaps of
the sentiments expressed by others, comes from Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, a respected jurist and an
advocate of civil liberties, who, in his paper, entitled "Present State of Human Rights in the
Philippines,"29 observes:

But while the Constitution of 1935 and that of 1973 enshrined in their Bill of Rights
most of the human rights expressed in the International Covenant, these rights
became unavailable upon the proclamation of Martial Law on 21 September 1972.
Arbitrary action then became the rule. Individuals by the thousands became subject
to arrest upon suspicion, and were detained and held for indefinite periods,
sometimes for years, without charges, until ordered released by the Commander-in-
Chief or this representative. The right to petition for the redress of grievances
became useless, since group actions were forbidden. So were strikes. Press and
other mass media were subjected to censorship and short term licensing. Martial law
brought with it the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and judges lost
independence and security of tenure, except members of the Supreme Court. They
were required to submit letters of resignation and were dismissed upon the
acceptance thereof. Torture to extort confessions were practiced as declared by
international bodies like Amnesty International and the International Commission of
Jurists.

Converging our attention to the records of the Constitutional Commission, we can see the following
discussions during its 26 August 1986 deliberations:

MR. GARCIA . . . , the primacy of its (CHR) task must be made clear in view of the
importance of human rights and also because civil and political rights have been
determined by many international covenants and human rights legislations in the
Philippines, as well as the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights and subsequent
legislation. Otherwise, if we cover such a wide territory in area, we might diffuse its
impact and the precise nature of its task, hence, its effectivity would also be curtailed.

So, it is important to delienate the parameters of its tasks so that the commission can
be most effective.

MR. BENGZON. That is precisely my difficulty because civil and political rights are
very broad. The Article on the Bill of Rights covers civil and political rights. Every
single right of an individual involves his civil right or his political right. So, where do
we draw the line?

MR. GARCIA. Actually, these civil and political rights have been made clear in the
language of human rights advocates, as well as in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights which addresses a number of articles on the right to life, the right
against torture, the right to fair and public hearing, and so on. These are very specific
rights that are considered enshrined in many international documents and legal
instruments as constituting civil and political rights, and these are precisely what we
want to defend here.

MR. BENGZON. So, would the commissioner say civil and political rights as defined
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

MR. GARCIA. Yes, and as I have mentioned, the International Covenant of Civil and
Political Rights distinguished this right against torture.

MR. BENGZON. So as to distinguish this from the other rights that we have?

MR. GARCIA. Yes, because the other rights will encompass social and economic
rights, and there are other violations of rights of citizens which can be addressed to
the proper courts and authorities.

xxx xxx xxx

MR. BENGZON. So, we will authorize the commission to define its functions, and,
therefore, in doing that the commission will be authorized to take under its wings
cases which perhaps heretofore or at this moment are under the jurisdiction of the
ordinary investigative and prosecutorial agencies of the government. Am I correct?

MR. GARCIA. No. We have already mentioned earlier that we would like to define
the specific parameters which cover civil and political rights as covered by the
international standards governing the behavior of governments regarding the
particular political and civil rights of citizens, especially of political detainees or
prisoners. This particular aspect we have experienced during martial law which we
would now like to safeguard.
MR. BENGZON. Then, I go back to that question that I had. Therefore, what we are
really trying to say is, perhaps, at the proper time we could specify all those rights
stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and defined as human rights.
Those are the rights that we envision here?

MR. GARCIA. Yes. In fact, they are also enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our
Constitution. They are integral parts of that.

MR. BENGZON. Therefore, is the Gentleman saying that all the rights under the Bill
of Rights covered by human rights?

MR. GARCIA. No, only those that pertain to civil and political rights.

xxx xxx xxx

MR. RAMA. In connection with the discussion on the scope of human rights, I would
like to state that in the past regime, everytime we invoke the violation of human
rights, the Marcos regime came out with the defense that, as a matter of fact, they
had defended the rights of people to decent living, food, decent housing and a life
consistent with human dignity.

So, I think we should really limit the definition of human rights to political rights. Is
that the sense of the committee, so as not to confuse the issue?

MR. SARMIENTO. Yes, Madam President.

MR. GARCIA. I would like to continue and respond also to repeated points raised by
the previous speaker.

There are actually six areas where this Commission on Human Rights could act
effectively: 1) protection of rights of political detainees; 2) treatment of prisoners and
the prevention of tortures; 3) fair and public trials; 4) cases of disappearances; 5)
salvagings and hamletting; and 6) other crimes committed against the religious.

xxx xxx xxx

The PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is recognized.

