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THE UNITED RESIDENTS OF DOMINICAN HILL, INC., represented by its President RODRIGO S. MACARIO, SR., petitioner, vs.

COMMISSION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS, represented by its Commissioner, RUFINO V. MIJARES; MARIO PADILAN, PONCIANO BASILAN, HIPOLITO ESLAVA, WILLIAM LUMPISA, PACITO MOISES, DIONISIO ANAS, NOLI DANGLA, NAPOLEON BALESTEROS, ELSIE MOISES, SEBIO LACWASAN, BEN FLORES, DOMINGO CANUTAB, MARCELINO GABRIANO, TINA TARNATE, ANDREW ABRAZADO, DANNY LEDDA, FERNANDO DAYAO, JONATHAN DE LA PENA, JERRY PASSION, PETER AGUINSOD, and LOLITA DURAN, respondents. DE LEON, JR., J.: Before us is a petition for prohibition and declaratory relief seeking the annulment of a status quo order1 dated September 29, 1998 issued by the public respondent Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP, for brevity) in COSLAP Case No. 98-253. The facts are: The property being fought over by the parties is a 10.36-hectare property in Baguio City called Dominican Hills, formerly registered in the name of Diplomat Hills, Inc. It appeared that the property was mortgaged to the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) which eventually foreclosed the mortgage thereon and acquired the same as highest bidder. On April 11, 1983, it was donated to the Republic of the Philippines by UCPB through its President, Eduardo Cojuangco. The deed of donation stipulated that Dominican Hills would be utilized for the "priority programs, projects, activities in human settlements and economic development and governmental purposes" of the Ministry of Human Settlements. On December 12, 1986, the then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 85 abolishing the Office of Media Affairs and the Ministry of Human Settlements. All agencies under the latter's supervision as well as all its assets, programs and projects, were transferred to the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).2 On October 18, 1988, the PMS received an application from petitioner UNITED RESIDENTS OF DOMINICAN HILL, INC. (UNITED, for brevity), a community housing association composed of nonreal property owning residents of Baguio City, to acquire a portion of the Dominican Hills property. On February 2, 1990, PMS Secretary Elfren Cruz referred the application to the HOME INSURANCE GUARANTY CORPORATION (HIGC). HIGC consented to act as originator for UNITED.3 Accordingly, on May 9, 1990, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by and among the PMS, the HIGC, and UNITED. The Memorandum of Agreement called for the PMS to sell the Dominican Hills property to HIGC which would, in turn, sell the same to UNITED. The parties agreed on a selling price of P75.00 per square meter. Thus, on June 12, 1991, HIGC sold 2.48 hectares of the property to UNITED. The deed of conditional sale provided that ten (10) per cent of the purchase price would be paid upon signing, with the balance to be amortized within one year from its date of execution. After UNITED made its final payment on January 31, 1992, HIGC executed a Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 1, 1992. Petitioner alleges that sometime in 1993, private respondents entered the Dominican Hills property allocated to UNITED and constructed houses thereon. Petitioner was able to secure a demolition order from the city mayor.4 Unable to stop the razing of their houses, private respondents, under the name DOMINICAN HILL BAGUIO RESIDENTS HOMELESS ASSOCIATION (ASSOCIATION, for brevity) filed an action 5 for

injunction docketed as Civil Case No. 3316-R, in the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 4. Private respondents were able to obtain a temporary restraining order but their prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction was later denied in an Order dated March 18, 1996. 6 While Civil Case No. 3316-R was pending, the ASSOCIATION, this time represented by the Land Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (BENEFICIARIES, for brevity), filed Civil Case No. 3382-R before Branch 61 of the same court. The complaint 7 prayed for damages, injunction and annulment of the said Memorandum of Agreement between UNITED and HIGC. Upon motion of UNITED, the trial court in an Order dated May 27, 1996 dismissed Civil Case No. 3382-R.8 The said Order of dismissal is currently on appeal with the Court of Appeals. 9 Demolition Order No. 1-96 was subsequently implemented by the Office of the City Mayor and the City Engineer's Office of Baguio City. However, petitioner avers that private respondents returned and reconstructed the demolished structures. To forestall the re-implementation of the demolition order, private respondents filed on September 29, 1998 a petition10 for annulment of contracts with prayer for a temporary restraining order, docketed as COSLAP Case No. 98-253, in the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP) against petitioner, HIGC, PMS, the City Engineer's Office, the City Mayor, as well as the Register of Deeds of Baguio City. On the very same day, public respondent COSLAP issued the contested order requiring the parties to maintain the status quo. Without filing a motion for reconsideration from the aforesaid status quo order, petitioner filed the instant petition questioning the jurisdiction of the COSLAP. The issues we are called upon to resolve are: 1 IS THE COMMISSION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS [COSLAP] CREATED UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 561 BY THE OFFICE OF THE PHILIPPINES [sic] EMPOWERED TO HEAR AND TRY A PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF CONTRACTS WITH PRAYER FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND THUS, ARROGATE UNTO ITSELF THE POWER TO ISSUE STATUS QUO ORDER AND CONDUCT A HEARING THEREOF [sic]? 2 ASSUMING THAT THE COMMISSION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS [COSLAP] HAS JURISDICTION ON THE MATTER, IS IT EXEMPTED FROM OBSERVING A CLEAR CASE OF FORUM SHOPPING ON THE PART OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS? To the extent that the instant case is denominated as one for declaratory relief, we initially clarify that we do not possess original jurisdiction to entertain such petitions. 11 Such is vested in the Regional Trial Courts.12Accordingly, we shall limit our review to ascertaining if the proceedings before public respondent COSLAP are without or in excess, of its jurisdiction. In this wise, a recounting of the history of the COSLAP may provide useful insights into the extent of its powers and functions. The COSLAP was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 561 dated September 21, 1979. Its forerunner was the Presidential Action Committee on Land Problems (PACLAP) founded on July 31, 1970 by virtue of Executive Order No. 251. As originally conceived, the committee was tasked "to

expedite and coordinate the investigation and resolution of land disputes, streamline and shorten administrative procedures, adopt bold and decisive measures to solve land problems, and/or recommend other solutions." It was given the power to issue subpoenas duces tecum and ad testificandum and to call upon any department, office, agency or instrumentality of the government, including government owned or controlled corporations and local government units, for assistance in the performance of its functions. At the time, the PACLAP did not exercise quasi-judicial functions. On March 19, 1971, Executive Order No. 305 was issued reconstituting the PACLAP. 13 The committee was given exclusive jurisdiction over all cases involving public lands and other lands of the public domain and accordingly was tasked: 1. To investigate, coordinate, and resolve expeditiously land disputes, streamline administrative procedures, and in general, to adopt bold and decisive measures to solve problems involving public lands and lands of the public domain; 2. To coordinate and integrate the activities of all government agencies having to do with public lands or lands of the public domain; 3. To study and review present policies as embodied in land laws and administrative rules and regulations, in relation to the needs for land of the agro-industrial sector and small farmers, with the end in view to evolving and recommending new laws and policies and establishing priorities in the grant of public land, and the simplification of processing of land applications in order to relieve the small man from the complexities of existing laws, rules and regulations; 4. To evolve and implement a system for the speedy investigation and resolution of land disputes; 5. To receive all complaints of settlers and small farmers, involving public lands or other lands of the public domain; 6. To look into the conflicts between Christians and non-Christians, between corporations and small settlers and farmers; cause the speedy settlement of such conflicts in accordance with priorities or policies established by the Committee; and 7. To perform such other functions as may be assigned to it by the President. Thereafter, the PACLAP was reorganized pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 832 dated November 27, 1975.14Its jurisdiction was revised thus: xxx xxx xxx

Notably, the said Presidential Decree No. 832 did not contain any provision for judicial review of the resolutions, orders or decisions of the PACLAP. On September 21, 1979, the PACLAP was abolished and its functions transferred to the present Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems by virtue of Executive Order No. 561. This reorganization, effected in line with Presidential Decree No. 1416, brought the COSLAP directly under the Office of the President.15 It was only at this time that a provision for judicial review was made from resolutions, orders or decisions of the said agency, as embodied in section 3(2) thereof, to wit: Powers and functions. The Commission shall have the following powers and functions: 1. Coordinate the activities, particularly the investigation work, of the various government offices and agencies involved in the settlement of land problems or disputes, and streamline administrative procedures to relieve small settlers and landholders and members of cultural minorities of the expense and timeconsuming delay attendant to the solution of such problems or disputes; 2. Refer and follow-up for immediate action by the agency having appropriate jurisdiction any land 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 nature considering, for instance, the large number of the parties involved, the presence or emergence of social tension or unrest, or other similar critical situations requiring immediate action: (a) Between occupants/squatters and pasture lease agreement holders or timber concessionaires; (b) Between occupants/squatters and government reservation grantees; (c) Between occupants/squatters and public land claimants or applicants; (d) Petitions for classification, release and/or subdivision of lands of the public domain; and (e) Other similar land problems of grave urgency and magnitude. The Commission shall promulgate such rules of procedure as will insure expeditious resolution and action on the above cases. The resolution, order or decision of the Commission on any of the foregoing cases shall have the force and effect of a regular administrative resolution, order or decision and shall be binding upon the parties therein and upon the agency having jurisdiction over the same. Said resolution, order or decision shall become final and executory within thirty (30) days from its promulgation and shall be appealable by certiorari only to the Supreme Court. xxx xxx xxx

2. Refer for immediate action any land problem or dispute brought to the attention of the PACLAP, to any member agency having jurisdiction thereof: Provided, that when the Executive Committee decides to act on a case, its resolution, order or decision thereon, shall have the force and effect of a regular administrative resolution, order or decision, and shall be binding upon the parties therein involved and upon the member agency having jurisdiction thereof; xxx xxx xxx

In the performance of its functions and discharge of its duties, the Commission is authorized, through the Commission, to issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum for the appearance of witnesses and the production of records, books and documents before it. It may also call upon any ministry, office, agency or instrumentality of the National Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and local governments for assistance. This authority is likewise, conferred upon the provincial offices as may be established pursuant to Section 5 of this Executive Order. In Baaga v. Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems,16 we characterized the COSLAP's jurisdiction as being general in nature, as follows: Petitioners also contend in their petition that the COSLAP itself has no jurisdiction to resolve the protest and counter-protest of the parties because its power to resolve land problems is confined to those cases "which are critical and explosive in nature." This contention is devoid of merit. It is true that Executive Order No. 561 provides that the COSLAP may take cognizance of cases which are "critical and explosive in 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." However, the use of the word "may" does not mean that the COSLAP's jurisdiction is merely confined to the above mentioned cases. The provisions of the said Executive Order are clear that the COSLAP was created as a means of providing a more effective mechanism for the expeditious settlement of land problems in general, which are frequently the source of conflicts among settlers, landowners and cultural minorities. Besides, the COSLAP merely took over from the abolished PACLAP whose functions, including its jurisdiction, power and authority to act on, decide and resolve land disputes (Sec. 2, P.D. No. 832) were all assumed by it. The said Executive Order No. 561 containing said provision, being enacted only on September 21, 1979, cannot affect the exercise of jurisdiction of the PACLAP Provincial Committee of Koronadal on September 29, 1978. Neither can it affect the decision of the COSLAP which merely affirmed said exercise of jurisdiction. Given the facts of the case, it is our view that the COSLAP is not justified in assuming jurisdiction over the controversy. As matters stand, it is not the judiciary's place to question the wisdom behind a law;17 our task is to interpret the law. We feel compelled to observe, though, that by reason of the ambiguous terminology employed in Executive Order No. 561, the power to assume jurisdiction granted to the COSLAP provides an ideal breeding ground for forum shopping, as we shall explain subsequently. Suffice it to state at this stage that the COSLAP may not assume jurisdiction over cases which are already pending in the regular courts. The reason is simple. Section 3(2) of Executive Order 561 speaks of any resolution, order or decision of the COSLAP as having the "force and effect of a regular administrative resolution, order or decision." The qualification places an unmistakable emphasis on the administrative character of the COSLAP's determination, amplified by the statement that such resolutions, orders or decisions "shall be binding upon the parties therein and upon the agency having jurisdiction over the same." An agency is defined by statute as "any of the various units of the Government, including a department, bureau, office, instrumentality, or government-owned or controlled corporation, or a local government or a distinct unit therein."18 A department, on the other hand, "refers to anexecutive department created by law."19 Whereas, a bureau is understood to refer "to any principal subdivision of any department."20 In turn, an office "refers, within the framework of governmental organization, to any major functional unit of a department or bureau including regional offices. It may also refer to any position held or occupied by individual persons, whose functions are defined by law or regulation."21 An instrumentality is deemed to refer "to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering

special funds and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. This term includes regulatory agencies, chartered institutions and government-owned or controlled corporations."22 Applying the principle in statutory construction ofejusdem generis, i.e., "where general words follow an enumeration or persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned,"23 section 3(2) of Executive Order 561 patently indicates that the COSLAP's dispositions are binding on administrative or executiveagencies. The history of the COSLAP itself bolsters this view. Prior enactments enumerated its member agencies among which it was to exercise a coordinating function. The COSLAP discharges quasi-judicial functions: "Quasi-judicial function" is a term which applies to the actions, discretion, etc. of public administrative officers or bodies, who are required to investigate facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions from them, as a basis for their official action and to exercise discretion of a judicial nature."24 However, it does not depart from its basic nature as an administrative agency, albeit one that exercises quasi-judicial functions. Still, administrative agencies are not considered courts; they are neither part of the judicial system nor are they deemed judicial tribunals. 25 The doctrine of separation of powers observed in our system of government reposes the three (3) great powers into its three (3) branches the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary each department being co-equal and coordinate, and supreme in its own sphere. Accordingly, the executive department may not, by its own fiat, impose the judgment of one of its own agencies, upon the judiciary. Indeed, under the expanded jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, it is empowered "to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."26 There is an equally persuasive reason to grant the petition. As an additional ground for the annulment of the assailed status quo order of COSLAP, UNITED accuses private respondents of engaging in forum shopping. Forum shopping exists when a party "repetitively avail[s] of several judicial remedies in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either pending in, or already resolved adversely by some other court."27 In this connection, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 04-94 dated February 8, 1994 provides: Revised Circular No. 28-91, dated February 8, 1994, applies to and governs the filing of petitions in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and is intended to prevent the multiple filing of petitions or complaints involving the same issues in other tribunals or agencies as a form of forum shopping. Complementary thereto and for the same purpose, the following requirements, in addition to those in pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court and existing circulars, shall be strictly complied with in the filing of complaints, petitions, applications or other initiatory pleadings in all courts and agencies other than the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and shall be subject to the sanctions provided hereunder. 1. The plaintiff, petitioner, applicant or principal part seeking relief in the complaint, petition, application or other initiatory pleading shall certify under oath in such original pleading, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith, to the truth of the following facts and undertakings: (a) he has not theretofore commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of

Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; (b) to the best of his knowledge, no such action or proceedings is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; (c) if there is any such action or proceeding which is either pending or may have been terminated, he must state the status thereof; and (d) if he should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, he undertakes to report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court or agency wherein the original pleading and sworn certification contemplated herein have been filed. The complaint and other initiatory pleadings referred to and subject of this Circular are the original civil complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, third (fourth, etc.) party complaint, or complaint-in-intervention, petition, or application wherein a party asserts his claim for relief. 2. Any violation of this Circular shall be a cause for the dismissal of the complaint, petition, application or other initiatory pleading, upon motion and after hearing. However, any clearly willful and deliberate forum shopping by any other party and his counsel through the filing of multiple complaints or other initiatory pleadings to obtain favorable action shall be a ground for the summary dismissal thereof and shall constitute contempt of court. Furthermore, the submission of a false certification or non-compliance with the undertakings therein, as provided in Paragraph 1 hereof, shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to disciplinary proceedings against the counsel and the filing of a criminal action against the part. [emphasis supplied] xxx xxx xxx

A scrutiny of the pleadings filed before the trial courts and the COSLAP sufficiently establishes private respondents' propensity for forum shopping. We lay the premise that the certification against forum shopping must be executed by the plaintiff or principal party, and not by his counsel.31 Hence, one can deduce that the certification is a peculiar personal representation on the part of the principal party, an assurance given to the court or other tribunal that there are no other pending cases involving basically the same parties, issues and causes of action. In the case at bar, private respondents' litany of omissions range from failing to submit the required certification against forum shopping to filing a false certification, and then to forum shopping itself. First, the petition filed before the COSLAP conspicuously lacked a certification against forum shopping. Second, it does not appear from the record that the ASSOCIATION informed Branch 4 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City before which Civil Case No. 3316-R was pending, that another action, Civil Case No. 3382-R, was filed before Branch 61 of the same court. Another group of homeless residents of Dominican Hill, the LAND REFORM BENEFICIARIES ASSOCIATION, INC. initiated the latter case. The aforesaid plaintiff, however, does not hesitate to admit that it filed the second case in representation of private respondent, as one of its affiliates. In the same manner, the certification against forum shopping accompanying the complaint in Civil Case No. 3382-R does not mention the pendency of Civil Case No. 3316-R. In fact, the opposite assurance was given, that there was no action pending before any other tribunal. Another transgression is that both branches of the trial court do not appear to have been notified of the filing of the subject COSLAP Case No. 98-253. It is evident from the foregoing facts that private respondents, in filing multiple petitions, have mocked our attempts to eradicate forum shopping and have thereby upset the orderly administration of justice. They sought recourse from three (3) different tribunals in order to obtain the writ of injunction they so desperately desired. "The willful attempt by private respondents to obtain a preliminary injunction in another court after it failed to acquire the same from the original court constitutes grave abuse of the judicial process."32 In this connection, we expounded on forum shopping in Viva Productions, Inc. v. Court of Appeals33 that: Private respondent's intention to engage in forum shopping becomes manifest with undoubted clarity upon the following considerations. Notably, if not only to ensure the issuance of an injunctive relief, the significance of the action for damages before the Makati court would be nil. What damages against private respondent would there be to speak about if the Paraaque court already enjoins the performance of the very same act complained of in the Makati court? Evidently, the action for damages is premature if not for the preliminary injunctive relief sought. Thus, we find grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Makati court, being a mere co-equal of the Paraaque court, in not giving due deference to the latter before which the issue of the alleged violation of the subjudice rule had already been raised and submitted. In such instance, the Makati court, if it was wary of dismissing the action outrightly under Administrative Circular No. 04-94, should have, at least, ordered the consolidation of its case with that of the Paraaque court, which had first acquired jurisdiction over the related case x x x, or it should have suspended the proceedings until the Paraaque court may have ruled on the issue x x x. xxx xxx xxx

The said Administrative Circular's use of the auxiliary verb "shall" imports "an imperative obligation . . . inconsistent with the idea of discretion."28 Hence, compliance therewith is mandatory.29 It bears stressing that there is a material distinction between the requirement of submission of the certification against forum shopping from the undertakings stated therein. Accordingly, x x x [f]ailure to comply with this requirement cannot be excused by the fact that plaintiff is not guilty of forum shopping. The Court of Appeals, therefore, erred in concluding that Administrative Circular No. 04-94 did not apply to private respondent's case merely because her complaint was not based on petitioner's cause of action. The Circular applies to any complaint, petition, application, or other initiatory pleading, regardless of whether the party filing it has actually committed forum shopping. Every party filing a complaint or any other initiatory pleading is required to swear under oath that he has not committed nor will he commit forum shopping. Otherwise, we would have an absurd situation where the parties themselves would be the judge of whether their actions constitute a violation of said Circular, and compliance therewith would depend on their belief that they might or might not have violated the requirement. Such interpretation of the requirement would defeat the very purpose of Circular 04-94. Indeed, compliance with the certification against forum shopping is separate from, and independent of, the avoidance of forum shopping itself. Thus, there is a difference in the treatment in terms of imposable sanctions between failure to comply with the certification requirement and violation of the prohibition against forum shopping. The former is merely a cause for the dismissal, without prejudice, of the complaint or initiatory pleading, while the latter is a ground for summary dismissal thereof and constitutes direct contempt.30

Thus, while we might admit that the causes of action before the Makati court and the Paraaque court are distinct, and that private respondent cannot seek civil indemnity in the contempt proceedings, the same being in the nature of criminal contempt, we nonetheless cannot ignore private respondent's intention of seeking exactly identical reliefs when it sought the preliminary relief of injunction in the Makati court. As earlier indicated, had private respondent been completely in good faith there would have been no hindrance in filing the action for damages with the regional trial court of Paraaque and having it consolidated with the contempt proceedings before Branch 274, so that the

same issue on the alleged violation of the sub judicerule will not have to be passed upon twice, and there would be no possibility of having two courts of concurrent jurisdiction making two conflicting resolutions. Yet from another angle, it may be said that when the Paraaque court acquired jurisdiction over the said issue, it excluded all other courts of concurrent jurisdiction from acquiring jurisdiction over the same. To hold otherwise would be to risk instances where courts of concurrent jurisdiction might have conflicting orders. This will create havoc and result in an extremely disordered administration of justice. Therefore, even on the assumption that the Makati court may acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action for damages, without prejudice to the application of Administrative Circular No. 04-94, it cannot nonetheless acquire jurisdiction over the issue of whether or not petitioner has violated the sub judice rule. At best, the Makati court may hear the case only with respect to the alleged injury suffered by private respondent after theParaaque court shall have ruled favorably on the said issue. We also noted several indications of private respondents' bad faith. The complaint filed in Civil Case No. 3316-R was prepared by the ASSOCIATION's counsel, Atty. Conrado Villamor Catral, Jr. whereas the complaint filed in Civil Case No. 3382-R was signed by a different lawyer, Atty. Thomas S. Tayengco. With regard to the petition filed with the COSLAP, the same was signed by private respondents individually. As to the latter case, we noted that the petition itself could not have been prepared by ordinary laymen, inasmuch as it exhibits familiarity with statutory provisions and legal concepts, and is written in a lawyerly style. In the same manner, the plaintiffs in the three (3) different cases were made to appear as dissimilar: in Civil Case No. 3316-R, the plaintiff was ASSOCIATION of which private respondent Mario Padilan was head, while the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 3382-R was the BENEFICIARIES. Before the COSLAP, private respondents themselves were the petitioners, led again by Padilan. 34 Private respondents also attempted to vary their causes of action: in Civil Case No. 3382-R and COSLAP Case No. 98-253, they seek the annulment of the Memorandum of Agreement executed by and among UNITED, the PMS, and HIGC as well as the transfer certificates of title accordingly issued to petitioner. All three (3) cases sought to enjoin the demolition of private respondents' houses. It has been held that forum shopping is evident where the elements of litis pendentia or res judicata are present. Private respondents' subterfuge comes to naught, for the effects of res judicata or litis pendentia may not be avoided by varying the designation of the parties or changing the form of the action or adopting a different mode of presenting one's case. 35 In view of the foregoing, all that remains to be done is the imposition of the proper penalty. A party's willful and deliberate act of forum shopping is punishable by summary dismissal of the actions filed.36 The summary dismissal of both COSLAP Case No. 98-253 and Civil Case No. 3316-R is therefore warranted under the premises. We shall refrain from making any pronouncement on Civil Case No. 3382-R, the dismissal of which was elevated on appeal to the Court of Appeals where it is still pending. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The status quo order dated September 29, 1998 issued in COSLAP Case No. 98-253 by respondent Commission On The Settlement Of Land Problems (COSLAP) is hereby SET ASIDE; and the petition filed in COSLAP Case No. 98-253 and the complaint in Civil Case No. 3316-R are hereby DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction and forum shopping. Costs against private respondents. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 115863 March 31, 1995 AIDA D. EUGENIO, petitioner, vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. & HON. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, JR.,respondents.

PUNO, J.: The power of the Civil Service Commission to abolish the Career Executive Service Board is challenged in this petition for certiorari and prohibition. First the facts. Petitioner is the Deputy Director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. She applied for a Career Executive Service (CES) Eligibility and a CESO rank on August 2, 1993, she was given a CES eligibility. On September 15, 1993, she was recommended to the President for a CESO rank by the Career Executive Service Board. 1 All was not to turn well for petitioner. On October 1, 1993, respondent Civil Service Commission 2 passed Resolution No. 93-4359, viz: RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359 WHEREAS, Section 1(1) of Article IX-B provides that Civil Service shall be administered by the Civil Service Commission, . . .; WHEREAS, Section 3, Article IX-B of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that "The Civil Service Commission, as the central personnel agency of the government, is mandated to establish a career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progresiveness and courtesy in the civil service, . . ."; WHEREAS, Section 12 (1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 grants the Commission the power, among others, to administer and enforce the constitutional and statutory provisions on the merit system for all levels and ranks in the Civil Service; WHEREAS, Section 7, Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 Provides, among others, that The Career Service shall be characterized by (1) entrance based on merit and fitness to be determined as far as practicable by competitive examination, or based highly technical qualifications; (2) opportunity for advancement to higher career positions; and (3) security of tenure; WHEREAS, Section 8 (c), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the administrative Code of 1987 provides that "The third level shall cover Positions in the Career Executive Service";

WHEREAS, the Commission recognizes the imperative need to consolidate, integrate and unify the administration of all levels of positions in the career service. WHEREAS, the provisions of Section 17, Title I, Subtitle A. Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 confers on the Commission the power and authority to effect changes in its organization as the need arises. WHEREAS, Section 5, Article IX-A of the Constitution provides that the Civil Service Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy and the necessary implications thereof; NOW THEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Civil Service Commission hereby resolves to streamline reorganize and effect changes in its organizational structure. Pursuant thereto, the Career Executive Service Board, shall now be known as the Office for Career Executive Service of the Civil Service Commission. Accordingly, the existing personnel, budget, properties and equipment of the Career Executive Service Board shall now form part of the Office for Career Executive Service. The above resolution became an impediment. to the appointment of petitioner as Civil Service Officer, Rank IV. In a letter to petitioner, dated June 7, 1994, the Honorable Antonio T. Carpio, Chief Presidential legal Counsel, stated: xxx xxx xxx On 1 October 1993 the Civil Service Commission issued CSC Resolution No. 934359 which abolished the Career Executive Service Board. Several legal issues have arisen as a result of the issuance of CSC Resolution No. 93-4359, including whether the Civil Service Commission has authority to abolish the Career Executive Service Board. Because these issues remain unresolved, the Office of the President has refrained from considering appointments of career service eligibles to career executive ranks. xxx xxx xxx You may, however, bring a case before the appropriate court to settle the legal issues arising from issuance by the Civil Service Commission of CSC Resolution No. 93-4359, for guidance of all concerned. Thank You. Finding herself bereft of further administrative relief as the Career Executive Service Board which recommended her CESO Rank IV has been abolished, petitioner filed the petition at bench to annul, among others, resolution No. 93-4359. The petition is anchored on the following arguments: A. IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, RESPONDENT COMMISSION USURPED THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS OF CONGRESS WHEN IT ABOLISHED THE

CESB, AN OFFICE CREATED BY LAW, THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF CSC: RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359; B. ALSO IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, RESPONDENT CSC USURPED THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS OF CONGRESS WHEN IT ILLEGALLY AUTHORIZED THE TRANSFER OF PUBLIC MONEY, THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF CSC RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359. Required to file its Comment, the Solicitor General agreed with the contentions of petitioner. Respondent Commission, however, chose to defend its ground. It posited the following position: ARGUMENTS FOR PUBLIC RESPONDENT-CSC I. THE INSTANT PETITION STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT-CSC. II. THE RECOMMENDATION SUBMITTED TO THE PRESIDENT FOR APPOINTMENT TO A CESO RANK OF PETITIONER EUGENIO WAS A VALID ACT OF THE CAREER EXECUTIVE SERVICE BOARD OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND IT DOES NOT HAVE ANY DEFECT. III. THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT IS ESTOPPED FROM QUESTIONING THE VALIDITY OF THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE CESB IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER EUGENIO SINCE THE PRESIDENT HAS PREVIOUSLY APPOINTED TO CESO RANK FOUR (4) OFFICIALS SIMILARLY SITUATED AS SAID PETITIONER. FURTHERMORE, LACK OF MEMBERS TO CONSTITUTE A QUORUM. ASSUMING THERE WAS NO QUORUM, IS NOT THE FAULT OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION BUT OF THE PRESIDENT WHO HAS THE POWER TO APPOINT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CESB. IV. THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB INTO THE COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW (Sec. 12 (1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative Code of the 1987). THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE HAD ALREADY BEEN SETTLED WHEN THE HONORABLE COURT DISMISSED THE PETITION FILED BY THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NAMELY: SIMEON A. DATUMANONG, FELICIANO R. BELMONTE, JR., RENATO V. DIAZ, AND MANUEL M. GARCIA IN G.R. NO. 114380. THE AFOREMENTIONED PETITIONERS ALSO QUESTIONED THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB WITH THE COMMISSION. We find merit in the petition. 3 The controlling fact is that the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) was created in the Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1 on September 1, 1974 4 which adopted the Integrated Plan. Article IV, Chapter I, Part of the III of the said Plan provides: Article IV Career Executive Service

1. A Career Executive Service is created to form a continuing pool of wellselected and development oriented career administrators who shall provide competent and faithful service. 2. A Career Executive Service hereinafter referred to in this Chapter as the Board, is created to serve as the governing body of the Career Executive Service . The Board shall consist of the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission as presiding officer, the Executive Secretary and the Commissioner of the Budget as ex-officio members and two other members from the private sector and/or the academic community who are familiar with the principles and methods of personnel administration. xxx xxx xxx 5. The Board shall promulgate rules, standards and procedures on the selection, classification, compensation and career development of members of the Career Executive Service. The Board shall set up the organization and operation of the service. (Emphasis supplied) It cannot be disputed, therefore, that as the CESB was created by law, it can only be abolished by the legislature. This follows an unbroken stream of rulings that the creation and abolition of public offices is primarily a legislative function. As aptly summed up in AM JUR 2d on Public Officers and Employees, 5 viz: Except for such offices as are created by the Constitution, the creation of public offices is primarily a legislative function. In so far as the legislative power in this respect is not restricted by constitutional provisions, it supreme, and the legislature may decide for itself what offices are suitable, necessary, or convenient. When in the exigencies of government it is necessary to create and define duties, the legislative department has the discretion to determine whether additional offices shall be created, or whether these duties shall be attached to and become ex-officio duties of existing offices. An office created by the legislature is wholly within the power of that body, and it may prescribe the mode of filling the office and the powers and duties of the incumbent, and if it sees fit, abolish the office. In the petition at bench, the legislature has not enacted any law authorizing the abolition of the CESB. On the contrary, in all the General Appropriations Acts from 1975 to 1993, the legislature has set aside funds for the operation of CESB. Respondent Commission, however, invokes Section 17, Chapter 3, Subtitle A. Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 as the source of its power to abolish the CESB. Section 17 provides: Sec. 17. Organizational Structure. Each office of the Commission shall be headed by a Director with at least one Assistant Director, and may have such divisions as are necessary independent constitutional body, the Commission may effect changes in the organization as the need arises. But as well pointed out by petitioner and the Solicitor General, Section 17 must be read together with Section 16 of the said Code which enumerates the offices under the respondent Commission, viz: Sec. 16. Offices in the Commission. The Commission shall have the following offices:

(1) The Office of the Executive Director headed by an Executive Director, with a Deputy Executive Director shall implement policies, standards, rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission; coordinate the programs of the offices of the Commission and render periodic reports on their operations, and perform such other functions as may be assigned by the Commission. (2) The Merit System Protection Board composed of a Chairman and two (2) members shall have the following functions: xxx xxx xxx (3) The Office of Legal Affairs shall provide the Chairman with legal advice and assistance; render counselling services; undertake legal studies and researches; prepare opinions and ruling in the interpretation and application of the Civil Service law, rules and regulations; prosecute violations of such law, rules and regulations; and represent the Commission before any court or tribunal. (4) The Office of Planning and Management shall formulate development plans, programs and projects; undertake research and studies on the different aspects of public personnel management; administer management improvement programs; and provide fiscal and budgetary services. (5) The Central Administrative Office shall provide the Commission with personnel, financial, logistics and other basic support services. (6) The Office of Central Personnel Records shall formulate and implement policies, standards, rules and regulations pertaining to personnel records maintenance, security, control and disposal; provide storage and extension services; and provide and maintain library services. (7) The Office of Position Classification and Compensation shall formulate and implement policies, standards, rules and regulations relative to the administration of position classification and compensation. (8) The Office of Recruitment, Examination and Placement shall provide leadership and assistance in developing and implementing the overall Commission programs relating to recruitment, execution and placement, and formulate policies, standards, rules and regulations for the proper implementation of the Commission's examination and placement programs. (9) The Office of Career Systems and Standards shall provide leadership and assistance in the formulation and evaluation of personnel systems and standards relative to performance appraisal, merit promotion, and employee incentive benefit and awards. (10) The Office of Human Resource Development shall provide leadership and assistance in the development and retention of qualified and efficient work force in the Civil Service; formulate standards for training and staff development; administer service-wide scholarship programs; develop training literature and materials; coordinate and integrate all training activities and evaluate training programs.

(11) The Office of Personnel Inspection and Audit shall develop policies, standards, rules and regulations for the effective conduct or inspection and audit personnel and personnel management programs and the exercise of delegated authority; provide technical and advisory services to Civil Service Regional Offices and government agencies in the implementation of their personnel programs and evaluation systems. (12) The Office of Personnel Relations shall provide leadership and assistance in the development and implementation of policies, standards, rules and regulations in the accreditation of employee associations or organizations and in the adjustment and settlement of employee grievances and management of employee disputes. (13) The Office of Corporate Affairs shall formulate and implement policies, standards, rules and regulations governing corporate officials and employees in the areas of recruitment, examination, placement, career development, merit and awards systems, position classification and compensation, performing appraisal, employee welfare and benefit, discipline and other aspects of personnel management on the basis of comparable industry practices. (14) The Office of Retirement Administration shall be responsible for the enforcement of the constitutional and statutory provisions, relative to retirement and the regulation for the effective implementation of the retirement of government officials and employees. (15) The Regional and Field Offices. The Commission shall have not less than thirteen (13) Regional offices each to be headed by a Director, and such field offices as may be needed, each to be headed by an official with at least the rank of an Assistant Director. As read together, the inescapable conclusion is that respondent Commission's power to reorganize is limited to offices under its control as enumerated in Section 16, supra. From its inception, the CESB was intended to be an autonomous entity, albeit administratively attached to respondent Commission. As conceptualized by the Reorganization Committee "the CESB shall be autonomous. It is expected to view the problem of building up executive manpower in the government with a broad and positive outlook." 6 The essential autonomous character of the CESB is not negated by its attachment to respondent Commission. By said attachment, CESB was not made to fall within the control of respondent Commission. Under the Administrative Code of 1987, the purpose of attaching one functionally inter-related government agency to another is to attain "policy and program coordination." This is clearly etched out in Section 38(3), Chapter 7, Book IV of the aforecited Code, to wit: (3) Attachment. (a) This refers to the lateral relationship between the department or its equivalent and attached agency or corporation for purposes of policy and program coordination. The coordination may be accomplished by having the department represented in the governing board of the attached agency or corporation, either as chairman or as a member, with or without voting rights, if this is permitted by the charter; having the attached corporation or agency comply with a system of periodic reporting which shall reflect the progress of programs and projects; and having the department or its equivalent provide general policies through its representative in the board,

which shall serve as the framework for the internal policies of the attached corporation or agency. Respondent Commission also relies on the case of Datumanong, et al., vs. Civil Service Commission, G. R. No. 114380 where the petition assailing the abolition of the CESB was dismissed for lack of cause of action. Suffice to state that the reliance is misplaced considering that the cited case was dismissed for lack of standing of the petitioner, hence, the lack of cause of action. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Resolution No. 93-4359 of the respondent Commission is hereby annulled and set aside. No costs. SO ORDERED. LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK, petitioner, vs. ASSOCIATION OF LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK EMPLOYEES and ATTY. ESTER S. GARCIA in her capacity as VOLUNTARY ARBITRATOR, respondents.

ROMERO, J.: From a submission agreement of the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) and the Association of Luzon Development Bank Employees (ALDBE) arose an arbitration case to resolve the following issue: Whether or not the company has violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision and the Memorandum of Agreement dated April 1994, on promotion. At a conference, the parties agreed on the submission of their respective Position Papers on December 1-15, 1994. Atty. Ester S. Garcia, in her capacity as Voluntary Arbitrator, received ALDBE's Position Paper on January 18, 1995. LDB, on the other hand, failed to submit its Position Paper despite a letter from the Voluntary Arbitrator reminding them to do so. As of May 23, 1995 no Position Paper had been filed by LDB. On May 24, 1995, without LDB's Position Paper, the Voluntary Arbitrator rendered a decision disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, finding is hereby made that the Bank has not adhered to the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision nor the Memorandum of Agreement on promotion. Hence, this petition for certiorari and prohibition seeking to set aside the decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator and to prohibit her from enforcing the same. In labor law context, arbitration is the reference of a labor dispute to an impartial third person for determination on the basis of evidence and arguments presented by such parties who have bound themselves to accept the decision of the arbitrator as final and binding. Arbitration may be classified, on the basis of the obligation on which it is based, as either compulsory or voluntary.

Compulsory arbitration is a system whereby the parties to a dispute are compelled by the government to forego their right to strike and are compelled to accept the resolution of their dispute through arbitration by a third party. 1The essence of arbitration remains since a resolution of a dispute is arrived at by resort to a disinterested third party whose decision is final and binding on the parties, but in compulsory arbitration, such a third party is normally appointed by the government. Under voluntary arbitration, on the other hand, referral of a dispute by the parties is made, pursuant to a voluntary arbitration clause in their collective agreement, to an impartial third person for a final and binding resolution. 2Ideally, arbitration awards are supposed to be complied with by both parties without delay, such that once an award has been rendered by an arbitrator, nothing is left to be done by both parties but to comply with the same. After all, they are presumed to have freely chosen arbitration as the mode of settlement for that particular dispute. Pursuant thereto, they have chosen a mutually acceptable arbitrator who shall hear and decide their case. Above all, they have mutually agreed to de bound by said arbitrator's decision. In the Philippine context, the parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) are required to include therein provisions for a machinery for the resolution of grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the CBA or company personnel policies. 3 For this purpose, parties to a CBA shall name and designate therein a voluntary arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, or include a procedure for their selection, preferably from those accredited by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB). Article 261 of the Labor Code accordingly provides for exclusive original jurisdiction of such voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators over (1) the interpretation or implementation of the CBA and (2) the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies. Article 262 authorizes them, but only upon agreement of the parties, to exercise jurisdiction over other labor disputes. On the other hand, a labor arbiter under Article 217 of the Labor Code has jurisdiction over the following enumerated cases: . . . (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. Unfair labor practice cases; 2. Termination disputes; 3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment; 4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations; 5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code, including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts; 6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims, arising from employer-employee relations,

including those of persons in domestic or household service, involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. xxx xxx xxx It will thus be noted that the jurisdiction conferred by law on a voluntary arbitrator or a panel of such arbitrators is quite limited compared to the original jurisdiction of the labor arbiter and the appellate jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for that matter. 4 The state of our present law relating to voluntary arbitration provides that "(t)he award or decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator . . . shall be final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt of the copy of the award or decision by the parties," 5 while the "(d)ecision, awards, or orders of the Labor Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions, awards, or orders." 6 Hence, while there is an express mode of appeal from the decision of a labor arbiter, Republic Act No. 6715 is silent with respect to an appeal from the decision of a voluntary arbitrator. Yet, past practice shows that a decision or award of a voluntary arbitrator is, more often than not, elevated to the Supreme Court itself on a petition for certiorari, 7 in effect equating the voluntary arbitrator with the NLRC or the Court of Appeals. In the view of the Court, this is illogical and imposes an unnecessary burden upon it. In Volkschel Labor Union, et al. v. NLRC, et al., 8 on the settled premise that the judgments of courts and awards of quasi-judicial agencies must become final at some definite time, this Court ruled that the awards of voluntary arbitrators determine the rights of parties; hence, their decisions have the same legal effect as judgments of a court. In Oceanic Bic Division (FFW), et al. v. Romero, et al., 9 this Court ruled that "a voluntary arbitrator by the nature of her functions acts in a quasi-judicial capacity." Under these rulings, it follows that the voluntary arbitrator, whether acting solely or in a panel, enjoys in law the status of a quasi-judicial agency but independent of, and apart from, the NLRC since his decisions are not appealable to the latter. 10 Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7902, provides that the Court of Appeals shall exercise: xxx xxx xxx (B) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commissions, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission, except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. xxx xxx xxx Assuming arguendo that the voluntary arbitrator or the panel of voluntary arbitrators may not strictly be considered as a quasi-judicial agency, board or commission, still both he and the panel are comprehended within the concept of a "quasi-judicial instrumentality." It may even be stated that it was to meet the very situation presented by the quasi-judicial functions of the voluntary arbitrators here, as well as the subsequent arbitrator/arbitral tribunal operating under the

Construction Industry Arbitration Commission, 11 that the broader term "instrumentalities" was purposely included in the above-quoted provision. An "instrumentality" is anything used as a means or agency. 12 Thus, the terms governmental "agency" or "instrumentality" are synonymous in the sense that either of them is a means by which a government acts, or by which a certain government act or function is performed. 13 The word "instrumentality," with respect to a state, contemplates an authority to which the state delegates governmental power for the performance of a state function. 14 An individual person, like an administrator or executor, is a judicial instrumentality in the settling of an estate, 15 in the same manner that a sub-agent appointed by a bankruptcy court is an instrumentality of the court,16 and a trustee in bankruptcy of a defunct corporation is an instrumentality of the state. 17 The voluntary arbitrator no less performs a state function pursuant to a governmental power delegated to him under the provisions therefor in the Labor Code and he falls, therefore, within the contemplation of the term "instrumentality" in the aforequoted Sec. 9 of B.P. 129. The fact that his functions and powers are provided for in the Labor Code does not place him within the exceptions to said Sec. 9 since he is a quasi-judicial instrumentality as contemplated therein. It will be noted that, although the Employees Compensation Commission is also provided for in the Labor Code, Circular No. 1-91, which is the forerunner of the present Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, laid down the procedure for the appealability of its decisions to the Court of Appeals under the foregoing rationalization, and this was later adopted by Republic Act No. 7902 in amending Sec. 9 of B.P. 129. A fortiori, the decision or award of the voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators should likewise be appealable to the Court of Appeals, in line with the procedure outlined in Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, just like those of the quasi-judicial agencies, boards and commissions enumerated therein. This would be in furtherance of, and consistent with, the original purpose of Circular No. 1-91 to provide a uniform procedure for the appellate review of adjudications of all quasi-judicial entities 18 not expressly excepted from the coverage of Sec. 9 of B.P. 129 by either the Constitution or another statute. Nor will it run counter to the legislative intendment that decisions of the NLRC be reviewable directly by the Supreme Court since, precisely, the cases within the adjudicative competence of the voluntary arbitrator are excluded from the jurisdiction of the NLRC or the labor arbiter. In the same vein, it is worth mentioning that under Section 22 of Republic Act No. 876, also known as the Arbitration Law, arbitration is deemed a special proceeding of which the court specified in the contract or submission, or if none be specified, the Regional Trial Court for the province or city in which one of the parties resides or is doing business, or in which the arbitration is held, shall have jurisdiction. A party to the controversy may, at any time within one (1) month after an award is made, apply to the court having jurisdiction for an order confirming the award and the court must grant such order unless the award is vacated, modified or corrected. 19 In effect, this equates the award or decision of the voluntary arbitrator with that of the regional trial court. Consequently, in a petition for certiorari from that award or decision, the Court of Appeals must be deemed to have concurrent jurisdiction with the Supreme Court. As a matter of policy, this Court shall henceforth remand to the Court of Appeals petitions of this nature for proper disposition. ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to REFER this case to the Court of Appeals.

