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POWERS OF ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES (page 6)

Pimentel vs Comelec

1. Election Code; Jurisdiction; Jurisdiction cannot be conferred by the Rules of Court.-

Settled is the rule that jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or the law. (Bacalso vs.
Ramolete, October 26, 1967, 21 SCRA 523). Thus, it cannot be conferred by the Rules of Court
which are neither constitutional provisions nor legislative enactments but mere procedural rules
promulgated by this Court in the exercise of its power to prescribe “rules concerning pleading,
practice and procedure in all courts” (Sec. 5(5), Art. X, 1973 Constitution; Sec. 13, Art. VIII,
1935 Constitution).

2. Election Code; Jurisdiction; Certiorari; Court of Appeals; Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court in connection with COMELEC Resolution No. 1451 prescribing rules of procedure in
election contests in the Court of First Instance, cannot by analogy be interpreted as granting the
COMELEC jurisdiction for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus over interlocutory orders issued
by the Court of First Instance.-

Accordingly, the aforequoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, cannot be
construed as a grant of jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over petitions for certiorari,
prohibition or mandamus involving cases appealable to it. Much less can such provision be
interpreted, by analogy, as a grant to the Commission on Elections of jurisdiction over petitions
for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving election cases cognizable by the Court of First
Instance and appealable to said commission under Sec. 196 of the Revised Election Code. While
it is true that the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or
mandamus involving cases appealable to it, the grant of jurisdiction is not by virtue of the afore-
quoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, but by express legislative fiat, namely,
Sec. 30 of the Judiciary Act (R. A. No. 296).

3. Election Code; Jurisdiction; There is no law granting COMELEC appellate interlocutory


jurisdiction over the Court of First Instance in election contests.-

No such legislative grant of jurisdiction exists in the case of the Commission on Elections.
Consequently, respondents’ contention that the Commission on Elections has jurisdiction over
petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus involving election cases cognizable by the
Court of First Instance and appealable to said Commission cannot be sustained. It results,
therefor, that Resolution No. 9592 was issued by the COMELEC without authority to do so.

4. Election Code; The COMELEC’s order prohibiting the Court of First Instance from examining
ballots was, in any event, done with grave abuse of discretion.-
I concur. I only wish to add that even assuming that the Comelec had jurisdiction to issue the
prerogative writ of certiorari in the pending election contest before the court of first instance
because of its appellate jurisdiction, its challenged order restraining the court of first instance
from opening the ballot boxes and examining the ballots and recounting the votes and limiting
the counting of votes cast in favor of petitioners-protestants to those reflected in the election
returns, as sought by respondents-protestees, must be set aside as a grave abuse of discretion. An
election protest conducted under such a strait-jacket would be but an absurd and farcical exercise
in futility.

5. Election Code; Jurisdiction; Certiorari; The COMELEC is not a court of justice and has not
been conferred the power to issue writs of certiorari.-

I agree with the opinion of Justice Abad Santos that that contention is untenable. The Comelec is
not a court of justice. It has not been vested with the prerogative to issue the writ of certiorari.
Hence, it has no jurisdiction to issue writ.

6. Election Code; Jurisdiction; Certiorari; Same.+

7. Election Code; Jurisdiction; Certiorari; Same.+

8. Election Code; Jurisdiction; The COMELEC has been impliedly granted by law the power to
issue writs of certiorari on orders issued by the Court of First Instance in election contests where
the law transferred the appellate jurisdiction over election contests to the COMELEC from the
Court of Appeals.-

To hold that COMELEC has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition for certiorari etc. would be
to leave no other court to which recourse may be had than the Supreme Court. But from the
provision of the Revised Election Code of 1978 giving the appellate jurisdiction over election
cases decided originally by the Courts of First Instance to the COMELEC, and the provision of
the Constitution limiting the power of the Supreme Court to exercising only certiorari
jurisdiction over decisions, orders and resolutions of the COMELEC, I am unable to say that the
intention of the 1978 Election Code is to disperse or divide the authority over an election case
filed in the Court of First Instance by giving to the Supreme Court jurisdiction to issue writs of
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against orders of the Court of First Instance but giving to
the COMELEC the jurisdiction over the ultimate appeal from the decision of said court in the
very same election case. It is more easy to say, with full legal rationality, that the grant of
appellate jurisdiction over election cases filed in and decided by the Court of First Instance,
carries with it the power to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus when necessary
in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, as indeed, it cannot be denied that, if it was such aid with the
Court of Appeals, it must be so in the same way with the COMELEC.
MARIANO J. PIMENTEL, BENJAMIN R. RAMOS, AMANDO AMBULAN, SABINO
ANCHETA, JOSE APOLONIO, EDNA CABANILLA, GAUDENCIO CARIÑO, ESMENIO
TACADENA, ROSALINDA SAMOY and DELFIN VAGULAR, JR., Petitioners, v.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, HON. PRESIDING JUDGE, COURT OF FIRST
INSTANCE OF QUIRINO, SILVERIO L. PASCUA, FAUSTINO S. TACTAC, JOSE
CABANERO, MARIA VALENCIA, REYNALDO DUPA, ALFREDO LADAO, DAVID
GARNACE, DOMINGO CASIA, MATEO GERVACIO, and PAULA
VILLACORTA, Respondents.

SYNOPSIS

During the hearing of subject election protest in the Court of First Instance of Quirino, wherein it
was alleged that in the general election last January 30, 1980, votes cast in favor of contestants
were not counted by the Board of Canvassers, the contestees filed with the aforesaid court a
pleading praying that only the election returns should be considered in the counting of votes in
favor of the contestants and that the ballots should not be re-examined. The Court of First
Instance of Quirino, issued an order denying said motion and denied contestees’ motion for
reconsideration of said order. Contestees filed with the Commission on Election a petition
for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction seeking to restrain aforesaid court from
enforcing its orders. The Commission on Election issued Resolution No. 9592 requiring
Respondent-Contestants to file an answer and issued a restraining order. Hence, this petition
questioning Commission on Election’s jurisdiction to issue said resolution.

On certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction, the Supreme Court ruled that: (a)
jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or the law; and (b) while the Court of Appeals
has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving cases appealable
to it by express legislative fiat, namely Sec. 30 of the Judiciary Act (R.A. 296), no such
legislative grant of jurisdiction exists in the case of the Commission on Elections.

Petitioned granted.

SYLLABUS

1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; JUDICIARY; COURTS; JURISDICTION CONFERRED ONLY


BY THE CONSTITUTION OR THE LAW. — Settled is the rule that jurisdiction is conferred
only by the Constitution or the law. (Bacalso v. Ramolete, October 26, 1967, 21 SCRA 519,
523). Thus it cannot be conferred by the Rules of Court which are neither constitutional
provisions nor legislative enactments but mere procedural rules promulgated by this Court in the
exercise of its power to prescribe "rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all
courts." (Sec. 5 (5), Art. X, 1973 Constitution; Sec. 13, Art. VIII, 1953 Constitution).

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SEC. 4, RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF COURT; CANNOT BE
CONSTRUED AS A GRANT OF JURISDICTION. — The provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, cannot be construed as a grant of jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over
petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving cases appealable to it. Much less can
such provisions be interpreted, by analogy, as a grant to the Commission on Elections of
jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving election cases
cognizable by the Court of First Instance and appealable to said commission under Sec. 196 of
the Revised Election Code.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION OVER CERTIORARI; PROHIBITION OR MANDAMUS IN


AID OF APPELLATE JURISDICTION; CONFERRED BY LAW TO THE COURT OF
APPEALS NOT THE COMMISSION ON ELECTION. — While it is true that the Court of
Appeals has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition of mandamus involving cases
appealable to it, the grant of jurisdiction is not by virtue of the provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, but by express legislative fiat, namely, Sec. 30 of the Judiciary Act (R.A. No.
296). No such legislative grant of jurisdiction exists in the case of the Commission on Elections.
Consequently, respondents’ contention that the Commission on Elections has jurisdiction over
petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving election cases cognizable by the
Court of First Instance and appealable to said Commission cannot be sustained.

DECISION

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

The vital issue to be resolved in this petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
mandatory injunction is whether or not the Commission on Elections had jurisdiction to issue
Resolution No. 9592, dated March 25, 1980, which — (1) required the herein petitioners to
answer the petition for certiorariand prohibition with preliminary injunction filed by the herein
private respondents, thereby taking cognizance of such special civil action which questioned the
validity of an interlocutory order, dated March 20, 1980, issued by the Court of First Instance of
Quirino in Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10, involving the offices of Mayor, Vice Mayor and
Members of the Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Diffun, Quirino Province; and (2)
temporarily restrained said Court of First Instance of Quirino from enforcing said order of March
20, 1980, which denied herein private respondents’ motion seeking to prevent the trial court from
re-examining the ballots and to limit the counting of votes cast in favor of petitioners-contestants
to those reflected in the election returns.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

The herein petitioners are the contestants while herein private respondents are the contestees in
Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10 which are pending before the Court of First Instance of Quirino.
Petitioners-contestants allege in their election protests that they were duly certified candidates for
mayor, vice-mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Diffun,
Quirino, Province, in the general elections held last January 30, 1980, as shown in the resolution
of the Comelec dated February 4, 1980 (attached to the election protests as Annex "A") but that
they were not considered as such by the Municipal Board of Canvassers who, consequently, did
not count the votes cast in their favor (having considered the same as stray votes) and proceeded
to proclaim the contestees as the duly elected officials of Diffun. Petitioners-contestants contend
that had it not been for the said error in the appreciation of the votes cast in their favor, they
would have certainly emerged as the winners in said election. They therefore pray of said Court
of First Instance of Quirino — (1) to fix the bond to be filed by them, (2) to cause to be brought
to the court the registration list, the unused ballots and the documents used in all of the precincts
of the municipality of Diffun; (3) to order the examination of the ballots, using the necessary
officers with emoluments to be fixed by said court; (4) to order the votes cast in favor of
contestants to be counted in their favor; and (5) to annul the proclamation of the contestees and
to declare the contestants as the duly elected officials of Diffun.

In their answers to the election protests, the contestees deny that contestants are duly certified
candidates and allege that during the voting and the counting of votes in the voting centers, the
contestants were not bona fide candidates and it was for this reason that the votes cast in their
favor were not counted. They further allege that even assuming the authenticity of the corrected
certified list of candidates found in Annex "A" of the election protests, the same does not include
the names of contestants Edna Cabanilla, Gervacio Cariño, Esmenio Tacadena and Rosalina
Samoy, and that as to them, therefore, the protests should be summarily dismissed. By way of
counter-contest, the contestees allege that the ballots with votes in favor of KBL which should
have been counted in favor of the contestees (except contestees Jose Cabanero and Reynaldo
Dupa) as KBL official candidates were not so counted in their favor.

During the hearing of said protests, the contestees filed with the CFI of Quirino a pleading dated
March 10, 1980, and entitled: "Joint Motion to Limit Reception of Evidence Pursuant to Material
Allegations in the Protests." Alleging that the election protests do not question the proceedings in
the Citizens Election Committees but only those before the Municipal Board of Canvassers, the
contestees pray that only the election returns should be considered in the counting of the votes in
favor of the contestants and that the ballots should not be re-examined for that
purpose.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad

On March 20, 1980, the CFI of Quirino issued an order denying the motion of the contestees. On
that same day, the counsel for the contestees orally moved for reconsideration of said order; but
the court denied said motion for reconsideration in an order of even date. Accordingly, the court
ordered the opening of the ballot boxes and the counting of the votes as reflected in the ballots
and not in the election returns.

On March 22, 1980, the contestees filed with the Commission on Elections a petition
for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction seeking to restrain the CFI of Quirino
from enforcing its orders of March 20, 1980. Acting on said petition, the COMELEC issued on
March 25, 1980 Resolution No. 9592 which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"9592. In the matter of the PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION WITH
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION filed by Petitioners-Contestees Counsel in EAC No. 1-80
(Pascua, Et. Al. v. The Honorable Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Quirino, et al): the
Commission RESOLVED (1) to require the Respondents-Contestants to file an answer, not a
motion to dismiss, within ten (10) days from date of notice hereof, and (2) in the meantime to
restrain respondent Presiding Judge from enforcing his order of March 20, 1980."cralaw
virtua1aw library

In view of such resolution of the COMELEC, the CFI of Quirino issued on April 1, 1980, an
order postponing the hearing of Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10 "until such time that a superior
Court orders otherwise or after the petition for certiorari, etc., filed by contestees with the
Commission on Elections has been resolved." Contestants moved for a reconsideration of said
order but the CFI of Quirino denied the same.

Thus, on April 10, 1980, the contestants filed with this Court the present petition
for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary mandatory injunction seeking to annul Resolution
No. 9592 of the Commission on Elections; to prohibit the enforcement of said resolution; and to
compel the Court of First Instance of Quirino to proceed with the hearing of the election cases.
Petitioners allege, among others, that the Commission on Elections has no jurisdiction to take
cognizance of the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by the herein private respondents
questioning an interlocutory order issued by the Court of First Instance of Quirino, much less to
restrain said court from enforcing said order.chanrobles virtualawlibrary
chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph

On April 15, 1980, We required the respondents to file an answer to the petition. On that same
day, We issued an order temporarily restraining the Commission on Elections from enforcing the
questioned resolution to enable the Court of First Instance of Quirino to proceed with Election
Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10.

On May 2, 1980, the private respondents filed their answer to the petition. They contend that
since election cases cognizable by Courts of First Instance are appealable to the Commission on
Elections under Sec. 196 of the 1978 Election Code, said Commission, therefore, has jurisdiction
to take cognizance of petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving said cases in aid
of its appellate jurisdiction over the same. Touching on the merit of their petition with the
COMELEC, the herein private respondents allege that since the members of the Board of
Canvassers were impleaded as contestees in Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10, said cases should
be limited to a recounting of the votes as reflected in the election returns. To count the votes
through the ballots is, according to them, "not in-keeping with the rules of evidence and
jurisprudence," Private respondents further allege that petitioners Edna Cabanilla, Gaudencio
Cariño, Esmenio Tacadena and Rosalinda Samoy were not certified as candidates in the last
election, as per Annex "A" (resolution of the COMELEC dated February 4, 1980) of the election
protests, and, therefore, have no personality in the present petition.

Respondent Commission on Elections filed its answer to the petition on May 13, 1980, alleging,
among others, that it had jurisdiction to issue Resolution No. 9592 and that being interlocutory in
nature, said resolution cannot be challenged in the present petition for certiorari since there is no
showing of grave abuse of discretion committed in its issuance.chanrobles law library : red

On July 3, 1980, We issued a resolution requiring the parties to submit memoranda principally
on the question as to whether or not the Commission on Elections h ad the power to issue
Resolution No. 9592.

Private respondents and respondent Commission on Elections filed their memoranda on August
13, 1980, and September 6, 1980, respectively. Petitioners failed to file their memorandum.
Nonetheless, on December 2, 1980, We resolved to consider the case submitted for decision.

In support of the contention that the Commission on Elections has jurisdiction over petitions
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus involving election cases filed with the Court of First
Instance by candidates for municipal offices, the respondents argue as follow: That Section 192
of the 1978 Election Code (P.D. No. 1296) grants the Commission on Elections the power to
"prescribe the rules to govern the procedure and other matters relating to election contests" ; that,
accordingly, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 1451 prescribing the procedural rules for
election contests in the Court of First Instance involving elective municipal and municipal
district offices; that Section 19 of said Rules provides that the Rules of Court of the Philippines
"shall serve as supplementary rules in election contests filed with the Court of First Instance" ;
that under Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines, petitions for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus "may also be filed with the Court of Appeals if it is in aid of its
appellate jurisdiction" ; that since the COMELEC exercise appellate jurisdiction over election
cases filed with the Court of First Instance involving municipal offices, pursuant to Section 196
of the 1978 Election Code, said Commission is, thus, vested with jurisdiction over petitions
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus involving said election cases, applying by analogy the
quoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines.

The fallacy of the foregoing arguments of the respondents lies in the erroneous interpretation of
the aforequoted portion of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines, as a grant of
jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals and, by analogy, to the Commission on Elections, to take
cognizance of petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving cases over which said
court or commission exercises appellate jurisdiction.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

Settled is the rule that jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or the law. (Bacalso v.
Ramolete, October 26, 1967, 21 SCRA 519, 523.) Thus, it cannot be conferred by the Rules of
Court which are neither constitutional provisions nor legislative enactments but mere procedural
rules promulgated by this Court in the exercise of its power to prescribe "rules concerning
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts" (Sec. 5 (5), Art. X, 1973 Constitution; Sec. 13,
Art, VIII, 1935 Constitution).

Accordingly, the aforequoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, cannot be
construed as a grant of jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over petitions for certiorari,
prohibition or mandamus involving cases appealable to it. Much less can such provision be
interpreted, by analogy, as a grant to the Commission on Elections of jurisdiction over petitions
for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving election cases cognizable by the Court of First
Instance and appealable to said commission under Sec. 196 of the Revised Election Code.

While it is true that the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition
or mandamus involving cases appealable to it, the grant of jurisdiction is not by virtue of the
aforequoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, but by express legislative fiat,
namely, Sec. 30 of the Judiciary Act (R.A. No. 296), to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"SEC. 30. ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS. — The Court of


Appeals shall have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus prohibition,
injunction, certiorari, habeas corpus, and all other auxiliary writs and process in aid of its
appellate jurisdiction."cralaw virtua1aw library

No such legislative grant of jurisdiction exists in the case of the Commission on Elections.
Consequently, respondents’ contention that the Commission on Elections has jurisdiction over
petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving election cases cognizable by the
Courts of First Instance and appealable to said Commission cannot be sustained. It results,
therefore, that Resolution, that Resolution No. 9592 was issued by the COMELEC without
authority to do so.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is hereby granted. resolution No. 9592,
issued by the Commission on Elections in EAC No. 1-80 is hereby declared null and void and
said Commission is permanently enjoined from taking any further action on said case except to
dismiss the same for lack of jurisdiction. Costs against private respondents.

GSIS vs CSC

1. Civil Service Commission; Execution; The Civil Service Commission, like the Commission
on Elections and the Commission on Audit, is a constitutional commission invested by the
Constitution and rele-vant laws not only with authority to administer the civil service but also
with quasi-judicial powers.-

The Civil Service Commission, like the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit,
is a constitutional commission invested by the Constitution and relevant laws not only with
authority to administer the civil service, but also with quasi-judicial powers. It has the authority
to hear and decide administrative disciplinary cases instituted directly with it or brought to it on
appeal. The Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or matter
brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution,
subject to appeal to the Supreme Court on certiorari by any aggrieved party within thirty days
from receipt of a copy thereof. It has the power, too, sitting en banc, to promulgate its own rules
concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices, which rules should not
however diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

2. Civil Service Commission; Execution; The grant to a tribunal or agency of adjudicatory power
or the authority to hear and adjudge cases, should normally and logically be deemed to include
the grant of authority to enforce or execute the judgments it thus renders unless the law otherwise
provides.-

In light of all the foregoing constitutional and statutory provisions, it would appear absurd to
deny to the Civil Service Commission the power or authority to enforce or order execution of its
decisions, resolutions or orders which, it should be stressed, it has been exercising through the
years. It would seem quite obvious that the authority to decide cases is inutile unless
accompanied by the authority to see that what has been decided is carried out. Hence, the grant
to a tribunal or agency of adjudicatory power, or the authority to hear and adjudge cases, should
normally and logically be deemed to include the grant of authority to enforce or execute the
judgments it thus renders, unless the law otherwise provides.

3. Civil Service Commission; Execution; The commission's exercise of that power of execution
has been sanctioned by the Court in several cases.-

In any event, the Commission's exercise of that power of execution has been sanctioned by this
Court in several cases.

[G.R. No. 96938. October 15, 1991.]

GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS), Petitioner, v. CIVIL SERVICE


COMMISSION, HEIRS OF ELIZAR NAMUCO, and HEIRS OF EUSEBIO
MANUEL, Respondents.

Benigno M. Puno for Private Respondents.

Fetalino, Llamas-Villanueva and Noro for CSC.

SYLLABUS

1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; VESTED WITH QUASI-


JUDICIAL POWERS; ITS DECISIONS OR RESOLUTIONS MAY BE SUBJECT TO
APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT ON CERTIORARI . — The Civil Service Commission,
like the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit, is a constitutional commission
invested by the Constitution and relevant laws not only with authority to administer the civil
service, but also with quasi-judicial powers. It has the authority to hear and decide administrative
disciplinary cases instituted directly with it or brought to it on appeal. The Commission shall
decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or matter brought before it within sixty
days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution, subject to appeal to the Supreme
Court on certiorari by any aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof. It
has the power, too, sitting en banc, to promulgate its own rules concerning pleadings and practice
before it or before any of its offices, which rules should not however diminish, increase, or
modify substantive rights.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; POWERS THEREOF DEEMED TO INCLUDE AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE
OR EXECUTE, JUDGMENTS OR DECISIONS IT RENDERED. — In light of all the
foregoing constitutional and statutory provisions, it would appear absurd to deny to the Civil
Service Commission the power or authority to enforce or order execution of its decisions,
resolutions or orders which, it should be stressed, it has been exercising through the years. It
would seem quite obvious that the authority to decide cases is initial unless accompanied by the
authority to see that what has been decided is carried out. Hence, the grant to a tribunal or agency
of adjudicatory power, or the authority to hear and adjudge cases, should normally and logically
be deemed to include the grant of authority to enforce or execute the judgments it thus renders,
unless the law otherwise provides.

3. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; CIVIL SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS; DECISIONS


OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCIPLINARY CASES ARE
IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY; EXCEPTIONS. — On October 9, 1989, the Civil Service
Commission promulgated Resolution No. 89-779 adopting, approving and putting into effect
simplified rules of procedure on administrative disciplinary and protest cases, pursuant to the
authority granted by the constitutional and statutory provisions above cited, as well as Republic
Act No. 6713. Those rules provide, among other things, that decisions in "administrative
disciplinary cases" shall be immediately executory unless a motion for reconsideration is
seasonably filed. If the decision of the Commission is brought to the Supreme Court
on certiorari, the same shall still be executory unless a restraining order or preliminary injunction
is issued by the High Court." This is similar to a provision in the former Civil Service Rules
authorizing the Commissioner, "if public interest so warrants, . . . (to) order his decision
executed pending appeal to the Civil Service Board of Appeals." The provisions are analogous
and entirely consistent with the duty or responsibility reposed in the Chairman by PD 807,
subject to policies and resolutions adopted by the Commission, "to enforce decision on
administrative discipline involving officials of the Commission," as well as with Section 37 of
the same decree declaring that an appeal to the Commission "shall not stop the decision from
being executory, and in case the penalty is suspension or removal, the respondent shall be
considered as having been under preventive suspension during the tendency of the appeal in the
event he wins an appeal."cralaw virtua1aw library

4. ID.; DISCIPLINARY ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS; FORECLOSED BY THE


DEATH OF THE EMPLOYEE. — The Court agrees that the challenged orders of the Civil
Service Commission should be upheld, and not merely upon compassionate grounds, but simply
because there is no fair and feasible alternative in the circumstances. To be sure, if the deceased
employees were still alive, it would at least be arguable, positing the primacy of this Court’s final
dispositions, that the issue of payment of their back salaries should properly await the outcome
of the disciplinary proceedings referred to in the Second Division’s Resolution of July 4, 1988.
Death, however, has already sealed that outcome, foreclosing the initiation of disciplinary
administrative proceedings, or the continuation of any then pending, against the deceased
employees. Whatever may be said of the binding force of the Resolution of July 4, 1988 so far
as, to all intents and purposes, it makes exoneration in the administrative proceedings a condition
precedent to payment of back salaries, it cannot exact an impossible performance or decree a
useless exercise. Even in the case of crimes, the death of the offender extinguishes criminal
liability, not only as to the personal, but also as to the pecuniary, penalties if it occurs before
final judgment. In this context, the subsequent disciplinary proceedings, even if not assailable on
grounds of due process, would be an inutile, empty procedure in so far as the deceased
employees are concerned; they could not possibly be bound by any substantiation in said
proceedings of the original charges: irregularities in the canvass of supplies and materials. The
questioned orders of the Civil Service Commission merely recognized the impossibility of
complying with the Resolution of July 4, 1988 and the legal futility of attempting a post-mortem
investigation of the character contemplated.

DECISION

NARVASA, J.:

In May, 1981, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) dismissed six (6) employees as
being "notoriously undesirable," they having allegedly been found to be connected with
irregularities in the canvass of supplies and materials. The dismissal was based on Article IX,
Presidential Decree No. 807 (Civil Service Law) 1 in relation to LOI 14-A and/or LOI No. 72.
The employees’ Motion for Reconsideration was subsequently denied.

Five of these six dismissed employees appealed to the Merit Systems Board. The Board found
the dismissals to be illegal because effected without formal charges having been filed or an
opportunity given to the employees to answer, and ordered the remand of the cases to the GSIS
for appropriate disciplinary proceedings.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

The GSIS appealed to the Civil Service Commission. By Resolution dated October 21,1987, the
Commission ruled that the dismissal of all five was indeed illegal and disposed as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, it being obvious that respondents’ separation from the service is illegal, the
GSIS is directed to reinstate them with payment of back salaries and benefits due them not later
than ten (10) days from receipt of a copy hereof, without prejudice to the right of the GSIS to
pursue proper disciplinary action against them. It is also directed that the services of their
replacement be terminated effective upon reinstatement of herein respondents.

