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PHILIPPINE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

By
Carlo L. Cruz

Chapter 1
General Considerations

Nature

Administrative Law – that branch of modern law under which the


executive department of the government, acting in a quasi-legislative or
quasi-judicial capacity, interferes with the conduct of the individual for
the purpose of promoting the well-being of the community.

Administrative law is a recent development , being a consequence of the


ever increasing complexities of society and the proliferation of problems
of government that cannot readily or effectively be addressed by the
public agencies or solved by other disciplines of public law.

It was felt that thelegislative and judicial departments no longer had


either the time or the needed expertise to attend to these new problems.

Thus, the obvious solution was delegation of power.

Two major powers of the administrative agency:

1. Quasi-legislative authority– or rule making power

2. Quasi-judicial power – or adjudicatory function

Sources of Administrative Law

Addministrative law is derived from four sources or is of four (4) kinds:

1. Constitution or statutory enactments – e.g. Social Security Act


which established the Social Security Commission.

2. Decisions of courts interpreting the charters of administrative


bodies
3. Rules and regulations issued by the administrative bodies – e.g.
Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code.

4. Determinations and orders of the administrative bodies in the


settlement of controversies

Administration

Administration is understood in two senses:

1. institution – administration as the aggregate of individuals in whose


hands the reins of government are for the time being.

2. function – administration as the actual running of the government by


the executive authorities through the enforcement of laws and
implementation of policies.

Government (as distinguished from administration) is the agency or


instrumentality through which the will of the State is formulated,
expressed and realized.

Administration Distinguished from Law

Law is impersonal command provided with sanctions to be applied in


case of violation, while Administration is preventive rather punitive and
is accepted to be more personal than law.

Law maintains a watchful eye on those who would violate its order.
While administration on the other hand seeks to spare individuals from
punishments of the law by persuading him to observe its commands.

Chapter 2
Administrative Agencies

Definition

Administrative agency – a body endowed with quasi-legislative and


quasi-judicial powers for the purpose of enabling it to carry out the laws
entrusted to it for enforcement or execution.
Administrative agency may be regarded as an arm of the legislature
insofar as it is authorize to promulgate rules. It may also be loosely
considered a court because it performs functions of a particular judicial
character, as when it decides factual and sometimes even legal questions
as an incident of its general power of regulation.

Creation and Abolition

The administrative body may be created by the Constitution or by a


Statute.

If created by the Constitution itself, the administrative body can be


altered or abolished only by Constitution. But where the body was
created only by statute, the legislature that breathed life into it can
amend or even repeal its charter, thereby resulting in its abolition which
is justified if made in good faith.

Chapter 3
Powers of Administrative Agencies

Quasi-Legislative Power – the authority delegated by the law-making


body to the administrative body to adopt rules and regulations intended
to carry out the provisions of a law and implement legislative policy.

Quasi-Judicial Power – the power of the administrative authorities to


make determinations of facts in the performance of their official duties
and to apply the law as they construe it to the facts so found.

Chapter 4
The Quasi-Legislative Power

It has already been remarked that the rule-making power of the


administrative body is intended to enable it to implement the policy of
the law and to provide for the more effective enforcement of its
provisions.

Through the exercise of this power of subordinate legislation, it is


possible for the administrative body to transmit the “active power of the
state from its source to the point of application,” that is, apply the law
and so fulfill the mandate of the legislature.

Kinds of Administrative Regulations

(a) Legislative – the administrative agency is acting in a legislative


capacity, supplementing the statute, filling in the details, or “making the
law”, and usually acting pursuant to a specific delegation of legislative
power.

(b) Interpretative – are those which purport to do no more than


interpret the statute being administered, to say what it means. They
constitute the administrator's construction of a statute.

The interpretative regulation is issued by the administrative body as an


incident to its power to enforce the law and is intended merely to clarify
its provisions for proper observance by the people.

It is an elementary rule in administrative law that administrative


regulations and policies enacted by administrative bodies to
interpret which they are entrusted to enforce, have the force of law,
are entitled to great respect, and have in their favor a presumpption of
legality.

