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G.R. No. L-15138 July 31, 1961 In G.R. No.

61 In G.R. No. L-15138, Manuel Gonzales filed with Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor, in
Manila, a complaint (IS-1148) against Bill Miller (owner and manager of Miller Motors) claiming to be a
BILL MILLER, petitioner-appellee, driver of Miller from December 1, 1956 to October 31, 1957, on which latter date he was allegedly
vs. arbitrarily dismissed, without being paid separation pay. He prayed for judgement for the amount due
ATANACIO A. MARDO, and MANUEL GONZALES, respondents-appellants. him as separation pay plus damages. Upon receipt of said complaint, Chief Hearing Officer Atanacio
Mardo of Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor required Miller to file an answer.
x---------------------------------------------------------x Whereupon, Miller filed with the Court of First Instance of Baguio a petition (Civil Case No. 759) praying
for judgment prohibiting the Hearing Officer from proceeding with the case, for the reason that said
G.R. No. L-15377 July 31, 1961 Hearing Officer had no jurisdiction to hear and decide the subject matter of the complaint. The court
then required the Hearing Officer and Gonzales to answer and, as prayed for, issued a writ of preliminary
NUMERIANA RAGANAS, plaintiff-appellant,
injunction. The latter file their separate motions to dismiss the petition, on the ground of lack of
vs.
jurisdiction, improper venue, and non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, it being argued that
SEN BEE TRADING COMPANY, MACARIO TAN, and SERGIO TAN, defendants-appellees.
pursuant to Republic Acts Nos. 997 and 1241, as implemented by Executive Order No. 218, series of 1956
and Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, regional offices of the Department of labor have exclusive and original
x---------------------------------------------------------x
jurisdiction over all cases affecting money claims arising from violations of labor standards or working
G.R. No. L-16660 July 31, 1961 conditions. Said motions to dismiss were denied by the court. Answers were then filed and the case was
heard. Thereafter, the court rendered a decision holding that Republic Acts Nos. 997 and 1241, as well as
VICENTE ROMERO, petitioner-appellee, Executive Order No. 218, series of 1956 and Reorganization Plan No. 20-A issued pursuant thereto, did
vs. not repeal the provision of the Judiciary Act conferring on courts of first instance original jurisdiction to
ANGEL HERNANDO ETC., and SIA SENG, respondents-appellants. take cognizance of money claims arising from violations of labor standards. The question of venue was
also dismissed for being moot, the same having been already raised and decided in a petition
x---------------------------------------------------------x for certiorari and prohibition previously filed with this Court in G.R. No. L-14007 (Mardo, etc. v. De Veyra,
etc.) which was dismissed for lack of merit in our resolution of July 7, 1958. From the decision of the
G.R. No. L-16781 July 31, 1961 Court of First Instance of Baguio, respondents Hearing Officer and Gonzales interposed the present
appeal now before us.
CHIN HUA TRADING COMPANY, and LAO KANG SUY, petitioners-appellees,
vs. In G.R. No. L-16781, Cresencio Estano filed with Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor, a
ATANACIO A. MARDO, JORGE BENEDICTO, and CRESENCIO ESTAÑO, respondents-appellants. complaint (RO 3 Ls. Case No. 874) against Chin Hua Trading Co. and/or Lao Kang Suy and Ke Bon Chiong,
as Manager and Assistant Manager thereof, respectively, claiming to have been their driver from June
x---------------------------------------------------------x 17, 1947 to June 4, 1955, for which service he was not paid overtime pay (for work in excess of 8 hours
and for Sundays and legal holidays) and vacation leave pay. He prayed for judgment for the amount due
G.R. No. L-17056 July 31, 1961 him, plus attorney's fees. Chin Hua Trading, et al., filed their answer and, issues having been joined,
hearing thereof was started before Chief Hearing Officer Atanacio Mardo and Hearing Officer Jorge
FRED WILSON & CO., INC., petitioner-appellant, Benedicto. Before trial of the case could be terminated, however, Chin Hua Trading, et al., filed with the
vs. Court of First Instance of Manila a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction (Civil Case No.
MELITON C. PARDUCHO, ETC., and MARIANO PABILIARE, respondents-appellees. 26826)), to restrain the hearing officers from proceeding with the disposition of the case, on the ground
that they have no jurisdiction to entertain the same, as Reorganization Plan No. 20-A and Executive
R. L. Resurreccion for petitioner-appellee.
Order No. 218, series of 1956, in relation to Republic Act No. 997, as amended by Republic Act No. 1241,
Paciano C. C. Villavieja for respondents-appellants.
empowering them to adjudicate the complaint, is invalid or unconstitutional. As prayed for, a preliminary
injunction was issued by the court. After due hearing the court rendered a decision holding that
BARRERA, J.:
Reorganization Plan No. 20-A is null and void and therefore, granted the writ of prohibition making
These appeals, although originating from different Courts of First Instance, are here treated together in permanent the preliminary injunction previously issued. From this decision, the claimant and the hearing
officers appealed to the Court of Appeals, which certified the case to us, as it involves only questions of
this single decision because they present but one identical question of law, namely, the validity of
Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, prepared and submitted by the Government Survey and Reorganization law.
Commission under the authority of Republic Act No. 997, as amended by Republic Act No. 1241, insofar
In G.R. No. L-15377, appellant Numeriana Raganas filed with the Court of First Instance of Cebu a
as it confers jurisdiction to the Regional Offices of the Department of Labor created in said Plan to decide
complaint (Civil Case No. R-5535) against appellees Sen Bee Trading Company, Macario Tan and Sergio
claims of laborers for wages, overtime and separation pay, etc.
Tan, claiming that she was employed by appellees as a seamstress from June 5, 1952 to January 11,
1958, for which service she was underpaid and was not given overtime, as well as vacation and sick leave unconstitutional. As prayed for, the court granted a writ of preliminary injunction. Respondents Hearing
pay. She prayed for judgment on the amount due her for the same plus damages. To said complaint, Officer and Pabillare filed answer and the case was heard. After hearing, the court rendered a decision
appellees filed a motion to dismiss, on the ground that the trial court has no jurisdiction to hear the case declaring that "by the force of Section 6 of R.A. No. 997, as amended by R.A. 1241, Plan No. 20-A was
as it involves a money claim and should, under Reorganization Plan No. 20-A be filed with the Regional deemed approved by Congress when it adjourned its session in 1956' (Res. of May 6, 1957 in National
Office of the Department of Labor; and there is pending before the regional office of the Department of Shipyards Steel Corporation v. Vicente Area, G.R. No. L-12249). It follows that the questioned
Labor, a claim for separation vacation, sick and maternity leave pay filed by the same plaintiff (appellant) reorganization Plan No. 20-A is valid.".
against the same defendants-appellees). Acting on said motion, the court dismissed the case, relying on
the provision of Section 25, Article VI of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A and on our resolution in the case Petitioner Fred Wilson & Co., Inc. appealed directly to us from this decision.
of NASSCO v. Arca, et al. (G.R. No. L-12249, May 6, 1957). From this order, appellant Raganas appealed
to the Court of Appeals, but said court certified the case to us. The specific legal provision invoked for the authority of the regional offices to take cognizance of the
subject matter involved in these cases is paragraph 25 of Article VI of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A,
In G.R. No. L-16660, Vicente B. Romero filed with Regional Officer No. 2 of the Department of Labor a which is hereunder quoted:
complaint (Wage Case No. 196-W) against Sia Seng, for recovery of alleged unpaid wages, overtime and
separation pay. Sia Seng, filed an answer. At the date set for hearing the latter did not appear despite 25 Each regional office shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases falling under the
due notice to him and counsel. Upon his petition, Romero was allowed to present his evidence. Workmen's Compensation law, and cases affecting all money claims arising from violations of labor
Thereafter, a decision was rendered by the Hearing Officer in favor of Romero. Upon the latter's motion standards on working conditions including but not restrictive to: unpaid wages, underpayment,
for execution, the records of the case were referred to Regional Labor Administrator Angel Hernando for overtime, separation pay and maternity leave of employees and laborers; and unpaid wages, overtime,
issuance of said writ of execution, being the officer charged with the duty of issuing the same. Hernando, separation pay, vacation pay and payment for medical services of domestic help.
believing that Sia Seng should be given a chance to present his evidence, refused to issue the writ of
execution and ordered a re-hearing. As a consequence, Romero filed with the Court of First Instance of Under this provision, the regional offices have been given original and exclusive jurisdiction over:
Isabela a petition for mandamus (Case No. Br. II-35) praying that an order be issued commanding
(a) all cases falling under the Workmen's Compensation law;
respondent Regional Labor Administrator to immediately issue a writ of execution of the decision in
Wage Case No. 196-W. To this petition, respondent Regional Labor Administrator filed a motion to
(b) all cases affecting money claims arising from violations of labor standards on working conditions,
dismiss, on the ground that it states no cause of action, but action thereon was deferred until the case is
unpaid wages, underpayment, overtime, separation pay and maternity leave of employees and laborers;
decided on the merits. Sia Seng filed his answer questioning the validity of the rules and regulations
and .
issued under the authority of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A. After hearing, the court rendered a decision
ordering, inter alia, respondent Regional Labor Administrator to forthwith issue the corresponding writ (c) all cases for unpaid wages, overtime, separation pay, vacation pay and payment for medical services
of execution, as enjoined by Section 48, of the Rules and Regulations No. 1 of the Labor Standards of domestic help.
Commission. From this decision of the Court of First Instance, Sia Seng and Regional Labor Administrator
Hernando appealed to us. Appellant Sia Seng urges in his appeal that the trial court erred in not Before the effectivity of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, however, the Department of Labor, except the
dismissing the petition, in spite of the fact that the decision sought to be enforced by appellee Romero Workmen's Compensation Commission with respect to claims for compensation under the Workmen's
was rendered by a hearing officer who had no authority to render the same, and in failing to hold that Compensation law, had no compulsory power to settle cases under (b) and (c) above, the only authority
Reorganization Plan No. 20-A was not validly passed as a statute and is unconstitutional. it had being to mediate merely or arbitrate when the parties so agree in writing, In case of refusal by a
party to submit to such settlement, the remedy is to file a complaint in the proper court.1
In G.R. No. L-17056, Mariano Pabillare instituted in Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor a
complaint (IS-2168) against petitioner Fred Wilson & Co., Inc., alleging that petitioner engaged his It is evident, therefore, that the jurisdiction to take cognizance of cases affecting money claims such as
services as Chief Mechanic, Air conditioning Department, from October 1947 to February 19, 1959, when those sought to be enforced in these proceedings, is a new conferment of power to the Department of
he was summarily dismissed without cause and without sufficient notice and separation pay. He also Labor not theretofore exercised by it. The question thus presented by these cases is whether this is valid
claimed that during his employment he was not paid for overtime rendered by him. He prayed for under our Constitution and applicable statutes.
judgment for the amount due him for such overtime and separation pay. Petitioner moved to dismiss the
complaint, on the ground that said regional office "being purely an administrative body, has no power, It is true that in Republic Act No. 1241, amending Section 4 of Republic Act 997, which created the
authority, nor jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim sought to be recovered in the action." Said motion to Government Survey and Reorganization Commission, the latter was empowered —
dismiss having been denied by respondent Hearing Officer Meliton Parducho, petitioner Fred Wilson &
Co., Inc. filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila a petition for certiorari and prohibition, with (2) To abolish departments, offices, agencies, or functions which may not be necessary, or create those
preliminary injunction (Civil Case No. 41954) to restrain respondent hearing officer from proceeding with which way be necessary for the efficient conduct of the government service, activities, and functions.
the case, and praying, among others, that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, insofar as it vests original and (Emphasis supplied.)
exclusive jurisdiction over money claims (to the exclusion of regular courts of justice) on the Labor
Standards Commission or the Regional Offices of the Department of Labor, be declared null and void and
But these "functions" which could thus be created, obviously refer merely to administrative, not judicial adjournment of the Second Session, shall be deemed approved after the expiration of the seventy
functions. For the Government Survey and Reorganization Commission was created to carry out the session days of the Congress following the date on which the plan is transmitted to it, unless between
reorganization of the Executive Branch of the National Government (See Section 3 of R.A. No. 997, as the date of transmittal and the expiration of such period, either House by simple resolution disapproves
amended by R.A. No. 1241), which plainly did not include the creation of courts. And the Constitution the reorganization plan or any, modification thereof. The said plan of reorganization or any modification
expressly provides that "the Judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior thereof may, likewise, be approved by Congress in a concurrent Resolution within such period.
courts as may be established by law.(Sec. 1, Art. VII of the Constitution). Thus, judicial power rests
exclusively in the judiciary. It may be conceded that the legislature may confer on administrative boards It is an established fact that the Reorganization Commission submitted Reorganization Plan No. 20-A to
or bodies quasi-judicial powers involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, as incident to the the President who, in turn, transmitted the same to Congress on February 14, 1956. Congress adjourned
performance of administrative functions.2 But in so doing, the legislature must state its intention in its sessions without passing a resolution disapproving or adopting the said reorganization plan. It is now
express terms that would leave no doubt, as even such quasi-judicial prerogatives must be limited, if contended that, independent of the matter of delegation of legislative authority (discussed earlier in this
they are to be valid, only to those incidental to or in connection with the performance of jurisdiction opinion), said plan, nevertheless became a law by non-action on the part of Congress, pursuant to the
over a matter exclusively vested in the courts.3 above-quoted provision.

If a statute itself actually passed by the Congress must be clear in its terms when clothing administrative Such a procedure of enactment of law by legislative in action is not countenanced in this jurisdiction. By
bodies with quasi-judicial functions, then certainly such conferment can not be implied from a mere specific provision of the Constitution —
grant of power to a body such as the Government Survey and Reorganization Commission to create
"functions" in connection with the reorganization of the Executive Branch of the Government. No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been printed and copies thereof in its final
form furnished the Members at least three calendar clays prior to its passage by the National Assembly
And so we held in Corominas et al. v. Labor Standards Commission, et al. (G.R. No. L-14837 and (Congress), except when the President shall have certified to the necessity of its immediate enactment.
companion cases, June 30, 1961); Upon the last reading of a bill no amendment thereof shall be allowed, and the question upon its final
passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered on the Journal. (Sec. 21-
. . . it was not the intention of Congress, in enacting Republic Act No. 997, to authorize the transfer of [a], Art. VI).
powers and jurisdiction granted to the courts of justice, from these to the officials to be appointed or
offices to be created by the Reorganization Plan. Congress is well aware of the provisions of the Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he
Constitution that judicial powers are vested 'only in the Supreme Court and in such courts as the law may approves the same, he shall sign it, but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the House where it
establish'. The Commission was not authorized to create courts of justice, or to take away from these originated, which shall enter the objections at large on its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after
their jurisdiction and transfer said jurisdiction to the officials appointed or offices created under the such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be
Reorganization Plan. The Legislature could not have intended to grant such powers to the Reorganization sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if
Commission, an executive body, as the Legislature may not and cannot delegate its power to legislate or approved by two-thirds of all the Members voting for and against shall be entered on its journal. If any
create courts of justice any other agency of the Government. (Chinese Flour Importers Assoc. vs. Price bill shall not be returned by the President as herein provided within twenty days (Sundays excepted)
Stabilization Board, G.R. No. L-4465, July 12, 1951; Surigao Consolidated vs. Collector of Internal Revenue after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall become a law in like manner as if he has signed
G.R. No. L-5692, March 5, 1954; U.S. vs. Shreveport, 287 U.S. 77, 77 L. ed 175, and Johnson vs. San Diego, it, unless the Congress by adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall become a law unless
42 P. 249, cited in 11 Am. Jur 921-922.) (Emphasis supplied.) vetoed by the President within thirty days after adjournment. (Sec. 20[1]. Art. VI of the Constitution).

But it is urged, in one of the cases, that the defect in the conferment of judicial or quasi-judicial functions A comparison between the procedure of enactment provided in section 6 (a) of the Reorganization Act
to the Regional offices, emanating from the lack of authority of the Reorganization Commission has been and that prescribed by the Constitution will show that the former is in distinct contrast to the latter.
cured by the non-disapproval of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A by Congress under the provisions of Under the first, consent or approval is to be manifested by silence or adjournment or by "concurrent
Section 6(a) of Republic Act No. 997, as amended. It is, in effect, argued that Reorganization Plan No. 20- resolution." In either case, the contemplated procedure violates the constitutional provisions requiring
A is not merely the creation of the Reorganization Commission, exercising its delegated powers, but is in positive and separate action by each House of Congress. It is contrary to the "settled and well-
fact an act of Congress itself, a regular statute directly and duly passed by Congress in the exercise of its understood parliamentary law (which requires that the) two houses are to hold separate sessions for
legislative powers in the mode provided in the enabling act. their deliberations, and the determination of the one upon a proposed law is to be submitted to the
separate determination of the other," (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., p. 187).
The pertinent provision of Republic Act No. 997, as amended, invoked in favor of this argument reads as
follows: Furthermore, Section 6 (a) of the Act would dispense with the "passage" of any measure, as that word is
commonly used and understood, and with the requirement presentation to the President. In a sense, the
SEC. 6 (a) The provisions of the reorganization plan or plans submitted by the President during the section, if given the effect suggested in counsel's argument, would be a reversal of the democratic
Second Session of the Third Congress shall be deemed approved after the adjournment of the said processes required by the Constitution, for under it, the President would propose the legislative action
session, and those of the plan or plans or modifications of any plan or plans to be submitted after the by action taken by Congress. Such a procedure would constitute a very dangerous precedent opening the
way, if Congress is so disposed, because of weakness or indifference, to eventual abdication of its
legislative prerogatives to the Executive who, under our Constitution, is already one of the strongest
among constitutional heads of state. To sanction such a procedure will be to strike at the very root of the
tri-departmental scheme four democracy.

Even in the United States (in whose Federal Constitution there is no counterpart to the specific method
of passaging laws prescribed in Section 21[2] of our Constitution) and in England (under whose
parliamentary system the Prime Minister, real head of the Government, is a member of Parliament), the
procedure outlined in Section 6(a) herein before quoted, is but a technique adopted in the delegation of
the rule-making power, to preserve the control of the legislature and its share in the responsibility for
the adoption of proposed regulations.4 The procedure has ever been intended or utilized or interpreted
as another mode of passing or enacting any law or measure by the legislature, as seems to be the
impression expressed in one these cases.

On the basis of the foregoing considerations, we hold ad declare that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A,
insofar as confers judicial power to the Regional Offices over cases other than these falling under the
Workmen's Compensation on Law, is invalid and of no effect.

This ruling does not affect the resolution of this Court in the case of National Steel & Shipyards
Corporation v. Arca et al., G.R. No. L-12249, dated May 6, 1957, considering that the said case refers to a
claim before the Workmen's Compensation Commission, which exercised quasi-judicial powers even
before the reorganization of the Department of Labor.

WHEREFORE

(a) The decision of the Court of First Instance of Baguio involved in case G.R. No. L-15138 is hereby
affirmed, without costs;

(b) The decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila questioned in case G.R. No. L-16781 is hereby
affirmed, without costs;

(c) The order of dismissal issued by the Court of First Instance of Cebu appealed from in case G.R. No. L-
15377 is set aside and the case remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings, without costs;

(d) In case G.R. No. L-16660, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Isabela, directing the Regional
Labor Administrator to issue a writ of execution of the order of the Regional Office No. 2, is hereby
reversed, without costs; and .

(e) In case G.R. No. L-17056, the decision rendered after hearing by the Court of First Instance of Manila,
dismissing the complaint for annulment of the proceedings before the Regional office No. 3, is hereby
reversed and the preliminary injunction at first issued by the trial court is revived and made permanents
without costs. SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-24281 May 16, 1967 of First Instance of Davao against the Public Works Secretary and the Engineer of Davao. They were able
to obtain a writ of preliminary injunction on February 15, 1962.
ROSITA C. TALEON and MIGUEL SOLIS, petitioners appellants,
vs. On September 1, 1962, appellants filed a similar petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
THE SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS, THE DISTRICT ENGINEER, Province of injunction against the herein respondents-appellees in the Court of First Instance of Manila. After the
Davao, latters' respective answers were filed and the case in Davao was dismissed, upon appellants' motion,
and LUCIA O . TOLENTINO, respondents-appellees. said Manila court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for, altho in form a temporary
restraining order with bond.
Antonio Enrile Inton for petitioners-appellants.
Tolentino, Amoguis and Madrazo for respondent-appellee L. O. Tolentino. The issues having been joined, a pre-trial conference was held and the Court of First Instance of Manila
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico de Castro and Solicitor allowed respondents to file a motion to dismiss the petition. Upon orders of said court, the
C. S. Gaddi for respondent-appellee Secretary of Public Works and Communications. administrative records were sent up. On January 11, 1965, acting on the respective memoranda
submitted by the parties in support of and in opposition to the pending motion to dismiss, the court a
BENGZON, J.P., J.: quo ruled that appellants were given a fair hearing in the administrative case and that the decision
therein was supported by the evidence adduced and dismissed the petition stating:
Petitioner-appellant Rosita Taleon is the registered owner of a parcel of land in Lupon, Davao, which she
acquired from her co-petitioner-appellant Miguel Solis who had constructed therein man-made canals WHEREFORE, finding merit in the respondents' Motion to Dismiss, GRANTED. Let this petition be, as it
and fishpond dikes. hereby DISMISSED, with costs against petitioners.

On April 17, 1961, respondent-appellee Lucia Tolentino wrote a letter-complaint to the Secretary of The temporary restraining order issued on 17 December 1962 is hereby dissolved and the bond filed by
Public Works stating that several fishpond operators and/or owners in Lupon, Davao have built dams petitioners, cancelled.
across and closed the Cabatan River, a public navigable stream, thereby depriving her and the residents
therein of passageway, fishing ground and water supply. This letter-complaint was formally amended on Taking issue with this ruling, the petitioners instituted the present appeal, raising questions purely of
June 9, 1961, wherein Tolentino specified appellants Taleon and Solis, and another neighbor, one law. They submit that the court a quo erred in dismissing the case without giving them a full trial,
Humberto de los Santos, as those responsible for the closing of the alleged Cabatan River, on the banks thereby depriving them of the opportunity to prove that the alleged extension of the Cabatan River
of which their lands abutted. On June 13, 1961, Taleon filed her answer denying the existence of the passing across their property is but a depression and that the decision rendered by Secretary Moreno on
alleged river and claiming that the dams were constructed inside her registered property and that her November 24, 1961, is genuine. Appellants also reiterate that the Secretary of Public Works has no
water source was a man-made canal connected to the sea. jurisdiction over the case, since the dams and the body of water in question were located inside
registered private property.
An administrative hearing was thereafter held. On July 11, 1961, the Secretary of Public Works, through
the department undersecretary, rendered a decision finding that appellants were indeed obstructing the Appellants' contentions are without merit. First of all, full trial was not needed. The issues raised before
Cabatan River, a Public navigable stream which used to pass inside their lands, with the dams they the court a quo were all purely legal and thus could be resolved on the basis of the pleadings and
constructed thereon, and ordering their demolition. Appellants filed a motion to reconsider claiming that memoranda filed and the administrative records sent up to it. No necessity was there for further
the ruling was contrary to the facts established and that the Secretary had no jurisdiction over the Case. reception of evidence.
This was denied.
Anent the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Public Works, this point has been squarely covered in Lovina v.
Appellants elevated the case to the Office of the President on October 11, 1961. After reviewing the Moreno, L-17821, November 29, 1963.1 There We upheld the power of the Public Works Secretary under
records, said office affirmed on November 10, 1961 the decision of July 11, 1961. Appellants filed a Republic Act 2056 to declare as a public navigable stream any alleged depression or bodies of water even
motion to reconsider based on an alleged decision of Public Works Secretary Moreno rendered on inside titled properties. That case involved a creek, located inside a titled land, which was alleged to be
November 24, 1961, reversing the former ruling of July 11, 1961. On January 10, 1962, the Office of the privately owned. The Public Works Secretary declared it as part of a public stream which plaintiffs
President denied the motion, on two grounds: (1) An official examination of the records of the case therein had blocked with their dams. In sustaining the Secretary, We there ruled that such fact-finding
showed that said decision of Secretary Moreno did not form part thereof, and (2) even if it were power on his part was merely incidental to his duly to clear all navigable streams of unauthorized
genuine, it had no legal effect since the Secretary had already lost jurisdiction when appellants filed their obstructions and, hence, its grant did not constitute an unlawful delegation of judicial power. And we
appeal to the President. remarked there that although the title was silent as to the existence of any stream inside the property,
that did not confer a right to the stream, it being of a public nature and not subject to private
On February 9, 1962, Taleon was informed by the District Engineer of Davao that her dams would be appropriation, even by prescription.
demolished on February 16, 1962, upon orders of the Executive Secretary, the administrative decision
having become final and executory. To stop the threatened demolition, appellants filed suit in the Court Appellants would offer affidavits — which are hearsay2 — and testimonies aliunde to show that the
alleged Cabatan River inside their property is really a mere depression. As also enunciated in Lovina v.
Moreno, supra, however, there cannot be a trial de novo in cases of this nature, since a review of an
administrative finding is limited to the evidence already presented before the administrative body.3 This
rule bars presentation of evidence aliunde and limits the trial court's functions to determining whether
there is evidence in the administrative records substantial enough to support the findings therein. Here,
the records of the administrative case were actually brought up and submitted to the court a quo and it
held that the administrative finding that the alleged depression was really a part of the navigable
Cabatan River was supported by substantial evidence. Said court fully did its duty, to have gone further
would have been exceeding its power.

Regarding the alleged second decision of the Secretary, its non-existence has been officially certified by
the Chief of the Records Division of the Department of Public Works, the official custodian.4 This alone is
proof enough that there is no such decision.5 But even granting that there is really such a decision, it
would not help appellants' cause any. Said decision would still be wanting of legal force and effect since
Secretary Moreno had already lost jurisdiction to revoke the former ruling because of the appeal then
already taken by appellants themselves to the Office of the President, which affirmed the former ruling.
And even conceding jurisdiction, the second decision could still affect nothing since it was actually
revoked and reversed by the ruling of the Office of the President, dated January 10, 1962, which denied
the motion to reconsider filed by appellants wherein they invoked said new decision. So, a full trial to
prove the authenticity of the Moreno decision would be a pointless waste of the court a quo's time.

It is recognized that the trial court may dismiss a petition for certiorari even after an answer is filed upon
a motion to dismiss, where said petition is found to be patently without merit.6 But the court a quo did
not summarily dismiss the petition. It conducted a pre-trial conference and even ordered the records in
the administrative case to be elevated to it. Now the Rules of Court7 authorizes the trial court to render
judgment on the pleadings or a summary judgment, as justice may require, if at the pre-trial it finds that
facts exist which would warrant such judgment. All the necessary facts being already before the court a
quo, no further trial was required. Its decision rendered at that stage was therefore sanctioned by the
Rules.

Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against petitioners-appellants. So
ordered.
G.R. No. L-43653 November 29, 1977 its non-delivery, As a consequence Pacifica Innocencio was not able to attend the internment of their
father at Moncada, Tarlac. Because of the failure of RCPI to deliver to him said telegram he allegedly was
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (RCPI), petitioner, "shocked when he learned about the death of their father when he visited his hometown Moncada
vs. Tarlac on August 14, 1975," and thus suffered mental anguish and personal inconveniences. Likewise, he
BOARD OF COMMUNICATIONS and DIEGO MORALES, respondents. prays for damages.

G.R. No. L-45378 November 29, 1977 After hearing. the respondent Board in both cases held that the service rendered by petitioner was
inadequate and unsatisfactory and imposed upon the petitioner in each case a disciplinary fine of P200
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES. INC. (RCPI), petitioner, pursuant to Section 21 of Commonwealth Act 146, as amended, by Presidential Decree No. I and Letter
of Implementation No. 1.
vs.
The main thrust of the argument of petitioner is that respondent Board has no jurisdiction to entertain
BOARD OF COMMUNICATIONS and PACIFICO INNOCENCIO, respondents. and take cognizance of complaints for injury caused by breach of contractual obligation arising from
negligence covered by Article 1170 of the Civil Code 1 and injury caused by quasi delict or tort liability
Treñas & Aligaen for petitioner.
under Article 2176 of the Civil Code 2 which according to it should be ventilated in the proper courts of
justice and not in the Board of Communications.
R. Mag. Bernardo for respondent Morales.
We agree with petitioner RCPI. In one case We have ruled that the Public Service Commission and its
Silvestre T. de la Cruz for respondent Innocencio.
successor in interest, the Board of Communications, "being a creature of the legislature and not a court,
Primitivo C. Santos for respondent Board. can exercise only such jurisdiction and powers as are expressly or by necessary implication,. conferred
upon it by statute".3 The functions of the Public Service Commission are limited and administrative in
MARTIN, J., nature and it has only jurisdiction and power as are expressly or by necessary implication conferred upon
it by statute. 4 As successor in interest of the Public Service Commission, the Board of Communications
These two petitions (G.R. No. L-43653 and G.R. No. L-45378) for review by certiorari of the decisions of exercises the same powers jurisdiction and functions as that provided for in the Public Service Act for the
the Board of Communications in BC Case No. 75-01-OC, entitled "Diego T Morales vs. Radio Public Service Commission. One of these powers as provided under Section 129 of the Public Service Act
Communications of the Philippines, Inc. (RCPI)" and BC Case No. 75-08-OC, entitled "Pacifica Innocencio governing the organization of the Specialized Regulatory Board, is to issue certificate of public
vs. Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. (RCPI)," have been Consolidated as per resolution of convenience. But this power to issue certificate of public convenience does not carry with it the power of
this Court dated March 21, 1977, as they involve the same issue as to whether the Board of supervision and control over matters not related to the issuance of certificate of public convenience or in
Communications has jurisdiction over claims for damages allegedly suffered by private respondents for the performance therewith in a manner suitable to promote public interest. But even assuming that the
failure to receive telegrams sent thru the petitioner Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc., RCPI respondent Board of Communications has the power or jurisdiction over petitioner in the exercise of its
for short. supervision to insure adequate public service, petitioner cannot be subjected to payment of fine under
Section 21 of the Public Service Act, because this provision of the law subjects to a fine every public
In BC Case No. 75-01-OC (G.R. No. L-43653) complainant respondent Diego Morales claims that while he service that violates or falls to comply with the terms and conditions of any certificate or any orders,
was in Manila his daughter sent him a telegram on October 15, 1974 from Santiago, Isabela, informing decisions or regulations of the Commission. In the two cases before us petitioner is not being charged
him of the death of his wife, Mrs. Diego T. Morales. The telegram sent thru the petitioner RCPI however nor investigated for violation of the terms and conditions of its certificate of public convenience or of any
never reached him. He had to be informed personally about the death of his wife and so to catch up with order, decision or regulations of the respondent Board of Communications. The complaint of
the burial of his wife, he had to take the trip by airplane to Isabela. In its answer petitioner RCPI claims respondents in the two case was that they were allegedly inconvenienced or injured by the failure of the
that the telegram sent by respondent was transmitted from Santiago, lsabela to its Message Center at petitioner to transmit to them telegrams informing them of the deaths of close relatives which according
Cubao, Quezon City but when it was relayed from Cubao, the radio signal became intermittent making to them constitute breach of contractual obligation through negligence under the Civil Code. The charges
the copy received at Sta. Cruz, Manila unreadable and unintelligible. Because of the failure of the RCPI to however, do not necessarily involve petitioners failure to comply with its certificate of public
transmit said telegram to him, respondent allegedly suffered inconvenience and additional expenses and convenience or any order, decision or regulation of respondent Board of Communication. It is clear from
prays for damages. the record that petitioner has not been charge of any violation or failure to comply with the terms and
condition of its certificates of public convenience or of any order, decision or regulation of the
In BC Case No. 75-08-OC (G.R. No. L-45378) complainant respondent Pacifico Innocencio claim that on respondent Board. The charge does not relate to the management of the facilities and system of
July 13, 1975 Lourdes Innocencio sent a telegram from Paniqui, Tarlac, thru the facilities of the petitioner transmission of messages by petitioner in accordance with its certificate of public convenience. If in the
RCPI to him at Barrio Lomot, Cavinti, Laguna for the Purpose of informing him about the death of their two cases before Us complainants Diego Morales and Pacifica Innocencio allegedly suffered injury due to
father. The telegram was never received by Pacifico Innocencio. Inspite of the non-receipt and/or non- petitioner's breach of contractual obligation arising from negligence, the proper forum for them to
delivery of the message sent to said address, the sender (Lourdes Innocencio has not been notified about ventilate their grievances for possible recovery of damages against petitioner should be in the courts and
not in the respondent Board of Communications. Much less can it impose the disciplinary fine of P200
upon the petitioner. In Francisco Santiago vs. RCPI (G.R. No. L-29236) and Constancio Langan vs.
RCPI (G.R. No. L-29247), this Court speaking thru Justice Enrique Fernando, ruled:

There can be no justification then for the Public Service Commission (now the Board of Communications
as successor in interest) imposing the fines in these two petitions. The law cannot be any clearer . The
only power it possessed over radio companies as noted was to fix rates It could not take to task a radio
company for an negligence or misfeasance. It was not vested with such authority. That it did then in
these two petitions lacked the impress of validity.

In the face of the provision itself, it is rather apparent that the Public Service Commission lacked the
required power to proceed against petitioner. There is nothing in Section 21 thereof which empowers it
to impose a fine that calls for a different conclusion.

WHEREFORE. both decisions of respondent Board of Communications in BC Case No. 75-01 OC and BC
Case No. 75- 08-0C are hereby reversed, set aside, declared null and void for lack of jurisdiction to take
cognizance of both cases. Without costs.
G.R. No. 142601 October 23, 2006 1. The geographic positions of MBM Nos. 22 to 33, Cad 267, Caloocan Cadastre was the basis for the
establishment of the true and correct boundary between the municipality and Caloocan City. However,
NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, petitioner, during the dialogue with concerned government agencies on May 12, 1995, the municipality of San Jose
vs. del Monte, Bulacan, emphasized that the boundary between the two local government units is the
COMMISSION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS, MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, imaginary straight line between two boundary monuments, starting from MBM Nos. 22 to 33.
BULACAN, SPS. ANGEL and ROSARIO CRUZ, RUFINO LAAN, RUFINO LAAN SANTOS, ANDRES
NEPOMUCENO, SPS. ALBERTO and HERMINIA HAGOS, LEON GUILALAS, SPS. OSCAR and HAYDEE 2. The FNSP-G surveying team plotted/drafted in a topographic map all pertinent records affecting
BADILLO, respondents. boundary disputes of the two locality, such as the geographic positions and coordinates of MBM Nos. 22
to 33 Cad 267 Caloocan Cadastre, BM Nos. 11 to 23 of Tala Estate lot lines. Tala Estate lot lines were
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: plotted approximately by scale, because there were no records on its geographic coordinates and
incomplete cadastral maps. The findings are the following:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals dated
November 16, 1999 and Resolution dated March 13, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 54495, entitled "NATIONAL a) The plotted positions of MBM Nos. 23 to 30, 32 and 33 Cad 267 Caloocan Cadastre are almost
HOUSING AUTHORITY, petitioner, versus, The Hon. Rufino V. Mijares, in his capacity as Commissioner, identical or equivalent to BM Nos. 12 to 16, 18 to 20, 22 and 23 of Tala Estate.
Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP), Municipality of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan,
represented by Hon. Eduardo V. Roquero, in his capacity as Municipal Mayor of San Jose del Monte, b) The lot lines of Tala Estate traverses thru Marilao River.
Bulacan, JOSEPH ELMER S. GUEVARRA, Sheriff IV of the Ex-Officio Sheriff, Malolos, Bulacan, SPS. ANGEL
A. CRUZ and ROSARIO C. CRUZ, RUFINO LAAN, RUFINA LAAN SANTOS, ANDRES NEPOMUCENO, SPS. c) The northern portion of the lot lines of Parcels 1, 2 and 3 SWO-41615 Tala Estate indicated that it
ALBERTO HAGOS and HERMINIA HAGOS, LEON GUILALAS, SPS. OSCAR R. BADILLO and HAYDEE M. traverses thru Marilao River.
BADILLO, and LEONCIO LAAN, respondents."
3. In Municipal Resolution No. 06-08-95 dated August 8, 1995, it is requested that the geographic
The undisputed facts are: positions of BM Nos. 11 to 24, Tala Estate shall be recognized as the official lots lines which delineates
the boundaries of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and Caloocan City. Moreover, the resolution is opposed
Since 1968, there has been an existing boundary dispute between the Municipality of San Jose del to the delineation of Marilao River as the boundary of two localities, as embodied in SWO-41615.
Monte, Bulacan (one of herein respondents) and the City of Caloocan. In order to resolve the long-
challenged conflict, the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose del Monte passed and approved Resolution No. 4. If the lot lines of Parcels 1, 2 and 3, SWO-41615 will be the basis for the boundaries of the two LGUs,
20-02-943 on February 10, 1994. This resolution recognizes the official boundary of respondent Marilao River will be the natural boundary between the two LGUs; if BM 11 to 24, Tala Estate shall be the
municipality and the City of Caloocan, described as follows: basis for the boundaries, some northern portions of Parcels 1, 2 and 3, SWO-41615, portions of Bankers
Village and Pangarap Village belongs to the Municipality of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan."
ON JOINT MOTION of all members present;
The Comprehensive Report states that the San Jose del Monte Sangguniang Bayan Resolutions
RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved to recognize the official boundary of the Municipality of San Jose del contradict the delineation embodied in SWO-41615 of the Tala Estate, a 598-hectare property allotted
Monte, Bulacan and the City of Caloocan, Metro Manila as the true and correct line marking between the by the government mainly for housing and resettlement site under the administration of the National
two Local Government Units as shown by the attached certified true copy of the geographic position and Housing Authority (NHA), pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 843 issued by then President
plain grid coordinates of Caloocan, Rizal per CAD-267 specifically from MBM (Municipal Boundary Ferdinand E. Marcos on April 26, 1971.
Monument) 22 to MBM 33;
Unsatisfied with the report of the DENR, respondent municipality filed a complaint with the Commission
xxx on Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP),6 against petitioner NHA. Several residents of San Jose del
Monte, namely: spouses Angel and Rosario Cruz, Rufino Laan, Rufina Laan Santos, Andres Nepomuceno,
On August 8, 1995, another Resolution4 was passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose del Monte spouses Alberto and Herminia Hagos, Leon Guilalas, spouses Oscar and Haydee Badillo, and Leoncio Laan
recognizing the geographic position and plane coordinates of Tala Estate, Caloocan City contained in BM (herein private respondents) joined the municipality as complainants in the said case. They alleged that
No. 11-24 as the "lot lines" delineating the boundary between the Municipality of San Jose del Monte their properties are within the Municipality of San Jose del Monte; that Presidential Proclamation No.
and Caloocan City. This prompted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), 843 does not cover their properties; and that the NHA’s Bagong Silang Resettlement Project encroaches
Region III to conduct a relocation survey. on their landholdings. They prayed that the NHA be ordered to award them damages. Incidentally, the
City of Caloocan was not impleaded as a party in their complaint.
On September 15, 1995, the survey team submitted a Comprehensive Report,5 some excerpts of which
provide: On June 22, 1998, the COSLAP rendered its Resolution ruling that the correct boundary between
respondents San Jose del Monte and Caloocan City is that specified in the twin Resolutions of
ISSUES, PROBLEMS AND ANALYSIS the Sangguniang Bayan of said respondents. The COSLAP likewise held that all other issues, such as
those raised by respondents, are mere incidents of such ruling. In effect, the COSLAP ruled that the land (a) Between occupants/squatters and pasture lease agreement holders or timber concessionaires;
covered by the NHA project, being within the Municipality of San Jose del Monte, encroaches upon
respondents’ properties. (b) Between occupants/squatters and government reservation grantees;

On January 14, 1999, petitioner NHA, upon invitation of the Bureau of Local Government Supervision of (c) Between occupants/squatters and public land claimants or applicants;
the Department of Interior and Local Government (Bureau), attended a meeting held on January 26,
1999 between the local officials of respondent municipality and Caloocan City. The purpose of the (d) Petitions for classification, release and/or subdivisions of lands of the public domain; and
meeting was to provide an avenue for the discussion of the territorial boundary between the two local
government units. During the meeting, petitioner NHA posed strong opposition to the COSLAP (e) Other similar land problems of grave urgency and magnitude.
Resolution, contending that the latter has no jurisdiction over the boundary dispute. Subsequently, the
xxx
Bureau directed the parties to submit their respective position papers within 30 days.

Administrative agencies, like the COSLAP, are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and as such could wield
Instead of submitting a position paper, respondent municipality filed with the COSLAP a motion for
only such as are specifically granted to them by the enabling statutes.8 In acting on a land dispute, the
execution of its Resolution dated June 22, 1998. On May 17, 1999, the COSLAP granted the motion and
COSLAP may either assume jurisdiction if the matter falls under paragraph 2(a) to (e) or refer the matter
issued a writ of execution.
to an agency having appropriate jurisdiction.
Petitioner NHA then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari alleging that in issuing the
There is no provision in Executive Order No. 561 that COSLAP has jurisdiction over boundary dispute
June 22, 1998 Resolution and the writ of execution, COSLAP acted without jurisdiction.
between two local government units. Under Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code, the
On November 16, 1999, the Appellate Court dismissed the petition for having been filed out of time and respective legislative councils of the contending local government units have jurisdiction over their
for petitioner’s failure to avail of the remedy of appeal. boundary disputes. Sections 118 and 119 provide:

Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied. Section 118. Jurisdictional Responsibility for Settlement of Boundary Dispute.

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. xxx

At the threshold, let it be stated that a judgment issued by a quasi-judicial body without jurisdiction is (d) Boundary disputes involving a component city or municipality on the one hand and a highly
void. It can never become final and executory, hence, an appeal is out of the question.7 urbanized city on the other, or two (2) or more highly urbanized cities, shall be jointly referred for
settlement to the respective sanggunians of the parties.
The main issue for our resolution is whether the COSLAP has jurisdiction over the boundary dispute
between respondent municipality and Caloocan City. (e) In the event the Sanggunian fails to effect an amicable settlement within sixty (60) days from the date
the dispute was referred thereto, it shall issue a certification to that effect. Thereafter, the dispute shall
COSLAP was created by Executive Order No. 561 issued on September 21, 1979 by then President be formally tried by the Sanggunian concerned which shall decide the issue within sixty (60) days from
Ferdinand E. Marcos. The Commission is an administrative body established as a means of providing a the date of the certification referred to above.
mechanism for the expeditious settlement of land problems to avoid social unrest. Its objective is to
settle land conflicts among small settlers, landowners and members of cultural minorities. Section 119. Appeal. – Within the time and manner prescribed by the Rules of Court, any party may
elevate the decision of the Sanggunian concerned to the proper Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction
The powers and functions of the COSLAP are laid down in Section 3 of Executive Order No. 561, thus: over the area in dispute. The Regional Trial Court shall decide the appeal within one (1) year from the
filing thereof. Pending final resolution of the disputed area prior to the dispute shall be maintained and
Sec. 3. Powers and Functions. – The Commission shall have the following powers and functions: continued for all legal purposes.

xxx Rule III implementing the above provisions states:

2. Refer and follow up for immediate action by the agency having appropriate jurisdiction any land Rule III
problem or dispute referred to the Commission: Provided, That the Commission may, in the following
cases, assume jurisdiction and resolve land problems or disputes which are critical and explosive in SETTLEMENT OF BOUNDARY DISPUTES
nature considering, for instance, the large number of parties involved, the presence or emergence of
social tension or unrest, or other similar critical situations requiring immediate action:
Art. 15. Definition and Policy. – There is boundary dispute when a portion or the whole of the territorial
area of an LGU is claimed by two or more LGUs. Boundary disputes between or among LGUs shall, as
much as possible, be settled amicably.

Art. 16. Jurisdictional Responsibility. – Boundary disputes shall be referred for settlement to the
following:

(a) Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan for disputes involving two (2) or more barangays in
the same city or municipality, as the case may be;

(b) Sangguniang panlalawigan for those involving two (2) or more municipalities within the same
province;

(c) Jointly, to the sanggunians of provinces concerned, for those involving component cities or
municipalities of different provinces; or

(d) Jointly, to the respective sanggunians, for those involving a component city or municipality and a
highly urbanized city or two (2) or more highly-urbanized cities. x x x

Thus, instead of assuming jurisdiction over the case, the COSLAP should have referred respondents’
complaint to the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Caloocan City and the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose del
Monte. Their decision may be appealed to the proper Regional Trial Court.

Consequently, we rule that the COSLAP does not have jurisdiction over the boundary dispute between
San Jose del Monte and Caloocan City. We have consistently ruled that a judgment for want of
jurisdiction is no judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right or the creator of any obligation. All
acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. Hence, it can never
become final and any writ of execution based on it is void.9 Such nullity is correctable only by
certiorari.10 And certiorari cannot be dismissed for timeliness inasmuch as a void judgment never
acquires finality and any action to declare its nullity does not prescribe.11 Having no legal effect, the
situation is the same as it would be as if there was no judgment at all. It leaves the parties in the position
they were in before the trial.12

Clearly, the Court of Appeals erred in disposing NHA’s petition for certiorari. It should have dismissed the
petition, not on the grounds that it was filed late and that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal,
but solely on the ground that the COSLAP has no jurisdiction over the subject boundary dispute.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 54495 are SET ASIDE.
G.R. No. 147525 February 26, 2007 The appellate court dismissed the petition as "unavailing and vacuous."8 It reiterated the well-settled
rule that certiorari lies only in cases of errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment. It stressed that
BONIFACIO ESPINOZA, Petitioner, certiorari cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal.
vs.
PROVINCIAL ADJUDICATOR OF THE PROVINCIAL AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATION OFFICE OF Now, petitioner comes to us with practically a rehash of the issues already raised in the CA, to wit:
PAMPANGA andMARIA QUIBULOY, Respondents.
I.
CORONA, J.:
WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT PROVINCIAL ADJUDICATOR OF THE [PARAD] OF PAMPANGA IS
Under review are the January 14, 1994 decision1 and June 01, 2000 resolution2 of the Court of Appeals CORRECT IN PROCEEDING WITH DARAB CASE NO. 203-P-90 WITHOUT FIRST COMPLYING WITH THE
(CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 502 UDK. The CA dismissed petitioner Bonifacio Espinoza’s petition for certiorari JURISDICTIONAL REQUIREMENTS SET FORTH IN SECTION 1, RULE III OF THE [1989] DARAB REVISED
imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the provincial adjudicator of the Provincial Agrarian RULES OF PROCEDURE.
Reform Adjudication Office (PARAD) of San Fernando, Pampanga in deciding DARAB Case No. 203-P-90.
II.
The events leading to this petition for review on certiorari stemmed from an agrarian dispute before the
PARAD, San Fernando, Pampanga. A complaint3 for ejectment was filed against petitioner by private WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT PROVINCIAL ADJUDICATOR OF THE [PARAD] OF PAMPANGA IS
respondent Maria V. Quibuloy, as co-owner and administratrix of three parcels of land covered by CORRECT IN DECIDING DARAB CASE NO. 203-P-90 WITHOUT FIRST RESOLVING PETITIONER’S MOTION TO
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3676. She alleged that petitioner had reneged on his obligations as DISMISS.
tenant to pay the rent and till the subject landholding.
III.
Instead of answering the complaint, petitioner moved to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. He cited
Section 1, Rule III of the 1989 Rules of Procedure of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONER’S ANSWER TO PRIVATE
Board (1989 DARAB Rules), providing for conciliation proceedings before the Barangay Agrarian Reform RESPONDENT’S COMPLAINT IN DARAB CASE NO. 203-P-90 WAS FILED OUT OF TIME AND IN NOT
Council (BARC) prior to initiating the case. He contended that presentation of a certification from the CONSIDERING THE SAME.
BARC, attesting that the dispute had been submitted to it for mediation or conciliation without any
success of settlement, was a jurisdictional requirement. On that note, he concluded that the provincial IV.
adjudicator could not take cognizance of the agrarian dispute due to Quibuloy’s failure to present the
WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT IS CORRECT IN DECIDING DARAB CASE NO. 203-P-90 IN FAVOR
required certificate.
OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT ON THE BASIS OF THE SELF-SERVING AFFIDAVIT OF THE LATTER AND HER
The hearing on the motion to dismiss was set on November 7, 1990.4 On the said date, petitioner or his LONE WITNESS CONSIDERING HER FAILURE TO PRESENT THE TITLE OF THE LAND IN QUESTION (TCT NO.
counsel failed to appear, hence the motion was submitted for resolution.5 3676) OR ANY DOCUMENT TO SHOW HER AUTHORITY TO ACT AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SAME.

Without issuing a ruling on petitioner’s motion, the provincial adjudicator set the case for hearing on V.
May 22, 1991. Again, neither petitioner nor his counsel attended the hearing. Thus, Quibuloy was
WHETHER OR NOT THE [CA’s] DISMISSAL OF THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND DENIAL OF
allowed to present her evidence ex-parte. Thereafter, the dispute was ordered submitted for decision.6
[PETITIONER’S] MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS PROPER.9
Just before the decision was rendered, petitioner filed his answer assailing Quibuloy’s personality to
We deny the petition.
bring suit. Petitioner also offered unsubstantiated denials of Quibuloy’s charges. As his defense, he
denied allegations of non-payment of rents and non-tillage of the land for lack of knowledge and
A special civil action of certiorari is an independent action, raising the question of jurisdiction where the
information to form a belief as to the veracity thereof.
tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.10 The ultimate
The provincial adjudicator was sufficiently convinced that Quibuloy’s allegations were true and correct.
purpose of such action is to keep an inferior tribunal within the bounds of its jurisdiction or relieve
Accordingly, he decided the case against petitioner.7
parties from arbitrary acts of courts.111awphi1.net
Instead of immediately appealing from the adjudicator’s decision, petitioner allowed the reglementary
A petition for certiorari was never meant as a mode of reviewing errors of judgment committed by an
period to lapse. Thereafter, he filed a petition for certiorari with the CA.
inferior tribunal. Thus, it has been settled that the remedy of certiorari is not a substitute for an appeal
lost by the party entitled thereto especially if the right of appeal was lost through negligence.12 When the
remedy of appeal is available but is lost due to petitioner’s own negligence or error in the choice of In sum, the petition failed to prove that the CA committed any reversible error in denying petitioner’s
remedies, resort to certiorari is precluded. petition for certiorari as well as his motion for reconsideration.

Under the 1989 DARAB Rules,13 an aggrieved party may appeal the decision of a provincial adjudicator to WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
the Adjudication Board within 15 days from receipt. In this case, petitioner allowed the appeal period to
lapse and instead filed a petition for certiorari in the CA roughly three months after the assailed decision
was rendered.

It is evident that the CA acted on the petition properly.

Even if, in the greater interest of substantial justice, certiorari may be availed of, it must be shown that
the adjudicator acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, that is,
that the adjudicator exercised his powers in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or
personal hostilities, so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion or virtual refusal to perform the duty
enjoined or to act in contemplation of law.14

As correctly found by the appellate court, there is no showing that errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of
discretion were committed by public respondent.

On the first assigned error, the 1989 DARAB Rules exempted parties residing in non-adjoining barangays
from presenting the BARC certification.15 Since it is undisputed that Quibuloy resided in San Nicolas 1ST,
Lubao, Pampanga while petitioner stayed in San Agustin, Lubao, Pampanga, the former was not required
to present the BARC certification before the adjudicator taking cognizance of the agrarian dispute.
Needless to say, the provincial adjudicator did not err in entertaining the dispute notwithstanding the
absence of the BARC certification.

On the second issue, administrative agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions are not bound by
technical rules followed in courts of law. The adjudicator is given enough latitude, subject to the
essential requirements of administrative due process, to be able to expeditiously ascertain the facts of
the agrarian dispute.16

While there may have been a technical lapse on the part of the adjudicator in disposing of the motion to
dismiss, the assailed acts of the adjudicator did not amount to a grave abuse of discretion justifying a
writ of certiorari. Considering the technical flexibility afforded to agrarian adjudicators, the order may
easily be construed as a denial of the motion to dismiss. What would have been the prudent recourse
under the rules was to submit an answer immediately, participate in the hearing and appeal an adverse
decision. Sadly, petitioner failed to do any of these. It is now too late for him to dispute the adjudicator’s
decision.

Moving on to the third assignment of error, we hold that petitioner’s answer was indeed filed out of
time. While the 1989 DARAB Rules provides that the non-answering respondent (petitioner) may be
allowed to belatedly file his answer, it also provides that the answer should be filed before the matter is
submitted for decision. Here, petitioner submitted his answer after the case was submitted for decision.

