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FUNDAMENTAL POWERS OF THE STATE

POLICE POWER

POLICE POWER; THE STATE UNDER ITS POLICE POWER, MAY ALTER, MODIFY
OR AMEND MINING EXPLORATION PERMITS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
DEMANDS OF THE GENERAL WELFARE.

SOUTHEAST MINDANAO GOLDMINING CORP. vs. BALITE PORTAL MINING


COOP., et al.
[G.R. No. 135190, April 3, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On March 10, 1988, Marcopper Mining Corporation (Marcopper) was granted Exploration
Permit No. 133 (EP No. 133) over 4,491 hectares of land, which included the Diwalwal area.
On June 27, 2991, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 7076, or the People's Small-Scale Mining
Act. The law established a People's Small-Scale Mining Program to be implemented by the Secretary of
the DENR and created the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) under the DENR Secretary's
direct supervision and control.
Subsequently, a petition for the cancellation of EP No. 133 and the admission of a Mineral
Production Sharing Arrangement (MPSA) proposal over Diwalwal was filed before the DENR Regional
Executive Director, docketed as RED Mines Case.
On February 16, 1994, while the RED Mines case was pending, Marcopper assigned its EP No.
133 to petitioner Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corporation (SEM), which in turn applied for an
integrated MPSA over the land covered by the permit.
In due time, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. XI in Davao City (MGB-XI)
accepted and registered the integrated MPSA application of petitioner and thereafter, several MAC cases
were filed.
On March 3, 1995, Republic Act No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act, was enacted. Pursuant to
this statute, the MAC cases were referred to a Regional Panel of Arbitrators (RPA) tasked to resolve
disputes involving conflicting mining rights. The RPA subsequently took cognizance of the RED Mines
case, which was consolidated with the MAC cases.
On June 24, 1997, the DENR Secretary issued Memorandum Order No. 97-03 which provided
that the DENR shall study thoroughly and exhaustively the option of direct state utilization of the mineral
resources in the Diwalwal Gold-Rush Area.
On July 16, 1997, petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
before the Court of Appeals against PMRB-Davao, the DENR Secretary and Balite Communal Portal
Mining Cooperative (BCPMC). It prayed for the nullification of the above-quoted Memorandum Order No.
97-03 on the ground that the "direct state utilization" espoused therein would effectively impair its vested
rights under EP No. 133; and that the memorandum order arbitrarily imposed the unwarranted condition
that certain studies be conducted before mining and environmental laws are enforced by the DENR.

ISSUE: Whether or not the "direct state utilization scheme" espoused in MO 97-03 divested petitioner
of its vested right to the gold rush area under its EP No. 133.

HELD: NO. MO 97-03 did not conclusively adopt "direct state utilization" as a policy in resolving the
Diwalwal dispute. The terms of the memorandum clearly indicate that what was directed thereunder was
merely a study of this option and nothing else. Contrary to petitioner's contention, it did not grant any
management/operating or profit-sharing agreement to small-scale miners or to any party, for that matter,
but simply instructed the DENR officials concerned to undertake studies to determine its feasibility.
As to the alleged "vested rights" claimed by petitioner, it is well to note that the same is invariably
based on EP No. 133, whose validity is still being disputed in the Consolidated Mines cases. A reading of
the appealed MAB decision reveals that the continued efficacy of EP No. 133 is one of the issues raised
in said cases, with respondents therein asserting that Marcopper cannot legally assign the permit which
purportedly had expired. In other words, whether or not petitioner actually has a vested right over
Diwalwal under EP No. 133 is still an indefinite and unsettled matter. And until a positive pronouncement
is made by the appellate court in the Consolidated Mines cases, EP No. 133 cannot be deemed as a
source of any conclusive rights that can be impaired by the issuance of MO 97-03.
It must likewise be pointed out that under no circumstances may petitioner's rights under EP No.
133 be regarded as total and absolute. As correctly held by the Court of Appeals EP No. 133 merely
evidences a privilege granted by the State, which may be amended, modified or rescinded when the
national interest so requires. This is necessarily so since the exploration, development and utilization of
the country's natural mineral resources are matters impressed with great public interest. Like timber
permits, mining exploration permits do not vest in the grantee any permanent or irrevocable right within
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

the purview of the non-impairment of contract and due process clauses of the Constitution, since the
State, under its all-encompassing police power, may alter, modify or amend the same, in accordance with
the demands of the general welfare.
Additionally, there can be no valid opposition raised against a mere study of an alternative which
the State, through the DENR, is authorized to undertake in the first place. Worth noting is Article XII,
Section 2, of the 1987 Constitution and Section 4, Chapter II of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
Thus, the State may pursue the constitutional policy of full control and supervision of the
exploration, development and utilization of the country's natural mineral resources, by either directly
undertaking the same or by entering into agreements with qualified entities. The DENR Secretary acted
within his authority when he ordered a study of the first option, which may be undertaken consistently in
accordance with the constitutional policy enunciated above. Obviously, the State may not be precluded
from considering a direct takeover of the mines, if it is the only plausible remedy in sight to the gnawing
complexities generated by the gold rush.

EMINENT DOMAIN

EMINENT DOMAIN; JUST COMPENSATION IS DETERMINED AT THE DATE OF


THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT EXCEPT WHEN THE COURT FIXES THE VALUE
OF THE PROPERTY AT THE DATE IT WAS TAKEN

CITY OF CEBU vs. SPOUSES APOLONIO and BLASA DEDAMO


[G.R. No. 142971, May 7, 2002]

DAVIDE, JR., C .J:


FACTS: On 17 September 1993, petitioner City of Cebu filed a complaint for eminent domain against
respondents spouses Apolonio and Blasa Dedamo. The petitioner alleged therein that it needed the land
for a public purpose, i.e., for the construction of a public road which shall serve as an access/relief road of
Gorordo Avenue to extend to the General Maxilum Avenue and the back of Magellan International Hotel
Roads in Cebu City. The lower court fixed the amount of just compensation at P20,826,339.50.
Petitioner alleged that the lower court erred in fixing the amount of just compensation at
P20,826,339.50. The just compensation should be based on the prevailing market price of the property at
the commencement of the expropriation proceedings.
The petitioner did not convince the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court’s decision in
toto.

ISSUE: Whether or not just compensation should be determined as of the date of the filing of the
complaint.

HELD: NO. In the case at bar, the applicable law as to the point of reckoning for the determination of
just compensation is Section 19 of R.A. No. 7160, which expressly provides that just compensation shall
be determined as of the time of actual taking.
The petitioner has misread our ruling in The National Power Corp. vs. Court of Appeals. We did
not categorically rule in that case that just compensation should be determined as of the filing of the
complaint. We explicitly stated therein that although the general rule in determining just compensation in
eminent domain is the value of the property as of the date of the filing of the complaint, the rule "admits of
an exception: where this Court fixed the value of the property as of the date it was taken and not at the
date of the commencement of the expropriation proceedings."

BILL OF RIGHTS

DUE PROCESS

DUE PROCESS; PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS NOT PART OF THE DUE


PROCESS GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION

BENEDICTO and RIVERA vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 125359, September 4, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
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FACTS: On December 27, 1991, Mrs. Imelda Marcos and Messrs. Benedicto and Rivera were indicted
for violation of Section 10 of Circular No. 960 1 in relation to Section 34 of the Central Bank Act (Republic
Act No. 265, as amended) in five Informations filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Docketed as
Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-101883, the charge sheets alleged that the trio failed to submit
reports of their foreign exchange earnings from abroad and/or failed to register with the Foreign Exchange
Department of the Central Bank within the period mandated by Circular No. 960. Said Circular prohibited
natural and juridical persons from maintaining foreign exchange accounts abroad without prior
authorization from the Central Bank.
On August 11, 1994, petitioners moved to quash all the Informations filed against them in Criminal
Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-101883; 91-101884 to 91-101892, and 91-101959 to 91-101969. Their
motion was grounded on lack of jurisdiction, forum shopping, absence of a preliminary investigation and
extinction of criminal liability with the repeal of Circular No. 960.
On September 6, 1994, the trial court denied petitioners' motion. A similar motion filed on May
23, 1994 by Mrs. Marcos seeking to dismiss the dollar-salting cases against her due to the repeal of
Circular No. 960 had earlier been denied by the trial court in its order dated June 9, 1994. Petitioners
then filed a motion for reconsideration, but the trial court likewise denied this motion on October 18, 1994.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in denying the Motion to Quash for absence of a valid
preliminary investigation.
(2) Whether or not the repeal of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and Republic Act No. 265 by Circular No.
1353 and Republic Act No. 7653 respectively, extinguish the criminal liability of petitioners.

HELD:
(1) NO. Preliminary investigation is not part of the due process guaranteed by the Constitution. It is
an inquiry to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime
has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof. Instead, the right to a preliminary
investigation is personal. It is afforded to the accused by statute, and can be waived, either expressly or
by implication.
When the records of the case were disclosed to them, in opting to enter their respective pleas to
the charges, and filed various motions and pleadings, they are deemed to have made an express waiver
of their right to have a preliminary investigation.
(2) NO. In the instant case, it must be noted that despite the repeal of Circular No. 960, Circular No.
1353 retained the same reportorial requirement for residents receiving earnings or profits from non-trade
foreign exchange transactions. Even the most cursory glance at the repealing circulars, Circular Nos.
1318 and 1353 shows that both contain a saving clause, expressly providing that the repeal of Circular
No. 960 shall have no effect on pending actions for violation of the latter Circular. A saving clause
operates to except from the effect of the repealing law what would otherwise be lost under the new law.
In the present case, the respective saving clauses of Circular Nos. 1318 and 1353 clearly manifest the
intent to reserve the right of the State to prosecute and punish offenses for violations of the repealed
Circular No. 960, where the cases are either pending or under investigation.

DUE PROCESS; THE RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS A


COMPONENT PART OF DUE PROCESS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

SALES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. No. 143802, November 16, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner, the incumbent town mayor of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, fatally shot the former mayor
and his political rival, Atty. Rafael Benemerito, in an alleged shootout after a heated altercation between
them. After the shooting incident, petitioner surrendered and placed himself under the custody of the
municipal police. The next day, a criminal complaint for Murder against petitioner was filed. Municipal
Judge Calvan then conducted a preliminary investigation as under the old rules, with two stages: (1) the
determination of whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed and
the accused is probably guilty thereof, so that a warrant of arrest may be issued and the accused held for
trial; and (2) the preliminary investigation proper where the complaint or information is read to the
accused after his arrest and he is informed of the substance of the evidence adduced against him, after
which he is allowed to present evidence in his favor if he so desires.
Municipal Judge then forwarded the case records to the Provincial Prosecutor who, instead of
conducting a preliminary investigation of his own, merely forwarded the said records to the Ombudsman
for the latter to conduct the same. The Ombudsman then directed the petitioner to file his counter-
affidavit, which the latter found superfluous as he previously submitted such to the Provincial Prosecutor.
An Information for Murder was filed against petitioner.
This Court is tasked to resolve the issue of whether or not the proper procedure was followed and
whether petitioner's constitutional rights were safeguarded during the preliminary investigation conducted
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

before the filing of an Information for Murder against him and the issuance of a warrant for his arrest by
respondent Sandiganbayan. Petitioner asserts that the Information was hastily filed and the warrant for
his arrest was improper because of an incomplete preliminary investigation. Respondents say otherwise.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the preliminary investigation conducted by the municipal judge was proper.
(2) Whether or not the preliminary investigation conducted by the Ombudsman was proper.

HELD:
(1) NO. Presidential Decree 911 (further amending Sec. 1, R.A. 5180, as amended by P.D. 77) upon
which the present rule is based, removed the preliminary examination stage and integrated it into the
preliminary investigation proper. Now the proceedings consists of only one stage.
Respondent Judge did not conduct the requisite investigation prior to issuance of the arrest
warrant. The Rules require an examination in writing under oath in the form of searching questions and
answers. The statements of witnesses were not sworn before him but before the Provincial Prosecutor.
The purported transcript of stenographic notes do not bear the signature of the stenographer.
Moreover, he did not complete the preliminary investigation. He claimed to have examined only
the witnesses of the complainant. He issued a Resolution and forwarded the records to the Provincial
Prosecutor without giving the accused (petitioner) an opportunity to submit counter-affidavits and
supporting documents. While it is true that the usual remedy to an irregular preliminary investigation is to
ask for a new preliminary investigation, such normal remedy would not be adequate to free petitioner from
the warrant of arrest which stemmed from that irregular investigation. The Provincial Prosecution has no
power to recall the warrant of arrest.
(2) NO. As this Court pointed out in Duterte v. Sandiganbayan, "the purpose of a preliminary
investigation or a previous inquiry of some kind, before an accused person is placed on trial, is to secure
the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution and to protect him from an open and
public accusation of a crime, from the trouble, expenses and anxiety of a public trial. It is also intended to
protect the state from having to conduct useless and expensive trials. While the right is statutory rather
than constitutional in its fundament, it is a component part of due process in criminal justice. The right to
have a preliminary investigation conducted before being bound over to trial for a criminal offense and
hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other penalty, is not a mere formal or technical right; it is a
substantive right. To deny the accused's claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him of
the full measure of his right to due process."
Although a preliminary investigation is not a trial and is not intended to usurp the function of the
trial court, it is not a casual affair. The officer conducting the same investigates or inquires into the facts
concerning the commission of the crime with the end in view of determining whether or not an information
may be prepared against the accused. Indeed, preliminary investigation is in effect a realistic judicial
appraisal of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of the guilt of the accused must be adduced so that
when the case is tried, the trial court may not be bound as a matter of law to order an acquittal. A
preliminary investigation has been called a judicial inquiry. It is a judicial proceeding. An act becomes a
judicial proceeding when there is an opportunity to be heard and for the production of and weighing of
evidence, and a decision is rendered thereon.
The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer duly empowered to preside or to conduct a
preliminary investigation is no less than a municipal judge or even a regional trial court judge. While the
investigating officer, strictly speaking, is not a "judge" by the nature of his functions, he is and must be
considered to be a quasi-judicial officer because a preliminary investigation is considered a judicial
proceeding. A preliminary investigation should therefore be scrupulously conducted so that the
constitutional right to liberty of a potential accused can be protected from any material damage.
Indeed, since a preliminary investigation is designed to screen cases for trial, only evidence may
be considered. While even raw information may justify the initiation of an investigation, the stage of
preliminary investigation can be held only after sufficient evidence has been gathered and evaluated
warranting the eventual prosecution of the case in court. In other words, it is not enough that the
preliminary investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape
with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it is
a part of the guarantee of freedom and fair play which are the birthrights of all who live in our country. It is
therefore imperative upon the fiscal or the judge, as the case may be, to relieve the accused from the pain
of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case
or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is
no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided
in the light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree
upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard
the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason.
Measured vis-a-vis the foregoing legal yardsticks, we hold that the proper procedure in the
conduct of the preliminary investigation was not followed, for the following reasons: First, the records
show that the supposed preliminary investigation was conducted in installments by at least three (3)
different investigating officers, none of whom completed the preliminary investigation. There was not one
continuous proceeding but rather a case of passing the buck, so to speak, the last one being the
Ombudsman hurriedly throwing the buck to the Sandiganbayan. Second, the charge against herein
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

petitioner is Murder, a non-bailable offense. The gravity of the offense alone, not to mention the fact that
the principal accused is an incumbent mayor whose imprisonment during the pendency of the case would
deprive his constituents of their duly-elected municipal executive, should have merited a deeper; and
more thorough preliminary investigation. The Ombudsman, however, did nothing of the sort and instead
swallowed hook, line and sinker the resolution and recommendation of Graft Investigation Officer. Third,
it was patent error for the Sandiganbayan to have relied purely on the Ombudsman's certification of
probable cause given the prevailing facts of this case much more so in the face of the latter's flawed
report and one-sided factual findings. In the order of procedure for criminal cases, the task of determining
probable cause for purposes of issuing a warrant of arrest is a responsibility which is exclusively reserved
by the Constitution to judges. People v. Inting clearly delineated the features of this constitutional
mandate, viz: 1.] The determination of probable cause is a function of the judge; it is not for the provincial
fiscal or prosecutor to ascertain. Only the judge and the judge alone makes this determination; 2.] The
preliminary inquiry made by a prosecutor does not bind the judge. It merely assists him in making the
determination of probable cause. It is the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes, if
any, and all other supporting documents behind the prosecutor's certification which are material in
assisting the judge in his determination of probable cause; and 3.] Judges and prosecutors alike should
distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest
from the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or
be released. Even if the two inquiries be made in one and the same proceeding, there should be no
confusion about their objectives. The determination of probable cause for purposes of issuing the warrant
of arrest is made by the judge. The preliminary investigation proper — whether or not there is reasonable
ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he
should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial — is the function of the prosecutor.
Stated differently, while the task of conducting a preliminary investigation is assigned either to an inferior
court magistrate or to a prosecutor, only a judge may issue a warrant of arrest. When the preliminary
investigation is conducted by an investigating prosecutor, in this case the Ombudsman, the determination
of probable cause by the investigating prosecutor cannot serve as the sole basis for the issuance by the
court of a warrant of arrest. This is because the court with whom the information is filed is tasked to make
its own independent determination of probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest. Indeed the
Judge cannot ignore the clear words of the 1987 Constitution which requires probable cause to be
personally determined by the judge, not by any other officer or person.

DUE PROCESS; THE FACT THAT THE COMPLAINT WAS FILED BY THE CSC
ITSELF DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT COULD NOT BE AN IMPARTIAL JUDGE.

CRUZ and PAITIM vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION


[G.R. No. 144464, November 22, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: On September 9, 1994 it was discovered by the Civil Service Commission that Paitim,
Municipal Treasurer of Bulacan took the non-professional examination for Cruz after the latter had
previously failed in the said examination three times.
The CSC found after a fact finding investigation that a prima facie case exists against you for
DISHONESTY, GRAVE MISCONDUCT and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF
THE SERVICE.
The petitioners filed their Answer to the charge entering a general denial of the material
averments of the "Formal Charge." They also declared that they were electing a formal investigation on
the matter. The petitioners subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss averring that if the investigation will
continue, they will be deprived of their right to due process because the Civil Service Commission was the
complainant, the Prosecutor and the Judge, all at the same time.
On November 16, 1995, Dulce J. Cochon issued an "Investigation Report and Recommendation" finding
the Petitioners guilty of "Dishonesty" and ordering their dismissal from the government service
Petitioners maintain that the CSC did not have original jurisdiction to hear and decide the
administrative case. Allegedly, in accordance with Section 47(1), Chapter 7, Subtitle A, Title 1, Book V,
Administrative Code of 1987, the CSC is vested with appellate jurisdiction only in all administrative cases
where the penalty imposed is removal or dismissal from the office and where the complaint was filed by a
private citizen against the government employee.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners’ right to due process was violated when the CSC acted as
investigator, complainant, prosecutor and jugde all at the same time.

HELD: NO. The fact that the complaint was filed by the CSC itself does not mean that it could not be
an impartial judge. As an administrative body, its decision was based on substantial findings. Factual
findings of administrative bodies, being considered experts in their field, are binding on the Supreme
Court. The records clearly disclose that the petitioners were duly investigated by the CSC.
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After a careful examination of the records, the Commission finds respondents guilty as charged.
The photograph pasted over the name Gilda Cruz in the Picture Seat Plan (PSP) during the July 30, 1989
Career Service Examination is not that of Cruz but of Paitim. Also, the signature over the name of Gilda
Cruz in the said document is totally different from the signature of Gilda Cruz.
Petitioners' contention that they were denied due process of law by the fact that the CSC acted as
investigator, complainant, prosecutor and judge, all at the same time against the petitioners is untenable.
The CA correctly explained that the CSC is mandated to hear and decide administrative case instituted by
it or instituted before it directly or on appeal including actions of its officers and the agencies attached to it
pursuant to Book V, Title 1, Subtitle A, Chapter 3, Section 12, paragraph 11 of the Administrative Code of
1987.
It can not be denied that the petitioners were formally charged after a finding that a prima facie
case for dishonesty lies against them. They were properly informed of the charges. They submitted an
Answer and were given the opportunity to defend themselves. Petitioners can not, therefore, claim that
there was a denial of due process much less the lack of jurisdiction on the part of the CSC to take
cognizance of the case.

DUE PROCESS; DUE PROCESS OF LAW REQUIRES THAT EVERY LITIGANT


MUST BE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD.

MANUEL C. ROXAS, et al. vs. CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, et al.


[G.R. No. 114944, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Roxas was the Chairman, while Nacpil was a Member, of the Bids and Awards
Committee of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP). The PC-INP invited bids
for the supply of sixty-five units of fire trucks. The Bids and Awards Committee voted to award the
contract to the Tahei Co., Ltd., manufacturer of Nikko-Hino. Accordingly, the contract was executed
between PC-INP and Tahei Co.
The COA subsequently discovered that there was a discrepancy in the amounts indicated on the
disbursement voucher and the purchase order.
Consequently, the DILG Secretary filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against the
respondents.
After preliminary investigation, the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military recommended the
indictment of all respondents, except Ramirez. On review, the Office of the Special Prosecutor
recommended the dismissal of the complaints against Roxas, Nacpil, Codoy, Kairan and Ramirez.
Formal charges were filed with the Sandiganbayan against Nazareno, Flores, Tanchanco, Custodio, Osia,
Espeña and Santos. Petitioners were not included in the criminal information.
Flores and Tanchanco moved for a reinvestigation, which was granted. Thereafter, the Office of
the Special Prosecutor recommended the dismissal of the charges against Flores and Tanchanco. In the
same resolution, however, the Special Prosecutor made a sudden turnabout as regards Roxas, Nacpil
and Kairan, and ordered their inclusion as accused.

ISSUE: Whether or not the inclusion of the petitioners as accused violated their right to due process.

HELD: YES. It appears that the charge against respondents was previously dismissed. For this
reason, there being no motion or reconsideration filed by the complainant, said respondents ceased to be
parties. Consequently, the mere filing of motions for reconsideration by those previously indicted, without
questioning the dismissal of the charge against the said respondents, could not and should not be made
the basis for impleading them as accused in this case without violating their right to due process.
Furthermore, it appears that petitioners were deprived of due process when the Special
Prosecutor reinstated the complaint against them without their knowledge. Due process of law requires
that every litigant must be given an opportunity to be heard. He has the right to be present and defend
himself in person at every stage of the proceedings.
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SEARCHES AND SEIZURES

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; PROBABLE CAUSE REQUIRES THAT FACTS AND


CIRCUMSTANCES WARRANT A BELIEF THAT THE ACCUSED IS GUILTY OF THE
CRIME JUST COMMITTED.

SALES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. No. 143802, November 16, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: see page 22

ISSUE: Whether or not the warrant of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan was properly issued.

HELD: NO. What the Sandiganbayan should have done, faced with such a slew of conflicting evidence
from the contending parties, was to take careful note of the contradictions in the testimonies of the
complainant's witnesses as well as the improbabilities in the prosecution evidence. Certainly probable
cause may not be established simply by showing that a trial judge subjectively believes that he has good
grounds for his action. Good faith is not enough. If subjective good faith alone were the test, the
constitutional protection would be demeaned and the people would be "secure in their persons, houses,
papers and effects" only in the fallible discretion of the judge. On the contrary, the probable cause test is
an objective one, for in order that there be probable cause the facts and circumstances must be such as
would warrant a belief by a reasonably discreet and prudent man that the accused is guilty of the crime
which has just been committed. This, as we said is the standard.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; “PERSONAL DETERMINATION” MERELY


EMPHASIZES THE EXCLUSIVE AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE
ISSUING JUDGE TO SATISFY HIMSELF OF THE EXISTENCE OF PROBALBE
CAUSE.

ATTY. EDGAR H. TALINGDAN vs. JUDGE HENEDINO P. EDUARTE


[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1610, October 5, 2001]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Complainant alleged that sometime in April 2000 elements of the PNP stormed into his
residence to arrest him and his client, Luzano, on the strength of a Warrant of Arrest dated 12 April 2000
issued by respondent Judge Eduarte in Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1373 of the RTC-Br. 20, Cauayan, Isabela
for the supposed crime of libel. Surprised that such a case existed against him and his client as they had
not been previously charged, complainant filed a Very Urgent Motion to Quash and/or Set Aside Warrant
of Arrest and Direct Prosecutor's Office to Conduct Preliminary Investigation dated 5 May 2000 asking
that the Warrant of Arrest be set aside for being premature since they had not been previously notified of
the charge against them and no preliminary investigation was ever conducted by the public prosecutor's
office yet, and for being defective since the amount of bail was not specified therein in violation of their
constitutional right to bail. Respondent Judge granted the motion and recalled the warrant of arrest in an
Order dated 12 May 2000 admitting that he issued the same under the mistaken belief that a preliminary
investigation had already been conducted and an information already filed in court. Complainant
nonetheless filed this administrative case.

ISSUE: Whether or not the judge failed to follow the required procedure and was negligent in the
issuance of the warrant of arrest.

HELD: YES. Enshrined in our Constitution is the rule that "[n]o . . . warrant of arrest shall issue except
upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation
of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing . . . the persons . . . to
be seized." Interpreting the words "personal determination" we said that it does not thereby mean that
judges are obliged to conduct the personal examination of the complainant and his witnesses themselves.
To require thIs would be to unduly laden them with preliminary examinations and investigations of criminal
complaints instead of concentrating on hearing and deciding cases filed before them. Rather what is
emphasized merely is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy himself as
to the existence of probable cause. To this end he may: (a) personally evaluate the report and the
supporting documents submitted by the prosecutor regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the
basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (b) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause, disregard
the prosecutor's report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

determining its existence. What he is never allowed to do is follow blindly the prosecutor's bare
certification as to the existence of probable cause. Much more is required by the constitutional provision.
Judges have to go over the report, the affidavits, the transcript of stenographic notes if any, and other
documents supporting the prosecutor's certification.
In the case at bench respondent Judge not only failed to follow the required procedure but worse,
was negligent enough not to have noticed that there was not even a prosecutor's certification to rely upon
since no information had even been filed yet in court, and that Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1373 was merely
docketed as such on the strength of a mere complaint filed by the private complainant Leoncio Dalin Sr.
himself. Respondent Judge admitted that he signed the Warrant of Arrest against complainant and the
latter's client simply because it was presented to him for signature by the Criminal Docket Clerk. There
was thus a total and unwarranted abdication of a judicial function. Respondent cannot exculpate himself
from administrative liability by contending that the mistake was entirely attributable to the Criminal Docket
Clerk who failed to faithfully comply with her "duty" of going over the records of criminal cases and
ensuring first that an information had already been filed in court before preparing the warrant of arrest. A
judge fails in his bounden duty if he relies merely on the certification of the investigating officer as to the
existence of probable cause making him administratively liable.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT OF ARREST IS


DISCRETIONARY UPON THE INVESTIGATING JUDGE.

CRUZ and MONEDERO vs. JUDGE AREOLA


[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1642, March 6, 2002]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: On November 26, 1998, the Evaluation and Preliminary Investigation Bureau of the Office of
the Ombudsman issued a Resolution recommending the filing of an Information for Estafa against Marilyn
Carreon, an employee of the Land Transportation Office, based on the complaint filed by herein
complainants. The Office of the City Prosecutor found no cogent reason to reverse, modify, or alter the
resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman and recommended that the case be set for trial.
Complainants filed the instant complaint charging both respondent Judge and his Branch Clerk of
Court with ignorance of the law. Complainants take issue of the fact that although respondent Judge
already issued a warrant of arrest, he still deferred its implementation to give way to a reinvestigation of
the case on motion of the accused. They believe that there is no longer any reason why the respondent
Judge should withhold the issuance of a warrant of arrest considering that the Office of the City
Prosecutor already made a finding that there exists probable cause to indict the accused.
In their Joint Comment, respondent Judge manifests that the issuance of a warrant of arrest is not
a ministerial function of a judge as he is mandated to determine the existence of probable cause before
issuing a warrant. Respondent Branch Clerk of Court, on the other hand, claims that it is a ministerial
duty on her part to release duly signed orders, resolutions and decisions of the presiding judge of her
branch.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent Judge erred in deferring the implementations of the warrant of
arrest.

HELD: NO. The 1987 Constitution provides that no warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce.
Preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to whether it is an investigation for the
determination of a sufficient ground for the filing of the information or it is an investigation for the
determination of a probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The first kind of preliminary
investigation is executive in nature. It is part of the prosecution’s job. The second kind of preliminary
investigation is judicial in nature and is lodged with the judge.
In making the required personal determination, a judge is not precluded from relying on the
evidence earlier gathered by responsible officers. The extent of reliance depends on the circumstances
of each case and is subject to the judge’s sound discretion.
It is not obligatory, but merely discretionary, upon the investigating judge to issue a warrant for the
arrest of the accused, even after having personally examined the complainant and his witnesses in the
form of searching questions and answers. For the determination of whether a probable cause exists and
whether it is necessary to arrest the accused in order not to frustrate the ends of justice, is left to his
sound judgment or discretion.
It appears from the records that the challenged Orders issued by the respondent Judge were not
at all baseless. The respondent Judge merely exercised his sound discretion in not immediately issuing
the warrant of arrest and in suspending further proceedings pending reinvestigation of the case. On her
part, respondent Branch Clerk of Court cannot be faulted for performing a ministerial function, that is,
releasing Orders duly signed by the respondent Judge.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; PARTICULARITY OF DESCRIPTION DOES NOT


REQUIRE PRECISE AND MINUTE DETAILS.

YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, et al. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 126859, September 4, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: Presiding judge of the RTC of Kalookan City, issued search warrants for the search and
seizure of certain items in Apartment No. 2 at 154 Obiniana Compound, Deparo Road, Kalookan City.
The police searched Apartment No. 8, in the same compound and found one (1) .45 caliber pistol. Found
in Apartment No. 2 were 2 M-16 rifles with 2 magazines and 20 live M-16 ammunitions, among others.
Petitioners were charged before the Regional Trial Court informations accusing them with illegal
possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1866.
Thereafter, petitioners were arrested and detained.
At the hearing for bail, the RTC denied petitioners' motion for bail earlier filed for the accused are
being charged of two criminal offenses and both offenses under Presidential Decree 1866, Sections 1 and
3 thereof prescribe the penalty of Reclusion Temporal in its maximum period to Reclusion Perpetua.
Under Rule 114 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended by Supreme Court Administrative
Circular No. 12-94, particularly Section 7 thereof, no person charged with a capital offense or an offense
punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong shall be admitted
to bail regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.
Petitioners contend that the search and seizure orders violated Sections 2 and 3 of the Bill of
Rights as well as Section 3 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure because the place
searched and articles seized were not described with particularity.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion when it ruled that
the search and seizure orders in question were valid and the objects seized admissible in evidence.

HELD: As held in PICOP v. Asuncion, the place to be searched cannot be changed, enlarged nor
amplified by the police. Policemen may not be restrained from pursuing their task with vigor, but in doing
so, care must be taken that constitutional and legal safeguards are not disregarded. Exclusion of
unlawfully seized evidence is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional injunction against
unreasonable searches and seizures. Hence, we are constrained to declare that the search made at
Apartment No. 8 is illegal and the .45 caliber pistol taken thereat is inadmissible in evidence against
petitioners. Now, in contrast, the search conducted at Apartment No. 2 could not be similarly faulted. The
search warrants in question specifically mentioned Apartment No. 2. The search was done in the
presence of its occupants, herein petitioners, in accordance with Section 7 of Rule 126, Revised Rules of
Court.
Petitioners allege lack of particularity in the description of objects to be seized pursuant to the
warrants. That the articles seized during the search of Apartment No. 2 are of the same kind and nature
as those items enumerated in the search warrant appears to be beyond cavil. The items seized from
Apartment No. 2 were described with specifity in the warrants in question. The nature of the items
ordered to be seized did not require a technical description. Moreover, the law does not require that the
things to be seized must be described in precise and minute details as to leave no room for doubt on the
part of the searching authorities, otherwise, it would be virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a
search warrant as they would not know exactly what kind of things they are looking for. Substantial
similarity of those articles described as a class or species would suffice.
The case of Bache and Co. (Phil.), Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823, 835 (1971), pointed out that one of
the tests to determine the particularity in the description of objects to be seized under a search warrant is
when the things described are limited to those which bear direct relation to the offense for which the
warrant is being issued. A careful examination of the Search Warrants shows that they were worded in
such a manner that the enumerated items to be seized could bear a direct relation to the offense of
violation of Section 1 and 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, penalizing illegal possession of
firearms, ammunitions and explosives. What the warrants authorized was the seizure of articles
proscribed by that decree, and no other.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; WARRANTLESS SEARCHES AND SEIZURES WHEN


VALID.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PO2 ALBERT ABRIOL


[G.R. NO. 123137, October 17, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: Appellants PO2 Albert Abriol of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Macario Astellero,
Januario Dosdos, and PNP P/Chief Inspector Gaudioso Navales were charged with and convicted, of
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

murder for having shot one Alejandro Flores, and of Illegal Possession of Firearms for the handguns that
they were armed with. On appeal, one of their contentions against their conviction for murder is that the
PNP cannot be presumed to have done their work regularly due to the errors and blunders they
committed in transferring the possession and custody of the physical evidence and in having failed to
issue acknowledgment receipts thereof. They further contend, as against their conviction for Illegal
Possession of Firearms, that the handguns and ammunition taken from them by the police officers were
illegally seized in the absence of a warrant.

ISSUES: Whether or not the handguns and ammunitions used in the killing were illegally seized from
appellants in the absence of a warrant.

HELD: NO. There are eight (8) instances where a warrantless search and seizure is valid. They are:
(1) consented searches; (2) as an incident to a lawful arrest; (3) searches of vessels and aircraft for
violation of immigration, customs, and drug laws; (4) searches of moving vehicles; (5) searches of
automobiles at borders or constructive borders; (6) where the prohibited articles are in "plain view;" (7)
searches of buildings and premises to enforce fire, sanitary, and building regulations; and (8) "stop and
frisk" operations.
In this case, the warrantless search and seizure of the subject handguns and ammunition is valid
for two reasons. It was a search incidental to a lawful arrest. It was made after a fatal shooting, and
pursuit of a fast-moving vehicle seeking to elude pursuing police officers, and a more than reasonable
belief on the part of the police officers that the fleeing suspects aboard said vehicle had just engaged in
criminal activity. The urgent need of the police to take immediate action in the light of the foregoing
exigencies clearly satisfies the requirements for warrantless arrests under the Rules of Court. Moreover,
when caught in flagrante delicto with firearms and ammunition which they were not authorized to carry,
appellants were actually violating P.D. No. 1866, another ground for valid arrest under the Rules.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; THERE MUST BE A PRIOR JUSTIFICATION FOR AN


INTRUSION IN APPLYING THE PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE; SEIZURE OF EVIDENCE
DURING A VALID ARREST.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. CUBCUBIN


[G.R. No. 136267, July 10, 2001]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: At about 3:30 in the morning of August 26, 1997, Sgt. Rogel, desk officer of the Cavite City
police station, received a telephone call that a person had been shot near the cemetery along Julian
Felipe Boulevard in San Antonio, Cavite City. For this reason, a police team, composed of SPO1 Malinao,
Jr., PO3 Rosal, PO3 Estoy, Jr., PO3 Manicio, and SPO3 Manalo, responded to the call and found Henry
P. Piamonte slumped dead on his tricycle which was then parked on the road
A tricycle driver, who refused to divulge his name, told him them accused-appellant and the victim
were last seen together coming out of the Sting Cafe, located in San Antonio near the gate of Sangley
Point, Cavite City, about a kilometer and a half away from the crime scene.
Armando Plata, another tricycle driver, told Rosal and Malinao, Jr. that Garcellano's description
fitted a person known as alias "Jun Dulce” and led the policemen where accused-appellant lived.
Upon arriving the police asked permission if they could enter the house. After entering they found
a bloodied shirt and two spent .38 caliber shells. Accused appellant was then asked to return to the cafe
for identification. He was positively identified by the waitress to be the person with whom the victim drank
with. The police then went back to his house and there found a .38 paltik pistol.
An information for murder was then filed against accused-appellant. The trial court found him
guilty and sentenced him with the capital punishment .

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the arrest of the accused appellant was valid.
(2) Whether or not there was a valid search and seizure.

