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AIDA D.

EUGENIO, petitioner, morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness,


vs. progresiveness and courtesy in the civil service, . . .";
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA,
JR. & HON. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, JR., respondents. WHEREAS, Section 12 (1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V
G.R. No. 115863 March 31, 1995 of the Administrative Code of 1987 grants the
Commission the power, among others, to administer
PUNO, J.: and enforce the constitutional and statutory
provisions on the merit system for all levels and
The power of the Civil Service Commission to abolish the Career ranks in the Civil Service;
Executive Service Board is challenged in this petition
for certiorari and prohibition. WHEREAS, Section 7, Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of
the Administrative Code of 1987 Provides, among
First the facts. Petitioner is the Deputy Director of the Philippine others, that The Career Service shall be
Nuclear Research Institute. She applied for a Career Executive characterized by (1) entrance based on merit and
Service (CES) Eligibility and a CESO rank on August 2, 1993, she fitness to be determined as far as practicable by
was given a CES eligibility. On September 15, 1993, she was competitive examination, or based highly technical
recommended to the President for a CESO rank by the Career qualifications; (2) opportunity for advancement to
Executive Service Board. 1 higher career positions; and (3) security of tenure;

All was not to turn well for petitioner. On October 1, 1993, WHEREAS, Section 8 (c), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V
respondent Civil Service Commission2 passed Resolution No. 93- of the administrative Code of 1987 provides that
4359, viz: "The third level shall cover Positions in the Career
Executive Service";
RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359
WHEREAS, the Commission recognizes the
WHEREAS, Section 1(1) of Article IX-B provides that imperative need to consolidate, integrate and unify
Civil Service shall be administered by the Civil the administration of all levels of positions in the
Service Commission, . . .; career service.

WHEREAS, Section 3, Article IX-B of the 1987 WHEREAS, the provisions of Section 17, Title I,
Philippine Constitution provides that "The Civil Subtitle A. Book V of the Administrative Code of
Service Commission, as the central personnel 1987 confers on the Commission the power and
agency of the government, is mandated to establish authority to effect changes in its organization as the
a career service and adopt measures to promote need arises.
WHEREAS, Section 5, Article IX-A of the xxx xxx xxx
Constitution provides that the Civil Service
Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy and the You may, however, bring a case before the
necessary implications thereof; appropriate court to settle the legal issues arising
from issuance by the Civil Service Commission of
NOW THEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, CSC Resolution No. 93-4359, for guidance of all
the Civil Service Commission hereby resolves to concerned.
streamline reorganize and effect changes in its
organizational structure. Pursuant thereto, the Thank You.
Career Executive Service Board, shall now be known
as the Office for Career Executive Service of the Finding herself bereft of further administrative relief as the Career
Civil Service Commission. Accordingly, the existing Executive Service Board which recommended her CESO Rank IV
personnel, budget, properties and equipment of the has been abolished, petitioner filed the petition at bench to annul,
Career Executive Service Board shall now form part among others, resolution No. 93-4359. The petition is anchored on
of the Office for Career Executive Service. the following arguments:

The above resolution became an impediment. to the appointment of A.


petitioner as Civil Service Officer, Rank IV. In a letter to petitioner,
dated June 7, 1994, the Honorable Antonio T. Carpio, Chief IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION,
Presidential legal Counsel, stated: RESPONDENT COMMISSION USURPED THE
LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS OF CONGRESS WHEN
xxx xxx xxx IT ABOLISHED THE CESB, AN OFFICE CREATED
BY LAW, THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF CSC:
On 1 October 1993 the Civil Service Commission RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359;
issued CSC Resolution No. 93-4359 which abolished
the Career Executive Service Board. B.

Several legal issues have arisen as a result of the ALSO IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION,
issuance of CSC Resolution No. 93-4359, including RESPONDENT CSC USURPED THE LEGISLATIVE
whether the Civil Service Commission has authority FUNCTIONS OF CONGRESS WHEN IT
to abolish the Career Executive Service Board. ILLEGALLY AUTHORIZED THE TRANSFER OF
Because these issues remain unresolved, the Office PUBLIC MONEY, THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF
of the President has refrained from considering CSC RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359.
appointments of career service eligibles to career
executive ranks.
Required to file its Comment, the Solicitor General agreed with the Code of the 1987). THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE HAD
contentions of petitioner. Respondent Commission, however, chose ALREADY BEEN SETTLED WHEN THE
to defend its ground. It posited the following position: HONORABLE COURT DISMISSED THE PETITION
FILED BY THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE
ARGUMENTS FOR PUBLIC RESPONDENT-CSC HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NAMELY:
SIMEON A. DATUMANONG, FELICIANO R.
I. THE INSTANT PETITION STATES NO CAUSE BELMONTE, JR., RENATO V. DIAZ, AND MANUEL
OF ACTION AGAINST THE PUBLIC M. GARCIA IN G.R. NO. 114380. THE
RESPONDENT-CSC. AFOREMENTIONED PETITIONERS ALSO
QUESTIONED THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB
II. THE RECOMMENDATION SUBMITTED TO THE WITH THE COMMISSION.
PRESIDENT FOR APPOINTMENT TO A CESO
RANK OF PETITIONER EUGENIO WAS A VALID We find merit in the petition.3
ACT OF THE CAREER EXECUTIVE SERVICE
BOARD OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION The controlling fact is that the Career Executive Service Board
AND IT DOES NOT HAVE ANY DEFECT. (CESB) was created in the Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1 on
September 1, 19744 which adopted the Integrated Plan. Article IV,
III. THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT IS Chapter I, Part of the III of the said Plan provides:
ESTOPPED FROM QUESTIONING THE VALIDITY
OF THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE CESB IN Article IV — Career Executive Service
FAVOR OF PETITIONER EUGENIO SINCE THE
PRESIDENT HAS PREVIOUSLY APPOINTED TO 1. A Career Executive Service is created to form a
CESO RANK FOUR (4) OFFICIALS SIMILARLY continuing pool of well-selected and development
SITUATED AS SAID PETITIONER. oriented career administrators who shall provide
FURTHERMORE, LACK OF MEMBERS TO competent and faithful service.
CONSTITUTE A QUORUM. ASSUMING THERE
WAS NO QUORUM, IS NOT THE FAULT OF 2. A Career Executive Service hereinafter referred to
PUBLIC RESPONDENT CIVIL SERVICE in this Chapter as the Board, is created to serve as
COMMISSION BUT OF THE PRESIDENT WHO the governing body of the Career Executive Service.
HAS THE POWER TO APPOINT THE OTHER The Board shall consist of the Chairman of the Civil
MEMBERS OF THE CESB. Service Commission as presiding officer, the
Executive Secretary and the Commissioner of the
IV. THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB INTO THE Budget as ex-officio members and two other
COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW (Sec. 12 members from the private sector and/or the
(1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative
academic community who are familiar with the duties of the incumbent, and if it sees fit, abolish the
principles and methods of personnel administration. office.

xxx xxx xxx In the petition at bench, the legislature has not enacted any law
authorizing the abolition of the CESB. On the contrary, in all the
5. The Board shall promulgate rules, standards and General Appropriations Acts from 1975 to 1993, the legislature has
procedures on the selection, classification, set aside funds for the operation of CESB. Respondent
compensation and career development of members Commission, however, invokes Section 17, Chapter 3, Subtitle A.
of the Career Executive Service. The Board shall set Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 as the source of
up the organization and operation of the service. its power to abolish the CESB. Section 17 provides:
(Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 17. Organizational Structure. — Each office of
It cannot be disputed, therefore, that as the CESB was created by the Commission shall be headed by a Director with
law, it can only be abolished by the legislature. This follows an at least one Assistant Director, and may have such
unbroken stream of rulings that the creation and abolition of public divisions as are necessary independent
offices is primarily a legislative function. As aptly summed up in AM constitutional body, the Commission may effect
JUR 2d on Public Officers and changes in the organization as the need arises.
Employees, 5 viz:
But as well pointed out by petitioner and the Solicitor General,
Except for such offices as are created by the Section 17 must be read together with Section 16 of the said Code
Constitution, the creation of public offices is primarily which enumerates the offices under the respondent
a legislative function. In so far as the legislative Commission, viz:
power in this respect is not restricted by
constitutional provisions, it supreme, and the Sec. 16. Offices in the Commission. — The
legislature may decide for itself what offices are Commission shall have the following offices:
suitable, necessary, or convenient. When in the
exigencies of government it is necessary to create (1) The Office of the Executive Director headed by
and define duties, the legislative department has the an Executive Director, with a Deputy Executive
discretion to determine whether additional offices Director shall implement policies, standards, rules
shall be created, or whether these duties shall be and regulations promulgated by the Commission;
attached to and become ex-officio duties of existing coordinate the programs of the offices of the
offices. An office created by the legislature is wholly Commission and render periodic reports on their
within the power of that body, and it may prescribe operations, and perform such other functions as may
the mode of filling the office and the powers and be assigned by the Commission.
(2) The Merit System Protection Board composed of policies, standards, rules and regulations relative to
a Chairman and two (2) members shall have the the administration of position classification and
following functions: compensation.

xxx xxx xxx (8) The Office of Recruitment, Examination and


Placement shall provide leadership and assistance in
(3) The Office of Legal Affairs shall provide the developing and implementing the overall
Chairman with legal advice and assistance; render Commission programs relating to recruitment,
counselling services; undertake legal studies and execution and placement, and formulate policies,
researches; prepare opinions and ruling in the standards, rules and regulations for the proper
interpretation and application of the Civil Service law, implementation of the Commission's examination
rules and regulations; prosecute violations of such and placement programs.
law, rules and regulations; and represent the
Commission before any court or tribunal. (9) The Office of Career Systems and
Standards shall provide leadership and assistance in
(4) The Office of Planning and Management shall the formulation and evaluation of personnel systems
formulate development plans, programs and projects; and standards relative to performance appraisal,
undertake research and studies on the different merit promotion, and employee incentive benefit and
aspects of public personnel management; administer awards.
management improvement programs; and provide
fiscal and budgetary services. (10) The Office of Human Resource
Development shall provide leadership and
(5) The Central Administrative Office shall provide assistance in the development and retention of
the Commission with personnel, financial, logistics qualified and efficient work force in the Civil Service;
and other basic support services. formulate standards for training and staff
development; administer service-wide scholarship
(6) The Office of Central Personnel Records shall programs; develop training literature and materials;
formulate and implement policies, standards, rules coordinate and integrate all training activities and
and regulations pertaining to personnel records evaluate training programs.
maintenance, security, control and disposal; provide
storage and extension services; and provide and (11) The Office of Personnel Inspection and
maintain library services. Audit shall develop policies, standards, rules and
regulations for the effective conduct or inspection
(7) The Office of Position Classification and and audit personnel and personnel management
Compensation shall formulate and implement programs and the exercise of delegated authority;
provide technical and advisory services to Civil headed by an official with at least the rank of an
Service Regional Offices and government agencies Assistant Director.
in the implementation of their personnel programs
and evaluation systems. As read together, the inescapable conclusion is that
respondent Commission's power to reorganize is limited to
(12) The Office of Personnel Relations shall provide offices under its control as enumerated in Section 16, supra.
leadership and assistance in the development and From its inception, the CESB was intended to be an
implementation of policies, standards, rules and autonomous entity, albeit administratively attached to
regulations in the accreditation of employee respondent Commission. As conceptualized by the
associations or organizations and in the adjustment Reorganization Committee "the CESB shall be autonomous.
and settlement of employee grievances and It is expected to view the problem of building up executive
management of employee disputes. manpower in the government with a broad and positive
outlook." 6 The essential autonomous character of the CESB
(13) The Office of Corporate Affairs shall formulate is not negated by its attachment to respondent Commission.
and implement policies, standards, rules and By said attachment, CESB was not made to fall within the
regulations governing corporate officials and control of respondent Commission. Under the Administrative
employees in the areas of recruitment, examination, Code of 1987, the purpose of attaching one functionally
placement, career development, merit and awards inter-related government agency to another is to attain
systems, position classification and compensation, "policy and program coordination." This is clearly etched out
performing appraisal, employee welfare and benefit, in Section 38(3), Chapter 7, Book IV of the aforecited Code,
discipline and other aspects of personnel to wit:
management on the basis of comparable industry
practices. (3) Attachment. — (a) This refers to the lateral
relationship between the department or its equivalent
(14) The Office of Retirement Administration shall be and attached agency or corporation for purposes of
responsible for the enforcement of the constitutional policy and program coordination. The coordination
and statutory provisions, relative to retirement and may be accomplished by having the department
the regulation for the effective implementation of the represented in the governing board of the attached
retirement of government officials and employees. agency or corporation, either as chairman or as a
member, with or without voting rights, if this is
(15) The Regional and Field Offices. — The permitted by the charter; having the attached
Commission shall have not less than thirteen (13) corporation or agency comply with a system of
Regional offices each to be headed by a Director, periodic reporting which shall reflect the progress of
and such field offices as may be needed, each to be programs and projects; and having the department
or its equivalent provide general policies through its
representative in the board, which shall serve as the
framework for the internal policies of the attached
corporation or agency.

