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Chapter 2: DUE PROCESS “(a) The prosecution shall present evidence to

prove the charge and, in the proper case, the


Section 1—NO PERSON SHALL BE DEPRIVED OF civil liability.
LIFE, LIBERTY OR PROPERTY WITHOUT DUE
PROCESS OF LAW, NOR SHALL ANY PERSON BE “(b) The accused may present evidence to prove
DENIED EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS. his defense, and damages, if any, arising from
the issuance of any provisional remedy in the
Kinds of Due Process:
case.
a. substantive due process—requires the
intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the “(c) The parties may then respectively present
rights of the person to life, liberty or property. In rebutting evidence only, unless the court, in
short, it is to determine whether it has a valid furtherance of justice, permits them to present
additional evidence bearing upon the main
governmental objective like for the interest of
issue.
the public as against mere particular class.
b. Procedural due process—one which “(d) Upon admission of the evidence, the case
hears before it condemns as pointed out by shall be deemed submitted for decision unless
Daniel Webster. the court directs the parties to argue orally or to
Due process is a law which hears before it submit memoranda.
condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and
“(e) However, when the accused admits the act
renders judgment only after trial (Per Daniel or omission charged in the complaint or
Webster in the DARTMOUTH COLLEGE CASE) information but interposes a lawful defense, the
order of trial may be modified accordingly.”
Requisites of “judicial due process”
Due process in criminal proceedings
Requisites: (a) that the court or tribunal trying the case is
properly clothed with judicial power to hear and
1. There must be an impartial court or tribunal determine the matter before it;
clothed with judicial power to hear and decide
(b) that jurisdiction is lawfully acquired by it over
the matter before it; the person of the accused;

2. Jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over (c) that the accused is given an opportunity to
the person of the defendant or over the be heard; and(d) that judgment is rendered only
property subject of the proceedings; upon lawful hearing.

3. The defendant must be given the


Procedural due process before administrative
opportunity to be heard; bodies

4. Judgment must be rendered only after lawful Requisites:


hearing. a. the right to a hearing which includes the right
to present evidence;
Section 3, Rule 119, of the Rules of Court
“Sec. 3. Order of trial. The trial shall proceed in b. the tribunal must consider the evidence
the following order: presented;
c. the decision must have something to support evidence in court – one may also be heard
itself; through pleadings and where the opportunity to
d. the evidence must be substantial; be heard through pleadings is accorded, there is
no denial of due process.
e. the decision must be based on the evidence
presented during the hearing; Effect of a Motion for Reconsideration to
f. the tribunal or body must act on its own violation of the right to due process
independent consideration of the law or facts;
The requirements of due process are complied
g. the board or body shall in all controversial [with] when a party is heard on a motion for
questions, render its decision in such a manner reconsideration. It cures the violation of the
that the parties to the proceedings can know the right to due process.
various issues involved.
Due process in the dismissal of employees

Procedural due process in disciplinary actions Requisites of Due Process before the NLRC
against students 1. Notice; and
2. Hearing
Academic freedom; due process in disciplinary
actions involving students that In administrative proceedings, does due process
require that a party be assisted by counsel and be
(1) the students must be informed in writing of able to cross-examine the witnesses?
the nature and cause of any accusation against
There is no law, whether the Civil Service Act or
them;
the Administrative Code of 1987, which provides
(2) they shall have the right to answer the that a respondent in an administrative case
charges against them and with the assistance if should be assisted by counsel in order that the
counsel, if desired; proceedings therein is considered valid.

(3) they shall be informed of the evidence Due process of law in administrative cases is not
against them;
identical with “judicial process” for a trial in
(4) they shall have the right to adduce evidence court is not always essential to due
in their own behalf; and process. While a day in court is a matter of right
in judicial proceedings, it is otherwise in
(5) the evidence must be duly considered by the
investigating committee or official designated by administrative proceedings since they rest upon
the school authorities to hear and decide the different principles.
case.
The due process clause guarantees no particular
A formal trial-type hearing is not, at all times and form of procedure and its requirements are not
in all instances, essential to due process – it is technical. Thus, in certain proceedings of
enough that the parties are given a fair and administrative character, the right to a notice or
reasonable opportunity to explain their hearing are not essential to due process of
respective sides of the controversy and to law. The constitutional requirement of due
present supporting evidence on which a fair process is met by a fair hearing before a
decision can be based.[13][71] “To be heard” does regularly established administrative agency or
not only mean presentation of testimonial tribunal. It is not essential that hearings be had
before the making of a determination if China. The court eventually granted El Banco
thereafter, there is available trial and tribunal petition to execute Engracio’s property. 7 years
before which all objections and defenses to the thereafter, Vicente surfaced on behalf of
making of such determination may be raised and Engracio as his administrator to petition for the
considered. One adequate hearing is all that annulment of the ruling.
due process requires. . . .
Vicente averred that there had been no due
The right to cross-examine is not an process as Engracio never received the
indispensable aspect of due process. Nor is an summons.
actual hearing always essential. .
ISSUE: Whether or not due process was not
BANCO ESPANOL VS. PALANCA, 37 Phil. 921 observed.
El Banco ESPAÑOL-Filipino vs Vicente Palanca
HELD: The SC ruled against Palanca. The SC ruled
Judicial Due Process Requisites
that the requisites for judicial due process had
Engracio Palanca was indebted to El Banco and been met. The requisites are;
he had his parcel of land as security to his debt. 1. There must be an impartial court or tribunal
His debt amounted to P218,294.10. His property clothed with judicial power to hear and decide
is worth 75k more than what he owe. Due to the the matter before it.
failure of Engracio to make his payments, El
Banco executed an instrument to mortgage 2. Jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the
Engracio’s property. Engracio however left for person of the defendant or over the property
China and he never returned until he died. Since subject of the proceedings.
Engracio is a non resident El Banco has to notify 3. The defendant must be given the opportunity
Engracio about their intent to sue him by means to be heard.
of publication using a newspaper. The lower 4. Judgment must be rendered only after lawful
court further orderd the clerk of court to furnish hearing.
Engracio a copy and that it be sent to Amoy,

SENATOR JINGGOY EJERCITO vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, G.R. Nos.


212140-41, January 21, 2015

The Facts

1. On 25 November 2013, the Ombudsman served upon Sen. Estrada a copy of the complaint in OMB-
C-C-13-0313, filed by the NBI and Atty. Levito Baligod, which prayed, among others, that criminal
proceedings for Plunder as defined in RA No. 7080 be conducted against Sen. Estrada.;

2. Sen. Estrada filed his counter-affidavit in OMB-C-C-13-0313 on 9 January 2014. On 3 December


2013, the Ombudsman served upon Sen. Estrada a copy of the complaint in OMB-C-C-13-0397,
filed by the FIO of the Ombudsman, which prayed, among others, that criminal proceedings for
Plunder, as defined in RA No. 7080, and for violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019, be conducted
against Sen. Estrada. Sen. Estrada filed his counter-affidavit in OMB-C-C-13-0397 on 16 January
2014.

3. Eighteen of Sen. Estrada’s co-respondents in the two complaints filed their counter-affidavits
between 9 December 2013 and 14 March 2014.

4. On 20 March 2014, Sen. Estrada filed his Request to be Furnished with Copies of Counter-Affidavits
of the Other Respondents, Affidavits of New Witnesses and Other Filings (Request) in OMB-C-C-13-
0313. Sen. Estrada’s request was made “[p]ursuant to the right of a respondent ‘to examine the
evidence submitted by the complainant which he may not have been furnished’ (Section 3[b], Rule
112 of the Rules of Court) and to ‘have access to the evidence on record’ (Section 4[c], Rule II of the
Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman).

5. On 27 March 2014, the Ombudsman issued the assailed Order in OMB-C-C-13-0313. The pertinent
portions of the assailed Order read:

This Office finds however finds [sic] that the foregoing provisions
[pertaining to Section 3[b], Rule 112 of the Rules of Court and Section 4[c],
Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman] do not
entitle respondent [Sen. Estrada] to be furnished all the filings of the
respondents. Rule 112 (3) (a) & (c) of the Rules of Court provides [sic]: n(a)
The complaint shall state the address of the respondent and shall be
accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as well
as other supporting documents to establish probable cause …

6. On 28 March 2014, the Ombudsman issued in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397 a Joint


Resolution9 which found probable cause to indict Sen. Estrada and his co-respondents with one
count of plunder and 11 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019. Sen. Estrada filed a
Motion for Reconsideration (of the Joint Resolution dated 28 March 2014) dated 7 April 2014. Sen.
Estrada prayed for the issuance of a new resolution dismissing the charges against him.

Without filing a Motion for Reconsideration of the Ombudsman’s 27 March 2014 Order denying his
Request, Sen. Estrada filed the present Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 and sought to annul and set
aside the 27 March 2014 Order.

I S S U E:

Sen. Estrada raised the following ground in his Petition:

THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, IN ISSUING THE CHALLENGED ORDER


DATED 27 MARCH 2014, ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF ITS
JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION AND VIOLATED SEN. ESTRADA'S
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW .

HELD:

The Ombudsman’s denial in its 27 March 2014 Order of Sen. Estrada’s Request did not constitute grave
abuse of discretion. Indeed, the denial did not violate Sen. Estrada’s constitutional right to due process.

First. There is no law or rule which requires the Ombudsman to furnish a respondent with copies
of the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents. Sen. Estrada claims that the denial of his Request for the
counter-affidavits of his co-respondents violates his constitutional right to due process. Sen. Estrada,
however, fails to specify a law or rule which states that it is a compulsory requirement of due process in a
preliminary investigation that the Ombudsman furnish a respondent with the counter-affidavits of his co-
respondents. Neither Section 3(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure nor Section 4(c),
Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman supports Sen. Estrada’s claim.

What the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman require is for the Ombudsman to
furnish the respondent with a copy of the complaint and the supporting affidavits and documents at the
time the order to submit the counter-affidavit is issued to the respondent. This is clear from Section 4(b),
Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman when it states, “[a]fter such affidavits [of
the complainant and his witnesses] have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an order,
attaching thereto a copy of the affidavits and other supporting documents, directing the respondent to
submit, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, his counter-affidavits x x x.” At this point, there is still no
counter-affidavit submitted by any respondent. Clearly, what Section 4(b) refers to are affidavits of the
complainant and his witnesses, not the affidavits of the co-respondents. Obviously, the counter-affidavits of
the co-respondents are not part of the supporting affidavits of the complainant. No grave abuse of
discretion can thus be attributed to the Ombudsman for the issuance of the 27 March 2014 Order which
denied Sen. Estrada’s Request. Although Section 4(c), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
Ombudsman provides that a respondent “shall have access to the evidence on record,” this provision should
be construed in relation to Section 4(a) and (b) of the same Rule, as well as to the Rules of Criminal
Procedure. First, Section 4(a) states that “the investigating officer shall require the complainant or
supporting witnesses to execute affidavits to substantiate the complaint.” The “supporting witnesses” are
the witnesses of the complainant, and do not refer to the co-respondents.

Second, Section 4(b) states that “the investigating officer shall issue an order attaching thereto a
copy of the affidavits and all other supporting documents, directing the respondent” to submit his counter-
affidavit. The affidavits referred to in Section 4(b) are the affidavits mentioned in Section 4(a). Clearly, the
affidavits to be furnished to the respondent are the affidavits of the complainant and his supporting
witnesses. The provision in the immediately succeeding Section 4(c) of the same Rule II that a respondent
shall have “access to the evidence on record” does not stand alone, but should be read in relation to the
provisions of Section 4(a and b) of the same Rule II requiring the investigating officer to furnish the
respondent with the “affidavits and other supporting documents” submitted by “the complainant or
supporting witnesses.” Thus, a respondent’s “access to evidence on record” in Section 4(c), Rule II of the
Ombudsman’s Rules of Procedure refers to the affidavits and supporting documents of “the complainant
or supporting witnesses” in Section 4(a) of the same Rule II.

Third, Section 3(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that “[t]he
respondent shall have the right to examine the evidence submitted by the complainant which he may not
have been furnished and to copy them at his expense.” A respondent’s right to examine refers only to “the
evidence submitted by the complainant.” Thus, whether under Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure or under Rule II of the Ombudsman’s Rules of Procedure, there is no requirement whatsoever
that the affidavits executed by the correspondents should be furnished to a respondent.

Justice Velasco’s dissent relies on the ruling in Office of the Ombudsman v. Reyes (Reyes case), an
administrative case, in which a different set of rules of procedure and standards apply. Sen. Estrada’s
Petition, in contrast, involves the preliminary investigation stage in a criminal case. Rule III on the Procedure
in Administrative Cases of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman applies in the Reyes case,
while Rule II on the Procedure in Criminal Cases of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman
applies in Sen. Estrada’s Petition. In both cases, the Rules of Court apply in a suppletory character or by
analogy.

In the Reyes case, failure to furnish a copy of the counter-affidavits happened in the administrative
proceedings on the merits, which resulted in Reyes’ dismissal from the service. In Sen. Estrada’s Petition,
the denial of his Request happened during the preliminary investigation where the only issue is the
existence of probable cause for the purpose of determining whether an information should be filed, and
does not prevent Sen. Estrada from requesting a copy of the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents
during the pre-trial or even during the trial. We should remember to consider the differences in
adjudicating cases, particularly an administrative case and a criminal case:

Any lawyer worth his salt knows that quantum of proof and adjective rules vary depending on
whether the cases to which they are meant to apply are criminal, civil or administrative in character. In
criminal actions, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required for conviction; in civil actions and proceedings,
preponderance of evidence, as support for a judgment; and in administrative cases, substantial evidence,
as basis for adjudication.

It should be underscored that the conduct of a preliminary investigation is only for the determination of
probable cause, and “probable cause merely implies probability of guilt and should be determined in a
summary manner. A preliminary investigation is not a part of the trial and it is only in a trial where an
accused can demand the full exercise of his rights, such as the right to confront and cross-examine his
accusers to establish his innocence.” Thus, the rights of a respondent in a preliminary investigation are
limited to those granted by procedural law.

The quantum of evidence now required in preliminary investigation is such evidence sufficient to
“engender a well founded belief” as to the fact of the commission of a crime and the respondent's probable
guilt thereof. A preliminary investigation is not the occasion for the full and exhaustive display of the
parties’ evidence; it is for the presentation of such evidence only as may engender a well-grounded belief
that an offense has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof.
It is a fundamental principle that the accused in a preliminary
investigation has no right to cross-examine the witnesses which the
complainant may present. Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court
expressly provides that the respondent shall only have the right to submit
a counter-affidavit, to examine all other evidence submitted by the
complainant and, where the fiscal sets a hearing to propound, clarificatory
questions to the parties or their witnesses, to be afforded an opportunity
to be present but without the right to examine or cross-examine.

Thus, a preliminary investigation can be taken away by legislation. The constitutional right of an
accused to confront the witnesses against him does not apply in preliminary investigations; nor will the
absence of a preliminary investigation be an infringement of his right to confront the witnesses against him.
A preliminary investigation may be done away with entirely without infringing the constitutional right of an
accused under the due process clause to a fair trial.

Ref: OMBUDSMAN VS. REYES, 658 SCRA 626 (October 5, 2011)

The right of the accused to due process of law and impartial trial are violated if the Prosecutor who
handled his case will be the Judge to decide the same---regardless of the extent of his participation as the
Public Prosecutor

JESSICA LUCILA REYES VS. OMBUDSMAN, G. R. No. 212593-94, March 15,


2016

JESSICA LUCILA REYES VS. SANDIGANABAYN 3rd DIVISION, G. R. No.


213475-76, March 15, 2016

The petitioner was charged of Plunder and/or violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. {RA)
30197 together with Janet Lim Napoles, and others, including one Ruby Tuazon, as co-conspirators for their
respective participations in the anomalous Priority Development Assistance Fµnd (PDAF) scam, involving,
as reported by whistleblowers Benhur Luy (Luy), Marina Sula (Sula), and Merlina Sufias (Sufias), the illegal
utilization and pillaging of public funds sourced from the PDAF of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile (Senator Enrile)
for the years 2004 to 2010, in the total amount of Pl 72,834,500.00.

Reyes, as Chief of Staff of Senator Enrile during the times material to this case, was charged for
fraudulently processing the release of Senator Enrile's illegal PDAF disbursements - through: (1) project
identification and cost projection; (2) preparation and signing of endorsement letters, project reports, and
pertinent documents addressed to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the
Implementing Agencies and (3) endorsement of the preferred JLN23-controlled Non-Government
Organizations (NGOs) to undertake the PDAF-funded project - and for personally receiving significant
portions of the diverted PDAF funds representing Senator Enrile 's "share," "commissions," or "kickbacks"
therefrom, as well as her own.
Ruby Tuason executed a Sworn Statement implicating the petitioner. Thereafter, Tuazon was
officially declared a state witness and granted immunity from criminal prosecution for the PDAF scam-
related cases.

Thereafter, Reyes wrote a letter to the Ombudsman requesting for a copy of the Sworn Statement
of Tuazon but was denied. Again, in a letter dated May 7, 2014 to the Ombudsman, requested for a copy
of the immunity agreement that it entered into with Tuason. Again, the Ombudsman denied Reyes's
request for the reason that 'the immunity agreement is a "privileged communication which is considered
confidential under Section 3, Rule IV of the Rules and Regulations Implementing [RA] 6713," 101 otherwise
known as the "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees."

The Sworn Statement of Ruby Tuazon was one of the documents relied upon by the Ombudsman
in declaring the existence of probable to charge the petitioner of Plunder and violation of Section 3 [e] of
RA No. 3019.

Hence, this petition.

I S S U E:

MAY THE SUPREME COURT INTERFERE WITH THE FINDING OF


PROBALE CAUSE BY THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN?

WAS THE PETITIONER’S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW VIOLATED


WHEN THE OMBUDSMAN DID NOT FURNISH HER OF A COPY OF THE
SWORN STATEMENT OF HER CO-RESPONDENT, RUBY TUAZON?

H E L D:

It is the consistent policy of the Supreme Court to maintain non-interference in the determination
of the Ombudsman of the existence of probable cause, provided there is no grave abuse in the exercise of
such discretion. This observed policy is based not only on respect for the investigatory and prosecutory
powers granted by the Constitution to the Office of the Ombudsman but upon practicality as well.
Otherwise, the functions of the Court will be seriously hampered by innumerable petitions assailing the
dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman with regard to
complaints filed before it, in much the same way that the courts would be extremely swamped with cases
if they could be compelled to review the exercise of discretion on the part of the fiscals or prosecuting
attorneys each time they decide to file an information in court or dismiss a complaint by a private
complainant. "A finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry as to whether there is sufficient
evidence to secure a conviction." "[P]robable cause, for the purpose of filing a criminal information, has
been defined as such facts as are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been
committed and that respondent is probably guilty thereof. The term does not mean 'actual or positive
cause' nor does it import absolute certainty. It is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief.

Also, it should be pointed out that a preliminary investigation is not the occasion for the full and
exhaustive display of the prosecution's evidence, and that the presence or absence of the elements of the
crime is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of defense that may be passed upon after a full-blown trial on
the merits.

As held in the case of SENATOR JINGGOY ESTRADA VS. SANDIGANBAYAN, failure to furnish a
respondent in a criminal case with the Counter-Affidavit of his or her co-respondent does not violate the
right of the former to due process of law, unlike in an administrative case.

Due process: May a respondent in a criminal case before


the Office of the Ombudsman or Prosecutor’s Office
entitled to be furnished copies of the Counter-Affidavits of
his co-respondents to be able to answer and/or comment
on it?

EDELBERT C. UYBOCO, Petitioner,


vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

RESOLUTION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner assailing the Sandiganbayan's
Decision1 dated January 9, 2014 and Resolution2 dated March 14, 2014, finding petitioner and his co-
accused Rodolfo G. Valencia guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No.
3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended, in Criminal Case No.
24461, entitled People of the Philippines v. Rodolfo G. Valencia, Carlo A. Maramot, & Edelbert C. Uyboco.

Petitioner asserts that the Sandiganbayan erred in declaring the existence of a conspiracy and in
convicting him in the absence of proof beyond reasonable doubt of such conspiracy. More importantly,
petitioner finds fault in the Sandiganbayan's denial of his Motion to Reconsider the Decision of this
Honorable Court (Promulgated on January 9, 2014) with a Plea to Re-Open the Proceedings dated January
22, 2014. In his motion, petitioner prayed for the reopening of the proceedings on the ground that his
constitutional rights to due process and to competent counsel were violated when his former counsel,
due to blatant error, abuse of discretion, and gross incompetence, did not present any evidence in his
defense, causing serious prejudice to him.

According to petitioner, he was "accorded grossly insufficient legal assistance by his former lawyer" who
informed him that "there was no necessity for a preliminary investigation and to present any evidence."
His former counsel also "failed to cross examine the main prosecution witness because said counsel was
inexplicably absent on the trial date" and even "failed to prepare and file a memorandum" and "merely
relied on the defense presented by the lawyers of co-accused Valencia and Maramot by adopting the
defenses of the other accused and all their pleadings and manifestations, even when these were clearly
not applicable to petitioner’s defense." Thus, petitioner avers that his constitutional rights to procedural
and substantive due process and of law and to competent counsel were violated.

In its Comment dated September 30,2014, the Office of the Special Prosecutor opposed petitioner’s plea
toreopen the case on the ground of denial of due process. In citing Lagua v. CA,3 they claim there is no
basis to set aside the assailed decision and resolution since "a client is bound by the action of his
counsel."

After a careful review of the records of the case, We find that the petition has no merit.

Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court states that petitions for review on certiorari shall raise only
questions of law which must be distinctly set forth, as held by this Court in Microsoft Corp. v. Maxicorp,
Inc.,4 to wit:

A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court should cover only questions of law. Questions of
fact are not reviewable. A question of law exists when the doubt centers on what the law is on a certain
set of facts. A question of fact exists when the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts.