By contrast, the legislative regulation is issued by the administrative


body pursuant to a valid delegation of legislative power and is
intended to have the binding the force and effect of a law enacted by
the legislature itself.

Classification of Legislative Regulation

(a) Supplementary – intended to fill in the details of the law and “to
make explicit what is only general.”

(b) Contingent – issued upon the happening of a certain contingency


which the administrative body is given the discretion to determine or to
ascertain some circumstances and on the basis thereof may enforce or
suspend the operation of a law.

Requisites of Administrative Regulation

(a) Its promulgation must be authorized by the legislature;

(b) It must be within the scope of the authority given by the legislature;
(c) It must be promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure;

(d) It must be reasonable.

First Requisite: Promulgation Must Be Authorized by the


Legislature

Authority to promulgate the regulation is usually conferred by the


Charter itself of the administrative body or by the law it is supposed to
enforce.

When Congress authorizes promulgation of administrative rules and


regulations to implement given legislation, all that is required is that the
regulation be not in contravention with it, but to conform to the
standards that the law prescribes.

Second Requisite: Regulation Must Be Within the Scope of the


Authority Given by the Legislature

Assuming a valid authorization, it is still necessary that the regulation


promulgated must not be ultra vires or beyond the authority conferred.

Third Requisite: Regulation Must Be Promulgated in Accordance


with the Prescribed Procedure

As in the enactment of laws, the promulgation of administrative


regulations of general application does not require previous notice and
hearing, the only exception being where the legislature itself requires it .
In the absence of such a requirement, the administrative body can
promulgate the regulation in its exclusive discretion.

But where the regulation is in effect a settlement of a controversy


between specific parties, it is considered an administrative adjudication
and so will require notice and hearing.

As for publication, the applicable rule is now found in Executive Order


No. 200 which provides that laws “shall take effect after fifteen (15) days
following the completion of their publication either in the Official Gazette
or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, unless it is
otherwise provided.”

Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is,


regulating only the personnel of the administrative agency and not the
public, need not be published.
Publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose
is to inform the public of the contents of the law.

The Supreme Court, it would seem, requires publication of the


administrative regulation only if it is of general application and penal in
nature.

Fourth Requisite: Regulation Must Be Reasonable

Like statutes, administrative regulations promulgated thereunder must


not be unreasonable or arbitrary as to violate due process.

Penal Regulations

The power to define and punish crime is exclusively legislative and may
not be delegated to the administrative authorities. While administrative
regulations may have the force and effect of law, their violation cannot
give rise to criminal prosecution unless the legislature makes such
violation punishable and imposes the corresponding sanctions.

Special requisites of a valid administrative regulation with a


penal sanction:

(a) The law itself must make violation of the administrative regulation
punishable;

(b) The law itself must impose and specify the penalty for the violation of
the regulation;

(c) The regulation must be published.

Construction and Interpretation

Regulation should be read in harmony with the statute and not in


violation of the authority conferred on the administrative authorities.

The administrative regulation that contravenes the statute is, of course,


invalid.

Enforcement

It is established that the power to promulgate administrative regulations


carries with it the implied power to enforce them. This may be effected
through judicial action or through sanctions that the statute itself may
allow the administrative body to impose.
Amendment or Repeal

Like the statute, the administrative regulation promulgated thereunder is


subject to amendment or repeal by the authorities that promulgated
them in the first place. Of course, it may be changed directly by the
legislature.

Chapter 5
The Quasi-Judicial Power

Quasi-judicial power – is the power of the administrative agency to


determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply, in
accordance with the standards laid down by the law itself.

The proper exercise of the quasi-judicial power requires compliance with


two conditions, to wit:

(1) Jurisdiction must be properly acquired by the administrative body

(2) Due process must be observed in the conduct of the proceedings

A. Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction – may be simply defined as the competence of an office or


body to act on a given matter or decide a certain question.

Without jurisdiction, the determination made by the administrative


bodies are absolutely null and without any legal effect whatsoever.

It is the legislature that has the power to confer jurisdiction upon the
administrative body and so limit or expand its authority.

It can be said that each administrative body has its own peculiar
jurisdiction as conferred upon it by the specific provisions of its charter.