Respondent Commission also relies on the case of Datumanong, et


al., vs. Civil Service Commission, G. R. No. 114380 where the
petition assailing the abolition of the CESB was dismissed for lack
of cause of action. Suffice to state that the reliance is misplaced
considering that the cited case was dismissed for lack of standing of
the petitioner, hence, the lack of cause of action.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Resolution No. 93-


4359 of the respondent Commission is hereby annulled and set
aside. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
SALVADOR C. FERNANDEZ and ANICIA M. DE WHEREAS, the Commission finds it imperative to
LIMA, petitioners, effect changes in the organization to streamline its
vs. operations and improve delivery of public service;
HON. PATRICIA A. STO. TOMAS, Chairman, and HON. RAMON
B. ERENETA, Commissioner, Civil Service WHEREAS, the Commission finds it necessary to
Commission, respondents. immediately effect changes in the organization of the
G.R. No. 116418 March 7, 1995 Central Offices in view of the need to implement new
programs in lieu of those functions which were
FELICIANO, J.: transferred to the Regional Offices;

In this Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Prayer WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the
for a Temporary Restraining Order, petitioners Salvador C. Commission hereby RESOLVES to effect the
Fernandez and Anicia M. de Lima assail the validity of Resolution following changes in its organization, specifically in
No. 94-3710 of the Civil Service Commission ("Commission") and the Central Offices:
the authority of the Commission to issue the same.
1. The OCSS [Office of Career Systems and
Petitioner Fernandez was serving as Director of the Office of Standards], OPIA [Office of Personnel Inspection
Personnel Inspection and Audit ("OPIA") while petitioner de Lima and Audit] and OPR [Office of Personnel Relations]
was serving as Director of the Office of the Personnel Relations are merged to form the Research and Development
("OPR"), both at the Central Office of the Civil Service Commission Office (RDO).
in Quezon City, Metropolitan Manila. While petitioners were so
serving, Resolution No. 94-3710 signed by public respondents 2. The Office for Human Resource Development
Patricia A.. Sto. Tomas and Ramon Ereneta, Jr., Chairman and (OHRD) is renamed Human Resource Development
Commissioner, respectively, of the Commission, was issued on 7 Office (HRDO).
June 1994.1 Resolution No. 94-3710 needs to be quoted in full:
3. The following functions and the personnel
RESOLUTION NO. 94-3710 assigned to the unit performing said functions are
hereby transferred to HRDO:
WHEREAS, Section 17 of Book V of Executive Order
292 provides that ". . . as an independent a. Administration of the Honor and
constitutional body, the Commission may effect Awards program under OCSS;
changes in the organization as the need arises;"
b. Registration and Accreditation of
Unions under OPR; and
c. Accreditation of Agencies to take Annex A contains the manning list for all the offices,
final action on appointments under except the OCES.
OPIA.
The changes in the organization and in operations
4. The Office for Central Personnel Records (OCPR) shall take place before end of July 1994.
is renamed Management Information Office (MIO).
Done in Quezon City, July 07, 1994.
5. The Information technology functions of OPM and
the personnel assigned to the unit are transferred to (Signed)
MIO. Patricia A. Sto. Tomas
Chairman
6. The following functions of OPM and the personnel
assigned to the unit performing said functions are (Signed) Did not participate
hereby transferred to the Office of the Executive Ramon P. Ereneta, Jr., Thelma P. Gaminde
Director: Commissioner Commissioner

a. Financial Audit and Evaluation; Attested by:


(Signed)
b. Internal Management and Carmencita Giselle B. Dayson
Improvement; Board Secretary V 2

c. Research and Statistics; and During the general assembly of officers and employees of the
Commission held in the morning of 28 July 1994, Chairman Sto.
d. Planning and Programming. Tomas, when apprised of objections of petitioners, expressed the
determination of the Commission to implement Resolution No. 94-
7. The library service and its personnel under OCPR 3710 unless restrained by higher authority.
are transferred to the Central Administrative Office.
Petitioners then instituted this Petition. In a Resolution dated 23
8. The budget allocated for the various functions August 1994, the Court required public respondents to file a
shall be transferred to the Offices where the Comment on the Petition. On 21 September 1994, petitioners filed
functions are transferred. Records, fixtures and an Urgent Motion for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order,
equipment that go with the functions shall be moved alleging that petitioners had received Office Orders from the
to where the functions are transferred. Commission assigning petitioner Fernandez to Region V at Legaspi
City and petitioner de Lima to Region III in San Fernando,
Pampanga and praying that public respondents be restrained from Sec. 16. Offices in the Commission — The
enforcing these Office Orders. The Court, in a Resolution dated 27 Commission shall have the following offices:
September 1994, granted this Motion and issued the Temporary
Restraining Order prayed for by petitioners. (1) The Office of the Executive Director — . . .

The Commission filed its own Comment, dated 12 September 1994, (2) The Merit System Protection Board — . . .
on the Petition and then moved to lift the Temporary Restraining
Order. The Office of the Solicitor General filed a separate Comment (3) The Office of Legal Affairs — . . .
dated 28 November 1994, defending the validity of Resolution No.
94-3710 and urging dismissal of the Petition. Petitioners filed (4) The Office of Planning and Management — . . .
separate Replies to these Comments. The Commission in turn filed
a Rejoinder (denominated "Comment [on] the Reply"). (5) The Central Administrative Office — . . .
The principal issues raised in this Petition are the following: (6) The Office of Central Personnel Records — . . .
(1) Whether or not the Civil Service Commission had (7) The Office of Position Classification and
legal authority to issue Resolution No. 94-3710 to the Compensation — . . .
extent it merged the OCSS [Office of Career
Systems and Standards], the OPIA [Office of
(8) The Office of Recruitment, Examination and
Personnel Inspection and Audit] and the OPR [Office
Placement — . . .
of Personnel Relations], to form the RDO [Research
and Development Office]; and
(9) The Office of Career Systems and
Standards shall provide leadership and assistance in
(2) Whether or not Resolution No. 94-3710 violated
the formulation and evaluation of personnel systems
petitioners' constitutional right to security of tenure.
and standards relative to performance appraisal,
merit promotion and employee incentive benefits and
I. awards.
The Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292 (10) The Office of Human Resource Development —
dated 25 July 1987) sets out, in Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, Chapter ...
3, the internal structure and organization of the Commission in the
following terms:
(11) The Office of Personnel Inspection and
Audit shall develop policies, standards, rules and
regulations for the effective conduct of inspection
and audit of personnel and personnel management constitutional body, the Commission may effect
programs and the exercise of delegated authority; chances in the organization as the need arises.
provide technical and advisory services to Civil
Service Regional Offices and government agencies xxx xxx xxx 3
in the implementation of their personnel programs
and evaluation systems. (Emphasis supplied)

(12) The Office of Personnel Relations shall provide Examination of the foregoing statutory provisions reveals that the
leadership and assistance in the development and OCSS, OPIA and OPR, and as well each of the other Offices listed
implementation of policies, standards, rules and in Section 16 above, consist of aggregations of Divisions, each of
regulations governing corporate officials and which Divisions is in turn a grouping of Sections. Each Section,
employees in the areas of recruitment, examination, Division and Office comprises a group of positions within the
placement, career development, merit and awards agency called the Civil Service Commission, each group being
systems, position classification and compensation, entrusted with a more or less definable function or functions. These
performance appraisal, employee welfare and functions are related to one another, each of them being embraced
benefits, discipline and other aspects of personnel by a common or general subject matter. Clearly, each Office is an
management on the basis of comparable industry internal department or organizational unit within the Commission
practices. and that accordingly, the OCSS, OPIA and OPR, as well as all the
other Offices within the Commission constitute administrative
(13) The Office of the Corporate Affairs — . . . subdivisions of the CSC. Put a little differently, these offices relate
to the internal structure of the Commission.
(14) The Office of Retirement Administration — . . .
What did Resolution No. 94-3710 of the Commission do?
(15) The Regional and Field Offices. — . . . Examination of Resolution No. 94-3710 shows that thereby the
(Emphases in the original) Commission re-arranged some of the administrative units (i.e.,
Offices) within the Commission and, among other things, merged
Immediately after the foregoing listing of offices of the Commission three (3) of them (OCSS, OPIA and OPR) to form a new grouping
and their respective functions, the 1987 Revised Administrative called the "Research and Development Office (RDO)." The same
Code goes on to provide as follows: Resolution renamed some of the Offices of the Commission, e.g.,
the Office for Human Resource Development (OHRD) was
Sec. 17. Organizational Structure. — Each office of renamed Human Resource Development Office (HRDO); the Office
the Commission shall be headed by a Director with for Central Personnel Records (OCPR) was renamed Management
at least one (1) Assistant Director, and may have Information Office (MIO). The Commission also re-allocated certain
such divisions as are necessary to carry out their functions moving some functions from one Office to another; e.g.,
respective functions. As an independent the information technology function of OPM (Office of Planning and
Management) was transferred to the newly named Management prior experience as a labor lawyer was also a factor in her
Information Office (MIO). This re-allocation or re-assignment of assignment to Regional Office No. 3 where public sector unions
some functions carried with it the transfer of the budget earmarked have been very active. Petitioner Fernandez's assignment to the
for such function to the Office where the function was transferred. CSC Regional Office No. 5 had, upon the other hand, been
Moreover, the personnel, records, fixtures and equipment that were necessitated by the fact that the then incumbent Director in Region
devoted to the carrying out of such functions were moved to the V was under investigation and needed to be transferred
Offices to where the functions were transferred. immediately to the Central Office. Petitioner Fernandez was
deemed the most likely designee for Director of Regional Office No.
The objectives sought by the Commission in enacting Resolution 5 considering that the functions previously assigned to him had
No. 94-3710 were described in that Resolution in broad terms as been substantially devolved to the Regional Offices such that his
"effect[ing] changes in the organization to streamline [the reassignment to a Regional Office would result in the least
Commission's] operations and improve delivery of service." These disruption of the operations of the Central Office.4
changes in internal organization were rendered necessary by, on
the one hand, the decentralization and devolution of the It thus appears to the Court that the Commission was moved by
Commission's functions effected by the creation of fourteen (14) quite legitimate considerations of administrative efficiency and
Regional Offices and ninety-five (95) Field Offices of the convenience in promulgating and implementing its Resolution No.
Commission throughout the country, to the end that the 94-3710 and in assigning petitioner Salvador C. Fernandez to the
Commission and its staff may be brought closer physically to the Regional Office of the Commission in Region V in Legaspi City and
government employees that they are mandated to serve. In the past, petitioner Anicia M. de Lima to the Commission's Regional Office in
its functions had been centralized in the Head Office of the Region III in San Fernando, Pampanga. It is also clear to
Commission in Metropolitan Manila and Civil Service employees all the Court that the changes introduced and formalized through
over the country were compelled to come to Manila for the carrying Resolution No. 94-3710 — re-naming of existing Offices; re-
out of personnel transactions. Upon the other hand, the dispersal of arrangement of the groupings of Divisions and Sections composing
the functions of the Commission to the Regional Offices and the particular Offices; re-allocation of existing functions (and related
Field Offices attached to various governmental agencies throughout personnel; budget, etc.) among the re-arranged Offices — are
the country makes possible the implementation of new programs of precisely the kind of internal changes which are referred to in
the Commission at its Central Office in Metropolitan Manila. Section 17 (Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, Chapter 3) of the 1987
Revised Administrative Code), quoted above, as "chances in the
The Commission's Office Order assigning petitioner de Lima to the organization" of the Commission.
CSC Regional Office No. 3 was precipitated by the incumbent
Regional Director filing an application for retirement, thus Petitioners argue that Resolution No. 94-3710 effected the
generating a need to find a replacement for him. Petitioner de Lima "abolition" of public offices, something which may be done only by
was being assigned to that Regional Office while the incumbent the same legislative authority which had created those public offices
Regional Director was still there to facilitate her take over of the in the first place.
duties and functions of the incumbent Director. Petitioner de Lima's
The Court is unable, in the circumstances of this case, to accept career service, adopt measures to promote —
this argument. The term "public office" is frequently used to refer to efficiency — [and] responsiveness . . . in the civil
the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, service . . . and that personnel functions shall
for a given period either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of be decentralized, delegating the corresponding
the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of authority to the departments, offices and agencies
the sovereign functions of government, to be exercised by that where such functions can be effectively performed.
individual for the benefit of the public.5 We consider that Resolution (Emphasis supplied)
No. 94-3710 has not abolished any public office as that term is used
in the law of public officers.6 It is essential to note that none of the II.
"changes in organization" introduced by Resolution No. 94-3710
carried with it or necessarily involved the termination of the We turn to the second claim of petitioners that their right to security
relationship of public employment between the Commission and of tenure was breached by the respondents in promulgating
any of its officers and employees. We find it very difficult to suppose Resolution No. 94-3710 and ordering petitioners' assignment to the
that the 1987 Revised Administrative Code having mentioned Commission's Regional Offices in Regions III and V. Section 2(3) of
fourteen (14) different "Offices" of the Civil Service Commission, Article IX(B) of the 1987 Constitution declared that "no officer or
meant to freeze those Offices and to cast in concrete, as it were, employee of the Civil Service shall be removed or suspended
the internal organization of the commission until it might please except for cause provided by law." Petitioners in effect contend that
Congress to change such internal organization regardless of the they were unlawfully removed from their positions in the OPIA and
ever changing needs of the Civil Service as a whole. To the OPR by the implementation of Resolution No. 94-3710 and that
contrary, the legislative authority had expressly authorized the they cannot, without their consent, be moved out to the Regional
Commission to carry out "changes in the organization," as the need Offices of the Commission.
[for such changes] arises." 7 Assuming, for purposes of argument
merely, that legislative authority was necessary to carry out the We note, firstly, that appointments to the staff of the Commission
kinds off changes contemplated in Resolution No. 94-3710 (and the are not appointments to a specified public office but rather
Court is not saying that such authority is necessary), such appointments to particular positions or ranks. Thus, a person may
legislative authority was validly delegated to the Commission by be appointed to the position of Director III or Director IV; or to the
Section 17 earlier quoted. The legislative standards to be observed position of Attorney IV or Attorney V; or to the position of Records
and respected in the exercise of such delegated authority are set Officer I or Records Officer II; and so forth. In the instant case,
out not only in Section 17 itself (i.e., "as the need arises"), but also petitioners were each appointed to the position of Director IV,
in the Declaration of Policies found in Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, without specification of any particular office or station. The same is
Section 1 of the 1987 Revised Administrative Code which required true with respect to the other persons holding the same position or
the Civil Service Commission rank of Director IV of the Commission.