MR. GUINGONA. Thank You Madam President.

I would like to start by saying that I agree with Commissioner Garcia that we
should, in order to make the proposed Commission more effective, delimit as much
as possible, without prejudice to future expansion. The coverage of the concept and
jurisdictional area of the term "human rights". I was actually disturbed this morning
when the reference was made without qualification to the rights embodied in the
universal Declaration of Human Rights, although later on, this was qualified to refer
to civil and political rights contained therein.

If I remember correctly, Madam President, Commissioner Garcia, after mentioning


the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, mentioned or linked the concept
of human right with other human rights specified in other convention which I do not
remember. Am I correct?

MR. GARCIA. Is Commissioner Guingona referring to the Declaration of Torture of


1985?

MR. GUINGONA. I do not know, but the commissioner mentioned another.

MR. GARCIA. Madam President, the other one is the International Convention on
Civil and Political Rights of which we are signatory.
MR. GUINGONA. I see. The only problem is that, although I have a copy of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights here, I do not have a copy of the other
covenant mentioned. It is quite possible that there are rights specified in that other
convention which may not be specified here. I was wondering whether it would be
wise to link our concept of human rights to general terms like "convention," rather
than specify the rights contained in the convention.

As far as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is concerned, the Committee,


before the period of amendments, could specify to us which of these articles in the
Declaration will fall within the concept of civil and political rights, not for the purpose
of including these in the proposed constitutional article, but to give the sense of the
Commission as to what human rights would be included, without prejudice to
expansion later on, if the need arises. For example, there was no definite reply to the
question of Commissioner Regalado as to whether the right to marry would be
considered a civil or a social right. It is not a civil right?

MR. GARCIA. Madam President, I have to repeat the various specific civil and
political rights that we felt must be envisioned initially by this provision freedom
from political detention and arrest prevention of torture, right to fair and public trials,
as well as crimes involving disappearance, salvagings, hamlettings and collective
violations. So, it is limited to politically related crimes precisely to protect the civil and
political rights of a specific group of individuals, and therefore, we are not opening it
up to all of the definite areas.

MR. GUINGONA. Correct. Therefore, just for the record, the Gentlemen is no longer
linking his concept or the concept of the Committee on Human Rights with the so-
called civil or political rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights.

MR. GARCIA. When I mentioned earlier the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I
was referring to an international instrument.

MR. GUINGONA. I know.

MR. GARCIA. But it does not mean that we will refer to each and every specific
article therein, but only to those that pertain to the civil and politically related, as we
understand it in this Commission on Human Rights.

MR. GUINGONA. Madam President, I am not even clear as to the distinction


between civil and social rights.

MR. GARCIA. There are two international covenants: the International Covenant and
Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights. The second covenant contains all the different rights-the rights of
labor to organize, the right to education, housing, shelter, et cetera.

MR. GUINGONA. So we are just limiting at the moment the sense of the committee
to those that the Gentlemen has specified.

MR. GARCIA. Yes, to civil and political rights.

MR. GUINGONA. Thank you.

xxx xxx xxx

SR. TAN. Madam President, from the standpoint of the victims of human rights, I
cannot stress more on how much we need a Commission on Human Rights. . . .

. . . human rights victims are usually penniless. They cannot pay and very few
lawyers will accept clients who do not pay. And so, they are the ones more abused
and oppressed. Another reason is, the cases involved are very delicate torture,
salvaging, picking up without any warrant of arrest, massacre and the persons
who are allegedly guilty are people in power like politicians, men in the military and
big shots. Therefore, this Human Rights Commission must be independent.

I would like very much to emphasize how much we need this commission, especially
for the little Filipino, the little individual who needs this kind of help and cannot get
it. And I think we should concentrate only on civil and political violations because if
we open this to land, housing and health, we will have no place to go again and we
will not receive any response. . . .30 (emphasis supplied)

The final outcome, now written as Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a provision
empowering the Commission on Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or on complaint by any
party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights" (Sec. 1).

The term "civil rights,"31 has been defined as referring

(t)o those (rights) that belong to every citizen of the state or country, or, in wider
sense, to all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the organization or
administration of the government. They include the rights of property, marriage,
equal protection of the laws, freedom of contract, etc. Or, as otherwise defined civil
rights are rights appertaining to a person by virtue of his citizenship in a state or
community. Such term may also refer, in its general sense, to rights capable of being
enforced or redressed in a civil action.

