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ASTURIAS SUGAR CENTRAL, INC. v. as to whether the said period may be extended.

By reason
COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS and CTA of this silence, the Bureau of Customs Issued Administrative
Orders 389 and 66 to eliminate confusion and provide a
September 30, 1969CASTRO, J.
guide as to how it shall apply the law, and, more specifically,
to make officially known its policy to consider the one-year
period mentioned in the law as non-extendible.

Facts: b.) Considering that the statutory provisions in question

(Section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909 and Sec.
Asturias Sugar Central, Inc. is engaged in the production and 105(x) of the Tariff and Customs Code) have not been the
milling of centrifugal sugar, the sugar so produced being subject of previous judicial interpretation, then the
placed in containers known as jute bags. In 1957, It made application of the doctrine of "judicial respect for
two importations of jute bags, free from customs duties and administrative construction (in the case at bar the Bureau
special import tax upon the Petitioner’s filing of re- of Customs issued Administrative Orders 389 and 66 to
exportation and special import tax bond, conditioned upon eliminate confusion and provide a guide as to how it shall
the exportation of the jute bags within one year from the apply the law, and, more specifically, to make officially
date of importation. known its policy to consider the one-year period mentioned
in the law as non-extendible., " would, initially, be in order.
However, out of the 44,800 jute bags imported first, only
8,647 were exported and only 25,000 were exported out of Only where the court of last resort has not previously
the 75,200 jute bags imported on the second shipment. In interpreted the statute is the rule applicable that courts will
other words, of the total number of imported jute bags only give consideration to construction by administrative or
33,647 bags were exported within one year after their executive departments of the state.
importation. The remaining 86,353 bags were exported
after the expiration of the one-year period but within three The formal or informal interpretation or practical
years from their importation. construction of an ambiguous or uncertain statute or law by
the executive department or other agency charged with its
Petitioner requested the Commissioner of Customs for a administration or enforcement is entitled to consideration
week's extension of Re-exportation and Special Import Tax and the highest respect from the courts, and must be
Bond no. 6 which was to expire the following day, citing accorded appropriate weight in determining the meaning of
reasons for its failure to export the remaining jute bags the law, especially when the construction or interpretation
within the period of one year. However, this request was is long continued and uniform or is contemporaneous with
denied by the Commissioner. the first workings of the statute, or when the enactment of
the statute was suggested by such agency.
Due to the petitioner's failure to show proof of the
exportation of the balance of 86,353 jute bags within one Considering that the Bureau of Customs is the office
year from their importation, the Petitioner was required to charged with implementing and enforcing the provisions of
pay the amount of p28,629.42 representing the customs our Tariff and Customs Code, the construction placed by it
duties and special import tax due thereon, which the thereon should be given controlling weight.
petitioner paid under protest and later on demanded the
refund of the amount it had paid. In applying the doctrine or principle of respect for
administrative or practical construction, the courts often
Issues: refer to several factors which may be regarded as bases of
the principle, as factors leading the courts to give the
a.) Whether or not the Commissioner of Customs is vested principle controlling weight in particular instances, or as
with discretion to extend the period of one year provided independent rules in themselves. These factors are the
for in section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909. respect due the governmental agencies charged with
administration, their competence, expertness, experience,
b.) Whether or not interpretation or construction of an and informed judgment and the fact that they frequently