Lastly, on the fourth assignment of error, it cannot be overemphasized that only errors of jurisdiction
may be reviewed by the CA in a petition for certiorari. "Where the issue or question involved affects the
wisdom or legal soundness of the decision – not the jurisdiction of the court to render said decision – the
same is beyond the province of a special civil action for certiorari."17
G.R. No. 164763 February 12, 2008 An administrative case was filed against petitioner on February 13, 1989. He filed an Answer11 dated
February 22, 1989 reiterating his earlier verbal admission before the audit team.
ZENON R. PEREZ, petitioner,
vs. On April 17, 1989, petitioner again remitted the amount of P8,000.00 to the Provincial Treasurer of
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and SANDIGANBAYAN, respondents. Bohol. Petitioner had then fully restituted his shortage in the amount of P72,784.57. The full restitution
of the missing money was confirmed and shown by the following receipts:12
REYES, R.T., J.:
Official Receipt No. Date Issued and Received Amount
PETITIONER Zenon R. Perez seeks a review1 of his conviction by the Sandiganbayan2 for malversation of
public funds3 under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.
8266659 January 16, 1989 P10,000.00
This is not a big case but its implications are wide-ranging and the issues We resolve include the rights to
speedy trial and speedy disposition of a criminal case, the balancing test, due process, and cruel and 8266660 January 16, 1989 P15,000.00
unusual punishment.
8266662 February 14, 1989 P35,000.00
The Facts

On December 28, 1988, an audit team headed by Auditor I Arlene R. Mandin, Provincial Auditor’s Office, 8266667 February 16, 1989 P 2,000.00
Bohol,4conducted a cash examination on the account of petitioner, who was then the acting municipal
treasurer of Tubigon, Bohol. 8266668 February 16, 1989 P 2,784.00

Petitioner was absent on the first scheduled audit at his office on December 28, 1988. A radio message
8266675 April 17, 1989 P 8,000.00
was sent to Loon, the town where he resided, to apprise him of the on-going audit. The following day,
the audit team counted the cash contained in the safe of petitioner in his presence. In the course of the
audit, the amount of P21,331.79 was found in the safe of petitioner. TOTAL - P72,784.57

The audit team embodied their findings in the Report of Cash Examination,5 which also contained an Later, petitioner was charged before the Sandiganbayan with malversation of public funds, defined and
inventory of cash items. Based on the said audit, petitioner was supposed to have on hand the total penalized by Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code in an Information that read:
amount of P94,116.36, instead of the P21,331.79, incurring a shortage of P72,784.57.6
That on or about the period covering from December 28, 1988 to January 5, 1989, and for sometime
The report also contained the Cash Production Notice7 dated January 4, 1989, where petitioner was prior thereto, in the Municipality of Tubigon, Province of Bohol, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
informed and required to produce the amount of P72,784.57, and the cash count sheet signed and this Honorable Court, the above-named accused Zenon R. Perez, a public officer being then Acting
acknowledged by petitioner indicating the correctness of the amount of P21,331.79 found in his safe and Municipal Treasury of the said Municipality, by reason of the duties of his official position was
counted in his presence. A separate demand letter8 dated January 4, 1989 requiring the production of accountable for the public funds collected and received by him, with grave abuse of confidence did then
the missing funds was sent and received by petitioner on January 5, 1989. and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, misapply, embezzle and take away from
the said funds the total amount of SEVENTY-TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY-FOUR PESOS and
When asked by the auditing team as to the location of the missing funds, petitioner verbally explained 57/100 (P72,784.57), which said fund was appropriated and converted by the said accused to his own
that part of the money was used to pay for the loan of his late brother, another portion was spent for personal use and benefit to the damage and prejudice of the government in the aforementioned
the food of his family, and the rest for his medicine.9 amount.

As a result of the audit, Arlene R. Mandin prepared a memorandum10 dated January 13, 1989 addressed CONTRARY TO LAW.13 (Underscoring supplied)
to the Provincial Auditor of Bohol recommending the filing of the appropriate criminal case against
petitioner. On March 1, 1990, petitioner, duly assisted by counsel de parte, entered a plea of "not guilty."14

On January 16, 1989, petitioner remitted to the Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Bohol the amounts Pre-trial was initially set on June 4-5, 1990 but petitioner’s counsel moved for postponement. The
of P10,000.00 and P15,000.00, respectively. On February 14, 1989, petitioner again remitted to the Sandiganbayan, however, proceeded to hear the case on June 5, 1990, as previously scheduled, due to
Provincial Treasurer an additional amount of P35,000.00, followed by remittances made on February 16, the presence of prosecution witness Arlene R. Mandin, who came all the way from Bohol.
1989 in the amounts of P2,000.00 and P2,784.00.
On said date, the Sandiganbayan dispensed with pre-trial and allowed the prosecution to present its I. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN BY UNDULY AND UNREASONABLY DELAYING THE DECISION OF THE CASE
witness. Arlene R. Mandin testified as narrated above. FOR OVER THIRTEEN (13) YEARS VIOLATED THE PETITIONER’S RIGHT TO SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF HIS
CASE AND DUE PROCESS.
The defense presented evidence through petitioner Zenon R. Perez himself. He denied the contents of
his first Answer15 to the administrative case filed against him by the audit team. He claimed it was II. THE LAW RELIED UPON IN CONVICTING THE PETITIONER AND THE SENTENCE IMPOSED IS CRUEL AND
prepared without the assistance of counsel and that at the time of its preparation and submission, he THEREFORE VIOLATES SECTION 19 OF ARTICLE III (BILL OF RIGHTS) OF THE
was not in peak mental and physical condition, having been stricken with diabetes mellitus.16 CONSTITUTION.27 (Underscoring supplied)

He then revoked his Answer dated February 22, 1989 and filed his second Answer dated March 2, Our Ruling
1989.17 In the latter, he vehemently denied that he incurred a cash shortage P72,784.57.
Before addressing petitioner’s twin assignment of errors, We first tackle the propriety of petitioner’s
According to petitioner, the alleged shortage was in the possession and custody of his accountable conviction for malversation of public funds.
personnel at the time of the audit examination. Several amounts totalling P64,784.00 were remitted to
him on separate dates by his accountable officer, starting January 16, 1989 to February 16, 1989. The I. Petitioner was correctly convicted of malversation.
same were turned over by him to the Office of the Provincial Treasurer, leaving an unremitted sum
of P8,000.00 as of February 16, 1989.18 He remitted the P8,000.00 on April 17, 1989 to the Provincial Malversation is defined and penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code. The acts punished as
Treasurer of Bohol, fully restoring the cash shortage. malversation are: (1) appropriating public funds or property, (2) taking or misappropriating the same,
(3) consenting, or through abandonment or negligence, permitting any other person to take such public
Petitioner further testified that on July 30, 1989, he submitted his Position Paper19 before the Office of funds or property, and (4) being otherwise guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds
the Ombudsman, Cebu City and maintained that the alleged cash shortage was only due to oversight. or property.28
Petitioner argued that the government did not suffer any damage or prejudice since the alleged cash
shortage was actually deposited with the Office of the Provincial Treasurer as evidenced by official There are four elements that must concur in order that one may be found guilty of the crime. They are:
receipts.20
(a) That the offender be a public officer;
Petitioner completed his testimony on September 20, 1990. He rested his case on October 20, 1990.21
(b) That he had the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office;
Sandiganbayan Disposition
(c) That those funds or property involved were public funds or property for which he is accountable; and
On September 24, 2003, the Sandiganbayan rendered a judgment of conviction with a fallo reading:
(d) That he has appropriated, took or misappropriated or consented or, through abandonment or
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused ZENON R. PEREZ, GUILTY beyond negligence, permitted another person to take them.29
reasonable doubt of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds as defined in and penalized by Article 217
of the Revised Penal Code and, there being one mitigating circumstance without any aggravating Evidently, the first three elements are present in the case at bar. At the time of the commission of the
circumstance to offset the same, is hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of from TEN crime charged, petitioner was a public officer, being then the acting municipal treasurer of Tubigon,
(10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor as the minimum to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS and EIGHT (8) Bohol. By reason of his public office, he was accountable for the public funds under his custody or
MONTHS of reclusion temporal as the maximum and to suffer perpetual special disqualification. The control.
accused Zenon R. Perez is likewise ordered to pay a FINE equal to the total amount of the funds
The question then is whether or not petitioner has appropriated, took or misappropriated, or consented
malversed, which is Seventy-Two Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty-Four Pesos and Fifty-Seven Centavos
or through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to take such funds.
(P72, 784.57).

We rule in the affirmative.


SO ORDERED.22 (Emphasis in the original)

In malversation, all that is necessary to prove is that the defendant received in his possession public
On January 13, 2004, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration23 which the prosecution opposed on
funds; that he could not account for them and did not have them in his possession; and that he could not
January 28, 2004.24 Petitioner replied25 to the opposition. On August 6, 2004, petitioner’s motion was
give a reasonable excuse for its disappearance. An accountable public officer may be convicted of
denied with finality.
malversation even if there is no direct evidence of misappropriation and the only evidence is shortage in
On September 23, 2004, petitioner resorted to the instant appeal26 raising the following issues, to wit: his accounts which he has not been able to explain satisfactorily.30
Verily, an accountable public officer may be found guilty of malversation even if there is no direct 1. That the circumstances surrounding the cash shortage in the total amount of P72,784.57 during the
evidence of malversation because the law establishes a presumption that mere failure of an accountable examination of the respondent’s cash accounts by the Commission on Audit on December 28-29, 1988
officer to produce public funds which have come into his hands on demand by an officer duly authorized and January 4-5, 1989 are as follows, to wit:
to examine his accounts is prima facie case of conversion.31
(a) That respondent paid the amount of about P30,000.00 to the Philippine National Bank, Tagbilaran
Because of the prima facie presumption in Article 217, the burden of evidence is shifted to the accused Branch as interests of the commercial loan of his late brother Carino R. Perez using respondent’s house
to adequately explain the location of the funds or property under his custody or control in order to rebut and lot as collateral thereof. If the interests would not be paid, the loan would be foreclosed to
the presumption that he has appropriated or misappropriated for himself the missing funds. Failing to do respondent’s great prejudice and disadvantage considering that he and his family are residing in said
so, the accused may be convicted under the said provision. house used as collateral;

However, the presumption is merely prima facie and a rebuttable one. The accountable officer may (b) That respondent spent the amount of P10,000.00 in connection with the treatment of his toxic
overcome the presumption by proof to the contrary. If he adduces evidence showing that, in fact, he has goiter;
not put said funds or property to personal use, then that presumption is at end and the prima facie case
is destroyed.32 (c) That the rest of the amount amounting to about P32,000.00 was spent by him for his family’s foods,
clothings (sic), and education of his children because his monthly salary is not enough for the needs of
In the case at bar, petitioner was not able to present any credible evidence to rebut the presumption his family.34
that he malversed the missing funds in his custody or control. What is extant in the records is that the
prosecution, through witness Arlene R. Mandin, was able to prove that petitioner malversed the funds By the explicit admission of petitioner, coupled with the testimony of Arlene R. Mandin, the fourth
under his custody and control. As testified by Mandin: element of the crime of malversation was duly established. His conviction thus stands in terra firma.

Atty. Caballero: True it is that petitioner filed another Answer on March 2, 1989 with the Office of the Provincial
Treasurer of Bohol, substantially changing the contents of his earlier answer of February 22, 1989. His
Q: Was Mr. Zenon Perez actually and physically present during the time of your cash examination? second Answer averred:

Witness:
3. That the truth of the matter is that the alleged total cash shortage of P72,784.57 were still in the
possession and custody of his accountable personnel at the time of the examination held by the auditor
A. Yes, Sir.
of the Commission on Audit;
Q: From December 28, to January 5, 1989?
4. That out of the alleged cash shortage of P72,784.57, almost all of said amount were already remitted
A: He was present on December 28, 1988 and January 4 and 5, 1989, Sir. to him by his accountable personnel after January 5, 1989, and only the remaining amount of P8,000.00
remains to be remitted to him by his accountable personnel.35
Q: Did he not make any verbal explanation as the reason why he was short of about P72,000.00, after you
conducted the cash count on January 5, 1989? The sudden turnaround of petitioner fails to convince Us. To Our mind, petitioner only changed his story
to exonerate himself, after realizing that his first Answer put him in a hole, so to speak.
A: Yes, Sir, he did.

It is contended that petitioner’s first Answer of February 22, 1989 should not have been given probative
Q: What did he tell you?
weight because it was executed without the assistance of counsel.36
A: He told us that he used some of the money to pay for the loan of his brother and the other portion was spent for
food of his family; and the rest for his medicine.33 (Emphasis supplied) There is no law, jurisprudence or rule which mandates that an employee should be assisted by counsel in
an administrative case. On the contrary, jurisprudence is in unison in saying that assistance of counsel is
Petitioner gave himself away with his first Answer filed at the Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Bohol not indispensable in administrative proceedings.
in the administrative case filed against him.
Walang batas, hurisprudensiya, o tuntunin na nagsasabi na ang isang kawani ay dapat may tulong ng
In that Answer, petitioner narrated how he disposed of the missing funds under his custody and control, abogado sa isang kasong administratibo. Sa katunayan, ang hurisprudensiya ay iisa ang sinasabi na
to wit: (1) about P30,000.00 was used to pay the commercial loan of his late brother; (2) he ang pagtulong ng isang abogado ay hindi kailangang-kailangan sa kasong administratibo.
spent P10,000.00 for the treatment of his toxic goiter; and (3) about P32,000.00 was spent for food and
clothing of his family, and the education of his children. He there stated: The right to counsel, which cannot be waived unless the waiver is in writing and in the presence of
counsel, is a right afforded a suspect or accused during custodial investigation. It is not an absolute right
and may be invoked or rejected in a criminal proceeding and, with more reason, in an administrative We now discuss the right to a speedy trial and disposition, the balancing test, due process, and cruel and
inquiry.37 unusual punishment.

Ang karapatang magkaroon ng abogado, na hindi maaaring talikdan malibang ang waiver ay Petitioner asserts that his right to due process of law and to speedy disposition of his case was violated
nakasulat at sa harap ng abogado, ay karapatang ibinibigay sa suspek o nasasakdal sa isang custodial because the decision of the Sandiganbayan was handed down after the lapse of more than twelve years.
investigation. Ito ay hindi lubos na karapatan at maaring hingin o tanggihan sa isang prosesong The years that he had to wait for the outcome of his case were allegedly spent in limbo, pain and
kriminal, at lalo na sa isang administratibong pagsisiyasat. agony.42

While investigations conducted by an administrative body may at times be akin to a criminal proceeding, We are not persuaded.
the fact remains that under existing laws, a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted
by counsel, irrespective of the nature of the charges and of respondent’s capacity to represent himself, Due process of law as applied to judicial proceedings has been interpreted to mean "a law which hears
and no duty rests on such body to furnish the person being investigated with counsel.38 before it condemns, which proceeds on inquiry, and renders judgment only after trial."43 Petitioner
cannot complain that his right to due process has been violated. He was given all the chances in the
Thus, the right to counsel is not imperative in administrative investigations because such inquiries are world to present his case, and the Sandiganbayan rendered its decision only after considering all the
conducted merely to determine whether there are facts that merit disciplinary measures against erring pieces of evidence presented before it.
public officers and employees, with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of government service.39
Petitioner’s claim of violation of his right to a speedy disposition of his case must also fail.
Kung gayon, ang karapatang magkaroon ng abogado ay hindi sapilitan sa isang administratibong
imbestigasyon sapagkat ito ay ginagawa lamang upang malaman kung may sapat na batayan na The 1987 Constitution44 guarantees the right of an accused to speedy trial. Both the 1973 Constitution in
patawan ng disiplina ang nagkasalang opisyal o empleyado, para mapanatili ang dignidad ng Section 16 of Article IV and the 1987 Constitution in Section 16 of Article III, Bill of Rights, are also explicit
paglilingkod sa pamahalaan. in granting to the accused the right to speedy disposition of his case.45

There is nothing in the Constitution that says that a party in a non-litigation proceeding is entitled to be In Barker v. Wingo,46 the United States Supreme Court was confronted for the first time with two "rigid
represented by counsel and that, without such representation, he shall not be bound by such approaches" on speedy trial as "ways of eliminating some of the uncertainty which courts experience
proceedings. The assistance of lawyers, while desirable, is not indispensable. The legal profession was protecting the right."47
not engrafted in the due process clause such that without the participation of its members, the
safeguard is deemed ignored or violated. The ordinary citizen is not that helpless that he cannot validly The first approach is the "fixed-time period" which holds the view that "the Constitution requires a
act at all except only with a lawyer at his side.40 criminal defendant to be offered a trial within a specified time period."48 The second approach is
the "demand-waiver rule"which provides that "a defendant waives any consideration of his right to
More than that, petitioner’s first Answer may be taken against him, as he executed it in the course of the speedy trial for any period prior to which he has not demanded trial. Under this rigid approach, a prior
administrative proceedings below. This is pursuant to Rule 130, Section 26 of the Rules of Court which demand is a necessary condition to the consideration of the speedy trial right."49
provides that the "act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given against him."
In People v. Lising,41 the Court held: The fixed-time period was rejected because there is "no constitutional basis for holding that the speedy
trial can be quantified into a specific number of days or months."50 The demand-waiver rule was likewise
Extrajudicial statements are as a rule, admissible as against their respective declarants, pursuant to the rejected because aside from the fact that it is "inconsistent with this Court’s pronouncements on waiver
rule that the act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given against him. This is of constitutional rights,"51 "it is insensitive to a right which we have deemed fundamental."52
based upon the presumption that no man would declare anything against himself, unless such
declarations were true. A man’s act, conduct and declarations wherever made, provided they be The Court went on to adopt a middle ground: the "balancing test," in which "the conduct of both the
voluntary, are admissible against him, for the reason that it is fair to presume that they correspond with prosecution and defendant are weighed."53 Mr. Justice Powell, ponente, explained the concept, thus:
the truth and it is his fault if they are not.
A balancing test necessarily compels courts to approach speedy trial cases on an ad hoc basis. We can
There is also no merit in the contention that petitioner’s sickness affected the preparation of his first do little more than identify some of the factors which courts should assess in determining whether a
Answer. He presented no convincing evidence that his disease at the time he formulated that answer particular defendant has been deprived of his right. Though some might express them in different ways,
diminished his capacity to formulate a true, clear and coherent response to any query. In fact, its we identify four such factors: Length of delay, the reason for the delay, the defendant’s assertion of
contents merely reiterated his verbal explanation to the auditing team on January 5, 1989 on how he his right, and prejudice to the defendant.
disposed of the missing funds.
The length of the delay is to some extent a triggering mechanism. Until there is some delay which is
II. There is no violation of the rights to a speedy disposition of the case and to due process of law. presumptively prejudicial, there is no necessity for inquiry into the other factors that go into the
balance. Nevertheless, because of the imprecision of the right to speedy trial, the length of delay that
will provoke such an inquiry is necessarily dependent upon the peculiar circumstances of the case. To Once more, in Mendoza-Ong v. Sandiganbayan,58 this Court reiterated that the right to speedy
take but one example, the delay that can be tolerated for an ordinary street crime is considerably less disposition of cases, like the right to speedy trial, is violated only when the proceedings are attended by
than for a serious, complex conspiracy charge. vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays.59 In the determination of whether said right has been
violated, particular regard must be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each case.60 The
Closely related to length of delay is the reason the government assigns to justify the delay. Here, too, conduct of both the prosecution and defendant, the length of the delay, the reasons for such delay, the
different weights should be assigned to different reasons. A deliberate attempt to delay the trial in order assertion or failure to assert such right by accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay are the factors
to hamper the defense should be weighted heavily against the government. A more neutral reason such to consider and balance.61
as negligence or overcrowded courts should be weighted less heavily but nevertheless should be
considered since the ultimate responsibility for such circumstances must rest with the government Moreover, the determination of whether the delays are of said nature is relative and cannot be based on
rather than with the defendant. Finally, a valid reason, such as a missing witness, should serve to justify a mere mathematical reckoning of time.62
appropriate delay. We have already discussed the third factor, the defendant’s responsibility to assert
his right. Whether and how a defendant asserts his right is closely related to the other factors we have Measured by the foregoing yardstick, We rule that petitioner was not deprived of his right to a speedy
mentioned. The strength of his efforts will be affected by the length of the delay, to some extent by disposition of his case.
the reason for the delay, and most particularly by the personal prejudice, which is not always readily
identifiable, that he experiences. The more serious the deprivation, the more likely a defendant is to More important than the absence of serious prejudice, petitioner himself did not want a speedy
complain. The defendant’s assertion of his speedy trial right, then, is entitled to strong evidentiary disposition of his case.63 Petitioner was duly represented by counsel de parte in all stages of the
weight in determining whether the defendant is being deprived of the right. We emphasize that failure proceedings before the Sandiganbayan. From the moment his case was deemed submitted for decision
to assert the right will make it difficult for a defendant to prove that he was denied a speedy trial. up to the time he was found guilty by the Sandiganbayan, however, petitioner has not filed a single
motion or manifestation which could be construed even remotely as an indication that he wanted his
A fourth factor is prejudice to the defendant. Prejudice, of course, should be assessed in the light of case to be dispatched without delay.
the interests of defendants which the speedy trial right was designed to protect. This Court has
identified three such interests: (i) to prevent oppressive pretrial incarceration; (ii) to minimize anxiety Petitioner has clearly slept on his right. The matter could have taken a different dimension if during all
and concern of the accused; and (iii) to limit the possibility that the defense will be impaired. Of these, those twelve years, petitioner had shown signs of asserting his right to a speedy disposition of his case or
the most serious is the last, because the inability of a defendant adequately to prepare his case skews at least made some overt acts, like filing a motion for early resolution, to show that he was not waiving
the fairness of the entire system. If witnesses die or disappear during a delay, the prejudice is obvious. that right.64
There is also prejudice if defense witnesses are unable to recall accurately events of the distant past.
Loss of memory, however, is not always reflected in the record because what has been forgotten can Currit tempus contra decides et sui juris contempores: Time runs against the slothful and those who
rarely be shown.54(Emphasis supplied) neglect their rights. Ang panahon ay hindi panig sa mga tamad at pabaya sa kanilang
karapatan. Vigilantis sed non dormientibus jura in re subveniunt. The law aids the vigilant and not those
Philippine jurisprudence has, on several occasions, adopted the balancing test. who slumber in their rights. Ang batas ay tumutulong sa mga mapagbantay at hindi sa mga
humihimbing sa kanilang karapatan.
In 1991, in Gonzales v. Sandiganbayan,55 this Court ruled:
Pending his conviction by the Sandiganbayan, petitioner may have truly lived in suspicion and anxiety for
It must be here emphasized that the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, over twelve years. However, any prejudice that may have been caused to him in all those years was only
is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive minimal. The supposed gravity of agony experienced by petitioner is more imagined than real.
delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without cause
or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case This case is analogous to Guerrero v. Court of Appeals.65 There, the Court ruled that there was no
tried. Equally applicable is the balancing test used to determine whether a defendant has been denied violation of petitioner’s right to speedy trial and disposition of his case inasmuch as he failed seasonably
his right to a speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both to assert his rights:
the prosecution and the defendant are weighed, and such factors as length of the delay, reason for the
delay, the defendant’s assertion or non-assertion of his right, and prejudice to the defendant resulting In the present case, there is no question that petitioner raised the violation against his own right to
from the delay, are considered. (Underscoring supplied) speedy disposition only when the respondent trial judge reset the case for rehearing. It is fair to assume
that he would have just continued to sleep on his right – a situation amounting to laches – had the
Subsequently, in Dela Peña v. Sandiganbayan,56 this Court again enumerated the factors that should be respondent judge not taken the initiative of determining the non-completion of the records and of
considered and balanced, namely: (1) length of delay; (2) reasons for the delay; (3) assertion or failure to ordering the remedy precisely so he could dispose of the case. The matter could have taken a different
assert such right by the accused; and (4) prejudice caused by the delay.57 dimension if during all those ten years between 1979 when accused filed his memorandum and 1989
when the case was re-raffled, the accused showed signs of asserting his right which was granted him in
1987 when the new Constitution took effect, or at least made some overt act (like a motion for early
disposition or a motion to compel the stenographer to transcribe stenographic notes) that he was not not cruel, degrading or inhuman, and is thus constitutional. Any infliction of pain in lethal injection is
waiving it. As it is, his silence would have to be interpreted as a waiver of such right. merely incidental in carrying out the execution of the death penalty and does not fall within the
constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment.78
While this Court recognizes the right to speedy disposition quite distinctly from the right to a speedy
trial, and although this Court has always zealously espoused protection from oppressive and vexatious The Court adopted the American view that what is cruel and unusual is not fastened to the obsolete but
delays not attributable to the party involved, at the same time, we hold that a party’s individual rights may acquire meaning as public opinion becomes enlightened by humane justice and must draw its
should not work against and preclude the people’s equally important right to public justice. In the instant meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.79
case, three people died as a result of the crash of the airplane that the accused was flying. It appears to
us that the delay in the disposition of the case prejudiced not just the accused but the people as well. In his last ditch effort to exculpate himself, petitioner argues that the penalty meted for the crime of
Since the accused has completely failed to assert his right seasonably and inasmuch as the respondent malversation of public funds "that ha[ve] been replenished, remitted and/or returned" to the
judge was not in a position to dispose of the case on the merits due to the absence of factual basis, we government is cruel and therefore unconstitutional, "as government has not suffered any damage."80
hold it proper and equitable to give the parties fair opportunity to obtain (and the court to dispense)
substantial justice in the premises. The argument is specious on two grounds.