IRON AND STEEL AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and MARIA CRISTINA FERTILIZER CORPORATION, respondents.

FELICIANO, J.: Petitioner Iron and Steel Authority ("ISA") was created by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 272 dated 9 August 1973 in order, generally, to develop and promote the iron and steel industry in the Philippines. The objectives of the ISA are spelled out in the following terms: Sec. 2. Objectives The Authority shall have the following objectives: (a) to strengthen the iron and steel industry of the Philippines and to expand the domestic and export markets for the products of the industry; (b) to promote the consolidation, integration and rationalization of the industry in order to increase industry capability and viability to service the domestic market and to compete in international markets; (c) to rationalize the marketing and distribution of steel products in order to achieve a balance between demand and supply of iron and steel products for the country and to ensure that industry prices and profits are at levels that provide a fair balance between the interests of investors, consumers suppliers, and the public at large; (d) to promote full utilization of the existing capacity of the industry, to discourage investment in excess capacity, and in coordination, with appropriate government agencies to encourage capital investment in priority areas of the industry; (e) to assist the industry in securing adequate and low-cost supplies of raw materials and to reduce the excessive dependence of the country on imports of iron and steel. The list of powers and functions of the ISA included the following: Sec. 4. Powers and Functions. The authority shall have the following powers and functions: xxx xxx xxx (j) to initiate expropriation of land required for basic iron and steel facilities for subsequent resale and/or lease to the companies involved if it is shown that such use of the State's power is necessary to implement the construction of capacity which is needed for the attainment of the objectives of the Authority; xxx xxx xxx

(Emphasis supplied) P.D. No. 272 initially created petitioner ISA for a term of five (5) years counting from 9 August 1973. 1 When ISA's original term expired on 10 October 1978, its term was extended for another ten (10) years by Executive Order No. 555 dated 31 August 1979. The National Steel Corporation ("NSC") then a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Development Corporation which is itself an entity wholly owned by the National Government, embarked on an expansion program embracing, among other things, the construction of an integrated steel mill in Iligan City. The construction of such a steel mill was considered a priority and major industrial project of the Government. Pursuant to the expansion program of the NSC, Proclamation No. 2239 was issued by the President of the Philippines on 16 November 1982 withdrawing from sale or settlement a large tract of public land (totalling about 30.25 hectares in area) located in Iligan City, and reserving that land for the use and immediate occupancy of NSC. Since certain portions of the public land subject matter Proclamation No. 2239 were occupied by a non-operational chemical fertilizer plant and related facilities owned by private respondent Maria Cristina Fertilizer Corporation ("MCFC"), Letter of Instruction (LOI), No. 1277, also dated 16 November 1982, was issued directing the NSC to "negotiate with the owners of MCFC, for and on behalf of the Government, for the compensation of MCFC's present occupancy rights on the subject land." LOI No. 1277 also directed that should NSC and private respondent MCFC fail to reach an agreement within a period of sixty (60) days from the date of LOI No. 1277, petitioner ISA was to exercise its power of eminent domain under P.D. No. 272 and to initiate expropriation proceedings in respect of occupancy rights of private respondent MCFC relating to the subject public land as well as the plant itself and related facilities and to cede the same to the NSC. 2 Negotiations between NSC and private respondent MCFC did fail. Accordingly, on 18 August 1983, petitioner ISA commenced eminent domain proceedings against private respondent MCFC in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, of Iligan City, praying that it (ISA) be places in possession of the property involved upon depositing in court the amount of P1,760,789.69 representing ten percent (10%) of the declared market values of that property. The Philippine National Bank, as mortgagee of the plant facilities and improvements involved in the expropriation proceedings, was also impleaded as party-defendant. On 17 September 1983, a writ of possession was issued by the trial court in favor of ISA. ISA in turn placed NSC in possession and control of the land occupied by MCFC's fertilizer plant installation. The case proceeded to trial. While the trial was ongoing, however, the statutory existence of petitioner ISA expired on 11 August 1988. MCFC then filed a motion to dismiss, contending that no valid judgment could be rendered against ISA which had ceased to be a juridical person. Petitioner ISA filed its opposition to this motion. In an Order dated 9 November 1988, the trial court granted MCFC's motion to dismiss and did dismiss the case. The dismissal was anchored on the provision of the Rules of Court stating that "only natural or juridical persons or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil case." 3 The trial court also referred to non-compliance by petitioner ISA with the requirements of Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. 4 Petitioner ISA moved for reconsideration of the trial court's Order, contending that despite the expiration of its term, its juridical existence continued until the winding up of its affairs could be completed. In the alternative, petitioner ISA urged that the Republic of the Philippines, being the real party-in-interest, should be allowed to be substituted for petitioner ISA. In this connection, ISA

referred to a letter from the Office of the President dated 28 September 1988 which especially directed the Solicitor General to continue the expropriation case. The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration, stating, among other things that: The property to be expropriated is not for public use or benefit [__] but for the use and benefit [__] of NSC, a government controlled private corporation engaged in private business and for profit, specially now that the government, according to newspaper reports, is offering for sale to the public its [shares of stock] in the National Steel Corporation in line with the pronounced policy of the present administration to disengage the government from its private business ventures. 5 (Brackets supplied) Petitioner went on appeal to the Court of Appeals. In a Decision dated 8 October 1991, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of dismissal of the trial court. The Court of Appeals held that petitioner ISA, "a government regulatory agency exercising sovereign functions," did not have the same rights as an ordinary corporation and that the ISA, unlike corporations organized under the Corporation Code, was not entitled to a period for winding up its affairs after expiration of its legally mandated term, with the result that upon expiration of its term on 11 August 1987, ISA was "abolished and [had] no more legal authority to perform governmental functions." The Court of Appeals went on to say that the action for expropriation could not prosper because the basis for the proceedings, the ISA's exercise of its delegated authority to expropriate, had become ineffective as a result of the delegate's dissolution, and could not be continued in the name of Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Solicitor General: It is our considered opinion that under the law, the complaint cannot prosper, and therefore, has to be dismissed without prejudice to the refiling of a new complaint for expropriation if the Congress sees it fit." (Emphases supplied) At the same time, however, the Court of Appeals held that it was premature for the trial court to have ruled that the expropriation suit was not for a public purpose, considering that the parties had not yet rested their respective cases. In this Petition for Review, the Solicitor General argues that since ISA initiated and prosecuted the action for expropriation in its capacity as agent of the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic, as principal of ISA, is entitled to be substituted and to be made a party-plaintiff after the agent ISA's term had expired. Private respondent MCFC, upon the other hand, argues that the failure of Congress to enact a law further extending the term of ISA after 11 August 1988 evinced a "clear legislative intent to terminate the juridical existence of ISA," and that the authorization issued by the Office of the President to the Solicitor General for continued prosecution of the expropriation suit could not prevail over such negative intent. It is also contended that the exercise of the eminent domain by ISA or the Republic is improper, since that power would be exercised "not on behalf of the National Government but for the benefit of NSC." The principal issue which we must address in this case is whether or not the Republic of the Philippines is entitled to be substituted for ISA in view of the expiration of ISA's term. As will be made clear below, this is really the only issue which we must resolve at this time. Rule 3, Section 1 of the Rules of Court specifies who may be parties to a civil action:

Sec. 1. Who May Be Parties. Only natural or juridical persons or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action. Under the above quoted provision, it will be seen that those who can be parties to a civil action may be broadly categorized into two (2) groups: (a) those who are recognized as persons under the law whether natural, i.e., biological persons, on the one hand, or juridical person such as corporations, on the other hand; and (b) entities authorized by law to institute actions. Examination of the statute which created petitioner ISA shows that ISA falls under category (b) above. P.D. No. 272, as already noted, contains express authorization to ISA to commence expropriation proceedings like those here involved: Sec. 4. Powers and Functions. The Authority shall have the following powers and functions: xxx xxx xxx (j) to initiate expropriation of land required for basic iron and steel facilities for subsequent resale and/or lease to the companies involved if it is shown that such use of the State's power is necessary to implement the construction of capacity which is needed for the attainment of the objectives of the Authority; xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) It should also be noted that the enabling statute of ISA expressly authorized it to enter into certain kinds of contracts "for and in behalf of the Government" in the following terms: xxx xxx xxx (i) to negotiate, and when necessary, to enter into contracts for and in behalf of the government, for the bulk purchase of materials, supplies or services for any sectors in the industry, and to maintain inventories of such materials in order to insure a continuous and adequate supply thereof and thereby reduce operating costs of such sector; xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) Clearly, ISA was vested with some of the powers or attributes normally associated with juridical personality. There is, however, no provision in P.D. No. 272 recognizing ISA as possessing general or comprehensive juridical personality separate and distinct from that of the Government. The ISA in fact appears to the Court to be a non-incorporated agency or instrumentality of the Republic of the

Philippines, or more precisely of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. It is common knowledge that other agencies or instrumentalities of the Government of the Republic are cast in corporate form, that is to say, are incorporated agencies or instrumentalities, sometimes with and at other times without capital stock, and accordingly vested with a juridical personality distinct from the personality of the Republic. Among such incorporated agencies or instrumentalities are: National Power Corporation; 6 Philippine Ports Authority; 7 National Housing Authority; 8 Philippine National Oil Company; 9Philippine National Railways; 10 Public Estates Authority; 11 Philippine Virginia Tobacco Administration, 12 and so forth. It is worth noting that the term "Authority" has been used to designate both incorporated and non-incorporated agencies or instrumentalities of the Government. We consider that the ISA is properly regarded as an agent or delegate of the Republic of the Philippines. The Republic itself is a body corporate and juridical person vested with the full panoply of powers and attributes which are compendiously described as "legal personality." The relevant definitions are found in the Administrative Code of 1987: Sec. 2. General Terms Defined. Unless the specific words of the text, or the context as a whole, or a particular statute, require a different meaning: (1) Government of the Republic of the Philippines refers to the corporate governmental entity through which the functions of government are exercised throughout the Philippines, including, save as the contrary appears from the context, the various arms through which political authority is made effective in the Philippines, whether pertaining to the autonomous regions, the provincial, city, municipal or barangay subdivisions or other forms of local government. xxx xxx xxx (4) Agency of the Government refers to any of the various units of the Government, including a department, bureau, office, instrumentality, or government-owned or controlled corporation, or a local government or a distinct unit therein. xxx xxx xxx (10) Instrumentality refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds, and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. This term includes regulatory agencies, chartered institutions and government-owned or controlled corporations. xxx xxx xxx (Emphases supplied) When the statutory term of a non-incorporated agency expires, the powers, duties and functions as well as the assets and liabilities of that agency revert back to, and are re-assumed by, the Republic of the Philippines, in the absence of special provisions of law specifying some other disposition thereof such as, e.g., devolution or transmission of such powers, duties, functions, etc. to some other identified successor agency or instrumentality of the Republic of the Philippines. When the expiring agency is an incorporated one, the consequences of such expiry must be looked for, in the first

instance, in the charter of that agency and, by way of supplementation, in the provisions of the Corporation Code. Since, in the instant case, ISA is a non-incorporated agency or instrumentality of the Republic, its powers, duties, functions, assets and liabilities are properly regarded as folded back into the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and hence assumed once again by the Republic, no special statutory provision having been shown to have mandated succession thereto by some other entity or agency of the Republic. The procedural implications of the relationship between an agent or delegate of the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic itself are, at least in part, spelled out in the Rules of Court. The general rule is, of course, that an action must be prosecuted and defended in the name of the real party in interest. (Rule 3, Section 2) Petitioner ISA was, at the commencement of the expropriation proceedings, a real party in interest, having been explicitly authorized by its enabling statute to institute expropriation proceedings. The Rules of Court at the same time expressly recognize the role of representative parties: Sec. 3. Representative Parties. A trustee of an expressed trust, a guardian, an executor or administrator, or a party authorized by statute may sue or be sued without joining the party for whose benefit the action is presented or defended; but the court may, at any stage of the proceedings, order such beneficiary to be made a party. . . . . (Emphasis supplied) In the instant case, ISA instituted the expropriation proceedings in its capacity as an agent or delegate or representative of the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to its authority under P.D. No. 272. The present expropriation suit was brought on behalf of and for the benefit of the Republic as the principal of ISA. Paragraph 7 of the complaint stated: 7. The Government, thru the plaintiff ISA, urgently needs the subject parcels of land for the construction and installation of iron and steel manufacturing facilities that are indispensable to the integration of the iron and steel making industry which is vital to the promotion of public interest and welfare. (Emphasis supplied) The principal or the real party in interest is thus the Republic of the Philippines and not the National Steel Corporation, even though the latter may be an ultimate user of the properties involved should the condemnation suit be eventually successful. From the foregoing premises, it follows that the Republic of the Philippines is entitled to be substituted in the expropriation proceedings as party-plaintiff in lieu of ISA, the statutory term of ISA having expired. Put a little differently, the expiration of ISA's statutory term did not by itself require or justify the dismissal of the eminent domain proceedings. It is also relevant to note that the non-joinder of the Republic which occurred upon the expiration of ISA's statutory term, was not a ground for dismissal of such proceedings since a party may be dropped or added by order of the court, on motion of any party or on the court's own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. 13 In the instant case, the Republic has precisely moved to take over the proceedings as party-plaintiff. In E.B. Marcha Transport Company, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 14 the Court recognized that the Republic may initiate or participate in actions involving its agents. There the Republic of the Philippines was held to be a proper party to sue for recovery of possession of property although the "real" or registered owner of the property was the Philippine Ports Authority, a government agency vested with a separate juridical personality. The Court said:

It can be said that in suing for the recovery of the rentals, the Republic of the Philippines acted as principal of the Philippine Ports Authority, directly exercising the commission it had earlier conferred on the latter as its agent . . . . 15 (Emphasis supplied) In E.B. Marcha, the Court also stressed that to require the Republic to commence all over again another proceeding, as the trial court and Court of Appeals had required, was to generate unwarranted delay and create needless repetition of proceedings: More importantly, as we see it, dismissing the complaint on the ground that the Republic of the Philippines is not the proper party would result in needless delay in the settlement of this matter and also in derogation of the policy against multiplicity of suits. Such a decision would require the Philippine Ports Authority to refile the very same complaint already proved by the Republic of the Philippines and bring back as it were to square one. 16(Emphasis supplied) As noted earlier, the Court of Appeals declined to permit the substitution of the Republic of the Philippines for the ISA upon the ground that the action for expropriation could not prosper because the basis for the proceedings, the ISA's exercise of its delegated authority to expropriate, had become legally ineffective by reason of the expiration of the statutory term of the agent or delegated i.e., ISA. Since, as we have held above, the powers and functions of ISA have reverted to the Republic of the Philippines upon the termination of the statutory term of ISA, the question should be addressed whether fresh legislative authority is necessary before the Republic of the Philippines may continue the expropriation proceedings initiated by its own delegate or agent. While the power of eminent domain is, in principle, vested primarily in the legislative department of the government, we believe and so hold that no new legislative act is necessary should the Republic decide, upon being substituted for ISA, in fact to continue to prosecute the expropriation proceedings. For the legislative authority, a long time ago, enacted a continuing or standing delegation of authority to the President of the Philippines to exercise, or cause the exercise of, the power of eminent domain on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. The 1917 Revised Administrative Code, which was in effect at the time of the commencement of the present expropriation proceedings before the Iligan Regional Trial Court, provided that: Sec. 64. Particular powers and duties of the President of the Philippines . In addition to his general supervisory authority, the President of the Philippines shall have such other specific powers and duties as are expressly conferred or imposed on him by law, and also, in particular, the powers and duties set forth in this Chapter. Among such special powers and duties shall be: xxx xxx xxx (h) To determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the right of eminent domain in behalf of the Government of the Philippines; and to direct the Secretary of Justice, where such act is deemed advisable, to cause the condemnation proceedings to be begun in the court having proper jurisdiction. (Emphasis supplied) The Revised Administrative Code of 1987 currently in force has substantially reproduced the foregoing provision in the following terms:

Sec. 12. Power of eminent domain. The President shall determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the National Government, anddirect the Solicitor General, whenever he deems the action advisable, to institute expopriation proceedings in the proper court. (Emphasis supplied) In the present case, the President, exercising the power duly delegated under both the 1917 and 1987 Revised Administrative Codes in effect made a determination that it was necessary and advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the Government of the Republic and accordingly directed the Solicitor General to proceed with the suit. 17 It is argued by private respondent MCFC that, because Congress after becoming once more the depository of primary legislative power, had not enacted a statute extending the term of ISA, such non-enactment must be deemed a manifestation of a legislative design to discontinue or abort the present expropriation suit. We find this argument much too speculative; it rests too much upon simple silence on the part of Congress and casually disregards the existence of Section 12 of the 1987 Administrative Code already quoted above. Other contentions are made by private respondent MCFC, such as, that the constitutional requirement of "public use" or "public purpose" is not present in the instant case, and that the indispensable element of just compensation is also absent. We agree with the Court of Appeals in this connection that these contentions, which were adopted and set out by the Regional Trial Court in its order of dismissal, are premature and are appropriately addressed in the proceedings before the trial court. Those proceedings have yet to produce a decision on the merits, since trial was still on going at the time the Regional Trial Court precipitously dismissed the expropriation proceedings. Moreover, as a pragmatic matter, the Republic is, by such substitution as party-plaintiff, accorded an opportunity to determine whether or not, or to what extent, the proceedings should be continued in view of all the subsequent developments in the iron and steel sector of the country including, though not limited to, the partial privatization of the NSC. WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 8 October 1991 to the extent that it affirmed the trial court's order dismissing the expropriation proceedings, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the case is REMANDED to the court a quo which shall allow the substitution of the Republic of the Philippines for petitioner Iron and Steel Authority and for further proceedings consistent with this Decision. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. MANUEL M. LEYSON JR., petitioner, vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, TIRSO ANTIPORDA, Chairman, UCPB and CIIF Oil Mills, and OSCAR A. TORRALBA, President, CIIF Oil Mills, respondents.

Transasia. The majority shareholdings of these CIIF companies are owned by the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) as administrator of the CIIF. Under the terms of the contract, either party could terminate the agreement provided a three (3)-month advance notice was given to the other party. However, in August 1996, or prior to the expiration of the contract, the CIIF companies with their new President, respondent Oscar A. Torralba, terminated the contract without the requisite advance notice. The CIIF companies engaged the services of another vessel, MT Marilag, operated by Southwest Maritime Corporation. On 11 March 1997 petitioner Manuel M. Leyson Jr., Executive Vice President of ITTC, filed with public respondent Office of the Ombudsman a grievance case against respondent Oscar A. Torralba. The following is a summary of the irregularities and corrupt practices allegedly committed by respondent Torralba: (a) breach of contract - unilateral cancellation of valid and existing contract; (b) bad faith - falsification of documents and reports to stop the operation of MT Transasia; (c) manipulation - influenced their insurance to disqualify MT Transasia; (d) unreasonable denial of requirement imposed; (e) double standards and inconsistent in favor of MT Marilag; (f) engaged and entered into a contract with Southwest Maritime Corp. which is not the owner of MT Marilag, where liabilities were waived and whose paid-up capital is only P250,000.00; and, (g) overpricing in the freight rate causing losses of millions of pesos to Cocochem. 1 On 2 January 1998 petitioner charged respondent Tirso Antiporda, Chairman of UCPB and CIIF Oil Mills, and respondent Oscar A. Torralba with violation of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act also before the Ombudsman anchored on the aforementioned alleged irregularities and corrupt practices. On 30 January 1998 public respondent dismissed the complaint based on its finding that The case is a simple case of breach of contract with damages which should have been filed in the regular court. This Office has no jurisdiction to determine the legality or validity of the termination of the contract entered into by CIIF and ITTC. Besides the entities involved are private corporations (over) which this Office has no jurisdiction. 2 On 4 June 1998 reconsideration of the dismissal of the complaint was denied. The Ombudsman was unswayed in his finding that the present controversy involved breach of contract as he also took into account the circumstance that petitioner had already filed a collection case before the Regional Trial Court of Manila-Br. 15, docketed as Civil Case No. 97-83354. Moreover, the Ombudsman found that the filing of the motion for reconsideration on 31 March 1998 was beyond the inextendible period of five (5) days from notice of the assailed resolution on 19 March 1998. 3 Petitioner now imputes grave abuse of discretion on public respondent in dismissing his complaint. He submits that inasmuch as Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED) v. PCGG4 and Republic v.Sandiganbayan5 have declared that the coconut levy funds are public funds then, conformably with Quimpo v. Tanodbayan,6 corporations formed and organized from those funds or whose controlling stocks are from those funds should be regarded as government owned and/or controlled corporations. As in the present case, since the funding or controlling interest of the companies being headed by private respondents was given or owned by the CIIF as shown in the certification of their Corporate Secretary, 7 it follows that they are government owned and/or controlled corporations. Corollarily, petitioner asserts that respondents Antiporda and Torralba are public officers subject to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. Petitioner alleges next that public respondent's conclusion that his complaint refers to a breach of contract is whimsical, capricious and irresponsible amounting to a total disregard of its main point, i. e., whether private respondents violated The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when they entered into a contract with Southwest Maritime Corporation which was grossly disadvantageous to the government in general and to the CIIF in particular. Petitioner admits that

BELLOSILLO, J.: On 7 February 1996 International Towage and Transport Corporation (ITTC), a domestic corporation engaged in the lighterage or shipping business, entered into a one (1)-year contract with Legaspi Oil Company, Inc. (LEGASPI OIL), Granexport Manufacturing Corporation (GRANEXPORT) and United Coconut Chemicals, Inc. (UNITED COCONUT), comprising the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) companies, for the transport of coconut oil in bulk through MT

his motion for reconsideration was filed out of time. Nonetheless, he advances that public respondent should have relaxed its rules in the paramount interest of justice; after all, the delay was just a matter of days and he, a layman not aware of technicalities, personally filed the complaint. Private respondents counter that the CIIF companies were duly organized and are existing by virtue of the Corporation Code. Their stockholders are private individuals and entities. In addition, private respondents contend that they are not public officers as defined under The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act but are private executives appointed by the Boards of Directors of the CIIF companies. They asseverate that petitioner's motion for reconsideration was filed through the expert assistance of a learned counsel. They then charge petitioner with forum shopping since he had similarly filed a case for collection of a sum of money plus damages before the trial court. The Office of the Solicitor General maintains that the Ombudsman approved the recommendation of the investigating officer to dismiss the complaint because he sincerely believed there was no sufficient basis for the criminal indictment of private respondents. We find no grave abuse of discretion committed by the Ombudsman. COCOFED v. PCGG referred to in Republic v. Sandiganbayan reviewed the history of the coconut levy funds. These funds actually have four (4) general classes: (a) the Coconut Investment Fund created under R. A. No. 6260; 8 (b) the Coconut Consumers Stabilization Fund created under P. D. No. 276; 9 (c) the Coconut Industry Development Fund created under P. D. No. 582; 10 and, (d) the Coconut Industry Stabilization Fund created under P. D. No. 1841. 11 The various laws relating to the coconut industry were codified in 1976. On 21 October of that year, P. D. No. 96112 was promulgated. On 11 June 1978 it was amended by P. D. No. 1468 13 by inserting a new provision authorizing the use of the balance of the Coconut Industry Development Fund for the acquisition of "shares of stocks in corporations organized for the purpose of engaging in the establishment and operation of industries . . . commercial activities and other allied business undertakings relating to coconut and other palm oil indust(ries)." 14From this fund thus created, or the CIIF, shares of stock in what have come to be known as the "CIIF companies" were purchased. We then stated in COCOFED that the coconut levy funds were raised by the State's police and taxing powers such that the utilization and proper management thereof were certainly the concern of the Government. These funds have a public character and are clearly affected with public interest. Quimpo v. Tanodbayan involved the issue as to whether PETROPHIL was a government owned or controlled corporation the employees of which fell within the jurisdictional purview of the Tanodbayan for purposes of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. We upheld the jurisdiction of the Tanodbayan on the ratiocination that While it may be that PETROPHIL was not originally "created" as a government-owned or controlled corporation, after it was acquired by PNOC, which is a government-owned or controlled corporation, PETROPHIL became a subsidiary of PNOC and thus shed-off its private status. It is now funded and owned by the government as, in fact, it was acquired to perform functions related to government programs and policies on oil, a vital commodity in the economic life of the nation. It was acquired not temporarily but as a permanent adjunct to perform essential government or government-related functions, as the marketing arm of the PNOC to assist the latter in selling and distributing oil and petroleum products to assure and maintain an adequate and stable domestic supply. But these jurisprudential rules invoked by petitioner in support of his claim that the CIIF companies are government owned and/or controlled corporations are incomplete without resorting to the definition of "government owned or controlled corporation" contained in par. (13), Sec. 2,

Introductory Provisions of the Administrative Code of 1987, i. e., any agency organized as a stock or non-stock corporation vested with functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary in nature, and owned by the Government directly or through its instrumentalities either wholly, or, where applicable as in the case of stock corporations, to the extent of at least fifty-one (51) percent of its capital stock. The definition mentions three (3) requisites, namely, first, any agency organized as a stock or non-stock corporation; second, vested with functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary in nature; and, third, owned by the Government directly or through its instrumentalities either wholly, or, where applicable as in the case of stock corporations, to the extent of at least fifty-one (51) percent of its capital stock. In the present case, all three (3) corporations comprising the CIIF companies were organized as stock corporations.1wphi1 The UCPB-CIIF owns 44.10% of the shares of LEGASPI OIL, 91.24% of the shares of GRANEXPORT, and 92.85% of the shares of UNITED COCONUT. 15 Obviously, the below 51% shares of stock in LEGASPI OIL removes this firm from the definition of a government owned or controlled corporation. Our concern has thus been limited to GRANEXPORT and UNITED COCONUT as we go back to the second requisite. Unfortunately, it is in this regard that petitioner failed to substantiate his contentions. There is no showing that GRANEXPORT and/or UNITED COCONUT was vested with functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary in nature unlike PETROPHIL in Quimpo. The Court thus concludes that the CIIF companies are, as found by public respondent, private corporations not within the scope of its jurisdiction. With the foregoing conclusion, we find it unnecessary to resolve the other issues raised by petitioner. A brief note on private respondents' charge of forum shopping. Executive Secretary v. Gordon 16 is instructive that forum shopping consists of filing multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable judgment. It is readily apparent that the present charge will not prosper because the cause of action herein, i. e., violation of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, is different from the cause of action in the case pending before the trial court which is collection of a sum of money plus damages. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The Resolution of public respondent Office of the Ombudsman of 30 January 1998 which dismissed the complaint of petitioner Manuel M. Leyson Jr., as well as its Order of 4 June 1998 denying his motion for reconsideration, is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.1wphi1.nt SO ORDERED. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (Fifth Division) and EFREN L. ALAS, respondents. DECISION CORONA, J.: Does the Sandiganbayan have jurisdiction over presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations organized and incorporated under the Corporation Code for purposes of the provisions of RA 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act? The petitioner, represented by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), takes the affirmative position in this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Respondent Efren L. Alas contends otherwise, together with the respondent court. Pursuant to a resolution dated September 30, 1999 of the Office of the Ombudsman, two separate informations[1] for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft

and Corrupt Practices Act, were filed with the Sandiganbayan on November 17, 1999 against Efren L. Alas. The charges emanated from the alleged anomalous advertising contracts entered into by Alas, in his capacity as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB), with Bagong Buhay Publishing Company which purportedly caused damage and prejudice to the government. On October 30, 2002, Alas filed a motion to quash the informations for lack of jurisdiction, which motion was vehemently opposed by the prosecution. After considering the arguments of both parties, the respondent court ruled that PPSB was a private corporation and that its officers, particularly herein respondent Alas, did not fall under Sandiganbayan jurisdiction. According to the Sandiganbayan: After a careful consideration of the arguments of the accused-movant as well as of that of the prosecution, we are of the considered opinion that the instant motion of the accused is well taken. Indeed, it is the basic thrust of Republic Act as well as (sic) Presidential Decree No. 1606 as amended by President Decree No. 1486 and Republic Act No. 7975 and Republic Act No. 8249 that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction only over public officers unless private persons are charged with them in the commission of the offenses. The records disclosed that while Philippine Postal Savings Bank is a subsidiary of the Philippine Postal Corporation which is a government owned corporation, the same is not created by a special law. It was organized and incorporated under the Corporation Code which is Batas Pambansa Blg. 68. It was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under SEC No. AS094-005593 on June 22, 1994 with a lifetime of fifty (50) years. Under its Articles of Incorporation the purpose for which said entity is formed was primarily for business, xxx Likewise, a scrutiny of the seven (7) secondary purposes of the corporation points to the conclusion that it exists for business. Obviously, it is not involved in the performance of a particular function in the exercise of government power. Thus, its officers and employees are not covered by the GSIS and are under the SSS law, and actions for reinstatement and backwages are not within the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission but by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The Supreme Court, in the case of Trade Unions of the Philippines and Allied Services vs. National Housing Corp., 173 SCRA 33, held that the Civil Service now covers only government owned or controlled corporations with original or legislative charters, those created by an act of Congress or by special law, and not those incorporated under and pursuant to a general legislation. The Highest Court categorically ruled that the Civil Service does not include government-owned or controlled corporation which are organized as subsidiaries of government-owned or controlled corporation under the general corporation law. In Philippine National Oil Company Energy Development Corporation vs. Leogardo, 175 SCRA 26, the Supreme Court emphasized that: The test in determining whether a government-owned or controlled corporation is subject to the Civil Service Law is the manner of its creation such that government corporation created by special charter are subject to its provision while those incorporated under the general corporation law are not within its coverage. Likewise in Davao City Water District vs. Civil Service Commission, 201 SCRA 601 it was held that by government-owned or controlled corporation with original charter we mean governmentowned or controlled corporation created by a special law and not under the Corporation Code of the Philippines while in Llenes vs. Dicdican, et al., 260 SCRA 207, a public officer has been ruled, as a person whose duties involve the exercise of discretion in the performance of the function of government.

Clearly, on the basis of the foregoing pronouncements of the Supreme Court, the accused herein cannot be considered a public officer. Thus, this Court may not exercise jurisdiction over his act.[2] Dissatisfied, the People, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), filed this petition[3] arguing, in essence, that the PPSB was a government-owned or controlled corporation as the term was defined under Section 2(13) of the Administrative Code of 1987. [4] Likewise, in further defining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, RA 8249 did not make a distinction as to the manner of creation of the government-owned or controlled corporations for their officers to fall under its jurisdiction. Hence, being President and Chief Operating Officer of the PPSB at the time of commission of the crimes charged, respondent Alas came under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Quoting at length from the assailed resolution dated February 15, 2001, respondent Alas, on the other hand, practically reiterated the pronouncements made by the respondent court in support of his conclusion that the PPSB was not created by special law, hence, its officers did not fall within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.[5] We find merit in the petition. Section 2(13) of EO 292[6] defines government-owned or controlled corporations as follows: Sec. 2. General Terms Defined Unless the specific words of the text or the context as a whole or a particular statute, shall require a different meaning: xxx xxx xxx

(13) government owned or controlled corporations refer to any agency organized as a stock or nonstock corporation vested with functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary in nature, and owned by the government directly or indirectly or through its instrumentalities either wholly, or where applicable as in the case of stock corporations to the extent of at least 51% of its capital stock: provided, that government owned or controlled corporations maybe further categorized by the department of the budget, the civil service commission and the commission on audit for the purpose of the exercise and discharge of their respective powers, functions and responsibilities with respect to such corporations. From the foregoing, PPSB fits the bill as a government-owned or controlled corporation, and organized and incorporated under the Corporation Code as a subsidiary of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHILPOST). More than 99% of the authorized capital stock of PPSB belongs to the government while the rest is nominally held by its incorporators who are/were themselves officers of PHILPOST. The creation of PPSB was expressly sanctioned by Section 32 of RA 7354, otherwise known as the Postal Service Act of 1992, for purposes of, among others, to encourage and promote the virtue of thrift and the habit of savings among the general public, especially the youth and the marginalized sector in the countryside xxx and to facilitate postal service by receiving collections and making payments, including postal money orders.[7] It is not disputed that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters whenever charges of graft and corruption are involved. However, a question arises whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the same officers in government-owned or controlled corporations organized and incorporated under the Corporation Code in view of the delimitation provided for in Article IX-B Section 2(1) of the 1987 Constitution which states that: SEC. 2. (1) The Civil Service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters.

It should be pointed out however, that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is separate and distinct from the Civil Service Commission. The same is governed by Article XI, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution which provides that the present anti -graft court known as the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law. This provision, in effect, retained the jurisdiction of the anti-graft court as defined under Article XIII, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution which mandated its creation, thus: Sec. 5. The Batasang Pambansa shall create a special court, to be known as Sandiganbayan, which shall have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offense committed by public officers and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be determined by law. (Italics ours) On March 30, 1995, Congress, pursuant to its authority vested under the 1987 Constitution, enacted RA 7975[8] maintaining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations without any distinction whatsoever. Thereafter, on February 5, 1997, Congress enacted RA 8249 [9] which preserved the subject provision: Section 4, Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving: a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense, (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director, and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758) specifically including: xxx xxx xxx (g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. (Italics ours) The legislature, in mandating the inclusion of presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, has consistently refrained from making any distinction with respect to the manner of their creation. The deliberate omission, in our view, clearly reveals the intention of the legislature to include the presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of both types of corporations within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan whenever they are involved in graft and corruption. Had it been otherwise, it could have simply made the necessary distinction. But it did not. It is a basic principle of statutory construction that when the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos. Corollarily, Article XI Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution, on the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman (the governments prosecutory arm against persons charged with graft and corruption), includes officers and employees of government-owned or controlled corporations, likewise without any distinction.

In Quimpo v. Tanodbayan,[10] this Court, already mindful of the pertinent provisions of the 1987 Constitution, ruled that the concerned officers of government-owned or controlled corporations, whether created by special law or formed under the Corporation Code, come under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan for purposes of the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Otherwise, as we emphasized therein, a major policy of Government, which is to eradicate, or at the very least minimize, the graft and corruption that has permeated the fabric of the public service like a malignant social cancer, would be seriously undermined. In fact, Section 1 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act embodies this policy of the government, that is, to repress certain acts not only of public officers but also of private persons constituting graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto. The foregoing pronouncement has not outlived its usefulness. On the contrary, it has become even more relevant today due to the rampant cases of graft and corruption that erode the peoples faith in government. For indeed, a government-owned or controlled corporation can conceivably create as many subsidiary corporations under the Corporation Code as it might wish, use public funds, disclaim public accountability and escape the liabilities and responsibilities provided by law. By including the concerned officers of government-owned or controlled corporations organized and incorporated under the Corporation Code within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the legislature evidently seeks to avoid just that. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed resolution dated February 15, 2001 of the respondent court is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED. COMMISSIONER OF vs. GENERAL FOODS (PHILS.), INC., respondent. CORONA, J.: Petitioner Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Commissioner) assails the resolution 1 of the Court of Appeals reversing the decision2 of the Court of Tax Appeals which in turn denied the protest filed by respondent General Foods (Phils.), Inc., regarding the assessment made against the latter for deficiency taxes. The records reveal that, on June 14, 1985, respondent corporation, which is engaged in the manufacture of beverages such as "Tang," "Calumet" and "Kool-Aid," filed its income tax return for the fiscal year ending February 28, 1985. In said tax return, respondent corporation claimed as deduction, among other business expenses, the amount of P9,461,246 for media advertising for "Tang." On May 31, 1988, the Commissioner disallowed 50% or P4,730,623 of the deduction claimed by respondent corporation. Consequently, respondent corporation was assessed deficiency income taxes in the amount of P2,635, 141.42. The latter filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. On September 29, 1989, respondent corporation appealed to the Court of Tax Appeals but the appeal was dismissed: With such a gargantuan expense for the advertisement of a singular product, which even excludes "other advertising and promotions" expenses, we are not prepared to accept that such amount is reasonable "to stimulate the current sale of merchandise" regardless of Petitioners explanation that such expense "does not connote unreasonableness INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner,

considering the grave economic situation taking place after the Aquino assassination characterized by capital fight, strong deterioration of the purchasing power of the Philippine peso and the slacking demand for consumer products" (Petitioners Memorandum, CTA Records, p. 273). We are not convinced with such an explanation. The staggering expense led us to believe that such expenditure was incurred "to create or maintain some form of good will for the taxpayers trade or business or for the industry or profession of which the taxpayer is a member." The term "good will" can hardly be said to have any precise signification; it is generally used to denote the benefit arising from connection and reputation (Words and Phrases, Vol. 18, p. 556 citing Douhart vs. Loagan, 86 III. App. 294). As held in the case of Welch vs. Helvering, efforts to establish reputation are akin to acquisition of capital assets and, therefore, expenses related thereto are not business expenses but capital expenditures. (Atlas Mining and Development Corp. vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, supra). For sure such expenditure was meant not only to generate present sales but more for future and prospective benefits. Hence, "abnormally large expenditures for advertising are usually to be spread over the period of years during which the benefits of the expenditures are received" (Mertens, supra, citing Colonial Ice Cream Co., 7 BTA 154). WHEREFORE, in all the foregoing, and finding no error in the case appealed from, we hereby RESOLVE to DISMISS the instant petition for lack of merit and ORDER the Petitioner to pay the respondent Commissioner the assessed amount of P2,635,141.42 representing its deficiency income tax liability for the fiscal year ended February 28, 1985."3 Aggrieved, respondent corporation filed a petition for review at the Court of Appeals which rendered a decision reversing and setting aside the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals: Since it has not been sufficiently established that the item it claimed as a deduction is excessive, the same should be allowed. WHEREFORE, the petition of petitioner General Foods (Philippines), Inc. is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Decision, dated 8 February 1994 of respondent Court of Tax Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the letter, dated 31 May 1988 of respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue is CANCELLED. SO ORDERED.4 Thus, the instant petition, wherein the Commissioner presents for the Courts consideration a lone issue: whether or not the subject media advertising expense for "Tang" incurred by respondent corporation was an ordinary and necessary expense fully deductible under the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). It is a governing principle in taxation that tax exemptions must be construed in strictissimi juris against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing authority; 5 and he who claims an exemption must be able to justify his claim by the clearest grant of organic or statute law. An exemption from the common burden cannot be permitted to exist upon vague implications. 6 Deductions for income tax purposes partake of the nature of tax exemptions; hence, if tax exemptions are strictly construed, then deductions must also be strictly construed. We then proceed to resolve the singular issue in the case at bar. Was the media advertising expense for "Tang" paid or incurred by respondent corporation for the fiscal year ending February 28, 1985 "necessary and ordinary," hence, fully deductible under the NIRC? Or was it a capital expenditure,

paid in order to create "goodwill and reputation" for respondent corporation and/or its products, which should have been amortized over a reasonable period? Section 34 (A) (1), formerly Section 29 (a) (1) (A), of the NIRC provides: (A) Expenses.(1) Ordinary and necessary trade, business or professional expenses.(a) In general.- There shall be allowed as deduction from gross income all ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on, or which are directly attributable to, the development, management, operation and/or conduct of the trade, business or exercise of a profession. Simply put, to be deductible from gross income, the subject advertising expense must comply with the following requisites: (a) the expense must be ordinary and necessary; (b) it must have been paid or incurred during the taxable year; (c) it must have been paid or incurred in carrying on the trade or business of the taxpayer; and (d) it must be supported by receipts, records or other pertinent papers.7 The parties are in agreement that the subject advertising expense was paid or incurred within the corresponding taxable year and was incurred in carrying on a trade or business. Hence, it was necessary. However, their views conflict as to whether or not it was ordinary. To be deductible, an advertising expense should not only be necessary but also ordinary. These two requirements must be met. The Commissioner maintains that the subject advertising expense was not ordinary on the ground that it failed the two conditions set by U.S. jurisprudence: first, "reasonableness" of the amount incurred and second, the amount incurred must not be a capital outlay to create "goodwill" for the product and/or private respondents business. Otherwise, the expense must be considered a capital expenditure to be spread out over a reasonable time. We agree. There is yet to be a clear-cut criteria or fixed test for determining the reasonableness of an advertising expense. There being no hard and fast rule on the matter, the right to a deduction depends on a number of factors such as but not limited to: the type and size of business in which the taxpayer is engaged; the volume and amount of its net earnings; the nature of the expenditure itself; the intention of the taxpayer and the general economic conditions. It is the interplay of these, among other factors and properly weighed, that will yield a proper evaluation. In the case at bar, the P9,461,246 claimed as media advertising expense for "Tang" alone was almost one-half of its total claim for "marketing expenses." Aside from that, respondent-corporation also claimed P2,678,328 as "other advertising and promotions expense" and another P1,548,614, for consumer promotion. Furthermore, the subject P9,461,246 media advertising expense for "Tang" was almost double the amount of respondent corporations P4,640,636 general and administrative expenses.