Findings of fact made by a trial court are accorded the highest degree of respect by an appellate tribunal
and, absent a clear disregard of the evidence before it that can otherwise affect the results of the case,
those findings should not be ignored.5 Absent any clear showing of abuse, arbitrariness or capriciousness
committed by the lower court, its findings of facts, especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are
binding and conclusive upon this Court.6

This rule admits of exceptions, asfollows: (1) where the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmise and conjectures; (2) where the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) where
there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) where the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts; and (5)
the findings of fact of the Sandiganbayan are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted
by evidence on record.7

Even if the foregoing rules were tobe relaxed in the interest of substantial justice, this Court nevertheless
finds no reason to disagree with the factual findings of the Sandiganbayan. A meticulous scrutiny of the
records of the case persuades Us to conclude that the Sandiganbayan did not err in its finding that
petitioner is guilty of the crime charged. The evidence on record amply supports the findings and
conclusions of the Sandiganbayan and petitioner has shown no cause for this Court to apply any of the
foregoing exceptions.

Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 provides:

Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. - In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already
penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are
hereby declared to be unlawful:

xxxx

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial
functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross in excusable negligence. This provision
shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of
licenses or permits or other concessions.

For accused to be found liable under Section 3(e) of RA 3019, the following elements must concur:

1) The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; 2) He
must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and

3) That his action caused undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.8

Based on the records of the case, the elements of the crime charged exist in the present case. On the first
element, accused Valencia was a public officer at the time the acts in question were committed. Thus,
while petitioner was a private individual, he was found to have been inconspiracy with accused Valencia.
This is in accord with the rule that private persons may be charged in conspiracy with public officers, as
We held in People of the Philippines v. Henry T. Go:9

At the outset, it bears to reiterate the settled rule that private persons, when acting in conspiracy with
public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the pertinent offenses under Section 3
of R.A. 3019, in consonance with the avowed policy of the anti-graft law to repress certain acts of public
officers and private persons alike constituting graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto.
This is the controlling doctrine as enunciated by this Court in previous cases, among which is a case
involving herein private respondent.

The Sandiganbayan found that petitioner and accused Valencia acted in conspiracy to commit the crime
charged, to wit:

The records show that conspiracy existed by and between accused Rodolfo Valencia and Edelbert
Uyboco, president of Gaikoku, considering that the procurement of the subject dump trucks for an
overpriced amount of Ph₱6,994,286.00 could not have been possible without each other’s participation
and cooperation, as evidenced by their execution and approval of the purchase order No. 4979 dated
March 1993, and Gaikoku’s proforma invoice.10
Petitioner failed to dispute any of the documentary evidence presented by the prosecution and relied
upon by the Sandiganbayan. Thus, there appears to be no reason for this Court to review such finding.

As to the second element, accused Valencia entered into a negotiated contract with Gaikoku without
authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP). In fact, Valencia had already approved the purchase
request for the dump trucks as earlyas March 1993, prior to any SP resolution approving such direct
acquisition.

The Sandiganbayan correctly ruled, and respondents aptly pointed out, that accused Valencia failed to
comply with the requirements of Section 369 of the Local Government Code on negotiated purchase,
which required that there must have been at least two failed public biddings before a contract for a
negotiated purchase may be entered into. The defense failed to present any substantial evidence of the
two failed biddings. In fact, it was proved by presented evidence that the alleged failed biddings were
merely simulated.

The present case is similar to the case of Plameras v. People,11 wherein this Court upheld the conviction
of the accused, to wit:

As correctly observed by the Sandiganbayan, certain established rules, regulations and policies of the
Commission on Audit and those mandated under the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160)
were knowingly sidestepped and ignored by the petitioner which enabled CKL Enterprises/Dela Cruz to
successfully get full payment for the school desks and armchairs, despite non-delivery – an act or
omission evidencing bad faith and manifest partiality.

It must be borne to mind that any procurement or "acquisition of supplies or property by local
government units shall be through competitive public bidding". This was reiterated in the Local
Government Code of 1991 on procurement of supplies which provides:

Sec. 356. General Rule in Procurement or Disposal. – Except as otherwise provided herein, acquisition of
supplies by local government units shall be through competitive public bidding. x x x

The petitioner admitted in his testimony that he is aware of such requirement, however, he proceeded
just the same due to the alleged advice of the unnamed DECS representative that there was already a
negotiated contract – a representation or misrepresentation he willfully believed in, without any
verification. As a Governor, he must know that negotiated contract can only be resortedto in case of
failure of a public bidding. As it is, there isno public bidding to speak of that has been conducted.
Intentionally or not, it is his duty to act in a circumspect manner to protect government funds. To do
otherwise is gross inexcusable negligence, at the very least, especially so, that petitioner acted on his own
initiative and without authorization from the Provincial School Board. This can be proved by his failure to
present even a single witness from the members of the Board whom he consulted as he claimed.12

Finally, the third element of the crime is also present since it had been proven that an overpayment was
made for the dump trucks, since these were directly imported by the Provincial Government from the
distributor in Japan. With this direct importation, the Provincial Government should have only paid the
tax-free amount of ₱4,594,119.85. Instead, accused Valencia had already authorized and caused the
disbursement of ₱6,994,286, or an excess of ₱2,400,166.15, in favor of petitioner’s company, Gaikoku.
This has clearly caused undue injury to the government.
As to petitioner’s claim that his right to due process was denied due to his former counsel’s error, abuse
of discretion or gross incompetence, We find no merit in this claim. Time and again, this Court has ruled
that a client is bound by his counsel’s conduct, negligence and mistake in handling a case,13 and to allow a
client to disownhis counsel’s conduct would render proceedings indefinite, tentative, and subject to
reopening by the mere subterfuge of replacing counsel.14 While this rule has recognized exceptions,15 We
find that there is no reason for this Court to deviate from the findings of the Sandiganbayan. We held in
Gotesco Properties, Inc. v. Moral:16

The general rule is that a client is bound by the acts, even mistakes, of his counsel in the realm of
procedural technique. The basis is the tenet that an act performed by counsel withinthe scope of a
"general or implied authority" is regarded as an act of the client. While the application of this general rule
certainly depends upon the surrounding circumstances of a given case, there are exceptions recognized
by this Court: "(1) where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law;
(2) when its application will result in outright deprivation of the client’s liberty or property;or (3) where
the interests of justice so require."

The present case does not fall under the said exceptions. In Amil v. Court of Appeals, the Court held that
"to fall within the exceptional circumstance relied upon x x x, it mustbe shown that the negligence of
counsel must be so gross that the client is deprived of his day in court. Thus, where a party was given the
opportunity to defend its interests in due course, it cannot be said to have been denied due process of
law, for this opportunity to be heard is the very essence of due process." To properly claim gross
negligence on the part of the counsel, the petitioner must show that the counsel was guilty of nothing
short of a clear abandonment of the client’s cause.17

In the present case, the Sandiganbayancorrectly denied petitioner’s motion to re-open the proceedings
on the ground of violation of his due process, to wit:

In the same vein, accused-movant Uyboco’s clear admission that "he had been given the opportunity to
present his evidence" and despite said opportunity, he and his counsel decided/opted not to present any
evidence for his defense, as shown by their written Manifestatio ndated November 20, 2012, that "after
earnest assessment and evaluation, the accused EDELBERT C. UYBOCO has deemed it unnecessary to
present further evidence in his defense, thus he is waiving his right to present further testimonial and
documentary evidence," militates against his claim of miscarriage of justice, and hence, his motion to
reopen proceedings must likewise fail. Accused-movant Uyboco cannot attribute any serious
misjudgment or fault or gross incompetence on his counsel aloneas the decision not to present further
evidence in his defense bears his conformity as shown by his signature in the said manifestation. 18

The Office of the Special Prosecutor correctly pointed out that petitioner was given an opportunity tobe
heard during trial.1âwphi1 This opportunity to be heard is the essence of due process. While petitioner
claims that he was incorrectly advised by his former counsel that the presentation of evidence is no
longer necessary, this unfortunate mistake cannot qualify as gross negligence or incompetence that
would necessitate a reopening of the proceedings. In fact, not once did petitioner refute, or at the very
least, address the Sandiganbayan’s finding that he had expressly consented to the waiver of the
presentation of evidence by affixing his signature as conformity to the manifestation submitted by his
former counsel.

Petitioner also erroneously claims that his former counsel "failed to prepare and file a memorandum for
him" since the records show that petitioner’s former counsel had belatedly filed a memorandum on his
behalf, which the Sandiganbayan had admitted in the interest of justice. Based on the foregoing, this
Court finds that the Sandiganbayan committed no reversible error in finding petitioner guilty beyond
reasonable doubt for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated January 9, 2014 and Resolution dated March 14,
2014 issued by the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 24461 are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

ALEJANDRO C. ALMENDRAS, JR. vs. ALEXIS C. ALMENDRAS, G.R. No. 179491,


January 14, 2015.

THE FACTS:

The petitioner sent letters with similar contents on 7 February 1996 to House Speaker Jose de
Venecia, Jr., and on 26 February 1996 to Dr. Nemesio Prudente, President of Oil Carriers, Inc. The
controversial portion of the first and second letters reads as follows:

This is to notify your good self and your staff that one ALEXIS "DODONG" C.
ALMENDRAS, a brother, is not vested with any authority to liaison or
transact any business with any department, office, or bureau, public or
otherwise, that has bearing or relation with my office, mandates or
functions. x x x.

Noteworthy to mention, perhaps, is the fact that Mr. Alexis “Dodong” C.


Almendras, a reknown blackmailer, is a bitter rival in the just concluded
election of 1995 who ran against the wishes of my father, the late
Congressman Alejandro D. Almendras, Sr. He has caused pain to the family
when he filed cases against us: his brothers and sisters, and worst against
his own mother. I deemed that his act of transacting business that affects
my person and official functions is malicious in purpose, done with ill motive
and part of a larger plan of harassment activities to perforce realise his
egoistic and evil objectives. May I therefore request the assistance of your
office in circulating the above information to concerned officials and
secretariat employees of the House of Representatives.
These letters were allegedly printed, distributed, circulated and published by petitioner, assisted
by Atty. Roberto Layug, in Digos, Davao del Sur and Quezon City, with evident bad faith and manifest malice
to destroy respondent Alexis C. Almendras’ good name. Hence, the latter filed an action for damages arising
from libel and defamation against petitioner in the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 19, Digos City.

In the course of trial at the lower court, petitioner failed to present any evidence, except his Answer,
despite several rescheduling of hearings at his instance. The trial court thus submitted the case for
decision, and eventually ruled that respondent was libeled and defamed. For the sufferings, social
ridicule, defamation and dishonor caused by petitioner’s letters, respondent was awarded damages, as
follows: “P5,000,000.00 as moral damages; P100,000.00 as exemplary damages; P10,000.00 for litigation
expenses; and attorney’s fees in the amount of 25% of whatever amounts actually received by plaintiff for
this judgment.” Petitioner moved for reconsideration and/or new trial, but the same was denied by the
trial court. He appealed to the Court of Appeals claiming violation of his right to due process of law. The
CA, however, ruled that petitioner was not denied due process. It noted that petitioner was given full
opportunity to present his evidence, but he vehemently disregarded the proceedings by merely absenting
himself from trials without valid excuses. The appellate court also ruled that the letters were not
privileged communications, since petitioner was not acting as a member of the Congress when he sent
them.

ISSUES:

(1) Whether or not petitioner was deprived due process;

HELD:

Petition denied.

Petitioner anchors his appeal on the ground that his letters are covered by privileged
communications. He insists that he has the legal, moral, or social duty to make the communication, or at
least, had an interest to protect, being then a Congressman duty-bound to insulate his office and his
constituents from the dubious and mistrustful pursuits of his elder brother.

Moreover, the letters were also not meant to be circulated or published. They were sent merely to
warn the individuals of respondent’s nefarious activities, and made in good faith and without any actual
malice. Respondent’s testimony that he learned the existence of the letter from others cannot be
countenanced, as no witness corroborated this. At best, it is only hearsay.

On the denial of his motion for reconsideration and/or new trial, he maintains that his own counsel
Atty. Leonardo D. Suario categorically admitted that he did not know of petitioner’s ailment and thus did
not make the proper manifestations in Court. His failure to attend the hearing was not of his own volition,
but because of his doctor’s strict advice since he earlier underwent a quadruple coronary artery bypass at
the St. Luke’s Medical Center-Heart Institute in Quezon City on 16 July 2001, just a day before the Motion
for Reconsideration and/or New Trial was filed. While his counsel represents him, the latter’s mistakes
should not deprive him of his day in court to present his side.

Settled is the rule that a client is bound by the mistakes of his counsel. The only exception is when
the negligence of the counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the client is deprived of his day in
court. In such instance, the remedy is to reopen the case and allow the party who was denied his day in
court to adduce evidence. However, perusing the case at bar, we find no reason to depart from the general
rule.

Petitioner was given several opportunities to present his evidence or to clarify his medical constraints in
court, but he did not do so, despite knowing full well that he had a pending case in court. For petitioner
to feign and repeatedly insist upon a lack of awareness of the progress of an important litigation is to
unmask a penchant for the ludicrous. Although he rightfully expected counsel to amply protect his
interest, he cannot just sit back, relax and await the outcome of the case. In keeping with the normal
course of events, he should have taken the initiative “of making the proper inquiries from his counsel and
the trial court as to the status of his case.” For his failure to do so, he has only himself to blame. The Court
cannot allow petitioner the exception to the general rule just because his counsel admitted having no
knowledge of his medical condition. To do so will set a dangerous precedent of never-ending suits, so
long as lawyers could allege their own fault or negligence to support the client’s case and obtain remedies
and reliefs already lost by the operation of law.

Presumption of innocence: Failure of the apprehending


policemen to comply with the “chain of evidence rule”
under Section 21 of RA No. 9165, including the 24-hour
period to turn over to the Crime Laboratory an alleged
confiscated prohibited drugs against a suspect, entitles
the latter to acquittal based on presumption of innocence.

MAYOR EMMANUEL L. MALIKSI VS. COMELEC and HOMER T. SAQUILAYAN,


MARCH 12, 2013

The Cas~ Before the Court is a petition for certiorari 1 assailing the 14 September 2012 Resolution2 of the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Bane 1 Under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 ofthe Rules of Court.
Raila, pp. 59-64. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Briilantes. Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento,
Armando C. Velasco, and Elias R. Yusoph. Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle took no part while
Commissioner Christian RobertS. Lim inhibited himself from the case. Decision 2 G.R. No. 203302 which
affirmed the 15 August 2012 Resolution3 of the COMELEC First Division in EAC (AE) No. A-22-2011. The
Antecedent Facts Emmanuel L. Maliksi (Maliksi) and Homer T. Saquilayan (Saquilayan) were both
mayoralty candidates for the Municipality of Imus, Cavite during the 10 May 2010 Automated National
and Local Elections. The Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) proclaimed Saquilayan as the duly elected
municipal mayor garnering a total of 48,181 votes as against Maliksi’s 39,682 votes. Thus, based on the
MBC’s canvass, Saquilayan won over Maliksi by 8,499 votes. Maliksi filed an election protest before the
Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite, Branch 22 (trial court), questioning the results of the elections in 209
clustered precincts. The case was docketed as Election Protest No. 009-10. In its 15 November 2011
Decision, the trial court declared Maliksi as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of Imus, Cavite. The trial
court ruled that Maliksi garnered 41,088 votes as against Saquilayan’s 40,423 votes. Thus, based on the
trial court’s recount, Maliksi won over Saquilayan by a margin of 665 votes. The dispositive portion of the
trial court’s decision reads: WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, this Court finds the Election Protest
filed by Emmanuel L. Maliksi meritorious. Accordingly, Emmanuel L. Maliksi is hereby DECLARED as the
duly elected Mayor of the Municipality of Imus, Province of Cavite after having obtained the highest
number of legal votes of 41,088 as against Protestant Homer T. Saquilayan’s 40,423 votes or a winning
margin of 665 votes in favor of the former. Thus, the election and proclamation of Homer T. Saquilayan as
Mayor of Imus, Cavite is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and he is COMMANDED to immediately CEASE
and DESIST from performing the duties and functions of said office. Finally, pursuant to Section 4, Rule 14
of A.M. 10-4-1-SC, the Clerk of Court is hereby DIRECTED to personally deliver the copy of the signed and
promulgated decision on the counsels of the parties. SO ORDERED. 4

MAYOR EMMANUEL L. MALIKSI VS. COMELEC and HOMER T. SAQUILAYAN,


G.R. No. 203302, April 13, 2013

During the 2010 Elections, the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed Saquilayan the winner
for the position of Mayor of Imus, Cavite. Maliksi, the candidate who garnered the second highest number
of votes, brought an election protest in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Imus, Cavite alleging that there
were irregularities in the counting of votes in 209 clustered precincts. Subsequently, the RTC held a revision
of the votes, and, based on the results of the revision, declared Maliksi as the duly elected Mayor of Imus
commanding Saquilayan to cease and desist from performing the functions of said office. Saquilayan
appealed to the COMELEC. In the meanwhile, the RTC granted Maliksi’s motion for execution pending
appeal, and Maliksi was then installed as Mayor.

In resolving the appeal, the COMELEC First Division, without giving notice to the parties, decided
to recount the ballots through the use of the printouts of the ballot images from the CF cards. Thus, it
issued an order dated March 28, 2012 requiring Saquilayan to deposit the amount necessary to defray the
expenses for the decryption and printing of the ballot images. Later, it issued another order dated April 17,
2012 for Saquilayan to augment his cash deposit.

On August 15, 2012, the First Division issued a resolution nullifying the RTC’s decision and declaring
Saquilayan as the duly elected Mayor . Maliksi filed a motion for reconsideration, alleging that he had been
denied his right to due process because he had not been notified of the decryption proceedings.

On September 14, 2012, the COMELEC En Banc resolved to deny Maliksi’s motion for
reconsideration.

Hence, this case.


In the decision promulgated on March 12, 2013, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 8-7, dismissed
Maliksi’s petition for certiorari. The Court concluded that Maliksi had not been denied due process because:
(a) he had received notices of the decryption, printing, and examination of the ballot images by the First
Division — referring to the orders of the First Division directing Saquilayan to post and augment the cash
deposits for the decryption and printing of the ballot images; and (b) he had been able to raise his
objections to the decryption in his motion for reconsideration. The Court then pronounced that the First
Division did not abuse its discretion in deciding to use the ballot images instead of the paper ballots,
explaining that the printouts of the ballot images were not secondary images, but considered original
documents with the same evidentiary value as the official ballots under the Rule on Electronic Evidence;
and that the First Division’s finding that the ballots and the ballot boxes had been tampered had been fully
established by the large number of cases of double-shading discovered during the revision.

In his Extremely Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, Maliksi insisted that his right to due process
was violated by the COMELEC.

Held:

By the same vote of 8-7, the Supreme Court reversed itself in a period of one (1) month.

Indeed, Mayor Maliksi was furnished copies of the Orders of the COMELEC directing Saguilayan to
post cash deposit for the decryption, printing, and examination of the ballot images and later on to
augment the earlier cash deposit for the decryption and printing of the ballot images BUT NO DATES WERE
MENTIONED THEREIN SO THAT HE COULD HAVE PARTICIPATED.

The Court grants Maliksi’s Extremely Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, and reverses the decision
promulgated on March 12, 2013 on the ground that the First Division of the COMELEC denied to him the
right to due process by failing to give due notice on the decryption and printing of the ballot images.
Consequently, the Court annuls the recount proceedings conducted by the First Division with the use of
the printouts of the ballot images.

It bears stressing at the outset that the First Division should not have conducted the assailed
recount proceedings because it was then exercising appellate jurisdiction as to which no existing rule of
procedure allowed it to conduct a recount in the first instance. The recount proceedings authorized under
Section 6, Rule 15 of COMELEC Resolution No. 8804, as amended, are to be conducted by the COMELEC
Divisions only in the exercise of their exclusive original jurisdiction over all election protests involving
elective regional (the autonomous regions), provincial and city officials, not in cases of appeals.

We should not ignore that the parties’ participation during the revision and recount proceedings
would not benefit only the parties, but was as vital and significant for the COMELEC as well, for only by
their participation would the COMELEC’s proceedings attain credibility as to the result. The parties’
presence would have ensured that the requisite procedures have been followed, including the required
authentication and certification that the images to be printed are genuine.

The Court, by this resolution, does not intend to validate the victory of any of the parties in the
2010 Elections. That is not the concern of the Court as yet. The Court simply does not want to countenance
a denial of the fundamental right to due process, a cornerstone of our legal system.
WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the Extremely Urgent Motion for Reconsideration of
petitioner Emmanuel Maliksi; and DIRECTS the Commission on Elections En Banc to conduct proceedings
for the decryption of the picture images of the ballots involved in the protest after due authentication, and
for the recount of ballots by using the printouts of the ballot images, with notice to and in the presence of
the parties or their representatives in accordance with the procedure laid down by Rule 15 of COMELEC
Resolution No. 8804, as amended by Resolution No. 9164.

Due process: Is there violation of the petitioner’s right to


due process of law if he did not present evidence in his
behalf in the Sandiganbayan but merely “adopted” the
evidence presented by his co-accused therein based on the
advise of his lawyer?