as the central personnel agency of the Government Section 26(7), Book V, Title I, Subtitle A of the 1987 Revised
[to] establish a Administrative Code recognizes reassignment as a management
prerogative vested in the Commission and, for that matter, in any and would continue to enjoy the same rank, status and salary at
department or agency of government embraced in the civil service: their new assigned stations which they had enjoyed at the Head
Office of the Commission in Metropolitan Manila. Petitioners had
Sec. 26. Personnel Actions. — . . . not, in other words, acquired a vested right to serve at the
Commission's Head Office.
xxx xxx xxx
Secondly, the above conclusion is compelled not only by the
As used in this Title, any action denoting the statutory provisions relevant in the instant case, but also by a long
movement or progress of personnel in the civil line of cases decided by this Court in respect of different agencies
service shall be known as personnel action. Such or offices of government.
action shall include appointment through certification,
promotion, transfer, re-instatement, re-employment, In one of the more recent of these cases, Department of Education
detail, reassignment, demotion, and separation. All Culture and Sports, etc., et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.,8 this Court
personnel actions shall be in accordance with such held that a person who had been appointed as "Secondary School
rules, standards, and regulations as may be Principal II" in the Division of City Schools, District II, Quezon City,
promulgated by the Commission. National Capital Region, and who had been stationed as High
School Principal in the Carlos Albert High School in Quezon for a
xxx xxx xxx number of years, could lawfully be reassigned or transferred to the
Manuel Roxas High School, also in Quezon City, without demotion
(7) Reassignment. An employee may be re-assigned in rank or diminution of salry. This Court held:
from one organizational unit to another in the same
agency, Provided, That such re-assignment The aforequoted provision of Republic Act No. 4670
shall not involve a reduction in rank status and salary. particularly Section 6 thereof which provides that
(Emphasis supplied) except for cause and in the exigencies of the service
no teacher shall be transferred without his consent
It follows that the reassignment of petitioners Fernandez and de from one station to another, finds no application in
Lima from their previous positions in OPIA and OPR, respectively, the case at bar as this is predicated upon the theory
to the Research and Development Office (RDO) in the Central that the teacher concerned is appointed — not
Office of the Commission in Metropolitan Manila and their merely assigned — to a particular station. Thus:
subsequent assignment from the RDO to the Commission's
Regional Offices in Regions V and III had been effected with The rule pursued by plaintiff only goes
express statutory authority and did not constitute removals without so far as
lawful cause. It also follows that such re-assignment did not involve the appointed indicates a
any violation of the constitutional right of petitioners to security of specification. Otherwise, the
tenure considering that they retained their positions of Director IV constitutionally ordained security of
tenure cannot shield her. In necessarily depends,
appointments of this nature, this Court in the first instance,
has consistently rejected the officer's upon the nature of the
demand to remain — even as public appointment (Hojilla vs.
service dictates that a transfer be Marino, 121 Phil. 280
made — in a particular station. [1965].) Such that the
Judicial attitude toward transfers of rule which proscribes
this nature is expressed in the transfers without
following statement in Ibañez, et consent as anathema
al. vs. Commission on Elections, et al. to the security of
(G.R. No. tenure is predicated
L-26558, April 27, 1967; 19 SCRA upon the theory that
1002 [1967]); the officer involved is
appointed — not
That security of tenure merely assigned — to
is an essential and a particular
constitutionally station(Miclat v.
guaranteed feature of Ganaden, et al., 108
our Civil Service Phil. 439 [1960]; Jaro v.
System, is not open to Hon. Valencia, et al.,
debate. The mantle of 118 Phil. 728 [1963]).
its protection extends [Brillantes v. Guevarra,
not only against 27 SCRA 138 (1969)]
removals without cause
but also against The appointment of Navarro as principal does not
unconsented transfer refer to any particular station or school. As such, she
which, as repeatedly could be assigned to any station and she is not
enunciatEd, are entitled to stay permanently at any specific school.
tantamount to removals (Bongbong v. Parado, 57 SCRA 623) When she was
which are within the assigned to the Carlos Albert High School, it could
ambit of the not have been with the intention to let her stay in
fundamental said school permanently. Otherwise, her
guarantee. However, appointment would have so stated.
the availability of that Consequently, she may be assigned to any station or
security of tenure school in Quezon City as the exigencies of public
service require even without consent. As this Court Petitioners were appointed as Mediator Arbiters in
ruled in Brillantes v. Guevarra, 27 SCRA 138, the National Capital Region. They were not, however,
143 — appointed to a specific station or particular unit of the
Department of Labor in the National Capital Region
Plaintiff's confident stride falters. She (DOLE-NCR). Consequently, they can always be
took too loose a view of the applicable reassigned from one organizational unit to another of
jurisprudence. Her refuge behind the the same agency where, in the opinion of respondent
mantle of security of tenure Secretary, their services may be used more
guaranteed by the Constitution is not effectively. As such they can neither claim a vested
impenetrable. She proceeds upon the right to the station to which they were assigned nor
assumption that she occupies her to security of tenure thereat. As correctly observed
station in Sinalang Elementary School by the Solicitor General, petitioners' reassignment is
by appointment. But her first not a transfer for they were not removed from their
appointment as Principal merely position as med-arbiters. They were not given new
reads thus: "You are hereby appointments to new positions. It indubitably follows,
appointed a Principal (Elementary therefore, that Memorandum Order No. 4 ordering
School) in the Bureau of Public their reassignment in the interest of the service is
Schools, Department of legally in order.11 (Emphases supplied)
Education", without mentioning her
station. She cannot therefore claim In Quisumbing v. Gumban, 12 the Court, dealing with an
security of tenure as Principal of appointment in the Bureau of Public Schools of the
Sinalang Elementary School or any Department of Education, Culture and Sports, ruled as
particular station. She may be follows:
assigned to any station as exigency of
public service requires, even without After a careful scrutiny of the records, it is to be
her consent. She thus has no right of underscored that the appointment of private
choice.9 (Emphasis supplied; citation respondent Yap is simply that of a District Supervisor
omitted) of the Bureau of Public Schools which does not
indicate a specific station (Rollo, p. 13). A such, she
In the very recent case of Fernando, et al. v. Hon. Sto. Tomas, etc., could be assigned to any station and she is no
et entitled to stay permanently at any specific
a1., 10 the Court addressed appointments of petitioners as station (Bongbong v. Parado, 57 SCRA 623 [1974];
"Mediators-Arbiters in the National Capital Region" in dismissing a Department of Education, Culture and Sports v.
challenge on certiorari to resolutions of the CSC and orders of the Court of Appeals [G.R. 81032, March 22,
Secretary of Labor. The Court said:
1990] citing Brillantes v. Guevarra [27 SCRA 138 actually conferred — not in that of any place to which
[1969]). 13 they may have been subsequently assigned. . . . As
things stand, in default of any particular station
Again, in Ibañez v. Commission on Elections, 14 the Court had stated in their respective appointments, no security
before it petitioners' appointments as "Election Registrars in the of tenure can be asserted by the petitioners on the
Commission of Elections," without any intimation to what city, basis of the mere assignments which were given to
municipality or municipal district they had been appointed as them. A contrary rule will erase altogether the
such. 15 The Court held that since petitioners "were not appointed to, demarcation line we have repeatedly drawn
and consequently not entitled to any security of tenure or between appointment and assignment as two distinct
permanence in, any specific station," "on general principles, they concepts in the law of public officers. 16 (Emphases
[could] be transferred as the exigencies of the service required," supplied)
and that they had no right to complain against any change in
assignment. The Court further held that assignment to a particular The petitioner, in Miclat v. Ganaden, 17 had been appointed as a
station after issuance of the appointment was not necessary to "Welfare Office Incharge, Division of Urban, Rural and Community
complete such appointment: Administration, Social Welfare Administration." She was assigned
as Social Welfare Incharge of the Mountain Province, by an office
. . . . We cannot subscribe to the theory that an order of the Administrator, Social Welfare Administration. After a
assignment to a particular station, in the light of the little more than a year; petitioner was assigned elsewhere and
terms of the appointments in question, was respondent Ganaden transferred to petitioner's first station in
necessary to complete the said appointments. The Baguio City. The Court ruled that petitioner was not entitled to
approval thereof by the Commissioner of Civil remain in her first station, In Jaro v. Hon. Valencia, et
Service gave those appointments the stamp of al., 18petitioner Dr. Jaro had been appointed "Physician in the
finality.With the view that the respondent Municipal Maternity and Charity Clinics, Bureau of Hospitals." He
Commission then took of its power in the premises was first assigned to the Municipal Maternity and Charity Clinics in
and the demand of the mission it set out to Batulati, Davao, and later to the corresponding clinic in Saug,
accomplish with the appointments it extended, said Davao and then to Catil, Davao. He was later assigned to the
appointments were definitely meant to be complete Municipality of Padada, also of Davao Province. He resisted his last
as then issued. The subsequent assignment of the assignment and brought mandamus against the Secretary of Health
appointees thereunder that the said respondent to compel the latter to return him to his station in Catil, Davao as
Commission held in reserve to be exercised as the Municipal Health Officer thereof. The Court, applying Miclat
needs of each locality justified did not in any way v. Ganaden dismissed this Petition holding that his appointment not
detract from the perfection attained by the being to any specific station but as a physician in the Municipal
appointments beforehand. And the respective Maternity and Charity Clinics, Bureau of Hospitals, he could be
appointees were entitled only to such security of transferred or assigned to any station where, in the opinion of the
tenure as the appointment papers concerned Secretary of Health, his services may be utilized more effectively. 19
Also noteworthy is Sta. Maria v. Lopez 20 which involved the improve the service of the agency. The use of
appointment of petitioner Sta. Maria as "Dean, College of Education, approved techniques or methods in personnel
University of the Philippines." Dean Sta. Maria was transferred by management to harness the abilities of employees to
the President of the University of the Philippines to the Office of the promote optimum public service cannot-be objected
President, U.P., without demotion in rank or salary, thereby to. . . .
acceding to the demands of student activists who were boycotting
their classes in the U.P. College of Education. Dean Sta. Maria 5. The next point of inquiry is whether or not
assailed his transfer as an illegal and unconstitutional removal from Administrative Order 77 would stand the test of
office. In upholding Dean Sta. Maria's claim, the Court, speaking validity vis-a-vis the principles just enunciated.
through Mr. Justice Sanchez, laid down the applicable doctrine in
the following terms: xxx xxx xxx