Also quite often mentioned are the guarantees against involuntary servitude, religious persecution,
unreasonable searches and seizures, and imprisonment for debt.32

Political rights,33 on the other hand, are said to refer to the right to participate, directly or indirectly, in
the establishment or administration of government, the right of suffrage, the right to hold public
office, the right of petition and, in general, the rights appurtenant to citizenship vis-a-vis the
management of government.34

Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, aforequoted, it is readily apparent that
the delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus its attention to the more
severe cases of human rights violations. Delegate Garcia, for instance, mentioned such areas as the
"(1) protection of rights of political detainees, (2) treatment of prisoners and the prevention of
tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4) cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6)
other crimes committed against the religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to
have any preclusive effect, more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is, nonetheless,
significant for the tone it has set. In any event, the delegates did not apparently take comfort in
peremptorily making a conclusive delineation of the CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They
have thus seen it fit to resolve, instead, that "Congress may provide for other cases of violations of
human rights that should fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its
recommendation."35

In the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the
stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by private respondents
on a land which is planned to be developed into a "People's Park". More than that, the land adjoins
the North EDSA of Quezon City which, this Court can take judicial notice of, is a busy national
highway. The consequent danger to life and limb is not thus to be likewise simply ignored. It is
indeed paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have been violated is one that cannot, in the first
place, even be invoked, if it is, in fact, extant. Be that as it may, looking at the standards hereinabove
discoursed vis-a-vis the circumstances obtaining in this instance, we are not prepared to conclude
that the order for the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of the private
respondents can fall within the compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political
rights" intended by the Constitution.

On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to "adopt its operational guidelines
and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of
Court." Accordingly, the CHR acted within its authority in providing in its revised rules, its power "to
cite or hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose the appropriate penalties in
accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court." That power to cite
for contempt, however, should be understood to apply only to violations of its adopted operational
guidelines and rules of procedure essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the
power to cite for contempt could be exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate with the said
body, or who unduly withhold relevant information, or who decline to honor summons, and the like, in
pursuing its investigative work. The "order to desist" (a semantic interplay for a restraining order) in
the instance before us, however, is not investigatorial in character but prescinds from an adjudicative
power that it does not possess. In Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human
Rights,36 the Court, speaking through Madame Justice Carolina Grio-Aquino, explained:

The constitutional provision directing the CHR to "provide for preventive measures
and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated
or need protection" may not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to
issue a restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that were the intention, the
Constitution would have expressly said so. "Jurisdiction is conferred only by the
Constitution or by law". It is never derived by implication.

Evidently, the "preventive measures and legal aid services" mentioned in the
Constitution refer to extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ of preliminary
injunction) which the CHR may seek from proper courts on behalf of the victims of
human rights violations. Not being a court of justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction
to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary injunction may only be issued "by the judge
of any court in which the action is pending [within his district], or by a Justice of the
Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. . . . A writ of preliminary injunction is an
ancillary remedy. It is available only in a pending principal action, for the preservation
or protection of the rights and interests of a party thereto, and for no other purpose."
(footnotes omitted).

The Commission does have legal standing to indorse, for appropriate action, its findings and
recommendations to any appropriate agency of government.37

The challenge on the CHR's disbursement of the amount of P200,000.00 by way of financial aid to
the vendors affected by the demolition is not an appropriate issue in the instant petition. Not only is
there lack of locus standi on the part of the petitioners to question the disbursement but, more
importantly, the matter lies with the appropriate administrative agencies concerned to initially
consider.

The public respondent explains that this petition for prohibition filed by the petitioners has become
moot and academic since the case before it (CHR Case No. 90-1580) has already been fully heard,
and that the matter is merely awaiting final resolution. It is true that prohibition is a preventive
remedy to restrain the doing of an act about to be done, and not intended to provide a remedy for an
act already accomplished. 38 Here, however, said Commission admittedly has yet to promulgate its
resolution in CHR Case No. 90-1580. The instant petition has been intended, among other things, to
also prevent CHR from precisely doing that.39

WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for in this petition is GRANTED. The Commission on Human Rights
is hereby prohibited from further proceeding with CHR Case No. 90-1580 and from implementing the
P500.00 fine for contempt. The temporary restraining order heretofore issued by this Court is made
permanent. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo,
Quiason and Puno, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., dissenting:


I reiterate my separate opinion in "Carino, et al. vs. The Commission on Human rights, et al.," G.R.
No. 96681, 2 December 1991, 204 SCRA 483 in relation to the resolution of 29 January 1991 and
my dissenting opinion in "Export Processing Zone Authority vs. The Commission on Human Rights,
et al.," G.R. No. 101476, 14 April 1992, 208 SCRA 125. I am of the considered view that the CHR
can issue a cease and desist order to maintain a status quo pending its investigation of a case
involving an alleged human rights violation; that such cease and desist order maybe necessary in
situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which the CHR intents to investigate.

In the case at bench, I would consider the threatened demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores
and carinderias as well as the temporary shanties owned by the private respondents as
posing prima facie a case of human rights violation because it involves an impairment of the civil
rights of said private respondents, under the definition of civil rights cited by the majority opinion (pp.
20-21) and which the CHR has unquestioned authority to investigate (Section 18, Art. XIII, 1987
Constitution).

Human rights demand more than lip service and extend beyond impressive displays of placards at
street corners. Positive action and results are what count. Certainly, the cause of human rights is not
enhanced when the very constitutional agency tasked to protect and vindicate human rights is
transformed by us, from the start, into a tiger without dentures but with maimed legs to boot. I submit
the CHR should be given a wide latitude to look into and investigate situations which may (or may
not ultimately) involve human rights violations.

ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for further
proceedings.

# Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

I reiterate my separate opinion in "Carino, et al. vs. The Commission on Human rights, et al.," G.R.
No. 96681, 2 December 1991, 204 SCRA 483 in relation to the resolution of 29 January 1991 and
my dissenting opinion in "Export Processing Zone Authority vs. The Commission on Human Rights,
et al.," G.R. No. 101476, 14 April 1992, 208 SCRA 125. I am of the considered view that the CHR
can issue a cease and desist order to maintain a status quo pending its investigation of a case
involving an alleged human rights violation; that such cease and desist order maybe necessary in
situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which the CHR intents to investigate.

In the case at bench, I would consider the threatened demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores
and carinderias as well as the temporary shanties owned by the private respondents as
posing prima facie a case of human rights violation because it involves an impairment of the civil
rights of said private respondents, under the definition of civil rights cited by the majority opinion (pp.
20-21) and which the CHR has unquestioned authority to investigate (Section 18, Art. XIII, 1987
Constitution).

Human rights demand more than lip service and extend beyond impressive displays of placards at
street corners. Positive action and results are what count. Certainly, the cause of human rights is not
enhanced when the very constitutional agency tasked to protect and vindicate human rights is
transformed by us, from the start, into a tiger without dentures but with maimed legs to boot. I submit
the CHR should be given a wide latitude to look into and investigate situations which may (or may
not ultimately) involve human rights violations.

ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for further
proceedings.
G.R. No. 96681 December 2, 1991

HON. ISIDRO CARIO, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture &
Sports, DR. ERLINDA LOLARGA, in her capacity as Superintendent of City Schools of
Manila, petitioners,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, GRACIANO BUDOY, JULIETA BABARAN, ELSA
IBABAO, HELEN LUPO, AMPARO GONZALES, LUZ DEL CASTILLO, ELSA REYES and
APOLINARIO ESBER, respondents.

NARVASA, J.:

The issue raised in the special civil action of certiorari and prohibition at bar, instituted by the
Solicitor General, may be formulated as follows: where the relief sought from the Commission on
Human Rights by a party in a case consists of the review and reversal or modification of a decision
or order issued by a court of justice or government agency or official exercising quasi-judicial
functions, may the Commission take cognizance of the case and grant that relief? Stated otherwise,
where a particular subject-matter is placed by law within the jurisdiction of a court or other
government agency or official for purposes of trial and adjudgment, may the Commission on Human
Rights take cognizance of the same subject-matter for the same purposes of hearing and
adjudication?

The facts narrated in the petition are not denied by the respondents and are hence taken as
substantially correct for purposes of ruling on the legal questions posed in the present action. These
facts, 1 together with others involved in related cases recently resolved by this Court 2 or otherwise
undisputed on the record, are hereunder set forth.