Imelda Marcos vs Sandiganbayan HELD: The SC ruled that the ruling of the SB is
Due Process bereft of merit as there was no strong showing
Imelda was charged together with Jose Dans for of Imelda’s guilt. The SC further emphasized that
Graft & Corruption for a dubious transaction Imelda was deprived of due process by reason of
done in 1984 while they were officers Garchitorena not waiting for Amores’
transacting business with the Light Railway manifestation. Such procedural flaws committed
Transit. The case was raffled to the 1st Division by respondent Sandiganbayan are fatal to the
of theSandiganbayan. The division was headed validity of its ”decision” convicting petitioner.
by Justice Garchitorena with J Balajadia and J Garchitorena had already created the Special
Atienza as associate justices. No decision was Division of five (5) justices in view of the lack of
reached by the division by reason of Atienza’s unanimity of the three (3) justices in the First
dissent in favor of Imelda’s innocence. Division. At that stage, petitioner had a vested
right to be heard by the five (5) justices,
Garchitorena then summoned a special division especially the new justices in the persons of
of the SB to include JJ Amores and Cipriano as Justices Amores and del Rosario who may
additional members. Amores then asked have a different view of the cases against her. At
Garchitorena to be given 15 days to send in his that point, Presiding Justice Garchitorena and
manifestation. On the date of Amores’ request, Justice Balajadia may change their mind and
Garchitorena received manifestation from J agree with the original opinion of Justice Atienza
Balajadia stating that he agrees with J Rosario but the turnaround cannot deprive petitioner
who further agrees with J Atienza. Garchitorena of her vested right to the opinion of Justices
then issued a special order to immediately Amores and del Rosario. It may be true that
dissolve the special division and have the issue Justice del Rosario had already expressed his
be raised to the SB en banc for it would already opinion during an informal, unscheduled
be pointless to wait for Amores’ manifestation meeting in the unnamed restaurant but as
granted that a majority has already decided on aforestated, that opinion is not the opinion
Imelda’s favor. contemplated by law. But what is more,
petitioner was denied the opinion of Justice
The SB en banc ruled against Imelda. Amores for before it could be given, Presiding
ISSUE: Whether or not due process has been Justice Garchitorena dissolved the Special
observed. Division.
G.R. No. L-47276: Emma Delgado vs Court of denial of due process.
Appeals
Due Process G.R. No. 179907: Pedro Consulta vs People of the
Delgado together with 3 others were charged Philippines
for estafa causing the frustration of one medical
student. Delgado was assisted by one Atty. Yco. Due Process
The said lawyer has filed for multiple Consulta is charged for stealing a gold necklace
postponement of trial and one time he failed to worth 3.5k owned by a certain Silvestre. He was
appear in court by reason of him being allegedly convicted by the lower court. The court of
sick. No medical certificate was furnished. The appeals raised before the CA the issue
court was not impressed with such actuation that he was not properly arraigned and that he
and had considered the same as Delgado’s was represented by a non lawyer.
waiver of her right to trial. The lower court
convicted her and the others. She appealed ISSUE: Whether or not Consulta was denied of
before the CA and the CA sustained the lower due process.
court’s rule. Delgado later found out that Yco is
not a member of the IBP. HELD: The SC ruled that Consulta’s claim of
being misrepresented cannot be given due
ISSUE: Whether or not due process was course. He was assisted by two lawyers during
observed. the proceeding. In the earlier part, he was
assisted by one Atty. Jocelyn Reyes who seemed
HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Delgado. An not to be a lawyer. Granting that she indeed is
accused person is entitled to be represented by not a lawyer, her withdrawal from the case in
a member of the bar in a criminal case filed the earlier part of the case has cured the defect
against her before the Regional Trial Court. as he was subsequently assisted by a lawyer
Unless she is represented by a lawyer, there is coming from the PAO.
great danger that any defense presented in her
behalf will be inadequate considering the legal
perquisites and skills needed in the court
proceedings. This would certainly be a
G.R. No. L-46272 June 13, 1986
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.ALBERTO OPIDA y QUIAMBAO and VIRGILIO MARCELO,
accused-appellants.

CRUZ, J.:

This is an automatic review of the Decision of the Circuit Criminal Court, Seventh Judicial District,
imposing the death penalty upon Alberto Opida and Virgilio Marcelo for the crime of murder.

Unlike the victim in this case, who died from only one stab wound, the decision under review suffers from
several fatal flaws, all equally deadly. It suffices to discuss only one of them.

Time and again this Court has declared that due process requires no less than the cold neutrality of an
impartial judge. 1 Bolstering this requirement, we have added that the judge must not only be impartial
but must also appear to be impartial, to give added assurance to the parties that his decision will be
just. 2 The parties are entitled to no less than this, as a minimum guaranty of due process. This guaranty
was not observed in this case.

On July 31, 1976, in Quezon City, several persons ganged up on Fabian Galvan, stoned and hit him with
beer bottles until finally one of them stabbed him to death. The actual knife-wielder was identified as
Mario del Mundo. 3Nonetheless, Alberto Opida and Virgilio Marcelo were charged with murder as
conspirators and, after trial, sentenced to death. 4

The basis of their conviction by the trial court was the testimony of two prosecution witnesses, neither of
whom positively said that the accused were at the scene of the crime, their extrajudicial confessions,
which were secured without the assistance of counsel, and corroboration of the alleged conspiracy under
the theory of interlocking confession. 5

What is striking about this case is the way the trial judge conducted his interrogation of the two accused
and their lone witness, Lilian Layug. It was hardly judicious and certainly far from judicial, at times
irrelevant, at Worst malicious. Reading the transcript, one gathers the impression that the judge had
allied himself with the prosecution to discredit at the outset the credibility of the witnesses for the
defense.

Opida is a police character, admittedly a member of the Commando gang and with a string of convictions
for robbery, theft and vagrancy. 6 It is worth noting that the judge took special interest in his tattoos,
required him to remove his shirt so they could be examined, and even described them in detail for the
record. 7

Besides belaboring Opida's criminal activities and his tattoos, the judge asked him if he had "ever been
convicted at the National Mental Hospital with what else but malice and suggested to him that his claim
of manhandling by the police was a lie because investigators leave no mark when they torture a
suspect. 8 This was a point that could have been validly raised by the prosecution but certainly not by the
court. The judge also made it of record that the witness was gnashing his teeth, was showing signs of
hostility, that he was uneasy and that he was restless. "Now, whom do you want to fool the judge asked,
"the prosecutor, your lawyer, or the court? 9

In the hearing of September 22, 1976, the interrogation of Virgilio Marcelo, the other accused, was
conducted almost wholly by the judge who started cross-examining the witness even before the defense
counsel could ask his first question, and took over from the prosecution the task of impeaching Marcelo's
credibility.10 The judge asked him about his drug addiction, his membership in the Commando gang, his
tattoos, his parentage, his activities, his criminal record all when he was supposed to be under direct
examination by his own lawyer. Defense counsel could hardly put in a word edgewise because the judge
kept interrupting to ask his own questions. 11

The questions were not clarificatory but adversary; and when they were not adversary, they were
irrelevant, and sometimes also cruel. At one point, the judge drew from the witness the statement that
his mother was living with another man; forthwith he suggested that the mother was unfaithful to his
father. 12 We deplore this sadistic treatment of the witness, especially as, for all his supposed
"toughness," he could not answer back. We fail to see what possible connection the mother's infidelity
could have had, by any stretch of the imagination, with the instant prosecution.

But the judge was to save the best or worst of his spite for the third witness, Lilian Layug, a waitress in the
restaurant where the appellant Opida was working as a cook. Noting at the outset that she spoke English,
he wanted to know where she had learned it and asked in ill-concealed insinuation if she had worked in
Angeles City or Olongapo or Sangley. 13 Because she was gesturing nervously, he asked, "Are you a
conductor? 14 Of the two accused, he asked her, "They are very proud of belonging to the Commando
gang to which the witness answered, putting him in his place, "That I do not know, Your Honor." 15

One cannot but note the mockery in the following questions put by the judge to the witness, who was
probably wondering what the interrogation was all about

On direct examination, Opida challenged his extrajudicial confession, claiming it had been obtained
without observance of the rights available under Article IV, Section 20 of the Constitution, particularly the
right to counsel. 17Parenthetically, the extrajudicial confession of Marcelo was also made without
assistance of counsel. 18 Opida also testified, under questioning from his counsel, that he had been
repeatedly hit with a "dos por dos" by a police officer while he was being investigated. 19

We have consistently held that the rights guaranteed during a custodial investigation are not supposed to
be merely communicated to the suspect, especially if he is unlettered, but must be painstakingly
explained to him so he can understand their nature and significance. Moreover, manhandling of any sort
will vitiate any extrajudicial confession that may be extracted from him and renders it inadmissible in
evidence against him. 20

Those principles were given mere lip service by the judge, who did not bother to look deeper into the
validity of the challenged confessions.

Given the obvious hostility of the judge toward the defense, it was inevitable that all the protestations of
the accused in this respect would be, as they in fact were, dismissed. And once the confessions were
admitted, it was easy enough to employ them as corroborating evidence of the claimed conspiracy
among the accused.
The accused are admittedly notorious criminals who were probably even proud of their membership in
the Commando gang even as they flaunted their tattoos as a badge of notoriety. 21 Nevertheless, they
were entitled to be presumed innocent until the contrary was proved and had a right not to be held to
answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. 22

The judge disregarded these guarantees and was in fact all too eager to convict the accused, who had
manifestly earned his enmity. When he said at the conclusion of the trial, "You want me to dictate the
decision now?" 23, he was betraying a pre-judgment long before made and obviously waiting only to be
formalized.

The scales of justice must hang equal and, in fact, should even be tipped in favor of the accused because
of the constitutional presumption of innocence. Needless to stress, this right is available to every accused,
whatever his present circumstance and no matter how dark and repellent his past. Despite their sinister
connotations in our society, tattoos are at best dubious adornments only and surely not under our laws
indicia of criminality. Of bad taste perhaps, but not of crime.

In any event, convictions are based not on the mere appearance of the accused but on his actual
commission of crime, to be ascertained with the pure objectivity of the true judge who must uphold the
law for all without favor or malice and always with justice.

Accused-appellants Opida and Marcelo, who have been imprisoned since 1976, have sent us separate
letters pleading for the resolution of their death sentences one way or the other once and for all.
Considering the way they were tried, we now declare that they should not be detained in jail a minute
longer. While this is not to say that the accused are not guilty, it does mean that, because their
constitutional rights have been violated, their guilt, if it exists, has not been established beyond
reasonable doubt and so cannot be pronounced. Due process has stayed the uneven hand of the quick
condemnor and must set the defendants free.

WHEREFORE, the conviction of Alberto Opida and Virgilio Marcelo is reversed and they are hereby
ordered released immediately. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

People vs Mortera (Right Of The Accused To An Rojas with a Nescafe glass.Alberto Rojas ran
Impartial Trial) away. Mortera said, "Sayang." He listened
while the group of Ramil Gregorio were singing
FACTS: This is an appeal from the January 23, accompanied by a guitar. Jomer Diaz, brother-in-
2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals which law of Alberto Diaz, arrived. Mortera said, "Here
affirmed with modification the Decision of the comes another Rojas." Gregorio and his
Regional Trial Court in criminal case which found companions told Jomer Diaz to run away.
accused Benancio Mortera guilty beyond Mortera hurled a stone at Diaz but the latter
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder for the was not hit. Mortera left but he said that he will
killing of one Robelyn Rojas.Prosecution witness return. After a few minutes, Mortera came back.
Ramil Gregorio testified that one afternoon, he When Jomer Diaz ran, Robelyn Rojas, brother of
together with other men were drinking tuba. Alberto Rojas went to Jomer. Mortera met
They have just started drinking when Benancio Robelyn at a distance of about seven meters
Mortera, Jr. arrived. He wanted to hit Alberto from the place where the group were drinking.
Mortera and Robelyn discussed with each other of due process of law and his right to an
and later shook hands. Robelyn turned his face impartial trial. He claimed that the trial court
and Mortera suddenly stabbed Robelyn Rojas judge, Judge Jesus Carbon, was
at the back. After stabbing Robelyn, Mortera ran hostile towards him and prejudged his guilt as
away. could be inferred from his "prosecutor-like"
conduct. The accused likewise reiterated his
Robelyn Rojas tried to chase Mortera but he was claim of self-defense.
not able to catch up but he fell down mortally
wounded. He was brought to the hospital by his In its decision, the CA affirmed the decision of
brother but he was pronounced DOA at the RTC with modification as to the civil
the hospital. Jovel Venales who was drinking liabilities. The CA ruled that the trial judge did
together with Ramil Gregorio and others, not transgress the standard of "cold neutrality"
corroborated Ramil Gregorio's testimony. required of a magistrate and added that the
questions he propounded were "substantially
Although the accused pleaded not guilty when clarificatory." Still not satisfied, the accused now
arraigned, during the trial, he admitted having comes before the SC.
stabbed the victim whom he referred to as
Tonying, but claimed self-defense. ISSUE: WON the accused were denied of his
right to have an impartial trial.
By his account he passed by a corner and saw a
group of people drinking. They were Ramil HELD: As correctly pointed out by the CA,
Gregorio, Jonel Venales and Tonying. Upon although the trial judge might have made
seeing him, Tonying ran away and called his improper remarks and comments, it did not
brother, Alberto Rojas. When the accused was amount to a denial of his right to due process or
about to reach the main road, Alberto Rojas, his right to an impartial trial. Upon perusal of the
Tonying and a certain "Duk" (brother-in-law of transcript as a whole, it cannot be said that the
Tonying) accosted him and asked him for liquor remarks were reflective of his partiality. Not only
money. When he refused, the three men did the accused mislead the court by initially
gotangry. After telling them that he had to go, invoking a negative defense only to claim
Tonying hit him with a spray gun (for painting), otherwise during trial, he was also not candid to
causing him to fall down. While he was in a his own lawyer, who was kept in the dark as to
supine position, Tonying attempted to hit his intended defense. The invocation of Opida
him again. It was at that point that he was able did not persuade the SC.
to get hold of his knife and thrust it forward and
hit someone. He did not know who got stabbed. In Opida, SC did not fail to notice the
He then immediately fled. "malicious," "sadistic" and adversarial" manner
of questioning by the trial judge of the accused
On January 23, 2007, the RTC rendered therein, including their defense witness. In
judgment finding the accused guilty of murder. Opida, the accused never admitted the
In rejecting the claim of self defense, the trial commission of the crime, and
court stated that it was not worthy of belief so the burden of proof remained with the
as it was belied by the credible testimonies of the prosecution.
prosecution witnesses. The accused appealed to
the CA raising the issues of denial
ALLEN ROSS RODRIGUEZ AND REGIDOR TULALI VS. JUDGE BIENVINIDO
BLANCAFLOR, G.R. No. 190171, March 14, 2011

Allen Ross Rodriguez (Rodriguez) is the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan; and Regidor Tulali
(Tulali), is a Prosecutor I of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan. Judge Bienvenido Blancaflor
(Judge Blancaflor) is the Acting Presiding Judge of Branch 52, Regional Trial Court, Palawan (RTC).

In his October 13, 2009 Decision, Judge Blancaflor found petitioners Rodriguez and Tulali guilty of
direct contempt and ordered them to issue a public apology to the court. In the same decision, Judge
Blancaflor suspended them indefinitely from the practice of law. The dispositive portion of the decision
reads:

Previously pending before Judge Blancaflor was Criminal Case No. 22240 for arson (arson case),
entitled People of the Philippines v. Teksan Ami, in which Tulali was the trial prosecutor.

During the pendency of the case, Tulali was implicated in a controversy involving an alleged bribery
initiated by Randy Awayan (Awayan), the driver assigned to Judge Blancaflor but under the payroll of the
Office of the Governor of Palawan, and one Ernesto Fernandez (Fernandez), to assure the acquittal of the
accused, Rolly Ami (Ami), and the dismissal of the arson case thereby impliedly implicating the judge.

On June 29, 2009, a day before the scheduled promulgation of the decision in the arson case, Tulali
filed an Ex-Parte Manifestation withdrawing his appearance in the said case to prevent any suspicion of
misdemeanor and collusion. He attached to the said manifestation a copy of the administrative complaint
against Awayan filed by his superior, Rodriguez, before the Office of the Governor of Palawan.

On June 30, 2009, Judge Blancaflor rendered his decision acquitting Ami of the crime of arson.

In an order dated August 13, 2009, Judge Blancaflor informed the petitioners that he was
proceeding against them for direct contempt and violation of their oath of office as lawyers on the basis of
Tulali’s Ex-Parte Manifestation.

On October 13, 2009 after the submission of petitioners’ respective position papers, Judge
Blancaflor issued his Decision finding petitioners guilty of direct contempt and imposed the penalty of
indefinite suspension from the practice of law and a fine of P100,000.00 each.

Held:

The power to punish a person in contempt of court is inherent in all courts to preserve order in
judicial proceedings and to uphold the orderly administration of justice. However, judges are enjoined to
exercise the power judiciously and sparingly, with utmost restraint, and with the end in view of utilizing the
same for correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, and not for retaliation or vindictiveness. It
bears stressing that the power to declare a person in contempt of court must be exercised on the
preservative, not the vindictive principle; and on the corrective, not the retaliatory, idea of
punishment. Such power, being drastic and extraordinary in its nature, should not be resorted to unless
necessary in the interest of justice.

Direct contempt is any misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court as to obstruct or interrupt
the proceedings before the same, including disrespect toward the court, offensive personalities toward
others, or refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness, or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when
lawfully required to do so.

Based on the foregoing definition, the act of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor in filing the Ex-Parte
Manifestation cannot be construed as contumacious within the purview of direct contempt.

Neither should Provincial Prosecutor Rodriguez be liable for direct contempt as he had no
knowledge of the subject manifestation. It was signed and filed by Tulali alone in his capacity as the trial
prosecutor in the arson case. The attached complaint against Awayan and signed by Prosecutor Rodriguez
was filed with the Office of the Palawan Governor, and not with the RTC so it could not be the basis of a
contempt charge.

In the present case, Judge Blancaflor failed to observe the elementary procedure which requires
written charge and due hearing. He was the complainant, prosecutor and judge rolled into one. Judge
Blancaflor showed that he no longer had the cold impartiality expected of a magistrate. He had clearly
prejudged petitioners.

Due Process; Right to counsel; Accused was represented by


a fake lawyer when the prosecution presented its evidence
although he was assisted by a lawyer when he presented
his evidence.

NELSON LAI Y BILBAO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 175999, July
01, 2015

THE FACTS:

1. The petitioner was accused of the crime of Homicide which was filed before the Regional Trial Court
of Negros Occidental and docketed as Criminal Case No. 17446 and raffled at RTC Branch 42;

2. That at that time, the Public Prosecutor assigned to the said sala was Prosecutor Fernando Elumba;

3. Thereafter, Prosecutor Elumba was appointed as the Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 42, Bacolod City,
and heard the petitioner’s case;

4. After trial, the petitioner was convicted by Judge Elumba of Homicide;


5. The petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration pointing out the said anomalous situation where
he was the prosecutor handling his case and yet he decided it but still, the Judge denied his Motion
for Reconsideration;

6. His Appeal to the Court of Appeals was denied.

Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

WHETHER OR NOT HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND IMPARTIAL TRIAL WERE VIOLATED SINCE THE
PROSECUTOR WHO HANDLED HIS CASE IS ALSO THE JUDGE DECIDING THE SAME.

HELD:

As the records indicate, Judge Elumba had been assigned on March 23, 1998 as the public
prosecutor in Branch 42 of the RTC in Negros Occidental to replace the previous public prosecutor, but
became the Presiding Judge of Branch 42 on April 27, 2000. Branch 42 was the trial court hearing and
ultimately deciding Criminal Case No. 17446 against the petitioner. As such, Judge Elumba should have
disqualified himself from having anything to do with the case once he became the trial judge because he
was compulsorily disqualified. The petitioner pointed to the need for Judge Elumba's disqualification in
his Motion for Reconsideration, but the latter ignored his concerns upon the excuse that he had appeared
in Criminal Case No. 17446 only after the Prosecution had rested its case. Judge Elumba argued that he did
not personally prosecute the case, and that, at any rate, the petitioner should have sought his
disqualification prior to the rendition of the judgment of conviction.

The appellant claims that he was denied due process because the judge who rendered the assailed
decision was also, at one time, the public prosecutor of the instant case.

It is not disputed that the constitutional right to due process of law cannot be denied to any
accused. The Constitution has expressly ordained that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or
property without due process of law." An essential part of the right is to be afforded a just and fair trial
before his conviction for any crime. Any violation of the right cannot be condoned, for the impartiality of
the judge who sits on and hears a case, and decides it is an indispensable requisite of procedural due
process. The Court has said:

This Court has repeatedly and consistently demanded 'the cold neutrality of an impartial
judge' as the indispensable imperative of due process. To bolster that requirement, we have held
that the judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be impartial as an added
assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. The litigants are entitled to no less than that.
They should be sure that when their rights are violated they can go to a judge who shall give them
justice. They must trust the judge, otherwise they will not go to him at all. They must believe in his
sense of fairness, otherwise they will not seek his judgment. Without such confidence, there would
be no point in invoking his action for the justice they expect.
Due process is intended to insure that confidence by requiring compliance with what Justice
Frankfurter calls the rudiments of fair play. Fair play cans for equal justice. There cannot be equal justice
where a suitor approaches a court already committed to the other party and with a judgment already made
and waiting only to be formalized after the litigants shall have undergone the charade of a formal hearing.
Judicial (and also extra-judicial) proceedings are not orchestrated plays in which the parties are supposed
to make the motions and reach the denouement according to a prepared script. There is no writer to
foreordain the ending. The judge will reach his conclusions only after all the evidence is in and all the
arguments are filed, on the basis of the established facts and the pertinent law.

Reprising Section 1 of Rule 137 is Section 5, Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the
Philippine Judiciary, which pertinently demands the disqualification of a judge who has previously served
as a lawyer of any of the parties.

To be clear, that Judge Elumba's prior participation as the public prosecutor was passive, or that
he entered his appearance as the public prosecutor long after the Prosecution had rested its case against
the petitioner did not really matter. The evil sought to be prevented by the rules on disqualification had no
relation whatsoever with the judge's degree of participation in the case before becoming the judge. He
must be reminded that the same compulsory disqualification that applied to him could similarly be
demanded of the private prosecutor or the defense lawyer, if either of them should be appointed as the
trial judge hearing the case. The purpose of this stricture is to ensure that the proceedings in court that
would affect the life, liberty and property of the petitioner as the accused should be conducted and
determined by a judge who was wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent.