4. Concededly, transfers there are which do not To be stressed at this point, however, is that the
amount to removal. Some such transfer can be appointment of Sta. Maria is that of "Dean, College
effected without the need for charges being preferred, of Education, University of the Philippines." He is not
without trial or hering, and even without the consent merely a dean "in the university." His appointment is
of the employee. to a specific position; and, more importantly, to a
specific station. 21 (Citations omitted; emphases
The clue to such transfers may be found in supplied)
the "nature of the appointment." Where the
appointment does not indicate a specific station, an For all the foregoing we conclude that the reassignment of
employee may be transferred or reassigned provided petitioners Fernandez and de Lima from their stations in the OPIA
the transfer affects no substantial change in title, and OPR, respectively, to the Research Development Office (RDO)
rank and salary. Thus one who is appointed and from the RDO to the Commissions Regional Offices in Regions
"principal in the Bureau of Public Schools" and is V and III, respectively, without their consent, did not constitute a
designated to head a pilot school may be transferred violation of their constitutional right to security of tenure.
to the post of principal of another school.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition
And the rule that outlaws unconsented transfers as and Mandamus with Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction or
anathema to security of tenure applies only to an Temporary Restraining Order is hereby DISMISSED. The
officer who is appointed — not merely assigned — to Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court on 27 September
a particular station. Such a rule does not prescribe a 1994 is hereby LIFTED. Costs against petitioners.
transfer carried out under a specific statute that
empowers the head of an agency to periodically SO ORDERED.
reassign the employees and officers in order to
ROSEO U. TEJADA and RADITO C. CHING, petitioners, including financial institutions or local government
vs. units for services rendered by its officials and
HON. EUFEMIO C. DOMINGO, in his capacity as Chairman of employees as part of their regular functions for
the Commission on Audit, respondent. purposes of paying additional compensation to said
officials and employees.
G. R. No. 91860 January 13, 1992
The questioned interpretation and implementation are contained in
DAVIDE, JR., J.: the memorandum of the respondent dated 24 August 1989, the
pertinent portion of which reads:
In this special civil action for certiorari with prohibition
and mandamus, petitioners urge this Court to annul and set aside . . . Thus effective July 1, 1989, the salaries,
the alleged "erroneous, arbitrary, wrongful and illegal interpretation allowances and other emoluments to be received by
and implementation" 1 by the respondent Chairman of the COA officials and employees, regardless of station
Commission on Audit (COA) of Republic Act. No. 6758, otherwise or assignment, are only those that are paid directly
known as the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. by COA out of its own appropriations and
contributions.
Specifically involved is Section 18 of the Act, which reads:
Henceforth, the continued payment by any other
Sec.18. Additional Compensation of Commission on government entity, whether in the national, local or
Audit Personnel and Other Agencies. — In order to corporate sector, to any COA official or employee of
preserve the independence and integrity of the such compensation, including those incorporated in
Commission on Audit (COA), its officials and the computerized payroll, would no longer have legal
employees are prohibited from receiving salaries, basis. Accordingly, in order not to delay the
honoraria, bonuses, allowances or other emoluments processing of the salary payroll of all COA officials
from any government entity, local government unit, and employees for September, 1989, all such
and government-owned and controlled corporations, additional emoluments will be deleted in the
and government financial institutions, except those computation of the said payroll. 2
compensation paid directly by the COA out of its
appropriations and contributions. The genesis of this controversy is not disputed.

Government entities including government-owned or Petitioners Roseo U. Tejada and Radito C. Ching are senior clerks
controlled corporations including financial institutions of the COA assigned to the auditing units of the Philippine National
and local government units are hereby prohibited Bank (PNB) and the Central Bank (CB), respectively.
from assessing or billing other government entities,
government-owned or controlled corporations
Before the effectivity of R.A. No. 6758, Tejada's gross monthly Prior to the enactment of Presidential Decree No. 1445, otherwise
compensation was P3,673.20, broken down as follows: known as the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, all
officials and employees of the COA, like herein petitioners,
basic salary P 1,623.00 assigned to, inter alia, government-owned or controlled
corporations (GOCCs), received their salaries, allowances,
cost of living allowance 700.00 additional compensation, emoluments and other fringe benefits
bank equity pay 648.00 directly from such GOCCs. This practice was not deemed effective
longevity pay 140.00 enough to enhance the independence and protect the integrity of
amelioration pay 162.00 the COA. Thus, with the end in view of insulating these COA
meal allowance 400.00 officials and employees, particularly the auditors, from unwarranted
influence, thereby preserving the independence and integrity of the
————— COA, Presidential Decree No. 1445 expressly mandates that the
salaries and other forms of compensation of the personnel of the
P 3,673.20 COA shall follow a common position classification and
compensation plan regardless of agency assignment and shall be
subject to P.D. No. 985; and that all officials and employees thereof,
while Ching's was only P3,134.00, itemized as follows:
including its representatives and support personnel, shall be paid
their salaries, emoluments and allowances directly by the COA out
basic salary P 1,623.00 of the latter's appropriations and contributions, 3 which shall be
considered as part of its operating expenses to be included in the
cost of living allowance 700.00 annual appropriations law, but funded from the assessments made
bank equity pay 649.00 upon, or from contributions of the GOCCs.4 It directs GOCCs to
amelioration pay 162.00 appropriate in their respective budgets and remit to the National
Treasury an amount at least equivalent to the appropriation for the
————— salaries and allowances of the representatives and staff of the
Commission during the preceding fiscal year. 5
P 3,134.00
The requirement of a common position and compensation plan did
Of the foregoing, only the basic salary and the cost of living away with the old practice of agencies concerned determining the
allowance, in the total sum of P2,323.00, were due each of number, compensation and assignment of COA representatives,
them as senior clerks in the COA. The other benefits were which was both chaotic and unjust. The provision on direct payment
voluntarily given to them by the PNB and the CB, by COA of the salaries and other benefits was designed to instill
respectively. institution loyalty. 6
This policy was further strengthened by Executive Order No. 19 corporations shall be directly defrayed by the
which President Corazon C. Aquino enacted on 19 June Commission from its own appropriation pursuant to
1986. 7 Sections 2 and 3 thereof provide: Section 31 of the General Provisions of the General
Appropriations Act otherwise known as Batas
Sec. 2. (as amended by E.O. No. 271). The cost of Pambansa Bilang 879.
audit services rendered to government agencies by
the Commission on Audit shall be covered by the Thus, the law is clear that the contributions from the GOCCs are
fund sources provided in Sec. 24 of Presidential limited to the cost of audit services which are based on the actual
Decree No. 1445 which shall be incorporated in the cost of the audit function in the corporation concerned plus a
national government budget and included in the reasonable rate to cover overhead expenses. The actual audit cost
Annual General Appropriations Law: provided, that in shall include personnel services, maintenance and other operating
the case of government-owned and/or controlled expenses, depreciation on capital and equipment and out-of-pocket
corporations and its subsidiaries, the cost of audit expenses. In respect to the allowances and fringe benefits granted
services shall be based on the actual cost of the by the GOCCs to the COA personnel assigned to the former's
audit function in the corporation concerned, plus a auditing units, the same shall be directly defrayed by COA from its
reasonable rate to cover overhead expenses. The own appropriations pursuant to Section 31 of the General
actual audit cost shall include personal services, Provisions of the General Appropriations Act, otherwise known as
maintenance and other operating expenses, Batas Pambansa Bilang 879. The pertinent portion of said Section
depreciation on capital and equipment and out-of- 31 reads as follows:
pocket expenses.
xxx xxx xxx
This amount shall be remitted in six equal
installments every sixty days (the first installment to Officials and employees on detail with other offices,
fall on January l5 of every calendar year) to the including representatives and support personnel of
National Treasury by each government auditing units assigned to serve other offices and
corporation/subsidiary concerned; provided, that if agencies, shall be paid their salaries, emoluments,
the operating budgets of the government allowances and the foregoing supplemental
corporations/ subsidiary are reduced during the year compensation, fringe benefits and other personal
as a result of operating fund shortfall or reduction of services costs from appropriations of their parent
its operations, the cost of audit services previously agencies, and in no case shall such be charged
determined shall be reduced proportionately. . . . against appropriations of the agencies where they
are assigned or detailed, except when authorized by
Sec. 3. All allowances and fringe benefits granted by law.
government-owned or controlled corporations to the
personnel of the Commission's auditing units in such
This provision was re-stated in the General Appropriations the effectivity of R.A. No. 6758 "paid directly by the
Acts (GAA) of the succeeding calendar years. 8 COA out of its appropriations and contributions"
within the meaning of the exception under Section 18
Then came Section 18 of R.A. No. 6758, and its interpretation and of the same law?
implementation 9 by respondent which provoked this case.
and then submit a negative answer to the first, and an
Disagreeing with the respondent's stand, petitioners, together with affirmative answer to the second as they were, and have
other COA employees, sent to the former a letter-request 10 dated always been, since the effectivity of P.D. No. 1445, "paid
27 September 1989, asking that the order for the deletion from the directly by the COA out of its appropriations and
COA Centralized or Special Payroll of their allowances, fringe contributions." 13
benefits and other emoluments, be reconsidered, and "be restored
14
or at least considered in the determination of their respective We required respondent to Comment on the petition.
compensation rates as of 1 July 1989, so that they will not suffer
any salary deduction when the standardized salary rates are finally Respondent, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, filed
implemented." his Comment on 11 May 1990. 15 He maintains that the real issue to
be resolved is:
On 27 October 1989, respondent issued another
memorandum 11 denying, in effect, the letter-request. As a Whether or not under R.A. No. 6758 COA personnel
consequence, each of the petitioners presently receive the reduced may still be allowed to receive from any government
salary of P2,323.00. agency, local or national, including government-
owned or controlled corporations and government
Hence, they filed this petition on 7 February 1990. 12 financing institutions, other allowances, emoluments
and fringe benefits over and above their legally set
They raise the following issues: salaries and allowances as COA employees.

