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Topic Structure and Powers of the National Government > Separation of Powers
Case No. G.R. No. 179492 / June 5, 2013
Case Name Republic vs. Bayao
Ponente Leonen, j.

DOCTRINE
The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three great government branches has
exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in concerns falling within its own constitutionally allocated
sphere. In this case, the judiciary cannot infringe on the right of the executive to promulgate acts
pursuant to its constitutional mandate.

SUMMARY
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed under Rule 45. This Petition prays for the reversal and
setting aside of the Court of Appeals (1) Resolution dated March 21, 2007 that dismissed the Petition for
Certiorari under Rule 65 filed by petitioner for failure to resort to a Motion for Reconsideration of the assailed
trial court Order dated October 9, 2006 and (2) Resolution dated August 16, 2007 denying petitioners Motion
for Reconsideration.

RELEVANT FACTS

Petitioner: REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES is represented by ABUSAMA M. ALID, the Officer-in-


Charge, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - REGIONAL FIELD UNIT XII (DA-RFU XII)

Respondents: AB DULWAHAB A. BAYAO, OSMEA I. MONTAER, RAKMA B. BUISAN, HELEN M.


ALVAREZ, NEILA P. LIMBA, ELIZABETH B. PUSTA, ANNA MAE A. SIDENO, UDTOG B. TABONG, JOHN S.
KAMENZA, DELIA R. SUBALDO, DAYANG W. MACMOD, FLORENCE S. TAYUAN, in their own behalf and in
behalf of the other officials and employees of DA-RFU XII

Petitioner Department of AgricultureRegional Field Unit XII (DARFU XII) is a government office
mandated to implement the laws, policies, plans, programs, rules, and regulations of the Department of
Agriculture in its regional area, while respondents are officials and employees of DA-RFU XII.

March 30, 2004 Executive Order No. 304 (EO 304) was passed designating Koronadal City as the
regional center and seat of SOCCSKSARGEN Region. It provides that all departments, bureaus, and
offices of the national government in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region shall transfer their regional seat of
operations to Koronadal City

April 1, 2005 A Memorandum by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for Operations
Edmund J. Sana was issued. It directed Officer-in Charge (OIC) and Regional Executive Director of DA-
RFU XII, Abusama M. Alid, to:
a) directed to immediately effect the transfer of the administrative, finance and operations
base of RFU XII from Cotabato City to Koronadal City. (On the interim, part of the staff can
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temporarily hold office at either or both the ATI building in Tantangan and Tupi Seed Farm,
but the main office shall be within Koronadal City.)
b) action plan for transfer should be submitted to Edmund Sanas office not later than 6 April
2005 so that appropriate funding can be processed
c) execution of the plan should commence by 16 April 2005 or earlier so that concerned
personnel can benefit from the summer break to make personal arrangements for the
transfer of their work base

April 22, 2005 a memorandum addressed to DA Secretary Arthur Yap: wherein private respondents
opposed the implementation of the April 1, 2005 Memorandum
o Allege that in 2004, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made a pronouncement during
one of her visits in Cotabato City that the regional seat of Region 12 shall remain in Cotabato
City. Only three departments were not covered by the suspension of E.O. No. 304, namely, the
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Tourism (DOT), and Department of
Labor and Employment (DOLE)
o alleged further that on March 7, 2005, they appealed to the Secretary of Agriculture that the
implementation of E.O. No. 304 be held in abeyance. A copy of the Petition was attached to the
Memorandum. It cited reasons such as the huge costs the physical transfer will entail and the
plight of employees who have already settled and established their homes in Cotabato City
On March 8, 2005, their Petition was endorsed by Department of Agriculture Employees
Association-12 (DAEAS-12) President Osmea I. Motaer to then President Macapagal-
Arroyo
On April 12, 2005, this was referred to DA Secretary Yap for his information and
appropriate action.
Respondents justified their appeal saying that:
a building was constructed in Cotabato City that can accommodate the whole
staff of DARFU XII. On the other hand, there is no building yet in Koronadal City
where rent is very expensive
if the regional office remains in Cotabato City, the government need not spend
over 7,200,000.00 as dislocation pay as well as other expenses for equipment
hauling and construction
respondents alleged that the proposed third floor of the ATI Building in
Tantangan has a sub-standard foundation and will not be issued a certificate of
occupancy by the City Engineering Office of Koronadal City as per information
from an auditor

May 17, 2005 OIC Abusama M. Alid held a meeting and ordered the transfer of the regional office to
ATI Building in Tantangan and Tupi Seed Farm in Tupi, both located in South Cotabato and Uptown,
Koronadal City, to be carried out on May 21, 2005

May 18, 2005 respondents file a Complaint for Injunction with Prayer for Issuance of Writ of
Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14 of
Cotabato City

October 9, 2006 RTC granted respondents' Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction
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December 17, 2006 Petitioner went to the Court of Appeals via Rule 65 on the ground that the assailed
Order of the trial court is contrary to the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in DENR v. DENR Region
12 Employees

March 21, 2007 CA dismissed the Petition for Certiorari for failure of petitioner to resort to a Motion
for Reconsideration of the assailed trial court Order

Hence, the current petition.