"x x x"

Still unconvinced, the GSIS appealed to the Supreme Court (G.R. Nos. 80321-22). Once more, it
was rebuffed. On July 4, 1988 this Court’s Second Division promulgated a Resolution
which:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

a) denied its petition for failing to show any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Civil
Service Commission, the dismissals of the employees having in truth been made without formal
charge and hearing, and

b) declared that reinstatement of said five employees was proper, "without prejudice to the right
of the GSIS to pursue proper disciplinary action against them;"

c) MODIFIED, however, the challenged CSC Resolution of October 21, 1987 "by eliminating
the payment of back salaries to private respondents (employees) until the outcome of the
disciplinary proceedings is known, considering the gravity of the offenses imputed to them.;" 2

d) ordered reinstatement only of three employees, namely: Domingo Canero, Renato Navarro
and Belen Guerrero, "it appearing that respondents Elizar Namuco and Eusebio Manuel have
since passed away." 3

On January 8, 1990, the aforesaid Resolution of July 4, 1988 having become final, the heirs of
Namuco and Manuel filed a motion for execution of the Civil Service Commission Resolution of
October 21, 1987, supra. The GSIS opposed the motion. It argued that the CSC Resolution of
October 21, 1987 — directing reinstatement of the employees and payment to them of back
salaries and benefits — had been superseded by the Second Division’s Resolution of July 4,
1988 precisely eliminating the payment of back salaries.

The Civil Service Commission granted the motion for execution in an Order dated June 20,
1990. It accordingly directed the GSIS "to pay the compulsory heirs of deceased Elizar Namuco
and Eusebio Manuel for the period from the date of their illegal separation up to the date of their
demise." The GSIS filed a motion for reconsideration. It was denied by Order of the CSC dated
November 22, 1990.
Once again the GSIS has come to this Court, this time praying that certiorari issue to nullify the
Orders of June 20, 1990 and November 22, 1990. Here it contends that the Civil Service
Commission has no power to execute its judgments and final orders or resolutions, and even
conceding the contrary, the writ of execution issued on June 20, 1990 is void because it varies
this Court’s Resolution of July 4, 1988.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

The Civil Service Commission, like the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit,
is a constitutional commission invested by the Constitution and relevant laws not only with
authority to administer the civil service, 4 but also with quasi-judicial powers. 5 It has the
authority to hear and decide administrative disciplinary cases instituted directly with it or
brought to it on appeal. 6 The Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any
case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or
resolution, subject to appeal to the Supreme Court on certiorari by any aggrieved party within
thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof. 7 It has the power, too, sitting en banc, to promulgate
its own rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices, which rules
should not however diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. 8

On October 9, 1989, the Civil Service Commission promulgated Resolution No. 89-779
adopting, approving and putting into effect simplified rules of procedure on administrative
disciplinary and protest cases, pursuant to the authority granted by the constitutional and
statutory provisions above cited, as well as Republic Act No. 6713. 9 Those rules provide,
among other things, 10 that decisions in "administrative disciplinary cases" shall be immediately
executory unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed. If the decision of the
Commission is brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari, the same shall still be executory
unless a restraining order or preliminary injunction is issued by the High Court." 11 This is
similar to a provision in the former Civil Service Rules authorizing the Commissioner, "if public
interest so warrants, . . . (to) order his decision executed pending appeal to the Civil Service
Board of Appeals." 12 The provisions are analogous and entirely consistent with the duty or
responsibility reposed in the Chairman by PD 807, subject to policies and resolutions adopted by
the Commission, "to enforce decision on administrative discipline involving officials of the
Commission," 13 as well as with Section 37 of the same decree declaring that an appeal to the
Commission 14 "shall not stop the decision from being executory, and in case the penalty is
suspension or removal, the respondent shall be considered as having been under preventive
suspension during the tendency of the appeal in the event he wins an appeal."cralaw virtua1aw
library

In light of all the foregoing constitutional and statutory provisions, it would appear absurd to
deny to the Civil Service Commission the power or authority to enforce or order execution of its
decisions, resolutions or orders which, it should be stressed, it has been exercising through the
years. It would seem quite obvious that the authority to decide cases is initial unless
accompanied by the authority to see that what has been decided is carried out. Hence, the grant
to a tribunal or agency of adjudicatory power, or the authority to hear and adjudge cases, should
normally and logically be deemed to include the grant of authority to enforce or execute the
judgments it thus renders, unless the law otherwise provides.

In any event, the Commission’s exercise of that power of execution has been sanctioned by this
Court in several cases.

In Cucharo v. Subido, 15 for instance, this Court sustained the challenged directive of the Civil
Service Commissioner, that his decision "be executed immediately ‘but not beyond ten days
from receipt thereof’ . . ." The Court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"As a major premise, it has been the repeated pronouncement of this Supreme Tribunal that the
Civil Service Commissioner has the discretion to order the immediate execution in the public
interest of his decision separating petitioner-appellant from the service, always subject however
to the rule that, in the event the Civil Service Board of Appeals or the proper court determines
that his dismissal is illegal, he should be paid the salary corresponding to the period of his
separation from the service until his reinstatement." chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

Petitioner GSIS concedes that the heirs of Namuco and Manuel "are entitled to the
retirement/death and other benefits due them as government employees" since, at the time of
their death, they "can be considered not to have been separated from the service." 16

It contends, however, that since Namuco and Manuel had not been "completely exonerated of the
administrative charge filed against them — as the filing of the proper disciplinary action was yet
to have been taken had death not claimed them" — no back salaries may be paid to them,
although they "may charge the period of (their) suspension against (their) leave credits, if any,
and may commute such leave credits to money value;" 17 this, on the authority of this Court’s
decision in Clemente v. Commission on Audit. 18 It is in line with these considerations, it
argues, that the final and executory Resolution of this Court’s Second Division of July 4, 1988
should be construed; 19 and since the Commission’s Order of July 20, 1990 makes a contrary
disposition, the latter order obviously cannot prevail and must be deemed void and ineffectual.

This Court’s Resolution of July 4, 1988, as already stated, modified the Civil Service
Commission’s Resolution of October 21, 1987 — inter alia granting back salaries to the five
dismissed employees, including Namuco and Manuel — and pertinently reads as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"We modify the said Order, however, by eliminating the payment of back salaries to private
respondents until the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings is known, considering the gravity
of the offense imputed to them in connection with the irregularities in the canvass of supplies and
materials at the GSIS.

The reinstatement order shall apply only to respondents Domingo Canero, Renato Navarro and
Belen Guerrero, it appearing that respondents Elizar Namuco and Eusebio Manuel have since
passed sway . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

On the other hand, as also already stated, the Commission’s Order of June 20, 1990 directed the
GSIS "to pay the compulsory heirs of deceased Elizar Namuco and Eusebio Manuel for the
period from the date of their illegal separation up to the date of their demise."cralaw virtua1aw
library

The Commission asserted that in promulgating its disparate ruling, it was acting "in the interest
of justice and for other humanitarian reasons," since the question of whether or not Namuco and
Manuel should receive back salaries was "dependent on the result of the disciplinary proceedings
against their co-respondents in the administrative case before the GSIS," and since at the time of
their death, "no formal charge . . . (had) as yet been made, nor any finding of their personal
culpability . . . and . . . they are no longer in a position to refute the charge."cralaw virtua1aw
library

The Court agrees that the challenged orders of the Civil Service Commission should be upheld,
and not merely upon compassionate grounds, but simply because there is no fair and feasible
alternative in the circumstances. To be sure, if the deceased employees were still alive, it would
at least be arguable, positing the primacy of this Court’s final dispositions, that the issue of
payment of their back salaries should properly await the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings
referred to in the Second Division’s Resolution of July 4, 1988.

Death, however, has already sealed that outcome, foreclosing the initiation of disciplinary
administrative proceedings, or the continuation of any then pending, against the deceased
employees. Whatever may be said of the binding force of the Resolution of July 4, 1988 so far
as, to all intents and purposes, it makes exoneration in the administrative proceedings a condition
precedent to payment of back salaries, it cannot exact an impossible performance or decree a
useless exercise. Even in the case of crimes, the death of the offender extinguishes criminal
liability, not only as to the personal, but also as to the pecuniary, penalties if it occurs before
final judgment. 20 In this context, the subsequent disciplinary proceedings, even if not assailable
on grounds of due process, would be an inutile, empty procedure in so far as the deceased
employees are concerned; they could not possibly be bound by any substantiation in said
proceedings of the original charges: irregularities in the canvass of supplies and materials. The
questioned orders of the Civil Service Commission merely recognized the impossibility of
complying with the Resolution of July 4, 1988 and the legal futility of attempting a post-mortem
investigation of the character contemplated.cralawnad

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED, without pronouncement as to costs.

Donato vs CSC

Admin Law: It must be stated, at the outset, that the CSCRO 1, the CSC and the CA uniformly
found the petitioner liable for the charges of dishonesty and falsification of official document. In
so doing, the PSP, on which the ID picture of the petitioner appeared above the name of Arce,
was given credence by the CSCRO 1, the CSC and the CA to support the administrative charges
against the petitioner and Arce.

No rule is more entrenched in this jurisdiction than that the findings of facts of administrative
bodies, if based on substantial evidence, are controlling on the reviewing authority.14 Stated in
another manner, as a general rule, factual findings of administrative agencies, such as the CSC,
that are affirmed by the CA, are conclusive upon and generally not reviewable by this Court.

Petitioner would like this Court to re-examine the evidence against him as he impugns, in
particular, the PSP which contained his ID picture above Arce's name. However, it is not the
function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence and credibility of witnesses
presented before the lower court, tribunal or office. This flows from the basic principle that the
Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Its jurisdiction is limited to reviewing and revising errors of
law imputed to the lower court, the latter's findings of fact being conclusive and not reviewable
by this Court.

The petitioner's contention that his right to due process was violated because he was not able to
cross-examine the person who had custody of the PSP is unavailing. In another case, the Court
addressed a similar contention by stating that the petitioner therein could not argue that she had
been deprived of due process merely because no cross-examination took place. Indeed, in
administrative proceedings, due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded fair and
reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy or given opportunity to move for a
reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.19 Such minimum requirements have been
satisfied in this case for, in fact, hearings were conducted by the CSCRO 1 and the petitioner and
Arce actively participated therein and even submitted their respective evidence. Moreover, they
were able to seek reconsideration of the decision of the CSCRO 1 and, subsequently, to elevate
the case for review to the CSC and the CA.

Unavailing is the petitioner's protestation that the PSP was not identified and formally offered in
evidence. The CSC, including the CSCRO 1 in this case, being an administrative body with
quasi-judicial powers, is not bound by technical rules of procedure and evidence in the
adjudication of cases, subject only to limitations imposed by basic requirements of due
process.20 As earlier opined, these basic requirements of due process have been complied with
by the CSC, including the CSCRO 1.

ALEJANDRO V. DONATO, JR. Petitioner, v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION REGIONAL


OFFICE NO. 1, Respondent.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

Before the Court is the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by Alejandro V. Donato, Jr. which
seeks to reverse and set aside the Decision1 dated October 11, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 73854. The assailed decision affirmed Resolution No. 020348 dated March 7,
2002 and Resolution No. 021423 dated October 23, 2002 of the Civil Service Commission
(CSC) which had, in turn, affirmed the decision of the Civil Service Commission Regional
Office No. 1 (CSCRO 1) finding petitioner Donato, Jr. guilty of dishonesty and falsification of
official document and ordering his dismissal from the service.

The case arose from the following facts:

Donato, Jr. was a secondary school teacher at the San Pedro Apartado National High School in
Alcala, Pangasinan while Gil C. Arce held the position of Assessment Clerk II at the Office of
the Municipal Treasurer of the said municipality. On October 5, 1998, the Management
Information Office of the CSC in Diliman, Quezon City received an anonymous letter-complaint
requesting an investigation on the alleged dishonest act committed by Donato, Jr. It was alleged
that Donato, Jr., falsely representing himself as Arce during the Career Service Sub-Professional
Examination held in 1995,2 took the said examination in behalf of the
latter.ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

The anonymous complaint stated in part:

I have the honor to request your good Office to investigate the dishonesty committed by Mr.
Alejandro V. Donato, Jr. who impersonated Mr. Gil C. Arce during the Sub-Professional
Examination taken in 1995. They are working in San Pedro Apartado National High School,
Alcala, Pangasinan and in the Municipality of Alcala, respectively.

They are cheating the government and as far as rumors this is not only the examination anomaly
he committed.

x x x x3
Attached thereto was a photograph of Donato, Jr. The letter-complaint was immediately
forwarded to the CSCRO 1, City of San Fernando, La Union, which required Donato, Jr. and
Arce to submit their respective answers thereto. In his Answer dated May 19, 1999, Arce
vehemently denied committing such act of dishonesty. He claimed that he was "the same person
who took the said examination and through [his] own merit successfully passed the same." In
support thereof, he attached the joint-affidavit of Gerry Cabrera and David Arce attesting that, on
August 5, 1990, they all, including Arce, took the Career Service Sub-Professional Examination
given by the CSC at the Binmaley Catholic High School, Binmaley, Pangasinan.

Donato, Jr., for his part, averred in his Answer dated May 24, 1999 that:

I was greatly troubled that my picture appeared in the Seat Plan. The appearance of my picture
would substantiate the allegation of the anonymous complaint, whoever he/she is.

The truth is that Mr. Arce asked me once to take the test for him, but I vehemently refused the
offer knowing that this would [be] tantamount to cheating, and that it would put me in hot
waters.

Mr. Arce told me that he had taken the examination, but did not make it. It was then that he
asked me to take the examination for him, of which I refused knowing that the Honorable
Commission has some pertinent records of myself such as copies of my Appointment Papers,
PDS, PBET, and other similar documents.

The fact is, I advised him to try again, which he did. He even asked me to accompany him in
Binmaley to help him locate his testing room. After we had found his testing room, I
immediately left him knowing that there was nothing else I could do. I proceeded to Lingayen to
visit my mother.

After some time, Mr. Arce announced to me that he passed the test with a very high rating.

How my picture was used, I have no idea. All I know is that I used that picture when I took my
PBET in November 1998 in Dagupan City. I had other copies of that picture, two of which I
submitted to Mrs. Erlinda C. Tadeo, my former principal, for loan purposes. As for the rest, I
could no longer locate them because I either misplaced them or lost them.

I suspect that my picture was used for personal vendetta against me, to harass me in order that I
desist from furthering my case filed before the Honorable Commission against my former
principal.

I, therefore, vehemently deny the allegation of the Honorable Anonymous Complaint, whoever
he/she is.4

The Picture Seat Plan (PSP) of Examination Room No. 24 in Binmaley Catholic High School for
the August 5, 1990 Career Service Sub-Professional Examination (where the name Gil Arce
appeared) showed that the identification (ID) picture pasted above the name Gil Arce was that of
Donato, Jr. It was also observed that the signature appearing thereon was different from the
signature of Arce in his Answer.

Taking into consideration the foregoing, a Formal Charge dated October 12, 1999 was filed by
Romeo C. De Leon, Director IV of CSCRO 1, against Donato, Jr. and Arce for dishonesty and
falsification of official document. The case was docketed as Administrative Case No. 99-27.
Donato, Jr. and Arce were, accordingly, required to file their respective answers to the said
formal charge.

In his Answer5 dated December 14, 1999, Arce basically adopted the allegations in his previous
answer. In addition thereto, he claimed that ever since he was a child, it was his habit to keep
photographs of members of his family and friends in his wallet, including that of Donato, Jr.
According to Arce, during the said examination, he may have mistakenly submitted the ID
picture of Donato, Jr. With respect to the signature, Arce maintained that the signature on the
PSP was one of his signatures and that the one that appeared on his answer was what he was
using at the time.

In his Answer6 dated December 24, 1999, Donato, Jr. adopted the averments in his previous
answer. Additionally, he harped on the apparent discrepancy in the dates considering that the
anonymous letter-complaint stated that the date of examination was in 1995 while in the formal
charge, two different dates were mentioned: August 5, 1990 and August 5, 1999. The
discrepancy in the dates allegedly rendered him incapable of addressing head-on the charges
against him. He vigorously denied that he misrepresented himself as Arce and that he took the
said government examination in the latter's stead. He claimed that he was at his residence in
Poblacion East, Alcala, Pangasinan the whole day of August 5, 1990 and, in fact, he received
some visitors thereat. He submitted the affidavits of Diosdado Tamayo and Baldomino Batuan
attesting that they went to see him at his house on the said date.

Subsequently, a trial-type hearing was conducted where the parties, particularly Donato, Jr. and
Arce, were given the opportunity to proffer documentary and testimonial evidence. Thereafter,
the CSCRO 1, through Lorenzo S. Danipog, Director IV, rendered Decision No. 2001-
1137 dated May 30, 2001 in Administrative Case No. 99-27, dismissing Donato, Jr. and Arce
from the service for dishonesty and falsification of official document.

Donato, Jr. and Arce sought reconsideration of the said decision and/or new trial but their
respective motions were denied by the CSCRO 1 for lack of merit. By way of appeal, they
elevated the case to the CSC.

After due consideration of the pleadings, the CSC promulgated Resolution No. 020348 dated
March 7, 2002, affirming the earlier decision of the CSCRO 1. The CSC ruled that there was
substantial evidence to hold both Donato, Jr. and Arce guilty of the charges of dishonesty and
falsification of official document. Specifically, the ID picture of Donato, Jr. pasted on the PSP
during the August 5, 1990 Career Service Sub-Professional Examination above Arce's name and
the marked dissimilarity between Arce's purported signature thereon and his signature as
appearing in his answer were taken by the CSC as indicative of the fact that it was Donato, Jr.
who actually took the said examination in behalf of Arce.

The dispositive portion of CSC Resolution No. 020348 reads:

WHEREFORE, the appeal of Gil Arce and Alejandro Donato, Jr. is hereby DISMISSED.
Accordingly, the Decision dated May 30, 2001 of the Civil Service Commission Regional Office
(CSCRO) No. 1, San Fernando City, La Union, finding them guilty of Dishonesty and
Falsification of Official Document and dismissing them from the service stands.

IRMO and CSCRO 1 are directed to effect the revocation of the civil service eligibilities of Gil
Arce and Alejandro Donato, Jr. in the implementation of this resolution.8

A motion for reconsideration thereof was filed by Donato, Jr. and Arce but it was denied by the
CSC in its Resolution No. 021423 dated October 23, 2002. In this resolution, the CSC stressed
that "the guilt of Arce and Donato, Jr. was sufficiently proven by substantial evidence; hence,
there is no cogent reason to warrant the reversal or modification of CSC Resolution No. 020348
dated March 7, 2002."9

Donato, Jr. and Arce forthwith filed with the Court of Appeals (CA) a Petition for Review
assailing the aforesaid resolutions of the CSC. The CA, however, in the assailed Decision dated
October 11, 2004, affirmed CSC Resolution Nos. 020348 and 021423.

The CA did not give credence to their insistence that the letter-complaint should have been
dismissed outright for non-compliance with Section 8,10 Rule II of the Uniform Rules on
Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. In particular, it was Donato, Jr. and Arce's contention
that the CSC should have dismissed outright the anonymous letter-complaint. Addressing this
argument, the CA, echoing the reasoning of the CSC, pointed out that the basis for the formal
investigation against them was not the anonymous complaint but the finding of a prima
facie case against them after a fact-finding investigation.11

The CA, likewise, considered as puerile Donato, Jr. and Arce's claim that the documentary
evidence against them had no probative value as the public officials who were in custody of
these documents were not presented. The CA reasoned that the documentary evidence against
Donato, Jr. and Arce are public documents and the probative weight accorded these documents is
enunciated in Section 23, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, to wit:

SEC. 23. Public documents as evidence. - Documents consisting of entries in public records
made in the performance of a duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of the facts
therein stated. All other public documents are evidence, even against a third person, of the fact
which gave rise to their execution and of the date of the latter.
Specifically, the evidentiary value of the PSP for Examination Room No. 24 of the Binmaley
Catholic High School in which the ID picture of Donato, Jr. was pasted above Arce's name was,
according to the CA, correctly given evidentiary weight by the CSC in consonance with the
above-quoted provision, and especially when viewed in the context of Arce's assertion that he
may have mistakenly submitted Donato Jr.'s ID picture when he took the said government
examination. Lacking a satisfactory explanation for Donato, Jr.'s ID picture on the said PSP and
the variance between Arce's purported signature thereon and that on the answer that he filed with
the CSCRO 1, the CA held that Donato, Jr. and Arce were correctly found liable for dishonesty
and falsification of official document.

Donato, Jr. and Arce's claim of violation of their right to due process when they were found
administratively liable, allegedly despite the absence of witnesses against them, was given short
shrift by the CA. It pointed out that the records clearly showed that they were accorded the
opportunity to present their side and, in fact, they submitted evidence to controvert the charges
against them. The CA ruled that under the circumstances the requirements of due process had
been sufficiently met.

The dispositive portion of the assailed CA decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is DENIED for lack of merit and respondent's assailed
Resolution Nos. 020348 and 021423 are AFFIRMED in toto.

SO ORDERED.12

Only Donato, Jr. (the petitioner) filed the present Petition for Review seeking to reverse and set
aside the Decision dated October 11, 2004 of the CA. He raises the following issues for the
Court's resolution:

WHETHER OR NOT THE PROCEEDINGS, UNDERTAKEN BY THE RESPONDENT, THE


FORUM OF ORIGIN, ARE TAINTED WITH IRREGULARITY, INCLUDING DENIAL TO
PETITIONER OF THE RIGHT OF CONFRONTATION, SUCH THAT THERE IS NOT A
SINGLE PIECE OF EVIDENCE ADDUCED AGAINST PETITIONER;

II

WHETHER OR NOT THE FORUM OF ORIGIN AND THE SUBSEQUENT FORA IN


WHICH THIS CASE PASSED THROUGH ON APPEAL ARE CORRECT IN CONCLUDING
THAT PETITIONER IMPERSONATED GIL C. ARCE BECAUSE OF THE PRESENCE OF
THE FORMER'S PICTURE IN THE SPACE INTENDED FOR THE PICTURE OF THE
LATTER IN THE PICTURE SEAT PLAN (EXHIBIT "C") OF THE AUGUST 5, 1990 CIVIL
SERVICE EXAMINATION AT ROOM 24, BINMALEY CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL,
BINMALEY, PANGASINAN.13
The petitioner mainly assails the reliance by the CSCRO 1, the CSC and the CA on the Picture
Seat Plan (marked as Exhibit "C"), which contained his ID picture above the name of Arce, in
finding them both guilty of the administrative charges of dishonesty and falsification of official
document. It is his contention that the PSP was erroneously considered as evidence when what
was presented during the proceedings conducted by the CSCRO 1 was only a photocopy thereof.
Upon the petitioner's demand, at the hearing of August 8, 2000, the counsel of CSCRO 1
produced a document which he claimed was an original copy of the PSP. However, the petitioner
objected to the manner of presentation because the counsel was not allegedly the custodian of the
said document. Moreover, he was not put on the witness stand and, consequently, was not
subjected to cross-examination. The petitioner emphasizes that the PSP was not identified and
formally offered in evidence.

The petitioner claims violation of his right to due process because he was not able to confront the
person who prepared, and who was in custody of, the PSP. He maintains that the presence of his
ID picture above Arce's name could be made by any person by simply pasting it over another ID
picture for an evil purpose. In this connection, he accuses his former principal, Mrs. Erlinda
Tadeo, as the one responsible therefor because he (the petitioner), together with his co-teachers,
filed an administrative case against her, for which she was meted a fine equivalent to her six
months salary.

The petition is bereft of merit.

It must be stated, at the outset, that the CSCRO 1, the CSC and the CA uniformly found the
petitioner liable for the charges of dishonesty and falsification of official document. In so doing,
the PSP, on which the ID picture of the petitioner appeared above the name of Arce, was given
credence by the CSCRO 1, the CSC and the CA to support the administrative charges against the
petitioner and Arce.

No rule is more entrenched in this jurisdiction than that the findings of facts of administrative
bodies, if based on substantial evidence, are controlling on the reviewing authority.14 Stated in
another manner, as a general rule, factual findings of administrative agencies, such as the CSC,
that are affirmed by the CA, are conclusive upon and generally not reviewable by this Court.15

To be sure, there are recognized exceptions to this rule, to wit: (1) when the findings are
grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is
manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when
the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of facts are
conflicting; (6) when in making its findings, the CA went beyond the issues of the case, or its
findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the
findings are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without
citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition
as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when
the findings of facts are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the
evidence on record; and (11) when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not
disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different
conclusion.16None of these exceptions has been shown to be attendant in the present case.

On the other hand, petitioner would like this Court to re-examine the evidence against him as he
impugns, in particular, the PSP which contained his ID picture above Arce's name. However, it is
not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence and credibility of
witnesses presented before the lower court, tribunal or office. This flows from the basic principle
that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Its jurisdiction is limited to reviewing and revising
errors of law imputed to the lower court, the latter's findings of fact being conclusive and not
reviewable by this Court.17

The petitioner's contention that his right to due process was violated because he was not able to
cross-examine the person who had custody of the PSP is unavailing. In another case, the Court
addressed a similar contention by stating that the petitioner therein could not argue that she had
been deprived of due process merely because no cross-examination took place.18 Indeed, in
administrative proceedings, due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded fair and
reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy or given opportunity to move for a
reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.19 Such minimum requirements have been
satisfied in this case for, in fact, hearings were conducted by the CSCRO 1 and the petitioner and
Arce actively participated therein and even submitted their respective evidence. Moreover, they
were able to seek reconsideration of the decision of the CSCRO 1 and, subsequently, to elevate
the case for review to the CSC and the CA.

Likewise unavailing is the petitioner's protestation that the PSP was not identified and formally
offered in evidence. The CSC, including the CSCRO 1 in this case, being an administrative body
with quasi-judicial powers, is not bound by technical rules of procedure and evidence in the
adjudication of cases, subject only to limitations imposed by basic requirements of due
process.20 As earlier opined, these basic requirements of due process have been complied with
by the CSC, including the CSCRO 1.