1. Does Section 18 of R.A. No. 6758 require, or even He then asserts that petitioners are no longer entitled to the
authorize, the diminution of the gross compensation extra allowances and benefits which they used to receive
of COA personnel which they were receiving prior to prior to the effectivity of R.A. No. 6758 for: (a) they are not
its effectivity, notwithstanding the provisions of entitled as a matter of right to the additional emoluments
Sections 12 and 17 of the same law? they have been receiving from the agencies to which they
are assigned — such were gratuitously given by the latter;
2. Were all the salaries, allowances, fringe benefits (b) the extra emoluments from GOCCs have no legal basis;
and other emoluments which petitioners were (c) the additional allowances created a salary distortion; (d)
receiving as part of their gross compensation prior to the additional allowances do not promote auditing integrity
and independence; (e) GOCCs no longer pay extra
emoluments and have been prohibited from doing so; and (f) government financial institutions, except such compensation paid
COA personnel assigned to GOCCs are subject to periodic directly by the COA out of its appropriations and contributions, and
reshuffling or reassignment pursuant to Sections 20 (4) and (2) government entities, including GOCCS, government financial
22 (1) of P.D. No. 1445, hence they do not acquire a vested institutions and local government units from assessing or billing
right to the additional compensation or fringe benefits being other government entities, GOCCs, government financial
paid by GOCCs as the receiving of such would cease upon institutions or local government units for services rendered by the
their reassignment. latter's officials and employees as part of their regular functions for
purposes of paying additional compensation to said official and
We required the petitioners to file a Reply to the Comment, 16 which employees. While the cited section uses the word "prohibited,"
they complied with on 28 June 1990. 17 On 10 July 1990, this Court Section 22 of P.D. No. 1445 does not. No one may successfully
gave due argue against the proposition that a total removal of the temptation
course 18 to the petition and required both parties to simultaneously and enticement the extra emoluments provide would be one
file their respective Memoranda, which they complied with. effective way to vigorously and aggressively enforce the
Constitutional provision mandating the COA to prevent or disallow
To Our mind, the respondent presents the proper issue and a irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable
careful scrutiny of the arguments adduced by the parties would lead expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties. 19 The
Us to no other conclusion but to sustain the respondent and dismiss COA personnel assigned to the GOCCs who have absolutely
the petition for want of merit. nothing to look forward to or expect from the latter in terms of extra
benefits would have no reason to accord special treatment to the
The two (2) main issues formulated by petitioners are clearly based GOCCs by closing their eyes to irregular or unlawful expenditures
on erroneous premises or assumptions. Petitioners assume that or use of funds or property, or conducting perfunctory audit. The law
their gross compensation includes the extra emoluments given by realizes that such extra benefits could diminish the personnel's
the GOCCs to which they are assigned, that Sections 12 and 17 of seriousness and dedication in the pursuit of their assigned tasks,
the Act grant them vested rights to such extra emoluments and that affect their impartiality and provide a continuing temptation to
they were directly paid by the COA out of its appropriations and ingratiate themselves to the GOCCs or government financial
contributions. institutions concerned. In the end then, they would become
ineffective auditors.
There can be no question that Section 18 of Republic Act No. 6758
is designed to strengthen further the policy, earlier mandated by the Upon the other hand, as correctly contended by the respondent,
Government Auditing Code of the Philippines and then by Executive Memorandum Order No. 177 rationalizing the compensation
Order No. 19 (as amended by Executive Order No. 271), to structure in GOCCs and government financial institutions, issued by
preserve the independence and integrity of the COA, by explicitly the President on 31 May 1988, limits the grant of extra allowances
PROHIBITING: (1) COA officials and employees from receiving and fringe benefits to their officials and employees. Section 2
salaries, honoraria, bonuses, allowances or other emoluments from thereof reads:
any government entity, local government unit, GOCCs and
Sec. 2. Allowances of incumbents. — Incumbents of making and financially viable government-owned or
positions in corporate entities covered by the controlled corporations and financial institutions
Memorandom Order who are presently receiving which are not receiving subsidies, for any operating
additional monthly compensation/fringe benefits and expenses from the National Government.
other emoluments which were continuously enjoyed
for a period of at least 12 months prior to the 2.2. Members of the governing boards of any
effectivity of this Order, including those authorized government-owned or controlled corporation and
solely by their governing boards effected on or financial institution, detailed personnel from other
before December 31, 1987, the aggregate of which government agencies/corporations including
exceeds the standardized rates prescribed pursuant personnel of the Commission on Audit (COA) and
to existing laws, rules and regulations and ministered Civil Service Commission (CSC) are not covered by
by the Department of Budget and Management, shall the provisions of said Order. (Emphasis supplied)
continue to receive such excess allowances, which
shall be referred to as "transition allowance." The Then, too, among the laws specifically repealed by R.A. No.
"transition allowance" shall be correspondingly 6758 20 is the proviso under Section 2 of P.D. No. 985, which reads:
reduced by the amount of any salary increase or
salary adjustment that the incumbent shall receive in . . . Provided, that notwithstanding a standardized
the future. salary system established for all
employees, additional financial incentives may be
The additional compensation, fringe benefits and established by government corporations and
other emoluments which may be considered as financial institutions for their employees to be
"transition allowance" under this Memorandum Order supported fully from their corporate funds and for
shall be limited to those which are of common or such technical positions as may be approved by the
general application to all the personnel of the entities President in critical government agencies.
covered under Section 1 hereof.
The foregoing legislative and executive pronouncements unerringly
The Corporate Budget Circular No. 15 issued by the Secretary of reveal a two-pronged strategy to preserve and enhance the
the Department of Budget and Management on 5 July 1988, to independence and integrity of the COA and make its personnel
implement the aforesaid Memorandum Order, pertinently provides loyal to none other except that institution and beholden to nobody
for the coverage and exemption thereof, thus: but the people whose coffers they must guard with dedication and
responsibility.
2.0 COVERAGE AND EXEMPTION.
The first aspect of the strategy is directed to the COA itself, while
2.1. The provisions of MO No. 177, series of 1988, the second aspect is addressed directly against the GOCCs and
shall apply only to officials and employees of profit- government financial institutions. Under the first, COA personnel
assigned to auditing units of GOCCs or government financial 985, as amended, that shall be applied for all
institutions can receive only such salaries, allowances or fringe government entities, as mandated by the
benefits paid directly by the COA out of its appropriations and Constitution.
contributions. The contributions referred to are the cost of audit
services earlier mentioned which cannot include the extra It goes without saying then that the PNB and the CB cannot legally
emoluments or benefits now claimed by petitioners. The COA is and validly continue to grant Tejada and Ching, respectively, the
further barred from assessing or billing GOCCs and government extra emoluments in question because these could only be given to
financial institutions for services rendered by its personnel as part of its officials, employees or organic personnel, subject to
their regular audit functions for purposes of paying additional Memorandum Order No. 177 and Corporate Budget Circular No. 15.
compensation to such personnel. Under the second, GOCCs and Otherwise stated, Tejada and Ching cannot legally and validly
government financial institutions can no longer rely on Section 2 of receive such extra benefits from the PNB and the CB, respectively,
P.D. No. 985; moreover, fringe benefits and other emoluments in because not only are they not organic personnel thereof, but also
excess of the standardized rates, which may be continued to be because of the express prohibition of Section 18 of R.A. No. 6758.
received in the concept of "transition allowance" under
Memorandum Order No. 177, in relation to Corporate Budget Petitioners' contention that Sections 12 and 17 of R.A. No. 6758
Circular No. 15 (15 July 1988), apply only to the officials and authorize their continued receipt of the extra allowances from the
employees of profit-making and financially viable GOCCs and GOCCs to which they are assigned are patently untenable. These
government financial institutions. sections read in full as follows:

The strategy also promotes and is consistent with the policy behind Sec. 12. Consolidation of Allowances and
R.A. No. 6758, which Section 2 thereof announces: Compensation — All allowances, except for
representation and transportation allowances;
Sec. 2. Statement of Policies — It is hereby declared clothing and laundry allowances; subsistence
the policy of the State to provide equal pay for allowance of marine officers and crew on board
substantially equal work and to base differences in government vessels and hosoltal personnel; hazard
pay upon substantive differences in duties and pay, allowances of foreign service personnel
responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the stationed abroad; and such other additional
positions. In determining rates of pay, due regard compensation not otherwise specified herein as may
shall be given to, among others, prevailing rates in be determined by the DBM, shall be deemed
the private sector for comparable work. For this included in the standardized salary rates herein
purpose, the Department of Budget and prescribed. Such other additional compensation,
Management (DBM) is hereby directed to establish whether in cash or in kind, being received by
and administer a unified Compensation and Position incumbents only as of July 1, 1989, not integrated
Classification System, hereinafter referred to as the into the standardized salary rates shall continue to
System, as provided for in Presidential Decree No. be authorized.
Existing additional compensation of any national Section 12 refers to the regular allowances and compensation
government official or employee paid from local which an instrumentality, entity or agency of the government grants
funds of a local government unit shall be absorbed to its organic personnel. In the case of COA personnel, such
into the basic salary of said official or employee and allowances and compensation cannot include allowances, fringe
shall be paid by the National Government. benefits or extra emoluments, such as those claimed by petitioners,
which are granted by GOCCs or government financial institutions
xxx xxx xxx because Section 18 of the Act itself bans the COA personnel from
receiving them even as it also prohibits GOCCs and government
Sec. 17. Salaries of Incumbents. — Incumbents of financial institutions from granting such benefits to personnel of
positions presently receiving salaries and additional other government instrumentalities, entities or agencies assigned to
compensation/fringe benefits including those them to perform the regular functions of their mother units. There is
absorbed from local government units and other no indication at all that R.A. No. 6758 has jettisoned the first aspect
emoluments, the aggregate of which exceeds the of the policy. On the contrary, it has strengthened it. It would have
standardized salary rate as herein prescribed, shall been absurd and illogical for the law to impose the prohibition and
salary rate as herein prescribed, shall continue to at the same time mandate its integration in the standardized salary
receive such excess compensation, which shall be rates of the personnel of the COA. In the second place, the
referred to as transition allowance. The transition Secretary of the DBM, Hon. Guillermo Carague, has certified that
allowance shall be reduced by the amount of salary "other than those authorized/mandated by law, the allowances,
adjustment that the incumbent shall receive in the fringe benefits and other emoluments that were directly received by
future. COA personnel from the various government owned and controlled
corporations, including government financial institutions, to which
The transition allowance referred to herein shall be they are assigned, were not provided under the regular
treated as part of the basic salary for purposes of appropriations of the Commission in the General Appropriations Act
computing retirement pay, year end bonus and other of 1989 and 1990." 21 They were not so provided because, as
similar benefits. discussed above, there was no legal basis therefor.

As basis for computation of the first across-the-board Were this Court to accept petitioner's theory, it would ingraft into the
salary adjustment of incumbents with transition law that which the legislature never intended and interpret the law in
allowance, no incumbent who is receiving a manner that defeats or negates its purpose. Worse, it would
compensation exceeding the standardized salary compel the PNB and the CB to conntinue granting petitioners
rate at the time of the effectivity of this Act, shall be Tejada and Ching, respectively, the subject extra emoluments thus
assigned a salary lower than ninety percent (90%) of writing into the law an exception for the benefit of COA personnel.
his present compensation or the standardized salary This would be judicial legislation, which We are not prepared to
rate, whichever is higher. Subsequent increases experiment on. The questioned law is clear enough. Frankly, its
shall be based on the resultant adjusted salary. interpretation is not even called for. Neither may petitioners seek
refuge or consolation under Section 17. Again, the additional WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the petition is DISMISSED with
compensation or fringe benefits and other emoluments referred to costs against petitioners.
therein are those granted by the mother or parent unit to
the incumbents thereof, i.e., the organic personnel, which include IT IS SO ORDERED.
benefits absorbed from local government units. As correctly
observed by respondent, the law does not mention benefits Narvasa, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin,
absorbed from GOCCs or government financial institutions. This is Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Romero, JJ., concur.
so because no such benefit was intended to be absorbed. On the
contrary, GOCCs and government financial institutions were Nocon, J., took no part.
prohibited from granting them to non-organic personnel.
Separate Opinion
Petitioners, nevertheless, posit the view that since, in respect to
GOCCs and government financial institutions, the law does not GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring and dissenting:
seem to make a distinction between an incumbent therein who is an
organic personnel thereof and an incumbent who is a COA
I agree with the laudable objectives of Rep. Act No. 6758 but I
personnel assigned to their auditing units, petitioners must, for
believe that it must be implemented in a more reasonable, humane,
purposes of Section 17, be considered "incumbents" of the PNB
and realistic manner.
and the CB. They appeal to the rule on statutory construction that
where the law does not make any distinction, no distinction should
be made. A distinction is not in order for the meaning The petitioner's problems are symptomatic of the improvident and
of incumbent is not doubtful nor susceptible of more than one uncalculating approach of Government to the compensation and
interpretatioin. An incumbent is a person who is in present money problems of its own employees. Judges are ordered to stop
possession of an office; one who is legally authorized to discharge receiving the allowances given to them for decades by local
the duties of an office. 22 An office is a public charge or employment, governments. And yet, no provisions are made in the budget to
an employment on behalf of the government in any station or public enable the Supreme Court to replace these allowances with
trust, not merely transient, occasional or incidental. 23 An incumbent equivalent amounts and to provide them with the supplies,
then can only refer to the holder of an office either by appointment telephone, electricity and maintenance services, and
or by election. Insofar as petitioners were concerned, they are accomodations which have been furnished by local governments
incumbents of the position to which they have been appointed — since the turn of the century. Public school teachers are given
senior clerks of the COA — and not of the PNB or the CB to which increased salaries by the national government but, at the same time,
they are merely temporarily assigned. the "city share" which the local governments used to pay is
withdrawn. The salary increases are thus meaningless inspite of so
much publicity and fanfare given to them.
The foregoing disquisition renders unnecessary further discussion
on the other points raised by respondent.
The two petitioners in this case are clerks. When a clerk joins the
government service, he does so on the basis of the total
compensation package regularly given for a fairly long period to
occupants of that position. Unlike the chief or assistant chief auditor,
he does not expect to be shifted from agency to agency. In theory a
clerk joins the COA as a national office but in actuality he joins the
COA Supreme Court, COA Philippine National Bank, COA Bureau
of Prisons, etc. To suddenly reduce the take home pay which has
been received for many years is cruel and unnecessary.

