You are on page 1of 22

ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

ADMIN LAW FULL TEXT Philippines is the plain, speedy and adequate and Natural Resources the case, docketed as
remedy available to the petitioner. DANR case No. 1549. On 28 February 1958 the
C. EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources
REMEDIES APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First
modified the opinion of the Director of Lands
Instance of Agusan.
1. No. L-16537. June 29, 1962.
x x x in the sense that Delfin C. Fuertes should
FRANCISCO C. CALO, petitioner-appellant, vs. reimburse Francisco G. Calo of the difference
DELFIN C. FUERTES, DIRECTOR OF LANDS and The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. between the value of the improvements the
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL latter introduced on the land in controversy and
Calo, Calo & Calo for petitioner-appellant. the value of the consequential benefits derived
RESOURCES, respondents-appellees.
Ismael B. Sanchez and Jalandoni & Jamir for by him therefrom within thirty (30) days from
Appeal; Appeal bond filed after 30-day period to advice by the Director of Lands who is hereby
respondent-appellee Delfin C. Fuertes.
appeal.Although the notice of appeal was directed to determine the aforementioned
filed within the reglementary period, the appeal Solicitor General for respondent-appellee difference within sixty (60) days from receipt of
has not been perfected where the appeal bond Director of Lands and Secretary of Agriculture a copy of this decision.
was filed on the 31st day after notice of and Natural Resources.
judgment. Still dissatisfied with the above opinion,
PADILLA, J.: Francisco C. Calo asked the Secretary of
Administrative Law; Exhaustion of Agriculture and Natural Resources to reconsider
administrative remedies; Withdrawal of appeal, In Bureau of Lands Claim No. 224 (N), Lot No.
143-A, Cadastral Case No. 84, Butuan City, it but the latter denied a reconsideration
effect of.In an administrative case, appeal to thereof. Hence, on 1 August 1958 Francisco C.
the President of the Philippines is the last step entitled Francisco C. Calo, claimant-contestant,
vs. H.A. No. 86871 (E-40476) Delfin C. Fuertes, Calo appealed to the President of the
that the aggrieved party should take. The Philippines (Annex A to Answer, p. 54, rec. of
withdrawal of the appeal taken to the President applicant-respondent, the Director of Lands
rendered on 12 April 1956 an opinion denying case No. 55), but on 8 August 1958 he withdrew
is tantamount to not appealing at all thereto. it before the President of the Philippines could
Such withdrawal is fatal. and dismissing former's claim and contest
against the Homestead Application No. 86871 act thereon (Annex A to memorandum of the
Same; When certiorari and prohibition will lie. (E-40476) of Delfin C. Fuertes, ordering him to petitioner, p. 64, rec. of case No. 55).
A civil action for certiorari and prohibition under vacate the premises within sixty days from On 22 August 1958 Francisco C. Calo filed in the
Rule 67 of the Rules of Court lies only when receipt of a copy of the opinion, and stating that Court of First Instance of Agusan a petition for
there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and upon finality thereof homestead patent would writs of certiorari and prohibition with
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. be issued to Delfin C. Fuertes. His request for preliminary injunction praying that the
In the instant case, appeal from an opinion or reconsideration having been denied by the enforcement of the opinions of the Director of
order by the Secretary of Agriculture and Director of Lands on 25 January 1957, Francisco
Natural Resources to the President of the C. Calo brought to the Secretary of Agriculture
Page 1 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

Lands andthe Secretary of Agriculture and The petitioner appealed, but as only a question Court lies only when "there is no appeal, nor
Natural Re- of law is raised, the Court of Appeals certified any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the
the appeal to this Court. ordinary course of law." In the case at bar,
sources be enjoined; that if a bond be needed
appeal from an opinion or order by the
for the purpose he was willing to file it; that This appeal has not been perfected within the
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources
after hearing the injunction be made final and reglementary period, as provided for in section
to the President of the Philippines is the plain,
permanent; that the respondent Delfin C. 17, Rule 41, for although the notice of appeal
speedy and adequate remedy available to the
Fuertes pay him P18,000 as damages and was filed on 31 August 1959 (p. 77, record of
petitioner.1
attorney's fees and costs of the suit; that he be case No. 55) or on the 13th day from the receipt
declared the owner entitled to possess the of case No. 55 the appeal bond was filed on 18 The judgment appealed from already had
parcel of land subject of the litigation; and for September 1959 (p. 78, record of case No. 55) become final and cannot be reviewed. The
any other just and equitable relief (special civil or on the 31st day after notice of judgment. This appeal is dismissed, with costs against the
case No. 55). is enough to dispose of the case. petitioner-appellant. Calo vs. Fuertes, 5 SCRA
397, No. L-16537 June 29, 1962
On 24 December 1958 the respondent Delfin C. At any rate, the appellant's contention that, as
Fuertes filed an answer and, on 27 December the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
1958, an amended answer to the petition; on 29 Resources is the alter ego of the President and
A. CERTIORARI
December 1958 and 3 January 1959 the his acts or decisions are also those of the latter,
respondent Secretary of Agriculture and Natural he need not appeal from the decision or 7. No. L-74687. November 12, 1987.*
Resources and the Director of Lands, opinion of the former to the latter, and that,
respectively, filed their answers. After a such being the case, after he had appealed to ANTONIO DE LEON, petitioner, vs. HEIRS OF
preliminary hearing as provided for in section 5, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural GREGORIO REYES, OFFICE OF THE
Rule 8, of the Rules of Court, on 31 July 1959 Resources from the decision or opinion of the PRESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS,
the court rendered judgment, the dispositive Director of Lands he had exhausted all the thru MANUEL LAZARO, (now OFFICE OF THE
part of which is- administrative remedies, is untenable. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY), respondents.

WHEREFORE, for failure to state a cause of The withdrawal of the appeal taken to the Evidence; Administrative Agencies; Authority of
action, for lack of jurisdiction and for not President of the Philippines is tantamount to Administrative superiors to reverse findings of
exhausting all the administrative remedies not appealing at all thereto. Such withdrawal is subordinates must be exercised sparingly and
available to the petitioner in the ordinary course fatal, because the appeal to the President is the only upon clear showing of error.While there
of law, the Court resolves to dismiss as it hereby last step he should take in an administrative is no disputing the authority of administrative
dismisses the herein petition with costs against case. superiors to reverse the findings of their
petitioner. subordinates, this power must be exercised
Furthermore, a special civil action for certiorari sparingly and only upon a clear showing of
and prohibition under Rule 67 of the Rules of error. Lacking such flaw, the decision of the
Page 2 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