HELD:
(1) NO. On the first issue, the arrest of accused-appellant was effected shortly after the victim was
killed. The question, therefore, is whether there was "probable cause" for PO3 Rosal and SPO1 Malinao,
Jr., the arresting officers, to believe that accused-appellant committed the crime. We hold that there was
none. The two did not have "personal knowledge of facts" indicating that accused-appellant had
committed the crime. Their knowledge of the circumstances from which they allegedly inferred that
accused-appellant was probably guilty was based entirely on what they had been told by others, to wit: by
someone who called the PNP station in San Antonio, Cavite City at about 3:30 in the morning of August
26, 1997 and reported that a man had been killed along Julian Felipe Boulevard of the said city; by an
alleged witness who saw accused-appellant and the victim coming out of the Sting Cafe; by Danet
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Garcellano, waitress at the Sting Cafe, who said that the man last seen with the victim was lean,
mustachioed, dark-complexioned and was wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of brown short pants; by a
tricycle driver named Armando Plata who told them that the physical description given by Garcellano fitted
accused-appellant, alias "Jun Dulce" and who said he knew where accused-appellant lived and
accompanied them to accused-appellant's house. Thus, PO3 Rosal and SPO1 Malinao, Jr. merely relied
on information given to them by others.
(2) NO. On the second issue, accused-appellant contends that neither he nor his son gave
permission to the arresting police officers to search his house and, therefore, the "Hanes" t-shirt, the two
spent slugs, and the .38 caliber revolver allegedly found in his house are inadmissible in evidence. The
prosecution, on the other hand, insists that accused-appellant consented to the search of his house.
To be sure, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right which may
be waived expressly or impliedly. But a waiver by implication cannot be presumed. There must be
persuasive evidence of an actual intention to relinquish the right. As in this cases, a mere failure on the
part of the accused to object to a search cannot be construed as a waiver of this privilege.
Nor can the warrantless search in this case be justified under the "plain view" doctrine. As this
Court held in People v. Musa: The "plain view" doctrine is usually applied where a police officer is not
searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating
object.
What the "plain view" cases have in common is that the police officer in each of them had a prior
justification for an intrusion in the course of which he came inadvertently across a piece of evidence
incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to supplement the prior justification — whether it be a
warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some other legitimate reason for
being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused — and permits the warrantless
seizure.
Finally, the prosecution says the search can be justified as incidental to a valid arrest. Even
assuming the warrantless arrest to be valid, the search cannot be considered an incident thereto. A valid
arrest allows only the seizure of evidence or dangerous weapons either in the person of the one arrested
or within the area of his immediate control. The rationale for such search and seizure is to prevent the
person arrested either from destroying evidence or from using the weapon against his captor. It is clear
that the warrantless search in this case cannot be justified on this ground. For neither the t-shirt nor the
gun was within the area of accused-appellant's immediate control. In fact, according to the prosecution,
the police found the gun only after going back to the house of accused-appellant.

SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; ELEMENTS NECESSARY TO APPLY THE PLAIN


VIEW DOCTRINE.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. COMPACION


[G.R. No. 124442, July 20, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Acting on a confidential tip supplied by a police informant that accused-appellant was growing
and cultivating marijuana plants, SPO1 Gilbert L. Linda and SPO2 Basilio Sarong of the 6th Narcotic
Regional Field Unit of the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) of the Bacolod City Detachment conducted a
surveillance of the residence of accused-appellant who was then the barangay captain of barangay
Bagonbon, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental on July 9, 1995. During the said surveillance, they saw
two (2) tall plants in the backyard of the accused-appellant which they suspected to be marijuana plants.
Despite failing to obtain a warrant, the team proceeded to barangay Bagonbon and arrived at the
residence of accused-appellant in the early morning of July 13, 1995. SPO4 Villamor knocked at the gate
and called out for the accused-appellant. What happened thereafter is subject to conflicting accounts.
The prosecution contends that the accused-appellant opened the gate and permitted them to come in. He
was immediately asked by SPO4 Villamor about the suspected marijuana plants and he admitted that he
planted and cultivated the same for the use of his wife who was suffering from migraine The operatives
then uprooted the suspected marijuana plants.
Accused-appellant’s version of what transpired is that around one-thirty in the early morning of
July 13, 1995 while he and his family were sleeping, he heard somebody knocking outside his house. He
went down bringing with him a flashlight. After he opened the gate, four (4) persons who he thought were
members of the military, entered the premises then went inside the house. It was dark so he could not
count the others who entered the house as the same was lit only by a kerosene lamp. One of the four
men told him to sit in the living room. Some of the men went upstairs while the others went around the
house. None of them asked for his permission to search his house and the premises.

ISSUE: Whether or not the search and seizure performed at the backyard of the accused was valid.

HELD: NO. In the instant case, the search and seizure conducted by the composite team in the house
of accused-appellant was not authorized by a search warrant. It does not appear either that the situation
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

falls under any of he exceptions. Consequently, accused-appellant's right against unreasonable search
and seizure was clearly violated.
It is extant from the records that accused-appellant did not consent to the warrantless search and
seizure conducted. While the right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure may, like every
right, be waived either expressly or impliedly, such waiver must constitute a valid waiver made voluntarily,
knowingly and intelligently. The act of the accused-appellant in allowing the members of the military to
enter his premises and his consequent silence during the unreasonable search and seizure could not be
construed as voluntary submission or an implied acquiescence to warrantless search and seizure
especially so when members of the raiding team were intimidatingly numerous and heavily armed.
As a general rule, objects in the "plain view" of an officer who has the right to be in the position to
have that view are subject to seizure without a warrant. It is usually applied where a police officer is not
searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating
object. Thus, the following elements must be present before the doctrine may be applied: (a) a prior valid
intention based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their
official duties; (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who have the right to be where
they are; (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; and (d) "plain view" justified were seizure of
evidence without further search.
Here, there was no valid warrantless arrest. They forced their way into accused-appellant's
premises without the latter's consent. It is undisputed that the NARCOM agents conducted a surveillance
of the residence of accused-appellant on July 9, 1995 on the suspicion that he was growing and
cultivating marijuana when they allegedly came in "plain view" of the marijuana plants. When the agents
entered his premises on July 13, 1995, their intention was to seize the evidence against him. In fact, they
initially wanted to secure a search warrant but could not simply wait for one to be issued. The NARCOM
agents, therefore, did not come across the marijuana plants inadvertently when they conducted a
surveillance and barged into accused-appellant's residence.

RIGHT TO INFORMATION

RIGHT TO INFORMATION; COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL OF THE PLUNDER CASES


SHALL BE LIMITED TO AUDIOVISUAL RECORDING FOR DOCUMENTARY
PURPOSES.

RE: REQUEST FOR LIVE RADIO-TV COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL IN THE


SANDIGANBAYAN OF THE PLUNDER CASES AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT
JOSEPH E. ESTRADA vs. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA and INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
PHILIPPINES
[A.M. No. 00-1-4-03-SC, September 13, 2001]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: This is a motion for reconsideration of the decision denying petitioners' request for permission
to televise and broadcast live the trial of former President Estrada before the Sandiganbayan. The motion
was filed by the Secretary of Justice, as one of the petitioners, who argues that there is really no conflict
between the right of the people to public information and the freedom of the press, on the one hand, and,
on the other, the right of the accused to a fair trial; that if there is a clash between these rights, it must be
resolved in favor or of the right of the people and the press because the people, as the repository of
sovereignty, are entitled to information; and that live media coverage is a safeguard against attempts by
any party to use the courts as instruments for the pursuit of selfish interests.
On the other hand, former President Joseph E. Estrada reiterates his objection to the live TV and
radio coverage of his trial on the ground that its allowance will violate the sub judice rule and that, based
on his experience with the impeachment trial, live media coverage will only pave the way for so-called
"expert commentary" which can trigger massive demonstrations aimed at pressuring the Sandiganbayan
to render a decision one way or the other. Mr. Estrada contends that the right of the people to information
may be served through other means less distracting, degrading, and prejudicial than live TV and radio
coverage.

ISSUE: Whether or not the cases of a former President pending before the Sandiganbayan can be
covered by live television and radio broadcast without impairing the right of the accused to a just and fair
trial.

HELD: NO. The Court finds no reason to alter or in any way modify its decision prohibiting live or real
time broadcast by radio or television of the trial of the former president. In lieu of live TV and radio
coverage of the trial, the Court has resolved to order the audiovisual recording of the trial for documentary
purposes.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Considering the significance of the trial before the Sandiganbayan of former President Estrada
and the importance of preserving the records thereof, the Court believes that there should be an audio-
visual recording of the proceedings. The recordings will not be for live or real time broadcast but for
documentary purposes. Only later will they be available for public showing, after the Sandiganbayan shall
have promulgated its decision in every case to which the recording pertains. The master film shall be
deposited in the National Museum and the Records Management and Archives Office for historical
preservation and exhibition pursuant to law.
There are several reasons for such televised recording. First, the hearings are historic
significance. They are an affirmation of our commitment to the rule that "the King is under no man, but he
is under God and the law." (Quod Rex non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et Lege). Second, the
Estrada cases involve matters of vital concern to our people who have a fundamental right to know how
their government is conducted. This right can be enhanced by audio-visual presentation. Third, audio-
visual presentation is essential for the education and civic training of the people.
They will be primarily for the use of appellate courts in the event a review of the proceedings,
rulings, or decisions of the Sandiganbayan is sought or becomes necessary. The accuracy of the
transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the trial can be checked by reference to the tapes.
On the other hand, by delaying the release of the tapes for broadcast, concerns that those taking
part in the proceedings will be playing to the cameras and will thus be distracted from the proper
performance of their roles - whether as counsel, witnesses, court personnel, or judges - will be allayed.
The possibility that parallel trials before the bar of justice and the bar of public opinion may jeopardize, or
even prevent, the just determination of the cases can be minimized. The possibility that judgment will be
rendered by the popular tribunal before the court of justice can render its own will be avoided.
At the same time, concerns about the regularity and fairness of the trial - which, it may be
assumed, is the concern of those opposed to, as much as of those in favor of, televised trials - will be
addressed since the tapes will not be released for public showing until after the decision of the cases by
the Sandiganbayan. By delaying the release of the tapes, much of the problem posed by real time TV
and radio broadcast will be avoided.
Thus, many important purposes for preserving the record of the trials can be served by audio-
visual recordings without impairing the right of the accused to a fair trial. Nor is the right of privacy of the
accused a bar to the production of such documentary. In Ayer Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Capulong, this
Court held: "A limited intrusion into a person's privacy has long been regarded as permissible where that
person is a public figure and the information sought to be elicited from him or to be published about him
constitute matters of a public character."

SEPARATE OPINION: VITUG, J:


In addressing the present motion for reconsideration, colleagues on the Court opine that there
should be an audio-visual recording of the proceedings for documentary purposes because, first, the
hearings are of historic significance; second, the Estrada cases involve matters of vital concern to our
people who have a fundamental right to know how their government works; third, the audio-visual
presentation is essential for education and civic training of the people; and fourth, such recording can be
used by appellate courts in the event that the review of the proceedings, ruling, or decisions of the
Sandiganbayan is sought or becomes necessary.
The proposition has novel features; regrettably, I still find it hard to believe that the presence of
the cameras inside the courtroom will not have an untoward impact on the court proceedings. No
empirical data has been shown to suggest otherwise. To the contrary, experience attests to the
intimidating effect of cameras and electronic devices in courtrooms on the litigants, witnesses and jurors.
In addition, the natural reticence of witnesses at the stand can even easily be exacerbated by placing
them on camera in contravention of normal experience. The demeanor of the witnesses can also have an
abstruse effect on the ability of the judge to accurately assess the credibility of such witnesses. The
presence of cameras, for whatever reason, may not adequately address the dangers mentioned in the
Court's decision of 29 June 2001. There are just too many imponderables.
Most importantly, it does not seem right to single out and make a spectacle of the cases against
Mr. Estrada. Dignity is a precious part of personality innate in every human being, and there can be no
cogent excuse for impinging it even to the slightest degree. It is not the problem of privacy that can cause
concern more than the erosion of reality that cameras tend to cast.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

RIGHTS UNDER THE MIRANDA DOCTRINE

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL CANNOT BE CLAIMED DURING


INDENTIFICATION IN POLICE LINE-UP.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. AMESTUZO, et al.


[G.R. No. 104383, July 12, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: On February 26, 1991, four days after a reported robbery with multiple rape, a group of
policemen together with accused Federico Ampatin, who was then a suspect, went to the handicrafts
factory in NIA Road, Pasay City where accused-appellant was working as a stay-in shell cutter. They
were looking for a certain "Mario" and "searched the first and second floors of the building. Failing to find
said Mario, the police hit Ampatin at the back of his neck with a gun and uttered, "Niloloko lang yata tayo
ng taong ito" and "Magturo ka ng tao kahit sino." It was at this juncture that Ampatin pointed to accused-
appellant Bagas as he was the first person Ampatin chanced to look upon.
Thereafter, Bagas was arrested and made to board the police vehicle together with accused
Ampatin. They were brought to the Urduja Police Station in Kalookan City and placed under detention
together with the other two accused, Amestuzo and Viñas.
When the complainants arrived, accused-appellant was brought out, instructed to turn to the left
and then to the right and he was asked to talk. Complainant Lacsamana asked him if he knew accused
Amestuzo and Viñas. Accused-appellant answered in the negative. The policemen told the
complainants that accused-appellant was one of the suspects. This incited complainants to an emotional
frenzy, kicking and hitting him. They only stopped when one of the policemen intervened.
Accused-appellant alleges that the trial court committed a serious error when it deprived him of
his constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer during his investigation. His singular presentation to
the complainants for identification without the benefit of counsel, accused-appellant avers, is a flagrant
violation of the constitutional prerogative to be assisted by counsel to which he was entitled from the
moment he was arrested by the police and placed on detention. He maintains that the identification was
a critical stage of prosecution at which he was as much entitled to the aid of counsel as during the trial
proper.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not appellant’s right to counsel was violated.
(2) Whether or not there was a valid out-of-court identification of appellant to the complainants.

HELD:
(1) NO. Herein accused-appellant could not yet invoke his right to counsel when he was presented
for Identification by the complainants because the same was not yet part of the investigation process.
Moreover, there was no showing that during this identification by the complainants, the police
investigators sought to elicit any admission or confession from accused-appellant. In fact, records show
that the police did not at all talk to accused-appellant when he was presented before the complainants.
The alleged infringement of the constitutional rights of the accused while under custodial investigation is
relevant and material only to cases in which an extrajudicial admission or confession extracted from the
accused becomes the basis of his conviction. In the present case, there is no such confession or
extrajudicial admission.
(2) YES. The out-of-court identification of herein accused-appellant by complainants in the police
station appears to have been improperly suggestive. Even before complainants had the opportunity to
view accused-appellant face-to-face when he was brought out of the detention cell to be presented to
them for identification, the police made an announcement that he was one of the suspects in the crime
and that he was the one pointed to by accused Ampatin as one of culprits.

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL ATTACHES ONLY UPON THE


START OF CRIMINAL CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION.

ESTELITO REMOLONA VS. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION


[G.R. No. 137473, August 2, 2001]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: Estelito Remolona is the Postmaster of Infanta, Quezon while his wife Nery is a teacher in
Kiborosa Elementary School. On January 3, 1991, Francisco America, the District Supervisor of Infanta
inquired about Nery’s Civil Service eligibility who purportedly got a rating of 81.25%. Mr. America also
disclosed that he received information that Nery was campaigning for a fee of 8,000 pesos per examinee
for a passing mark in the board examination for teachers.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

It was eventually revealed that Nery Remolona’s name did not appear in the passing and failing
examinees and that the exam no. 061285 as indicated in her report of rating belonged to a certain Marlou
Madelo who got a rating of 65%.
Estelito Remolona in his written statement of facts said that he met a certain Atty. Salupadin in a
bus, who offered to help his wife obtain eligibility for a fee of 3,000 pesos. Mr. America however, informed
Nery that there was no vacancy when she presented her rating report, so Estelito went to Lucena to
complain that America asked for money in exchange for the appointment of his wife, and that from 1986-
1988, America was able to receive 6 checks at 2,600 pesos each plus bonus of Nery Remolona.
Remolona admitted that he was responsible for the fake eligibility and that his wife had no knowledge
thereof.
On recommendation of Regional Director Amilhasan of the Civil Service, the CSC found the
spouses guilty of dishonesty and imposed a penalty of dismissal and all its accessory penalties. On
Motion For Reconsideration, only Nery was exonerated and reinstated.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for review and denied the motion for
reconsideration and new trial.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was a violation of due process as the extra-judicial admission allegedly
signed by him was in blank form and that he was not assisted by counsel.

HELD: NO. Right to Counsel is meant to protect a suspect in a criminal case under custodial
investigation when questions are initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken in
custody. The right to counsel attaches only upon the start of such investigation. The exclusionary rule
under Paragraph 2, Section 12 applies only to admissions made in a criminal investigation but not those
made in an administrative investigation.

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION ON CUSTODIAL


INVESTIGATION DOES NOT APPLY TO A SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT NOT
ELICITED THROUGH QUESTIONING BY THE AUTHORITIES.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BALOLOY


[G.R. No. 140740, April 12, 2002]

PER CURIAM:
FACTS: At the waterfalls of Barangay Inasagan, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, on the evening of August
3, 1996, the dead body of an 11-year-old girl Genelyn Camacho was found. Autopsy reports found that
Genelyn was raped before she was drowned. The one who caused its discovery was accused-appellant
Juanito Baloloy himself, who claimed that he had caught sight of it while he was catching frogs in a
nearby creek. While in the wake of Genelyn, Juanito confessed to the Barangay Captain that he only
wanted to frighten the girl but ended up raping and throwing her body in the ravine. While in the custody
of the authorities, he was asked incriminating questions by Judge Dicon who justified his actions saying
that Juanito was not yet in custodial investigation. Based on his alleged extrajudicial confession, coupled
with circumstantial evidence, the trial court found Juanito guilty of rape with homicide and sentenced him
to death.
On appeal, Juanito maintains that the trial court violated Section 12(1) of Article III of the
Constitution when it admitted in evidence his alleged extrajudicial confession to Barangay Captain Ceniza
and Judge Dicon. According to him, the two failed to inform him of his constitutional rights before they
took it upon themselves to elicit from him the incriminatory information. It is of no moment that Ceniza
and Dicon are not police investigators, for as public officials it was incumbent upon them to observe the
express mandate of the Constitution. While these rights may be waived, the prosecution failed to show
that he effectively waived his rights through a written waiver executed in the presence of counsel. He
concludes that his extrajudicial confession is inadmissible in evidence.

ISSUE:
(1) Whether or not Juanito’s extrajudicial confession before the barangay captain was admissible.
(2) Whether or not Juanito’s extrajudicial confession before the judge was admissible.

HELD:
(1) YES. As to his confession with the Baragay Captain Ceniza, it has been held that the
constitutional provision on custodial investigation does not apply to a spontaneous statement, not elicited
through questioning by the authorities but given in an ordinary manner whereby the suspect orally admits
having committed the crime. Neither can it apply to admissions or confessions made by a suspect in the
commission of a crime before he is placed under investigation. What the Constitution bars is the
compulsory disclosure of incriminating facts or confessions. In the instant case, Juanito voluntarily
narrated to Ceniza that he raped GENELYN and thereafter threw her body into the ravine. This narration
was a spontaneous answer, freely and voluntarily given in an ordinary manner. It was given before he
was arrested or placed under custody for investigation in connection with the commission of the offense.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Moreover, Juanito did not offer any evidence of improper or ulterior motive on the part of Ceniza, which
could have compelled her to testify falsely against him.
(2) NO. However, there is merit in Juanito’s claim that his constitutional rights during custodial
investigation were violated by Judge Dicon when the latter propounded to him incriminating questions
without informing him of his constitutional rights. It is settled that at the moment the accused voluntarily
surrenders to, or is arrested by, the police officers, the custodial investigation is deemed to have started.
So, he could not thenceforth be asked about his complicity in the offense without the assistance of
counsel. Judge Dicon's claim that no complaint has yet been filed and that neither was he conducting a
preliminary investigation deserves scant consideration. The fact remains that at that time Juanito was
already under the custody of the police authorities, who had already taken the statement of the witnesses
who were then before Judge Dicon for the administration of their oaths on their statements.

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; TWO KINDS OF INVOLUNTARY OR COERCED


CONFESSIONS TREATED IN SECTION 12 OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VALLEJO


[G.R. No. 144656, May 9, 2002]

PER CURIAM:
FACTS: The accused appellant, Gerrico Vallejo, was sentenced to death by the RTC of Cavite City for
the rape slaying of a 9-year old child, Daisy Diolola, in Rosario, Cavite on July 10, 1999.
Accused-appellant now questions the validity of the method by which his bloodstained clothes
were recovered. According to accused-appellant, the policemen questioned him as to the clothes he
wore the day before. Thereafter, they took him to his house and accused-appellant accompanied them to
the back of the house where dirty clothes were kept.
Accused-appellant challenges the validity of the oral and written confessions presented as
evidence against him. He alleges that the oral confessions were inadmissible in evidence for being
hearsay, while the extrajudicial confessions were obtained through force and intimidation.
Accused-appellant argues that the oral confessions given to Mayor Abutan of Rosario, Cavite and
to NBI Forensic Biologist should be deemed inadmissible for being violative of his constitutional rights as
these were made by one already under custodial investigation to persons in authority without the
presence of counsel.

ISSUE: Whether or not the oral and written confessions used against the accused is inadmissible.

HELD: NO. Section 12 of Art. III of the Constitution provides in pertinent parts:
"(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be
informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel, preferably of
his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one.
These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
"(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free will shall
be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of
detention are prohibited.
"(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 shall be inadmissible in
evidence against him."
There are two kinds of involuntary or coerced confessions treated in this constitutional provision:
(1) coerced confessions, the product of third degree methods such as torture, force, violence, threat, and
intimidation, which are dealt with in paragraph 2 of Section 12, and (2) uncounselled statements, given
without the benefit of Miranda warnings, which are the subject of paragraph 1 of the same section.
Clearly, accused-appellant cannot now claim that he was not apprised of the consequences of the
statements he was to make as well as the written confessions he was to execute, for he was properly
informed by Atty. Leyva that it may be used against him and there was no attendance of force or any form
of coercion. Neither can he question the qualifications of Atty. Lupo Leyva who acted as his counsel
during the investigation. To be an effective counsel, a lawyer need not challenge all the questions being
propounded to his client. The presence of a lawyer is not intended to stop an accused from saying
anything which might incriminate him but, rather, it was adopted in our Constitution to preclude the
slightest coercion as would lead the accused to admit something false. Indeed, counsel should not
prevent an accused from freely and voluntarily telling the truth.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; CONFESSION TO A RADIO REPORTER IS ADMISSIBLE


WHERE SAID REPORTER WAS NOT ACTING FOR THE POLICE OR CONFESSION
WAS NOT MADE OUT OF FEAR.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ABULENCIA


[G.R. No. 138403, August 22, 2001]

PER CURIAM:
FACTS: The accused Rolly Abulencia was charged of having raped and killed a 10 year old girl named
Rebelyn Garcia. The body of Rebelyn was found lifeless and naked while floating in a creek in
Pangasinan. The examination of the body found signs that she was raped and that she died of drowning.
According to eye witness accounts, the accused was last person who was seen to have been with the
victim before she died. While in detention, the accused was interviewed by a radio commentator of
DZWN Bombo Radio and admitted of having raped Rebelyn and that she fell off the bridge which caused
her death. The interview was tape-recorded and was submitted as evidence in court.
The trial court sentence the accused to a penalty of death hence this petition by the accused
arguing that there is no direct evidence linking him to the commission of the crime.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused can be convicted based on circumstantial evidence and his
admission in a radio interview.

HELD: YES. Normally, the crime of rape — whether simple, qualified or complexed with other crimes
— is committed in seclusion, thereby rendering its prosecution difficult owing to the absence of witnesses
to its commission. The prosecution of such crime becomes even more intricate and complex if homicide
is committed since the victim herself would no longer be able to testify against the perpetrator. In most
cases, only circumstantial evidence is available to prove its commission. The absence of direct evidence,
however, does not preclude the conviction of a person accused of the complex crime of rape with
homicide. Circumstantial evidence can be as potent as direct evidence to sustain a conviction provided
that there is a concurrence of all the requisites prescribed in Section 5, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on
Evidence. Likewise, the Court held that an accused can be convicted based on circumstantial evidence if
the circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain which leads to a fair and reasonable conclusion
pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person.
The totality of all the circumstances obtaining, taken together with the condition of Rebelyn's body
when found, eloquently indicate that the appellant sexually assaulted her before drowning her to death.
It bears stressing that appellant admitted having raped Rebelyn when he was interviewed by
Dennis Mojares, a radio commentator of Bombo Radio. Mojares' testimony lends support to the court’s
conclusion. We have held that "a confession to a radio reporter is admissible where it was not shown that
said reporter was acting for the police or that the interview was conducted under circumstances where it
is apparent that the suspect confessed to the killing out of fear."

MIRANDA DOCTRINE; EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSIONS, WHEN ADMISSIBLE.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PRINCIPE


[G.R. No. 135862, May 2, 2002]

PER CURIAM:
FACTS: Rafael Principe was accused of the rape slaying of one Arlene Ipurong who was then 6 years
of age. An investigation was conducted by the police in the evening of August 9, 1998. Several witnesses
pointed to accused-appellant as the person who was last seen with the victim Arlene.
Accused-appellant was subsequently taken into custody by the police. On August 17, 1998,
accused-appellant was interrogated by the police, to whom, after reading his rights in Tagalog and in the
presence of accused-appellant's father and of his counsel Atty. Cesar Villar, he admitted hitting Arlene
with a large rock until she was unconscious and subsequently raping her.
Accused-appellant contends that the trial court failed to ascertain whether accused-appellant was
fully apprised of the legal consequences of his plea, considering that he finished only up to the sixth grade
of the elementary school.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the trial court complied with the requirement of inquiring on the voluntariness of the
plea.
(2) Whether or not the extrajudicial confession of the accused is admissible.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

HELD:
(1) NO. When an accused enters a plea of guilt to a capital offense, Section 3 of Rule 116 of the
Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that it is the duty of the trial court to observe the following rules: (1)
it must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of
his plea; (2) it must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of the accused and the
precise degree of his culpability; and (3) it must ask the accused if he desires to present evidence in his
behalf and allow him to do so if he desires. This is because a plea of guilt must be based on a free and
informed judgment. Thus, the inquiry must focus on the voluntariness of the plea and the full
comprehension of the consequences of the plea.
In this case, the trial court failed to comply fully with the requirement to conduct a searching
inquiry to determine whether accused-appellant's plea was voluntary and done with full comprehension of
the consequences thereof.
Thus, in determining whether accused-appellant was aware of the full consequences of his plea
of guilt, the trial court simply asked him whether he knew that he "may" be sentenced to death, implying
that it was possible that the death penalty might not be imposed on him. A mere warning that the accused
faces the supreme penalty of death is insufficient.
(2) YES. With respect to accused-appellant's extrajudicial confession, the Constitution, R.A. No.
7438, and case law lay down four fundamental requirements for the admissibility of extrajudicial
confessions in general, to wit: (a) the confession must be voluntary; (b) it must be made with the
assistance of competent and independent counsel; (c) the confession must be express; and (d) it must be
in writing. In this case, after accused-appellant was read his rights in Tagalog, he signified his intention to
confess his participation in the rape and killing of Arlene. Accused-appellant's confession was placed in
writing and it was signed by him, his counsel, and the administering officer. Hence, the said confession is
admissible it being in accordance with the above requisites.

RIGHT TO BAIL

RIGHT TO BAIL; PRIOR TO CONVICTION BY THE TRIAL COURT FOR ILLEGAL


POSSESSION OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITIONS AND EXPLOSIVES, BAIL SHALL BE
A MATTER OF RIGHT.

YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, et al. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 126859, September 4, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: see page 28

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners have the right to bail.

HELD: YES. The issue on bail has been resolved in our resolution dated November 24, 1998, where
this Court ruled: Consequent to the enactment of RA 8294, the penalty prescribed in Section 1 and 3 of
P.D. 1866 for illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives under which petitioners were
charged, has now been reduced to prision mayor in its minimum period and prision mayor in its maximum
period to reclusion temporal, respectively. Evidently, petitioners are now entitled to bail as a matter of right
prior to their conviction by the trial court pursuant to Section 4 of SC Administrative Circular No. 12-94.

RIGHT TO BAIL; WHEN BAIL SHALL BE DENIED

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PALARCA


[G. R. No. 146020, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Accused Palarca was convicted of the crime of rape by the RTC sentencing him to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua.
On appeal, appellant points out that the accusatory portion of the information failed to specifically
allege that the rape was committed through force or intimidation.

ISSUE: Whether the evidence for the prosecution established the guilt of accused-appellant beyond
reasonable doubt in order to deny the accused his right to bail.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

HELD: NO. Accused-appellant makes much of the finding of the investigating judge during the bail
hearing that the evidence against accused-appellant was not strong. It must be stressed, however, that
the assessment of the evidence presented during a bail hearing is intended only for the purpose of
granting or denying an application for the provisional release of the accused. Not being a final
assessment, and merely for the purpose of determining the necessity of confinement to avoid escape,
courts tend to be fair and liberal in their appreciation of evidence. Thus in People v. Baldoz, et al., the
Court made the following pronouncements: “The assessment of the evidence presented during a bail
hearing is intended only for the purpose of granting or denying an application for the provisional release of
the accused. It is not a final assessment. Before conviction, every one accused is entitled to bail, except
when the offense charged is punishable by reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment or death; and the
evidence of guilt is strong.
“The denial of this fundamental right is justified only if there is a great probability of escape.
Confinement prior to conviction is warranted, in order to assure the presence of the accused at the trial.
Thus, the natural tendency of the courts has always been towards a fair and liberal appreciation of the
evidence in the determination of the degree of proof and in the presumption of guilt necessary to warrant
a deprivation of that right. Such appreciation is at best preliminary and should not prevent the trial judge
from making a final assessment of the evidence before him after full trial. It is not an uncommon
occurrence that an accused person granted bail is convicted in due course.”

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; RATIONALE BEHIND THE RIGHT OF AN ACCUSED


TO BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE ACCUSATION AGAINST
HIM.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MONTERON


[G.R. No. 130709, March 6, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: Accused-appellant was formally charged with rape, he entered a plea of not guilty at his
arraignment. After trial, the lower court convicted him of the crime of rape.
Accused-appellant contends that the RTC of Davao has committed an error in not acquitting him
of the crime charged in the Information. He argues that his negative plea to the information filed against
him, his filing of the notice of appeal, and his denial of the rape charges against him during trial, indicate
his innocence.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contention of the accused-appellant is correct.

HELD: NO. Constitutional due process demands that the accused in a criminal case should be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. The rationale behind this constitutional
guarantee are: First, to furnish the accused with the description of the charge against him as will enable
him to make his defense; second, to avail himself of his conviction or acquittal, for protection against a
further prosecution for the same cause; and third, to inform the court of the facts alleged, so that it may
decide whether they are sufficient in law to support a conviction, if one should be had.
The purpose of arraignment is to apprise the accused of the possible loss of freedom, even of his life,
depending on the nature of the crime imputed to him, or at the very least to inform him why the
prosecuting arm of the State is mobilized against him. Consequently, when the accused-appellant
entered a negative plea during his arraignment, the same was not binding on the court as an indication of
his innocence. Rather, it is a general denial of the charges impugned against him and an exercise of his
right to be heard of his plea.
Neither is the accused-appellant’s filing of a notice of appeal indicative of his innocence. On the
contrary, accused-appellant’s appeal was necessitated by the judgment of conviction rendered against
him by the trial court.
While the accused-appellant is guilty of rape, the same was committed only in its attempted stage.
This and the fact that the accused-appellant was still a minor when the crime was committed warrant the
modification of the decision of the RTC of Davao.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED CARRIES WITH IT THE


OBLIGATION TO EFFECTIVELY CONVEY TO THE ACCUSED INFORMATION TO
ENABLE HIM TO PREPARE HIS DEFENSE.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ALCALDE


CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

[G.R. Nos. 139225-28, May 29, 2002]

DAVIDE, JR., C.J:


FACTS: On 24 September 1997, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna filed before the trial
court two informations for parricide and two informations for frustrated parricide.
Upon his arraignment on 22 October 1997, ARNEL, who was assisted by a counsel de parte,
refused to speak. Pursuant to Section 1(c) of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, the trial court entered for
him a plea of not guilty in each of the cases. On the same occasion, the defense waived pre-trial. The
cases were then consolidated and jointly tried.
After the prosecution rested its case and formally offered its exhibits, the defense filed a motion
for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence, which was granted. On 27 April 1998, the defense,
through counsel de parte, filed a demurrer to evidence based on the following grounds:
(a) The accused has not been adequately informed of the nature and cause of accusation against
him during the arraignment;
(b) Not an iota of incriminatory evidence, direct or circumstantial, has been adduced and presented
by the prosecution during the trial; and
(c) The constitutional presumption of innocence of the accused has not been overcome by any
evidence or contrary presumption.
In support thereof, the defense alleged that ARNEL was afflicted with psychosis and could not
comprehend, and that despite his strange behavior characterized by his deafening silence, motionless
appearance, and single direction blank stare the trial court insisted on his arraignment. Thus, accused
was not adequately apprised of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. Moreover, no
concrete evidence pointing to ARNEL as the culprit was presented by the prosecution. Hence, the
constitutional presumption of innocence of an accused prevails.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused has been adequately informed of the nature and cause of
accusation against him during the arraignment.

HELD: NO. The physical and outward manifestations of ARNEL at the time of his arraignment, which
were brought to the attention of the trial court, indicated substantial demonstration of a mental disorder
that rendered ARNEL unfit to be arraigned or tried in the four criminal cases at bar. The trial court failed to
exercise utmost circumspection in assuming that ARNEL was in full possession of his mental faculties
and understood the proceedings against him.
The constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him
under the Bill of Rights carries with it the correlative obligation to effectively convey to the accused the
information to enable him to effectively prepare for his defense. At the bottom is the issue of fair trial.
While not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency on the part of the accused is
sufficient to justify suspension of the proceedings, the trial court must be fully satisfied that the accused
would have a fair trial with the assistance the law secures or gives. Under the circumstances in these
cases, the trial court gravely failed in this regard.
Solemn and inflexible is the constitutional behest that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or
property without due process of law. Absolute heedfulness of this constitutional injunction is most
pronounced in criminal cases where the accused is in the gravest jeopardy of losing his life. It constantly
behooves every court to proceed with utmost care in each of such cases before it, and nothing can be
more demanding of judges in that respect than when the possible punishment would be in its severest
form like death — a penalty that, once carried out, is irreversible and irreparable.
In light of the foregoing fatal infirmities committed by the trial court, as well as by the defense
counsel, we have no other alternative except to set aside the joint decision in question and remand the
cases to the trial court for further proceedings to allow the defense to present evidence to prove that
ARNEL was either unfit for arraignment and trial or was insane at the time the crimes charged were
committed.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; THE RECITAL OF THE ESSENTIALS OF A CRIME


DELINEATES THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF ACCUSATION AGAINST AN
ACCUSED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BERNAS


[G.R. Nos. 133583-85, February 20, 2002]

PANGANIBAN, J:
FACTS: For automatic review are decisions promulgated by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Libmanan, Camarines Sur finding appellant Roberto Bernas y Nacario guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
three counts of rape of her two minor daughters.
When first arraigned on the charges, appellant, with the assistance of his counsel, pleaded not
guilty. When the case was submitted for decision, the prosecution moved to reopen the case to present
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

the Birth Certificate of the victims as well as the Marriage contract of the parents. This motion was
granted over the objection of the defense counsel. Before the prosecution presented its evidence,
appellant, through his counsel, moved for the change of his former plea of not guilty to that of guilty, a
Motion which the RTC granted.
Appellant was thus rearraigned and pleaded guilty to the charges. The defense waived its right to
present evidence and submitted them for decision based on the evidence presented by the prosecution.
The RTC then rendered the assailed decisions.

ISSUE: Whether or not the conviction of the accused was proper.

HELD: NO. The Constitution guarantees the right of every person accused in a criminal prosecution to
be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him. This right finds amplification and
implementation in the different provisions of the Rules of Court. Foremost among these enabling
provisions is the office of an Information. The facts stated in the body of the Information determine the
crime that the accused stands charged and for which he must be tried. This recital of the essentials of a
crime delineates the nature and cause of accusation against an accused. Other than the allegation of
carnal knowledge, no other element of rape as defined by law is alleged in the Information.
Since the Information fails to allege the essential elements of qualified rape, appellant should not
have been convicted of that crime. Otherwise, his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and
cause of accusation against him would be violated.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; R.A. NO. 7080 WAS CRAFTED TO AVOID THE FOLLY
OF FILING MULTIPLE INFORMATIONS.

JOSE “JINGGOY” E. ESTRADA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[GR No. 148965, February 26, 2002]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: In November 2000, as an offshoot of the impeachment proceedings against Joseph E.
Estrada, then President of the Philippines, five criminal complaints against the former President and
members of his family, his associates, friends and conspirators were filed with the Office of the
Ombudsman. On April 4, 2001, the Ombudsman issued a Joint Resolution finding probable cause
warranting the filing with the Sandiganbayan of several criminal information against the former President
and the other respondents therein. One of the information was for the crime of Plunder under RA 7080
and among the respondents was herein petitioner Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, then Mayor of San Juan, Metro
Manila. It was docketed as Criminal Case No. 26558.
On April 24, 2001, petitioner filed a “Motion to Quash or Suspend” the Amended Information on
the ground that the Anti-Plunder Law, RA 7080, is unconstitutional and that it charged more than one
offense. On July 9, 2001, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioner’s “Motion to Quash
and Suspend.” Hence, this petition.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the Anti-Plunder Law, RA 7080, is constitutional.
(2) Whether or not Jinggoy Estrada can be prosecuted for plunder under RA 7080 even if he has been
charged only on one count with what would constitute acts of plunder under paragraph (a) of the
Amended Information.