We find the subject expense for the advertisement of a single product to be inordinately large. Therefore, even if it is necessary, it cannot be considered an ordinary expense deductible under then Section 29 (a) (1) (A) of the NIRC. Advertising is generally of two kinds: (1) advertising to stimulate the current sale of merchandise or use of services and (2) advertising designed to stimulate the future sale of merchandise or use of services. The second type involves expenditures incurred, in whole or in part, to create or maintain some form of goodwill for the taxpayers trade or business or for the industry or professio n of which the taxpayer is a member. If the expenditures are for the advertising of the first kind, then, except as to the question of the reasonableness of amount, there is no doubt such expenditures are deductible as business expenses. If, however, the expenditures are for advertising of the second kind, then normally they should be spread out over a reasonable period of time. We agree with the Court of Tax Appeals that the subject advertising expense was of the second kind. Not only was the amount staggering; the respondent corporation itself also admitted, in its letter protest8 to the Commissioner of Internal Revenues assessment, that the subject media expense was incurred in order to protect respondent corporations brand franchise, a critical point d uring the period under review. The protection of brand franchise is analogous to the maintenance of goodwill or title to ones property. This is a capital expenditure which should be spread out over a reasonable period of time.9 Respondent corporations venture to protect its brand franchise was tantamount to efforts to establish a reputation. This was akin to the acquisition of capital assets and therefore expenses related thereto were not to be considered as business expenses but as capital expenditures. 10 True, it is the taxpayers prerogative to determine the amount of advertising expenses it will incur and where to apply them.11 Said prerogative, however, is subject to certain considerations. The first relates to the extent to which the expenditures are actually capital outlays; this necessitates an inquiry into the nature or purpose of such expenditures. 12 The second, which must be applied in harmony with the first, relates to whether the expenditures are ordinary and necessary. Concomitantly, for an expense to be considered ordinary, it must be reasonable in amount. The Court of Tax Appeals ruled that respondent corporation failed to meet the two foregoing limitations. We find said ruling to be well founded. Respondent corporation incurred the subject advertising expense in order to protect its brand franchise. We consider this as a capital outlay since it created goodwill for its business and/or product. The P9,461,246 media advertising expense for the promotion of a single product, almost one-half of petitioner corporations entire claim for marketing expenses for that year under review, inclusive of other advertising and promotion expenses of P2,678,328 and P1,548,614 for consumer promotion, is doubtlessly unreasonable. It has been a long standing policy and practice of the Court to respect the conclusions of quasijudicial agencies such as the Court of Tax Appeals, a highly specialized body specifically created for the purpose of reviewing tax cases. The CTA, by the nature of its functions, is dedicated exclusively to the study and consideration of tax problems. It has necessarily developed an expertise on the subject. We extend due consideration to its opinion unless there is an abuse or improvident exercise of authority.13 Since there is none in the case at bar, the Court adheres to the findings of the CTA. Accordingly, we find that the Court of Appeals committed reversible error when it declared the subject media advertising expense to be deductible as an ordinary and necessary expense on the ground that "it has not been established that the item being claimed as deduction is excessive." It is not incumbent upon the taxing authority to prove that the amount of items being claimed is

unreasonable. The burden of proof to establish the validity of claimed deductions is on the taxpayer.14 In the present case, that burden was not discharged satisfactorily. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Pursuant to Sections 248 and 249 of the Tax Code, respondent General Foods (Phils.), Inc. is hereby ordered to pay its deficiency income tax in the amount of P2,635,141.42, plus 25% surcharge for late payment and 20% annual interest computed from August 25, 1989, the date of the denial of its protest, until the same is fully paid. SO ORDERED. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, vs. THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN ASSURANCE COMPANY, INC., and THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE CO., INC.,Respondents. DECISION CARPIO, J.: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review 1 assailing the Decision2 of 7 January 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 36816. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Decision3 of 5 January 1995 of the Court of Tax Appeals ("CTA") in CTA Cases Nos. 2514, 2515 and 2516. The CTA ordered the Commissioner of Internal Revenue ("petitioner") to refund a total of P29,575.02 to respondent companies ("respondents"). Antecedent Facts Respondents are domestic corporations licensed to transact insurance business in the country. From August 1971 to September 1972, respondents paid the Bureau of Internal Revenue under protest the 3% tax imposed on lending investors by Section 195-A4 of Commonwealth Act No. 466 ("CA 466"), as amended by Republic Act No. 6110 ("RA 6110") and other laws. CA 466 was the National Internal Revenue Code ("NIRC") applicable at the time. Respondents paid the following amounts: P7,985.25 from Philippine American ("PHILAM") Accident Insurance Company; P7,047.80 from PHILAM Assurance Company; and P14,541.97 from PHILAM General Insurance Company. These amounts represented 3% of each companys interest income from mortgage and other loans. Respondents also paid the taxes required of insurance companies under CA 466. On 31 January 1973, respondents sent a letter-claim to petitioner seeking a refund of the taxes paid under protest. When respondents did not receive a response, each respondent filed on 26 April 1973 a petition for review with the CTA. These three petitions, which were later consolidated, argued that respondents were not lending investors and as such were not subject to the 3% lending investors tax under Section 195-A.

The CTA archived respondents case for several years while another case with a similar issue was pending before the higher courts. When respondents case was reinstated, the CTA ruled that respondents were entitled to their refund. The Ruling of the Court of Tax Appeals The CTA held that respondents are not taxable as lending investors because the term "lending investors" does not embrace insurance companies. The CTA traced the history of the tax on lending investors, as follows: Originally, a person who was engaged in lending money at interest was taxed as a money lender. [Sec. 1464(x), Rev. Adm. Code] The term money lenders was defined as including "all persons who make a practice of lending money for themselves or others at interest." [Sec. 1465(v), id.] Under this law, an insurance company was not considered a money lender and was not taxable as such. To quote from an old BIR Ruling: "The lending of money at interest by insurance companies constitutes a necessary incident of their regular business. For this reason, insurance companies are not liable to tax as money lenders or real estate brokers for making or negotiating loans secured by real property. (Ruling, February 28, 1920; BIR 135.2)" (The Internal Revenue Law, Annotated, 2nd ed., 1929, by B.L. Meer, page 143) The same rule has been applied to banks. "For making investments on salary loans, banks will not be required to pay the money lenders tax imposed by this subsection, for the reason that money lending is considered a mere incident of the banking business. [See Ruling No. 43, (October 8, 1926) 25 Off. Gaz. 1326)" (The Internal Revenue Law, Annotated, id.) The term "money lenders" was later changed to "lending investors" but the definition of the term remains the same. [Sec. 1464(x), Rev. Adm. Code, as finally amended by Com. Act No. 215, and Sec. 1465(v) of the same Code, as finally amended by Act No. 3963] The same law is embodied in the present National Internal Revenue Code (Com. Act No. 466) without change, except in the amount of the tax. [See Secs. 182(A) (3) (dd) and 194(u), National Internal Revenue Code.] It is a well-settled rule that an administrative interpretation of a law which has been followed and applied for a long time, and thereafter the law is re-enacted without substantial change, such administrative interpretation is deemed to have received legislative approval. In short, the administrative interpretation becomes part of the law as it is presumed to carry out the legislative purpose.5 The CTA held that the practice of lending money at interest is part of the insurance business. CA 466 already taxes the insurance business. The CTA pointed out that the law recognizes and even regulates this practice of lending money by insurance companies. The CTA observed that CA 466 also treated differently insurance companies from lending investors in regard to fixed taxes. Under Section 182(A)(3)(gg), insurance companies were subject to the same fixed tax as banks and finance companies. The CTA reasoned that insurance companies were grouped with banks and finance companies because the latters lending activities were also integral

to their business. In contrast, lending investors were taxed at a different fixed tax under Section 182(A)(3)(dd) of CA 466. The CTA stated that "insurance companies xxx had never been required by respondent [CIR] to pay the fixed tax imposed on lending investors xxx."6 The dispositive portion of the Decision of 5 January 1995 of the Court of Tax Appeals ("CTA Decision") reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, petitioners Philippine American Accident Insurance Co., Philippine American Assurance Co., and Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc. are not taxable on their lending transactions independently of their insurance business. Accordingly, respondent is hereby ordered to refund to petitioner[s] the sum of P7,985.25, P7,047.80 and P14,541.97 in CTA Cases No. 2514, 2515 and 2516, respectively representing the fixed and percentage taxes when (sic) paid by petitioners as lending investor from August 1971 to September 1972. No pronouncement as to cost. SO ORDERED.7 Dissatisfied, petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. 8 The Ruling of the Court of Appeals The Court of Appeals ruled that respondents are not taxable as lending investors. In its Decision of 7 January 2000 ("CA Decision"), the Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the CTA, thus: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED, hereby AFFIRMING the decision, dated January 5, 1995, of the Court of Tax Appeals in CTA Cases Nos. 2514, 2515 and 2516. SO ORDERED.9 Petitioner appealed the CA Decision to this Court. The Issues Petitioner raises the sole issue: WHETHER RESPONDENT INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE SUBJECT TO THE 3% PERCENTAGE TAX AS LENDING INVESTORS UNDER SECTIONS 182(A)(3)(DD) AND 195A, RESPECTIVELY IN RELATION TO SECTION 194(U), ALL OF THE NIRC. 10 The Ruling of the Court The petition lacks merit. On the Additional Issue Raised by Petitioner

Section 182(A)(3)(dd) of CA 466 imposes an annual fixed tax on lending investors, depending on their location.11 The sole question before the CTA was whether respondents were subject to the percentage tax on lending investors under Section 195-A. Petitioner raised for the first time the issue of the fixed tax in the Petition for Review12 petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals. Ordinarily, a party cannot raise for the first time on appeal an issue not raised in the trial court.13 The Court of Appeals should not have taken cognizance of the issue on respondents supposed liability under Section 182(A)(3)(dd). However, we cannot entirely fault the Court of Appeals or petitioner. Even if the percentage tax on lending investors was the sole issue before it, the CTA ordered petitioner to refund to the PHILAM companies "the fixed and percentage taxes [t]hen paid by petitioners as lending investor."14 Although the amounts for refund consisted only of what respondents paid as percentage taxes, the CTA Decision also ordered the refund to respondents of the fixed tax on lending investors. Respondents in their pleadings deny any liability under Section 182(A)(3)(dd), on the same ground that they are not lending investors. The question of whether respondents should pay the fixed tax under Section 182(A)(3)(dd) revolves around the same issue of whether respondents are taxable as lending investors. In similar circumstances, the Court has held that an appellate court may consider an unassigned error if it is closely related to an error that was properly assigned. 15 This rule properly applies to the present case. Thus, we shall consider and rule on the issue of whether respondents are subject to the fixed tax under Section 182(A)(3)(dd). Whether Insurance Taxable as Lending Investors Companies are

(3) Other fixed taxes. The following fixed taxes shall be collected as follows, the amount stated being for the whole year, when not otherwise specified; xxx (dd) Lending investors 1. In chartered cities and first class municipalities, five hundred pesos; 2. In second and third class municipalities, two hundred and fifty pesos; 3. In fourth and fifth class municipalities and municipal districts, one hundred and twenty-five pesos; Provided, That lending investors who do business as such in more than one province shall pay a tax of five hundred pesos. Section 195-A of CA 466 provides: Sec. 195-A. Percentage tax on dealers in securities; lending investors. Dealers in securities and lending investors shall pay a tax equivalent to three per centum on their gross income. Neither Section 182(A)(3)(dd) nor Section 195-A mentions insurance companies. Section 182(A)(3)(dd) provides for the taxation of lending investors in different localities. Section 195-A refers to dealers in securities and lending investors. The burden is thus on petitioner to show that insurance companies are lending investors for purposes of taxation. In this case, petitioner does not dispute that respondents are in the insurance business. Petitioner merely alleges that the definition of lending investors under CA 466 is broad enough to encompass insurance companies. Petitioner insists that because of Section 194(u), the two principal activities of the insurance business, namely, underwriting and investment, are separately taxable. 20 Section 194(u) of CA 466 states: (u) "Lending investor" includes all persons who make a practice of lending money for themselves or others at interest. xxx As can be seen, Section 194(u) does not tax the practice of lending per se. It merely defines what lending investors are. The question is whether the lending activities of insurance companies make them lending investors for purposes of taxation. We agree with the CTA and Court of Appeals that it does not. Insurance companies cannot be considered lending investors under CA 466, as amended. Definition Investors Not Companies. of Include Lending Does Insurance

Invoking Sections 195-A and 182(A)(3)(dd) in relation to Section 194(u) of CA 466, petitioner argues that insurance companies are subject to two fixed taxes and two percentage taxes. Petitioner alleges that: As a lending investor, an insurance company is subject to an annual fixed tax of P500.00 and anotherP500.00 under Section 182 (A)(3)(dd) and (gg) of the Tax Code. As an underwriter, an insurance company is subject to the 3% tax of the total premiums collected and another 3% on the gross receipts as a lending investor under Sections 255 and 195-A, respectively of the same Code. xxx16 Petitioner also contends that the refund granted to respondents is in the nature of a tax exemption, and cannot be allowed unless granted explicitly and categorically. The rule that tax exemptions should be construed strictly against the taxpayer presupposes that the taxpayer is clearly subject to the tax being levied against him. Unless a statute imposes a tax clearly, expressly and unambiguously, what applies is the equally well-settled rule that the imposition of a tax cannot be presumed.17Where there is doubt, tax laws must be construed strictly against the government and in favor of the taxpayer.18This is because taxes are burdens on the taxpayer, and should not be unduly imposed or presumed beyond what the statutes expressly and clearly import.19 Section 182(A)(3)(dd) of CA 466 also provides: Sec. 182. Fixed taxes. (A) On business xxx xxx

under

CA

466

The definition in Section 194(u) of CA 466 is not broad enough to include the business of insurance companies. The Insurance Code of 197821 is very clear on what constitutes an insurance company. It provides that an insurer or insurance company "shall include all individuals, partnerships, associations or corporations xxx engaged as principals in the insurance business, excepting mutual benefit associations."22 More specifically, respondents fall under the category of insurance corporations as defined in Section 185 of the Insurance Code, thus: SECTION 185. Corporations formed or organized to save any person or persons or other corporations harmless from loss, damage, or liability arising from any unknown or future or contingent event, or to indemnify or to compensate any person or persons or other corporations for any such loss, damage, or liability, or to guarantee the performance of or compliance with contractual obligations or the payment of debts of others shall be known as "insurance corporations." Plainly, insurance companies and lending investors are different enterprises in the eyes of the law. Lending investors cannot, for a consideration, hold anyone harmless from loss, damage or liability, nor provide compensation or indemnity for loss. The underwriting of risks is the prerogative of insurers, the great majority of which are incorporated insurance companies 23 like respondents. Granting other Practices Insurance Business. of Loans Mortgage are Part and Investment the

to provide for policy obligations or as capital and surplus to provide an extra margin of safety which will be attractive to insurance buyers.29 The Court has also held that when a company is taxed on its main business, it is no longer taxable further for engaging in an activity or work which is merely a part of, incidental to and is necessary to its main business.30Respondents already paid percentage and fixed taxes on their insurance business. To require them to pay percentage and fixed taxes again for an activity which is necessarily a part of the same business, the law must expressly require such additional payment of tax. There is, however, no provision of law requiring such additional payment of tax. Sections 195-A and 182(A)(3)(dd) of CA 466 do not require insurance companies to pay double percentage and fixed taxes. They merely tax lending investors, not lending activities. Respondents were not transformed into lending investors by the mere fact that they granted loans, as these investments were part of, incidental and necessary to their insurance business. Different Insurance Lending Investors. Tax Treatment of and

Companies

that

are

of

Section 182(A)(3) of CA 466 accorded different tax treatments to lending investors and insurance companies. The relevant portions of Section 182 state: Sec. 182. Fixed taxes. (A) On business xxx (3) Other fixed taxes. The following fixed taxes shall be collected as follows, the amount stated being for the whole year, when not otherwise specified; xxx

True, respondents granted mortgage and other kinds of loans. However, this was not done independently of respondents insurance business. The granting of certain loans is one of several means of investment allowed to insurance companies. No less than the Insurance Code mandates and regulates this practice.24 Unlike the practice of lending investors, the lending activities of insurance companies are circumscribed and strictly regulated by the State. Insurance companies cannot freely lend to "themselves or others" as lending investors can,25 nor can insurance companies grant simply any kind of loan. Even prior to 1978, the Insurance Code prescribed strict rules for the granting of loans by insurance companies.26 These provisions on mortgage, collateral and policy loans were reiterated in the Insurance Code of 1978 and are still in force today. Petitioner concedes that respondents investment practices are as much a part of the insurance business as the task of underwriting. Nevertheless, petitioner argues that such investment practices are separately taxable under CA 466. The CTA and the Court of Appeals found that the investment of premiums and other funds received by respondents through the granting of mortgage and other loans was necessary to respondents business and hence, should not be taxed separately. Insurance companies are required by law to possess and maintain substantial legal reserves to meet their obligations to policyholders.27 This obviously cannot be accomplished through the collection of premiums alone, as the legal reserves and capital and surplus insurance companies are obligated to maintain run into millions of pesos. As such, the creation of "investment income" has long been held to be generally, if not necessarily,essential to the business of insurance.28 The creation of investment income in the manner sanctioned by the laws on insurance is thus part of the business of insurance, and the fruits of these investments are essentially income from the insurance business. This is particularly true if the invested assets are held either as reserved funds

(dd) Lending investors 1. In chartered cities and first class municipalities, five hundred pesos; 2. In second and third class municipalities, two hundred and fifty pesos; 3. In fourth and fifth class municipalities and municipal districts, one hundred and twenty-five pesos; Provided, That lending investors who do business as such in more than one province shall pay a tax of five hundred pesos. xxx (gg) Banks, insurance companies, finance and investment companies doing business in the Philippines and franchise grantees, five hundred pesos. xxx (Emphasis supplied.) The separate provisions on lending investors and insurance companies demonstrate an intention to treat these businesses differently. If Congress intended insurance companies to be taxed as lending investors, there would be no need for Section 182(A)(3)(gg). Section 182(A)(3)(dd) would have been sufficient. That insurance companies were included with banks, finance and investment

companies also supports the CTAs conclusion that insurance companies had more in common with the latter enterprises than with lending investors. As the CTA pointed out, banks also regularly lend money at interest, but are not taxable as lending investors. We find no merit in petitioners contention that Congress intended to subject respondents to two percentage taxes and two fixed taxes. Petitioners argument goes against the doctrine of strict interpretation of tax impositions. Petitioners argument is likewise not in accord with existing jurisprudence. In Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Michel J. Lhuillier Pawnshop, Inc.,31 the Court ruled that the different tax treatment accorded to pawnshops and lending investors in the NIRC of 1977 and the NIRC of 1986 showed "the intent of Congress to deal with both subjects differently." The same reasoning applies squarely to the present case. Even the current tax law does not treat insurance companies as lending investors. Under Section 108(A)32 of the NIRC of 1997, lending investors and non-life insurance companies, except for their crop insurances, are subject to value-added tax ("VAT"). Life insurance companies are exempt from VAT, but are subject to percentage tax under Section 123 of the NIRC of 1997. Indeed, the fact that Sections 195-A and 182(A)(3)(dd) of CA 466 failed to mention insurance companies already implies the latters exclusion from the coverage of these provisions. When a statute enumerates the things upon which it is to operate, everything else by implication must be excluded from its operation and effect.33 Definition Investors New. of Lending Not

"Money lender" includes all persons who make a practice of lending money for themselves or others at interest. (Emphasis supplied) As can be seen, the definitions of "money lender" under the 1914 Tax Code and "lending investor" under CA 466 are identical. The term "money lender" was merely changed to "lending investor" when Act No. 3963 amended the Revised Administrative Code in 1932. 35 This same definition of lending investor has since appeared in Section 194(u) of CA 466 and later tax laws. Note that insurance companies were not included among the businesses subject to an annual fixed tax under the 1914 Tax Code.36 That Congress later saw the need to introduce Section 182(A)(3)(gg) in CA 466 bolsters our view that there was no legislative intent to tax insurance companies as lending investors. If insurance companies were already taxed as lending investors, there would have been no need for a separate provision specifically requiring insurance companies to pay fixed taxes. The Weight of the CTA. Court Accords Factual Great Findings

to

the

Dedicated exclusively to the study and consideration of tax problems, the CTA has necessarily developed an expertise in the subject of taxation that this Court has recognized time and again. For this reason, the findings of fact of the CTA, particularly when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are generally conclusive on this Court absent grave abuse of discretion or palpable error, 37 which are not present in this case. WHEREFORE, we DENY the instant petition and AFFIRM the Decision of 7 January 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 36816. SO ORDERED.

in

CA

466

is

Petitioner does not dispute that it issued a ruling in 1920 to the effect that the lending of money at interest was a necessary incident of the insurance business, and that insurance companies were thus not subject to the tax on money lenders. Petitioner argues only that the 1920 ruling does not apply to the instant case because RA 6110 introduced the definition of lending investors to CA 466 only in 1969. The subject definition was actually introduced much earlier, at a time when lending investors were still referred to as money lenders. Sections 45 and 46 of the Internal Revenue Law of 1914 34 ("1914 Tax Code") state: SECTION 45. Amount of Tax on Business. Fixed taxes on business shall be collected as follows, the amount stated being for the whole year, when not otherwise specified: xxx (x) Money lenders, eighty pesos; xxx SECTION 46. Words and Phrases Defined. In applying the provisions of the preceding section words and phrases shall be taken in the sense and extension indicated below: xxx

DRIANITA BAGAOISAN, FELY MADRIAGA, SHIRLY TAGABAN, RICARDO SARANDI, SUSAN IMPERIAL, BENJAMIN DEMDEM, RODOLFO DAGA, EDGARDO BACLIG, GREGORIO LABAYAN, HILARIO JEREZ, and MARIA CORAZON CUANANG, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION, represented by ANTONIO DE GUZMAN and PERLITA BAULA, respondents. DECISION VITUG, J.: President Joseph Estrada issued on 30 September 1998 Executive Order No. 29, entitled Mandating the Streamlining of the National Tobacco Administration (NTA), a government agency under the Department of Agriculture. The order was followed by another issuance, on 27 October 1998, by President Estrada of Executive Order No. 36, amending Executive Order No. 29, insofar as the new staffing pattern was concerned, by increasing from four hundred (400) to not exceeding seven hundred fifty (750) the positions affected thereby. In compliance therewith, the NTA prepared and adopted a new Organization Structure and Staffing Pattern (OSSP) which, on 29 October 1998, was submitted to the Office of the President. On 11 November 1998, the rank and file employees of NTA Batac, among whom included herein petitioners, filed a letter-appeal with the Civil Service Commission and sought its assistance in recalling the OSSP. On 04 December 1998, the OSSP was approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) subject to certain revisions. On even date, the NTA created a placement committee to assist the appointing authority in the selection and placement of permanent personnel

in the revised OSSP. The results of the evaluation by the committee on the individual qualifications of applicants to the positions in the new OSSP were then disseminated and posted at the central and provincial offices of the NTA. On 10 June 1996, petitioners, all occupying different positions at the NTA office in Batac, Ilocos Norte, received individual notices of termination of their employment with the NTA effective thirty (30) days from receipt thereof. Finding themselves without any immediate relief from their dismissal from the service, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus,with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order, with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Batac, Ilocos Norte, and prayed 1) that a restraining order be immediately issued enjoining the respondents from enforcing the notice of termination addressed individually to the petitioners and/or from committing further acts of dispossession and/or ousting the petitioners from their respective offices; 2) that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued against the respondents, commanding them to maintain the status quo to protect the rights of the petitioners pending the determination of the validity of the implementation of their dismissal from the service; and 3) that, after trial on the merits, judgment be rendered declaring the notice of termination of the petitioners illegal and the reorganization null and void and ordering their reinstatement with backwages, if applicable, commanding the respondents to desist from further terminating their services, and making the injunction permanent.[1] The RTC, on 09 September 2000, ordered the NTA to appoint petitioners in the new OSSP to positions similar or comparable to their respective former assignments. A motion for reconsideration filed by the NTA was denied by the trial court in its order of 28 February 2001. Thereupon, the NTA filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, raising the following issues: I. Whether or not respondents submitted evidence as proof that petitioners, individually, were not the best qualified and most deserving among the incumbent applicant-employees. Whether or not incumbent permanent employees, including herein petitioners, automatically enjoy a preferential right and the right of first refusal to appointments/reappointments in the new Organization Structure And Staffing Pattern (OSSP) of respondent NTA. Whether or not respondent NTA in implementing the mandated reorganization pursuant to E.O. No. 29, as amended by E.O. No. 36, strictly adhere to the implementing rules on reorganization, particularly RA 6656 and of the Civil Service Commission Rules on Government Reorganization. II.

certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; The Court of Appeals erred in upholding Executive Order Nos. 29 and 36 of the Office of the President which are mere administrative issuances which do not have the force and effect of a law to warrant abolition of positions and/or effecting total reorganization; The Court of Appeals erred in holding that petitioners removal from the service is in accordance with law;

III.

IV. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that respondent NTA was not guilty of bad faith in the termination of the services of petitioners; (and) V. The Court of Appeals erred in ignoring case law/jurisprudence in the abolition of an office.[3]

In its resolution of 10 July 2002, the Court required the NTA to file its comment on the petition. On 18 November 2002, after the NTA had filed its comment of 23 September 2002, the Court issued its resolution denying the petition for failure of petitioners to sufficiently show any reversible error on the part of the appellate court in its challenged decision so as to warrant the exercise by this Court of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction. A motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied in the Courts resolution of 20 January 2002. On 21 February 2003, petitioners submitted a Motion to Admit Petition For En Banc Resolution of the case allegedly to address a basic question, i.e., the legal and constitutional issue on whether the NTA may be reorganized by an executive fiat, not by legislative action. [4] In their Petition for an En Banc Resolution petitioners would have it that 1. The Court of Appeals decision upholding the reorganization of the National Tobacco Administration sets a dangerous precedent in that: a) A mere Executive Order issued by the Office of the President and procured by a government functionary would have the effect of a blanket authority to reorganize a bureau, office or agency attached to the various executive departments; b) The President of the Philippines would have the plenary power to reorganize the entire government Bureaucracy through the issuance of an Executive Order, an administrative issuance without the benefit of due deliberation, debate and discussion of members of both chambers of the Congress of the Philippines; c) The right to security of tenure to a career position created by law or statute would be defeated by the mere adoption of an Organizational Structure and Staffing Pattern issued pursuant to an Executive Order which is not a law and could thus not abolish an office created by law; 2. The case law on abolition of an office would be disregarded, ignored and abandoned if the Court of Appeals decision subject matter of this Petition would remain undisturbed and untouched. In other words, previous doctrines and precedents of this Highest Court would in effect be reversed and/or modified with the Court of Appeals judgment, should it remain unchallenged. 3. Section 4 of Executive Order No. 245 dated July 24, 1987 (Annex D, Petition), issued by the Revolutionary government of former President Corazon Aquino, and the law creating NTA, which

II.

III.

IV. Whether or not the validity of E.O. Nos. 29 and 36 can be put in issue in the instant case/appeal.[2] On 20 February 2002, the appellate court rendered a decision reversing and setting aside the assailed orders of the trial court. Petitioners went to this Court to assail the decision of the Court of Appeals, contending that I. The Court of Appeals erred in making a finding that went beyond the issues of the case and which are contrary to those of the trial court and that it overlooked

provides that the governing body of NTA is the Board of Directors, would be rendered meaningless, ineffective and a dead letter law because the challenged NTA reorganization which was erroneously upheld by the Court of Appeals was adopted and implemented by then NTA Administrator Antonio de Guzman without the corresponding authority from the Board of Directors as mandated therein. In brief, the reorganization is an ultra vires act of the NTA Administrator. 4. The challenged Executive Order No. 29 issued by former President Joseph Estrada but unsigned by then Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora would in effect be erroneously upheld and given legal effect as to supersede, amend and/or modify Executive Order No. 245, a law issued during the Freedom Constitution of President Corazon Aquino. In brief, a mere executive order would amend, supersede and/or render ineffective a law or statute.[5] In order to allow the parties a full opportunity to ventilate their views on the matter, the Court ultimately resolved to hear the parties in oral argument. Essentially, the core question raised by them is whether or not the President, through the issuance of an executive order, can validly carry out the reorganization of the NTA. Notwithstanding the apparent procedural lapse on the part of petitioner to implead the Office of the President as party respondent pursuant to Section 7, Rule 3, of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, [6] this Court resolved to rule on the merits of the petition. Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB vs. Zamora[7] ruled that the President, based on existing laws, had the authority to carry out a reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive department. In said case, Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB challenged the issuance, and sought the nullification, of Executive Order No. 191 (Deactivation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau) and Executive Order No. 223 (Supplementary Executive Order No. 191 on the Deactivation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau and for Other Matters) on the ground that they were issued by the President with grave abuse of discretion and in violation of their constitutional right to security of tenure. The Court explained: The general rule has always been that the power to abolish a public office is lodged with the legislature. This proceeds from the legal precept that the power to create includes the power to destroy. A public office is either created by the Constitution, by statute, or by authority of law. Thus, except where the office was created by the Constitution itself, it may be abolished by the same legislature that brought it into existence. The exception, however, is that as far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the executive department are concerned, the Presidents power of control may justify him to inactivate the functions of a particular office, or certain laws may grant him the broad authority to carry out reorganization measures. The case in point is Larin v. Executive Secretary [280 SCRA 713]. In this case, it was argued that there is no law which empowers the President to reorganize the BIR. In decreeing otherwise, this Court sustained the following legal basis, thus: `Initially, it is argued that there is no law yet which empowers the President to issue E.O. No. 132 or to reorganize the BIR. `We do not agree. `x x x `Section 48 of R.A. 7645 provides that: xxx

``Sec. 48. Scaling Down and Phase Out of Activities of Agencies Within the Executive Branch. The heads of departments, bureaus and offices and agencies are hereby directed to identify their respective activities which are no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased out or abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations. x x x. Actual scaling down, phasing out or abolition of the activities shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of the President. `Said provision clearly mentions the acts of `scaling down, phasing out and abolition of offices only and does not cover the creation of offices or transfer of functions. Nevertheless, the act of creating and decentralizing is included in the subsequent provision of Section 62 which provides that: ``Sec. 62. Unauthorized organizational changes. Unless otherwise created by law or directed by the President of the Philippines, no organizational unit or changes in key positions in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organization structures and be funded from appropriations by this Act. `The foregoing provision evidently shows that the President is authorized to effect organizational changes including the creation of offices in the department or agency concerned. `x x x xxx

`Another legal basis of E.O. No. 132 is Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292 which states: ``Sec. 20. Residual Powers. Unless Congress provides otherwise, the President shall exercise such other powers and functions vested in the President which are provided for under the laws and which are not specifically enumerated above or which are not delegated by the President in accordance with law. `This provision speaks of such other powers vested in the President under the law. What law then gives him the power to reorganize? It is Presidential Decree No. 1772 which amended Presidential Decree No. 1416. These decrees expressly grant the President of the Philippines the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, which includes the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services and activities and to standardize salaries and materials. The validity of these two decrees are unquestionable. The 1987 Constitution clearly provides that `all laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letter of instructions and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked. So far, there is yet no law amending or repealing said decrees. Now, let us take a look at the assailed executive order. In the whereas clause of E.O. No. 191, former President Estrada anchored his authority to deactivate EIIB on Section 77 of Republic Act 8745 ( FY 1999 General Appropriations Act), a provision similar to Section 62 of R.A. 7645 quoted in Larin, thus: `Sec. 77. Organized Changes. Unless otherwise provided by law or directed by the President of the Philippines, no changes in key positions or organizational units in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organizational structures and funded from appropriations provided by this Act. We adhere to the x x x ruling in Larin that this provision recognizes the authority of the President to effect organizational changes in the department or agency under the executive structure. Such a

ruling further finds support in Section 78 of Republic Act No. 8760. Under this law, the heads of departments, bureaus, offices and agencies and other entities in the Executive Branch are directed (a) to conduct a comprehensive review of this respective mandates, missions, objectives, functions, programs, projects, activities and systems and procedures; (b) identify activities which are no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased-out or abolished; and (c) adopt measures that will result in the streamlined organization and improved overall performance of their respective agencies. Section 78 ends up with the mandate that the actual streamlining and productivity improvement in agency organization and operation shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of the President. The law has spoken clearly. We are left only with the duty to sustain. But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or agency in the executive branch does not have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very source of the power that which constitutes an express grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987), the President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President. For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado vs. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312], we ruled that reorganization involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. It takes place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the President. Hence, it is subject to the Presidents continuing authori ty to reorganize. It having been duly established that the President has the authority to carry out reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive department, what is then left for us to resolve is whether or not the reorganization is valid. In this jurisdiction, reorganizations have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. Reorganization is carried out in `good faith if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. Pertinently, Republic Act No. 6656 provides for the circumstances which may be considered as evidence of bad faith in the removal of civil service employees made as a result of reorganization, to wit: (a) where there is a significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of the department or agency concerned; (b) where an office is abolished and another performing substantially the same functions is created;(c) where incumbents are replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment, performance and merit; (d) where there is a classification of offices in the department or agency concerned and the reclassified offices perform substantially the same functions as the original offices, and (e) where the removal violates the order of separation.[8] The Court of Appeals, in its now assailed decision, has found no evidence of bad faith on the part of the NTA; thus In the case at bar, we find no evidence that the respondents committed bad faith in issuing the notices of non-appointment to the petitioners. Firstly, the number of positions in the new staffing pattern did not increase. Rather, it decreased from 1,125 positions to 750. It is thus natural that ones position may be lost through the removal or abolition of an office. Secondly, the petitioners failed to specifically show which offices were abolished and the new ones that were created performing substantially the same functions.

Thirdly, the petitioners likewise failed to prove that less qualified employees were appointed to the positions to which they applied. x x x xxx x x x.

Fourthly, the preference stated in Section 4 of R.A. 6656, only means that old employees should be considered first, but it does not necessarily follow that they should then automatically be appointed. This is because the law does not preclude the infusion of new blood, younger dynamism, or necessary talents into the government service, provided that the acts of the appointing power are bonafide for the best interest of the public service and the person chosen has the needed qualifications.[9] These findings of the appellate court are basically factual which this Court must respect and be held bound. It is important to emphasize that the questioned Executive Orders No. 29 and No. 36 have not abolished the National Tobacco Administration but merely mandated its reorganization through the streamlining or reduction of its personnel. Article VII, Section 17,[10] of the Constitution, expressly grants the President control of all executive departments, bureaus, agencies and offices which may justify an executive action to inactivate the functions of a particular office or to carry out reorganization measures under a broad authority of law.[11]Section 78 of the General Provisions of Republic Act No. 8522 (General Appropriations Act of FY 1998) has decreed that the President may direct changes in the organization and key positions in any department, bureau or agency pursuant to Article VI, Section 25, [12] of the Constitution, which grants to the Executive Department the authority to recommend the budget necessary for its operation. Evidently, this grant of power includes the authority to evaluate each and every government agency, including the determination of the most economical and efficient staffing pattern, under the Executive Department. In the recent case of Rosa Ligaya C. Domingo, et al. vs. Hon. Ronaldo D. Zamora, in his capacity as the Executive Secretary, et al.,[13] this Court has had occasion to also delve on the Presidents power to reorganize the Office of the President under Section 31(2) and (3) of Executive Order No. 292 and the power to reorganize the Office of the President Proper. The Court has there observed: x x x. Under Section 31(1) of EO 292, the President can reorganize the Office of the President Proper by abolishing, consolidating or merging units, or by transferring functions from one unit to another. In contrast, under Section 31(2) and (3) of EO 292, the Presidents power to reorganize offices outside the Office of the President Proper but still within the Office of the President is limited to merely transferring functions or agencies from the Office of the President to Departments or Agencies, and vice versa. The provisions of Section 31, Book III, Chapter 10, of Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987), above-referred to, reads thusly: SEC. 31. Continuing Authority of the President to Reorganize his Office. The President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President. For this purpose, he may take any of the following actions: (1) Restructure the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper, including the immediate Offices, the Presidential Special Assistants/Advisers System and the Common Staff Support System, by abolishing, consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring functions from one unit to another;

(2) Transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or Agency as well as transfer functions to the Office of the President from other Departments and Agencies; and (3) Transfer any agency under the Office of the President to any other department or agency as well as transfer agencies to the Office of the President from other departments and agencies. The first sentence of the law is an express grant to the President of a continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President. The succeeding numbered paragraphs are not in the nature of provisos that unduly limit the aim and scope of the grant to the President of the power to reorganize but are to be viewed in consonance therewith. Section 31(1) of Executive Order No. 292 specifically refers to the Presidents power to restructure the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper, by abolishing, consolidating or merging units hereof or transferring functions from one unit to another, while Section 31(2) and (3) concern executive offices outside the Office of the President Proper allowing the President to transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or Agency and vice-versa, and the transfer of any agency under the Office of the President to any other department or agency and vice-versa.[14] In the present instance, involving neither an abolition nor transfer of offices, the assailed action is a mere reorganization under the general provisions of the law consisting mainly ofstreamlining the NTA in the interest of simplicity, economy and efficiency. It is an act well within the authority of President motivated and carried out, according to the findings of the appellate court, in good faith, a factual assessment that this Court could only but accept. [15] In passing, relative to petitioners Motion for an En Banc Resolution of the Case, it may be well to remind counsel, that the Court En Banc is not an appellate tribunal to which appeals from a Division of the Court may be taken. A Division of the Court is the Supreme Court as fully and veritably as the Court En Banc itself and a decision of its Division is as authoritative and final as a decision of the Court En Banc. Referrals of cases from a Division to the Court En Banc do not take place as just a matter of routine but only on such specified grounds as the Court in its discretion may allow.[16] WHEREFORE, the Motion to Admit Petition for En Banc resolution and the Petition for an En Banc Resolution are DENIED for lack of merit. Let entry of judgment be made in due course. No costs. SO ORDERED. EUSTAQUIO M. MEDALLA, JR., petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE MARCELINO N. SAYO, Judge of the CFI of Rizal, Branch XXXIII and HONORATO G. MACKAY, acting Hospital Administrator of the Caloocan City General Hospital and the CITY MAYOR OF CALOOCAN, respondents.