III. The law relied upon in convicting petitioner is not cruel and unusual. It does not violate Section 19, First. What is punished by the crime of malversation is the act of a public officer who, by reason of the
Article III of the Bill of Rights. duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take
and misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence shall permit any other
What constitutes cruel and unusual punishment has not been exactly defined.66 The Eighth Amendment person to take such public funds or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the
of the United States Constitution,67 the source of Section 19, Article III of the Bill of Rights68 of our own misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property.81
Constitution, has yet to be put to the test to finally determine what constitutes cruel and inhuman
punishment.69 Payment or reimbursement is not a defense for exoneration in malversation; it may only be considered
as a mitigating circumstance. This is because damage is not an element of malversation.
Cases that have been decided described, rather than defined, what is meant by cruel and unusual
punishment. This is explained by the pronouncement of the United States Supreme Court that "[t]he Second. There is strong presumption of constitutionality accorded to statutes.
clause of the Constitution, in the opinion of the learned commentators, may be therefore progressive,
and is not fastened to the obsolete, but may acquire meaning as public opinion becomes enlightened by It is established doctrine that a statute should be construed whenever possible in harmony with, rather
a humane justice."70 than in violation of, the Constitution.82 The presumption is that the legislature intended to enact a valid,
sensible and just law and one which operates no further than may be necessary to effectuate the specific
In Wilkerson v. Utah,71 Mr. Justice Clifford of the United States Supreme Court opined that "[d]ifficulty purpose of the law.83 It is presumed that the legislature has acted within its constitutional powers. So, it
would attend the effort to define with exactness the extent of the constitutional provision which is the generally accepted rule that every statute, or regularly accepted act, is, or will be, or should be,
provides that cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted; but it is safe to affirm that presumed to be valid and constitutional.84
punishments of torture, x x x and all others in the same line of unnecessary cruelty, are forbidden by that
amendment to the constitution."72 He who attacks the constitutionality of a law has the onus probandi to show why such law is repugnant
to the Constitution. Failing to overcome its presumption of constitutionality, a claim that a law is cruel,
In In Re: Kemmler,73 Mr. Chief Justice Fuller of that same Court stated that "[p]unishments are cruel unusual, or inhuman, like the stance of petitioner, must fail.
when they involve torture or a lingering death; but the punishment of death is not cruel within the
IV. On the penalty
meaning of that word as used in the constitution. It implies x x x something more inhuman and
barbarous, something more than the mere extinguishment of life."74 The Sandiganbayan sentenced petitioner to an indeterminate sentence of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision
mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum. In imposing the
Again, in Weems v. U.S.,75 Mr. Justice McKenna held for the Court that cadena temporal and its accessory penalty, it found that petitioner was entitled to the mitigating circumstance of payment which is akin to voluntary
penalties "has no fellow in American legislation. Let us remember that it has come to us from a surrender.
government of a different form and genus from ours. It is cruel in its excess of imprisonment and that
which accompanies and follows imprisonment. It is unusual in character. Its punishments come under Article 217 penalizes malversation in the following tenor:
the condemnation of the Bill of Rights, both on account of their degree and kind. And they would have
Article 217. Malversation of public funds or property. – Presumption of malversation. – Any public officer who, by reason
those bad attributes even if they were found in a Federal enactment, and not taken from an alien
of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take and
source." misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence shall permit any other person to take such
public funds or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such
In Echegaray v. Executive Secretary,76 this Court in a per curiam Decision held that Republic Act No. funds or property.
8177,77 even if it does not provide in particular the details involved in the execution by lethal injection, is
xxxx 5. When there are two or more mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstances are present, the court shall
impose the penalty next lower to that prescribed by law, in the period that it may deem applicable, according to the
4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved is more than 12,000 number and nature of such circumstances. (Underscoring supplied)
but is less than 22,000 pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum
period to reclusion perpetua. Considering that there are two mitigating circumstances, the prescribed penalty is reduced to prision mayor in its
maximum period to reclusion temporal in its medium period, to be imposed in any of its periods. The new penalty has a
In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine range of ten (10) years and one (1) day to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months. Applying the Indeterminate
equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled. Sentence Law,91 the maximum term could be ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayormaximum, while
the minimum term is again one degree lower92 and could be four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision
The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable upon correccional maximum.
demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to
personal uses. (Underscoring supplied) In the 1910 case of U.S. v. Reyes,93 the trial judge entered a judgment of conviction against the accused and meted to
him the penalty of "three years’ imprisonment, to pay a fine of P1,500.00, and in case of insolvency to suffer subsidiary
The amount malversed totalled P72,784.57. The prescribed penalty is reclusion temporal in its maximum period imprisonment at the rate of one day for every P2.50 that he failed to pay, which subsidiary imprisonment, however,
to reclusion perpetua, which has a range of seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to forty (40) years. should not exceed one third of the principal penalty" and to be "perpetually disqualified for public office and to pay the
costs." This was well within the imposable penalty then under Section 1 of Act No. 1740, 94 which is "imprisonment for
However, the commission of the crime was attended by the mitigating circumstance akin to voluntary surrender. As not less than two months nor more than ten years and, in the discretion of the court, by a fine of not more than the
correctly observed by the Sandiganbayan, petitioner restituted the full amount even before the prosecution could amount of such funds and the value of such property."
present its evidence. That is borne by the records.
On appeal to the Supreme Court, the accused’s conviction was affirmed but his sentence was modified and reduced to
It bears stressing that the full restitution of the amount malversed will not in any way exonerate an accused, as six months. The court, per Mr. Justice Torres, reasoned thus:
payment is not one of the elements of extinction of criminal liability. Under the law, the refund of the sum
misappropriated, even before the commencement of the criminal prosecution, does not exempt the guilty person from For the foregoing reasons the several unfounded errors assigned to the judgment appealed from have been fully
liability for the crime.85 At most, then, payment of the amount malversed will only serve as a mitigating refuted, since in conclusion it is fully shown that the accused unlawfully disposed of a portion of the municipal funds,
circumstance86 akin to voluntary surrender, as provided for in paragraph 7 of Article 13 87 in relation to paragraph 1088 of putting the same to his own use, and to that of other persons in violation of Act. No. 1740, and consequently he has
the same Article of the Revised Penal Code. incurred the penalty therein established as principal of the crime of misappropriation; and even though in imposing it, it
is not necessary to adhere to the rules of the Penal Code, the court in using its discretional powers as authorized by law,
But the Court also holds that aside from voluntary surrender, petitioner is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of no believes that the circumstances present in the commission of crimes should be taken into consideration, and in the
intention to commit so grave a wrong,89 again in relation to paragraph 10 of Article 13. 90 present case the amount misappropriated was refunded at the time the funds were counted.95 (Underscoring supplied)

The records bear out that petitioner misappropriated the missing funds under his custody and control because he was We opt to exercise an analogous discretion.
impelled by the genuine love for his brother and his family. Per his admission, petitioner used part of the funds to pay
off a debt owed by his brother. Another portion of the misappropriated funds went to his medications for his WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Sandiganbayan dated September 24, 2003 is AFFIRMED with
debilitating diabetes. the MODIFICATION that petitioner is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of four (4)
years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum term, to ten (10) years and
Further, as shown earlier, petitioner restituted all but Eight Thousand Pesos (P8,000.00) of the funds in less than one
one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum term, with perpetual special disqualification. He is
month and a half and said small balance in three (3) months from receipt of demand of COA on January 5, 1999.
Evidently, there was no intention to commit so grave a wrong.
likewise ORDERED to pay a fine of P72,784.57, the amount equal to the funds malversed.

Of course, the end does not justify the means. To condone what petitioner has done because of the nobility of his
purpose or financial emergencies will become a potent excuse for malefactors and open the floodgates for more
corruption in the government, even from "small fry" like him.

The bottom line is a guilty person deserves the penalty given the attendant circumstances and commensurate with the
gravity of the offense committed. Thus, a reduction in the imposable penalty by one degree is in order. Article 64 of the
Revised Penal Code is explicit:

Art. 64. Rules for the application of penalties which contain three periods. – In cases in which the penalties prescribed
by law contains three periods, whether it be a single divisible penalty or composed of three difference penalties, each
one of which forms a period in accordance with the provisions of Articles 76 and 77, the courts shall observe for the
application of the penalty, the following rules, according to whether there are no mitigating or aggravating
circumstances:

xxxx
G.R. No. L-29169 August 19, 1968 I am quite taken by surprise, as counsel for the accused Roger Chavez, with this move of the Fiscal in presenting him as
his witness. I object.
ROGER CHAVEZ, petitioner,
COURT:
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE WARDEN OF THE CITY
On what ground, counsel? .
JAIL OF MANILA, respondents.
ATTY. CARBON:
Estanislao E. Fernandez and Fausto Arce for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General for respondents. On the ground that I have to confer with my client. It is really surprising that at this stage, without my being notified by
the Fiscal, my client is being presented as witness for the prosecution. I want to say in passing that it is only at this very
SANCHEZ, J.: moment that I come to know about this strategy of the prosecution.

The thrust of petitioner's case presented in his original and supplementary petitions invoking jurisdiction COURT (To the Fiscal):
of this Court is that he is entitled, on habeas corpus, to be freed from imprisonment upon the ground
You are not withdrawing the information against the accused Roger Chavez by making [him a] state witness?.
that in the trial which resulted in his conviction1 he was denied his constitutional right not to be
compelled to testify against himself. There is his prayer, too, that, should he fail in this, he be granted the FISCAL GRECIA:
alternative remedies of certiorari to strike down the two resolutions of the Court of Appeals dismissing
his appeal for failure to file brief, and of mandamus to direct the said court to forward his appeal to this I am not making him as state witness, Your Honor.
Court for the reason that he was raising purely questions of law. I am only presenting him as an ordinary witness.

The indictment in the court below — the third amended information — upon which the judgment of ATTY. CARBON:
conviction herein challenged was rendered, was for qualified theft of a motor vehicle, one (1)
As a matter of right, because it will incriminate my client, I object.
Thunderbird car, Motor No. H9YH-143003, with Plate No. H-16648 Pasay City '62 together with its
accessories worth P22,200.00. Accused were the following: Petitioner herein, Roger Chavez, Ricardo
COURT:
Sumilang alias "Romeo Vasquez", Edgardo P. Pascual alias"Ging" Pascual, Pedro Rebullo alias "Pita", Luis
Asistio alias "Baby" Asistio, Lorenzo Meneses alias "Lory" Meneses, Peter Doe, Charlie Doe and Paul The Court will give counsel for Roger Chavez fifteen minutes within which to confer and explain to his client about the
Doe.2 giving of his testimony.

Averred in the aforesaid information was that on or about the 14th day of November, 1962, in Quezon xxx xxx xxx
City, the accused conspired, with intent of gain, abuse of confidence and without the consent of the
COURT: [after the recess]
owner thereof, Dy Sun Hiok y Lim, in asporting the motor vehicle above-described.

Are the parties ready? .


Upon arraignment, all the accused, except the three Does who have not been identified nor
apprehended, pleaded not guilty.1äwphï1.ñët FISCAL:

On July 23, 1963, trial commenced before the judge presiding Branch IX of the Court of First Instance of We are ready to call on our first witness, Roger Chavez.
Rizal in Quezon City.
ATTY. CARBON:
The trial opened with the following dialogue, which for the great bearing it has on this case, is here
reproduced:. As per understanding, the proceeding was suspended in order to enable me to confer with my client.

COURT: I conferred with my client and he assured me that he will not testify for the prosecution this morning after I have
explained to him the consequences of what will transpire.
The parties may proceed.
COURT:
FISCAL GRECIA:
What he will testify to does not necessarily incriminate him, counsel.
Our first witness is Roger Chavez [one of the accused].
And there is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witness-stand including the accused.
ATTY. CARBON [Counsel for petitioner Chavez]:
If there should be any question that is incriminating then that is the time for counsel to interpose his objection and the This witness, Roger Chavez is one of the accused in this case No. Q-5311.
court will sustain him if and when the court feels that the answer of this witness to the question would incriminate him.
The information alleges conspiracy. Under Rule 123, Section 12, it states:
Counsel has all the assurance that the court will not require the witness to answer questions which would incriminate
him. 'The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its existence, may be given in evidence
against the co-conspirator after the conspiracy is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.'
But surely, counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witnessstand.
COURT:
ATTY. CARBON:
That is premature, counsel. Neither the court nor counsels for the accused know what the prosecution
I submit. eventsto establish by calling this witness to the witness stand.

xxx xxx xxx ATTY. IBASCO:

ATTY. CRUZ [Counsel for defendants Pascual and Meneses]: . I submit.

MAY IT PLEASE THE COURT: COURT: The Fiscal may proceed.3

This incident of the accused Roger Chavez being called to testify for the prosecution is something so sudden that has And so did the trial proceed. It began with the "direct examination" of Roger Chavez by "Fiscal Grecia".
come to the knowledge of this counsel.
Came the judgment of February 1, 1965. The version of the prosecution as found by the court below may
This representation has been apprised of the witnesses embraced in the information. be briefly narrated as follows:

For which reason I pray this court that I be given at least some days to meet whatever testimony this witness will bring
A few days before November 12, 1962, Roger Chavez saw Johnson Lee, a Chinese, driving a Thunderbird
about. I therefore move for postponement of today's hearing.
car. With Ricardo Sumilang (movie actor Romeo Vasquez) in mind, whom he knew was in the market for
COURT: such a car, Chavez asked Lee whether his car was for sale. Lee answered affirmatively and left his
address with Chavez. Then, on November 12, Chavez met Sumilang at a barbershop informed him about
The court will give counsel time within which to prepare his cross-examination of this witness. the Thunderbird. But Sumilang said that he had changed his mind about buying a new car. Instead, he
told Chavez that he wanted to mortgage his Buick car for P10,000.00 to cover an indebtedness in Pasay
ATTY. CRUZ: City. Upon the suggestion of Chavez, they went to see Luis Asistio, who he knew was lending money on
car mortgages and who, on one occasion, already lent Romeo Vasquez P3,000.00 on the same Buick car.
I labored under the impression that the witnesses for the prosecution in this criminal case are those only listed in the
Asistio however told the two that he had a better idea on how to raise the money. His plan was to
information.
capitalize on Romeo Vasquez' reputation as a wealthy movie star, introduce him as a buyer to someone
I did not know until this morning that one of the accused will testify as witness for the prosecution. who was selling a car and, after the deed of sale is signed, by trickery to run away with the car. Asistio
would then register it, sell it to a third person for a profit. Chavez known to be a car agent was included
COURT: in the plan. He furnished the name of Johnson Lee who was selling his Thunderbird. 1äwphï1.ñët

That's the reason why the court will go along with counsels for the accused and will give them time within which to In the morning of November 14, Chavez telephoned Johnson Lee and arranged for an appointment.
prepare for their cross-examination of this witness. Sometime in the afternoon. Chavez and Sumilang met Lee in his Thunderbird on Highway 54. Sumilang
was introduced as the interested buyer. Sumilang's driver inspected the car, took the wheel for a while.
The court will not defer the taking of the direct examination of the witness.
After Sumilang and Lee agreed on the purchase price (P21.000.00), they went to Binondo to Johnson
Call the witness to the witness stand. Lee's cousin, Dy Sun Hiok, in whose name the car was registered. Thereafter, they went to see a lawyer
notary public in Quezon City, known to Chavez for the drafting of the deed of sale. After the deed of sale
EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION was drawn up, it was signed by Sumilang as the vendee, Dy Sun Hiok the vendor, and Sumilang's driver
and Johnson Lee the witnesses thereto.
ROGER CHAVEZ, 31 years old, single, buy and sell merchant, presently detained at the Manila Police Department
headquarters, after being duly sworn according to law, declared as follows: As payment was to be made at Eugene's restaurant in Quezon City, all of them then drove in the
Thunderbird car to that place. The deed of sale and other papers remained in the pockets of Johnson
ATTY. IBASCO [Counsel for defendant Luis Asistio]:
Lee.
WITH THE LEAVE OF THE COURT:
At Eugene's, a man approached Sumilang with a note which stated that the money was ready at the At Eugene's, Chavez asked Sumilang for the balance. Sumilang accommodated. There, Sumilang, also saw
Dalisay Theater. Sumilang then wrote on the same note that the money should be brought to the a friend, "Ging" Pascual. In the course of their conversation at the bar, Sumilang mentioned the
restaurant. At the same time he requested Lee to exhibit the deed of sale of the car to the note bearer.4 proposed transaction thru Chavez. Pascual warned that Chavez was a "smart" agent and advised that
Sumilang should have a receipt for his money. A certain Bimbo, a friend of Pascual, offered to make out a
Then, the two Chinese were left alone in the restaurant. For Sumilang, who had left the table to pose for receipt for Chavez to sign.
pictures with some fans and come back, again left never to return. So did Chavez, who disappeared after
he left on the pretext of buying cigarettes. The two Chinese could not locate Sumilang and Chavez. They After Sumilang returned from posing for some photographs with some of his fans, Bimbo showed him
went out to the place where the Thunderbird was parked, found that it was gone. They then the receipt already signed by Chavez. Sumilang requested Pascual and Bimbo to sign the receipt as
immediately reported its loss to the police. Much later, the NBI recovered the already repainted car and witnesses. And they did. This receipt was offered as an exhibit by the prosecution and by Sumilang.
impounded it.
When Sumilang was ready to leave Eugene's, Johnson Lee turned over to him the deed of sale, the
Right after the meeting at Eugene's, Chavez, Sumilang and Asistio converged that same day at Barrio registration papers and the keys to the car. After shaking hands with Lee, Sumilang drove away in the car
Fiesta, a restaurant at Highway 54 near the Balintawak monument in Caloocan. There, Asistio handed to with his driver at the wheel.
Sumilang P1,000.00 cash and a golf set worth P800.00 as the latter's share in the transaction. On the
14th of November, the registration of the car was transferred in the name of Sumilang in Cavite City, and Two or three days afterwards, Sumilang dropped by the Barrio Fiesta on his way to a film shooting at
three days later, in the name of Asistio in Caloocan. Bulacan. He saw Asistio with many companions. Asistio liked his Thunderbird parked outside. Asistio
offered to buy it from him for P22,500.00. As the offer was good, and knowing Asistio's and his friends'
From the court's decision, Ricardo Sumilang's version, corroborated in part by Asistio, may be condensed reputation for always getting what they wanted, Sumilang consented to the sale. Asistio tendered a
as follows: down payment of P1,000.00; the balance he promised to pay the next day after negotiating with some
financing company. Before said balance could be paid, the car was impounded.
In the last week of September, 1962, Sumilang saw Roger Chavez at a gas station. The latter informed
him that there was a Thunderbird from Clark Field for sale for a price between P20,000.00 and The trial court gave evidence to Sumilang's averment, strengthened by Baltazar's and Cailles'
P22,000.00. Chavez said that it could be held for him with a down payment of P10,000.00. corroborations, that he paid good money for the car. Sumilang was thus cleared. So was Asistio whom
the trial court believed to be a mere buyer of the car. And so, the prosecution's theory of conspiracy was
To raise this sum, Sumilang and Chavez, on October 1, went to the house of a certain Nena Hernaez de discounted.
los Reyes who wrote out a check for P5,000.00 as a loan to Sumilang. That check was exhibited in court.
Sumilang and Chavez then went to Pasay City to see a certain Mario Baltazar, an agent of the Pasay City As to the other accused, the court found no case against Pedro Rebullo alias "Pita" and Lorenzo Meneses
Mayor, and Narsing Cailles, Chief of the Fire Department. Sumilang asked the two for a P10,000-loan alias "Lory". The accused "Ging" Pascual was also acquitted for in the first place he was not identified by
backed up by the P5,000.00-check aforesaid on condition that it should not be cashed immediately as Johnson Lee in court.
there were not enough funds therefor. Baltazar and Cailles agreed to give the money the nextday as long
as the check would be left with them and Sumilang would sign a promissory note for P10,000.00. As to Roger Chavez, however, the court had this to say: "Roger Chavez does not offer any defense. As a
Baltazar later informed Sumilang that Chavez picked up the money the next day. Four or five days matter of fact, his testimony as witness for the prosecution establishes his guilt beyond reasonable
afterwards, Chavez returned P4,000.00 to Sumilang because P6,000.00 was enough for the deposit. And doubt."5 The trial court branded him "a self-confessed culprit".6 The court further continued:
so, Sumilang gave back the P4,000.00 to Baltazar.
It is not improbable that true to the saying that misery loves company Roger Chavez tried to drag his co-
About the end of October or at the beginning of November, Chavez asked Sumilang for another accused down with him by coloring his story with fabrications which he expected would easily stick
P3,000.00. Sumilang sent Chavez to Baltazar and Cailles, with a note requesting that they accommodate together what with the newspaper notoriety of one and the sensationalism caused by the other. But
him once more. He also sent a check, again without funds. Baltazar gave the money after verifying the Roger Chavez' accusations of Asistio's participation is utterly uncorroborated. And coming, as it does,
authenticity of the note. from a man who has had at least two convictions for acts not very different from those charged in this
information, the Court would be too gullible if it were to give full credence to his words even if they
On November 14, Chavez appeared at Sumilang's house with the news that the car was ready if Sumilang concerned a man no less notorious than himself.7
was ready with the rest of the money. So Sumilang got P9,000.00 from his mother and another
P4,000.00 from his aparador. He immediately gave P6,000.00 to Chavez, intending to pay out the The trial court then came to the conclusion that if Johnson Lee was not paid for his car, he had no one
balance upon the car's delivery. It was then that Chavez told Sumilang that the car was already bought by but Roger Chavez to blame.
a Chinese who would be the vendor.
The sum of all these is that the trial court freed all the accused except Roger Chavez who was found
The purchase price finally agreed upon between Sumilang and Johnson Lee was P21,000.00, plus guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified theft. He was accordingly sentenced to suffer an
P500.00 agents commission at the expense of the buyer. Sumilang told Lee that he already paid part of indeterminate penalty of not less than ten (10) years, one (1) day, as minimum and not more than
the price to Chavez. fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day as maximum, to indemnify Dy Sun Hiok and/or
Johnson Lee in the sum of P21,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, to undergo While the admissions of confessions of the prisoner, when voluntarily and freely made, have always
the accessory penalties prescribed by law, and to pay the costs. The Thunderbird car then in the custody ranked high in the scale of incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his apparent
of the NBI was ordered to be turned over to Ricardo Sumilang, who was directed to return to Asistio the connection with a crime under investigation, the ease with which the questions put to him may assume
sum of P1,000.00 unless the latter chose to pay P21,500.00, representing the balance of the contract an inquisitorial character, the temptation to press, the witness unduly, to browbeat him if he be timid or
price for the car. reluctant, to push him into a corner, and to entrap him into fatal contradictions, which is so painfully
evident in many of the earlier state trials, notably in those of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, and Udal, the
The foregoing sentence was promulgated on March 8, 1965. Roger Chavez appealed to the Court of Puritan minister, made the system so odious as to give rise to a demand for its total abolition. The
Appeals. change in the English criminal procedure in that particular seems to be founded upon no statute and no
judicial opinion, but upon a general and silent acquiescence of the courts in a popular demand. But,
On April 18, 1968, the Court of Appeals required Atty. Natividad Marquez, counsel for Roger Chavez, to however adopted, it has become firmly embedded in English, as well as in American jurisprudence. So
show cause within ten days from notice why Chavez' appeal should not be considered abandoned and deeply did the iniquities of the ancient system impress themselves upon the minds of the American
dismissed. Reason for this is that said lawyer received notice to file brief on December 28, 1967 and the colonists that the states, with one accord, made a denial of the right to question an accused person a
period for the filing thereof lapsed on January 27, 1968 without any brief having been filed. part of their fundamental law, so that a maxim which in England was a mere rule of evidence, became
clothed in this country with the impregnability of a constitutional enactment." (Brown vs. Walker, 161
On May 13, 1968, Atty. Marquez registered a detailed written explanation. She also stated that if she U.S., 591, 597; 40 Law. ed., 819, 821)." 12 Mr. Justice Malcolm, in expressive language, tells us that this
were allowed to file appellant's brief she would go along with the factual findings of the court below but maxim was recognized in England in the early days "in a revolt against the thumbscrew and the
will show however that its conclusion is erroneous.8 rack." 13 An old Philippine case [1904] 14 speaks of this constitutional injunction as "older than the
Government of the United States"; as having "its origin in a protest against the inquisitorial methods of
On May 14, 1968, the Court of Appeals, despite the foregoing explanation, resolved to dismiss the
interrogating the accused person"; and as having been adopted in the Philippines "to wipe out such
appeal. A move to reconsider was unavailing. For, on June 21, 1968, the Court of Appeals, through a per
practices as formerly prevailed in these Islands of requiring accused persons to submit to judicial
curiam resolution, disposed to maintain its May 14 resolution dismissing the appeal, directed the City
examinations, and to give testimony regarding the offenses with which they were charged."
Warden of Manila where Chavez is confined by virtue of the warrant of arrest issued by the Court of
Appeals, to turn him over to Muntinlupa Bilibid Prisons pending execution of the judgment below, and So it is then that this right is "not merely a formal technical rule the enforcement of which is left to the
ordered remand of the case to the Quezon City court for execution of judgment. discretion of the court"; it is mandatory; it secures to a defendant a valuable and substantive right; 15 it is
fundamental to our scheme of justice. Just a few months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States
It was at this stage that the present proceedings were commenced in this Court.
(January 29, 1968), speaking thru Mr. Justice Harlan warned that "[t]he constitutional privilege was
intended to shield the guilty and imprudent as well as the innocent and foresighted." 16
Upon the petitions, the return, and the reply, and after hearing on oral arguments, we now come to
grips with the main problem presented.
It is in this context that we say that the constitutional guarantee may not be treated with unconcern. To
repeat, it is mandatory; it secures to every defendant a valuable and substantive right. Tañada and
We concentrate attention on that phase of the issues which relates petitioner's assertion that he was
Fernando (Constitution of the Philippines, 4th ed., vol. I, pp. 583-584) take note of U.S. vs. Navarro,
compelled to testify against himself. For indeed if this one question is resolved in the affirmative, we
supra, which reaffirms the rule that the constitutional proscription was established on broad grounds of
need not reach the others; in which case, these should not be pursued here.
public policy and humanity; of policy because it would place the witness against the strongest
1. Petitioner's plea on this score rests upon his averment, with proof, of violation of his right — temptation to commit perjury, and of humanity because it would be to extort a confession of truth by a
constitutionally entrenched — against self-incrimination. He asks that the hand of this Court be made to kind of duress every species and degree of which the law abhors. 17
bear down upon his conviction; that he be relieved of the effects thereof. He asks us to consider the
Therefore, the court may not extract from a defendant's own lips and against his will an admission of his
constitutional injunction that "No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself,"9 fully
guilt. Nor may a court as much as resort to compulsory disclosure, directly or indirectly, of facts usable
echoed in Section 1, Rule 115, Rules of Court where, in all criminal prosecutions, the defendant shall be
against him as a confession of the crime or the tendency of which is to prove the commission of a crime.
entitled: "(e) To be exempt from being a witness against himself." .
Because, it is his right to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he chooses to take the witness stand
It has been said that forcing a man to be a witness against himself is at war with "the fundamentals of a — with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own free, genuine will.
republican government"; 10 that [i]t may suit the purposes of despotic power but it can not abide the
Compulsion as it is understood here does not necessarily connote the use of violence; it may be the
pure atmosphere of political liberty and personal freedom."11 Mr. Justice Abad Santos recounts the
product of unintentional statements. Pressure which operates to overbear his will, disable him from
historical background of this constitutional inhibition, thus: " "The maxim Nemo tenetur seipsum
making a free and rational choice, or impair his capacity for rational judgment would in our opinion be
accusare had its origin in a protest against the inquisitorial and manifestly unjust methods of
sufficient. So is moral coercion "tending to force testimony from the unwilling lips of the defendant." 18
interrogating accused persons, which has long obtained in the continental system, and, until the
expulsion of the Stuarts from the British throne in 1688, and the erection of additional barriers for the
protection of the people against the exercise of arbitrary power, was not uncommon even in England.
2. With the foregoing as guideposts, we now turn to the facts. Petitioner is a defendant in a criminal affirm his statement given to the NBI agents on July 17, 1963 at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon. 26 And this
case. He was called by the prosecution as the first witness in that case to testify for the People during the statement detailed the plan and execution thereof by Sumilang (Vasquez), Asistio and himself to deprive
first day of trial thereof. Petitioner objected and invoked the privilege of self-incrimination. This he the Chinese of his Thunderbird car. And he himself proceeded to narrate the same anew in open court.
broadened by the clear cut statement that he will not testify. But petitioner's protestations were met He identified the Thunderbird car involved in the case. 27
with the judge's emphatic statement that it "is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as
witness on the witness stand including the accused," and that defense counsel "could not object to have The decision convicting Roger Chavez was clearly of the view that the case for the People was built
the accused called on the witness stand." The cumulative impact of all these is that accused-petitioner primarily around the admissions of Chavez himself. The trial court described Chavez as the "star witness
had to take the stand. He was thus peremptorily asked to create evidence against himself. The foregoing for the prosecution". Indeed, the damaging facts forged in the decision were drawn directly from the lips
situation molds a solid case for petitioner, backed by the Constitution, the law, and jurisprudence. of Chavez as a prosecution witness and of course Ricardo Sumilang for the defense. There are the
unequivocal statements in the decision that "even accused Chavez" identified "the very same
Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary witness. Whereas an Thunderbird that Johnson Lee had offered for sale"; that Chavez "testimony as witness for the
ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness stand and claim the privilege as each question prosecution establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and that Chavez is "a self-confessed
requiring an incriminating answer is shot at him, 19 and accused may altogether refuse to take the culprit". 1äwphï1.ñët
witness stand and refuse to answer any and all questions. 20 For, in reality, the purpose of calling an
accused as a witness for the People would be to incriminate him. 21 The rule positively intends to avoid 4. With all these, we have no hesitancy in saying that petitioner was forced to testify to incriminate
and prohibit the certainly inhuman procedure of compelling a person "to furnish the missing evidence himself, in full breach of his constitutional right to remain silent. It cannot be said now that he has
necessary for his conviction." 22 This rule may apply even to a co-defendant in a joint trial.23 waived his right. He did not volunteer to take the stand and in his own defense; he did not offer himself
as a witness; on the contrary, he claimed the right upon being called to testify. If petitioner nevertheless
And the guide in the interpretation of the constitutional precept that the accused shall not be compelled answered the questions inspite of his fear of being accused of perjury or being put under contempt, this
to furnish evidence against himself "is not the probability of the evidence but it is the capability of circumstance cannot be counted against him. His testimony is not of his own choice. To him it was a case
abuse." 24 Thus it is, that it was undoubtedly erroneous for the trial judge to placate petitioner with these of compelled submission. He was a cowed participant in proceedings before a judge who possessed the
words:. power to put him under contempt had he chosen to remain silent. Nor could he escape testifying. The
court made it abundantly clear that his testimony at least on direct examination would be taken right
What he will testify to does not necessarily incriminate him, counsel. then and thereon the first day of the trial.