It is well, at this point, to quote with approval the following ratiocination made by the CSC:

The picture of Donato pasted over the name of Gil Arce in the PSP during the Career Service
Sub-professsional Examination on August 5, 1990 is indicative of the fact that respondent Arce
did not personally take the said examination but Donato in his behalf. This is so because as a
matter of procedure, the room examiners assigned to supervise the conduct of examination
closely examine the pictures submitted by the examinees. An examinee is not allowed by the
examiners to take the examination if he does not look like the person in the picture he submitted
and affixed in the PSP (CSC Resolution No. 95-3694 dated June 20, 1995 cited in CSC
Resolution No. 97-0217 dated January 14, 1997). Obviously, the person whose picture is pasted
on the PSP was the one who took the examination for and in behalf of Arce. In the offense of
impersonation, there are always two persons involved. The offense cannot prosper without the
active participation of both persons (CSC Resolution No. 94-6582). Further, by engaging or
colluding with another person to take the test in his behalf and thereafter by claiming the
resultant passing rate as his, clinches the case against him. In cases of impersonation, the
Commission has consistently rejected claims of good faith, for "it is contrary to human nature
that a person will do (impersonation) without the consent of the person being impersonated."
(CSC resolution No. 94-0826)

It has been a settled rule in this jurisdiction that the duly accomplished form of the Civil Service
is an official document of the Commission, which, by its very nature is considered in the same
category as that of a public document, admissible in evidence without need of further proof. As
official document, the contents/entries therein made in the course of official duty are prima
facie evidence of the facts stated therein (Maradial v. CSC, CA-G.R. SP No. 40764 dated
September 27, 1996).21

Additionally, the petitioner's proposition that the matter could be the handiwork of his former
principal, who had an axe to grind against him, is utterly preposterous. This bare and gratuitous
allegation cannot stand against the ruinous evidence against him and Arce. Those government
employees who prepared the PSP and who supervised the conduct of the Career Service Sub-
Professional Examination on August 5, 1990, enjoy the presumption that they regularly
performed their duties and this presumption cannot be disputed by mere conjectures and
speculations.22

In fine, the CA committed no reversible error when it affirmed the resolutions of the CSC
finding the petitioner guilty of dishonesty and falsification of official document. The petitioner
has miserably failed to present any cogent reason for the Court to deviate from the salutary rule
that factual findings of administrative agencies, especially when affirmed by the CA, are
generally held to be binding and final so long as they are supported by substantial evidence in the
record of the case.23

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision
dated October 11, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 73854 is AFFIRMED in
toto.

Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs CA

1. Administrative Law; The Government is not bound by the errors committed by its
governmental agents.-
It is a long and firmly settled rule of law that the Government is not bound by the errors
committed by its agents. In the performance of its governmental functions, the State cannot be
estopped by the neglect of its agent and officers. Although the Government may generally be
estopped through the affirmative acts of public officers acting within their authority, their neglect
or omission of public duties as exemplified in this case will not and should not produce that
effect.

2. Taxation; Taxes are the lifeblood of the nation.+

3. Taxation; To award tax refund despite the existence of deficiency assessment is an absurdity.+

4. Taxation; The grant of a refund is founded on the assumption that the tax return is valid.+

5. Taxation; Actions; Multiplicity of suits; To grant the refund without determination of the
proper assessment and the tax due would inevitably result in multiplicity of proceedings or
suits.+

6. Taxation; Actions; Multiplicity of suits; When to avoid multiplicity of suits.+

7. Taxation; Actions; Tax payer and government must be given equal opportunities to avail of
remedies under the law.+

8. Administrative Law; Public Officers; Courts; The Supreme Court will unhesitatingly react to
any bane in the government service, with a replication of such response being likewise expected
by the people from the executive authorities.-

The Court cannot end this adjudication without observing that what caused the Government to
lose its case in the tax court may hopefully be ascribed merely to the ennui or ineptitude of
officialdom, and not to syndicated intent or corruption. The evidential cul-de-sac in which the
Solicitor General found himself once again gives substance to the public perception and
suspicion that it is another proverbial tip in the iceberg of venality in a government bureau which
is pejoratively rated over the years. What is so distressing, aside from the financial losses to the
Government, is the erosion of trust in a vital institution wherein the reputations of so many
honest and dedicated workers are besmirched by the acts or omissions of a few. Hence, the
liberal view we have here taken pro hac vice, which may give some degree of assurance that this
Court will unhesitatingly react to any bane in the government service, with a replication of such
response being likewise expected by the people from the executive authorities.

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS,


CITYTRUST BANKING CORPORATION and COURT OF TAX APPEALS, Respondents.

The Solicitor General for Petitioner.


Pelaez, Adriano & Gregorio for Private Respondent.

DECISION

REGALADO, J.:

The judicial proceedings over the present controversy commenced with CTA Case No. 4099,
wherein the Court of Tax Appeals ordered herein petitioner Commissioner of Internal Revenue
to grant a refund to herein private respondent Citytrust Banking Corporation (Citytrust) in the
amount of P13,314,506.14, representing its overpaid income taxes for 1984 and 1985, but denied
its claim for the alleged refundable amount reflected in its 1983 income tax return on the ground
of prescription. 1 That judgment of the tax court was affirmed by respondent Court of Appeals in
its judgment in CA-G.R. SP No. 26839. 2 The case was then elevated to us in the present petition
for review on certiorari wherein the latter judgment is impugned and sought to be nullified
and/or set aside.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library

It appears that in a letter dated August 26, 1986, herein private respondent corporation filed a
claim for refund with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the amount of P19,971,745.00
representing the alleged aggregate of the excess of its carried-over total quarterly payments over
the actual income tax due, plus carried-over withholding tax payments on government securities
and rental income, as computed in its final income tax return for the calendar year ending
December, 31, 1985. 3

Two days later, or on August 28, 1986, in order to interrupt the running of the prescriptive
period, Citytrust filed a petition with the Court of Tax Appeals, docketed therein as CTA Case
No. 4099, claiming the refund of its income tax overpayments for the years 1983, 1984 and 1985
in the total amount of P19,971,745.00. 4

In the answer filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, for and in behalf of therein respondent
commissioner, it was asserted that the mere averment that Citytrust incurred a net loss in 1985
does not ipso facto merit a refund; that the amounts of P6,611,223.00, P1,959,514.00 and
P28,238.00 claimed by Citytrust as 1983 income tax overpayment, taxes withheld on proceeds of
government securities investments, as well as on rental income, respectively, are not properly
documented; that assuming arguendo that petitioner is entitled to refund the right to claim the
same has prescribed with respect to income tax payments prior to August 28, 1984, pursuant to
Sections 292 and 295 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977, as amended, since the
petition was filed only on August 28, 1986. 5

On February 20, 1991, the case was submitted for decision based solely on the pleadings and
evidence submitted by herein private respondent Citytrust. Herein petitioner could not present
any evidence by reason of the repeated failure of the Tax Credit/Refund Division of the BIR to
transmit the records of the case, as well as the investigation report thereon, to the Solicitor
General. 6

However, on June 24, 1991, herein petitioner filed with the tax court a manifestation and motion
praying for the suspension of the proceedings in the said case on the ground that the claim of
Citytrust for tax refund in the amount of P19,971,745.00 was already being processed by the Tax
Credit/Refund Division of the BIR, and that said bureau was only awaiting the submission of
Citytrust of the required confirmation receipts which would show whether or not the aforestated
amount was actually paid and remitted to the BIR. 7

Citytrust filed an apposition thereto, contending that since the Court of Tax Appeals already
acquired jurisdiction over the case, it could no longer be divested of the same; and, further, that
the proceedings therein could not be suspended by the mere fact that the claim for refund was
being administratively processed, especially where the case had already been submitted for
decision. It also argued that the BIR had already conducted an audit, citing therefor Exhibits Y,
Y-1, Y-2, and Y-3 adduced in the case, which clearly showed that there was an overpayment of
income taxes and for which a tax credit or refund was due to Citytrust. The foregoing exhibits
are allegedly conclusive proof of and an admission by herein petitioner that there had been an
overpayment of income taxes. 8

The tax court denied the motion to suspend proceedings on the ground that the case had already
been submitted for decision since February 20, 1991. 9

Thereafter, said court rendered its decision in the case, the decretal portion of which
declares:chanrobles law library

"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, petitioners is entitled to a refund but only for the
overpaid taxes incurred in 1984 and 1985. The refundable amount as shown in its 1983 income
tax return is hereby denied on the ground of prescription. Respondent is hereby ordered to grant
a refund to petitioner Citytrust Banking Corp. in the amount of P13,314,506.14 representing the
overpaid income taxes for 1984 and 1985, recomputed as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1984 Income tax due P 4,715,533.00

Less: 1984 Quarterly

payments P16,214,599.00 *

1984 Tax Credits — W/T on

int. on gov’t. sec. 1,921,245.37 *

W/T on rental inc. 26,604.30 * 18,162,448.67

————— —————

Tax Overpayment P (13,446,915.67)

Less: FCDU payable 150,252.00

—————

Amount refundable for 1984 P (13,296,663.67)

1985 Income Tax due (loss) P - 0 -

Less: W/T on rentals 36,716.47 *

—————

Tax Overpayment (36,716.47) *

Less: FCDU payable 18,874.00

—————

Amount Refundable for 1985 P (17,842.47)

* Note:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

These credits are smaller than the claimed amount because only the above figures are well
supported by the various exhibits presented during the hearing.
No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED." 10

The order for refund was based on the following findings of the Court of Tax Appeals: (1) the
fact of withholding has been established by the statements and certificates of withholding taxes
accompanied by herein private respondent’s withholding agents, the authenticity of which were
neither disputed nor controverted by herein petitioner; (2) no evidence was presented which
could effectively dispute the correctness of the income tax return filed by herein respondent
corporation and other material facts stated therein; (3) no deficiency assessment was issued by
herein petitioner; and (4) there was an audit report submitted by the BIR Assessment Branch,
recommending the refund of overpaid taxes for the years concerned (Exhibits Y to Y-3), which
enjoys the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. 11

A motion for the reconsideration of said decisions was initially filed by the Solicitor General on
the sole ground that the statements and certificates of taxes allegedly withheld are not conclusive
evidence of actual payment and remittance of the taxes withheld to the BIR. 12 A supplemental
motion for reconsideration was thereafter filed, wherein it was contended for the first time that
herein private respondent had outstanding unpaid deficiency income taxes. Petitioner alleged that
through an inter-office memorandum of the Tax Credit/Refund Division, dated August 8, 1991,
he came to know only lately that Citytrust had outstanding tax liabilities for 1984 in the amount
of P56,588,740.91 representing deficiency income and business taxes covered by
Demand/Assessment Notice No. FAS-1-84-003291-003296. 13

Oppositions to both the basic and supplemental motions for reconsideration were filed by private
respondent Citytrust. 14 Thereafter, the Court of Tax Appeals issued a resolution denying both
motions for the reason that Section 52 (b) of the Tax Code, as implemented by Revenue
Regulation 6-85, only requires that the claim for tax credit or refund must show that the income
received was declared as part of the gross income, and that the fact of withholding was duly
established. Moreover, with regard to the argument raised in the supplemental motion for
reconsideration anent the deficiency tax assessment against herein petitioner, the tax court ruled
that since that matter was not raised in the pleadings, the same cannot be considered, invoking
therefor the salutary purpose of the omnibus motion rule which is to obviate multiplicity of
motions and to discourage dilatory pleadings. 15

As indicated at the outset, a petition for review was filed by herein petition with respondent
Court of Appeals which in due course promulgated its decision affirming the judgment of the
Court of Tax Appeals. Petitioner eventually elevated the case to this Court, maintaining that said
respondent court erred in affirming the grant of the claim for refund of Citytrust, considering
that, firstly, said private respondent failed to prove and substantiate its claim for such refund;
and, secondly, the bureau’s findings of deficiency income and business tax liabilities against
private respondent for the year 1984 bars such payment. 16

After a careful review of the records, we find that under the peculiar circumstances of this case,
the ends of substantial justice and public interest would be better subserved by the remand of this
case to the Court of Tax Appeals for further proceedings.chanrobles law library : red

It is the sense of this Court that the BIR, represented herein by petitioner Commissioner of
Internal Revenue, was denied its day in court by reason of the mistakes and/or negligence of its
officials and employees. It can readily be gleaned from the records that when it was herein
petitioner’s turn to present evidence, several postponements were sought by its counsel, the
Solicitor General, due to the unavailability of the necessary records which were not transmitted
by the Refund Audit Division of the BIR to said counsel, as well as the investigation report made
by the Banks/Financing and Insurance Division of the said bureau, despite repeated requests. 17
It was under such a predicament and in deference to the tax court that ultimately, said records
being still unavailable, herein petitioner’s counsel was constrained to submit the case for
decision on February 20, 1991 without presenting any evidence.

For that matter, the BIR officials and/or employees concerned also failed to heed the order of the
Court of Tax Appeals to remand the records to it pursuant to Section 2, Rule 7 of the Rules of the
Court of Tax Appeals which provides that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the
Commissioner of Customs shall certify and forward to the Court of Tax Appeals, within ten days
after filing his answer, all the records of the case in his possession, with the pages duly
numbered, and if the records are in separate folders, then the folders shall also be
numbered.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

The aforestated impasse came about due to the fact that, despite the filing of the aforementioned
initiatory petition in CTA Case No. 4099 with the Court of Tax Appeals, the Tax Refund
Division of the BIR still continued to act administratively on the claim for refund previously
filed therein, instead of forwarding the records of the case to the Court of Tax Appeals as
ordered. 18

It is a long and firmly settled rule of law that the Government is not bound by the errors
committed by its agents. 19 In the performance of its governmental functions, the State cannot be
estopped by the neglect of its agent and officers. Although the Government may generally be
estopped through the affirmative acts of public officers acting within their authority, their neglect
or omission of public duties as exemplified in this case will not and should not produce that
effect.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
Nowhere is the aforestated rule more true than in the field of taxation. 20 It is axiomatic that the
Government cannot and must not be estopped particularly in matters involving taxes. Taxes are
the lifeblood of the nation through which the government agencies continue to operate and with
which the State effects its functions for the welfare of its constituents. 21 The errors of certain
administrative officers should never be allowed to jeopardize the Government’s financial
position, 22 especially in the case at bar where the amount involves millions of pesos the
collection whereof, if justified, stands to be prejudiced just because of bureaucratic lethargy.

Further, it is also worth noting that the Court of Tax Appeals erred in denying petitioner’s
supplemental motion for reconsideration alleging and bringing to said court’s attention the
existence of the deficiency income and business tax assessment against Citytrust. The fact of
such deficiency assessment is intimately related to and inextricably intertwined with the right of
respondent bank to claim for a tax refund for the same year. To award such refund despite the
existence of that deficiency assessment is an absurdity and a polarity in conceptual effects.
Herein private respondent cannot be entitled to refund and at the same time be liable for a tax
deficiency assessment for the same year.

The grant of a refund is founded on the assumption that the tax return is valid, that is, the facts
stated therein are true and correct. The deficiency assessment, although not yet final, created a
doubt as to and constitutes a challenge against the truth and accuracy of the facts stated in said
return which, by itself and without unquestionable evidence, cannot be the basis for the grant of
the refund.chanrobles law library

Section 82, Chapter IX of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977, which was the applicable
law when the claim of Citytrust was filed, provides that" (w)hen an assessment is made in case
of any list, statement, or return, which in the opinion of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue
was false or fraudulent or contained any understatement or undervaluation, no tax collected
under such assessment shall be recovered by any suits unless it is proved that the said list,
statement, or return was not false nor fraudulent and did not contain any understatement or
undervaluation; but this provision shall not apply to statements or returns made or to be made in
good faith regarding annual depreciation of oil or gas wells and mines."cralaw virtua1aw library

Moreover, to grant the refund without determination of the proper assessment and the tax due
would inevitably result in multiplicity of proceedings or suits. If the deficiency assessment
should subsequently be upheld, the Government will be forced to institute anew a proceeding for
the recovery of erroneously refunded taxes which recourse must be filed within the prescriptive
period of ten years after discovery of the falsity, fraud or omission in the false or fraudulent
return involved. 23 This would necessarily require and entail additional efforts and expenses on
the part of the Government, impose a burden on a drain of government funds, and impede or
delay the collection of much-needed revenue for governmental operations.chanrobles lawlibrary
: rednad

Thus, to avoid multiplicity of suits and unnecessary difficulties or expenses, it is both logically
necessary and legally appropriate that the issue of the deficiency tax assessment against Citytrust
be resolved jointly with its claim for tax refund, to determine once and for all in a single
proceeding the true and correct amount of tax due or refundable.

In fact, as the Court of Tax Appeals itself has heretofore conceded, 24 it would be only just and
fair that the taxpayer and the Government alike be given equal opportunities to avail of remedies
under the law to defeat each other’s claim and to determine all matters of dispute between them
is one single case. It is important to note that in determining whether or not petitioner is entitled
to determine how much the Government is entitled to collect as taxes. This would necessarily
include the determination of the correct liability of the taxpayer and, certainly, a determination of
this case would constitute res judicata on both parties as to all the matters subject thereof or
necessarily involved therein.

The Court cannot end this adjudication without observing that what caused the Government to
lose its case in the tax court may hopefully be ascribed merely to the ennui or ineptitude of
officialdom, and not to syndicate intent or corruption. The evidential cul-de-sac in which the
Solicitor General found himself once again gives substance to the public perception and
suspicion that it is another proverbial tip in the iceberg of venality in a government bureau which
is pejoratively rated over the years. What is so distressing, aside from the financial losses to the
Government, is the erosion of trust in a vital institution wherein the reputations of so many
honest and dedicated workers are besmirched by the acts or omissions of a few. Hence, the
liberal view we have here taken pro hac vice, which may give some degree of assurance that this
Court will unhesitatingly react to any bane in the government service, with a replication of such
response being likewise expected by the people from the executive
authorities.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

WHEREFORE, the judgment of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 26839 is


hereby SET ASIDE and the case at bar is REMANDED to the Court of Tax Appeals for further
proceedings and appropriate action, more particularly, the reception of evidence for petitioner
and the corresponding disposition of CTA Case No. 4099 not otherwise inconsistent with out
adjudgment herein.

Laguna Lake Development Authority vs CA


1. Administrative Law; Sec. 16 E.O. 192; A Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) under the
office of DENR Secretary now assumes the powers and functions of the National Pollution
Control Commission with respect to adjudication of pollution cases.-

The matter of determining whether there is such pollution of the environment that requires
control, if not prohibition, of the operation of a business establishment is essentially addressed to
the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR which, by virtue of Section 16 of
Executive Order No. 192, series of 1987, has assumed the powers and functions of the defunct
National Pollution Control Commission created under Republic Act No. 3931. Under said
Executive Order, a Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) under the Office of the DENR Secretary
now assumes the powers and functions of the National Pollution Control Commission with
respect to adjudication of pollution cases.

2. Administrative Law; Sec. 16 E.O. 192; Adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to
the PAB except where the special law provides for another forum; LLDA as a special charter has
responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region from the deleterious effects of
pollutants emanating from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas.-

As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the Pollution
Adjudication Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides for another forum. It
must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a specialized administrative agency, is
specifically mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws to carry out and
make effective the declared national policy of promoting and accelerating the development and
balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna
and the cities of San Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan with due regard and adequate
provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of human life
and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and
pollution. Under such a broad grant of power and authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its special
charter, obviously has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region
from the deleterious effects of pollutants emanating from the discharge of wastes from the
surrounding areas. In carrying out the aforementioned declared policy, the LLDA is mandated,
among others, to pass upon and approve or disapprove all plans, programs, and projects proposed
by local government offices/agencies within the region, public corporations, and private persons
or enterprises where such plans, programs and/or projects are related to those of the LLDA for
the development of the region.

3. Administrative Law; Sec. 16 E.O. 192; LLDA has the power and authority to issue a “cease
and desist” order under RA. 4850 and its amendatory laws.-

Having thus resolved the threshold question, the inquiry then narrows down to the following
issue: Does the LLDA have the power and authority to issue a “cease and desist” order under
Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws, on the basis of the facts presented in this case,
enjoining the dumping of garbage in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City. The
irresistible answer is in the affirmative.

4. Administrative Law; Sec. 16 E.O. 192; Same.-

The cease and desist order issued by the LLDA requiring the City Government of Caloocan to
stop dumping its garbage in the Camarin open dumpsite found by the LLDA to have been done
in violation of Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, and other relevant environment laws, cannot
be stamped as an unauthorized exercise by the LLDA of injunctive powers. By its express terms,
Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983, authorizes the LLDA to “make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of
pollution.” (Italics for emphasis) Section 4, par. (d) explicitly authorizes the LLDA to make
whatever order may be necessary in the exercise of its jurisdiction.

5. Administrative Law; Sec. 16 E.O. 192; The power to make, alter or modify orders requiring
the discontinuance of pollution is also expressly bestowed upon LLDA by E.O. No. 927, series
of 1983.-

To be sure, the LLDA was not expressly conferred the power “to issue an ex-parte cease and
desist order” in a language, as suggested by the City Government of Caloocan, similar to the
express grant to the defunct National Pollution Control Commission under Section 7 of P.D. No.
984 which, admittedly was not reproduced in P.D. No. 813 and E.O. No. 927, series of 1983.
However, it would be a mistake to draw therefrom the conclusion that there is a denial of the
power to issue the order in question when the power “to make, alter or modify orders requiring
the discontinuance of pollution” is expressly and clearly bestowed upon the LLDA by Executive
Order No. 927, series of 1983.

6. Administrative Law; While it is a fundamental rule that an administrative agency has only
such powers as are expressly granted to it by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an
administrative agency has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its
express powers.-

Assuming arguendo that the authority to issue a “cease and desist order” were not expressly
conferred by law, there is jurisprudence enough to the effect that the rule granting such authority
need not necessarily be express. While it is a fundamental rule that an administrative agency has
only such powers as are expressly granted to it by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an
administrative agency has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its
express powers In the exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its charter, as a regulatory
and quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority
of the LLDA to issue a “cease and desist order” is, perforce, implied Otherwise, it may well be
reduced to a “toothless” paper agency.
7. Administrative Law; PAB has the power to issue an ex-parte cease and desist order when there
is prima facie evidence of an establishment exceeding the allowable standards set by the anti-
pollution laws of the country.-

In this connection, it must be noted that in Pollution Adjudication Board v. Court of Appeals, et
al., the Court ruled that the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has the power to issue an ex-
parte cease and desist order when there is prima facie evidence of an establishment exceeding the
allowable standards set by the anti-pollution laws of the country.

8. Administrative Law; The relevant Pollution control statute and implementing regulations were
enacted and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive sovereign power to protect the safety,
health and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as the protection of plant and
animal life commonly designated as the police power.-

“Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations like that here
presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of pollutive and untreated
effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the Philippines cannot be made to wait until
protracted litigation over the ultimate correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full
course, including multiple and sequential appeals such as those which Solar has taken, which of
course may take several years. The relevant pollution control statute and implementing
regulations were enacted and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to
protect the safety, health, and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as the protection
of plant and animal life, commonly designated as the police power. It is a constitu- tional
commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due process yield to the necessities of
protecting vital public interests like those here involved, through the exercise of police power. x
x x”

9. Administrative Law; International Law; The Philippines is a party to the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and The Alma Conference Declaration of 1978 which recognize health as a
fundamental human right.-

As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries the correlative duty of non-
impairment. This is but in consonance with the declared policy of the state “to protect and
promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.” It is to be
borne in mind that the Philippines is party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
Alma Conference Declaration of 1978 which recognize health as a fundamental human right.

10. Administrative Law; The issuance of cease and desist order by the LLDA is the proper
exercise of its power and authority under its charter and its amendatory laws.-

The issuance, therefore, of the cease and desist order by the LLDA, as a practical matter of
procedure under the. circumstances of the case, is a proper exercise of its power and authority
under its charter and its amendatory laws. Had the cease and desist order issued by the LLDA
been complied with by the City Government of Caloocan as it did in the first instance, no further
legal steps would have been necessary.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS,


HON. MANUEL JN. SERAPIO, Presiding Judge RTC, Branch 127, Caloocan City, HON.
MACARIO A. ASISTIO, JR., City Mayor of Caloocan and/or THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF
CALOOCAN, Respondents.

Alberto N. Hidalgo and Ma. Teresa T. Oledan for petitioner.chanrobles virtual law library

The City Legal Officer & Chief, Law Department for Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. and the City
Government of Caloocan.