lower administrative officials should be and conclusions of the Director of the Bureau of The land in dispute is located in Sta. Quiteria,
sustained, if only because they have closer Lands and approved by the Secretary of Caloocan City, and has an area of 13,956 square
access to the problem sought to be resolved Agriculture upon a question of fact are meters. It is the subject of two separate
and have the direct opportunity to question the conclusive and not subject to review, in the applications, one for sale filed by the late
parties and their witnesses and to assess the absence of showing that such decision was Gregorio Reyes on December 21, 1967, and the
evidence first-hand. rendered in consequence of fraud, imposition, other for free patent filed by petitioner Antonio
or mistake. de Leon on September 23, 1968. Both are based
Same; Same; Same; Review of decisions of
on the claim of actual possession. To resolve the
Administrative officials by their superiors to be Same; Same; Certiorari; Remedy of Certiorari
conflict, the Bureau of Lands conducted an
valid must not be whimsical, arbitrary or devoid applies to administrative decisions up to the
investigation and after hearing ruled against
of substantial basis.While, as previously highest level and includes the decision at bar
Gregorio Reyes,1 who appealed to the Ministry
remarked, the decisions of administrative even if rendered by authority of the
of Natural Resources. The decision of the
officials are subject to review by their superiors, President.The writ of certiorari is available in
Bureau of Lands was there set aside by the
such review, to be valid, must not be whimsical this case. If all administrative decisions were
assistant secretary for legal affairs,2 but he was
or arbitrary or devoid of substantial basis. There conclusive upon us in any event, there would
himself, on motion for reconsideration, reversed
is no question that the public respondent, have been no reason at all to offer this
by the Minister.3 The private respondents**
acting on behalf of the President, can reverse extraordinary remedy to litigants who otherwise
then elevated the case to the Office of the
the decisions of a department head although would have been deprived of this only and last
President, where they were sustained.4 The
the former is lower in rank than the Cabinet resort to the courts of justice. This remedy
subsequent motion for reconsideration of the
member. But that is not the point. The point is applies to administrative decisions up to the
petitioner was denied.5
that, although the power is conceded, it must highest level and includes the decision at bar
be exercised, like all powers, within the limits of even if rendered by authority of the President. This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
the law, if substantive rights are to be protected The sacramental phrase does not remove these Rules of Court was originally dismissed, and the
and justice is to be upheld. decisions from the certiorari jurisdiction of the first motion for reconsideration was denied. We
Court or inhibit us from reversing them when held that the issues raised were mainly factual
Same; Same; Same; Same; Findings and
warranted by a clear showing of a grave abuse and there was no showing that the findings
conclusions of the Director of the Bureau of
of discretion. thereon were not supported by substantial
Lands and approved by the Secretary of
evidence. Upon the filing with leave of a second
Agriculture upon a question of fact are PETITION to review the decision of the
motion for reconsideration, the Court decided
conclusive and not subject to review.The Presidential Assistant for Legal Affairs.
to take a harder look at the case, set aside the
public respondent, in setting aside the decision
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. earlier dismissal of the petition and gave due
of the Bureau of Lands, as affirmed by the
course thereto, requiring the parties to file
Ministry of Natural Resources, disregarded the CRUZ, J.: memoranda.6
long line of decisions holding that the findings
Page 3 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

As a matter of law and policy, this Court does other person was occupying it.7 Habal, for his 1968, it was planted by the petitioner and his
not review the factual findings of administrative part, said that no one else was claiming the father to fruit-bearing trees, and there were two
bodies as long as there is substantial evidence land, nobody had protested his survey, and that nipa huts thereon, one belonging to the
to support them. Only in exceptional cases do there was no house on the said property.8 petitioner and the other to his daughter,
we deviate from this discipline, which is based Catalina.11 Another report, filed this time by
The public respondent also noted that it was
on a proper respect for the decisions of a Land Investigator Romeo Salvado, found that
only on December 3, 1968, that the petitioner
coordinate department and a just recognition of the petitioners possession was discontinued
had declared the said land for taxation
its expertise on matters coming under its direct only in 1969 when Gregorio Reyes forced
purposes, retroactive to 1965. This was deemed
jurisdiction. After the thorough study of the himself into the land in dispute and with the aid
an indication that the petitioner was not really
pleadings filed by the parties, and of the of armed men bulldozed the trees and plants
in possession thereof as he claimed and had
antecedent proceedings, we find that this is one thereon. The petitioner complained to the
filed the declaration only to support his free
occasion for such deviation. The Court feels that Bureau of Lands, which issued a status quo
patent application.9
there is justification to review the decision here order on May 4, 1970. Nevertheless, Reyes
questioned on the challenge that it was issued To bolster these findings, the private ignored the same and in violation of the order
with grave abuse of discretion by the public respondents submit that the land in dispute was and the Public Land Act, leased the land to Hi-
respondent. part of the lot from the Piedad Estate which had Protein Corporation, which introduced its own
been sold on July 16,1931, to the Bartolome improvements on the property.12
The reversal was made by then Presidential
spouses and that this portion had merely been
Assistant for Legal Affairs Manuel M. Lazaro on While there is no disputing the authority of
inadvertently omitted in the technical
December 19, 1985. The petitioners motion for administrative superiors to reverse the findings
description of the said lot. Even so, it was
reconsideration was subsequently denied on of their subordinates, this power must be
occupied by the Bartolomes (including Gregorio
April 29, 1986, on the ground that there was exercised sparingly and only upon a clear
Reyes and his wife, who was a daughter of the
no strong and cogent reason to warrant the showing of error. Lacking such flaw, the decision
Bartolomes) along with the rest of the lot since
reversal or modification of the decision. of the lower administrative officials should be
its purchase in the aforesaid year.10
sustained, if only because they have closer
The questioned decision was based on the
Conversely, the petitioner points to the finding access to the problem sought to be resolved
reports made by Land Investigator Pablo
of the Bureau of Lands, as affirmed by the and have the direct opportunity to question the
Bautista on November 7, 1967, and December
Ministry of Natural Resources, that his father, parties and their witnesses and to assess the
21, 1967, as corroborated by Land Surveyor
Simeon de Leon, had been in possession of the evidence first-hand.
Medardo Habal after his survey of the disputed
disputed land since 1925 and until his death in
land on November 29, 1967. Bautista found that The hearing officer of the Bureau of Lands, who
1950. His possession was then continued by the
the private respondent had been in possession made the initial investigation in the case at bar,
petitioner. According to Land Investigator Jose
of the land in question since 1950, had planted had such an opportunity. It was Jose B. Isidro
B. Isidro, who inspected the land on October 30,
it to fruit trees and seasonal crops, and that no who conducted the hearings to resolve the
Page 4 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

conflicting claims of possession of the petitioner reports were simply and completely accepted to report on the application stated, among others,
and Gregorio Reyes, examined them and their sustain the private respondents stand. There that the cultivation and occupation of the land
witnesses and inspected the disputed property. was also no mention of Land Investigator in question by Antonio de Leon has been
His report of December 5,1968, was in favor of Salvado, who reported on August 12, 1983, that continuous, notorious and exclusive since 1925,
the petitioners. Notably, not even the private Reyes had violated the status quo order of the and the improvements on the land as
respondents impugn his integrity and Bureau of Lands and recommended that he be ascertained by the investigator during his ocular
impartiality and in fact even cite him to support held civilly and criminally liable. His report was inspection on October 30, 1968 were clearly
their own position that de Leon had abandoned totally ignored. indicated on the sketch drawn at the back
the property by selling it in 1968 and 1969.13 thereof consisting of ten guava trees, two
Besides invoking the reports of Isidro and
guyabano trees, fifty atis trees, two star apple
By contrast, the motives of both Bautista and Salvado, the petitioner presented two witnesses
trees, three tieza trees, several bamboo
Habal have been questioned by the petitioner, who both testified that he and his father had
grooves, patola, camote patch, a nipa house
and for good reason. The record shows that it been in continuous possession of the land in
owned by the applicants daughter Catalina de
was Bautista who advised Gregorio Reyes to file dispute, raising fruit-bearing trees there. Pastor
Leon. In a desperate bid to obliterate traces of
his sales application,14 and by some Buenaventura swore he was born in Sta.
improvements by Antonio de Leon, respondent
happenstance, it was also Bautista who was Quiteria in 1917 and Ricardo Javier claimed he
bulldozed and destroyed them, and in their
assigned to investigate the same. It is also not transferred to the place in 1938, and both were
stead replaced them with his improvements, to
denied that Habal was retained by Reyes to positive that the de Leon father and son were
give it a semblance that it was he who is in
conduct the survey of the land in dispute, occupying the disputed property until it was
actual possession of the land. Forthwith,
presumably for a corresponding bulldozed in 1969.16 Giving credence to this
Antonio de Leon lodged a complaint before the
compensation.15 Given such circumstances, we evidence, the Bureau of Lands in its decision
barrio captain and wrote this office to inform
find it not unreasonable to suppose, and even declared:
that on June 30, 1969, Gregorio Reyes, in
expect, that the reports of these two individuals
Evidence for the protestant (herein petitioner) company with a number of armed men and
would be, as in fact they were, favorable to
bears heavily upon the facts that he has been in with a bulldozer forcibly entered the land
Reyes.
actual and physical control of the property since covered by his Free Patent Application No. (III-l)
It is worth noting that in his decision reversing 1925 through his predecessor-in-interest 4649. Once inside the premises his (Gregorio
the Ministry of Natural Resources, the public Simeon de Leon. The preliminary investigation Reyes) men destroyed many of his (Antonio de
respondent merely rejected the report of Isidro report submitted by Land Investigator Jose Leon) improvements.17
and opted in favor of the reports of Bautista and Isidro relative to his free patent application as to
The private respondents allegation that the
Habal, but without saying why except to note the fact of possession confirmed the
petitioner had sold the land in question was
that Bautistas report was earlier. No effort was testimonies of his witnesses, who are long time
never established. Their counsel tried hard
made to explain away their apparent bias as residents and native-born of the barrio where
enough to draw an admission to this effect but
directly challenged by the petitioner. The the land is situated. The final investigation
all he got from the petitioner was a consistent
Page 5 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