When the position of Assistant, hospital Administrator of the Caloocan City General Hospital became vacant upon the resignation of the incumbent, former Caloocan City Mayor Alejandro A. Fider designated and subsequently appointed, as Assistant Hospital Administrator private respondent Dr. Mackay, a Resident Physician in said hospital. Petitioner, Dr. Medalla, Jr., protested Dr. Mackay's designation and subsequent appointment alleging among others that, as Chief of Clinics, he (Medalla) was next-in-rank. The then Acting City Mayor Virgilio P. Robles, who succeeded former Mayor, now Assemblyman Alejandro A. Fider, in his 4th Indorsement dated September 20, 1978, sustained Mackay's appointment stating: ... as of April 18, 1978 when Dr. Honorato G. Mackay was promoted to Assistant Hospital Administrator from his previous position of Resident Physician, he was next in rank to the said higher position by reason of his having completed all academic requirements for the Certificate in Hospital Administration ... contrary to the claim of Dr. Eustaquio Medalla, Jr. in his letter of May 2, 1978. xxx xxx xxx Dissatisfied, Medalla elevated his case to the Civil Service Commission on appeal. On December 29, 1978, the Civil Service Merit Systems Board issued Resolution No. 49 sustaining Medalla's appeal and revoking Mackay's appointment as Assistant Hospital Administrator. The pertinent portion of the aforestated Resolution reads: A perusal of the records shows that appellant Medalla is the Chief of Clinics of the Caloocan City General Hospital; he is a holder of the Degree of Doctor of Medicine; he has completed the requirements in Hospital Administration and is recommended for the title of Certificate in Hospital Administration; he is also a candidate of a Masters degree in Hospital Administration He possesses the First Grade eligibility (BA 1080) and had undergone relevant training in Hospital Administration. His performance rating is 'Very Satisfactory'. On the other hand, appellee Mackay had been a Resident Physician, the position he held prior to his promotion to the contested position. He is a holder of the degree of Doctor of Medicine and is a First Grade eligible (BA 1080Medical Board). He is a graduate student in Hospital Administration and as completed all academic requirements for a certificate in Hospital Administration. His performance rating is "Very Satisfactory". A perusal of the organizational chart of the Ospital ng Caloocan approved by the Hospital Administrator would show that the Chief of Clinics is the next lower position to the Assistant Hospital Administrator. The Resident Physician is not a next lower position to the Assistant Hospital Administrator. Therefore, Medalla and not Mackay is the person next in rank who may be promoted to the position involved. Moreover, even on the basis of competence and qualifications to perform the duties of the position, the records show that Dr. Medalla is more competent and qualified than Dr. Mackay. The qualification relied upon by the Acting City Mayor in justifying the appointment of Dr. Mackay which is his having completed the academic requirements for the Certificate in Hospital Administration does not give Dr. Mackay the advantage inasmuch as Dr. Medalla has also completed the academic requirements for a certificate in Hospital Administration and is recommended for a title of Certificate in Hospital Administration apart from being also a candidate for a Masters degree in Hospital Administration. 1

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: In this Petition for "Certiorari, mandamus and Prohibition", seeking the dismissal of Civil Case No. C7770 below, we have, as factual background, the following: Petitioner, Dr. Eustaquio M. Medalla, Jr., is the Chief of Clinics of the Caloocan City General Hospital, Caloocan City. Private respondent,, Dr. Honorato G. Mackay was the Resident Physician thereat.

xxx xxx xxx Upon automatic review by the Office of the President, pursuant to section 19(6), PD No. 807, Presidential Executive Assistant Jacobo C. Clave rendered a Decision on April 24, 1979 declaring that: WHEREFORE, premises considered, and as recommended by Civil Service Commission, the appointment of Dr. Honorato G. Mackay as Assistant Hospital Administrator in the Caloocan City General Hospital is hereby revoked and the position awarded in favor of appellant Dr. Eustaquio M. Medalla. 2 The Acting City Mayor, on behalf of Mackay, moved for reconsideration. On May 7, 1979, totally disregarding the Decision of the Office of the President, the same Acting City Mayor appointed Mackay, this time as Hospital Administrator, and designated Dr. Tantoco as his Assistant, thereby again completely bypassing Medalla. Mackay took his oath of office on May 7, 1979. On June 27, 1979, however, the Civil Service Commission, acting on Medalla's protest, and besides calling attention to the penal provision of P.D. No. 807, disapproved Mackay's appointment as follows: Wherefore, premises considered and finding the protest of Dr. Medalla in order, the appointment of Dr. Mackay as hospital Administrator at P26,388 per annum effective May 7, 1979 is hereby disapproved. it is hereby ordered that Dr. Medalla be appointed to the position of Hospital Administrator of the Caloocan City General Hospital. 3 On July 20, 1979, Mackay moved for reconsideration asserting 1) denial of due process of law inasmuch as the contested Resolution/Decisions were issued ex-parte, and 2) that the Civil Service Commission can not ignore nor overrule an appointment made by a City Executive. Without awaiting the resolution of his Motion for Consideration- Mackay filed, on July 23, 1979, before tile Court of First Instance of Rizal, Caloocan City, presided by respondent, Judge, a Petition for "Certiorari, Prohibition and mandamus with Preliminary Injunction and Damages" civil Case No. C7770) against Hon. Jacobo Clave, the Civil Service Commission, the Acting City Mayor, the City Treasurer, and Medalla, praying that said respondents be restrained from implementing the Decision of Hon. Jacobo Clave of April 24, 1979, the Resolution No. 49 of the Merit Systems Board dated December 29, 1978, and the Decision of the Civil Service Commission of June 27, 1979. The Court a quo issued the Restraining Order prayed for on July 25, 1979 enjoining implementation of the aforestated Resolution/Decisions. On August 2, 1979, Medalla moved to dissolve the Restraining Order and to dismiss the Petition alleging mainly that Mackay had not exhausted his administrative remedies and that the latter's right to a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was not only dubious or debatable but was clearly nonexistent. Hon. Jacobo Clave and the Civil Service Commission likewise filed a Motion to Dismiss on the same ground of failure to exhaust administrative remedies. On August 13, 1979, Mackay moved to suspend proceedings pending final resolution by the Civil Service Commission of his Motion for the reconsideration of the Decision of said Commission dated June 27, 1979.

On September 24, 1979, the Trial Court denied both Motions to Dismiss filed by Medalla, on the one hand, and Hon. Clave and the Civil Service Commission, on the other, holding that Mackay's failure to await resolution of his Motions for Reconsideration pending before the Office of the President and the Civil Service Commission did not deprive him of a cause of action besides the fact that according to the respective Manifestations of the said Offices, the Motions for Reconsideration had already been resolved adversely against Mackay. Acting on Medalla's Motion for Reconsideration thereof as well as his Motion to Lift Restraining Order, the Court a quo, in its Order of July 15, 1980, denied reconsideration but lifted the Restraining Order "there being no showing that petitioner is entitled to the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction. " Respondent Judge then set the case for hearing. At this juncture, Medalla instituted this Petition before us praying that the Court a quo be restrained from proceeding with the hearing and that judgment be rendered as follows: 1. Ordering the Honorable Marcelino N. Sayo, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal Branch XXXIII, Caloocan City, to dismiss respondent Mackay's petitions, on the ground of lack of jurisdiction and/or non- exhaustion of administrative remedies resulting to a lack of cause of action; 2. Declaring the decision of the Office of the President (Annex "C") and the Merit Systems Board (Annex "E") as valid and enforceable. 4 We issued a Restraining Order on August 27, 1980 enjoining respondents from proceeding with the case below. On November 7, 1980, we required petitioner Medalla to implead the Mayor of Caloocan City as party-respondent, and the latter to comment on the Petition and to state whether he is ready to issue an appointment to Medalla as Hospital Administrator, Medalla's rights thereto having been upheld by the Civil Service Merit Systems Board and by the Office of the President. In his Compliance, Medalla included an additional prayer that the City Mayor of Caloocan be ordered to immediately appoint him as Hospital Administrator and to pay him salary differentials. In his Comment, the City Mayor of Caloocan invoked the privilege of an appointing authority to determine who can best fulfill the functions of an office citing the case of Aguilar vs. Nieva, Jr. 5 to that effect. And as to the matter of his readiness to issue an appointment to Medalla, he manifested his preference to withhold action pending Mackay's unresolved Motion for Reconsideration of the Decision of June 27, 1979 of the Civil Service Merit Systems Board. Petitioner Medalla submits that the Trial Court erred in not dismissing Mackay's Petition before it, there being a clear showing of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, and that said Court was devoid of jurisdiction in reviewing on certiorari decisions of the Office of the President and of the Civil service Commission rendered in the exercise of their quasi-judicial functions. Private respondent Mackay takes the contrary view and prays, instead, that the contested Decisions/Resolution be declared null and void and respondent Judge ordered to proceed with the hearing of the case below.

Although Mackay's Motions for Reconsideration were, in fact, still pending resolution by Hon. Jacobo C. Clave and the Civil Service Commission, respectively, at the time private respondent Mackay filed the Petition below, dismissal of said Petition can no longer be anchored on the ground of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, as Medalla prays, considering that Manifestations dated August 17 and 23, 1979 filed by the said parties before the Court a quo show that they had resolved the incidents adversely against Mackay. 6 That issue, therefore, has become moot and academic. In so far as jurisdiction of the Court below to review by certiorari decisions and/or resolutions of the Civil Service Commission and of the Presidential Executive Assistant is concerned, there should be no question but that the power of judicial review should be upheld. The following rulings buttress this conclusion: The objection to a judicial review of a Presidential act arises from a failure to recognize the most important principle in our system of government, i.e., the separation of powers into three coequal departments, the executive, the legislative and the judicial, each supreme within its own assigned powers and duties. When a presidential act is challenged before the courts of justice, it is not to be implied therefrom that the Executive is being made subject and subordinate to the courts. The legality of his acts are under judicial review, not because the Executive is inferior to the courts, but because the law is above the Chief Executive himself, and the courts seek only to interpret, apply or implement it (the law). A judicial review of the President's decision on a case of an employee decided by the Civil Service Board of Appeals should be viewed in this light and the bringing of the case to the Courts should be governed by the same principles as govern the judicial review of all administrative acts of all administrative officers. 7 The courts may always examine into the exercise of power by a ministerial officer to the extent of determining whether the particular power has been granted to the officer, whether it is a legal power that could have been granted to him, and whether it has been exercised in a legal manner. This jurisdiction does not depend upon an act of the legislature authorizing it, but inheres in the courts of general jurisdiction as an essential function of the judicial department (State Racing Commission v. Latonia Agri. Asso. 123 SW 68 1). 8 (emphasis supplied). For the speedy determination of the controversy, however, and considering that the position involved is infused with public interest, rather than remand the case to the Court below for further proceedings, we hold that grave abuse of discretion on the part of Hon. Jacobo C. Clave and the Civil Service Merit Systems Board is absent. To start with, under the Revised Charter of the City of Caloocan RA No. 5502), it is clear that the power of appointment by the City Mayor of heads of offices entirely paid out of city funds is subject to Civil Service law, rules and regulations (ibid., section 19). The Caloocan City General Hospital is one of the city departments provided for in the said law ( ibid., sec. 17). The Hospital Administrator is appointed by the City Mayor (ibid., section 66-B). The Hospital Administrator is the head of the City General Hospital empowered to administer, direct, and coordinate all activities of the hospital to carry out its objectives as to the care of the sick and the injured ( ibid.). Under section 19 (3) of the Civil Service Decree (PD No. 807, effective on October 6, 1975), the recruitment or selection of employees for promotions is drawn from the next-in-rank. SEC. 19. Recruitment and Selection of Employees.

xxx xxx xxx (3) When a vacancy occurs in a position in the second level of the Career Service as defined in Section 7, the employees in the government service who occupy the next lower positions i the occupational group under which the vacant position is classified and in other functionally related occupational groups and who are competent, qualified and with the appropriate civil service eligibility shall be considered for promotion. Section 19 (6) of the same Decree provides for the administrative procedure by an aggrieved employee in case of non-observance by the appointing authority of the next-in-rank rule, thus: Sec. 19(6) A qualified next-in-rank employee shall have the right to appeal initially, to the department head and finally to the Office of the President an appointment made ... (2. in favor of one who is not next-in-rank, ... if the employee making the appeal is not satisfied with the written special reason or reasons given by the appointing authority for such appointment: ... Before deciding a contested appointment the Office of the President shall consult the Civil Service Commission. For purposes of this Section, .qualified next-in-rank' refers to an employee appointed on a permanent basis to a position previously determined to be next-in- rank to the vacancy proposed to be filled and who meets the requisites for appointment thereto as previously determined by the appointing authority and approved by the Commission. The prescribed procedure has been followed by petitioner Medalla He had appealed to the department head and from thence, in view of the latter's unfavorable action, to the Civil Service Commission and thereafter to the Office of the President. Resolution No. 49 of the Civil Service Merit Systems Board its Decision of June 27, 1979, and the Decision of the presidential Executive Assistant dated April 24, 1979, were all rendered in Medalla's favor. The special reason given by the Acting City Mayor for Mackay's appointment, which is, that lie had completed all academic requirements for the Certificate of Hospital Administration, is not tenable, since Medalla himself was found to be in possession of the same qualification. But while the qualifications of both petitioner Medalla and private respondent Mackay are at par, yet, it is clear that the position of Chief of Clinics is the next lower position to I hospital Administrator under the organizational line-up of the hospital. Consequently, at the time of Mackays appointment as Assistant Hospital Administrator and subsequently hospital Administrator, Medalla outranked Mackay who was only a Resident Physician and, therefore, as the next-in rank, Medalla is entitled to appointment as Hospital Administrator. Respondent Mackay's urging that he was denied due process deserves scant consideration considering that subsequent developsments in the case establish that he was heardon his Motions for Reconsideration by both the Civil Service Commission and the office of the President. It is true that, as the respondent City Mayor alleges, a local executive should be allowed the choice of men of his confidence, provided they are qualified and elligible, who in his best estimation are possesses of the requisite reputation, integrity, knowledgeability, energy and judgement. 9 However, as reproduced heretofore, the Decision of the Civil Service Merit Systems Board, upheld by the Office of the President, contains a judicious assessment of the qualifications of both petitioner Medalla and private respondent Mackay for the contested position, revealing a careful study of the controversy between the parties, which cannot be ignored. The revocation of Mackay's appointment reveals no arbitrariness nor grave abuse of discretion. WHEREFORE, 1) the appointment extended to private respondent, Dr. Honorato C. Mackay, as Hospital Administrator is hereby declared null and void; 2) respondent City Mayor of Caloocan City is hereby ordered to extend an appointment to petitioner, Dr. Eustaquio M. Medalla, as Hospital

Administrator of the Caloocan City General Hospital immediately upon notice of this Decision; 3) petitioner, Dr. Eustaquio M. Medalla, shall receive all compensation and emoluments appertaining to said position thenceforth, but without entitlement to salary differentials; and 4) respondent Judge is hereby permanently enjoined from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 7770. This Decision is immediately executory. No costs. SO ORDERED. LIANGA BAY LOGGING, CO., INC., petitioner, vs. HON. MANUEL LOPEZ ENAGE, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch II of the Court of First, Instance of Agusan, and AGO TIMBER CORPORATION, respondents. TEEHANKEE, C.J.: The Court grants the petition for certiorari and prohibition and holds that respondent judge, absent any showing of grave abuse of discretion, has no competence nor authority to review anew the decision in administrative proceedings of respondents public officials (director of forestry, secretary of agriculture and natural resources and assistant executive secretaries of the Office of the President) in determining the correct boundary line of the licensed timber areas of the contending parties. The Court reaffirms the established principle that findings of fact by an administrative board or agency or official, following a hearing, are binding upon the courts and will not be disturbed except where the board, agency and/or official(s) have gone beyond their statutory authority, exercised unconstitutional powers or clearly acted arbitrarily and without regard to their duty or with grave abuse of discretion. The parties herein are both forest concessionaries whose licensed areas are adjacent to each other. The concession of petitioner Lianga Bay Logging Corporation Co., Inc. (hereinafter referred to as petitioner Lianga) as described in its Timber License Agreement No. 49, is located in the municipalities of Tago, Cagwait, Marihatag and Lianga, all in the Province of Surigao, consisting of 110,406 hectares, more or less, while that of respondent Ago Timber Corporation (hereinafter referred to as respondent Ago) granted under Ordinary Timber License No. 1323-60 [New] is located at Los Arcos and San Salvador, Province of Agusan, with an approximate area of 4,000 hectares. It was a part of a forest area of 9,000 hectares originally licensed to one Narciso Lansang under Ordinary Timber License No. 584-'52. Since the concessions of petitioner and respondent are adjacent to each other, they have a common boundary-the Agusan-Surigao Provincial boundary-whereby the eastern boundary of respondent Ago's concession is petitioner Lianga's western boundary. The western boundary of petitioner Lianga is described as "... Corner 5, a point in the intersection of the Agusan-Surigao Provincial boundary and Los Arcos-Lianga Road; thence following Agusan-Surigao Provincial boundary in a general northerly and northwesterly and northerly directions about 39,500 meters to Corner 6, a point at the intersection of the Agusan-Surigao Provincial boundary and Nalagdao Creek ..." The eastern boundary of respondent Ago's concession is described as "... point 4, along the AgusanSurigao boundary; thence following Agusan-Surigao boundary in a general southeasterly and southerly directions about 12,000 meters to point 5, a point along Los Arcos-Lianga Road; ..." 1 Because of reports of encroachment by both parties on each other's concession areas, the Director of Forestry ordered a survey to establish on the ground the common boundary of their respective concession areas. Forester Cipriano Melchor undertook the survey and fixed the common boundary as "Corner 5 of Lianga Bay Logging Company at Km. 10.2 instead of Km. 9.7 on the Lianga-Arcos Road and lines N900E, 21,000 meters; N12 W, 21,150 meters; N40 W, 3,000 meters; N31 W, 2,800

meters; N50 W, 1,700 meters" which respondent Ago protested claiming that "its eastern boundary should be the provincial boundary line of Agusan-Surigao as described in Section 1 of Art. 1693 of the Philippine Commission as indicated in the green pencil in the attached sketch" of the areas as prepared by the Bureau of Forestry. 2 The Director of Forestry, after considering the evidence, found: That the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation portrays a line (green line) far different in alignment with the line (red) as indicated in the original License Control Map of this Office; That the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation (green line does not conform to the distance of 6,800 meters from point 3 to point 4 of the original description of the area of Narciso Lansang but would project said line to a distance of approximately 13,800 meters; That to follow the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation would increase the area of Narciso Lansang from 9,000 to 12,360 hectares; That to follow the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation would reduce the area of the Lianga Bay Logging, Co., Inc. to 107,046 hectares instead of the area granted which is 110,406 hectares. and ruled that "the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation runs counter to the intentions of this Office is granting the license of Mr. Narciso Lansang; and further, that it also runs counter to the intentions of this Office in granting the Timber License Agreement to the Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc. The intentions of this Office in granting the two licenses (Lansang and Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc.) are patently manifest in that distances and bearings are the controlling factors. If mention was ever made of the Agusan-Surigao boundary, as the common boundary line of both licensees, this Office could not have meant the Agusan-Surigao boundary as described under Section 1 of Act 1693 of the Philippine Commission for were it so it could have been so easy for this Office to mention the distance from point 3 to point 4 of Narciso Lansang as approximately 13,800 meters. This cannot be considered a mistake considering that the percentage of error which is more or less 103% is too high an error to be committed by an Office manned by competent technical men. The AgusanSurigao boundary as mentioned in the technical descriptions of both licensees, is, therefore, patently an imaginary line based on B.F. License Control Map. Such being the case, it is reiterated that distance and bearings control the description where an imaginary line exists . 3The decision fixed the common boundary of the licensed areas of the Ago Timber Corporation and Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc. as that indicated in red pencil of the sketch attached to the decision. In an appeal interposed by respondent Ago, docketed in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources as DANR Case No. 2268, the then Acting Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Jose Y. Feliciano, in a decision dated August 9, 1965 set aside the appealed decision of the Director of Forestry and ruled that "(T)he common boundary line of the licensed areas of the Ago Timber Corporation and the Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc., should be that indicated by the green line on the same sketch which had been made an integral part of the appealed decision." 4 Petitioner elevated the case to the Office of the President, where in a decision dated June 16, 1966, signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Jose J. Leido, Jr., the ruling of the then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources was affirmed. 5 On motion for reconsideration, the Office of the President issued another decision dated August 9, 1968 signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Gilberto Duavit reversing and overturning the decision of the then Acting Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and affirming in toto and reinstating the decision, dated March 20, 1961, of the Director of Forestry. 6

Respondent Ago filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision dated August 9, 1968 of the Office of the President but after written opposition of petitioner Lianga, the same was denied in an order dated October 2, 1968, signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Jose J. Leido, Jr. 7 On October 21, 1968, a new action was commenced by Ago Timber Corporation, as plaintiff, in the Court of First Instance of Agusan, Branch II, docketed thereat as Civil Case No. 1253, against Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc., Assistant Executive Secretaries Jose J. Leido, Jr. and Gilberto M. Duavit and Director of Forestry, as defendants, for "Determination of Correct Boundary Line of License Timber Areas and Damages with Preliminary Injunction" reiterating once more the same question raised and passed upon in DANR Case No. 2268 and insisting that "a judicial review of such divergent administrative decisions is necessary in order to determine the correct boundary fine of the licensed areas in question." 8 As prayed for, respondent judge issued a temporary restraining order on October 28, 1968, on a bond of P20,000, enjoining the defendants from carrying out the decision of the Office of the President. The corresponding writ was issued the next day, or on October 29, 1968. 9 On November 10, 1968, defendant Lianga (herein petitioner) moved for dismissal of the complaint and for dissolution of the temporary restraining order on grounds that the complaint states no cause of action and that the court has no jurisdiction over the person of respondent public officials and respondent corporation. It also submitted its opposition to plaintiff's (herein respondent prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.10 A supplemental motion was filed on December 6, 1968. 11 On December 19, 1968, the lower court issued an order denying petitioner Lianga's motion to dismiss and granting the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by respondent Ago. 12 Lianga's Motion for Reconsideration of the Order was denied on May 9, 1969. 13 Hence, this petition praying of the Court (a) to declare that the Director of Forestry has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine the common boundary of the licensed areas of petitioners and respondents and that the decision of the Office of the President dated August 9, 1968 is final and executory; (b) to order the dismissal of Civil Case No. 1253 in the Court of First Instance of Agusan; (c) to declare that respondent Judge acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in issuing the temporary restraining order dated October 28, 1968 and granting the preliminary injunction per its Order dated December 19, 1968; and (d) to annul the aforementioned orders. After respondent's comments on the petition and petitioner's reply thereto, this Court on June 30, 1969 issued a restraining order enjoining in turn the enforcement of the preliminary injunction and related orders issued by the respondent court in Civil Case No. 1253. 14 The Court finds merit in the petition. Respondent Judge erred in taking cognizance of the complaint filed by respondent Ago, asking for the determination anew of the correct boundary fine of its licensed timber area, for the same issue had already been determined by the Director of Forestry, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Office of the President, administrative officials under whose jurisdictions the matter properly belongs. Section 1816 of the Revised Administrative Code vests in the Bureau of Forestry, the jurisdiction and authority over the demarcation, protection, management, reproduction, reforestation, occupancy, and use of all public forests and forest reserves and over the granting of licenses for game and fish, and for the taking of forest products, including stone and earth therefrom. The Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as department head, may repeal or in the decision of the Director of Forestry when advisable in the public interests, 15 whose decision is in turn appealable to the Office of the President. 16

In giving due course to the complaint below, the respondent court would necessarily have to assess and evaluate anew all the evidence presented in the administrative proceedings, 17 which is beyond its competence and jurisdiction. For the respondent court to consider and weigh again the evidence already presented and passed upon by said officials would be to allow it to substitute its judgment for that of said officials who are in a better position to consider and weigh the same in the light of the authority specifically vested in them by law. Such a posture cannot be entertained, for it is a well-settled doctrine that the courts of justice will generally not interfere with purely administrative matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies and their expertise unless there is a clear showing that the latter acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion or when they have acted in a capricious and whimsical manner such that their action may amount to an excess or lack of jurisdiction. 18 A doctrine long recognized is that where the law confines in an administrative office the power to determine particular questions or matters, upon the facts to be presented, the jurisdiction of such office shall prevail over the courts. 19 The general rule, under the principles of administrative law in force in this jurisdiction, is that decisions of administrative officers shall not be disturbed by the courts, except when the former have acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion. Findings of administrative officials and agencies who have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters are generally accorded not only respect but at times even finality of such findings are supported by substantial evidence. 20 As recently stressed by the Court, "in this era of clogged court dockets, the need for specialized administrative boards or commissions with the special knowledge, experience and capability to hear and determine promptly disputes on technical matters or essentially factual matters, subject to judicial review in case of grave abuse of discretion, has become well nigh indispensable." 21 The facts and circumstances in the instant case are similar to the earlier case of Pajo, et al. v. Ago, et al. 22(where therein respondent Pastor Ago is the president of herein respondent Ago Timber Corporation). In the said case, therein respondent Pastor Ago, after an adverse decision of the Director of Forestry, Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Executive Secretary in connection with his application for renewal of his expired timber licenses, filed with the Court of First instance of Agusan a petition for certiorari, prohibition and damages with preliminary injunction alleging that the rejection of his application for renewal by the Director of Forestry and Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and its affirmance by the Executive Secretary constituted an abuse of discretion and was therefore illegal. The Court held that "there can be no question that petitioner Director of Forestry has jurisdiction over the grant or renewal of respondent Ago's timber license (Sec. 1816, Rev. Adm. Code); that petitioner Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources as department head, is empowered by law to affirm, modify or reject said grant or renewal of respondent Ago's timber license by petitioner Director of Forestry (Sec. 79[c], Rev. Adm. Code); and that petitioner Executive Secretary, acting for and in behalf and by authority of the President has, likewise, jurisdiction to affirm, modify or reverse the orders regarding the grant or renewal of said timber license by the two aforementioned officials." The Court went on to say that, "(I)n the case of Espinosa, et al. v. Makalintal, et al. (79 Phil. 134; 45 Off. Gaz. 712), we held that the powers granted to the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce (Natural Resources) by law regarding the disposition of public lands such as granting of licenses, permits, leases, and contracts or approving, rejecting, reinstating, or cancelling applications or deciding conflicting applications, are all executive and administrative in nature. It is a well-recognized principle that purely administrative and discretionary functions may not be interfered with by the courts. In general, courts have no supervising power over the proceedings and actions of the administrative departments of the government. This is generally true with respect to acts involving the exercise of judgment or discretion, and findings of act. Findings of fact by an administrative board, agency or official, following a hearing, are binding upon the courts and will not be disturbed except where the board, agency or official has gone beyond his statutory authority, exercised unconstitutional powers or clearly acted arbitrarily and without regard to his duty or with grave abuse of discretion. And we have repeatedly held that there is grave abuse of discretion justifying

the issuance of the writ of certiorari only when there is capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. (Abad Santos v. Province of Tarlac, 67 Phil. 480; Tan vs. People, 88 Phil. 609)" Respondent Ago contends that the motion filed by petitioner Lianga for reconsideration of the decision of the Office of the President was denied in an alleged "decision" dated August 15, 1966, allegedly signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Jose J. Leido, Jr. that, "however, for some mysterious, unknown if not anomalous reasons and/or illegal considerations, the "decision" allegedly dated August 15, 1966(Annex "D") was never released" and instead a decision was released on August 9, 1968, signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Gilberto M. Duavit, which reversed the findings and conclusions of the Office of the President in its first decision dated June 16, 1966 and signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Leido. It is elementary that a draft of a decision does not operate as judgment on a case until the same is duly signed and delivered to the clerk for filing and promulgation. A decision cannot be considered as binding on the parties until its promulgation. 23 Respondent should be aware of this rule. In still another case of Ago v. Court of Appeals,24 (where herein respondent Ago was the petitioner) the Court held that, "While it is to be presumed that the judgment that was dictated in open court will be the judgment of the court, the court may still modify said order as the same is being put into writing. And even if the order or judgment has already been put into writing and signed, while it has not yet been delivered to the clerk for filing, it is stin subject to amendment or change by the judge. It is only when the judgment signed by the judge is actually filed with the clerk of court that it becomes a valid and binding judgment. Prior thereto, it could still be subject to amendment and change and may not, therefore, constitute the real judgment of the court." Respondent alleges "that in view of the hopelessly conflicting decisions of the administrative bodies and/or offices of the Philippine government, and the important questions of law and fact involved therein, as well as the well-grounded fear and suspicion that some anomalous, illicit and unlawful considerations had intervened in the concealment of the decision of August 15, 1966 (Annex "D") of Assistant Executive Secretary Gilberto M. Duavit, a judicial review of such divergent administrative decisions is necessary in order to determine the correct boundary line of the licensed areas in question and restore the faith and confidence of the people in the actuations of our public officials and in our system of administration of justice." The mere suspicion of respondent that there were anomalies in the non-release of the Leido "decision" allegedly denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration and the substitution thereof by the Duavit decision granting reconsideration does not justify judicial review. Beliefs, suspicions and conjectures cannot overcome the presumption of regularity and legality of official actions. 25 It is presumed that an official of a department performs his official duties regularly. 26 It should be noted, furthermore, that as hereinabove stated with regard to the case history in the Office of the President, Ago's motion for reconsideration of the Duavit decision dated August 9, 1968 was denied in the Order dated October 2, 1968 and signed by Assistant Executive Secretary Leido himself (who thereby joined in the reversal of his own first decision dated June 16, 1966 and signed by himself). The Ordinary Timber License No. 1323-'60[New] which approved the transfer to respondent Ago of the 4,000 hectares from the forest area originally licensed to Narciso Lansang, stipulates certain conditions, terms and limitations, among which were: that the decision of the Director of Forestry as to the exact location of its licensed areas is final; that the license is subject to whatever decision that may be rendered on the boundary conflict between the Lianga Bay Logging Co. and the Ago Timber Corporation; that the terms and conditions of the license are subject to change at the discretion of the Director of Forestry and the license may be made to expire at an earlier date. Under Section 1834 of the Revised Administrative Code, the Director of Forestry, upon granting any license, may prescribe and insert therein such terms, conditions, and limitations, not inconsistent with law, as may be deemed by him to be in the public interest. The license operates as a contract between the

government and respondent. Respondent, therefore, is estopped from questioning the terms and stipulation thereof. Clearly, the injunctive writ should not have been issued. The provisions of law explicitly provide that Courts of First Instance shall have the power to issue writ of injunction, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, quo warranto and habeas corpus in their respective places, 27 if the petition filed relates to the acts or omissions of an inferior court, or of a corporation, board, officer or person, within their jurisdiction. 28 The jurisdiction or authority of the Court of First Instance to control or restrain acts by means of the writ of injunction is limited only to acts which are being committed within the territorial boundaries of their respective provinces or districts 29 except where the sole issue is the legality of the decision of the administrative officials. 30 In the leading case of Palanan Lumber Plywood Co., Inc. v. Arranz 31 which involved a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed in the Court of First Instance of Isabela against the same respondent public officials as here and where the administrative proceedings taken were similar to the case at bar, the Court laid down the rule that: "We agree with the petitioner that the respondent Court acted without jurisdiction in issuing a preliminary injunction against the petitioners Executive Secretary, Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Director of Forestry, who have their official residences in Manila and Quezon City, outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the respondent Court of First Instance of Isabela. Both the statutory provisions and the settled jurisdiction of this Court unanimously affirm that the extraordinary writs issued by the Court of First Instance are limited to and operative only within their respective provinces and districts." A different rule applies only when the point in controversy relates solely to a determination of a question of law whether the decision of the respondent administrative officials was legally correct or not. 32 We thus declared inDirector of Forestry v. Ruiz. 33 "In Palanan Lumber & Plywood Co., Inc., supra, we reaffirmed the rule of non-jurisdiction of courts of first instance to issue injunctive writs in order to control acts outside of their premises or districts. We went further and said that when the petition filed with the courts of first instance not only questions the legal correctness of the decision of administrative officials but also seeks to enjoin the enforcement of the said decision, the court could not validly issue the writ of injunction when the officials sought to be restrained from enforcing the decision are not stationed within its territory. 1avvphi1 "To recapitulate, insofar as injunctive or prohibitory writs are concerned, the rule still stands that courts of first instance have the power to issue writs limited to and operative only within their respective provinces or districts. " The writ of preliminary injunction issued by respondent court is furthermore void, since it appears that the forest area described in the injunctive writ includes areas not licensed to respondent Ago. The forest area referred to and described therein comprises the whole area originally licensed to Narciso Lansang under the earlier Ordinary Timber License No. 58452. Only a portion of this area was in fact transferred to respondent Ago as described in its Ordinary Timber License No. 1323'60[New]. It is abundantly clear that respondent court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of Civil Case No. 1253 of the Court of First Instance of Agusan nor has it jurisdiction to decide on the common boundary of the licensed areas of petitioner Lianga and respondent Ago, as determined by respondents public officials against whom no case of grave abuse of discretion has been made. Absent a cause of action and jurisdiction, respondent Judge acted with grave abuse of discretion and excess, if not lack, of jurisdiction in refusing to dismiss the case under review and in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of the final decision dated August 9, 1968 and the order affirming the same dated October 2, 1968 of the Office of the President.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is granted. The restraining order heretofore issued by the Court against enforcement of the preliminary injunction and related orders issued by respondent judge is the case below is made permanent and the respondent judge or whoever has taken his place is hereby ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 1253. SO ORDERED. EASTERN TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINES, INC. and TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., petitioners, vs. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION CORPORATION, respondent.

Taking advantage of the opportunities brought about by the passage of these laws, several IGF operators applied for CPCN to install, operate and maintain local exchange carrier services in certain areas. Respondent International Communication Corporation, now known as Bayan Telecommunications Corporation or Bayantel,[4] applied for and was given by the NTC a Provisional Authority (PA)[5] on March 3, 1995, to install, operate and provide local exchange service in Quezon City, Malabon and Valenzuela, Metro Manila, and the entire Bicol region. Meanwhile, petitioner Telecommunications Technologies Philippines, Inc. (TTPI), as an affiliate of petitioner Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (ETPI), was granted by the NTC a PA on September 25, 1996, to install, operate and maintain a local exchange service in the Provinces of Batanes, Cagayan Valley, Isabela, Kalinga-Apayao, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Quirino, the cities of Manila and Caloocan, and the Municipality of Navotas, Metro Manila. It appears, however, that before TTPI was able to fully accomplish its rollout obligation, ICC applied for and was given a PA by the NTC on November 10, 1997, to install, operate and maintain a local exchange service in Manila and Navotas,[6] two areas which were already covered by TTPI under its PA dated September 25, 1996. Aggrieved, petitioners filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals with application for a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 46047, arguing that the NTC committed grave abuse of discretion in granting a provisional authority to respondent ICC to operate in areas already assigned to TTPI. On April 30, 1998, the Court of Appeals dismissed[7] the petition for review on the ground that the NTC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in granting the PA to TTPI. It sustained the NTCs finding that ICC is legally and financially competent and its network plan technically feasible. The Court of Appeals also ruled that there was no violation of the equal protection clause because the PA granted to ICC and TTPI were given under different situations and there is no point of comparison between the two.[8] Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari, raising the following issues: I Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals committed a serious error of law in upholding the Order of the NTC granting a PA to Respondent to operate LEC services in Manila and Navotas which are areas already assigned to petitioner TTPI under a prior and subsisting PA. II Whether or not Petitioner is entitled to a Writ of Preliminary Injunction to restrain Respondent from installing LEC services in the areas granted to it by the Order under review. [9] In support thereof, petitioners posit the following arguments: (1) The assignment to ICC of areas already allocated to TTPI violates the Service Area Scheme (SAS), which is the guidepost of the laws and issuances governing local exchange service; (2) ICC did not make any showing that an existing operator, TTPI in this case, failed to comply with the service performance and technical standards prescribed by the NTC, and that the area is underserved, as required under Section 23 of MC No. 11-9-93; (3) The facts and figures cited by the NTC, i.e., ICCs alleged remarkable performance in fulfilling its rollout obligation and the growth rate in the installation of telephone lines in Manila and Navotas, do not justify the grant of the PA in favor of ICC, nor are they supported by the evidence on record as these were not presented during the proceedings before the NTC;

DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: The role of the telecommunications industry in Philippine progress and development cannot be understated. Time was when the industry was dominated by a few -- an oligarchy of sorts where the elite made the decisions and serfdom had no choice but acquiesce. Sensing the need to abrogate their dominion, the government formulated policies in order to create an environment conducive to the entry of new players. Thus, in October 1990, the National Telecommunications Development Plan 1991-2010 (NTDP) was formulated and came into being. Designed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the NTDP provides for the framework of government policies, objectives and strategies that will guide the industrys development for the next 20 years. As expected, with it came the increase in the demand for telecommunications services, especially in the area of local exchange carrier service (LECS).[1] Concomitantly, the DOTC issued guidelines for the rationalization of local exchange telecommunications service. In particular, the DOTC issued on September 30, 1991, Department Circular No. 91-260, with the purpose of minimizing or eliminating situations wherein multiple operators provide local exchange service in a given area. Pursuant thereto, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) was tasked to define the boundaries of local exchange areas and authorize only one franchised local exchange carrier to provide local exchange service within such areas. Thereafter, on July 12, 1993, then President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 109 entitled Local Exchange Carrier Service. Section 2 thereof provides that all existing International Gateway Facility (IGF) operators[2] are required to provide local exchange carrier services in unserved and underserved areas, including Metro Manila, thereby promoting universal access to basic telecommunications service. The NTC promulgated Memorandum Circular No. 11-9-93 on September 17, 1993 implementing the objectives of E.O. No. 109.[3] Section 3 of the Circular mandates existing IGF operators to file a petition for the issuance of Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to install, operate and maintain local exchange carrier services within two years from effectivity thereof. Section 4 further requires IGF operators to provide a minimum of 300 local exchange lines per one international switch termination and a minimum of 300,000 local exchange lines within three years from grant of authority. To cap the governments efforts, Republic Act No. 7925, otherwise known as the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines, was enacted on March 23, 1995. With regard to local exchange service, Section 10 thereof mandates an international carrier to comply with its obligation to provide local exchange service in unserved or underserved areas within three years from the grant of authority as required by existing regulations. On September 25, 1995, the NTC issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations for R.A. No. 7925 per its NTC MC No. 8-9-95.

(4) ICC did not comply with the requirement of prior consultation with the NTC before it filed its application, in violation of Sections 3 and 3.1 of MC 11-9-93; (5) ICC did not comply with Section 27 of MC 11-9-93 requiring that an escrow deposit be made equivalent to 20% and a performance bond equivalent to 10% of the investment required for the first two years of the project; (6) ICC is not financially and technically capable of undertaking the project;

109 and R.A. No. 7925 adopted a policy of healthy competition among the local exchange carrier service providers. The need to formulate new policies is dictated by evolving goals and demands in telecommunications services. Thus, E.O. No. 109 acknowledges that there is a need to promulgate new policy directives to meet the targets of Government through the National Telecommunications Development Plan (NTDP) of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), specifically: (1) to ensure the orderly development of the telecommunications sector through the provision of service to all areas of the country; (2) to satisfy the unserviced demand for telephones; and (3) to provide healthy competition among authorized service providers. Likewise, one of the national policies and objectives of R.A. No. 7925 is to foster the improvement and expansion of telecommunications services in the country through a healthy competitive environment, in which telecommunications carriers are free to make business decisions and to interact with one another in providing telecommunications services, with the end in view of encouraging their financial viability while maintaining affordable rates.[17] Recently, in Pilipino Telephone Corporation vs. NTC,[18] the Court had occasion to rule on a case akin to the present dispute, involving the same respondent ICC, and the Pilipino Telephone Corporation (Piltel). In the Piltel case, ICC applied for a provisional authority to operate a local exchange service in areas already covered by Piltel, which includes Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato and Saranggani. Piltel opposed ICCs application but the NTC denied it, and granted ICCs application. The Court of Appeals dismissed Piltels petition for review, and on certiorari before this Court, we affirmed the dismissal. The Court found that the NTC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion when it granted the ICC a provisional authority to operate in areas covered by Piltel. We held: We will not disturb the factual findings of the NTC on the technical and financial capability of the ICC to undertake the proposed project. We generally accord great weight and even finality to factual findings of administrative bodies such as the NTC, if substantial evidence supports the findings as in this case. The exception to this rule is when the administrative agency arbitrarily disregarded evidence before it or misapprehended evidence to such an extent as to compel a contrary conclusion had it properly appreciated the evidence. PILTEL gravely failed to show that this exception applies to the instant case. Moreover, the exercise of administrative discretion, such as the issuance of a PA, is a policy decision and a matter that the NTC can best discharge, not the courts. PILTEL contends that the NTC violated Section 23 of NTC Memorandum Circular No. 11-9-93, otherwise known as the Implementing Guidelines on the Provisions of EO 109 which states: Section 23. No other company or entity shall be authorized to provide local exchange service in areas where the LECs comply with the relevant provisions of MTC MC No. 10-17-90 and NTC MC No. 10-16-90 and that the local exchange service area is not underserved. (Emphasis supplied) Section 23 of EO 109 does not categorically state that the issuance of a PA is exclusive to any telecommunications company. Neither Congress nor the NTC can grant an exclusive franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization to operate a public utility. In Republic v. Express Telecommunications Co., the Court held that the Constitution is quite emphatic that the operation of a public utility shall not be exclusive. Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution provides: Sec. 11. No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations organized under the laws of the Philippines at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens, nor shall such franchise, certificate or authorization be exclusive in character or for a longer period than fifty years. Neither shall any such franchise or right be granted except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress when the common good so requires. xxx (Emphasis supplied)

(7) The grant of a PA in favor of ICC to operate in areas covered by TTPI will render it difficult for the latter to cross-subsidize its operations in less profitable areas covered by it and will threaten its viability to continue as a local exchange operator.[10] After a review of the records of this case, the Court finds no grave abuse of discretion committed by the Court of Appeals in sustaining the NTCs grant of provisional authority to ICC. The power of the NTC to grant a provisional authority has long been settled. As the regulatory agency of the national government with jurisdiction over all telecommunications entities, it is clothed with authority and given ample discretion to grant a provisional permit or authority.[11] It also has the authority to issue Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the installation, operation, and maintenance of communications facilities and services, radio communications systems, telephone and telegraph systems, including the authority to determine the areas of operations of applicants for telecommunications services. [12] In this regard, the NTC is clothed with sufficient discretion to act on matters solely within its competence.[13] In granting ICC the PA to operate a local exchange carrier service in the Manila and Navotas areas, the NTC took into consideration ICCs financi al and technical resources and found them to be adequate. The NTC also noted ICCs performance in complying with its rollout obligations under the previous PA granted to it, thus: With the proven track record of herein applicant as one of the pacesetters in carrying out its landlines commitment in its assigned areas, applicant can best respond to public demand for faster installation of telephone lines in Manila and Navotas. The grant of this application is, therefore, a fitting recognition that should be accorded to any deserving applicant, such as herein applicant ICC whose remarkable performance in terms of public service as mandated by Executive Order 109 and Republic Act No. 7925 has persuaded this Commission to affix the stamp of its approval.[14] The Court will not interfere with these findings of the NTC, as these are matters that are addressed to its sound discretion, being the government agency entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under its special and technical forte.[15] Moreover, the exercise of administrative discretion is a policy decision and a matter that can best be discharged by the government agency concerned, and not by the courts.[16] Petitioner insists compliance with the service area scheme (SAS) mandated by DOTC Dept. Circular No. 91-260, to wit: 1. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) shall define the boundaries of local exchange areas, and shall henceforth authorize only one franchised Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) to provide LEC service within such areas.