ROMERO, J.:

The clash between the responsibility of the City Government of Caloocan to dispose off the 350
tons of garbage it collects daily and the growing concern and sensitivity to a pollution-free
environment of the residents of Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City where these tons
of garbage are dumped everyday is the hub of this controversy elevated by the protagonists to the
Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for
adjudication.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The instant case stemmed from an earlier petition filed with this Court by Laguna Lake
Development Authority (LLDA for short) docketed as G.R.
No. 107542 against the City Government of Caloocan, et al. In the Resolution of November 10,
1992, this Court referred G.R. No. 107542 to the Court of Appeals for appropriate disposition.
Docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP
No. 29449, the Court of Appeals, in a decision 1promulgated on January 29, 1993 ruled that the
LLDA has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist order enjoining the dumping of
garbage in Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City. The LLDA now seeks, in this
petition, a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

The facts, as disclosed in the records, are undisputed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles


virtual law library

On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City, filed a letter-complaint2with the Laguna Lake Development Authority
seeking to stop the operation of the 8.6-hectare open garbage dumpsite in Tala Estate, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City due to its harmful effects on the health of the residents and the
possibility of pollution of the water content of the surrounding
area.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On November 15, 1991, the LLDA conducted an on-site investigation, monitoring and test
sampling of the leachate 3that seeps from said dumpsite to the nearby creek which is a tributary
of the Marilao River. The LLDA Legal and Technical personnel found that the City Government
of Caloocan was maintaining an open dumpsite at the Camarin area without first securing an
Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau
(EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as required under Presidential
Decree No. 1586, 4and clearance from LLDA as required under Republic Act No. 4850, 5as
amended by Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983. 6chanrobles virtual law library

After a public hearing conducted on December 4, 1991, the LLDA, acting on the complaint of
Task Force Camarin Dumpsite, found that the water collected from the leachate and the
receiving streams could considerably affect the quality, in turn, of the receiving waters since it
indicates the presence of bacteria, other than coliform, which may have contaminated the sample
during collection or handling. 7On December 5, 1991, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist
Order 8ordering the City Government of Caloocan, Metropolitan Manila Authority, their
contractors, and other entities, to completely halt, stop and desist from dumping any form or kind
of garbage and other waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

The dumping operation was forthwith stopped by the City Government of Caloocan. However,
sometime in August 1992 the dumping operation was resumed after a meeting held in July 1992
among the City Government of Caloocan, the representatives of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite
and LLDA at the Office of Environmental Management Bureau Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes
failed to settle the problem.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

After an investigation by its team of legal and technical personnel on August 14, 1992, the
LLDA issued another order reiterating the December 5, 1991, order and issued an Alias Cease
and Desist Order enjoining the City Government of Caloocan from continuing its dumping
operations at the Camarin area.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On September 25, 1992, the LLDA, with the assistance of the Philippine National Police,
enforced its Alias Cease and Desist Order by prohibiting the entry of all garbage dump trucks
into the Tala Estate, Camarin area being utilized as a
dumpsite.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Pending resolution of its motion for reconsideration earlier filed on September 17, 1992 with the
LLDA, the City Government of Caloocan filed with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City
an action for the declaration of nullity of the cease and desist order with prayer for the issuance
of writ of injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. C-15598. In its complaint, the City Government
of Caloocan sought to be declared as the sole authority empowered to promote the health and
safety and enhance the right of the people in Caloocan City to a balanced ecology within its
territorial jurisdiction. 9chanrobles virtual law library

On September 25, 1992, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City
issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the LLDA from enforcing its cease and desist
order. Subsequently, the case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 126 of Caloocan
which, at the time, was presided over by Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 127, the pairing judge of the recently-retired presiding
judge.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The LLDA, for its part, filed on October 2, 1992 a motion to dismiss on the ground, among
others, that under Republic Act No. 3931, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 984, otherwise
known as the Pollution Control Law, the cease and desist order issued by it which is the subject
matter of the complaint is reviewable both upon the law and the facts of the case by the Court of
Appeals and not by the Regional Trial Court. 10chanrobles virtual law library

On October 12, 1992 Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio issued an order consolidating Civil Case No. C-
15598 with Civil Case No. C-15580, an earlier case filed by the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite
entitled "Fr. John Moran, et al. vs. Hon. Macario Asistio." The LLDA, however, maintained
during the trial that the foregoing cases, being independent of each other, should have been
treated separately.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On October 16, 1992, Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, after hearing the motion to dismiss, issued in
the consolidated cases an order 11denying LLDA's motion to dismiss and granting the issuance
of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the LLDA, its agent and all persons acting for and
on its behalf, from enforcing or implementing its cease and desist order which prevents plaintiff
City of Caloocan from dumping garbage at the Camarin dumpsite during the pendency of this
case and/or until further orders of the court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

On November 5, 1992, the LLDA filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with
prayer for restraining order with the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R. No. 107542, seeking to
nullify the aforesaid order dated October 16, 1992 issued by the Regional Trial Court, Branch
127 of Caloocan City denying its motion to dismiss.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

The Court, acting on the petition, issued a Resolution 12on November 10, 1992 referring the case
to the Court of Appeals for proper disposition and at the same time, without giving due course to
the petition, required the respondents to comment on the petition and file the same with the Court
of Appeals within ten (10) days from notice. In the meantime, the Court issued a temporary
restraining order, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from it, ordering the
respondents: (1) Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 127,
Caloocan City to cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction over the case for declaration of
nullity of the cease and desist order issued by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA);
and (2) City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist
from dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan
City.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Respondents City Government of Caloocan and Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. filed on
November 12, 1992 a motion for reconsideration and/or to quash/recall the temporary restraining
order and an urgent motion for reconsideration alleging that ". . . in view of the calamitous
situation that would arise if the respondent city government fails to collect 350 tons of garbage
daily for lack of dumpsite (i)t is therefore, imperative that the issue be resolved with dispatch or
with sufficient leeway to allow the respondents to find alternative solutions to this garbage
problem."chanrobles virtual law library

On November 17, 1992, the Court issued a Resolution 13directing the Court of Appeals to
immediately set the case for hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not the temporary
restraining order issued by the Court should be lifted and what conditions, if any, may be
required if it is to be so lifted or whether the restraining order should be maintained or converted
into a preliminary injunction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Court of Appeals set the case for hearing on November 27, 1992, at 10:00 in the morning at
the Hearing Room, 3rd Floor, New Building, Court of Appeals. 14After the oral argument, a
conference was set on December 8, 1992 at 10:00 o'clock in the morning where the Mayor of
Caloocan City, the General Manager of LLDA, the Secretary of DENR or his duly authorized
representative and the Secretary of DILG or his duly authorized representative were required to
appear.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It was agreed at the conference that the LLDA had until December 15, 1992 to finish its study
and review of respondent's technical plan with respect to the dumping of its garbage and in the
event of a rejection of respondent's technical plan or a failure of settlement, the parties will
submit within 10 days from notice their respective memoranda on the merits of the case, after
which the petition shall be deemed submitted for resolution. 15Notwithstanding such efforts, the
parties failed to settle the dispute.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On April 30, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision holding that: (1) the Regional
Trial Court has no jurisdiction on appeal to try, hear and decide the action for annulment of
LLDA's cease and desist order, including the issuance of a temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction in relation thereto, since appeal therefrom is within the exclusive and
appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals under Section 9, par. (3), of Batas Pambansa Blg.
129; and (2) the Laguna Lake Development Authority has no power and authority to issue a
cease and desist order under its enabling law, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No.
813 and Executive Order
No. 927, series of 1983.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Court of Appeals thus dismissed Civil Case No. 15598 and the preliminary injunction issued
in the said case was set aside; the cease and desist order of LLDA was likewise set aside and the
temporary restraining order enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government
of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin,
Caloocan City was lifted, subject, however, to the condition that any future dumping of garbage
in said area, shall be in conformity with the procedure and protective works contained in the
proposal attached to the records of this case and found on pages 152-160 of the Rollo, which was
thereby adopted by reference and made an integral part of the decision, until the corresponding
restraining and/or injunctive relief is granted by the proper Court upon LLDA's institution of the
necessary legal proceedings.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Hence, the Laguna Lake Development Authority filed the instant petition for review
on certiorari, now docketed as G.R. No. 110120, with prayer that the temporary restraining order
lifted by the Court of Appeals be re-issued until after final determination by this Court of the
issue on the proper interpretation of the powers and authority of the LLDA under its enabling
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On July, 19, 1993, the Court issued a temporary restraining order16enjoining the City Mayor of
Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage
at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, effective as of this date and containing
until otherwise ordered by the Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It is significant to note that while both parties in this case agree on the need to protect the
environment and to maintain the ecological balance of the surrounding areas of the Camarin
open dumpsite, the question as to which agency can lawfully exercise jurisdiction over the matter
remains highly open to question.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The City Government of Caloocan claims that it is within its power, as a local government unit,
pursuant to the general welfare provision of the Local Government Code, 17 to determine the
effects of the operation of the dumpsite on the ecological balance and to see that such balance is
maintained. On the basis of said contention, it questioned, from the inception of the dispute
before the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, the power and authority of the LLDA to issue
a cease and desist order enjoining the dumping of garbage in the Barangay Camarin over which
the City Government of Caloocan has territorial
jurisdiction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Court of Appeals sustained the position of the City of Caloocan on the theory that Section 7
of Presidential Decree No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution Control law, authorizing the
defunct National Pollution Control Commission to issue an ex-parte cease and desist order was
not incorporated in Presidential Decree No. 813 nor in Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983. The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act No. 4850, as
amended, the LLDA is instead required "to institute the necessary legal proceeding against any
person who shall commence to implement or continue implementation of any project, plan or
program within the Laguna de Bay region without previous clearance from the
Authority."chanrobles virtual law library

The LLDA now assails, in this partition for review, the abovementioned ruling of the Court of
Appeals, contending that, as an administrative agency which was granted regulatory and
adjudicatory powers and functions by Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws,
Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, it is invested with the
power and authority to issue a cease and desist order pursuant to Section 4 par. (c), (d), (e), (f)
and (g) of Executive Order No. 927 series of 1983 which provides, thus:

Sec. 4. Additional Powers and Functions. The authority shall have the following powers and
functions:

xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library

(c) Issue orders or decisions to compel compliance with the provisions of this Executive Order
and its implementing rules and regulations only after proper notice and
hearing.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

(d) Make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of pollution specifying the
conditions and the time within which such discontinuance must be
accomplished.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

(e) Issue, renew, or deny permits, under such conditions as it may determine to be reasonable, for
the prevention and abatement of pollution, for the discharge of sewage, industrial waste, or for
the installation or operation of sewage works and industrial disposal system or parts
thereof.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

(f) After due notice and hearing, the Authority may also revoke, suspend or modify any permit
issued under this Order whenever the same is necessary to prevent or abate
pollution.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

(g) Deputize in writing or request assistance of appropriate government agencies or


instrumentalities for the purpose of enforcing this Executive Order and its implementing rules
and regulations and the orders and decisions of the Authority.

The LLDA claims that the appellate court deliberately suppressed and totally disregarded the
above provisions of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, which granted administrative
quasi-judicial functions to LLDA on pollution abatement
cases.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In light of the relevant environmental protection laws cited which are applicable in this case, and
the corresponding overlapping jurisdiction of government agencies implementing these laws, the
resolution of the issue of whether or not the LLDA has the authority and power to issue an order
which, in its nature and effect was injunctive, necessarily requires a determination of the
threshold question: Does the Laguna Lake Development Authority, under its Charter and its
amendatory laws, have the authority to entertain the complaint against the dumping of garbage in
the open dumpsite in Barangay Camarin authorized by the City Government of Caloocan which
is allegedly endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the residents therein and the sanitation
and quality of the water in the area brought about by exposure to pollution caused by such open
garbage dumpsite?chanrobles virtual law library

The matter of determining whether there is such pollution of the environment that requires
control, if not prohibition, of the operation of a business establishment is essentially addressed to
the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR which, by virtue of Section 16 of
Executive Order No. 192, series of 1987, 18has assumed the powers and functions of the defunct
National Pollution Control Commission created under Republic Act No. 3931. Under said
Executive Order, a Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) under the Office of the DENR Secretary
now assumes the powers and functions of the National Pollution Control Commission with
respect to adjudication of pollution cases. 19chanrobles virtual law library

As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the Pollution
Adjudication Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides for another forum. It
must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a specialized administrative agency, is
specifically mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws to carry out and
make effective the declared national policy 20of promoting and accelerating the development
and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and
Laguna and the cities of San Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan 21with due regard and
adequate provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of
human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances,
deterioration and pollution. Under such a broad grant and power and authority, the LLDA, by
virtue of its special charter, obviously has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the
Laguna Lake region from the deleterious effects of pollutants emanating from the discharge of
wastes from the surrounding areas. In carrying out the aforementioned declared policy, the
LLDA is mandated, among others, to pass upon and approve or disapprove all plans, programs,
and projects proposed by local government offices/agencies within the region, public
corporations, and private persons or enterprises where such plans, programs and/or projects are
related to those of the LLDA for the development of the region. 22chanrobles virtual law library

In the instant case, when the complainant Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of Lourdes
Parish, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed its letter-complaint before the LLDA, the latter's
jurisdiction under its charter was validly invoked by complainant on the basis of its allegation
that the open dumpsite project of the City Government of Caloocan in Barangay Camarin was
undertaken without a clearance from the LLDA, as required under Section 4, par. (d), of
Republic Act. No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927. While there
is also an allegation that the said project was without an Environmental Compliance Certificate
from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR, the primary jurisdiction of
the LLDA over this case was recognized by the Environmental Management Bureau of the
DENR when the latter acted as intermediary at the meeting among the representatives of the City
Government of Caloocan, Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA sometime in July 1992 to
discuss the possibility of
re-opening the open dumpsite.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Having thus resolved the threshold question, the inquiry then narrows down to the following
issue: Does the LLDA have the power and authority to issue a "cease and desist" order under
Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws, on the basis of the facts presented in this case,
enjoining the dumping of garbage in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan
City.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The irresistible answer is in the affirmative.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law


library

The cease and desist order issued by the LLDA requiring the City Government of Caloocan to
stop dumping its garbage in the Camarin open dumpsite found by the LLDA to have been done
in violation of Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, and other relevant environment
laws, 23cannot be stamped as an unauthorized exercise by the LLDA of injunctive powers. By
its express terms, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No.
927, series of 1983, authorizes the LLDA to "make, alter or modify order requiring the
discontinuance or pollution." 24(Emphasis supplied) Section 4, par. (d) explicitly authorizes the
LLDA to make whatever order may be necessary in the exercise of its
jurisdiction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

To be sure, the LLDA was not expressly conferred the power "to issue and ex-parte cease and
desist order" in a language, as suggested by the City Government of Caloocan, similar to the
express grant to the defunct National Pollution Control Commission under Section 7 of P.D. No.
984 which, admittedly was not reproduced in P.D. No. 813 and E.O. No. 927, series of 1983.
However, it would be a mistake to draw therefrom the conclusion that there is a denial of the
power to issue the order in question when the power "to make, alter or modify orders requiring
the discontinuance of pollution" is expressly and clearly bestowed upon the LLDA by Executive
Order No. 927, series of 1983.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Assuming arguendo that the authority to issue a "cease and desist order" were not expressly
conferred by law, there is jurisprudence enough to the effect that the rule granting such authority
need not necessarily be express. 25While it is a fundamental rule that an administrative agency
has only such powers as are expressly granted to it by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an
administrative agency has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its
express powers. 26In the exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its charter as a
regulatory and quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the
authority of the LLDA to issue a "cease and desist order" is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it may
well be reduced to a "toothless" paper agency.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

In this connection, it must be noted that in Pollution Adjudication Board v.Court of Appeals, et
al., 27the Court ruled that the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has the power to issue an ex-
parte cease and desist order when there is prima facie evidence of an establishment exceeding the
allowable standards set by the anti-pollution laws of the country. Theponente, Associate Justice
Florentino P. Feliciano, declared:

Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations like that here
presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of pollutive and untreated
effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the Philippines cannot be made to wait until
protracted litigation over the ultimate correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full
course, including multiple and sequential appeals such as those which Solar has taken, which of
course may take several years. The relevant pollution control statute and implementing
regulations were enacted and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to
protect the safety, health, and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as the protection
of plant and animal life, commonly designated as the police power. It is a constitutional
commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due process yield to the necessities of
protecting vital public interests like those here involved, through the exercise of police power. . .
.

The immediate response to the demands of "the necessities of protecting vital public interests"
gives vitality to the statement on ecology embodied in the Declaration of Principles and State
Policies or the 1987 Constitution. Article II, Section 16 which provides:

The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in
accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries the correlative duty of non-
impairment. This is but in consonance with the declared policy of the state "to protect and
promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them." 28It is to
be borne in mind that the Philippines is party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
the Alma Conference Declaration of 1978 which recognize health as a fundamental human
right. 29chanrobles virtual law library

The issuance, therefore, of the cease and desist order by the LLDA, as a practical matter of
procedure under the circumstances of the case, is a proper exercise of its power and authority
under its charter and its amendatory laws. Had the cease and desist order issued by the LLDA
been complied with by the City Government of Caloocan as it did in the first instance, no further
legal steps would have been necessary.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The charter of LLDA, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, instead of conferring upon the
LLDA the means of directly enforcing such orders, has provided under its Section 4 (d) the
power to institute "necessary legal proceeding against any person who shall commence to
implement or continue implementation of any project, plan or program within the Laguna de Bay
region without previous clearance from the LLDA."chanrobles virtual law library

Clearly, said provision was designed to invest the LLDA with sufficiently broad powers in the
regulation of all projects initiated in the Laguna Lake region, whether by the government or the
private sector, insofar as the implementation of these projects is concerned. It was meant to deal
with cases which might possibly arise where decisions or orders issued pursuant to the exercise
of such broad powers may not be obeyed, resulting in the thwarting of its laudabe objective. To
meet such contingencies, then the writs of mandamus and injunction which are beyond the power
of the LLDA to issue, may be sought from the proper
courts.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Insofar as the implementation of relevant anti-pollution laws in the Laguna Lake region and its
surrounding provinces, cities and towns are concerned, the Court will not dwell further on the
related issues raised which are more appropriately addressed to an administrative agency with
the special knowledge and expertise of the LLDA.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The temporary restraining order issued by the Court
on July 19, 1993 enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan
from dumping their garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City is hereby made
permanent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Echegaray vs Secretary of Justice

LEO ECHEGARAY y PILO, Petitioner, v. THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE and THE


DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS, THE EXECUTIVE JUDGE OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY AND THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 104, Respondents.

DECISION

PER CURIAM:
On June 25, 1996, this Court affirmed1 the conviction of petitioner Leo Echegaray y Pilo for the
crime of rape of the 10 year-old daughter of his common-law spouse and the imposition upon
him of the death penalty for the said crime.

Petitioner duly filed a Motion for Reconsideration raising mainly factual issues, and on its heels,
a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration raising for the first time the issue of the
constitutionality of Republic Act No. 76592 (the death penalty law) and the imposition of the
death penalty for the crime of rape.

On February 7, 1998, this Court denied3 petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration and
Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration with a finding that Congress duly complied with the
requirements for the reimposition of the death penalty and therefore the death penalty law is not
unconstitutional.

In the meantime, Congress had seen it fit to change the mode of execution of the death penalty
from electrocution to lethal injection,4 and passed Republic Act No. 8177, AN ACT
DESIGNATING DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION AS THE METHOD OF CARRYING
OUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ARTICLE 81 OF THE
REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 24 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO.
7659.5Pursuant to the provisions of said law, the Secretary of Justice promulgated the Rules and
Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 ("implementing rules")6 and directed the
Director of the Bureau of Corrections to prepare the Lethal Injection
Manual.7cräläwvirtualibräry

On March 2, 1998, petitioner filed a Petition8 for Prohibition, Injunction and/or Temporary
Restraining Order to enjoin respondents Secretary of Justice and Director of the Bureau of
Prisons from carrying out the execution by lethal injection of petitioner under R.A. No. 8177 and
its implementing rules as these are unconstitutional and void for being: (a) cruel, degrading and
inhuman punishment per se as well as by reason of its being (b) arbitrary, unreasonable and a
violation of due process, (c) a violation of the Philippines' obligations under international
covenants, (d) an undue delegation of legislative power by Congress, (e) an unlawful exercise by
respondent Secretary of the power to legislate, and (f) an unlawful delegation of delegated
powers by the Secretary of Justice to respondent Director.

On March 3, 1998, Petitioner, through counsel, filed a Motion for Leave of Court9 to Amend and
Supplement Petition with the Amended and Supplemental Petition10 attached thereto, invoking
the additional ground of violation of equal protection, and impleading the Executive Judge of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City and the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 104, in order to enjoin said public respondents from acting under the questioned rules by
setting a date for petitioner's execution.

On March 3, 1998, the Court resolved, without giving due course to the petition, to require the
respondents to COMMENT thereon within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice,
and directed the parties "to MAINTAIN the status quo prevailing at the time of the filing of this
petition."

On March 10, 1998, the Court granted the Motion for Leave of Court to Amend and Supplement
Petition, and required respondents to COMMENT thereon within ten (10) days from notice.

On March 16, 1998, petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion (1) To clarify Status Quo Order, and
(2) For the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order expressly enjoining public respondents
from taking any action to carry out petitioner's execution until the petition is resolved.

On March 16, 1998, the Office of the Solicitor General11 filed a Comment (On the Petition and
the Amended Supplemental Petition)12 stating that (1) this Court has already upheld the
constitutionality of the Death Penalty Law, and has repeatedly declared that the death penalty is
not cruel, unjust, excessive or unusual punishment; (2) execution by lethal injection, as
authorized under R.A. No. 8177 and the questioned rules, is constitutional, lethal injection being
the most modern, more humane, more economical, safer and easier to apply (than electrocution
or the gas chamber); (3) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsdoes not
expressly or impliedly prohibit the imposition of the death penalty; (4) R.A. No. 8177 properly
delegated legislative power to respondent Director; and that (5) R.A. No. 8177 confers the power
to promulgate the implementing rules to the Secretary of Justice, Secretary of Health and the
Bureau of Corrections.

On March 17, 1998, the Court required the petitioner to file a REPLY thereto within a non-
extendible period of ten days from notice.

On March 25, 1998, the Commission on Human Rights13 filed a Motion for Leave of Court to
Intervene and/or Appear as Amicus Curiae14 with the attached Petition to Intervene and/or
Appear as Amicus Curiae15 alleging that the death penalty imposed under R.A. No. 7659 which
is to be implemented by R.A. No. 8177 is cruel, degrading and outside the limits of civil society
standards, and further invoking (a) Article II, Section 11 of the Constitution which provides:
"The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human
rights."; (b) Article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that
"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person," and Article V thereof, which
states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment."; (c) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular, Article
6 thereof, and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights Aiming At The Abolition of the Death Penalty; (d) Amnesty International statistics
showing that as of October 1996, 58 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 15
countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes, and 26 countries are
abolitionists de facto, which means that they have retained the death penalty for ordinary crimes
but are considered abolitionists in practice that they have not executed anyone during the past ten
(10) years or more, or in that they have made an international commitment not to carry out
executions, for a total of 99 countries which are total abolitionists in law or practice, and 95
countries as retentionists;16 and (e) Pope John Paul II's encyclical, "Evangelium Vitae." In a
Resolution dated April 3, 1998, the Court duly noted the motion.

On March 27, 1998, petitioner filed a Reply17 stating that (1) this Court is not barred from
exercising judicial review over the death penalty per se, the death penalty for rape and lethal
injection as a mode of carrying out the death penalty; (2) capital punishment is a cruel, degrading
and inhuman punishment; (3) lethal injection is cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment, and
that being the "most modern" does not make it less cruel or more humane, and that the Solicitor
General's "aesthetic" criteria is short-sighted, and that the lethal injection is not risk free nor is it
easier to implement; and (4) the death penalty violates the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights considering that the Philippines participated in the deliberations of and voted for
the Second Optional Protocol.

After deliberating on the pleadings, the Court gave due course to the petition, which it now
resolves on the merits.

In the Amended and Supplemental Petition, petitioner assails the constitutionality of the mode of
carrying out his death sentence by lethal injection on the following grounds:18

I.

DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING A CRUEL,


DEGRADING AND INHUMAN PUNISHMENT.

II.

THE DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND


POLITICAL RIGHTS, WHICH IS PART OF THE LAW OF THE LAND.

III.

LETHAL INJECTION, AS AUTHORIZED UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 AND THE
QUESTIONED RULES, IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT IS AN UNNECESSARY
AND WANTON INFLICTION OF PAIN ON A PERSON AND IS, THUS, A CRUEL,
DEGRADING, AND INHUMAN PUNISHMENT.

IV.

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 UNDULY DELEGATES LEGISLATIVE POWER TO


RESPONDENT DIRECTOR.

V.
RESPONDENT SECRETARY UNLAWFULLY DELEGATED THE LEGISLATIVE
POWERS DELEGATED TO HIM UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 TO RESPONDENT
DIRECTOR.

VI.

RESPONDENT SECRETARY EXCEEDED THE AUTHORITY DELEGATED TO HIM


UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 AND UNLAWFULLY USURPED THE POWER TO
LEGISLATE IN PROMULGATING THE QUESTIONED RULES.

VII.

SECTION 17 OF THE QUESTIONED RULES IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING


DISCRIMINATORY AS WELL AS FOR BEING AN INVALID EXERCISE BY
RESPONDENT SECRETARY OF THE POWER TO LEGISLATE.

VIII.

INJUCTION MUST ISSUE TO PREVENT IRREPARABLE DAMAGE AND INJURY TO


PETITIONER'S RIGHTS BY REASON OF THE EXISTENCE, OPERATION AND
IMPLEMENTATION OF AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL STATUTE AND EQUALLY
INVALID AND IMPLEMENTING RULES.

Concisely put, petitioner argues that R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules do not pass
constitutional muster for: (a) violation of the constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading
or inhuman punishment, (b) violation of our international treaty obligations, (c) being an undue
delegation of legislative power, and (d) being discriminatory.

The Court shall now proceed to discuss these issues in seriatim.

I. LETHAL INJECTION, NOT CRUEL, DEGRADING OR INHUMAN PUNISHMENT


UNDER SECTION 19, ARTICLE III OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

The main challenge to R.A. 8177 and its implementing rules is anchored on Article III, Section
19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution which proscribes the imposition of "cruel, degrading or inhuman"
punishment. "The prohibition in the Philippine Bill against cruel and unusual punishments is an
Anglo-Saxon safeguard against governmental oppression of the subject, which made its first
appearance in the reign of William and Mary of England in 'An Act declaring the rights and
liberties of the subject, and settling the succession of the crown,' passed in the year 1689. It has
been incorporated into the Constitution of the United States (of America) and into most
constitutions of the various States in substantially the same language as that used in the original
statute. The exact language of the Constitution of the United States is used in the Philippine
Bill."19 "The counterpart of Section 19 (1) in the 1935 Constitution reads: 'Excessive fines shall
not be imposed, nor cruel and inhuman punishment inflicted.' xxx In the 1973 Constitution the
phrase became 'cruel or unusual punishment.' The Bill of Rights Committee of the 1986
Constitutional Commission read the 1973 modification as prohibiting 'unusual' punishment even
if not 'cruel.' It was thus seen as an obstacle to experimentation in penology. Consequently, the
Committee reported out the present text which prohibits 'cruel, degrading or inhuman
punishment' as more consonant with the meaning desired and with jurisprudence on the
subject."20cräläwvirtualibräry

Petitioner contends that death by lethal injection constitutes cruel, degrading and inhuman
punishment considering that (1) R.A. No. 8177 fails to provide for the drugs to be used in
carrying out lethal injection, the dosage for each drug to be administered, and the procedure in
administering said drug/s into the accused; (2) R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules are
uncertain as to the date of the execution, time of notification, the court which will fix the date of
execution, which uncertainties cause the greatest pain and suffering for the convict; and (3) the
possibility of "botched executions" or mistakes in administering the drugs renders lethal injection
inherently cruel.