HELD:
(1) YES. Petitioner’s contention that RA 7080 is unconstitutional as applied to him is principally
perched on the premise that the Amended Information charged him with only one act or one offense
which cannot constitute plunder. Petitioner’s premise is patently false. A careful examination of the
Amended Information will show that it is divided into three parts: (1) the first paragraph charges former
President Estrada with the crime of plunder together with petitioner Jinggoy Estrada, Charlie ‘Atong’ Ang,
Edward Serapio, Yolanda Ricaforte and others; (2) the second paragraph spells out in general terms how
the accused conspired in committing the crime of plunder; and (3) the following four sub-paragraphs (a) to
(d) describe in detail the predicate acts constitutive of the crime of plunder pursuant to items 1-6 of RA
7080.
Pertinent to the case at bar is the predicate act alleged in sub paragraph (a) of the Amended
Information which is of “receiving or collecting, directly or indirectly, on several instances, money in the
aggregate amount of P545,000,000.00 for illegal gambling in the form of gift, share, percentage, kickback
or any form of pecuniary benefit xxx” In this sub paragraph (a), petitioner, in conspiracy with former
President Estrada, is charged with the act of receiving or collecting money from illegal gambling.
Contrary to petitioner’s posture, the allegation is that he received or collected money from illegal gambling
“on several instances.” The phrase “on several instances” means the petitioner committed the predicate
acts in a series. To insist that the amended Information charged the petitioner with only one act or
offense despite the phrase “several instances” is to indulge in a twisted, nay, “pretzel’ interpretation.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Respondent Ombudsman cannot be faulted for including the predicate acts alleged in sub-
paragraphs (a) to (d) of the Amended Information in one, and not in four separate Informations. A study of
the history of RA 7080 will show that the law was crafted to avoid the mischief and folly of filing multiple
informations. The said law was precisely enacted to address this procedural problem.
(2) YES. There is no denying the fact that the “plunder of an entire nation resulting in material
damage to the national economy” is made up of a complex and manifold network of crimes. In the crime
of plunder, therefore, different parties may be united by a common purpose. In the case at bar, the
different accused and their different criminal acts have a commonality to help the former president amass,
accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. Sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) in the Amended Information alleged
the different participation of each accused in the conspiracy. The gravamen of the conspiracy charge
therefore, is not that each accused agreed to receive protection money from illegal gambling, that each
misappropriated a certain portion of the tobacco excise tax, that ach accused ordered the GSIS and SSS
to purchase shares of Belle Corporation and receive commissions from such sale, nor that each unjustly
enriched himself from commissions, gifts and kickbacks; rather, it is that each of them, by their individual
acts, agreed to participate directly or indirectly, in the amassing, accumulation, and acquisition of ill-gotten
wealth of and/or for former President Estrada.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; FAILURE TO OBJECT TO THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE


INFORMATION CONSTITUTES A WAIVER OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO
BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE ACCUSATION.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PALARCA


[G. R. No. 146020, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: see page 39

ISSUE: Whether or not accused-appellant may be validly convicted under the information charging him
with rape.

HELD: YES. While generally an accused cannot be convicted of an offense that is not clearly charged
in the complaint or information, this rule is not without exception. The right to assail the sufficiency of the
information or the admission of evidence may be waived by the accused-appellant. In People v. Lopez,
we held that an information which lacks certain essential allegations may still sustain a conviction when
the accused fails to object to its sufficiency during the trial, and the deficiency was cured by competent
evidence presented therein. Thus, “[F]ailure to object was thus a waiver of the constitutional right to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. It is competent for a person to waive a right
guaranteed by the Constitution, and to consent to action which would be invalid if taken against his will.”
This Court has, on more than one occasion, recognized waivers of constitutional rights, e.g., the right
against unreasonable searches and seizures; the right to counsel and to remain silent; the right to be
heard; and the right to bail.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; A COUNSEL DE OFFICIO MUST BE GIVEN A


REASONABLE TIME TO CONSULT WITH THE ACCUSED AS TO HIS PLEA
BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THE ARRAIGNMENT.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BASCUGUIN


[G.R. No. 144404, September 24, 2001]

BUENA, J:
FACTS: Bascuguin, herein accused-appellant, was charged with the crime of rape with homicide
before the RTC of Balayan, Batangas. At his arraignment, he appeared without the assistance of
counsel. The trial court assigned a counsel de officio. He pleaded guilty to the crime charged. A series of
questions were propounded by the trial court to test accused-appellant's voluntariness and
comprehension of the consequences of his plea. Trial on the merits was conducted thereafter to allow the
prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of culpability.
Trial court rendered its decision finding Leodegario Bascuguin guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The procedure observed by the trial court at the arraignment of accused-appellant is graphically
illustrated in the Transcript of Stenographic Notes [TSN] herein quoted as follows -
"COURT: Ready for arraignment? You asked the accused if he has a counsel?
"CLERK OF COURT: (Note: Asking the accused)
"ACCUSED: None, sir.
"COURT: Atty. Macasaet, I will appoint you as counsel de officio for the accused.
"ATTY. MACASAET: Yes, Your Honor.
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"ATTY. MACASAET: May I confer with the accused, Your Honor. The accused is ready for arraignment,
your Honor.
"COURT: Arraigned (sic) the accused. (Note: the Clerk of Court is reading the Information to the accused)
"CLERK OF COURT: The accused pleaded (sic) guilty, your Honor, for the crime charged.
"COURT: You ask the accused if he knows the consequences of his plea.
"COURT: Do you know that the penalty impossible (sic) in cases of this nature is death?
"ACCUSED: Yes, sir.
"COURT: Do you know that in your plea of guilt you can be sentenced by the Court?
"ACCUSED: Yes, sir.
"COURT: Do you admit having raped Marissa Moral?
"ACCUSED: Yes, sir.
"COURT: Do you admit that after raping Marissa Moral you stabbed and killed her?
"ACCUSED: Yes, sir."

ISSUE: Whether or not the constitutional guarantees of due process of an accused were violated in the
case at hand.

HELD: YES. Basic is the precept that every person accused of a crime must know the nature and
cause of accusation against him. This is effected, among others, by the reading of the information in a
language understood by the person accused. Reading the TSN, we are left to speculate on whether the
information was actually read in the dialect known to accused-appellant, or whether it was translated to
him or explained in a manner he can comprehend. What is visible to us is the cryptic recording of the
proceedings in the court a quo. Nevertheless, the trial court's decision declared that the information was
read in Tagalog, a language known to accused-appellant. Granting, on presumption of correctness, that
the information was read in Tagalog as declared by the trial court, still, we cannot admit accused-
appellant's conviction on the basis of his improvident plea of guilt.
One of the constitutional guarantees of due process is the right of an accused to be heard by
himself and counsel. The trial court gave accused-appellant a counsel de officio to represent him.
However, accused-appellant impugns such assignment contending that he was not given the opportunity
to choose his own counsel. What is visible from the TSN is the fact that when the court asked accused-
appellant if he has a lawyer, and upon responding that he has none, the trial court appointed a counsel de
officio, as follows - COURT: Ready for arraignment? You ask(ed) the accused if he has a counsel?;
CLERK OF COURT: (Note: Asking the accused); ACCUSED: None, sir.; COURT: Atty. Macasaet, I will
appoint you as counsel de officio for the accused."
It appears from the records that after the appointment of a counsel de officio, the arraignment
immediately followed. As glaringly reflected in the records, the appointed counsel de officio conferred
with the accused only for a few minutes, thus - COURT: Atty. Macasaet, I will appoint you as counsel de
officio for the accused; ATTY. MACASAET: Yes, Your Honor; ATTY. MACASAET: May I confer with the
accused, Your Honor. The accused is ready for arraignment, your Honor. "
A criminal case is a serious matter that deserves serious attention especially in cases involving
capital punishment. Under the present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, whenever a counsel de
officio is appointed by the court to defend the accused at the arraignment, he shall be given a reasonable
time to consult with the accused as to his plea before proceeding with the arraignment. Counsel de
officio's haste in proceeding with the arraignment falls short of the standard mandated by the rules for an
effective and adequate counseling. The limited time allotted for consultation with accused-appellant
seriously casts doubt on whether counsel de officio has indeed sufficiently explained to the accused-
appellant the crime charged, the meaning of his plea, and its consequences.
Verily, a judgment of conviction cannot stand upon an invalid arraignment. In the interest of
substantial justice then, this Court has no recourse but to remand the case to the trial court for further and
appropriate proceedings.

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; A SEARCHING INQUIRY MUST FOCUS ON THE


VOLUNTARINESS AND THE FULL COMPREHENSION OF THE CONSEQUENCES
OF THE PLEA.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ARANZADO


[G.R. Nos. 132442-44, September 24, 2001]

DAVIDE, C.J:
FACTS: ZENY was born on 19 November 1984 in Sto. Nino, South Cotabato. Her parents were
BERNARDINO and Lourdes Gerongani. At about midnight of 7 March 1997, she was sleeping with her
sisters and younger brother in their house at Poblacion, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, when the knocking at
the door of their room awakened her. When she opened the door, her father immediately slapped her and
demanded to know why she locked the door. Then, BERNARDINO asked her daughter: "Can I touch your
vagina?" Repulsed by the suggestion, ZENY refused, only to find just as quickly that her father had
poked a knife at her neck. BERNARDINO thereafter pulled ZENY's hair, forcibly held her down the floor
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

and boxed her stomach. Recognizing the weakness of his daughter, he undressed her; and while choking
her he imposed his lechery. He was obstinate to her daughter's pleas for mercy and compassion. He
warned her not to tell anyone of the deed or he would kill her. He then stood up, dressed up and left the
daughter to her weeping. Unsatisfied with that single act of carnality, BERNARDINO repeated the
assault, twice on the honor and chastity of ZENY about midnight of 10 March 1997.
Upon arraignment on 19 May 1997, BERNARDINO, assisted by his counsel Atty. Balo, entered a
plea of not guilty in each case. On 20 October 1997, BERNARDINO, through his counsel Atty. Balo,
moved to withdraw his previous plea of not guilty in each of the three cases and to substitute the same
upon re-arraignment with pleas of guilty.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused was accorded with due process.

HELD: NO. The Court found that the trial court failed, albeit regrettably, to observe the rigid and
severe constitutional mandate on due process, more particularly the demands of Section 3, Rule 116 of
the Rules of Court, which reads:
SECTION 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. - When the accused pleads guilty
to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full
comprehension of the consequences of his plea and shall require the prosecution to prove his guilt and
the precise degree of culpability. The accused may present evidence in his behalf.
As pointed by the OSG, the Supreme Court had already outlined how compliance with said rule,
where an accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, should be attained by the trial court, thus:
1. The court must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension [by the
accused] of the consequences of his plea;
2. The court must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of the accused and
precise degree of his culpability, and
3. The court must ask the accused if he desires to present evidence in his behalf and allow him to
do so if he desires.
There is no debate that the trial court had persuasively observed the second command of the rule
by directing the prosecution to adduce evidence to determine the exact culpability of the accused, taking
into account the presence of other possible aggravating or mitigating circumstances. On the first
requirement, it bears to note that a searching inquiry must focus on the voluntariness of the plea and the
full comprehension of the consequences of the plea so that the plea of guilty can be truly said to be based
on a free and informed judgment. While there can be no hard and fast rule as to how a judge may
conduct a "searching inquiry," it would be well for the court to do the following:
1. Ascertain from the accused himself
a.) how he was brought into the custody of the law;
b.) whether he had the assistance of a competent counsel during the custodial and preliminary
investigations; and
c.) under what conditions he was detained and interrogated during the investigations. These the
court shall do in order to rule out the possibility that the accused has been coerced or placed
under a state of duress either by actual threats of physical harm coming from malevolent or
avenging quarters.
2. Ask the defense counsel a series of questions as to whether he had conferred with, and completely
explained to, the accused the meaning and consequences of a plea of guilty.
3. Elicit information about the personality profile of the accused, such as his age, socio-economic status,
and educational background, which may serve as a trustworthy index of his capacity to give a free
and informed plea of guilty.
4. Inform the accused the exact length of imprisonment or nature of the penalty under the law and the
certainty that he will serve such sentence. Not infrequently indeed an accused pleads guilty in the
hope of a lenient treatment or upon bad advice or because of promises of the authorities or parties of
a lighter penalty should he admit guilt or express remorse. It is the duty of the judge to see to it that
the accused does not labor under these mistaken impressions.
5. Require the accused to fully narrate the incident that spawned the charges against him or make him
reenact the manner in which he perpetrated the crime, or cause him to supply missing details of
significance.
First, the questions were framed in English. The record of such inquiry is bereft of any indication
that the trial court attempted to ascertain whether BERNARDINO was well-versed in the English
language; neither does it reveal any information about his personality profile which could "provide
contributory insights for a proper verdict in the case." Nor does the record of the searching inquiry shed
light on matters concerning his apprehension, detention and prior investigation. An examination of the
records, however, disclosed that BERNARDINO signed a "Waiver" whereby he waived his right to a
preliminary investigation. Such waiver was attested to by the Municipal Jail Warden, but there was
nothing that would indicate that he was assisted by a competent counsel at the time.
Second, while Atty. Balo manifested that after he conferred with BERNARDINO the latter
intimated that he was ready to withdraw his former plea of guilty, it is not clear whether the former
explained to the latter the implications of a plea of guilty.
Third, during the searching inquiry, the trial judge and BERNARDINO kept mentioning about the
"three cases filed" or "crimes charged" against the latter. BERNARDINO even hoisted, as one of the
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

reasons why he committed the crimes, the fact that he had a very big problem because his house was
burned. To ensure that he fully understood the nature of the crimes filed against him to which he pleaded
guilty, the court should have at least asked him to recount what he exactly did.

RIGHT TO SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF CASES

RIGHT TO SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF CASES; THE RIGHT IS DEEMED VIOLATED


ONLY WHEN THE PROCEEDINGS IS ATTENDED BY VEXATIOUS, CAPRICIOUS,
AND OPPRESSIVE DELAYS.

JOSE P. LOPEZ vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 140529, September 6, 2001]

GONZAGA-REYES, J:
FACTS: The Office of the Ombudsman narrates that the verified audit report of the COA special audit
team was received on December 22, 1993, and finding the same sufficient in form and substance was
docketed as OMB Case No. 34-93-2791. On the basis thereof, a preliminary investigation was conducted.
On March 1, 1994, the respondents were ordered to file their counter-affidavits. On May 10, 1994, the
Office of the Ombudsman received the counter-affidavits of respondents. On February 29, 1995, the
Office of the Ombudsman received the reply-affidavit of COA. In a Resolution dated July 17, 1998, graft
investigation officer Ladrera recommended the filing of thirty (30) informations against petitioner. The said
recommendation was approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Gervacio on February 27, 1999,
and by Ombudsman Desierto on April 30, 1999. The informations were filed with the Sandiganbayan on
May 5, 1999.
In this case, the preliminary investigation was resolved close to four (4) years from the time all the
counter and reply affidavits were submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman. After the last reply-affidavit
was filed on February 28, 1995, it was only on July 17, 1998 that a resolution was issued recommending
the filing of the corresponding criminal informations against the petitioner and the others. It took eight
months or on February 27, 1999 for Deputy Ombudsman Margarito P. Gervacio, Jr. to approve the same
and close to another year or on April 30, 1999 for Ombudsman Aniano Desierto to approve the
recommendation

ISSUE: Whether or not there was undue and unjustifiable delay on the part of the Ombudsman in
resolving the complaint filed against the petitioner, which violated his constitutional right to a speedy
disposition of the complaint against him.

HELD: YES. Article III of the Constitution provides that: SECTION 16. All persons shall have the right
to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasijudicial, or administrative bodies.
The constitutional right to a "speedy disposition of cases" is not limited to the accused in criminal
proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, including civil and administrative cases, and in all
proceedings, including judicial and quasi-judicial hearings." Hence, under the Constitution, any party to a
case may demand expeditious action on all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice.
However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is deemed
violated only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when
unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or even without cause or justifiable
motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. Equally
applicable is the balancing test used to determine whether a defendant has been denied his right to a
speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution
and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for such delay, the
assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay. The
concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept.
We find that the cases are not sufficiently complex to justify the length of time for their resolution.
Neither can the long delay in resolving the case under preliminary investigation be justified on the basis of
the number of informations filed before the Sandiganbayan nor of the transactions involved.
Verily, the delay in this case disregarded the Ombudsman's duty, as mandated by the Constitution
and Republic Act No. 6770, to enforce the criminal liability of government officers or employees in every
case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service to the people. The failure of said
office to resolve the complaints that have been pending for almost four years is clearly violative of this
mandate and the rights of petitioner as a public official. In such event, petitioner is entitled to the dismissal
of the cases filed against him.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

DOUBLE JEOPARDY; ELEMENTS NECESSARY FOR DOUBLY JEOPARDY TO


ATTACH

LETICIA R. MERCIALES vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 124171, March 18, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On August 12, 1993, criminal cases for rape with homicide were filed against the private
respondents for the death of Maritess Ricafort Merciales.
During the trial, after presenting seven witnesses, the public prosecutor filed a motion for the
discharge of accused Joselito Nuada, in order that he may be utilized as a state witness. However, the
prosecution contended that it was not required to present evidence to warrant the discharge of accused
Nuada, since the latter had already been admitted into the Witness Protection Program of the Department
of Justice. Consequently, the respondent judge denied the motion for discharge, for failure of the
prosecution to present evidence as provided for by Section 9, Rule 119 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure.
On July 13, 1994, private respondents filed a motion to set the case for hearing, invoking their
constitutional right to speedy trial. The respondent Judge granted the motion. On the said date, the
prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration, instead of presenting further evidence. The respondent
Judge postponed the hearing and reset the same for August 9, 1994.
On August 9, 1994, the respondent Judge called for a recess so as to let the prosecution decide
whether or not to present an NBI agent, who was then present, to prove the due execution of the accused
Nuada's extrajudicial confession. However, after the recess, the public prosecutor declined to present the
NBI agent, and instead manifested that he was not presenting any further evidence.
On October 21, 1994, the trial court issued the assailed Order which acquitted all of the accused.
Petitioner Leticia Merciales, who is the mother of the victim in the said criminal cases, filed before the
respondent Court of Appeals a petition to annul the Order of the trial court. However, the Court of
Appeals dismissed the petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Order of the trial court is valid.

HELD: NO. The trial court, notwithstanding its knowledge that the evidence for the prosecution was
insufficient to convict, especially after the public prosecutor tenaciously insisted on utilizing Nuada as
state witness, the trial court passively watched as the public prosecutor bungled the case. The trial court
was well aware of the nature of the testimonies of the seven prosecution witnesses that have so far been
presented. Given this circumstance, the trial court, motu proprio, should have called additional witnesses
for the purpose of questioning them himself in order to satisfy his mind with reference to particular facts or
issues involved in the case.
It is evident that petitioner was deprived of her day in court. Indeed, it is not only the State, but
more so the offended party, that is entitled to due process in criminal cases. Inasmuch as the acquittal of
the accused by the court a quo was done without regard to due process of law, the same is null and void.
It is as if there was no acquittal at all, and the same cannot constitute a claim for double jeopardy.
By contending that the challenged decision is void for having been issued with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the petition does not violate the right of the accused
against double jeopardy. It is elementary that double jeopardy attaches only when the following elements
concur: (1) the accused are charged under a complaint or information sufficient in form and substance to
sustain their conviction; (2) the court has jurisdiction; (3) the accused have been arraigned and have
pleaded; and (4) they are convicted or acquitted, or the case is dismissed without their consent.
Thus, the accused would not be placed in double jeopardy because, from the very beginning, the
lower tribunal had acted without jurisdiction. Any ruling issued without jurisdiction is in legal
contemplation, necessarily null and void and does not exist. The dismissal of the case below was invalid
for lack of a fundamental prerequisite, that is, due process.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY; WHEN DOUBLE JEOPARDY ATTACHES EVEN IF MOTION


TO DISMISS IS MADE BY ACCUSED HIMSELF.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VERRA


[G.R. No. 134732, May 29, 2002]

PUNO, J:
FACTS: On November 14, 1988, respondent Acelo Verra was charged with the crime of murder for
killing a certain Elias Cortezo. A warrant of arrest was issued by the Regional Trial Court against him on
November 21, 1988. He remained at-large until May 24, 1996 when he voluntarily submitted himself to
the jurisdiction of the court accompanied by his counsel. Immediately, arraignment proceeded during
which he entered a plea of "Not Guilty."
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

On the same day, the prosecution called to the witness stand the wife of the victim, private
complainant Damiana Cortezo. She testified that: (1) she has executed an affidavit of desistance; (2) she
is no longer interested in prosecuting the case; and (3) other witnesses of the shooting incident have
turned hostile and have similarly lost concern in pursuing the same. T hereafter, the prosecution, joined
by the counsel for the accused, moved for the dismissal of the case. Thus, the court dismissed the case
and the warrant of arrest was cancelled.
Subsequently, two other witnesses appeared after learning of the dismissal of the case and
manifested their willingness to testify. On August 21, 1996, the trial court set aside the Order of Dismissal
dated May 24, 1996. Respondent moved for its reconsideration but his motion was denied on September
26, 1996. He then instituted before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari challenging the August
21 Order. The appellate court rendered a Decision on April 6, 1998 granting the petition. It ruled that the
dismissal of the case against petitioner has attained finality, and that its revival requires the filing of a new
case or information.

ISSUE: Whether or not the revival of the case is violative of the constitutional right of the accused
against double jeopardy.

HELD: YES. Under Article III, Section 21 of the Constitution, "No person shall be twice put in jeopardy
of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or
acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act." In a long line of
decisions, we have enumerated the following requisites for double jeopardy to attach: (1) upon a valid
indictment; (2) before a competent court; (3) after arraignment; (4) when a valid plea has been entered;
and (5) when the defendant was acquitted or convicted or the case was dismissed or otherwise
terminated without the express consent of the accused. There are however two occasions when double
jeopardy will attach even if the motion to dismiss the case is made by the accused himself. The first is
when the ground is insufficiency of evidence of the prosecution, and the second is when the proceedings
have been unreasonably prolonged in violation of the right to a speedy trial.
In the case at bar, we find all the above-cited requisites present. First, there was a valid
information, sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction, filed on November 14, 1988 duly
signed by the Assistant Provincial Fiscal. Second, the Regional Trial Court clearly had jurisdiction to hear
and try the murder charge against the respondent. Third, he was arraigned in open court on May 24,
1996 with the assistance of a counsel de officio. Fourth, during the arraignment, he entered a plea of not
guilty. Finally, there was a valid termination of this case on the basis of the trial judge's Order to Dismiss
the case. While it is true that the respondent joined the prosecution in praying for its dismissal, double
jeopardy will still attach since the basis for the ruling was the insufficiency of evidence of the prosecution.
In view of private complainant's desistance and her testimony that other witnesses have turned hostile
and are also no longer interested in prosecuting this case, petitioner clearly lacks the evidence to support
the charge.

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

JUDICIAL SUPERVISION

JUDICIAL SUPERVISION; ONLY THE SUPREME COURT CAN OVERSEE THE


JUDGES' AND COURT PERSONNEL'S COMPLIANCE WITH ALL LAWS, AND TAKE
THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION AGAINST THEM IF THEY COMMIT ANY
VIOLATION THEREOF.

CAOIBES vs. OMBUDSMAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 132177, July 19, 2001]

BUENA, J:
FACTS: On May 23, 1997, respondent Florentino M. Alumbres, Presiding Judge of Branch 255 of the
Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas City, filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, a Criminal Complaint for
physical injuries, malicious mischief for the destruction of complainant's eyeglasses, and assault upon a
person in authority. Respondent alleged therein that on May 20, 1997, at the hallway on the third floor of
the Hall of Justice, Las Piñas City, he requested petitioner to return the executive table he borrowed from
respondent; that petitioner did not answer so respondent reiterated his request but before he could finish
talking, petitioner blurted "Tarantado ito ah," and boxed him at his right eyebrow and left lower jaw so that
the right lens of his eyeglasses was thrown away, rendering his eyeglasses unserviceable; and that
respondent had the incident blottered with the Las Piñas Police Station. He prayed that criminal charges
be filed before the Sandiganbayan against the petitioner.
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On June 13, 1997, respondent Judge lodged another Complaint against petitioner, this time an
administrative case with the Supreme Court, docketed as Adm. Case No. 97-387-RTJ, praying for the
dismissal of petitioner from the judiciary on the ground of grave misconduct or conduct unbecoming a
judicial officer. Said complaint is based on the same facts as those in the complaint filed earlier with the
Office of the Ombudsman.
In the Order 3 dated June 25, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman required petitioner to file a
counter-affidavit within ten (10) days from receipt thereof. Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, petitioner
filed on July 7, 1997 an "Ex-Parte Motion for Referral to the Honorable Supreme Court," praying that the
Office of the Ombudsman hold its investigation of Case No. OMB-0-97-0903 in abeyance, and refer the
same to the Supreme Court which, through the Office of the Court Administrator, is already investigating
what transpired on May 20, 1997.
Invoking Section 15 of R.A. 6770, the Office of the Ombudsman refuses to refrain from taking
cognizance of Case No. MB-0-97-0903 in favor of this Court on the ground that, allegedly, the
accusations therein against petitioner constitute simple criminal charges falling within the parameters of
its constitutional power and duty to investigate and prosecute any act or omission of any public officer or
employee which appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Office of the Ombudsman should defer action on Case No. OMB-0-97-0903
pending resolution of Adm. Case No. 97-387-RTJ.

HELD: YES. It appears that the present case involves two members of the judiciary who were
entangled in a fight within court premises over a piece of office furniture. Under Section 6, Article VIII of
the Constitution, it is the Supreme Court which is vested with exclusive administrative supervision over all
courts and its personnel. Prescinding from this premise, the Ombudsman cannot determine for itself and
by itself whether a criminal complaint against a judge, or court employee, involves an administrative
matter. The Ombudsman is duty bound to have all cases against judges and court personnel filed before
it, referred to the Supreme Court for determination as to whether an administrative aspect is involved
therein. This rule should hold true regardless of whether an administrative case based on the act subject
of the complaint before the Ombudsman is already pending with the Court. For, aside from the fact that
the Ombudsman would not know of this matter unless he is informed of it, he should give due respect for
and recognition of the administrative authority of the Court, because in determining whether an
administrative matter is involved, the Court passes upon not only administrative liabilities but also other
administrative concerns, as is clearly conveyed in the case of Maceda vs. Vasquez.

JUDICIAL SUPERVISION; THE OMBUDSMAN MAY NOT INITIATE OR


INVESTIGATE A CRIMINAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT BEFORE HIS
OFFICE AGAINST A JUDGE, PURSUANT TO HIS POWER TO INVESTIGATE
PUBLIC OFFICERS.

JUDGE RENATO A. FUENTES vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-MINDANAO, et


al.
[G.R. No. 124295, October 23, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: The Republic of the Philippines (represented by DPWH) filed an expropriation case against
the owners of the properties affected by the project before the trial court presided by petitioner Judge
Renato A. Fuentes. DPWH won the expropriation case and as of 19 May 1994, it still owed the lot owners
the following amounts: Reynaldo Lao – P489,000; Tessie Amadeo – P1,094,200; and Alfonso Galo –
P13,927,215. On 5 April 1994, the trial court granted Amadeo’s motion for the issuance of a writ of
execution against the DPWH to satisfy her unpaid claim. The writ was served by Sheriff Paralisan to the
DPWH-Region IX. On 3 May 1994, Paralisan issued a Notice of Levy addressed to the Regional Director
describing the properties subject of the levy. The auction sale pushed through on 18 May 1994 with Alex
Bacquial as the highest bidder and the corresponding certificate of sale was issued by Paralisan.
On 19 May 1994, Bacquial and Paralisan attempted to withdraw the auctioned properties but
were prevented from doing so by the custodian of the subject DPWH properties. On 20 May 1994,
Bacquial filed an ex-parte urgent motion for the issuance of a “break through” order to enable him to effect
the withdrawal of the auctioned properties. The motion was granted by petitioner on the same date.
Armed with the court order, Bacqiual succeeded in hauling off the properties for 5 successive days until
the lower court issued another order temporarily suspending the writ of execution earlier issued.
However, on 21 June 1994, the lower court issued another order upholding the validity of the writ of
execution.
On the basis of letters from Cong. Manuel Garcia of the 2 nd District of Davao City and the DPWH
custodian, the Court Administrator, Supreme Court directed petitioner and Paralisan to comment on the
report recommending the filing of an administrative case against the sheriff and other persons responsible
for the anomalous implementation of the writ of execution. By virtue of an administrative complaint filed
by the DPWH, Paralisan was dismissed from the service by the Supreme Court on 23 August 1995. The
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Court further directed the Court Administrator to conduct an investigation on petitioner and to charge him
if the investigation so warrants.
On 15 January 1996, Dir. Antonio Valenzuela of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao
recommended that petitioner be charged before the Sandiganbayan with violation of R.A. 3019, Sec. 3(e)
and likewise be administratively charged before the Supreme Court for acts unbecoming of a judge. On
22 January 1996, Valenzuela filed with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao a criminal
complaint charging petitioner with violation of R.A. 3019, Sec. 3(e). On 22 February 1996, petitioner filed
with the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao a motion to dismiss complaint and/or manifestation to
forward all records to the Supreme Court. The motion was denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ombudsman may conduct an investigation of acts of a judge in the exercise
of his official functions alleged to be in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, in the absence
of an administrative charge for the same acts before the Supreme Court.

HELD: NO. R.A. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989, provides:
“Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. – The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following
powers, functions and duties: (1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person,
any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission
appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable
by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage,
from any investigatory agency of the Government, the investigation of such cases.”
“Sec. 21. Officials Subject to Disciplinary Authority, Exceptions. – The Office of the Ombudsman shall
have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the Government and its
subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including members of the Cabinet, local government,
government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, except over officials who may be
removed only be impeachment, or over Members of Congress, and the Judiciary.”
Thus, the Ombudsman may not initiate or investigate a criminal or administrative complaint
before his office against petitioner judge, pursuant to his power to investigate public officers. The
Ombudsman must indorse the case to the Supreme Court, for appropriate action. Article VIII, Section 6 of
the Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and
court personnel, from the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeals to the lowest municipal trial court clerk.
Hence, it is the Supreme Court that is tasked to oversee the judges and the court personnel and take the
proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation of the laws of the land. No other
branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the independence of the
judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers.
Petitioner’s questioned orders directing the attachment of government property and issuing a writ
of execution were done in relation to his office, well within his official functions. The order may be
erroneous or void for lack or excess of jurisdiction. However, whether or not such order of execution was
valid under the given circumstances, must be inquired into in the course of the judicial action only by the
Supreme Court that is tasked to supervise the courts. “No other entity or official of the Government, not
the prosecution or investigation service of any other branch, not any functionary thereof, has competence
to review a judicial order or decision—whether final and executory or not—and pronounce it erroneous so
as to lay the basis for a criminal or administrative complaint for rendering an unjust judgment or order.
That prerogative belongs to the courts alone.”

PERIODS FOR DECISION

PERIODS FOR DECISION; THE LOWER COURTS HAVE THREE MONTHS WITHIN
WHICH TO DECIDE CASES OR MATTERS PENDING BEFORE THEM.

ELIEZER A. SIBAYAN-JOAQUIN vs. JUDGE ROBERTO S. JAVELLANA


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1601, November 13, 2001]

VITUG, J:
FACTS: In a complaint-affidavit, dated 17 September 1999, Eliezer A. Sibayan-Joaquin charged Judge
Roberto S. Javellana, acting presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Carlos City, Branch
57, with grave misconduct in the performance of official duties, graft and gross ignorance of the law. The
complaint was an offshoot of a case for estafa, docketed Criminal Case No. RTC 1150, entitled "People of
the Philippines vs. Romeo Tan y Salazar," filed by Sibayan-Joaquin for and in behalf of Andersons Group,
Inc., against Romeo Tan before the San Carlos City RTC. Complainant averred that there was an undue
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

delay in the rendition of judgment in the aforenumbered criminal case, the decision, dated 16 July 1999,
that had acquitted the accused Romeo Tan, having been rendered only on the tenth month after the case
was submitted for decision.
The matter was referred to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation. The
Investigating Justice ended his report to the Court by recommending respondent judge be held
administratively liable for failure to render judgment in Criminal Case No. RTC-1150 within the period
prescribed by law (in violation of §15, ARTICLE VIII OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION, CANON 1,
RULE 1.02, and CANON 3, RULE 3.05 OF THE Code of Judicial Conduct).

ISSUE: Whether or not a judge may be held administratively liable for failure to render judgment within
the period prescribe by law.

HELD: YES. Section 15, Article XVIII, of the Constitution provides that lower courts have three months
within which to decide cases or matters pending before them from the date of submission of such cases
or matters for decision or resolution. Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct holds similarly by
mandating that the disposition of cases must be done promptly and seasonably. Admittedly, respondent
judge has taken ten months to finally decide Criminal Case No. RTC-1150 from its submission for
decision, a period clearly beyond the ninety-day reglementary period. He could have asked for an
extension of time to decide the case and explain why, but he did not. Any undue delay in the resolution of
cases often amounts to a denial of justice and can easily undermine the people's faith and confidence in
the judiciary. Aware of the heavy caseload of judges, the Court has continued to act with great
understanding on requests for extension of time to decide cases.

PERIODS FOR DECISION; ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR 10-94 WHICH DIRECTS


ALL TRIAL JUDGES TO MAKE A PHYSICAL INVENTORY OF THE CASES IN
THEIR DOCKETS APPLIES TO THE SANDIGANBAYAN.

PROBLEM OF DELAYS IN CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN


[A.M. No. 00-8-05-SC, November 28, 2001]

PARDO J:
FACTS: On September 27, 2000, complying with the order, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena
submitted a report admitting a number of cases submitted for decision and motion for reconsideration
pending resolution before its divisions. We quote:
"Cases Submitted W/ Motions For
"For Decision Reconsideration
"1st Division 341 None
"2nd Division 5 None
"3rd Division 12 None
"4th Division 5 None
"5th Division 52 1
------------------------------------------------
"Total 415"

On July 31, 2000, the IBP, through its National President, Arthur D. Lim, transmitted to the Court a
Resolution 1 addressing the problem of delays in cases pending before the Sandiganbayan.
On November 21, 2000, the Court resolved to direct then Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo
(hereafter, the OCA) "to conduct a judicial audit of the Sandiganbayan, especially on the cases subject of
this administrative matter, and to submit a report thereon not later than 31 December 2000."
On December 4, 2000, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena admitted that the First Division of the Sandiganbayan has a backlog of cases; that one case
alone made the backlog of the First Division so large, involving 156 cases but the same has been set for
promulgation of decision on December 8, 2000, which would reduce the backlog by at least fifty percent
(50%).

ISSUES: Whether or not Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 1094 is applicable to the
Sandiganbayan.

HELD: YES. Administrative Circular 10-94 directs all trial judges to make a physical inventory of the
cases in their dockets. Given the rationale behind the Administrative Circular, we hold that it is applicable
to the Sandiganbayan with respect to cases within its original and appellate jurisdiction.
We reiterate the admonition we issued in our resolution of October 10, 2000: "This Court has
consistently impressed upon judges (which includes justices) to decide cases promptly and expeditiously
on the principle that justice delayed is justice denied. Decision-making is the primordial and most
important duty of the member of the bench. Hence, judges are enjoined to decide cases with dispatch.
Their failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency that warrants disciplinary sanction including fine
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

suspension and even dismissal. The rule particularly applies to justices of the Sandiganbayan. Delays in
the disposition of cases erode the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lower its standards,
and bring it into disrepute. Delays cannot be sanctioned or tolerated especially in the anti-graft court, the
showcase of the nation's determination to succeed in its war against graft.

JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT

JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT; THE APPELLATE JURISDICTION OF


THE SUPREME COURT OVER DECISIONS OR FINAL ORDERS OF THE
SANDIGANBAYAN IS LIMITED TO QUESTIONS OF LAW.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 135789. January 31, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On May 5, 1982, Manuel G. Montecillo, Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Cesar C. Zalamea and
Jose Y. Campos organized HMHMI to serve as a holding company for the shares of stocks of Hans M.
Menzi, Jose Y. Campos, Cesar C. Zalamea and Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. in Bulletin Publishing
Corporation and the shares of stocks of Hans M. Menzi in other companies, including Liwayway
Publishing Incorporated.
On June 27, 1984, Hans M. Menzi died. On July 6, 1984, the court appointed Manuel G.
Montecillo executor of the Estate of Hans M. Menzi and later the president of HMHMI. With the lone
exception of Montecillo, Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Cesar C. Zalamea and Jose Y. Campos, constitute
the principal stockholders and incorporators of HMHMI.
On February 12, 1987, the PCGG issued Sequestration Writ No. 87-0206 against all shares of
stocks, assets, properties, records and documents of HMHMI. Forthwith, on February 13, 1987, upon the
request of PCGG, Central Bank Governor Fernandez instructed commercial banks and non-bank financial
institutions to withhold the withdrawal of funds and assets by Liwayway Publishing Corporation and
HMHMI.
On July 29, 1987, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan a complaint for reconveyance,
reversion, accounting, restitution and damages against the following defendants: Manuel G. Montecillo,
Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Cesar C. Zalamea, Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos. On October
17, 1990, the PCGG filed a Second Amended Complaint naming specifically the estate of Hans M. Menzi
as one of the defendants.
On November 27, 1992, the estate of Hans M. Menzi, in behalf of HMHMI, filed with the
Sandiganbayan a "Motion to Lift Freeze Order" dated February 12, 1987, alleging that: (1) The stocks,
assets, properties, records and documents of HMHMI were sequestered without any judicial action having
been filed against it, or without impleading it as a defendant in Civil Case No. 0022; and (2) Such
issuance of a writ of sequestration without filing a corresponding judicial action against HMHMI within the
reglementary period established by Section 26, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution resulted in the
automatic lifting of the sequestration order on August 12, 1987.
On April 2, 1992, the Sandiganbayan granted the motion. On October 2, 1992, the
Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. On January 15, 1993, the Republic of the
Philippines filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review assailing the resolution of the
Sandiganbayan lifting the freeze order.
On July 16, 1996, the Court set aside the Sandiganbayan's resolution lifting the freeze order and
remanded the case back to the Sandiganbayan for resolution. Sandiganbayan lifted the writ of
sequestration dated February 12, 1987, reasoning that there was no prima facie factual basis for its
issuance. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which the Sandiganbayan denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan erred in lifitng the writ of sequestration over the assets,
shares of stock, property records and bank deposits of HMHMI.

HELD: NO. It is well settled that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over decisions or final
orders of the Sandiganbayan is limited to questions of law. A question of law exists when the doubt or
controversy concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts; or when the
issue does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented, the truth or
falsehood of facts being admitted. A question of fact exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the
truth or falsehood of facts or when the query invites calibration of the whole evidence considering mainly
the credibility of the witnesses, the existence and relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances as well
as their relation to each other and to the whole, and the probability of the situation.
The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. It is not the Court's function to examine and weigh all
over again the evidence presented in the proceedings below.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

At any rate, the Court agrees with respondents that the Sandiganbayan has full authority to
decide on all incidents in the ill-gotten case, including the propriety of the writs of sequestration that the
PCGG initially issued. Based on the evidence the PCGG submitted so far to the Sandiganbayan, the late
Hans M. Menzi owned the Bulletin Publishing Corporation almost one hundred (100%) per cent since
1957, except those Bulletin shares sold to U. S. Automotive Corporation in 1985, those converted to
treasury shares in 1986, and those sold to the general public at public offerings. In the absence of
competent evidence showing thus far that President Ferdinand E. Marcos or his cronies ever acquired
Bulletin shares of the late Hans M. Menzi or HMHMI that might be subject to sequestration, the Court may
not void the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan in question.

JUDICIAL REVIEW

JUDICIAL REVIEW; STATUTE WHEN VAGUE

ESTRADA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. NO. 148560, November 19, 2001]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under RA
7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder), as amended by RA 7659, wishes to impress
upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it crosses that thin but distinct line which
divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to
subject the Plunder Law to the crucible of constitutionality mainly because, according to him, it suffers
from the vice of vagueness.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Plunder Law is vague and is therefore unconstitutional?

HELD: NO. Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of legislation is
predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony with the
Constitution. Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule whenever a legislative act is
under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional adjudication. This strong predilection
for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of the government to
encroach upon the duties and powers of another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on
the deference the judicial branch accords to its coordinate branch — the legislature.
Hence in determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the fundamental law,
courts should proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of
the law must be adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a measure of last
resort. In construing therefore the provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an
interpretation is fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality.
In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon we held that as long as there is some basis for
the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the challenged law will not be touched and the case will
be decided on other available grounds. Yet the force of the presumption is not sufficient to catapult a
fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs of constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and
palpably transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight lest the
positive commands of the fundamental law be unduly eroded.
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are
subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. It must
sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and
more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be
understood with little difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in
amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of
acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law.
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of the
terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or criminal acts"
found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec. 4. These omissions, according to
petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad and
deny him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative
of his fundamental right to due process.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void
merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining
them; much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or
statutory command requiring the legislature to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is
not restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a
statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is
clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be
interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is evident that the
legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words. The intention of the lawmakers
— who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers — to use statutory phraseology in such a
manner is always presumed.
Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly
misplaced. The doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect
that a statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that
persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be
invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be
clarified either by a saving clause or by construction.
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such instance,
the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects — it violates due process for failure to
accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves
law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the
Government muscle. But the doctrine does not apply as against legislations that are merely couched in
imprecise language but which nonetheless specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that
are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The first may be "saved" by
proper construction, while no challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed
against such activities. With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is
clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case.
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the language
conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common
understanding and practice. It must be stressed, however, that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires
a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld — not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as
long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely
because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where,
because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all other
statutes.
The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of
an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and
differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of law." The overbreadth doctrine, on
the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose may not be achieved by means which sweep
unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.''
The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech
cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an
opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited
context of the First Amendment." In Broadrick v Oklahoma, the Court ruled that "claims of facial
overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only
spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when
invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this
reason, it has been held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount
successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act
would be valid." As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face
only if it is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly
proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others.''
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools developed
for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First
Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With
respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to whom application of a statute is constitutional
will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to
other persons or other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional." As has been pointed
out, "vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce
facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated [only]
'as applied' to a particular defendant.'' Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim that this Court
review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety.
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the Plunder Law,
so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined than real. Ambiguity, where
none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the statute to furnish support to critics
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Every provision of the law should be construed in
relation and with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the
well-entrenched presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner
cannot feign ignorance of what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its
passage, petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its
appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his affirmative vote with full knowledge of
its legal implications and sound constitutional anchorage.

JUDICIAL REVIEW; THE SUPREME COURT IS NOT PRECLUDED FROM


RECTIFYING ERRORS OF JUDGMENT.

DE LEON vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 127182, December 5, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.
FACTS: In the Decision sought to be reconsidered, we ruled that private respondent's appointment on
August 28, 1986, as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV of the Ministry of Local Government, was
temporary. Applying the case of Achacoso v. Macaraig, we held that since private respondent was not a
Career Executive Service (CES) eligible, his appointment did not attain permanency because he did not
possess the required CES eligibility for the CES position to which he was appointed. Hence, he can be
transferred or reassigned without violating his right to security of tenure.
It appears, however, that in Jacob Montesa v. Santos, et al., decided on September 26, 1990,
where the nature of private respondent's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV, of the
Ministry of Local Government, was first contested, this Court issued a Minute Resolution dated March 17,
1992, holding that Achacoso v. Macaraig is not applicable to the case of private respondent.
There was no Career Executive Service Board during the Freedom Constitution or at the time of
appointment of petitioner. The CESO was only reconstituted by the appointment of its Board of six (6)
members sometime in August 1988. There was no CESO eligibility examination during petitioner's
incumbency in the Department, as there was no CESO board. The first CESO examination was given on
August 5 and 12, 1990. The CESO eligibility was not a requirement at the time of the appointment of
petitioner. The only eligibility required is that of a first grader and petitioner is a first grade eligible.
Therefore, having met all the requirements for the position to which he was appointed, he cannot be
removed in violation of the constitutional guarantee on security of tenure and due process.
Invoking res judicata, private respondent contends that the nature of his appointment can no
longer be passed upon and controverted in the present case considering that said issue had already been
settled in the foregoing Minute Resolution of the Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not res judicata applies.

HELD: NO. Concededly, if we follow the conventional procedural path, i.e., the principle on
conclusiveness of judgment set forth in Rule 39, Section 47, paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court, 3 would
bar a re-litigation of the nature of private respondent's appointment. Indeed, once an issue has been
adjudicated in a valid final judgment of a competent court, it can no longer be controverted anew and
should be finally laid to rest.
Yet, the Court is not precluded from re-examining its own ruling and rectifying errors of judgment
if blind and stubborn adherence to res judicata would involve the sacrifice of justice to technicality. It must
be stressed that this is not the first time in Philippine and American jurisprudence that the principle of res
judicata has been set aside in favor of substantial justice, which is after all the avowed purpose of all law
and jurisprudence.

CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS

CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

CIVIL SERVICE; THE CSC HAS JURISDICTION OVER CASES INVOLVING


ANOMALIES CONNECTED TO CIVIL SERVICE EXAMINATIONS.

CRUZ and PAITIM vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION


[G.R. No. 144464, November 22, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

FACTS: see page 24

ISSUES: Whether or not the CSC had jurisdiction to hear and decide the complaint against petitioners.

HELD: YES. Petitioners' invocation of the law is misplaced. The provision is applicable to instances
where administrative cases are filed against erring employees in connection with their duties and
functions of the office. This is, however, not the scenario contemplated in the case at bar. It must be
noted that the acts complained of arose from a cheating caused by the petitioners in the Civil Service
(Subprofessional) examination. The examinations were under the direct control and supervision of the
Civil Service Commission. The culprits are government employees over whom the Civil Service
Commission undeniably has jurisdiction. Thus, after the petitioners were duly investigated and
ascertained whether they were indeed guilty of dishonesty, the penalty meted was dismissal from the
office.
Section 28, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations explicitly provides that
the CSC can rightfully take cognizance over any irregularities or anomalies connected to the
examinations, as it reads:
“SECTION 28. The Commission shall have original disciplinary jurisdiction over all its officials
and employees and over all cases involving civil service examination anomalies or irregularities.
It can not be denied that the petitioners were formally charged after a finding that a prima facie
case for dishonesty lies against them. They were properly informed of the charges. They submitted an
Answer and were given the opportunity to defend themselves. Petitioners can not, therefore, claim that
there was a denial of due process much less the lack of jurisdiction on the part of the CSC to take
cognizance of the case.

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

COMELEC; THE COMELEC EXERCISES SUPERVISION AND CONTROL OVER


BOARDS OF ELECTION INSPECTORS AND BOARDS OF CANVASSERS.

O'HARA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 148941-42, March 12, 2002]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Petitioner and respondent Jovita Rodriguez were candidates for the position of vice-governor,
province of Rizal during the May 14, 2001 elections.
On May 19, 2001, upon conclusion of the canvassing of the certificates of canvass coming from
the thirteen municipalities and one component city of Rizal, the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBC)
proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected vice-governor with 216,798 votes over respondent Rodriguez's
215,443 votes.
On May 23, 2001, the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) of Binangonan, Rizal filed with the
COMELEC, a petition to correct entries in the certificate of canvass of votes. It was alleged that there
were typographical errors in the number of votes garnered by petitioner and respondent resulting in the
addition of 7,000 votes to petitioner.
The MBC of Binangonan submitted the affidavit of Evelyn Ramirez, the Municipal Accountant of
Binangonan, Rizal, admitting that she committed the mathematical error.
On May 25, 2001, respondent Rodriguez filed with the COMELEC a petition to annul the
proclamation of the winning candidate for vice-governor of the province of Rizal, and to correct alleged
manifest mathematical errors. Respondent Rodriguez asserted that after the mathematical error would
have been corrected, she would obtain a plurality of 215,422 votes as against petitioner's 209,798.
Petitioner filed his answer to the petition, arguing that there was no manifest error apparent in the
certificate of canvass which respondent Rodriguez and the MBC of Binangonan sought to correct.
On July 25, 2001, the COMELEC issued a resolution in the cases, wherein it ordered that
petitioner’s proclamation is annulled, the PBC of Rizal to reconvene and correct the manifest mathmatical
error in the votes, and to proclaim respondent as the duly elected Vice-Governor of Rizal.
Accordingly, on July 27, 2001, the PBC of Rizal reconvened. However, petitioner was not notified
of the proceedings of the PBC of Rizal. On the same day, the PBC of Rizal issued another certificate of
canvass of votes and proclamation of the winning candidates for provincial officers, and on the basis
thereof proclaimed private respondent as the duly elected vice-governor of Rizal. Immediately,
respondent Rodriguez took her oath of office before Judge Leila Suarez Acebo, Regional Trial Court,
Pasig City.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it annulled the proclamation of
petitioner as vice-governor of Rizal and by ordering the PBC of Rizal to reconvene and correct the alleged
manifest mathematical error supposedly committed by the MBC of Rizal.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

HELD: YES. The COMELEC should have conducted further investigation or at least a technical
inspection or examination of election returns to verify the existence of the alleged error before it gave
credence to the statements of the MBC of Binangonan and concluding outright that the Statement of
Votes submitted by respondents were accurate.
The COMELEC cannot simply rely on these Statement of Votes because they were prepared by
the same members of the MBC who claimed to have made a mistake due to "fatigue, sleepless nights
and physical exhaustion." It would have been more prudent to make a determination whether these same
individuals committed any other mistake in the tabulation or statement of votes.
Even based on the statements/affidavits of the MBC of Binangonan, it is apparent that the errors
sought to be corrected do not appear on the face of the certificate of canvass. As above-stated, the
alleged error which the COMELEC perceived to be manifest does not fall under the definition of "manifest
error" which was laid down in Chavez vs. COMELEC . . . “To be manifest, the errors must appear on the
face of the certificates of canvass or election returns sought to be corrected and/or objections thereto
must have been made before the board of canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their
respective proceedings.”
The Constitution gives the Commission on Elections the broad power "to enforce and administer
all laws and regulations to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall." The
Commission indisputably exercises the power of supervision and control over boards of election
inspectors and boards of canvassers. The Commission must do everything in its power to secure a fair
and honest canvass of the votes cast in the elections. The Constitution upgraded to a constitutional status
the statutory authority under Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 to grant the Commission broad and more flexible
powers to effectively perform its duties and to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible
elections, and to serve as the guardian of the people's sacred right of suffrage.
In the absence of any manifest error in the certificate of canvass sought to be corrected, the
Commission should have ordered the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of the ballots in
the municipality of Binangonan in order to validate the claim of its MBC.
If after the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of the official ballots, the clerical
error or mathematical mistake in the addition of the votes had been established, the Commission should
have annulled the canvass and proclamation based on the erroneous certificate of canvass. If the records
had borne out that petitioner's proclamation was the result of a clerical error or simple mathematical
mistake in the addition of votes and did not reflect the true and legitimate will of the electorate, there could
have been no valid proclamation to speak of. The issue would involve a pre-proclamation controversy.

COMMISSION ON AUDIT

COA; THE FACT THAT PRIVATE AUDITORS MAY AUDIT GOVERNMENT


AGENCIES FOES NOT DIVEST COA THE POWER TO AUDIT AND EXAMINE THE
SAME GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.

DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 88435, January 16, 2002]

CARPIO, J:
FACTS: In 1986, the Philippine Government, under the administration of then President Corazon C.
Aquino, obtained from the World Bank (WB) an Economic Recovery Loan (ERL) in the amount of 310
Million US Dollars. The ERL was intended to support the recovery of the Philippine economy, at the time
suffering severely from the financial crisis that hit the country during the latter part of the Marcos regime.
As a condition for granting the loan, the World Bank required the Philippine government to
rehabilitate the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) which was then saddled with huge non-
performing loans. The government’s commitment was embodied in the Policy Statement of the DBP
which, among others, provided that the mentioned bank will now be required to have a private external
auditor.
On November 28, 1986, the Monetary Board adopted Resolution No. 1079 amending the Central
Bank’s Manual of Regulation for Banks and other Financial Intermediaries. Thus, on December 5, 1986,
the Central Bank Governor issued Central Bank Circular No. 1124 which substantially provides that “the
requirements for an annual financial audit by an external independent auditor shall extend to specialized
and unique banks such as the Land Bank of the Philippines and the DBP.” On December 12, 1986,
pursuant to CB Circular No. 1124 and the government’s commitment to the WB, DBP Chairman Jesus
Estanislao wrote the Commission on Audit (COA) seeking the approval of the DBP’s engagement of a
private external auditor in addition to the COA.
On January 20, 1987, the COA Chairman Teofisto Guingona, Jr. replied to the December 12,
1986 letter of the DBP Chairman with a statement that “the COA will interpose no objection to your
engagement of a private external auditor as required by the Economic Recovery Program Loan
Agrrement of 1987 provided that the terms for said audit are first reviewed and approved by the
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Commission.” Cosequently, the Board of Directors of the DBP approve the hiring of Joaquin Cunanan &
Co. as the DBP’s private external auditor for calendar year 1986.
However, a change in the leadership of the COA reversed the course of events. On April 27,
1987, the new COA Chairman, Eufemio Doningo, wrote the CB Governor protesting the issuance of
Circular No. 1124 which allegedly encroached upon the COA’s constitutional and statutory power to audit
government agencies. On May 13, 1987, after learning that DBP had signed a contract with above-
mentioned auditing firm, the new COA Chairman wrote the DBP Chairman that the COA resident auditors
were under instruction to disallow any payment to the private auditor whose services were
unconstitutional, illegal and unnecessary.
On July 1, 1987, the DBP Chairman sent to the COA Chairman a copy of the DBP’s contract with
Joaquin Cunanan & Co., signed four months earlier on March 5, 1987. The DBP Chairman’s covering
hand-written note sought the COA’s concurrence to the contract. During the pendency of COA’s
concurrence to the contract, DBP paid the billings of the private auditor in the total amount of Php
487,321.14 despite the former’s objection to the same. Thereafter, the COA chairman issued a
memorandum disallowing the payments. On January 19, 1988, the DBP Chairman moved for a
reconsideration of the memorandum issued by the COA which the latter also denied ratiocinating that the
said Commission has the “power, authority and duty to examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to
the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures of uses of funds and property…pertaining to the
government.” (Sec. 2, Art. IX-D, 1987 Philippine Constitution)

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the constitutional power of the COA to examine and audit the DBP is exclusive and
precludes the concurrent audit of the DBP by a private external auditor.
(2) Whether or not there is a necessity of hiring a private auditor and the reasonableness of their fees.

HELD:
(1) NO. The resolution of the issue herein requires an interpretation of Section 2, Article IX-D of the
1987 Constituition, which provides:
“Sec. 2 (1) The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to examine,
audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds
and property, owned and held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions,
agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original
charters….
(2) The Commission shall have the exclusive authority, subject to the limitations in
this Article, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods
required therefore, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the
prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable
expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties.”
The bare language of Section 2 shows that the COA’s power under the first paragraph is not
declared exclusive, while its authority under the second paragraph is declared “exclusive.” The framers
of the Constitution, in deleting the word “exclusive” in the first paragraph, deemed that the inclusion of
such word would constitute a disincentive or obstacle to private investment. There are government
institutions with private investments in them, and some of these investors—Filipinos, as well as in some
cases, foreigners—require the presence of private auditing firms, not exclusively but concurrently.
The qualifying word “exclusive” in the second paragraph of Section 2 cannot be applied to the first
paragraph which is another sub-section of Section 2. A qualifying word is intended to refer only to the
phrase to which it is immediately associated. Thus, the first paragraph of Section 2 must be read the way
it appears, without the word “exclusive,” signifying that non-COA auditors can also examine and audit
government agencies. Besides, the framers of the Constitution intentionally omitted the word “exclusive”
in the first paragraph of Section 2 precisely to allow concurrent audit by private external auditors.
The clear and unmistakable conclusion from the reading of the entire Section 2 is that the COA’s
power to examine and audit is non-exclusive. On the other hand, the COA’s authority to define the scope
of its audit, promulgate auditing rules and regulations, and disallow unnecessary expenditures is
exclusive.
Further, the mere fact that private auditors may audit government agencies does not divest COA
of its power to examine and audit the same government agencies. The COA is neither by-passed nor
ignored since even with a private audit the COA will still conduct its usual examination and audit, and its
findings and conclusions will still bind the government agencies and its officials. A concurrent private
audit poses no danger whatsoever of public funds or assets escaping the usual scrutiny of a COA audit.
(2) YES. The hiring of a private auditor being an express condition for the grant of the US $ 310
Million Economic Recovery Loan, a major objective of which was DBP’s rehabilitation, the same was a
necessary corporate act on the part of the DBP. The national government, represented by the Central
Bank Governor, as well as the Ministers of Finance, Trade, and Economic Planning, had already
committed to the hiring by all government banks for private auditors in addition to the COA. For the DBP
to refuse to hire a private auditor would have aborted the vital loan and derailed the national economic
recovery, resulting in grave consequences to the entire nation. The hiring of a private auditor was not
only necessary based on the government’s loan covenant with the World Bank, it was also necessary
because it was mandated by Central Bank No. 1124 under pain administrative and penal sanctions.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

The hiring of a private auditor by the DBP being a condition of the loan, the fees of such private
auditors are in reality part of the government’s cost of borrowing from the World Bank. An annual private
audit fee of about half a million pesos added to the interest on a US $310 Million loan would hardly make
the cost of borrowing excessive, extravagant or unconscionable. Besides, the condition imposed by a
lender, whose money is at risk, requiring the borrower to submit to audit by an independent public
accountant, is a reasonable and normal business practice.

ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

SANDIGANBAYAN

SANDIGANBAYAN; THE LIFTING OF THE WRITS OF SEQUESTRATION DOES


NOT MEAN THAT THE SEQUESTERED PROPERTY ARE NOT ILL-GOTTEN.

PCGG vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 119609-10, September 21, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On August 28, 1990, PCGG sent Corporate Secretary Victor A. Africa of Oceanic Wireless
Network, Inc. (OWNI), a letter dated August 3, 1990, directing him to send notices to all stockholders of
record of OWNI for special stockholders' meeting. On September 17, 1990, during the special
stockholders' meeting of OWNI, PCGG voted all the Class "A" shares in the election of directors and
elected to the board of directors Commissioners Maceren, Parlade and Gutierrez representing the Class
"A" shares and Brooker and Miller representing Class "B" and "C" shares. None of the registered Class
"A" shareholders of OWNI was present in that, special stockholders meeting. PCGG sequestered the
Class "A" shareholding about 60% of the outstanding capital stock, and PCGG voted all the Class "A"
shares.
On October 9, 1990, Corporate Secretary Africa wrote the SEC questioning the election of PCGG
nominees as directors of the OWNI board on the ground that they were not stockholders of OWNI.
On January 27, 1991, the special stockholders' meeting of OWNI took place. Stockholders
owning 63,573 Class "A" shares were represented. An election of directors for Class "A" shares was held.
Nieto, Jr., J. Africa and A. Africa were elected as directors for Class "A" shares for 1991 until their
successors are elected and qualified. Class "B" and "C" shareholders did not attend the meeting. No new
directors for them were elected.
On July 29, 1991, PCGG, acting for itself and in behalf of OWNI, filed with the Sandiganbayan a
complaint for injunction with damages against V. Africa, J. Africa, Nieto, Jr. and Ocampo. PCGG sought
to enjoin the defendants from interfering with PCGG's management of OWNI and/or representing
themselves as director.

ISSUE: Whether or not the PCGG's takeover of OWNI is legal.

HELD: NO. In PCGG v. Cojuanco, Jr., the Court ruled that who should vote the sequestered shares
requires the determination of the ill-gotten character of those shares and consequently the rightful
ownership thereof. The issue was still pending in the main case in the Sandiganbayan. This is only an
incident of the main case and is limited to the stockholders' meeting held on September 17, 1990. This is
without prejudice to the final disposition of the merits of the main suit. The ownership of the shares is still
under litigation. It is not known whether the shares are part of the ill-gotten wealth of former President
Marcos and his "cronies."
We find the writ of sequestration issued against OWNI not valid because the suit in Civil Case No.
0009 against Nieto, Jr. and J. Africa as shareholders in OWNI is not a suit against OWNI. This Court has
held that "failure to implead these corporations as defendants and merely annexing a list of such
corporations to the complaints is a violation of their right to due process for it would in effect be
disregarding their distinct and separate personality without a hearing.''
Furthermore, PCGG issued the writs of sequestration on August 3, 1988, which was beyond the
period set by the Constitution. Article XVIII, Section 26, of the 1987 Constitution provides:
"Sec. 26.The authority to issue sequestration or freeze orders under Proclamation No. 3 dated
March 25, 1986 in relation to the recovery of ill-gotten wealth shall remain operative for not more than
eighteen months after the ratification of this Constitution. However, in the national interest, as certified
by the President, the Congress may extend said period.
"A sequestration or freeze order shall be issued only upon showing of a prima facie case. The
order and the list of the sequestered or frozen properties shall forthwith be registered with the proper
court. For orders issued before the ratification of this Constitution, the corresponding judicial action or
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

proceeding shall be filed within six months from its ratification. For those issued after such ratification,
the judicial action or proceeding shall be commenced within six months from the issuance thereof.
"The sequestration or freeze order is deemed automatically lifted if no judicial action or
proceeding is commenced as herein provided."
The sequestration orders issued against respondents shall be deemed automatically lifted due to
the failure of PCGG to commence the proper judicial action or to implead the respondents therein within
the period prescribed by Article XVIII, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution.
The lifting of the writs of sequestration will not necessarily be fatal to the main case since the
lifting of the subject orders does not ipso facto mean that the sequestered property are not ill-gotten. The
effect of the lifting of the sequestration against OWNI will merely be the termination of the role of the
government as conservator thereof. In other words, the PCGG may no longer exercise administrative or
housekeeping powers and its nominees may no longer vote the sequestered shares to enable them to sit
on the corporate board of the subject firm.

SANDIGANBAYAN; WHEN FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN NOT


CONCLUSIVE BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT; THE ACQUISITION COST OF THE
PROPERTY SHALL BE THE BASIS FOR ASCERTAINING THE VALUE THEREOF.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHLILPPINES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 102508, January 30, 2002]

DAVIDE, JR., C.J:


FACTS: Private respondent Jolly R. Bugarin, a government official during the Marcos regime, is now
being pursued by the petitioner to recover the alleged unexplained wealth amassed by the former.
In a petition filed by the Republic, represented by the Presidential Commission on Good
Government (PCGG), with the Sandiganbayan on August 3, 1987, it averred that respondent Bugarin
acquired during his incumbency as Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), real and
personal properties whose aggregate fair market value at the time of their acquisition was P6,313,632.56.
Allegedly, those properties were manifestly in excess or out of proportion to his salaries, allowances, and
other emoluments from July 1, 1967 to march 15, 1986 totaling P743,243.65 only.
In the respondent’s answer, he claimed that some of the properties enumerated were acquired by
him and his wife before he became the Director of NBI. The acquisition cost of the properties he acquired
during his incumbency was P2,793,141.26 only. He likewise alleged that apart from his salary as NBI
Director for the entire period of his service, he also received allowances from the Dangerous Drugs Board
(DDB), the National Police Commission, the Central Bank, and the Law Firm of San Juan, Africa,
Gonzales, and San Agustin. He also derived substantial income from the investment and properties he
and his wife acquired before he became the Director of NBI.
Based on the findings of the Sandiganbayan, the said Tribunal dismissed the petition for forfeiture
on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not respondent’s professional fees outside NBI should form part of his lawful income.
(2) Whether or not respondent’s properties are manifestly out of proportion to his lawful income.

HELD:
(1) YES. The respondent’s professional fees outside the NBI should form part of his lawful income.
Before resolving the issues herein involved, it must be kept in mind that the Supreme Court is not a trier
of facts. It is not the Court’s function to examine and weigh all over again the evidence presented in the
proceedings. While the petitioner concedes that the Sandiganbayan’s findings of facts are conclusive
upon this Court, it invokes the exception laid down in Dischoso vs. Court of Appeals, to wit: 1.) when the
conclusion is a finding entirely grounded specultion, surmise, and conjecture; 2.) when the inference
made is manifestly absurd, mistaken, or impossible; 3.) ….; 4.) when the judgment is premised on a
misapprehension of facts. A plain reading of the Sandiganbayan’s ruling exposed manifest errors
prompting the Court to delve upon the factual matters of the case.
Respondent was engaged as a consultant on “handwriting, document evaluation, ballistics,
fingerprinting and other specialized projects.” He claimed that he rendered his services as such outside
of office hours. He was given permission by his superior to act as consultant, but he could not find among
his files written permission allegedly given to him in 1967. At any rate, he did not conceal his consultancy
services and the corresponding fees he received: in fact, he stated them in the Statement of Assets and
Liabilities he submitted to the office of the Secretary of Justice, as well as in his ITR.
Even assuming that he had no prior written authority to act as a consultant of private entity,
respondent’s violation of the rule – lack of prior permission – was a technical one. At most, it would
subject him to administrative penalty provided in the Civil Service rules had the proper charge been filed
against him. Such violation did not amount to a crime or graft and corrupt practice as defined by law.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Hence, we are of the opinion that his professional fees should be included in the computation of his lawful
income.
In ascertaining the value of respondent’s properties and shareholdings, it is not the fair market
value, as claimed by the petitioner that should be made the basis thereof, rather, as correctly held by the
Sandiganbayan, it is the acquisition cost thereof, since it is the actual amount of money shelled out by
respondent in acquiring them. It is the acquisition cost that must be charged against respondent’s lawful
income and funds.
Neither can we sustain petitioner’s bare allegation that the cost or consideration of the subject
properties stated in the contracts were understated for tax evasion purposes. Absent any evidence to
support it, such claim deserves a short shrift for being merely speculative or conjectural.
(2) YES. In resolving the second issue, it would be noteworthy to have a reference on Section 2 of
R. A. No. 1379 which provides that whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his
incumbency property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee
and to his other lawful income and income from legitimately acquired property, the said property shall be
presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired.
From the summary of Bugarin’s assets, it can readily be seen that all of his real properties were
purchased or constructed as the case may be from 1968 to 1980. The total acquisition cost thereof was
P1,705,583. With the exception of those that had been liquidated, those acquired from 1981 onward, and
those whose year of acquisition could not be determined, his shareholdings in various corporations and
other investments amounted to P464,580. Hence, for the period from 1968 to 1980, he amassed wealth
in the amount of P2,170,163. On the other hand, his total income from 1967 to 1980 amounted only to
P766,548.
Premises considered, respondent’s properties acquired from 1968 to 1980 which were out of
proportion to his lawful income for the said period should be forfeited in favor of the government for failure
of the respondent to show to the Court’s satisfaction that the same were lawfully acquired.

SANDIGANBAYAN; THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER A


PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL EXCEPT WHEN HE IS CHARGED AS CO-PRINCIPAL,
ACCOMPLICE OR ACCESSORY OF A PUBLIC OFFICER.

MACALINO vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


[G.R. Nos. 140199-200, February 6,2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Felicito S. Macalino was the Assistant Manager of the Treasury Division and the
Head of the Loans Administration & Insurance Section of the Philippines National Construction
Corporation (PNCC), a government-controlled corporation. On September 16, 1992, the Special
Prosecutor, Office of the Ombudsman, with the approval of the Ombudsman, filed with the
Sandiganbayan two informations against the petitioner and his spouse Liwayway S. Tan charging them
with estafa through falsification of official documents and frustrated estafa through falsification of
mercantile documents.
During the initial presentation of evidence for the defense, petitioner moved for leave to file a
motion to dismiss on the ground that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over him since he is not a
public officer because the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), formerly Construction
and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP), is not a government-owned or controlled
corporation with original charter. The Sandiganbayan denied petitioner’s motion to dismiss.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the petitioner.

HELD: NO. Inasmuch as the PNCC has no original charter as it was incorporated under the general
law on corporations, it follows inevitably that petitioner is not a public officer within the coverage of RA
3019, as amended. Thus, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over him. The only instance when the
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a private individual is when the complaint charges him either as a
co-principal, accomplice, or accessory of a public officer who has been charged with a crime within the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
The cases cited by respondent People of the Philippines are inapplicable because they were
decided under the provisions of the 1973 Constitution which included as public officers, officials and
employees of corporations owned and controlled by the government through organized and existing
under the general corporation law. The 1987 Constitution excluded such corporations.
The crime charged against petitioner was committed in 1989 and 1990. The criminal actions
were instituted in 1992. It is well-settled that “the jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is determined
by the law in force at the institution of the action.”

OMBUDSMAN
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

OMBUDSMAN; THE POWER TO INVESTIGATE AND TO PROSECUTE GRANTED


BY LAW TO THE OMBUDSMAN IS PLENARY AND UNQUALIFIED.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs. RUBEN ENOC, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 145957-68, January 25, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: Respondents herein were employed at the Office of the Southern Cultural Comminities
(OSCC), Davao Del Sur, Provincial Office, Digos, Davao del Sur with below grade 27. They were
charged with 11 counts of malversation through falsification, based on the alleged purchases of medicine
and food assistance for cultural community members, and 1 count of violation of R.A. 3019 in connection
with the purchases of supplies for the OSCC without bidding/canvass. As none of the respondents has
the rank required under R.A. 8249 to be tried for the said crimes in the Sandiganbayan, the informations
were filed by the Ombudsman in RTC of Digos (Branch 19).
Thereafter, the respondents moved to for the quashal of the case before the RTC averring , as in
the case of Uy vs. Sandiganbayan, that the Ombudsman has no authority to prosecute graft cases falling
within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. The said motion was granted by the lower court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ombudsman has the power to prosecute and investigate cases cognizable
by the regular courts.

HELD: YES. The power to investigate and prosecute granted by law to the Ombudsman is plenary and
unqualified. It pertains to any act or omission of any public officer or employee when such act or omission
appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient. The law does not make any distinction between
cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and those cognizable by regular courts. It has been held that
the clause “any illegal act or omission of any public official” is broad enough to embrace any crime
committed by a public officer or employee.
The reference made by R.A. 6770 to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, particularly in
Section 15(1) giving the Ombudsman primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan,
and Section 11(4) granting the Special Prosecutor the power to conduct preliminary investigation and
prosecute criminal cases within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, should not be construed as
confining the scope of the investigatory and prosecutory power of the Ombudsman to such cases.
Section 15 of R.A. 6770 give the Ombudsman primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the
Sandiganbayan. The law defines such primary jurisdiction as authorizing the Ombudsman “to take over,
at any stage, from any investigatory agency of the government, the investigation of such cases.” The
grant of this authority does not necessarily imply the exclusion from its jurisdiction of cases involving
public officers and employees cognizable by other courts. The exercise of the Ombudsman of his primary
jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan is not incompatible with the discharge of his
duty to investigate and prosecute other offenses committed by public officers and employees.
Moreover, the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman should not be equated with the limited
authority of the Special Prosecutor under Section 11 of R.A. 6770. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is
merely a component of the Office of the Ombudsman and may only act under the supervision and control
and upon authority of the Ombudsman. Its power to conduct preliminary investigation and to prosecute
criminal cases is within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The Ombudsman is mandated by law to
act on all complaints against officers and employees of the government and to enforce their
administrative, civil, and criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants. To carry out this
duty, the law allows him to utilize the perosonnel of his office and/or designate any fiscal, state prosecutor
or lawyer in the government service to act as special investigator or prosecutor to assist in investigation
and prosecution of certain cases. The law likewise allows him to direct the Speciall Prosecutor to
prosecute cases outside the Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction in accordance with Section 11(4c) of R.A. 6770.

OMBUDSMAN; THE OMBUDSMAN CANNOT SUBJECT AN ACCUSED TO THE


EXPENSE, RIGORS AND EMBARRASSMENT OF TRIAL ARBITRARILY.

CABAHUG vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, et al.