1. On September 17, 1990, a Monday and a class day, some 800 public school teachers, among
them members of the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of
Concerned Teachers (ACT) undertook what they described as "mass concerted actions" to
"dramatize and highlight" their plight resulting from the alleged failure of the public authorities to act
upon grievances that had time and again been brought to the latter's attention. According to them
they had decided to undertake said "mass concerted actions" after the protest rally staged at the
DECS premises on September 14, 1990 without disrupting classes as a last call for the government
to negotiate the granting of demands had elicited no response from the Secretary of Education. The
"mass actions" consisted in staying away from their classes, converging at the Liwasang Bonifacio,
gathering in peaceable assemblies, etc. Through their representatives, the teachers participating in
the mass actions were served with an order of the Secretary of Education to return to work in 24
hours or face dismissal, and a memorandum directing the DECS officials concerned to initiate
dismissal proceedings against those who did not comply and to hire their replacements. Those
directives notwithstanding, the mass actions continued into the week, with more teachers joining in
the days that followed. 3
Among those who took part in the "concerted mass actions" were the eight (8) private respondents herein, teachers at the Ramon Magsaysay High School, Manila, who had agreed to support the non-political
demands of the MPSTA. 4

2. For failure to heed the return-to-work order, the CHR complainants (private respondents) were administratively charged on the basis of the principal's report and given five (5) days to answer the charges. They
were also preventively suspended for ninety (90) days "pursuant to Section 41 of P.D. 807" and temporarily replaced (unmarked CHR Exhibits, Annexes F, G, H). An investigation committee was consequently
formed to hear the charges in accordance with P.D. 807. 5

3. In the administrative case docketed as Case No. DECS 90-082 in which CHR complainants Graciano Budoy, Jr., Julieta Babaran, Luz del Castillo, Apolinario Esber were, among others, named

the latter filed separate answers, opted for a formal investigation, and also moved "for
respondents, 6

suspension of the administrative proceedings pending resolution by . . (the Supreme) Court of their
application for issuance of an injunctive writ/temporary restraining order." But when their motion for
suspension was denied by Order dated November 8, 1990 of the Investigating Committee, which
later also denied their motion for reconsideration orally made at the hearing of November 14, 1990,
"the respondents led by their counsel staged a walkout signifying their intent to boycott the entire
proceedings." 7 The case eventually resulted in a Decision of Secretary Cario dated December 17,
1990, rendered after evaluation of the evidence as well as the answers, affidavits and documents
submitted by the respondents, decreeing dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the
suspension for nine (9) months of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo. 8
4. In the meantime, the "MPSTA filed a petition for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of Manila against petitioner (Cario), which was dismissed (unmarked CHR Exhibit, Annex I). Later, the MPSTA went to the Supreme Court
(on certiorari, in an attempt to nullify said dismissal, grounded on the) alleged violation of the striking teachers" right to due process and peaceable assembly docketed as G.R. No. 95445, supra. The ACT also filed a similar petition

Both petitions in this Court were filed in behalf of the teacher


before the Supreme Court . . . docketed as G.R. No. 95590." 9

associations, a few named individuals, and "other teacher-members so numerous similarly situated"
or "other similarly situated public school teachers too numerous to be impleaded."

5. In the meantime, too, the respondent teachers submitted sworn statements dated September 27,
1990 to the Commission on Human Rights to complain that while they were participating in peaceful
mass actions, they suddenly learned of their replacements as teachers, allegedly without notice and
consequently for reasons completely unknown to them. 10
6. Their complaints and those of other teachers also "ordered suspended by the . . . (DECS)," all numbering forty-two (42) were docketed as "Striking Teachers CHR Case No. 90775." In connection therewith the Commission
scheduled a "dialogue" on October 11, 1990, and sent a subpoena to Secretary Cario requiring his attendance therein. 11

On the day of the "dialogue," although it said that it was "not certain whether he (Sec. Cario) received the subpoena which was served at his office, . . . (the) Commission, with the Chairman presiding, and Commissioners Hesiquio R.
Mallilin and Narciso C. Monteiro, proceeded to hear the case;" it heard the complainants' counsel (a) explain that his clients had been "denied due process and suspended without formal notice, and unjustly, since they did not join the

The Commission
mass leave," and (b) expatiate on the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers, (and) with which causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize." 12

thereafter issued an Order 13reciting these facts and making the following disposition:

To be properly apprised of the real facts of the case and be accordingly guided in its
investigation and resolution of the matter, considering that these forty two teachers are now
suspended and deprived of their wages, which they need very badly, Secretary Isidro Cario,
of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Dr. Erlinda Lolarga, school
superintendent of Manila and the Principal of Ramon Magsaysay High School, Manila, are
hereby enjoined to appear and enlighten the Commission en banc on October 19, 1990 at
11:00 A.M. and to bring with them any and all documents relevant to the allegations
aforestated herein to assist the Commission in this matter. Otherwise, the Commission will
resolve the complaint on the basis of complainants' evidence.

xxx xxx xxx

7. Through the Office of the Solicitor General, Secretary Cario sought and was granted leave to file
a motion to dismiss the case. His motion to dismiss was submitted on November 14, 1990 alleging
as grounds therefor, "that the complaint states no cause of action and that the CHR has no
jurisdiction over the case." 14

8. Pending determination by the Commission of the motion to dismiss, judgments affecting the "striking teachers" were promulgated in two (2) cases,
as aforestated, viz.:

a) The Decision dated December l7, 1990 of Education Secretary Cario in Case No. DECS 90-082, decreeing dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the suspension for nine (9) months of Babaran, Budoy
and del Castillo; 15 and

b) The joint Resolution of this Court dated August 6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590 dismissing the petitions "without prejudice to any appeals, if still timely, that the individual petitioners may take to the Civil
Service Commission on the matters complained of," 16 and inter alia "ruling that it was prima facie lawful for petitioner Cario to issue return-to-work orders, file administrative charges against recalcitrants, preventively
suspend them, and issue decision on those charges." 17

9. In an Order dated December 28, 1990, respondent Commission denied Sec. Cario's motion to dismiss and required him and Superintendent Lolarga "to submit their counter-affidavits within ten (10) days . . . (after which) the

It held that the "striking teachers" "were denied


Commission shall proceed to hear and resolve the case on the merits with or without respondents counter affidavit." 18

due process of law; . . . they should not have been replaced without a chance to reply to the
administrative charges;" there had been a violation of their civil and political rights which the
Commission was empowered to investigate; and while expressing its "utmost respect to the
Supreme Court . . . the facts before . . . (it) are different from those in the case decided by the
Supreme Court" (the reference being unmistakably to this Court's joint Resolution of August 6, 1991
in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra).

It is to invalidate and set aside this Order of December 28, 1990 that the Solicitor General, in behalf
of petitioner Cario, has commenced the present action of certiorari and prohibition.

The Commission on Human Rights has made clear its position that it does not feel bound by this
Court's joint Resolution in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra. It has also made plain its intention "to
hear and resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the merits." It intends,
in other words, to try and decide or hear and determine, i.e., exercise jurisdiction over the following
general issues:
1) whether or not the striking teachers were denied due process, and just cause exists for the
imposition of administrative disciplinary sanctions on them by their superiors; and

2) whether or not the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers, (and)
with which causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize," justify their mass action or strike.

The Commission evidently intends to itself adjudicate, that is to say, determine with character of
finality and definiteness, the same issues which have been passed upon and decided by the
Secretary of Education, Culture & Sports, subject to appeal to the Civil Service Commission, this
Court having in fact, as aforementioned, declared that the teachers affected may take appeals to the
Civil Service Commission on said matters, if still timely.

The threshold question is whether or not the Commission on Human Rights has the power under the
Constitution to do so; whether or not, like a court of justice, 19 or even a quasi-judicial agency, 20 it has
jurisdiction or adjudicatory powers over, or the power to try and decide, or hear and determine,
certain specific type of cases, like alleged human rights violations involving civil or political rights.

The Court declares the Commission on Human Rights to have no such power; and that it was not
meant by the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or
duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.

The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it
may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights
violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened
to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of
receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function,
properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual
conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those
factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively,
finally and definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. 21 This
function, to repeat, the Commission does not have. 22

The proposition is made clear by the constitutional provisions specifying the powers of the Commission on Human Rights.

Upon its constitution, it succeeded and superseded the


The Commission was created by the 1987 Constitution as an independent office. 23

Presidential Committee on Human Rights existing at the time of the effectivity of the
Constitution. 24 Its powers and functions are the following 25

(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights;

(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of
Court;

(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing
abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need
protection;

(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;

(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights;

(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for compensation to victims of violations of
human rights, or their families;

(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights;
(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or
convenient to determine the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;

(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions;

(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and

(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.