The law may allow some administrative bodies to award certain kinds of
damages while denying the same power, for no apparent reason, to other
administrative bodies.
For example, the SEC and NLRC are allowed to award damages virtually
to the same extent as a court of justice. Yet similar authority has not
been conferred by its charter to NTC.

It is a well-settled principle that unless expressly empowered,


administrative agencies are bereft of quasi-judicial power.

1. Rules of Procedure

Where an administrative body is expressly granted the power of


adjudication, it is deemed also vested with the implied power to precribe
the rules to be observed in the conduct of its proceedings.

But to be valid, the rules must not violate fundamental rights or


encroach upon constitutional prerogatives.

2. The Subpoena Power

The power to issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum is not inherent
in administrative bodies.

It is settled that administrative bodies may summon witnesses and


require the production of evidence only when duly allowed by law, and
always only in connection with the matter they are authorized to
investigate. Unless otherwise provided by law, the agency may, in case of
disobedience, invoke the aid or Regional Trial Court within whose
jurisdiction the contested case falls. The Court may punish customacy
or refusal as contempt.

The Supreme Court distinguished between the power to “investigate” and


the power to “adjudicate:”

“The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to finnd out, to


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

In the legal sense, “adjudicate” means to settle in the exercise of judicial


authority x x. “Adjudge” x x implies a judicial determination of a fact,
and the entry of judgment.”

3. The Contempt Power


Like the subpoena power, the power to punish for contempt is essentially
judicial and cannot be claimed as an inherent right by the administrative
body.

To be validly exercised, it must be expressly conferred upon the body


and, additionally, must be used only in connection with its quasi-judicial
as distinguished from its purely administrative or routinary functions.

As a rule, where, say, a subpoena of the administrative body is


disregarded, the person summoned may not be directly discipline by that
body. The proper remedy id for the administrative body to seek
assistance of the courts of justice for the enforcement of its order.

The power to hold in contempt must be exercised not on the vindictive,


but on the preservative principle.

B. Notice and Hearing

The right to notice and hearing is essential to due process and its non-
observance will as a rule invalidate the administrative proceedings.
Persons are entitled to be notified of any pending case affecting their
interests so that, if they are minded, they may claim the right to appear
therein and present their side or refute the position of opposing parties.

Nevertheless, there are instances when notice and hearing can validly be
omitted. Among the justifications for such omissions are the urgency of
immediate action (which does not preclude the enjoyment of the right at
a later time without prejudice to the person affected) and the fact that
the right had previously been offered but not claimed.

1. Administrative Due Process

While administrative determinations of contested case are by their


nature judicial, there is no requirement for strict adherence to technical
rules as are observed in truly judicial proceedings.

It is a general rule that they are unrestricted by the technical or formal


rules of procedure which govern trials before a court. This rule is applied
to questions of evidence, pleading and other matters.

Nevertheless, it is essential that due process must be observed, for the


requirements of fair play are not applicable to judicial proceedings only.
Cardinal rights or principles to be observed in administrative
proceedings:

a. the first of these rights is the right to a hearing;

b. the tribunal must consider the evidence presented;

c. the tribunal must have something to support its decision;

d. evidence must be substantial evidence – relevant evidence that


a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion

e. the decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the


hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the
parties;

f. the court must act on its or their own independent


consideration of the law and facts of controversy, and not simply accept
the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision;

g. the court should render its decision in such a manner that the
parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and
the reasons for the decisions rendered

It is basic to due process that the tribunal considering the


administrative question be impartial, to ensure a fair decision.

The law does not require another notice and hearing for a review of the
decision of the board.

In M.F. Violago Oiler Tank Trucks vs. NLRC, there was no denial of due
process where the petitioners received notice of the scheduled
investigation the day before said date of the hearing or investigation but
failed to present evidence. On the other hand, there was clearly such a
denial where it appears that a decision rendered against a person who
was not a party to or even notified of the proceedings taken before a
labor arbiter.