The Court is not persuaded. Said department circular was issued by the DOTC in 1991, before the advent of E.O. No. 109 and R.A. No. 7925. When E.O. No. 109 was promulgated in 1993, and R.A. No. 7925 enacted in 1995, the service area scheme was noticeably omitted therefrom. Instead, E.O. No.

Thus, in Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. v. National Telecommunications Commission, the Court ruled that the Constitution mandates that a franchise cannot be exclusive in nature. ... Among the declared national policies in Republic Act No. 7925, otherwise known as the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines, is the healthy competition among telecommunications carriers, to wit: Obviously, the need for a healthy competitive environment in telecommunications is sufficient impetus for the NTC to consider all those applicants, who are willing to offer competition, develop the market and provide the environment necessary for greater public service. Furthermore, free competition in the industry may also provide the answer to a much -desired improvement in the quality and delivery of this type of public utility, to improved technology, fast and handy mobil[e] service, and reduced user dissatisfaction. PILTELs contention that the NTC Order amounts to a confiscation of property without due process of law is untenable. Confiscation means the seizure of private property by the government without compensation to the owner. A franchise to operate a public utility is not an exclusive private property of the franchisee. Under the Constitution, no franchisee can demand or acquire exclusivity in the operation of a public utility. Thus, a franchisee of a public utility cannot complain of seizure or taking of property because of the issuance of another franchise to a competitor. Every franchise, certificate or authority to operate a public utility is, by constitutional mandate, nonexclusive. PILTEL cannot complain of a taking of an exclusive right that it does not own and which no franchisee can ever own. Likewise, PILTELs argument that the NTC Order violates PILTELs rights as a prior operator ha s no merit. The Court resolved a similar question in Republic v. Republic Telephone Company, Inc. In striking down Retelcos claim that it had a right to be protected in its investment as a franchise holder and prior operator of a telephone service in Malolos, Bulacan, the Court held: RETELCOs foremost argument is that such operations and maintenance of the telephone system and solicitation of subscribers by [petitioners] constituted an unfair and ruinous competition to the detriment of [RETELCO which] is a grantee of both municipal and legislative franchises for the purpose. In effect, RETELCO pleads for protection from the courts on the assumption that its franchises vested in it an exclusive right as prior operator. There is no clear showing by RETELCO, however, that its franchises are of an exclusive character. xxx At any rate, it may very well be pointed out as well that neither did the franchise of PLDT at the time of the controversy confer exclusive rights upon PLDT in the operation of a telephone system. In fact, we have made it a matter of judicial notice that all legislative franchises for the operation of a telephone system contain the following provision: It is expressly provided that in the event the Philippine Government should desire t o maintain and operate for itself the system and enterprise herein authorized, the grantee shall surrender his franchise and will turn over to the Government said system and all serviceable equipment therein, at cost, less reasonable depreciation.[19]

Similarly in this case, the grant of a PA to ICC to operate in areas covered by TTPI is not tainted with any grave abuse of discretion as it was issued by the NTC after taking into account ICCs technical and financial capabilities, and in keeping with the policy of healthy competition fostered by E.O. No. 109 and R.A. No. 7925. In addition, Section 6 of R.A. No. 7925 specifically limits the DOTC from exercising any power that will tend to influence or effect a review or a modification of the NTCs quasi -judicial functions, to wit: Section 6. Responsibilities of and Limitations to Department Powers. -- The Department of Transportation and Communications (Department) shall not exercise any power which will tend to influence or effect a review or a modification of the Commissions quasi-judicial function. The power of the NTC in granting or denying a provisional authority to operate a local exchange carrier service is a quasi-judicial function,[20] a sphere in which the DOTC cannot intrude upon. If at all, the service area scheme provided in DOTC Dept. Circular No. 91-260 is only one of the factors, but should not in any way, tie down the NTC in its determination of the propriety of a grant of a provisional authority to a qualified applicant for local exchange service. True, NTC MC No. 11-9-93 requires prior consultation with the NTC of the proposed service areas. As petitioners themselves argue, prior consultation allows the NTC to assess the impact of the proposed application on the viability of the local exchange operator in the area desired by the would-be applicant and on the viability of the entire telecommunications industry as well as rationalize the plans to minimize any adverse impact. [21] In this case, prior consultation was substantially complied with and its purpose accomplished, when ICC filed its application and the NTC was given the opportunity to assess ICCs viability to render local exchange service in the Manila and Navotas areas, and its impact on the telecommunications industry. It is also true that NTC MC No. 8-9-95 allows a duly enfranchised entity to maintain a local exchange network if it is shown that an existing authorized local exchange operator fails to satisfy the demand for local exchange service.[22] In this case, the NTC noted the increasing rate in the demand for local lines within the Manila and Navotas areas, and in order for these areas to catch up with its neighboring cities, installation of lines must be sped up.[23] This, in fact, is tantamount to a finding that the existing local exchange operator failed to meet the growing demand for local lines. ICCs technical and financial capabilities, as well as the growth rate in the number of lines in particular areas, are matters within NTCs competence and should be accorded respect. The NTC is given wide latitude in the evaluation of evidence and in the exercise of its adjudicative functions, and this includes the authority to take judicial notice of facts within its special competence. [24] TTPI anticipates that allowing ICC to enter its service areas will make it difficult for it to cross-subsidize its operations in the less profitable areas. Such argument, however, is futile. The cross-subsidy approach is apparently the governments response to the foreseen situation wherein given its policy of universal access, a local exchange provider will find itself operating in areas where the demand and the publics capacity to subscribe will be lesser than in other areas, making these areas more of a liability than an asset. Thus, Section 4 of E.O. No. 109 provides: SEC. 4. Cross-Subsidy. Until universal access to basic telecommunications is achieved, and such service is priced to reflect actual costs, local exchange service shall continue to be cross-subsidized by other telecommunications services within the same company.

Meanwhile, NTC MC No. 8-9-95 provides:

ACCESS CHARGES GENERAL (a) Until the local exchange service is priced reflecting actual costs, the local exchange service shall be cross-subsidized by other telecommunications services. (c) The subsidy need by the LE service operator to earn a rate of return at parity with other segments of telecommunications industry shall be charged against the international and domestic toll and CMTS interconnect services.[25]

Section 27 of NTC MC No. 11-9-93 is silent as to whether the posting of an escrow deposit and performance bond is a condition sine qua non for the grant of a provisional authority. While the provision uses the term shall, said directive pertains to the NTC, which shall require the public telecommunications carrier to make such deposit and posting. In any event, records show that as of May 20, 2004, ICC has been granted an extension of its provisional authority up to November 10, 2006.[28] Records also show that ICC has already been providing local exchange carrier service in the areas concerned, having installed 16,000 lines in the City of Manila, 12,000 of which have already been subscribed, 624 lines in Caloocan City, all of which have been subscribed, while the roll-out plan for facilities and provisioning in the City of Navotas is being finalized. [29] Hence, so as not to disrupt ICCs rollout plan compliance, it would be more judicious for theCourt to mere ly require ICC to comply with Section 27 of NTC MC No. 11-9-93, within such period to be determined by the NTC. Furthermore, it is well to stress that petitioner TTPI cannot claim any exclusive right to render telecommunications service in areas which the NTC considers to be in need of additional providers. R.A. No. 7925 is quite emphatic on this score, viz.: SEC. 23. Equality of Treatment in the Telecommunications Industry. Any advantage, favor, privilege, exemption, or immunity granted under existing franchises, or may hereafter be granted, shall ipso facto become part of previously granted telecommunications franchises and shall be accorded immediately and unconditionally to the grantees of such franchises: Provided, however, That the foregoing shall neither apply to nor affect provisions of telecommunications franchises concerning territory covered by the franchise , the life span of the franchise, or the type of service authorized by the franchise. (Emphasis Ours) More than anything else, public service should be the primordial objective of local exchange operators. The entry of another provider in areas covered by TTPI should pose as a challenge for it to improve its quality of service. Ultimately, it will be the public that will benefit. As pointed out in Republic of the Phils. vs. Rep. Telephone Co, Inc.:[30] Free competition in the industry may also provide the answer to a much-desired improvement in the quality and delivery of this type of public utility, to improved technology, fast and handy mobil service, and reduced user dissatisfaction. After all, neither PLDT nor any other public utility has a constitutional right to a monopoly position in view of the Constitutional proscription that no franchise certificate or authorization shall be exclusive in character or shall last longer than fifty (50) years (ibid., Section 11; Article XIV, Section 5, 1973 Constitution; Article XIV, Section 8, 1935 Constitution). WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Order of the National Telecommunications Commission dated November 10, 1997 in NTC Case No. 96-195 is AFFIRMED with the following modifications: Respondent International Communication Corporation, in accordance with Section 27 of NTC MC No. 11-9-93, is required to: (1) Deposit in escrow in a reputable bank 20% of the investment required for the first two years of the implementation of the proposed project; and Post a performance bond equivalent to 10% of the investment required for the first two years of the approved project but not to exceed P500 Million.

Both issuances allow a local exchange operator to cross-subsidize its operations from its other telecommunications services, and not solely on the revenues derived from the operators local exchange service. Notably, R.A. No. 7617, as amended by R.A. No. 7674, grants TTPI the legislative franchise to install, operate and maintain telecommunications systems throughout the Philippines but not limited to the operations of local exchange service or public switched network, public-calling stations, inter-exchange carrier or national toll transmission, value-added or enhanced services intelligent networks, mobile or personal communications services, international gateway facility, and paging services, among others.[26] From these services, TTPI has other sources of revenue from which it may cross-subsidize its local exchange operations. The Court, however, agrees with petitioners that the NTC erred when it failed to require ICC to make an escrow deposit and a performance bond. Section 27 of NTC MC No. 11-9-93 specifically provides: SEC. 27. Authorized public telecommunications carriers shall be required to deposit in escrow in a reputable bank 20% of the investment required for the first two years of the implementation of theproposed project. In addition to escrow, the authorized public telecommunications carriers shall be required to post a performance bond equivalent to 10% of the investment required for the first two years of theapproved project but not to exceed P500 Million. The performance bond shall be forfeited in favor of the government in the event that the authorized PTC fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the authority granted. (Emphases Ours) The escrow deposit and the posting of a performance bond are required in each proposed and approved project of a local exchange operator. Project refers to a planned undertaking.[27] ICCs project for local exchange service in the Manila and Navotas areas is separate and distinct from its projects in other areas; hence, the NTC should have directed ICC to submit such requirements. Evidently, the escrow deposit is required to ensure that there is available money on hand to defray ICCs expenditures for its project, while the performance bond will answer for the faithful compliance and performance of ICCs rollout obligation and to compensate the government for any damages incurred in case of ICCs default. Without these, the government will be left holding an empty bag in the event ICC reneges in its rollout obligation.

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within such period to be determined by the National Telecommunications Commission. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL OIL COMPANY, petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE and TIRSO SAVELLANO, respondents.

Then BIR Commissioner Bienvenido A. Tan, in a letter, dated 22 June 1987, accepted the compromise. The BIR received a total tax payment on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements with PNB in the amount of P93,955,479.12, broken down as follows: Previous payment made by PNB Add: Payment made by PNOC pursuant to the compromise agreement of June 22, 1987 Total tax payment P P P 2,952,349.23 91,003,129.89 93,955,479.12[13]

[G.R. No. 112800. April 26, 2005]

Private respondent Savellano, through four installments, was paid the informers reward in the total amount of P14,093,321.89, representing 15% of the P93,955,479.12 tax collected by the BIR from PNOC and PNB. He received the last installment on 01 December 1987.[14] PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, COURT OF TAX APPEALS, TIRSO B. SAVELLANO and COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondents. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: This is a consolidation of two Petitions for Review on Certiorari filed by the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC)[1] and the Philippine National Bank (PNB),[2] assailing the decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29583[3] and CA-G.R. SP No. 29526,[4] respectively, which both affirmed the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) in CTA Case No. 4249.[5] The Petitions before this Court originated from a sworn statement submitted by private respondent Tirso B. Savellano (Savellano) to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on 24 June 1986. Through his sworn statement, private respondent Savellano informed the BIR that PNB had failed to withhold the 15% final tax on interest earnings and/or yields from the money placements of PNOC with the said bank, in violation of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1931. P.D. No. 1931, which took effect on 11 June 1984, withdrew all tax exemptions of government-owned and controlled corporations. In a letter, dated 08 August 1986, the BIR requested PNOC to settle its liability for taxes on the interests earned by its money placements with PNB and which PNB did not withhold. [6] PNOC wrote the BIR on 25 September 1986, and made an offer to compromise its tax liability, which it estimated to be in the sum of P304,419,396.83, excluding interest and surcharges, as of 31 July 1986. PNOC proposed to set-off its tax liability against a claim for tax refund/credit of the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), then pending with the BIR, in the amount ofP335,259,450.21. The amount of the claim for tax refund/credit was supposedly a receivable account of PNOC from NAPOCOR. [7] On 08 October 1986, the BIR sent a demand letter to PNB, as withholding agent, for the payment of the final tax on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements with the bank, from 15 October 1984 to 15 October 1986, in the total amount of P376,301,133.33.[8] On the same date, the BIR also mailed a letter to PNOC informing it of the demand letter sent to PNB. [9] PNOC, in another letter, dated 14 October 1986, reiterated its proposal to settle its tax liability through the set-off of the said tax liability against NAPOCORS pending claim for tax refund/credit.[10] The BIR replied on 11 November 1986 that the proposal for set-off was premature since NAPOCORs claim was still under process. Once more, BIR requested PNOC to settle its tax liability in the total amount of P385,961,580.82, consisting of P303,343,765.32 final tax, plus P82,617,815.50 interest computed until 15 November 1986.[11] On 09 June 1987, PNOC made another offer to the BIR to settle its tax liability. This time, however, PNOC proposed a compromise by paying P91,003,129.89, representing 30% of theP303,343,766.29 basic tax, in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 44.[12] On 07 January 1988, private respondent Savellano, through his legal counsel, wrote the BIR to demand payment of the balance of his informers reward, computed as follows: BIR tax assessment Final tax rate Informers reward due (BIR deficiency tax assessment x Final tax rate) Less: Payment received by private respondent Savellano Outstanding balance P 385,961,580.82 0.15 P 57,894,237.12

14,093,321.89

P 43,800,915.25[15]

BIR Commissioner Tan replied through a letter, dated 08 March 1988, that private respondent Savellano was already fully paid the informers reward equivalent to 15% of the amount of tax actually collected by the BIR pursuant to its compromise agreement with PNOC. BIR Commissioner Tan further explained that the compromise was in accordance with the provisions of E.O. No. 44, Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 39-86, and RMO No. 4-87.[16] Private respondent Savellano submitted another letter, dated 24 March 1988, to BIR Commissioner Tan, seeking reconsideration of his decision to compromise the tax liability of PNOC. In the same letter, private respondent Savellano questioned the legality of the compromise agreement entered into by the BIR and PNOC and claimed that the tax liability should have been collected in full.[17] On 08 April 1988, while the aforesaid Motion for Reconsideration was still pending with the BIR, private respondent Savellano filed a Petition for Review ad cautelam with the CTA, docketed as CTA Case No. 4249. He claimed therein that BIR Commissioner Tan acted with grave abuse of discretion and/or whimsical exercise of jurisdiction in entering into a compromise agreement that resulted in a gross and unconscionable diminution of his reward. Private respondent Savellano prayed for the enforcement and collection of the total tax assessment against taxpayer PNOC and/or withholding agent PNB; and the payment to him by the BIR Commissioner of the 15% informers reward on the total tax collected.[18] He would later amend his Petition to implead PNOC and PNB as necessary and indispensable parties since they were parties to the compromise agreement. [19] In his Answer filed with the CTA, BIR Commissioner Tan asserted that the Petition stated no cause of action against him, and that private respondent Savellano was already paid the informers reward due him. Alleging that the Petition was baseless and malicious, BIR Commissioner Tan filed a counterclaim for exemplary damages against private respondent Savellano.[20] PNOC and PNB filed separate Motions to Dismiss, both arguing that the CTA lacked jurisdiction to decide the case.[21] In its Resolution, dated 28 November 1988, the CTA denied the Motions to Dismiss since the question of lack of jurisdiction and/or cause of action do not appear to be indubitable.[22]

After their Motions to Dismiss were denied by the CTA, PNOC and PNB filed their respective Answers to the amended Petition. PNOC averred, among other things, that (1) it had no privity with private respondent Savellano; (2) the BIR Commissioners discretionary act in entering into the compromise agreement had legal basis under E.O. No. 44 and RMO No. 39-86 and RMO No. 4-87; and (3) the CTA had no jurisdiction to resolve the case against it.[23] On the other hand, PNB asserted that (1) the CTA lacked jurisdiction over the case; and (2) the BIR Commissioners decision to accept the compromise was discretionary on his part and, therefore, cannot be reviewed or interfered with by the courts.[24] PNOC and PNB later filed their amended Answer invoking an opinion of the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowing the payment by the BIR of informers reward to private respondent Savellano.[25] The CTA, thereafter, ordered the parties to submit their evidence, [26] to be followed by their respective Memoranda.[27] On 23 November 1990, private respondent Savellano, filed a Manifestation with Motion for Suspension of Proceedings, claiming that his pending Motion for Reconsideration with the BIR Commissioner may soon be resolved.[28] Both PNOC and PNB opposed the said Motion.[29] Subsequently, the new BIR Commissioner, Jose U. Ong, in a letter to PNB, dated 16 January 1991, demanded that PNB pay deficiency withholding tax on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements, in the amount of P294,958,450.73, computed as follows: Withholding tax, plus interest under the letter of demand dated November 11, 1986 Less: Amount paid under E.O. No. 44 Amount still due and collectible P P P 385,961,580.82 91,003,129.89 294,958,450.73[30]

January 1991, BIR Commissioner Ong sent another letter, dated 23 April 1991, demanding payment of the P294,958,450.73 deficiency withholding tax on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements. The same letter informed PNB that this was the BIR Commissioners final decision on the matter and that the BIR Commissioner was set to issue a warrant of distraint and/or levy against PNBs deposits with the Central Bank of the Philippines. PNB further alleged that the levy and distraint of PNBs deposits, unless restrained by the CTA, would cause great and irreparable prejudice not only to PNB, a government-owned and controlled corporation, but also to the Government itself.[40] Pursuant to the Order of the CTA, during the hearing on 19 July 1991, [41] the parties submitted their respective Memoranda on PNBs Motion to Suspend Proceedings.[42] On 20 September 1991, private respondent Savellano filed another Omnibus Motion calling the attention of the CTA to the fact that the BIR already issued, on 12 August 1991, a warrant of garnishment addressed to the Central Bank Governor and against PNB. In compliance with the said warrant, the Central Bank issued, on 23 August 1991, a debit advice against the demand deposit account of PNB with the Central Bank for the amount of P294,958,450.73, with a corresponding transfer of the same amount to the demand deposit-in-trust of BIR with the Central Bank. Since the assessment had already been enforced, PNBs Motion to Suspend Proceedings became moot and academic. Private respondent Savellano, thus, moved for the denial of PNBs Motion to Suspend Proceedings and for an order requiring BIR to deposit with the CTA the amount of P44,243,767.00 as his informers reward, representing 15% of the deficiency withholding tax collected.[43] Both PNOC and PNB opposed private respondent Savellanos Omnibus Motion, dated 20 September 1991, arguing that the DOJ already ordered the suspension of the collection of the tax deficiency. There was therefore no basis for private respondent Savellanos Motion as the same was premised on the erroneous assumption that the tax deficiency had been collected. When the DOJ denied the BIR Commissioners Motion to Dismiss and required him to file his answer, the DOJ assumed jurisdiction over PNBs appeal, and the CTA should first suspend its proceedings to give the DOJ the opportunity to decide the validity and propriety of the tax assessment against PNB. [44] The CTA, on 28 May 1992, rendered its decision, wherein it upheld its jurisdiction and disposed of the case as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered declaring the COMPROMISE AGREEMENT between the Bureau of Internal Revenue, on the one hand, and the Philippine National Oil Company and Philippine National Bank, on the other, as WITHOUT FORCE AND EFFECT; The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is hereby ordered to ENFORCE the ASSESSMENT of January 16, 1991 against Philippine National Bank which has become final and unappealable by collecting from Philippine National Bank the deficiency withholding tax, plus interest totalling (sic) P294,958,450.73; Petitioner may be paid, upon collection of the deficiency withholding tax, the balance of his entitlement to informers reward based on fifteen percent (15%) of the deficiency withholding total tax collected in this case orP44,243.767.00 subject to existing rules and regulations governing payment of reward to informers.[45] In a Resolution, dated 16 November 1992, the CTA denied the Motions for Reconsideration filed by PNOC and PNB since they substantially raised the same issues in their previous pleadings and which had already been passed upon and resolved adversely against them. [46] PNOC and PNB filed separate appeals with the Court of Appeals seeking the reversal of the CTA decision in CTA Case No. 4249, dated 28 May 1992, and the CTA Resolution in the same case, dated 16 November 1992. PNOCs appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 29583, while PNBs

This BIR letter was received by PNB on 06 February 1991,[31] and was protested by it through a letter, dated 11 April 1991.[32] The BIR denied PNBs protest on the ground that it was filed out of time and, thus, the assessment had already become final.[33] Private respondent Savellano, on 22 February 1991, filed an Omnibus Motion moving to withdraw his previous Motion for Suspension of Proceeding since BIR Commissioner Ong had finally resolved his Motion for Reconsideration, and submitting by way of supplemental offer of evidence (1) the letter of BIR Commissioner Ong, dated 13 February 1991, informing private respondent Savellano of the action on his Motion for Reconsideration; and (2) the demand-letter of BIR Commissioner Ong to PNB, dated 16 January 1991.[34] Despite the oppositions of PNOC and PNB, the CTA, in a Resolution, dated 02 May 1991, resolved to allow private respondent Savellano to withdraw his previous Motion for Suspension of Proceeding and to admit the supplementary evidence being offered by the same party. [35] In its Order, dated 03 June 1991, the CTA considered the case submitted for decision as of the following day, 04 June 1991.[36] On 11 June 1991, PNB appealed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) the BIR assessment, dated 16 January 1991, for deficiency withholding tax in the sum of P294,958,450.73. PNB alleged that its appeal to the DOJ was sanctioned under P.D. No. 242, which provided for the administrative settlement of disputes between government offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations.[37] Three days later, on 14 June 1991, PNB filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings before the CTA since it had a pending appeal before the DOJ.[38] On 04 July 1991, PNB filed with the CTA a Motion for Reconsideration of its Order, dated 03 June 1991, submitting the case for decision as of 04 June 1991, and prayed that the CTA hold its resolution of the case in view of PNBs appeal pending before the DOJ.[39] On 17 July 1991, PNB filed a Motion to Suspend the Collection of Tax by the BIR. It alleged that despite its request for reconsideration of the deficiency withholding tax assessment, dated 16

appeal was CA-G.R. SP No. 29526. In both cases, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the CTA. In the meantime, the Central Bank again issued on 02 September 1992 a debit advice against the demand deposit account of PNB with the Central Bank for the amount of P294,958,450.73,[47] and on 15 September 1992, credited the same amount to the demand deposit account of the Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines. [48] On 04 November 1992, the Treasurer of the Republic issued a journal voucher transferring P294,958,450.73 to the account of the BIR.[49] PNB, in turn, debited P294,958,450.73 from the deposit account of PNOC with PNB.[50] PNOC and PNB then filed separate Petitions for Review on Certiorari with this Court, praying that the decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29583 and CA-G.R. SP No. 29526, respectively, both affirming the decision of the CTA in CTA Case No. 4249, be reversed and set aside. These two Petitions were consolidated since they involved identical parties and factual background, and the resolution of related, if not exactly, the same issues. In its Petition for Review, PNOC alleged the following errors committed by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29583: 1. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the deficiency taxes of PNOC could not be the subject of a compromise under Executive Order No. 44; and 2. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that Savellano is entitled to additional informers reward.[51] PNB, in its own Petition for Review, assailed the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29526, assigning the following errors: 1. Respondent Court erred in not finding that the Court of Tax Appeals lacks jurisdiction on the controversy involving BIR and PNB (both government instrumentalities) regarding the new assessment of BIR against PNB; 2. The respondent Court erred in not finding that the Court of Tax Appeals has no jurisdiction to question the compromise agreement entered into by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue; and 3. The respondent Court erred in not ruling that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue cannot unilaterally annul tax compromises validly entered into by his predecessor.[52] The decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR SP No. 29583 and CA-G.R. SP No. 29526, affirmed the decision of the CTA in CTA Case No. 4249. The resolution, therefore, of the assigned errors in the Court of Appeals decisions essentially requires a review of the CTA decision itself. In consolidating the present Petitions, this Court finds that PNOC and PNB are basically questioning the (1) Jurisdiction of the CTA in CTA Case No. 4249; (2) Declaration by the CTA that the compromise agreement was without force and effect; (3) Finding of the CTA that the deficiency withholding tax assessment against PNB had already become final and unappealable and, thus, enforceable; and (4) Order of the CTA directing payment of additional informers reward to private respondent Savellano. I Jurisdiction of the CTA A. The demand letter, dated 16 January 1991 did not constitute a new assessment against PNB. The main argument of PNB in assailing the jurisdiction of the CTA in CTA Case No. 4249 is that the BIR demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, [53] should be considered as a new assessment against PNB. As a new assessment, it gave rise to a new dispute and controversy solely between the BIR and PNB that should be administratively settled or adjudicated, as provided in P.D. No. 242.

This argument is without merit. The issuance by the BIR of the demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, was merely a development in the continuing effort of the BIR to collect the tax assessed against PNOC and PNB way back in 1986. BIRs first letter, dated 08 August 1986, was addressed to PNOC, requesting it to settle its tax liability. The BIR subsequently sent another letter, dated 08 October 1986, to PNB, as withholding agent, demanding payment of the tax it had failed to withhold on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements. PNOC wrote the BIR three succeeding letters offering to compromise its tax liability; PNB, on the other hand, did not act on the demand letter it received, dated 08 October 1986. The BIR and PNOC eventually reached a compromise agreement on 22 June 1987. Private respondent Savellano questioned the validity of the compromise agreement because the reduced amount of tax collected from PNOC, by virtue of the compromise agreement, also proportionately reduced his informers reward. Private respondent Savellano then requested the BIR Commissioner to review and reconsider the compromise agreement. Acting on the request of private respondent Savellano, the new BIR Commissioner declared the compromise agreement to be without basis and issued the demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, against PNB, as the withholding agent for PNOC. It is clear from the foregoing that the BIR demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, could not stand alone as a new assessment. It should always be considered in the factual context summarized above. In fact, the demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, actually referred to the withholding tax assessment first issued in 1986 and its eventual settlement through a compromise agreement. In addition, the computation of the deficiency withholding tax was based on the figures from the 1986 assessments against PNOC and PNB, and BIR no longer conducted a new audit or investigation of either PNOC and PNB before it issued the demand letter on 16 January 1991. These constant references to past events and circumstances demonstrate that the demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, was not a new assessment, but rather, the latest action taken by the BIR to collect on the tax assessments issued against PNOC and PNB in 1986. PNB argues that the demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, introduced a new controversy. We see it differently as the said demand letter presented the resolution by BIR Commissioner Ong of the previous controversy involving the compromise of the 1986 tax assessments. BIR Commissioner Ong explicitly declared therein that the compromise agreement was without legal basis, and requested PNB, as the withholding agent, to pay the amount of withholding tax still due. B. The CTA correctly retained jurisdiction over CTA Case No. 4249 by virtue of Republic Act No. 1125. Having established that the BIR demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, did not constitute a new assessment, then, there could be no basis for PNBs claim that an y dispute arising from the new assessment should only be between BIR and PNB. Still proceeding from the argument that there was a new dispute between PNB and BIR, PNB sought the suspension of the proceedings in CTA Case No. 4249, after it contested the deficiency withholding tax assessment against it and the demand for payment thereof before the DOJ, pursuant to P.D. No. 242. The CTA, however, correctly sustained its jurisdiction and continued the proceedings in CTA Case No. 4249; and, in effect, rejected DOJs claim of jurisdiction to administratively settle or adjudicate BIRs assessment against PNB. The CTA assumed jurisdiction over the Petition for Review filed by private respondent Savellano based on the following provision of Rep. Act No. 1125, the Act creating the Court of Tax Appeals: SECTION 7. Jurisdiction. The Court of Tax Appeals shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal, as herein provided -

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Decisions of the Collector of Internal Revenue in cases involving disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other charges, penalties imposed in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the National Internal Revenue Code or other law or part of law administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue; . . . (Underscoring ours.)

No. 1125 and P.D. No. 242," and hence, that the later enactment (P.D. No. 242), being the latest expression of the legislative will, should prevail over the earlier. In the said case, it was expressly declared that P.D. No. 242 repealed Section 7(2) of Rep. Act No. 1125, which provides for the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the CTA over decisions of the Commissioner of Customs. PNB contends that P.D. No. 242 should be deemed to have likewise repealed Section 7(1) of Rep. Act No. 1125, which provide for the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the CTA over decisions of the BIR Commissioner.[57] After re-examining the provisions on jurisdiction of Rep. Act No. 1125 and P.D. No. 242, this Court finds itself in disagreement with the pronouncement made in Development Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, et al.,[58] and refers to the earlier case of Lichauco & Company, Inc. v. Apostol, et al.,[59] for the guidelines in determining the relation between the two statutes in question, to wit: The cases relating to the subject of repeal by implication all proceed on the assumption that if the act of later date clearly reveals an intention on the part of the law making power to abrogate the prior law, this intention must be given effect; but there must always be a sufficient revelation of this intention, and it has become an unbending rule of statutory construction that the intention to repeal a former law will not be imputed to the Legislature when it appears that the two statutes, or provisions, with reference to which the question arises bear to each other the relation of general to special. (Underscoring ours.) When there appears to be an inconsistency or conflict between two statutes and one of the statutes is a general law, while the other is a special law, then repeal by implication is not the primary rule applicable. The following rule should principally govern instead: Specific legislation upon a particular subject is not affected by a general law upon the same subject unless it clearly appears that the provisions of the two laws are so repugnant that the legislators must have intended by the later to modify or repeal the earlier legislation. The special act and the general law must stand together, the one as the law of the particular subject and the other as the general law of the land. (Ex Parte United States, 226 U. S., 420; 57 L. ed., 281; Ex Parte Crow Dog, 109 U. S., 556; 27 L. ed., 1030; Partee vs. St. Louis & S. F. R. Co., 204 Fed. Rep., 970.) Where there are two acts or provisions, one of which is special and particular, and certainly includes the matter in question, and the other general, which, if standing alone, would include the same matter and thus conflict with the special act or provision, the special must be taken as intended to constitute an exception to the general act or provision, especially when such general and special acts or provisions are contemporaneous, as the Legislature is not to be presumed to have intended a conflict. (Crane v. Reeder and Reeder, 22 Mich., 322, 334; University of Utah vs. Richards , 77 Am. St. Rep., 928.)[60] It has, thus, become an established rule of statutory construction that between a general law and a special law, the special law prevails Generalia specialibus non derogant.[61] Sustained herein is the contention of private respondent Savellano that P.D. No. 242 is a general law that deals with administrative settlement or adjudication of disputes, claims and controversies between or among government offices, agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations. Its coverage is broad and sweeping, encompassing all disputes, claims and controversies. It has been incorporated as Chapter 14, Book IV of E.O. No. 292, otherwise known as the Revised Administrative Code of the Philippines.[62] On the other hand, Rep. Act No. 1125 is a special law[63] dealing with a specific subject matter the creation of the CTA, which shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over the tax disputes and controversies enumerated therein.

In his Petition before the CTA, private respondent Savellano requested a review of the decisions of then BIR Commissioner Tan to enter into a compromise agreement with PNOC and to reject his claim for additional informers reward. He submitted before the CTA questions of law involving the interpretation and application of (1) E.O. No. 44, and its implementing rules and regulations, which authorized the BIR Commissioner to compromise delinquent accounts and disputed assessments pending as of 31 December 1985; and (2) Section 316(1) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977 (NIRC of 1977), as amended, which granted to the informer a reward equivalent to 15% of the actual amount recovered or collected by the BIR. [54] These should undoubtedly be considered as matters arising from the NIRC and other laws being administered by the BIR, thus, appealable to the CTA under Section 7(1) of Rep. Act No. 1125. PNB, however, insists on the jurisdiction of the DOJ over its appeal of the deficiency withholding tax assessment by virtue of P.D. No. 242. Provisions on jurisdiction of P.D. No. 242 read: SECTION 1. Provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, all disputes, claims and controversies solely between or among the departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the National Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations, but excluding constitutional offices or agencies, arising from the interpretation and application of statutes, contracts or agreements, shall henceforth be administratively settled or adjudicated as provided hereinafter; Provided, That this shall not apply to cases already pending in court at the time of the effectivity of this decree. SECTION 2. In all cases involving only questions of law, the same shall be submitted to and settled or adjudicated by the Secretary of Justice, as Attorney General and ex officio legal adviser of all government-owned or controlled corporations and entities, in consonance with Section 83 of the Revised Administrative Code. His ruling or determination of the question in each case shall be conclusive and binding upon all the parties concerned. SECTION 3. Cases involving mixed questions of law and of fact or only factual issues shall be submitted to and settled or adjudicated by: (a) The Solicitor General, with respect to disputes or claims controversies between or among the departments, bureaus, offices and other agencies of the National Government; (b) The Government Corporate Counsel, with respect to disputes or claims or controversies between or among government-owned or controlled corporations or entities being served by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel; and (c) The Secretary of Justice, with respect to all other disputes or claims or controversies which do not fall under the categories mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b). The PNB and DOJ are of the same position that P.D. No. 242, the more recent law, repealed Section 7(1) of Rep. Act No. 1125,[55] based on the pronouncement of this Court in Development Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, et al., [56] quoted below: The Court expresses its entire agreement with the conclusion of the Court of Appeals and the basic premises thereof that there is an "irreconcilable repugnancybetween Section 7(2) of R.A.

Following the rule on statutory construction involving a general and a special law previously discussed, then P.D. No. 242 should not affect Rep. Act No. 1125. Rep. Act No. 1125, specifically Section 7 thereof on the jurisdiction of the CTA, constitutes an exception to P.D. No. 242. Disputes, claims and controversies, falling under Section 7 of Rep. Act No. 1125, even though solely among government offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations, remain in the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the CTA. Such a construction resolves the alleged inconsistency or conflict between the two statutes, and the fact that P.D. No. 242 is the more recent law is no longer significant. Even if, for the sake of argument, that P.D. No. 242 should prevail over Rep. Act No. 1125, the present dispute would still not be covered by P.D. No. 242. Section 1 of P.D. No. 242 explicitly provides that only disputes, claims and controversies solely between or among departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the National Government, including constitutional offices or agencies, as well as government-owned and controlled corporations, shall be administratively settled or adjudicated. While the BIR is obviously a government bureau, and both PNOC and PNB are government-owned and controlled corporations, respondent Savellano is a private citizen. His standing in the controversy could not be lightly brushed aside. It was private respondent Savellano who gave the BIR the information that resulted in the investigation of PNOC and PNB; who requested the BIR Commissioner to reconsider the compromise agreement in question; and who initiated CTA Case No. 4249 by filing a Petition for Review. In Bay View Hotel, Inc. v. Manila Hotel Workers Union-PTGWO, et al.,[64] this Court upheld the jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations over the ordinary courts and justified its decision in the following manner: We are unprepared to break away from the teaching in the cases just adverted to. To draw a tenuous jurisdictional line is to undermine stability in labor litigations. A piecemeal resort to one court and another gives rise to multiplicity of suits. To force the employees to shuttle from one court to another to secure full redress is a situation gravely prejudicial. The time to be lost, effort wasted, anxiety augmented, additional expense incurred these are considerations which weigh heavily against split jurisdiction. Indeed, it is more in keeping with orderly administration of justice that all the causes of action here be cognizable and heard by only one court: the Court of Industrial Relations. The same justification is used in the present case to reject DOJs jurisdiction over the BIR and PNB, to the exclusion of the other parties. The rights of all four parties in CTA Case No. 4249, namely the BIR, as the tax collector; PNOC, the taxpayer; PNB, the withholding agent; and private respondent Savellano, the informer claiming his reward; arose from the same factual background and were so closely interrelated, that a pronouncement as to one would definitely have repercussions on the others. The ends of justice were best served when the CTA continued to exercise its jurisdiction over CTA Case No. 4249. The CTA, which had assumed jurisdiction over all the parties to the controversy, could render a comprehensive resolution of the issues raised and grant complete relief to the parties. II Validity of the Compromise Agreement A. PNOC could not apply for a compromise under E.O. No. 44 because its tax liability was not a delinquent account or a disputed assessment as of 31 December 1985. PNOC and PNB, on different grounds, dispute the decision of the CTA in CTA Case No. 4249 declaring the compromise agreement between BIR and PNOC without force and effect. PNOC asserts that the compromise agreement was in accordance with E.O. No. 44, and its implementing rules and regulations, and should be binding upon the parties thereto.

E.O. No. 44 granted the BIR Commissioner or his duly authorized representatives the power to compromise any disputed assessment or delinquent account pending as of 31 December 1985, upon the payment of an amount equal to 30% of the basic tax assessed; in which case, the corresponding interests and penalties shall be condoned. E.O. No. 44 took effect on 04 September 1986 and remained effective until 31 March 1987. The disputed assessments or delinquent accounts that the BIR Commissioner could compromise under E.O. No. 44 are defined under Revenue Regulation (RR) No. 17-86, as follows: a) Delinquent account Refers to the amount of tax due on or before December 31, 1985 from a taxpayer who failed to pay the same within the time prescribed for its payment arising from (1) a self assessed tax, whether or not a tax return was filed, or (2) a deficiency assessment issued by the BIR which has become final and executory. Where no return was filed, the taxpayer shall be considered delinquent as of the time the tax on such return was due, and in availing of the compromise, a tax return shall be filed as a basis for computing the amount of compromise to be paid. b) Disputed assessment refers to a tax assessment disputed or protested on or before December 31, 1985 under any of the following categories: 1) if the same is administratively protested within thirty (30) days from the date the taxpayer received the assessment, or 2.) if the decision of the BIR on the taxpayers administrative protest is appealed by the taxpayer before an appropriate court. PNOCs tax liability could not be considered a delinquent account since (1) it was not self assessed, because the BIR conducted an investigation and assessment of PNOC and PNB after obtaining information regarding the non-withholding of tax from private respondent Savellano; and (2) the demand letter, issued against it on 08 August 1986, could not have been a deficiency assessment that became final and executory by 31 December 1985. The dissenting opinion contends, however, that the tax liability of PNOC constitutes a selfassessed tax, and is, therefore, a delinquent account as of 31 December 1985, qualifying for a compromise under E.O. No. 44. It anchors its argument on the declaration made by this Court in Tupaz v. Ulep,[65] that internal revenue taxes are self-assessing. It is not denied herein that the self-assessing system governs Philippine internal revenue taxes. The dissenting opinion itself defines self-assessed tax as, a tax that the taxpayer himself assesses or computes and pays to the taxing authority. Clearly, such a system imposes upon the taxpayer the obligation to conduct an assessment of himself so he could determine and declare the amount to be used as tax basis, any deductions therefrom, and finally, the tax due. E.O. No. 44 covers self-assessed tax, whether or not a tax return was filed. The phrase whether or not a tax return was filed only refers to t he compliance by the taxpayer with the obligation to file a return on the dates specified by law, but it does not do away with the requisite that the tax must be self-assessed in order for the taxpayer to avail of the compromise. The second paragraph of Section 2(a) of RR No. 17-86 expressly commands, and still imposes upon the taxpayer, who is availing of the compromise under E.O. No. 44, and who has not previously filed any return, the duty to conduct self-assessment by filing a tax return that would be used as the basis for computing the amount of compromise to be paid. Section 2(a)(1) of RR No. 17-86 thus involves a situation wherein a taxpayer, after conducting a self-assessment, discovers or becomes aware that he had failed to pay a tax due on or before 31

December 1985, regardless of whether he had previously filed a return to reflect such tax; voluntarily comes forward and admits to the BIR his tax liability; and applies for a compromise thereof. In case the taxpayer has not previously filed any return, he must fill out such a return reflecting therein his own declaration of the taxable amount and computation of the tax due. The compromise payment shall be computed based on the amount reflected in the tax return submitted by the taxpayer himself. Neither PNOC nor PNB, the taxpayer and the withholding agent, respectively, conducted selfassessment in this case. There is no showing that in the absence of the tax assessment issued by the BIR against them, that PNOC and/or PNB would have voluntarily admitted their tax liabilities, already amounting to P385,961,580.82, as of 15 November 1986, and would have offered to compromise the same. In fact, both PNOC and PNB were conspicuously silent about their tax liabilities until they were assessed thereon. Any attempt by PNOC and PNB to assess and declare by themselves their tax liabilities had already been overtaken by the BIRs conduct of its audit and investigation and subsequent issuance of the assessments, dated 08 August 1986 and 08 October 1986, against PNOC and PNB, respectively. The said tax assessments, uncontested and undisputed, presented the results of the BIR audit and investigation and the computation of the total amount of tax liabilities of PNOC and PNB. They should be controlling in this case, and should not be so easily and conveniently ignored and set aside. It would be a contradiction to claim that the tax liabilities of PNOC and PNB are selfassessed and, at the same time, BIR-assessed; when it is clear and simple that it had been the BIR that conducted the assessment and determined the tax liabilities of PNOC and PNB. That the BIR-assessed tax liability should be differentiated from a self-assessed one, is supported by the provisions of RR No. 17-86 on the basis for computing the amount of compromise payment. Note that where tax liabilities are self-assessed, the compromise payment shall be computed based on the tax return filed by the taxpayer. [66] On the other hand, where the BIR already issued an assessment, the compromise payment shall be computed based on the tax due on the assessment notice.[67] For instances where the BIR had already issued an assessment against the taxpayer, the tax liability could still be compromised under E.O. No. 44 only if: (1) the assessment had been final and executory on or before 31 December 1985 and, therefore, considered a delinquent account as of said date;[68] or (2) the assessment had been disputed or protested on or before 31 December 1985.[69] RMO No. 39-86, which provides the guidelines for the implementation of E.O. No. 44, does mention different types of assessments that may be compromised under said statute (i.e., jeopardy assessments, arbitrary assessments, and tax assessments of doubtful validity). RMO No. 39-86 may not have expressly stated any qualification for these particular types of assessments; nonetheless, E.O. No. 44 specifically refers only to assessments that were delinquent or disputed as of 31 December 1985. E.O. No. 44 and all BIR issuances to implement said statute should be interpreted so that they are harmonized and consistent with each other. Accordingly, this Court finds that the different types of assessments mentioned in RMO No. 39-86 would still have to qualify as delinquent accounts or disputed assessments as of 31 Dcember 1985, so that they could be compromised under E.O. No. 44. The BIR had first written to PNOC on 08 August 1986, demanding payment of the income tax on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements with PNB from 15 October 1984 to 15 October 1986. This demand letter could be regarded as the first assessment notice against PNOC. Such an assessment, issued only on 08 August 1986, could not have been final and executory as of 31 December 1985 so as to constitute a delinquent account. Neither was the assessment against PNOC an assessment that could have been disputed or protested on or before 31 December 1985, having been issued on a later date.