A judge has both the duty of rendering a just decision and the duty of doing it in a manner completely
free from suspicion as to its fairness and as to his integrity. The law conclusively presumes that a judge cannot
objectively or impartially sit in such a case and, for that reason, prohibits him and strikes at his authority to
hear and decide it, in the absence of written consent of all parties concerned. The purpose is to preserve the
people's faith and confidence in the courts of justice

Moreover, to say that Judge Elumba did not personally prosecute or supervise the prosecution of
Criminal Case No. 17446 is to ignore that all criminal actions were prosecuted under the direction and
control of the public prosecutor. That a private prosecutor had appeared in the case was of no
consequence, for such private prosecutor still came under the direct control and supervision of the public
prosecutor.

Finally, had the Court of Appeals had thoroughly sift and scrutinize the records of the trial court to
search for errors that would reverse or modify the judgment in favor of the accused, it would have quickly
noticed a hard indication existing in the trial records of Criminal Case No. 17446 exposing Judge Elumba to
have actually taken an active participation in the trial. The indication was in the form of the Motion to
Present Rebuttal Evidence that then Public Prosecutor Elumba had filed on January 25, 2000, the text of
which is reproduced herein:
MOTION TO PRESENT REBUTTAL EVIDENCE

x x x That, however, after going over the records of the case, the prosecution feels that there is a
need to present rebuttal evidence. (Emphasis supplied)

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that
the prosecution be allowed to present rebuttal evidence to refute the evidence presented by the
accused.

(Sgd.)
FERNANDO R. ELUMBA

Trial Prosecutor

The text of the motion disclosed that then Public Prosecutor Elumba had come to the conclusion that "there
is a need to present rebuttal evidence" after his having gone over the records of the case. Clearly, he had
formed an opinion that was absolutely adverse to the interest of the petitioner.

Under the circumstances, Judge Elumba, despite his protestations to the contrary, could not be
expected to render impartial, independent and objective judgment on the criminal case of the petitioner.
His non-disqualification resulted in the denial of the petitioner's right to due process as the accused. To
restore the right to the petitioner, the proceedings held against him before Judge Elumba and his ensuing
conviction have to be nullified and set aside, and Criminal Case No. 17446 should be remanded to the RTC
for a partial new trial to remove any of the prejudicial consequences of the violation of the right to due
process. The case shall be raffled to a Judge who is not otherwise disqualified like Judge Elumba under
Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court.

The petitioners were deprived of their right to due process


when they were found guilty of direct contempt by
respondent judge himself who is the complainant against
them.

JOSE T. TUBOLA, JR., G.R. No. 154042


Petitioner,
Present:

CARPIO MORALES, J.,


- versus - Chairperson,
BRION,
BERSAMIN,
VILLARAMA, JR., and
SANDIGANBAYAN AND SERENO, JJ.
PEOPLE OF THE Promulgated:
PHILIPPINES, April 11, 2011
Respondents.

x - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Jose Tubola, Jr. (petitioner) appeals the December 7, 2000 Decision[1] and June 10, 2002 Resolution
of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 12015 which found him guilty of Malversation of Public Funds
penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:

That within the period from June 25, 1982 up to November 8, 1982, and for
sometime prior thereto, in Iloilo City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused who was a duly appointed cashier/collecting officer
of the National Irrigation System, Iloilo City and as such was an accountable public
officer for public funds that were in his official custody by reason of his official position,
did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with grave abuse of
confidence misappropriate and convert to his own personal use and benefit the amount
of NINE THREE THOUSAND FIFTY ONE PESOS AND EIGHTY- EIGHT
CENTAVOS P93,051.88 to the damage and prejudice of the government.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[2] (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Petitioner was the cashier of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA)-Aganan, Sta. Barbara River
Irrigation System in Iloilo City. On November 8, 1982, Commission on Audit (COA) State Auditing Examiners
Yvonne Gotera (Gotera) and Theresita Cajita (Cajita) conducted an audit examination of petitioners
account which indicated a shortage of P93,051.88.[3]

Gotera and Cajita thus sent a letter of demand dated November 23, 1982 to petitioner directing
him to account for the shortage.[4] Petitioner refused to receive the letter, however, hence, Gotera and
Cajita sent it by registered mail.[5]

Petitioner was thereupon charged of committing malversation of public funds before the
Sandiganbayan to which he pleaded not guilty.[6]

By the account of Gotera, the lone witness for the prosecution, petitioner had an account balance
of P30,162.46 prior to June 25, 1982; that from June 25 to November 8, 1982, the date petitioners account
was audited, his cash collections totaled P347,995.64; that his remittances from June 25 to November 8,
1982 totaled P285,105.41; and that the total collections less total remittances amounted to P93,051.88 as
of November 8, 1982.[7]

Still by Goteras account, the audit team found in petitioners drawer vales/chits or promissory notes or
receivables signed by NIA employees involving the total amount of P79,044.51.[8]

Petitioner, who claimed that he was assigned as cashier since 1978 and was also in charge of payment of
salaries of more than 2,000 field employees in the NIA Jalaur Project, declared that his task of keeping the
collected irrigation fees was temporarily assigned to Editha Valeria (Valeria) upon instruction of his superior,
Regional Director Manuel Hicao,[9] for he (petitioner) was also handling the payroll of around 2,000
employees.

Petitioner further declared that no accounting of the collected fees was undertaken since he trusted
Valeria, who directly remitted them to the bank, after he signed the statement of collection without reading
the contents thereof. [10]

Petitioner presented vales and chits involving the total amount of P115,661.66 representing loans
extended by Valeria to certain NIA employees and even COA auditors.[11] And he identified chits and vales
dated 1975 to 1981 inclusive representing loans extended prior to the audit period.[12]

By Decision of December 7, 2000,[13] the Sandiganbayan convicted petitioner as charged, disposing


as follows:

WHEREFORE, the guilt of the accused, JOSE TUBOLA, JR., having been proven
beyond reasonable doubt, the Court hereby CONVICTS him of the crime of
Malversation of Public Funds penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal
Code. Appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender,
without any aggravating circumstance to offset the same, and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, the accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the
indeterminate penalty of TEN (10) years and ONE (1) day of Prision Mayor as Minimum,
to SEVENTEEN (17) years, FOUR (4) months of Reclusion Temporal as Maximum, and
the accessory penalties provided for by law.

He is likewise ordered to indemnify the Republic of the Philippines the amount


of Ninety Three Thousand Fifty One Pesos and Eighty Eight Centavos (P93,051.88); to
pay a fine in the same amount, which is the amount of money malversed and the costs
of suit, and finally to suffer perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

SO ORDERED.[14] (Capitalization, italics and emphasis in the original)


His motion for reconsideration having been denied,[15] petitioner lodged the present appeal,
imputing error on the Sandiganbayan for

. . . CONCLUD[ING] THAT [HE] FAILED TO REBUT THE PRESUMPTION UNDER


ARTICLE 217 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE . . .

II

. . . CONCLUDING THAT [HE] HAS COMMITTED INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE IN


DELEGATING THE CUSTODY OF THE ACCOUNT TO [AN]OTHER PERSON.

III

. . . RENDERING JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT


THAT IT HAS BEEN CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT [HE] IS NOT AN ACTUAL AND POTENTIAL
WRONGDOER.

IV

. . . VIOLAT[ING] [HIS] BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS WHEN


IT ACTIVELY TOOK PART IN THE QUESTIONING OF THE ACCUSED WHEN HE WAS
PRESENTED AS A WITNESS.[16]

To petitioner, the evidence adduced at the trial had overcome the legal presumption that he put
the missing funds to his personal use. There is, he argues, incontrovertible fact that [he] ha[d] not received
any single centavo in the form of irrigation fees since the collections were actually received by Valeria.[17]

According to petitioner, he being the superior of Valeria, he had to rely on her honesty and
competence in the performance of her duties. He cites Arias v. Sandiganbayan,[18] which ruled that a head
of office is not required to examine every single detail of any transaction from its inception until it is finally
approved, to deem it no longer necessary for him to examine all the details each time a remittance of the
fees was made.

Petitioner even posits that the Sandiganbayan was unsure whether he was guilty of malversation
intentionally or through negligence.
In fine, petitioner insists that as the primary task of collecting the irrigation fees was the
responsibility of Valeria, he cannot be faulted for negligence.[19]

Further, petitioner posits that he was neither an actual or potential wrongdoer and, absent criminal
intent, he should not be convicted with the full harshness of the law.[20]

Finally, petitioner points out that his right to due process was violated, the Justices of the
Sandiganbayan having actively participated in the criminal proceedings by tak[ing] into their own hands in
proving the case against [him].[21]

The People, through the Special Prosecutor, draws attention to the failure of petitioner to present
Valeria to shed light on her actual duties, or to at least present a certification from then Regional Director
Manuel Hicao, who allegedly ordered Valeria to take over from petitioner the duty of collecting irrigation
fees. To the People, petitioners self-serving testimony failed to controvert the legal presumption of
misappropriation.[22]

The People goes on to contend that petitioner may still be convicted of malversation by negligence
even if the Information alleged the commission of intentional malversation since the dolo or culpa present
in the offense is only a modality in the perpetration of the felony.[23]

Respecting the supposed violation of petitioners right to due process in light of the alleged active
participation of the Sandiganbayan Justices in questioning him during the hearing of the case, the People
underscores that it is the duty of a trial judge to examine a witness to secure a full and clear understanding
of the facts or to test to his satisfaction the credibility of the witness[24]

Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code provides:

Art. 217. Malversation of public funds or property. Presumption of


malversation. - Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is
accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take or
misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall permit
any other person to take such public funds or property, wholly or partially, or shall
otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property,
shall suffer:

1. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum


periods, if the amount involved in the misappropriation or malversation does not
exceed two hundred pesos.
2. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods,
if the amount involved is more than two hundred pesos but does not exceed six
thousand pesos.

3. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion


temporal in its minimum period, if the amount involved is more than six thousand pesos
but is less than twelve thousand pesos.

4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum


periods, if the amount involved is more than twelve thousand pesos but is less than
twenty-two thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall
be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of
perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed
or equal to the total value of the property embezzled.

The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public fund or
property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall
be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal uses.
(italics in the original, emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The elements of malversation of public funds are thus:


1. that the offender is a public officer;

2. that he had the custody or control of funds or property by reason


of the duties of his office;

3. that those funds or property were public funds or property for


which he was accountable; and

4. that he appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or,


through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to take them.[25]

All the above-mentioned elements are here present. Petitioner was a public officer[26] ─ he occupied
the position of cashier at the NIA. By reason of his position, he was tasked to regularly handle irrigation fees,
which are indubitably public funds pertaining to the NIA, and to remit them to the depositary bank.

As established by the prosecution, petitioner was the one who remitted irrigation fees collected
from June 25, 1982 to October 31, 1983[27] inclusive, so that even if the Court were to credit petitioners
allegation that Valeria had actually taken over his function of collecting the irrigation fees, the collections
were still, in fact by his admission, turned over to him.

Q: How about the money after this payment for irrigation fees are entered in
the Collection Book for which Ms. Edita Valeria is the one in
charge, who keeps the money being paid for irrigation fees?

A: She is the one holding the money turned over to her by the farmers who
paid their irrigation fees, sir. I am just reporting in my office every 7th,
15th.

PJ GARCHITORENA
Confine your answer to the question. Who keeps the irrigation fees
being collected?

A: Edita Valeria, your Honor.

PJ GARCHITORENA

Q: Is that part of her functions?

WITNESS

A: No, your Honor.

Q: Whose function is it to keep the irrigation fees?

A: My function, your Honor.

x x x x.

Q: After Edita Valeria receives the money representing the irrigation fees of
farmers, does she turn over the collections to you?

A: Yes, sir.[28] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

In fact, petitioners admission that his signature was required before remitting the irrigation fees to
the depositary bank reinforces the fact that he had complete control and custody thereof.

WITNESS

A: Everytime she reported to me, she just fold [sic] the page of the collection book and he
[sic] tells [sic] me, this is okay and you can just sign this statement of collection.
PJ GARCHITORENA

Q: So you are being made to sign a statement of collection without looking at the supporting
documents to validate the correctness of the figures nor even to determine whether
the figures there and the ones remitted to the Philippine National Bank?

A: Yes, your Honor. I just asked her, Is this accounting okay? and she said Yes.[29] (emphasis
and underscoring supplied)

As to the element of misappropriation, indeed petitioner failed to rebut the legal presumption that
he had misappropriated the fees to his personal use, his disclaimer being self-serving.
Why, indeed, Valeria, whom petitioner had pointed to as having full responsibility for the
collections, including their deposit to the bank, covered by the audit period, was never presented to
corroborate his claim dents his defense as does his failure to present the Regional Director or a certification
from him for the same purpose.

As for petitioners explanation that the unaccounted fees were extended as loans to employees as
evidenced by vales and chits found in his drawer which involved a total of P79,044.51, it fails. If this claim
were true, petitioner could have at least promptly collected them, and/or offered the testimonies of the
employees-obligors to prove good faith on his part.

As for the vales and chits that he offered in evidence, as the same were admittedly
incurred before the period of audit, they are immaterial, as correctly observed by the Sandiganbayan:

PROS GALINDEZ
Q: Mr. Witness, since these chits and vales were incurred before the period [covered
by the ] audit, you could not have possibly used the money collected by you in
your capacity as Cashier for the period from June 25, 1982 to November 8, 1982.

A: Yes, sir. I have told you before that Mrs. Valeria is the one handling my collections. I
am just concentrating on my disbursements. I have two disbursement books
and my collection book is handled by Mrs. Valeria including the payments and

x x x x.

Q: So that these chits and vales which were merely listed by the Auditing Examiners as
they were found inside your safe are irrelevant to the accusation?

WITNESS
A: Where can Mrs. Valeria get the cash to extend vales, sir? Because my collection book
is balance as found by the examiners. So, she herself extended vales from her
collections.

Q: Mr. Witness, we are speaking about the chits and vales which you extended.

PJ GARCHITORENA

It is clear that the accused is being charged for shortage covered by the period
June 25, 1982 to November 8, 1982 and that Exhibit 1 series refers to accounts
prior to that period of audit so that you have a point. You have covered that
point already.

PROS GALINDEZ

Q: This inventory of cash and cash items which is from 1975 to 1981, did you attempt to
collect this from the payees?

A: No, sir.[30] (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Petitioners assertion, vis--vis his citation of the ruling in Arias, that he was the superior of Valeria
was later belied by him:

Q: But she [referring to Valeria] is under your direct supervision?

A: Under the Chief of Office, the Irrigation Superintendent.[31]

Aside then from the lack of a superior-subordinate relationship with Valeria, the circumstances
obtaining in Arias and the present case are entirely different. Arias involved the culpability of a final
approving authority on the basis of criminal conspiracy, whereas the present case involves petitioners
culpability on the basis of his being the accountablepublic officer.

On petitioners assertion that the Sandiganbayan erred in concluding that he committed


malversation through inexcusable negligence when the Information alleges intentional malversation, it does
not impress.

To be sure, the Sandiganbayan convicted petitioner for intentional malversation on the basis of his
failure to refute the presumption that he converted the money to his personal use. Petitioner misreads the
assailed Decision since the discussion about his culpability for malversation through inexcusable negligence
was merely academic in light of the postulation that a subordinate (Valeria) was at fault.[32]
Nonetheless, in Cabello v. Sandiganbayan,[33] the Court ratiocinated that:

On the other hand, petitioner contends that the bulk of said amount
represented "vales" he granted to the postal employees and the minor portion
consisted of unremitted, unreimbursed or uncollected amounts. His very own
explanation, therefore, shows that the embezzlement, as claimed by the prosecution, or
the expenditures, as posited by him, were not only unauthorized but intentionally and
voluntarily made. Under no stretch of legal hermeneutics can it be contended that these
funds were lost through abandonment or negligence without petitioner's knowledge as
to put the loss within a merely culpable category. From the contention of either party,
the misappropriation was intentional and not through negligence.

Besides, even on the putative assumption that the evidence against petitioner
yielded a case of malversation by negligence but the information was for intentional
malversation, under the circumstances of this case his conviction under the first mode
of misappropriation would still be in order. Malversation is committed either
intentionally or by negligence. The dolo or the culpa present in the offense is only a
modality in the perpetration of the felony. Even if the mode charged differs from the
mode proved, the same offense of malversation is involved and conviction thereof is
proper. A possible exception would be when the mode of commission alleged in the
particulars of the indictment is so far removed from the ultimate categorization of the
crime that it may be said due process was denied by deluding the accused into an
erroneous comprehension of the charge against him. That no such prejudice was
occasioned on petitioner nor was he beleaguered in his defense is apparent from the
records of this case.[34] (italics in the original, emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Finally, petitioners claim of violation of his right to due process vis--vis the Sandiganbayan Justices
active participation during the trial fails too. For he has not specified any instance of supposed bias of the
Justices, or cited what questions adversely affected him. The record does not reflect any question or
objection raised by petitioners counsel during the trial to the Justices questions or the tenor or manner they
were propounded. Nor does the record reflect any move to inhibit the Justices if petitioner perceived that
they were biased against him.

That a magistrate may propound clarificatory questions to secure a full and clear understanding of
the facts in the case is not proscribed.[35]

JOSE R. CATACUTAN, G.R. No. 175991


Petitioner,

Present:

CORONA, C.J., Chairperson,


- versus - LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO, and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.

DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

It is well within the Courts discretion to reject the presentation of evidence which it judiciously believes irrelevant and
impertinent to the proceeding on hand.

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner Jose R. Catacutan seeking to set aside and reverse
the Decision[1] dated December 7, 2006 of the Sandiganbayan which affirmed the Decision[2] dated July 25, 2005 of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 30, Surigao City convicting him of the crime of violation of Section 3(e) of
Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Factual Antecedents

The antecedent facts are clear and undisputed.


Private complainant Georgito Posesano was an Instructor II with Salary Grade 13 while private complainant
Magdalena Divinagracia was an Education Program Specialist II with Salary Grade 16, both at the Surigao del Norte
School of Arts and Trades (SNSAT).[3]

On June 2, 1997, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Caraga Administrative Region, appointed and
promoted private complainants as Vocational Instruction Supervisor III with Salary Grade 18 at SNSAT.[4] These
promotional appointments were duly approved and attested as permanent by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on
June 3, 1997.[5] Being then the Officer-In-Charge of SNSAT, the approved appointments were formally transmitted to
the petitioner on June 6, 1997,[6] copy furnished the concerned appointees. Despite receipt of the appointment letter,
the private complainants were not able to assume their new position since petitioner made known that he strongly
opposed their appointments and that he would not implement them despite written orders from CHED[7] and the
CSC, Caraga Regional Office.[8] Thus, on August 2, 1997, private complainants lodged a formal complaint against
petitioner for grave abuse of authority and disrespect of lawful orders before the Office of the Ombudsman
for Mindanao.[9]

In an Information dated February 27, 1998, petitioner was charged before the RTC of Surigao City with violation of
Section 3(e) of RA 3019 as amended, committed in the following manner, to wit:

That in June 1997 or sometime thereafter, in Surigao City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the accused JOSE R. CATACUTAN, OIC Principal of Surigao del Norte School of
Arts and Trades (SNSAT), Surigao City, with salary grade below 27, while in the performance of his
official duties, thus committing the act in relation to his office, willfully, feloniously and unlawfully
did then and there, with grave abuse of authority and evident bad faith, refuse to implement the
promotion/appointments of Georgito Posesano and Magdalena A. Divinagracia as Vocational
Supervisors III notwithstanding the issuance of the valid appointments by the appointing authority
and despite the directive of the Regional Director of the Commission on Higher Education and the
Civil Service Commission in the region, thereby causing undue injury to complainants who were
supposed to receive a higher compensation for their promotion, as well as [to] the school and the
students who were deprived of the better services which could have been rendered by Georgito
Posesano and Magdalena A. Divinagracia as Vocational Instruction Supervisors [III].

CONTRARY TO LAW.[10]

During arraignment on September 22, 1998, petitioner pleaded not guilty.

For his defense, petitioner admitted that he did not implement the promotional appointments of the private
complainants because of some procedural lapses or infirmities attending the preparation of the appointment
papers. According to him, the appointment papers were prepared by SNSAT Administrative Officer, Crispin Noguera,
using blank forms bearing the letterhead of SNSAT and not of the CHED Regional Office who made the
appointments. He also averred that the appointment papers cited the entire plantilla[11] (1996 Plantilla-OSEC-
DECSB-VOCIS3-19, Pages 1-16) instead of only the particular page on which the vacant item occurs. He likewise
claimed that he received only the duplicate copies of the appointments contrary to the usual procedure where the
original appointment papers and other supporting documents are returned to his office. Finally, he asserted that the
transmittal letter from the CHED did not specify the date of effectivity of the appointments. These alleged infirmities,
he contended, were formally brought to the attention of the CHED Regional Director on June 20, 1997[12] who,
however, informed him that the subject appointments were regular and valid and directed him to implement the
same. Still not satisfied, petitioner sought the intercession of CHED Chairman Angel C. Alcala in the settlement of this
administrative problem[13] but the latter did not respond. Petitioner alleged that his refusal to implement the
appointments of the private complainants was not motivated by bad faith but he just wanted to protect the interest
of the government by following strict compliance in the preparation of appointment papers.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

On July 25, 2005, the RTC rendered its Decision[14] holding that the act of the petitioner in defying the orders of the
CHED and the CSC to implement the subject promotional appointments despite the rejection of his opposition,
demonstrates his palpable and patent fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious
wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will. The trial court ruled that petitioners refusal to implement the
appointments of the private complainants had caused undue injury to them. Thus, it held petitioner guilty of the crime
charged and accordingly sentenced him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) month and
perpetual disqualification from public office.

The RTC disposed of the case as follows:

WHEREFORE, finding the accused JOSE R. CATACUTAN guilty beyond reasonable doubt [of]
VIOLATION OF SECTION 3(e) of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act, this Court hereby imposes upon him the penalty of imprisonment [of] SIX (6) YEARS and ONE
(1) MONTH and PERPETUAL DISQUALIFICATION FROM PUBLIC OFFICE, and to pay the costs.

