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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW INCIDENTAL POWERS OF ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES

BILL MILLER vs. ATANACIO A. MARDO AND MANUEL


GONZALES

FACTS
Manuel Gonzales (private respondent) claimed that he
was employed as a driver of Bill Miller (petitioner),
manager of the Miller Motors, from December 1, 1956
up to October 31, 1957. Gonzales alleged that he was
arbitrarily dismissed without being paid separation pay.
In pursuing his claim, Miller filed a complaint before the
Department of Labors Regional Office no. 3 to recover
separation pay plus damages. Upon receipt of said
complaing, Chief Hearing Officer Atanacio Mardo
required Bill Miller to file an answer. While this
complaint is pending before the Department of Labor,
Miller filed a case before the Court of First Instance
(CFI) praying for a judgment that would prohibit
Hearing Officer Mardo from proceeding on the
complaint. The CFI in turn required Mardo and Gonzales
to file their answer. In reply, Mardo and Gonzales moved
for the dismissal of Millers complaint on the ground of
lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, and nonexhaustion of administrative remedies. According to the
respondents, the Reorganization Plan no. 20-A, which
was prepared and submitted by the GOVERNMENT
SURVEY
AND
REOGRANIZATION
COMMISSION
conferred upon the Regional Offices of the Department
of Labor exclusive and original jurisdiction over all
cases affecting money claims arising from violations of
labor standards or working conditions, pursuant to
Republic Act no. 997, as amended by Republic Act no.
1241.
The specific provision relied upon the respondents (as
well as the other parties in this consolidated case) is
Section 4 of Republic Act 997, as amended by Republic
Act no. 1241, which empowers the GOVERNMENT
RESURVEY AND REORGANIZATION COMMISSION:

To abolish departments, offices, agencies, or functions which


may not be necessary, or create those which way be necessary
for the efficient conduct of the government service, activities,
and functions.

In lieu of RA 997, paragraph 25 of Article VI of


Reorganization Plan no. 20-A provides that the Regional
Offices of the Department of Labor shall have exclusive
and original jurisdiction over:
the regional offices have been given original and exclusive
jurisdiction over:
(a) all cases falling under the Workmen's Compensation
law;
(b) all cases affecting money claims arising from
violations of labor standards on working conditions,
unpaid wages, underpayment, overtime, separation
pay and maternity leave of employees and laborers;
and
(c) all cases for unpaid wages, overtime, separation pay,
vacation pay and payment for medical services of
domestic help.

After hearing the parties, the CFI rendered a decision


holding that the said Reogranization plan, which was
created under Republic Act nos. 997 and 1241 did not
repeal the provisions of the Judiciary Act1. With this, the
respondents elevated the case before the Supreme
Court, which was subject matter of the present case.
ISSUE
Whether or not the Regional Offices of the Department
of Labor are empowered to have exclusive and original
jurisdiction over money claims arising from violations of
labor standards or working conditions.
HELD
NONE. The Regional Offices of the Department of Labor
do not have the authority of law to hear and decide
1

The Judiciary Act confers upon courts of first instance ORIGINAL


JURISDICTION to take cognizance of money claims arising from violations
of labor standards.

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW INCIDENTAL POWERS OF ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES

cases involving money claims in violation of labor


standards, for the Reorganization Plan giving such
offices exclusive and original jurisdiction over said
claims is INVALID.

grant such power to the Reorganization Commission, an


executive body, as the Legislature may not and cannot
delegate its power to legislate or to create courts of
justice to any other agency of the Government.