Before the Court proceeds any further, a brief explanation of the process of administering lethal
injection is in order.

In lethal injection, the condemned inmate is strapped on a hospital gurney and wheeled into the
execution room. A trained technician inserts a needle into a vein in the inmate's arm and begins
an intravenous flow of saline solution. At the warden's signal, a lethal combination of drugs is
injected into the intravenous line. The deadly concoction typically includes three drugs: (1) a
nonlethal dose of sodium thiopenthotal, a sleep inducing barbiturate; (2) lethal doses of
pancuronium bromide, a drug that paralyzes the muscles; and (3) potassium chloride, which
stops the heart within seconds. The first two drugs are commonly used during surgery to put the
patient to sleep and relax muscles; the third is used in heart bypass surgery.21cräläwvirtualibräry

Now it is well-settled in jurisprudence that the death penalty per se is not a cruel, degrading or
inhuman punishment.22 In the oft-cited case of Harden v. Director of Prisons,23 this Court held
that "[p]unishments are cruel when they involve torture or a lingering death; but the punishment
of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used in the constitution. It implies there
something inhuman and barbarous, something more than the mere extinguishment of life."
Would the lack in particularity then as to the details involved in the execution by lethal injection
render said law "cruel, degrading or inhuman"? The Court believes not. For reasons hereafter
discussed, the implementing details of R.A. No. 8177 are matters which are properly left to the
competence and expertise of administrative officials.24cräläwvirtualibräry

Petitioner contends that Sec. 1625 of R.A. No. 8177 is uncertain as to which "court" will fix the
time and date of execution, and the date of execution and time of notification of the death
convict. As petitioner already knows, the "court" which designates the date of execution is the
trial court which convicted the accused, that is, after this Court has reviewed the entire records of
the case26 and has affirmed the judgment of the lower court. Thereupon, the procedure is that the
"judgment is entered fifteen (15) days after its promulgation, and 10 days thereafter, the records
are remanded to the court below including a certified copy of the judgment for
execution.27 Neither is there any uncertainty as to the date of execution nor the time of
notification. As to the date of execution, Section 15 of the implementing rules must be read in
conjunction with the last sentence of Section 1 of R.A. No. 8177 which provides that the death
sentence shall be carried out "not earlier than one (1) year nor later then eighteen (18) months
from the time the judgment imposing the death penalty became final and executory, without
prejudice to the exercise by the President of his executive clemency powers at all times." Hence,
the death convict is in effect assured of eighteen (18) months from the time the judgment
imposing the death penalty became final and executory28wherein he can seek executive
clemency29 and attend to all his temporal and spiritual affairs.30cräläwvirtualibräry

Petitioner further contends that the infliction of "wanton pain" in case of possible complications
in the intravenous injection, considering and as petitioner claims, that respondent Director is an
untrained and untested person insofar as the choice and administration of lethal injection is
concerned, renders lethal injection a cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment. Such supposition
is highly speculative and unsubstantiated.

First. Petitioner has neither alleged nor presented evidence that lethal injection required the
expertise only of phlebotomists and not trained personnel and that the drugs to be administered
are unsafe or ineffective.31 Petitioner simply cites situations in the United States wherein
execution by lethal injection allegedly resulted in prolonged and agonizing death for the
convict,32 without any other evidence whatsoever.

Second. Petitioner overlooked Section 1, third paragraph of R.A. No. 8177 which requires that
all personnel involved in the execution proceedings should be trained prior to the performance of
such task. We must presume that the public officials entrusted with the implementation of the
death penalty (by lethal injection) will carefully avoid inflicting cruel
punishment.33cräläwvirtualibräry

Third. Any infliction of pain in lethal injection is merely incidental in carrying out the execution
of death penalty and does not fall within the constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading
and inhuman punishment. "In a limited sense, anything is cruel which is calculated to give pain
or distress, and since punishment imports pain or suffering to the convict, it may be said that all
punishments are cruel. But of course the Constitution does not mean that crime, for this reason,
is to go unpunished."34 The cruelty against which the Constitution protects a convicted man is
cruelty inherent in the method of punishment, not the necessary suffering involved in any
method employed to extinguish life humanely.35 Numerous federal and state courts of the
United States have been asked to review whether lethal injections constitute cruel and unusual
punishment. No court has found lethal injections to implicate prisoner's Eighth Amendment
rights. In fact, most courts that have addressed the issue state in one or two sentences that lethal
injection clearly is a constitutional form of execution.36 A few jurisdictions, however, have
addressed the merits of the Eighth Amendment claims. Without exception, these courts have
found that lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. After reviewing the
medical evidence that indicates that improper doses or improper administration of the drugs
causes severe pain and that prison officials tend to have little training in the administration of the
drugs, the courts have found that the few minutes of pain does not rise to a constitutional
violation.37chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

What is cruel and unusual "is not fastened to the obsolete but may acquire meaning as public
opinion becomes enlightened by a humane justice" and "must draw its meaning from the
evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society."38 Indeed, "[o]ther
(U.S.) courts have focused on 'standards of decency' finding that the widespread use of lethal
injections indicates that it comports with contemporary norms."39 the primary indicator of
society's standard of decency with regard to capital punishment is the response of the country's
legislatures to the sanction.40 Hence, for as long as the death penalty remains in our statute
books and meets the most stringent requirements provided by the Constitution, we must confine
our inquiry to the legality of R.A. No. 8177, whose constitutionality we duly sustain in the face
of petitioner's challenge. We find that the legislature's substitution of the mode of carrying out
the death penalty from electrocution to lethal injection infringes no constitutional rights of
petitioner herein.

II. REIMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY LAW DOES NOT VIOLATE


INTERNATIONAL TREATY OBLIGATIONS

Petitioner assiduously argues that the reimposition of the death penalty law violates our
international obligations, in particular, the International Covenant on Civil And Political Rights,
which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 16, 1996,
signed and ratified by the Philippines on December 19, 1966 and October 23,
1986,41respectively.

Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsprovides:

"1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one
shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed
only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the
commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only
be carried out pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court." (emphasis supplied)

3. When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide, it is understood that nothing in this
article shall authorize any State Party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way from any
obligation assumed under the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide.

4. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence.
Amnesty, pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all-cases.

5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years
of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.

6. Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital
punishment by any State. Party to the present Covenant."

Indisputably, Article 6 of the Covenant enshrines the individual's right to life. Nevertheless,
Article 6 (2) of the Covenant explicitly recognizes that capital punishment is an allowable
limitation on the right to life, subject to the limitation that it be imposed for the "most serious
crimes". Pursuant to Article 28 of the Covenant, a Human Rights Committee was established and
under Article 40 of the Covenant, State parties to the Covenant are required to submit an initial
report to the Committee on the measures they have adopted which give effect to the rights
recognized within the Covenant and on the progress made on the enjoyment of those rights one
year of its entry into force for the State Party concerned and thereafter, after five years. On July
27, 1982, the Human Rights Committee issued General Comment No. 6 interpreting Article 6 of
the Covenant stating that "(while) it follows from Article 6 (2) to (6) that State parties are not
obliged to abolish the death penalty totally, they are obliged to limit its use and, in particular, to
abolish it for other than the 'most serious crimes.' Accordingly, they ought to consider reviewing
their criminal laws in this light and, in any event, are obliged to restrict the application of the
death penalty to the most serious crimes.' The article strongly suggests (pars. 2 (2) and (6) that
abolition is desirable. xxx The Committee is of the opinion that the expression 'most serious
crimes' must be read restrictively to mean that the death penalty should be a quite exceptional
measure." Further, the Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of Those Facing the Death
Penalty42 adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations declare that the
ambit of the term 'most serious crimes' should not go beyond intentional crimes, with lethal or
other extremely grave consequences.

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by
the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 16, 1966, and signed and ratified by
the Philippines on December 19, 1966 and August 22, 1989,43 respectively. The Optional
Protocol provides that the Human Rights Committee shall receive and consider communications
from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of any of the rights set forth in the
Covenant.

On the other hand, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty was adopted by the General
Assembly on December 15, 1989.The Philippines neither signed nor ratified said
document.44Evidently, petitioner's assertion of our obligation under the Second Optional
Protocol is misplaced.

III. THERE IS NO UNDUE DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER IN R.A. NO. 8177


TO THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE AND THE DIRECTOR OF BUREAU OF
CORRECTIONS, BUT SECTION 19 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO
IMPLEMENT R.A. NO. 8177 IS INVALID.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not
through express provision but by actual division in the framing of our Constitution. Each
department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters placed within its jurisdiction,
and is supreme within its own sphere.45 Corollary to the doctrine of separation of powers is the
principle of non-delegation of powers. "The rule is that what has been delegated, cannot be
delegated or as expressed in a Latin maxim: potestas delegata non delegaripotest."46 The
recognized exceptions to the rule are as follows:

(1) Delegation of tariff powers to the President under Section 28 (2) of Article VI of the
Constitution;

(2) Delegation of emergency powers to the President under Section 23 (2) of Article VI of the
Constitution;

(3) Delegation to the people at large;

(4) Delegation to local governments; and

(5) Delegation to administrative bodies.47cräläwvirtualibräry

Empowering the Secretary of Justice in conjunction with the Secretary of Health and the Director
of the Bureau of Corrections, to promulgate rules and regulations on the subject of lethal
injection is a form of delegation of legislative authority to administrative bodies.

The reason for delegation of authority to administrative agencies is the increasing complexity of
the task of government requiring expertise as well as the growing inability of the legislature to
cope directly with the myriad problems demanding its attention. The growth of society has
ramified its activities and created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the legislature cannot
be expected to attend to by itself. Specialization even in legislation has become necessary. On
many problems involving day-to-day undertakings, the legislature may not have the needed
competence to provide the required direct and efficacious, not to say, specific solutions. These
solutions may, however, be expected from its delegates, who are supposed to be experts in the
particular fields assigned to them.48cräläwvirtualibräry

Although Congress may delegate to another branch of the Government the power to fill in the
details in the execution, enforcement or administration of a law, it is essential, to forestall a
violation of the principle of separation of powers, that said law: (a) be complete in itself - it must
set forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate49 - and (b)
fix a standard - the limits of which are sufficiently determinate or determinable - to which the
delegate must conform in the performance of his functions.50cräläwvirtualibräry

Considering the scope and the definiteness of R.A. No. 8177, which changed the mode of
carrying out the death penalty, the Court finds that the law sufficiently describes what job must
be done, who is to do it, and what is the scope of his authority.51cräläwvirtualibräry

R.A. No. 8177 likewise provides the standards which define the legislative policy, mark its
limits, map out its boundaries, and specify the public agencies which will apply it. it indicates the
circumstances under which the legislative purpose may be carried out.52 R.A. No. 8177
specifically requires that "[t]he death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the
Director of the Bureau of Corrections, endeavoring so far as possible to mitigate the sufferings of
the person under the sentence during the lethal injection as well as during the proceedings prior
to the execution."53 Further, "[t]he Director of the Bureau of Corrections shall take steps
to ensure that the lethal injection to be administered is sufficient to cause the instantaneous death
of the convict."54 The legislature also mandated that "all personnel involved in the
administration of lethal injection shall be trained prior to the performance of such task."55 The
Court cannot see that any useful purpose would be served by requiring greater detail.56 The
question raised is not the definition of what constitutes a criminal offense,57 but the mode of
carrying out the penalty already imposed by the Courts. In this sense, R.A. No. 8177 is
sufficiently definite and the exercise of discretion by the administrative officials concerned is, to
use the words of Justice Benjamin Cardozo, canalized within banks that keep it from
overflowing.

Thus, the Court finds that the existence of an area for exercise of discretion by the Secretary of
Justice and the Director of the Bureau of Corrections under delegated legislative power is proper
where standards are formulated for the guidance and the exercise of limited discretion, which
though general, are capable of reasonable application.58cräläwvirtualibräry

It is also noteworthy that Article 81 of the Revised Penal Code which originally provided for the
death penalty by electrocution was not subjected to attack on the ground that it failed to provide
for details such as the kind of chair to be used, the amount of voltage, volume of amperage or
place of attachment of electrodes on the death convict. Hence, petitioner's analogous argument
with respect to lethal injection must fail.

A careful reading of R.A. No. 8177 would show that there is no undue delegation of legislative
power from the Secretary of Justice to the Director of the Bureau of Corrections for the simple
reason that under the Administrative Code of 1987, the Bureau of Corrections is a mere
constituent unit of the Department of Justice.59 Further, the Department of Justice is tasked,
among others, to take charge of the "administration of the correctional system."60 Hence, the
import of the phraseology of the law is that the Secretary of Justice should supervise the Director
of the Bureau of Corrections in promulgating the Lethal Injection Manual, in consultation with
the Department of Health.61cräläwvirtualibräry

However, the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 suffer serious flaws
that could not be overlooked. To begin with, something basic appears missing in Section 19 of
the implementing rules which provides:

"SEC. 19. EXECUTION PROCEDURE. - Details of the procedure prior to, during and after
administering the lethal injection shall be set forth in a manual to be prepared by the Director.
The manual shall contain details of, among others, the sequence of events before and after
execution; procedures in setting up the intravenous line; the administration of the lethal drugs;
the pronouncement of death; and the removal of the intravenous system.

Said manual shall be confidential and its distribution shall be limited to authorized prison
personnel."

Thus, the Courts finds in the first paragraph of Section 19 of the implementing rules a veritable
vacuum. The Secretary of Justice has practically abdicated the power to promulgate the manual
on the execution procedure to the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, by not providing for a
mode of review and approval thereof. Being a mere constituent unit of the Department of Justice,
the Bureau of Corrections could not promulgate a manual that would not bear the imprimatur of
the administrative superior, the Secretary of Justice as the rule-making authority under R.A. No.
8177. Such apparent abdication of departmental responsibility renders the said paragraph invalid.

As to the second paragraph of section 19, the Court finds the requirement of confidentiality of
the contents of the manual even with respect to the convict unduly suppressive. It sees no legal
impediment for the convict, should he so desire, to obtain a copy of the manual. The contents of
the manual are matters of public concern "which the public may want to know, either because
these directly affect their lives, or simply because such matters naturally arouse the interest of an
ordinary citizen."62Section 7 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides:

"SEC. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized.
Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transaction, or
decisions, as well as to government research data used as a basis for policy development, shall be
afforded the citizen, subject to such limitation as may be provided by law."

The incorporation in the Constitution of a guarantee of access to information of public concern is


a recognition of the essentiality of the free flow of ideas and information in a democracy.63 In
the same way that free discussion enables members of society to cope with the exigencies of
their time,64 access to information of general interest aids the people in democratic decision-
making65 by giving them a better perspective of the vital issues confronting the
nation.66cräläwvirtualibräry
D. SECTION 17 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT R.A. NO. 8177 IS
INVALID FOR BEING DISCRIMINATORY AND CONTRARY TO LAW.

Even more seriously flawed than Section 19 is Section of the implementing rules which
provides:

"SEC. 17. SUSPENSION OF THE EXECUTION OF THE DEATH SENTENCE. Execution by


lethal injection shall not be inflicted upon a woman within the three years next following the date
of the sentence or while she is pregnant, nor upon any person over seventy (70) years of age. In
this latter case, the death penalty shall be commuted to the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the
accessory penalties provided in Article 40 of the Revised Penal Code."

Petitioner contends that Section 17 is unconstitutional for being discriminatory as well as for
being an invalid exercise of the power to legislate by respondent Secretary. Petitioner insists that
Section 17 amends the instances when lethal injection may be suspended, without an express
amendment of Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by section 25 of R.A. No.
7659.

Article 83 f the Revised Penal Code, as amended by section 25 of R.A. No. 7659 now reads as
follows:

"ART. 83, Suspension of the execution of the death sentence.- The death sentence shall not be
inflicted upon a woman while she is pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, nor upon any
person over seventy years of age. In this last case, the death sentence shall be commuted to the
penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalty provided in Article 40. x x x".

On this point, the Courts finds petitioner's contention impressed with merit. While Article 83 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, suspends the
implementation of the death penalty while a woman is pregnant or within one (1) year after
delivery, Section 17 of the implementing rules omits the one (1) year period following delivery
as an instance when the death sentence is suspended, and adds a ground for suspension of
sentence no longer found under Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code as amended, which is
the three-year reprieve after a woman is sentenced. This addition is, in petitioner's view,
tantamount to a gender-based discrimination sans statutory basis, while the omission is an
impermissible contravention of the applicable law.

Being merely an implementing rule, Section 17 aforecited must not override, but instead remain
consistent and in harmony with the law it seeks to apply and implement. Administrative rules
and regulations are intended to carry out, neither to supplant nor to modify, the law."67 An
administrative agency cannot amend an act of Congress.68 In case of discrepancy between a
provision of statute and a rule or regulation issued to implement said statute, the statutory
provision prevails. Since the cited clause in Section 17 which suspends the execution of a woman
within the three (3) years next following the date of sentence finds no supports in Article 83 of
the Revised Penal Code as amended, perforce Section 17 must be declared invalid.

One member of the Court voted to declare Republic Act. No. 8177 as unconstitutional insofar as
it delegates the power to make rules over the same subject matter to two persons (the Secretary
of Justice and the Director of the Bureau of Corrections) and constitutes a violation of the
international norm towards the abolition of the death penalty. One member of the Court,
consistent with his view in People v. Echegaray, 267 SCRA 682, 734-758 (1997) that the death
penalty law (Republic Act. No. 7659) is itself unconstitutional, believes that Republic Act No.
8177 which provides for the means of carrying out the death sentence, is likewise
unconstitutional. Two other members of the court concurred in the aforesaid Separate Opinions
in that the death penalty law (Republic Act No. 7659) together with the assailed statute (Republic
Act No. 8177) are unconstitutional. In sum, four members of the Court voted to declare Republic
Act. No. 8177 as unconstitutional. These Separate Opinions are hereto annexed, infra.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED insofar as petitioner seeks to declare the assailed statute
(Republic Act No. 8177) as unconstitutional; but GRANTED insofar as Sections 17 and 19 of
the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are concerned, which are hereby
declared INVALID because (a) Section 17 contravenes Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by Section 25 of the Republic Act No. 7659; and (b) Section 19 fails to provide for
review and approval of the Lethal Injection Manual by the Secretary of Justice, and unjustifiably
makes the manual confidential, hence unavailable to interested parties including the
accused/convict and counsel. Respondents are hereby enjoined from enforcing and implementing
Republic Act No. 8177 until the aforesaid Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to
Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are appropriately amended, revised and/or corrected in
accordance with this Decision.
REVIEW OF THE POWER OF CONTROL, SUPERVISION AND INVESTIGATION (page 7)

Carpio vs. Executive Secretary

[G.R. No. 96409. February 14, 1992.]

CITIZEN J. ANTONIO M. CARPIO, Petitioner, v. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE


SECRETARY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL
DEFENSE, and THE NATIONAL TREASURER, Respondents.

SYLLABUS

1. POLITICAL LAW; STATUTES; REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6975; DATE OF EFFECTIVITY. —


With the aforequoted provision in mind, Congress passed Republic Act No. 6975 entitled "AN
ACT ESTABLISHING THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE UNDER A REORGANIZED
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES" as the consolidated version of House Bill No. 23614 and Senate Bill No. 463. The
Act took effect after fifteen days following its publication, or on January 1, 1991.

2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; THE PRESIDENT HAS CONTROL POWERS OVER THE


EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT; DOCTRINE OF QUALIFIED
POLITICAL AGENCY AS COROLLARY RULE THERETO. — It is a fundamentally accepted
principle in Constitutional Law that the President has control of all executive departments,
bureaus, and offices. Equally well accepted, as a corollary rule to the control powers of the
President, is the "Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency." As the President cannot be expected to
exercise his control powers all at the same time and in person, he will have to delegate some of
them to his Cabinet members, who in turn and by his authority, control the bureaus and other
offices under their respective jurisdictions in the executive department.

3. ID.; ID.; THE PRESIDENT, AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE


ARMED FORCES. — The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is not a member of the Armed
Forces. He remains a civilian whose duties under the Commander-in-Chief provision "represent
only a part of the organic duties imposed upon him. All his other functions are clearly civil in
nature." His position as a civilian Commander-in-Chief is consistent with, and a testament to, the
constitutional principle that "civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military."
(Article II, Section 3, 1987 Constitution.)

4. POLITICAL LAW; PLACEMENT OF NAPOLCOM AND PHILIPPINE NATIONAL


POLICE (PNP) UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT, MERELY AN ADMINISTRATIVE REALIGNMENT. — The circumstance
that the NAPOLCOM and the PNP are placed under the reorganized Department of the Interior
and Local Government is merely an administrative realignment that would bolster a system of
coordination and cooperation among the citizenry, local executives and the integrated law
enforcement agencies and public safety agencies created under the assailed Act, the funding of
the PNP being in large part subsidized by the national government.

5. ID.; NATIONAL POLICE FORCE; ADMINISTERED AND CONTROLLED BY


NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION; LOCAL EXECUTIVES ACT ONLY AS
REPRESENTATIVES OF NAPOLCOM. — The national police force shall be administered and
controlled by a national police commission as at any rate, and in fact, the Act in question
adequately provides for administration and control at the commission level. We agree, that "there
is no usurpation of the power of control of the NAPOLCOM under Section 51 because under this
very same provision, it is clear that the local executives are only acting as representatives of the
NAPOLCOM. As such deputies, they are answerable to the NAPOLCOM for their actions in the
exercise of their functions under that section. Thus, unless countermanded by the NAPOLCOM,
their acts are valid and binding as acts of the NAPOLCOM." It is significant to note that the local
officials, as NAPOLCOM representatives, will choose the officers concerned from a list of
eligibles (those who meet the general qualifications for appointment to the PNP) to be
recommended by PNP officials. The same holding is true with respect to the contention on the
operational supervision and control exercised by the local officials. These officials would simply
be acting as representatives of the Commission.

6. ID.; ID.; INVOLVEMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION UNDERSCORES ITS


CIVILIAN CHARACTER. — As regards the assertion involving the Civil Service Commission,
suffice it to say that the questioned provisions, which read: "Sec. 31. Appointment of PNP
Officers and Members. The Appointment of the officers and members of the PNP shall be
effected in the following manner: a.) Police Officer I to Senior Police Officer IV. Appointed by
the PNP regional director for regional personnel or by the Chief of the PNP for national
headquarters personnel and attested by the Civil Service Commission; b.) Inspector to
Superintendent — Appointed by the Chief of the PNP, as recommended by their immediate
superiors, and attested by the Civil Service Commission; c.) Senior Superintendent to Deputy
Director-General — Appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Chief of the PNP,
with proper endorsement by the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission . . . . Sec. 32.
Examinations for Policemen. The Civil Service Commission shall administer the qualifying
entrance examinations for policemen on the basis of the standards set by the NAPOLCOM."
precisely underscore the civilian character of the national police force, and will undoubtedly
professionalize the same.

7. ID.; ID.; DOES NOT FALL UNDER THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF POWERS OF THE
PRESIDENT; REASON AND CONSEQUENCE THEREOF. — It thus becomes all too
apparent then that the provision herein assailed precisely gives muscle to and enforces the
proposition that the national police force does not fall under the Commander-in-Chief powers of
the President. This is necessarily so since the police force, not being integrated with the military,
is not a part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As a civilian agency of the government, it
properly comes within, and is subject to, the exercise by the President of the power of executive
control. Consequently, Section 12 does not constitute abdication of commander-in-chief powers.
It simply provides for the transition period or process during which the national police would
gradually assume the civilian function of safeguarding the internal security of the State. Under
this instance, the President, to repeat, abdicates nothing of his war powers.

8. ID.; NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION (NAPOLCOM); EXERCISES APPELLATE


JURISDICTION THRU REGIONAL APPELLATE BOARDS. — Pursuant to the Act, the
Commission exercises appellate jurisdiction, thru the regional appellate boards, over decisions of
both the PLEB and the said mayors. This is so under Section 20(c). Furthermore, it is the
Commission which shall issue the implementing guidelines and procedures to be adopted by the
PLEB for the conduct of its hearings, and it may assign NAPOLCOM hearing officers to act as
legal consultants of the PLEBs (Section 43-d4, d5).

9. ID.; CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION; EVERY PRESUMPTION INDULGED IN


FAVOR OF CONSTITUTIONALITY. — We find light in the principle of constitutional
construction that every presumption should be indulged in favor of constitutionality and the court
in considering the validity of the statute in question should give it such reasonable construction
as can be reached to bring it within the fundamental law."cralaw virtua1aw library

10. ID.; PEOPLE’S LAW ENFORCEMENT BOARDS (PLEB); PURPOSE FOR ITS
CREATION. — As a disciplinary board primarily created to hear and decide citizen’s
complaints against erring officers and members of the PNP, the establishment of PLEBs in every
city and municipality would all the more help professionalize the police force.

11. ID.; SPECIAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE; SOLE FUNCTION THEREOF. — The


Special Oversight Committee is simply an ad hoc or transitory body, established and tasked
solely with planning and overseeing the immediate "transfer, merger and/or absorption" into the
Department of the Interior and Local Governments of the "involved agencies." This it will
undertake in accordance with the phases of implementation already laid down in Section 85 of
the Act and once this is carried out, its functions as well as the committee itself would cease
altogether. As an ad hoc body, its creation and the functions it exercises, decidedly do not
constitute an encroachment and in diminution of the power of control which properly belongs to
the President. What is more, no executive department, bureau or office is placed under the
control or authority of the committee.

12. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; INDEPENDENT CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS; NOT


UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE. — Under the Constitution, there are
the so-called independent Constitutional Commissions, namely: The Civil Service Commission,
Commission on Audit, and the Commission on Elections. (Article IX-A, Section 1). As These
Commissions perform vital governmental functions, they have to be protected from external
influences and political pressures. Hence, they were made constitutional bodies, independent of
and not under any department of the government. Certainly, they are not under the control of the
President. The Constitution also created an independent office called the "Commission on
Human Rights." (Article XIII, Section 17[1]). However, this Commission is not on the same
level as the Constitutional Commissions under Article IX, although it is independent like the
latter Commissions. It still had to be constituted thru Executive Order No. 163 (dated May 5,
1987). In contrast, Article XVI, Section 6 thereof, merely mandates the statutory creation of a
national police commission that will administer and control the national police force to be
established thereunder. This commission is, for obvious reasons, not in the same category as the
independent Constitutional Commissions of Article IX and the other constitutionally created
independent Office, namely, the Commission on Human Rights.