The aforementioned accused is hereby ordered to pay private complainants Georgito Posesano
and Magdalena Divinagracia the sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) each, for moral
damages.

SO ORDERED.[15]

Petitioner moved for reconsideration[16] but it was denied in an Order[17] dated


October 13, 2005.

Ruling of the Sandiganbayan

On appeal, petitioners conviction was affirmed in toto by the Sandiganbayan.[18] The appellate court ruled that the
Decision of the trial court, being supported by evidence and firmly anchored in law and jurisprudence, is correct. It
held that petitioner failed to show that the trial court committed any reversible error in judgment.

Hence, this petition.

In the Courts Resolution[19] dated February 26, 2007, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was required to file its
Comment. The OSG filed its Comment[20] on June 5, 2007 while the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed the
Comment[21] for respondent People of the Philippines on February 22, 2008.
Issue

The sole issue for consideration in this present petition is:

Whether the [petitioners] constitutional right[s] to due process x x x and x x x equal


protection of [the] law x x x were violated x x x [when he was denied] the opportunity to present
[in] evidence [the Court of Appeals] Decision dated April 18, 2001 x x x in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795
entitled Jose R. Catacutan, petitioner, versus Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao, et al.,
respondents.[22]

Invoking the constitutional provision on due process,[23] petitioner argues that the Decision rendered by the trial court
is flawed and is grossly violative of his right to be heard and to present evidence. He contends that he was not able to
controvert the findings of the trial court since he was not able to present the Court of Appeals (CAs) Decision in CA-
G.R. SP No. 51795 which denied the administrative case filed against him and declared that his intention in refusing
to implement the promotions of the private complainants falls short of malice or wrongful intent.

Our Ruling

The petition lacks of merit.

Petitioner was not deprived of his right to due process.

Due process simply demands an opportunity to be heard.[24] Due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded a
fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy.[25] Where an opportunity to be
heard either through oral arguments or through pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process.[26]

Guided by these established jurisprudential pronouncements, petitioner can hardly claim denial of his fundamental
right to due process. Records show that petitioner was able to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him,
argue his case vigorously, and explain the merits of his defense. To reiterate, as long as a party was given the
opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he cannot be said to have been denied due process of law for the
opportunity to be heard is the better accepted norm of procedural due process.

There is also no denial of due process when the trial court did not allow petitioner to introduce as evidence the CA
Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795. It is well within the courts discretion to reject the presentation of evidence which it
judiciously believes irrelevant and impertinent to the proceeding on hand. This is specially true when the evidence
sought to be presented in a criminal proceeding as in this case, concerns an administrative matter. As
the Sandiganbayan aptly remarked:

The RTC committed no error in judgment when it did not allow the Accused-appellant to
present the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795 (Jose R. Catacutan vs. Office
of the Ombudsman). The findings in administrative cases are not binding upon the court trying a
criminal case, even if the criminal proceedings are based on the same facts and incidents which
gave rise to the administrative matter. The dismissal of a criminal case does not foreclose
administrative action or necessarily gives the accused a clean bill of health in all respects. In the
same way, the dismissal of an administrative case does not operate to terminate a criminal
proceeding with the same subject matter. x x x[27]

This action undertaken by the trial court and sustained by the appellate court was not without legal
precedent. In Paredes v. Court of Appeals,[28] this Court ruled:

It is indeed a fundamental principle of administrative law that administrative cases are independent
from criminal actions for the same act or omission. Thus, an absolution from a criminal charge is not
a bar to an administrative prosecution, or vice versa. One thing is administrative liability; quite
another thing is the criminal liability for the same act.

xxxx

Thus, considering the difference in the quantum of evidence, as well as the procedure
followed and the sanctions imposed in criminal and administrative proceedings, the findings and
conclusions in one should not necessarily be binding on the other. Notably, the evidence presented
in the administrative case may not necessarily be the same evidence to be presented in the criminal
cases. x x x

In Nicolas v. Sandiganbayan,[29] the Court reiterated:

This Court is not unmindful of its rulings that the dismissal of an administrative case does not bar
the filing of a criminal prosecution for the same or similar acts subject of the administrative
complaint and that the disposition in one case does not inevitably govern the resolution of the other
case/s and vice versa. x x x

On the basis of the afore-mentioned precedents, the Court has no option but to declare that the courts
below correctly disallowed the introduction in evidence of the CA Decision. Due process of law is not denied by the
exclusion of irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent evidence, or testimony of an incompetent witness. It is not an
error to refuse evidence which although admissible for certain purposes, is not admissible for the purpose which
counsel states as the ground for offering it.[30]
At any rate, even assuming that the trial court erroneously rejected the introduction as evidence of the CA
Decision, petitioner is not left without legal recourse. Petitioner could have availed of the remedy provided in Section
40, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court which provides:

Section 40. Tender of excluded evidence. If documents or things offered in evidence are
excluded by the court, the offeror may have the same attached to or made part of the record. If the
evidence excluded is oral, the offeror may state for the record the name and other personal
circumstances of the witness and the substance of the proposed testimony.

As observed by the appellate court, if the petitioner is keen on having the RTC admit the CAs Decision for
whatever it may be worth, he could have included the same in his offer of exhibits. If an exhibit sought to be presented
in evidence is rejected, the party producing it should ask the courts permission to have the exhibit attached to the
record.

As things stand, the CA Decision does not form part of the records of the case, thus it has no probative
weight. Any evidence that a party desires to submit for the consideration of the court must be formally offered by
him otherwise it is excluded and rejected and cannot even be taken cognizance of on appeal. The rules of procedure
and jurisprudence do not sanction the grant of evidentiary value to evidence which was not formally offered.

Section 3(e) of RA 3019, as amended, provides:

Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public


officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any
public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful.

xxxx

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government or giving any private
party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official,
administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or
government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

Under said provision of law, three essential elements must thus be satisfied, viz:

1. The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official


functions;
2. He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence;
and

3. His action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government or gave any
private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his
functions.[31]

All the above enumerated elements of the offense charged have been successfully proven by the
prosecution.

First, petitioner could not have committed the acts imputed against him during the time material to this case
were it not for his being a public officer, that is, as the Officer-In-Charge (Principal) of SNSAT. As such public officer, he
exercised official duties and functions, which include the exercise of administrative supervision over the school such
as taking charge of personnel management and finances, as well as implementing instruction as far as appointment
of teachers.[32]

Second, petitioner acted with evident bad faith in refusing to implement the appointments of private
complainants. As the Sandiganbayan aptly remarked:

The records clearly indicate that the refusal of Catacutan to implement the subject promotion was
no longer anchored on any law or civil service rule as early [as] the July 14, 1997 letter of the CHED
Regional Director addressing the four issues raised by the Accused-appellant in the latters protest
letter. x x x In light of the undisputed evidence presented to the trial court that Catacutans reason
for not implementing the appointments was a personal dislike or ill feelings towards Posesano, this
Court believes that Catacutans refusal was impelled by an ill motive or dishonest purpose
characteristic of bad faith. x x x

xxxx

In the August 1, 1997 [m]emorandum issued by the CHED Regional Director, Catacutan
was once again directed, in strong words, to cease and desist from further questioning what has
been lawfully acted upon by competent authorities. Catacutan deliberately ignored the
memorandum and even challenged the private complainants to file a case against him. Such
arrogance is indicative of the bad faith of the accused-appellant.

Yet again, the [CSC] Regional Director wrote the Accused-appellant on September 5, 1997,
clarifying with finality the validity of the appointment. Still, Accused-appellant failed to implement
the subject promotions. This stubborn refusal to implement the clear and repeated directive of
competent authorities established the evident bad faith of Catacutan and belies any of his claims to
the contrary.[33]

While petitioner may have laudable objectives in refusing the implementation of private complainants valid
appointments, the Court fails to see how he can still claim good faith when no less than the higher authorities have
already sustained the validity of the subject appointments and have ordered him to proceed with the
implementation. It is well to remember that good intentions do not win cases, evidence does.[34]

Third, undue injury to the private complainants was duly proven to the point of moral certainty. Here, the
private complainants suffered undue injury when they were not able to assume their official duties as Vocational
Supervisors III despite the issuance of their valid appointments. As borne out by the records, they were able to assume
their new positions only on November 19, 1997. So in the interregnum from June to November 1997, private
complainants failed to enjoy the benefits of an increased salary corresponding to their newly appointed
positions.Likewise established is that as a result of petitioners unjustified and inordinate refusal to implement their
valid appointments notwithstanding clear and mandatory directives from his superiors, the private complainants
suffered mental anguish, sleepless nights, serious anxiety warranting the award of moral damages under Article 2217
of the New Civil Code.

At this point, the Court just needs to stress that the foregoing are factual matters that were threshed out and
decided upon by the trial court which were subsequently affirmed by the Sandiganbayan. Where the factual findings
of both the trial court and the appellate court coincide, the same are binding on this Court. In any event, apart from
these factual findings of the lower courts, this Court in its own assessment and review of the records considers the
findings in order.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Sandiganbayan promulgated on
December 7, 2006 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