[G.R. NO. 132816, February 5, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: A negotiated contract was entered into by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports
(DECS), represented by petitioner Susana B. Cabahug, by virtue of her position as Department of
Education, Culture and Sports Director for Region XI, for the purchase of 46,000 units of topaz Monobloc
Armchairs from Rubber worth Industries Corporation (RWIC), at P495 per unit. The negotiated contract
was approved by Ricardo T. Gloria, then Secretary of the DECS.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Before the consummation of the contract, another DECS supplier, Jesusa T. dela Cruz wrote to
Secretary Gloria objecting to the said contract for the reason that the chairs were patently overpriced.
The letter was referred to Antonio E.B. Nachura, DECS Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, who after
requiring petitioner Cabahug to comment on said letter, resolved to give due course to the transaction.
Consequently, a complaint was filed by dela Cruz before the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, against
petitioner Cabahug, Secretary Gloria, and Undersecretary Nachura.
The Office of the Ombudsman through Jovito Coresis, Jr., issued a Resolution finding probable
cause and recommending the filing of Information with the Sandiganbayan by the Office of the Special
Prosecutor and the dismissal of the case against Secretary Gloria and Undersecretary Nachura.
Unaware of the Information filed before the Sandiganbayan, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration
before the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
After learning of the filing of the Information with the Sandiganbayan, petitioner filed a Motion for
Reinvestigation. Petitioner prayed that the Motion for Reconsideration filed before the Office of the
Special Prosecutor be admitted by the graft court as her Motion for Reinvestigation. The Third Division of
the Sandiganbayan granted the Motion for Reconsideration.
Accordingly, the case was evaluated by the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Cicero D. Jurado,
Jr., Special Prosecution Officer (SPO) II assigned to review the case, recommended dismissal of the
case, there being no showing that petitioner acted in bad faith or with gross negligence. While Special
Prosecutor Leonardo P. Tamayo and his Deputy Robert E. Kallos, concurred in the findings, Ombudsman
Aniano Disierto did not agree. Noting that bad faith and/or gross inexcusable negligence is deducible
from the acts of the accused, Ombudsman Disierto ordered prosecution to proceed.
To this petitioner filed a Motion for Re-determination of Existence of Probable Cause. This motion
was denied by the Sandiganbayan and treated the same as a second Motion for Reconsideration which is
not allowed by the Rules of Court. Petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion for Reconsideration arguing
therein that the said motion cannot be considered a second motion for reconsideration since it was
addressed to the court, and not anymore to the Office of the Special Prosecutor or the Ombudsman. The
motion was denied and so was the subsequent Very Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion.

HELD: YES. While it is the function of the Ombudsman to determine whether or not the petitioner
should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial, he cannot do so arbitrarily. When
at the outset the evidence cannot sustain a prima facie case or that the existence of probable cause to
form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused cannot be ascertained, the prosecution must desist
from inflicting on any person the trauma of going through a trial.
There is nothing in the records that show Cabahug acted in bad faith or even with gross
inexcusable negligence. In the absence of bad faith, she cannot be held liable for violation of Section 3(e)
of RA 3019, as amended.
Judicial power of review includes the determination of whether there was grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
government [Section 1(2) Article VIII 1987 Constitution]. Under this definition, the Sandiganbayan should
have, considering the divergent positions in the Office of the Ombudsman, granted the motion for
redetermination of probable cause after reviewing the evidence thus far submitted, and dismissed the
case against petitioner. Thus, respondent court committed grave abuse of discretion in allowing the case
to proceed.

OMBUDSMAN; THE OMBUDSMAN CAN ONLY RECOMMEND THE REMOVAL OF A


PUBLIC OFFICIAL FOUND TO BE AT FAULT.

RENATO A. TAPIADOR vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, et al.


[G.R. No. 129124, March 15, 2002]
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

DE LEON, JR., J:
FACTS: On 4 July 1994, Walter H. Beck, a U.S. citizen, lodged a complaint-affidavit with the Resident
Ombudsman at the main office in Manila of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation against
petitioner Renato A. Tapiador, BID Special Investigator and assigned as Technical Assistant in the
office of the then Associate Commissioner Bayani M. Subido, Jr. The complaint alleged in substance
that petitioner Tapiador demanded and received from Walter Beck the amount of Ten Thousand
Pesos (P10,000.00) in exchange for the issuance of an alien certificate of registration (ACR) which
was subsequently withheld deliberately by the petitioner despite repeated demands by Beck, unless
the latter pay an additional amount of Seven Thousand Pesos (P7,000.00). Accompanying the
complaint was the affidavit executed by a certain Purisima C. Terencio which essentially seeks to
corroborate the alleged payment of the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) by Walter Beck
and his wife to the petitioner in consideration for the issuance of the subject ACR.
After investigation, BID Resident Ombudsman Ronaldo P. Ledesma found the petitioner liable for
violating existing civil service rules and regulations as well as penal laws and thus, recommended that
criminal and administrative charges be filed against the petitioner.
Upon review of the case, the criminal charge was dismissed by the Ombudsman for lack of
evidence; however, the Ombudsman found the petitioner liable for grave misconduct in the administrative
aspect of the case and imposed the penalty of dismissal from the government service.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner is liable for grave misconduct in the administrative case against
him.

HELD: NO. A thorough review of the records, however, showed that the subject affidavits of Beck and
Terencio were not even identified by the respective affiants during the fact-finding investigation conducted
by the BID Resident Ombudsman at the BID office in Manila. Neither did they appear during the
preliminary investigation to identify their respective sworn statements despite prior notice before the
investigating officer who subsequently dismissed the criminal aspect of the case upon finding that the
charge against the petitioner "was not supported by any evidence". Hence, Beck's affidavit is hearsay and
inadmissible in evidence. On this basis alone, the Administrative Adjudication Bureau of the Office of the
Ombudsman should have dismissed the administrative complaint against the petitioner in the first
instance.
Nonetheless, a perusal of the affidavit executed by Walter Beck does not categorically state that it
was petitioner Tapiador who personally demanded from Beck the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00) in consideration for the issuance of the latter's ACR. On the other hand, it appears that
Walter Beck and his wife sought the assistance of Purisima Terencio sometime in the later part of 1992 in
facilitating the issuance of his ACR and in the process, Terencio allegedly informed the couple that Beck
could be granted the same and would be allowed to stay in the Philippines permanently with the help of
the petitioner and a certain Mr. Angeles who was also with the BID, for a fee of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00). Hence, Beck and his wife did not appear to have any direct or personal knowledge of the
alleged demand of the petitioner except through the information allegedly relayed to them by Terencio.
Likewise, although Beck claimed to have subsequently paid Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00), his
affidavit is silent as to the identity of the person who actually received the said amount from him.
In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving, by substantial
evidence, the allegations in the complaint. Substantial evidence does not necessarily import
preponderance of evidence as is required in an ordinary civil case; rather, it is such relevant evidence as
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
The complainant clearly failed to present the quantum of proof necessary to prove the charge in
the subject administrative case, that is, with substantial evidence. Besides, assuming arguendo, that
petitioner were administratively liable, the Ombudsman has no authority to directly dismiss the petitioner
from the government service, more particularly from his position in the BID. Under Section 13,
subparagraph (3), of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman can only "recommend" the
removal of the public official or employee found to be at fault, to the public official concerned.

OMBUDSMAN; APPEALS FROM THE ORDERS OF THE OMBUDSMAN ARE


COGNIZABLE BY THE COURT OF APPEALS.

SUSAN MENDOZA-ARCE vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN


[G.R. No. 149148, April 5, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: Respondent Santiago B. Villaruz was originally the administrator of the estate of his mother
Remedios Bermejo Villaruz. However, in an order issued by the trial court, he was removed as such for
patent neglect of his legal duties and failure to comply with the court orders. In his place, respondent's
eldest brother, Nicolas B. Villaruz, Jr., was appointed regular administrator and was required to file a
bond.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Thereafter, Nicolas filed a motion for the approval of his bond. Santiago and his brother, Jose
Ma. Villaruz, opposed Nicolas' motion and prayed that Jose Maria be instead appointed regular
administrator. Attached to their opposition was a certification executed by their mother Remedios before
she passed away. Subsequently, Judge Patricio denied the oppositors' opposition, while recognizing the
validity of the certification executed by Remedios Bermejo-Villaruz.
On October 12, 1998, Judge Sergio Pestaño, to whom the case was in the meantime reassigned,
approved the administrator's bond of respondent Nicolas B. Villaruz, Jr.
After receiving a copy of Judge Pestaño's order, respondent Susan Mendoza-Arce, Clerk of Court
VI of the Regional Trial Court of Roxas City, prepared a Letter of Administration (LOA).
On December 7, 1998, administrator Nicolas B. Villaruz, Jr., accompanied by three armed
security guards and respondent's Deputy Sheriff Charles Aguiling, took possession of the entire estate of
the decedent. This gave rise to the present action. In a letter-complaint to the Ombudsman, respondent
Santiago B. Villaruz alleged that petitioner committed two crimes in issuing the LOA, to wit: 1) falsification
by a public officer under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code and 2) Corrupt practice in violation of
§3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019).
Respondent accused petitioner of acting "with manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross
inexcusable negligence" by falsely attributing to Judge Pestaño the appointment of Nicolas B. Villaruz as
new administrator and investing him with "full authority to take possession of all property/ies" of the
decedent, because the fact was that it was Judge Patricio who had appointed Nicolas administrator of the
estate.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for certiorari in this case should have been filed in the Court of
Appeals.

HELD: NO. In Tirol, Jr. v. del Rosario, it is held that although as a consequence of the decision in
Fabian v. Desierto, appeals from the orders, directives, or decisions of the Ombudsman in administrative
cases are now cognizable by the Court of Appeals, nevertheless in cases in which it is alleged that the
Ombudsman has acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, a
special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 may be filed in the Court to set aside the Ombudsman's
order or resolution. In Kuizon v. Desierto it is again held that the Court has jurisdiction over petitions for
certiorari questioning resolutions or orders of the Office of the Ombudsman in criminal cases.
In Posadas v. Ombudsman, "the rule, of course, is that a criminal prosecution cannot be enjoined.
But as has been held, infinitely more important than conventional adherence to general rules of criminal
procedure is respect for the citizen's right to be free not only from arbitrary arrest and punishment but also
from unwarranted and vexatious prosecution."
Indeed, while the Court's policy is one of non-interference in the conduct of preliminary
investigations, leaving the investigating officers with a latitude of discretion in the determination of
probable cause, nonetheless exceptions to the general rule have been recognized, to wit:
1. When necessary to afford adequate protection to the constitutional
rights of the accused;
2. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid
oppression or multiplicity of actions;
3. When there is a prejudicial question which is sub judice;
4. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority;
5. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or
regulation;
6. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent;
7. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense;
8. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution;
9. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for
vengeance.
10. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and
motion to quash on that ground has been denied.

OMBUDSMAN; THE COURTS WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THE DISCRETION OF


THE OMBUDSMAN TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE EXCEPT WHEN THE
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED ARE IMPAIRED.

MANUEL C. ROXAS, et al. vs. CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, et al.


[G.R. No. 114944, May 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: see page 25

ISSUE: Whether or not the case warrants the intervention of the court.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

HELD: YES. It appears that the charge against respondents was previously dismissed. For this
reason, there being no motion or reconsideration filed by the complainant, said respondents ceased to be
parties. Consequently, the mere filing of motions for reconsideration by those previously indicted, without
questioning the dismissal of the charge against the said respondents, could not and should not be made
the basis for impleading them as accused in this case without violating their right to due process.
Ordinarily, the courts will not interfere with the discretion of the Ombudsman to determine whether
there exists reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused is
probably guilty thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding information with the appropriate courts.
However, the case at bar falls under one of the recognized exceptions to this rule, more specifically, the
constitutional rights of the accused are impaired and the charges are manifestly false. In cases where the
Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor were unable to agree on whether or not probable cause exists,
we may interfere with the findings and conclusions.
The power to investigate offenses of this nature belongs to the Ombudsman and the Special
Prosecutor. While the Ombudsman may have erred in disregarding the recommendations of the Special
Prosecution Officers which appear to be substantiated by the record, he should be allowed an opportunity
to review his decision and, where necessary, correct it.
Furthermore, it appears that petitioners were deprived of due process when the Special
Prosecutor reinstated the complaint against them without their knowledge. Due process of law requires
that every litigant must be given an opportunity to be heard. He has the right to be present and defend
himself in person at every stage of the proceedings.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES

EXHAUSTION OF REMEDIES; WHERE THE CASE INVOLVES ONLY LEGAL


QUESTIONS, THE LITIGANT NEED NOT EXHAUST ALL ADMINISTRATIVE
REMEDIES BEFORE SUCH JUDICIAL RELIEF CAN BE SOUGHT.

CASTRO vs. SECRETARY RICARDO T. GLORIA


[G.R. No. 132174, August 20, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIEREZ, J:
FACTS: Porfirio Gutang, Jr. filed with the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) a
complaint for disgraceful and immoral conduct against petitioner Gualberto Castro, a teacher in
Guibuangan Central School, Barili, Cebu. It was alleged that he has an illicit affair with Gutang's wife,
petitioner's co-teacher at the same school.
After hearing or on August 28, 1984, the DECS Regional Office VII, through Assistant
Superintendent Francisco B. Concillo, rendered a decision declaring petitioner guilty of the offense
charged. He was meted the penalty of dismissal from the service. 3 The DECS Central Office affirmed
Concillo's decision in an Indorsement dated March 25, 1986.
After his motion for reconsideration and subsequent appeal to the Central DECS office were
denied, petitioner filed a petition for mandamus with the Regional Trial Court, imploring that judgment be
rendered ordering respondent Secretary or anyone who may have assumed the duties and functions of
his office (1) to reduce his penalty from dismissal to one (1) year suspension; 2) to consider the one (1)
year suspension as already served considering that he has been out of the service for more than ten (10)
years; 3) to reinstate him to his former position; and 4) to pay his back salaries. On November 20, 1997,
the trial court rendered the herein assailed decision dismissing the petition on the ground of non-
exhaustion of administrative remedies. It ruled that petitioner should have appealed to the Civil Service
Commission before coming to court.
Petitioner insists that, "when the question to be settled is purely a question of law, he may go
directly to the proper court so that he can have proper redress." For its part, the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG) contends that petitioner's adequate remedy was to appeal the decision of respondent
Secretary to the Civil Service Commission.

ISSUE: Whether or not the following is a question of law — Is dismissal from the service the proper
penalty for the 1st offense of disgraceful and immoral conduct?

HELD: YES. In the case at bench, petitioner no longer disputes the administrative finding of his guilt
for the offense of disgraceful and immoral conduct. It is settled and final insofar as he is concerned.
What petitioner only impugns is the correctness of the penalty of "dismissal from the service." He is
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

convinced that the proper penalty for the first offense of disgraceful and immoral conduct is only
suspension from the service. Undoubtedly, the issue here is a pure question of law. We need only to
look at the applicable law or rule and we will be able to determine whether the penalty of dismissal is in
order.
As correctly pointed out by petitioner, the proper penalty for the 1st offense of disgraceful and
immoral conduct is only suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year. In fact, this has
been the consistent ruling of this Court. In Aquino v. Navarro, a secondary guidance counselor in a public
high school, was merely suspended for disgraceful and immoral conduct. In Burgos v. Aquino, the Court
suspended a court stenographer for six months for maintaining illicit relations with the complainant's
husband and for perjury in not disclosing in her personal information sheet she has a daughter as a result
of that relationship.

EXHAUSTION OF REMEDIES; THE PURPOSE OF THE MOTION FOR


RECONSIDERATION IS TO GIVE THE COMELEC AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT
THE ERROR IMPUTED TO IT.

BERNARDO vs. ABALOS


[G.R. No. 137266, December 5. 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: On April 21, 1998, petitioners Antonio M. Bernardo, Ernesto A. Domingo, Jr. and Jesus C.
Cruz filed with the COMELEC a criminal complaint against respondents Benjamin S. Abalos, Sr.,
Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr., Dr. Eden C. Diaz, Romeo Zapanta and Arcadio de Vera for vote buying in
violation of Section 261, paragraphs (a), (b) and (j) of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), in relation to
Section 28 of Republic Act 6646 and Section 68 of the OEC. The complaint, docketed as E.O. Case No.
98-110, alleged that:
“Respondents sponsored, arranged and conducted an all-expense-free transportation, food and
drinks affair for the Mandaluyong City public school teachers, registered voters of said city, at the Tayabas
Bay Beach Resort, Sariaya, Quezon Province.
“Mayor Benjamin Abalos, Sr. delivered a speech wherein he offered and promised the
Mandaluyong City public school teachers and employees a ‘hazard’ pay of P1,000.00, and increasing
their allowances from P1,500.00 to P2,000.00 for food, or with a total of P3,000.00 which they will get by
the end of the month.
“The offers and promises to said public school teachers, who are members of the Board of
Election Inspectors of Mandaluyong City and registered voters thereat, were made a few weeks before
the election to induce or unduly influence the said teachers and the public in general (the other guests) to
vote for the candidacy of Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos, Jr.”
On December 1, 1998, the COMELEC En Banc issued the assailed Resolution No. 98-3208
dismissing the complaint "for insufficiency of evidence to establish prima facie case."
On February 09, 1999, petitioners, without first submitting a motion for reconsideration, filed the
instant petition with this Court.

ISSUES: Whether petitioner’s failure to submit a motion for reconsideration was fatal to his cause of
action.

HELD: YES. Petitioners did not exhaust all the remedies available to them at the COMELEC level.
Specifically, they did not seek a reconsideration of the assailed COMELEC En Banc Resolution as
required by Section 1, Rule 13 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure,
Petitioners' failure to file the required motion for reconsideration utterly disregarded the
COMELEC Rules intended "to achieve an orderly, just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and
disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the Commission."
Contrary to petitioners' statement that a resort to a motion for reconsideration is "dilatory," it bears
stressing that the purpose of the said motion is to give the COMELEC an opportunity to correct the error
imputed to it. If the error is immediately corrected by way of a motion for reconsideration, then it is the
most expeditious and inexpensive recourse. But if the COMELEC refuses to correct a patently erroneous
act, then it commits a grave abuse of discretion justifying a recourse by the aggrieved party to a petition
for certiorari.
A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, can only
be resorted to if "there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law.'' Having failed to file the required motion for reconsideration of the challenged Resolution,
petitioners' instant petition is certainly premature. Significantly, they have not raised any plausible reason
for their direct recourse to this Court.

JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS


CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

JUDICIAL REVIEW; FINDINGS OF FACT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY MUST


BE RESPECTED BUT THE SAME SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL
EVIDENCE.

OFELIA D. ARTUZ vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 142444, September 13, 2001]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Private respondent Rene A. Bornales, Legal Aide, Regional Health Office No. VI (RHO VI),0
filed against petitioner Ofelia D. Artuz, then Legal Officer IV, RHO VI, DOH, for Estafa or Swindling
through Falsification of Public Documents and/or Falsification of Public Documents.
In view perhaps of the delay, private respondent Bornales went to the Merit System Protection
Board (MSPB) of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) which took cognizance of the Letter-Complaint and
directed Regional Office to conduct the necessary investigation, and to submit its report and
recommendation. Thereafter, on 28 May 1993 the MSPB formally charged petitioner with Dishonesty and
Falsification of Public Documents.
In her answer dated 20 July 1993 petitioner Artuz vehemently denied the charges against her,
contending that they were "malicious, fabricated and pure harassment." She maintained that the charges
had no factual and legal basis as she had regularly reported to office and performed her duties as Legal
Officer IV during the period in question, as shown by her Daily Time Records (DTRs) for July and August
1991, which were duly verified by the Personnel Section and finally approved by the Director of RHO VI.
Moreover, she asserted that her Punch Cards for those months would tally with her DTRs and further
confirm the regularity of her office attendance. According to her, their office was implementing the Bundy
clock system, and there was no office memorandum or circular requiring the use of the Logbook.
Subsequently, petitioner received copy of CSC Resolution No. 981650 finding her guilty of
dishonesty and falsification of public documents and imposed upon her the penalty of dismissal from the
service including all its accessory penalties. According to the CSC – …substantial evidence establishes
the fact that respondent falsified entries in her DTRs for the months of July and August 1991 to enable her
to claim her salaries in full. It is, therefore, clear that she benefited from said deliberate acts of
falsification. "In falsification or forgery, the person or persons who are or were in possession of, or made
use of, or benefited from the forged or falsified documents are legally presumed to be forgers."

ISSUE: Whether or not the Logbook is the best evidence to prove the attendance of any employee as
against the DTRs.

HELD: NO. The CSC and the CA proceeded in disposing of this case on a wrong premise. Both
assumed that the Logbook alone would be the best evidence of an employee's attendance in his office.
This assumption is erroneous and baseless. Ordinarily, the Logbook is used as a mere locator for those
employees who now and then are required to render service or sent on official business outside the office
premises, or to record events or unusual happenings in the office, unless otherwise specified or required
in an office memorandum or circular. Just to illustrate the fallacy of this assumption and the unreliability of
the Logbook as piece of evidence: RHO VI sits in Iloilo City. It comprises the Provinces of Aklan, Antique,
Capiz, Guimaras, Negros Occidental and the Cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Roxas, Silay, etc. If an employee of
RHO VI is sent on an official business to Bacolod City and takes the regular trip by boat that leaves Iloilo
City at 6:00 o'clock in the morning, arriving at the pier of Bacolod City at 8:00 o'clock, he does not have to
go to the regional office before departure time to sign the Logbook. Similarly, when he leaves Bacolod
City after office hours at 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon and arrives in Iloilo at 8:00 o'clock in the evening, he
does not have to pass the office to sign the Logbook, as it would be impractical, unreasonable and
absurd! In such case, the office can only rely on his DTR which is not only certified correct by him but also
by his chief of office.
Findings of fact of an administrative agency must be respected and this Court should not be
tasked to weigh once more the evidence submitted before the administrative body. However, it is
axiomatic that such findings of fact should be supported by substantial evidence. We are not convinced
that the non-signing in the Logbook by petitioner Artuz alone is substantial evidence considering that we
have clearly shown in the above discussion that it is not "the best evidence to prove attendance of an
employee," unlike the questioned DTRs that were duly certified by the employee concerned, verified by
his immediate supervisor, and authenticated by the head of the regional office.

JUDICIAL REVIEW; WHERE THE LAW PROVIDES FOR AN APPEAL FROM THE
ADMINISTRATIVE BODIES TO THE SUPREME COURT OR COURT OF APPEALS,
SUCH BODIES ARE CO-EQUAL WITH THE RTCS.

PHILIPPINE SINTER CORPORATION, et al. vs. CAGAYAN ELECTRIC POWER and


LIGHT CO., INC.
[G.R. No. 127371, April 25, 2002]
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: Pursuant to a Cabinet Memorandum issued by President Aquino, respondent Cagayan
Electric Power and Light, Co. (CEPALCO), grantee of a legislative franchise to distribute electric power to
the municipalities of Villanueva, Jasaan and Tagoloan, and the city of Cagayan de Oro, all of the province
of Misamis Oriental, filed with the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) a petition entitled "In Re: Petition for
Implementation of Cabinet Policy Reforms in the Power Sector". The petition sought the "discontinuation
of all existing direct supply of power by the National Power Corporation (NPC) within CEPALCO's
franchise area."
After hearing, the ERB rendered a decision granting the petition, and declaring that the petitioner
has been proven to be capable of distributing power to its industrial consumers and having passed the
secondary considerations with a passing mark of 85 and that all direct connection of industries to NPC
within the franchise area of CEPALCO is no longer necessary. Therefore, all existing NPC direct supply of
power to industrial consumers within the franchise area of CEPALCO is hereby ordered to be
discontinued. The decision became final and executory.
To implement the decision, CEPALCO wrote Philippine Sinter Corporation (PSC), petitioner, and
advised the latter of its desire "to have the power supply of PSC, directly taken from NPC, disconnected,
cut and transferred" to CEPALCO. PSC refused CEPALCO's request, citing its contract for power supply
with NPC effective until July 26, 1996. To restrain the execution of the ERB Decision, PSC and PIA filed a
complaint for injunction against CEPALCO with the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City. On April
11, 1994, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of PSC and PIA.
CEPALCO filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the trial court in its order dated
December 13, 1994. Aggrieved, CEPALCO appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court
granted the petition and dissolved the injunction.

ISSUE: Whether or not an injunction ordered by the trial court can lie against the final judgment of the
ERB.

HELD: NO. "The rule indeed is, and has almost invariably been, that after a judgment has gained
finality, it becomes the ministerial duty of the court to order its execution. No court, perforce, should
interfere by injunction or otherwise to restrain such execution. The rule, however, concededly admits of
exceptions; hence, when facts and circumstances later transpire that would render execution inequitable
or unjust, the interested party may ask a competent court to stay its execution or prevent its enforcement.
So, also, a change in the situation of the parties can warrant an injunctive relief."
Clearly, an injunction to stay a final and executory decision is unavailing except only after a
showing that facts and circumstances exist which would render execution unjust or inequitable, or that a
change in the situation of the parties occurred. Here, no such exception exists as shown by the facts
earlier narrated. To disturb the final and executory decision of the ERB in an injunction suit is to brazenly
disregard the rule on finality of judgments. Public interest requires that proceedings already terminated
should not be altered at every step, for the rule of non quieta movere prescribes that what had already
been terminated should not be disturbed. A disregard of this principle does not commend itself to sound
public policy. Corollarily, Section 10 of Executive Order No. 172 (the law creating the ERB) provides that
a review of its decisions or orders is lodged in the Supreme Court. Settled is the rule that where the law
provides for an appeal from the decisions of administrative bodies to the Supreme Court or the Court of
Appeals, it means that such bodies are co-equal with the Regional Trial Courts in terms of rank and
stature, and logically, beyond the control of the latter. Hence, the trial court, being co-equal with the ERB,
cannot interfere with the decision of the latter. It bears stressing that this doctrine of non-interference of
trial courts with co-equal administrative bodies is intended to ensure judicial stability in the administration
of justice whereby the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction may not be opened, modified or
vacated by any court of concurrent jurisdiction.

LAW OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

DE FACTO OFFICERS

DE FACTO OFFICERS; A DE FACTO OFFICER TAKES THE SALARIES AT HIS


RISK.

THE GENERAL MANAGER, PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY (PPA) and RAMON


ANINO vs. JULIETA MONSERATE
[G.R. No. 129616, April 17, 2002]
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: Julieta Monserate, respondent, started her government service in 1977 as Bookkeeper II in
the Port Management Office, PPA, Iloilo City. Barely a year later, she was promoted to the position of
Cashier II and then as Finance Officer (SG-16) in 1980. In the early part of 1988, when the PPA
underwent a reorganization, respondent applied for the permanent position of Manager II (SG-19) of the
Resource Management Division, same office. The Comparative Data Sheet 4 accomplished by the PPA
Reorganization Task Force showed that respondent was ranked #1 in the eligibility.
On February 1, 1988, Maximo Dumlao, Jr., then General Manager of the PPA, appointed
respondent to the position of Manager II (Resource Management Division). On even date, respondent
assumed office and discharged the functions thereof. On July 8, 1988, the CSC, through Guillermo R.
Silva (Assistant Director of the Civil Service Field Office-PPA) approved her appointment.
Meanwhile, on April 18, 1988, petitioner Ramon Anino, who ranked second to respondent per the
Comparative Data filed an appeal/petition with the PPA Appeals Board, protesting against respondent's
appointment. The PPA Appeals Board, in a Resolution dated August 11, 1988, sustained the protest and
rendered ineffective respondent's appointment based on "(1) CSC MC No. 5, s. 1988, Par. 3; (2) CSC MC
NO. 10, s. 1986, Par. A, 1.2 and Par. B; and (3) Civil Service Eligibility." These grounds were not
explained or discussed in the Resolution.
Aggrieved, respondent filed with the PPA General Manager an appeal/request for clarification
dated November 2, 1988. She questioned her replacement claiming that the proceedings before the PPA
Appeals Board were irregular because (1) she was not notified of the hearing before it; (2) she was not
furnished a copy of the August 11, 1988 PPA Appeals Board Resolution or a copy of the protest filed by
petitioner Anino; (3) she was not informed of the reasons behind her replacement; and (4) their Port
Manager (in Iloilo City), who was then an official member of the Board, was not included in the said
proceedings.
On November 8, 1988, pending resolution of her appeal/request for clarification, respondent
received a copy of PPA Special Order No. 492-88 dated October 21, 1988, also issued by General
Manager Dayan. This PPA Order officially reassigned her to the position of Administrative Officer (SG-15)
which was petitioner Anino's former position and was lower than her previous position as Finance Officer
(SG 16) before she was appointed as Division Manager
On January 16, 1989, respondent filed with the CSC an appeal formally protesting against
petitioner Anino's appointment and at the same time questioning the propriety of the August 11, 1988
Resolution of the PPA Appeals Board. The CSC dismissed respondent's appeal. On appeal to the CA,
the appellate court nullified the resolutions of the Board and the Civil Service due to lack of notice and
hearing and that the appointment of respondent to the position of Administrative officer constitutes a
demotion which violates her rights to security of tenure. The CA ordered also ordered the reinstatement
of Monserate to the position of Resource Management Division Manager.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not there was due process when respondent was replaced by petitioner Anino.
(2) Whether or not the appointment of petitioner Anino was valid.

HELD:
(1) NO. The grounds mentioned against respondent’s appointment were not supported by the
evidence and were in themselves ambiguous. Respondent never had any pending criminal or
administrative case at the time of her appointment as manager. She was not given the chance to defend
herself or air her side of the story as she was never notified of the resolution of the PPA Appeals Board
and was not furnished a copy of the resolution. What she received was the order already ordering her
demotion. Therefore the resolution of the PPA Appeals Board is irregular if not null and void.
(2) NO. Nonetheless, he is considered a de facto officer during the period of his incumbency. A de
facto officer is one who is in possession of an office and who openly exercises its functions under color of
an appointment or election, even though such appointment or election may be irregular. In Monroy vs.
Court of Appeals, this Court ruled that a rightful incumbent of a public office may recover from a de facto
officer the salary received by the latter during the time of his wrongful tenure, even though he (the de
facto officer) occupied the office in good faith and under color of title. A de facto officer, not having a good
title, takes the salaries at his risk and must, therefore, account to the de jure officer for whatever salary he
received during the period of his wrongful tenure. The rule is that where there is a de jure officer, a de
facto officer, during his wrongful incumbency, is not entitled to the emoluments attached to the office, even
if he occupied the office in good faith. This rule, however, cannot be applied squarely on the present case
in view of its peculiar circumstances. Respondent had assumed under protest the position of
Administrative Officer sometime in the latter part of 1988, which position she currently holds. Since then,
she has been receiving the emoluments, salary and other compensation attached to such office. While
her assumption to said lower position and her acceptance of the corresponding emoluments cannot be
considered as an abandonment of her claim to her rightful office (Division Manager), she cannot recover
full back wages for the period when she was unlawfully deprived thereof. She is entitled only to back pay
differentials for the period starting from her assumption as Administrative Officer up to the time of her
actual reinstatement to her rightful position as Division Manager. Such back pay differentials pertain to
the difference between the salary rates for the positions of Manager II and Administrative Officer. The
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

same must be paid by petitioner Anino corresponding from the time he wrongfully assumed the contested
position up to the time of his retirement on November 30, 1997.

COMMENCEMENT OF OFFICIAL RELATIONS

COMMENCEMENT; A CES ELIGIBILITY IS A REQUIREMENT FOR A POSITION


EMBRACED IN THE CES.

DE LEON vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 127182, December 5, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: In the Decision sought to be reconsidered, we ruled that private respondent's appointment on
August 28, 1986, as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV of the Ministry of Local Government, was
temporary. Applying the case of Achacoso v. Macaraig, we held that since private respondent was not a
Career Executive Service (CES) eligible, his appointment did not attain permanency because he did not
possess the required CES eligibility for the CES position to which he was appointed. Hence, he can be
transferred or reassigned without violating his right to security of tenure.
It appears, however, that in Jacob Montesa v. Santos, et al., decided on September 26, 1990,
where the nature of private respondent's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV, of the
Ministry of Local Government, was first contested, this Court issued a Minute Resolution dated March 17,
1992, holding that Achacoso v. Macaraig is not applicable to the case of private respondent.
There was no Career Executive Service Board during the Freedom Constitution or at the time of
appointment of petitioner. The CESO was only reconstituted by the appointment of its Board of six (6)
members sometime in August 1988. There was no CESO eligibility examination during petitioner's
incumbency in the Department, as there was no CESO board. The first CESO examination was given on
August 5 and 12, 1990. The CESO eligibility was not a requirement at the time of the appointment of
petitioner. The only eligibility required is that of a first grader and petitioner is a first grade eligible.
Therefore, having met all the requirements for the position to which he was appointed, he cannot be
removed in violation of the constitutional guarantee on security of tenure and due process.
Invoking res judicata, private respondent contends that the nature of his appointment can no
longer be passed upon and controverted in the present case considering that said issue had already been
settled in the foregoing Minute Resolution of the Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondents possessed eligibility for a permanent appointment which entitles
him to security of tenure.

HELD: NO. A reading, however, of the Integrated Reorganization Plan which was adopted and
declared part of the law of the land by Presidential Decree No. 1, dated September 24, 1972, clearly
shows that a CES eligibility is indeed a requirement for a position embraced in the CES.
It bears stressing that in Achacoso v. Macaraig, the questioned appointment was made on
October 16, 1987, before the CES Board was reconstituted in 1988, and before the first CESO
examination was given in 1990, as in the present case. Nevertheless, the Court, in Achacoso, ruled that
a CES eligibility is required for a CES position, such that an appointment of one who does not possess
such eligibility shall be temporary. Evidently, a CES eligibility has always been one of the requirements
for a position embraced in the CES. The Court finds no reason to make an exception in the instant
controversy.
The foregoing law and circular were never amended nor repealed by the Freedom Constitution.
A CES eligibility was an existing and operative requirement at the time of private respondent's
appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV. Neither were the said law and circular inconsistent
with the Freedom Constitution as to render them modified or superseded. In fact, the Integrated
Reorganization Plan allows the appointment of non-CES eligibles, like private respondent, provided they
subsequently acquire the needed eligibility.

COMMENCEMENT; APPOINTMENT VS. REASSIGNMENT

DR. ELEANOR A. OSEA vs. DR. CORAZON E. MALAYA


[G.R. No. 139821, January 30, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On November 20, 1997, petitioner filed Protest Case No. 91120-004 with the Civil Service
Commission. She averred that she was appointed as Officer-in-Charge, Assistant Schools Division
Superintendent of Camarines Sur, by then Secretary Ricardo T. Gloria of the Department of Education,
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Culture and Sports, upon the endorsement of the Provincial School Board of Camarines Sur; that despite
the recommendation of Secretary Gloria, President Fidel V. Ramos appointed respondent to the position
of Schools Division Superintendent of Camarines Sur; that respondent's appointment was made without
prior consultation with the Provincial School Board, in violation of Section 99 of the Local Government
Code of 1991. Hence, petitioner prayed that respondent's appointment be recalled and set aside for
being null and void.
In dismissing petitioner's protest, the Civil Service Commission held that Section 99 of the Local
Government Code of 1991 contemplates a situation where the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports issues the appointments, whereas respondent's appointment was made by no less than the
President, in the exercise of his appointing power. Moreover, the designation of respondent as Schools
Division Superintendent of Camarines Sur and of petitioner as Schools Division Superintendent of Iriga
City were in the nature of reassignments, in which case consultation with the local school board was
unnecessary.
Thus, petitioner filed a petition for review of both the Resolutions of the Civil Service Commission
before the Court of Appeals, which however dismissed the petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in deciding that the respondent was
merely reassigned to Camarines Sur and did not require the mandatory prior consultation with the local
school board under Section 99 of RA 7160.

HELD: NO. Clearly, Section 99 of the Local Government Code of 1991 applies to appointments made
by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. This is because at the time of the enactment of the
Local Government Code, schools division superintendents were appointed by the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports to specific division or location. In 1994, the Career Executive Service
Board issued Memorandum Circular No. 21, Series of 1994, placing the positions of schools division
superintendent and assistant schools division superintendent within the career executive service.
Consequently, the power to appoint persons to career executive service positions was transferred from
the Department of Education, Culture and Sports to the President.
Under the circumstances, the designation of respondent as Schools Division Superintendent of
Camarines Sur was not a case of appointment. Her designation partook of the nature of a reassignment
from Iriga City, where she previously exercised her functions as Officer-in-Charge-Schools Division
Superintendent, to Camarines Sur. Clearly, therefore, the requirement in Section 99 of the Local
Government Code of 1991 of prior consultation with the local school board, does not apply. It only refers
to appointments made by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Such is the plain meaning of
the said law.
Appointment should be distinguished from reassignment. An appointment may be defined as the
selection, by the authority vested with the power, of an individual who is to exercise the functions of a
given office. When completed, usually with its confirmation, the appointment results in security of tenure
for the person chosen unless he is replaceable at pleasure because of the nature of his office.
On the other hand, a reassignment is merely a movement of an employee from one
organizational unit to another in the same department or agency which does not involve a reduction in
rank, status or salary and does not require the issuance of an appointment. In the same vein, a
designation connotes merely the imposition of additional duties on an incumbent official.

COMMENCEMENT; AN AD INTERIM APPOINTMENT IS A PERMANENT


APPOINTMENT; DISAPPROVED AD INTERIM VS. BY-PASSSED AD INTERIM.

MA. J. ANGELINA G. MATIBAG vs. ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, et al.