Given that PNOCs tax liability did not constitute a delinquent account or a disputed assessment as of 31 December 1985, then it could not be compromised under E.O. No. 44. The assessment against PNOC, instead, was more appropriately covered by Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 31-86. RMC No. 31-86 clarifies the scope of availment of the tax amnesty under E.O. No. 41[70] and compromise payments on delinquent accounts and disputed assessments under E.O. No. 44. The third paragraph of RMC No. 31-86 reads: [T]axpayers against whom assessments had been issued from January 1 to August 21, 1986 may settle their tax liabilities by way of compromise under Section 246 of the Tax Code as amended by paying 30% of the basic assessment excluding surcharge, interest, penalties and other increments thereto. The above-quoted paragraph supports the position that only assessments that were disputed or that were final and executory by 31 December 1985 could be the subject of a compromise under E.O. No. 44. Assessments issued between 01 January to 21 August 1986 could still be compromised by payment of 30% of the basic tax assessed, not anymore pursuant to E.O. No. 44, but pursuant to Section 246 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended. Section 246 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, granted the BIR Commissioner the authority to compromise the payment of any internal revenue tax under the following circumstances: (1) there exists a reasonable doubt as to the validity of the claim against the taxpayer; or (2) the financial position of the taxpayer demonstrates a clear inability to pay the assessed tax. [71] There are substantial differences in circumstances under which compromises may be granted under Section 246 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, and E.O. No. 44. Although PNOC and PNB have extensively argued their entitlement to compromise under E.O. No. 44, neither of them has alleged, much less, has presented any evidence to prove that it may compromise its tax liability under Section 246 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended. B. The tax liability of PNB as withholding agent also did not qualify for compromise under E.O. No. 44. Before proceeding any further, this Court reconsiders the conclusion made by BIR Commissioner Ong in his demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, that the compromise settlement executed between the BIR and PNOC was without legal basis because withholding taxes were not actually taxes that could be compromised, but a penalty for PNBs failure to withhold and for which it was made personally liable. E.O. No. 44 covers disputed or delinquency cases where the person assessed was himself the taxpayer rather than a mere agent.[72] RMO No. 39-86 expressly allows a withholding agent, who failed to withhold the required tax because of neglect, ignorance of the law, or his belief that he was not required by law to withhold tax, to apply for a compromise settlement of his withholding tax liability under E.O. No. 44. A withholding agent, in such a situation, may compromise the withholding tax assessment against him precisely because he is being held directly accountable for the tax.[73] RMO No. 39-86 distinguishes between the withholding agent in the foregoing situation from the withholding agent who withheld the tax but failed to remit the amount to the Government. A withholding agent in the latter situation is the one disqualified from applying for a compromise settlement because he is being made accountable as an agent, who held funds in trust for the Government.[74] Both situations, however, involve withholding agents. The right to compromise under these provisions should have been claimed by PNB, the withholding agent for PNOC. The BIR held PNB personally accountable for its failure to withhold the tax on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements with PNB. The BIR sent a demand letter, dated 08 October 1986, addressed directly to PNB, for payment of the withholding tax assessed against it, but PNB failed to take any action on the said demand letter. Yet, all the offers to compromise the withholding tax

assessment came from PNOC and PNOC did not claim that it made the offers to compromise on behalf of PNB. Moreover, the general requirement of E.O. No. 44 still applies to withholding agents that the withholding tax liability must either be a delinquent account or a disputed assessment as of 31 December 1985 to qualify for compromise settlement. The demand letter against PNB, which also served as its assessment notice, had been issued on 08 October 1986 or two months later than PNOCs. PNBs withholding tax liability could not be considered a delinquent account or a disputed assessment, as defined under RR No. 17-86, for the same reasons that PNOCs tax liability did not constitute as such. The tax liability of PNB, therefore, was also not eligible for compromise settlement under E.O. No. 44. C. Even assuming arguendo that PNOC and/or PNB qualified under E.O. No. 44, their application for compromise was filed beyond the deadline. Despite already ruling that the tax liabilities of PNOC and PNB could not be compromised under E.O. No. 44, this Court still deems it necessary to discuss the finding of the CTA that the compromise agreement had been filed beyond the effectivity of E.O. No. 44, since the CTA made a declaration in relation thereto that paragraph 2 of RMO No. 39-86 was null and void for unduly extending the effectivity of E.O. No. 44. Paragraph 2 of RMO No. 39-86 provides that: 2. Period for availment. Filing of application for compromise settlement under the said law shall be effective only until March 31, 1987. Applications filed on or before this date shall be valid even if the payment or payments of the compromise amount shall be made after the said date, subject, however, to the provisions of Executive Order No. 44 and its implementing Revenue Regulations No. 17-86. It is well-settled in this jurisdiction that administrative authorities are vested with the power to make rules and regulations because it is impracticable for the lawmakers to provide general regulations for various and varying details of management. The interpretation given to a rule or regulation by those charged with its execution is entitled to the greatest weight by the court construing such rule or regulation, and such interpretation will be followed unless it appears to be clearly unreasonable or arbitrary.[75] RMO No. 39-86, particularly paragraph 2 thereof, does not appear to be unreasonable or arbitrary. It does not unduly expand the coverage of E.O. No. 44 by merely providing that applications for compromise filed until 31 March 1987 are still valid, even if payment of the compromised amount is made on a later date. It cannot be expected that the compromise allowed under E.O. No. 44 can be automatically granted upon mere filing of the application by the taxpayer. Irrefutably, the applications would still have to be processed by the BIR to determine compliance with the requirements of E.O. No. 44. As it is uncontested that a taxpayer could still file an application for compromise on 31 March 1987, the very last day of effectivity of E.O. No. 44, it would be unreasonable to expect the BIR to process and approve the taxpayers application within the same date considering the volume of applications filed and pending approval, plus the other matters the BIR personnel would also have to attend to. Thus, RMO No. 39-86 merely assures the taxpayers that their applications would still be processed and could be approved on a later date. Payment, of course, shall be made by the taxpayer only after his application had been approved and the compromised amount had been determined. Given that paragraph 2 of RMO No. 39-86 is valid, the next question that needs to be addressed is whether PNOC had been able to submit an application for compromise on or before 31 March 1987 in compliance thereof. Although the compromise agreement was executed only on 22 June 1987, PNOC is claiming that it had already written a letter to the BIR, as early as 25 September 1986, offering to compromise its tax liability, and that the said letter should be considered as PNOCs application for compromise settlement.

A perusal of PNOCs letter, dated 25 September 1986, would reveal, however, tha t the terms of its proposed compromise did not conform to those authorized by E.O. No. 44. PNOC did not offer to pay outright 30% of the basic tax assessed against it as required by E.O. No. 44; and instead, made the following offer: (2) That PNOC be permitted to set-off its foregoing mentioned tax liability of P304,419,396.83 against the tax refund/credit claims of the National Power Corporation (NPC) for specific taxes on fuel oil sold to NPC totaling P335,259,450.21, which tax refunds/credits are actually receivable accounts of our Company from NPC.[76] PNOC reiterated the offer in its letter to the BIR, dated 14 October 1986. [77] The BIR, in its letters to PNOC, dated 8 October 1986[78] and 11 November 1986,[79] consistently denied PNOCs offer because the claim for tax refund/credit of NAPOCOR was still under process, so that the offer to set-off such claim against PNOCs tax liability was premature. Furthermore, E.O. No. 44 does not contemplate compromise payment by set-off of a tax liability against a claim for tax refund/credit. Compromise under E.O. No. 44 may be availed of only in the following circumstances: SEC. 3. Who may avail. Any person, natural or juridical, may settle thru a compromise any delinquent account or disputed assessment which has been due as of December 31, 1985, by paying an amount equal to thirty percent (30%) of the basic tax assessed. SEC. 6. Mode of Payment. Upon acceptance of the proposed compromise, the amount offered as compromise in complete settlement of the delinquent account shall be paid immediately in cash or managers certified check. Deferred or staggered payments of compromise amounts over P50,000 may be considered on a case to case basis in accordance with the extant regulations of the Bureau upon approval of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, his Deputy or Assistant as delineated in their respective jurisdictions. If the Compromise amount is not paid as required herein, the compromise agreement is automatically nullified and the delinquent account reverted to the original amount plus the statutory increments, which shall be collected thru the summary and/or judicial processes provided by law. E.O. No. 44 is not for the benefit of the taxpayer alone, who can extinguish his tax liability by paying the compromise amount equivalent to 30% of the basic tax. It also benefits the Government by making collection of delinquent accounts and disputed assessments simpler, easier, and faster. Payment of the compromise amount must be made immediately, in cash or in managers check. Although deferred or staggered payments may be allowed on a case-to-case basis, the mode of payment remains unchanged, and must still be made either in cash or in managers check. PNOCs offer to set-off was obviously made to avoid actual cash-out by the company. The offer defeated the purpose of E.O. No. 44 because it would not only delay collection, but more importantly, it would not guarantee collection. First of all, BIRs collection was contingent on whether the claim for tax refund/credit of NAPOCOR would be subsequently granted. Second, collection could not be made immediately and would have to wait until the resolution of the claim for tax refund/credit of NAPOCOR. Third, there is no proof, other than the bare allegation of PNOC, that NAPOCORs claim for tax refund/credit is an account receivable of PNOC. A possible dispute

between NAPOCOR and PNOC as to the proceeds of the tax refund/credit would only delay collection by the BIR even further. It was only in its letter, dated 09 June 1987, that PNOC actually offered to compromise its tax liability in accordance with the terms and circumstances prescribed by E.O. No. 44 and its implementing rules and regulations, by stating that: Consequently, we reiterate our previous request for compromise under E.O. No. 44, and convey our preparedness to settle the subject tax assessment liability by payment of the compromise amount of P91,003,129.89, representing thirty percent (30%) of the basic tax assessment of P303,343,766.29, in accordance with E.O. No. 44 and its implementing BIR Revenue Memorandum Order No. 39-86.[80] PNOC claimed in the same letter that it had previously requested for a compromise under the terms of E.O. No. 44, but this Court could not find evidence of such previous request. There are stark and substantial differences in the terms of PNOCs offer to compromise in its earlier letters, dated 25 September 1986 and 14 October 1986 (set-off of the entire amount of its tax liability against the claim for tax refund/credit of NAPOCOR), to those in its letter, dated 09 June 1987 (payment of the compromise amount representing 30% of the basic tax assessed against it), making it difficult for this Court to accept that the letter of 09 June 1987 merely reiterated PNOCs offer to compromise in its earlier letters. This Court likewise cannot give credence to PNOCs allegation that beginning 25 September 1986, the date of its first letter to the BIR, there were continuing negotiations between PNOC and BIR that culminated in the compromise agreement on 22 June 1987. Aside from the exchange of letters recounted in the preceding paragraphs, both PNOC and PNB failed to present any other proof of the supposed negotiations. After the BIR denied the second offer of PNOC to set-off its tax liability against the claim for tax refund/credit of NAPOCOR in a letter, dated 11 November 1986, there is no other evidence of subsequent communication between PNOC and the BIR. It was only after almost seven months, or on 09 June 1987, that PNOC again wrote a letter to the BIR, this time offering to pay the compromise amount of 30% of the basic tax assessed against. This letter was already filed beyond 31 March 1987, after the lapse of the effectivity of E.O. No. 44 and the deadline for filing applications for compromise under the said statute. Evidence of meetings between PNOC and the BIR, or any other form of communication, wherein the parties presented their offer and counter-offer to the other, would have been very valuable in explaining and supporting BIR Commissioner Tans decision to accept PNOCs third offer to compromise after denying the previous two. The absence of such evidence herein negates PNOCs claim of actual negotiations with the BIR. Therefore, even assuming arguendo that the tax liabilities of PNOC and PNB qualify as delinquent accounts or disputed assessments as of 31 December 1985, the application for compromise filed by PNOC on 09 June 1987, and accepted by then BIR Commissioner Tan on 22 June 1987, was still filed way beyond 31 March 1987, the expiration date of the effectivity of E.O. No. 44 and the deadline for filing of applications for compromise under RMO No. 39-86. D. The BIR Commissioners discretionary authority to enter into a compromise agreement is not absolute and the CTA may inquire into allegations of abuse thereof. The foregoing discussion supports the CTAs conclusion that the compromise agreement between PNOC and the BIR was indeed without legal basis. Despite this lack of legal support for the execution of the said compromise agreement, PNB argues that the CTA still had no jurisdiction to review and set aside the compromise agreement. It contends that the authority to compromise is purely discretionary on the BIR Commissioner and the courts cannot interfere with his exercise thereof.

It is generally true that purely administrative and discretionary functions may not be interfered with by the courts; but when the exercise of such functions by the administrative officer is tainted by a failure to abide by the command of the law, then it is incumbent on the courts to set matters right, with this Court having the last say on the matter. [81] The manner by which BIR Commissioner Tan exercised his discretionary power to enter into a compromise was brought under the scrutiny of the CTA amidst allegations of grave abuse of discretion and/or whimsical exercise of jurisdiction.[82] The discretionary power of the BIR Commissioner to enter into compromises cannot be superior over the power of judicial review by the courts. The discretionary authority to compromise granted to the BIR Commissioner is never meant to be absolute, uncontrolled and unrestrained. No such unlimited power may be validly granted to any officer of the government, except perhaps in cases of national emergency. [83] In this case, the BIR Commissioners authority to compromise, whether under E.O. No. 44 or Section 246 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, can only be exercised under certain circumstances specifically identified in said statutes. The BIR Commissioner would have to exercise his discretion within the parameters set by the law, and in case he abuses his discretion, the CTA may correct such abuse if the matter is appealed to them.[84] Petitioners PNOC and PNB both contend that BIR Commissioner Tan merely exercised his authority to enter into a compromise specially granted by E.O. No. 44. Since this Court has already made a determination that the compromise agreement did not qualify under E.O. No. 44, BIR Commissioner Tans decision to agree to the compromise should have been reviewed in the light of the general authority granted to the BIR Commissioner to compromise taxes under Section 246 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended. Then again, petitioners PNOC and PNB failed to allege, much less present evidence, that BIR Commissioner Tan acted in accordance with Section 246 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, when he entered into the compromise agreement with PNOC. E. The CTA may set aside a compromise agreement that is contrary to law and public policy. PNB also asserts that the CTA had no jurisdiction to set aside a compromise agreement entered into in good faith. It relies on the decision of this Court in Republic v. Sandiganbayan[85] that a compromise agreement cannot be set aside merely because it is too one-sided. A compromise agreement should be respected by the courts as the res judicata between the parties thereto. This Court, though, finds that there are substantial differences in the factual background of Republic v. Sandiganbayan and the present case. The compromise agreement executed between the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and Roberto S. Benedicto in Republic v. Sandiganbayan was judicially approved by the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan had ample opportunity to examine the validity of the compromise agreement since two years elapsed from the time the agreement was executed up to the time it was judicially approved. This Court even stated in the said case that, We are not dealing with the usual compromise agreement perfunctorily submitted to a court and approved as a matter of course. The PCGG-Benedicto agreement was thoroughly and, at times, disputatiously discussed before the respondent court. There could be no deception or misrepresentation foisted on either the PCGG or the Sandiganbayan.[86] In addition, the new PCGG Chairman originally prayed for the re-negotiation of the compromise agreement so that it could be more just, fair, and equitable, an action considered by this Court as an implied admission that the agreement was not contrary to law, public policy or morals nor was there any circumstance which had vitiated consent.[87] The above-mentioned circumstances strongly supported the validity of the compromise agreement in Republic v. Sandiganbayan, which was why this Court refused to set it aside. Unfortunately for the petitioners in the present case, the same cannot be said herein.

The Court of Appeals, in upholding the jurisdiction of the CTA to set aside the compromise agreement, ruled that: We are unable to accept petitioners submissions. Its formulation of the issues on CIR and CTAs lack of jurisdiction to disturb a compromise agreement presupposes a compromise agreement validly entered into by the CIR and not, when as in this case, it was indubitably shown that the supposed compromise agreement is without legal support. In case of arbitrary or capricious exercise by the Commissioner or if the proceedings were fatally defective, the compromise can be attacked and reversed through the judicial process ( Meralco Securities Corporation v. Savellano, 117 SCRA 805, 812 [1982]; Sarah E. Ramsay, et. al. v. U.S. 21 Ct. C1 443, affd 120 U.S. 214, 30 L. Ed. 582; Tyson v. U.S., 39 F. Supp. 135 cited in page 18 of decision) . [88] Although the general rule is that compromises are to be favored, and that compromises entered into in good faith cannot be set aside,[89] this rule is not without qualification. A court may still reject a compromise or settlement when it is repugnant to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy.[90] The compromise agreement between the BIR and PNOC was contrary to law having been entered into by BIR Commissioner Tan in excess or in abuse of the authority granted to him by legislation. E.O. No. 44 and the NIRC of 1977, as amended, had identified the situations wherein the BIR Commissioner may compromise tax liabilities, and none of these situations existed in this case. The compromise, moreover, was contrary to public policy. The primary duty of the BIR is to collect taxes, since taxes are the lifeblood of the Government and their prompt and certain availability are imperious needs.[91] In the present case, however, BIR Commissioner Tan, by entering into the compromise agreement that was bereft of any legal basis, would have caused the Government to lose almost P300 million in tax revenues and would have deprived the Government of much needed monetary resources. Allegations of good faith and previous execution of the terms of the compromise agreement on the part of PNOC would not be enough for this Court to disregard the demands of law and public policy. Compromise may be the favored method to settle disputes, but when it involves taxes, it may be subject to closer scrutiny by the courts. A compromise agreement involving taxes would affect not just the taxpayer and the BIR, but also the whole nation, the ultimate beneficiary of the tax revenues collected. F. The Government cannot be estopped from collecting taxes by the mistake, negligence, or omission of its agents. The new BIR Commissioner, Commissioner Ong, had acted well within his powers when he set aside the compromise agreement, dated 22 June 1987, after finding that the said compromise agreement was without legal basis. When he took over from his predecessor, there was still a pending motion for reconsideration of the said compromise agreement, filed by private respondent Savellano on 24 March 1988. To resolve the said motion, he reviewed the compromise agreement and, thereafter, came upon the conclusion that it did not comply with E.O. No. 44 and its implementing rules and regulations. It had been declared by this Court in Hilado v. Collector of Internal Revenue, et al.,[92] that an administrative officer, such as the BIR Commissioner, may revoke, repeal or abrogate the acts or previous rulings of his predecessor in office. The construction of a statute by those administering it is not binding on their successors if, thereafter, the latter becomes satisfied that a different construction should be given. It is evident in this case that the new BIR Commissioner, Commissioner Ong, construed E.O. No. 44 and its implementing rules and regulations differently from that of his predecessor, former Commissioner Tan, which led to Commissioner Ongs revocation of the BIR approval of the compromise agreement, dated 22 June 1987. Such a revocation was only proper considering that the former BIR Commissioners decision to approve the said compromise agreement was based on

the erroneous construction of the law (i.e., E.O. No. 44 and its implementing rules and regulations) and should not give rise to any vested right on PNOC.[93] Furthermore, approval of the compromise agreement and acceptance of the compromise payment by his predecessor cannot estop BIR Commissioner Ong from setting aside the compromise agreement, dated 22 June 1987, for lack of legal basis; and from demanding payment of the deficiency withholding tax from PNB. As a general rule, the Government cannot be estopped from collecting taxes by the mistake, negligence, or omission of its agents [94] because: . . . Upon taxation depends the Government ability to serve the people for whose benefit taxes are collected. To safeguard such interest, neglect or omission of government officials entrusted with the collection of taxes should not be allowed to bring harm or detriment to the people, in the same manner as private persons may be made to suffer individually on account of his own negligence, the presumption being that they take good care of their personal affairs. This should not hold true to government officials with respect to matters not of their own personal concern. This is the philosophy behind the government's exception, as a general rule, from the operation of the principle of estoppel. (Republic vs. Caballero, L-27437, September 30, 1977, 79 SCRA 177; Manila Lodge No. 761, Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, L-41001, September 30, 1976, 73 SCRA 162; Sy vs. Central Bank of the Philippines, L-41480, April 30, 1976, 70 SCRA 571; Balmaceda vs. Corominas & Co., Inc., 66 SCRA 553; Auyong Hian vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 59 SCRA 110; Republic vs. Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc., 66 SCRA 553; Republic vs. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, L-18841, January 27, 1969, 26 SCRA 620; Zamora vs. Court of Tax Appeals, L-23272, November 26, 1970, 36 SCRA 77; E. Rodriguez, Inc. vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, L-23041, July 31, 1969, 28 SCRA 119).[95] III Finality of the Tax Assessment A. The issue on whether the BIR complied with the notice requirements under RR No. 12-85 is raised for the first time on appeal and should not be given due course. PNB, in another effort to block the collection of the deficiency withholding tax, this time raises doubts as to the validity of the deficiency withholding tax assessment issued against it on 16 January 1991. It submits that the BIR failed to comply with the notice requirements set forth in RR No. 1285.[96] Whether or not the BIR complied with the notice requirements of RR No. 12-85 is a new issue raised by PNB only before this Court. Such a question has not been ventilated before the lower courts. For an appellate tribunal to consider a legal question, it should have been raised in the court below.[97] If raised earlier, the matter would have been seriously delved into by the CTA and the Court of Appeals.[98] B. The assessment against PNB had become final and unappealable, and therefore, enforceable. The CTA and the Court of Appeals declared as final and unappealable, and thus, enforceable, the assessment against PNB, dated 16 January 1991, since PNB failed to protest said assessment within the 30-day prescribed period. This Court, though, finds that the significant BIR assessment, as far as this case is concerned, should be the one issued by the BIR against PNB on 08 October 1986. The BIR issued on 08 October 1986 an assessment against PNB for its withholding tax liability on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements with the bank. It had 30 days from receipt to protest the BIRs assessment. [99] PNB, however, did not take any action as to the said assessment so that upon the lapse of the period to protest, the withholding tax assessment against it, dated 8 October 1986, became final and unappealable, and could no longer be disputed.[100] The courts may therefore order the enforcement of this assessment.

It is the enforcement of this BIR assessment against PNB, dated 08 October 1986, that is in issue in the instant case. If the compromise agreement is valid, it would effectively bar the BIR from enforcing the assessment and collecting the assessed tax; on the other hand, if the compromise agreement is void, then the courts can order the BIR to enforce the assessment and collect the assessed tax. As has been previously discussed by this Court, the BIR demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, is not a new assessment against PNB. It only demanded from PNB the payment of the balance of the withholding tax assessed against it on 08 October 1986. The same demand letter also has no substantial effect or impact on the resolution of the present case. It is already unnecessary and superfluous, having been issued by the BIR when CTA Case No. 4249 was already pending before the CTA. At best, the demand letter, dated 16 January 1991, constitute a useful reference for the courts in computing the balance of PNBs tax liability, after applying as partial payment thereon the amount previously received by the BIR from PNOC pursuant to the compromise agreement. IV Prescription A. The defense of prescription was never raised by petitioners PNOC and PNB, and should be considered waived. The dissenting opinion takes the position that the right of the BIR to assess and collect income tax on the interest earnings and/or yields from PNOCs money placements with PNB, particularly for taxable year 1985, had already prescribed, based on Section 268 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended. Section 268 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, provides a three-year period of limitation for the assessment and collection of internal revenue taxes, which begins to run after the last day prescribed for filing of the return.[101] The dissenting opinion points out that more than four years have elapsed from 25 January 1986 (the last day prescribed by law for PNB to file its withholding tax return for the fourth quarter of 1985) to 16 January 1991 (the date when the alleged final assessment of PNBs tax liability was issued). The issue of prescription, however, was brought up only in the dissenting opinion and was never raised by PNOC and PNB in the proceedings before the BIR nor in any of their pleadings submitted to the CTA and the Court of Appeals. Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Civil Procedure lays down the rule on defenses and objections not pleaded, and reads: SECTION 1. Defenses and objections not pleaded. Defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived. However, when it appears from the pleadings or the evidence on record that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, that there is another action pending between the parties for the same cause, or that the action is barred by prior judgment or by the statute of limitations, the court shall dismiss the claim. The general rule enunciated in the above-quoted provision governs the present case, that is, the defense of prescription, not pleaded in a motion to dismiss or in the answer, is deemed waived. The exception in same provision cannot be applied herein because the pleadings and the evidence on record do not sufficiently show that the action is barred by prescription. It has been consistently held in earlier tax cases that the defense of prescription of the period for the assessment and collection of tax liabilities shall be deemed waived when such defense was not properly pleaded and the facts alleged and evidences submitted by the parties were not sufficient to support a finding by this Court on the matter. [102] In Querol v. Collector of Internal Revenue,[103] this Court pronounced that prescription, being a matter of defense, imposes the burden

on the taxpayer to prove that the full period of the limitation has expired; and this requires him to positively establish the date when the period started running and when the same was fully accomplished. In making its conclusion that the assessment and collection in this case had prescribed, the dissenting opinion took liberties to assume the following facts even in the absence of allegations and evidences to the effect that: (1) PNB filed returns for its withholding tax obligations for taxable year 1985; (2) PNB reported in the said returns the interest earnings of PNOCs money placements with the bank; and (3) that the returns were filed on or before the prescribed date, which was 25 January 1986. It is not safe to adopt the first and second assumptions in this case considering that Section 269 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, provides for a different period of limitation for assessment and collection of taxes in case of false or fraudulent return or for failure to file a return. In such cases, the BIR is given 10 years after discovery of the falsity, fraud, or omission within which to make an assessment.[104] It is also not safe to accept the third assumption since there can be a possibility that PNB filed the withholding tax return later than the prescribed date, in which case, following the dictates of Section 268 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, the three-year prescriptive period shall be counted from the date the return was actually filed.[105] PNBs withholding tax returns for taxable year 1985, duly received by the BIR, would have been the best evidence to prove actual filing, the date of filing and the contents thereof. These facts are relevant in determining which prescriptive period should apply, and when such prescriptive period should begin to run and when it had lapsed. Yet, the pleadings did not refer to any return, and no return was made part of the records of the present case. This Court could not make a proper ruling on the matter of prescription on the mere basis of assumptions; such an issue should have been properly raised, argued, and supported by evidences submitted by the parties themselves before the BIR and the courts below. B. Granting that this Court can take cognizance of the defense of prescription, this Court finds that the assessment of the withholding tax liability against PNOC and collection of the tax assessed were done within the prescriptive period. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that this Court can give due course to the defense of prescription, it finds that the assessment against PNB for its withholding tax liability for taxable year 1985 and the collection of the tax assessed therein were accomplished within the prescribed periods for assessment and collection under the NIRC of 1977, as amended. If this Court adopts the assumption made by the dissenting opinion that PNB filed its withholding tax return for the last quarter of 1985 on 25 January 1986, then the BIR had until 24 January 1989 to assess PNB. The original assessment against PNB was issued as early as 08 October 1986, well-within the three-year prescriptive period for making the assessment as prescribed by the following provisions of the NIRC of 1977, as amended: SEC. 268. Period of limitation upon assessment and collection. Except as provided in the succeeding section, internal revenue taxes shall be assessed within three years after the last day prescribed by law for the filing of the return, and no proceeding in court without assessment for the collection of such taxes shall be begun after the expiration of such period SEC. 269. Exceptions as to period of limitation of assessment and collection of taxes.

(c) Any internal revenue tax which has been assessed within the period of limitation aboveprescribed may be collected by distraint or levy or by a proceeding in court within three years following the assessment of the tax. Sections 268 and 269(c) of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, should be read in conjunction with one another. Section 268 requires that assessment be made within three years from the last day prescribed by law for the filing of the return. Section 269(c), on the other hand, provides that when an assessment is issued within the prescribed period provided in Section 268, the BIR has three years, counted from the date of the assessment, to collect the tax assessed either by distraint, levy or court action. Therefore, when an assessment is timely issued in accordance with Section 268, the BIR is given another three-year period, under Section 269(c), within which to collect the tax assessed, reckoned from the date of the assessment. In the case of PNB, an assessment was issued against it by the BIR on 08 October 1986, so that the BIR had until 07 October 1989 to enforce it and to collect the tax assessed. The filing, however, by private respondent Savellano of his Amended Petition for Review before the CTA on 02 July 1988 already constituted a judicial action for collection of the tax assessed which stops the running of the three-year prescriptive period for collection thereof. A judicial action for the collection of a tax may be initiated by the filing of a complaint with the proper regular trial court; or where the assessment is appealed to the CTA, by filing an answer to the taxpayers petition for review wherein payment of the tax is prayed for.[106] The present case is unique, however, because the Petition for Review was filed by private respondent Savellano, the informer, against the BIR, PNOC, and PNB. The BIR, the collecting government agency; PNOC, the taxpayer; and PNB, the withholding agent, initially found themselves on the same side. The prayer in the Amended Petition for Review of private respondent Savellano reads: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, petitioner respectfully prays that the compromise agreement of June 22, 1987 be reviewed and declared null and void, and that this Court directs: a) respondent Commissioner to enforce and collect and respondents PNB and/or PNOC to pay in a joint and several capacity, the total tax liability of P387,987,785.73, plus interests from 31 October 1986; and b) respondent Commissioner to pay unto petitioner, as informers reward, 15% of the tax liability collected under clause (a) hereof. Other equitable reliefs under the premises are likewise prayed for.[107] (Underscoring ours.) Private respondent Savellano, in his Amended Petition for Review in CTA Case No. 4249, prayed for (1) the CTA to direct the BIR Commissioner to enforce and collect the tax, and (2) PNB and/or PNOC to pay the tax making CTA Case No. 4249 a collection case. That the Amended Petition for Review was filed by the informer and not the taxpayer; and that the prayer for the enforcement of the tax assessment and payment of the tax was also made by the informer, not the BIR, should not affect the nature of the case as a judicial action for collection. In case the CTA grants the Petition and the prayer therein, as what has happened in the present case, the ultimate result would be the collection of the tax assessed. Consequently, upon the filing of the Amended Petition for Review by private respondent Savellano, judicial action for collection of the tax had been initiated and the running of the prescriptive period for collection of the said tax was terminated. Supposing that CTA Case No. 4249 is not a collection case which stops the running of the prescriptive period for the collection of the tax, CTA Case No. 4249, at the very least, suspends the running of the said prescriptive period. Under Section 271 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, the

running of the prescriptive period to collect deficiency taxes shall be suspended for the period during which the BIR Commissioner is prohibited from beginning a distraint or levy or instituting a proceeding in court, and for 60 days thereafter.[108] Just as in the cases of Republic v. Ker & Co., Ltd.[109] and Protectors Services, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[110] this Court declares herein that the pendency of the present case before the CTA, the Court of Appeals and this Court, legally prevents the BIR Commissioner from instituting an action for collection of the same tax liabilities assessed against PNOC and PNB in the CTA or the regular trial courts. To rule otherwise would be to violate the judicial policy of avoiding multiplicity of suits and the rule on lis pendens. Once again, that CTA Case No. 4249 was initiated by private respondent Savellano, the informer, instead of PNOC, the taxpayer, or PNB, the withholding agent, would not prevent the suspension of the running of the prescriptive period for collection of the tax. What is controlling herein is the fact that the BIR Commissioner cannot file a judicial action in any other court for the collection of the tax because such a case would necessarily involve the same parties and involve the same issues already being litigated before the CTA in CTA Case No. 4249. The three-year prescriptive period for collection of the tax shall commence to run only after the promulgation of the decision of this Court in which the issues of the present case are resolved with finality. Whether the filing of the Amended Petition for Review by private respondent Savellano entirely stops or merely suspends the running of the prescriptive period for collection of the tax, it had been premature for the BIR Commissioner to issue a writ of garnishment against PNB on 12 August 1991 and for the Central Bank of the Philippines to debit the account of PNB on 02 September 1992 pursuant to the said writ, because the case was by then, pending review by the Court of Appeals. However, since this Court already finds that the compromise agreement is without force and effect and hereby orders the enforcement of the assessment against PNB, then, any issue or controversy arising from the premature garnishment of PNBs account and collection of the tax by the BIR has become moot and academic at this point. V Additional Informers Reward Private respondent Savellano is entitled to additional informers reward since the BIR had already collected the full amount of the tax assessment against PNB. PNOC insists that private respondent Savellano is not entitled to additional informers r eward because there was no voluntary payment of the withholding tax liability. PNOC, however, fails to state any legal basis for its argument. Section 316(1) of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, granted a reward to an informer equivalent to 15% of the revenues, surcharges, or fees recovered, plus, any fine or penalty imposed and collected.[111] The provision was clear and uncomplicated an informer was entitled to a reward of 15% of the total amount actually recovered or collected by the BIR based on his information. The provision did not make any distinction as to the manner the tax liability was collected whether it was through voluntary payment by the taxpayer or through garnishment of the taxpayers property. Applicable herein is another well-known maxim in statutory construction Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos when the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish.[112] Pursuant to the writ of garnishment issued by the BIR, the Central Bank issued a debit advice against the demand deposit account of PNB with the Central Bank for the amount ofP294,958,450.73, and credited the same amount to the demand deposit account of the Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines. The Treasurer of the Republic, in turn, already issued a journal voucher transferring P294,958,450.73 to the account of the BIR. Since the BIR had already collected P294,958,450.73 from PNB through the execution of the writ of garnishment over PNBs deposit with the Central Bank, then private respondent Savellano should be awarded 15% thereof as reward since the said collection could still be traced to the information he had given.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petitions of PNOC and PNB in G.R. No. 109976 and G.R. No. 112800, respectively, are hereby DENIED. This Court AFFIRMS the assailed Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29583 and CA-G.R. SP No. 29526, which affirmed the decision of the CTA in CTA Case No. 4249, with modifications, to wit: (1) The compromise agreement between PNOC and the BIR, dated 22 June 1987, is declared void for being contrary to law and public policy, and is without force and effect; (2)Paragraph 2 of RMO No. 39-86 remains a valid provision of the regulation; (3)The withholding tax assessment against PNB, dated 08 October 1986, had become final and unappealable. The BIR Commissioner is ordered to enforce the said assessment and collect the amount of P294,958,450.73, the balance of tax assessed after crediting the previous payment made by PNOC pursuant to the compromise agreement, dated 22 June 1987; and (4) Private respondent Savellano shall be paid the remainder of his informers reward, equivalent to 15% of the deficiency withholding tax ordered collected herein, or P 44,243,767.61. SO ORDERED. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner, vs. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD and GRAND INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS, INC., respondents. DECISION TORRES, JR., J.: This Special Civil Action for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeks to prohibit respondent Civil Aeronautics Board from exercising jurisdiction over private respondent's Application for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, and to annul and set aside a temporary operating permit issued by the Civil Aeronautics Board in favor of Grand International Airways (GrandAir, for brevity) allowing the same to engage in scheduled domestic air transportation services, particularly the Manila-Cebu, Manila-Davao, and converse routes. The main reason submitted by petitioner Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) to support its petition is the fact that GrandAir does not possess a legislative franchise authorizing it to engage in air transportation service within the Philippines or elsewhere. Such franchise is, allegedly, a requisite for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience or Necessity by the respondent Board, as mandated under Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution. Respondent GrandAir, on the other hand, posits that a legislative franchise is no longer a requirement for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or a Temporary Operating Permit, following the Court's pronouncements in the case of Albano vs. Reyes,[1] as restated by the Court of Appeals in Avia Filipinas International vs. Civil Aeronautics Board [2] and Silangan Airways, Inc. vs. Grand International Airways, Inc., and the Hon. Civil Aeronautics Board.[3] On November 24, 1994, private respondent GrandAir applied for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the Board, which application was docketed as CAB Case No. EP12711.[4] Accordingly, the Chief Hearing Officer of the CAB issued a Notice of Hearing setting the application for initial hearing on December 16, 1994, and directing GrandAir to serve a copy of the application and corresponding notice to all scheduled Philippine Domestic operators. On December 14, 1994, GrandAir filed its Compliance, and requested for the issuance of a Temporary Operating Permit. Petitioner, itself the holder of a legislative franchise to operate air transport services, filed an Opposition to the application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity on December 16, 1995 on the following grounds:

"A. The CAB has no jurisdiction to hear the petitioner's application until the latter has first obtained a franchise to operate from Congress. B. The petitioner's application is deficient in form and substance in that: 1. The application does not indicate a route structure including a computation of trunkline, secondary and rural available seat kilometers (ASK) which shall always be maintained at a monthly level at least 5% and 20% of the ASK offered into and out of the proposed base of operations for rural and secondary, respectively. 2. It does not contain a project/feasibility study, projected profit and loss statements, projected balance sheet, insurance coverage, list of personnel, list of spare parts inventory, tariff structure, documents supportive of financial capacity, route flight schedule, contracts on facilities (hangars, maintenance, lot) etc. C. Approval of petitioner's application would violate the equal protection clause of the constitution. D. There is no urgent need and demand for the services applied for. E. To grant petitioner's application would only result in ruinous competition contrary to Section 4(d) of R.A. 776."[5] At the initial hearing for the application, petitioner raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction of the Board to hear the application because GrandAir did not possess a legislative franchise. On December 20, 1994, the Chief Hearing Officer of CAB issued an Order denying petitioner's Opposition. Pertinent portions of the Order read: "PAL alleges that the CAB has no jurisdiction to hear the petitioner's application until the latter has first obtained a franchise to operate from Congress. The Civil Aeronautics Board has jurisdiction to hear and resolve the application. In Avia Filipina vs. CAB, CA G.R. No. 23365, it has been ruled that under Section 10 (c) (I) of R.A. 776, the Board possesses this specific power and duty. In view thereof, the opposition of PAL on this ground is hereby denied. SO ORDERED." Meantime, on December 22, 1994, petitioner this time, opposed private respondent's application for a temporary permit maintaining that: "1. The applicant does not possess the required fitness and capability of operating the services applied for under RA 776; and, 2. Applicant has failed to prove that there is clear and urgent public need for the services applied for."[6] On December 23, 1994, the Board promulgated Resolution No. 119(92) approving the issuance of a Temporary Operating Permit in favor of Grand Air [7] for a period of three months, i.e.,

from December 22, 1994 to March 22, 1994. Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the issuance of the Temporary Operating Permit on January 11, 1995, but the same was denied in CAB Resolution No. 02 (95) on February 2, 1995. [8] In the said Resolution, the Board justified its assumption of jurisdiction over GrandAir's application. "WHEREAS, the CAB is specifically authorized under Section 10-C (1) of Republic Act No. 776 as follows: '(c) The Board shall have the following specific powers and duties: (1) In accordance with the provision of Chapter IV of this Act, to issue, deny, amend revise, alter, modify, cancel, suspend or revoke, in whole or in part, upon petitioner-complaint, or upon its own initiative, any temporary operating permit or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity; Provided, however; that in the case of foreign air carriers, the permit shall be issued with the approval of the President of the Republic of the Philippines." WHEREAS, such authority was affirmed in PAL vs. CAB, (23 SCRA 992), wherein the Supreme Court held that the CAB can even on its own initiative, grant a TOP even before the presentation of evidence; WHEREAS, more recently, Avia Filipinas vs. CAB, (CA-GR No. 23365), promulgated on October 30, 1991, held that in accordance with its mandate, the CAB can issue not only a TOP but also a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to a qualified applicant therefor in the absence of a legislative franchise, citing therein as basis the decision of Albano vs. Reyes (175 SCRA 264) which provides (inter alia) that: a) Franchises by Congress are not required before each and every public utility may operate when the law has granted certain administrative agencies the power to grant licenses for or to authorize the operation of certain public utilities; b) The Constitutional provision in Article XII, Section 11 that the issuance of a franchise, certificate or other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility does not necessarily imply that only Congress has the power to grant such authorization since our statute books are replete with laws granting specified agencies in the Executive Branch the power to issue such authorization for certain classes of public utilities. WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 219 which took effect on 22 January 1995, provides in Section 2.1 that a minimum of two (2) operators in each route/link shall be encouraged and that routes/links presently serviced by only one (1) operator shall be open for entry to additional operators. RESOLVED, (T)HEREFORE, that the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Philippine Airlines on January 05, 1995 on the Grant by this Board of a Temporary Operating Permit (TOP) to Grand International Airways, Inc. alleging among others that the CAB has no such jurisdiction, is hereby DENIED, as it hereby denied, in view of the foregoing and considering that the grounds relied upon by the movant are not indubitable." On March 21, 1995, upon motion by private respondent, the temporary permit was extended for a period of six (6) months or up to September 22, 1995. Hence this petition, filed on April 3, 1995. Petitioners argue that the respondent Board acted beyond its powers and jurisdiction in taking cognizance of GrandAirs application for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience

and Necessity, and in issuing a temporary operating permit in the meantime, since GrandAir has not been granted and does not possess a legislative franchise to engage in scheduled domestic air transportation. A legislative franchise is necessary before anyone may engage in air transport services, and a franchise may only be granted by Congress. This is the meaning given by the petitioner upon a reading of Section 11, Article XII,[9] and Section 1, Article VI,[10] of the Constitution. To support its theory, PAL submits Opinion No. 163, S. 1989 of the Department of Justice, which reads: Dr. Arturo C. Corona Executive Director Civil Aeronautics Board PPL Building, 1000 U.N. Avenue Ermita, Manila Sir: This has reference to your request for opinion on the necessity of a legislative franchise before the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) may issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and/or permit to engage in air commerce or air transportation to an individual or entity. You state that during the hearing on the application of Cebu Air for a congressional franchise, the House Committee on Corporations and Franchises contended that under the present Constitution, the CAB may not issue the abovestated certificate or permit, unless the individual or entity concerned possesses a legislative franchise. You believe otherwise, however, for the reason that under R.A. No. 776, as amended, the CAB is explicitly empowered to issue operating permits or certificates of public convenience and necessity and that this statutory provision is not inconsistent with the current charter. We concur with the view expressed by the House Committee on Corporations and Franchises. In an opinion rendered in favor of your predecessor-in-office, this Department observed that,xxx it is useful to note the distinction between the franchise to operate and a permit to commence operation. The former is sovereign and legislative in nature; it can be conferred only by the lawmaking authority (17 W and P, pp. 691-697). The latter is administrative and regulatory in character (In re Application of Fort Crook-Bellevue Boulevard Line, 283 NW 223); it is granted by an administrative agency, such as the Public Service Commission [now Board of Transportation], in the case of land transportation, and the Civil Aeronautics Board, in case of air services. While a legislative franchise is a pre-requisite to a grant of a certificate of public convenience and necessity to an airline company, such franchise alone cannot constitute the authority to commence operations, inasmuch as there are still matters relevant to such operations which are not determined in the franchise, like rates, schedules and routes, and which matters are resolved in the process of issuance of permit by the administrative. (Secretary of Justice opn No. 45, s. 1981) Indeed, authorities are agreed that a certificate of public convenience and necessity is an authorization issued by the appropriate governmental agency for the operation of public services for which a franchise is required by law (Almario, Transportation and Public Service Law, 1977 Ed., p. 293; Agbayani, Commercial Law of the Phil., Vol. 4, 1979 Ed., pp. 380-381).