denial.18 It was never proved that the alleged Bautista and Habal that no one but Reyes was at petitioner. The basis of the reversal, to wit, the
deeds of sale were authentic and had been the time of their inspection occupying the land. reports of Bautista and Habal, have been
signed by the petitioner, who said he could discredited for partiality and refuted by the
We are satisfied from an examination of the
never manage to write his full name, which was private respondents themselves when they
evidence of record that the petitioner, as his
the signature on the instruments. The alleged argued that the petitioners possession of the
father before him, was in continuous possession
vendees were never presented at the hearing. land was only tolerated. This was an implicit
of the disputed land from 1925 and raised fruit-
The private respondents also did not offer the admission that the petitioner was actually
bearing trees therein. In 1969, Reyes forcibly
testimony of a handwriting expert to prove the occupying the land at the time they said they
ousted de Leon from the said property and
genuineness of the signature on the challenged had no possession of it. Moreover, the public
destroyed the trees and structures on the said
deeds of sale. There was also a supposed respondent did not consider the other official
property. Thereafter, despite the order of the
affidavit of de Leons daughter Catalina reports submitted by Isidro and Salvado and just
Bureau of Lands requiring the parties to
affirming that her hut had not been bulldozed dismissed them out of hand notwithstanding
maintain the status quo pending the resolution
by Gregorio Reyes but had been destroyed that these were the very bases used by the
of their dispute, Reyes leased the property to
during a typhoon, but this too has no Bureau of Lands in deciding for the petitioner.
the Hi-Protein Corporation, which itself
evidentiary value. As the alleged affiant was
introduced improvements on the land. The public respondent, in setting aside the
never presented and could not be examined on
decision of the Bureau of Lands, as affirmed by
the said sworn statement, it must be rejected as While, as previously remarked, the decisions of
the Ministry of Natural Resources, disregarded
hearsay. administrative officials are subject to review by
the long line of decisions holding that the
their superiors, such review, to be valid, must
The Minister also found that the tax findings and conclusions of the Director of the
not be whimsical or arbitrary or devoid of
declarations made by Gregorio Reyes referred Bureau of Lands and approved by the Secretary
substantial basis. There is no question that the
not to the land in dispute but to the lot of Agriculture upon a question of fact are
public respondent, acting on behalf of the
purchased from the Piedad Estate by the conclusive and not subject to review, in the
President, can reverse the decisions of a
Bartolome spouses, his parents-in-law.19 The absence of showing that such decision was
department head although the former is lower
private respondents argument that the rendered in consequence of fraud, imposition,
in rank than the Cabinet member. But that is not
disputed land was part of the said lot is or mistake.20
the point. The point is that, although the power
weakened by the fact that Reyes filed a sales
is conceded, it must be exercised, like all The writ of certiorari is available in this case. If
application therefor and so impliedly admitted it
powers, within the limits of the law, if all administrative decisions were conclusive
was public land. Then there is Reyes assertion
substantive rights are to be protected and upon us in any event, there would have been no
that the Bartolomes had merely allowed or
justice is to be upheld. reason at all to offer this extraordinary remedy
tolerated de Leons occupation of the land
to litigants who otherwise would have been
because he was their relative. This claim, if true Our finding is that such power was not properly
deprived of this only and last resort to the
at all, would only disprove the reports made by exercised in this case, to the prejudice of the
courts of justice. This remedy applies to
Page 6 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

administrative decisions up to the highest level 3. CASIMIRO BAYANI, petitioner and appellant, into the territory of the United States have the
and includes the decision at bar even if vs. THE INSULAR COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, right to be represented by an attorney if they so
rendered by authority of the President. The respondent and appellee. desire. They have a right to present witnesses in
sacramental phrase does not remove these support of their request to enter. Their attorney
1.ALIENS; ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS;
decisions from the certiorari jurisdiction of the has the right to present whatsoever pertinent
RIGHT TO A FULL, FREE AND FAIR HEARING.
Court or inhibit us from reversing them when and material questions which he may desire to
While the hearings before the board of special
warranted by a clear showing of a grave abuse such witnesses, as will demonstrate or will tend
inquiry, of the department of customs, are
of discretion. to demonstrate the right to such alien to enter
summary, in that no special pleadings, etc., are,
the country. The burden of proving his right to
The petition is granted. The writ must issue. required, they are nevertheless judicial in
enter the territory of the United States is upon
character, and the persons whose rights are
It bears emphasis that whereas the petitioner is the immigrant who seeks that privilege. To
inquired into by it are entitled to a full, free, and
a humble farmer applying for a free patent over sustain that burden he has a right to call and
fair hearing just as in any other cases where the
the only land he and his father before him have present witnesses. To that end either he or his
rights of individuals are being determined.
tilled all these many years, the private attorney should be permitted to ask such
While the decisions of the customs
respondents are subdivision owners who really pertinent and material questions as will tend to
administrative officers are final upon the
do not need the disputed property as much as support his contention. A. denial of any of these
question of the right of an alien to enter the
the petitioner. We are elated that the facts and rights is not authorized in law, and amounts to
territory of the United States, unless there has
the law of this case have tilted in favor of the an unfair and unjust hearing. It is the duty of the
been an abuse of the power and discretion in
party with less privileges in life and thus given board of special inquiry to make an effort to
them vested, the courts will not hesitate to
meaning to the constitutional ideal of a more arrive at the truth by hearing all of the
review the decision of such officers whenever it
equitable distribution among our people of the witnesses and to permit them, without
is alleged and proved that they have abused the
bounties of the earth. intimidation, to state all of the facts, and to
power and discretion conferred upon them, or
answer all of the pertinent questions put to
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Presidential where they have acted in open violation of the
them, either by the attorney or by the board.
Assistant for Legal Affairs dated December 19, law. The essential thing in such investigations, as
1985, and the Order of the Deputy Executive well as in all other judicial or quasi-judicial APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First
Secretary dated April 29,1986, are SET ASIDE proceedings, is that there shall have been an Instance of Manila. Del Rosario, J.
and the Order of the Minister of Natural honest effort to arrive at the truth by methods
The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.
Resources dated March 8,1985, is REINSTATED, sufficiently fair and reasonable to amount to
with costs against the private respondents. It is due process of law. Chas. E. Tenney for appellant.
so ordered. De Leon vs. Heirs of Gregorio Reyes,
2.ID.; ID.; RIGHT TO HAVE ATTORNEYS; RIGHT OF Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.
155 SCRA 584, No. L-74687 November 12, 1987
ATTORNEY TO PRESENT QUESTIONS DIRECTLY
TO THE WITNESS.Aliens seeking admission JOHNSON, J.:
E. Habeas Corpus
Page 7 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