[G.R. No. 149036, April 2, 2002]

CARPIO, J:
FACTS: On February 2, 1999, the COMELEC appointed petitioner as "Acting Director IV" of the EID.
On February 15, 2000, then Chairperson Harriet O. Demetriou renewed the appointment of petitioner as
Director IV of EID in a "Temporary" capacity. On February 15, 2001, Commissioner Rufino S. B. Javier
renewed again the appointment of petitioner to the same position in a "Temporary" capacity.
On March 22, 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed, ad interim, Benipayo as
COMELEC Chairman, and Borra and Tuason as COMELEC Commissioners, each for a term of seven
years and all expiring on February 2, 2008. Benipayo took his oath of office and assumed the position of
COMELEC Chairman; and Borra and Tuason likewise took their oaths of office and assumed their
positions as COMELEC Commissioners. The Office of the President submitted to the Commission on
Appointments on May 22, 2001 the ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason for
confirmations. However, the Commission on Appointments did not act on said appointments. This
process was repeated twice.
On April 11, 2001, COMELEC Chairman Benipayo issued a Memorandum whereby he
reaasigned petitioner to the Law Department. Petitioner requested Benipayo to reconsider her
reassignment to the Law Department but to no avail. Upon denial, petitioner filed an administrative and
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

criminal complaint with the Law Department against Benipayo, alleging that her reassignment violated
Omnibus Election Code, COMELEC Resolution No. 3258, Civil Service Memorandum Circular No. 07 and
other pertinent administratve and civil service laws, rules and regulations.
During the pendency of her complaint before the Law Department, petitioner filed the instant
petition questioning the appointment and the right to remain in office of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason, as
Chairman and Commissioners of the COMELEC, respectively.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the assumption of office by Benipayo, Borra and Tuason on the basis of the ad interim
appointments issued by the President amounts to a temporary appointment prohibited by Section 1
(2), Article IX-C of the Constitution.
(2) Whether or not the renewal of their ad interim appointments and subsequent assumption of office to
the same positions violate the prohibition on reappointment under Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the
Constitution.
(3) Whether or not Benipayo's removal of petitioner from her position as Director IV of the EID and her
reassignment to the Law Department is illegal and without authority, having been done without the
approval of the COMELEC as a collegial body.

HELD:
(1) NO. An ad interim appointment is a permanent appointment because it takes effect immediately
and can no longer be withdrawn by the President once the appointee has qualified into office. The fact
that it is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments does not alter its permanent
character. The Constitution itself makes an ad interim appointment permanent in character by making it
effective until disapproved by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of
Congress. The second paragraph of Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution provides as follows:
"The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress,
whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by
the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress."
Thus, the ad interim appointment remains effective until such disapproval or next adjournment,
signifying that it can no longer be withdrawn or revoked by the President. The fear that the President can
withdraw or revoke at any time and for any reason an ad interim appointment is utterly without basis.
Hence the ad interim appointments extended by the President to Benipayo, Borra and Tuason, as
COMELEC Chairman and Commissioners, respectively, do not constitute temporary or acting
appointments prohibited by Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution.
(2) NO. There is no dispute that an ad interim appointee disapproved by the Commission on
Appointments can no longer be extended a new appointment. The disapproval is a final decision of the
Commission on Appointments in the exercise of its checking power on the appointing authority of the
President. The disapproval is a decision on the merits, being a refusal by the Commission on
Appointments to give its consent after deliberating on the qualifications of the appointee. Since the
Constitution does not provide for any appeal from such decision, the disapproval is final and binding on
the appointee as well as on the appointing power. In this instance, the President can no longer renew the
appointment not because of the constitutional prohibition on reappointment, but because of a final
decision by the Commission on Appointments to withhold its consent to the appointment.
An ad interim appointment that is by-passed because of lack of time or failure of the Commission
on Appointments to organize is another matter. A by-passed appointment is one that has not been finally
acted upon on the merits by the Commission on Appointments at the close of the session of Congress.
There is no final decision by the Commission on Appointments to give or withhold its consent to the
appointment as required by the Constitution. Absent such decision, the President is free to renew the ad
interim appointment of a by-passed appointee.
(3) NO. The Chairman, as the Chief Executive of the COMELEC, is expressly empowered on his
own authority to transfer or reassign COMELEC personnel in accordance with the Civil Service Law. In
the exercise of this power, the Chairman is not required by law to secure the approval of the COMELEC
en banc.
Petitioner's appointment papers dated February 2, 1999, February 15, 2000 and February 15,
2001, indisputably show that she held her Director IV position in the EID only in an acting or temporary
capacity. Petitioner is not a Career Executive Service (CES) officer, and neither does she hold Career
Executive Service Eligibility, which are necessary qualifications for holding the position of Director IV as
prescribed in the Qualifications Standards (Revised 1987) issued by the Civil Service Commission.
Obviously, petitioner does not enjoy security of tenure as Director IV.

POWERS AND DUTIES OF A PUBLIC OFFICER

POWERS AND DUTIES; MANDAMUS WILL LIE ONLY TO COMPEL THE


PERFORMANCE OF A MINISTERIAL DUTY BUT NOT TO FULFILL CONTRACTUAL
OBLIGATIONS.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

G & S TRANSPORT CORP. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


[G.R. No. 120287, May 28, 2002]

BELLOSILLO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner G & S Transport Corporation (G & S), with the name and style Avis Rent-A-Car, was
the exclusive operator of coupon taxi services at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) under a
five (5)-year contract of concession with respondent Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). The
concession contract expired but was renewed by the parties on a monthly basis "until such time when a
new concessionaire (shall have been) chosen." Under the arrangement, G & S was able to operate the
coupon taxi service uninterruptedly beyond the period of five (5) years originally awarded by MIAA.
On 12 July 1994 MIAA initiated proceedings for public bidding to choose two (2) concessionaires
of the coupon taxi services at the NAIA. Five (5) firms pre-qualified to join. Consequently, MIAA selected
2000 TRANSPORT and NISSAN as the winning bidders and issued in their favor the respective notice of
awards of the coupon taxi service concession.
Petitioner G & S filed a complaint for injunction and mandamus with preliminary injunction and
temporary restraining order against MIAA and its General Manager, 2000 TRANSPORT and NISSAN.
The complaint sought to disqualify 2000 TRANSPORT from the award of the concession contract the
bidding including petitioner G & S and respondents 2000 TRANSPORT and NISSAN and it also asserted
that the concession contract should have been executed in favor of G & S.
The trial court dismissed the complaint. It ruled that the complaint failed to state a cause of action
against herein respondents and that mandamus was unavailable to compel the award of the concession
contract in favor of G & S since such decision was discretionary upon the MIAA.
The Court of Appeals granted the petitions for certiorari of 2000 TRANSPORT and NISSAN, set
aside the order of the trial court issuing the writ of preliminary injunction, and prohibited the trial court from
"hearing and taking further cognizance of the case except to dismiss the same. The appellate court held
that the trial court gravely abused its discretion when it issued the writ of preliminary injunction since
under PD 1818 no court would have jurisdiction to restrain the operation of a public utility and since the
selection of winning bidders was solely the discretion of the sponsoring government agency.

ISSUE: Whether or not a mandamus was available to compel the award of the concession contract in
favor of the petitioner.

HELD: NO. It is a settled rule that mandamus will lie only to compel the performance of a ministerial
duty but does not lie to require anyone to fulfill contractual obligations. Only such duties as are clearly
and peremptorily enjoined by law or by reason of official station are to be enforced by the writ. Whether
MIAA will enter into a contract for the provision of a coupon taxi service at the international airport is
entirely and exclusively within its corporate discretion. It does not involve a duty the performance of
which is enjoined by law and thus this Court cannot direct the exercise of this prerogative.
Indeed the determination of the winning bidders should be left to the sound judgment of the MIAA
which is the agency in the best position to evaluate the proposals and to decide which bid would most
complement the NAIA's services. The exercise of such discretion is a policy decision that necessitates
such procedures as prior inquiry, investigation, comparison, evaluation and deliberation. This process
would necessarily entail the technical expertise of MIAA which the courts do not possess in order to
evaluate the standards affecting this matter -- courts, as a rule, refuse to interfere with proceedings
undertaken by administrative bodies or officials in the exercise of administrative functions. This is so
because such bodies are generally better equipped technically to decide administrative questions and
that non-legal factors, such as government policy on the matter, are usually involved in the decisions.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; PUBLIC SERVICE REQUIRES UTMOST


INTEGRITY AND STRICTEST DISCIPLINE POSSIBLE OF EVERY PUBLIC
SERVANT.

BALTAZAR LL. FIRMALO vs. MELINDA C. QUIRREZ


[A.M. No. P-00-1401, January 29, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: On May 20, 1996, then Presiding Judge, Cezar R. Maravilla, of RTC-Branch 82 of Odiongan,
issued an order reprimanding and censuring the respondent for insubordination and gross inefficiency.
The reprimand arose from the respondent’s failure to submit an inventory of cases and to schedule
certain criminal cases in the court’ calendar.
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Meanwhile, the Supreme Court required the respondent to submit a written explanation why no
administrative sanction should be rendered against her. Several months thereafter, respondent was re-
assigned to the typing of orders, decisions clearances, etc. However, she failed to perform these tasks
efficiently as shown by her works marred by omissions, spelling syntax and error.
Respondent filed her comment stating that the matter of her failure to calendar the criminal cases
was deemed closed and terminated following the submission of her explanation. She further pointed out
that the errors she committed were already corrected and remedied.
Upon submission of this case to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation and
recommendation, the said office recommended that respondent be ordered to pay a fine of Php 1,000.00
with a stern warning that that a commission of similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is guilty as found by the OCA.

HELD: YES. Indeed, the respondent has all but admitted the wrongdoing complained of when she
stated, among others, that the “exhibits submitted to your Office are Orders of the then judges (retired and
returned to regular station) typewritten by me showing an error in the margin. These, however, have been
accordingly corrected….”
While indeed respondent may have “corrected” and “remedied” her mistakes and shortcomings, it
must be stressed that requisite competence and efficiency is not confined to those isolated instances
pointed out by complainant but is a continuous obligation demanded of her for so long as she serves in
the judiciary.
Sine the administration of justice is a sacred task, the person involved in it ought to live up to the
strictest standard of honesty, integrity and uprightness. It bears stressing once again that public service
requires utmost integrity and the strictest discipline possible of every public servant. A public office is a
public trust that enjoins all public officers and employees, particularly those serving in the judiciary to
respond to the highest degree of dedication often even beyond personal interest. As held in the case
Mendoza vs. Mabutas, the Court condemns and would never countenance such conduct, act or omission
on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which would violate the norm of public
accountability and diminish and even just tend to diminish the faith if the people in the Judiciary.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THOSE INVOLVED IN THE ADMINISTRATION


OF JUSTICE CARRY A HEAVY BURDEN OF RESPONSIBILITY.

TERESITA H. ZIPAGAN vs. JOVENCIO N. TATTAO


[A.M. No. P-01-1512, September 24, 2001]

PANGANIBAN, J:
FACTS: Complainant claims that on 26 February 1998 she went to the Office of the Clerk of Court of
the Regional Trial Court of Cabagan, Isabela to discuss an important official matter with the presiding
judge of said Court. Thereafter she talked with a certain Mrs. Albano, the officer-in-charge of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 22, Cabagan, Isabela regarding her consultation with the judge. It was at that juncture
that respondent berated her saying “[G]et out of this place, we don't receive orders from the Department
of Justice because we are under the Supreme Court, you [have been] a sucker ever since the time of
Judge Vera Cruz.” Afterwards, respondent slapped her right cheek and hit her right eye with a glass with
water causing her to become wet. As a result of the incident she suffered injury in her right eye.
In his COMMENT dated 02 June 1998, respondent avers that on 26 February 1998, complainant
entered their office and therein shouted ‘… so many utterances which disturbed the people who [were]
attending the trial of cases set for said date.' He told her not to shout since their office [was] not a market
place but complainant went near him and threw the 'glass of Sprite' he was drinking (respondent was
taking his merienda that time). Thereafter, Zipagan hit him with a ballpen, wounding his right elbow in the
process so he slapped her with his left hand. Still, complainant kept on attacking him and was only
pacified when Utility Worker Gerard Vinasoy brought her out of the office.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent failed to measure up to that behavior expected of a court employee.

HELD: YES. Time and time again, this Court has emphasized that "the conduct of every employee of
the judiciary must be at all times characterized [by] propriety 'and decorum and above all else, it must be
above and beyond suspicion." We have reiterated in several cases that "the conduct and behavior of
every official and employee of an agency involved in the administration of justice, from the presiding judge
to the most junior clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct
must at all times be characterized by, among others, strict propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep
the respect of the public for the judiciary.''
Moreover, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and Employees (RA
6713) implements the State policy of promoting a high standard of ethical responsibility in the public
service. Specifically, Section 4 of the Code requires "[p]ublic officials and employees . . . [to] respect the
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

rights of others, and . . . refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy,
public order, public safety and public interest."
Clearly, the brash and callow behavior of respondent is unbecoming a court employee. Assuming
that complainant was disturbing the orderly administration of justice with her noisy chatter, respondent
should have exercised more patience and adopted a more prudent manner in asking her to leave the
office. His abrupt interruption of the conversation, followed by his slapping her face and hitting her right
eye has shamed not only the court he was serving, but the entire judiciary as well.
Clearly, respondent has degraded the dignity of the judiciary and undermined the people's faith
and confidence in it. Indeed, the Court looks with great disfavor [upon] any display of animosity by any
court employee. Court personnel must, at all times, act with strict propriety and proper decorum so as to
earn the public's regard for the judiciary. Improper behavior, particularly during office hours, exhibits not
only a paucity of professionalism at the workplace but also a great disrespect to the court itself. Such a
demeanor is a failure of circumspection demanded of every public official and employee.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THE GROUND FOR REMOVAL OF A JUDICIAL


OFFICER SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

ANG vs. JUDGE ASIS


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1590, January 15, 2002]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: In a Complaint-Affidavit dated April 7, 2000 filed with the Office of the Court Administrator,
Gina B. Ang charged Judge Enrique C. Asis, Presiding Judge of Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court of
Naval, Biliran, with Bribery, Extortion and Violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act relative to
Election Case No. 98-01.
Sometime in October 1998, while her election protest was pending, respondent allegedly
intimated to complainant's lawyers that he will decide the case in complainant's favor in exchange for
monetary consideration. Without her knowledge, complainant's father delivered to respondent the total
amount of P140,000.00 on three occasions in October 1998, January 1999, and April 1999.
Sometime in December 1998, complainant was told by her lawyers that respondent had
requested assistance in the promotion of his brother, then Examiner II at the Bureau of Customs, through
complainant's cousin, Atty. Ramon Salazar, Jr., who was the Chief of Staff of the Customs Commissioner.
Complainant refused but, unbeknown to her, her family immediately contacted her cousin and
respondent's brother was soon promoted.
Subsequently, complainant learned that respondent had requested that his son be admitted for
training at the Philippine Heart Center. Complainant refused as she might be misinterpreted as extending
any assistance to respondent in order to obtain a favorable decision. Nevertheless, she acceded to her
lawyer's request to bring respondent's son to Manila and even paid for the latter's plane fare and
accommodation until his application was granted by the Philippine Heart Center.
In January 2000, complainant allegedly received a call from respondent telling her that his son
needed P4,000.00 for his training. Thinking that this was a request for a loan, she agreed. Since she did
not have cash at the time, she asked her friend to give a check to respondent's son.
On March 14, 2000, respondent rendered his decision in the election protest declaring Caridad
Atok winner in the mayoralty race.
Respondent filed his Comment. He vehemently denied the charges of complainant and instead,
he cited various citations he received as a member of the Judiciary of Biliran because of his integrity.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent judge is guilty of Bribery, Extortion and Violation of the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act.

HELD: NO. From the affidavit-complaint of the complainant, it will be noted that all the charges of
complainant are based on informations (sic) allegedly given or passed on to her by her lawyers.
Complainant's lawyers in her electoral protest filed in the sala of respondent Judge Asis were Attorneys
Lee and Matriano.
However, complainant did not present any of these lawyers, Attys. Lee or Matriano, to corroborate
her allegations that they, Attys. Lee and Matriano, were approached by respondent "intimating" that for a
consideration he will render a favorable decision for complainant in the electoral protest.
The ground for the removal of a judicial officer should be established beyond reasonable doubt.
Such is the rule where the charges on which the removal is sought is misconduct in office, willful neglect,
corruption, incompetency, etc. The general rule in regard to admissibility in evidence in criminal trials
apply.
In short, this Court can not give credence to charges based on mere suspicion or speculation.
While this Court will never tolerate or condone any act, conduct or omission that would violate the norm of
public accountability or diminish the people's faith in the judiciary, neither will it hesitate to shield those
under its employ from unfounded suits that only serve to disrupt rather than promote the orderly
administration of justice
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

For administrative liability to attach it must be established that respondent was moved by bad
faith, dishonesty, hatred or some other motive. Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or
negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a
breach of a sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill-will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. It
contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or some motive of self-interest or
ill-will for ulterior purposes. Evident bad faith connotes a manifest deliberate intent on the part of the
accused to do wrong or cause damage.
In the case at bar, the record does not show that respondent judge was moved by ill-will or bad
faith in rendering the adverse judgment, or that his ruling was manifestly unjust. Complainant has not, in
fact, adduced any proof to show that impropriety attended the issuance of the subject decision. To
reiterate, bad faith is not presumed and he who alleges the same has the onus of proving it.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; JUDGES MAY NOT BE HELD LIABLE


ADMINISTRATIVELY RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY ERROR OR MISTAKE IN THE
PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES.

GERRY JAUCIAN vs. SALVACION B. ESPINAS


[A.M. No. RTJ-01-1641, May 9, 2002]

PANGANIBAN, J:
FACTS: Complainant, as losing mayoral candidate for the Municipality of Daraga, Albay, in the May 11,
1998 local elections, filed a petition, dated May 22, 1998, denominated as an 'election protest and/or
revision/recounting of votes,' on the ground that fraud and anomalies were allegedly committed during the
aforesaid local elections, both in the course of voting and during the counting and tabulation of the ballots,
to his prejudice. He prayed for the issuance of an order directing the revision or recounting of the ballots
in the contested 114 precincts as enumerated in his petition, the nullification and setting aside of the
proclamation of Wilson Andes as mayor, and his own proclamation as mayor.
Later, respondent judge issued the assailed Order, dated March 8, 1999 which contained a
finding that 'only thirteen (13) ballot boxes were found well supported to warrant the approval of the relief
being sought by the protestant.
Complainant asserts that respondent judge should have ordered a revision of the ballots in all the
precincts alleged in the Complaint, pursuant to Section 255 of the Omnibus Election Code. To justify her
March 8, 1999 Order directing a partial revision of the ballots, respondent cites The Updated Election
Code of the Philippines as modified/amended.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent judge can be held administratively liable for gross ignorance of
the law.

HELD: YES. Judges may be held administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law when it is
shown that — motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption — they ignored, contradicted or
failed to apply settled law and jurisprudence.
In this case, respondent's Order on a very basic subject was patently erroneous. 16 Her failure to
observe the requirements prescribed by the Omnibus Election Code for an election protest is inexcusable.
First, the said Code took effect on December 3, 1985, long before the 1998 elections. Second, the
evidence shows that she acted in bad faith.
Judges may not be held liable administratively responsible for every error or mistake in the
performance of their duties; otherwise, that would make their position unbearable. To merit disciplinary
sanction, the error or mistake must be gross or patent, malicious, deliberate, or in bad faith. In the
absence of proof to the contrary, a defective or erroneous decision or order is presumed to have been
issued in good faith.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; GOOD FAITH IS ALWAYS PRESUMED UNLESS


CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY IS ADDUCED.

ANDRADE vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 127932, December 7, 2001]

DE LEON JR, J:
FACTS: On July 6, 1971, petitioner was appointed as permanent teacher in the Division of City
Schools, Manila. She was initially assigned as English teacher at the Araullo High School, Manila.
On June 14, 1985, two (2) days before the opening of classes for the school year 1985-1986, petitioner
was not given any teaching load.
In an indorsement dated July 30, 1985, addressed to Superintendent Coronel, private respondent
Wingsing cited three (3) reasons why petitioner Andrade was not given any teaching load: (1) drastic drop
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

of enrollment; (2) she was declared an excess teacher; and (3) she ranked lowest in her performance
rating. Hence, on August 22, 1985, Superintendent Coronel informed the petitioner, through private
respondent Wingsing, that the petitioner would be designated to a non-teaching position in the meantime
that arrangements were being made for her eventual reassignment to other schools where her services
may be needed.
Feeling aggrieved, petitioner filed an action for damages with mandatory injunction against
private respondent Dominador S. Wingsing, English Department Head Virginia E. Fermin and Assistant
Schools Division Superintendent Arturo F. Coronel before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Quezon City.
Petitioner contends that public respondent Court of Appeals erred in applying the Orcino Doctrine
and that Sec. 31 of P.D. No. 807, otherwise known as the Civil Service Commission, Sec. 6 of R.A. No.
4670, otherwise known as The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers and R.A. No. 2260, as amended
should be the applicable laws.
Petitioner asserts that private respondent Wingsing failed to comply with the said laws
considering that no performance evaluation plan which can be the basis for personal action was ever
presented in evidence to justify the latter's actions. What was shown were performance rating sheets and
the Certification on the Audit of Teachers, allegedly prepared by petitioner's co-teachers and personnel
from the Office of the Research and Evaluation Services, which petitioner Andrade did not conform to nor
sign.
Petitioner also doubts the veracity of private respondent Wingsing's claim that there was a
reduction of classes for the school year 1985-1986 as reason for her being declared as an excess teacher
since Araullo High School even hired three (3) more new teachers that school year. To underscore her
claim that she had been singled out, petitioner asserts that, contrary to the declaration of respondent
Wingsing, there was no other person declared as an excess teacher in Araullo High School for that school
year.

ISSUE: Whether or not private respondent is liable for damages.

HELD: NO. "Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act
with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."
The elements of abuse of one's rights under the said Article 19 (New Civil Code) are the
following: (1) there is a legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of
prejudicing or injuring another. In this regard, it appeared that the complaint of petitioner Andrade failed to
meet the second and third requirements.
Wingsing was not at all dictated by whim or fancy, nor of spite against the petitioner but was
rather guided by the following factors: qualification to teach, seniority, teaching performance and attitude
towards the school community. For two (2) consecutive years petitioner received an unsatisfactory rating,
the lowest, from two (2) English Department Heads, namely: Herminia Valdez and Virginia Fermin.
Petitioner knew about her poor rating, but she refused to acknowledge it. She did not question nor contest
the same.
Contrary to the claim of petitioner, there were no new teachers hired that school year in Araullo
High School; rather, existing substitute teachers were merely given permanent designation or assigned
new subjects, significantly, prior to the teachers' audit or to the declaration of excess teachers on July 27,
1985.
Entrenched is the rule that bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence; it
imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of sworn
duty through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. In the case at bar, we find
that there was no "dishonest purpose," or "some moral obliquity," or "conscious doing of a wrong," or
"breach of a known duty," or "some motive or interest or ill will" that can be attributed to the private
respondent. It appeared that efforts to accommodate petitioner were made as she was offered to handle
two (2) non-teaching jobs, that is, to handle Developmental Reading lessons and be an assistant
Librarian, pending her re-assignment or transfer to another work station, but she refused. The same
would not have been proposed if the intention of private respondent were to cause undue hardship on the
petitioner. Good faith is always presumed unless convincing evidence to the contrary is adduced. It is
incumbent upon the party alleging bad faith to sufficiently prove such allegation. Absent enough proof
thereof, the presumption of good faith prevails. In the case at bar, the burden of proving alleged bad faith
therefore was with petitioner but she failed to discharge such onus probandi. Without a clear and
persuasive evidence of bad faith, the presumption of good faith in favor of private respondent stands.
As explained by payroll clerk Aida Soliman, petitioner's name was not deleted from the regular
monthly payroll but merely transferred to the last page of the roll since she failed to submit her Form 48 or
Daily Time Record (DTR) sheet on time.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; WITHDRAWAL OF A COMPLAINT OR


SUBSEQUENT DESISTANCE BY THE COMPLAINANT IN AN ADMINISTRATIVE
CASE DOES NOT NECESSARILY WARRANT ITS DISMISSAL.

ISAGANI RIZON vs. JUDGE OSCAR E. ZERNA


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1575, September 17, 2001]
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Complainant Rizon filed an election protest before the RTC presided by respondent Judge
Zerna. Complainant contested the election of protestee Ong for the position of Mayor of the Municipality
of Baroy, Lanao del Norte, the latter having been proclaimed as winner in the May 11, 1998 elections. On
November 22, 1998, the parties submitted the case for decision but the case had remained undecided
within three (3) months after its submission. On February 26, 1998 complainant filed a "Motion to Render
Early Decision," which according to complainant, fell on "deaf ears." Complainant thus filed an affidavit-
complaint before this Court charging respondent with "willful, deliberate, and malicious delay in rendering
the decision."
Upon evaluation of the complaint and respondent Judge's comment thereto, the OCA submitted a
report to this Court finding the judge guilty of gross inefficiency, the delay in the disposition of the case
being inexcusable. The report stated, among other things, that: “Judge Zerna has a history of delay in
deciding cases, he failed to render decision within the ninety (90) day period and to accordingly render
decision in twenty two (22) criminal cases, seventeen (17) civil cases, five (5) criminal and nine (9) civil
cases appealed from the lower courts, and other pending matters in four (4) cases; to take appropriate
action for the early resolution of twenty eight (28) other cases; to take further action on thirty two (32)
others which he failed to act on or set in the court calendar after the lapse of considerable length of time;
and to act on twenty three (23) other cases that could already be archived.”
Pending resolution of this case, complainant filed before the Supreme Court an Affidavit of
Desistance, stating that "after careful deliberation," he found that the case "does not merit further
prosecution." Complainant informed the Court that he is "no longer interested in pursuing the complaint."

ISSUE: Whether or not the Affidavit of Desistance filed by the complainant can absolve the respondent
from liability.

HELD: NO. Complainant's desistance cannot absolve respondent from liability. In Enojas, Jr. vs.
Gacott, Jr., we said: “To begin with, withdrawal of a complaint or subsequent desistance by the
complainant in an administrative case does not necessarily warrant its dismissal. Administrative actions
cannot depend on the will or pleasure of the complainant who may, for reasons of his own, condone what
may be detestable. Neither can the Court be bound by the unilateral act of the complainant in a matter
relating to its disciplinary power. The Court does not dismiss administrative cases against members of
the Bench merely on the basis of withdrawal of the charges. Desistance cannot divest the Court of its
jurisdiction to investigate and decide the complaint against the respondent. To be sure, public interest is
at stake in the conduct and actuation of officials and employees of the judiciary. And the program and
efforts of this Court in improving the delivery of justice to the people should not be frustrated and put to
naught by private arrangements between the parties.”

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; IN THE ABSENCE OF SUBSTANTIAL


EVIDENCE, ANDMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY COULD NOT BE BASED ON THE
PRINCIPLE OF COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY.

ANTONIO G. PRINCIPE vs. FACT-FINDING AND INTELLIGENCE BUREAU (FFIB),


OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
[G.R. No. 145973, January 23, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On February 19, 1991, then City Mayor of Antipolo City, Daniel S. Garcia, endorsed the Philjas
Corporation to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) for the creation, development and
sale of lots of the Cherry Hills Subdivision (CHS) located in the above-mentioned city. Thereafter, Philjas
was issued different permits and documents for purposes of proceeding with the project. Eventually, a
Small Scale Mining Permit (SSMP) was issued to Philjas to extract and remove 10,000 cu. Meters of
filling materials from the area where the proposed subdivision is to be constructed. However, another
respondent (in the CA case) informed Philjas that CHS is within the EIS System and as such must secure
ECC from the DENR. Subsequently, Philjas applied for an ECC permit.
Upon the recommendation of one of the subordinates of herein petitioner, the latter approved
Philjas’s application for an ECC permit. The petitioner approved the same based from the Inspection
Report conducted by petitioner’s subordinates.
The Ombudsman rendered a decision finding the petitioner Principe administratively liable for
Gross Neglect of Duty and imposed upon him the penalty of dismissal from office. The CA affirmed the
Ombudsman’s decision. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ombudsman may dismiss petitioner from the service on an administrative
charge for gross neglect of duty, initiated, investigated and decided by the Ombudsman himself without
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

substantial evidence to support his findings of gross neglect of duty because the duty to monitor and
inspect the project was not vested in the petitioner.

HELD: NO. DAO 38-1990 specifically points out the functions of the office attached to the petitioner
and nowhere in it can be found the latter’s responsibility of monitoring housing and land development
projects. The Ombudsman, without taking into consideration the lawfully mandated duties and functions
attached to petitioner’s position, immediately concluded that as the signing and approving authority of the
ECC issued to Philjas, it was incumbent upon the petitioner to conduct actual monitoring and enforce
strict compliance with the terms of the ECC.
Hence, how could petitioner be guilty of neglecting a duty, which is not even his to begin with?
Administrative liability could not be based on the fact that petitioner was the person who signed and
approved the ECC, without proof of actual act or omission constituting neglect of duty.
In the absence of substantial evidence of gross neglect of petitioner, administrative liability could
not be based on the principle of command responsibility. The negligence of the petitioner’s subordinates
is not tantamount to his own negligence.
It was not within the mandated responsibilities of petitioner to conduct actual monitoring of
projects. The principles governing public officers under the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 clearly
provide that a head of a department or a superior officer shall not be civilly liable for the wrongful acts,
omissions of duty, negligence, or misfeasance of his subordinates, unless he has actually authorized by
written order the specific act or misconduct complained of.

LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; ADMINISTRATIVE OFFENSES DO NOT


PRESCRIBE.

FLORIA vs. SUNGA


[A.M. NO. CA-01-10-P 1, November 14, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: This is a motion for reconsideration for an administrative case filed against Alda Floria by her
fellow employees in the Court of Appeals, which was previously dismissed by this Court. Said Floria was
complained for immorality for having an illicit relationship with a married man, for falsification for
tampering her children’s birth certificates with a legitimate status, and for misrepresentation by claiming
that she earned a Masteral’s Degree. The prior case was dismissed on the ground that the illicit
relationship was ongoing and the presence of ill motive on the part of the complainants.

ISSUE: Does the fact that the offense was no longer existing exculpate a person from an administrative
complaint?

HELD: NO. Administrative offenses do not prescribe. It bears stressing that it is not in accordance with
the norms of morality for a woman, even if single, to maintain an illicit relationship with a married man.
Even if such relationship had ended, the stigma of immorality still attaches to the parties, especially the
woman. This is specially so when the persons concerned are public employees who are supposed to
maintain a high standard of morality in order to live up to their role as models in society. The fact that the
illicit relationship has ceased will only mitigate her culpability.
This Court demands that every employee of the judiciary must adhere to the exacting standards
of honesty, integrity, morality, and decency in his professional and personal conduct, thus: "Every
employee of the judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness and honesty. Like any public
servant, he must exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in the performance of his
official duties but in his personal and private dealings with other people, to preserve the court's good
name and standing.” It cannot be overstressed that the image of a court of justice is mirrored in the
conduct, official and otherwise, of the personnel who worked thereat, from the judge to the lowest of its
personnel. Court personnel have been enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and
decency in their professional and private conduct in order to preserve the good name and integrity of the
courts of justice.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; NO ONE CAN BE SAID TO HAVE ANY VESTED


RIGHT IN AN OFFICE OR ITS SALARY; EXCEPTION.

BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY


[G.R. No. 142801-802, July 10, 2001]
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: On 30 June 1987, former President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order (EO) No. 1273
establishing the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) as part of the structural
organization of the Department of Finance. It was made as the agency of primary responsibility for anti
smuggling operations in all land areas and inland waters and waterways outside the areas of sole
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs.
On 7 January 2000, motivated by the fact that “the designated functions of the EIIB are also being
performed by the other existing agencies of the government” and that “there is a need to constantly
monitor the overlapping functions” among these agencies, former President Joseph Estrada issued EO
No.1911 ordering the deactivation of EIIB and the transfer of its functions to the Bureau of Customs and
the National Bureau of Investigation. On 29 March 2000, former President Estrada issued EO No. 2232
providing that all EIIB personnel occupying positions specified therein shall be deemed separated from
the service effective 30 April 2000, pursuant to a bona fide reorganization resulting to abolition,
redundancy, merger, division or consolidation of positions.
Petitioners, who for themselves and in behalf of others with whom they share a common or
general interest, filed the instant petition seeking the nullification of EO Nos. 1911 and 2232 based on the
grounds presented as issues below.

ISSUE: Whether or not the assailed EOs violate the right to security of tenure.

HELD: NO. Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the
competence of a legitimate body done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. Valid abolition of offices is
neither removal nor separation of the incumbents.
In Dario v. Mison, it was ruled that “reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as
valid provided they are pursued in good faith. As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in ‘good
faith’ if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event, no dismissal
(in case of dismissal) or separation actually occurs because the position itself ceases to exist. And in that
case, security of tenure would not be a Chinese wall. Be that as it may, if the ‘abolition,’ which is nothing
else but a separation or removal, is done for the political reasons or purposely to defeat security of tenure,
otherwise not in good faith, no valid abolition takes place and whatever abolition done is void ab initio.
There is an invalid abolition as where there is merely a change of nomenclature of positions or where
claims of economy are belied by the existence of ample funds.” Indeed, there is no such thing as an
absolute right to hold office. Except constitutional offices which provide for special immunity as regards
salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; DISTINCTION AMONG EMPLOYEES MUST BE


BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL DISTINCTIONS.

CRUZ, et, al. vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 134740, October 23, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Since 1963, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), a government owned corporation,
adopted various resolutions granting the payment of social amelioration benefits (SAB) to all its
employees, sourced from corporate funds. In May 1994, the Resident Auditor of the Commission on Audit
(COA) in the SRA, Juanita Villarosa examined the accounts of the SRA. Pursuant to Section 12 of R.A.
6758, which provides that “such other additional compensation, whether in cash or in kind, being received
by the incumbents only as of 1 July 1989, not integrated into the standardized rates shall continue to be
authorized,” Villarosa questioned the legality of the payment of the SAB to all employees of the SRA. In a
letter dated 26 September 1994, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) ruled that the grant
of the SAB had no legal basis and was in violation of R.A. 6758. Accordingly, the auditor suspended the
payment of SAB to SRA employees.
The SRA Administrator filed a letter with the COA requesting the lifting of the suspension. In the
meantime, the affected SRA employees appealed to the Office of the President for the continued grant of
SAB. The COA denied the request for the lifting of suspension of payment of SAB, claiming that upon the
effectivity of R.A. 6758 (on 1 July 1989), the grant of the SAB was no longer allowed unless there was a
prior authority from the DBM or Office of the President or a legislative issuance.
On 11 May 1996, the Office of the President, through Executive Secretary Ruben Torres, issued a
1st Indorsement, granting post facto approval/ratification of the SAB to SRA employees. On the basis
thereof, SRA filed a motion for reconsideration with the COA for the lifting of the suspension of payment of
SAB to its employees. COA allowed the payment of SAB to SRA employees but only to those hired
before 31 October 1989. Other employees remained not entitled to said benefits.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

ISSUE: Whether or not COA gravely abused its discretion in denying SAB to SRA employees hired
before 31 October 1989.

HELD: YES. The classification of COA as to who were entitled to the SAB and excluding therefrom
those employees hired after 31 October 1989, has no legal basis. The date of hiring of an employee
cannot be considered as a substantial distinction. The employees, based on the title or position they
were holding, were exposed to the same type of work, regardless of the date they were hired. The date
of hiring is not among the factors that shall be taken into consideration in fixing compensation or granting
of benefits. R.A. 6758, Section 2 provides, thus: “Sec. 2. Statement of Policy. – It is hereby declared the
policy of the State to provide equal pay for substantially equal work and to base differences in pay upon
substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the positions. xxx”
Evidently, any distinction among employees must be based on substantial differences, that is, level or
rank, degree of difficulty and amount of work. To discriminate against some employees on the basis
solely of the date of hiring is to run against the progressive and social policy of the law.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THOSE WHO SIT AS ALTERNATES FOR


DEPARTMENT SECRETARIES ARE LIKEWISE PROHIBITED FROM RECEIVING
ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION.

DELA CRUZ, et al. vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 138489, November 29, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: On September 19, 1997, the COA issued Memorandum No. 97-038 directing all unit
heads/auditors/team leaders of the national government agencies and government-owned and controlled
corporations which have effected payment of any form of additional compensation or remuneration to
cabinet secretaries, their deputies and assistants, or their representatives, in violation of the rule on
multiple positions, to (a) immediately cause the disallowance of such additional compensation or
remuneration given to and received by the concerned officials, and (b) effect the refund of the same from
the time of the finality of the Supreme Court En Banc Decision in the consolidated cases of Civil Liberties
Union vs. Executive Secretary and Anti-Graft League of the Philippines, Inc, et al. vs. Secretary of
Agrarian Reform, et al., promulgated on February 22, 1991. The COA Memorandum further stated that
the said Supreme Court Decision, which became final and executory on August 19, 1991, declared
Executive Order No. 284 unconstitutional insofar as it allows Cabinet members, their deputies and
assistants to hold other offices, in addition to their primary offices, and to receive compensation therefor.
Petitioners, through then Chairman Dionisio C. Dela Serna of the NHA Board of Directors,
appealed from the Notice of Disallowance to the Commission on Audit based on the following grounds:
1. The Decision of the Supreme Court in Civil Liberties Union and Anti-Graft League of the
Philippines, Inc. was clarified in the Resolution of the Court En Banc on August 1, 1991, in that
the constitutional ban against dual or multiple positions applies only to the members of the
Cabinet, their deputies or assistants. It does not cover other appointive officials with equivalent
rank or those lower than the position of Assistant Secretary; and
2. The NHA Directors are not Secretaries, Undersecretaries or Assistant Secretaries and that they
occupy positions lower than the position of Assistant Secretary.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners, as mere alternates are entitled to their representation allowances.