Based on the foregoing, it is clear that a franchise is the legislative authorization to engage in a business activity or enterprise of a public nature, whereas a certificate of public convenience and necessity is a regulatory measure which constitutes the franchises authority to commence operations. It is thus logical that the grant of the former should precede the latter. Please be guided accordingly. (SGD.) SEDFREY A. ORDOEZ Secretary of Justice" Respondent GrandAir, on the other hand, relies on its interpretation of the provisions of Republic Act 776, which follows the pronouncements of the Court of Appeals in the cases of Avia Filipinas vs. Civil Aeronautics Board, and Silangan Airways, Inc. vs. Grand International Airways (supra). In both cases, the issue resolved was whether or not the Civil Aeronautics Board can issue the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or Temporary Operating Permit to a prospective domestic air transport operator who does not possess a legislative franchise to operate as such. Relying on the Court's pronouncement in Albano vs. Reyes (supra), the Court of Appeals upheld the authority of the Board to issue such authority, even in the absence of a legislative franchise, which authority is derived from Section 10 of Republic Act 776, as amended by P.D. 1462. [11] The Civil Aeronautics Board has jurisdiction over GrandAir's Application for a Temporary Operating Permit. This rule has been established in the case of Philippine Air Lines Inc., vs. Civil Aeronautics Board, promulgated on June 13, 1968.[12] The Board is expressly authorized by Republic Act 776 to issue a temporary operating permit or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, and nothing contained in the said law negates the power to issue said permit before the completion of the applicant's evidence and that of the oppositor thereto on the main petition. Indeed, the CAB's authority to grant a temporary permit "upon its own initiative" strongly suggests the power to exercise said authority, even before the presentation of said evidence has begun. Assuming arguendo that a legislative franchise is prerequisite to the issuance of a permit, the absence of the same does not affect the jurisdiction of the Board to hear the application, but tolls only upon the ultimate issuance of the requested permit. The power to authorize and control the operation of a public utility is admittedly a prerogative of the legislature, since Congress is that branch of government vested with plenary powers of legislation. "The franchise is a legislative grant, whether made directly by the legislature itself, or by any one of its properly constituted instrumentalities. The grant, when made, binds the public, and is, directly or indirectly, the act of the state."[13] The issue in this petition is whether or not Congress, in enacting Republic Act 776, has delegated the authority to authorize the operation of domestic air transport services to the respondent Board, such that Congressional mandate for the approval of such authority is no longer necessary. Congress has granted certain administrative agencies the power to grant licenses for, or to authorize the operation of certain public utilities. With the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulation, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is a constantly growing tendency towards the delegation of greater powers by the legislature, and towards the approval of the practice by the courts. [14] It is generally recognized that a franchise may be derived indirectly from the state through a duly designated agency, and to this extent, the power to grant franchises has frequently been delegated, even to

agencies other than those of a legislative nature.[15] In pursuance of this, it has been held that privileges conferred by grant by local authorities as agents for the state constitute as much a legislative franchise as though the grant had been made by an act of the Legislature.[16] The trend of modern legislation is to vest the Public Service Commissioner with the power to regulate and control the operation of public services under reasonable rules and regulations, and as a general rule, courts will not interfere with the exercise of that discretion when it is just and reasonable and founded upon a legal right.[17] It is this policy which was pursued by the Court in Albano vs. Reyes. Thus, a reading of the pertinent issuances governing the Philippine Ports Authority, [18] proves that the PPA is empowered to undertake by itself the operation and management of the Manila International Container Terminal, or to authorize its operation and management by another by contract or other means, at its option. The latter power having been delegated to the PPA, a franchise from Congress to authorize an entity other than the PPA to operate and manage the MICP becomes unnecessary. Given the foregoing postulates, we find that the Civil Aeronautics Board has the authority to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, or Temporary Operating Permit to a domestic air transport operator, who, though not possessing a legislative franchise, meets all the other requirements prescribed by the law. Such requirements were enumerated in Section 21 of R.A. 776. There is nothing in the law nor in the Constitution, which indicates that a legislative franchise is an indispensable requirement for an entity to operate as a domestic air transport operator. Although Section 11 of Article XII recognizes Congress' control over any franchise, certificate or authority to operate a public utility, it does not mean Congress has exclusive authority to issue the same. Franchises issued by Congress are not required before each and every public utility may operate.[19] In many instances, Congress has seen it fit to delegate this function to government agencies, specialized particularly in their respective areas of public service. A reading of Section 10 of the same reveals the clear intent of Congress to delegate the authority to regulate the issuance of a license to operate domestic air transport services: SECTION 10. Powers and Duties of the Board. (A) Except as otherwise provided herein, the Board shall have the power to regulate the economic aspect of air transportation, and shall have general supervision and regulation of, the jurisdiction and control over air carriers, general sales agents, cargo sales agents, and air freight forwarders as well as their property rights, equipment, facilities and franchise, insofar as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out the provision of this Act. In support of the Board's authority as stated above, it is given the following specific powers and duties: (C) The Board shall have the following specific powers and duties: (1) In accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV of this Act, to issue, deny, amend, revise, alter, modify, cancel, suspend or revoke in whole or in part upon petition or complaint or upon its own initiative any Temporary Operating Permit or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity: Provided however, That in the case of foreign air carriers, the permit shall be issued with the approval of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Petitioner argues that since R.A. 776 gives the Board the authority to issue "Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity", this, according to petitioner, means that a legislative franchise is an absolute requirement. It cites a number of authorities supporting the view that a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity is issued to a public service for which a franchise is required by law, as distinguished from a "Certificate of Public Convenience" which is an authorization issued for

the operation of public services for which no franchise, either municipal or legislative, is required by law.[20] This submission relies on the premise that the authority to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity is a regulatory measure separate and distinct from the authority to grant a franchise for the operation of the public utility subject of this particular case, which is exclusively lodged by petitioner in Congress. We do not agree with the petitioner. Many and varied are the definitions of certificates of public convenience which courts and legal writers have drafted. Some statutes use the terms "convenience and necessity" while others use only the words "public convenience." The terms "convenience and necessity", if used together in a statute, are usually held not to be separable, but are construed together. Both words modify each other and must be construed together. The word 'necessity' is so connected, not as an additional requirement but to modify and qualify what might otherwise be taken as the strict significance of the word necessity. Public convenience and necessity exists when the proposed facility will meet a reasonable want of the public and supply a need which the existing facilities do not adequately afford. It does not mean or require an actual physical necessity or an indispensable thing.[21] "The terms 'convenience' and 'necessity' are to be construed together, although they are not synonymous, and effect must be given both. The convenience of the public must not be circumscribed by according to the word 'necessity' its strict meaning or an essential requisites." [22] The use of the word "necessity", in conjunction with "public convenience" in a certificate of authorization to a public service entity to operate, does not in any way modify the nature of such certification, or the requirements for the issuance of the same. It is the law which determines the requisites for the issuance of such certification, and not the title indicating the certificate. Congress, by giving the respondent Board the power to issue permits for the operation of domestic transport services, has delegated to the said body the authority to determine the capability and competence of a prospective domestic air transport operator to engage in such venture. This is not an instance of transforming the respondent Board into a mini-legislative body, with unbridled authority to choose who should be given authority to operate domestic air transport services. "To be valid, the delegation itself must be circumscribed by legislative restrictions, not a "roving commission" that will give the delegate unlimited legislative authority. It must not be a delegation "running riot" and "not canalized with banks that keep it from overflowing." Otherwise, the delegation is in legal effect an abdication of legislative authority, a total surrender by the legislature of its prerogatives in favor of the delegate."[23] Congress, in this instance, has set specific limitations on how such authority should be exercised. Firstly, Section 4 of R.A. No. 776, as amended, sets out the following guidelines or policies: "SECTION 4. Declaration of policies. In the exercise and performance of its powers and duties under this Act, the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Civil Aeronautics Administrator shall consider the following, among other things, as being in the public interest, and in accordance with the public convenience and necessity: (a) The development and utilization of the air potential of the Philippines;

(b) The encouragement and development of an air transportation system properly adapted to the present and future of foreign and domestic commerce of the Philippines, of the Postal Service and of the National Defense; (c) The regulation of air transportation in such manner as to recognize and preserve the inherent advantages of, assure the highest degree of safety in, and foster sound economic condition in, such transportation, and to improve the relations between, and coordinate transportation by, air carriers; (d) The promotion of adequate, economical and efficient service by air carriers at reasonable charges, without unjust discriminations, undue preferences or advantages, or unfair or destructive competitive practices; (e) Competition between air carriers to the extent necessary to assure the sound development of an air transportation system properly adapted to the need of the foreign and domestic commerce of the Philippines, of the Postal Service, and of the National Defense; (f) To promote safety of flight in air commerce in the Philippines; and, (g) The encouragement and development of civil aeronautics. More importantly, the said law has enumerated the requirements to determine the competency of a prospective operator to engage in the public service of air transportation. SECTION 12. Citizenship requirement. Except as otherwise provided in the Constitution and existing treaty or treaties, a permit authorizing a person to engage in domestic air commerce and/or air transportation shall be issued only to citizens of the Philippines.[24] SECTION 21. Issuance of permit. The Board shall issue a permit authorizing the whole or any part of the service covered by the application, if it finds: (1) that the applicant is fit, willing and able to perform such service properly in conformity with the provisions of this Act and the rules, regulations, and requirements issued thereunder; and (2) that such service is required by the public convenience and necessity; otherwise the application shall be denied. Furthermore, the procedure for the processing of the application of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity had been established to ensure the weeding out of those entities that are not deserving of public service.[25] In sum, respondent Board should now be allowed to continue hearing the application of GrandAir for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, there being no legal obstacle to the exercise of its jurisdiction. ACCORDINGLY, in view of the foregoing considerations, the Court RESOLVED to DISMISS the instant petition for lack of merit. The respondent Civil Aeronautics Board is hereby DIRECTED to CONTINUE hearing the application of respondent Grand International Airways, Inc. for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 74457 March 20, 1987

RESTITUTO YNOT, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, THE STATION COMMANDER, INTEGRATED NATIONAL POLICE, BAROTAC NUEVO, ILOILO and THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY, REGION IV, ILOILO CITY, respondents. Ramon A. Gonzales for petitioner.

( S G D . ) F E R D I N A N D E . M A R C O S

CRUZ, J.: The essence of due process is distilled in the immortal cry of Themistocles to Alcibiades "Strike but hear me first!" It is this cry that the petitioner in effect repeats here as he challenges the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 626-A. The said executive order reads in full as follows: WHEREAS, the President has given orders prohibiting the interprovincial movement of carabaos and the slaughtering of carabaos not complying with the requirements of Executive Order No. 626 particularly with respect to age; WHEREAS, it has been observed that despite such orders the violators still manage to circumvent the prohibition against inter-provincial movement of carabaos by transporting carabeef instead; and WHEREAS, in order to achieve the purposes and objectives of Executive Order No. 626 and the prohibition against interprovincial movement of carabaos, it is necessary to strengthen the said Executive Order and provide for the disposition of the carabaos and carabeef subject of the violation; NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby promulgate the following: SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 626 is hereby amended such that henceforth, no carabao regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose and no carabeef shall be transported from one province to another. The carabao or carabeef transported in violation of this Executive Order as amended shall be subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the government, to be distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commission may ay see fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit, in the case of carabaos. SECTION 2. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately. Done in the City of Manila, this 25th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty.

R e p u b l i c o f t h e P h i

l i p p i n e s The petitioner had transported six carabaos in a pump boat from Masbate to Iloilo on January 13, 1984, when they were confiscated by the police station commander of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, for violation of the above measure. 1The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ of replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After considering the merits of the case, the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order, as raise by the petitioner, for lack of authority and also for its presumed validity. 2 The petitioner appealed the decision to the Intermediate Appellate Court, * 3 which upheld the trial court, ** and he has now come before us in this petition for review on certiorari. The thrust of his petition is that the executive order is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes outright confiscation of the carabao or carabeef being transported across provincial boundaries. His claim is that the penalty is invalid because it is imposed without according the owner a right to be heard before a competent and impartial court as guaranteed by due process. He complains that the measure should not have been presumed, and so sustained, as constitutional. There is also a challenge to the improper exercise of the legislative power by the former President under Amendment No. 6 of the 1973 Constitution. 4 While also involving the same executive order, the case of Pesigan v. Angeles 5 is not applicable here. The question raised there was the necessity of the previous publication of the measure in the Official Gazette before it could be considered enforceable. We imposed the requirement then on the basis of due process of law. In doing so, however, this Court did not, as contended by the Solicitor General, impliedly affirm the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 626-A. That is an entirely different matter. This Court has declared that while lower courts should observe a becoming modesty in examining constitutional questions, they are nonetheless not prevented from resolving the same whenever warranted, subject only to review by the highest tribunal. 6 We have jurisdiction under the Constitution to "review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or rules of court may provide," final judgments and orders of lower courts in, among others, all cases involving the constitutionality of certain measures. 7 This simply means that the resolution of such cases may be made in the first instance by these lower courts. And while it is true that laws are presumed to be constitutional, that presumption is not by any means conclusive and in fact may be rebutted. Indeed, if there be a clear showing of their invalidity, and of the need to declare them so, then "will be the time to make the hammer fall, and heavily," 8 to recall Justice Laurel's trenchant warning. Stated otherwise, courts should not follow the path of least resistance by simply presuming the constitutionality of a law when it is questioned. On the contrary, they should probe the issue more deeply, to relieve the abscess, paraphrasing another distinguished jurist, 9 and so heal the wound or excise the affliction.

Judicial power authorizes this; and when the exercise is demanded, there should be no shirking of the task for fear of retaliation, or loss of favor, or popular censure, or any other similar inhibition unworthy of the bench, especially this Court. The challenged measure is denominated an executive order but it is really presidential decree, promulgating a new rule instead of merely implementing an existing law. It was issued by President Marcos not for the purpose of taking care that the laws were faithfully executed but in the exercise of his legislative authority under Amendment No. 6. It was provided thereunder that whenever in his judgment there existed a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof or whenever the legislature failed or was unable to act adequately on any matter that in his judgment required immediate action, he could, in order to meet the exigency, issue decrees, orders or letters of instruction that were to have the force and effect of law. As there is no showing of any exigency to justify the exercise of that extraordinary power then, the petitioner has reason, indeed, to question the validity of the executive order. Nevertheless, since the determination of the grounds was supposed to have been made by the President "in his judgment, " a phrase that will lead to protracted discussion not really necessary at this time, we reserve resolution of this matter until a more appropriate occasion. For the nonce, we confine ourselves to the more fundamental question of due process. It is part of the art of constitution-making that the provisions of the charter be cast in precise and unmistakable language to avoid controversies that might arise on their correct interpretation. That is the Ideal. In the case of the due process clause, however, this rule was deliberately not followed and the wording was purposely kept ambiguous. In fact, a proposal to delineate it more clearly was submitted in the Constitutional Convention of 1934, but it was rejected by Delegate Jose P. Laurel, Chairman of the Committee on the Bill of Rights, who forcefully argued against it. He was sustained by the body. 10 The due process clause was kept intentionally vague so it would remain also conveniently resilient. This was felt necessary because due process is not, like some provisions of the fundamental law, an "iron rule" laying down an implacable and immutable command for all seasons and all persons. Flexibility must be the best virtue of the guaranty. The very elasticity of the due process clause was meant to make it adapt easily to every situation, enlarging or constricting its protection as the changing times and circumstances may require. Aware of this, the courts have also hesitated to adopt their own specific description of due process lest they confine themselves in a legal straitjacket that will deprive them of the elbow room they may need to vary the meaning of the clause whenever indicated. Instead, they have preferred to leave the import of the protection open-ended, as it were, to be "gradually ascertained by the process of inclusion and exclusion in the course of the decision of cases as they arise." 11 Thus, Justice Felix Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court, for example, would go no farther than to define due process and in so doing sums it all up as nothing more and nothing less than "the embodiment of the sporting Idea of fair play." 12 When the barons of England extracted from their sovereign liege the reluctant promise that that Crown would thenceforth not proceed against the life liberty or property of any of its subjects except by the lawful judgment of his peers or the law of the land, they thereby won for themselves and their progeny that splendid guaranty of fairness that is now the hallmark of the free society. The solemn vow that King John made at Runnymede in 1215 has since then resounded through the ages, as a ringing reminder to all rulers, benevolent or base, that every person, when confronted by the stern visage of the law, is entitled to have his say in a fair and open hearing of his cause. The closed mind has no place in the open society. It is part of the sporting Idea of fair play to hear "the other side" before an opinion is formed or a decision is made by those who sit in judgment. Obviously, one side is only one-half of the question; the other half must also be considered if an

impartial verdict is to be reached based on an informed appreciation of the issues in contention. It is indispensable that the two sides complement each other, as unto the bow the arrow, in leading to the correct ruling after examination of the problem not from one or the other perspective only but in its totality. A judgment based on less that this full appraisal, on the pretext that a hearing is unnecessary or useless, is tainted with the vice of bias or intolerance or ignorance, or worst of all, in repressive regimes, the insolence of power. The minimum requirements of due process are notice and hearing 13 which, generally speaking, may not be dispensed with because they are intended as a safeguard against official arbitrariness. It is a gratifying commentary on our judicial system that the jurisprudence of this country is rich with applications of this guaranty as proof of our fealty to the rule of law and the ancient rudiments of fair play. We have consistently declared that every person, faced by the awesome power of the State, is entitled to "the law of the land," which Daniel Webster described almost two hundred years ago in the famous Dartmouth College Case, 14 as "the law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial." It has to be so if the rights of every person are to be secured beyond the reach of officials who, out of mistaken zeal or plain arrogance, would degrade the due process clause into a worn and empty catchword. This is not to say that notice and hearing are imperative in every case for, to be sure, there are a number of admitted exceptions. The conclusive presumption, for example, bars the admission of contrary evidence as long as such presumption is based on human experience or there is a rational connection between the fact proved and the fact ultimately presumed therefrom. 15 There are instances when the need for expeditions action will justify omission of these requisites, as in the summary abatement of a nuisance per se, like a mad dog on the loose, which may be killed on sight because of the immediate danger it poses to the safety and lives of the people. Pornographic materials, contaminated meat and narcotic drugs are inherently pernicious and may be summarily destroyed. The passport of a person sought for a criminal offense may be cancelled without hearing, to compel his return to the country he has fled. 16 Filthy restaurants may be summarily padlocked in the interest of the public health and bawdy houses to protect the public morals. 17 In such instances, previous judicial hearing may be omitted without violation of due process in view of the nature of the property involved or the urgency of the need to protect the general welfare from a clear and present danger. The protection of the general welfare is the particular function of the police power which both restraints and is restrained by due process. The police power is simply defined as the power inherent in the State to regulate liberty and property for the promotion of the general welfare. 18 By reason of its function, it extends to all the great public needs and is described as the most pervasive, the least limitable and the most demanding of the three inherent powers of the State, far outpacing taxation and eminent domain. The individual, as a member of society, is hemmed in by the police power, which affects him even before he is born and follows him still after he is dead from the womb to beyond the tomb in practically everything he does or owns. Its reach is virtually limitless. It is a ubiquitous and often unwelcome intrusion. Even so, as long as the activity or the property has some relevance to the public welfare, its regulation under the police power is not only proper but necessary. And the justification is found in the venerable Latin maxims, Salus populi est suprema lex and Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, which call for the subordination of individual interests to the benefit of the greater number. It is this power that is now invoked by the government to justify Executive Order No. 626-A, amending the basic rule in Executive Order No. 626, prohibiting the slaughter of carabaos except under certain conditions. The original measure was issued for the reason, as expressed in one of its Whereases, that "present conditions demand that the carabaos and the buffaloes be conserved for the benefit of the small farmers who rely on them for energy needs." We affirm at the outset the need for such a measure. In the face of the worsening energy crisis and the increased dependence of our farms on these traditional beasts of burden, the government would have been remiss, indeed, if it had not taken steps to protect and preserve them.

A similar prohibition was challenged in United States v. Toribio, 19 where a law regulating the registration, branding and slaughter of large cattle was claimed to be a deprivation of property without due process of law. The defendant had been convicted thereunder for having slaughtered his own carabao without the required permit, and he appealed to the Supreme Court. The conviction was affirmed. The law was sustained as a valid police measure to prevent the indiscriminate killing of carabaos, which were then badly needed by farmers. An epidemic had stricken many of these animals and the reduction of their number had resulted in an acute decline in agricultural output, which in turn had caused an incipient famine. Furthermore, because of the scarcity of the animals and the consequent increase in their price, cattle-rustling had spread alarmingly, necessitating more effective measures for the registration and branding of these animals. The Court held that the questioned statute was a valid exercise of the police power and declared in part as follows: To justify the State in thus interposing its authority in behalf of the public, it must appear, first, that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require such interference; and second, that the means are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose, and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. ... From what has been said, we think it is clear that the enactment of the provisions of the statute under consideration was required by "the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class" and that the prohibition of the slaughter of carabaos for human consumption, so long as these animals are fit for agricultural work or draft purposes was a "reasonably necessary" limitation on private ownership, to protect the community from the loss of the services of such animals by their slaughter by improvident owners, tempted either by greed of momentary gain, or by a desire to enjoy the luxury of animal food, even when by so doing the productive power of the community may be measurably and dangerously affected. In the light of the tests mentioned above, we hold with the Toribio Case that the carabao, as the poor man's tractor, so to speak, has a direct relevance to the public welfare and so is a lawful subject of Executive Order No. 626. The method chosen in the basic measure is also reasonably necessary for the purpose sought to be achieved and not unduly oppressive upon individuals, again following the above-cited doctrine. There is no doubt that by banning the slaughter of these animals except where they are at least seven years old if male and eleven years old if female upon issuance of the necessary permit, the executive order will be conserving those still fit for farm work or breeding and preventing their improvident depletion. But while conceding that the amendatory measure has the same lawful subject as the original executive order, we cannot say with equal certainty that it complies with the second requirement, viz., that there be a lawful method. We note that to strengthen the original measure, Executive Order No. 626-A imposes an absolute ban not on theslaughter of the carabaos but on their movement, providing that "no carabao regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose (sic) and no carabeef shall be transported from one province to another." The object of the prohibition escapes us. The reasonable connection between the means employed and the purpose sought to be achieved by the questioned measure is missing We do not see how the prohibition of the inter-provincial transport of carabaos can prevent their indiscriminate slaughter, considering that they can be killed anywhere, with no less difficulty in one province than in another. Obviously, retaining the carabaos in one province will not prevent their slaughter there, any more than moving them to another province will make it easier to kill them there. As for the carabeef, the prohibition is made to apply to it as otherwise, so says executive order, it could be easily circumvented by simply killing the animal. Perhaps so. However, if the movement of the live animals for the purpose of preventing their slaughter cannot be prohibited, it

should follow that there is no reason either to prohibit their transfer as, not to be flippant dead meat. Even if a reasonable relation between the means and the end were to be assumed, we would still have to reckon with the sanction that the measure applies for violation of the prohibition. The penalty is outright confiscation of the carabao or carabeef being transported, to be meted out by the executive authorities, usually the police only. In the Toribio Case, the statute was sustained because the penalty prescribed was fine and imprisonment, to be imposed by the court after trial and conviction of the accused. Under the challenged measure, significantly, no such trial is prescribed, and the property being transported is immediately impounded by the police and declared, by the measure itself, as forfeited to the government. In the instant case, the carabaos were arbitrarily confiscated by the police station commander, were returned to the petitioner only after he had filed a complaint for recovery and given a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00, which was ordered confiscated upon his failure to produce the carabaos when ordered by the trial court. The executive order defined the prohibition, convicted the petitioner and immediately imposed punishment, which was carried out forthright. The measure struck at once and pounced upon the petitioner without giving him a chance to be heard, thus denying him the centuries-old guaranty of elementary fair play. It has already been remarked that there are occasions when notice and hearing may be validly dispensed with notwithstanding the usual requirement for these minimum guarantees of due process. It is also conceded that summary action may be validly taken in administrative proceedings as procedural due process is not necessarily judicial only. 20 In the exceptional cases accepted, however. there is a justification for the omission of the right to a previous hearing, to wit, the immediacy of the problem sought to be corrected and the urgency of the need to correct it. In the case before us, there was no such pressure of time or action calling for the petitioner's peremptory treatment. The properties involved were not even inimical per se as to require their instant destruction. There certainly was no reason why the offense prohibited by the executive order should not have been proved first in a court of justice, with the accused being accorded all the rights safeguarded to him under the Constitution. Considering that, as we held in Pesigan v. Angeles, 21 Executive Order No. 626-A is penal in nature, the violation thereof should have been pronounced not by the police only but by a court of justice, which alone would have had the authority to impose the prescribed penalty, and only after trial and conviction of the accused. We also mark, on top of all this, the questionable manner of the disposition of the confiscated property as prescribed in the questioned executive order. It is there authorized that the seized property shall "be distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commissionmay see fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industrymay see fit, in the case of carabaos." (Emphasis supplied.) The phrase "may see fit" is an extremely generous and dangerous condition, if condition it is. It is laden with perilous opportunities for partiality and abuse, and even corruption. One searches in vain for the usual standard and the reasonable guidelines, or better still, the limitations that the said officers must observe when they make their distribution. There is none. Their options are apparently boundless. Who shall be the fortunate beneficiaries of their generosity and by what criteria shall they be chosen? Only the officers named can supply the answer, they and they alone may choose the grantee as they see fit, and in their own exclusive discretion. Definitely, there is here a "roving commission," a wide and sweeping authority that is not "canalized within banks that keep it from overflowing," in short, a clearly profligate and therefore invalid delegation of legislative powers. To sum up then, we find that the challenged measure is an invalid exercise of the police power because the method employed to conserve the carabaos is not reasonably necessary to the purpose

of the law and, worse, is unduly oppressive. Due process is violated because the owner of the property confiscated is denied the right to be heard in his defense and is immediately condemned and punished. The conferment on the administrative authorities of the power to adjudge the guilt of the supposed offender is a clear encroachment on judicial functions and militates against the doctrine of separation of powers. There is, finally, also an invalid delegation of legislative powers to the officers mentioned therein who are granted unlimited discretion in the distribution of the properties arbitrarily taken. For these reasons, we hereby declare Executive Order No. 626-A unconstitutional. We agree with the respondent court, however, that the police station commander who confiscated the petitioner's carabaos is not liable in damages for enforcing the executive order in accordance with its mandate. The law was at that time presumptively valid, and it was his obligation, as a member of the police, to enforce it. It would have been impertinent of him, being a mere subordinate of the President, to declare the executive order unconstitutional and, on his own responsibility alone, refuse to execute it. Even the trial court, in fact, and the Court of Appeals itself did not feel they had the competence, for all their superior authority, to question the order we now annul. The Court notes that if the petitioner had not seen fit to assert and protect his rights as he saw them, this case would never have reached us and the taking of his property under the challenged measure would have become afait accompli despite its invalidity. We commend him for his spirit. Without the present challenge, the matter would have ended in that pump boat in Masbate and another violation of the Constitution, for all its obviousness, would have been perpetrated, allowed without protest, and soon forgotten in the limbo of relinquished rights. The strength of democracy lies not in the rights it guarantees but in the courage of the people to invoke them whenever they are ignored or violated. Rights are but weapons on the wall if, like expensive tapestry, all they do is embellish and impress. Rights, as weapons, must be a promise of protection. They become truly meaningful, and fulfill the role assigned to them in the free society, if they are kept bright and sharp with use by those who are not afraid to assert them. WHEREFORE, Executive Order No. 626-A is hereby declared unconstitutional. Except as affirmed above, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The supersedeas bond is cancelled and the amount thereof is ordered restored to the petitioner. No costs. SO ORDERED. ELISEO A. SINON, petitioner, vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-REORGANIZATION APPEALS BOARD AND JUANA BANAN, respondents.

CAMPOS, JR., J.: This petition for certiorari seeks to annul the following Resolutions of the public respondents Civil Service Commission (the "CSC") * and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Appeals Board (the "DARAB"), ** to wit: 1. Resolution No. 97 dated August 23, 1989, issued by respondent DARAB which revoked petitioner's permanent appointment as Municipal Agriculture

Officer (MAO) and appointed, in his stead, private respondent Juana Banan (Rollo 17); 2. Resolution dated February 8, 1991 issued by the respondent CSC affirming the aforementioned Resolution of respondent DARAB (Rollo 22); 3. Resolution dated July 11, 1991 issued by the respondent CSC which denied petitioner's motion for the reconsideration of the respondent Commission's Resolution dated February 8, 1991. 1 The antecedent facts are as follows: Prior to the reorganization of the then Minister of Agriculture and Food (the "MAF"), the private respondent Juana Banan was the incumbent Municipal Agricultural Officer (MAO) of the aforesaid Minister in Region II, Cagayan, while the petitioner Eliseo Sinon occupied the position of Fisheries Extension Specialist (FES) II in the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the same region. However, the reorganization of the MAF into the Department of Agriculture (the "DA"), with the issuance of Executive Order No. 116 dated 30 January 1987, called for the evaluation of the following employees for twenty nine position of MAO in Region II, Cagayan. The list as prepared by the Placement Committee included the herein petitioner Sinon but excluded the respondent Banan: 1. Binoya, Vicente 76.20%

14. Zareno, Bernardo 65.57% 15. Madrid, Angel S. 65.57% 16. Callangan, Napoleon 65.45% 17. Fiesta, Felicisimo 65.29% 18. Alvarez, Benefranco 64.99% 19. Baggayan, Samuel O. 64.42% 20. Umbay, Pedro T. 64.01% 21. De la Cruz, Florencio M. 62.07% 22. Leonador, Ernesto T. 61.88% 23. Miguel, Jose 61.86% 24. Berlan, Herminia C. 61.76% 25. Soliman, Clemente 61.52%

2. Cabana, Isidro 75.01% 26. Llopis, Lino 61.47% 3. Sebastian, Alice 74.18% 27. Baliuag, Felicidad 61.39% 4. Zingapan, Benjamin 70.73% 28. Aresta, Leticia 60.67% 5. Guzman, Wilhemina de la P. 70.50% 29. Sinon, Eliseo A. 60.66% 2 6. Gervacio, Agnes 69.86% (Emphasis supplied) 7. Somera, Hilario S. 68.13% 8. Tolentino, Julian R. 67.64% 9. Guillermo, Pedro 67.22% 10. Tambio, Rodolfo 67.00% 11. Aquino, Martina 66.94% 12. Bassig, Pio P. 66.84% 13. Rumpon, Danilo P. 65.61% Thus, respondents Banan filed an appeal with the DARAB for re-evaluation of the qualification of all those included in the aforementioned list made by the Placement Committee. On August 23, 1989, the DARAB released Resolution No. 97 in which the ranking for 29 MAO prepared by the Placement Committee was re-evaluated as follows: 1. Binoya, Vicente 76.20% 2. Cabana, Isidro 75.01% 3. Sebastian, Alice 72.18%

4. Zingapan, Benjamin 70.73% 5. Guzman, Wilhemina de la P. 70.50% 6. Gervacio, Agnes 70.04% 7. Somera, Hilario S. 68.13% 8. Tolentino, Julian Jr. 67.22% 9. Guillermo, Pedro 67.22% 10. Tambio, Rodolfo 67.00% 11. Aquino, Martina D. 66.94% 12. Bassig, Pio P. 66.84% 13. Rumpon, Danilo P. 65.61% 14. Madrid, Angel 65.57% 15. Callangan, Napoleon 65.45% 16. Fiesta, Felicisimo 65.29% 17. Alvarez, Benefranco 64.99% 18. Baggayan, Samuel O. 64.42% 19. Umbay, Pedro T. 64.01% 20. De la Cruz, Florencio M. 62.07%

27. Baliuag, Felicidad 61.39% 28. Aresta, Leticia 60.67% 29. Banan, Juana 59.32% 2 (Emphasis supplied) In this re-evaluation, petitioner Sinon was displaced by the respondent Banan and this same resolution was duly approved by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Carlos G. Dominguez, who also affixed his signature on the same date. However, on August 30, 1988, Sinon received an appointment as MAO for Region II in Cagayan as approved by Regional Director Gumersindo D. Lasam on the basis of the first evaluation made by the Placement Committee. Thus, Sinon filed an appeal docketed as Civil Service Case No. 573 on November 22, 1989 to the CSC. This appeal was granted mainly for two reasons: first, the respondent DARAB failed to file its Comment within the period required; and second, the evaluation of the qualification of the employees is a question of fact which the appointing authority or the Placement Committee assisting him is in a better position to determine. Hence, the Resolution dated 28 February 1989 of the DARAB was set aside. 4 On March 19, 1990, Banan filed a Motion for Reconsideration in which she pitted her qualifications against Sinon for the last slot in the 29 available MAO positions. At the same time, she pointed out that to allow the findings of the Placement Committee to supersede the DARAB resolution which the Secretary of Agriculture had approved would be tantamount to giving precedence to the Placement Committee over the head of the agency. Finally, on February 8, 1991, CSC, after reviewing the Comment filed by the DARAB which had not been considered earlier in the Civil Service Case No. 573, the CSC granted respondent Banan's Motion for Reconsideration and gave due course to her appointment by the DARAB. On March 21, 1991, Sinon filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the February 8, 1991 Resolution which however was denied by the CSC in its assailed Resolution dated July 11, 1991. According to the respondent CSC:

21. Leonador, Ernesto T. 61.88% 22. Miguel, Jose L. 61.86% 23. Berlan, Herminia C. 61.76% 24. Soliman, Clemente 61.52% 25. Zareno, Bernardo 61.50% 26. Llopis, Lino 61.47% Mr. Sinon strongly argued that the findings of the Placement Committee on the qualifications of the parties should be accorded deference and greater weight over that of the RAB. Under the Placement Committee's evaluation, Mr. Sinon garnered 60.66 while Ms. Juana Banan earned 57.32 after assessing the contending parties qualification in education, relevant experience, eligibility and other factors. Following the request of several parties for reevaluation, the RAB in their decision gave Mr. Sinon 57.66 while Ms. Banan obtained 59.32. Seemingly the findings of the two bodies are in conflict. Mr. Sinon argues that the findings of the Placement Committee should prevail since it is specially mandated by RA 6656. We disagree. The Placement Committee's function is recommendatory in nature. The agency's Reorganization Appeals Board was specially created by the Circular of the Office of the President

dated October 2, 1987 and conferred with authority to review appeals and complaints of officials and employees affected by the reorganization. the decision of the agency RAB has the imprimatur of the Secretary of that agency and is therefore controlling in matters of and is therefore controlling in matters of appointment. Under this principle, the decision of the DARAB in this case enjoys precedence over the Placement Committee. 5 Hence, this petition was filed with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order to enjoin the execution of the assailed resolutions. Without giving due course to the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction, the court required the parties to file their respective Comments. 6 On 12 November 1991, the Court gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective Memoranda. 7 The main issue for Our consideration is this: whether or not the CSC committed grave abuse discretion in reviewing and re-evaluating the ring or qualification of the petitioner Sinon. The arguments of the petitioner can be summed up as follows: 1). In issuing the Resolution of 8 February 1991, the CSC in effect revoked the appointment that the petitioner received as early as 30 August 1989 and which was deemed permanent by virtue of the approval of the Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture: 2). In giving petitioner a rating of only 57.66%, 8 from his previous rating of 60.66% and at the same time according a rating of 59.32% to private respondent from a rating of only 57.32%, the CSC departed from its power which is limited only to that of "review", and hence encroached upon the power of appointment exclusively lodged in the appointment authority; 3) In giving due course to the appointment of respondent Banan in its Resolution of 8 February 1991, CSC was directing the appointment of a substitute of their own choice when the power to appoint was exclusively lodged in the appointing authority. We rule as follows. By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. 9 Contrary to the allegations of the petitioner, We do not find any evidence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CSC when it issued Resolution dated 8 February 1991 which in effect approved the appointment of respondent Banan over petitioner Sinon. With the reorganization of the MAF into the DA with Executive order No. 116, it became imperative to "protect the security of tenure of Civil Service Officers and employees in the implementation of government reorganization". Thus, Congress passed Republic Act No. 6656. 10

It was under the same law of R.A. 6656 that the Placement Committee was created: Section 6. In order that the best qualified and mot deserving persons shall be appointed in any reorganization, there shall be created a Placement Committee in each department or agency to assist the appointing authority in the judicious selection and placement of personnel. The Committee shall consist of two (2) members appointed by the head of the department or agency, a representative of the appointing authority, and two (2) members duly elected by the employees holding positions in the first and second levels of the career service: Provided, that if there is a registered employee association with a majority of the employees as members, that employee association shall also have a representative in the Committee: Provided, Further, that immediately upon the approval of the staffing pattern of the department or agency concerned, such staffing pattern shall be made known to all officers and employees of the agency who shall be invited to apply for any of the positions authorized therein. Such application shall be considered by the committee in the placement and selection of personnel. (Emphasis supplied). To "assist" mean to lend an aid to, 11 or to contribute effort in the complete accomplishment of an ultimate purpose intended to be effected by those engaged. 12 In contrast, to "recommend" 13 is to present one's advice or choice as having one's approval or to represent or urge as advisable or expedient. It involves the Idea that another has the final decision. Clearly, the Placement Committee was charged with the duty of exercising the same discretionary functions as the appointing authority in the judicious selection and placement of personnel when the law empowered it to "assist" the appointment authority. The same law also allows any officer or employee aggrieved by the appointments to file an appeal with the appointing authority who shall made a decision within thirty (30) days from the filing thereof. If the same employee is still not satisfied with the decision of the appointing authority, he may further appeal within ten (10) days from the receipt thereof the CSC. 14 In the case at bar, the Circular dated October 2, 1987 of the Office of the President created the agency Reorganization Appeals Board to address the problem of the employees affected by the reorganizations. The foregoing legal measures spell out the remedies of aggrieved parties which make it impossible to give the status of finality to any appointment until all protests or oppositions are duly heard. Thus, while it is true that the appointment paper received by petitioner Sinon on 30 August 1989 for the position of MAO had not conferred any permanent status and was still subject to the following conditions attached to any appointment in the civil service: Provided that there is no pending administrative case against the appointee, no pending protest against the appointment, nor any decision by competent authority that will adversely affect the approval of the appointment . 15 Hence, for as long as the re-evaluation of the qualification filed by Banan was pending, the petitioner cannot claim that he had been issued with a "complete" appointment. Neither is there any point in asserting that his appointment had "cured" whatever changes was subsequently recommended by the DARAB. 16

The fact that the DARAB is capable of re-evaluating the findings of the Placement Committed only to find that Sinon is not qualified should no be taken as a grave abuse of discretion. We cannot subscribe to petitioner Sinon's insistence that the public respondent CSC had disregarded the findings of the Placement Committee. The truth is, these findings of the Placement Committee. The truth is, these findings were re-evaluated and the report after such re-evaluation was submitted to and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. The CSC affirmed the findings of the DARAB. Because of all the foregoing circumstances, the jurisprudence cited by the petitioner Sinon appears to be incorrect. 17 Neither do we find in the Resolution of 8 February 1991, any statement by the CSC directing the appointment of the respondent Banan. Hence, there was no directive from the CSC that may be misinterpreted as a usurpation of any appointing power. 18 Besides, in affirming the appointment of Banan as recommended by the DARAB and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, the CSC is only being consistent with the law. Section 4 or R.A. 6656 mandates that officers and employees holding permanent appointments shall be given preference for appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their former positions. Also, the term incumbent officer and the privileges generally accorded to them would more aptly refer to Banan and not to petitioner Sinon whose appointment was never confirmed completely. 19 There is no dispute that the position of MAO in the old staffing pattern is most comparable to the MAO in the new staffing pattern. Finally, the Solicitor General in behalf of the CSC correctly noted that the petitioner Sinon had conveniently omitted the then Secretary of Agriculture who had affixed his approval on the findings of the DARAB. Petitioner Sinon knew fully well that as head of the agency, the Secretary of Agriculture was the appointing authority. It must be recalled that the whole purpose of reorganization is that is it is a "process of restructuring the bureaucracy's organizational and functional set-up, to make it more viable in terms of the economy, efficiency, effectiveness and make it more responsive to the needs of its public clientele as authorized by law." 20 For as long as the CSC confines itself within the limits set out by law and does not encroach upon the prerogatives endowed to other authorities, this Court must sustain the Commission. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED with costs against the petitioner. SO ORDERED. AQUILINO T. LARIN, petitioner, vs. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, SECRETARY OF FINANCE, COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE AND THE COMMITTEE CREATED TO INVESTIGATE THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT AGAINST AQUILINO T. LARIN, COMPOSED OF FRUMENCIO A. LAGUSTAN, JOSE B. ALEJANDRINO AND JAIME M. MAZA, respondents.