SUSIE CHAN-TAN, Petitioner, Incorporated as part of the decision was the 31


vs.JESSE C. TAN, Respondent. July 2003 Partial Judgment5 approving the
DECISION Compromise Agreement6 of the parties. In its 17
CARPIO, J.: May 2004 Resolution, the trial court granted to
The Case respondent custody of the children, ordered
petitioner to turn over to respondent
This is a petition for review1 of (i) the 17 May documents and titles in the latter's name, and
2004 Resolution2 amending the 30 March 2004 allowed respondent to stay in the family
Decision3 and (ii)the 15 February 2005 dwelling. In its 15 February 2005 Resolution, the
Resolution4 of the Regional Trial Court trial court denied petitioner's motion for
of Quezon City, Branch 107, in Civil Case No. Q- reconsideration of the 28 December 2004
01-45743.In its 30 March 2004 Decision, the trial Resolution denying petitioner's motion to
court declared the marriage between petitioner dismiss and motion for reconsideration of the 12
Susie Chan-Tan and respondent October 2004 Resolution,8 which in turn denied
Jesse Tan void under Article 36 of the Family for late filing petitioner's motion for
Code. reconsideration of the 17 May 2004 resolution.
The Facts exclusively owned by Jesse Tan to the exclusion
Petitioner and respondent were married in June of Susie
of 1989 at Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Tan.
Manila.9 They were blessed with two sons: The undivided interest in the Condominium Unit
Justin, who was born in Canada in 1990 and in Cityland
Russel, who was born in the Philippines in Shaw. Jesse Tan shall exclusively own blvd. to
1993.In 2001, twelve years into the marriage, the exclusion
petitioner filed a case for the annulment of the of Susie Tan.
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. The shares of stocks, bank accounts and other
The parties submitted to the court a properties
compromise agreement, which we quote in full: presently under the respective names of Jesse
Tan and Susie
1. The herein parties mutually agreed that the Tan shall be exclusively owned by the spouse
two (2) lots located at Corinthian Hills, Quezon whose name
City and more particularly described in the appears as the registered/account owner or
Contract to Sell, marked in open court as holder in the
Exhibits "H" to "H-3" shall be considered as part corporate records/stock transfer books,
of the presumptive legitimes of their two (2) passbooks and/or the
minor children namely, Justin Tan born on one in possession thereof, including the
October 12, 1990 and Russel Tan born on dividends/fruits
November 28, 1993. Copies of the Contract to thereof, to the exclusion of the other spouse.
Sell are hereto attached as Annexes "A" and "B" Otherwise stated, all shares, bank accounts and
and made integral parts hereof. properties
registered and under the name and/or in the
2. Susie Tan hereby voluntarily agrees to possession of
exclusively shoulder and pay out of her own Jesse Tan shall be exclusively owned by him only
funds/assets whatever is the remaining balance and all shares, accounts and properties
or unpaid amounts on said lots mentioned registered and/or in the
in paragraph 1 hereof directly with Megaworld possession and under the name of Susie Tan
Properties, Inc., until the whole purchase or shall be
contract amounts are fully paid. Susie Tan is exclusively owned by her only.
hereby authorized and empowered to directly However, as to the family corporations of Susie
negotiate, transact, pay and deal with the Tan, Jesse
seller/developer Megaworld Properties, Inc., in Tan shall execute any and all documents
connection with the Contract to Sell marked as transferring the
Annexes "A" and "B" hereof. The property shares of stocks registered in his name in favor
covered by CCT No. 3754 of the Registry of of Susie Tan,
Deeds of Quezon City and located at Unit O, or Justin Tan/Russel Tan. A copy of the list of the
Richmore Town Homes 12-B Mariposa St., corporation
Quezon City shall be placed in co-ownership owned by the family of Susie Tan is hereto
under the name of Susie Tan (1/3), attached as
Justin Tan (1/3) and Russel Tan (1/3) to the Annex "C" and made an integral part hereof.
exclusion of Jesse Tan. The property covered by The parties shall voluntarily and without need of
TCT No. 48137 of the Registry of demand
Deeds of Quezon City and located at View turn over to the other spouse any and all original
Master Town Homes, 1387 Quezon Avenue, documents,
Quezon City shall be papers, titles, contracts registered in the name
of the other
spouse that are in their respective possessions and the other party, or in the way of a
and/or reasonable and proper
safekeeping. companionship between them, either by
3. Thereafter and upon approval of this influencing the
Compromise children against the other, or otherwise; nor
Agreement by the Honorable Court, the existing shall they do
property anything to estrange any of them from the
regime of the spouses shall be dissolved and other.
shall now be The parties agreed to observe civility,
governed by "Complete Separation of Property". courteousness and
Parties politeness in dealing with each other and shall
expressly represent that there are no known not insult,
creditors that malign or commit discourteous acts against each
will be prejudiced by the present compromise other and
agreement. shall endeavor to cause their other relatives to
The parties shall have joint custody of their act similarly.
minor children. 4. Likewise, the husband shall have the right to
However, the two (2) minor children shall stay bring out and
with their see the children on the following additional
mother, Susie Tan at 12-B Mariposa St., Quezon dates, provided
City. that the same will not impede or disrupt their
The husband, Jesse Tan, shall have the right to academic
bring out the schedule in Xavier School, the dates are as
two (2) children every Sunday of each month follows:
from 8:00 AM a. Birthday of Jesse Tan
to 9:00 PM. The minor children shall be returned b. Birthday of Grandfather and Grandmother,
to 12-B first
Mariposa Street, Quezon City on or before 9:00 cousins and uncles and aunties
PM of every c. Father's Day
Sunday of each month. d. Death Anniversaries of immediate members
The husband shall also have the right to pick up of the
the two (2) family of Jesse Tan
minor children in school/or in the house every e. During the Christmas seasons/vacation the
Thursday of herein
each month. The husband shall ensure that the parties will agree on such dates as when the
children be children
home by 8:00 PM of said Thursdays. can stay with their father. Provided that if the
During the summer vacation/semestral break or children stay with their father on Christmas Day
Christmas from December 24th to December 25th until
vacation of the children, the parties shall discuss 1:00
the proper PM the children will stay with their mother on
arrangement to be made regarding the stay of December 31 until January 1, 1:00 PM, or vice
the children versa.
with Jesse Tan. The husband shall always be notified of all
Neither party shall put any obstacle in the way school activities
of the of the children and shall see to it that he will
maintenance of the love and affection between exert his best
the children effort to attend the same.
5. During the birthdays of the two (2) minor 7. This Compromise Agreement is not against
children, the the law,
parties shall as far as practicable have one customs, public policy, public order and good
celebration. morals. Parties
Provided that if the same is not possible, the hereby voluntarily agree and bind themselves to
Husband (Jesse execute and
Tan) shall have the right to see and bring out the sign any and all documents to give effect to this
children for Compromise
at least four (4) hours during the day or the day Agreement On 31 July 2003, the trial court
immediately issued a partial judgment12
following/or after the birthday, if said visit or approving the compromise agreement. On 30
birthday March 2004,
coincides with the school day. the trial court rendered a decision declaring the
6. The existing Educational Plans of the two marriage
children shall void under Article 36 of the Family Code on the
be used and utilized for their High School and ground of
College mutual psychological incapacity of the parties.
education, in the event that the Educational The trial
Plans are court incorporated in its decision the
insufficient to cover their tuition, the Husband compromise agreement
shall shoulder of the parties on the issues of support, custody,
the tuition and other miscellaneous fees, costs visitation of
of books and the children, and property relations.
educational materials, uniform, school bags, Meanwhile, petitioner cancelled the offer to
shoes and purchase the
similar expenses like summer workshops which Corinthian Hills Subdivision Lot No. 12, Block 2.
are taken in She
Xavier School, which will be paid directly by authorized Megaworld Corp. to allocate the
Jesse Tan to amount of
the children's school when the same fall due. P11,992,968.32 so far paid on the said lot in the
Jesse Tan, if following
necessary, shall pay tutorial expenses, directly to manner:
the tutor (a) P3,656,250.04 shall be transferred to fully
concerned. pay
The husband further undertake to pay the other lot in Corinthian Hills on Lot 11, Block
P10,000.00/monthly 2;
support pendente lite to be deposited in the (b) P7,783,297.56 shall be transferred to fully
ATM Account of pay
SUSIE CHAN with account no. 3-189-53867-8 the contract price in Unit 9H of the 8 Wack Wack
Boni Serrano Road Condominium project; and
Branch effective on the 15th of each month. In (c) P533,420.72 shall be forfeited in favor of
addition Jesse Megaworld Corp. to cover the marketing and
Tan undertakes to give directly to his two (2) administrative costs of Corinthian Hills
sons every Subdivision
Sunday, the amount needed and necessary for Lot 12, Block 2.13
the purpose of Petitioner authorized Megaworld Corp. to offer
the daily meals of the two (2) children in school. Lot 12,
Block 2 of Corinthian Hills to other interested pernicious effects of the latter's supposed
buyers. It also gambling and
appears from the records that petitioner left the womanizing ways. She prayed for an increase in
country respondent's monthly support obligation in the
bringing the children with her. amount of
Respondent filed an omnibus motion seeking in P150,000.
the main Unconvinced, the trial court, in its 12 October
custody of the children. The evidence presented 2004
by Resolution,15 denied petitioner's motion for
respondent established that petitioner brought reconsideration,
the children which was filed beyond the 15-day reglementary
out of the country without his knowledge and period. It
without prior also declared petitioner in contempt of court for
authority of the trial court; petitioner failed to noncompliance
pay the with the partial judgment and the 17 May 2004
P8,000,000 remaining balance for the resolution. The trial court also denied
Megaworld property petitioner's prayer for
which, if forfeited would prejudice the interest increase in monthly support. The trial court
of the reasoned that
children; and petitioner failed to turn over to since petitioner took it upon herself to enroll the
respondent children in
documents and titles in the latter's another school without respondent's
name.1avvphi1 knowledge, she should
Thus, the trial court, in its 17 May 2004 therefore defray the resulting increase in their
resolution, awarded expenses.
to respondent custody of the children, ordered On 4 November 2004, petitioner filed a motion
petitioner to to dismiss16
turn over to respondent documents and titles in and a motion for reconsideration17 of the 12
the latter's October 2004
name, and allowed respondent to stay in the Resolution. She claimed she was no longer
family dwelling interested in the
in Mariposa, Quezon City. suit. Petitioner stated that the circumstances in
Petitioner filed on 28 June 2004 a motion for her life had
reconsideration14 alleging denial of due process led her to the conclusion that withdrawing the
on account petition was
of accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. for the best interest of the children. She prayed
She alleged that an order
she was not able to present evidence because of be issued vacating all prior orders and leaving
the the parties at
negligence of her counsel and her own fear for the status quo ante the filing of the suit.
her life and In its 28 December 2004 Resolution,18 the trial
the future of the children. She claimed she was court denied
forced to both the motion to dismiss and the motion for
leave the country, together with her children, reconsideration filed by petitioner. It held that
due to the the 30 March
alleged beating she received from respondent 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution
and the had become
final and executory upon the lapse of the 15-day
reglementary period without any timely appeal decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution of the
having been trial court
filed by either party.
Undeterred, petitioner filed a motion for have attained finality despite the alleged denial
reconsideration of of due
the 28 December 2004 resolution, which the process.
trial court The Court's Ruling
denied in its 15 February 2005 resolution.19 The The petition has no merit.
trial court Petitioner contends she was denied due process
then issued a Certificate of Finality20 of the 30 when her
March 2004 counsel failed to file pleadings and appear at the
decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution. hearings for
The Trial Court's Rulings respondent's omnibus motion to amend the
The 30 March 2004 Decision21 declared the partial judgment
marriage as regards the custody of the children and the
between the parties void under Article 36 of the properties in
Family Code her possession. Petitioner claims the trial court
on the ground of mutual psychological issued the 17
incapacity. It May 2004 resolution relying solely on the
incorporated the 31 July 2003 Partial testimony of
Judgment22 approving respondent. Petitioner further claims the trial
the Compromise Agreement23 between the court erred in
parties. The 17 applying to her motion to dismiss Section 7 of
May 2004 Resolution24 amended the earlier the Rule on
partial judgment the Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void
in granting to respondent custody of the Marriages and
children, ordering Annulment of Voidable Marriages. Petitioner
petitioner to turn over to respondent argues that if
documents and titles in indeed the provision is applicable, the same is
the latter's name, and allowing respondent to unconstitutional for setting an obstacle to the
stay in the preservation of
family dwelling in Mariposa, Quezon City. The 15 the family.
February Respondent maintains that the 30 March 2004
2005 Resolution25 denied petitioner's motion decision and
for the 17 May 2004 resolution of the trial court are
reconsideration of the 28 December 2004 now final
Resolution26 and executory and could no longer be reviewed,
denying petitioner's motion to dismiss and modified, or
motion for vacated. Respondent alleges petitioner is making
reconsideration of the 12 October 2004 a mockery
Resolution,27 which of our justice system in disregarding our lawful
in turn denied for late filing petitioner's motion processes.
for Respondent stresses neither petitioner nor her
reconsideration of the 17 May 2004 resolution. counsel
The Issue appeared in court at the hearings on
Petitioner raises the question of whether the 30 respondent's omnibus
March 2004 motion or on petitioner's motion to dismiss.
The issue raised in this petition has been settled face.29
in the case In the present case, the 30 March 2004 decision
of Tuason v. Court of Appeals.28 In Tuason, and the 17
private May 2004 resolution of the trial court had
respondent therein filed a petition for the become final and
annulment of her executory upon the lapse of the reglementary
marriage on the ground of her husband's period to
psychological appeal.30 Petitioner's motion for
incapacity. There, the trial court rendered reconsideration of the 17
judgment declaring May 2004 resolution, which the trial court
the nullity of the marriage and awarding custody received on 28
of the June 2004, was clearly filed out of time. Applying
children to private respondent therein. No the
timely appeal was doctrine laid down in Tuason, the alleged
taken from the trial court's judgment. negligence of
We held that the decision annulling the marriage counsel resulting in petitioner's loss of the right
had already to appeal is
become final and executory when the husband not a ground for vacating the trial court's
failed to judgments.
appeal during the reglementary period. The Further, petitioner cannot claim that she was
husband claimed denied due
that the decision of the trial court was null and process. While she may have lost her right to
void for present
violation of his right to due process. He argued evidence due to the supposed negligence of her
he was counsel, she
denied due process when, after failing to appear cannot say she was denied her day in court.
on two Records show
scheduled hearings, the trial court deemed him petitioner, through counsel, actively participated
to have in the
waived his right to present evidence and proceedings below, filing motion after motion.
rendered judgment Contrary to
based solely on the evidence presented by petitioner's allegation of negligence of her
private counsel, we have
respondent. We upheld the judgment of nullity reason to believe the negligence in pursuing the
of the case was on
marriage even if it was based solely on evidence petitioner's end, as may be gleaned from her
presented counsel's
by therein private respondent. manifestation dated 3 May 2004:
We also ruled in Tuason that notice sent to the Undersigned Counsel, who appeared for
counsel of petitioner, in the
record is binding upon the client and the neglect nullity proceedings, respectfully informs the
or failure of Honorable
the counsel to inform the client of an adverse Court that she has not heard from petitioner
judgment since Holy
resulting in the loss of the latter's right to appeal Week. Attempts to call petitioner have failed.
is not a Undersigned counsel regrets therefore that she
ground for setting aside a judgment valid and is unable to
regular on its
respond in an intelligent manner to the Motion letter of the law admits of no other
(Omnibus interpretation but that the
Motion) filed by respondent.31 provision applies only to a respondent, not a
Clearly, despite her counsel's efforts to reach petitioner. Only
her, petitioner a respondent in a petition for the declaration of
showed utter disinterest in the hearings on absolute
respondent's nullity of void marriage or the annulment of
omnibus motion seeking, among others, custody voidable
of the
children. The trial judge was left with no other marriage files an answer where any ground that
recourse but may warrant
to proceed with the hearings and rule on the a dismissal may be raised as an affirmative
motion based on defense pursuant
the evidence presented by respondent. to the provision. The only logical conclusion is
Petitioner cannot now that Section
come to this Court crying denial of due process. 7 of the Rule does not apply to a motion to
As for the applicability to petitioner's motion to dismiss filed by
dismiss of the party who initiated the petition for the
Section 7 of the Rule on the Declaration of declaration of
Absolute Nullity absolute nullity of void marriage or the
of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable annulment of
Marriages, voidable marriage.
petitioner is correct. Section 7 of the Rule on the Since petitioner is not the respondent in the
Declaration petition for the
of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and annulment of the marriage, Section 7 of the Rule
Annulment of does not
Voidable Marriages provides: apply to the motion to dismiss filed by her.
SEC. 7. Motion to dismiss. - No motion to dismiss Section 7 of the
the Rule not being applicable, petitioner's claim that
petition shall be allowed except on the ground it is
of lack of unconstitutional for allegedly setting an obstacle
jurisdiction over the subject matter or over the to the
parties; preservation of the family is without basis.
provided, however, that any other ground that Section 1 of the Rule states that the Rules of
might warrant Court applies
a dismissal of the case may be raised as an suppletorily to a petition for the declaration of
affirmative absolute
defense in an answer. (Emphasis supplied) nullity of void marriage or the annulment of
The clear intent of the provision is to allow the voidable
respondent to marriage. In this connection, Rule 17 of the
ventilate all possible defenses in an answer, Rules of Court
instead of a mere allows dismissal of the action upon notice or
motion to dismiss, so that judgment may be upon motion of
made on the the plaintiff, to wit:
merits. In construing a statute, the purpose or Section 1. Dismissal upon notice by plaintiff. - A
object of the complaint
law is an important factor to be considered.32 may be dismissed by the plaintiff by filing a
Further, the notice of
dismissal at any time before service of the Nothing is more settled in law than that when a
answer or of a judgment
motion for summary judgment. Upon such becomes final and executory, it becomes
notice being immutable and
filed, the court shall issue an order confirming unalterable. The same may no longer be
the dismissal. modified in any
xxx respect, even if the modification is meant to
Section 2. Dismissal upon motion of plaintiff. - correct what is
Except as perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact
provided in the preceding section, a complaint or law.33 The
shall not be reason is grounded on the fundamental
dismissed at the plaintiff's instance save upon considerations of
approval of the public policy and sound practice that, at the risk
court and upon such terms and conditions as the of
court deems occasional error, the judgments or orders of
proper. x x x (Emphasis supplied) courts must be
However, when petitioner filed the motion to final at some definite date fixed by law. Once a
dismiss on 4 judgment has
November 2004, the 30 March 2004 decision become final and executory, the issues there
and the 17 should be laid to
May 2004 resolution of the trial court had long rest.34
become final WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review.
and executory upon the lapse of the 15-day We
reglementary AFFIRM the (i) 17 May 2004 Resolution
period without any timely appeal having been amending the 30
filed by either March 2004 Decision and (ii) the 15 February
party. The 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 2005
May 2004 Resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
resolution may no longer be disturbed on City,
account of the Branch 107, in Civil Case No. Q-01-45743.
belated motion to dismiss filed by petitioner.
The trial court
was correct in denying petitioner's motion to
dismiss.
NORYN S. TAN, Petitioner,
vs.
JUDGE MARIA CLARITA CASUGA-TABIN, Municipal
Trial Court in Cities, Branch 4, Baguio City, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Noryn S. Tan (complainant) filed a Complaint dated April 2,
2007 against Judge Maria Clarita Casuga-Tabin (respondent)
of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 4,
Baguio City for denial of due process relative to Criminal
Case No. 118628.
Complainant avers: On November 9, 2006, the Philippine
National Police (PNP) Quezon City Police District (QCPD)
served her a warrant of arrest dated October 13, 2006, issued
by the MTCC Baguio City, Branch 4, presided by
respondent, relative to Criminal Case No. 118628 for alleged
violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. It was only then that
she learned for the first time that a criminal case was filed
against her before the court. She was detained at the Quezon
City Hall Complex Police Office and had to post bail of
P1,000.00 before the Office of the Executive Judge of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City for her
temporary release. Upon verification, she learned that
respondent issued on August 8, 2006 an Order directing her
to appear before the court on October 10, 2006 for
arraignment. It was sent by mail to PNP Quezon City for
service to her. However, she did not receive any copy of the
Order and up to the present has not seen the same; hence, she
was not able to attend her arraignment. She also found out
that there was no proof of service of the Order or any notice
to her of the arraignment. This notwithstanding, respondent
issued a warrant for her arrest. Complainant alleges that she
was deeply aggrieved and embarrassed by the issuance of the
warrant for her arrest despite the fact that she was never
notified of her arraignment. Complainant prayed that the
appropriate investigation be conducted as to the undue
issuance of a warrant for her arrest.1
In her Comment2 dated July 5, 2007, respondent answered:
She issued the warrant of arrest because when the case was
called for appearance, the complainant, as accused therein,
failed to appear. Prior to the issuance of the warrant of arrest,
her staff sent by registered mail the court's Order dated
August 8, 2006 addressed to complainant "through the Chief
of Police, PNP, 1104, Quezon City" directing complainant to
appear on October 10, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. for the arraignment
and preliminary conference in Criminal Case No. 118628, as proven by Registry Receipt No. 0310. It is
true that the
return on the court's Order dated August 8, 2006 had not yet
been made by the QC Police on or before October 10, 2006.
Nonetheless, she issued the warrant of arrest in good faith
and upon the following grounds: (a) under Sec. 3 of Rule
1313 of the Rules of Court, the court was entitled to presume
that on October 10, 2006, after the lapse of a little over two
months, official duty had been regularly performed and a
letter duly directed and mailed had been received in the
regular course of mail; and (b) Sec. 12 of the 1983 Rule on
Summary Procedure in Special Cases provides that bail may
be required where the accused does not reside in the place
where the violation of the law or ordinance was committed.
The warrant of arrest she issued was meant to implement this
provision, which was not repealed by the 1991 Revised Rule
on Summary Procedure, since complainant is a resident of
Quezon City and not of Baguio City. If her interpretation
was erroneous, she (respondent) believes that an
administrative sanction for such error would be harsh and
unsympathetic. She has nothing personal against
complainant and did not want to embarrass or humiliate her.
She issued the warrant in the honest belief that her act was in
compliance with the rules. She prays that the case against her
be dismissed and that a ruling on the interpretation of Secs.
10 & 12, of the 1983 Rule on Summary Procedure in Special
Cases, in relation to Sec. 16 of the 1991 Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure be made for the guidance of the bench
and bar.4
The OCA, in its agenda report dated September 28, 2007,
recommended that the case be dismissed for lack of merit. It
held: Prior to the filing of the information, a preliminary
investigation was conducted by the provincial prosecutor
resulting in the Resolution dated July 11, 2006
recommending the filing of the case; it was incredulous for
complainant to claim that she came to learn for the first time
of the filing of the criminal case when the warrant of arrest
was served on her; furthermore, there was already a
complete service of notice as contemplated in Sec. 10, Rule
135 of the Rules of Court; hence the requirement of notice
was fully satisfied by the service of the Order dated August
8, 2006 and the completion of the service thereof.6
Adopting the recommendation of the OCA, the Court on
November 12, 2007 issued a Resolution dismissing the case
for lack of merit.7
Complainant filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated
January 8, 2008 alleging: The issue in this case was not
whether complainant was aware of the criminal complaint
against her, but whether the issuance of a warrant of arrest
against her despite the absence of notice should be
administratively dealt with; complainant was never notified
of the arraignment; thus, she was not able to attend the same;
respondent admitted in her Comment that no return had yet
been made on or before October 10, 2006, the date
respondent ordered the warrant to be issued; her explanation
of good faith was therefore unjustifiable; neither could
respondent invoke the presumption of regularity of
performance of official duty, since the complainant did not
actually receive any notice; respondent in an Order dated
March 14, 2007 admitted that since she did not usually wear
eyeglasses during hearings, she thought that the
acknowledgment receipt at the back of the Order referred to
the copy sent to complainant; later scrutiny, however,
showed that it pertained to the one sent to the prosecutor's
office; Section 10, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court did not
apply to the instant case; the Order was addressed and sent to
PNP Quezon City; assuming that the Order was properly
served on the PNP, it was not equivalent to a service on
complainant; there was no actual delivery of the Order to the
complainant; hence, there was no personal service; neither
was it served by ordinary mail or by registered mail; thus,
the rule on completeness of service had not been satisfied;
complainant was not aware of and therefore did not attend
the preliminary investigation of her case; no proof can be
shown that she was ever notified of the said preliminary
investigation, much less of the filing of the same.8
In a Resolution dated April 16, 2008, the Court required
respondent to Comment on complainant's Motion for
Reconsideration.9
Complainant filed a Comment stating: Complainant's motion
did not raise any new issue or ground that would merit the
reconsideration of the Court's November 12, 2007
Resolution; complainant failed to rebut the presumption that
she was notified of the scheduled arraignment; what
complainant propounded was a mere self-serving denial that
she never received the subpoena intended for her; there was
no explanation why she would be able to receive a warrant
of arrest; which was coursed in the same manner as the
subpoena, in a little less than a month, but allegedly to
receive the subpoena in almost two months; if complainant's
assertion was to be believed, the effect would be to paralyze
the operation of courts in the provinces that had to inevitably
rely on the police resources of Metro Manila; arraignments
could not proceed and trials could not go on; it was
reasonable to follow as a rule that once a pleading or any
other official document was received in the ordinary course
of sending them, it must be presumed that others of the same
nature were also delivered to the named addressees; to
believe otherwise would be to delay justice for those residing
outside Metro Manila.10
The Court finds the Motion for Reconsideration to be
impressed with merit.
Whenever a criminal case falls under the Summary
Procedure, the general rule is that the court shall not order
the arrest of the accused, unless the accused fails to appear
whenever required.11 This is clearly provided in Section 16
of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure which
states:
Sec. 16. Arrest of accused. - The court shall not order the
arrest of the accused except for failure to appear
whenever required. Release of the person arrested shall either be in bail or on recognizance by a
responsible citizen
acceptable to the court. (Emphasis supplied)
In this case, respondent claims that the issuance of a warrant
for the arrest of complainant was justified, since complainant
failed to appear during the arraignment in spite of an order
requiring her to do so. Respondent admits, however, that a
copy of the Order dated August 8, 2006, was sent to
complainant "through the Chief of Police, PNP, 1104,
Quezon City."
While it is true that the Rules of Court provides for
presumptions, one of which is that official duty has been
regularly performed, such presumption should not be the
sole basis of a magistrate in concluding that a person called
to court has failed to appear as required, which in turn
justifies the issuance of a warrant for her arrest, when such
notice was not actually addressed to her residence but to the
police in her city. So basic and fundamental is a person's
right to liberty that it should not be taken lightly or brushed
aside with the presumption that the police through which the
notice had been sent, actually served the same on
complainant whose address was not even specified.
Respondent further admitted in her Comment dated July 5,
2007 that when she proceeded with the arraignment on
October 10, 2006 as scheduled, no return had yet been made
by the Quezon City Police.12 Nevertheless, she issued the
warrant of arrest, arguing that she did so on the presumption
that regular duty had been performed, and that the Order had
been received in the regular course of mail; and since Sec.
12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary Procedure provides that
bail may be required where the accused does not reside in
the place where the violation of the law or ordinance was
committed, the warrant of arrest she issued was justified
since complainant is a resident of Quezon City and not of
Baguio City.
The Court disagrees.
Sections 10 and 12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary
Procedure in Special Cases (As Amended) state:
Sec. 10. Duty of the Court. - On the basis of the complaint of
information and the affidavits accompanying the same, the
court shall make a preliminary determination whether to
dismiss the case outright for being patently without basis or
merit, or to require further proceedings to be taken. In the
latter case, the court may set the case for immediate
arraignment of an accused under custody, and if he pleads
guilty, may render judgment forthwith. If he pleads not
guilty, and in all other cases, the court shall issue an order,
accompanied by copies of all the affidavits submitted by the
complainant, directing the defendant(s) to appear and submit
his counter-affidavit and those of his witnesses at a specified
date not later than ten (10) days from receipt thereof.
Failure on the part of the defendant to appear whenever
required, shall cause the issuance of a warrant for his
arrest if the court shall find that a probable cause exists after
an examination in writing and under oath or affirmation of
the complainant and his witnesses. (Emphasis supplied)
xxxx
Sec. 12. Bail not required; Exception. --- No bail shall be
required except when a warrant of arrest is issued in
accordance with Section 10 hereon or where the accused (a)
is a recidivist; (b) is fugitive from justice; (c) is charged with
physical injuries; (d) does not reside in the place where the
violation of the law or ordinance was committed, or (e) has
no known residence.
Section 12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary Procedure was
not reproduced in the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary
Procedure, while Section 10 was revised and portions thereof
reproduced in Sections 1213 and 16 of the 1991 Rules on
Summary Procedure. Granting, arguendo, that Sections 10
and 12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary Procedure in Special
Cases were not repealed by the 1991 Revised Rules, still it
does not justify the warrant of arrest issued in this case.
Section 12 talks of instances when bails are required, one of
which is when the accused does not reside in the place where
the violation of the law or ordinance was committed. It does
not state, however, that a warrant of arrest shall immediately
issue even without actual notice to the accused. Respondent's
interpretation ascribes to the rules those which were not
expressly stated therein and unduly expands their meaning.
The Court also notes that in an Order dated March 14, 2007,
a copy of which was attached by complainant to her Motion
for Reconsideration, respondent admitted that:
As a point of clarification, during the hearing on October
10, 2006, when the case was called and the accused failed
to appear, the Court verified from the staff if the Accused
was notified to which said staff answered in the
affirmative, showing to the Court a copy of the Order dated
August 8, 2006, setting this case for Appearance of the
Accused on October 10, 2006. At the back of the Order
was an attached Acknowledgment Receipt. A quick
glance of the said receipt, and without eyeglasses of the
Presiding Judge, as she does not usually wear one during
Court sessions, made this Court believed that indeed,
that was the Acknowledgment Receipt proving that the
Accused was served with a copy of the said Order.
The attention of the Court was called upon receipt of the
Accused's Motion for Clarification and a closer look on
the Acknowledgment Receipt shows that the same was
for the City Prosecutor's Office. x x x14 (Emphasis
supplied)
From this, it can be inferred that respondent issued the
warrant of arrest on the mistaken belief that complainant was
actually notified of the arraignment. A closer scrutiny of the
records however showed that the Acknowledgment Receipt
pertained to the copy of the City Prosecutor's Office and not
that of complainant's. Whatever the real reasons behind respondent's issuance of
complainant's warrant of arrest -- whether from the mistaken
belief that complainant was actually notified, or the
presumption that the police had served a copy of the order on
complainant or that the rules allow immediate issuance of
warrants of arrests whenever the accused does not reside in
the locality where the crime was committed -- the fact is,
respondent failed to uphold the rules, for which she should
be held administratively liable.
The Court has held that a judge commits grave abuse of
authority when she hastily issues a warrant of arrest against
the accused in violation of the summary procedure rule that
the accused should first be notified of the charges against
him and given the opportunity to file his counter-affidavits
and countervailing evidence.15
While judges may not always be subjected to disciplinary
action for every erroneous order or decision they render, that
relative immunity is not a license to be negligent, abusive
and arbitrary in their prerogatives. If judges wantonly misuse
the powers vested in them by law, there will not only be
confusion in the administration of justice but also oppressive
disregard of the basic requirements of due process.16 While
there appears to be no malicious intent on the part of
respondent, such lack of intent, however, cannot completely
free her from liability.17 When the law is sufficiently basic, a
judge owes it to her office to know and simply apply it.18
Considering that this is respondent's first administrative
infraction in her more than 8 years of service in the
judiciary,19 which serves to mitigate her liability, the Court
holds the imposition of a fine in the amount of P10,000.00 to
be proper in this case.20
WHEREFORE, Judge Maria Clarita Casuga-Tabin,
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 4, Baguio City is
hereby found guilty of abuse of authority for which she is
fined in the sum of P10,000.00.
SO ORDERED.

Sec of Justice vs Judge Ralph Lantion


Due Process
Mark Jimenez was charged of multiple crimes ranging from
tax evasion to wire tapping to conspiracy to defraud the
USA. Jimenez was then wanted in the US. The US
government, pursuant to the RP-US extradition treaty
requested to have Jimenez be extradited there. Jimenez
requested for a copy of the complaint against him as well as
the extradition request by the USA. The DOJ sec refused to
provide him copy thereof advising that it is still premature to
give him so and that it is not a preliminary investigation
hence he is not entitled to receive such copies. Jimenez sued
the DOJ Sec and the lower court ruled in favor of Jimenez.
ISSUE: Whether or not Jimenez is deprived of due process.
HELD: The SC affirmed the ruling of the lower court. The
case against Jimenez refer to an impending threat of
deprivation of one’s property or property right. No less is
this true, but even more so in the case before us, involving as
it does the possible deprivation of liberty, which, based on
the hierarchy of constitutionally protected rights, is placed
second only to life itself and enjoys precedence over
property, for while forfeited property can be returned or
replaced, the time spent in incarceration is irretrievable and
beyond recompense.