And there is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witness-stand including It matters not that, after all efforts to stave off petitioner's taking the stand became fruitless, no
the accused. objections to questions propounded to him were made. Here involve is not a mere question of self-
incrimination. It is a defendant's constitutional immunity from being called to testify against himself. And
If there should be any question that is incriminating then that is the time for counsel to interpose his the objection made at the beginning is a continuing one. 1äwphï1.ñët
objection and the court will sustain him if and when the court feels that the answer of this witness to the
question would incriminate him. There is therefore no waiver of the privilege. "To be effective, a waiver must be certain and unequivocal,
and intelligently, understandably, and willingly made; such waiver following only where liberty of
Counsel has all the assurance that the court will not require the witness to answer questions which choice has been fully accorded. After a claim a witness cannot properly be held to have waived his
would incriminate him. privilege on vague and uncertain evidence." 28 The teaching in Johnson vs. Zerbst 29 is this: "It has been
pointed out that "courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver" of fundamental
But surely, counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witness stand. constitutional rights and that we "do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights." A
waiver is ordinarily an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or
Paraphrasing Chief Justice Marshall in Aaron Burr's Trial, Robertsons Rep. I, 208, 244, quoted in VIII
privilege." Renuntiatio non praesumitur.
Wigmore, p. 355, 25 While a defendant's knowledge of the facts remains concealed within his bosom, he
is safe; but draw it from thence, and he is exposed" — to conviction. The foregoing guidelines, juxtaposed with the circumstances of the case heretofore adverted to, make
waiver a shaky defense. It cannot stand. If, by his own admission, defendant proved his guilt, still, his
The judge's words heretofore quoted — "But surely counsel could not object to have the accused called
original claim remains valid. For the privilege, we say again, is a rampart that gives protection - even to
on the witness stand" — wielded authority. By those words, petitioner was enveloped by a coercive
the guilty. 30
force; they deprived him of his will to resist; they foreclosed choice; the realities of human nature tell us
that as he took his oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, no genuine consent 5. The course which petitioner takes is correct. Habeas corpus is a high prerogative writ. 31 It is
underlay submission to take the witness stand. Constitutionally sound consent was absent. traditionally considered as an exceptional remedy to release a person whose liberty is illegally restrained
such as when the accused's constitutional rights are disregarded. 32 Such defect results in the absence or
3. Prejudice to the accused for having been compelled over his objections to be a witness for the People
loss of jurisdiction 33 and therefore invalidates the trial and the consequent conviction of the accused
is at once apparent. The record discloses that by leading questions Chavez, the accused, was made to
whose fundamental right was violated. 34 That void judgment of conviction may be challenged by
collateral attack, which precisely is the function of habeas corpus. 35 This writ may issue even if another
remedy which is less effective may be availed of by the defendant. 36Thus, failure by the accused to
perfect his appeal before the Court of Appeals does not preclude a recourse to the writ. 37 The writ may
be granted upon a judgment already final. 38 For, as explained in Johnson vs. Zerbst, 39 the writ of habeas
corpus as an extraordinary remedy must be liberally given effect 40 so as to protect well a person whose
liberty is at stake. The propriety of the writ was given the nod in that case, involving a violation of
another constitutional right, in this wise:

Since the Sixth Amendment constitutionally entitles one charged with crime to the assistance of Counsel,
compliance with this constitutional mandate is an essential jurisdictional prerequisite to a Federal
Court's authority. When this right is properly waived, the assistance of Counsel is no longer a necessary
element of the Court's jurisdiction to proceed to conviction and sentence. If the accused, however, is not
represented by Counsel and has not competently and intelligently waived his constitutional right, the
Sixth Amendment stands as a jurisdictional bar to a valid conviction and sentence depriving him of his
liberty. A court's jurisdiction at the beginning of trial may be lost "in the course of the proceedings" due to
failure to complete the court — as the Sixth Amendment requires — by providing Counsel for an accused
who is unable to obtain Counsel, who has not intelligently waived this constitutional guaranty, and
whose life or liberty is at stake. If this requirement of the Sixth Amendment is not complied with, the
court no longer has jurisdiction to proceed. The judgment of conviction pronounced by a court without
jurisdiction is void, and one imprisoned thereundermay obtain release of habeas corpus. 41

Under our own Rules of Court, to grant the remedy to the accused Roger Chavez whose case presents a
clear picture of disregard of a constitutional right is absolutely proper. Section 1 of Rule 102 extends the
writ, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, "to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by
which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld
from the person entitled thereto.

Just as we are about to write finis to our task, we are prompted to restate that: "A void judgment is in
legal effect no judgment. By it no rights are divested. From it no rights can be obtained. Being worthless
in itself, all proceedings founded upon it are equally worthless. It neither binds nor bars any one. All acts
performed under it and all claims flowing out of it are void. The parties attempting to enforce it may be
responsible as trespassers. ... " 42

6. Respondents' return 43 shows that petitioner is still serving under a final and valid judgment of
conviction for another offense. We should guard against the improvident issuance of an order
discharging a petitioner from confinement. The position we take here is that petitioner herein is entitled
to liberty thru habeas corpus only with respect to Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Quezon City Branch, under which he was prosecuted and convicted.

Upon the view we take of this case, judgment is hereby rendered directing the respondent Warden of
the City Jail of Manila or the Director of Prisons or any other officer or person in custody of petitioner
Roger Chavez by reason of the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in
Criminal Case Q-5311, entitled "People of the Philippines, plaintiff, vs. Ricardo Sumilang, et al., accused,"
to discharge said Roger Chavez from custody, unless he is held, kept in custody or detained for any cause
or reason other than the said judgment in said Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in which event the discharge herein directed shall be effected when such
other cause or reason ceases to exist.
G.R. Nos. 71208-09 August 30, 1985 In the course of the joint trial of the two (2) aforementioned cases, the Prosecution represented by the
Office of the petition TANODBAYAN, marked and thereafter offered as part of its evidence, the individual
SATURNINA GALMAN AND REYNALDO GALMAN, petitioners, testimonies of private respondents before the Agrava Board. 6 Private respondents, through their
vs. respective counsel objected to the admission of said exhibits. Private respondent Gen. Ver filed a formal
THE HONORABLE PRESIDING JUSTICE MANUEL PAMARAN AND ASSOCIATE JUSTICES AUGUSTO "Motion to Exclude Testimonies of Gen. Fabian C. Ver before the Fact Finding Board as Evidence against
AMORES AND BIENVENIDO VERA CRUZ OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, THE HONORABLE BERNARDO him in the above-entitled cases" 7 contending that its admission will be in derogation of his constitutional
FERNANDEZ, TANODBAYAN, GENERAL FABIAN C. VER, MAJOR GENERAL PROSPERO OLIVAS, SGT. right against self-incrimination and violative of the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. He prayed that his
PABLO MARTINEZ, SGT. TOMAS FERNANDEZ, SGT. LEONARDO MOJICA SGT. PEPITO TORIO, SGT. aforesaid testimony be rejected as evidence for the prosecution. Major Gen. Olivas and the rest of the
PROSPERO BONA AND AlC ANICETO ACUPIDO, respondents. other private respondents likewise filed separate motions to exclude their respective individual
testimonies invoking the same ground. 8 Petitioner TANODBAYAN opposed said motions contending that
G.R. Nos. 71212-13 August 30, 1985 the immunity relied upon by the private respondents in support of their motions to exclude their
respective testimonies, was not available to them because of their failure to invoke their right against
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the TANODBAYAN (OMBUDSMAN), petitioner, self-incrimination before the ad hoc Fact Finding Board. 9 Respondent SANDIGANBAYAN ordered the
vs. TANODBAYAN and the private respondents to submit their respective memorandum on the issue after
THE SANDIGANBAYAN, GENERAL FABIAN C. VER, MAJOR GEN. PROSPERO OLIVAS, SGT. PABLO which said motions will be considered submitted for resolution. 10
MARTINEZ, SGT. TOMAS FERNANDEZ, SGT. LEONARDO MOJICA, SGT. PEPITO TORIO, SGT. PROSPERO
BONA AND AIC ANICETO ACUPIDO, respondents. On May 30, 1985, petitioner having no further witnesses to present and having been required to make
its offer of evidence in writing, respondent SANDIGANBAYAN, without the pending motions for exclusion
CUEVAS, JR., J.: being resolved, issued a Resolution directing that by agreement of the parties, the pending motions for
exclusion and the opposition thereto, together with the memorandum in support thereof, as well as the
On August 21, 1983, a crime unparalleled in repercussions and ramifications was committed inside the
legal issues and arguments, raised therein are to be considered jointly in the Court's Resolution on the
premises of the Manila International Airport (MIA) in Pasay City. Former Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.,
prosecution's formal offer of exhibits and other documentary evidences.11 On June 3, 1985, the
an opposition stalwart who was returning to the country after a long-sojourn abroad, was gunned down
prosecution made a written "Formal Offer of Evidence" which includes, among others, the testimonies of
to death. The assassination rippled shock-waves throughout the entire country which reverberated
private respondents and other evidences produced by them before the Board, all of which have been
beyond the territorial confines of this Republic. The after-shocks stunned the nation even more as this
previously marked in the course of the trial.12
ramified to all aspects of Philippine political, economic and social life.
All the private respondents objected to the prosecution's formal offer of evidence on the same ground
To determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the killing and to allow a free, unlimited and
relied upon by them in their respective motion for exclusion.
exhaustive investigation of all aspects of the tragedy, 1 P.D. 1886 was promulgated creating an ad hoc
Fact Finding Board which later became more popularly known as the Agrava Board. 2 Pursuant to the On June 13, 1985, respondent SANDIGANBAYAN issued a Resolution, now assailed in these two (2)
powers vested in it by P.D. 1886, the Board conducted public hearings wherein various witnesses petitions, admitting all the evidences offered by the prosecution except the testimonies and/or other
appeared and testified and/or produced documentary and other evidence either in obedience to a evidence produced by the private respondents in view of the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. 13
subpoena or in response to an invitation issued by the Board Among the witnesses who appeared,
testified and produced evidence before the Board were the herein private respondents General Fabian Petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of the said Resolution having been DENIED, they now come
C. Ver, Major General Prospero Olivas, 3 Sgt. Pablo Martinez, Sgt. Tomas Fernandez, Sgt. Leonardo before Us by way of certiorari 14 praying for the amendment and/or setting aside of the challenged
Mojica, Sgt. Pepito Torio, Sgt. Prospero Bona and AIC Aniceto Acupido. 4 Resolution on the ground that it was issued without jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Private prosecutor below, as counsel for the mother of deceased
UPON termination of the investigation, two (2) reports were submitted to His Excellency, President Rolando Galman, also filed a separate petition for certiorari 15 on the same ground. Having arisen from
Ferdinand E. Marcos. One, by its Chairman, the Hon. Justice Corazon Juliano Agrava; and another one, the same factual beginnings and raising practically Identical issues, the two (2) petitioners were
jointly authored by the other members of the Board — namely: Hon. Luciano Salazar, Hon. Amado Dizon, consolidated and will therefore be jointly dealt with and resolved in this Decision.
Hon. Dante Santos and Hon. Ernesto Herrera. 'the reports were thereafter referred and turned over to
the TANODBAYAN for appropriate action. After conducting the necessary preliminary investigation, the The crux of the instant controversy is the admissibility in evidence of the testimonies given by the eight
TANODBAYAN 5 filed with the SANDIGANBAYAN two (2) Informations for MURDER-one for the killing of (8) private respondents who did not invoke their rights against self-incrimination before the Agrava
Sen. Benigno S. Aquino which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 10010 and another, criminal Case No. Board.
10011, for the killing of Rolando Galman, who was found dead on the airport tarmac not far from the
prostrate body of Sen. Aquino on that same fateful day. In both criminal cases, private respondents were It is the submission of the prosecution, now represented by the petitioner TANODBAYAN, that said
charged as accessories, along with several principals, and one accomplice. testimonies are admissible against the private respondents, respectively, because of the latter's failure
to invoke before the Agrava Board the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. Since private respondents did not
Upon arraignment, all the accused, including the herein private ate Respondents pleaded NOT GUILTY.
invoke said privilege, the immunity did not attach. Petitioners went further by contending that such Among this class of witnesses were the herein private respondents, suspects in the said assassination, all
failure to claim said constitutional privilege amounts to a waiver thereof. 16 The private respondents, on of whom except Generals Ver and Olivas, were detained (under technical arrest) at the time they were
the other hand, claim that notwithstanding failure to set up the privilege against self- incrimination summoned and gave their testimonies before the Agrava Board. This notwithstanding, Presidential
before the Agrava Board, said evidences cannot be used against them as mandated by Section 5 of the Decree No. 1886 denied them the right to remain silent. They were compelled to testify or be witnesses
said P.D. 1886. They contend that without the immunity provided for by the second clause of Section 5, against themselves. Section 5 of P.D. 1886 leave them no choice. They have to take the witness stand,
P.D. 1886, the legal compulsion imposed by the first clause of the same Section would suffer from testify or produce evidence, under pain of contempt if they failed or refused to do so. 21 The jeopardy of
constitutional infirmity for being violative of the witness' right against self- incrimination. 17 Thus, the being placed behind prison bars even before conviction dangled before their very eyes. Similarly, they
protagonists are locked in horns on the effect and legal significance of failure to set up the privilege cannot invoke the right not to be a witness against themselves, both of which are sacrosantly enshrined
against self-incrimination. and protected by our fundamental law. 21-a Both these constitutional rights (to remain silent and not to
be compelled to be a witness against himself) were right away totally foreclosed by P.D. 1886. And yet
The question presented before Us is a novel one. Heretofore, this Court has not been previously called when they so testified and produced evidence as ordered, they were not immune from prosecution by
upon to rule on issues involving immunity statutes. The relative novelty of the question coupled with the reason of the testimony given by them.
extraordinary circumstance that had precipitated the same did nothing to ease the burden of laying
down the criteria upon which this Court will henceforth build future jurisprudence on a heretofore Of course, it may be argued is not the right to remain silent available only to a person undergoing
unexplored area of judicial inquiry. In carrying out this monumental task, however, We shall be guided, custodial interrogation? We find no categorical statement in the constitutional provision on the matter
as always, by the constitution and existing laws. which reads:

The Agrava Board, 18 came into existence in response to a popular public clamor that an impartial and ... Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain and to
independent body, instead of any ordinary police agency, be charged with the task of conducting the counsel, and to be informed of such right. ... 22 (Emphasis supplied)
investigation. The then early distortions and exaggerations, both in foreign and local media, relative to
the probable motive behind the assassination and the person or persons responsible for or involved in Since the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution, we now have a mass of jurisprudence 23 on this specific
the assassination hastened its creation and heavily contributed to its early formation. 19 portion of the subject provision. In all these cases, it has been categorically declared that a person
detained for the commission of an offense undergoing investigation has a right to be informed of his
Although referred to and designated as a mere Fact Finding Board, the Board is in truth and in fact, and right to remain silent, to counsel, and to an admonition that any and all statements to be given by him
to all legal intents and purposes, an entity charged, not only with the function of determining the facts may be used against him. Significantly however, there has been no pronouncement in any of these cases
and circumstances surrounding the killing, but more importantly, the determination of the person or nor in any other that a person similarly undergoing investigation for the commission of an offense, if not
persons criminally responsible therefor so that they may be brought before the bar of justice. For detained, is not entitled to the constitutional admonition mandated by said Section 20, Art. IV of the Bill
indeed, what good will it be to the entire nation and the more than 50 million Filipinos to know the facts of Rights.
and circumstances of the killing if the culprit or culprits will nevertheless not be dealt with criminally?
This purpose is implicit from Section 12 of the said Presidential Decree, the pertinent portion of which The fact that the framers of our Constitution did not choose to use the term "custodial" by having it
provides — inserted between the words "under" and investigation", as in fact the sentence opens with the phrase
"any person " goes to prove that they did not adopt in toto the entire fabric of the Miranda
SECTION 12. The findings of the Board shall be made public. Should the findings warrant the prosecution doctrine. 24 Neither are we impressed by petitioners' contention that the use of the word "confession" in
of any person, the Board may initiate the filing of proper complaint with the appropriate got government the last sentence of said Section 20, Article 4 connotes the Idea that it applies only to police
agency. ... (Emphasis supplied) investigation, for although the word "confession" is used, the protection covers not only "confessions"
but also "admissions" made in violation of this section. They are inadmissible against the source of the
The investigation therefor is also geared, as any other similar investigation of its sort, to the confession or admission and against third person. 25
ascertainment and/or determination of the culprit or culprits, their consequent prosecution and
ultimately, their conviction. And as safeguard, the P.D. guarantees "any person called to testify before It is true a person in custody undergoing investigation labors under a more formidable ordeal and graver
the Board the right to counsel at any stage of the proceedings." 20 Considering the foregoing trying conditions than one who is at liberty while being investigated. But the common denominator in
environmental settings, it cannot be denied that in the course of receiving evidence, persons summoned both which is sought to be avoided is the evil of extorting from the very mouth of the person undergoing
to testify will include not merely plain witnesses but also those suspected as authors and co-participants interrogation for the commission of an offense, the very evidence with which to prosecute and
in the tragic killing. And when suspects are summoned and called to testify and/or produce evidence, the thereafter convict him. This is the lamentable situation we have at hand.
situation is one where the person testifying or producing evidence is undergoing investigation for the
commission of an offense and not merely in order to shed light on the facts and surrounding All the private respondents, except Generals Ver and Olivas, are members of the military contingent that
circumstances of the assassination, but more importantly, to determine the character and extent of his escorted Sen. Aquino while disembarking from the plane that brought him home to Manila on that
participation therein. fateful day. Being at the scene of the crime as such, they were among the first line of suspects in the
subject assassination. General Ver on the other hand, being the highest military authority of his co-
petitioners labored under the same suspicion and so with General Olivas, the first designated To buttress their precarious stand and breathe life into a seemingly hopeless cause, petitioners and
investigator of the tragedy, but whom others suspected, felt and believed to have bungled the case. The amicus curiae (Ex-Senator Ambrosio Padilla) assert that the "right not to be compelled to be a witness
papers, especially the foreign media, and rumors from uglywagging tongues, all point to them as having, against himself" applies only in favor of an accused in a criminal case. Hence, it may not be invoked by
in one way or another participated or have something to do, in the alleged conspiracy that brought any of the herein private respondents before the Agrava Board. The Cabal vs. Kapunan 28 doctrine
about the assassination. Could there still be any doubt then that their being asked to testify, was to militates very heavily against this theory. Said case is not a criminal case as its title very clearly indicates.
determine whether they were really conspirators and if so, the extent of their participation in the said It is not People vs. Cabal nor a prosecution for a criminal offense. And yet, when Cabal refused to take
conspiracy? It is too taxing upon one's credulity to believe that private respondents' being called to the the stand, to be sworn and to testify upon being called as a witness for complainant Col. Maristela in a
witness stand was merely to elicit from them facts and circumstances surrounding the tragedy, which forfeiture of illegally acquired assets, this Court sustained Cabal's plea that for him to be compelled to
was already so abundantly supplied by other ordinary witnesses who had testified earlier. In fact, the testify will be in violation of his right against self- incrimination. We did not therein state that since he is
records show that Generals Ver and Olivas were among the last witnesses called by the Agrava Board. not an accused and the case is not a criminal case, Cabal cannot refuse to take the witness stand and
The subject matter dealt with and the line of questioning as shown by the transcript of their testimonies testify, and that he can invoke his right against self-incrimination only when a question which tends to
before the Agrava Board, indubitably evinced purposes other than merely eliciting and determining the elicit an answer that will incriminate him is profounded to him. Clearly then, it is not the character of the
so-called surrounding facts and circumstances of the assassination. In the light of the examination suit involved but the nature of the proceedings that controls. The privilege has consistently been held to
reflected by the record, it is not far-fetched to conclude that they were called to the stand to determine extend to all proceedings sanctioned by law and to all cases in which punishment is sought to be visited
their probable involvement in the crime being investigated. Yet they have not been informed or at the upon a witness, whether a party or not. 29 If in a mere forfeiture case where only property rights were
very least even warned while so testifying, even at that particular stage of their testimonies, of their right involved, "the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself" is secured in favor of the
to remain silent and that any statement given by them may be used against them. If the investigation defendant, then with more reason it cannot be denied to a person facing investigation before a Fact
was conducted, say by the PC, NBI or by other police agency, all the herein private respondents could not Finding Board where his life and liberty, by reason of the statements to be given by him, hang on the
have been compelled to give any statement whether incriminatory or exculpatory. Not only that. They balance. Further enlightenment on the subject can be found in the historical background of this
are also entitled to be admonished of their constitutional right to remain silent, to counsel, and be constitutional provision against self- incrimination. The privilege against self- incrimination is guaranteed
informed that any and all statements given by them may be used against them. Did they lose their in the Fifth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. In the Philippines, the same principle obtains as a
aforesaid constitutional rights simply because the investigation was by the Agrava Board and not by any direct result of American influence. At first, the provision in our organic laws were similar to the
police investigator, officer or agency? True, they continued testifying. May that be construed as a waiver Constitution of the United States and was as follows:
of their rights to remain silent and not to be compelled to be a witness against themselves? The answer
is yes, if they have the option to do so. But in the light of the first portion of Section 5 of P.D. 1886 and That no person shall be ... compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself. 30
the awesome contempt power of the Board to punish any refusal to testify or produce evidence, We are
not persuaded that when they testified, they voluntarily waived their constitutional rights not to be As now worded, Section 20 of Article IV reads:
compelled to be a witness against themselves much less their right to remain silent.
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
Compulsion as it is understood here does not necessarily connote the use of violence; it may be the
product of unintentional statements. Pressure which operates to overbear his will, disable him from The deletion of the phrase "in a criminal case" connotes no other import except to make said provision
making a free and rational choice, or impair his capacity for rational judgment would in our opinion be also applicable to cases other than criminal. Decidedly then, the right "not to be compelled to testify
sufficient. So is moral coercion 'tending to force testimony from the unwilling lips of the defendant. 26 against himself" applies to the herein private respondents notwithstanding that the proceedings before
the Agrava Board is not, in its strictest sense, a criminal case
Similarly, in the case of Louis J. Lefkowitz v. Russel 27 Turley" citing Garrity vs. New Jersey" where certain
police officers summoned to an inquiry being conducted by the Attorney General involving the fixing of No doubt, the private respondents were not merely denied the afore-discussed sacred constitutional
traffic tickets were asked questions following a warning that if they did not answer they would be rights, but also the right to "due process" which is fundamental fairness. 31 Quoting the highly-respected
removed from office and that anything they said might be used against them in any criminal proceeding, eminent constitutionalist that once graced this Court, the former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, due
and the questions were answered, the answers given cannot over their objection be later used in their process —
prosecutions for conspiracy. The United States Supreme Court went further in holding that:
... is responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively put,
the protection of the individuals under the Fourteenth Amendment against coerced statements prohibits arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided. To satisfy the due process requirement, official action,
use in subsequent proceedings of statements obtained under threat or removal from office, and that it to paraphrase Cardozo, must not outrun the bounds of reason and result in sheer oppression. Due
extends to all, whether they are policemen or other members of the body politic. 385 US at 500, 17 L Ed. process is thus hostile to any official action marred by lack of reasonableness. Correctly, it has been
562. The Court also held that in the context of threats of removal from office the act of responding to Identified as freedom from arbitrariness. It is the embodiment of the sporting Idea of fair
interrogation was not voluntary and was not an effective waiver of the privilege against self- play (Frankfurter, Mr. Justice Holmes and the Supreme Court, 1983, pp. 32-33). It exacts fealty "to those
incrimination. strivings for justice and judges the act of officialdom of whatever branch "in the light of reason drawn
from considerations of fairness that reflect (democratic) traditions of legal and political
thought."(Frankfurter, Hannah v. Larche 1960, 363 US 20, at 487). It is not a narrow or '"echnical interpretation fashioned upon Us is repugnant to Article IV, Section 20 of the Constitution, which is the
conception with fixed content unrelated to time, place and circumstances."(Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy first test of admissibility. It reads:
1961, 367 US 1230) Decisions based on such a clause requiring a 'close and perceptive inquiry into
fundamental principles of our society. (Bartkus vs. Illinois, 1959, 359 US 121). Questions of due process No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under investigation for the
are not to be treated narrowly or pedantically in slavery to form or phrases. (Pearson v. McGraw, 1939, commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such
308 US 313). right. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be
used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence.
Our review of the pleadings and their annexes, together with the oral arguments, manifestations and (Emphasis supplied)
admissions of both counsel, failed to reveal adherence to and compliance with due process. The manner
in which the testimonies were taken from private respondents fall short of the constitutional standards The aforequoted provision renders inadmissible any confession obtained in violation thereof. As herein
both under the DUE PROCESS CLAUSE and under the EXCLUSIONARY RULE in Section 20, Article IV. In the earlier discussed, this exclusionary rule applies not only to confessions but also to admissions, 33 whether
face of such grave constitutional infirmities, the individual testimonies of private respondents cannot be made by a witness in any proceeding or by an accused in a criminal proceeding or any person under
admitted against them in ally criminal proceeding. This is true regardless of absence of claim of investigation for the commission of an offense. Any interpretation of a statute which will give it a
constitutional privilege or of the presence of a grant of immunity by law. Nevertheless, We shall rule on meaning in conflict with the Constitution must be avoided. So much so that if two or more constructions
the effect of such absence of claim to the availability to private respondents of the immunity provided or interpretations could possibly be resorted to, then that one which will avoid unconstitutionality must
for in Section 5, P.D. 1886 which issue was squarely raised and extensively discussed in the pleadings and be adopted even though it may be necessary for this purpose to disregard the more usual and apparent
oral arguments of the parties. import of the language used. 34 To save the statute from a declaration of unconstitutionality it must be
given a reasonable construction that will bring it within the fundamental law. 35Apparent conflict
Immunity statutes may be generally classified into two: one, which grants "use immunity"; and the between two clauses should be harmonized. 36
other, which grants what is known as "transactional immunity." The distinction between the two is as
follows: "Use immunity" prohibits use of witness' compelled testimony and its fruits in any manner in But a literal application of a requirement of a claim of the privilege against self- incrimination as a
connection with the criminal prosecution of the witness. On the other hand, "transactional immunity" condition sine qua non to the grant of immunity presupposes that from a layman's point of view, he has
grants immunity to the witness from prosecution for an offense to which his compelled testimony the option to refuse to answer questions and therefore, to make such claim. P.D. 1886, however,
relates." 32 Examining Presidential Decree 1886, more specifically Section 5 thereof, which reads: forecloses such option of refusal by imposing sanctions upon its exercise, thus:

SEC. 5. No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, records, SEC. 4. The Board may hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and impose appropriate penalties
correspondence, documents, or other evidence in obedience to a subpoena issued by the Board on the therefor. A person guilty of .... including ... refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness or to subscribe
ground that his testimony or the evidence required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to to an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so may be summarily adjudged in direct
penalty or forfeiture; but his testimony or any evidence produced by him shall not be used against him in contempt by the Board. ...
connection with any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having invoked
his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, except that such individual so Such threat of punishment for making a claim of the privilege leaves the witness no choice but to answer
testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying, and thereby forfeit the immunity purportedly granted by Sec. 5. The absurdity of such application is
nor shall he be exempt from demotion or removal from office. (Emphasis supplied) apparent Sec. 5 requires a claim which it, however, forecloses under threat of contempt proceedings
against anyone who makes such claim. But the strong testimonial compulsion imposed by Section 5 of
it is beyond dispute that said law belongs to the first type of immunity statutes. It grants merely P.D. 1886 viewed in the light of the sanctions provided in Section 4,infringes upon the witness' right
immunity from use of any statement given before the Board, but not immunity from prosecution by against self-incrimination. As a rule, such infringement of the constitutional right renders inoperative the
reason or on the basis thereof. Merely testifying and/or producing evidence do not render the witness testimonial compulsion, meaning, the witness cannot be compelled to answer UNLESS a co-extensive
immuned from prosecution notwithstanding his invocation of the right against self- incrimination. He is protection in the form of IMMUNITY is offered. 37 Hence, under the oppressive compulsion of P.D. 1886,
merely saved from the use against him of such statement and nothing more. Stated otherwise ... he still immunity must in fact be offered to the witness before he can be required to answer, so as to safeguard
runs the risk of being prosecuted even if he sets up his right against self- incrimination. The dictates of his sacred constitutional right. But in this case, the compulsion has already produced its desired results
fair play, which is the hallmark of due process, demands that private respondents should have been the private respondents had all testified without offer of immunity. Their constitutional rights are
informed of their rights to remain silent and warned that any and all statements to be given by them therefore, in jeopardy. The only way to cure the law of its unconstitutional effects is to construe it in the
may be used against them. This, they were denied, under the pretense that they are not entitled to it manner as if IMMUNITY had in fact been offered. We hold, therefore, that in view of the potent
and that the Board has no obligation to so inform them. sanctions imposed on the refusal to testify or to answer questions under Sec. 4 of P.D. 1886, the
testimonies compelled thereby are deemed immunized under Section 5 of the same law. The
It is for this reason that we cannot subscribe to the view adopted and urged upon Us by the petitioners applicability of the immunity granted by P.D. 1886 cannot be made to depend on a claim of the privilege
that the right against self-incrimination must be invoked before the Board in order to prevent use of any against self-incrimination which the same law practically strips away from the witness.
given statement against the testifying witness in a subsequent criminal prosecution. A literal
With the stand we take on the issue before Us, and considering the temper of the times, we run the risk
of being consigned to unpopularity. Conscious as we are of, but undaunted by, the frightening
consequences that hover before Us, we have strictly adhered to the Constitution in upholding the rule of
law finding solace in the view very aptly articulated by that well-known civil libertarian and admired
defender of human rights of this Court, Mr. Justice Claudio Teehankee, in the case of People vs.
Manalang 38 and we quote:

I am completely conscious of the need for a balancing of the interests of society with the rights and
freedoms of the individuals. I have advocated the balancing-of-interests rule in an situations which call
for an appraisal of the interplay of conflicting interests of consequential dimensions. But I reject any
proposition that would blindly uphold the interests of society at the sacrifice of the dignity of any human
being. (Emphasis supplied)

Lest we be misunderstood, let it be known that we are not by this disposition passing upon the guilt or
innocence of the herein private respondents an issue which is before the Sandiganbayan. We are merely
resolving a question of law and the pronouncement herein made applies to all similarly situated,
irrespective of one's rank and status in society.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS and finding the instant petitions without merit, same are
DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs.
G.R. No. 89914 November 20, 1991 xxx xxx xxx

JOSE F.S. BENGZON JR., ABELARDO TERMULO, JOSE MANTECON, VICENTE MILLS JR., LEONARDO (m) manipulated, with the support, assistance and collaboration of Philgurantee officials led by chairman
GAMBOA, KURT BACHMANN JR., JOSE V.E. JIMENEZ, ERNESTO CALUYA, AGERICO UNGSON, SUSAN Cesar E.A. Virata and the Senior managers of FMMC/PNI Holdings, Inc. led by Jose S. Sandejas, Jr., Jose
ROXAS, ELVIE CASTILLO, and CYNTHIA SABIDO LIMJAP, petitioners, M. Mantecom and Kurt S. Bachmann, Jr., among others, the formation of Erectors Holdings, Inc. without
vs. infusing additional capital solely for the purpose of Erectors Incorporated with Philguarantee in the
THE SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE AND ITS MEMBERS, represented by and through the amount of P527,387,440.71 with insufficient securities/collaterals just to enable Erectors Inc, to appear
CHAIRMAN, HON. WIGBERTO TAÑADA, respondents, JOSE S. SANDEJAS, intervenor. viable and to borrow more capitals, so much so that its obligation with Philgurantee has reached a total
of more than P2 Billion as of June 30, 1987.
Bengzon, Zarraga, Narciso, Cudala, Pecson & Bengson for petitioners.
Balgos & Perez for intervening petitioner. (n) at the onset of the present Administration and/or within the week following the February 1986
People's Revolution, in conspiracy with, supoort, assistance and collaboration of the abovenamed
Eddie Tamondong and Antonio T. Tagaro for respondents. lawyers of the Bengzon Law Offices, or specifically Defendants Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr., V.E. Jimenez,
Amando V. Faustino, Jr., and Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., manipulated, shcemed, and/or executed a series of
devices intended to conceal and place, and/or for the purpose of concealing and placing, beyond the
PADILLA, J.: inquiry and jurisdiction of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) herein Defendant's
individual and collective funds, properties, and assets subject of and/or suited int he instant Complaint.
This is a petition for prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or
injuective relief, to enjoin the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon committee from requiring the petitioners (o) manuevered, with the technical know-how and legalitic talents of the FMMC senior manager and
to testify and produce evidence at its inquiry into the alleged sale of the equity of Benjamin "Kokoy" some of the Bengzon law partners, such as Attys. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr., Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., Amando
Romualdez to the Lopa Group in thirty-six (36) or thirty-nine (39) corporations. V. Faustino, Jose Vicente E. Jimenez and Leonardo C. Cruz, the purported sale of defendant Benjamin
Romualdez's interests in the (i) Professional Managers, (ii) A & E International Corporation (A & E), (iii)
On 30 July 1987, the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Presidential Commission on Good First Manila Managerment Corporation (FMMC), (iv) Philippine World Travel Inc. (PWTI) and its
Government (PCGG), assisted by the Solicitor General, filed with the Sandiganbayan Civil Case No. 0035 subsidiaries consisting of 36 corporations in all, to PNI Holdings, Inc. (wjose purported incorporations are
(PCGG Case No. 35) entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs. Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez, et al.", for all members of Atty. Jose F.S. Bengzon's law firm) for only P5 million on March 3, 1986 or three days
reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages. after the creation of the Presidential Commission on Good Government on February 28, 1986, for the
sole purpose of deceiving and preempting the Government, particularly the PCGG, and making it appear
The complaint was amended several times by impleading new defendants and/or amplifying the
that defendant Benjamin Romualdez had already divested himself of his ownership of the same when in
allegations therein. Under the Second Amended Complaint, 1 the herein petitioners were impleaded as
truth and in fact, his interests are well intact and being protected by Atty. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr. and some
party defendants.
of his law partners, together with the FMMC senior managers who still control and run the affiars of said
corporations, and in order to entice the PCGG to approve the said fictitious sale, the above-named
The complaint insofar as pertinent to herein petitioners, as defendants, alleges among others that:
defendants offered P20 million as "donation" to the Government;
14. Defendants Benjamin (Kokoy) Romualdez and Juliette Gomez Romualdez, acting by themselves
(p) misused, with the connivance, support and technical assitance of the Bengzon law firm represented
and/or in unlawful concert with Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos, and taking
by Atty. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr. as legal counsel, together with defendants Cesar Zalamea, Antonio Ozaeta,
undue advantage of their relationship, influence and connection with the latter Defendant spouses,
Mario D. Camacho amd Senen J. Gabaldon as members of the Board of Directors of the Philippine
engaged in devices, schemes and strategems to unjuestly enrigh themselves at the expense of Plaintiff
Commercial International bank (PCIB), the Meralco Pension Fund (Fund, for short) in the amount of P25
and the Filipino people, among others:
million by cuasing it to be invested in the PCIB and through the Bank's TSG, assigned to PCI Development
(a) Obatained, with the active collaboration of Defendants Sene J. Gabaldon, Mario D. Camacho, and PCI Equity at 50% each, the Fund's (a) 8,028.011 common shares in the Bank and (b) "Deposit in
Mamerto Nepomuceno, Carlos J. Valdez, Cesar C. Zalamea and Francisco Tantuico, Atty. Jose Bengzon, Jr. Subscription" in the amount of P4,929.972.50 but of the agreed consideration of P28 million for the said
and his law partners, namely: Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., Jose Vicente E. Jimenez, Amando V. Faustino, Jr., assignment, PCI Development and PCI Equity were able to pay only P5,500.00 downpayment and the
and Leonardo C. Cruz; Jose S. Sandejas and his fellow senior managers of FMMC/PNI Holdings groups of first amortization of P3,937,500.00 thus prompting the Fund to rescind its assignment, and the
companies such as Leonardo Gamboa, Vicente T. Mills, Jr., Jose M. Mantecon, Abelardo S. Termulo, Rex consequent reversion of the assigned brought the total shareholding of the Fund to 11,470,555 voting
C. Drilon II and Kurt Bachmann, Jr., control of some of the biggest business enterprises in the Philippines, shares or 36.8% of the voting stock of the PCIB, and this development (which the defendants themselves
such as the Manila Corporation (MERALCO), Benguet Consolidated and the Philippine Commercial orchestrated or allowed to happen) was used by them as an excuse for the unlawful dismantling or
International Bank (PCI Bank) by employing devious financial schemes and techniques calculated to cancellation of the Fund's 10 million shares for allegedly exceeding the 30-percent ceiling prescribed by
require the massive infusion and hemorrhage of government funds with minimum or negligible Section 12-B of the General Banking Act, although they know for a fact that what the law declares as
"cashout" from Defendant Benjamin Romualdez... unlawful and void ab initio are the subscriptions in excess of the 30% ceiling "to the extent of the excess
over any of the ceilings prescribed ..." and not the whole or entire stockholding which they allowed to The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, thereupon, suspended its inquiry and directed the petitioners to file
stay for six years (from June 30, 1980 to March 24, 1986); their memorandum on the constitutional issues raised, after which, it issued a resolution 6 dated 5 June
1989 rejecting the petitioner's plea to be excused from testifying, and the Committee voted to pursue
(q) cleverly hid behind the veil of corporate entity, through the use of the names and managerial and continue its investigation of the matter. Senator Neptali Gonzales dissented. 7
expertise of the FMMC senior manager and lawyers identified as Jose B. Sandejas, Leonardo Gamboa,
Vicente T. Mills, Abelardo S, Termulo, Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., Jose M. Mantecon, Rex C. Drilon II, Kurt Claiming that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is poised to subpoena them and required their
Bachmann, Jr. together with the legal talents of corporate lawyers, such as Attys. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr., attendance and testimony in proceedings before the Committee, in excess of its jurisdiction and
Jose V.E. Jimenez, Amando V. Faustino, Jr., and Leonardo C. Cruz, the ill-gotten wealth of Benjamin T. legislative purpose, in clear and blatant disregard of their constitutional rights, and to their grave and
Romualdez including, among others, the 6,229,177 shares in PCIB registered in the names of Trans irreparable damager, prejudice and injury, and that there is no appeal nor any other plain, speedy and
Middle East Phils. Equities, Inc. and Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr. which they refused to surrender to PCGG adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the petitioners filed the present petition for prohibition
despite their disclosure as they tried and continue to exert efforts in getting hold of the same as well as with a prayer for temporary restraning order and/or injunctive relief.
the shares in Benguet registered in the names of Palm Avenue Holdings and Palm Avenue Realty
Development Corp. purportedly to be applied as payment for the claim of P70 million of a "merger Meanwhile, one of the defendants in Civil Case No. 0035 before the Sandiganbayan, Jose S. Sandejas,
company of the First Manila Managerment Corp. group" supposedly owned by them although the truth filed with the Court of motion for intervention, 8 which the Court granted in the resolution 9 of 21
is that all the said firms are still beneficially owned by defendants Benjamin Romualdez. December 1989, and required the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to comment on the
petition in intervention. In compliance, therewith, respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee filed its
xxx xxx xxx comment 10 thereon.

On 28 September 1988, petitioner (as defendants) filed their respective answers. 2 Meanwhile, from 2 to Before discussing the issues raised by petitioner and intervenor, we will first tackle the jurisdictional
6 August 1988, conflicting reports on the disposition by the PCGG of the "Romualdez corporations" were question raised by the respondent Committee.
carried in various metropolitan newspapers. Thus, one newspaper reported that the Romuladez firms
had not been sequestered because of the opposition of certain PCGG officials who "had worked In its comment, respondent Committee claims that this court cannot properly inquire into the motives of
prviously as lawyers of the Marcos crony firms." Another daily reported otherwise, while others declared the lawmakers in conducting legislative investigations, much less cna it enjoin the Congress or any its
that on 3 March 1986, or shortly after the EDSA February 1986 revolution, the Romualdez companies" regular and special commitees — like what petitioners seek — from making inquiries in aid of legislation,
were sold for P5 million, without PCGG approval, to a holding company controlled by Romualdez, and under the doctrine of separation of powers, which obtaines in our present system of government.
that Ricardo Lopa, the President's brother-in-law, had effectively taken over the firms, even pending
negotiations for the purchase of the corporations, for the same price of P5 million which was reportedly The contention is untenable. In Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 11 the Court held:
way below the fair value of their assets. 3
The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not hrough
On 13 September 1988, the Senate Minority Floor Leader, Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile delivered a speech "on express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has
a matter of personal privilege" before the Senate on the alleged "take-over personal privilege" before exclusive cognizance of matters wihtin its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does
the Senate on the alleged "take-over of SOLOIL Incorporated, the flaship of the First Manila Management not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution
of Companies (FMMC) by Ricardo Lopa" and called upon "the Senate to look into the possible violation of intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has
the law in the case, particularly with regard to Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the
Practices Act." 4 various departments of the government...

On motion of Senator Orlando Mercado, the matter was referred by the Senate to the Committee on xxx xxx xxx
Accountability of Public Officers (Blue Ribbon Committee). 5Thereafter, the Senate Blue Ribbon
Committee started its investigation on the matter. Petitioners and Ricardo Lopa were subpoenaed by the But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power
Committee to appear before it and testify on "what they know" regarding the "sale of thirty-six (36) to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. The ovelapping and
corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez." interlacing of funcstions and duties between the several deaprtments, however, sometimes makes it
hard to say just where the political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be
At the hearing held on 23 May 1989, Ricardo Lopa declined to testify on the ground that his testimony forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated, in cases of conflict, the judicial departments is the only
may "unduly prejudice" the defendants in Civil Case No. 0035 before the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner Jose constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the
F.S. Bengzon, Jr. likewise refused to testify involing his constitutional right to due process, and averring several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.
that the publicity generated by respondents Committee's inquiry could adversely affect his rights as well
as those of the other petitioners who are his co-defendants in Civil Case No. 0035 before the xxx xxx xxx
Sandiganbayan.
The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and The power to conduct formal inquiries or investigations in specifically provided for in Sec. 1 of the Senate
extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation. Such inquiries may refer to the
rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries; it does not assert implementation or re-examination of any law or in connection with any proposed legislation or the
any superiority over the other departments; it does not inr eality nullify or invalidate an act of the formulation of future legislation. They may also extend to any and all matters vested by the Constitution
legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by tyhe Constitution to in Congress and/or in the Seante alone.
determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to established for the parties in an
actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantess to them. This is in thruth all As held in Jean L. Arnault vs. Leon Nazareno, et al., 16 the inquiry, to be within the jurisdiction of the
that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review legislative body making it, must be material or necessary to the exervise of a power in it vested by the
under the Constitution. Even the, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and Constitution, such as to legislate or to expel a member.
controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the
constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead Under Sec. 4 of the aforementioned Rules, the Senate may refer to any committee or committees any
to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as speech or resolution filed by any Senator which in tis judgment requires an appropriate inquiry in aid of
its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or legislation. In order therefore to ascertain the character or nature of an inquiry, resort must be had to
expediency of legislation. More thatn that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to the speech or resolution under which such an inquiry is proposed to be made.
legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but
also becuase the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the A perusal of the speech of Senator Enrile reveals that he (Senator Enrile) made a statement which was
wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and published in various newspapers on 2 September 1988 accusing Mr. Ricardo "Baby" Lopa of "having
legislative departments of the government. taken over the FMMC Group of Companies." As a consequence thereof, Mr. Lopa wrote a letter to
Senator Enrile on 4 September 1988 categorically denying that he had "taken over " the FMMC Group of
The "allocation of constituional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perfomr under the Companies; that former PCGG Chairman Ramon Diaz himself categorically stated in a telecast interview
Constitution. Moreowever, as held in a recent case, 12 "(t)he political question doctrine neither by Mr. Luis Beltran on Channel 7 on 31 August 1988 that there has been no takeover by him (Lopa); and
interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction to delimit that theses repeated allegations of a "takeover" on his (Lopa's) part of FMMC are baseless as they are
constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by malicious.
the 1987 Constitution, although said provision by no means does away with kthe applicability of the
principle in appropriate cases." 13 The Lopa reply prompted Senator Enrile, during the session of the Senate on 13 September 1988, to avail
of the privilege hour, 17 so that he could repond to the said Lopa letter, and also to vindicate his
The Court is thus of the considered view that it has jurisdiction over the present controversy for the reputation as a Member of the Senate of the Philippines, considering the claim of Mr. Lopa that his
purpose of determining the scope and extent of the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to (Enrile's) charges that he (Lopa) had taken over the FMMC Group of Companies are "baseless" and
conduct inquiries into private affirs in purported aid of legislation. "malicious." Thus, in his speech, 18Senator Enrile said, among others, as follows:

Coming to the specific issues raised in this case, petitioners contend that (1) the Senate Blue Ribbon Mr. President, I rise this afternnon on a matter of personal privilege; the privilege being that I received,
Committee's inquiry has no valid legislative purpose, i.e., it is not done in aid of legislation; (2) the sale or Mr. President, a letter dated September 4, 1988, signed by Mr. ricardo A. Lopa, a.k.a. or Baby Lopa,
disposition of hte Romualdez corporations is a "purely private transaction" which is beyond the power of wherein he denied categorically that he has taken over the First Manila Management Group of
the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to inquire into; and (3) the inquiry violates their right to due process. Companies which includes SOLOIL Incorporated.

The 1987 Constition expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in xxx xxxx xxx
aid of legislation. 14 Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:
In answer to Mr. Lopa, I will quote pertinent portions from an Official Memorandum to the Presidential
The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committee may conduct inquiries in Commission of Good Government written and signed by former Governor, now Congressman Jose
aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons Ramirez, in his capacity as head of the PCGG Task Force for Region VIII. In his memorandum dated July 3,
appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. 15 1986, then Governor Ramirez stated that when he and the members of his task force sought to serve a
sequestration order on the management of SOLOIL in Tanauan, Leyte, management officials assured him
The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore, absolute that relatives of the President of the Philippines were personally discussing and representing SOLOIL so
or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as that the order of sequestration would be lifted and that the new owner was Mr. Ricardo A. Lopa.
provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published
rules of procedure" and that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be I will quote the pertinent portions in the Ramire's memorandum.
respected." It follows then that the rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including
the right to due process and the right not to be compelled to testify against one's self. The first paragraph of the memorandum reads as follows and I quote, Mr. President:
"Our sequestration work of SOLOIL in Tanauan, Leyte was not heeded by management because they said Sec. 5. Prohibition on certain relatives. — It shall be unlawful for the spouse or for nay relative, by
another representation was being made to this Commission for the ventual lifting of our consanguinity or affinity, within the third civil degree, of the President of the Philippines, the Vice-
sequestrationorder. They even assured us that Mr. Ricardo Lopa and Peping Cojunangco were personally President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
discussing and representing SOLOIL, so the order of sequestration will finally be lifted. While we to intervene directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract or application with the
attempted to carry on our order, management refused to cooperate and vehemently turned down our Government: Provided, that this section shall not apply to any person who prior to the assumption of
request to make available to us the records of the company. In fact it was obviously clear that they will office of any of the above officials to whom he is related, has been already dealing with the Government
meet us with forcethe moment we insist on doing normally our assigned task. In view of the impending along the same line of business, nor to any transaction, contract or application filed by him for approval
threat, and to avoid any untoward incident we decided to temporarily suspend our work until there is a of which is not discretionary on the part of the officials concerned but depends upon compliance with
more categorical stand of this Commission in view of the seemingly influential represetation being made requisites provided by law, nor to any act lawfully performed in an official capacity or in the exercise of a
by SOLOIL for us not to continue our work." profession.

Another pertinent portion of the same memorandum is paragraph five, which reads as follows, and I Mr. President, I have done duty to this Senate and to myself. I leave it to this august Body to make its
quote Mr. President: own conclusion.