HELD: NO. Presidential Decree No. 757 is the law "Creating the National Housing Authority and
dissolving the existing housing agencies, defining its powers and functions, providing funds therefor, and
for other purposes." Section 7 thereof provides:
SECTION 7. Board of Directors. — The Authority shall be governed by a Board of Directors,
hereinafter referred to as the Board, which shall be composed of the Secretary of Public Works,
Transportation and Communication, the Director-General of the National Economic and Development
Authority, the Secretary of Finance, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Industry, the Executive
Secretary and the General Manager of the Authority. From among the members, the President will
appoint a chairman. The members of the Board may have their respective alternates who shall be
the officials next in rank to them and whose acts shall be considered the acts of their principals with
the right to receive their benefit: Provided, that in the absence of the Chairman, the Board shall elect
a temporary presiding officer.
The prohibition against holding dual or multiple offices or employment under Section 13, Article
VII of the Constitution must not, however, be construed as applying to posts occupied by the Executive
officials specified therein without additional compensation in an ex-officio capacity as provided by law and
as required by the primary functions of said officials' office. The reason is that these posts do not
comprise any other office within the contemplation of the constitutional prohibition but are properly an
imposition of additional duties and functions on said officials.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

It may be conceded that the directors concerned occupy positions lower than Assistant Secretary
which may exempt them from the prohibition (under) the doctrine enunciated in Civil Liberties Union vs.
Executive Secretary, supra. However, their positions are merely derivative; they derive their authority as
agents of the authority they are representing; their power and authority is sourced from the power and
authority of the cabinet members they are sitting for. Sans the cabinet members, they are non-entities,
without power and without personality to act in any manner with respect to the official transactions of the
NHA. The agent or representative can only validly act and receive benefits for such action if the principal
authority he is representing can legally do so for the agent can only do so much as his principal can do.
The agent can never be larger than the principal. If the principal is absolutely barred from holding any
position in and absolutely prohibited from receiving any remuneration from the NHA or any government
agency, for that matter, so must the agent be. Indeed, the water cannot rise above its source.
Since the Executive Department Secretaries, as ex-officio members of the NHA Board, are
prohibited from receiving "extra (additional) compensation, whether it be in the form of a per diem or an
honorarium or an allowance, or some other such euphemism," it follows that petitioners who sit as their
alternates cannot likewise be entitled to receive such compensation. A contrary rule would give petitioners
a better right than their principals.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; SECURITY OF TENURE DEPENDS UPON THE


NATURE OF THE APPOINTMENT WHICH IN TURN DEPENDS UPON THE
POSSESSION OF THE REQUISITE ELIGIBILITY.

MA. CHONA M. DIMAYUGA vs. MARIANO E. BENEDICTO II


[G.R. No. 144153, January 16, 2002]

DE LEON, JR., J:
FACTS: On October 26, 1992, then Secretary of Public Works and Highways Jose P. Dimayuga issued
a permanent appointment in favor of petitioner Chona M. Dimayuga as Executive Director II of the Toll
Regulatory Board (Board, for brevity). As its highest-ranking working official, the petitioner exercised
supervision and control over the board’s three divisions. She also oversaw the Board’s Build-Operate-
Transfer (BOT) projects. At the time, the position of Executive Director II was not deemed part of the
Career Executive Service (CES), that is until June 4, 1993, when it was included therein.
On May 31, 1994, the Civil Service Commission issued Memorandum Circular No. 21, providing
among others, that “incumbents of positions which are declared to be CES positions are for the first time
pursuant to this resolution who hold permanent appointment thereto shall remain under permanent status
in their respective positions. However, upon promotion or transfer to other CES positions, these
incumbents shall be under temporary status in said positions until they qualify.”
Petitioner alleges that she had been a subject of several administrative and criminal complaints
which were all designed to coerce her removal. As a consequence of such complaints, DPWH Secretary
Vigilar issued a first 90-day suspension order which was followed by another 90-day suspension issued
this time by Executive Secretary Alexander Aguirre. After the expiration of the last suspension order,
petitioner was directed by DPWH Secretary Vigilar to the Legal Service Department to assist in the
implementation of P.D. 1096 (National Building Code of the Philippines). As a gesture of protest to such
order of the Secretary, the petitioner filed a leave of absence rather than assume a position which she
considered as a demotion.
On September 28, 1998, while she was on leave, petitioner received a letter from Secretary
Vigilar informing her that President Estrada had appointed Mariano Benedicto II as the new Executive
Director II of the Board. As a consequence thereof, petitioner filed a petition for quo warranto before the
Court of Appeals which the latter tribunal dismissed.

ISSUE: Whether or not the subsequent inclusion of the petitioner’s position under the CES would
automatically qualify the latter for the said position even in the absence of the required eligibility.

HELD: NO. The mere fact that a position belongs to a Career Service does not automatically confer
security of tenure o its occupant even if he does not possess the required qualifications. Such right will
have to depend on the nature of his appointment, which in turn depend on his eligibility or lack of it. A
person who does not have the requisite qualifications for the position cannot be appointed to it in the first
place or, only as an exception to the rule, may be appointed to it merely in an acting capacity in the
absence of appropriate eligibles. The appointment extended to him cannot be so regarded as permanent
even if it may be so designated.
In the doctrinal case of Cuevas vs. Bacal, the Court emphasized two (2) salient points, to wit:
First, in order to qualify an appointment as permanent, the appointee must possess the rank appropriate
to the position. Failure in this respect will render the appointment merely temporary. Second, security of
tenure in the Career Executive Service (CES) is thus acquired with respect to rank and not to position.
The guaranty of security of tenure to the members of the CES does not extend to the particular positions
to which they may be appointed—a concept which is applicable only to first and second level employees
in the civil service—but to the rank to which they are appointed by the President.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

The Court reiterates the above points if only to serve as a contradistinction to petitioner’s
arguments. If a career executive officer’s security of tenure pertains only to his rank and not to his
position, with greater reason then that petitioner herein, who is not even a CESO eligible, has no security
of tenure with regard to the position of Executive Director II of the Toll Regulatory Board which was earlier
classified on June 4, 1993 as part of the CES or prior to the issuance of the CSC Memo. Circ. No. 21
dated May 31, 1994.
Lastly, and as correctly pointed out by the Solicitor-General, non-eligibles holding permanent
appointments to CES positions were never meant to remain immobile in their status. Otherwise, their lack
of eligibility would be a premium vesting them with permanency in the CES positions, a privilege even
their eligible counterpart do not enjoy.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; THE EXERCISE OF MANAGEMENT


PREROGATIVE BY THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS IS LIMITED BY THE
APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF LAW.

BAYBAY WATER DISTRICT vs. COMMISSSION ON AUDIT


[G.R. No. 147248-49, January 23, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: In 1996, the Resident Auditor of the BWD conducted an audit of its 1994 accounts. In the
course of the audit, the auditor disallowed payments of per diems in excess of those authorized by the
Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and P.D. 198, RATA (representation and transportation
allowance, etc. Respondents were served with notices of such disallowance.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not members of the Board of Directors of water districts are entitled to receive benefits in
addition to those authorized to be paid pursuant to their charter and the guidelines of the LWUA.
(2) Whether or not the disallowance of duplication of claims of transportation allowance of various BWD
employees, as well as the grant of RATA, rice allowance, and excessive per diems to members of the
board of directors of BWD, would impair vested rights, violate any rule against diminution of benefits,
and undermine the management prerogatives of water districts.
(3) Whether or not the BWD officers and employees are entitled to receive benefits in excess of that
authorized by the law.

HELD:
(1) NO. Petitioners invoke the ruling of this Court in the cases of Kneebone vs. NLRC, Vengco vs.
Trajano and Philippine Duplicators, Inc. vs. NLRC, to support their contention that the prohibition against
the payment of compensation other than per diems does not include the payment of allowances and other
benefits. These cases are, however, not applicable. They refer to exclusion made by this Court of
allowances and other benefits from the salaries of employees in the private sector, not to the
compensation of members of the board of directors of water districts, whose rights to compensation, as
already stated, are governed by P.D. No. 198. Under Section 13 of this decree, per diem is precisely
intended to be the compensation of the members of the board of directors of water districts. Indeed,
words and phrases in a statute must be given their natural, ordinary and commonly-accepted meaning,
due regard being given to the context in which the words and phrases are used. By specifying the
compensation which a director is entitled to receive and by limiting the amount he/she is allowed to
receive in a month, and, in the same paragraph, providing “No director shall receive other compensation”
than the amount provided for per diems, the law quite clearly indicates that directors of water districts are
authorized to receive only the per diem authorized by law and no other compensation or allowance in
whatever form.
R.A. 6758, Section 4, specifically provides that the Salary Standardization Law applies to
“positions, appointive or elective, on full or part-time basis, now existing or hereafter created in the
government, including government-owned or controlled corporations and government financial
institutions. The positions in this category are assigned Salary Grade 1 to Salary Grade 10. It is obvious
that the Salary Standardization Law does not apply to petitioners because directors of water districts are
in fact limited to policy-making and are prohibited from the management of the districts.
(2) NO. Petitioners contend that even before this Court declared in Davao City Water District vs.
Civil Service Commission that water districts are government-owned and controlled corporations subject
to the jurisdiction of the COA, water districts had already been granting additional benefits to members of
the board of directors with the approval of the LWUA, and to their officers and employees and that they
continued doing so after the promulgation of the decision in that case. This contention cannot be
warranted. The erroneous application and enforcement of the law by public officers does not estop the
government from making the subsequent correction of such errors. More specifically, where there is an
express provision of law prohibiting the grant of certain benefits, the law must be enforced even if it
prejudices certain parties due to an error committed by public officials in granting the benefits. As already
stated, P.D. no. 198 expressly prohibits the grant of compensation other than the payment of per diems as
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

determined by the LWUA pursuant to P. D. no. 198, to directors of water districts. Practice without more,
no matter how long continued, cannot give rise to any vested right if it is contrary to law.
The same rule applies to the officers and employees of the BWD. R.A. no. 6686, which then
applied, provides that all government personnel are entitled to a Christmas Bonus of one month basic
salary and additional cash gift of one thousand pesos. The cash gift granted to the BWD manager for the
year 1994 amounted to P1,500. The resident auditor, therefore, properly disallowed the 500 thereof as
this amount was in excess of the authorized by law.
(3) NO. With respect to the officers and employees of BWD, it has been held that the terms and
conditions of employment of government employees are governed by law. Thus, the exercise of
management prerogative by government corporations are limited by the provisions of the laws applicable
to them. The cash gift granted to the general manager as part of his Christmas bonus was in excess of
that authorized by R. A. no. 6686. It cannot be justified by the exercise of management prerogative as it
is contrary to law.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; TRANSFERS OF OFFICERS AGAINST THEIR


WILL AMOUNT TO REMOVAL ONLY IF THEY ARE APPOINTED TO PARTICULAR
STATIONS.

CRISTINA JENNY CARIÑO vs. EXEC. DIR. DAVID DAOAS


[G.R. No. 144493, April 9, 2002]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: On 16 August 1995, Cristina Jenny Cariño was appointed Accountant III in the Office of the
Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC), now known as the National Commission for Indigenous People.
On 05 November 1996, Cariño was reassigned by Atty. David Daoas, ONCC Executive Director,
to the position of Technical Assistant of the Socio-Economic Division of the ONCC. Cariño alleged that
her reassignment was an offshoot of her refusal to sign a Disbursement Voucher for the travel expenses
to Indonesia of ONCC Regional Director Rosalina Bistoyong. She further alleged that the position was
non-existent.
On 14 March 1997, Cariño received a faxed memorandum from Bistoyong directing her to report
to the ONCC Region II office. Thereafter, Cariño filed an administrative complaint for Grave Misconduct,
Oppression and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service against Bistoyong. Bistoyong
allegedly asked Cariño a number of times to withdraw the case in exchange for reinstatement to her
former position. Cariño refused whereupon Bistoyong threatened to reassign her to the ONCC Region II
in Cagayan or in Manila.
On 14 April 1997, Atty. Daoas issued a memorandum to petitioner, reprimanding her for her
failure to report at the Region II office, and stating that she was considered Absent Without Leave (AWOL)
since 17 March 1997. Still, Cariño continued to report for work in Region I everyday despite the fact that
she was not given any assignment.
On 11 September 1997, the Civil Service Commission issued Resolution No. 97-3754 dismissing
the appeal of Atty. Daoas and Bistoyong and ordering them to return Cariño to Region I. Cariño reported
back to work only to be informed, through a memorandum, that the CSC resolution was rendered moot
and academic by her having been dropped from the rolls.
On 11 March 1998, the CSC issued Resolution No. 98-0488 dismissing Cariño's appeal and
affirming her dropping from the rolls. From this Carino appealed to the Court of Appeals, which denied
her petition for lack of merit.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the termination was valid.
(2) Whether or not the reassignment order of the petitioner that is null and void, being violative of the
Constitutional right to security of tenure, imposes upon her the obligation to comply with it before it is
declared illegal?

HELD:
(1) NO. As correctly stated by the Court of Appeals, the validity of the reassignment of petitioner was
already settled by the pronouncement of the Civil Service Commission that such reassignment was not
valid and that she could not be transferred to another region without her consent. It is true that the
transfer or detail of a public officer or employee is a prerogative of the appointing authority and that it can
be done as the exigencies of the public service may require. As such, this Court in a number of cases
allowed the reassignment of personnel but in such instances, they were not appointed to a specific station
or particular unit or agency. The rule proscribes transfers without consent of officers appointed — not
merely assigned — to a particular station, such as in the case of herein petitioner who was appointed as
Accountant III in Region I. Hence, she could not be reassigned to another station or region without her
consent. Otherwise, the unconsented transfer would amount to a removal.
(2) NO. Petitioner is thus justified in not heeding her reassignment order because her basis was not
her "firm belief" that her transfer was illegal, but the legal opinion of a regional office of the Civil Service
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Commission. Petitioner could not therefore be considered AWOL because she was in fact reporting for
work in Region I until 29 April 1997 when Bistoyong issued a memorandum ordering her to refrain from
reporting for work therein.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; A PUBLIC OFFICIAL MAY BE TEMPORARILY


ASSIGNED TO OTHER DUTIES FOR THE GOOD OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE EVEN
OVER HIS OBJECTION.

REMEDIOS PASTOR vs. CITY OF PASIG, et al.


[G.R. No. 146873, May 9, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Remedios Pastor is Budget Officer of the Municipality (now City) of Pasig. In 1992,
she was reassigned to the Office of the Municipal Administrator pending investigation of reports against
her concerning the issuance of Advice of Allotments by her. In 1995, after three years with no case filed
against her, she asked for reinstatement to her former position but she was instead reassigned to another
unit of the now city government. Upon her complaint, the Civil Service Commission ordered her
reinstatement as Budget Officer of the City of Pasig. However, on appeal of the city government, the
Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner may be reinstated to her original position as Budget Officer.

HELD: YES. We agree with the CSC that petitioner should now be returned to her original position for
her indefinite detail to other positions would amount to her removal without cause from the position to
which she has been permanently appointed.
The CSC held that, while petitioner's reassignment was originally made in the exigency of the
service without reduction in her rank, status, or salary, respondent City Mayor failed to advance "sufficient
reason" to warrant petitioner's continuous reassignment for more than three years which "appears too
long for one to conduct the study assigned to her."
There is no question that we recognize the validity and indispensable necessity of the well
established rule that for the good of public service and whenever public interest demands, a public official
may be temporarily assigned or detailed to other duties even over his objection without necessarily
violating his fundamental and legal rights to security of tenure in the civil service. But as we have already
stated, "such cannot be undertaken when the transfer of the employee is with a view to his removal" and
"if the transfer is resorted to as a scheme to lure the employee away from his permanent position"
because "such attitude is improper as it would in effect result in a circumvention of the prohibition which
safeguards the tenure of office of those who are in the civil service."

TERMINATION OF OFFICIAL RELATIONS

TERMINATION; EXCEPT WHERE THE OFFICE WAS CREATED BY THE


CONSTITUTION ITSELF, IT MAY BE ABOLISHED BY THE SAME LEGISLATURE
THAT BROUGHT IT INTO EXISTENCE; EXCEPTION.

BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY


[G.R. No. 142801-802, July 10, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: see page 89

ISSUE: Whether or not the President has the authority to abolish EIIB.

HELD: YES. The general rule has always been that the power to abolish a public office is lodged with
the legislature. This proceeds from the legal precept that the power to create included the power to
destroy. A public office is either created by the Constitution, by statute, or by authority of law. Thus,
except where the office was created by the Constitution itself, it may be abolished by the same legislature
that brought it into existence. The exception, however, is that as far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the
executive department are concerned, the President’s power of control may justify him to inactivate the
functions of a particular office or certain laws may grant him the broad authority to carry our
reorganization measures.
Under Section 31, Book III, of EO No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987), “the President, subject
to the policy in the Executive Office an in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President.” For this
purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or Agencies to the Office of the President.
In Canonizado v. Aguirre, it was ruled that reorganization “involves the reduction of personnel,
consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason economy or redundancy of functions.” It takes
place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein, including
lines of control, authority and responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the
Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the President. Hence it is subject to the President’s
continuing authority to reorganize.

TERMINATION; NATURE OF ABANDONMENT.

LACSASA M. ADIONG vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 136480, December 4, 2001]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: On December 6, 1994, Mayor Sultan Serad A. Batua issued a permanent appointment to
Nasiba A. Nuska to the position of Municipal Local Civil Registrar. The same appointment was duly
approved by the Civil Service Commission Office, Marawi City on December 9, 1994. The new mayor,
Lacsasa M. Adiong issued a memorandum informing all municipal employees of the termination of their
appointment and directing them to clear themselves from money and property accountabilities. On July 1,
1995, another memorandum clarified this by specifying that the mass termination of services applied only
to temporary or casual workers and requiring those holding approved permanent appointments to submit
copies of their appointments. Due to respondent Nuska's failure to submit a copy of her appointment
coupled with her failure to make a courtesy call on the petitioner as the new mayor, he terminated her
services and appointed a certain Nanayaon Samporna in her stead.
On August 27, 1995, respondent Nuska wrote Mayor Adiong requesting for her reinstatement and
payment of salaries covering the period July 1,1995 to August 31, 1995. Mayor Adiong failed to act on
the request. Hence, on March 11, 1996, respondent Nuska appealed to the Civil Service Commission
(CSC). The latter issued a resolution declaring the termination of Nuska’s employment to be invalid and
ordering her immediate reinstatement.
On March 17, 1997, petitioner Mayor Adiong filed a motion for reconsideration. On December 11,
1997, the CSC denied the motion. Mayor Adiong filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review with
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. The CA dismissed the petition and affirmed the
resolution of CSC.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Nuska’s termination of employment was valid.

HELD: NO. The Constitution provides that: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property
without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws." It further
mandates that: "No officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed are suspended except for
cause provided by law."
In this case, respondent Nuska had a permanent appointment to the position of municipal civil
registrar of Ditsaan Ramain, Lanao del Sur. She thus enjoyed security of tenure as guaranteed by law.
As an employee in the civil service and as a civil service eligible, respondent Nuska entitled to the
benefits, rights and privileges extended to those belonging to the classified service. She could not be
removed or dismissed from the service without just cause and without observing the requirements of due
process.
The reasons advanced by petitioner why respondent Nuska's employment was terminated were
the following: failure to make a courtesy call, failure to submit her appointment papers, and failure to
report to work which was tantamount to abandonment. The failure to make a courtesy call to one's
superior is not an offense, much less a ground to terminate a person's employment. Respondent Nuska's
failure to submit her appointment papers is not a cause for her outright dismissal. It was not shown that
respondent Nuska was informed of the July 1, 1995 memorandum requiring those with permanent
appointments to submit their papers. At the very least, petitioner could have reminded her to submit the
documents without terminating her employment immediately.
On the alleged abandonment by respondent Nuska of her position, the same is without any basis.
It is significant to note that Nuska, in her letter dated 27 August 1995, informed Mayor Adiong that she did
not resign and that the termination of her services was not in accordance with existing Civil Service rules
and regulations. She requested that she be reinstated to her lawful position and her back salaries be paid
accordingly. The foregoing explains that although Nuska was physically absent in the office premises, all
the while, she had the intention to return to work. Hence, she could not be deemed to have abandoned or
relinquished her right to the position under an appointment with permanent employment status.
A person holding a public office may abandon such office by non-user or acquiescence. Non-
user refers to a neglect to use a right or privilege or to exercise an office. However, nonperformance of
the duties of an office does not constitute abandonment where such nonperformance results from
temporary disability or from involuntary failure perform. Abandonment may also result from an
acquiescence by the officer in his wrongful removal or discharge, for instance, after a summary removal,
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

an unreasonable delay by an officer illegally removed in taking steps to vindicate his rights may constitute
an abandonment of the office. If a person was still willing to return to work despite his physical absence,
it would not constitute as abandonment.

ELECTION LAW

PROCEDURE IN ELECTION CASES

FILING FEES; ERRORS IN THE PAYMENT OF FILING FEES IS NO LONGER


EXCUSABLE.

VILLOTA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. No. 146724, August 10, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: In the May 12, 1997 barangay elections, petitioner was proclaimed as the Punong Barangay of
Barangay 752, Zone 81, District V, over his opponent, herein private respondent. Consequently, the latter
filed an election protest against petitioner with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 24. On
December 29, 1999, the court, after due hearing rendered decision declaring private respondent as the
duly elected Punong Barangay.
On March 2, 2000, petitioner filed a notice of appeal and simultaneously paid with the cashier of
Metropolitan Trial Court the amount of P150.00 as appeal fee and another P20.00 as legal research fee,
or a total of P170.00.
On March 9, 2000, or nine (9) days after petitioner's receipt of the decision of the trial court, he
again paid with the Cash Division of the COMELEC the sum of P520.00 as appeal fee and legal research
fee. Private respondent filed a motion to dismiss petitioner's appeal for failure to pay the appeal fee within
the reglementary period.

ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in dismissing petitioner's appeal and in denying his motion for reconsideration.

HELD: NO. In the case at bar, although petitioner filed his notice of appeal within the reglementary
period, however, he erroneously paid the required appeal fees with the cashier of the Metropolitan Trial
Court and not with the Cash Division of the COMELEC, as required in Sections 3 and 4, Rule 40, of the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure. After he realized his mistake, petitioner paid again with the Cash Division
of the COMELEC the total amount of P520.00 only on March 9, 2000 or four (4) days beyond the five (5)
day reglementary period to appeal.
Verily, the present controversy is no different from the case of Rodillas v. COMELEC, et al., where
the necessary appeal fees were likewise paid out of time. The Court held therein that: The mere filing of
the notice of appeal was not enough. It should be accompanied by the payment of the correct amount of
appeal fee.
The payment of the full amount of the docket fee is an indispensable step for the perfection of an
appeal (Dorego v. Perez; Bello v. Fernandez). In both original and appellate case, the court acquires
jurisdiction over the case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fees as held in Acda v. Minister
of Labor. The requirement of an appeal fee is by no means a mere technicality of law or procedure. It is
an essential requirement without which the decision appealed from would become final and executory as
if no appeal was filed at all. The right to appeal is merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only
in the manner prescribed by, and in accordance with, the provision of the law.
In Soller v. COMELEC, et al., reiterating the cases of Loyola v. COMELEC, et al., and Miranda v.
Castillo, et al., the Court stressed the caveat that errors in the payment of filing fees in election cases is
no longer excusable. Thus, on the matter of non-payment or incomplete payment of filing fees we opined
that: "the Court would no longer tolerate any mistake in the payment of the full amount of filing fees for
election cases filed after the promulgation of the Loyola decision on March 25, 1997."

DISPOSITION OF CASES; THE PERIOD PROVIDED BY ELECTION LAWS IN THE


DISPOSITION OF CASES MUST BE OBSERVED FAITHFULLY BECAUSE AN
ELECTION CASE, UNLIKE ORDINARY ACTIONS, INVOLVES PUBLIC INTEREST.

ISAGANI RIZON vs. JUDGE OSCAR E. ZERNA


[A.M. No. RTJ-00-1575, September 17, 2001]
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: see page 86

ISSUE: Whether or not the delay in the disposition of cases, in the case at hand is inexcusable.

HELD: YES. Section 258 of the Omnibus Election Code provides:


SECTION 258. Preferential disposition of contests in courts. - The courts, in their respective
cases, shall give preference to election contests over all other cases, except those of habeas corpus,
and shall without delay, hear and, within thirty days from the date of their submission for decision, but
in every case within six months after filing, decide the same.
Judge Zerna did not contest the allegation of delay. He however ascribed it to the process of
going over each of the questioned ballot. This is a flimsy excuse considering that the thirty-day period
provided him under Sec. 258 of the Omnibus Election Code is more than sufficient to examine a little over
a hundred questioned ballots, and that he could have asked the Court for an extension of time to render
decision if he was having problems with the "examination" of the contested ballots such that he could not
be able to decide the case on time. As the Court have held in Española vs. Panay (248 SCRA 684) asking
for an extension of time to dispose a case is to avoid or dispel any suspicion that something sinister or
corrupt is going on.
In Bolalin vs. Occiano, it was held that: “… The period provided by [election] law[s] [in the
disposition of cases] must be observed faithfully because an election case, unlike ordinary actions,
involves public interest. Time is of the essence in its disposition since the uncertainty as to who is the real
choice of the people for the position must soonest be dispelled. It is neither fair nor just that one whose
right to the office is in doubt should remain in that office for an uncertain period…”
Moreover, records of the OCA disclose that respondent had a "propensity [for] delay in the
disposition of his cases." The Court also concurs with this rationalization, and metes upon respondent a
fine of P5,000.00, with a warning that similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

DISQUALIFICATION OF CANDIDATES
DISQUALIFICATION; VIOLATION OF BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 22 CONSTITUTES
MORAL TURPITUDE AND CONVICTION THEREFOR DISQUALIFIES A PERSON
FROM RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.

VILLABER vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. No. 148326, November 15, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: Villaber was a candidate for the congressional seat in the First District of Davao del Sur during
the May 14, 2001 elections. His rival filed a petition to disqualify him and to cancel his certificate of
candidacy on the ground that Villaber had been previously convicted for violating Batas Pambansa Blg.
22 and the crime involves moral turpitude; hence under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code, he is
disqualified to run for any public office. Villaber was subsequently disqualified by the COMELEC resting
its decision on the case of People vs. Atty. Fe Tuanda. Hence this petition by Villaber, contending that
violation of B.P. 22 does not involve moral turpitude and that People vs. Tuanda is not applicable since he
is not a lawyer.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner should be disqualified on the ground that violation of BP 22
constitutes moral turpitude.

HELD: YES. As to the meaning of "moral turpitude," we have consistently adopted the definition in
Black's Law Dictionary as "an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man
owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and
duty between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.'' In In re
Vinzon, the term "moral turpitude" is considered as encompassing "everything which is done contrary to
justice, honesty, or good morals."
We, however, clarified in Dela Torre vs. Commission on Elections that "not every criminal act
involves moral turpitude," and that "as to what crime involves moral turpitude is for the Supreme Court to
determine." We further pronounced therein that: "…in International Rice Research Institute vs. NLRC
(221 SCRA 760 [1993]), the Court admitted that it cannot always be ascertained whether moral turpitude
does or does not exist by merely classifying a crime as malum in se or as malum prohibitum. There are
crimes which are mala in se and yet but rarely involve moral turpitude, and there are crimes which involve
moral turpitude and are mala prohibita only. In the final analysis, whether or not a crime involves moral
turpitude is ultimately a question of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the
violation of the statute."
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

We reiterate here our ruling in Dela Torre that the determination of whether a crime involves moral
turpitude is a question of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the violation of
the statute. At any rate, the question of whether or not the crime involves moral turpitude can be resolved
by analyzing its elements alone. The elements of the offense against BP 22 are: 1) The accused makes,
draws or issues any check to apply to account or for value; 2) The accused knows at the time of the
issuance that he or she does not have sufficient funds in, or credit with, drawee bank for the payment of
the check in full upon its presentment; and 3) The check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank
for insufficiency of funds or credit, or it would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the
drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment. The presence of the second element
manifests moral turpitude. In People vs. Atty. Fe Tuanda we held that a conviction for violation of B.P. Blg.
22 "imports deceit" and "certainly relates to and affects the good moral character of a person…" The
case did not make a distinction, hence it applies to petitioner.

DISQUALIFICATION; THE TERM LIMIT FOR ELECTIVE OFFICIALS REFERS TO


THE RIGHT TO BE ELECTED AND THE RIGHT TO SERVE IN THE SAME
ELECTIVE POSITION.

ADORMEO vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 147927, February 4, 2002]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: Petitioner and private respondent, who was then the incumbent mayor, were the only
candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy for mayor of Lucena City in the May 14, 2001
elections. Private respondent Talaga, Jr. was elected mayor in May 1992. He served the full term. Again,
he was re-elected in 1995-1998. In the election of 1998, he lost to Bernard G. Tagarao. In the recall
election of May 12, 2000, he again won and served the unexpired term of Tagarao until June 30, 2001.
On March 2, 2001, petitioner filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor, Lucena
City a Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy and/or Disqualification of Ramon
Y. Talaga, Jr., on the ground that the latter was elected and had served as city mayor for three (3)
consecutive terms as follows: (1) in the election of May 1992; (2) in the election of May 1995; and, (3) in
the recall election of May 12, 2000, where he served only the unexpired term of Tagarao after having lost
to Tagarao in the 1998 election. Petitioner contended that Talaga's candidacy as Mayor constituted a
violation of Section 8, Article X of the 1987 Constitution which provides.
On March 9, 2001, private respondent responded that he was not elected City Mayor for three (3)
consecutive terms but only for two (2) consecutive terms. Because of his defeat in the 1998 election by
Tagarao, the consecutiveness of his years as mayor was interrupted, and thus his mayorship was not for
three consecutive terms of three years each.
On April 20, 2001, the COMELEC, through the First Division, found private respondent Ramon Y.
Talaga, Jr. disqualified for the position of city mayor on the ground that he had already served three (3)
consecutive terms, and his Certificate of Candidacy was ordered withdrawn and/or cancelled.
On April 27, 2001, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration reiterating that "three (3)
consecutive terms" means continuous service for nine (9) years and that the two (2) years service from
1998 to 2000 by Tagarao prevented him from having three consecutive years of service. He further
alleged that the recall election was not a regular election, but a separate special election specifically to
remove incompetent local officials.
On May 9, 2001, the COMELEC en banc ruled in favor of private respondent Ramon Y. Talaga,
Jr. It reversed the First Division's ruling and held that he did not fully serve the three (3) consecutive
terms, and his loss in the May 11, 1998 elections is considered an interruption in the continuity of his
service as Mayor of Lucena City.
On May 19, 2001, after canvassing, private respondent was proclaimed as the duly elected
Mayor of Lucena City.

ISSUE: Whether or not public respondent COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it declared private respondent Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. qualified to run
for Mayor in Lucena City for the May 14, 2001 elections.

HELD: NO. The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as
well as the right to serve in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual
has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been elected to the
same position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply. The Court held that the
two conditions for the application of the disqualification must concur: a) that the official concerned has
been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government post and 2) that he has fully
served three consecutive terms. Accordingly, COMELEC's ruling that private respondent was not elected
for three (3) consecutive terms should be upheld. For nearly two years he was a private citizen. The
continuity of his mayorship was disrupted by his defeat in the 1998 elections.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Neither can respondent's victory in the recall election be deemed a violation of Section 8, Article X
of the Constitution as "voluntary renunciation" for clearly it is not. In Lonzanida vs. COMELEC, the Court
held that the second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny states, "Voluntary
renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of
service for the full term for which he was elected." The clear intent of the framers of the constitution to bar
any attempt to circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the same time
respect the people's choice and grant their elected official full service of a term is evident in this provision.
Voluntary renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three term
limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term provided by
law amounts to an interruption of continuity of service. The petitioner vacated his post a few months
before the next mayoral elections, not by voluntary renunciation but in compliance with the legal process
of writ of execution issued by the COMELEC to that effect. Such involuntary severance from office is an
interruption of continuity of service and thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term.

DISQUALIFICATION; BEFORE A COMELEC RESOLUTION OF A


DISQUALIFICATION CASE BECOMES FINAL AND EXECUTORY, THE BEI HAS
THE MINISTERIAL DUTY TO COUNT AND TALLY THE VOTES IN FAVOR OF THE
CANDIDATE UNDER INVESTIGATION.

PAPANDAYAN, JR. vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. No. 147909, April 16, 2002]

MENDOZA, J:
FACTS: In the May 14, 2001 elections, three candidates ran for the position of Mayor of Tubaran,
Lanao del Sur, namely: petitioner Mauyag B. Papandayan, Jr., respondent Fahida P. Balt, who was the
incumbent mayor seeking reelection, and Maiko Hassan Bantuas. Respondent Balt sought the
disqualification of petitioner in SPC Case No. 01-114 of the COMELEC, alleging that petitioner was not a
resident of Barangay Tangcal in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur but a permanent resident of Bayang, Lanao del
Sur.
In support of her allegation, respondent submitted the joint affidavit, dated February 14, 2001, of
Barangay Chairman Hadji Bashir Ayonga and two members of the Sangguniang Barangay of Tangcal,
Tubaran, Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat, stating that petitioner never resided in Barangay
Tangcal, Tubaran. Respondent also submitted a similar affidavit, dated February 17, 2001, of Samoranao
Sarip, a member of the Sangguniang Barangay of Tangcal. She averred that petitioner did not state in his
Voter Registration Record, accomplished on May 8, 1999, the number of years and months he had been
a resident of the Municipality of Tubaran. Hadji Ayonga and Samoranao Sarip later filed their Affidavits of
Desistance retracting their earlier statements.
In its resolution, dated May 8, 2001, the COMELEC (Second Division) in SPA No. 01-114
declared petitioner to be disqualified and ordered his name to be stricken off the list of candidates and all
votes cast in his favor not to be counted but considered as stray votes. On May 14, 2001, elections were
held in Tubaran. Petitioner was among those voted by the electorate for the position of municipal mayor.
Meanwhile, on May 19, 2001, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC (First Division) in SPC
No. 01-039 seeking the issuance of an order directing the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) of Tubaran
to count and tally the ballots cast in his favor during the May 14, 2001 elections pursuant to COMELEC
Resolution No. 4116. The said resolution provides that if the disqualification case has not become final
and executory on the day of the election, the BEI shall tally and count the votes of the candidate declared
disqualified
On the other hand, respondent filed a pre-proclamation case (SPC No. 01-259) in the COMELEC.
On May 29, 2001, the First Division of the COMELEC (in SPC No. 01-039) issued an order suspending
the proclamation of petitioner as the duly elected mayor of Tubaran pending the resolution of this present
petition. However, despite the said order (in SPC No. 01-039), the Municipal Board of Canvassers of
Tubaran proceeded with the proclamation of petitioner on June 3, 2001. Upon motion of respondent,
therefore, the COMELEC (First Division), in an order, dated June 25, 2001, set aside the proclamation of
petitioner, without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charges against the members of the Board
responsible for the proclamation. Thereafter, the COMELEC en banc issued a resolution, dated January
30, 2002, sustaining the annulment of the proclamation of petitioner and dismissing SPC No. 01-039 for
being moot and academic. It appears that, as a consequence thereof, the incumbent Vice-Mayor of
Tubaran assumed the position of mayor pursuant to the COMELEC en banc resolution dated June 30,
2002.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the Board of Election Inspectors is precluded from counting and tallying the votes cast
in petitioner’s favor.
(2) Whether or not the factual findings of the COMELEC declaring petitioner as disqualified should be
upheld.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

HELD:
(1) NO. The resolution, dated May 12, 2001, of the COMELEC en banc was not yet final and
executory when the elections were held on May 14, 2001. Consequently, the Board of Election
Inspectors of Tubaran, in the exercise of its ministerial duty, had to count the votes cast in his favor. At
the time the elections were held in May 14, 2001, the assailed resolution, dated May 12, 2001, had not
yet become final and executory. Hence, the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) was duty bound to tally
and count the votes cast in favor of petitioner.
(2) NO, even though if the question of whether or not petitioner is a resident of Tubaran is a factual
issue which has been thoroughly passed upon and determined by the and that the COMELEC’s findings
or conclusions are generally respected and even given finality, the evidence is insufficient to sustain its
resolution. The Supreme Court agreed with the Solicitor General that petitioner has duly proven that,
although he was formerly a resident of the Municipality of Bayang, he later transferred residence to
Tangcal in the Municipality of Tubaran as shown by his actual and physical presence therein for ten years
prior to the May 14, 2001 elections. The record shows that when petitioner and his wife Raida Guina
Dimaporo got married in 1990, they resided in Tangcal, Tubaran. From then on, there was manifest
intention on the part of petitioner to reside in Tubaran, which he deemed to be the place of his conjugal
abode with his wife. The fact that he and his wife transferred residence from Bayang to Tubaran shows
that petitioner was relinquishing his former place of residence in Bayang and that he intended Tubaran to
be his place of domicile. Although petitioner worked as a private secretary of the mayor of Bayang, he
went home to Tubaran everyday after work. Further, the evidence shows that in the May 11, 1998
election, petitioner was registered as a voter in Tubaran and that in fact he filed his certificate of
candidacy although he later withdrew the same. In the May 8, 1999 registration of voters, he was again
registered as a voter in Precinct No. 28-A of Barangay Tangcal in Tubaran.

