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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JURISDICTION (ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION)

ROSITA TALEON AND MIGUEL SOLIS vs. THE


SECRETARY
OF
PUBLIC
WORKS
AND
COMMUNICATIONS, THE DISTRICT ENGINEER,
PROVINCE OF DAVAO, AND LUCIA O. TOLENTINO

FACTS
Rosita Taleon (one of the petitioners in this case) is the
registered owner of a parcel of land located in Lupon,
Davao. Taleon acquired such land from her co-petitioner
Miguel Solis, who had constructed therein man-made
canals and fishpond dikes. In April 1961, Lucia
Tolentino (private respondent in this case), wrote a
letter-complaint to the Secretary of Public Works and
stating that several fishpond owners/operators in
Lupon, Davao have built dams across and closed
Cabatan River, a navigable stream, which deprived her
and other residents passageway, fishing ground, and
water supply. It is noted that Tolentinos land and those
of the other residents abut the banks of the Cabatan
River. Subsequently, the letter-complaint was amended
to particularly specify Taleon and Solis, as well as one
Humberto De Los Santos, as those responsible for the
alleged closure of the Cabatan River. Taleon filed her
answer denying the existence of the alleged river and
claimed that said dams were constructed inside her
registered property and that her water source was a
man-made canal connected to the sea.
The Secretary of Public works, after conducting an
administrative hearing, ruled that petitioners dams
were indeed obstructing the Cabatan River and ordered
for the demolition of such dams. (The river use to pass
inside Taleons and De Los Santos lands and was said to
have been obstructed because of the dams constructed
therein.) Taleon and Solis filed a motion for
reconsideration averring that the Secretary of Public
Works had no jurisdiction over the case; however,
such motion was denied. Thereafter, petitioners
elevated the case to the Office of the President (OP).
However, the OP, after reviewing the records, affirmed
the decision of the Secretary of Public Works.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, which the
Office of the President likewise denied.
In February 1962, the District Engineer of Davao
informed Taleon that her dams would be demolished
based on the Secretary of Public Works administrative

decision, which had already become final and executory.


In order to stop the threatened demolition, Taleon and
Solis filed suit in the Court of First Instance (CFI) of
Davao against the Secretary of Public Works and the
District Engineer of Davao. By virtue of this suit,
petitioners were able to obtain a writ of preliminary
injunction. In September 1962, petitioners filed a smilar
petition before the CFI of Manila. After the case in Davao
was dismissed and the filing of answers of the
respective parties, the CFI of Manila issued a writ of
preliminary injunction prayed for by the petitioners in
the form of temporary restraining order with a bond.
In January 1965, the CFI of Manila dismissed the case
filed by Taleon and Solis, after holding a pre-trial
conference and reviewing of the parties respective
memoranda. Aggrived, the petitioners elevated the case
to the Supreme Court, reiterating that the Secretary of
Public Works had no jurisdiction over the case since the
dams and the body of water (Cabatan River) in question
were inside Taleons registered property.

ISSUE
Whether or not the Secretary of Public Works had
jurisdiction to hear the said case.
HELD
(The resolution of the aforestated issue will determine
whether or not the order of demolition of the dams
constructed inside TAleons property shall be in order.)
YES, he has. The Secretary of Public Works has the
power to declare as public navigable stream any alleged
depression or bodies of water even inside titled
properties, for such incidental to power conferred upon
him by virtue of Republic Act 2056.
RA 2056, which is the law empowering the Secretary of
Public Works to order the removal of any dam, dike,
or any other works existing or may be constructed
thereafter that encroaches into any public navigable
river, stream, coastal waters, or any other public
navigable waters. This law likewise gives the Secretary
of Public Works the power to impose violation of this
law, as well as to order demolition of the aforesaid
obstructive structures.

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JURISDICTION (ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION)

The Honorable Court held that the Secretary of Public


Works had the jurisdiction to determine whether the
alleged Cabatan River is a public navigable stream, for
such determination a fact-finding power in character
is merely incidental to the Secretary of Public Works
duty to clear all navigable streams of any unauthorized
obstructions. As a consequence, the exercise of such
power does not constitute an undue delegation of
judicial power. Hence, the the decision appealed from is
valid for having been issued under authority of law.

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby


affirmed, with costs against petitioners-appellants.
So ordered.