the petitioner's rights; that the board failed to assures immigrants. It is recommended that the
present questions and refused to permit the record be remanded to the immigration officials
It appears from the record that the appellant
attorney for the appellant to present questions with instructions to grant this applicant a new
arrived at Manila, on the 21st day of August,
which would bring to light the real, material, hearing.
1917, on the steamship Loongsang and
and important facts justifying his right to enter
requested permission to enter the Philippine "Respectfully submitted."
the Philippine Islands; that the Court of First
Islands upon the ground that he was a citizen
Instance failed to find from the record that the While the hearings before the board of special
thereof, having been born in said Islands. His
board of special inquiry had abused its inquiry are summary in that no special
right to enter was inquired into by a board of
authority, power and discretion in refusing the pleadings, etc., are required, they are,
special inquiry. At the conclusion of said inquiry
appellant permission to land in the Philippine nevertheless, judicial in character, and the
his request to enter was denied. An appeal was
Islands, and that the decision of said board was persons tried by such a board are entitled to a
taken to the Collector of Customs and the
arbitrary, frivolous and capricious and was not full, free, and fair hearing just as in any other
decision of the board of special inquiry was by
sustained by the evidence. cases where the rights of individuals are being
him confirmed. Thereupon a writ of habeas
inquired into. Such individuals have the right to
corpus was petitioned for in the Court of First In reply to said alleged errors the Attorney-
be represented by an attorney, if they so desire.
Instance of Manila. At the conclusion of the General, Quintin Paredes, admits that appellant
They have a right to present witnesses to
hearing on said petition the writ was denied has not been accorded a free, full, and fair
support their request to enter. Their attorney
and the present appeal was perfected. hearing and recommended that he be given a
has a right to present whatever pertinent
new trial. The Attorney-General in his brief said:
The appellant now alleges that he has not been questions he may desire to such witnesses, as
given a full, free, and fair hearing before the "The issue raised by this appeal is whether the will demonstrate or will tend to show the right
board of special inquiry, and that the order record shows abuse of discretion and authority of the immigrant to enter the country. (Edwards
denying him the right to enter the Philippine on the part of the board of special inquiry which vs. McCoy, 22 Phil. Rep., 598; Ang Eng Chong
Islands should be set aside and that he should heard this case. Counsel for appellant directs vs. Collector of Customs, 23 Phil. Rep., 614; Go
be granted a new trial on the merits. The attention to some very illadvised action on the Kiam vs. Collector of Customs, R. G. No. 7099;1
appellant now alleges that the record of the part of members of the board in their Loo Bun Hian vs. Collector of Customs, R. G. No.
proceedings before the board of special inquiry examination of the witnesses in this case. The 7074;1 Lim Yiong vs. Collector of Customs, 36
shows that said board had abused its authority misstatement of material facts to witnesses Phil. Rep., 424; Ex parte Lam Pui, 217 Fed. Rep.,
in not giving him a full, free, and fair hearing; (rec., pp. 10 and 12) and the barring of a 456; Jouras vs. Allen, 222 Fed. Rep., 756; U. S.
that it appears from the record that the said witness before she had concluded her vs. Ruiz, 23 Fed. Rep., 431 [?]; Ex parte Petkos,
hearing was in great part made up of leading testimony (rec., p. 12) unquestionably are 212 Fed. Rep., 275; Ex parte Ung King leng, 213
and misleading questions and untrue serious irregularities. And in the opinion of the Fed. Rep., 119; Lim Ching vs. Collector of
statements, calculated to confuse the witnesses undersigned, this petitioner was not accorded Customs, 33 Phil. Rep., 186; Ex parte Gregory,
and not adapted to discover the real merits of such a hearing as the law contemplates and 210 Fed. Rep., 680; Louie Dai vs. U. S., 238 Fed.
Page 8 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

Rep., 68, 74; Ex parte Lee Dung Moo, 230 Fed. nevertheless, the board is required, under the evidence impartially. Where the record itself
Rep., 746; Ex parte Tom Toy Tin, 230 Fed. Rep., procedure which it adopts, to give the discloses the fact that the evidence is weighed
747; Ex parte Chin Loy You, 223 Fed. Rep., 883; immigrant or the alien an opportunity to show in the spirit of hostility there cannot be that
Ex parte Wong Foo, 230 Fed, Rep., 534.) by proof that his request should be granted. impartial, f free, f full and f fair hearing
(Edwards vs. McCoy, 22 Phil. Rep., 598.) contemplated by the law. (Ex parte Tom Toy Tin,
The decisions of the customs administrative
230 Fed. Rep., 747; Jouras vs. Allen, 222 Fed.
officers are final in cases like the present, unless It appears from the record that all of the
Rep., 756.)
there has been an abuse of the power and witnesses presented by the appellant were
discretion vested in them. The courts, however, people of humble origin and very ignorant. They It is the duty of the board to make an effort to
do not hesitate to review the decision of such were not accustomed, perhaps, to scenes of arrive at the truth by hearing all of the
administrative officers whenever it is alleged judicial proceedings. They were therefore, witnesses and to permit them, without
and shown that they have grossly abused the naturally, under the strain born of timidity and intimidation, to state all of the facts and to
power and discretion conferred upon them, or known ignorance. For that reason they were answer all of the pertinent questions put to
where they acted in open violation of the law. easily excited and intimidated. The board should them either by their attorney or by the board.
(Ko Poco vs. McCoy, 10 Phil. Rep., 442; Chin Yow have allayed their fears and put them, as far as (Ex parte Chin Loy You, 223 Fed. Rep., 833.)
vs. U. S., 208 U. S. 8, 11; U. S. vs. Ju Toy, 198 U. possible, at their ease, at least to the point of
The essential thing in investigations like the
S., 253; Ex parte Lung Foot, 174 Fed. Rep., 70; indicating to them that they were under the
present as well as all other judicial or quasi-
Lorenzo vs. McCoy, 15 Phil. Rep., 559; Lim Yiong protection, so long as they obey the law, of
judicial proceedings is that there shall have
vs. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil. Rep., 424.) judicial authority. This the board did not do.
been an honest effort to arrive at the truth by
Upon the contrary the board, with the evident
An alien seeking to enter territory of the United methods sufficiently fair and reasonable to
intent to confuse and to unduly excite the
States, even though the hearing is summary, is amount to due process of law.
witnesses, made statements to them which
entitled to a free, full, and fair hearing before he
were positively untrue and unsupported by any The burden of proving his right to enter the
is denied the right to enter. The right to a
part of the record. And not only that, but the territory of the United States is upon the
hearing includes the right to have the evidence
board actually intimidated one important immigrant who seeks that privilege. To sustain
considered by the board. He is not only entitled
witness, apparently without reason, by that burden he has a right to call and present
to have the evidence which he presents
informing her that she could give no further witnesses. To that end either he or his attorney
considered, but he is entitled to present all of
testimony in that case and that she was should be permitted to ask such pertinent and
the evidence which he has and which is
therefore forever barred from testifying before material questions as will tend to support his
germane to the question of his right to enter.
it. The entire examination by the board from the contention. A denial of any of these rights is not
While the board of special inquiry is not
beginning to the end, of all of the witnesses, authorized in law and amounts to an unfair and
technically a judicial body and the procedure is
was made in a spirit of hostility. For that reason unjust hearing. If witnesses are presented by
not technically judicial, nor are the proceedings
the board was rendered incapacitated to the board to dispute or to overcome the proof
defined by any particular rules or statutes,
properly and judicially weigh and consider the
Page 9 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