C. Administrative Appeals and review

Unless otherwise provided by law or executive order, an appeal from a


final decision of the administrative agency may be taken to the
department head, whose decision may further be brought to the regular
courts of justice, in accordance with the procedure specified by law.
D. Enforcement of Decision

In the absence of any statute providing for the enforcement of an


administrative determination, the same cannot be enforced except
possibly by appeal to the force of public opinion.

Usually, however, the administrative body is allowed certain sanctions


that it may impose directly for the enforcement of its own decisions, i.e.
revocation of or refusal to renew licenses, destruction of unlawful
articles, summary closure of stores, refusal to grant clearances, issuance
of cease and desist orders, detention and deportation of aliens, and
imposition of fines.

Significantly, many administrative bodies, such as the SEC and the


NLRC, have been vested with authority to grant provisional reliefs, such
as writs of preliminary attachment or injunction, intended to ensure the
enforcement of their adjudications.

It is established that administrative agencies who have not been


conferred the power to enforce their quasi-judicial decisions may invoke
court action for the purpose.

E. Res Judicata

The general rule is that an administrative decision is not considered res


judicata so as to preclude its subsequent reconsideration or revocation.
Decisions of the previous incumbents of the administrative body may be
modified or reversed by their successors in the exercise of their own
powers of adjudication.

Where the administrative decision has been affirmed by a court decision,


the doctrine of res judicata is applicable. The effect of res judicata
attaches to the judgment of the reviewing court rather than to the
administrative judgment.

This rule has however been modified in this jurisdiction.

It is now well-settled in our jurisprudence that the decisions and orders


of administrative agencies, rendered pursuant to their quasi-judicial
authority, have upon their finality, the force and binding effect of a final
judgment within the purview of the doctrine of res judicata.
This principle is, however, not applicable to all administrative
proceedings, such proceedings that are non-litigious and summary in
nature without regard to legal technicalities obtaining in courts of law.

Chapter 6
Judicial Review

General Rules

An administrative decision may be appealed to the courts of justice only


if the Constitution or the law permits it or if the question to be reviewed
is a question of law.

However, jurisprudence is replete with cases where the Supreme Court


has applied the exceptions rather than the rule.

In the case of the constitutional commission, i.e., the Commission on


Elections, the Commission on Audit, and the Civil Service Commission, it
is provided that “any decision order or ruling of each Commission may be
brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within
30 days from receipt of a copy thereof.”

On the basis of Sec. 16 of the Interim Rules and Guideline implementing


Sec. 9 (3) of BP Blg. 129, the Court of Appeals may “review final
decisions, orders, awards or resolutions or regional trial courts and of all
quasi-judicial bodies, except the Commission on Elections, the
Commission on Audit, the Sandiganbayan, and decisions issued under
the Labor Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board of
Assessment Appeals.”

Other appeals are prescribed by special laws, such as RA No. 1125,


providing for appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals of any decision rendered
by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the Commissioner of Customs,
or any provincial or city board of assessment appeals.

Methods of review

The methods of judicial review are prescribed by the Constitution,


statutes or the Rules of the Court. These methods may be specific or
general.
It is provided in RA No. 5434 that an appeal from a final award, order or
decisions of the Patent Office shall be taken by filing with said body and
with the Court of Appeals a notice of appeal within 15 days from notice of
such award, order or ruling, copies being served on all interested parties.

The Administrative Code generally provides that an appeal from an


agency decision shall be perfected by filing with the agency within 15
days from receipt of a copy thereof a notice of appeal, and with the
reviewing court a petition for review of the order. Copies of the petition
shall be served upon the agency and all parties of record.

The petition shall contain a concise statement of the issues involved and
the grounds relied upon for the review, and shall be accompanied with a
true copy of the order appealed from, together with copies of such
material portions of the records as are referred to therein and other
supporting papers.

The Supreme Court instructed certain universally accepted axioms


governing judicial review through the extraordinary actions of certiorari
or prohibition of determinations of administrative officers or agencies:

First, before said actions may be entertained, it must be shown that all
the administrative remedies prescribed by law or ordinance have been
exhausted; and,

Second, that the administrative decision may properly be annulled or set


aside only upon a clear showing that the administrative official or
tribunal has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with a grave
abuse of discretion.