ambiguous or uncertain statute by the Executive are the drafters of the law they interpret; that the agency is
Department or other Administrative Agencies be given the one on which the legislature must rely to advise it as to
consideration? In the case at bar, the Bureau of Customs. the practical working out of the statute, and practical
application of the statute presents the agency with unique
Held: opportunity and experiences for discovering deficiencies,
inaccuracies, or improvements in the statute.
a.) Section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act Of 1909 and the
superseding sec. 105(x) of the Tariff and Customs Code,
while fixing at one year the period within which the
containers therein mentioned must be exported, are silent
PEREZ VS. SANDIGANBAYAN gave unwarranted benefits, advantage or
preference to the
seller of the subject computer”
PETITIONER: Salvador Perez and Juanita Apostol and “submit your recommendation soonest.”
RESPONDENTS: Hon. Sandiganbayan (2nd Div), and the
People of the Philippines, represented by Office It is clear that the recommendation must
of the Special Prosecutor be submitted to one who has authority to
implement such recommendation. The
SUMMARY: Salvador and Juanita are Mayor and Treasurer Ombudsman has the power to file informations,
of San Manuel, Pangasinan, respectively. They “willfully, as well as the power to delegate his powers.
unlawfully, and criminally caused the purchase of 1 Office Order No. 40-05 delegates the disposition
computer unit costing P120,000 of administrative and criminal cases (filing
acquisition by personal canvass,” violating Sec. 362 and 367 informations) to the Deputy Ombudsman, but
of the LGC. No public bidding occurred and NOT the Special Prosecutor (which is included in
no Committee of Awards was constituted to approve the the Office of the Ombudsman). All that is
procurement Salvador and Juanita gave Mobil delegated to the Special Prosecutor is the
Link Enterprises/Starlet Sales Center undue advantage or discretional authority to review and modify the
preference through manifest partiality, Deputy Ombudsman-authorized information, but
showing evident bad faith and gross, inexcusable without departing from the basic resolution.
negligence, but this was not included in the original Deputy Ombudsman and Special
information, so it was recommended by the Special Prosecutor are given the same rank and salary
Prosecutor that the information be amended to show (RA 6770), but they do NOT have the same
the manner of the commission of the offense, based on the functions.
Ombudsman’s margin notes in the original
information. The amended information was admitted. The Since there is no express delegation, the
petitioners challenge this, saying that the Court looked into whether or not there was an
Sandiganbayan committed GAD in accepting the amended implied delegation. RA 6770 provides that the
information, which had no approval from the Ombudsman, powers of the OSP include: conducting
amounting to denial of due process. The SC granted the preliminary investigations and prosecute
petition. criminal cases w/in jurisdiction of
Sandiganbayan, enter into plea-bargaining
agreements, and perform other duties assigned
DOCTRINE: The Ombudsman may delegate powers to the by Ombudsman. Respondents argue the doctrine
Office of the Special Prosecutor, but such of Qualified Political Agency, saying that since
delegation must be shown by clear intent. T the amended information has not been
he Ombudsman’s power of control would be seriously disapproved by the Ombudsman, it has his tacit
hampered if the former were authorized to file approval. The SC said no. This doctrine does not
informations in the first instance. This is because while the apply to the Office of the Ombudsman, which is
Ombudsman has full discretion to determine whether or an apolitical agency.
not a criminal case should be filed in the Sandiganbayan. Granted, this is a procedural defect and
Once the case has been filed with said court, it is the the OSP’s Memorandum (amended info) may
Sandiganbayan, and no longer the Ombudsman, which has later be approved by the Ombudsman.
full control of the case so much so that the informations WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for
may not be dismissed, without the approval of the said Certiorari is GRANTED.