If standardization of incomes of all clerks in all government offices is


to be effected no matter how different the workloads, the
confidentiality or sensitivity of functions, the complexity and
magnitutde of assignments, and the amounts of funds and
properties being checked by the office, some kind of transition
arrangement to equal the lost income must be provided by the
Commission itself, at the very least.

It is easy to mount arguments in defense of implementing rules


intended to make certain offices more independent and, supposedly,
more effective. But the arguments become rhetorical, quixotic, and
illusive if they do not take into account the hardships and sacrifices
which affected personnel, especially rank and file workers, are
compelled to suffer.

I, therefore, regret that I cannot concur with the majority opinion in


its entirety until a more humane and practical mode of
implementation is devised.

Cruz, J., concurs.


G.R. Nos. 111624-25 March 9, 1995 the Commission en banc tabulated the votes
ALFONSO C. BINCE, JR., petitioner, obtained by candidates Atty. Emiliano S. Micu and
vs. Atty. Alfonso C. Bince for the position of
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, PROVINCIAL BOARD OF Sangguniang Panlalawigan member of the province
CANVASSERS OF PANGASINAN, MUNICIPAL BOARDS OF of Pangasinan, using as basis thereof the statement
CANVASSERS OF TAYUG AND SAN MANUEL, PANGASINAN of votes by precinct submitted by the municipality of
AND EMILIANO MICU, respondents. San Quintin, Pangasinan, as (sic) a result of said
examination, the Commission rules, as follows:
KAPUNAN, J.:
1. That the actual number of votes
Petitioner Alfonso C. Bince, Jr. and private respondent Emiliano S. obtained by candidate Alfonso C.
Micu were among the candidates in the synchronized elections of Bince in the municipality of San
May 11, 1992 for a seat in the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of the Quintin, Pangasinan is 1,055 votes
Province of Pangasinan allotted to its Sixth Legislative District. whereas petitioner/appellant Atty.
Emiliano S. Micu obtained 1,535
Ten (10) municipalities, including San Quintin, Tayug and San votes for the same municipality.
Manuel, comprise the said district.
Accordingly, the Provincial Board of Canvassers for
During the canvassing of the Certificates of Canvass (COC's) for the province of Pangasinan is directed to CREDIT in
these ten (10) municipalities by respondent Provincial Board of favor of petitioner/appellant Atty. Emiliano S. Micu
Canvassers (PBC) on May 20, 1992, private respondent Micu with 1,535 votes and candidate Alfonso C. Bince with
objected to the inclusion of the COC for San Quintin on the ground 1,055 votes in the municipality of San Quintin,
that it contained false statements. Accordingly, the COCs for the Pangasinan.2
remaining nine (9) municipalities were included in the canvass. On
May 21, 1992, the PBC rules against the objection of private Twenty-one (21) days after the canvass of the COCs for the nine (9)
respondent.1 From the said ruling, private respondent Micu municipalities was completed on May 20, 1992, private respondent
appealed to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), which Micu together with the Municipal Boards of Canvassers (MBCs) of
docketed the case as SPC No. 92-208. Tayug and San Manuel filed with the PBC petitions for correction of
the Statements of Votes (SOVs) earlier prepared for alledged
On June 6, 1992, the COMELEC en banc promulgated a resolution manifest errors committed in the computation thereof.
which reads:
In view of the motion of herein petitioner to implement the
Acting on the appeal filed by petitioner-appellant Atty. Resolution of June 6, 1992 which was alleged to have become final,
Emiliano S. Micu to the ruling of the Provincial Board the PBC, on June 18, 1992, credited in favor of the petitioner and
of Canvassers of Pangasinan, dated May 21, 1992, private respondent the votes for each as indicated in the said
resolution and on the basis of the COCs for San Quintin and the respectively, of the PBC, for Contempt with alternative prayer for
other nine (9) municipalities, petitioner had a total of 27,370 votes proclamation as winner and Injunction with prayer for the issuance
while the private respondent had 27,369 votes. Petitioner who won of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
by a margin of 1 vote was not, however, proclaimed winner
because of the absence of authority from the COMELEC. On July 9, 1992, the PBC Chairman, Atty. Felimon Asperin, filed a
petition with the COMELEC seeking a "definitive ruling and a clear
Accordingly, petitioner filed a formal motion for such authority. directive or order as to who of the two (2) contending parties should
be proclaimed"6 averring that "there were corrections already made
On June 29, 1992, the COMELEC en banc promulgated a in a separate sheet of paper of the Statements of Votes and
Supplemental Order3 directing the PBC "to reconvene, continue Certificates of Canvass of Tayug and San Manuel, Pangasinan
with the provincial canvass and proclaim the winning candidates for which corrections if to be considered by the Board in its canvass
Sangguniang Panlalawigan for the Province of Pangasinan, and and proclamation, candidate Emiliano will win by 72 votes. On the
other candidates for provincial offices who have not been other hand, if these corrections will not be considered, candidate
proclaimed4 as of that date. Alfonso Bince, Jr. will win by one (1) vote.7 On even date, the
COMELEC promulgated its resolution, the dispositive portion of
In the meantime, on June 24, 1992, the PBC, acting on the petitions which reads:
for correction of the SOVs of Tayug and San Manuel filed by private
respondent and the MBCs of the said municipalities, rules "to allow (1) To RECONVENE immediately and complete the
the Municipal Boards of Canvassers of the municipalities of Tayug canvass of the Certificates of Votes, as corrected, of
and San Manuel, Pangasinan to correct the Statement of Votes and the municipalities comprising the 6th District of
Certificates of Canvass and on the basis of the corrected Pangasinan;
documents, the Board (PBC) will continue the canvass and
thereafter proclaim the winning candidate.5 (2) To PROCLAIM the winning candidate for Member
of the provincial Board, 6th District of Pangasinan,
On June 25, 1992, petitioner Bince appealed from the above ruling on the basis of the completed and corrected
allowing the correction alleging that the PBC had no jurisdiction to Certificates of Canvass, aforesaid; in accordance
entertain the petition. The appeal was docketed as SPC No. 92-384. with the law, the rules and guidelines on canvassing
and proclamation.8
On July 8, 1992, private respondent Micu filed before the
COMELEC an urgent motion for the issuance of an order directing As directed therein, the PBC on July 21, 1992, by a vote of 2-1 with
the PBC to reconvene and proceed with the canvass. He alleged its Chairman Atty. Felimon Asperin dissenting, proclaimed
that the promulgation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2489 on June candidate Bince as the duly elected member of the Sangguniang
29, 1992 affirmed the ruling of the PBC dated June 24, 1992. Panlalawigan of Pangasinan. Assailing the proclamation of Bince,
Similarly, petitioner Bince filed an urgent petition to cite Atty. private respondent Micu filed an Urgent Motion for Contempt and to
Felimon Asperin and Supt. Primo. A. Mina, Chairman and Member, Annul Proclamation and Amended Urgent Petition for Contempt and
Annul Proclamation on July 22 and 29, 1992, respectively, alleging submitted by the Municipal Boards of Canvassers of
that the PBC defied the directive of the COMELEC in its resolution all the municipalities in the 6th District of Pangasinan,
of July 9, 1992. Acting thereon, the COMELEC promulgated a in accordance with law.9
resolution on July 29, 1992, the decretal portion of which reads:
Consequently, petitioner filed a special civil action
The Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES: for certiorari before this Court seeking to set aside the foregoing
resolution of the COMELEC, contending that the same was
1. To direct Prosecutor Jose Antonio Guillermo and promulgated without prior notice and hearing with respect to SPC
Supt. Primo Mina, vice-chairman and secretayr, No. 92-208 and SPC No. 92-384. The case was docketed as G.R.
respectively, of the Provincial Board of Canvassers No. 106291.
of Pangasinan, to show cause why they should not
be declared in contempt of defying and disobeying On February 9, 1993, the Court en banc 10 granted the petition
the Resolution of this Commission dated 09 July ratiocinating that:
1992, directing them to RECOVENE immediately
and complete the canvass of the Certificates of Respondent COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or
Votes as corrected, of the Municipal Boards of with grave abuse of discretion in annulling the
Canvassers of the Municipalities comprising the 6th petitioner's proclamation without the requisite due
District of Pangasinan; and to PROCLAIM the notice and hearing, thereby depriving the latter of
winning candidate of the Provincial Board, 6th due process. Moreover, there was no valid correction
District of Pangasinan, on the basis of the completed of the SOVs and COCs for the municipalities of
and corrected Certificates of Canvass, aforesaid; Tayug and San Manuel to warrant the annullment of
instead they excluded the corrected Certificated of the petitioner's proclamation.
Canvass of the Municipal Boards of Canvassers of
Tayug and San Manuel, Pangasinan; 1. Petitioner had been proclaimed, had taken his
oath of office and had assumed the position of the
2. To ANNUL the proclamation dated 21 July 1992, second elected member of the Sangguniang
by the said Provincial Board of Canvassers Panlalawigan of the Province of Pangasinan for its
(dissented by Chairman Felimon Asperin), of Sixth Legislative District. Such proclamation enjoys
candidate Alfonso Bince; the presumption of regularly and validity. The ruling
of the majority of the PBC to proclaim the petitioner
3. To DIRECT the Provincial Board of Canvassers to is based on its interpretation of the 9 July 1992
recovene immediately and proclaim the winning Resolution of respondent COMELEC which does not
candidate for the second position of the Provincial expressly single out the corrected COCs of Tayug
Board, 6th District of Pangasinan, on the basis of the and San Manuel; since, as of that time, the only
completed and corrected Certificates of Canvass corrected COC which existed was that for San
Quintin, which was made by the PBC on 18 June nevertheless, a protected right (BERNAS J., The
1992, the majority of the PBC cannot be faulted for Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, vol. I,
ruling the way it did. the 9 July 1992 Resolution 1987 ed., 40, citing Segovia vs. Noel, 47 Phil. 543
(Rollo, p. 51) merely directed it: [1925] and Borja vs. Agoncillo, 46 Phil. 432 [1924]).
Due process in proceedings before the respondent
(1) To RECOVENE immediately and COMELEC, exercising its quasi-judicial functions,
complete the canvass of the requires due notice and hearing, among others. Thus,
Certificates of Votes, as corrected, of although the COMELEC possesses, in appropriate
the Municipal Boards of Canvassers cases, the power to annul or suspend the
of the municipalities comprising the proclamation of any candidate (Section 248,
6th District of Pangasinan; Omnibus Election Code [B.P. Blg. 881]), We had
ruled in Farinas vs. Commission on Elections (G.R.
(2) To PROCLAIM the winning No. 81763, 3 March 1988), Reyes vs. Commission
candidate for Member of the on Elections G.R. No. 81856, 3 March 1988)
Provincial Board, 6th District of and Gallardo vs. Commission on Elections (G.R. No.
Pangasinan, on the basis of 85974, 2 May 1989) that the COMELEC is without
the completed and power to partially or totally annul a proclamation or
corrected Certificates of Canvass, suspend the effects of a proclamation without notice
aforesaid; in accordance with the law, and hearing.
the rules and guideline on canvassing
and proclamation. (Emphasis supplied) xxx xxx xxx