Doctrine of Primary Jurisdiction or Prior Resort

There are two doctrines that must be considered in connection with the
judicial review of administrative decisions:(1) doctrine of primary
jurisdiction or prior resort; and (2) the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies.

The doctrine of primary jurisdiction simply calls for the


determination of administrative questions, which ordinarily
questions of fact, by administrative agencies rather courts of
justice.

If the case is such that its determination requires the expertise,


specialized skills and knowledge of the proper administrative bodies
because technical matters or intricate questions of facts are involved,
then relief must first be obtained in an administrative proceeding before
a remedy will be supplied by the courts even though the matter is within
the proper jurisdiction of the court

Doctrine of Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, an


administrative decision must first be appealed to the
administrative superior up to the highest level before it may be
elevated to a court of justice for review.

A. Reasons

(1) The administrative superiors, if given the opportunity, can correct


the errors committed by their subordinates;

(2) Courts should as much as possible refrain from disturbing the


findings of administrative bodies in deference to the doctrine of
separation of powers;

(3) On practical grounds, it is best that the courts should not be


saddled with the review of administrative cases;

(4) Judicial review of administrative cases is usually effected through


the special civil actions of certiorari, mandamus and prohibition,
which are available only if there is no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy.

B. Exceptions

(1) When the question raised is purely legal (question of law is


involved);

(2) When the administrative body is estoppel;

(3) When the act complained of is patently illegal;

(4) When there is urgent need for judicial intervention;

(5) When the claim involved is small;

(6) When irreparable damage will be suffered;

(7) When there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy;


(8) When strong public interest is involved;

(9) When the subject of the controversy is private land;

(10)In quo warranto proceedings

C. Appeal to the President

Of special interest is the question of whether or not a decision of the


cabinet member has to be appealed first to the President before it may be
brought to a court of justice. Jurisprudence on this matter is rather
indecisive.

In the early case of demaisip vs. Court of Appeals, the Court held that
appeal to the President was not necessary because the Cabinet member
was after all his alter ego and, under the doctrine of qualified political
agency, the acts of the secretary were the acts of the President.

This view was abandoned in Calo vs. Fuertes, where it was held that
appeal to the President was the final step in the administrative process
and therefore a condition precedent to appeal to the courts.

In Bartulata vs. Peralta, however, the court reinstated the Demaisip


doctrine, again on the basis of alter ego justification.

Tan vs. Director of Forestry, thereafter revived Calo andagain required


appeal to the President as a prerequisite to an appeal of a Cabinet
member's decision to the courts of Justice.

D. Effect of Non-compliance

The failure to exhaust administrative remedies does not affect the


jurisdiction of the court and merely results in the lack of a cause of
action which may be invoked in a motion to dismiss.

If this ground to dismiss the court action is not properly or reasonably


invoked, the court may proceed to hear the case.

As previously noted, the court has the discretion to require the


observance of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and
may, if it sees fit, dispense with it and proceed with the disposition of the
case.

Questions Reviewable
Two kinds of questions are reviewable by the courts of justice, to wit: the
question of fact and the question of law.

On the question of fact, review of the administrative decision lies in the


discretion of the legislature, which may or may not permit it as it sees fit.

But when it comes to the question of law, the administrative decision


may be appealed to the courts of justice independently of legislative
permission or even against legislative prohibition. The reason is that the
judiciary cannot be deprived of its inherent power to review all decisions
on questions of law, whether made initially by lower courts and more so
by an administrative body.

A. Questions of fact

Even if allowed to review administrative decisions on questions of fact,


courts of justice generally defer to such decisions and will decline to
disturb them except only where there is a clear showing of arbitrariness
or grave abuse of discretion.

The Supreme Court ruled in Osias Academy vs. DOLE that “findings of
administrative agencies which have acquired expertise because
their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters are generally
accorded not only respect but finality.”

B. Questions of Law

Administrative bodies may be allowed to resolve questions of law in the


exercise of their quasi-judicial function as an incident of their primary
power of regulation.

However as a rule, it is only the judicial tribunal that can interpret


and decide the question of law with finality.