ISSUE

Whether a Petition via Rule 45 is the proper remedy to assail the disputed Resolutions?
Whether the present case falls within the exceptions on the requisite for filing a Motion for
Reconsideration prior to filing a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65?
Whether petitioner can raise other issues not addressed in the assailed Resolutions?
Whether the issuance by the RTC of a preliminary injunction against the transfer of the DA Regional
Office to Koronadal City violates the separation of powers between the executive department and the
judiciary as to the wisdom behind the transfer?

RATIO DECIDENDI

Issue Ratio
Whether the issuance by the No.
RTC of a preliminary
injunction against the 1. While the power to merge administrative regions is not provided for
transfer of the DA Regional expressly in the Constitution, it is a power which has traditionally been lodged
Office to Koronadal City with the President to facilitate the exercise of the power of general
violates the separation of supervision over local governments. This power of supervision is found in the
powers between the Constitution as well as in the Local Government Code of 1991.
executive department and
the judiciary as to the 2. In Chiongbian v. Orbos, SC held further that the power of the President to
wisdom behind the transfer reorganize administrative regions carries with it the power to determine the
of offices? regional center.

3. SC upheld the case of DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees. SC held that the
DENR Secretary can reorganize validly the DENR by ordering the transfer of
the DENR XII Regional Offices from Cotabato City to Koronadal, South
Cotabato.
o DENR Region 12 Employees also listed various concerns over the
transfer orders
o SC: these concern issues addressed to the wisdom of the transfer
rather than to its legality. It is basic in our form of government that
the judiciary cannot inquire into the wisdom or expediency of the
acts of the executive or the legislative department, for each
department is supreme and independent of the others, and each is
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devoid of authority not only to encroach upon the powers or field of


action assigned to any of the other department, but also to inquire
into or pass upon the advisability or wisdom of the acts performed,
measures taken or decisions made by the other departments.

4. RTC granting the preliminary injunction is basically judiciary inquiring into


the executive, which IS NOT ALLOWED.

5. The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three great
government branches has exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in
concerns falling within its own constitutionally allocated sphere. The
judiciary as Justice Laurel emphatically asserted "will neither direct nor
restrain executive or legislative action x x x. "

Finally, a verbal pronouncement to the effect that E.O. No. 304 is suspended
should not have been given weight. An executive order is valid when it is
not contrary to the law or Constitution.

RULING

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated March 21, 2007 and
August 16, 2007 in CA-G.R. SP No. 0 1457-MIN, as well as the Decision dated October 9, 2006 of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 14 of Cotabato City are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SEPARATE OPINIONS

NONE.

NOTES
In DENR vs. DENR Region 12 Employees, The Court held that the DENR Secretary can validly reorganize
the DENR by ordering the transfer of the DENR XII Regional Offices from Cotabato City to Koronadal,
South Cotabato.

Rule 45 Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court


Rule 65 Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus

Section 2, Executive Order No. 304

Transfer of Regional Offices. All departments, bureaus and offices of the National Government on the
SOCCSKSARGEN Region shall transfer their regional seat of operations to Koronadal City, you are
hereby directed to immediately effect the transfer of the administrative, finance and operations base of
RFU XII from Cotabato City to Koronadal City. On the interim, part of the staff can temporarily hold
office at either or both the ATI building in Tantangan and Tupi Seed Farm, but the main office shall be
within Koronadal City.
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Section 4, Article X of the 1987 Constitution

The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces
with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to
component barangays, shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their
prescribed powers and functions.

Section 25 of the Local Government Code of 1991

National Supervision over Local Government Units (a) Consistent with the basic policy on local
autonomy, the President shall exercise general supervision over local government units to ensure that
their acts are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions. The President shall exercise
supervisory authority directly over provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component
cities; through the province with respect to component cities and municipalities; and through the city
and municipality with respect to barangays.