Development of the Bank of the Philippines vs Court


of Appeals
Due Process – Opportunity to be Heard
In 1968 and 1969, Continental Cement Corp. entered into a
loan contract with DBP. In 1979, CCC entered into a MOA
with DBP restructuring its loans. In November 1985, DBP
filed for a foreclosure against the assets of CCC. In
December 1985, CCC petitioned before RTC Bulacan to
enjoin DBP and the Sheriff of Bulacan from foreclosing its
assets and praying further that its loan terms with DBP be
restructured and that the interest rate terms in the promissory
note be declared null and void. A TRO was issued in favor of
CCC. In December 1986, PP 502 was issued transferring
nonperforming assets of the gov’t to Asset Privatization
Trust. One of those transferred was CCCs account. DBP
filed a petition to dismiss the pending case as it CCC could
no longer deal with DBP but rather with APT. The trial court
denied the petition and has instead allowed APT to join the
proceeding pursuant to PP 502 as amended. To determine
CCCs indebtedness to DBP/APT, the RTC designated JC
Laya (former BSP Gov and DepEd Sec) as chair of a fact
finding commission. He was given 60 days to come up with
a report and he was given a lot of extensions thereafter. After
several months, he was able to come up with the report. The
parties then filed their reactions to the report and during the
trial they were given a chance to cross examine each other’s
witnesses. After cross examination, they were ordered to
submit their position papers as to their calculation of the
amount of indebtedness. CCC’s computation is at P43.6M,
the Commissioner’s computation is at P61.6M while
DBP/APT’s calculation is at P2.6B. In June 1992, 3 of
CCC’s witnesses were scheduled to be cross examined by
APT’s counsel as DBP’s counsel had already done so. APT”s
counsel was not able to do so raising the issue that he just
took over the case and needs time to prepare. The cross
examination was reset to August 24-26, 1992 but counsel for
APT failed to appear due to Dengue. The other counsel,
Jaime Cruz, for DBP was likewise absent; he’s also a
witness. On Aug 25th, the RTC ordered that due to the
foregoing the case is deemed submitted for decision. APT
filed for a motion for reconsideration. It was denied and the
RTC ruled that the indebtedness to be paid by CCC is the
calculation came up with by the Commissioner. APT
appealed before the CA averring that it was denied due
process when it was not allowed to cross examine the
witnesses of CCC nor was it allowed to present further witnesses. CCC averred that by the failure of APT’s
counsel
to appear APT has waived such right. The CA sustained the
RTC’s decision.
ISSUE: Whether or not APT was denied of due process.
HELD: The SC sustained the CA’s ruling. Long ingrained in
jurisprudence is the principle that there can be no denial of
due process where a party had the opportunity to participate
in the proceedings but did not do so. The withdrawal of
APT’s previous counsel in the thick of the proceedings
would be a reasonable ground to seek postponement of the
hearing. However, such reason necessitates a duty, nay an
obligation, on the part of the new counsel to prepare himself
for the next scheduled hearing. The excuse that it was due to
the former counsel’s failure to turn over the records of the
case to APT, shows the negligence of the new counsel to
actively recover the records of the case. Mere demands are
not sufficient. Counsel should have taken adequate steps to
fully protect the interest of his client, rather than pass the
blame on the previous counsel.
The due process requirement is satisfied where the parties
are given the opportunity to submit position papers, as in this
case. Both parties, CCC and DBP/APT, were given
opportunity to submit their respective position papers after
the Commissioner rendered his report. Contained in their
position papers were their respective comments and
objections to the said report. Furthermore, the parties were
also given the chance to cross-examine the Commissioner
and his representative. They were likewise granted
opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses of the other
party, however, like in APT’s case, they were deemed to
have waived their right, as previously discussed.
The essence of due process is that a party be afforded a
reasonable opportunity to be heard and to support any
evidence he may have in support of his defense. What the
law prohibits is absolute absence of the opportunity to be
heard, hence, a party cannot feign denial of due process
when he had been afforded the opportunity to present his
side.

Matuguina Integrated Wood Products Inc. vs Court of


Appeals
Due Process – Not Being Party to a Case
In 1973, license was issued to Milagros Matuguina to
operate logging businesses under her group Matuguina
Logging Enterprises. MIWPI was established in 1974 with 7
stockholders. Milagros Matuguina became the majority
stockholder later on. Milagros later petitioned to have MLE
be transferred to MIWPI. Pending approval of MLE’s
petition, Davao Enterprises Corporation filed a complaint
against MLE before the District Forester (Davao) alleging
that MLE has encroached upon the area allotted for
DAVENCOR’s timber concession. The Investigating
Committee found MLE guilty as charged and had
recommended the Director to declare that MLE has done so.
MLE appealed the case to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
During pendency, Milagrosa withdrew her shares from
MIWPI. Later, MNR Minister Ernesto Maceda found MLE
guilty as charged. Pursuant to the finding, DAVENCOR and
Philip Co requested Maceda to order MLE and/or MIWPI to
comply with the ruling to pay the value in pesos of 2352.04
m3 worth of timbers. The Minister then issued a writ of
execution against MIWPI. MIWPI filed a petition for
prohibition before the Davao RTC. The RTC ruled in favor
of MIWPI and has ordered to enjoin the Minister from
pursuing the execution of the writ. DAVENCOR appealed
and the CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. MIWPI averred
that it is not a party to the original case (as it was MLE that
was sued – a separate entity). That the issuance of the order
of execution by the Minister has been made not only without
or in excess of his authority but that the same was issued
patently without any factual or legal basis, hence, a gross
violation of MIWPI’s constitutional rights under the due
process clause.
ISSUE: Whether or not MIWPI’s right to due process has
been violated.
HELD: The SC ruled in favor of MIWPI. Generally
accepted is the principle that no man shall be affected by any
proceeding to which he is a stranger, and strangers to a case
not bound by judgment rendered by the court. In the same
manner an execution can be issued only against a party and
not against one who did not have his day in court. There is
no basis for the issuance of the Order of Execution against
the MIWPI. The same was issued without giving MIWPI an
opportunity to defend itself and oppose the request of
DAVENCOR for the issuance of a writ of execution against
it. In fact, it does not appear that MIWPI was at all furnished
with a copy of DAVENCOR’s letter requesting for the
Execution of the Minister’s decision against it. MIWPI was
suddenly made liable upon the order of execution by the
respondent Secretary’s expedient conclusions that MLE and
MIWPI are one and the same, apparently on the basis merely
of DAVENCOR’s letter requesting for the Order, and
without hearing or impleading MIWPI. Until the issuance of
the Order of execution, MIWPI was not included or
mentioned in the proceedings as having any participation in
the encroachment in DAVENCOR’s timber concession. This
action of the Minister disregards the most basic tenets of due
process and elementary fairness. The liberal atmosphere
which pervades the procedure in administrative proceedings
does not empower the presiding officer to make conclusions
of fact before hearing all the parties concerned. (1996 Oct
24)

PEOPLE VS CA, 262 SCRA 452


Evelio Javier vs COMELEC & Arturo Pacificador
Due Process – impartial and competent court
Javier and Pacificador, a member of the KBL under Marcos,
were rivals to be members of the Batasan in May 1984 in
Antique. During election, Javier complained of ”massive
terrorism, intimidation, duress, vote-buying, fraud,

threat and intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes perpetrated


by the armed men of Pacificador.” COMELEC just referred
the complaints to the AFP. On the same complaint, the 2nd
Division of the Commission on Elections directed the
provincial board of canvassers of Antique to proceed with
the canvass but to suspend the proclamation of the winning
candidate until further orders. On June 7, 1984, the same 2nd
Division ordered the board to immediately convene and to
proclaim the winner without prejudice to the outcome of the
case before the Commission. On certiorari before the SC, the
proclamation made by the board of canvassers was set aside
as premature, having been made before the lapse of the 5-
day period of appeal, which the Javier had seasonably made.
Javier pointed out that the irregularities of the election must
first be resolved before proclaiming a winner. Further,
Opinion, one of the Commissioners should inhibit himself as
he was a former law partner of Pacificador. Also, the
proclamation was made by only the 2nd Division but the
Constitute requires that it be proclaimed by the COMELEC
en banc. In Feb 1986, during pendency, Javier was gunned
down. The Solicitor General then moved to have the petition
close it being moot and academic by virtue of Javier’s death.
ISSUE: Whether or not there had been due process in the
proclamation of Pacificador.
HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Javier and has overruled
the Sol-Gen’s tenor. The SC has repeatedly and consistently
demanded “the cold neutrality of an impartial judge” as the
indispensable imperative of due process. To bolster that
requirement, we have held that the judge must not only be
impartial but must also appear to be impartial as an added
assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. The
litigants are entitled to no less than that. They should be sure
that when their rights are violated they can go to a judge who
shall give them justice. They must trust the judge, otherwise
they will not go to him at all. They must believe in his sense
of fairness, otherwise they will not seek his judgment.
Without such confidence, there would be no point in
invoking his action for the justice they expect.
Due process is intended to insure that confidence by
requiring compliance with what Justice Frankfurter calls the
rudiments of fair play. Fair play calls for equal justice. There
cannot be equal justice where a suitor approaches a court
already committed to the other party and with a judgment
already made and waiting only to be formalized after the
litigants shall have undergone the charade of a formal
hearing. Judicial (and also extrajudicial) proceedings are not
orchestrated plays in which the parties are supposed to make
the motions and reach the denouement according to a
prepared script. There is no writer to foreordain the ending.
The judge will reach his conclusions only after all the
evidence is in and all the arguments are filed, on the basis of
the established facts and the pertinent law.

Pedro Azul vs Judge Jose Castro & Rosalinda Tecson


Due Process – Impartial and Competent Court
Azul owns and operates a construction shop. To finance it he
entered a loan agreement with Tecson in the amount of
P391k. Tecson was only able to collect P141k thus leaving
about P250k as a balance. She filed a petition for collection
of sum of money before the Rizal RTC and the case was
given to J Sarmiento. On 27 Mar ’79, Azul received the copy
of the complaint. On 10 Apr ’79, Azul filed a motion for a 15
day extension to file for responsive pleading. Azul was
unaware that J Sarmiento retired and was temporarily
substituted by J Aňover who granted the extension but only
for 5 days starting the next day. But Azul only received the
notice granting such on the 23rd of the same month way
passed the 5 day period. On the 17th of April, Tecson already
filed a motion to dismiss averring that Azul’s 5 day
extension has already lapsed. On the 18th of the same month,
J Castro, the permanent judge to replace J Sarmiento took
office and he ordered Azul to be in default due to the lapse of
the 5 day extension. J Castro proceeded with the reception of
evidence the next day and of course without Azul’s evidence
as he was still unaware of him being in default. On April
27th, J Castro ruled in favor Tecson. On May 2nd Azul,
unaware that J Castro already decided the case appealed to
remove his default status. On May 7th Azul received the
decision rendered by the court on Apr 27th (but on record the
date of receipt was May 5th). Azul filed a motion for new
trial on June 6th. The lower court denied the same on the 20th
of the same month. On Aug 1st, Azul filed a notice of appeal
it was denied on the 3rd but was reconsidered on the 7th hence
Azul filed his record on appeal on the 21st and J Castro
approved it on the 27th but surprisingly upon motion of
Tecson on the 30th, J Castro set aside its earlier decisaion on
the 27th. Finally, J Castro denied the appeal on the 7th of
September.
ISSUE: Whether or not Azul has been denied due process.
HELD: The SC agreed with the Azul that he was denied
due process. The constitutional provision on due process
commands all who wield public authority, but most
peremptorily courts of justice, to strictly maintain standards
of fundamental fairness and to insure that procedural
safeguards essential to a fair trial are observed at all stages of
a proceeding. It may be argued that when the Azul’s counsel
asked for a fifteen (15) day extension from April 11, 1979 to
file his answer, it was imprudent and neglectful for him to
assume that said first extension would be granted. However,
the records show that Atty. Camaya personally went to the
session hall of the court with his motion for postponement
only to be informed that J Sarmiento had just retired but that
his motion would be considered “submitted for resolution.”
Since the sala was vacant and pairing judges in Quezon City
are literally swamped with their own heavy loads of cases,
counsel may be excused for assuming that, at the very least,
he had the requested fifteen (15) days to file his responsive
pleading. It is likewise inexplicable why J Anover, who had
not permanently taken over the sala vacated by the retired
judge, should suddenly rule that only a five-day extension
would be allowed. And to compound the Azul’s problems,
the order was sent by mail and received only twelve (12)

days later or after the five-day period. Before the much


publicized Project Mercury of the Bureau of Posts, a court
should have known that court orders requiring acts to be
done in a matter of days should not be sent by mail.
Meanwhile, the petitioner was declared in default. The
motion to declare defendant in default is dated April 17,
1979. No copy was furnished the petitioner. It was acted
upon on April 18, 1979, the very first day in office of J
Castro in Quezon City.

Mayor Miguel Paderanga vs Judge Cesar Azura


Due Process – Hostility Between the Judge and the Parties –
Inhibition
Paderanga was the mayor of Gingoog City, Misamis
Oriental. He petitioned that J Azura inhibits himself from
deciding on pending cases brought before him on the
grounds that they have lost confidence in him, that he
entertained tax suits against the city and had issued TROs on
the sales of properties when it is clearly provided for by law
(Sec 74 PD 464) that the remedy to stop auction is to pay
tax, that J Azura is bias, oppressive and is abusive in his
power.
ISSUE: Whether or not J Azura should inhibit himself from
the trial.
HELD: The SC ruled that Azura must. As decided in the
Pimentel Case (21 SCRA 160), “All the foregoing
notwithstanding, this should be a good occasion as any to
draw attention of all judges to appropriate guidelines in a
situation where their capacity to try and decide fairly and
judiciously comes to the fore by way of challenge from any
one of the parties. A judge may not be legally prohibited
from sitting in a litigation But when suggestion is made of
record that he might be induced to act in favor of one party
or with bias or prejudice against a litigant arising out of
circumstances reasonably capable of inciting such a state of
mind, he should conduct a careful self-examination. He
should exercise his discretion in a way that the people’s faith
in the courts of justice is not impaired. . . .”
The reminder is also apropos that next in importance to the
duty of rendering a righteous judgment is that of doing it in
such a manner as will beget no suspicion of the fairness and
integrity of the judge . . . .”

Filemon David vs Judge Gregorio Aquilizan et al


Due Process – Hearing
David has a large parcel of land in Polomolok, Cotabato. He
let Felomeno Jugar and Ricardo Jugar tend and caretake
separate portions of his land in 1971. The land is estimated
to be yielding 60-70 cavans of corn cobs an dthe share
agreed upon is 50-50. In 1973, David withdrew the land
from the brothers and has not allowed them to go back there.
The brothers prayed for reinstatement but David refused to
do so. David denied that the borthers were his tenants. He
said that Ricardo was his tractor driver before but he
resigned to take care of his dad and to work for DOLE.
Fewlomeno on the other hand surrendered the portion of the
land he was tending to continue his faith healing. J Aquilizan
handled the case filed by the brothers against David and after
three months he rendered a decision in favor of the brothers
without any hearing. David averred he was denied due
process. J Aquilizan admitted that there was indeed no
hearing conducted but he said the decision has already
become final and executory as the period for appeal has
already lapsed.
ISSUE: Whether or not David is entitled to an appeal.
HELD: The SC ruled in favor of David. A decision rendered
without a hearing is null and void and may be attacked
directly or collaterally. The decision is null and void for want
of due process. And it has been held that a final and
executory judgment may be set aside with a view to the
renewal of the litigation when the judgment is void for lack
of due process of law. In legal contemplation, it is as if no
judgment has been rendered at all.

Anita Lorenzana vs Polly Cayetano


Due Process – Hearing
Lorenzana was renting a parcel of land from the Manila
Railroad Company (later from the Bureau of Lands). She
later purchased the land (San Lazaro Estate). She had the
property be rented to tenants occupying stalls. Due to
nonpayment of rents, she filed 12 ejectment cases against her
tenant. On the other hand, Cayetano was an occupant of a
parcel of land adjacent to that of Lorenzana’s land. Cayetano
was renting the same from the Bureau of Lands. The lower
court granted Lorenzana’s ejectment cases. Lorenzana then
secured a writ of execution to forcibly eject her tenants but
she included to eject Cayetano’s property. Cayetano was not
a party to the ejectment cases so she prayed for the lower
court that her property be not touched. The lower court
denied Cayetano’s petition. The CA, upon appeal, favored
Cayetano. Lorenzana averred that Cayetano is now a party to
the ejectment cases as she already brought herself to the
Court’s jurisdiction by virtue of her appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not Cayetano’s right to due process has
been violated.
HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Cayetano and has affirmed
the CA. It must be noted that respondent was not a party to
any of the 12 ejectment cases wherein the writs of
demolition had been issued; she did not make her appearance
in and during the pendency of these ejectment cases.
Cayetano only went to court to protect her property from
demolition after the judgment in the ejectment cases had
become final and executory. Hence, with respect to the
judgment in said ejectment cases, Cayetano remains a third
person to such judgment, which does not bind her; nor can
its writ of execution be informed against her since she was
not afforded her day in court in said ejectment cases.

Zambales Chromite Mining et al vs Court of Appeals


Due Process – Administrative Due Process
ZCM filed an administrative case before the Director of
Mines Gozon to have them be declared the rightful and prior
locators and possessors of 69 mining claims in Sta. Cruz,
Zambales. They are asserting their claim against the group of
Martinez and Pabiloňa. Gozon decided in favor of Martinez
et al. ZCM appealed the case before the Secretary of
Agriculture and Natural Resources. During pendency, Gozon
was assigned as the Sec of Agri. And Natural Resources. He
did not inhibit himself from deciding on the appeal but he
instead affirmed his earlier decision when he was still the
director of mines. ZCM then appealed before the CFI of
Zambales. The CFI affirmed the decision of Gozon. It held
that the disqualification of a judge to review his own
decision or ruling (Sec. 1, Rule 137, Rules of Court) does
not apply to administrative bodies; that there is no provision
in the Mining Law, disqualifying the Secretary of
Agriculture and Natural Resources from deciding an appeal
from a case which he had decided as Director of Mines; that
delicadeza is not a ground for disqualification; that the ZCM
did not seasonably seek to disqualify Gozon from deciding
their appeal, and that there was no evidence that Gozon acted
arbitrarily and with bias, prejudice, animosity or hostility to
ZCM. ZCM appealed the case to the CA. The CA reversed
Gozon’s finding and declared that ZCM had the rights earlier
attributed to Martinez et al by Gozon. Martinez et al
appealed averring that the factual basis found by Gozon as
Director of Mines be given due weight. The CA reconsidered
after realizing that Gozon cannot affirm his own decision
and the CA remanded the case to the Minister of Natural
Resources. Now both parties appealed urging their own
contentions; ZCM wants the CA’s earlier decision to be
reaffirmed while Martinez et al demanded that Gozon’s
finding be reinstated. The CA denied both petition.
ISSUE: Whether or not Gozon can validly affirm his earlier
decision w/o disturbing due process.
HELD: The SC annulled the decision of Gozon calling it as
a mockery of justice. Gozon had acted with grave abuse of
discretion. In order that the review of the decision of a
subordinate officer might not turn out to be a farce, the
reviewing officer must perforce be other than the officer
whose decision is under review; otherwise, there could be no
different view or there would be no real review of the case.
The decision of the reviewing officer would be a biased
view; inevitably, it would be the same view since being
human, he would not admit that he was mistaken in his first
view of the case. The SC affirmed the 2nd decision of the CA.

FELICIDAD ANZALDO vs JACOBO C. CLAVE et al


Due Process – Administrative Due Process
Dr Anzaldo , 55, had been working in the National Institute
of Science and Technology for 28 years. She was holding the
position Scientist Research Associate IV when she was
appointed as Science Research Supervisor II. Her
appointment was approved by the CSC in 1978. The position
was previously held by Dr Kintanar who recommended Dr
Venzon to his position. Dr Venzon contested the position. Dr
Afable, the one who appointed Anzaldo, averred that
Anzaldo’s appointment was approved by the NIST
evaluation Committee which gave 88 points to Anzalado and
66 points to Venzon. The issue was elevated to the Office of
the president by Venzon. Clave was then the Presidential
Executive Assistant. Pursuant to PD 807 or the Civil Service
Decree, Clave referred the issue to the CSC. Clave was also
holding the chairmanship of the CSC. Clave issued Res 1178
appointing Venzon to the contested position. After the denial
of her motion for the reconsideration of that resolution, or on
January 5, 1980, Anzaldo appealed to the Office of the
President of the Philippines. Since Clave was holding the
office of PEA he just affirmed his decision as the CSC
chairman.
ISSUE: Whether or not there is due process in the case at
bar.
HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Anzaldo. When PEA Clave
said in his decision that he was “inclined to concur in the
recommendation of the Civil Service Commission”, what he
meant was that he was concurring with Chairman Clave’s
recommendation: he was concurring with himself. It is
evident that Anzaldo was denied due process of law when
Presidential Executive Assistant Clave concurred with the
recommendation of (himself) Chairman Clave of the Civil
Service Commission. Due process of law means fundamental
fairness. It is not fair to Anzaldo that PEA Clave should
decide whether his own recommendation as Chairman of the
CSC, as to who between Anzaldo and Venzon should be
appointed Science Research Supervisor II, should be adopted
by the President of the Philippines.

Miguel Singson vs National Labor Relations Commission


& Philippine Airlines
Due Process – Dismissal of Employees
Singson was an employee of PAL. On 7 Jun 1991, a
Japanese national alleged that Singson extorted money from
her ($200.00) by accusing her of having excess baggage; and
that to settle the issue she needs to pay said amount to him.
Singson was later investigated and the investigating
committee found him guilty. PAL then dismissed Singson
from employment. Singson then filed a case before NLRC
against PAL for illegal dismissal, atty’s fees and damages.
Labor Arbiter Raul Aquino ruled in favor of Singson as he
found PAL’s side insufficient to dismiss Singson. PAL
appealed to the NLRC. The 2nd Division, composed of
Calaycay, Rayala former Arbiter Raul Aquino, of the NLRC
took cognizance of the case. NLRC reversed the decision of
Aquino. Singson moved for reconsideration which was
denied by NLRC, this time only Calaycay & Rayala voted.
ISSUE: Whether or not Singson was denied of due process.
HELD: The SC ruled that Singson was denied due process.
The SC held that Singson was denied due process when
Aquino participated, as presiding commissioner of the 2nd

Division of the NLRC, in reviewing PAL’s appeal. He was


reviewing his own decision as a former labor arbiter. Under
Rule VII, Section 2 (b) of the New Rules of Procedure of the
NLRC, each Division shall consist of one member from the
public sector who shall act as the Presiding Commissioner
and one member each from the workers and employers
sectors, respectively. The composition of the Division
guarantees equal representation and impartiality among its
members. Thus, litigants are entitled to a review of three (3)
commissioners who are impartial right from the start of the
process of review. Commissioner Aquino can hardly be
considered impartial since he was the arbiter who decided
the case under review. He should have inhibited himself
from any participation in this case. The infirmity of the
resolution was not cured by the fact that the motion for
reconsideration of Singson was denied by two
commissioners and without the participation of Aquino. The
right of petitioner to an impartial review of his appeal starts
from the time he filed his appeal. He is not only entitled to
an impartial tribunal in the resolution of his motion for
reconsideration. Moreover, his right is to an impartial review
of three commissioners. The denial of Singson’s right to an
impartial review of his appeal is not an innocuous error. It
negated his right to due process.
NOTES:
Requisites of Procedural Due Process in Administrative
Proceedings
(1) the right to a hearing, which includes the right to present
one’s case and submit evidence in support thereof;
(2) the tribunal must consider the evidence presented;
(3) the decision must have something to support itself;
(4) the evidence must be substantial;
(5) the decision must be based on the evidence presented at
the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed
to the parties affected;
(6) the tribunal or body or any of its judges must act on its
own independent consideration of the law and facts of the
controversy, and not simply accept the views of a
subordinate;
(7) the Board or body should, in all controversial questions,
render its decision in such manner that the parties to the
proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the
reason for the decision rendered.
Administrative Due Process Includes
(a) the right to notice, be it actual or constructive, of the
institution of the proceedings that may affect a person’s legal
right;
(b) reasonable opportunity to appear and defend his rights
and to introduce witnesses and relevant evidence in his
favor;
(c) a tribunal so constituted as to give him reasonable
assurance of honesty and impartiality, and one of competent
jurisdiction; and
(d) a finding or decision by that tribunal supported by
substantial evidence presented at the hearing or at least
ascertained in the records or disclosed to the parties.