The PBC thus had every reason to believe that the Furthermore, the said motion to annul proclamation
phrase "completed and corrected" COCs could only was treated by the respondent COMELEC as a
refer to the nine 99) COCs for the nine municipalities, Special Case (SPC) because its ruling therein was
canvass for which was completed on 21 May 1992, made in connection with SPC No. 92-208 and SPC
and that of San Quintin, respectively. Verily, the No. 92-384. Special Cases under the COMELEC
above resolution is vague and ambiguous. RULES OF PROCEDURE involve the pre-
proclamation controversies (Rule 27 in relation to
Petitioner cannot be deprived of his office without Section 4(h)l Rule 1, and Section 4, Rule 7). We
due process of law. Although public office is have categorically declared in Sarmiento
notproperty under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights of vs. Commission on Elections (G.R. No. 105628, and
the Constitution (Article III, 1987 Constitution), and companion cases, 6 August 1992) that pursuant to
one cannot acquire a vested right to public office Section 3, Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution, . . .
(CRUZ, I.A., Constitutional Law, 1991 ed., 101), it is, the commission en banc does not have jurisdiction to
hear and decide pre-proclamation cases at the first corrections because the Election Registrars, as
instance. Such cases should first be referred to a Chairmen of the MBCs cannot, by themselves, act
division for their Section 225 of the respective Board. Section
225 of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881)
Hence, the COMELEC en banc had no jurisdiction to provides that "[A] majority vote of all the members of
decide on the aforesaid to annul the proclamation; the board of canvassers shall be necessary to render
consequently, its 29 July 1992 Resolution is motion a decision." That majority means at least two (2) of
is null and void. For this reason too, the the three (3) members constituting the Board
COMELEC en banc Resolution of 6 June 1992 in (Section 20(c) of the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987
SPC No. 92-2()8 resolving the private respondent's (R.A. No. 6646) provides that the "municipal board of
appeal from the ruling of the PBC with respect to the canvassers shall be composed of the election
COC of San Quintin is similarly void. registrar or a representative of the Commission, as
chairman, the municipal treasurer, as vice-chairman,
2. It is to be noted, as correctly stressed by the and the most senior district school supervisor or in
petitioner, that there are no valid corrected his absence a principal of the school district or the
Statements of Votes and Certificates of Canvass for elementary school, as members"). As to why the
Tayug and San Manuel; thus, any reference to such Election Registrars, in their capacities as Chairmen,
would be clearly unfounded. While it may be true that were 7th only ones who prepared the so-called
on 24 June 1992, the PBC, acting on simultaneous correction sheets, is beyond Us. There is no showing
petitions to correct the SOVs and COCs for Tayug that the other members of the Boards were no longer
and San Manuel ordered the MBCs for these two (2) available. Since they are from the Province of
municipalities to make the appropriate corrections in Pangasinan, they could have been easily summoned
the said SOVs and their corresponding COCs, none by the PBC to appear before it and effect the
of said Boards convened to the members of actually corrections on the Statements of Votes and
implement the order. Such failure could have been Certificates of Canvass.
due to the appeal seasonably interposed by the
petitioner to the COMELEC or the fact that said Besides, by no stretch of the imagination can these
members simply chose not to act thereon. As sheets of paper be considered as the corrected
already adverted to the so-called "corrected" SOVs and COCs. Corrections in a Statement of Vote
Statements of Votes and Certificates of Canvass and a Certificate of Canvass could only be
consist of sheets of paper signed by the respective accomplished either by inserting the authorized
Election Registrars of Tayug (Annex "F-l" of corrections into the SOV and COC which were
Comment of private respondent; Annex "A" of originally prepared and submitted by the MBC or by
Consolidated Reply of petitioner) and San Manuel preparing a new SOV and COC incorporating therein
(Annex "F-2, Id.; Annex "B", Id.). These are not valid the authorized corrections. Thus, the statement in
the 29 July 1992 Resolution of the COMELEC 2,179 in San Manuel (see p. 2, Annex
referring to "the Certificates of Canvass of the "A", Petition) (Rollo, p. 71)
municipal Boards of Canvassers of Tayug and San
Manuel" (Last clause, paragraph 1 of the dispositive On the same matter, the private
portion, Annex "A" of Petition: Rollo 15), is palpably respondent asserts that:
unfounded. The Commission could have 7 been
misled by Atty. Asperin's ambiguous reference to This SPC-92-384, is however,
"corrections already made in separate sheets of deemed terminated and the ruling of
paper of the Statements of Votes and Certificate of the PBC is likewise deemed affirmed
Canvass of Tayug and San Manuel, Pangasinan" by virtue of the 2nd par., Sec. 16, R.A.
(Quoted in the Resolution of 9 July 1992; Id., 50-51), No. 7166, supra and Comelec en
in his petition asking the COMELEC to rule on who banc Resolution No. 2489, supra,
shall be proclaimed. However, if it only took the dated June 29, 1992 (Id., 36);
trouble to carefully examine what was held out to be
as the corrected documents, respondent COMELEC If We follow the respondent COMELEC's contention
should not have been misled. to its logical conclusion, it was only on 29 July 1992
that SPC No. 92-384 was resolved; consequently,
Even if We are to assume for the sake of argument the so-called "correction sheets" were still
that these sheets of paper constitute sufficient prematurely prepared. In any event, the COMELEC
corrections, they are, nevertheless, void and of no could not have validly ruled on such appeal in its 29
effect. At the time the Election Registrars prepared July 1992 Resolution because the same was
them — on 6 July 1992 — respondent COMELEC promulgated to resolve the Urgent Motion For
had not yet acted on the petitioner's appeal (SPC No. Contempt and to Annul Proclamation filed by the
92-384) from the 24 June 1992 ruling of the PBC private respondent. Furthermore, before the
authorizing the corrections. Petitioner maintains that resolution of SPC No. 92-384 on the
until now, his appeal has not been resolved. The abovementioned date, no hearing was set or
public respondent, on the other hand, through the conducted to resolve the pending motion. Therefore,
Office of the Solicitor General, claims that the same on this ground alone, the 29 July 1992 Resolution,
had been: even if it was meant to resolve the appeal, is a
patent nullity for having been issued in gross
. . . resolved in the questioned violation of the requirement of notice and hearing
resolution of July 29, 1992, where mandated by Section 246 of the Omnibus Election
COMELEC affirmed respondents (sic) Code, in relation to Section 18 of R.A. No. 7166 and
Board's correction that petitioner only Section 6, Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of
received 2,415 votes in Tayug and Procedure, and for having been resolved by the
COMELEC en banc at the first instance. The case and SET ASIDE and respondent Commission on
should have been referred first to a division pursuant Elections is DIRECTED to resolve the pending
to Section 3, Article IX-C of the 1987 constitution and incidents conformably with the foregoing
Our ruling in Sarmiento vs.Commission on Elections. disquisitions and pronouncements.
Moreover, the COMELEC's claim that the questioned
resolution affirmed the correction made by the Board No costs.
is totally baseless. The PBC did not make any
corrections. It merely ordered the Municipal Boards SO ORDERED.11
of Canvassers of Tayug and San Manuel to make
such corrections. As earlier stated, however, the said On February 23, 1993, private respondent Micu filed an Urgent
MBCs did not convene to make these corrections. It Omnibus Motion before the COMELEC praying that the latter hear
was the Chairmen alone who signed the sheets of and resolve the pending incidents referred to by this Court. Private
paper purporting to be corrections. respondent was obviously referring to SPC No. 92-208 and SPC No.
92-384, both cases left unresolved by the COMELEC.
For being clearly inconsistent with the intention and
official stand of respondent COMELEC, private Consequently, the First Division of the COMELEC set the cases for
respondent COMELEC private respondent's theory hearing on March 8, 1993. During the hearing, both Micu and Bince
of termination under the second paragraph of orally manifested the withdrawal of their respective appeals. Also
Section 16 of R.A. No. 7166, and the consequent withdrawn were the petitions to disqualify Atty. Asperin and to cite
affirmance of the ruling of the PBC ordering the the Board for contempt. The parties agreed to file their respective
correction of the number of votes, must necessarily memoranda/position papers by March 15, 1993.
fail.
Petitioner Bince filed his Position Paper on March 12, 1993 arguing
The foregoing considered, the proclamation of the that the withdrawal of SPC No. 92-208 affirmed the ruling of the
private respondent on, 13 August 1992 by the PBC dated May 21, 1992 and even if it were not withdrawn, Section
Provincial Board of Canvassers of Pangasinan is null 16 of R.A. 7166 would have worked to terminate the appeal. Bince
and void. likewise asserts that his appeal in SPC No. 92-384 became moot
and academic in view of this Court's ruling nullifying the June 24,
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. 1992 order of the PBC granting the petitions for correction of the
The challenged resolution of the respondent SOVs and COCs of Tayug and San Manuel aside from being
Commission on Elections of 29 July 1992 and the superseded by the PBC ruling proclaiming him on July 21, 1992.
proclamation of the private respondent on 13 August
1992 as the second Member of the Sangguniang On the other hand, private respondent Micu, in his Position Paper
Panlalawigan of the Province of Pangasinan, filed on March 15, 1993 postulated that the petitions filed on June
representing its Sixth Legislative District ANNULLED 11, 1992 for the correction of the SOVs and COCs of Tayug and
San Manuel under Section 6 of Rule 27 of the Comelec Rules of 21, 1992 is hereby declared null and void.
Procedure, as well as the ruling of the PBC of June 24, 1992 Accordingly, the Provincial Board of Canvassers is
granting the same were valid so that the withdrawal of Bince's hereby directed to reconvene, with proper notices,
appeal in SPC No. 92-384 firmly affirmed the PBC ruling of June 24, and to order the Municipal Board of Canvassers of
1992 allowing the corrections. San Manuel and Tayug to make the necessary
corrections in the SOVs and COCs in the said
On July 15, 1993, the First Division of the COMELEC promulgated municipalities. Thereafter, the Provincial Board of
a Resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads: Canvassers is directed to include the results in the
said municipalities in its canvass.
Viewed from the foregoing considerations, the
Commission (First Division) holds that the petitioner The PBC is likewise ordered to proclaim the second
Alfonso C. Bince Jr. is entitled to sit as member of elected member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sixth District of the Sixth Legislative District of Pangasinan.
Pangasinan.
SO ORDERED. 13
ACCORDINGLY, the Commission (First Division)
RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to AFFIRM This is the resolution assailed in the instant petition for certiorari.
the proclamation of petitioner Alfonso C. Bince, Jr.
by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of We do not find merit in this petition and accordingly rule against
Pangasinan on 21 July 1992 as the duly elected petitioner.
member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the
Sixth District of the Province of Pangasinan.12 Respondent COMELEC did not act without jurisdiction or with grave
abuse of discretion in annulling the proclamation of petitioner
On July 20, 1993, private respondent Micu filed a Motion for Alfonso Bince, Jr. and in directing the Provincial Board of
reconsideration of the above-quoted resolution. Canvassers of Pangasinan to order the Municipal Boards of
Canvassers of Tayug and San Manuel to make the necessary
On September 9, 1993, the COMELEC en banc granted the private corrections in the SOVs and COCs in said municipalities and to
respondentls motion for reconsideration in a resolution which proclaim the winner in the sixth legislative district of Pangasinan.
dispositively reads as follows:
At the outset, it is worthy to observe that no error was committed by
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for respondent COMELEC when it resolved the "pending incidents" of
Reconsideration filed by respondent Emiliano S. the instant case pursuant to the decision of this Court in the
Micu is granted. The Resolution of the Commission aforesaid case of Bince, Jr. v. COMELEC on February 9, 1993
First Division is hereby SET ASIDE. The Petitioner's contention that his proclamation has long been affirmed
proclamation of petitioner Alfonso Bince, Jr. on July and confirmed by this Court in the aforesaid case is baseless.
In Bince, we nullified the proclamation of private respondent canvass were tabulated separately, (3) there had
because the same was done without the requisite due notice and been a mistake in the adding or copying of the
hearing, thereby depriving the petitioner of his right to due process. figures into the certificate of canvass or into the
In so doing, however, we did not affirm nor confirm the proclamation statement of votes, or (4) so-called election returns
of petitioner, hence, our directive to respondent COMELEC to from non-existent precincts were included in the
resolve the pending incidents of the case so as to ascertain the true canvass, the board may, motu propio, or upon
and lawful winner of the said elections. In effect, petitioner's verified petition by any candidate, political party,
proclamation only enjoyed the presumption of regularity and validity organization or coalition of political parties, after due
of an official act. It was not categorically declared valid. notice and hearing, correct the errors committed.