1.We took up this case before. That is a fact. MARTINEZ
ISSUES: Whether or not the Office of the Special
Prosecutor has the power to file informations
without delegation from the Ombudsman. On June 17, 1969, respondent University of Nueva
Caceres Guardians Union filed with the Bicol
HELD/RATIO: branch of respondent Court of Industrial Relations
NO. The Ombudsman’s margin
notes order was to "study whether the accused,
(CIR) an unfair labor practice charge against
assuming arguendo that there was no overprice, petitioners accompanied by the joint affidavit of
Benito de la Paz and George Offemaria. At the
hearing of said charge before the prosecutor of Act.3 Surely, no one can pretend that in such
the CIR, petitioners moved to dismiss the same on preliminary investigations, the courts of first
the grounds: (1) it is not verified; (2) it does not instance are performing administrative or non-
specify the particular provisions of Section 4 (a) of judicial functions. In such cases, the courts act in
the Industrial Peace Act, RA 875, as amended, the same judicial capacity as they do in trying the
supposed to have been violated, and (3) the cases on the merits and cannot, in any respect or
supporting joint affidavit contains "falsities, measure, be controlled by the Secretary of Justice.
misstatements and improbabilities on points The fact that the law authorizes the CIR to
otherwise material to the charge." Instead of delegate the investigation to "any agency or agent
dismissing the charge, the prosecutor, although designated by the Court" does not alter the nature
finding the grounds of the dismissal motion to be of the court's function in the premises, just as the
more or less plausible, granted respondent Union appointment of commissioners by the courts
five (5) days "to file an amended charge and under Rule 34 does not make the procedure
amended affidavit," which said Union did on July administrative or less judicial. Indeed, under the
8, 1969. On July 14, 1969, petitioners moved to provision aforementioned, the investigation could
reconsider the ruling of the prosecutor, but on very well be assigned to one of the judges of the
July 30, 1969, respondent Presiding Judge denied CIR, and in that event, how can it be maintained
the same, admitted the amended charge and that the function is administrative? Withal, it is
directed the Court Prosecutor to set the said implicit in this procedure that the work of the
amended charge for preliminary investigation. On "agency or agent designated by Court" is as much
August 16, 1969, petitioners moved again for the responsibility of the court as if it were the
reconsideration of the order of July 30, 1969. court itself that were acting directly.
Apparently, petitioners assumed their motion for
reconsideration would be acted upon by the court The contention of respondent Judge that the
en banc, for when on October 6, 1969, respondent function of overseering the Prosecution Division
Judge issued an order, signed by him alone, of the CIR in its work of filing and dismissing
denying it, the present petition was filed charging charges of unfair labor practice is purely
said respondent with having acted in excess of administrative in nature and falls within his
jurisdiction in acting on a matter addressed to and exclusive competence is without merit. It is true
within the jurisdiction of the CIR en banc and of that reference to the court in the law must be
grave abuse of discretion in not ordering the construed to mean the Presiding Judge and not
dismissal of the charge upon the grounds invoked the court en banc when the action contemplated
by them. is purely administrative in character, but,
precisely, the point missed is that, as already
The assertion by respondent Judge, implicit in his explained, the Industrial Peace Act does not
order of October 6, 1969, of jurisdiction, to the consider the investigation by the CIR, either by
exclusion of the court en banc, over the matter itself or thru an agent, as an administrative matter
herein involved cannot be sustained. It is Our but a judicial one like the preliminary
considered view that unlike the preliminary investigations in election and anti-subversion
investigation of criminal cases by fiscals which are cases.
under the supervision and control of the Secretary
of Justice,1 the peculiar procedure prescribed by Maybe the development in the United States
law in unfair labor practices partakes of the nature recounted by respondent Judge whereby the Taft-
of judicial investigations, since they are Hartley Law transferred from the National Labor
conducted, to quote the language of the law, by Relations Board to its General Counsel the
"the Court or any agency or agent designated by exclusive function and power to determine with
the Court", (Section 5 (b), Rep. Act 875) similarly finality whether or not an unfair labor practice
to the preliminary investigations undertaken by charge should be filed with the Board is good, in
courts of first instance in election cases2 and the sense of avoiding that the Board be the
charges of violation of the Anti-Subversion accuser, investigator and judge all rolled into one,
but there is nothing in either Commonwealth Act prejudice to the resolution by the CIR of
103 or the Industrial Peace Act indicating that the petitioners' motion for reconsideration just
American experience has influenced the referred to. The manifestation of Acting Presiding
enactment and phraseology of the pertinent Judge Ansberto Paredes to the effect that he has
provisions of our laws. Quite on the contrary, as desisted and continues to desist from following
already pointed out, Section 5(b) of RA 875 very the practice of former Presiding Judge Martinez
explicitly confers the function of investigating declared illegal in this decision is noted. Costs
unfair labor charges upon the CIR itself, albeit it against private respondents.
allows the court to designate any other agency or
agent for the purpose.