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JURISDICTION (ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION)


RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES INC.
(RCPI) vs. BOARD OF COMMUNICATIONS and DIEGO
MORALES
--RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES INC.
(RCPI) vs. BOARD OF COMMUNICATIONS and
PACIFICO INNOCENCIO

After hearing the private respondents complaints,


respondent Board of Communications (hereafter to be
referred as the Board) held that the series rendered by
RCPO was inadequate and unsatisfactory. It imposed
upon petitioner RCPI a disciplinary fine of PHP 200,
pursuant to Section 21 of Commonwealth Act 146, as
amended by PD no. 1 and Letter of Implementation no.
1.

FACTS

Aggrieved with the Boards decision, the RCPI elevated


the case to the Supreme Court, where they aver that the
Board has no jurisdiction to entertain and take
cognizance of the aforesaid complaints premised on: (1)
Injury caused by breach of contractual obligation and
from negligence covered by Article 1170 of the New
Civil Code; and (2) Injury under quasi-delict or tort
liability under Article 2176 of the same Code. It further
avers that the complaints should have been instituted
and decided upon by the courts of justice and NOT by
the Board of Communications.

This case consolidated the complaints instituted by


private respondents Diego Morales and Pacifico
Innocencio.
In the first case, Diego Morales claims that while he was
in Manila, his daughter sent him a telegram on October
15, 1974 from Santiago, Isabela informing him the death
of his wife. The telegram was sent thru RCPI. However,
such telegram never reached him. Instead, he had to be
informed personally about the death of his wife and had
to catch up with the latters burial by taking an airplane
trip to Isabela. In its answer, the RCPI claims that the
telegram sent thru its facilities was sent from Santiago,
Isabela to its Message Center in Cubao; then, from Cubao
to its center in Sta. Cruz, Manila. However, upon
transmission to Manila, the radio signal became
intermittent making the copy received in the latter
Message Center unreadable and unintelligible. Because
of this failure, Morales avers that he had suffered
inconvenience and additional expenses; hence, he prays
for damages.
In the second case, Pacifico Innocencio claims that on
July 13, 1975, his sister Lourdes Innocencio sent a
telegram (from Paniqui, Tarlac) to him in Cavinti,
Laguna, thru RCPIs facilities. The purpose of the
telegram was for Pacifico to be informed of the death of
his father. However, the telegram was never received by
Pacifico. As a result, Pacifico was not able to attend the
internment of his father. Because of RCPIs failure to
deliver to him such telegram, Pacifico alleges that he
was shocked when he learned about his fathers death
when he visited their hometown in Moncada, Tarlac
and that he suffered mental anguish and personal
inconveniences. Hence, he likewise prays for an award
of damages.

ISSUE
Whether or not the Board of Communications had
jurisdiction over the complaints.

HELD
NONE.
(1) The Board of Communications had no
jurisdiction to hear and decide the case for its
powers are limited solely to the issuance of
certificates of public convenience and the
power of supervision and control over matters
RELATED to the issuance of said certificates.
The Court rationalized its decision in the
following manner:
The functions of the Public Service
Commission are limited and administrative in
nature and it has only jurisdiction and power
as are expressly or by necessary implication
conferred upon it by statute. 4 As successor
in interest of the Public Service Commission,
the Board of Communications exercises the

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JURISDICTION (ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION)


same powers, jurisdiction, and functions as that
provided for in the Public Service Act for the
Public Service Commission. One of these
powers as provided under Section 129 of the
Public Service Act governing the organization of
the Specialized Regulatory Board, is to issue
certificate of public convenience. But this
power to issue certificate of public
convenience does not carry with it the
power of supervision and control over
matters not related to the issuance of
certificate of public convenience or in the
performance therewith in a manner suitable
to promote public interest.
(2) Assuming arguendo that the Board of
Communications had jurisdiction to hear and
decide the case, it cannot impose upon RCPI the
penalty or fine of Php 200.
The Court held that:
assuming that the respondent Board of
Communications has the power or jurisdiction
over petitioner in the exercise of its supervision
to insure adequate public service, petitioner
cannot be subjected to payment of fine
under Section 21 of the Public Service Act,
because this provision of the law subjects to
a fine every public service that violates or
falls to comply with the terms and
conditions of any certificate or any orders,
decisions or regulations of the Commission.

convenience or any order, decision or


regulation of respondent Board of
Communication. It is clear from the record
that petitioner has not been charge of any
violation or failure to comply with the terms
and condition of its certificates of public
convenience or of any order, decision or
regulation of the respondent Board. The
charge does not relate to the management of
the facilities and system of transmission of
messages by petitioner in accordance with its
certificate of public convenience. If in the two
cases before Us complainants Diego Morales
and Pacifica Innocencio allegedly suffered
injury due to petitioner's breach of contractual
obligation arising from negligence, the proper
forum for them to ventilate their grievances
for possible recovery of damages against
petitioner should be in the courts and not in
the respondent Board of Communications.
(All emphases mine.)