DECISION

PARAS, J.:

At the very outset, it should be well to set forth the constitutional provision that is at the core of
the controversy now confronting us, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Article XVI, Section 6:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and
civilian in character, to be administered and controlled by a national police commission. The
authority of local executives over the police units in their jurisdiction shall be provided by law."
1

With the aforequoted provision in mind, Congress passed Republic Act No. 6975 entitled "AN
ACT ESTABLISHING THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE UNDER A REORGANIZED
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES" as the consolidated version of House Bill No. 23614 and Senate Bill No.
463.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red

Following the said Act’s approval by President Corazon C. Aquino on December 13, 1990, it
was published on December 17, 1990. 2

Presently, however, petitioner as citizen, taxpayer and member of the Philippine Bar sworn to
defend the Constitution, filed the petition now at bar on December 20, 1990, seeking this Court’s
declaration of unconstitutionality of RA 6975 with prayer for temporary restraining
order.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

But in an en banc resolution dated December 27, 1990, We simply required the public
respondents to file their Comment, without however giving due course to the petition and the
prayer therein. Hence, the Act took effect after fifteen days following its publication, or on
January 1, 1991. 3

Before we settle down on the merits of the petition, it would likewise be well to discuss albeit
briefly the history of our police force and the reasons for the ordination of Section 6, Article XVI
in our present Constitution.

During the Commonwealth period, we had the Philippine Constabulary as the nucleus of the
Philippine Ground Force (PGF), now the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The PC was
made part of the PGF but its administrative, supervisory and directional control was handled by
the then Department of the Interior. After the war, it remained as the "National Police" under the
Department of National Defense, as a major service component of the AFP. 4

Later, the Integration Act of 1975 5 created the Integrated National Police (INP) under the Office
of the President, with the PC as the nucleus, and the local police forces as the civilian
components. The PC-INP was headed by the PC Chief who, as concurrent Director-General of
the INP, exercised command functions over the INP. 6

The National Police Commission 7 (NAPOLCOM) exercised administrative control and


supervision while the local executives exercised operational supervision and direction over the
INP units assigned within their respective localities. 8
The set-up whereby the INP was placed under the command of the military component, which is
the PC, severely eroded the INP’s civilian character and the multiplicity in the governance of the
PC-INP resulted in inefficient police service. 9 Moreover, the integration of the national police
forces with the PC also resulted in inequities since the military component had superior benefits
and privileges. 10

The Constitutional Commission of 1986 was fully aware of the structural errors that beset the
system. Thus, Com. Teodulo C. Natividad explained that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

x x x

"MR. NATIVIDAD. . . . The basic tenet of a modern police organization is to remove it from the
military. 11

x x x

Here in our draft Constitution, we have already made a constitutional postulate that the military
cannot occupy any civil service position [in Section 6 of the Article on the Civil Service 12 ].
Therefore, in keeping with this and because of the universal acceptance that a police force is a
civilian function, a public service, and should not be performed by military force, one of the
basic reforms we are presenting here is that it should be separated from the military force which
is the PC. 13

x x x

Furthermore:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

x x x

. . . the civilian police cannot blossom into full profession because most of the key positions are
being occupied by the military. So, it is up to this Commission to remove the police from such a
situation so that it can develop into a truly professional civilian police . . ." 14

Hence, the "one police force, national in scope, and civilian in character" provision that is now
Article XVI, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution.
And so we now come to the merits of the petition at hand.

In the main, petitioner herein respectfully advances the view that RA 6975 emasculated the
National Police Commission by limiting its power "to administrative control" over the Philippine
National Police (PNP), thus, "control" remained with the Department Secretary under whom
both the National Police Commission and the PNP were placed. 15

We do not share this view.

To begin with, one need only refer to the fundamentally accepted principle in Constitutional Law
that the President has control of all executive departments, bureaus, and offices 16 to lay at rest
petitioner’s contention on the matter.

This presidential power of control over the executive branch of government extends over all
executive officers from Cabinet Secretary to the lowliest clerk 17 and has been held by us, in the
landmark case of Mondano v. Silvosa, 18 to mean "the power of [the President] to alter or
modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his
duties and to substitute the judgment of the former with that of the latter." It is said to be at the
very "heart of the meaning of Chief Executive." 19

Equally well accepted, as a corollary rule to the control powers of the President, is the "Doctrine
of Qualified Political Agency." As the President cannot be expected to exercise his control
powers all at the same time and in person, 20 he will have to delegate some of them to his
Cabinet members.

Under this doctrine, which recognizes the establishment of a single executive, 21 "all executive
and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of the
various executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in
cases where the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or law to act in person on the
exigencies of the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious executive and
administrative functions of the Chief Executive are performed by and through the executive
departments, and the acts of the Secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in
the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive
presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive." 22 (Emphasis ours).

Thus, and in short, "the President’s power of control is directly exercised by him over the
members of the Cabinet who, in turn, and by his authority, control the bureaus and other offices
under their respective jurisdictions in the executive department." 23
Additionally, the circumstance that the NAPOLCOM and the PNP are placed under the
reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government is merely an administrative
realignment that would bolster a system of coordination and cooperation among the citizenry,
local executives and the integrated law enforcement agencies and public safety agencies created
under the assailed Act, 24 the funding of the PNP being in large part subsidized by the national
government.chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph

Such organizational set-up does not detract from the mandate of the Constitution that the national
police force shall be administered and controlled by a national police commission as at any rate,
and in fact, the Act in question adequately provides for administration and control at the
commission level, as shown in the following provisions, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Sec. 14. Powers and Functions of the Commission. — The Commission shall exercise the
following powers and functions:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

x x x

(i) Approve or modify plans and programs on education and training, logistical requirements,
communications, records, information systems, crime laboratory, crime prevention and crime
reporting;

(j) Affirm, reverse or modify, through the National Appellate Board, personnel disciplinary
actions involving demotion or dismissal from the service imposed upon members of the
Philippine National Police by the Chief of the PNP;

(k) Exercise appellate jurisdiction through the regional appellate boards over administrative
cases against policemen and over decisions on claims for police
benefits;chanrobles.com:cralaw:red

x x x

Sec. 26. The Command and direction of the PNP shall be vested in the Chief of the PNP. . . .
Such command and direction of the Chief of the PNP may be delegated to subordinate officials
with respect to the units under their respective commands, in accordance with the rules and
regulations prescribed by the Commission. . . . .

x x x
Sec. 35. . . . To enhance police operational efficiency and effectiveness, the Chief of the PNP
may constitute such other support units as may be necessary subject to the approval of the
Commission . . .

x x x

Sec. 37. . . . There shall be established a performance evaluation system which shall be
administered in accordance with the rules, regulations and standards, and a code of conduct
promulgated by the Commission for members of the PNP . . .

x x x

Petitioner further asserts that in manifest derogation of the power of control of the NAPOLCOM
over the PNP, RA 6975 vested the power to choose the PNP Provincial Director and the Chiefs
of Police in the Governors and Mayors, respectively; the power of "operational supervision and
control" over police units in city and municipal mayors; in the Civil Service Commission,
participation in appointments to the positions of Senior Superintendent to Deputy Director-
General as well as the administration of qualifying entrance examinations; disciplinary powers
over PNP members in the "People’s Law Enforcement Boards" and in city and municipal
mayors.25cralaw:red

Once more, we find no real controversy upon the foregoing assertions.

It is true that when the Constitutional Commissioners of 1986 provided that the authority of local
executives over the police units in their jurisdiction shall be provided by law, they intended that
the day-to-day functions of police work like crime investigation, crime prevention activities,
traffic control, etc., would be under the operational control of the local executives as it would not
be advisable to give full control of the police to the local executives. 26

They reasoned that in the past, this gave rise to warlordism, bossism, and sanctuaries for vices
and abuses. 27

It would appear then that by vesting in the local executives the power to choose the officers in
question, the Act went beyond the bounds of the Constitution’s intent.

Not so. We find light in the principle of constitutional construction that every presumption
should be indulged in favor of constitutionality and the court in considering the validity of the
statute in question should give it such reasonable construction as can be reached to bring it
within the fundamental law. "28

Under the questioned provisions, which read as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"D. PARTICIPATION OF LOCAL EXECUTIVES IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE


PNP.

Sec. 51. Powers of Local Government Officials over the PNP Units or Forces.

Governors and mayors shall be deputized as representatives of the Commission in their


respective territorial jurisdictions. As such, the local executives shall discharge the following
functions:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

a.) Provincial Governor — (1) . . . .

The provincial governor shall choose the provincial director from a list of three (3) eligibles
recommended by the PNP Regional Director.

4) . . . City and municipal mayors shall have the following authority over the PNP units in their
respective jurisdictions:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

i.) Authority to choose the chief of police from a list of five (5) eligibles recommended by the
Provincial Police Director. . . . (Emphasis ours).

full control remains with the National Police Commission.

We agree, and so hold, with the view of the Solicitor General that "there is no usurpation of the
power of control of the NAPOLCOM under Section 51 because under this very same provision,
it is clear that the local executives are only acting as representatives of the NAPOLCOM. . . . As
such deputies, they are answerable to the NAPOLCOM for their actions in the exercise of their
functions under that section. Thus, unless countermanded by the NAPOLCOM, their acts are
valid and binding as acts of the NAPOLCOM." 29 It is significant to note that the local officials,
as NAPOLCOM representatives, will choose the officers concerned from a list of eligibles (those
who meet the general qualifications for appointment to the PNP) 30 to be recommended by PNP
officials.

The same holding is true with respect to the contention on the operational supervision and
control exercised by the local officials. These officials would simply be acting as representatives
of the Commission.

As regards the assertion involving the Civil Service Commission, suffice it to say that the
questioned provisions, which read:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Sec. 31. Appointment of PNP Officers and Members. — The Appointment of the officers and
members of the PNP shall be effected in the following manner:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

a.) Police Officer I to Senior Police Officer IV. Appointed by the PNP regional director for
regional personnel or by the Chief of the PNP for national headquarters personnel and attested by
the Civil Service Commission;

b.) Inspector to Superintendent — Appointed by the Chief of the PNP, as recommended by their
immediate superiors, and attested by the Civil Service Commission;

c.) Senior Superintendent to Deputy Director-General — Appointed by the President upon


recommendation of the Chief of the PNP, with proper endorsement by the Chairman of the Civil
Service Commission . . .

Sec. 32. Examinations for Policemen. — The Civil Service Commission shall administer the
qualifying entrance examinations for policemen on the basis of the standards set by the
NAPOLCOM."cralaw virtua1aw library

precisely underscore the civilian character of the national police force, and will undoubtedly
professionalize the same.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

The grant of disciplinary powers over PNP members to the "People’s Law Enforcement Boards"
(or the PLEB) and city and municipal mayors is also not in derogation of the Commission’s
power of control over the PNP.

Pursuant to the Act, the Commission exercises appellate jurisdiction, thru the regional appellate
boards, over decisions of both the PLEB and the said mayors. This is so under Section 20(c).
Furthermore, it is the Commission which shall issue the implementing guidelines and procedures
to be adopted by the PLEB for the conduct of its hearings, and it may assign NAPOLCOM
hearing officers to act as legal consultants of the PLEBs (Section 43-d4, d5).

As a disciplinary board primarily created to hear and decide citizen’s complaints against erring
officers and members of the PNP, the establishment of PLEBs in every city and municipality
would all the more help professionalize the police force.
Petitioner would likewise have this Court imagine that Section 12 of the questioned Act, the
pertinent portion of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Section 12. Relationship of the Department with the Department of National Defense. —
During a period of twenty-four (24) months from the effectivity of this Act, the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) shall continue its present role of preserving the internal and external
security of the State: Provided, that said period may be extended by the President, if he finds it
justifiable, for another period not exceeding twenty-four (24) months, after which, the
Department shall automatically take over from the AFP the primary role of preserving internal
security, leaving to the AFP its primary role of preserving external security."cralaw virtua1aw
library

x x x

constitutes an "encroachment upon, interference with, and an abdication by the President of,
executive control and commander-in-chief powers."cralaw virtua1aw library

That We are not disposed to do for such is not the case at all here. A rejection thus of petitioner’s
submission anent Section 12 of the Act should be in order in the light of the following exchanges
during the CONCOM deliberations of Wednesday, October 1, 1986:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
library

x x x

"MR. RODRIGO.

Just a few questions. The President of the Philippines is the Commander-in-Chief of all the
armed forces.

MR. NATIVIDAD.

Yes, Madam President.

MR. RODRIGO.

Since the national police is not integrated with the armed forces, I do not suppose they come
under the Commander-in-Chief powers of the President of the
Philippines.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary
MR. NATIVIDAD.

They do, Madam President. By law they are under the supervision and control of the President of
the Philippines.

MR. RODRIGO.

Yes, but the President is not the Commander-in-Chief of the national police.

MR. NATIVIDAD.

He is the President.

MR. RODRIGO.

Yes, the Executive. But they do not come under that specific provision that the President is
Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces.

MR. NATIVIDAD.

No, not under the Commander-in-Chief provision.

MR. RODRIGO.

There are two other powers of the President. The President has control over departments, bureaus
and offices, and supervision over local governments. Under which does the police fall, under
control or under supervision?

MR. NATIVIDAD.

Both, Madam President.

MR. RODRIGO.

Control and Supervision.

MR. NATIVIDAD.

Yes, in fact, the National Police Commission is under the Office of the President." (CONCOM
RECORDS, Vol. 5, p. 296).

It thus becomes all too apparent then that the provision herein assailed precisely gives muscle to
and enforces the proposition that the national police force does not fall under the Commander-in-
Chief powers of the President. This is necessarily so since the police force, not being integrated
with the military, is not a part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As a civilian agency of the
government, it properly comes within, and is subject to, the exercise by the President of the
power of executive control.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

Consequently, Section 12 does not constitute abdication of commander-in-chief powers. It


simply provides for the transition period or process during which the national police would
gradually assume the civilian function of safeguarding the internal security of the State. Under
this instance, the President, to repeat, abdicates nothing of his war powers. It would bear to here
state, in reiteration of the preponderant view, that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, is not a
member of the Armed Forces. He remains a civilian whose duties under the Commander-in-
Chief provision "represent only a part of the organic duties imposed upon him. All his other
functions are clearly civil in nature." 31 His position as a civilian Commander-in-Chief is
consistent with, and a testament to, the constitutional principle that "civilian authority is, at all
times, supreme over the military." (Article II, Section 3, 1987 Constitution.).

Finally, petitioner submits that the creation of a "Special Oversight Committee" under Section 84
of the Act, especially the inclusion therein of some legislators as members (namely: the
respective Chairman of the Committee on Local Government and the Committee on National
Defense and Security in the Senate, and the respective Chairman of the Committee on Public
Order and Security and the Committee on National Defense in the House of Representatives) is
an "unconstitutional encroachment upon and a diminution of, the President’s power of control
over all executive departments, bureaus and offices."cralaw virtua1aw library

But there is not the least interference with the President’s power of control under Section 84. The
Special Oversight Committee is simply an ad hoc or transitory body, established and tasked
solely with planning and overseeing the immediate "transfer, merger and/or absorption" into the
Department of the Interior and Local Governments of the "involved agencies." This it will
undertake in accordance with the phases of implementation already laid down in Section 85 of
the Act and once this is carried out, its functions as well as the committee itself would cease
altogether. 32 As an ad hoc body, its creation and the functions it exercises, decidedly do not
constitute an encroachment and in diminution of the power of control which properly belongs to
the President. What is more, no executive department, bureau or office is placed under the
control or authority of the committee. 33

As a last word, it would not be amiss to point out here that under the Constitution, there are the
so-called independent Constitutional Commissions, namely: The Civil Service Commission,
Commission on Audit, and the Commission on Elections. (Article IX-A, Section 1).

As These Commissions perform vital governmental functions, they have to be protected from
external influences and political pressures. Hence, they were made constitutional bodies,
independent of and not under any department of the government. 34 Certainly, they are not under
the control of the President.

The Constitution also created an independent office called the "Commission on Human Rights."
(Article XIII, Section 17[1]). However, this Commission is not on the same level as the
Constitutional Commissions under Article IX, although it is independent like the latter
Commissions. 35 It still had to be constituted thru Executive Order No. 163 (dated May 5, 1987).

In contrast, Article XVI, Section 6 thereof, merely mandates the statutory creation of a national
police commission that will administer and control the national police force to be established
thereunder.

This commission is, for obvious reasons, not in the same category as the independent
Constitutional Commissions of Article IX and the other constitutionally created independent
Office, namely, the Commission on Human Rights.chanrobles law library : red

By way of resume, the three Constitutional Commissions (Civil Service, Audit, Elections) and
the additional commission created by the Constitution (Human Rights) are all independent of the
Executive; but the National Police Commission is not. 36 In fact, it was stressed during the
CONCOM deliberations that this commission would be under the President, and hence may be
controlled by the President, thru his or her alter ego, the Secretary of the Interior and Local
Government.

WHEREFORE, having in view all of the foregoing holdings, the instant petition is hereby
DISMISSED for lack of merit.

DENR vs DENR Region 12 Employees

1. Administrative Law; Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Rules of


Procedure;Rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and technical manner, as rules
of procedure are used only to help secure and not to override substantial justice.-
This Court is fully aware that procedural rules are not to be simply disregarded for these
prescribed procedures ensure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. However, it is
equally true that litigation is not merely a game of technicalities. Time and again, courts have
been guided by the principle that the rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and
technical manner, as rules of procedure are used only to help secure and not to override
substantial justice. Thus, if the application of the Rules would tend to frustrate rather than
promote justice, it is always within the power of this Court to suspend the rules, or except a
particular case from its operation.

2. Constitutional Law; Executive Department; Powers; Doctrine of Qualified Political


Agency; Under this doctrine, all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the
executive department, and the multifarious executive and administrative functions of the Chief
Executive are performed by and through the Executive Departments.-

It is apropos to reiterate the elementary doctrine of qualified political agency, thus: Under this
doctrine, which recognizes the establishment of a single executive, all executive and
administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of the various
executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases
where the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or law to act in person or the
exigencies of the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious executive and
administrative functions of the Chief Executive are performed by and through the executive
departments, and the acts of the Secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in
the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive,
presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive. This doctrine is corollary to the control power of
the President as provided for under Article VII, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution.

3. Constitutional Law; Executive Department; Powers; Reorganization; The trial court should
have taken judicial notice of R.A. No. 6734, as implemented by E.O. No. 429, as legal basis of
the President’s power to reorganize the Executive Department, specifically those administrative
regions which did not vote for their inclusion in the ARMM.-

The trial court should have taken judicial notice of R.A. No. 6734, as implemented by E.O. No.
429, as legal basis of the President’s power to reorganize the executive department, specifically
those administrative regions which did not vote for their inclusion in the ARMM. It is axiomatic
that a court has the mandate to apply relevant statutes and jurisprudence in determining whether
the allegations in a complaint establish a cause of action. While it focuses on the complaint, a
court clearly cannot disregard decisions material to the proper appreciation of the questions
before it. In resolving the motion to dismiss, the trial court should have taken cognizance of the
official acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments because they are proper
subjects of mandatory judicial notice as provided by Section 1 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court.
4. Constitutional Law; Executive Department; Powers; Separation of Powers; 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 Legislative Department.-

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 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.

5. Constitutional Law; Executive Department; Powers; Separation of Powers; The court’s


exercise of the judicial power, pervasive and limitless it may seem to be, still must succumb to
the paramount doctrine of separation of powers.-

Unless there is a clear showing of constitutional infirmity or grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the Court’s exercise of the judicial power, pervasive and
limitless it may seem to be, still must succumb to the paramount doctrine of separation of
powers.

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, represented herein by


its Secretary, HEHERSON T. ALVAREZ, petitioner, vs. DENR REGION 12
EMPLOYEES, represented by BAGUIDALI KARIM, Acting President of COURAGE (DENR
Region 12 Chapter), respondents.

DECISION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This is a petition for review assailing the Resolutions dated May 31, 2000[1] of the Court of
Appeals which dismissed the petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 58896, and its Resolution
dated August 20, 2001[2], which denied the motion for reconsideration.

The facts are as follows:

On November 15, 1999, Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources for Region XII, Israel C. Gaddi, issued a Memorandum[3] directing the
immediate transfer of the DENR XII Regional Offices from Cotabato City to Koronadal
(formerly Marbel), South Cotabato. The Memorandum was issued pursuant to DENR
Administrative Order No. 99-14, issued by then DENR Secretary Antonio H. Cerilles, which
reads in part:
Subject: Providing for the Redefinition of Functions and Realignment of Administrative Units in
the Regional and Field Offices:

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 192, dated June 10, 1987 and as an interim administrative
arrangement to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR) in delivering its services pending approval of the government-wide
reorganization by Congress, the following redefinition of functions and realignment of
administrative units in the regional and field offices are hereby promulgated:

Section 1. Realignment of Administrative Units:

The DENR hereby adopts a policy to establish at least one Community Environment and Natural
Resources Office (CENRO) or Administrative Unit per Congressional District except in the
Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the National Capital Region
(NCR). The Regional Executive Directors (REDs) are hereby authorized to realign/relocate
existing CENROs and implement this policy in accordance with the attached distribution list per
region which forms part of this Order. Likewise, the following realignment and administrative
arrangements are hereby adopted:

xxxxxxxxx

1.6. The supervision of the Provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani shall be transferred from
Region XI to XII.[4]

Respondents, employees of the DENR Region XII who are members of the employees
association, COURAGE, represented by their Acting President, Baguindanai A. Karim, filed
with the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato, a petition for nullity of orders with prayer for
preliminary injunction.

On December 8, 1999, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining petitioner
from implementing the assailed Memorandum. The dispositive portion of the Order reads:

WHEREFORE, defendants DENR Secretary Antonio H. Cerilles and Regional Executive


Director Israel C. Gaddi are hereby ordered to cease and desist from doing the act complained of,
namely, to stop the transfer of DENR [Region] 12 offices from Cotabato City to Korandal
(Marbel), South Cotabato.

xxx xxx xxx.

SO ORDERED.[5]

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Dismiss, raising the following
grounds:

I.
The power to transfer the Regional Office of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) is executive in nature.

II.

The decision to transfer the Regional Office is based on Executive Order No. 429, which
reorganized Region XII.

III.

The validity of EO 429 has been affirmed by the Honorable Supreme Court in the Case of
Chiongbian vs. Orbos (1995) 245 SCRA 255.

IV.

Since the power to reorganize the Administrative Regions is Executive in Nature citing
Chiongbian, the Honorable Court has no jurisdiction to entertain this petition.[6]

On January 14, 2000, the trial court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:

CONSEQUENTLY, order is hereby issued ordering the respondents herein to cease and desist
from enforcing their Memorandum Order dated November 15, 1999 relative to the transfer of the
DENR Regional Offices from Region 12 to Region 11 at Koronadal, South Cotabato for being
bereft of legal basis and issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on their part, and they are further ordered to return back the seat of the DENR
Regional Offices 12 to Cotabato City.

SO ORDERED.[7]

Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order dated April 10, 2000. A petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 was filed before the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
58896. The petition was dismissed outright for: (1) failure to submit a written explanation why
personal service was not done on the adverse party; (2) failure to attach affidavit of service; (3)
failure to indicate the material dates when copies of the orders of the lower court were received;
(4) failure to attach certified true copy of the order denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration; (5) for improper verification, the same being based on petitioners knowledge
and belief, and (6) wrong remedy of certiorari under Rule 65 to substitute a lost appeal.[8]

The motion for reconsideration was denied in a resolution dated August 20, 2001.[9] Hence, this
petition based on the following assignment of errors:

RULES OF PROCEDURE CAN NOT BE USED TO DEFEAT THE ENDS OF


SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE
II

THE DECISION OF THE LOWER COURT DATED 14 JANUARY 2000 WHICH WAS
AFFIRMED IN THE QUESTIONED RESOLUTIONS OF THE COURT OF APPEALS
DATED 31 MAY 2000 AND 20 AUGUST 2001 IS PATENTLY ILLEGAL AND SHOULD BE
NULLIFIED, CONSIDERING THAT:

A. RESPONDENTS HAVE NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST PETITIONER AS THEY


HAVE NO RIGHT TO CAUSE THE DENR REGION 12 OFFICE TO REMAIN IN
COTABATO CITY.

B. THE STATE DID NOT GIVE ITS CONSENT TO BE SUED.

C. THE DECISION OF THE LOWER COURT DATED 14 JANUARY 2000 IS CONTRARY


TO THE RULE OF PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF
OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS.

D. IN ANY EVENT, THE DECISION OF THE LOWER COURT DATED 14 JANUARY 2000
IS CONTRARY TO THE LETTER AND INTENT OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 429 AND
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6734.

E. THE DETERMINATION OF THE PROPRIETY AND PRACTICALITY OF THE


TRANSFER OF REGIONAL OFFICES IS INHERENTLY EXECUTIVE, AND THEREFORE,
NON-JUSTICIABLE.[10]

In essence, petitioner argues that the trial court erred in enjoining it from causing the transfer of
the DENR XII Regional Offices, considering that it was done pursuant to DENR Administrative
Order 99-14.

The issues to be resolved in this petition are: (1) Whether DAO-99-14 and the Memorandum
implementing the same were valid; and (2) Whether the DENR Secretary has the authority to
reorganize the DENR.

Prefatorily, petitioner prays for a liberal application of procedural rules considering the greater
interest of justice.