Mayor Bayani Alonte vs Judge Maximo Savellano, NBI


& People of the Philippines
Due Process in Criminal Proceedings – Waiver of Right to
Due Process
Alonte was accused of raping JuvieLyn Punongbayan with
accomplice Buenaventura Concepcion. It was alleged that
Concepcion befriended Juvie and had later lured her into
Alonete’s house who was then the mayor of Biňan, Laguna.
The case was brought before RTC Biňan. The counsel and
the prosecutor later moved for a change of venue due to
alleged intimidation. While the change of venue was
pending, Juvie executed an affidavit of desistance. The
prosecutor continued on with the case and the change of
venue was done notwithstanding opposition from Alonte.
The case was raffled to the Manila RTC under J Savellano.
Savellano later found probable cause and had ordered the
arrest of Alonte and Concepcion. Thereafter, the prosecution
presented Juvie and had attested the voluntariness of her
desistance the same being due to media pressure and that
they would rather establish new life elsewhere. Case was
then submitted for decision and Savellano sentenced both
accused to reclusion perpetua. Savellano commented that
Alonte waived his right to due process when he did not cross
examine Juvie when clarificatory questions were raised
about the details of the rape and on the voluntariness of her
desistance.
ISSUE: Whether or not Alonte has been denied criminal due
process.
HELD: The SC ruled that Savellano should inhibit himself
from further deciding on the case due to animosity between
him and the parties. There is no showing that Alonte waived
his right. The standard of waiver requires that it “not only
must be voluntary, but must be knowing, intelligent, and
done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances
and likely consequences.” Mere silence of the holder of the
right should not be so construed as a waiver of right, and the
courts must indulge every reasonable presumption against
waiver. Savellano has not shown impartiality by repeatedly
not acting on numerous petitions filed by Alonte. The case is
remanded to the lower court for retrial and the decision
earlier promulgated is nullified.
Heirs of Jose Deleste v. Landbank of the Philippines (June 8, 2011)

FACTS:
The spouses Gregorio Nanaman (Gregorio) and Hilaria Tabuclin (Hilaria) were the owners of a
parcel of agricultural land located in Tambo, Iligan City. Said spouses were childless, but Gregorio had a son
named Virgilio Nanaman (Virgilio) by another woman.
When Gregorio died in 1945, Hilaria and Virgilio administered the subject property and sold the
subject property to Dr. Jose Deleste (Deleste) for PhP 16,000. The deed of sale was notarized on February
17, 1954 and registered on March 2, 1954. Also, the tax declaration in the name of Virgilio was canceled
and a new tax declaration was issued in the name of Deleste.
On May 15, 1954, Hilaria died. Gregorio’s brother, Juan Nanaman, was appointed as special
administrator of the estate of the deceased spouses. Subsequently, Edilberto Noel (Noel) was appointed as
the regular administrator of the joint estate. Noel, as the administrator of the intestate estate of the
deceased spouses, filed an action against Deleste for the reversion of title over the subject property. The
decision stated that the subject property was the conjugal property of the late spouses Gregorio and Hilaria
and that the latter could only sell her one-half (1/2) share of the subject property to Deleste. As a result,
Deleste, who died in 1992, and the intestate estate of Gregorio were held to be the co-owners of the
subject property, each with a one-half (1/2) interest in it.
Thereafter, Presidential Decree No. (PD) 27 was issued. This law mandates that tenanted rice and
corn lands be brought under the Operation Land Transfer (OLT) Program and awarded to farmer-
beneficiaries. Thus, the subject property was placed under the said program.
However, only the heirs of Gregorio were identified by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
as the landowners. Petitioners contend that DAR failed to notify them that it is subjecting the subject
property under the coverage of the agrarian reform program; hence, their right to due process of law was
violated
Eventually, on February 12, 1984, DAR issued Certificates of Land Transfer (CLTs) in favor of private
respondents who were tenants and actual cultivators of the subject property.

ISSUE: Whether or not the e failure of the administrative body to give written notice that the property
bought by the ascendant of the petitioner is subject to PD 27 a violation of the heir’s due process.

HELD:

YES. PD 27 is a statutory notice to all owners of agricultural lands devoted to rice and/or corn
production, implying that there was no need for an actual notice. The importance of an actual notice in
subjecting a property under the agrarian reform program cannot be underrated, as non-compliance with
it trods roughshod with the essential requirements of administrative due process of law.
Since land acquisition under either Presidential Decree No. 27 and the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law govern the extraordinary method of expropriating private property, the law must be strictly
construed. Faithful compliance with legal provisions, especially those which relate to the procedure for
acquisition of expropriated lands should therefore be observed. In the instant case, no proper notice was
given to Virginia A. Roa by the DAR. Neither did the DAR conduct an ocular inspection and investigation.
Hence, any act committed by the DAR or any of its agencies that results from its failure to comply with
the proper procedure for expropriation of land is a violation of constitutional due process and should be
deemed arbitrary, capricious, whimsical and tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

In addition, DAR must have notified Deleste, being the landowner of the subject property. It
should be noted that the deed of sale executed by Hilaria in favor of Deleste was registered on March 2,
1954, and such registration serves as a constructive notice to the whole world that the subject property
was already owned by Deleste by virtue of the said deed of sale. DAR does not have the reason to feign
ignorance of the transfer of ownership over the subject property.

Moreover, DAR should have sent the notice to Deleste, and not to the Nanamans, since the tax
declaration in the name of Virgilio was already canceled and a new one issued in the name of Deleste.
Although tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they are nonetheless “good indicia of
possession in the concept of an owner, for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property
that is not in his actual or, at least, constructive possession”.

Petitioners’ right to due process of law was, indeed, violated when the DAR failed to notify them
that it is subjecting the subject property under the coverage of the agrarian reform program.

CENTRAL MINDANAO UNIVERSITY, Represented by


Officer-In-Charge Dr. Rodrigo L. Malunhao, Petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE
HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT
OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES,
THE CHAIRPERSON AND COMMISSIONERS OF
THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES, and THE LEAD CONVENOR OF THE
NATIONAL ANTI-POVERTY COMMISSION,
Respondents.
DECISION
ABAD, J.:
This case concerns the constitutionality of a presidential
proclamation that takes property from a state university, over
its objections, for distribution to indigenous peoples and
cultural communities.
The Facts and the Case
Petitioner Central Mindanao University (CMU) is a
chartered educational institution owned and run by the
State.1 In 1958, the President issued Presidential
Proclamation 476, reserving 3,401 hectares of lands of the
public domain in Musuan, Bukidnon, as school site for
CMU. Eventually, CMU obtained title in its name over 3,080
hectares of those lands under Original Certificates of Title
(OCTs) 0-160, 0-161, and 0-162. Meanwhile, the
government distributed more than 300 hectares of the
remaining untitled lands to several tribes belonging to the
area’s cultural communities.
Forty-five years later or on January 7, 2003 President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation 310 that
takes 670 hectares from CMU’s registered lands for
distribution to indigenous peoples and cultural communities
in Barangay Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon.
On April 3, 2003, however, CMU filed a petition for
prohibition against respondents Executive Secretary,
Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, Chairperson and Commissioner of the National
Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and Lead
Convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission
(collectively, NCIP, et al) before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Malaybalay City (Branch 9), seeking to stop the
implementation of Presidential Proclamation 310 and have it
declared unconstitutional.
The NCIP, et al moved to dismiss the case on the ground of
lack of jurisdiction of the Malaybalay RTC over the action,
pointing out that since the act sought to be enjoined relates to
an official act of the Executive Department done in Manila,
jurisdiction lies with the Manila RTC. The Malaybalay RTC
denied the motion, however, and proceeded to hear CMU’s application for preliminary injunction.
Meanwhile,
respondents NCIP, et al moved for partial reconsideration of
the RTC’s order denying their motion to dismiss.
On October 27, 2003, after hearing the preliminary
injunction incident, the RTC issued a resolution granting
NCIP, et al’s motion for partial reconsideration and
dismissed CMU’s action for lack of jurisdiction. Still, the
RTC ruled that Presidential Proclamation 310 was
constitutional, being a valid State act. The RTC said that the
ultimate owner of the lands is the State and that CMU
merely held the same in its behalf. CMU filed a motion for
reconsideration of the resolution but the RTC denied the
same on April 19, 2004. This prompted CMU to appeal the
RTC’s dismissal order to the Court of Appeals (CA)
Mindanao Station.2
CMU raised two issues in its appeal: 1) whether or not the
RTC deprived it of its right to due process when it dismissed
the action; and 2) whether or not Presidential Proclamation
310 was constitutional.3
In a March 14, 2008 decision,4 the CA dismissed CMU’s
appeal for lack of jurisdiction, ruling that CMU’s recourse
should have been a petition for review on certiorari filed
directly with this Court, because it raised pure questions law
—bearing mainly on the constitutionality of Presidential
Proclamation 310. The CA added that whether the trial court
can decide the merits of the case based solely on the hearings
of the motion to dismiss and the application for injunction is
also a pure question of law.
CMU filed a motion for reconsideration of the CA’s order of
dismissal but it denied the same,5 prompting CMU to file the
present petition for review.
The Issues Presented
The case presents the following issues:
1. Whether or not the CA erred in not finding that
the RTC erred in dismissing its action for prohibition
against NCIP, et al for lack of jurisdiction and at the
same time ruling that Presidential Proclamation 310
is valid and constitutional;
2. Whether or not the CA correctly dismissed
CMU’s appeal on the ground that it raised purely
questions of law that are proper for a petition for
review filed directly with this Court; and
3. Whether or not Presidential Proclamation 310 is
valid and constitutional.
The Court’s Rulings
One. The RTC invoked two reasons for dismissing CMU’s
action. The first is that jurisdiction over the action to declare
Presidential Proclamation 310 lies with the RTC of Manila,
not the RTC of Malaybalay City, given that such action
relates to official acts of the Executive done in Manila. The
second reason, presumably made on the assumption that the
Malaybalay RTC had jurisdiction over the action,
Presidential Proclamation 310 was valid and constitutional
since the State, as ultimate owner of the subject lands, has
the right to dispose of the same for some purpose other than
CMU’s use.
There is nothing essentially wrong about a court holding on
the one hand that it has no jurisdiction over a case, and on
the other, based on an assumption that it has jurisdiction,
deciding the case on its merits, both with the same results,
which is the dismissal of the action. At any rate, the issue of
the propriety of the RTC using two incompatible reasons for
dismissing the action is academic. The CA from which the
present petition was brought dismissed CMU’s appeal on
some technical ground.
Two. Section 9(3) of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of
19806 vests in the CA appellate jurisdiction over the final
judgments or orders of the RTCs and quasi-judicial bodies.
But where an appeal from the RTC raises purely questions of
law, recourse should be by a petition for review on certiorari
filed directly with this Court. The question in this case is
whether or not CMU’s appeal from the RTC’s order of
dismissal raises purely questions of law.
As already stated, CMU raised two grounds for its appeal: 1)
the RTC deprived it of its right to due process when it
dismissed the action; and 2) Presidential Proclamation 310
was constitutional. Did these grounds raise factual issues that
are proper for the CA to hear and adjudicate?
Regarding the first reason, CMU’s action was one for
injunction against the implementation of Presidential
Proclamation 310 that authorized the taking of lands from
the university. The fact that the President issued this
proclamation in Manila and that it was being enforced in
Malaybalay City where the lands were located were facts
that were not in issue. These were alleged in the complaint
and presumed to be true by the motion to dismiss.
Consequently, the CMU’s remedy for assailing the
correctness of the dismissal, involving as it did a pure
question of law, indeed lies with this Court.
As to the second reason, the CMU claimed that the
Malaybalay RTC deprived it of its right to due process when
it dismissed the case based on the ground that Presidential
Proclamation 310, which it challenged, was constitutional.
CMU points out that the issue of the constitutionality of the
proclamation had not yet been properly raised and heard.
NCIP, et al had not yet filed an answer to join issue with
CMU on that score. What NCIP, et al filed was merely a
motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the
Malaybalay RTC over the injunction case. Whether the RTC
in fact prematurely decided the constitutionality of the
proclamation, resulting in the denial of CMU’s right to be
heard on the same, is a factual issue that was proper for the
CA Mindanao Station to hear and ascertain from the parties

Consequently, the CA erred in dismissing the action on the


ground that it raised pure questions of law.
Three. Since the main issue of the constitutionality of
Presidential Proclamation 310 has been raised and amply
argued before this Court, it would serve no useful purpose to
have the case remanded to the CA Mindanao Station or to
the Malaybalay RTC for further proceedings. Ultimately, the
issue of constitutionality of the Proclamation in question will
come to this Court however the courts below decide it.
Consequently, the Court should, to avoid delay and
multiplicity of suits, now resolve the same.
The key question lies in the character of the lands taken from
CMU. In CMU v. Department of Agrarian Reform
Adjudication Board (DARAB),7 the DARAB, a national
government agency charged with taking both privatelyowned
and government-owned agricultural lands for
distribution to farmers-beneficiaries, ordered the segregation
for this purpose of 400 hectares of CMU lands. The Court
nullified the DARAB action considering the inalienable
character of such lands, being part of the long term functions
of an autonomous agricultural educational institution. Said
the Court:
The construction given by the DARAB to Section 10
restricts the land area of the CMU to its present needs or to a
land area presently, actively exploited and utilized by the
university in carrying out its present educational program
with its present student population and academic facility —
overlooking the very significant factor of growth of the
university in the years to come. By the nature of the CMU,
which is a school established to promote agriculture and
industry, the need for a vast tract of agricultural land for
future programs of expansion is obvious. At the outset, the
CMU was conceived in the same manner as land grant
colleges in America, a type of educational institution which
blazed the trail for the development of vast tracts of
unexplored and undeveloped agricultural lands in the Mid-
West. What we now know as Michigan State University,
Penn State University and Illinois State University, started as
small land grant colleges, with meager funding to support
their ever increasing educational programs. They were given
extensive tracts of agricultural and forest lands to be
developed to support their numerous expanding activities in
the fields of agricultural technology and scientific research.
Funds for the support of the educational programs of land
grant colleges came from government appropriation, tuition
and other student fees, private endowments and gifts, and
earnings from miscellaneous sources. It was in this same
spirit that President Garcia issued Proclamation No. 476,
withdrawing from sale or settlement and reserving for the
Mindanao Agricultural College (forerunner of the CMU) a
land reservation of 3,080 hectares as its future campus. It
was set up in Bukidnon, in the hinterlands of Mindanao, in
order that it can have enough resources and wide open
spaces to grow as an agricultural educational institution, to
develop and train future farmers of Mindanao and help
attract settlers to that part of the country.
xxxx
The education of the youth and agrarian reform are
admittedly among the highest priorities in the government
socio-economic programs. In this case, neither need give
way to the other. Certainly, there must still be vast tracts of
agricultural land in Mindanao outside the CMU land
reservation which can be made available to landless
peasants, assuming the claimants here, or some of them, can
qualify as CARP beneficiaries. To our mind, the taking of the
CMU land which had been segregated for educational
purposes for distribution to yet uncertain beneficiaries is a
gross misinterpretation of the authority and jurisdiction
granted by law to the DARAB.
The decision in this case is of far-reaching significance as far
as it concerns state colleges and universities whose resources
and research facilities may be gradually eroded by
misconstruing the exemptions from the CARP. These state
colleges and universities are the main vehicles for our
scientific and technological advancement in the field of
agriculture, so vital to the existence, growth and
development of this country.8
It did not matter that it was President Arroyo who, in this
case, attempted by proclamation to appropriate the lands for
distribution to indigenous peoples and cultural communities.
As already stated, the lands by their character have become
inalienable from the moment President Garcia dedicated
them for CMU’s use in scientific and technological research
in the field of agriculture. They have ceased to be alienable
public lands.1avvphi1
Besides, when Congress enacted the Indigenous Peoples’
Rights Act (IPRA) or Republic Act 83719 in 1997, it
provided in Section 56 that "property rights within the
ancestral domains already existing and/or vested" upon its
effectivity "shall be recognized and respected." In this case,
ownership over the subject lands had been vested in CMU as
early as 1958. Consequently, transferring the lands in 2003
to the indigenous peoples around the area is not in accord
with the IPRA.
Furthermore, the land registration court considered the
claims of several tribes belonging to the area’s cultural
communities in the course of the proceedings for the titling
of the lands in CMU’s name. Indeed, eventually, only 3,080
hectares were titled in CMU’s name under OCTs 0-160, 0-
161 and 0-162. More than 300 hectares were acknowledged
to be in the possession of and subject to the claims of those
tribes.
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition, SETS
ASIDE the March 14, 2008 decision and September 22,
2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
85456, and DECLARES Presidential Proclamation 310 as
null and void for being contrary to law and public policy.

G.R. No. 181974 : February 1, 2012


LYNVIL FISHING ENTERPRISES, INC. and/or ROSENDO S. DE BORJA, Petitioners, v. ANDRES G. ARIOLA, JESSIE
D. ALCOVENDAS, JIMMY B. CALINAO AND LEOPOLDO G. SEBULLEN, Respondents.

PEREZ, J.:
FACTS:

Lynvil Fishing Enterprises, Inc. (Lynvil) is a company engaged in deep-sea fishing, operating along the
shores of Palawan and other outlying islands of the Philippines. Lynvil received a report from Romanito
Clarido, one of its employees, that on 31 July 1998, he witnessed that while on board the company vessel
Analyn VIII, Lynvil employees conspired with one another and stole eight (8) tubs of "pampano" and
"tangigue" fish and delivered them to another vessel, to the prejudice of Lynvil.

By reason of the report and after initial investigation, Lynvils General Manager Rosendo S. De Borja (De
Borja) summoned respondents to explain within five (5) days why they should not be dismissed from
service. Failing to explain as required, respondents employment was terminated.

Lynvil, through De Borja, filed a criminal complaint against the dismissed employees for violation of P.D.
532, or the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974 before the Office of the City Prosecutor of
Malabon City. First Assistant City Prosecutor Rosauro Silverio found probable cause for the indictment of
the dismissed employees for the crime of qualified theft.

Upon being informed about this, Ariola, Calinao, Nubla and Sebullen went to the Lynvil office. However,
they were told that their employments were already terminated. Aggrieved, the employees filed with the
Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission-National Capital Region on 25 August
1998 a complaint for illegal dismissal with claims for backwages, salary differential reinstatement, service
incentive leave, holiday pay and its premium and 13th month pay from 1996 to1998. They also claimed
for moral, exemplary damages and attorneys fees for their dismissal with bad faith.

Labor Arbiter Ramon Valentin C. Reyes found merit in complainants charge of illegal dismissal. NLRC
reversed and set aside the Decision of the Labor Arbiter. The private respondents except Elorde Baz filed
a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of
NLRC. The Court of Appeals found merit in the petition and reinstated the Decision of the Labor Arbiter
except as to the award of attorneys fees. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the dismissal was illegal


HELD: No.

Labor Law
An employer may terminate an employment based on fraud or willful breach of the trust reposed on the
employee.

The Labor Code provides that an employer may terminate an employment based on fraud or willful
breach of the trust reposed on the employee. Such breach is considered willful if it is done intentionally,
knowingly, and purposely, without justifiable excuse, as distinguished from an act done carelessly,
thoughtlessly, heedlessly or inadvertently. It must also be based on substantial evidence and not on the
employers whims or caprices or suspicions otherwise, the employee would eternally remain at the mercy
of the employer. Loss of confidence must not be indiscriminately used as a shield by the employer against
a claim that the dismissal of an employee was arbitrary. And, in order to constitute a just cause for
dismissal, the act complained of must be work-related and shows that the employee concerned is unfit to
continue working for the employer.

In addition, loss of confidence as a just cause for termination of employment is premised on the fact that
the employee concerned holds a position of responsibility, trust and confidence or that the employee
concerned is entrusted with confidence with respect to delicate matters, such as the handling or care and
protection of the property and assets of the employer. The betrayal of this trust is the essence of the
offense for which an employee is penalized.

Breach of trust is present in this case.

We cannot close our eyes to the positive and clear narration of facts of the three witnesses to the
commission of qualified theft. Jonathan Distajo, a crew member of the Analyn VIII, stated in his letter
addressed to De Borja dated 8 August 1998, that while the vessel was traversing San Nicolas, Cavite, he
saw a small boat approach them. When the boat was next to their vessel, Alcovendas went inside the
stockroom while Sebullen pushed an estimated four tubs of fish away from it. Ariola, on the other hand,
served as the lookout and negotiator of the transaction.

Finally, Baz and Calinao helped in putting the tubs in the small boat. He further added that he received
P800.00 as his share for the transaction. Romanito Clarido, who was also on board the vessel,
corroborated the narration of Distajo on all accounts in his 25 August 1998 affidavit. He added that
Alcovendas told him to keep silent about what happened on that day. Sealing tight the credibility of the
narration of theft is the affidavit executed by Elorde Baz dated 3 May 1999. Baz was one of the dismissed
employees who actively participated in the taking of the tubs. He clarified in the affidavit that the four
tubs taken out of the stockroom in fact contained fish taken from the eight tubs. He further stated that
Ariola told everyone in the vessel not to say anything and instead file a labor case against the
management. Clearly, we cannot fault Lynvil and De Borja when it dismissed the employees.