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EN BANC

[G.R. No. 136760. July 29, 2003]

THE SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE, represented by its Chairman, SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., petitioner,
vs. HON. JOSE B. MAJADUCON, Presiding Judge of Branch 23, Regional Trial Court of General Santos City, and ATTY. NILO J.
FLAVIANO, respondents.
[G.R. No. 138378. July 29, 2003]

AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE JOSE S. MAJADUCON, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of
Branch 23, Regional Trial Court, General Santos City, respondent

Facts:

The case is a consolidation of two petitions assailing the resolutions made by Judge Madajucon which, respectively,
denied the Senate Blue Ribbon Committees motion to dismiss the petition for prohibition, injunction with writ of
preliminary injunction filed by private respondent Atty. Nilo J. Flaviano and declared petitioner Senator Aquilino Q.
Pimentel, Jr. guilty of indirect contempt of court.

Atty. Flaviano was subpoenaed by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to testify before the Senate regarding the sale of a
land previously owned by the former to the Armed Forces Retirement and Separation Benefits System. The AFP-RSB
designated to be P10,500 per square meter. It was found that the actual purchasing price according to the Register of
Deed was P 3,000.

Atty. Flaviano refused and filed a temporary restraining order in the respondent judges court. The Committee then file a
motion to dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction which respondent judge denied while granting Atty. Flavianos
petition. The Committee file herein in case assailing the said decision.

The petition came about when Judge Madajucon in a special case, held Senator Nene Pimentel for contempt due to an
article of the Philippine Star which reported the filing of the Committee in the Supreme Court assailing the formers
decision. According to Judge Madajucon the article made it sound like the that he violated the separation of powers
clause of the Constitution and that he was guilty of gross ignorance of the rules and procedures.

ISSUES
(a) whether or not respondent Judge Jose Majaducon committed grave abuse of discretion when he dismissed petitioners
motion to dismiss the petition for prohibition and issued the writ of preliminary injunction
(b) whether or not respondent Judge erred in convicting petitioner Pimentel of indirect contempt of court.

RULING
The Court rule in favor of the Committee and Senator Pimentel by reversing and setting aside the two assailed
decisions.
The respondent judges dismissal of the Committees motion to dismiss Atty Flavianos petition was done in
grave abuse of discretion and is without legal basis. Summong Atty. Flaviano to Senate was to testify the misuse of fund
by the AFP-RSB, in pursuant to its authority to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation which is well within the ambit of the
separation of powers. The Court found its legal basis on Article VI, Section 21 of the Constitution which provides that:

The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of
legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by
such inquiries shall be respected. Furthermore the Court added that there was in this case a clear legislative purpose,
as stated in Senate Resolution No. 160, and the appropriate Senate Committee was directed to look into the reported
misuse and mismanagement of the AFP-RSBS funds, with the intention of enacting appropriate legislation to protect the
rights and interests of the officers and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Court also found that the respondent judge erred in finding Senator Pimentel in indirect contempt of the court he
had control over the contents of the news paper articles. Moreover, the senators allegation on his gross ignorance of
the law was only to mean that gross ignorance of the rules of law and procedure is ordinarily found in administrative
complaints and is a necessary description to support a petition which seeks the annulment of an order of a judge
wherein basic legal principles are disregarded.

Case digest by Elaine Marie Paler