This Court is fully aware that procedural rules are not to be simply disregarded for these
prescribed procedures ensure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. However, it is
equally true that litigation is not merely a game of technicalities. Time and again, courts have
been guided by the principle that the rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and
technical manner, as rules of procedure are used only to help secure and not to override
substantial justice.[11] Thus, if the application of the Rules would tend to frustrate rather than
promote justice, it is always within the power of this Court to suspend the rules, or except a
particular case from its operation.[12]
Despite the presence of procedural flaws, we find it necessary to address the issues because of
the demands of public interest, including the need for stability in the public service and the
serious implications this case may cause on the effective administration of the executive
department. Although no appeal was made within the reglementary period to appeal,
nevertheless, the departure from the general rule that the extraordinary writ of certiorari cannot
be a substitute for the lost remedy of appeal is justified because the execution of the assailed
decision would amount to an oppressive exercise of judicial authority.[13]

Petitioner maintains that the assailed DAO-99-14 and the implementing memorandum were valid
and that the trial court should have taken judicial notice of Republic Act No. 6734, otherwise
known as An Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and its
implementing Executive Order 429,[14] as the legal bases for the issuance of the assailed DAO-
99-14. Moreover, the validity of R.A. No. 6734 and E.O. 429 were upheld in the case
of Chiongbian v. Orbos.[15] Thus, the respondents cannot, by means of an injunction, force the
DENR XII Regional Offices to remain in Cotabato City, as the exercise of the authority to
transfer the same is executive in nature.

It is apropos to reiterate the elementary doctrine of qualified political agency, thus:

Under this doctrine, which recognizes the establishment of a single executive, all executive and
administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of the various
executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases
where the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or law to act in person or the
exigencies of the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious executive and
administrative functions of the Chief Executive are performed by and through the executive
departments, and the acts of the Secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in
the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive,
presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive.[16]

This doctrine is corollary to the control power of the President as provided for under Article VII,
Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution, which reads:

Sec. 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and
offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.

However, as head of the Executive Department, the President cannot be expected to exercise his
control (and supervisory) powers personally all the time. He may delegate some of his powers to
the Cabinet members except when he is required by the Constitution to act in person or the
exigencies of the situation demand that he acts personally.[17]

In Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Zamora,[18] this Court upheld the continuing authority of the
President to carry out the reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive
department. Such authority includes the creation, alteration or abolition of public
offices.[19] The Chief Executives authority to reorganize the National Government finds basis in
Book III, Section 20 of E.O. No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987, viz:

Section 20. Residual Powers. Unless Congress provides otherwise, the President shall exercise
such other powers and functions vested in the President which are provided for under the laws
and which are not specifically enumerated above or which are not delegated by the President in
accordance with law.

Further, in Larin v. Executive Secretary,[20] this Court had occasion to rule:

This provision speaks of such other powers vested in the President under the law. What law then
gives him the power to reorganize? It is Presidential Decree No. 1772 which amended
Presidential Decree No. 1416. These decrees expressly grant the President of the Philippines the
continuing authority to reorganize the national government, which includes the power to group,
consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify
functions, services and activities and to standardize salaries and materials. The validity of these
two decrees is unquestionable. The 1987 Constitution clearly provides that all laws, decrees,
executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other executive issuances not
inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked. So
far, there is yet no law amending or repealing said decrees.

Applying the doctrine of qualified political agency, the power of the President to reorganize the
National Government may validly be delegated to his cabinet members exercising control over a
particular executive department. Thus, in DOTC Secretary v. Mabalot,[21] we held that the
President through his duly constituted political agent and alter ego, the DOTC Secretary may
legally and validly decree the reorganization of the Department, particularly the establishment of
DOTC-CAR as the LTFRB Regional Office at the Cordillera Administrative Region, with the
concomitant transfer and performance of public functions and responsibilities appurtenant to a
regional office of the LTFRB.

Similarly, in the case at bar, 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. The exercise of this authority by the DENR Secretary, as an alter ego, is presumed to
be the acts of the President for the latter had not expressly repudiated the same.

The trial court should have taken judicial notice of R.A. No. 6734, as implemented by E.O. No.
429, as legal basis of the Presidents power to reorganize the executive department, specifically
those administrative regions which did not vote for their inclusion in the ARMM. It is axiomatic
that a court has the mandate to apply relevant statutes and jurisprudence in determining whether
the allegations in a complaint establish a cause of action. While it focuses on the complaint, a
court clearly cannot disregard decisions material to the proper appreciation of the questions
before it.[22] In resolving the motion to dismiss, the trial court should have taken cognizance of
the official acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments because they are proper
subjects of mandatory judicial notice as provided by Section 1 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court,
to wit:

A court shall take judicial notice, without the introduction of evidence, of the existence and
territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and symbols of nationality,
the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the political
constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and
judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the
geographical divisions. (Emphasis supplied)

Article XIX, Section 13 of R.A. No. 6734 provides:

SECTION 13. The creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall take effect
when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent units provided in paragraph (2)
of Sec. 1 of Article II of this Act in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than ninety (90)
days or later than one hundred twenty (120) days after the approval of this Act: Provided, That
only the provinces and cities voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The provinces and cities which in the plebiscite do
not vote for inclusion in the Autonomous Region shall remain in the existing administrative
regions: Provided, however, That the President may, by administrative determination, merge the
existing regions.

Pursuant to the authority granted by the aforequoted provision, then President Corazon C.
Aquino issued on October 12, 1990 E.O. 429, Providing for the Reorganization of the
Administrative Regions in Mindanao. Section 4 thereof provides:

SECTION 4. REGION XII, to be known as CENTRAL MINDANAO, shall include the


following provinces and cities:

Provinces

Sultan Kudarat

Cotabato

South Cotabato

Cities

Cotabato

General Santos

The Municipality of Koronadal (Marinduque) in South Cotabato shall serve as the regional
center.
In Chiongbian v. Orbos, this Court stressed the rule that the power of the President to reorganize
the administrative regions carries with it the power to determine the regional centers. In
identifying the regional centers, the President purposely intended the effective delivery of the
field services of government agencies.[23] The same intention can be gleaned from the preamble
of the assailed DAO-99-14 which the DENR sought to achieve, that is, to improve the efficiency
and effectiveness of the DENR in delivering its services.

It may be true that the transfer of the offices may not be timely considering that: (1) there are no
buildings yet to house the regional offices in Koronadal, (2) the transfer falls on the month of
Ramadan, (3) the children of the affected employees are already enrolled in schools in Cotabato
City, (4) the Regional Development Council was not consulted, and (5) the Sangguniang
Panglungsond, through a resolution, requested the DENR Secretary to reconsider the
orders. However, 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,[24] for each department
is supreme and independent of the others, and each is 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.[25]

The Supreme Court should not be thought of as having been tasked with the awesome
responsibility of overseeing the entire bureaucracy. Unless there is a clear showing of
constitutional infirmity or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,
the Courts exercise of the judicial power, pervasive and limitless it may seem to be, still must
succumb to the paramount doctrine of separation of powers.[26] After a careful review of the
records of the case, we find that this jurisprudential element of abuse of discretion has not been
shown to exist.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for review is GRANTED. The resolutions
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 58896 dated May 31, 2000 and August 20, 2001, as
well as the decision dated January 14, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato City, Branch
15, in Civil Case No 389, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The permanent injunction, which
enjoined the petitioner from enforcing the Memorandum Order of the DENR XII Regional
Executive Director, is LIFTED.

Carino cs CHR

HON. ISIDRO CARIÑO, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture &
Sports, DR. ERLINDA LOLARGA, in her capacity as Superintendent of City Schools of
Manila, Petitioners, vs. THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, GRACIANO BUDOY,
JULIETA BABARAN, ELSA IBABAO, HELEN LUPO, AMPARO GONZALES, LUZ DEL
CASTILLO, ELSA REYES and APOLINARIO ESBER, Respondents.

NARVASA, J.:

The issue raised in the special civil action of certiorari and prohibition at bar, instituted by the
Solicitor General, may be formulated as follows: where the relief sought from the Commission
on Human Rights by a party in a case consists of the review and reversal or modification of a
decision or order issued by a court of justice or government agency or official exercising quasi-
judicial functions, may the Commission take cognizance of the case and grant that relief? Stated
otherwise, where a particular subject-matter is placed by law within the jurisdiction of a court or
other government agency or official for purposes of trial and adjudgment, may the Commission
on Human Rights take cognizance of the same subject-matter for the same purposes of hearing
and adjudication?chanrobles virtual law library

The facts narrated in the petition are not denied by the respondents and are hence taken as
substantially correct for purposes of ruling on the legal questions posed in the present action.
These facts, 1 together with others involved in related cases recently resolved by this Court 2 or
otherwise undisputed on the record, are hereunder set forth.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

1. On September 17, 1990, a Monday and a class day, some 800 public school teachers, among
them members of the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of
Concerned Teachers (ACT) undertook what they described as "mass concerted actions" to
"dramatize and highlight" their plight resulting from the alleged failure of the public authorities
to act upon grievances that had time and again been brought to the latter's attention. According to
them they had decided to undertake said "mass concerted actions" after the protest rally staged at
the DECS premises on September 14, 1990 without disrupting classes as a last call for the
government to negotiate the granting of demands had elicited no response from the Secretary of
Education. The "mass actions" consisted in staying away from their classes, converging at the
Liwasang Bonifacio, gathering in peaceable assemblies, etc. Through their representatives, the
teachers participating in the mass actions were served with an order of the Secretary of
Education to return to work in 24 hours or face dismissal, and a memorandum directing the
DECS officials concerned to initiate dismissal proceedings against those who did not comply and
to hire their replacements. Those directives notwithstanding, the mass actions continued into the
week, with more teachers joining in the days that followed. 3

Among those who took part in the "concerted mass actions" were the eight (8) private
respondents herein, teachers at the Ramon Magsaysay High School, Manila, who had agreed to
support the non-political demands of the MPSTA. 4
2. For failure to heed the return-to-work order, the CHR complainants (private respondents) were
administratively charged on the basis of the principal's report and given five (5) days to answer
the charges. They were also preventively suspended for ninety (90) days "pursuant to Section 41
of P.D. 807" and temporarily replaced (unmarked CHR Exhibits, Annexes F, G, H). An
investigation committee was consequently formed to hear the charges in accordance with P.D.
807. 5

3. In the administrative case docketed as Case No. DECS 90-082 in which CHR complainants
Graciano Budoy, Jr., Julieta Babaran, Luz del Castillo, Apolinario Esber were, among others,
named respondents, 6 the latter filed separate answers, opted for a formal investigation, and also
moved "for suspension of the administrative proceedings pending resolution by . . (the Supreme)
Court of their application for issuance of an injunctive writ/temporary restraining order." But
when their motion for suspension was denied by Order dated November 8, 1990 of the
Investigating Committee, which later also denied their motion for reconsideration orally made at
the hearing of November 14, 1990, "the respondents led by their counsel staged a walkout
signifying their intent to boycott the entire proceedings." 7 The case eventually resulted in a
Decision of Secretary Cariño dated December 17, 1990, rendered after evaluation of the
evidence as well as the answers, affidavits and documents submitted by the respondents,
decreeing dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the suspension for nine (9) months
of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo. 8

4. In the meantime, the "MPSTA filed a petition for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of
Manila against petitioner (Cariño), which was dismissed (unmarked CHR Exhibit, Annex I).
Later, the MPSTA went to the Supreme Court (on certiorari, in an attempt to nullify said
dismissal, grounded on the) alleged violation of the striking teachers" right to due process and
peaceable assembly docketed as G.R. No. 95445, supra. The ACT also filed a similar petition
before the Supreme Court . . . docketed as G.R. No. 95590." 9 Both petitions in this Court were
filed in behalf of the teacher associations, a few named individuals, and "other teacher-members
so numerous similarly situated" or "other similarly situated public school teachers too numerous
to be impleaded."

5. In the meantime, too, the respondent teachers submitted sworn statements dated September 27,
1990 to the Commission on Human Rights to complain that while they were participating in
peaceful mass actions, they suddenly learned of their replacements as teachers, allegedly without
notice and consequently for reasons completely unknown to them. 10

6. Their complaints - and those of other teachers also "ordered suspended by the . . . (DECS)," all
numbering forty-two (42) - were docketed as "Striking Teachers CHR Case No. 90775." In
connection therewith the Commission scheduled a "dialogue" on October 11, 1990, and sent a
subpoena to Secretary Cariño requiring his attendance therein. 11
On the day of the "dialogue," although it said that it was "not certain whether he (Sec. Cariño)
received the subpoena which was served at his office, . . . (the) Commission, with the Chairman
presiding, and Commissioners Hesiquio R. Mallilin and Narciso C. Monteiro, proceeded to hear
the case;" it heard the complainants' counsel (a) explain that his clients had been "denied due
process and suspended without formal notice, and unjustly, since they did not join the mass
leave," and (b) expatiate on the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA
teachers, (and) with which causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize." 12 The Commission
thereafter issued an Order 13 reciting these facts and making the following disposition:

To be properly apprised of the real facts of the case and be accordingly guided in its
investigation and resolution of the matter, considering that these forty two teachers are now
suspended and deprived of their wages, which they need very badly, Secretary Isidro Cariño, of
the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Dr. Erlinda Lolarga, school superintendent of
Manila and the Principal of Ramon Magsaysay High School, Manila, are hereby enjoined to
appear and enlighten the Commission en banc on October 19, 1990 at 11:00 A.M. and to bring
with them any and all documents relevant to the allegations aforestated herein to assist the
Commission in this matter. Otherwise, the Commission will resolve the complaint on the basis of
complainants' evidence.

xxx xxx xxx

7. Through the Office of the Solicitor General, Secretary Cariño sought and was granted leave to
file a motion to dismiss the case. His motion to dismiss was submitted on November 14, 1990
alleging as grounds therefor, "that the complaint states no cause of action and that the CHR has
no jurisdiction over the case." 14

8. Pending determination by the Commission of the motion to dismiss, judgments affecting the
"striking teachers" were promulgated in two (2) cases, as aforestated, viz.:

a) The Decision dated December l7, 1990 of Education Secretary Cariño in Case No. DECS 90-
082, decreeing dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the suspension for nine (9)
months of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo; 15 andchanrobles virtual law library

b) The joint Resolution of this Court dated August 6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590
dismissing the petitions "without prejudice to any appeals, if still timely, that the individual
petitioners may take to the Civil Service Commission on the matters complained
of," 16 and inter alia "ruling that it wasprima facie lawful for petitioner Cariño to issue return-to-
work orders, file administrative charges against recalcitrants, preventively suspend them, and
issue decision on those charges." 17chanrobles virtual law library

9. In an Order dated December 28, 1990, respondent Commission denied Sec. Cariño's motion to
dismiss and required him and Superintendent Lolarga "to submit their counter-affidavits within
ten (10) days . . . (after which) the Commission shall proceed to hear and resolve the case on the
merits with or without respondents counter affidavit." 18 It held that the "striking teachers"
"were denied due process of law; . . . they should not have been replaced without a chance to
reply to the administrative charges;" there had been a violation of their civil and political rights
which the Commission was empowered to investigate; and while expressing its "utmost respect
to the Supreme Court . . . the facts before . . . (it) are different from those in the case decided by
the Supreme Court" (the reference being unmistakably to this Court's joint Resolution of August
6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

It is to invalidate and set aside this Order of December 28, 1990 that the Solicitor General, in
behalf of petitioner Cariño, has commenced the present action of certiorari and
prohibition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Commission on Human Rights has made clear its position that it does not feel bound by this
Court's joint Resolution in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra. It has also made plain its intention
"to hear and resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the merits." It
intends, in other words, to try and decide or hear and determine, i.e., exercise jurisdiction over
the following general issues:chanrobles virtual law library

1) whether or not the striking teachers were denied due process, and just cause exists for the
imposition of administrative disciplinary sanctions on them by their superiors; andchanrobles
virtual law library

2) whether or not the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers,
(and) with which causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize," justify their mass action or
strike.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Commission evidently intends to itself adjudicate, that is to say, determine with character of
finality and definiteness, the same issues which have been passed upon and decided by the
Secretary of Education, Culture & Sports, subject to appeal to the Civil Service Commission, this
Court having in fact, as aforementioned, declared that the teachers affected may take appeals to
the Civil Service Commission on said matters, if still
timely.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The threshold question is whether or not the Commission on Human Rights has the power under
the Constitution to do so; whether or not, like a court of justice, 19 or even a quasi-judicial
agency, 20 it has jurisdiction or adjudicatory powers over, or the power to try and decide, or hear
and determine, certain specific type of cases, like alleged human rights violations involving civil
or political rights.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Court declares the Commission on Human Rights to have no such power; and that it was not
meant by the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or
duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it
may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights
violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be
likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official.
The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a
judicial function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence
and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority
of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided
or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of
review as may be provided by law. 21 This function, to repeat, the Commission does not
have. 22

The proposition is made clear by the constitutional provisions specifying the powers of the
Commission on Human Rights.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Commission was created by the 1987 Constitution as an independent office. 23 Upon its
constitution, it succeeded and superseded the Presidential Committee on Human Rights existing
at the time of the effectivity of the Constitution. 24 Its powers and functions are the following 25

(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations
involving civil and political rights;chanrobles virtual law library

(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations
thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;chanrobles virtual law library

(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within
the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and
legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need
protection;chanrobles virtual law library

(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;chanrobles virtual law
library

(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance respect for
the primacy of human rights;chanrobles virtual law library

(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for
compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;chanrobles virtual law
library
(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty obligations on
human rights;chanrobles virtual law library

(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of
documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth in any
investigation conducted by it or under its authority;chanrobles virtual law library

(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its
functions;chanrobles virtual law library

(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; andchanrobles virtual law
library

(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.

As should at once be observed, only the first of the enumerated powers and functions bears any
resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment. The Constitution clearly and categorically grants to
the Commission the power to investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and
political rights. It can exercise that power on its own initiative or on complaint of any person. It
may exercise that power pursuant to such rules of procedure as it may adopt and, in cases of
violations of said rules, cite for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court. In the course of
any investigation conducted by it or under its authority, it may grant immunity from prosecution
to any person whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary
or convenient to determine the truth. It may also request the assistance of any department,
bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions, in the conduct of its investigation or
in extending such remedy as may be required by its findings. 26

But it cannot try and decide cases (or hear and determine causes) as courts of justice, or even
quasi-judicial bodies do. To investigate is not to adjudicate or adjudge. Whether in the popular or
the technical sense, these terms have well understood and quite distinct meanings.

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into,
research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely:
inquire into systematically. "to search or inquire into: . . . to subject to an official probe . . .: to
conduct an official inquiry." 27 The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find
out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling,
deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law
to the facts established by the inquiry.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient
inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care
and accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal
inquiry;" 28 "to inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn describe as "(a)n
administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d
Adm L Sec. 257; . . . an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts
concerning a certain matter or matters." 29

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide,


determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights
and duties of the parties to a court case) on the merits of issues raised: . . . to pass judgment on:
settle judicially: . . . act as judge." 30 And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or
with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: . . . to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy . .
. ." 31

In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To
determine finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To
pass on judicially, to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial
determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment." 32

Hence it is that the Commission on Human Rights, having merely the power "to investigate,"
cannot and should not "try and resolve on the merits" (adjudicate) the matters involved in
Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has announced it means to do; and it cannot do so
even if there be a claim that in the administrative disciplinary proceedings against the teachers in
question, initiated and conducted by the DECS, their human rights, or civil or political rights had
been transgressed. More particularly, the Commission has no power to "resolve on the merits"
the question of (a) whether or not the mass concerted actions engaged in by the teachers
constitute and are prohibited or otherwise restricted by law; (b) whether or not the act of carrying
on and taking part in those actions, and the failure of the teachers to discontinue those actions,
and return to their classes despite the order to this effect by the Secretary of Education, constitute
infractions of relevant rules and regulations warranting administrative disciplinary sanctions, or
are justified by the grievances complained of by them; and (c) what where the particular acts
done by each individual teacher and what sanctions, if any, may properly be imposed for said
acts or omissions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

These are matters undoubtedly and clearly within the original jurisdiction of the Secretary of
Education, being within the scope of the disciplinary powers granted to him under the Civil
Service Law, and also, within the appellate jurisdiction of the Civil Service
Commission.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Indeed, the Secretary of Education has, as above narrated, already taken cognizance of the issues
and resolved them, 33 and it appears that appeals have been seasonably taken by the aggrieved
parties to the Civil Service Commission; and even this Court itself has had occasion to pass upon
said issues. 34

Now, it is quite obvious that whether or not the conclusions reached by the Secretary of
Education in disciplinary cases are correct and are adequately based on substantial evidence;
whether or not the proceedings themselves are void or defective in not having accorded the
respondents due process; and whether or not the Secretary of Education had in truth committed
"human rights violations involving civil and political rights," are matters which may be passed
upon and determined through a motion for reconsideration addressed to the Secretary Education
himself, and in the event of an adverse verdict, may be reviewed by the Civil Service
Commission and eventually the Supreme Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

The Commission on Human Rights simply has no place in this scheme of things. It has no
business intruding into the jurisdiction and functions of the Education Secretary or the Civil
Service Commission. It has no business going over the same ground traversed by the latter and
making its own judgment on the questions involved. This would accord success to what may
well have been the complaining teachers' strategy to abort, frustrate or negate the judgment of the
Education Secretary in the administrative cases against them which they anticipated would be
adverse to them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

This cannot be done. It will not be permitted to be done.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles


virtual law library

In any event, the investigation by the Commission on Human Rights would serve no useful
purpose. If its investigation should result in conclusions contrary to those reached by Secretary
Cariño, it would have no power anyway to reverse the Secretary's conclusions. Reversal thereof
can only by done by the Civil Service Commission and lastly by this Court. The only thing the
Commission can do, if it concludes that Secretary Cariño was in error, is to refer the matter to the
appropriate Government agency or tribunal for assistance; that would be the Civil Service
Commission. 35 It cannot arrogate unto itself the appellate jurisdiction of the Civil Service
Commission.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the petition is granted; the Order of December 29, 1990 is ANNULLED and
SET ASIDE, and the respondent Commission on Human Rights and the Chairman and Members
thereof are prohibited "to hear and resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-
775) on the merits."chanrobles virtual law library

Tecson vs Salas

1. Constitutional law; President; Power of control over all executive departments; Villena ruling
still valid.-
Insofar as the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus or offices is concerned,
the Villena ruling applies with undiminished force. No doubt can be entertained then as to the
continuing vitality of the Villena doctrine concerning the plenitude of authority lodged in the
President implicit in the power of control expressly granted him by the Constitution. Nor should
any restrictive significance be attached to the wording in the Mondano decision as to the
implications of such concept considering that there was no need in such case for a more elaborate
treatment, all that was necessary being to distinguish it from supervision.

2. Civil Service Act; Personnel; Transfer of personnel; Detail to Office of the President not
considered a transfer.-

Detail of a Superintendent of Dredging, Bureau of Public Works to the Office of the President
pursuant to a directive of the Executive Secretary acting by presidential authority, is not removal
or transfer.

3. Civil Service Act; Personnel; Transfer of personnel; When transfer is allowed.+

4. Civil Service Act; Personnel; Power of President to order detail government employees.+

5. Constitutional law; Separation of powers; Judiciary cannot inquire into motives for exercise of
Presidential or Congressional power.-

It is not for the judiciary to inquire into the motives that impelled the exercise of presidential or
congressional power. The concept of separation of powers presupposes mutual respect by and
between the three departments of the government. At the very least, the presumption is to be
indulged in that the exertion of a legitimate governmental power springs from a belief that
thereby public interest is served and the common weal promoted.

G.R. No. L-27524 July 31, 1970

JOSE C. TECSON, petitioner-appellant, vs. HON. RAFAEL SALAS Executive Secretary, HON.
ANTONIO V. RAQUIZA, Secretary of Public Works and Communications, HON. MARCIANO
D. BAUTISTA, Undersecretary of Public Works and Communications, ALEJANDRO B.
DELENA, Officer-In-Charge of the Bureau of Public Works, and Felix V. BAGTAS, Assistant
Superintendent of Dredging Bureau of Public Works, respondent-appellees.

Salva, Carballo & Associates and Edmundo M. Villanueva for petitioner.

Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo and Solicitor Augusto M. Amores for
respondents-appellees.