adduced by the immigrant then, of course, the Administrative Proceedings; Labor; Evidence. NARVASA, J.:
latter, either by himself or by his attorney, has a In administrative or quasi-judicial proceedings,
perfect right to test the credibility of such proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required
witnesses by a proper crossexamination. (Ex as basis for a judgment of the legality of an Any lawyer worth his salt knows that quanta of
parte Ung King leng, 213 Fed. Rep., 119.) employers dismissal of an employee, nor even proof and adjective rules vary depending on
preponderance of evidence, substantial whether the cases to which they are meant to
After a careful examination of the record we are
evidence being sufficient. Particularly as regards apply are criminal, civil or administrative in
persuaded that the recommendation of the
proceedings of the precise nature in question, character. In criminal actions, proof beyond
Attorney-General should be adopted. It is,
the Labor Code provides thatx x the rules of reasonable doubt is required for conviction;1 in
therefore, hereby ordered and decreed that the
evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity civil actions and proceedings, preponderance of
record be returned to the court whence it came
shall not be controlling and it is the spirit and evidence, as support for a judgment;2 and in
with directions that the judgment appealed
intention of this Code that the Commission and administrative cases, substantial evidence, as
from be reversed and that an order be issued
its members and the Labor Arbiters shall use basis for adjudication.3 In criminal and civil
directing and commanding the board of special
every and all reasonable means to ascertain the actions, application of the Rules of Court is
inquiry to give to the appellant a rehearing as
facts in each case speedily and objectively and called for, with more or less strictness. In
speedily as the f facts and circumstances will
without regard to the technicalities of law or administrative proceedings, however, the
permit, and without any findings as to costs, So
procedure, all in the interest of due process. x technical rules of pleading and procedure, and
ordered Bayani vs. Collector of Customs., 37
x And this Court has ruled that the ground for of evidence, are not strictly adhered to; they
Phil. 468, No. 13283 January 23, 1918
an employers dismissal of an employee need generally apply only suppletorily;4 indeed, in
agrarian disputes application of the Rules of
be established only by substantial
Court is actually prohibited.5
evidence, it not being required that the
formers evidence be of such degree as 5 The Revised Rules of Procedure of the
B. Question of Fact is required in criminal cases, i.e., proof Department of Agrarian Reform
5. G.R. No. 60054. July 2, 1991.* beyond reasonable doubt. Adjudication Board provides that:
PETITION for review from the judgment Unless adopted herein or by resolution
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, petitioner, of the National Labor Relations of the board, the provisions of the Rules
vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS Commission. of Court do not Quite incredibly, these
COMMISSION, LABOR ARBITER ANDRES familiar and elementary propositions
LOMABAO, and JOSE M. MASAYA, The facts are stated in the opinion of were disregarded in the judgment a
respondents. the Court. quo. The error is serious and must be,
Benjamin R. Reonal for petitioner.
as it is here, corrected.
Eugenio C. Lindo for private
The facts are fairly simple and quickly
respondent.
recounted.
Page 10 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

The case originated from the discovery preliminary questions by the Repuyan testified on the fact of the
by Meralco employees that a person by investigator, Masaya stated for the undenied and indisputable installation
the name of Antonio Sanchez was record that he had received the letter of the illegal electrical connection at the
consuming electricity at the house accusing him of misconduct, that he residence of Antonio Sanchez (his
occupied by him at No. 2048 Amparo had a copy of the code of discipline and description of the manner of its
Street, Sta. Ana, Manila, although he understood the nature of the precise accomplishment being substantially the
had himself neither applied with charge against him, and that he did not same as Masayas own), and also, the
Meralco for electric service nor made need to be assisted by a lawyer or a disclosures made to him by Sanchezs
the requisite deposit in connection representative of his Union because, in househelpers and the owner of the
therewith.6 It was learned that his own words, ang sasabihin ko house, supra.
electricity was being supplied to naman dito ay pawang katotohanan After the investigation, and on the basis
Sanchezs house through a clandestine lamang. Thereafter, Masaya deposed of the results thereof, Meralco filed
and illicit connection to a Meralco that he had indeed installed the with the Ministry of Labor and
service line (shunting the meter base connection in question in the following Employment an application for
and tapping its service drop direct to manner, again expressed in his own clearance to terminate Masayas
the service wire); and household words: Nilagyan ko ng shunt o kaputol services,8 serving copy on the latter.
helpers of Sanchez and the owner of ng alambre ang kanilang meter base at Meralco also placed Masaya under
the house, a Mr. Castaeda, informed ang koneksiyon nito ay kinabit ko sa preventive suspension.9
the Meralco investigator that it was a malapit na service wire; and that for A week later, Masaya filed a complaint
Meralco employee, Jose Masaya, who that job, he had received P200 from for illegal dismissal against Meralco.
had made the unauthorized electric Antonio Sanchez. At the close of his After issues were joined on the
service connection. testimony, he also sought forgiveness complaint for illegal dismissal as well as
The Meralco Legal Department for the offense, viz.: the application for clearance, and trial
thereupon sent Jose Masaya a letter Nais ko po sanang ihingi ng had thereon, Labor Arbiter Andres M.
charging him with a violation of the kapatawaran sa kumpanya ang mga Lomabao rendered a decision in
Company Code on Employee Discipline, nagawa kong pagkakamali. Anim po ang Masayas favor,10 disposing as follows:
and thereafter conducted a formal aking mga anak at kung sakaling ako ay WHEREFORE, respondent Manila
investigation of the matter.7 Those who matanggal sa kompanya dahil sa Electric Company is hereby ordered to
gave testimony at that investigation pagkakamaling iyon, sila po ay walang pay complainant JOSE M. MASAYA his
were Jose Masaya himself, and Renato aasahan kung hindi ako lamang. Kayat backwages corresponding to the period
Repuyan, Meralco field investigator. ipinakikiusap ko sa inyo na ipaabot December 8, 1978 up to April 30, 1980
Prior to being interrogated about the ninyo sa kompanya ang aking and separation pay of five (5) and a half
illegal connection and in response to pagmamakaawa. months salary in lieu of reinstatement.

Page 11 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

beyond reasonable doubt the existence There are two evident errors
The Arbiter was of the view that the of the crime, failing which, complainant- invalidating the Commissions
record of the investigation conducted by appellee must be absolved from conclusions.
Meralco should not be accorded responsibility. The alleged admission of The first is that contrary to the
credence; that Meralcos contention complainant-appellee during the Commissions view, Masaya was in truth
that Masaya had surreptitiously investigation conducted by the legal asked if he wished to be assisted by a
effected the direct connection of x x department of respondentappellant lawyer or a representative of his Union,
electric service was not credible, does not, if at all, prove beyond and his response was in the negative
because Masaya was employed as a reasonable doubt the criminal act because, in his own words, ang
bill collector, not as a lineman collector, allegedly committed by complainant- sasabihin ko naman dito ay pawang
hence, he does not know how to install appellee in the absence of any showing katotohanan lamang
electrical connection; and that the that he was given the opportunity to be The second is that in administrative or
money received by Masaya from heard by counsel or at least, a quasi-judicial proceedings, proof
Sanchez (P200 or P250) was not in representative to confront his accuser. beyond reasonable doubt is not
consideration of any clandestine There is implicit concession that under required as basis for a judgment of the
connection but was accepted as the substantial evidence rule, the legality of an employers dismissal of an
representation expenses in following evidence would be adequate to make employee, nor even preponderance of
up Mr. Sanchez application for out a case of gross misconduct on the evidence, substantial evidence being
installation of electric facilities x x with part of Masaya; however, the sufficient.14 Particularly as regards
the Engineers Office at the City Hall of Commission theorizes that an proceedings of the precise nature in
Manila.11 adjudgment to this effect was precluded question, the Labor Code provides
On appeal by Meralco, the National by the doctrine of proof beyond that15
Labor Relations Commission affirmed reasonable doubt, applicable x x the rules of evidence prevailing in
the Arbiters decision.12 In the exceptionally to Masayas case. Echoing courts of law or equity shall not be
Commissions considered view13 the Commissions views, the public controlling and it is the spirit and
x x while it is true that in respondents comment points out that intention of this Code that the
administrative proceedings, substantial since there is no causal connection Commission and its members and the
evidence only is required, the instant between private respondents duties to Labor Arbiters shall use every and all
case is an exception for the reason that the crime imputed to him, mere reasonable means to ascertain the facts
respondent-appellant in this case is substantial evidence is insufficient to in each case speedily and objectively
charging complainant-appellee of a hold private respondent guilty of and without regard to the technicalities
criminal offense, and, therefore, it is installing electrical connection let alone of law or procedure, all in the interest
incumbent upon the former to prove deprive him of his right to labor. of due process. x x