Challenged in this petition is the validity of petitioner's removal from service as Assistant Commissioner of the Excise Tax Service of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Incidentally, he questions Memorandum Order No. 164 issued by the Office of the President, which provides for the creation of "A Committee to Investigate the Administrative Complaint Against Aquilino T. Larin, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Internal Revenue" as well as the investigation made in pursuance thereto, and Administrative Order No. 101 dated December 2, 1993 which found him guilty of grave misconduct in the administrative charge and imposed upon him the penalty of dismissal from office. Likewise, petitioner seeks to assail the legality of Executive Order No. 132, issued by President Ramos on October 26, 1993, which provides for the "Streamlining of the Bureau of Internal Revenue," and of its implementing rules issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, namely: a) Administrative Order No. 4-93, which provides for the "Organizational Structure and Statement of General Functions of Offices in the National Office" and b) Administrative Order No. 5-93, which provides for "Redefining the Areas of Jurisdiction and Renumbering of Regional And District Offices." The antecedent facts of the instant case as succinctly related by the Solicitor General are as follows: On September 18, 1992, 1 a decision was rendered by the Sandiganbayan convicting herein petitioner Aquilino T. Larin, Revenue Specific Tax Officer, then Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and his co-accused (except Justino E. Galban, Jr.) of the crimes of violation of Section 268 (4) of the National Internal Revenue Code and Section 3 (e) of R.A. 3019 in Criminal Cases Nos. 14208-14209, entitled "People of the Philippines, Plaintiff vs. Aquilino T. Larin, Teodoro T. Pareno, Justino E. Galban, Jr. and Potenciana N. Evangelista, Accused," the dispositive portion of the judgment reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is now rendered in Criminal Cases Nos. 14208 and 14209 convicting accused Assistant Commissioner for Specific Tax AQUILINO T. LARIN, Chief of the Alcohol Tax Division TEODORO P. PARENO, and Chief of the Revenue Accounting Division POTENCIANA M. EVANGELISTA: xxx xxx xxx SO ORDERED. The fact of petitioner's conviction was reported to the President of the Philippines by the then Acting Finance Secretary Leong through a memorandum dated June 4, 1993. The memorandum states, inter alia: This is a report in the case of Assistant Commissioner AQUILINO T. LARIN of the Excise Tax Service, Bureau of Internal Revenue, a presidential appointee, one of those convicted in Criminal Case Nos. 14208-14209, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Aquilino T. Larin, et. al." referred to the Department of Finance by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The cases against Pareno and Evangelista are being acted upon by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as they are non-presidential appointees. xxx xxx xxx

TORRES, JR., J.:

It is clear from the foregoing that Mr. Larin has been found beyond reasonable doubt to have committed acts constituting grave misconduct. Under the Civil Service Laws and Rules which require only preponderance of evidence, grave misconduct is punishable by dismissal. Acting by authority of the President, Sr. Deputy Executive Secretary Leonardo A. Quisumbing issued Memorandum Order No. 164 dated August 25, 1993 which provides for the creation of an Executive Committee to investigate the administrative charge against herein petitioner Aquilino T. Larin. It states thus: A Committee is hereby created to investigate the administrative complaint filed against Aquilino T. Larin, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Internal Revenue, to be composed of: Atty. Frumencio A. Lagustan Assistant Executive Secretary for Legislation Mr. Jose B. Presidential Assistant Alejandro Chairman

Pursuant to Presidential Memorandum Order No. 164, you are hereby directed to file your position paper on the aforementioned charges within seven (7) days from receipt hereof . . . . Failure to file the required position paper shall be considered as a waiver on your part to submit such paper or to be heard, in which case, the Committee shall deem the case submitted on the basis of the documents and records at hand. In compliance, petitioner submitted a letter dated September 30, 1993 which was addressed to Atty. Frumencio A. Lagustan, the Chairman of the Investigating Committee. In said latter, he asserts that, The case being sub-judice, I may not, therefore, comment on the merits of the issues involved for fear of being cited in contempt of Court. This position paper is thus limited to furnishing the Committee pertinent documents submitted with the Supreme Court and other tribunal which took cognizance of the case in the past, as follows: xxx xxx xxx The foregoing documents readily show that am not administratively liable or criminally culpable of the charges leveled against me, and that the aforesaid cases are mere persecutions caused to be filed and are being orchestrated by taxpayers who were prejudiced by multi-million peso assessments I caused to be issued against them in my official capacity as Assistant Commissioner, Excise Tax Office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. In the same letter, petitioner claims that the administrative complaint against him is already barred: a) on jurisdictional ground as the Office of the Ombudsman had already taken cognizance of the case and had caused the filing only of the criminal charges against him, b) by res judicata, c) by double jeopardy, and d) because to proceed with the case would be redundant, oppressive and a plain persecution against him. Meanwhile, the President issued the challenged Executive Order No. 132 dated October 26, 1993 which mandates for the streamlining of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Under said order, some positions and functions are either abolished, renamed, decentralized or transferred to other offices, while other offices are also created. The Excise Tax Service or the Specific Tax Service, of which petitioner was the Assistant Commissioner, was one of those offices that was abolished by said executive order. The corresponding implementing rules of Executive Order No. 132, namely, Revenue Administrative Orders Nos. 4-93 and 5-93, were subsequently issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. On October 27, 1993, or one day after the promulgation of Executive Order No. 132, the President appointed the following as BIR Assistant Commissioners: 1. Bernardo A. Frianeza 2. Dominador L. Galura 3. Jaime D. Gonzales

Member

Atty. Jaime M. Assistant Commissioner Bureau of Internal Revenue

Maza for Inspector

Member Services

The Committee shall have all the powers and prerogatives of (an) investigating committee under the Administrative Code of 1987 including the power to summon witnesses, administer oath or take testimony or evidence relevant to the investigation by subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces tecum. xxx xxx xxx The Committee shall convene immediately, conduct the investigation in the most expeditious manner, and terminate the same as soon as practicable from its first scheduled date of hearing. xxx xxx xxx Consequently, the Committee directed the petitioner to respond to the administrative charge leveled against him through a letter dated September 17, 1993, thus: Presidential Memorandum Order No. 164 dated August 25, 1993, a xerox copy of which is hereto attached for your ready reference, created an Investigation Committee to look into the charges against you which are also the subject of the Criminal Cases No. 14208 and 14209 entitled People of the Philippines vs. Aquilino T . Larin, et. al. The Committee has in its possession a certified true copy of the Decision of the Sandiganbayan in the above-mentioned cases.

4. Lilia C. Guillermo 5. Rizalina S. Magalona 6. Victorino C. Mamalateo 7. Jaime M. Maza 8. Antonio N. Pangilinan 9. Melchor S. Ramos 10. Joel L. Tan-Torres Consequently, the President, in the assailed Administrative Order No. 101 dated December 2, 1993, found petitioner guilty of grave misconduct in the administrative charge and imposed upon him the penalty of dismissal with forfeiture of his leave credits and retirement benefits including disqualification for reappointment in the government service. Aggrieved, petitioner filed directly with this Court the instant petition on December 13, 1993 to question basically his alleged unlawful removal from office. On April 17, 1996 and while the instant petition is pending, this Court set aside the conviction of petitioner in Criminal Case Nos. 14208 and 14209. In his petition, petitioner challenged the authority of the President to dismiss him from office. He argued that in so far as presidential appointees who are Career Executive Service Officers are concerned, the President exercises only the power of control not the power to remove. He also averred that the administrative investigation conducted under Memorandum Order No. 164 is void as it violated his right to due process. According to him, the letter of the Committee dated September 17, 1993 and his position paper dated September 30, 1993 are not sufficient for purposes of complying with the requirements of due process. He alleged that he was not informed of the administrative charges leveled against him nor was he given official notice of his dismissal. Petitioner likewise claimed that he was removed as a result of the reorganization made by the Executive Department in the BIR pursuant to Executive Order No. 132. Thus, he assailed said Executive Order No. 132 and its implementing rules, namely, Revenue Administrative Orders 4-93 and 5-93 for being ultra vires. He claimed that there is yet no law enacted by Congress which authorizes the reorganization by the Executive Department of executive agencies, particularly the Bureau of Internal Revenue. He said that the reorganization sought to be effected by the Executive Department on the basis of E.O. No. 132 is tainted with bad faith in apparent violation of Section 2 of R.A. 6656, otherwise known as the Act Protecting the Security of Tenure of Civil Service Officers and Employees in the Implementation of Government Reorganization. On the other hand. respondents contended that since petitioner is a presidential appointee, he falls under the disciplining authority of the President. They also contended that E.O. No. 132 and its implementing rules were validly issued pursuant to Sections 48 and 62 of Republic Act No. 7645. Apart from this, the other legal bases of E.O. No. 132 as stated in its preamble are Section 63 of E.O. No. 127 (Reorganizing the Ministry of Finance), and Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987. In addition, it is clear that in Section 11 of R.A. No. 6656 future reorganization is expressly contemplated and nothing in said law that prohibits subsequent

reorganization through an executive order. Significantly, respondents clarified that petitioner was not dismissed by virtue of EO 132. Respondents claimed that he was removed from office because he was found guilty of grave misconduct in the administrative cases filed against him. The ultimate issue to be resolved in the instant case falls on the determination of the validity of petitioner's dismissal from office. Incidentally, in order to resolve this matter, it is imperative that We consider these questions: a) Who has the power to discipline the petitioner?, b) Were the proceedings taken pursuant to Memorandum Order No. 164 in accord with due process?, c) What is the effect of petitioner's acquittal in the criminal case to his administrative charge?, d) Does the President have the power to reorganize the BIR or to issue the questioned E.O. NO. 132?, and e) Is the reorganization of BIR pursuant to E.O. No. 132 tainted with bad faith? At the outset, it is worthy to note that the position of Assistant Commissioner of the BIR is part of the Career Executive Service. 2 Under the law, 3 Career Executive Service officers, namely, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Director, Assistant Bureau Director, Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Chief of Department Service and other officers of equivalent rank as may be identified by the Career Executive Service Board, are all appointed by the President. Concededly, petitioner was appointed as Assistant Commissioner in January, 1987 by then President Aquino. Thus, petitioner is a presidential appointee who belongs to career service of the Civil Service. Being a presidential appointee, he comes under the direct disciplining authority of the President. This is in line with the well settled principle that the "power to remove is inherent in the power to appoint" conferred to the President by Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution. Thus, it is ineluctably clear that Memorandum Order No. 164, which created a committee to investigate the administrative charge against petitioner, was issued pursuant to the power of removal of the President. This power of removal, however, is not an absolute one which accepts no reservation. It must be pointed out that petitioner is a career service officer. Under the Administrative Code of 1987, career service is characterized by the existence of security of tenure, as contra-distinguished from non-career service whose tenure is co-terminus with that of the appointing authority or subject to his pleasure, or limited to a period specified by law or to the duration of a particular project for which purpose the employment was made. As a career service officer, petitioner enjoys the right to security of tenure. No less than the 1987 Constitution guarantees the right of security of tenure of the employees of the civil service. Specifically, Section 36 of P.D. No. 807, as amended, otherwise known as Civil Service Decree of the Philippines, is emphatic that career service officers and employees who enjoy security of tenure may be removed only for any of the causes enumerated in said law. In other words, the fact that petitioner is a presidential appointee does not give the appointing authority the license to remove him at will or at his pleasure for it is an admitted fact that he is likewise a career service officer who under the law is the recipient of tenurial protection, thus, may only be removed for a cause and in accordance with procedural due process. Was petitioner then removed from office for a legal cause under a valid proceeding? Although the proceedings taken complied with the requirements of procedural due process, this Court, however, considers that petitioner was not dismissed for a valid cause. It should be noted that what precipitated the creation of the investigative committee to look into the administrative charge against petitioner is his conviction by the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case Nos. 14208 and 14209. As admitted by the respondents, the administrative case against petitioner is based on the Sandiganbayan Decision of September 18, 1992. Thus, in the Administrative Order No. 101 issued by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Quisumbing which found petitioner guilty of grave misconduct, it clearly states that: This pertains to the administrative charge against Assistant Commissioner Aquilino T. Larin of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, for grave misconduct by virtue of a Memorandum signed by Acting Secretary Leong of the Department

of Finance, on the basis of a decision handed down by the Hon. Sandiganbayan convicting Larin, et. al. in Criminal Case Nos. 14208 and 14209. 4 In a nutshell, the criminal cases against petitioner refer to his alleged violation of Section 268 (4) of the National Internal Revenue Code and of Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 as a consequence of his act of favorably recommending the grant of tax credit to Tanduay Distillery, Inc.. The pertinent portion of the judgment of the Sandiganbayan reads: As above pointed out, the accused had conspired in knowingly preparing false memoranda and certification in order to effect a fraud upon taxes due to the government. By their separate acts which had resulted in an appropriate tax credit of P180,701,682.00 in favor of Tanduay. The government had been defrauded of a tax revenue for the full amount, if one is to look at the availments or utilization thereof (Exhibits "AA" to "AA- 31-a"), or for a substantial portion thereof (P73,000,000.00) if we are to rely on the letter of Deputy Commissioner Eufracio D. Santos (Exhibits "21" for all the accused). As pointed out above, the confluence of acts and omissions committed by accused Larin, Pareno and Evangelista adequately prove conspiracy among them for no other purpose than to bring about a tax credit which Tanduay did not deserve. These misrepresentations as to how much Tanduay had paid in ad valorem taxes obviously constituted a fraud of tax revenue of the government . . . .5 However, it must be stressed at this juncture that the conviction of petitioner by the Sandiganbayan was set asideby this Court in our decision promulgated on April 17, 1996 in G.R. Nos. 108037-38 and 107119-20. We specifically ruled in no uncertain terms that: a) petitioner can not be held negligent in relying on the certification of a co-equal unit in the BIR, b) it is not incumbent upon Larin to go beyond the certification made by the Revenue Accounting Division that Tanduay Distillery, Inc. had paid the ad valorem taxes, c) there is nothing irregular or anything false in Larin's marginal note on the memorandum addressed to Pareno, the Chief of Alcohol Tax Division who was also one of the accused, but eventually acquitted, in the said criminal cases, and d) there is no proof of actual agreement between the accused, including petitioner, to commit the illegal acts charged. We are emphatic in our resolution in said cases that there is nothing "illegal with the acts committed by the petitioner(s)." We also declare that "there is no showing that petitioner(s) had acted irregularly, or performed acts outside of his (their) official functions." Significantly, these acts which. We categorically declare to be not unlawful and improper in G.R. Nos. 108037-38 and G.R. Nos. 10711920 are the very same acts for which petitioner is held to be administratively responsible. Any charge of malfeasance or misfeasance on the part of the petitioner is clearly belied by our conclusion in said cases. In the light of this decisive pronouncement, We see no reason for the administrative charge to continue it must, thus, be dismissed. We are not unaware of the rule that since administrative cases are independent from criminal actions for the same act or omission, the dismissal or acquittal of the criminal charge does not foreclose the institution of administrative action nor carry with it the relief from administrative liability. 6 However, the circumstantial setting of the instant case sets it miles apart from the foregoing rule and placed it well within the exception. Corollarily, where the very basis of the administrative case against petitioner is his conviction in the criminal action which was later on set aside by this Court upon a categorical and clear finding that the acts for which he was administratively held liable are not unlawful and irregular, the acquittal of the petitioner in the criminal case necessarily entails the dismissal of the administrative action against him, because in such a case, there is no more basis nor justifiable reason to maintain the administrative suit.

On the aspect of procedural due process, suffice it to say that petitioner was given every chance to present his side. The rule is well settled that the essence of due process in administrative proceedings is that a party be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to submit any evidence he may have in support of his defense.7 The records clearly show that on October 1, 1993 petitioner submitted his letter-response dated September 30, 1993 to the administrative charge filed against him. Aside from his letter, he also submitted various documents attached as annexes to his letter, all of which are evidences supporting his defense. Prior to this, he received a letter dated September 17, 1993 from the Investigation Committee requiring him to explain his side concerning the charge. It can not therefore be argued that petitioner was denied of due process. Let us now examine Executive Order No. 132. As stated earlier, with the issuance of Executive Order No. 132, some of the positions and offices, including the office of Excise Tax Services of which petitioner was the Assistant Commissioner, were abolished or otherwise decentralized. Consequently, the President released the list of appointed Assistant Commissioners of the BIR. Apparently, petitioner was not included. We do not agree. Under its preamble, E.O. No. 132 lays down the legal bases of its issuance, namely: a) Section 48 and 62 of R.A. No. 7645, b) Section 63 of E.O. No. 127, and c) Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292. Section 48 of R.A. 7645 provides that: Sec. 48. Scaling Down and Phase Out of Activities of Agencies Within the Executive Branch. The heads of departments, bureaus and offices and agencies are hereby directed to identify their respective activities which are no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may bescaled down, phased out or abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations. . . . Actual scaling down, phasing out or abolition of the activities shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of the President. (emphasis ours) Said provision clearly mentions the acts of "scaling down, phasing out and abolition" of offices only and does not cover the creation of offices or transfer of functions. Nevertheless, the act of creating and decentralizing is included in the subsequent provision of Section 62, which provides that: Sec. 62. Unauthorized organizational charges. Unless otherwise created by law or directed by the President of the Philippines, no organizational unit of charges in key positions in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organization structures and be funded from appropriations by this Act. (emphasis ours) The foregoing provision evidently shows that the President is authorized to effect organizational charges including the creation of offices in the department or agency concerned. The contention of petitioner that the two provisions are riders deserves scant consideration. Well settled is the rule that every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. 8 Unless and until a specific provision of the law is declared invalid and unconstitutional, the same is valid and biding for all intents and purposes. Another legal basis of E.O. No. 132 is Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292 which states:

Sec. 20. Residual Powers. Unless Congress provides otherwise, the President shall exercise such other powers and functions vested in the President which are provided for under the laws and which are not specifically enumerated above or which are not delegated by the President in accordance with law. (emphasis ours) This provision speaks of such other powers vested in the President under the law. What law then which gives him the power to reorganize? It is Presidential Decree No. 1772 9 which amended Presidential Decree No. 1416. These decrees expressly grant the President of the Philippines the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, which includes the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services and activities and to standardize salaries and materials. The validity of these two decrees are unquestionable. The 1987 Constitution clearly provides that "all laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked." 10 So far, there is yet no law amending or repealing said decrees. Significantly, the Constitution itself recognizes future reorganizations in the government as what is revealed in Section 16 of Article XVIII, thus: Sec. 16. Career civil service employees separated from service not for cause but as a result of the . . . reorganization following the ratification of this Constitution shall be entitled to appropriate separation pay . . . However, We can not consider E.O. No. 127 signed on January 30, 1987 as a legal basis for the reorganization of the BIR. E.O. No. 127 should be related to the second paragraph of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 6656. Section 11 provides inter alia: xxx xxx xxx In the case of the 1987 reorganization of the executive branch, all departments and agencies which are authorized by executive orders promulgated by the President to reorganize shall have ninety daysfrom the approval of this act within which to implement their respective reorganization plans in accordance with the provisions of this Act. (emphasis ours) Executive Order No. 127 was part of the 1987 reorganization contemplated under said provision. Obviously, it had become stale by virtue of the expiration of the ninety day deadline period. It can not thus be used as a proper basis for the reorganization of the BIR. Nevertheless, as shown earlier, there are other legal bases to sustain the authority of the President to issue the questioned E.O. NO. 132. While the President's power to reorganize can not be denied, this does not mean however that the reorganization itself is properly made in accordance with law. Well-settled is the rule that reorganization is regarded as valid provided it is pursued in good faith. Thus, in Dario vs. Mison, this Court has had the occasion to clarify that: As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in "good faith" if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event no dismissal or separation actually occurs because the position itself ceases to exist. And in that case the security of tenure would not be a Chinese wall. Be that as it may, if the abolition which is nothing else but a separation or

removal, is done for political reasons or purposely to defeat security of tenure, or otherwise not in good faith, no valid abolition takes place and whatever abolition is done is void ab initio. There is an invalid abolition as where there is merely a change of nomenclature of positions or where claims of economy are belied by the existence of ample funds. 11 In this regard, it is worth mentioning that Section 2 of R. A. No. 6656 lists down the circumstances evidencing bad faith in the removal of employees as a result of the reorganization, thus: Sec. 2. No officer or employee in the career service shall be removed except for a valid cause and after due notice and hearing. A valid cause for removal exists when, pursuant to a bona fide reorganization, a position has been abolished or rendered redundant or there is a need to merge, divide, or consolidate positions in order to meet the exigencies of the service, or other lawful causes allowed by the Civil Service Law. The existence of any or some of the following circumstances may be considered as evidence of bad faith in the removals made as a result of the reorganization, giving rise to a claim for reinstatement or reappointment by an aggrieved party: a) Where there is a significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of the department or agency concerned; b) Where an office is abolished and another performing substantially the same functions is created; c) Where incumbents are replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment, performance and merit; d) Where there is a reclassification of offices in the department or agency concerned and the reclassified offices perform substantially the same functions as the original offices; e) Where the removal violates the order of separation provided in Section 3 hereof. A reading of some of the provisions of the questioned E.O. No. 132 clearly leads us to an inescapable conclusion that there are circumstances considered as evidences of bad faith in the reorganization of the BIR. Section 1.1.2 of said executive order provides that: 1.1.2 The Intelligence and Investigation Office and the Inspection Service are abolished. An Intelligence and Investigation Service is hereby created to absorb the same functions of the abolished office and service. . . . (emphasis ours) This provision is a clear illustration of the circumstance mentioned in Section 2 (b) of R.A. No. 6656 that an office is abolished and another one performing substantially the same function is created. Another circumstance is the creation of services and divisions in the BIR resulting to a significant increase in the number of positions in the said bureau as contemplated in paragraph (a) of Section 2

of R.A. No. 6656. Under Section 1.3 of E.O. No. 132, the Information Systems Group has two newly created Systems Services. Aside from this, six new divisions are also created. Under Section 1.2.1, three more divisions of the Assessment Service are formed. With these newly created offices, there is no doubt that a significant increase of positions will correspondingly follow. Furthermore, it is perceivable that the non-reappointment of the petitioner as Assistant Commissioner violates Section 4 of R.A. No. 6656. Under said provision, officers holding permanent appointments are given preference for appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their former positions or in case there are not enough comparable positions to positions next lower in rank. It is undeniable that petitioner is a career executive officer who is holding a permanent position. Hence, he should have been given preference for appointment in the position of Assistant Commissioner. As claimed by petitioner, Antonio Pangilinan who was one of those appointed as Assistant Commissioner, "is an outsider of sorts to the Bureau, not having been an incumbent officer of the Bureau at the time of the reorganization." We should not lose sight of the second paragraph of Section 4 of R.A. No. 6656 which explicitly states that no new employees shall be taken in until all permanent officers shall have been appointed for permanent position. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is granted, and petitioner is hereby reinstated to his position as Assistant Commissioner without loss of seniority rights and shall be entitled to full backwages from the time of his separation from service until actual reinstatement unless, in the meanwhile, he would have reached the compulsory retirement age of sixty-five years in which case, he shall be deemed to have retired at such age and entitled thereafter to the corresponding retirement benefits. SO ORDERED. LUIS B. DOMINGO, petitioner, vs. DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES and CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, respondents.

Further, Sections 33 and 34 thereof provide: Sec. 33. Implementing Details; Organization and Staffing of the Bank. xxx xxx xxx In the implementation of the reorganization of the Bank, as authorized under the preceding section, qualified personnel of the Bank may be appointed to appropriate positions in the new staffing pattern thereof and those not so appointed are deemed separated from the service. No preferential or priority rights shall be given to or enjoyed by any officer or personnel of the Bank for appointment to any position in the new staffing pattern nor shall any officer or personnel be considered as having prior or vested rights with respect to retention in the Bank or in any position as may have been created in its new staffing pattern, even if he should be the incumbent of a similar position therein. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 34. Separation Benefits. All those who shall retire from the service or are separated therefrom on account of the reorganization of the Bank under the provisions of this Charter shall be entitled to all gratuities and benefits provided for under existing laws and/or supplementary retirement plans adopted by and effective in the Bank: . . . Pursuant thereto, DBP issued Board Resolution No. 304-87 allowing the issuance of temporary appointments to all DBP personnel in order to fully implement the reorganization. The resolution states in part: It is understood that pursuant to Section 32 of the new DBP Charter full implementation of the reorganization program shall be completed within a period of thirty-six (36) months from the approval of this Charter. In this connection, the plantilla approved and appointments issued are purely interim and the Bank is reserving its right to put in place the permanent structure of the Bank as well as the permanent appointments thereto until the end of the 36-month period. 2 In effect, said resolution authorized the issuance of temporary appointments to all DBP personnel to allow maximum flexibility in the implementation of the reorganization. Such temporary appointments issued had a maximum period of twelve (12) months during which period the performance of the incumbents were assessed on the basis of the results of their evaluation. With the passage of Executive Order No. 81 and Board Resolution No. 304 87, DBP undertook the evaluation and comparative assessment of all its personnel under the CSC approved New Performance Appraisal System, a peer and control rating process which served as an assessment tool of DBP's screening process. Petitioner Domingo was issued a temporary appointment on January 2, 1987 for a period of one (1) year, which was renewed for another period up to November 30, 1988. Thereafter, in a memorandum 3 dated November 23, 1988 issued by the Final Review Committee, petitioner got a performance rating of "below average," by reason of which his appointment was "made to lapse."

REGALADO, J.: This special civil action impugns the resolution 1 of respondent Civil Service Commission (CSC) promulgated on April 10, 1990 in CSC Case No. 473 setting aside its earlier resolution of November 27, 1989 and affirming the separation of petitioner Luis B. Domingo as Senior Training and Career Development Officer of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). Petitioner was employed by DBP as Senior Training and Career Development Officer on permanent status from February, 1979 to December 1986. On December 3, 1986, Executive Order No 81 (The Revised Charter of DBP) was passed authorizing the reorganization of DBP in this wise: Sec. 32. Authority to Reorganize. In view of the new scope of operations of the Bank, a reorganization of the Bank and a reduction in force are hereby authorized to achieve simplicity and economy in operations, including adopting a new staffing pattern to suit the reduced operations envisioned. The formulation of the program of reorganization shall be completed within six months after the approval of this Charter, and the full implementation of the reorganization program within thirty months thereafter.

Consequently, petitioner, together with a certain Evangeline Javier, filed with the CSC a joint verified complaint 4against DBP for illegal dismissal. The complainants therein alleged that their dismissal constituted a violation of the Civil Service Law against the issuance of temporary appointments to permanent employees, as well as of their right to security of tenure and due process. On November 27, 1989, CSC issued a resolution 5 in CSC Case No. 473 directing "the reappointment of Mr. Domingo and Ms. Javier as Senior Training and Career Development Officer and Research Analyst or any such equivalent rank under the staffing pattern of DBP." The order for reappointment was premised on the findings of the CSC that "(t)he action of the DBP to issue temporary appointments to all DBP personnel in order to allow for the maximum flexibility in evaluating the performance of incumbents is not in accord with civil service law rules," in that "(t)o issue a temporary appointment to one who has been on permanent status before will deprive the employee of benefits accorded permanent employees and will adversely affect his security of tenure," aside from the fact that such an act is contrary to Section 25 (a) of Presidential Decree No. 807. DBP filed a motion for reconsideration 6 on December 27, 1989 alleging, inter alia, that the issuance of temporary appointments to all the DBP employees was purely an interim arrangement; that in spite of the temporary appointment, they continued to enjoy the salary, allowances and other benefits corresponding to permanent employees; that there can be no impairment of herein petitioner's security of tenure since the new DBP charter expressly provides that "qualified personnel of the bank may be appointed to appropriate positions in the new staffing pattern and those not so appointed are deemed separated from the service;" that petitioner was evaluated and comparatively assessed under a rating system approved by the respondent commission; and that petitioner cannot claim that he was denied due process of law considering that, although several appeals were received by the Final Review Committee from other employees similarly situated, herein petitioner never appealed his rating or the extension of his temporary appointment although he was advised to do so by his direct supervisor. On April 10, 1990, CSC rendered the questioned resolution setting aside its previous decision and affirming the separation of herein petitioner. In so ruling, CSC explained that: While it is true that this Commission ruled that the issuance of temporary appointment to all DBP personnel in order to allow "for maximum flexibility" in evaluating the performance of incumbents is not in accord with civil service laws and rules, however it cannot lose sight of the fact that appellants are among those who indeed got a below average rating (unsatisfactory) when their performance were reevaluated and comparatively reassessed by the Final Review Committee of the Bank approved by the Vice Chairman. xxx xxx xxx In effect, the determinative factor for retention and the separation from the service is the individual performance rating. While the Commission supports the principle of merit and fitness and strongly protects the security of tenure of civil service officials and employees which are the essence of careerism in the civil service, it does not however, sanction the reappointment of said officials and employees who have fallen short of the performance necessary in order to maintain at all times efficiency and effectiveness in the Office.

It bears stressing that the DBP submitted the records and documents in support of its allegations that Mr. Domingo and Ms. Javier have indeed got(ten) a below average rating (unsatisfactory) during the filing of the instant motion for reconsideration. Had DBP promptly submitted the records/documents supporting its allegations, this Commission at the outset should have sustained the separation of the appellants from the service on ground of poor performance (below average rating, unsatisfactory) after the reassessment and re-evaluation by the Bank through the Final Review Committee. The CSC could not have guessed that such was the basis of the DBP's termination of Domingo and Javier until the papers were submitted to it. . . . It must be pointed out that appellants' separation from the service was the lapse of their temporary appointment. The non-extension or non-issuance of permanent appointments were principally based on their below average rating (unsatisfactory) performance after they were reevaluated and comparatively reassessed by the Final Review Committee of the Bank. After all, the 1986 DBP Revised Charter (E.O. No. 81) gives the Bank a wide latitude of discretion in the reappointment of its personnel, subject to existing civil service laws, rules and regulations. There is no doubt that the DBP conducted a reevaluation and comparative reassessment of its employees for placement/retention (for permanent) and for separation from the service and found out that appellants are wanting of performance, having been rated as "Below Average." 7 Hence this petition, whereby petitioner raises the following issues: 1. Petitioner's tenure of office was violated by respondents; 2. Petitioner was not afforded a day in court and was denied procedural due process in the unilateral evaluation by his peers of his efficiency ratings for the years 1987 and 1988; 3. Average and below average efficiency ratings are not valid grounds for termination of the service of petitioner; 4. Section 5 of the rules implementing Republic Act No. 6656 is repugnant to the constitutional mandate that "no officer or employee of the Civil Service be removed or suspended except for causeprovided by law;" and 5. Section 16, Article XVIII, Transitory Provisions of the New Constitution was also violated by respondents. 8 I. Petitioner puts in issue the validity of the reorganization implemented by DBP in that the same violates his right to security of tenure. He contends that government reorganization cannot be a valid ground to terminate the services of government employees, pursuant to the ruling in the case of Dario vs. Mison, et al. 9 This statement of petitioner is incomplete and inaccurate, if not outright erroneous. Either petitioner misunderstood or he totally overlooked what was stated in the aforecited decision which held that "reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith." As we said in Dario:

Reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in "good faith" if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event, no dismissal (in case of dismissal) or separation actually occurs because the position itself ceases to exist. And in that case, security of tenure would not be a Chinese wall. Clearly, from our pronouncements in Dario, reorganization is a recognized valid ground for separation of civil service employees, subject only to the condition that it be done in good faith. No less than the Constitution itself in Section 16 of the Transitory Provisions, together with Sections 33 and 34 of Executive Order No. 81 and Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6656, support this conclusion with the declaration that all those not so appointed in the implementation of said reorganization shall be deemed separated from the service with the concomitant recognition of their entitlement to appropriate separation benefits and/or retirement plans of the reorganized government agency. The facts of this case, particularly the evaluation process adopted by DBP, bear out the existence of good faith in the course of reorganization. As a tool in the assessment process, a bank-wide peer and control rating process was implemented. Under this process, the peers and supervisors rated the DBP employees. 10 To make the reorganization as open, representative and fair as possible, two principal groups were formed: (1) the Group Placement Screening Committee (GPSC) and (2) the Central Placement Screening Committee (CPSC), to review all recommendations (for retention or separation) prior to submissions to the Chairman an the Board of Directors. The members of the two screening committees were the Department and Group Heads and representatives from the Career Officials Association and the DBP Employees Union. The CPSC was further represented by the DBP Civil Service Officer, who sat as consultant to help resolve questions on Civil Service rules and regulations. As an assessment tool to the Bank's screening process, a peer and control rating process was implemented bank-wide, the results of which were used as a gauge to determine the suitability of an employee to stay in the Bank. Through this rating, the Bank determines the value of the individual employee to the Bank with the help of his peers (peer rating) and his supervisors (control rating). 11 Also, as part of the evaluation process, a Final Review Committee, composed of the group, department or unit head, the heads of the Human Resource Center and of the Personnel Services, and representatives from the Career Officials Association and the Employees Union, was created to screen further and to recommend the change in status of the employee's appointment from temporary to permanent beginning 1988. For the rank and file level, the committee was chaired by the Vice-Chairman while the officer level was presided over by the Chairman of the Bank. 12 The performance rating system used and adopted by DBP was duly approved by the Civil Service Commission. Herein petitioner was evaluated and comparatively assessed under this approved rating system. This is shown by the memorandum to the Vice-Chairman from the DBP Final Review Committee wherein petitioner, among other DBP employees, was evaluated and rated on his performance, and was shown to have gotten a rating of "below average." 13 In the comment 14 filed by DBP with the CSC, respondent bank explained the procedure it adopted in the evaluation of herein petitioner, together with one Evangeline Javier, to wit: xxx xxx xxx

4. During the second phase of the screening process, the Bank used several instruments for determining proficiency or skills on the job. More than skills, however, the evaluation also covered trait factors to determine a positive work attitude. The Bank placed a premium on work attitude because it believes that technical and professional skills can easily be acquired by an ordinary normal individual as long as he has the right attitude towards learning. 5. These attitudes are part of the new corporate culture outlined in the corporate philosophy instituted for the Bank and disseminated thru the various corporate culture seminars, monthly tertulias, speeches of the Chairman and numerous various internal communications and bulletins. One of the most important values emphasized was TEAMWORK due to the very lean personnel force that the Bank was left with and the competition it has to contend with in the industry. 6. Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were subjected to this rating process as all other employees of the Bank were. xxx xxx xxx 8. Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were recommended for a renewal of temporary status after assessment of their performance because of several indications of lack of skill and their inability to work with others in the department where they were stationed. In a compassionate stance, it was considered in the Central Personnel Committee to transfer them to another department or unit of the Bank where they may be more effective and productive, but they expressed preference to stay in the training unit of the Bank, the Human Resource Center. 9. Along with others whose performance for 1987 was found wanting, Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were recommended for reappointment as temporary for another period from January to November 1988 to give the Bank sufficient time to consider their cases. However, in an evaluation of performance for all extendees in November 1988, Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier were again found wanting having both acquired a rating of "Below Average." In addition, it is not disputed that DBP now has less than 2,000 employees from a former high level of around 4,000 employees in 1986. And, under Section 27 of Presidential Decree No. 807, the Government is authorized to lay off employees in case of a reduction due to reorganization, thus: Sec. 27. Reduction in Force. Whenever it becomes necessary because of lack of work or funds or due to a change in the scope or nature of an agency's program, or as a result of reorganization, to reduce the staff of any department or agency, those in the same group or class of positions in one or more agencies within the particular department or agency wherein the reduction is to be effected shall be reasonably compared in terms of relative fitness, efficiency and length of service, and those found to be least qualified for the remaining positions shall be laid off. Lastly, petitioner failed to invoke the presence of any of the circumstances enumerated under Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6656 which would show or tend to show the existence of bad faith in the implementation of the reorganization.

Quintessentially, the reorganization having been conducted in accordance with the mandate of Dario, it can safely be concluded that indeed the reorganization was attended by good faith, ergo, valid. The dismissal of herein petitioner is a removal for cause which, therefore, does not violate his security of tenure. As a final note on this issue, we quote with approval the statement of Mme. Justice Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera in her dissenting opinion in the above-cited case: To be sure, the reorganization could affect the tenure of members of the career service as defined in Section 5, Article IV of Presidential Decree No. 807, and may even result in the separation from office of some meritorious employees. But even then, the greater good of the greatest number and the right of the citizenry to a good government, and as they themselves have mandated through the vehicle of Proclamation No. 3, provide the justification for the said injury to the individual. In terms of values, the interest of an employee to security of tenure must yield to the interest of the entire populace and to an efficient and honest government. II. Petitioner also maintains that "average" and "below average" efficiency ratings are not valid grounds for his termination from the service. It has become a basic and primordial concern of the State to insure and promote the constitutional mandate that appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness pursuant to its adopted policy of requiring public officers and employees to serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. 15 As a matter of fact, the development and retention of a competent and efficient work force in the public service is considered as a primary concern of the Government. 16 Hence, employees are selected on the basis of merit and fitness to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities of the position to which they are appointed. 17 Concomitantly, the government has committed itself to engender a continuing program of career and personnel development for all government employees, 18 by establishing a performance evaluation system to be administered in such manner as to continually foster the improvement of individual employee efficiency and organizational effectiveness. 19 All these abundantly show that the State puts a premium on an individual's efficiency, merit and fitness before one is accepted into the career service. A civil service employee's efficiency rating, therefore, is a decisive factor for his continued service with the Government. The inescapable conclusion is that a "below average" efficiency rating is sufficient justification for the termination of a government employee such as herein petitioner. This is the reason why, painful as it may be, petitioner's separation must be affirmed if public good is to be subserved. In the words of respondent commission in its questioned resolution, it cannot "sanction the reappointment of said officials and employees who have fallen short of the performance necessary in order to maintain at all times efficiency and effectiveness in the Office." 20 III. Petitioner finally contends that where the purpose of the evaluation proceeding is to ascertain whether he should be retained or separated from the service, it is a proceeding to determine the existence of a ground for his termination and, therefore, he should be afforded a day in court, pursuant to the requirements of procedural due process, to defend himself against any adverse findings in the process of evaluation of his performance. Petitioner's contention cannot be sustained. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6656 provides that "no officer or employee in the career service shall be removed except for a valid cause and after due notice and hearing." Thus, there is no question

that while dismissal due to abona fide reorganization is recognized as a valid cause, this does not justify a detraction from the mandatory requirement of notice and hearing. However, it is equally true and it is a basic rule of due process that "what the law prohibits is not the absence of previous notice but the absolute absence thereof and the lack of opportunity to be heard." 21 There is no violation of procedural due process even where no hearing was conducted for as long as the party was given a chance to present his evidence and defend himself. The records show that petitioner had the opportunity to present his side and/or to contest the results of the evaluation proceedings. In DBP's motion for the reconsideration of the original decision of respondent commission, respondent bank averred: It may be stated that although several appeals were received by the Final Review Committee from other employees similarly situated ( i.e., also given temporary appointments for 1988), Mr. Domingo and Miss Javier never appealed their ratings or the extension of their temporary appointments in 1988. Even at this writing, the Bank has not received any formal appeal from them although they were advised to do so by their direct supervisor. 22 The fact that petitioner made no appeal to the Final Review Committee was duly considered by respondent commission in resolving said motion for reconsideration and in affirming the separation of petitioner from the service, noting that "appellants Mr. Domingo, and Miss Javier did not file or submit their opposition to the motion for reconsideration." Consequently, petitioner cannot, by his own inaction, legally claim that he was denied due process of law. Considering petitioner's years of service, despite the unfortunate result of the reorganization insofar as he is concerned, he should be allowed separation and other retirement benefits accruing to him by reason of his termination, as provided for in Section 16, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution, as well as in Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6656 and Section 34 of Executive Order No. 81. WHEREFORE, no grave abuse of discretion having been committed by respondent Civil Service Commission, its challenged resolution of April 10, 1990 is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.