FERNANDO, J.:
It was not a light burden petitioner Jose C. Tecson, Superintendent of Dredging, Bureau of
Public Works, had taken upon himself seeking through this special civil action for certiorari and
prohibition the nullification of his detail to the Office of the President according to a directive of
the then Executive Secretary, Rafael Salas, acting by presidential authority, imputing to it the
character of a removal without cause. 1Thus, on its face, it could not be asserted with confidence
that the petition was sufficiently compelling. It was no surprise then that the lower court, the
Honorable Juan O. Reyes presiding, sustained a motion to dismiss filed by respondents. The
matter is now before us on appeal. The fate in store for it is not any different. There is no valid
legal reason for reversing the lower court, the applicable legal norms grounded on a realistic
appraisal of the power lodged in the President by the Constitution and statute alike calling for a
recognition of such competence on his part. We affirm the order of
dismissal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The amended petition for certiorari and prohibition filed against respondents on November 15,
1966 prayed that the detail dated October 14, 1966 of petitioner Superintendent of Dredging of
the Bureau of Public Works to the Office of the President to assist in the San Fernando Port
Project be declared illegal, null and void. There was a motion to dismiss filed on November 29,
1966 by the then Solicitor General, now a member of this Court, the Honorable Antonio P.
Barredo, primarily based on a lack of cause of action, as the power of the then Executive
Secretary, acting by authority of the President to detail petitioner, was beyond question. Such a
motion elicited a favorable response from the lower court, as shown by its order of December 17,
1966 dismissing the petition without pronouncement as to costs and lifting the restraining order
previously issued.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The basic question was set forth in such order. Thus: "Stripping off the unnecessary allegations
and data contained in the kilometric allegations of the petitioner and the respondents in their
respective pleadings, and after a perusal of the amended petition, the Court finds that the
principal issue between petitioner and the herein respondents in the amended petition, is whether
or not the assignment of herein petitioner on temporary detail to the office of Commodore
Santiago Nuval, Presidential Assistant on Ports and Harbors, by the President of the Philippines
thru the Executive Secretary, constitutes removal from office without cause.2It incorporated the
challenged directive of the then Executive Secretary addressed to the Secretary of Public Works
and worded as follows: "Mr. Jose G. Tecson, Superintendent of Dredging Bureau of Public
Works, is hereby detailed to the Office of the President, effective immediately, to assist in the
San Fernando Port Project. Mr. Tecson shall report directly to Commodore Santiago Nuval
Presidential Assistant on Ports and Harbors."3It was clearly set forth therein that it was issued
"by authority of the President."chanrobles virtual law library

Then came this portion of the lower Court's Order of dismissal: "It is to be presumed that the
Presidential directive, thru the Salas Order, must have been decided by Malacañang in the
interest of public service, and such official act should be considered regularly issued. Petitioner,
however, argues that the Salas detail order although issued by Authority of the President, should
be approved by the Budget Commissioner and the Commissioner of Civil Service as there is no
specification of the period of assignment. This contention of the petitioner, if it were to be
followed, would contravene the generally accepted principle which recognizes presidential
'power control' over the executive department. For then the acts of the President of the
Philippines would be subject to a subsequent approval or action by his subordinate officials in
the executive department." 4Why there was no removal from office without cause was explained
in such order thus: "The respondents further argue that the temporary assignment of the
petitioner to the Office of the President is not a demotion in rank and salary. Neither is it to be
considered as a disciplinary action taken against him. The detail does not involve removal from
his present position by transferring him to another position in a lower class. He will retain his
position as Superintendent of Dredging and will receive all the emoluments and privileges
appurtenant thereto. In citing Sec. 32 of the Civil Service Act of 1959, petitioner seems to be of
the impression that he is being transferred from one position to another, but this is not the case as
regards the abovequoted detail order of Secretary Salas. The same Sec. 32 of Civil Service Act of
1959 provides 'that a transfer from one position to another without reduction in rank or salary
shall not be considered disciplinary when made in the interest of public service'." 5It was the
conclusion of the lower court, therefore, that there was likewise a statutory authority for such
detail in the Office of the President, which was neither a demotion nor a disciplinary action and
as such valid. Hence the order of dismissal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

The matter was elevated to us on appeal, petitioner, now appellant, stressing that he had a valid
cause of action as there was a removal or, at the very least, a transfer from his present position to
another without his consent contrary to the constitutional provision, at the same time disputing
the presidential authority under his power of control to order such a detail. On that issue decisive
of this controversy, we find for respondents and, as noted, affirm the order of
dismissal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

1. The basic philosophy of the presidential type of government adopted in our Constitution was
expounded with force and lucidity by Justice Laurel in Villena v. Secretary of Interior 6in words
the validity of which has not been impaired by the passage of time. It upheld in that case an order
of suspension of the petitioner municipal mayor by such department head, notwithstanding the
lack of statutory authority. This the Court was able to do, surmounting what otherwise should
have been an insuperable obstacle, by attaching to such order of suspension the character of a
presidential act. Thus: "After serious reflection, we have decided to sustain the contention of the
government in this case on the broad proposition, albeit not suggested, that under the presidential
type of government which we have adopted and considering the department organization
established and continued in force by paragraph 1, section 12, Article VII, of our Constitution,
all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the
heads of the various executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and,
except in cases where the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or the law to act in
person or the exigencies of the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious
executive and administrative functions of the Chief Executive are performed by and through the
executive department and the acts of the secretaries of such departments, performed and
promulgated in the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief
Executive, presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive." 7chanrobles virtual law library

Justice Laurel then proceeded to make clear why such an assumption is a logical corollary of the
conferment of the totality of executive power in the President. As he pointed out: "With
reference to the Executive Department of the Government, there is one purpose which is crystal-
clear and is readily visible without the projection of judicial searchlight, and that is, the
establishment of a single, not plural, Executive. The first section of Article VII of the
Constitution, dealing with the Executive Department, begins with the enunciation of the principle
that 'The executive power shall be vested in a President of the Philippines.' This means that the
President of the Philippines is the Executive of the Government of the Philippines, and no other.
The heads of the executive departments occupy political positions and hold office in an advisory
capacity, and in the language of Thomas Jefferson, 'should be of the President's bosom
confidence' (7 Writings, Ford ed., 498), and, in the language of Attorney-General Cushing (7
Op., Attorney-General, 453). 'are subject to the direction of the President., Without minimizing
the importance of the heads of the various departments, their personality is in reality but the
projection of that of the President. Stated otherwise, and as forcibly characterized by Chief
Justice Taft of the Supreme Court of the United States, 'each head of a department is, and must
be, the President's alter ego in the matters of that department where the President is required by
law to exercise authority' (Myers vs. United States, 47 Sup. Ct. Rep., 21 at 30: 272 U.S., 52 at
133; 71 Law. ed., 160)." 8chanrobles virtual law library

A few months earlier, in Planas v. Gil, 9Justice Laurel already had occasion to emphasize such
plenitude of authority vested in the President. These were his words then: "Viewed from the
totality of powers conferred upon the Chief Executive by our Constitution, we should he
reluctant to yield to the proposition that the President of the Philippines who is endowed with
broad and extraordinary powers by our Constitution, and who is expected to govern with a firm
and steady hand without vexatious or embarrassing interference and much less dictation from
any source, is yet devoid of the power to order the investigation of the petitioner in this case. We
should avoid that result." 1 0

It is true that insofar as presidential intervention over local affairs is concerned, the Villena
decision no longer speaks with authority. It did lend itself to the criticism that it was not
sufficiently mindful of the distinction under the Constitution delineating the power of the
President to "have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices" and his limited
power to "exercise general supervision over all local governments as may be provided by law,
...," 1 1 In the Villena as well as the Planas vs. Gil cases, Justice Laurel appeared to have taken a
rather expansive view of such supervisory authority, the effect of which could blur the line
distinguishing it from control. Hebron vs. Reyes, 1 2 with the then Justice, now Chief Justice,
Concepcion as the ponente, clarified matters. As was pointed cut, the presidential competence is
not even supervision in general, but general supervision as may be provided by law. He could not
thus go beyond the applicable statutory provisions, which bind and fetter his discretion on the
matter. Moreover, as been earlier ruled in an opinion penned by Justice Padilla in Mondano v.
Silvosa, 1 3 referred to by the present Chief Justice in his opinion in the Hebron case,
supervision goes no further than "overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that
subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former
may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties." 14
Control, on the other hand, "means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set
aside what a subordinate had done in the performance of their duties and to substitute the
judgment of the former for that of the latter." It would follow then, according to the present Chief
Justice, to go back to the Hebron opinion, that the 'President had to abide by the then provisions
of the Revised Administrative Code on suspension and removal of municipal officials, there
being no power of control that he could rightfully exercise, the law clearly specifying the
procedure by which such disciplinary action could be taken. 1 5

Insofar, however, as the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus or offices is
concerned, the Villena ruling applies with undiminished force. 1 6 As a matter of fact, the
present Chief Justice, in a decision rendered more than a year later after Hebron v. Reyes, People
v. Jolliffe, 1 7 quoted extensively from the Villena ruling to stress what Justice Laurel referred to
as the "qualified political agency" concept resulting in the "assumption of responsibility by the
President of the Philippines for Acts of any member of his cabinet." No doubt can be entertained
then as to the continuing vitality of the Villena doctrine concerning the plenitude of authority
lodged in the President implicit in the power of control expressly granted him by the
Constitution. 1 8 Nor should any restrictive significance be attached to the wording in the
Mondano decision as to the implications of such concept considering that there was no need in
such case for a more elaborate treatment, all that was necessary being to distinguish it from
supervision. In Pelaez v. Auditor General, 1 9 the present Chief Justice left no doubt as to its all
embracing scope. Thus: "The power of control under this provision implies the right of the
President to interfere in the exercise of such discretion as may be vested by law in the officers of
the executive departments, bureaus, or offices of the national government, as well as to act in
lieu of such officers." 2 0 The assertion then that such a broad grant of authority could not justify
the challenged directive cannot be taken too seriously. If it were not so, the result would be not
observance but defiance of a constitutional command.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

2. The detail of petitioner to the Office of the President was thus unobjectionable. By no stretch
of the imagination could it be considered a removal. It was not even a transfer. Even if it could
be so viewed, the same conclusion would emerge, as such was allowable under the Civil Service
Act provision then in force, so long as there be no reduction in rank or salary, such transfer
therefore not being considered disciplinary when made in the interest of public service. 2 1 Nor
is there any merit to the assertion made in the brief of petitioner that the directive of the
Executive Secretary, acting upon authority of the President, needed the approval of the Civil
Service Commission and the Commissioner of the Budget for its enforcement. Such a thought is
repugnant to the very concept of a single, not a plural, executive in whom is vested the whole
panoply of executive power. It is not only illogical, but it does not make sense, to require as a
prerequisite to its validity the approval of subordinate to an action taken by their superior, the
President, who tinder the Constitution is the Executive, all prerogatives attaching to such branch
being vested in him solely. In that sense, for those discharging purely executive function in the
national government, he lie gives orders to all and takes orders from
none.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

3. It would seem undisputed, then, that the lower court had no alternative but to dismiss the
petition. The cause of action was clearly lacking. What was done did not amount to a removal.
Moreover, the power of the President to order the detail was manifestly undeniable. It would
likewise appear that petitioner failed to exhibit due deference to one of the fundamental
postulates of government service, namely, that a public office is a public trust. While rightfully
the Constitution guarantees the security of a public official's term, as well as his right to be
compensated, there can be no disputing the truth of the assertion that the overriding concern is
that the task of government be performed and performed well. One in public service, therefore,
should not lack awareness that whatever talents he may possess should be beneficially employed
for the public welfare, the determination as to where they should be devoted being ordinary left
to the discretion of his superiors. In the language of Justice Sanchez in Sta. Maria v. Lopez, 2 2
"the use of approved techniques or methods in personnel management to harness the abilities of
employees to promote the optimum public service cannot be objected to."chanrobles virtual law
library

When petitioner was therefore required to assist in the San Fernando Port Project, directly under
the then Presidential Assistant on Ports and Harbors in the challenged directive of the Executive
Secretary, acting by authority of the President, his duty as a public official was clear. He had to
yield obedience. He ought to have known, as one of those entrusted with govermental functions,
that what is controlling was not his choice of what should be done but what the interest of the
service requires. It was made clear in the directive that he remained Superintendent of Dredging
in the Bureau of Public Works. There was no demotion in rank. There was no diminution of
salary. To give heed to his protest and invalidate such a detail, well within the power of the
President, would be to nullify the concept of a public office being a public
trust.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

4. There is another consideration that militates against the stand of petitioner. The question
before the judiciary in its appraisal of the validity of the acts of the President or of Congress is
one of power. It is not for this Tribunal, much less for an inferior court, to inquire into the
motives that may have prompted the exercise of a presidential authority. At the most, it can look
into the question of whether there is legal justification for what was done. If the answer were in
the affirmative, that disposes of the matter. In the same way that the judiciary has a right to
expect that neither the President nor Congress would cast doubt on the mainspring of its orders
or decisions, it should refrain from speculating as to alleged hidden forces at work that could
have impelled either coordinate branch into acting the way it did. The concept of separation of
powers presupposes mutual respect by and between the three departments of the government. At
the very least then, the presumption is to be indulged in that the exertion of a legitimate
governmental power springs from a belief that thereby public interest is served and the common
weal promoted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal of December 17, 1966 is hereby affirmed. Without
pronouncement as to costs.
QUASI-LEGISLATIVE POWER (page 7)

Corona vs United Harbor Pilots Association

[G.R. No. 111953. December 12, 1997]

HON. RENATO C. CORONA, in his capacity as Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs, HON.
JESUS B. GARCIA, in his capacity as Acting Secretary, Department of Transportation and
Communications, and ROGELIO A. DAYAN, in his capacity as General Manager of Philippine
Ports Authority, petitioners, vs. UNITED HARBOR PILOTS ASSOCIATION OF THE
PHILIPPINES and MANILA PILOTS ASSOCIATION, respondents.

DECISION

ROMERO, J.:

In issuing Administrative Order No. 04-92 (PPA-AO No. 04-92), limiting the term of
appointment of harbor pilots to one year subject to yearly renewal or cancellation, did the
Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) violate respondents right to exercise their profession and their
right to due process of law?

The PPA was created on July 11, 1974, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 505. On December
23, 1975, Presidential Decree No. 857 was issued revising the PPAs charter. Pursuant to its
power of control, regulation, and supervision of pilots and the pilotage profession, [1] the PPA
promulgated PPA-AO-03-85 [2] on March 21, 1985, which embodied the Rules and Regulations
Governing Pilotage Services, the Conduct of Pilots and Pilotage Fees in Philippine Ports. These
rules mandate, inter alia, that aspiring pilots must be holders of pilot licenses [3]and must train as
probationary pilots in outports for three months and in the Port of Manila for four months. It is
only after they have achieved satisfactory performance [4] that they are given permanent and
regular appointments by the PPA itself [5] to exercise harbor pilotage until they reach the age of
70, unless sooner removed by reason of mental or physical unfitness by the PPA General
Manager. [6] Harbor pilots in every harbor district are further required to organize themselves
into pilot associations which would make available such equipment as may be required by the
PPA for effective pilotage services. In view of this mandate, pilot associations invested in
floating, communications, and office equipment. In fact, every new pilot appointed by the PPA
automatically becomes a member of a pilot association and is required to pay a proportionate
equivalent equity or capital before being allowed to assume his duties, as reimbursement to the
association concerned of the amount it paid to his predecessor.

Subsequently, then PPA General Manager Rogelio A. Dayan issued PPA-AO No. 04-92 [7] on
July 15, 1992, whose avowed policy was to instill effective discipline and thereby afford better
protection to the port users through the improvement of pilotage services. This was implemented
by providing therein that all existing regular appointments which have been previously issued
either by the Bureau of Customs or the PPA shall remain valid up to 31 December 1992 only and
that all appointments to harbor pilot positions in all pilotage districts shall, henceforth, be only
for a term of one (1) year from date of effectivity subject to yearly renewal or cancellation by the
Authority after conduct of a rigid evaluation of performance.

On August 12, 1992, respondents United Harbor Pilots Association and the Manila Pilots
Association, through Capt. Alberto C. Compas, questioned PPA-AO No. 04-92 before the
Department of Transportation and Communication, but they were informed by then DOTC
Secretary Jesus B. Garcia that the matter of reviewing, recalling or annulling PPAs
administrative issuances lies exclusively with its Board of Directors as its governing body.

Meanwhile, on August 31, 1992, the PPA issued Memorandum Order No. 08-92 [8] which laid
down the criteria or factors to be considered in the reappointment of harbor pilots, viz.: (1)
Qualifying Factors: [9] safety record and physical/mental medical exam report and (2) Criteria
for Evaluation: [10] promptness in servicing vessels, compliance with PPA Pilotage Guidelines,
number of years as a harbor pilot, average GRT of vessels serviced as pilot,
awards/commendations as harbor pilot, and age.

Respondents reiterated their request for the suspension of the implementation of PPA-AO No.
04-92, but Secretary Garcia insisted on his position that the matter was within the jurisdiction of
the Board of Directors of the PPA. Compas appealed this ruling to the Office of the President
(OP), reiterating his arguments before the DOTC.

On December 23, 1992, the OP issued an order directing the PPA to hold in abeyance the
implementation of PPA-AO No. 04-92. In its answer, the PPA countered that said administrative
order was issued in the exercise of its administrative control and supervision over harbor pilots
under Section 6-a (viii), Article IV of P. D. No. 857, as amended, and it, along with its
implementing guidelines, was intended to restore order in the ports and to improve the quality of
port services.

On March 17, 1993, the OP, through then Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Renato
C. Corona, dismissed the appeal/petition and lifted the restraining order issued earlier. [11] He
concluded that PPA-AO No. 04-92 applied to all harbor pilots and, for all intents and purposes,
was not the act of Dayan, but of the PPA, which was merely implementing Section 6 of P.D. No.
857, mandating it to control, regulate and supervise pilotage and conduct of pilots in any port
district.

On the alleged unconstitutionality and illegality of PPA-AO No. 04-92 and its implementing
memoranda and circulars, Secretary Corona opined that:

The exercise of ones profession falls within the constitutional guarantee against wrongful
deprivation of, or interference with, property rights without due process. In the limited context of
this case, PPA-AO 04-92 does not constitute a wrongful interference with, let alone a wrongful
deprivation of, the property rights of those affected thereby. As may be noted, the issuance aims
no more than to improve pilotage services by limiting the appointment to harbor pilot positions
to one year, subject to renewal or cancellation after a rigid evaluation of the appointees
performance.

PPA-AO 04-92 does not forbid, but merely regulates, the exercise by harbor pilots of their
profession in PPAs jurisdictional area. (Emphasis supplied)

Finally, as regards the alleged absence of ample prior consultation before the issuance of the
administrative order, Secretary Corona cited Section 26 of P.D. No. 857, which merely requires
the PPA to consult with relevant Government agencies. Since the PPA Board of Directors is
composed of the Secretaries of the DOTC, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the
Department of Finance, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as
the Director-General of the National Economic Development Agency, the Administrator of the
Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the private sector representative who, due to his
knowledge and expertise, was appointed by the President to the Board, he concluded that the law
has been sufficiently complied with by the PPA in issuing the assailed administrative order.

Consequently, respondents filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with prayer
for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and damages, before Branch 6 of the Regional
Trial Court of Manila, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 93-65673. On September 6, 1993,
the trial court rendered the following judgment: [12]

WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, this Court hereby rules that:

1. Respondents (herein petitioners) have acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of
discretion and in a capricious, whimsical and arbitrary manner in promulgating PPA
Administrative Order 04-92 including all its implementing Memoranda, Circulars and Orders;

2. PPA Administrative Order 04-92 and its implementing Circulars and Orders are declared null
and void;

3. The respondents are permanently enjoined from implementing PPA Administrative Order 04-
92 and its implementing Memoranda, Circulars and Orders.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

The court a quo pointed out that the Bureau of Customs, the precursor of the PPA, recognized
pilotage as a profession and, therefore, a property right under Callanta v. Carnation Philippines,
Inc. [13] Thus, abbreviating the term within which that privilege may be exercised would be an
interference with the property rights of the harbor pilots. Consequently, any withdrawal or
alteration of such property right must be strictly made in accordance with the constitutional
mandate of due process of law. This was apparently not followed by the PPA when it did not
conduct public hearings prior to the issuance of PPA-AO No. 04-92; respondents allegedly
learned about it only after its publication in the newspapers. From this decision, petitioners
elevated their case to this Court on certiorari.

After carefully examining the records and deliberating on the arguments of the parties, the Court
is convinced that PPA-AO No. 04-92 was issued in stark disregard of respondents right against
deprivation of property without due process of law. Consequently, the instant petition must be
denied.

Section 1 of the Bill of Rights lays down what is known as the due process clause of the
Constitution, viz.:

SECTION 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law,
x x x.

In order to fall within the aegis of this provision, two conditions must concur, namely, that there
is a deprivation and that such deprivation is done without proper observance of due
process. When one speaks of due process of law, however, a distinction must be made between
matters of procedure and matters of substance. In essence, procedural due process refers to the
method or manner by which the law is enforced, while substantive due process requires that the
law itself, not merely the procedures by which the law would be enforced, is fair, reasonable, and
just. [14] PPA-AO No. 04-92 must be examined in light of this distinction.

Respondents argue that due process was not observed in the adoption of PPA-AO No. 04-92
allegedly because no hearing was conducted whereby relevant government agencies and the
pilots themselves could ventilate their views. They are obviously referring to the procedural
aspect of the enactment. Fortunately, the Court has maintained a clear position in this regard, a
stance it has stressed in the recent case of Lumiqued v. Hon. Exevea, [15] where it declared that
(a)s long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he cannot be
said to have been denied due process of law, for this opportunity to be heard is the very essence
of due process. Moreover, this constitutional mandate is deemed satisfied if a person is granted
an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.

In the case at bar, respondents questioned PPA-AO No. 04-92 no less than four times [16] before
the matter was finally elevated to this Tribunal. Their arguments on this score, however, fail to
persuade. While respondents emphasize that the Philippine Coast Guard, which issues the
licenses of pilots after administering the pilots examinations, was not consulted, [17] the facts
show that the MARINA, which took over the licensing function of the Philippine Coast Guard,
was duly represented in the Board of Directors of the PPA. Thus, petitioners correctly argued
that, there being no matters of naval defense involved in the issuance of the administrative order,
the Philippine Coast Guard need not be consulted.[18]
Neither does the fact that the pilots themselves were not consulted in any way taint the validity
of the administrative order. As a general rule, notice and hearing, as the fundamental
requirements of procedural due process, are essential only when an administrative body exercises
its quasi-judicial function. In the performance of its executive or legislative functions, such as
issuing rules and regulations, an administrative body need not comply with the requirements of
notice and hearing.[19]

Upon the other hand, it is also contended that the sole and exclusive right to the exercise of
harbor pilotage by pilots is a settled issue. Respondents aver that said right has become vested
and can only be withdrawn or shortened by observing the constitutional mandate of due process
of law. Their argument has thus shifted from the procedural to one of substance. It is here where
PPA-AO No. 04-92 fails to meet the condition set by the organic law.

There is no dispute that pilotage as a profession has taken on the nature of a property right. Even
petitioner Corona recognized this when he stated in his March 17, 1993, decision that (t)he
exercise of ones profession falls within the constitutional guarantee against wrongful deprivation
of, or interference with, property rights without due process. [20] He merely expressed the
opinion that (i)n the limited context of this case, PPA-AO 04-92 does not constitute a wrongful
interference with, let alone a wrongful deprivation of, the property rights of those affected
thereby, and that PPA-AO 04-92 does not forbid, but merely regulates, the exercise by harbor
pilots of their profession. As will be presently demonstrated, such supposition is gravely
erroneous and tends to perpetuate an administrative order which is not only unreasonable but
also superfluous.

Pilotage, just like other professions, may be practiced only by duly licensed
individuals. Licensure is the granting of license especially to practice a profession. It is also the
system of granting licenses (as for professional practice) in accordance with established
standards. [21] A license is a right or permission granted by some competent authority to carry
on a business or do an act which, without such license, would be illegal. [22]

Before harbor pilots can earn a license to practice their profession, they literally have to pass
through the proverbial eye of a needle by taking, not one but five examinations, each followed by
actual training and practice. Thus, the court a quo observed:

Petitioners (herein respondents) contend, and the respondents (herein petitioners) do not deny,
that here (sic) in this jurisdiction, before a person can be a harbor pilot, he must pass five (5)
government professional examinations, namely, (1) For Third Mate and after which he must
work, train and practice on board a vessel for at least a year; (2) For Second Mate and after
which he must work, train and practice for at least a year; (3) For Chief Mate and after which he
must work, train and practice for at least a year; (4) For a Master Mariner and after which he
must work as Captain of vessels for at least two (2) years to qualify for an examination to be a
pilot; and finally, of course, that given for pilots.
Their license is granted in the form of an appointment which allows them to engage in pilotage
until they retire at the age 70 years. This is a vested right. Under the terms of PPA-AO No. 04-
92, (a)ll existing regular appointments which have been previously issued by the Bureau of
Customs or the PPA shall remain valid up to 31 December 1992 only, and (a)ll appointments to
harbor pilot positions in all pilotage districts shall, henceforth, be only for a term of one (1) year
from date of effectivity subject to renewal or cancellation by the Authority after conduct of a
rigid evaluation of performance.

It is readily apparent that PPA-AO No. 04-92 unduly restricts the right of harbor pilots to enjoy
their profession before their compulsory retirement. In the past, they enjoyed a measure of
security knowing that after passing five examinations and undergoing years of on-the-job
training, they would have a license which they could use until their retirement, unless sooner
revoked by the PPA for mental or physical unfitness. Under the new issuance, they have to
contend with an annual cancellation of their license which can be temporary or permanent
depending on the outcome of their performance evaluation. Veteran pilots and neophytes alike
are suddenly confronted with one-year terms which ipso facto expire at the end of that
period.Renewal of their license is now dependent on a rigid evaluation of performance which is
conducted only after the license has already been cancelled. Hence, the use of the term
renewal. It is this pre-evaluation cancellation which primarily makes PPA-AO No. 04-92
unreasonable and constitutionally infirm. In a real sense, it is a deprivation of property without
due process of law.

The Court notes that PPA-AO No. 04-92 and PPA-MO No. 08-92 are already covered by PPA-
AO No. 03-85, which is still operational. Respondents are correct in pointing out that PPA-AO
No. 04-92 is a surplusage [23] and, therefore, an unnecessary enactment. PPA-AO 03-85 is a
comprehensive order setting forth the Rules and Regulations Governing Pilotage Services, the
Conduct of Pilots and Pilotage Fees in Philippine Ports. It provides, inter alia, for the
qualification, appointment, performance evaluation, disciplining and removal of harbor pilots -
matters which are duplicated in PPA-AO No. 04-92 and its implementing memorandum
order. Since it adds nothing new or substantial, PPA-AO No. 04-92 must be struck down.

Finally, respondents insinuation that then PPA General Manager Dayan was responsible for the
issuance of the questioned administrative order may have some factual basis; after all, power and
authority were vested in his office to propose rules and regulations. The trial courts finding of
animosity between him and private respondents might likewise have a grain of truth.Yet the
number of cases filed in court between private respondents and Dayan, including cases which
have reached this Court, cannot certainly be considered the primordial reason for the issuance of
PPA-AO No. 04-92. In the absence of proof to the contrary, Dayan should be presumed to have
acted in accordance with law and the best of professional motives. In any event, his actions are
certainly always subject to scrutiny by higher administrative authorities.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed decision of the
court a quo dated September 6, 1993, in Civil Case No. 93-65673 is AFFIRMED. No
pronouncement as to costs.

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