WHEREFORE. both decisions of respondent Board of


Communications in BC Case No. 75-01 OC and BC Case
No. 75- 08-0C are hereby reversed, set aside,
declared null and void for lack of jurisdiction to take
cognizance of both cases. Without costs.
SO ORDERED.

In the two cases before us petitioner is not


being charged nor investigated for violation of
the terms and conditions of its certificate of
public convenience or of any order, decision or
regulations of the respondent Board of
Communications. The complaint of respondents
- in the two cases was that they were allegedly
inconvenienced or injured by the failure of the
petitioner to transmit to them telegrams
informing them of the deaths of close relatives
which according to them constitute breach of
contractual obligation through negligence
under the Civil Code. The charges however, do
not necessarily involve petitioners failure
to comply with its certificate of public

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JURISDICTION (ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION)


NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY vs. COMMISSION
ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS,
MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, BULACAN,
SPOUSES ANGEL AND ROSARIO CRUZ, RUFINO LAAN,
RUFINO LAAN SANTOS, ANDRES NEPOMUCENO,
SPOUSES ALBERTO AND HERNINIA HAGOS, LEON
GUILALAS, SPOUSES OSCAR AND HAYDEE BADILLO

FACTS
There has been an existing boundary dispute between
the Municipality of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan and the
City of Caloocan since 1968. In order to resolve the longstanding conflict, the Sangguniang Bayan of the
Municipality of San Jose Del Monte passed and approved
Resolution no. 20-02-94 on February 1884, which
recognizes that the official boundary between San Jose
Del Monte and Caloocan City is that which was specified
in the certified true copy of the geographic position and
plain grid coordinates of Caloocan City, as per CAD-267,
specifically from Municipal Boundary Monument (MBM)
22 to MBM 33.
Subsequently in 1995, another Resolution was passed
by said Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose Del Monte, this
time recognizing Tala Estate as the lot lines delineating
the boundary between the Municipality of San Jose Del
Monte and Caloocan City. Because of this Resolution,
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR) of Region III was prompted to conduct a
relocation survey.
On September 15, 1995, the DENR submitted a
comprehensive report, which essentially states the
following:
In Municipal Resolution No. 06-08-95 dated
August 8, 1995, it is requested that the
geographic positions of BM Nos. 11 to 24, Tala
Estate shall be recognized as the official lots
lines which delineates the boundaries of San
Jose del Monte, Bulacan and Caloocan City;
Moreover, the resolution is opposed to the
delineation of Marilao River as the
boundary of two localities, as embodied in
SWO-41615;
If the lot lines of Parcels 1, 2 and 3, SWO-41615
will be the basis for the boundaries of the two
LGUs, Marilao River will be the natural

boundary between the two LGUs; if BM 11 to


24, Tala Estate shall be the basis for the
boundaries, some northern portions of Parcels
1, 2 and 3, SWO-41615, portions of Bankers
Village and Pangarap Village belongs to the
Municipality of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
As may be gleaned from the foregoing, the delineation
specified in the Resolutions of the Sangguniang
Bayan of Municipality of San Jose Del Monte
contradicts that embodied in the SWO-41615 of the
Tala Estate.
The Tala Estate is a 598-hectare propertly allotted by
the government mainly for housing and resettlement
site under the administration of the National Housing
Authority (NHA), pursuant to Presidential Proclamation
no. 843 issued by the then President Marcos in April
1971.
Respondent Municipality of San Jose Del Monte filed a
complaint against the NHA before the Commission on
Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP) for the former
was unsatisfied with the survey and report conducted
by the DENR. Several residents1 of said municipality
joined the municipality as complainants in this case.
Said residents alleged that their private properties are
within the Municipality of San Jose Del Monte and that
their properties are not covered by Presidential
Proclamation no. 843. They further aver that the said
NHA landholdings encroach upon their properties. With
this, said parties pray that NHA be ordered to pay them
damages.
Acting upon the complaint, the COSLAP ruled that the
twin resolutions adopted by the respondent
Municipality is the correct boundary between San Jose
Del Monte and Caloocan City. As a consequence of such
ruling, the COSLAP likewise held that the NHA housing
project, being within the Municipality of San Jose Del
Monte, encroaches upon private respondents
properties.
In January 1999, a meeting was held between the local
officials of respondent Municipality and Caloocan City.
NHA was invited to attend on such meeting by the
1