In this case, the Honorable Court ruled that


notwithstanding the power conferred to the
Government Resurvey and Reorganization Commission
by RA 997, as amended, said power is limited only to the
reorganization of the Executive Branch of the National
Government. This power clearly DOES NOT include the
creation of courts. The Court further opined that:
It may be conceded that the legislature may
confer on administrative boards or bodies
quasi-judicial powers involving the exercise of
judgment and discretion, as incident to the
performance of administrative functions.2 But
in so doing, the legislature must state its
intention in express terms that would leave
no doubt, as even such quasi-judicial
prerogatives must be limited, if they are to be
valid, only to those incidental to or in
connection with the performance of jurisdiction
over a matter exclusively vested in the courts.
There is nothing in the provision of RA 997 (as
amended), which confers power to reorganize or create
offices, agencies, or functions to the Government
Resurvey and Reorganiztion Commission that
EXPRESSLY authorizes the latter to create offices that
shall perform judicial functions. As the Honorable
Court explained, such conferment cannot be implied
from a mere grant of power to a body such as the
Government
Survey
and
Reorganization
Commission to create "functions" in connection with
the reorganization of the Executive Branch of the
Government.
Without expressed terms conferring the power to the
Commission to create offices performing judicial
functions, the Legislature could not have intended to

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW INCIDENTAL POWERS OF ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES

JESUS CABARRUS, JR. vs. JOSE ANTONIO BERNAS


FACTS
Jesus Cabarrus filed an administrative complaint for
disbarment against Atty. Jose Antonio Bernas for the
alleged violations of Article 172 of the Revised Penal
Code (Falsification of Public Document) and Code of
Professional Responsibility.
Cabarrus alleges that Atty. Bernas is the lawyer of one
Ramon B. Pascual, Jr., who subscribed under oath,
before Atty. Marie Lourdes Sia Bernas, a verification and
certification of non-forum shopping. Such verification
and certification was allegedly to Pascuals complaint
for Reconveyance of Property and Damages in a certain
civil case. Said Civil Case was filed in April 16, 1996.
By virtue of the aforesaid verification and certification
of non-forum shopping Pascual deposed and stated
under oath that he is the plaintiff in this case, and
certify that he cause the preparation of the foregoing
pleading, the content of which are true to his personal
knowledge and that he has not commenced any other
action or proceeding involving the same issues in any
court, including the Supreme Court, the Court of
Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency. If he should
learn that a similar action of (sic) proceeding has been
filed or is pending before the Supreme Court or any
other Tribunal agency, he undertake to report to (sic)
that the fact within Five (5) days from the notice to this
notice (sic) to this Honorable Court. (Emphasis mine.)
Cabarrus avers that contrary to verification and
certification of non-forum shopping, Atty. J.A. Bernas
(acting for his client, Pascual) caused the preparation
and filing of a criminal complaint for falsification of a
public document three days prior to the filing of the
aforesaid Civil Case. Complainant Cabarrus also alleged
that as early as 1995, Atty. J.A. Bernas filed a written
complaint at the NBI involving the same cause of action,
which was reiterated in another letter submitting to the
NBI standard specimen signatures. Hence, Atty. Bernas
must be disbarred for having instigated abetted and
facilitated the perversion and subversion of truth in the

said verification and certification of non-forum


shopping, which is contrary to the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
On the other hand, Atty. J.A. Bernas avers that the letter
transmitted to the NBI cannot constitute a complaint
because the functions of the NBI do not include quasijudicial powers/functions, as well as prosecutorial
functions; hence, it cannot grant any relief or remedy.
Atty. Bernas maintains that the NBI performs functions
that are merely investigatory and informational in
nature.
ISSUE
Whether or not Atty. Jose Antonio Bernas transmittal of
the letter containing standard specimen signatures to
the NBI constitutes a violation of the verification and
certification on non-forum shopping.
HELD
In this case, the Honorable Court explained the quantum
of quasi-judicial power which may be conferred upon
and exercised by administrative agencies:
The courts, tribunal and agencies referred to under
Circular No. 28-91, revised Circular No. 28-91 and
Administrative Circular No. 04-94 are those vested
with judicial powers or quasi-judicial powers and
those who not only hear and determine controversies
between adverse parties, but to make binding orders
or judgments. As succinctly put it by R.A. 157, the NBI is
not performing judicial or quasi-judicial functions. The
NBI cannot therefore be among those forums
contemplated by the Circular that can entertain an
action or proceeding, or even grant any relief,
declaratory or otherwise.
WHEREFORE, premises considered,
complaint is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

the

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

instant