As regards the other impugned order of July 30, VINZON-CHATO VS. FORTUNE TOBACCO
1969, the result of the foregoing discussion and
ruling is that the same should first be submitted to This is a case for damages under Article 32 of the Civil
the CIR en banc for appropriate action. Much as Code filed by Fortune against Liwayway as CIR.
the writer of this opinion feels that the objections
thereto raised by petitioners are rather strained On June 10, 1993, the legislature enacted RA 7654, which
provided that locally manufactured cigarettes which are
and are not very consistent with the interests of currently classified and taxed at 55% shall be charged an
justice, which would not permit the throwing out ad valorem tax of “55% provided that the maximum tax
of an unfair labor practice charge merely because shall not be less than Five Pesos per pack.” Prior to
of non-jurisdictional defects which can anyway be effectivity of RA 7654, Liwayway issued a rule,
corrected, the Court would not pre-empt the reclassifying “Champion,” “Hope,” and “More” (all
power of the CIR en banc to make the manufactured by Fortune) as locally manufactured
cigarettes bearing foreign brand subject to the 55% ad
corresponding ruling relative thereto in the first valorem tax. Thus, when RA 7654 was passed, these
instance. cigarette brands were already covered.

Before closing, it might be stated that, to be sure, In a case filed against Liwayway with the RTC, Fortune
the creation of the National Labor Relations contended that the issuance of the rule violated its
constitutional right against deprivation of property
Commission, may have altered the procedure in
without due process of law and the right to equal
cases involving alleged unfair labor practices, but protection of the laws.
that point is not and cannot be raised anymore in
this proceeding and We do not consider it For her part, Liwayway contended in her motion to
necessary to pass on it now. dismiss that respondent has no cause of action against her
because she issued RMC 37-93 in the performance of her
official function and within the scope of her authority. She
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and claimed that she acted merely as an agent of the Republic
prohibition insofar as the assailed order of July 30, and therefore the latter is the one responsible for her acts.
1969 is concerned is denied, without prejudice to She also contended that the complaint states no cause of
the appropriate action on petitioners' motion for action for lack of allegation of malice or bad faith.
reconsideration thereof by the CIR en banc, but
The order denying the motion to dismiss was elevated to
the petition for certiorari and mandamus relative
the CA, who dismissed the case on the ground that under
to the impugned order of respondent Presiding Article 32, liability may arise even if the defendant did not
Judge of October 6, 1969 is granted, the said order act with malice or bad faith.
is hereby declared null and void and set aside, as
in excess of jurisdiction, and respondent Presiding Hence this appeal.
Judge or whoever is acting in his stead is ordered
to refer the motion for reconsideration of
petitioners dated August 16, 1969 to the CIR en
 Whether or not a public officer may be validly
banc for appropriate action. The writ of sued in his/her private capacity for acts done
preliminary injunction issued by the Court on in connection with the discharge of the
November 24, 1969 is made permanent, without functions of his/her office
 Whether or not Article 32, NCC, should be legal right; that is, liability in tort in not precluded by the
applied instead of Sec. 38, Book I, fact that defendant acted without evil intent.
Administrative Code


On the first issue, the general rule is that a public officer is INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF
not liable for damages which a person may suffer arising THE PHILIPPINES VS. COMELEC
from the just performance of his official duties and within
the scope of his assigned tasks. An officer who acts within FACTS:
his authority to administer the affairs of the office which Petitioners were participating bidders questioning the
he/she heads is not liable for damages that may have been identity and eligibility of the awarded contractor Mega
caused to another, as it would virtually be a charge against Pacific Consortium (MPC) where the competing bidder is
the Republic, which is not amenable to judgment for Mega Pacific eSolutions, Inc. (MPEI) as signed by Mr. Willy
monetary claims without its consent. However, a public Yu of the latter. Private respondent claims that MPEI is the
officer is by law not immune from damages in his/her lead partner tied up with other companies like SK C&C,
personal capacity for acts done in bad faith which, being WeSolv, and ePLDT. Respondent COMELEC
outside the scope of his authority, are no longer protected obtained copies of Memorandum of Agreements and
by the mantle of immunity for official actions. Teaming Agreements.
Specifically, under Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code, Whether or not there was an existence of a consortium.
civil liability may arise where there is bad faith, malice, or RULING:
gross negligence on the part of a superior public officer. NO. There was no documentary or other basis for Comelec
And, under Sec. 39 of the same Book, civil liability may to conclude that a consortium had actually been formed
arise where the subordinate public officer’s act is amongst MPEI, SK C&C and WeSolv, along with
characterized by willfulness or negligence. In Cojuangco, and ePLDT. The president of MPEI signing for
Jr. V. CA, a public officer who directly or indirectly violates allegedly in behalf of MPC without any further proof, did
the constitutional rights of another, may be validly sued not by itself prove the existence of the consortium. It did
for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code even if his not show that MPEI or its president have been duly pre-
acts were not so tainted with malice or bad faith. authorized by the other members of the putative
consortium to represent them, to bid on their collective
Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer behalf and, more important, to commit them jointly and
may be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts severally to the bid undertakings. The letter is purely self-
done in the course of the performance of the functions of serving and uncorroborated.
the office, where said public officer: (1) acted with malice,
bad faith, or negligence; or (2) where the public officer
violated a constitutional right of the plaintiff.

On the second issue, SC ruled that the decisive provision is

Article 32, it being a special law, which prevails over a
general law (the Administrative Code).

Article 32 was patterned after the “tort” in American law.

A tort is a wrong, a tortious act which has been defined as
the commission or omission of an act by one, without
right, whereby another receives some injury, directly or
indirectly, in person, property or reputation. There are
cases in which it has been stated that civil liability in tort is
determined by the conduct and not by the mental state of
the tortfeasor, and there are circumstances under which
the motive of the defendant has been rendered
immaterial. The reason sometimes given for the rule is
that otherwise, the mental attitude of the alleged
wrongdoer, and not the act itself, would determine
whether the act was wrongful. Presence of good motive,
or rather, the absence of an evil motive, does not render
lawful an act which is otherwise an invasion of another’s