Spouses Angel and Rosario Cruz, Rufino Laan, Rufina Laan Santos,
Andres Nepomuceno, spouses Alberto and Herminia Hagos, Leon Guilalas,
spouses Oscar and Haydee Badillo, and Leoncio Laan (herein private
respondents)

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JURISDICTION (ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION)


Bureau of Local Government Supervision of the DILG. In
this meeting, the NHA posed its strong opposition
against the COSLAP Resolution, contending that the
COSLAP had no jurisdiction to hear the boundary
dispute. Subsequently, the bureau directed the NHA and
the respondents to sumit their respective position
papers within 30 days.
However, instead of submitting a position paper, the
Municipality of San Jose Del Monte filed with the
COSLAP of a motion for execution of the latters
resolution. With this, NHA filed with the Court of
Appeals (CA) a petition assailing COSLAPs jurisdiction
in deciding the boundary despite and the propriety of
the writ of execution it issued (upon the petition of the
respondent Municipality). The appellate court, however,
dismissed the petition, on the reason that the same had
been filed out of time.
Hence, the NHA petitioned before the Supreme Court for
the setting aside of the writ execution issued by the
COSLAP.

ISSUE
Whether or not the COSLAP had jurisdiction to hear and
decide the long-standing boundary dispute and issue the
assailed writ of execution.

HELD
NONE. The COSLAP cannot hear and decide the
boundary dispute between the Municipality of San Jose
Del Monte and Caloocan City because it is not
authorized and/or empowered under the law to do so.
The Court ruled that the applicable rule in this case is
Section 3 of Executive Order no. 561, which is the
authority of law creating COSLAP:
Sec. 3. Powers and Functions. The Commission shall
have the following powers and functions:
xxx
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 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
subdivisions of lands of the public domain; and
(e) Other similar land problems of grave urgency and
magnitude.
x x x (Emphases are all mine.)
The Honorable Court held that the COSLAP may only
assume jurisdiction if the matter falls under paragraphs
2(a) to 2(e) of Section 3 of said Executive Order. There
is no provision that authorizes the Commission to take
cognizance of boundary disputes between two local
government units.
The Court further explained, to wit:
Under Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local

Government Code, the respective legislative


councils of the contending local government units
have jurisdiction over their boundary disputes.
Sections 118 and 119 provide:
Section 118. Jurisdictional Responsibility for Settlement
of Boundary Dispute.
xxx
(d) Boundary disputes involving a component city or
municipality on the one hand and a highly
urbanized city on the other, or two (2) or more highly
urbanized cities, shall be jointly referred for
settlement to the respective sanggunians of the
parties.
(e) In the event the Sanggunian fails to effect an
amicable settlement within sixty (60) days from the
date the dispute was referred thereto, it shall issue a
certification to that effect. Thereafter, the dispute shall
be formally tried by the Sanggunian concerned which

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JURISDICTION (ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION)


shall decide the issue within sixty (60) days from the
date of the certification referred to above.
Section 119. Appeal. Within the time and manner
prescribed by the Rules of Court, any party may elevate
the decision of the Sanggunian concerned to the proper
Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the area in
dispute. The Regional Trial Court shall decide the appeal
within one (1) year from the filing thereof. Pending final
resolution of the disputed area prior to the dispute shall
be maintained and continued for all legal purposes.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed


Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 54495 are SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.

Rule III implementing the above provisions states:


Rule III SETTLEMENT OF BOUNDARY DISPUTES
Art. 15. Definition and Policy. There is boundary
dispute when a portion or the whole of the territorial
area of an LGU is claimed by two or more LGUs.
Boundary disputes between or among LGUs shall, as
much as possible, be settled amicably.
Art. 16. Jurisdictional Responsibility. Boundary
disputes shall be referred for settlement to the
following:
(a) Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan for
disputes involving two (2) or more barangays in the
same city or municipality, as the case may be;
(b) Sangguniang panlalawigan for those involving two
(2) or more municipalities within the same province;
(c) Jointly, to the sanggunians of provinces concerned,
for those involving component cities or municipalities of
different provinces; or
(d) Jointly, to the respective sanggunians, for those
involving a component city or municipality and a
highly urbanized city or two (2) or more highlyurbanized cities. x x x

Since the COSLAP had no jurisdiction over the matter, it


should have referred the dispute to the Sangguniang
Panglungsod of Caloocan City and the Sangguniang
Bayan of San Jose Del Monte.
As an effect, the Order issued by the COSLAP over
the settlement of the aforementioned boundary
dispute, without the required jurisdiction, is void.
As the Court held, It can never become final and
executory, hence, an appeal is out of the question.

CASE DIGESTS AND NOTES | BY: TINA SIUAGAN