Page 12 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

2) the written communication to the typewritten record of the


And this Court has ruled that the Masaya that he was accused of that administrative investigation containing
ground for an employers dismissal of illegal connection and he would be said admissions is not persuasive, and
an employee need be established only subjected to a formal investigation was not in fact accepted by the Arbiter
by substantial evidence, it not being thereon; or the Commission.
required that the formers evidence be 3) Masayas acknowledgment that, The Court is satisfied that the evidence
of such degree as is required in criminal having a copy of the companys code of sufficiently proves the commission by
cases, i.e., proof beyond reasonable discipline, he understood the nature of Masaya of an act of dishonesty against
doubt.16 It is absolutely of no the accusation against him, and his his employer, specifically described in
consequence that the misconduct with declining to be assisted by a lawyer or a the Meralco Code on Employee
which an employee may be charged representative of his Union because, Discipline as follows:
also constitutes a criminal offense: according to him, ang sasabihin ko SECTION 7. Dishonesty.
theft, embezzlement, assault on naman dito ay pawang katotohanan xxxxx
another employee or company officer, lamang; 3) Directly or indirectly tampering with
arson, malicious mischief, etc. The 4) his voluntary admission that it was he electric meters or metering installation
proceedings being administrative, the who had made the illegal electrical of the Company or the installation of
quantum of proof is governed by the connection, describing the manner by any device, with the purpose of
substantial evidence rule and not, as which he had made it, and that he had defrauding the Company.
the respondent Commission seems to received P250.00 from the occupant of Such an offense is obviously of so
imagine, by the rule governing the house, Antonio Sanchez; and serious a character as to merit the
judgments in criminal actions. 5) his plea to the company for penalty of dismissal from employment.
It was thus serious error, and grave forgiveness for having made the illegal The Labor Code pronounces fraud or
abuse of discretion for the Labor Arbiter connection. willful breach by the employee of the
and the respondent Commission, for There is on record, too, testimony trust reposed in him by his employer or
the reasons given, to reject and exclude regarding identification of Masaya by duly authorized representative, or
from consideration the express Antonio Sanchez servants and by serious misconduct on the part of the
admissions made by Masaya during the Castaeda, the owner of the house employee to be lawful ground to
administrative investigation conducted occupied by Sanchez. There is, finally, terminate employment. And this Court
by Meralco. nothing in the record to demonstrate has held that the dismissal of a
The Court cannot close its eyes to the that Masayas admissions were made dishonest employee is as much in the
following facts of record, to wit: otherwise than voluntarily; his interests of labor as it is of
1) the reality of the illegal electrical subsequent assertion before the Arbiter management. The labor force in any
connection; that he had been starved into signing company is protected and the workers

Page 13 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

security of tenure strengthened when rights violations involving civil or not adjudication, and cannot be likened
pilferage of equipment, goods and political rights.The threshold question to the judicial function of a court of
products which endangers the viability is whether or not the Commission on justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency
of an employer and, therefore, the Human Rights has the power under the or official. The function of receiving
workers continued employment is Constitution to do so; whether or not, evidence and ascertaining therefrom
minimized or eliminated and like a court of justice, or even a quasi- the facts of a controversy is not a
consequently labor-management judicial agency, it has jurisdiction or judicial function, properly speaking. To
relations based on mutual trust and adjudicatory powers over, or the power be considered such, the faculty of
confidence are promoted.17 to try and decide, or hear and receiving evidence and making factual
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari determine, certain specific type of conclusion in a controversy must be
is GRANTED cases, like alleged human rights accompanied by the authority of
violations in volving civil or political applying the law to those factual
Jurisdiction rights. The Court declares the conclusions to the end that the
Commission on Human Rights to have controversy may be decided or
6. G.R. No. 96681. December 2,1991.* no such power; and that it was not determined authoritatively, finally and
HON. ISIDRO CARIO, in his capacity as
meant by the fundamental law to be definitively, subject to such appeals or
Secretary of the Department of
another court or quasijudicial agency in modes of review as may be provided by
Education, Culture 6, Sports, DR.
this country, or duplicate much less take law. This function, to repeat, the
ERLINDA LOLARGA, in her capacity as
over the functions of the latter. Commission does not have.
Superintendent of City Schools of Same; Same; Same; Same; The most Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The
Manila, petitioners, vs. THE that may be conceded to the Constitution clearly and categorically
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, Commission in the way of adjudicative grants to the Commission the power to
GRACIANO BUDOY, JULIETA BABARAN, power is that it may investigate, i.e., investigate all forms of human rights
ELSA IBABAO, HELEN LUPO, AMPARO receive evidence and make findings of violations invoking civil and political
GONZALES, LUZ DEL CASTILLO, ELSA fact as regards claimed human rights rights.As should at once be observed,
REYES and APOLINARIO ESBER, violations involving civil and political only the first of the enumerated powers
respondents. rights.The most that may be and functions bears any resemblance to
conceded to the Commission. in the adjudication or adjudgment. The
Constitutional Law; Jurisdiction;
way of adjudicative power is that it may Constitution clearly and categorically
Commission on Human Rights; Court
investigate, i.e., receive evidence and grants to the Commission the power to
declares the Commission on Human
make findings of fact as regards claimed investigate all forms of human rights
Rights to have no jurisdiction on
human rights violations involving civil violations involving civil and political
adjudicatory powers over certain
and political rights. But fact-finding is rights. It can exercise that power on its
specific type of cases like alleged human
Page 14 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

own initiative or on complaint of any Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION of certiorari and
person. It may exercise that power The Commission on Human Rights prohibition to review the order of the
pursuant to such rules of procedure as having merely the power to investigate Commission on Human Rights.
it may adopt and, in cases of violations cannot and should not try and resolve
of said rules, cite for contempt in on the merits the matters involved in The facts are stated in the opinion of
accordance with the Rules of Court. In Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90775. the Court.
the course of any investigation Hence it is that the Commission on NARVASA, J.:
conducted by it or under its authority, it Human Rights, having merely the power
may grant immunity from prosecution to investigate, cannot and should not The issue raised in the special civil
to any person whose testimony or try and resolve on the merits action of certiorari and prohibition at
whose possession of documents or (adjudicate) the matters involved in bar, instituted by the Solicitor General,
other evidence is necessary or Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90775, may be formulated as follows: where
convenient to determine the truth. It as it has announced it means to do; and the relief sought from the Commission
may also request the assistance of any it cannot do so even if there be a claim on Human Rights by a party in a case
department, bureau, office, or agency in that in the administrative disciplinary consists of the review and reversal or
the performance of its functions, in the proceedings against the teachers in modification of a decision or order
conduct of its investigation or in question, initiated and conducted by issued by a court of justice or
extending such remedy as may be the DECS, their human rights, or civil or government agency or official exercising
required by its findings. political rights had been transgressed. quasi-judicial functions, may the
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Commission take cognizance
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; It Same; The matters are undoubtedly and 486
cannot try and decide cases (or hear clearly within the original jurisdiction of
486
and determine causes) as courts of the Secretary of Education and also
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
justice or even quasi-judicial bodies do. within the appellate jurisdiction of the Cario vs. Commission on Human Rights
But it cannot try and decide cases (or Civil Service Commission.These are of the case and grant that relief? Stated
hear and determine causes) as courts of matters undoubtedly and clearly within otherwise, where a particular subject-
justice, or even quasi-judicial bodies do. the original jurisdiction of the Secretary matter is placed by law within the
To investigate is not to adjudicate or of Education, being within the scope of jurisdiction of a court or other
adjudge. Whether in the popular or the the disciplinary powers granted to him government agency or official for
technical sense, these terms have well under the Civil Service Law, and also, purposes of trial and adjudgment, may
understood and quite distinct within the appellate jurisdiction of the the Commission on Human Rights take
meanings. Civil Service Commission. cognizance of the same subject-matter