As should at once be observed, only the first of the enumerated powers and functions bears any resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment. The Constitution clearly and categorically grants to the Commission the power to investigate
all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights. It can exercise that power on its own initiative or on complaint of any person. It may exercise that power pursuant to such rules of procedure as it may adopt and, in
cases of violations of said rules, cite for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court. In the course of any investigation conducted by it or under its authority, it may grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or
whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth. It may also request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions, in the conduct of
its investigation or in extending such remedy as may be required by its findings. 26

But it cannot try and decide cases (or hear and determine causes) as courts of justice, or even quasi-judicial bodies do. To investigate is not to
adjudicate or adjudge. Whether in the popular or the technical sense, these terms have well understood and quite distinct meanings.

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire into systematically. "to search or inquire

The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to


into: . . . to subject to an official probe . . .: to conduct an official inquiry." 27

learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or
resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts
established by the inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient
inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and
accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" 28 "to
inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn describe as "(a)n administrative
function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; . . .
an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter
or matters." 29
"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the parties to a court case) on

And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or


the merits of issues raised: . . . to pass judgment on: settle judicially: . . . act as judge." 30

with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: . . . to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy . . . ." 31
In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide, settle or decree, or to
sentence or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment." 32

Hence it is that the Commission on Human Rights, having merely the power "to investigate," cannot and should not "try and resolve on the merits"
(adjudicate) the matters involved in Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has announced it means to do; and it cannot do so even if there be
a claim that in the administrative disciplinary proceedings against the teachers in question, initiated and conducted by the DECS, their human rights, or
civil or political rights had been transgressed. More particularly, the Commission has no power to "resolve on the merits" the question of (a) whether or
not the mass concerted actions engaged in by the teachers constitute and are prohibited or otherwise restricted by law; (b) whether or not the act of
carrying on and taking part in those actions, and the failure of the teachers to discontinue those actions, and return to their classes despite the order to
this effect by the Secretary of Education, constitute infractions of relevant rules and regulations warranting administrative disciplinary sanctions, or are
justified by the grievances complained of by them; and (c) what where the particular acts done by each individual teacher and what sanctions, if any,
may properly be imposed for said acts or omissions.

These are matters undoubtedly and clearly within the original jurisdiction of the Secretary of Education, being within the scope of the disciplinary
powers granted to him under the Civil Service Law, and also, within the appellate jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.

and it appears that appeals have been


Indeed, the Secretary of Education has, as above narrated, already taken cognizance of the issues and resolved them, 33

seasonably taken by the aggrieved parties to the Civil Service Commission; and even this Court
itself has had occasion to pass upon said issues. 34
Now, it is quite obvious that whether or not the conclusions reached by the Secretary of Education in disciplinary cases are correct and are adequately
based on substantial evidence; whether or not the proceedings themselves are void or defective in not having accorded the respondents due process;
and whether or not the Secretary of Education had in truth committed "human rights violations involving civil and political rights," are matters which may
be passed upon and determined through a motion for reconsideration addressed to the Secretary Education himself, and in the event of an adverse
verdict, may be reviewed by the Civil Service Commission and eventually the Supreme Court.

The Commission on Human Rights simply has no place in this scheme of things. It has no business intruding into the jurisdiction and functions of the
Education Secretary or the Civil Service Commission. It has no business going over the same ground traversed by the latter and making its own
judgment on the questions involved. This would accord success to what may well have been the complaining teachers' strategy to abort, frustrate or
negate the judgment of the Education Secretary in the administrative cases against them which they anticipated would be adverse to them.

This cannot be done. It will not be permitted to be done.

In any event, the investigation by the Commission on Human Rights would serve no useful purpose. If its investigation should result in conclusions contrary to those reached by Secretary Cario, it would have no power anyway to
reverse the Secretary's conclusions. Reversal thereof can only by done by the Civil Service Commission and lastly by this Court. The only thing the Commission can do, if it concludes that Secretary Cario was in error, is to refer the

matter to the appropriate Government agency or tribunal for assistance; that would be the Civil Service Commission. 35
It cannot arrogate unto itself the appellate
jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.

WHEREFORE, the petition is granted; the Order of December 29, 1990 is ANNULLED and SET
ASIDE, and the respondent Commission on Human Rights and the Chairman and Members thereof
are prohibited "to hear and resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the
merits."

SO ORDERED.