"The President, Mr. Gamboa, this is, I understand, the President of SOLOIL, and the Plant Verily, the speech of Senator Enrile contained no suggestion of contemplated legislation; he merely
Superintendent, Mr. Jimenez including their chief counsel, Atty. Mandong Mendiola are now saying that called upon the Senate to look into a possible violation of Sec. 5 of RA No. 3019, otherwise known as
there have been divestment, and that the new owner is now Mr. Ricardo Lopa who according to them, is "The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act." I other words, the purpose of the inquiry to be conducted by
the brother-in-law of the President. They even went further by telling us that even Peping Cojuangco respondent Blue Ribbon commitee was to find out whether or not the relatives of President Aquino,
who we know is the brother of her excellency is also interested in the ownership and management of particularly Mr. ricardo Lopa, had violated the law in connection with the alleged sale of the 36 or 39
SOLOIL. When he demanded for supporting papers which will indicate aforesaid divestment, Messrs. corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopaa Group. There appears to be,
Gamboa, Jimenez and Mendiola refused vehemently to submit these papers to us, instead they said it therefore, no intended legislation involved.
will be submitted directly to this Commission. To our mind their continuous dropping of names is not
good for this Commission and even to the President if our dersire is to achieve respectability and stability The Court is also not impressed with the respondent Committee's argument that the questioned inquiry
of the government." is to be conducted pursuant to Senate Resolution No. 212. The said resolution was introduced by Senator
Jose D. Lina in view of the representaions made by leaders of school youth, community groups and youth
The contents of the memorandum of then Governor and now Congressman Jose Ramirez were of non-governmental organizations to the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports Development, to look
personally confirmed by him in a news interview last September 7, 1988. into the charges against the PCGG filed by three (3) stockholders of Oriental petroleum, i.e., that it has
adopted a "get-rich-quick scheme" for its nominee-directors in a sequestered oil exploration firm.The
xxx xxxx xxx pertinent portion of Senate Resolution No. 212 reads as follows:

Also relevant to this case, Mr. President, is a letter of Mr. Ricardo Lopa himself in August 11, 1988 issue xxx xxx xxx
of the newspaper Malaya headlined "On Alleged Takeover of Romualdez Firms."
WHEREAS, recent developments have shown that no less than the Solicitor-General has stated that the
Mr. Lopa states in the last paragraph of the published letter and I quote him: PCGG Chairman and at least three Commissioners should resign and that the agency should rid itself of
"ineptness, incompetence and corruption" and that the Sandiganbayan has reportedly ordered the PCGG
12. As of this writing, the sales agreement is under review by the PCGG solely to determine the to answer charges filed by three stockholders of Oriental Petroleum that it has adopted a "get-rich-quick
appropriate price. The sale of these companies and our prior rigtht to requires them have never been at scheme" for its nominee-directors in a sequestered oil exploration firm;
issue.
WHEREAS, leaders of school youth, community groups and youth of non-governmental organization had
Perhaps I could not make it any clearer to Mr. Lopa that I was not really making baseless and malicious made representations to the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports Development to look into the
statements. charges against the PCGG since said agency is a symbol of the changes expected by the people when the
EDSA revolution took place and that the ill-gotten wealth to be recovered will fund priority projects
Senator Enrile concluded his privilege speech in the following tenor: which will benefit our people such as CARP, free education in the elementary and secondary levels
reforestration, and employment generation for rural and urban workers;
Mr. President, it may be worthwhile for the Senate to look into the possible violation of the law in the
case particularly with regard to Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Section 5 WHEREAS, the government and the present leadeship must demonstrate in their public and private lives
of which reads as follows and I quote: integrity, honor and efficient management of government services lest our youth become disillusioned
and lose hope and return to an Idelogy and form of government which is repugnant to true freedom, Sandiganbayan would not only pose the possibility of conflicting judgments betweena legislative
democratic participation and human rights: Now, therefore, be it. commitee and a judicial tribunal, but if the Committee's judgment were to be reached before that of the
Sandiganbayan, the possibility of its influence being made to bear on the ultimate judgment of the
Resolved by the Senate, That the activities of the Presidential Commission on Good Government be Sandiganbayan can not be discounted.
investigated by the appropriate Committee in connection with the implementation of Section 26, Article
XVIII of the Constitution. 19 In fine, for the rspondent Committee to probe and inquire into the same justiciable controversy already
before the Sandiganbayan, would be an encroachment into the exclusive domain of judicial jurisdiction
that had much earlier set in. In Baremblatt vs. United States, 21 it was held that:

Thus, the inquiry under Senate Resolution No. 212 is to look into the charges against the PCGG filed by Broad as it is, the power is not, howevern, without limitations. Since congress may only investigate into
the three (3) stockholders of Oriental Petroleum in connection with the implementation of Section 26, those areas in which it may potentially legislate or appropriate, it cannot inquire into matters which are
Article XVIII of the Constitution. within the exclusive province of one of the other branches of the government. Lacking the judicial power
given to the Judiciary, it cannot inquire into mattes that are exclusively the concern of the Judiciary.
It cannot, therefore, be said that the contemplated inquiry on the subject of the privilege speech of Neither can it suplant the Executive in what exclusively belongs to the Executive. ...
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, i.e., the alleged sale of the 36 (or 39) corporations belonging to Benjamin
"Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopa Group is to be conducted pursuant to Senate Resolution No. 212 Now to another matter. It has been held that "a congressional committee's right to inquire is 'subject to
because, firstly, Senator Enrile did not indict the PCGG, and, secondly, neither Mr. Ricardo Lopa nor the all relevant limitations placed by the Constitution on governmental action,' including "'the relevant
herein petitioners are connected with the government but are private citizens. limitations of the Bill of Rights'." 22

In another case —

It appeals, therefore, that the contemplated inquiry by respondent Committee is not really "in aid of ... the mere semblance of legislative purpose would not justify an inquiry in the face of the Bill of Rights.
legislation" becuase it is not related to a purpose within the jurisdiction of Congress, since the aim of the The critical element is the exeistence of, and the weight to be ascribed to, the interest of the Congress in
investigation is to find out whether or not the ralatives of the President or Mr. Ricardo Lopa had violated demanding disclosures from an unwilling witness. We cannot simply assume, however, that every
Section 5 RA No. 3019, the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act", a matter that appears more within the congressional investigation is justified by a public need that over-balances any private rights affected. To
province of the courts rather than of the legislature. Besides, the Court may take judicial notice that Mr. do so would be to abdicate the responsibility placed by the Constitution upon the judiciary to insure that
Ricardo Lopa died during the pendency of this case. In John T. Watkins vs. United States, 20 it was held the Congress does not unjustifiably encroah upon an individual's right to privacy nor abridge his liberty of
held: speech, press, religion or assembly. 23

... The power of congress to conduct investigations in inherent in the legislative process. That power is One of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution to an individual is the right against self-
broad. it encompasses inquiries concerning the administration of existing laws as well as proposed, or incrimination. 24 Thir right constured as the right to remain completely silent may be availed of by the
possibly needed statutes. It includes surveys of defects in our social,economic, or political system for the accused in a criminal case; but kit may be invoked by other witnesses only as questions are asked of
purpose of enabling Congress to remedy them. It comprehends probes into departments of the Federal them.
Government to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste. But broad asis this power of inquiry, it is not
unlimited. There is no general authority to expose the private affairs ofindividuals without justification in This distinction was enunciated by the Court in Romeo Chavez vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals, et
terms of the functions of congress. This was freely conceded by Solicitor General in his argument in this al. 25thus —
case. Nor is the Congress a law enforcement or trial agency. These are functions of the executive and
judicial departments of government. No inquiry is an end in itself; it must be related to and in furtherance Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary witness. Whereas an
of a legitimate task of Congress. Investigations conducted soly for the personal aggrandizement of the ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness stand and claim the privilege as each question
investigators or to "punish" those investigated are indefensible. (emphasis supplied) requiring an incriminating answer is hot at him, an accused may altother refuse to take the witness stand
and refuse to answer any all questions.
It can not be overlooked that when respondent Committee decide to conduct its investigation of the
petitioners, the complaint in Civil No. 0035 had already been filed with the Sandiganbayan. A perusal of Moreover, this right of the accused is extended to respondents in administrative investigations but only
that complaint shows that one of its principal causes of action against herein petitioners, as defendants if they partake of the nature of a criminal proceeding or analogous to a criminal proceeding. In Galman
therein, is the alleged sale of the 36 (or 39) corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez. vs. Pamaran,26 the Court reiterated the doctrine in Cabal vs. Kapuanan (6 SCRA 1059) to illustrate the
Since the issues in said complaint had long been joined by the filing of petitioner's respective answers right of witnesses to invoke the right against self-incrimination not only in criminal proceedings but also
thereto, the issue sought to be investigated by the respondent Commitee is one over which jurisdiction in all other types of suit
had been acquired by the Sandiganbayan. In short, the issue had been pre-empted by that court. To
allow the respondent Committee to conduct its own investigation of an issue already before the It was held that:
We did not therein state that since he is not an accused and the case is not a criminal case, Cabal cannot
refuse to take the witness stand and testify, and that he can invoke his right against self-incrimination
only when a question which tends to elicit an answer that will incriminate him is propounded to him.
Clearly then, it is not the characeter of the suit involved but the nature of the proceedings that controls.
The privilege has consistenly been held to extend to all proceedings sanctioned by law and to all cases in
which punishment is sought to be visited upon a witness, whether a party or not.

We do not here modify these doctrines. If we presently rule that petitioners may not be compelled by
the respondent Committee to appear, testify and produce evidenc before it, it is only becuase we hold
that the questioned inquiry is not in aid of legislation and, if pursued, would be violative of the principle
of separation of powers between the legislative and the judicial departments of government, ordained
by the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court holds that, under the facts, including the circumtance
that petitioners are presently impleaded as defendants in a case before the Sandiganbayan, which
involves issues intimately related to the subject of contemplated inquiry before the respondet
Committee, the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is hereby enjoined from compelling the
petitioners and intervenor to testify before it and produce evidence at the said inquiry.
G.R. No. L-46496 February 27, 1940 3. That Toribio Teodoro's letter to the Philippine Army dated September 29, 1938, (re supposed delay of
leather soles from the States) was but a scheme to systematically prevent the forfeiture of this bond
ANG TIBAY, represented by TORIBIO TEODORO, manager and propietor, and despite the breach of his CONTRACT with the Philippine Army.
NATIONAL WORKERS BROTHERHOOD, petitioners,
vs. 4. That the National Worker's Brotherhood of ANG TIBAY is a company or employer union dominated by
THE COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS and NATIONAL LABOR UNION, INC., respondents. Toribio Teodoro, the existence and functions of which are illegal. (281 U.S., 548, petitioner's printed
memorandum, p. 25.)
Office of the Solicitor-General Ozaeta and Assistant Attorney Barcelona for the Court of Industrial
Relations. 5. That in the exercise by the laborers of their rights to collective bargaining, majority rule and elective
Antonio D. Paguia for National Labor Unon. representation are highly essential and indispensable. (Sections 2 and 5, Commonwealth Act No. 213.)
Claro M. Recto for petitioner "Ang Tibay".
Jose M. Casal for National Workers' Brotherhood. 6. That the century provisions of the Civil Code which had been (the) principal source of dissensions and
continuous civil war in Spain cannot and should not be made applicable in interpreting and applying the
LAUREL, J.: salutary provisions of a modern labor legislation of American origin where the industrial peace has
always been the rule.
The Solicitor-General in behalf of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the above-entitled case
has filed a motion for reconsideration and moves that, for the reasons stated in his motion, we 7. That the employer Toribio Teodoro was guilty of unfair labor practice for discriminating against the
reconsider the following legal conclusions of the majority opinion of this Court: National Labor Union, Inc., and unjustly favoring the National Workers' Brotherhood.

1. Que un contrato de trabajo, asi individual como colectivo, sin termino fijo de duracion o que no sea 8. That the exhibits hereto attached are so inaccessible to the respondents that even with the exercise of
para una determinada, termina o bien por voluntad de cualquiera de las partes o cada vez que ilega el due diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and offered as evidence in the Court of
plazo fijado para el pago de los salarios segun costumbre en la localidad o cunado se termine la obra; Industrial Relations.

2. Que los obreros de una empresa fabril, que han celebrado contrato, ya individual ya colectivamente, 9. That the attached documents and exhibits are of such far-reaching importance and effect that their
con ell, sin tiempo fijo, y que se han visto obligados a cesar en sus tarbajos por haberse declarando paro admission would necessarily mean the modification and reversal of the judgment rendered herein.
forzoso en la fabrica en la cual tarbajan, dejan de ser empleados u obreros de la misma;
The petitioner, Ang Tibay, has filed an opposition both to the motion for reconsideration of the
3. Que un patrono o sociedad que ha celebrado un contrato colectivo de trabajo con sus osbreros sin respondent National Labor Union, Inc.
tiempo fijo de duracion y sin ser para una obra determiminada y que se niega a readmitir a dichos
obreros que cesaron como consecuencia de un paro forzoso, no es culpable de practica injusta in incurre In view of the conclusion reached by us and to be herein after stead with reference to the motion for a
en la sancion penal del articulo 5 de la Ley No. 213 del Commonwealth, aunque su negativa a readmitir new trial of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc., we are of the opinion that it is not necessary to
se deba a que dichos obreros pertenecen a un determinado organismo obrero, puesto que tales ya han pass upon the motion for reconsideration of the Solicitor-General. We shall proceed to dispose of the
dejado deser empleados suyos por terminacion del contrato en virtud del paro. motion for new trial of the respondent labor union. Before doing this, however, we deem it necessary, in
the interest of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, in interest of orderly procedure in cases of this
The respondent National Labor Union, Inc., on the other hand, prays for the vacation of the judgement nature, to make several observations regarding the nature of the powers of the Court of Industrial
rendered by the majority of this Court and the remanding of the case to the Court of Industrial Relations Relations and emphasize certain guiding principles which should be observed in the trial of cases brought
for a new trial, and avers: before it. We have re-examined the entire record of the proceedings had before the Court of Industrial
Relations in this case, and we have found no substantial evidence that the exclusion of the 89 laborers
1. That Toribio Teodoro's claim that on September 26, 1938, there was shortage of leather soles in ANG here was due to their union affiliation or activity. The whole transcript taken contains what transpired
TIBAY making it necessary for him to temporarily lay off the members of the National Labor Union Inc., is during the hearing and is more of a record of contradictory and conflicting statements of opposing
entirely false and unsupported by the records of the Bureau of Customs and the Books of Accounts of counsel, with sporadic conclusion drawn to suit their own views. It is evident that these statements and
native dealers in leather. expressions of views of counsel have no evidentiary value.

2. That the supposed lack of leather materials claimed by Toribio Teodoro was but a scheme to The Court of Industrial Relations is a special court whose functions are specifically stated in the law of its
systematically prevent the forfeiture of this bond despite the breach of his CONTRACT with the creation (Commonwealth Act No. 103). It is more an administrative than a part of the integrated judicial
Philippine Army. system of the nation. It is not intended to be a mere receptive organ of the Government. Unlike a court
of justice which is essentially passive, acting only when its jurisdiction is invoked and deciding only cases
that are presented to it by the parties litigant, the function of the Court of Industrial Relations, as will
appear from perusal of its organic law, is more active, affirmative and dynamic. It not only exercises
judicial or quasi-judicial functions in the determination of disputes between employers and employees (2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence tending
but its functions in the determination of disputes between employers and employees but its functions to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the evidence presented. (Chief
are far more comprehensive and expensive. It has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines, to consider, Justice Hughes in Morgan v. U.S. 298 U.S. 468, 56 S. Ct. 906, 80 law. ed. 1288.) In the language of this
investigate, decide, and settle any question, matter controversy or dispute arising between, and/or court in Edwards vs. McCoy, 22 Phil., 598, "the right to adduce evidence, without the corresponding duty
affecting employers and employees or laborers, and regulate the relations between them, subject to, on the part of the board to consider it, is vain. Such right is conspicuously futile if the person or persons
and in accordance with, the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 103 (section 1). It shall take cognizance to whom the evidence is presented can thrust it aside without notice or consideration."
or purposes of prevention, arbitration, decision and settlement, of any industrial or agricultural dispute
causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout, arising from differences as regards wages, shares or (3) "While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does imply a necessity
compensation, hours of labor or conditions of tenancy or employment, between landlords and tenants which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to support it is a nullity, a place when
or farm-laborers, provided that the number of employees, laborers or tenants of farm-laborers involved directly attached." (Edwards vs. McCoy, supra.) This principle emanates from the more fundamental is
exceeds thirty, and such industrial or agricultural dispute is submitted to the Court by the Secretary of contrary to the vesting of unlimited power anywhere. Law is both a grant and a limitation upon power.
Labor or by any or both of the parties to the controversy and certified by the Secretary of labor as
existing and proper to be by the Secretary of Labor as existing and proper to be dealth with by the Court (4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion (City of Manila vs. Agustin,
for the sake of public interest. (Section 4, ibid.) It shall, before hearing the dispute and in the course of G.R. No. 45844, promulgated November 29, 1937, XXXVI O. G. 1335), but the evidence must be
such hearing, endeavor to reconcile the parties and induce them to settle the dispute by amicable "substantial." (Washington, Virginia and Maryland Coach Co. v. national labor Relations Board, 301 U.S.
agreement. (Paragraph 2, section 4, ibid.) When directed by the President of the Philippines, it shall 142, 147, 57 S. Ct. 648, 650, 81 Law. ed. 965.) It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind
investigate and study all industries established in a designated locality, with a view to determinating the accept as adequate to support a conclusion." (Appalachian Electric Power v. National Labor Relations
necessity and fairness of fixing and adopting for such industry or locality a minimum wage or share of Board, 4 Cir., 93 F. 2d 985, 989; National Labor Relations Board v. Thompson Products, 6 Cir., 97 F. 2d 13,
laborers or tenants, or a maximum "canon" or rental to be paid by the "inquilinos" or tenants or less to 15; Ballston-Stillwater Knitting Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 2 Cir., 98 F. 2d 758, 760.) . . . The
landowners. (Section 5, ibid.) In fine, it may appeal to voluntary arbitration in the settlement of industrial statute provides that "the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be
disputes; may employ mediation or conciliation for that purpose, or recur to the more effective system controlling.' The obvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative boards from the
of official investigation and compulsory arbitration in order to determine specific controversies between compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which would be deemed
labor and capital industry and in agriculture. There is in reality here a mingling of executive and judicial incompetent inn judicial proceedings would not invalidate the administrative order. (Interstate
functions, which is a departure from the rigid doctrine of the separation of governmental powers. Commerce Commission v. Baird, 194 U.S. 25, 44, 24 S. Ct. 563, 568, 48 Law. ed. 860; Interstate
Commerce Commission v. Louisville and Nashville R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 93 33 S. Ct. 185, 187, 57 Law. ed.
In the case of Goseco vs. Court of Industrial Relations et al., G.R. No. 46673, promulgated September 13, 431; United States v. Abilene and Southern Ry. Co. S. Ct. 220, 225, 74 Law. ed. 624.) But this assurance of
1939, we had occasion to joint out that the Court of Industrial Relations et al., G. R. No. 46673, a desirable flexibility in administrative procedure does not go far as to justify orders without a basis in
promulgated September 13, 1939, we had occasion to point out that the Court of Industrial Relations is evidence having rational probative force. Mere uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute
not narrowly constrained by technical rules of procedure, and the Act requires it to "act according to substantial evidence. (Consolidated Edison Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 59 S. Ct. 206, 83 Law.
justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and ed. No. 4, Adv. Op., p. 131.)"
shall not be bound by any technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any technical rules of
legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just and equitable." (Section 20, (5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the
Commonwealth Act No. 103.) It shall not be restricted to the specific relief claimed or demands made by record and disclosed to the parties affected. (Interstate Commence Commission vs. L. & N. R. Co., 227
the parties to the industrial or agricultural dispute, but may include in the award, order or decision any U.S. 88, 33 S. Ct. 185, 57 Law. ed. 431.) Only by confining the administrative tribunal to the evidence
matter or determination which may be deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling the disclosed to the parties, can the latter be protected in their right to know and meet the case against
dispute or of preventing further industrial or agricultural disputes. (section 13, ibid.) And in the light of them. It should not, however, detract from their duty actively to see that the law is enforced, and for
this legislative policy, appeals to this Court have been especially regulated by the rules recently that purpose, to use the authorized legal methods of securing evidence and informing itself of facts
promulgated by the rules recently promulgated by this Court to carry into the effect the avowed material and relevant to the controversy. Boards of inquiry may be appointed for the purpose of
legislative purpose. The fact, however, that the Court of Industrial Relations may be said to be free from investigating and determining the facts in any given case, but their report and decision are only advisory.
the rigidity of certain procedural requirements does not mean that it can, in justifiable cases before it, (Section 9, Commonwealth Act No. 103.) The Court of Industrial Relations may refer any industrial or
entirely ignore or disregard the fundamental and essential requirements of due process in trials and agricultural dispute or any matter under its consideration or advisement to a local board of inquiry, a
investigations of an administrative character. There are primary rights which must be respected even in provincial fiscal. a justice of the peace or any public official in any part of the Philippines for
proceedings of this character: investigation, report and recommendation, and may delegate to such board or public official such
powers and functions as the said Court of Industrial Relations may deem necessary, but such delegation
(1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party interested or shall not affect the exercise of the Court itself of any of its powers. (Section 10, ibid.)
affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. In the language of Chief
Hughes, in Morgan v. U.S., 304 U.S. 1, 58 S. Ct. 773, 999, 82 Law. ed. 1129, "the liberty and property of (6) The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its or his own
the citizen shall be protected by the rudimentary requirements of fair play. independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply accept the views of a
subordinate in arriving at a decision. It may be that the volume of work is such that it is literally Relations
personally to decide all controversies coming before them. In the United States the difficulty is solved
with the enactment of statutory authority authorizing examiners or other subordinates to render final
decision, with the right to appeal to board or commission, but in our case there is no such statutory
authority.

(7) The Court of Industrial Relations should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a
manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reasons for the
decision rendered. The performance of this duty is inseparable from the authority conferred upon it.

In the right of the foregoing fundamental principles, it is sufficient to observe here that, except as to the
alleged agreement between the Ang Tibay and the National Worker's Brotherhood (appendix A), the
record is barren and does not satisfy the thirst for a factual basis upon which to predicate, in a national
way, a conclusion of law.

This result, however, does not now preclude the concession of a new trial prayed for the by respondent
National Labor Union, Inc., it is alleged that "the supposed lack of material claimed by Toribio Teodoro
was but a scheme adopted to systematically discharged all the members of the National Labor Union
Inc., from work" and this avernment is desired to be proved by the petitioner with the "records of the
Bureau of Customs and the Books of Accounts of native dealers in leather"; that "the National Workers
Brotherhood Union of Ang Tibay is a company or employer union dominated by Toribio Teodoro, the
existence and functions of which are illegal." Petitioner further alleges under oath that the exhibits
attached to the petition to prove his substantial avernments" are so inaccessible to the respondents that
even within the exercise of due diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and offered
as evidence in the Court of Industrial Relations", and that the documents attached to the petition "are of
such far reaching importance and effect that their admission would necessarily mean the modification
and reversal of the judgment rendered herein." We have considered the reply of Ang Tibay and its
arguments against the petition. By and large, after considerable discussions, we have come to the
conclusion that the interest of justice would be better served if the movant is given opportunity to
present at the hearing the documents referred to in his motion and such other evidence as may be
relevant to the main issue involved. The legislation which created the Court of Industrial Relations and
under which it acts is new. The failure to grasp the fundamental issue involved is not entirely attributable
to the parties adversely affected by the result. Accordingly, the motion for a new trial should be and the
same is hereby granted, and the entire record of this case shall be remanded to the Court of Industrial
Relations, with instruction that it reopen the case, receive all such evidence as may be relevant and
otherwise proceed in accordance with the requirements set forth hereinabove. So ordered.
G.R. No. 171491 September 4, 2009 On July 27, 2001, following rumors that an investigation will be conducted concerning irregularities in
the said project, Bareza set fire to the PCAMRD Records Section in order to clear his tracks.8
DR. CASTOR C. DE JESUS, Petitioner,
vs. A fact-finding committee was thus created by virtue of PCAMRD Memorandum Circular No. 309 to
RAFAEL D. GUERRERO III, CESARIO R. PAGDILAO, AND FORTUNATA B. AQUINO, Respondents. investigate the burning incident and forgery of checks by Bareza. After investigation, the fact-finding
committee found sufficient evidence to charge Bareza with dishonesty, grave misconduct and
DECISION falsification of official document.10 The fact-finding committee likewise found sufficient evidence to
charge Atienza with inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties11 and Bosque
QUISUMBING, J.: with simple neglect of duty.12