Page 15 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

for the same purposes of hearing and actions consisted in staying away from (unmarked CHR Exhibits, Annexes F, G,
adjudication? their classes, converging at the H). An investigation committee was
The facts narrated in the petition are Liwasang Bonifacio, gathering in consequently formed to hear the
not denied by the respondents and are peaceable assemblies, etc. Through charges in accordance with P.D. 807."5
hence taken as substantially correct for their representatives, the teachers 3. In the administrative case docketed
purposes of ruling on the legal participating in the mass actions were as Case No. DECS 90082 in which CHR
questions posed in the present action. served with an order of the Secretary of complainants Graciano Budoy, Jr.,
These facts,1 together with others Education to return to work in 24 hours Julieta Babaran, Luz del Castillo,
involved in related cases recently or face dismissal, and a memorandum Apolinario Esber were, among others,
resolved by this Court,2 or otherwise directing the DECS officials concerned to named respondents,6 the latter filed
undisputed on the record, are initiate dismissal proceedings against separate answers, opted for a formal
hereunder set forth. those who did not comply and to hire investigation, and also moved for
1. On September 17, 1990, a Monday their replacements. Those directives suspension of the administrative
and a class day, some 800 public school notwithstanding, the mass actions proceedings pending resolution by xx
teachers, among them members of the continued into the week, with more (the Supreme) Court of their application
Manila Public School Teachers teachers joining in the days that for issuance of an injunctive
Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of followed.3 writ/temporary restraining order. But
Concerned Teachers (ACT) undertook Among those who took part in the when their motion for suspension was
what they described as mass concerted mass actions were the denied by Order dated November 8,
concerted actions to dramatize and eight (8) private respondents herein, 1990 of the Investigating Committee,
highlight their plight resulting from the teachers at the Ramon Magsaysay High which later also denied their motion for
alleged failure of the public authorities School, Manila, who had agreed to reconsideration orally made at the
to act upon grievances that had time support the non-political demands of hearing of November 14,1990, the
and again been brought to the latters the MPSTA.4 respondents led by their counsel staged
attention. According to them they had 2. For failure to heed the return-to- a walkout signifying their intent to
decided to undertake said mass work order, the CHR complainants boycott the entire proceedings."7 The
concerted actions after the protest (private respondents) were case eventually resulted in a Decision of
rally staged at the DECS premises on administratively charged on the basis of Secretary Cario dated December 17,
September 14, 1990 without disrupting the principals report and given five (5) 1990, rendered after evaluation of the
classes as a last call for the government days to answer the charges. They were evidence as well as the answers,
to negotiate the granting of demands also preventively suspended for ninety affidavits and documents submitted by
had elicited no response from the (90) days pursuant to Section 41 of P.D. the respondents, decreeing dismissal
Secretary of Education. The mass 807' and temporarily replaced from the service of Apolinario Esber and

Page 16 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

the suspension for nine (9) months of reasons completely unknown to To be properly apprised of the real
Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo.8 them.10 facts of the case and be accordingly
4. In the meantime, the MPSTA filed a 6. Their complaintsand those of other guided in its investigation and
petition for certiorari before the teachers also ordered suspended by resolution of the matter, considering
Regional Trial Court of Manila against the xx (DECS)," all numbering forty-two that these forty two teachers are now
petitioner (Cario), which was (42)were docketed as Striking suspended and deprived of their wages,
dismissed (unmarked CHR Exhibit, Teachers CHR Case No. 90775." In which they need very badly, Secretary
Annex I). Later, the MPSTA went to the connection therewith the Commission Isidro Cario, of the Department of
Supreme Court (on certiorari, in an scheduled a dialogue on October Education, Culture and Sports, Dr.
attempt to nullify said dismissal, 11,1990, and sent a subpoena to Erlinda Lolarga, school superintendent
grounded on the) alleged violation of Secretary Cario requiring his of Manila and the Principal of Ramon
the striking teachers right to due attendance therein.11 Magsaysay High School, Manila, are
process and peaceable assembly hereby enjoined to appear and
docketed as G.R. No. 95445, supra. The On the day of the dialogue, although enlighten the Commission en banc on
ACT also filed a similar petition before it said that it was not certain whether October 19,1990 at 11:00 A.M. and to
the Supreme Court xx docketed as G.R. he (Sec. Cario) received the subpoena bring with them any and all documents
No. 95590."9 Both petitions in this which was served at his office, xx (the) relevant to the allegations aforestated
Court were filed in behalf of the teacher Commission, with the Chairman herein to assist the Commission in this
associations, a few named individuals, presiding, and Commissioners Hesiquio matter. Otherwise, the Commission will
and other teacher-members so R. Mallilin and Narciso C. Monteiro, resolve the complaint on the basis of
numerous similarly situated or other proceeded to hear the case; it heard complainants evidence.
similarly situated public school teachers the complainants counsel (a) explain x x x.
too numerous to be impleaded. that his clients had been denied due 7. Through the Office of the Solicitor
5. In the meantime, too, the respondent process and suspended without formal General, Secretary Cario sought and
teachers submitted sworn statements notice, and unjustly, since they did not was granted leave to file a motion to
dated September 27, 1990 to the join the mass leave, and (b) expatiate dismiss the case. His motion to dismiss
Commission on Human Rights to on the grievances which were the was submitted on November 14, 1990
complain that while they were cause of the mass leave of MPSTA alleging as grounds therefor, that the
participating in peaceful mass actions, teachers, (and) with which causes they complaint states no cause of action and
they suddenly learned of their (CHR complainants) sympathize."12 The that the CHR has no jurisdiction over
replacements as teachers, allegedly Commission thereafter issued an the case."14
without notice and consequently for Order13 reciting these facts and making 8. Pending determination by the
the following disposition: Commission of the motion to dismiss,

Page 17 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

judgments affecting the striking without respondents counter 1) whether or not the striking teachers
teachers were promulgated in two (2) affidavit."18 It held that the striking were denied due process, and just
cases, as aforestated, viz.: teachers were denied due process of cause exists for the imposition of
________________ law; x x they should not have been administrative disciplinary sanctions on
a) The Decision dated December 17, replaced without a chance to reply to them by their superiors; and
1990 of Education Secretary Cario in the administrative charges; there had 2) whether or not the grievances which
Case No. DECS 90082, decreeing been a violation of their civil and were the cause of the mass leave of
dismissal from the service of Apolinario political rights which the Commission MPSTA teachers, (and) with which
Esber and the suspension for nine (9) was empowered to investigate; and causes they (CHR complainants)
months of Babaran, Budoy and del while expressing its utmost respect to sympathize, justify their mass action or
Castillo;15 and the Supreme Court xx the facts before strike.
b) The joint Resolution of this Court xx (it) are different from those in the The Commission evidently intends to
dated August 6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 case decided by the Supreme Court itself adjudicate, that is to say,
and 95590 dismissing the petitions (the reference being ummistakably to determine with character of finality and
without prejudice to any appeals, if still this Courts joint Resolution of August definiteness, the same issues which
timely, that the individual petitioners 6,1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, have been passed upon and decided by
may take to the Civil Service supra). the Secretary of Education, Culture 6,
Commission on the matters complained It is to invalidate and set aside this Sports, subject to appeal to the Civil
of,"16 and inter alia ruling that it was Order of December 28, 1990 that the Service Commission, this Court having
prima facie lawful for petitioner Cario Solicitor General, in behalf of petitioner in fact, as aforementioned, declared
to issue return-to-work orders, file Cario, has commenced the present that the teachers affected may take
administrative charges against action of certiorari and prohibition. appeals to the Civil Service Commission
recalcitrants, preventively suspend The Commission on Human Rights has on said matters, if still timely.
them, and issue decision on those made clear its position that it does not The threshold question is whether or
charges."17 feel bound by this Courts joint not the Commission on Human Rights
9. In an Order dated December 28,1990, Resolution in G.R. Nos. 95445 and has the power under the Constitution to
respondent Commission denied Sec. 95590, supra. It has also made plain its do so; whether or not, like a court of
Carios motion to dismiss and required intention to hear and resolve the case justice,19 or even a quasi-judicial
him and Superintendent Lolarga to (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90 agency,20 it has jurisdiction or
submit their counter-affidavits within 775) on the merits. It intends, in other adjudicatory powers over, or the power
ten (10) days x x (after which) the words, to try and decide or hear and to try and decide, or hear and
Commission shall proceed to hear and determine, i.e., exercise jurisdiction determine, certain specific
resolve the case on the merits with or over the following general issues:

Page 18 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

type of cases, like alleged human rights modes of review as may be provided by (5) Establish a continuing program of
violations involving civil or political law.21 This function, to repeat, the research, education, and information to
rights. Commission does not have. 22 enhance respect for the primacy of
The Court declares the Commission on The proposition is made clear by the human rights;
Human Rights to have no such power; constitutional provisions specifying the (6) Recommend to the Congress
and that it was not meant by the powers of the Commission on Human effective measures to promote human
fundamental law to be another court or Rights. The Commission was created by rights and to provide for compensation
quasi-judicial agency in this country, or the 1987 Constitution as an to victims of violations of human rights,
duplicate much less take over the independent office.23 Upon its or their families;
functions of the latter. constitution, it succeeded and (7) Monitor the Philippine
The most that may be conceded to the superseded the Presidential Committee Governments compliance with
Commission in the way of adjudicative on Human Rights existing at the time of international treaty obligations on
power is that it may investigate, i.e., the effectivity of the Constitution,24 Its human rights;
receive evidence and make findings of powers and functions are the (8) Grant immunity from prosecution to
fact as regards claimed human rights following:25 any person whose testimony or whose
violations involving civil and political "(1) Investigate, on its own or on possession of documents or other
rights. But fact-finding is not complaint by any party, all forms of evidence is necessary or convenient to
adjudication, and cannot be likened to human rights violations involving civil determine the truth in any investigation
the judicial function of a court of and political rights; conducted by it or under its authority;
justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency (2) Adopt its operational guidelines and (9) Request the assistance of any
or official. The function of receiving rules of procedure, and cite for department, bureau, office, or agency in
evidence and ascertaining therefrom contempt for violations thereof in the performance of its functions;
the facts of a controversy is not a accordance with the Rules of Court; (10) Appoint its officers and employees
judicial function, properly speaking. To in accordance with law; and
be considered such, the faculty of (3) Provide appropriate legal measures (11) Perform such other duties and
receiving evidence and making factual for the protection of human rights of all functions as may be provided by law.
conclusions in a controversy must be persons within the Philippines, as well As should at once be observed, only the
accompanied by the authority of as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide first of the enumerated powers and
applying the law to those factual for preventive measures and legal aid functions bears any resemblance to
conclusions to the end that the services to the underprivileged whose adjudication or adjudgment. The
controversy may be decided or human rights have been violated or Constitution clearly and categorically
determined authoritatively, finally and need protection; grants to the Commission the power to
definitively, subject to such appeals or (4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, investigate all forms of human rights
prisons, or detention facilities; violations involving civil and political
Page 19 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

rights. It can exercise that power on its closely: inquire into systematically: to rights and duties of the parties to a
own initiative or on complaint of any search or inquire into: xx to subject to court case) on the merits of issues
person. It may exercise that power an official probe x x: to conduct an raised: xx to pass judgment on: settle
pursuant to such rules of procedure as official inquiry."27 The purpose of judicially: xx act as judge."30 And
it may adopt and, in cases of violations investigation, of course, is to discover, adjudge means to decide or rule
of said rules, cite for contempt in to find out, to learn, obtain information. upon as a judge or with judicial or
accordance with the Rules of Court. In Nowhere included or intimated is the quasi-judicial powers: xx to award or
the course of any investigation notion of settling, deciding or resolving grant judicially in a case of controversy
conducted by it or under its authority, it a controversy involved in the facts xx."31
may grant immunity from prosecution inquired into by application of the law In the legal sense, adjudicate means:
to any person whose testimony or to the facts established by the inquiry. To settle in the exercise of judicial
whose possession of documents or The legal meaning of investigate is authority. To determine finally.
other evidence is necessary or essentially the same: "(t)o follow up Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest
convenient to determine the truth. It step by step by patient inquiry or sense; and adjudge means: To pass
may also request the assistance of any observation, To trace or track; to search on judicially, to decide, settle or decree,
department, bureau, office, or agency in into; to examine and inquire into with or to sentence or condemn. xx Implies a
the performance of its functions, in the care and accuracy; to find out by careful judicial determination of a fact, and the
conduct of its investigation or in inquisition; examination; the taking of entry of a judgment."32
extending such remedy as evidence; a legal inquiry;"28 to inquire; Hence it is that the Commission on
may be required by its findings.26 to make an investigation, Human Rights, having merely the power
But it cannot try and decide cases (or investigation being in turn described to investigate, cannot and should not
hear and determine causes) as courts of as "(a)n administrative function, the try and resolve on the merits
justice, or even quasi-judicial bodies do. exercise of which ordinarily does not (adjudicate) the matters involved in
To investigate is not to adjudicate or require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90775,
adjudge. Whether in the popular or the 257; x x an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, as it has announced it means to do; and
technical sense, these terms have well for the discovery and collection of it cannot do so even if there be a claim
understood and quite distinct facts concerning a certain matter or that in the administrative disciplinary
meanings. matters."29 proceedings against the teachers in
Investigate commonly understood, Adjudicate, commonly or popularly question, initiated and conducted by
means to examine, explore, inquire or understood, means to adjudge, the DECS, their
delve or probe into, research on, study. arbitrate, judge, decide, determine, human rights, or civil or political rights
The dictionary definition of resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary had been transgressed. More
investigate is to observe or study defines the term as to settle finally (the particularly, the Commission has no

Page 20 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

power to resolve on the merits the aggrieved parties to the Civil Service accord success to what may well have
question of (a) whether or not the mass Commission; and even this Court itself been the complaining teachers strategy
concerted actions engaged in by the has had occasion to pass upon said to abort, frustrate or negate the
teachers constitute a strike and are issues.34 judgment of the Education Secretary in
prohibited or otherwise restricted by Now, it is quite obvious that whether or the administrative cases against them
law; (b) whether or not the act of not the conclusions reached by the which they anticipated would be
carrying on and taking part in those Secretary of Education in disciplinary adverse to them.
actions, and the failure of the teachers cases are correct and are adequately This cannot be done. It will not be
to discontinue those actions and return based on substantial evidence; whether permitted to be done.
to their classes despite the order to this or not the proceedings themselves are In any event, the investigation by the
effect by the Secretary of Education, void or defective in not having accorded Commission on Human Rights would
constitute infractions of relevant rules the respondents due process; and serve no useful purpose. If its
and regulations warranting whether or not the Secretary of investigation should result in
administrative disciplinary sanctions, or Education had in truth committed conclusions contrary to those reached
are justified by the grievances human rights violations involving civil by Secretary Cario, it would have no
complained of by them; and (c) what and political rights, are matters which power anyway to reverse the
where the particular acts done by each may be passed upon and determined Secretarys conclusions. Reversal
individual teacher and what sanctions, if through a motion for reconsideration thereof can only by done by the Civil
any, may properly be imposed for said addressed to the Secretary of Education Service Commission and lastly by this
acts or omissions, himself, and in the event of an adverse Court. The only thing the Commission
These are matters undoubtedly and verdict, may be reviewed by the Civil can do, if it concludes that Secretary
clearly within the original jurisdiction of Service Commission and eventually by Cario was in error, is to refer the
the Secretary of Education, being within the Supreme Court. matter to the appropriate Government
the scope of the disciplinary powers agency or tribunal for assistance; that
granted to him under the Civil Service The Commission on Human Rights would be the Civil Service
Law, and also, within the appellate simply has no place in this scheme of Commission.35 It cannot arrogate unto
jurisdiction of the Civil Service things. It has no business intruding into itself the appellate jurisdiction of the
Commission. the jurisdiction and functions of the Civil Service Commission.
Indeed, the Secretary of Education has, Education Secretary or the Civil Service WHEREFORE, the petition is granted;
as above narrated, already taken Commission. It has no business going the Order of December 29,1990 is
cognizance of the issues and resolved over the same ground traversed by the ANNULLED and SET ASIDE, and the
them,33 and it appears that appeals latter and making its own judgment on respondent Commission on Human
have been seasonably taken by the the questions involved. This would Rights and the Chairman and Members

Page 21 of 22
ADMIN LAW FT | Lizzette dela Pena

thereof are prohibited to hear and


resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers
HRC Case No. 90775) on the merits.
SO ORDERED. Cario vs. Commission on
Human Rights, 204 SCRA 483, G.R. No.
96681 December 2, 1991

Page 22 of 22