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY; THE FACT THAT A CANDIDATE


PROCLAIMED HAS ASSUMED OFFICE DOES NOT DEPRIVE THE COMELEC OF
ITS AUTHORITY TO ANNUL ANY CANVASS AND ILLEGAL PROCLAMATION.

AMPATUAN, et al. vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 149803, January 31, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Petitioners and respondents were candidates for the provincial elective positions in the
province of Maguindanao in the May 14, 2001 election. Petitioner Ampatuan and respondent Candao
contended for the position of governor. The slate of Ampatuan emerged as winners as per election
returns.
On May 23, 2001, respondents filed a petition with the Comelec for the annulment of election
results and/or declaration of failure of elections in several municipalities in the province of Maguindanao.
They claimed that the ballots were filled-up en masse by a few persons the night before election day, and
in some precincts, the ballot boxes, official ballots and other election paraphernalia were not delivered at
all.
On May 25, 2001, the Comelec issued an order suspending the proclamation of the winning
candidates for congressman of the second district, governor, vice-governor and board members of
Maguindanao. It was however lifted by Comelec on June 14, 2001 in response to the petition filed by the
petitioners on May 30, 2001.Consequently, the Provincial Board of Canvassers proclaimed petitioners
winners.
On June 16, 2001, respondents filed with the Supreme Court a petition to set aside the Comelec
order dated June 14, 2001, and preliminary injunction to suspend the effects of the proclamation of the
petitioners. Meantime, petitioners assumed their respective offices on June 30, 2001. On July 17, 2001,
the Court resolved to deny respondents' petition.
Petitioners' assumption into office notwithstanding, on July 26, 2001, the Comelec ordered the
consolidation of respondents' petition for declaration of failure of elections with SPA Nos. 01-244, 01-332,
01-360, 01-388 and 01-390. The COMELEC further ordered a random technical examination on four to
seven precincts per municipality on the thumb-marks and signatures of the voters who voted and affixed
in their voter's registration records, and forthwith directed the production of relevant election documents in
these municipalities.
On August 28, 2001, the Comelec issued another order directing the continuation of the hearing
and disposition of the consolidated SPAs on the failure of elections and other incidents related thereto. It
likewise ordered the continuation of the technical examination of election documents as authorized in the
July 26, 2001 order.
On September 26, 2001, petitioners filed the present petition. They claimed that by virtue of their
proclamation pursuant to the June 14, 2001 order issued by the Comelec, the proper remedy available to
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

respondents was not a petition for declaration of failure of elections but an election protest. The former is
heard summarily while the latter involves a full-blown trial. Petitioners argued that the manner by which
the technical examination is to be conducted would defeat the summary nature of a petition for
declaration of failure of elections.
On October 22, 2001, the Comelec issued an order suspending the implementation of the two (2)
assailed orders. However, on November 13, 2001, the Comelec issued another order lifting the
suspension. On November 20, 2001, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order.

ISSUE: Whether the Commission on Elections was divested of its jurisdiction to hear and decide
respondents' petition for declaration of failure of elections after petitioners had been proclaimed.

HELD: NO. Petitioners submit that by virtue of their proclamation as winners, the only remedy left for
private respondents is to file an election protest, in which case, original jurisdiction lies with the regular
courts. In Loong v. Commission on Elections, the court ruled that "a pre-proclamation controversy is not
the same as an action for annulment of election results, or failure of elections." These two remedies were
more specifically distinguished in this wise:
"While, however, the Comelec is restricted, in pre-proclamation cases, to an examination of the
election returns on their face and is without jurisdiction to go beyond or behind them and investigate
election irregularities, the Comelec is duty bound to investigate allegations of fraud, terrorism, violence,
and other analogous causes in actions for annulment of election results or for declaration of failure of
elections, as the Omnibus Election Code denominates the same. Thus, the Comelec, in the case of
actions for annulment of election results or declaration of failure of elections, may conduct technical
examination of election documents and compare and analyze voters' signatures and thumbprints in order
to determine whether or not the elections had indeed been free, honest and clean."
The fact that a candidate proclaimed has assumed office does not deprive the Comelec of its
authority to annul any canvass and illegal proclamation. Respondents' allegation of massive fraud and
terrorism that attended the May 14, 2001 election in the affected municipalities cannot be taken lightly as
to warrant the dismissal of their petition by the Comelec on the simple pretext that petitioners had been
proclaimed winners.
Elucidating on the concept of failure of election, the Court held that: " . . . before Comelec can act
on a verified petition seeking to declare a failure of election, two (2) conditions must concur: first, no
voting has taken place in the precincts concerned on the date fixed by law or, even if there was voting, the
election nevertheless resulted in a failure to elect; and second, the votes cast would affect the result of
the election. In Loong vs. Commission on Elections, this Court added that the cause of such failure of
election should have been any of the following: force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud or other
analogous cases."

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY; AN INCOMPLETE CANVASS IS ILLEGAL


AND CANNOT BE MADE THE BASIS OF A PROCLAMATION.

UTTO vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 150111, January 31, 2002]

PARDO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Abdulkarim D. Utto and respondent Datu Almansa B. Angas were candidates for the
position of the mayor of the municipality of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao in the May 14, 2001
election.
The original municipal board of canvassers was composed of Nena Alid as chairman, and
Maceda Lidasan Abo and Noron Gonina, as members. During the canvassing on May 16, 2001, election
returns in Precinct Nos. 15A, 25A/26A, 66A, and 68A/69A were presented.
On May 18, 2001, respondent filed a petition to inhibit Alid and Abo, which resulted in the
suspension of the canvassing. Alid and Abo inhibited themselves from the proceedings. On May 24,
2001, Bai Haidy D. Mamalinta took over as chairperson, with Roihaida Khalid and Noron Gonina, as
members of the municipal board of canvassers. The canvassing was again suspended when both Khalid
and Gonina also inhibited themselves from participating in the proceedings.
On May 27, 2001, the provincial election supervisor designated Rufden Mangelen and Tamano
Diolanen as members of the municipal board of canvassers.
In the morning of May 31, 2001, the municipal board of canvassers convened with chairperson
Mamalinta and member Asuncion Corazon Reneido present. The other member, Mowakiram Samuang
was absent. Before the start of the canvass, chairperson Mamalinta distributed to the parties present a
report on the status of canvassing. Out of the 98 precincts, the municipal board of canvassers issued four
(4) separate rulings excluding the above-cited five (5) election returns.
At this point, respondent orally manifested his intention to appeal the ruling, and simultaneously
filed a verified notice of appeal, which Bai Haidy D. Mamalinta (chairperson of the municipal board of
canvassers) refused to accept. Meanwhile, despite respondent's manifestation, the municipal board of
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

canvassers proceeded with the proclamation of the candidates for municipal offices. The board
proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected mayor of the municipality.
On June 1, 2001, Corazon Reniedo sent a letter to Atty. Wynne Asdala, acting provincial election
supervisor of Maguindanao irrevocably resigning as member of the municipal board of canvassers of
Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao in connection with the canvass of the election returns because she was
being pressured to proclaim mayoralty candidate Abdulkarim Utto in gross violation of Section 20,
Republic Act No. 7166 and Section 38 (9), Comelec Resolution No. 3848. Based on the canvass of 93
election returns, petitioner obtained a margin of 149 votes over respondent. The total number of
registered voters from the five excluded election returns is 944.
On June 7, 2001, respondent filed with Comelec a motion to annul pendente lite petitioner's
proclamation contending that such proclamation violated Section 20 (i), Republic Act No. 7166. 15. In
spite of the law's mandate to suspend the canvassing and await the decision of the Comelec on the
appeal, the municipal board of canvassers proceeded with the proclamation. On June 14, 2001,
petitioner, with vice-mayoralty candidate and Sangguniang Bayan candidates who were proclaimed by the
municipal board of canvassers on May 31, 2001 filed with Comelec motions for intervention contending
that their proclamation would not be affected by the five (5) election returns.
On June 23, 2001, Comelec sent petitioner via telegram summons with notice of hearing
attaching thereto a copy of respondent's verified appeal.
When the case was called for hearing on June 29, 2001, before the Comelec, First Division, only
counsel for respondent and intervenor vice-mayor appeared. Petitioner was notified via telegram of the
resetting of the hearing.
On June 30, 2001, Comelec (First Division) promulgated a resolution ordering the inclusion of the
uncanvassed election returns, and setting aside petitioner's proclamation. The Comelec (First Division)
found petitioner's proclamation to be illegal.
Meanwhile, petitioner took his oath at noon of the same day and immediately assumed office as
mayor of the municipality of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao.
On July 5, 2001, petitioner filed with Comelec, First Division, a motion to reconsider the resolution
of June 30, 2001, assailing it as contrary to law and the evidence and issued without affording him notice
and opportunity to be heard as he was not impleaded as a party to the petition. Petitioner prayed that the
inclusion of the uncanvassed return be set aside and the case remanded to the Comelec (First Division)
for the amendment of the petition to include all indispensable parties.
Petitioner claims that respondent by "skillful strategy" made it appear that he (petitioner) was a
party in the appeal proceedings by filing a motion to annul proclamation in the same proceedings and
naming him party respondent without obtaining prior leave of the Comelec.

ISSUE: Whether or not the proclamation of petitioner was legal.

HELD: NO. Assuming arguendo that petitioner was not given notice or an opportunity to be heard, the
petition would still be denied. The twin-requirement of notice and hearing in annulment of proclamation is
not applicable because of the illegality of petitioner's proclamation.
Section 38 (9), Comelec Resolution No. 3848 45 provided the procedure in the disposition of
contested election returns and certificate of canvass. The Comelec precludes the board of canvassers
from proclaiming any candidate as winner, except upon its authorization after it has ruled on the appeal of
the losing party. Any proclamation made in violation thereof shall be void ab initio, unless the contested
returns will not adversely affect the results of the election. This provision is mandatory and requires strict
observance.
Within the reglementary period for filing an appeal, respondent went to the Comelec. Pursuant to
Section 20 (i), Republic Act No. 7166, the municipal board of canvassers may not proclaim any candidate
without waiting for the authorization of the Comelec. Considering that petitioner had a very small margin
of 149 votes over respondent, and there were 944 registered voters from the five excluded election
returns, the results of the municipal election would be undoubtedly adversely affected by the contested
returns. The proclamation thus made is void ab initio.
It is now settled that an incomplete canvass of votes is illegal and cannot be the basis of a
proclamation. A canvass cannot be reflective of the true vote of the electorate unless all returns are
considered and none is omitted. When the municipal board of canvassers disregarded the five (5) election
returns, it in effect disenfranchised the voters of the excluded precincts.
Time and again, the Court has given its imprimatur on the principle that Comelec is with authority
to annul any canvass and proclamation illegally made. The fact that a candidate illegally proclaimed has
assumed office is not a bar to the exercise of such power. It is also true that after proclamation, the
remedy of a party aggrieved in an election is an election protest. This is on the assumption, however, that
there has been a valid proclamation. Where a proclamation is null and void, the proclaimed candidate's
assumption of office cannot deprive Comelec of the power to declare such proclamation a nullity.

PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY; IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY MANIFEST


ERROR IN THE CERTIFICATE OF CANVASS SOUGHT TO BE CORRECTED, THE
COMELEC SHOULD HAVE ORDERED THE RE-CANVASS OR RE-COUNTING.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

O'HARA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. Nos. 148941-42, March 12, 2002]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: see page 59

ISSUE: Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it annulled the proclamation of
petitioner as vice-governor of Rizal and by ordering the PBC of Rizal to reconvene and correct the alleged
manifest mathematical error supposedly committed by the MBC of Rizal.

HELD: YES. The COMELEC should have conducted further investigation or at least a technical
inspection or examination of election returns to verify the existence of the alleged error before it gave
credence to the statements of the MBC of Binangonan and concluding outright that the Statement of
Votes submitted by respondents were accurate.
The COMELEC cannot simply rely on these Statement of Votes because they were prepared by
the same members of the MBC who claimed to have made a mistake due to "fatigue, sleepless nights
and physical exhaustion." It would have been more prudent to make a determination whether these same
individuals committed any other mistake in the tabulation or statement of votes.
Even based on the statements/affidavits of the MBC of Binangonan, it is apparent that the errors
sought to be corrected do not appear on the face of the certificate of canvass. As above-stated, the
alleged error which the COMELEC perceived to be manifest does not fall under the definition of "manifest
error" which was laid down in Chavez vs. COMELEC . . . “To be manifest, the errors must appear on the
face of the certificates of canvass or election returns sought to be corrected and/or objections thereto
must have been made before the board of canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their
respective proceedings.”
The Constitution gives the Commission on Elections the broad power "to enforce and administer
all laws and regulations to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall." The
Commission indisputably exercises the power of supervision and control over boards of election
inspectors and boards of canvassers. The Commission must do everything in its power to secure a fair
and honest canvass of the votes cast in the elections. The Constitution upgraded to a constitutional
status the statutory authority under Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 to grant the Commission broad and more
flexible powers to effectively perform its duties and to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible
elections, and to serve as the guardian of the people's sacred right of suffrage.
In the absence of any manifest error in the certificate of canvass sought to be corrected, the
Commission should have ordered the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of the ballots in
the municipality of Binangonan in order to validate the claim of its MBC.
If after the re-canvass of the election returns or the re-counting of the official ballots, the clerical
error or mathematical mistake in the addition of the votes had been established, the Commission should
have annulled the canvass and proclamation based on the erroneous certificate of canvass. If the
records had borne out that petitioner's proclamation was the result of a clerical error or simple
mathematical mistake in the addition of votes and did not reflect the true and legitimate will of the
electorate, there could have been no valid proclamation to speak of. The issue would involve a pre-
proclamation controversy.

ELECTION CONTESTS

ELECTION CONTESTS; PRE-CONDITIONS FOR DECLARING A FAILURE OF


ELECTION.

CAWASA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.


[G.R. No. 150469, May 30, 2002]

CARPIO, J:
FACTS: Petitioner Jun Cawasa and private respondent Adbulmalik Manamparan were among the
candidates for mayor in the Municipality of Nunungan, Lanao del Norte. Out of the 40 precincts in
Nunungan, only 36 functioned, as there was a failure of election in the remaining 4 precincts. Special
elections were set considering that that the number of registered voters in the remaining 4 precincts
would affect the election results. Comelec, en banc, however took cognizance of the petition of private
respondent for the annulment of election results for the following reasons:
a) The case pending before the second division of the Comelec is a pre-proclamation controversy,
while the case pending before the Comelec en banc is a case for annulment of election results.
b) Comelec found that the special elections were not held in the designated polling places in
Nunungan but were transferred to the different municipalities without any authority from the
Comelec, in violation of the due process requisites. Moreover, nothing in the records could show
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

that notice was given to the political candidates and to the registered voters affected by the
special elections of the said transfer of polling places.
c) The Comelec found that members of the Philippine Army 26 th Infantry Battalion served as election
inspectors without authority from Comelec.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Comelec en banc resolution was issued without jurisdiction and/or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

HELD: NO. The transfer was made not only in blatant disregard of the Comelec resolution specifying
the polling places but also provisions of the Election Code (Sections 153 and 154). As clearly provided by
the law, the location of polling places shall be the same as that of the preceding regular election.
However, charges may be initiated by written petition of the majority of the voters of the precinct or
agreement of all the political parties or by resolution of the Comelec after notice and hearing. But
ultimately, it is the Comelec which determines whether a change is necessary after notice and hearing.
The Comelec has unequivocally stated that nothing in the records showed that notice was given to the
political candidates and registered voters affected by the transfer. There is no cogent reason for us to
disturb the findings of the Comelec on this matter. Indeed, the factual findings of the Comelec supported
by the substantial, evidence shall be final and non-reviewable.
Next, the appointment of military personnel as members of the BEI is another grave irregularity
that attended the special elections. There was absolutely no legal basis for the appointment of military
personnel as members of the BEI. (Sec OEC Sections 164, 165, 166, 170, and Sec. 13 of RA No. 6646).
Prayers to annul election results, as in the instant case, and a prayer to declare failure of
elections based on allegations of fraud, terrorism, violence or analogous cases, are actually of the same
nature and the Election Code denominates them similarly. The Comelec may exercise the power to annul
election results or declare a failure of election motu propio, or upon a verified petition. The hearing of the
case shall be summary in nature. A formal trial-type hearing is not at all times and in all instances
essential to due process – it is enough that the parties are given a fair and reassurable opportunity to
explain their respective sides of the controversy and to present evidence on which a fair decision can be
based. In fine, a trial is not at all indispensable to satisfy the demands of due process.
The pre-conditions for declaring a failure of election are:
1) That no voting has been held in any precinct or precincts because of force majeure, violence,
terrorism, fraud or other analogous cases; and
2) That the votes not cast therein are sufficient to affect the results of the elections.
The concurrence of these two circumstances justifies the calling of special elections. Here, the Comelec
found that the special elections were vitiated by fraud due to the illegal transfer of the polling places and
the appointment of military personnel as members of the BEI. Inevitably, the Comelec could not ascertain
who voted during the special elections. The circumstances were such that the entire electoral process
was not worthy of faith and credit, hence, in practical effect, no election was held.

LAW ON PUBLIC CORPORATIONS

LOCAL AUTONOMY

LOCAL AUTONOMY; LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS CANNOT ENACT


ORDINANCES THAT GO AGAINST THE LAWS DULY ENACTED BY CONGRESS.

LINA vs. PAŇO


[G.R. No. 129093, August 30, 2001]

QUISUMBING, J:
FACTS: On December 29, 1995, respondent Tony Calvento was appointed agent by the Philippine
Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to install Terminal OM 20 for the operation of lotto. He asked Mayor
Calixto Cataquiz, Mayor of San Pedro, Laguna, for a mayor's permit to open the lotto outlet. This was
denied by Mayor Cataquiz in a letter dated February 19, 1996. The ground for said denial was an
ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Laguna entitled Kapasiyahan Blg. 508 which
declared its policy against the operation of lotto within the province.
As a result of this resolution of denial, respondent Calvento filed a complaint for declaratory relief
with prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. On February 10, 1997, the
respondent judge, Francisco Dizon Paño, promulgated his decision enjoining the petitioners from
implementing or enforcing resolution or Kapasiyahan Blg. 508.
Petitioners contend that the assailed resolution is a valid policy declaration of the Provincial
Government of Laguna of its vehement objection to the operation of lotto and all forms of gambling. It is
likewise a valid exercise of the provincial government's police power under the General Welfare Clause of
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991. They also maintain that
respondent's lotto operation is illegal because no prior consultations and approval by the local
government were sought before it was implemented contrary to the express provisions of Sections 2 (c)
and 27 of R.A. 7160.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether Kapasiyahan Blg. 508, T. 1995 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Laguna and the denial
of a mayor's permit based thereon are valid.
(2) Whether prior consultations and approval by the concerned Sanggunian are needed before a lotto
system can be operated in a given local government unit.

HELD:
(1) YES. The entire controversy stemmed from the refusal of Mayor Cataquiz to issue a mayor's
permit for the operation of a lotto outlet in favor of private respondent. According to the mayor, he based
his decision on an existing ordinance prohibiting the operation of lotto in the province of Laguna. The
ordinance, however, merely states the "objection" of the council to the said game. It is but a mere policy
statement on the part of the local council, which is not self-executing.
As a policy statement expressing the local government's objection to the lotto, such resolution is
valid. This is part of the local government's autonomy to air its views which may be contrary to that of the
national government's. However, this freedom to exercise contrary views does not mean that local
governments may actually enact ordinances that go against laws duly enacted by Congress. Given this
premise, the assailed resolution in this case could not and should not be interpreted as a measure or
ordinance prohibiting the operation of lotto. The game of lotto is a game of chance duly authorized by the
national government through an Act of Congress. Republic Act 1169, as amended by Batas Pambansa
Blg. 42, is the law which grants a franchise to the PCSO and allows it to operate the lotteries.
Municipal governments are only agents of the national government. Local councils exercise only
delegated legislative powers conferred upon them by Congress as the national lawmaking body. The
delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter. It is a
heresy to suggest that the local government units can undo the acts of Congress, from which they have
derived their power in the first place, and negate by mere ordinance the mandate of the statute.
(2) NO. As for the second issue, we hold that petitioners erred in declaring that Sections 2 (c) and 27
of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, apply mandatorily in the
setting up of lotto outlets around the country.
From a careful reading of said provisions, we find that these apply only to national programs
and/or projects which are to be implemented in a particular local community. Lotto is neither a program
nor a project of the national government, but of a charitable institution, the PCSO. Though sanctioned by
the national government, it is far fetched to say that lotto falls within the contemplation of Sections 2 (c)
and 27 of the Local Government Code.

CREATION OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS

CREATION OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; THE CREATION OF A NEW LGU


THROUGH A DIVISION OR MERGER OF EXISTING LGUs IS RECOGNIZED UNDER
THE CONSTITUTION.

CAWALING vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


[G.R. NO. 146319, October 26, 2001]

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J:
FACTS: By virtue of Republic Act 8806, the City of Sorsogon was created by merging the Municipalities
of Bacon and Sorsogon in the Province of Sorsogon. A plebiscite was conducted which was approved by
the majority of the votes cast, and ratified the Act. Petitioner as a taxpayer, now assails the validity of the
said Act on the ground that it violates Section 450(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 in relation
with Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution which requires that only a “municipality or cluster of
barangays may be converted into a component city.” He is thus assailing its mode of creation and that
under Section 450(a) of the Code, a component city may be created only by converting "a municipality or
a cluster of barangays," not by merging two municipalities, as what R.A. No. 8806 has done.
Petitioner further assails the validity of the plebiscite conducted by the COMELEC for the
ratification of the creation of Sorsogon City asserting that the plebiscite required by R.A. No. 8806 should
be conducted within 120 days from the "approval" of said Act per express provision of its Section 54. The
Act was approved on August 16, 2000 by former President Joseph E. Estrada. Thus, petitioner claims, the
December 16, 2000 plebiscite was conducted one (1) day late from the expiration of the 120-day period
after the approval of the Act; as the 120-day period expired without a plebiscite conducted, the Act itself
expired and could no longer be ratified and approved in the plebiscite held on December 16, 2000. In its
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

comment, the COMELEC asserts that it scheduled the plebiscite on December 16, 2000 based on the
date of the effectivity of the Act as under its Section 65, the Act shall take effect upon its publication in at
least two (2) newspapers of general and local circulation.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the law is constitutional.
(2) Whether or not the said law violates the provisions of the Local Government Code and Section 10,
Article X of the Constitution.
(3) Whether or not the plebiscite conducted by the COMELEC is valid.

HELD:
(1) YES. Every statute has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. This presumption is
rooted in the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon the three coordinate departments of the
Government a becoming courtesy for each other's acts. The theory is that every law, being the joint act of
the Legislature and the Executive, has passed careful scrutiny to ensure that it is in accord with the
fundamental law. This Court, however, may declare a law, or portions thereof, unconstitutional where a
petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or
argumentative one. In other words the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt, for to doubt
is to sustain.
(2) NO. Petitioner's constricted reading of Section 450(a) of the Code is erroneous. The phrase "A
municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city" is not a criterion but
simply one of the modes by which a city may be created. Section 10, Article X of the Constitution, quoted
earlier and which petitioner cited in support of his posture, allows the merger of local government units to
create a province city, municipality or barangay in accordance with the criteria established by the Code.
Thus, Section 8 of the Code distinctly provides:
"SECTION 8. Division and Merger. — Division and merger of existing local government units
shall comply with the same requirements herein prescribed for their creation: Provided, however, That
such division shall not reduce the income, population, or land area of the local government unit or units
concerned to less than the minimum requirements prescribed in this Code: Provided, further, That the
income classification of the original local government unit or units shall not fall below its current income
classification prior to such division. . . . ."
Verily, the creation of an entirely new local government unit through a division or a merger of
existing local government units is recognized under the Constitution, provided that such merger or
division shall comply with the requirements prescribed by the Code.
(3) YES. The law was first published in the August 25, 2000 issue of TODAY a newspaper of general
circulation. Then on September 01, 2000, it was published in a newspaper of local circulation in the
Province of Sorsogon. Thus, the publication of the law was completed on September 1, 2000, which date,
according to the COMELEC, should be the reckoning point in determining the 120-day period within which
to conduct the plebiscite, not from the date of its approval (August 16, 2000) when the law had not yet
been published. Since publication is indispensable for the effectivity of a law, citing the landmark case of
Tañada vs. Tuvera, it could only schedule the plebiscite after the Act took effect. Thus, the December 16,
2000 plebiscite was well within the 120-day period from the effectivity of the law on September 1, 2000.

POWERS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS

POWERS OF LGUs; THE ALLOCATION OF THE SPECIAL EDUCATION FUND FOR


THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF EXTENSION CLASSES
LOGICALLY IMPLIES THE HIRING AND COMPENSATION OF TEACHERS BUT
NOT THE GRANTING OF SCHOLARSHIPS.

COA of the PROVINCE of CEBU vs. PROVINCE of CEBU


[G.R. No. 141386, November 29, 2001]

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:
FACTS: The provincial governor of the province of Cebu, as chairman of the local school board, under
Section 98 of the Local Government Code, appointed classroom teachers who have no items in the
DECS plantilla to handle extension classes that would accommodate students in the public schools.
In the audit of accounts conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA) of the Province of Cebu,
for the period January to June 1998, it appeared that the salaries and personnel-related benefits of the
teachers appointed by the province for the extension classes were charged against the provincial Special
Education Fund (SEF). Likewise charged to the SEF were the college scholarship grants of the province.
Consequently, the COA issued Notices of Suspension to the province of Cebu, saying that disbursements
for the salaries of teachers and scholarship grants are not chargeable to the provincial SEF.
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

Faced with the Notices of Suspension issued by the COA, the province of Cebu, represented by
its governor, filed a petition for declaratory relief with the trial court.
Invoking the legal maxim "expressio unius est exclusio alterius," petitioner alleges that since
salaries, personnel-related benefits and scholarship grants are not among those authorized as lawful
expenditures of the SEF under the Local Government Code, they should be deemed excluded therefrom.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the salaries and personnel-related benefits of public school teachers appointed by
local chief executives in connection with the establishment and maintenance of extension classes
may be charged to the Special Education Fund (SEF) of the local government unit concerned.
(2) Whether or not the expenses for college scholarship grants may be charged to the Special Education
Fund (SEF) of the local government unit concerned.

HELD:
(1) YES. It is a basic precept in statutory construction that the intent of the legislature is the
controlling factor in the interpretation of a statute. In this connection, the following portions of the
deliberations of the Senate on the second reading of the Local Government Code on July 30, 1990 are
significant:
“Senator Pimentel: Mr. President, pursuant to the wording of the proposed transfer of this elementary
school system to local government units, what are specifically covered here are merely the
construction, repair, and maintenance of elementary school buildings and other structures connected
with public elementary school education, payment of salaries, emoluments, allowances et cetera,
procurement of books, other teaching materials and equipment needed for the proper implementation
of the program. There is nothing here that will indicate that the local government will have any right to
alter the curriculum.”
Undoubtedly, the aforecited exchange of views clearly demonstrates that the legislature intended
the SEF to answer for the compensation of teachers handling extension classes
Even under the doctrine of necessary implication, the allocation of the SEF for the establishment
and maintenance of extension classes logically implies the hiring of teachers who should, as a matter of
course be compensated for their services. Every statute is understood, by implication, to contain all such
provisions as may be necessary to effectuate its object and purpose, or to make effective rights, powers,
privileges or jurisdiction which it grants, including all such collateral and subsidiary consequences as may
be fairly and logically inferred from its terms. Ex necessitate legis. Verily, the services and the
corresponding compensation of these teachers are necessary and indispensable to the establishment
and maintenance of extension classes.
(2) NO. With respect, however, to college scholarship grants, a reading of the pertinent laws of the
Local Government Code reveals that said grants are not among the projects for which the proceeds of the
SEF may be appropriated. It should be noted that Sections 100 (c) and 272 of the Local Government
Code substantially reproduced Section 1, of R.A. No. 5447. But, unlike payment of salaries of teachers
which falls within the ambit of "establishment and maintenance of extension classes" and "operation and
maintenance of public schools," the "granting of government scholarship to poor but deserving students"
was omitted in Sections 100 (c) and 272 of the Local Government Code. Casus omissus pro omisso
habendus est. A person, object, or thing omitted from an enumeration in a statute must be held to have
been omitted intentionally. It is not for this Court to supply such grant of scholarship where the legislature
has omitted it.

PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW

TREATIES

TREATIES; THE PARIS CONVENTION RESPECTS THE RIGHTS OF MEMBER


COUNTRIES TO ADOPT LEGISLATIVE MEASURES TO PREVENT ABUSES WHICH
MIGHT RESULT FROM THE EXERCISE OF EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS CONFERRED BY
THE PATENT.

SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LABORATORIES vs. COURT OF APPEALS


[G.R. No. 121267, October 23, 2001]

KAPUNAN, J:
FACTS: Petitioner is the assignee of Letters Patent No. 12207 covering the pharmaceutical product
Cimetidine, which relates to derivatives of heterocyclicthio or lower alkoxy or amino lower alkyl thiourea,
ureas or guanadines issued by the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer (BPTTT).
Private respondent filed with the BPTTT a petition for compulsory license to manufacture and produce its
own brand of medicines using Cimetidine. Petitioner opposed the petition for compulsory license, arguing
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

that the private respondent had no cause of action and failed to allege how it intended to work the
patented product. After both parties were heard, the BPTTT rendered a decision directing the issuance of
a compulsory license to private respondent to use, manufacture and sell in the Philippines its own brand
of pharmaceutical products containing.
Petitioner thereafter filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review of the decision of the
BPTTT, arguing that said decision is an invalid exercise of police power and is violative of international
law. Petitioner states that the grant of a compulsory license to private respondent is an invalid exercise of
police power since it was not shown that there is an overwhelming public necessity for such grant,
considering that petitioner is able to provide an adequate supply of Cimetidine to satisfy the needs of the
Philippine market. It argues further that the provisions of the Patent Law on compulsory licensing
contravene the Convention of Paris for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention), which
allegedly permits the granting of a compulsory license over a patented product only to prevent abuses
which might result from the exercise of the exclusive rights conferred by the patent, or on the ground of
failure to work or insufficient working of the patented product, within four years from the date of filing of
the patent application or three years from the date of grant of the patent, whichever expires last.
Petitioner opines that the inclusion of grounds for the grant of a compulsory license in Section 34 of the
Patent Law other than those provided under the Paris Convention constitutes a violation of the
Philippines' obligation to adhere to the provisions of said treaty.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the said grant of compulsory license was an invalid exercise of police power.
(2) Whether or not the grant violated the international law, particularly the Paris Convention.

HELD:
(1) NO. The grant of the compulsory license satisfies the requirements of the provisions of Section
34 of the Patent Law. More than ten years have passed since the patent for Cimetidine was issued to
petitioner and its predecessors-in-interest, and the compulsory license applied for by private respondent
is for the use, manufacture and sale of a medicinal product. Furthermore, both the appellate court and
the BPTTT found that private respondent had the capability to work Cimetidine or to make use thereof in
the manufacture of a useful product.
(2) NO. Petitioner's contention that Section 34 of the Patent Law contravenes the Paris Convention
because the former provides for grounds for the grant of a compulsory license in addition to those found
in the latter, is likewise incorrect. Article 5, Section A(2) of the Paris Convention states:
Each country of the union shall have the right to take legislative measures providing for the grant of
compulsory licenses to prevent the abuses which might result from the exercise of the exclusive
rights conferred by the patent, for example, failure to work.
Section A(2) of Article 5 of the Paris Conventional unequivocally and explicitly respects the right
of member countries to adopt legislative measures to provide for the grant of compulsory licenses to
prevent abuses which might result from the exercise of the exclusive rights conferred by the patent. An
example provided of possible abuses is "failure to work;" however, as such, is merely supplied by way of
an example, it is plain that the treaty does not preclude the inclusion of other forms of categories of
abuses.

TREATIES; THE VFA GIVES LEGITIMACY TO THE BALIKATAN EXERCISES;


THERE IS NO TREATY ALLOWING US TROOPS TO ENGAGE IN COMBAT IN THE
PHILIPPINES.

LIM vs. HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY


[G.R. No. 151445, April 11, 2002]

DE LEON, JR., J:
FACTS: Beginning January of this year 2002, personnel from the armed forces of the United States of
America started arriving in Mindanao to take part, in conjunction with the Philippine military, in "Balikatan
02-1." These so-called "Balikatan" exercises are the largest combined training operations involving
Filipino and American troops. In theory, they are a simulation of joint military maneuvers pursuant to the
Mutual Defense Treaty, a bilateral defense agreement entered into by the Philippines and the United
States in 1951.
On February 1, 2002, petitioners Arthur D. Lim and Paulino P. Ersando filed this petition for
certiorari and prohibition, attacking the constitutionality of the joint exercise and seeking the issuance of a
CASE DIGESTS IN POLITICAL LAW

writ of prohibition/injunction to prevent US troops from participating in areas of armed conflict on the
ground that such is in gross violation of the Constitution. They argue that:
I. The Philippines and the United States signed the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in 1951 to
provide mutual military assistance in accordance with the “Constitutional Processes” of each
country only in the case of an armed attack by an external aggressor, meaning a third country
against one of them.
By no stretch of the imagination can it be said that the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan constitute an
external armed force that has subjected the Philippines to an armed external attack to warrant US
military assistance under the MDT of 1951.
II. Neither does the VFA of 1999 authorize American soldiers to engage in combat operations in
Philippine territory, not even to fire beck “if fired upon.”
They were joined subsequently by SANLAKAS and PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA, both party-
list organizations, who filed a petition-in-intervention on February 11, 2002. Lim and Ersando filed suit in
their capacities as citizens, lawyers and taxpayers. SANLAKAS and PARTIDO, on the other hand, aver
that certain members of their organization are residents of Zamboanga and Sulu, and hence will be
directly affected by the operations being conducted in Mindanao.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the “Balikatan” activities are covered under the Visiting Forces Agreement and are
therefore valid.
(2) Whether or not the American soldiers are authorized to engage in combat in the Philippines.

HELD:
(1) YES. The VFA permits United States personnel to engage, on an impermanent basis, in
"activities," the exact meaning of which was left undefined. The expression is ambiguous, permitting a
wide scope of undertakings subject only to the approval of the Philippine government. After studied
reflection, it appeared farfetched that the ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the word "activities" arose
from accident. In our view, it was deliberately made that way to give both parties a certain leeway in
negotiation. In this manner, visiting US forces may sojourn in Philippine territory for purposes other than
military. As conceived, the joint exercises may include training on new techniques of patrol and
surveillance to protect the nation's marine resources, sea search-and-rescue operations to assist vessels
in distress, disaster relief operations, civic action projects such as the building of school houses, medical
and humanitarian missions, and the like.
Under these auspices, the VFA gives legitimacy to the current Balikatan exercises. It is only
logical to assume that "Balikatan 02-1," a "mutual antiterrorism advising, assisting and training exercise,"
falls under the umbrella of sanctioned or allowable activities in the context of the agreement. Both the
history and intent of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the VFA support the conclusion that combat-related
activities — as opposed to combat itself — such as the one subject of the instant petition, are indeed
authorized.
(2) NO. There is no treaty or agreement allowing US troops to engage in combat in the Philippines.
Paragraph 8 of section I of the VFA stipulates that US exercise participants may not engage in combat
"except in self-defense. Neither the MDT nor the VFA allow foreign troops to engage in an offensive war
on Philippine territory. Both the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, as in all other
treaties and international agreements to which the Philippines is a party, must be read in the context of
the 1987 Constitution. The present Constitution contains key provisions useful in determining the extent
to which foreign military troops are allowed in Philippine territory.
Thus, in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, it is provided that:
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 2. — The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of
peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 7. — The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the
paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the
right to self-determination.
SEC. 8. — The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of
freedom from nuclear weapons in the country.
xxx xxx xxx
The aforequoted provisions betray a marked antipathy towards foreign military presence in the
country, or of foreign influence in general. Hence, foreign troops are allowed entry into the Philippines
only by way of direct exception.