Before us is a petition for review seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision1 dated September 30, Concomitant to the above findings, Guerrero formed an investigation committee to conduct formal
2005 of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 83779, and its Resolution2 dated February 9, 2006 investigations on the charges filed against Bareza, Atienza and Bosque.13 The investigation committee
denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. found Bareza guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct and recommended his dismissal from the
service. It also found sufficient basis to uphold the charge filed against Atienza and Bosque, and
Culled from the records are the following facts: recommended a minimum penalty of six (6) months and one (1) day suspension for Atienza, and a
maximum penalty of six (6) months suspension for Bosque.14
Nilo A. Bareza, Records Officer III of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and
Development (PCAMRD), made out a check payable to himself and drawn against the Asean-Canada On September 10, 2001 the PCAMRD adopted the findings of the investigation committee but imposed
Project Fund, a foreign-assisted project being implemented by PCAMRD. To avoid being caught, Bareza only the penalty of six (6) months suspension on Atienza and only three (3) months suspension on
stole Land Bank Check No. 070343 from the trust fund of the PCAMRD from the desk of Arminda S. Bosque.15
Atienza, PCAMRD Cashier III. He filled out the check for the amount of ₱385,000.00, forged the
signatures of the authorized signatories, made it appear that the check was endorsed to Atienza, and Not convinced with the results of the investigation and the penalties imposed on Bareza, Atienza and
with him as the endorsee, encashed the check that was drawn against the PCAMRD Trust Fund. Then, he Bosque, petitioner exerted efforts to obtain a copy of the complete records of the proceedings had.
deposited part of the money to the Asean-Canada Project Fund and pocketed the difference.3 Upon reading the same, petitioner was of the opinion that the investigation conducted by the fact-
finding committee and investigation committee was perfunctorily and superficially done, and made only
Atienza discovered that the check in question was missing on the third week of February 1999 while to whitewash and cover-up the real issues because the report exonerated other persons involved in the
preparing the Report of Checks Issued and Cancelled for the Trust Fund for the month of January. Not crimes and omitted other erroneous acts. According to him, these circumstances led to partiality in
finding the check anywhere in her office, Atienza called the bank to look for the same. She was shocked deciding the charges. Hence, petitioner filed with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon
to learn from a bank employee that the check had been issued payable in her name. When Atienza went (Ombudsman) a complaint against Guerrero, Cesario R. Pagdilao (Pagdilao), PCAMRD Deputy Executive
to the bank to examine the check, she noticed that her signature and the signature of Dir. Rafael D. Director, and Aquino, among others, for incompetence and gross negligence.16 The case was docketed as
Guerrero III (Guerrero), PCAMRD Executive Director, were forged. She also found out that Bareza OMB Case No. L-A-02-0209-D.
appeared to be the person who encashed the check.4
In their Joint Counter-Affidavit and Complaint for Malicious Prosecution17 dated July 9, 2002, the
Bareza admitted his wrongdoings when he was confronted by Atienza about the incident, but begged respondents argued that the complaint is wanting in material, relevant and substantive allegations and is
that he be not reported to the management. Bareza also promised to return the money in a few days. clearly intended only to harass them. Furthermore, they contended that petitioner failed to identify the
Against her good judgment, Atienza acquiesced to Bareza’s request, seeing Bareza’s remorse over his persons he claims were exonerated, and worse, petitioner failed to state with particularity their
transgressions. But Atienza also felt uneasy over her decision to keep silent about the whole thing, so participation in the crimes.18
Atienza persuaded Bareza to inform Fortunata B. Aquino (Aquino), PCAMRD Director of Finance and
Administrative Division, about what he did. Bareza, however, decided to confess to Carolina T. Bosque, In his Consolidated Reply and Counter-Affidavit19 dated July 25, 2002, petitioner belied the allegation of
PCAMRD Accountant III, instead.5 the respondents that his complaint was lacking in substance. He stressed that the report of the
investigation committee that was submitted by the respondents reinforced his claim that the
When Bareza revealed to Bosque what he had done, he was also advised to report the matter to Aquino, investigation relative to the forgery and arson case was indeed perfunctory and superficial, designed
but, Bareza became hysterical and threatened to commit suicide if his misdeeds were ever exposed. Due only to whitewash and cover-up the real issues. To bolster his contention, he pointed out that the sworn
to his fervent pleading and his promise to repay the amount he took, Bosque, like Atienza, assented to affidavit of Bareza revealed that the latter was able to use certain funds of the Asean-Canada Project by
his plea for her to remain silent.6 encashing blank checks that were previously signed by Pagdilao. Thus, he averred that the failure to
implicate Pagdilao as a conspirator to the crime of forgery shows that the investigation was just a farce.
True to his word, Bareza deposited back ₱385,000.00 to the PCAMRD account on February 25, 1999.7
Petitioner also claimed that Atienza and Bosque were not charged with the proper administrative
offense to avoid their dismissal from the service. Petitioner pointed to the command responsibility of
respondents over Bareza, Atienza and Bosque. He maintained that had they been prudent enough in Hence, the present petition raising the following issues for our resolution:
handling PCAMRD’s finances, the forgery of checks and the arson incident could have been avoided.
Furthermore, petitioner alleged that being the head of PCAMRD, Guerrero should have pursued I.
investigations on the criminal aspect of the cases of forgery and arson because a huge amount of
government money was involved therein. His act, therefore, of declaring the cases closed after the WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERROR
conduct of the investigations in the administrative aspect only is contrary to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt WHEN IT DENIED IN ITS DECISION PETITIONER’S PETITION AND AFFIRMED THE OMBUDSMAN’S DECISION
Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) because its object is to conceal "more big anomalies and issues."20 OF AUGUST 5, 2002 IN OMB-L[-A]-02-020[9]-D, RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF THE CASE BY RELYING
SOLELY AND EXCLUSIVELY ON THE GENERAL RULE/PRINCIPLE THAT THE COURTS WILL NOT INTERFERE IN
In a Decision21 dated August 5, 2002, the Ombudsman recommended the dismissal of the administrative THE INVESTIGATORY AND PROSECUTORY POWERS OF THE OMBUDSMAN, IGNORING THE EXCEPTIONS
case filed against the respondents for lack of merit. It agreed with the respondents that the complaint TO THE RULE – PRESENCE OF COMPELLING REASONS AND GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN THE
was couched in general terms that contains no material, relevant and substantial allegation to support EXERCISE THEREOF.
the theory of cover-up or whitewash. The Ombudsman also held that there is nothing to sustain
petitioner’s allegation that Pagdilao should be implicated in the forgery because petitioner failed to II.
sufficiently prove that the check that was signed in blank by Pagdilao was Land Bank Check No. 070343,
or the subject check encashed by Bareza. Even assuming that the forged check was the one signed in WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A SERIOUS REVERSIBLE ERROR
blank by Pagdilao, the Ombudsman opined that the latter still cannot be said to have participated in the AND A GRAVE MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS AND MISAPPRECIATION OF THE EVIDENCE WHEN IT RULED
forgery because the check was in the custody and safekeeping of Atienza, the cashier, when it was THAT THERE IS NO PRIMA FACIE OR PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST RESPONDENTS, [THAT] IF CONSIDERED,
stolen. In the same vein, the Ombudsman found no adequate basis in the petitioner’s allegation that WILL ALTER THE OUTCOME OF THE CASE.
Guerrero charged Atienza and Bosque with erroneous administrative infractions to lessen their liability,
III.
noting that Guerrero merely adopted the recommendation of the fact-finding and investigation
committees as to what they should be charged with. The Ombudsman added that Guerrero cannot be
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERROR
indicted for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019 or be held administratively liable for his failure
WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENTS ARE NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY LIABLE.27
to initiate criminal cases against Bareza, Atienza and Bosque because he had no personal knowledge of
the commission of the crimes allegedly committed by them.22 Simply put, we are asked to resolve whether the appellate court erred in affirming the dismissal of the
23
complaint. We hold that it did not.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but the Ombudsman denied it in an Order dated November 25,
2003. According to the Ombudsman, nowhere in petitioner’s complaint did he allege that respondents In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial
should be blamed for arson and forgery because of command responsibility. It held that petitioner’s evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
averment of the same only in his reply-affidavit and in his motion for reconsideration should be support a conclusion. Further, the complainant has the burden of proving by substantial evidence the
disregarded altogether since it materially and belatedly alters his original cause of action against the allegations in his complaint. The basic rule is that mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to
respondents, which cannot be allowed.24 proof. Charges based on mere suspicion and speculation likewise cannot be given credence. Hence,
when the complainant relies on mere conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate his
Not accepting defeat, petitioner elevated the matter by way of a petition for review25 under Rule 43
allegations, the administrative complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit.28
before the appellate court. Petitioner claimed that the Ombudsman gravely erred when it recommended
the dismissal of the charges against the respondents and denied his motion for reconsideration despite Mainly, petitioner ascribes incompetence and gross negligence to respondents because according to
the existence of a prima facie case against them for incompetence and gross negligence. him, the fraudulent use of PCAMRD funds and arson would not have happened had they not been remiss
in the performance of their duties. Specifically, he averred that Guerrero, being the head of PCAMRD,
On September 30, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision affirming the August 5, 2002 Decision
should have seen to it that all the resources of the government are managed and expended in
and November 25, 2003 Order of the Ombudsman in OMB Case No. L-A-02-0209-D. The appellate court
accordance with laws and regulations, and safeguarded against loss and waste; Pagdilao should have
found that the Ombudsman correctly dismissed the complaint against the respondents. The appellate
ensured that the signed blank checks were used for what they were intended; and that anomalies would
court held that petitioner questioned the handling of the PCAMRD finances without specifying the
have been avoided had Aquino supervised Bareza, Atienza and Bosque, her subordinates, properly and
particular acts or omissions constituting the gross negligence of the respondents. The charges, being
efficiently. In sum, petitioner argues that they are accountable because of command
broad, sweeping, general and purely speculative, cannot, by their nature, constitute a prima facie case
responsibility.291avvphi1
against the respondents.26
We agree with the appellate court and the Ombudsman that the complaint against the respondents
Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the said Decision but it was denied by the appellate court in
should be dismissed. A perusal of petitioner’s allegations clearly shows that they are mere general
the Resolution dated February 9, 2006.
statements or conclusions of law, wanting in evidentiary support and substantiation. It is not enough for
petitioner to simply aver that respondents had been derelict in their duties; he must show the specific
acts or omissions committed by them which amount to incompetence and gross negligence. This, he be ascribed to their superior in the absence of evidence of the latter’s own negligence.38 While it may be
failed to do. Hence, the complaint was correctly dismissed for lack of merit. true that certain PCAMRD employees were sanctioned for negligence and some other administrative
infractions, it does not follow that those holding responsible positions, like the respondents in this case,
Petitioner’s allegation that he has specified the acts and omissions of respondents which show that they are likewise negligent, especially so when the contentions of petitioner remain unsubstantiated.
are guilty of dishonesty and falsification lacks merit. Aside from the fact that nowhere in the records
does it appear that he has indeed shown the particular acts or omissions of respondents constituting WHEREFORE, there being no sufficient showing of grave and reversible error in the assailed decision and
dishonesty or which amounted to falsification of whatever nature, it must be emphasized that the case resolution, the petition is DENIED. Said Decision dated September 30, 2005 and Resolution dated
he filed before the Ombudsman was an administrative complaint for incompetence and gross February 9, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 83779 are hereby AFFIRMED. No
negligence. Hence, these are the two charges he needed to prove by substantial evidence, not any other pronouncement as to costs.
crime or administrative infraction. At the very least, petitioner should have shown how his accusations of
dishonesty and falsification constituted incompetence and gross negligence on the part of the
respondents.

To further persuade us that his complaint was wrongly dismissed, petitioner argues that he had in his
petition established the existence of probable cause to hold respondents liable for violation of Section
3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.30 He then concludes that "if there
is sufficient basis to indict the respondents of a criminal offense then with more reason that they should
be made accountable administratively considering the fact that the quantum of evidence required in
administrative proceedings is merely substantial evidence."31

This argument likewise has no merit. It is worthy to note that petitioner is merely proceeding from his
own belief that there exists sufficient basis to charge respondents criminally. This is not within his
province to decide. He could not arrogate unto himself the power that pertains to the proper authorities
enjoined by law to determine the absence or existence of probable cause to indict one of a criminal
offense.

More importantly, an administrative proceeding is different from a criminal case and may proceed
independently thereof.32 Even if respondents would subsequently be found guilty of a crime based on
the same set of facts obtaining in the present administrative complaint, the same will not automatically
mean that they are also administratively liable.

As we have said in Gatchalian Promotions Talents Pool, Inc. v. Naldoza33 and which we have reiterated in
a host of cases,34 a finding of guilt in the criminal case will not necessarily result in a finding of liability in
the administrative case. Conversely, respondents’ acquittal will not necessarily exculpate them
administratively. The basic premise is that criminal and civil cases are altogether different from
administrative matters, such that the disposition in the first two will not inevitably govern the third and
vice versa.35

It must be stressed that the basis of administrative liability differs from criminal liability. The purpose of
administrative proceedings is mainly to protect the public service, based on the time-honored principle
that a public office is a public trust. On the other hand, the purpose of criminal prosecution is the
punishment of crime.36 To state it simply, petitioner erroneously equated criminal liability to
administrative liability.

Neither will the allegation of the principle of command responsibility make the respondents liable. In the
absence of substantial evidence of gross negligence of the respondents, administrative liability could not
be based on the principle of command responsibility.37 Without proof that the head of office was
negligent, no administrative liability may attach. Indeed, the negligence of subordinates cannot always
For a realistic performance of these functions, the President vested in the Agency all the powers of an
investigating committee under Sections 71 and 580 of the Revised Administrative Code, including the
G.R. No. L-29274 November 27, 1975 power to summon witnesses by subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, administer oaths, take testimony or
evidence relevant to the investigation.4
SEC. QUIRICO P. EVANGELISTA, in his capacity as Secretary of the Presidential Agency on Reforms and
Government Operations, and the PRESIDENTIAL AGENCY ON REFORMS AND GOVERNMENT Whereupon, on June 7, 1968, petitioner Quirico Evangelista, as Undersecretary of the Agency, issued to
OPERATIONS (PARGO), petitioner, respondent Fernando Manalastas, then Acting City Public Service Officer of Manila, a subpoena ad
vs. testificandum commanding him "to be and appear as witness at the Office of the PRESIDENTIAL AGENCY
HON. HILARION U. JARENCIO, as Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXIII, and ON REFORMS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS ... then and there to declare and testify in a certain
FERNANDO MANALASTAS, Assistant City Public Service Officer of Manila, and ALL OTHER CITY investigation pending therein."
OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES SIMILARLY SITUATED, respondents.
Instead of obeying the subpoena, respondent Fernando Manalastas filed on June 25, 1968 with the Court
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Ist. Assistant Solicitor General Esmeraldo Umali and of First Instance of Manila an Amended Petition for prohibition, certiorari and/or injunction with
Solicitor Bernardo P. Pardo for petitioners. preliminary injunction and/or restraining order docketed as Civil Case No. 73305 and assailed its legality.

Gregorio A. Ejercito and Felix C. Chavez for respondents. On July 1, 1968, respondent Judge issued the aforementioned Order:

MARTIN, J.: IT IS ORDERED that, upon the filing of a bond in the amount of P5,000.00, let the writ of preliminary
injunction prayed for by the petitioner [private respondent] be issued restraining the respondents
This is an original action for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction, under Rule 65 of the [petitioners], their agents, representatives, attorneys and/or other persons acting in their behalf from
Rules of Court, seeking to annul and set aside the order of respondent Judge, the Honorable Hilarion J. further issuing subpoenas in connection with the fact-finding investigations to the petitioner [private
Jarencio, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, dated July 1, 1968, in Civil Case No. respondent] and from instituting contempt proceedings against the petitioner [private respondent]
73305, entitled "Fernando Manalastas vs. Sec. Ramon D. Bagatsing, etc.", which reads as follows: under Section 530 of the Revised Administrative Code. (Stress supplied).

IT IS ORDERED that, upon the filing of a bond in the amount of P5,000.00, let the writ of preliminary Because of this, petitioners 5 elevated the matter direct to Us without a motion for reconsideration first
injunction prayed for by the petitioner [private respondent] be issued restraining the respondents filed on the fundamental submission that the Order is a patent nullity.6
[petitioners], their agents, representatives, attorneys and/or other persons acting in their behalf from
further issuing subpoenas in connection with the fact-finding investigations to the petitioner [private As unfurled, the dominant issue in this case is whether the Agency, acting thru its officials, enjoys the
respondent] and from instituting contempt proceedings against the petitioner [private respondent] authority to issue subpoenas in its conduct of fact-finding investigations.
under Section 580 of the Revised Administrative Code. (Stress supplied).
It has been essayed that the life blood of the administrative process is the flow of fact, the gathering, the
Pursuant to his special powers and duties under Section 64 of the Revised Administrative Code,1 the organization and the analysis of evidence.7 Investigations are useful for all administrative functions, not
President of the Philippines created the Presidential Agency on Reforms and Government Operations only for rule making, adjudication, and licensing, but also for prosecuting, for supervising and directing,
(PARGO) under Executive Order No. 4 of January 7, 1966.2 Purposedly, he charged the Agency with the for determining general policy, for recommending, legislation, and for purposes no more specific than
following functions and responsibilities:3 illuminating obscure areas to find out what if anything should be done.8 An administrative agency may
be authorized to make investigations, not only in proceedings of a legislative or judicial nature, but also
b. To investigate all activities involving or affecting immoral practices, graft and corruptions, smuggling in proceedings whose sole purpose is to obtain information upon which future action of a legislative or
(physical or technical), lawlessness, subversion, and all other activities which are prejudicial to the judicial nature may be taken 9 and may require the attendance of witnesses in proceedings of a purely
government and the public interests, and to submit proper recommendations to the President of the investigatory nature. It may conduct general inquiries into evils calling for correction, and to report
Philippines. findings to appropriate bodies and make recommendations for actions. 10

c. To investigate cases of graft and corruption and violations of Republic Acts Nos. 1379 and 3019, and We recognize that in the case before Us, petitioner Agency draws its subpoena power from Executive
gather necessary evidence to establish prima facie, acts of graft and acquisition of unlawfully amassed Order No. 4, para. 5 which, in an effectuating mood, empowered it to "summon witness, administer
wealth ... . oaths, and take testimony relevant to the investigation" 11 with the authority "to require the production
of documents under a subpoena duces tecum or otherwise, subject in all respects to the same
h. To receive and evaluate, and to conduct fact-finding investigations of sworn complaints against the restrictions and qualifications as apply in judicial proceedings of a similar character." 12 Such subpoena
acts, conduct or behavior of any public official or employee and to file and prosecute the proper charges power operates in extenso to all the functions of the Agency as laid out in the aforequoted sub-
with the appropriate agency. paragraphs (b),(e), and (h). It is not bordered by nor is it merely exercisable, as respondents would have
it, in quasi-judicial or adjudicatory function under sub-paragraph (b). The functions enumerated in all
these sub-paragraphs (b), (e), and (h) interlink or intertwine with one another with the principal aim of from respondent Fernando Manalastas, of which he is claimed to be in possession, 24 is reasonably
meeting the very purpose of the creation of the Agency, which is to forestall and erode nefarious relevant to the investigations.
activities and anomalies in the civil service. To hold that the subpoena power of the Agency is confined
to mere quasi-judicial or adjudicatory functions would therefore imperil or inactiviate the Agency in its We are mindful that the privilege against self-incrimination extends in administrative investigations,
investigatory functions under generally, in scope similar to adversary proceedings. 25 In Cabal v. Kapunan, Jr., 26 the Court ruled that
sub-paragraphs (e) and (h). More than that, the enabling authority itself (Executive Order No. 4, para. 5) since the administrative charge of unexplained wealth against the respondent therein may result in the
fixes no distinction when and in what function should the subpoena power be exercised. Similarly, We forfeiture of the property under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, a proceeding criminal or penal
see no reason to depart from the established rule that forbids differentiation when the law itself makes in nature, the complainant cannot call the respondent to the witness stand without encroaching upon
none. his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. Later, in Pascual, Jr. v. Board of Medical
Examiners, 27 the same approach was followed in the administrative proceedings against a medical
Nor could We impress upon this subpoena power the alleged strictures of a subpoena issued under the practitioner that could possibly result in the loss of his privilege to practice the medical profession.
Rules of Court 13 to abridge its application. The seeming proviso in Section 580 of the Revised Nevertheless, in the present case, We find that respondent Fernando Manalastas is not facing any
Administrative Code that the right to summon witnesses and the authority to require the production of administrative charge. 28 He is merely cited as a witness in connection with the fact-finding investigation
documents under a subpoena duces tecumor otherwise shall be "subject in all respects to the same of anomalies and irregularities in the City Government of Manila with the object of submitting the
restrictions and qualifications as apply in judicial proceedings of a similar character" cannot be validly assembled facts to the President of the Philippines or to file the corresponding charges. 29 Since the only
seized upon to require, in respondents' formulation, that, as in a subpoena under the Rules, a specific purpose of investigation is to discover facts as a basis of future action, any unnecessary extension of the
case must be pending before a court for hearing or trial and that the hearing or trial must be in privilege would thus be unwise. 30Anyway, by all means, respondent Fernando Manalastas may contest
connection with the exercise of the court's judicial or adjudicatory functions 14 before a non-judicial any attempt in the investigation that tends to disregard his privilege against self-incrimination.
subpoena can be issued by an administrative agency like petitioner Agency. It must be emphasized,
however, that an administrative subpoena differs in essence from a judicial subpoena. Clearly, what the A question of constitutional dimension is raised by respondents on the inherent power of the President
Rules speaks of is a judicial subpoena, one procurable from and issuable by a competent court, and not of the Philippines to issue subpoena. 31 More tersely stated, respondents would now challenge, in a
an administrative subpoena. To an extent, therefore, the "restrictions and qualifications" referred to in collateral way, the validity of the basic authority, Executive Order No. 4, as amended in part by Executive
Section 580 of the Revised Administrative Code could mean the restraints against infringement of Order No. 88. Unfortunately, for reasons of public policy, the constitutionality of executive orders, which
constitutional rights or when the subpoena is unreasonable or oppressive and when the relevancy of the are commonly said to have the force and effect of statutes 32 cannot be collaterally impeached. 33 Much
books, documents or things does not appear. 15 more when the issue was not duly pleaded in the court below as to be acceptable for adjudication
now. 34 The settled rule is that the Court will not anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of
Rightly, administrative agencies may enforce subpoenas issued in the course of investigations, whether the necessity of deciding it. 35
or not adjudication is involved, and whether or not probable cause is shown 16 and even before the
issuance of a complaint. 17 It is not necessary, as in the case of a warrant, that a specific charge or Nothing then appears conclusive than that the disputed subpoena issued by petitioner Quirico
complaint of violation of law be pending or that the order be made pursuant to one. It is enough that the Evangelista to respondent Fernando Manalastas is well within the legal competence of the Agency to
investigation be for a lawfully authorized purpose. 18 The purpose of the subpoena is to discover issue.
evidence, not to prove a pending charge, but upon which to make one if the discovered evidence so
justifies. 19 Its obligation cannot rest on a trial of the value of testimony sought; it is enough that the WHEREFORE, the aforequoted order of respondent Judge, dated July 1, 1968, is hereby set aside and
proposed investigation be for a lawfully authorized purpose, and that the proposed witness be claimed declared of no force and effect.
to have information that might shed some helpful light. 20 Because judicial power is reluctant if not
unable to summon evidence until it is shown to be relevant to issues on litigations it does not follow that Without pronouncement as to costs.
an administrative agency charged with seeing that the laws are enforced may not have and exercise
SO ORDERED.
powers of original inquiry. The administrative agency has the power of inquisition which is not
dependent upon a case or controversy in order to get evidence, but can investigate merely on suspicion
Castro, Antonio, Esguerra, Muñoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur.
that the law is being violated or even just because it wants assurance that it is not. When investigative
and accusatory duties are delegated by statute to an administrative body, it, too may take steps to Makalintal, C.J., concurs in the result.
inform itself as to whether there is probable violation of the law. 21 In sum, it may be stated that a
subpoena meets the requirements for enforcement if the inquiry is (1) within the authority of the Barredo, Makasiar, and Concepcion, Jr., JJ, took no part.
agency; (2) the demand is not too indefinite; and (3) the information is reasonably relevant. 22

There is no doubt that the fact-finding investigations being conducted by the Agency upon sworn
statements implicating certain public officials of the City Government of Manila in anomalous
transactions 23 fall within the Agency's sphere of authority and that the information sought to be elicited
G.R. No. L-13827 September 28, 1962 meaning of the Constitution (Section 30, Article VIII), for it is merely an administrative body, may
however exercise quasi-judicial functions insofar as controversies that by express provision law come
BENJAMIN MASANGCAY, petitioner, under its jurisdiction. The difficulty lies in drawing the demarcation line between the duty which
vs. inherently is administrative in character and a function which calls for the exercise of the quasi-judicial
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent. function of the Commission. In the same case, we also expressed the view that when the Commission
exercises a ministerial function it cannot exercise the power to punish contempt because such power is
Godofredo A. Ramos and Ruby Salazar-Alberto for petitioner. inherently judicial in nature, as can be clearly gleaned from the following doctrine we laid down therein:
Office of the Solicitor General and Dominador D. Dayot for respondent.
. . . In proceeding on this matter, it only discharged a ministerial duty; it did not exercise any judicial
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: function. Such being the case, it could not exercise the power to punish for contempt as postulated in
the law, for such power is inherently judicial in nature. As this Court has aptly said: 'The power to punish
Benjamin Masangcay, with several others, was on October 14, 1957 charged before the Commission on for contempt is inherent in all courts; its existence is essential to the preservation of order in judicial
Election with contempt for having opened three boxes bearing serial numbers l-8071, l-8072 and l-8073 proceedings, and to the enforcement of judgments, orders and mandates courts, and, consequently, in
containing official and sample ballots for the municipalities of the province of Aklan, in violation of the the administration of justice (Slade Perkins v. Director of Prisons, 58 Phil., 271; U.S. v. Lee Hoc, 36 Phil.,
instructions of said Commission embodied in its resolution promulgated September 2, 1957, and its 867; In Re Sotto, 46 O.G., 2570; In Re Kelly, Phil., 944). The exercise of this power has always been
unnumbered resolution date March 5, 1957, inasmuch as he opened said boxes not the presence of the regarded as a necessary incident and attribute of courts (Slade Perkins v. Director of Prisons, Ibid.). Its
division superintendent of schools of Aklan, the provincial auditor, and the authorized representatives of exercise by administrative bodies has been invariably limited to making effective the power to elicit
the Nacionalista Party, the Liberal Party and the Citizens' Party, as required in the aforesaid resolutions, testimony (People v. Swena, 296 P., 271). And the exercise of that power by an administrative body in
which are punishable under Section 5 of the Revised Election Code and Rule 64 of the Rules of Court. furtherance of its administrative function has been held invalid (Langenberg v. Lecker, 31 N.E., 190; In
Masangcay was then the provincial treasurer of Aklan designated by the Commission in its resolution in Re Sims, 37 P., 135; Roberts v. Hacney, 58 SW., 810).1awphîl.nèt
Case CE-No. 270, part II 2 (b) thereof, to take charge of the receipt and custody of the official ballots,
election forms and supplies, as well as of their distribution, among the different municipalities of the In the instant case, the resolutions which the Commission tried to enforce and for whose violation the
province. charge for contempt was filed against petitioner Masangcay merely call for the exercise of an
administrative or ministerial function for they merely concern the procedure to be followed in the
In compliance with the summons issued to Masangcay and his co-respondents to appear and show cause distribution of ballots and other election paraphernalia among the different municipalities. In fact,
why they should not be punished for contempt on the basis of the aforementioned charge, they all Masangcay, who as provincial treasurer of Aklan was the one designated to take charge of the receipt,
appeared before the Commission on October 21, 1957 and entered a plea of not guilty. Thereupon, custody and distribution of election supplies in that province, was charged with having opened three
evidence was presented by both the prosecution and the defense, and on December 16, 1957 the boxes containing official ballots for distribution among several municipalities in violation of the
Commission rendered its decision finding Masangcay and his co-respondent Molo guilty as charged and instructions of the Commission which enjoin that the same cannot be opened except in the presence of
sentencing each of them to suffer three months imprisonment and pay a fine of P500, with subsidiary the division superintendent of schools, the provincial auditor, and the authorized representatives of the
imprisonment of two months in case of insolvency, to be served in the provincial jail of Aklan. The other Nacionalista Party, the Liberal Party, and the Citizens' Party, for he ordered their opening and
respondents were exonerated for lack of evidence. distribution not in accordance with the manner and procedure laid down in said resolutions. And
because of such violation he was dealt as for contempt of the Commission and was sentenced
Masangcay brought the present petition for review raising as main issue the constitutionality of Section 5
accordingly. In this sense, the Commission has exceeded its jurisdiction in punishing him for contempt,
of the Revised Election Code which grants the Commission on Elections as well as its members the power
and so its decision is null and void.
to punish acts of contempt against said body under the same procedure and with the same penalties
provided for in Rule 64 of the Rules of Court in that the portion of said section which grants to the Having reached the foregoing conclusion, we deem it unnecessary to pass on the question of
Commission and members the power to punish for contempt is unconstitutional for it infringes the constitutionality raised by petitioner with regard to the portion of Section 5 of the Revised Election Code
principle underlying the separation of powers that exists among the three departments of our which confers upon the Commission on Elections the power to punish for contempt for acts provided for
constitutional form of government. In other words, it is contended that, even if petitioner can be held in Rule 64 of our rules of court.
guilty of the act of contempt charged, the decision is null and void for lack of valid power on the part of
the Commission to impose such disciplinary penalty under the principle of separation of powers. There is WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from insofar as petitioner Benjamin Masangcay is concerned, as well
merit in the contention that the Commission on Elections lacks power to impose the disciplinary penalty as the resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, insofar as it concerns him, are hereby
meted out to petitioner in the decision subject of review. We had occasion to stress in the case reversed, without pronouncement as to costs.
of Guevara v. The Commission on Elections 1 that under the law and the constitution, the Commission on
Elections has only the duty to enforce and administer all laws to the conduct of elections, but also the
power to try, hear and decide any controversy that may be submitted to it in connection with the
elections. In this sense, said, the Commission, although it cannot be classified a court of justice within the