Neither can the COMELEC be faulted for subsequently annulling (b) The order for correction must be in writing and
the proclamation of petitioner Bince on account of a mathematical must be promulgated.
error in addition committed by respondent MBCs in the computation
of the votes received by both petitioner and private respondent. (c) Any candidate, political party, organization or
coalition of political parties aggrieved by said order
The petitions to correct manifest errors were filed on time, that is, may appeal therefrom to the Commission within
before the petitioner's proclamation on July 21, 1992. The petition twenty-four (24) hours from the promulgation.
of the MBC of San Manuel was filed on June 4, 1992 while that of
still, the MBC of Tayug was filed on June 5, 1992. Still, private (d) Once an appeal is made, the board of
respondent's petition was filed with the MBCs of Tayug and San canvassers shall not proclaim the winning
Manuel on June 10, 1992 and June 11, 1992, respectively, candidates, unless their votes are not affected by the
definitely well within the period required by Section 6 (now Section appeal.
7), Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Section 6 clearly
provides that the petition for correction may be filed at any time (e) The appeal must implead as respondents all
before proclamation of a winner, thus: parties who may be adversely affected thereby.

Sec. 6. Correction of errors in tabulation or tallying of (f) Upon receipt of the appeal, the Clerk of Court
results by the board of canvassers. — (a) Where it is concerned shall forthwith issue summons, together
clearly shown before proclamation that manifest with a copy of the appeal, to the respondents.
errors were committed in the tabulation or tallying of
election returns, or certificates of canvass, during the (g) The Clerk of Court concerned shall immediately
canvassing as where (1) a copy of the election set the appeal for hearing.
returns of one precinct or two or more copies of a
certificate of canvass was tabulated more than once,
(2) two copies of the election returns or certificate of
(h) The appeal shall be heard an decided by he Romulo, 26 Phil. 521; Galang v.
Commission en banc (Emphasis ours). Miranda, 35 Phil. 269; Jalandoni
v. Sarcon, G.R. No.
The rule is plain and simple. It needs no other interpretation L-6496, January 27, 1962;
contrary to petitioner's protestation. Macasunding v. Macalanang, G.R.
No.
Assuming for the sake of argument that the petition was filed out of L-22779, March 31, 1965; Cauton v.
time, this incident alone will not thwart the proper determination and Commission on Elections, G.R. No. L-
resolution of the instant case on substantial grounds. Adherence to 25467, April 27, 1967). In an election
a technicality that would put a stamp of validity on a palpably void case the court has an imperative
proclamation, with the inevitable result of frustrating the people's duty to ascertain all means within its
will cannot be countenanced. In Benito command who is the real candidate
v. COMELEC, 14 categorically declared that: elected by the electorate (Ibasco v.
Ilao, G.R. No. L-17512, December 29,
. . . Adjudication of cases on substantive merits and 1960). . . . (Juliano vs. Court of
not on technicalities has been consistently observed Appeals, supra, pp. 818-819).
by this Court. In the case of Juliano vs. Court of (Emphasis ours)
Appeals (20 SCRA 808) cited in Duremdes
vs. Commission on Elections (178 SCRA 746), this In the later case of Rodriguez vs. Commission on
Court had the occasion to declare that: Elections (119 SCRA 465), this doctrine was
reiterated and the Court went on to state that:
Well-settled is the doctrine that
election contests involve public Since the early case of Gardiner
interest, and technicalities and v. Romulo (26 Phil. 521), this Court
procedural barriers should not be has made it clear that it frowns upon
allowed to stand if they constitute an any interpretation of the law or the
obstacle to the determination of the rules that would hinder in any way not
true will of the electorate in the choice only the free and intelligent casting of
of their elective officials. And also the votes in an election but also the
settled is the rule that laws governing correct ascertainment of the results,
election contests must be liberally This bent or disposition continues to
construed to the end that the will of the present. (Id., at p. 474).
the people in the choice of public
officials may not be defeated by mere The same principle still holds true today.
technical objections (Gardiner v. Technicalities of the legal rules enunciated in the
election laws should not frustrate the determination As a parting note, we reiterate' our concern with respect to
of the popular will. insignificant disputes plaguing this Court. Trifles such as the one at
issue should not, as much as possible, reach this Court, clog its
Undoubtedly therefore, the only issue that remains unresolved is docket, demand precious judicial time and waste valuable
the allowance of the correction of what are purely mathematical taxpayers' money, if they can be settled below without prejudice to
and/or mechanical errors in the addition of the votes received by any party or to the ends of justice.
both candidates. It does not involve the opening of ballot boxes;
neither does it involve the examination and/or appreciation of WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED with costs
ballots. The correction sought by private respondent and against petitioner.
respondent MBCs of Tayug and San Manuel is correction of
manifest mistakes in mathematical addition. Certainly, this only calls SO ORDERED.
for a mere clerical act of reflecting the true and correct votes
received by the candidates by the MBCs involved. In this case, the
manifest errors sought to be corrected involve the proper and
diligent addition of the votes in the municipalities of Tayug and San
Manuel, Pangasinan.

In Tayug, the total votes received by petitioner Bince was


erroneously recorded as 2,486 when it should only have been 2,415.
Petitioner Bince, in effect, was credited by 71 votes more.

In San Manuel, petitioner Bince received 2,179 votes but was


credited with 6 votes more, hence, the SOV reflected the total
number of votes as 2,185. On the other hand, the same SOV
indicated that private respondent Micu garnered 2,892 votes but he
actually received only 2,888, hence was credited in excess of 4
votes.

Consequently, by margin of 72 votes, private respondent


indisputably won the challenged seat in the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan of the sixth district of Pangasinan. Petitioner's
proclamation and assumption into public office was therefore flawed
from the beginning, the same having been based on a faulty
tabulation. Hence, respondent COMELEC did not commit grave
abuse of discretion in setting aside the illegal proclamation.
G.R. No. L-20387 January 31, 1968 had once bared his financial condition upon assumption of office
JESUS P. MORFE, plaintiff-appellee, was challenged for being violative of due process as an oppressive
vs. exercise of police power and as an unlawful invasion of the
AMELITO R. MUTUC, as Executive Secretary, ET AL., constitutional right to privacy, implicit in the ban against
defendants-appellants. unreasonable search and seizure construed together with the
prohibition against self-incrimination. The lower court in the decision
FERNANDO, J.: appealed from sustained plaintiff, then as well as now, a judge of
repute of a court of first instance. For it, such requirement of
Congress in 1960 enacted the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices periodical submission of such sworn statement of assets and
Act 1 to deter public officials and employees from committing acts of liabilities exceeds the permissible limit of the police power and is
dishonesty and improve the tone of morality in public service. It was thus offensive to the due process clause.
declared to be the state policy "in line with the principle that a public
office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of public officers and We do not view the matter thus and accordingly reverse the lower
private persons alike which constitute graft or corrupt practices or court.
which may lead thereto." 2 Nor was it the first statute of its kind to
deal with such a grave problem in the public service that 1. The reversal could be predicated on the absence of evidence to
unfortunately has afflicted the Philippines in the post-war era. An rebut the presumption of validity. For in this action for declaratory
earlier statute decrees the forfeiture in favor of the State of any relief filed with the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan on January
property found to have been unlawfully acquired by any public 31, 1962, plaintiff, after asserting his belief "that it was a reasonable
officer or employee. 3 requirement for employment that a public officer make of record his
assets and liabilities upon assumption of office and thereby make it
One of the specific provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt possible thereafter to determine whether, after assuming his
Practices Act of 1960 is that every public officer, either within thirty position in the public service, he accumulated assets grossly
(30) days after its approval or after his assumption of office "and disproportionate to his reported incomes, the herein plaintiff [having]
within the month of January of every other year thereafter", as well filed within the period of time fixed in the aforesaid Administrative
as upon the termination of his position, shall prepare and file with Order No. 334 the prescribed sworn statement of financial condition,
the head of the office to which he belongs, "a true detailed and assets, income and liabilities, . . ." 5 maintained that the provision on
sworn statement of assets and liabilities, including a statement of the "periodical filing of sworn statement of financial condition,
the amounts and sources of his income, the amounts of his assets, income and liabilities after an officer or employee had once
personal and family expenses and the amount of income taxes paid bared his financial condition, upon assumption of office, is
for the next preceding calendar: . . ." 4 oppressive and unconstitutional." 6

In this declaratory relief proceeding, the periodical submission As earlier noted, both the protection of due process and the
"within the month of January of every other year thereafter" of such assurance of the privacy of the individual as may be inferred from
sworn statement of assets and liabilities after an officer or employee the prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure and self-
incrimination were relied upon. There was also the allegation that Then on March 10, 1962, an order was issued giving the parties
the above requirement amounts to "an insult to the personal thirty days within which to submit memoranda, but with or without
integrity and official dignity" of public officials, premised as it is "on them, the case was deemed submitted for decision the lower court
the unwarranted and derogatory assumption" that they are "corrupt being of the belief that "there is no question of facts, . . . the
at heart" and unless thus restrained by this periodical submission of defendants [having admitted] all the material allegations of the
the statements of "their financial condition, income, and expenses, complaint." 11
they cannot be trusted to desist from committing the corrupt
practices defined. . . ." 7 It was further asserted that there was no The decision, now on appeal, came on July 19, 1962, the lower
need for such a provision as "the income tax law and the tax court declaring "unconstitutional, null and void Section 7, Republic
census law also require statements which can serve to determine Act No. 3019, insofar as it required periodical submittal of sworn
whether an officer or employee in this Republic has enriched statements of financial conditions, assets and liabilities of an official
himself out of proportion to his reported income." 8 or employee of the government after he had once submitted such a
sworn statement upon assuming office; . . . ." 12
Then on February 14, 1962, came an Answer of the then Executive
Secretary and the then Secretary of Justice as defendants, where In Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association v. The
after practically admitting the facts alleged, they denied the Mayor of Manila, 13 it was the holding of this Court that in the
erroneous conclusion of law and as one of the special affirmative absence of a factual foundation, the lower court deciding the matter
defenses set forth: "1. That when a government official, like plaintiff, purely "on the pleadings and the stipulation of facts, the
accepts a public position, he is deemed to have voluntarily presumption of validity must prevail." In the present case likewise
assumed the obligation to give information about his personal affair, there was no factual foundation on which the nullification of this
not only at the time of his assumption of office but during the time section of the statute could be based. Hence as noted the decision
he continues to discharge public trust. The private life of an of the lower court could be reversed on that ground.
employee cannot be segregated from his public life. . . ." 9 The
answer likewise denied that there was a violation of his A more extended consideration is not inappropriate however, for as
constitutional rights against self-incrimination as well as likewise made clear in the above Ermita-Malate Hotel case: "What
unreasonable search and seizure and maintained that "the cannot be stressed sufficiently is that if the liberty involved were
provision of law in question cannot be attacked on the ground that it freedom of the mind or the person, the standard for the validity of
impairs plaintiff's normal and legitimate enjoyment of his life and governmental acts is much more rigorous and exacting, but where
liberty because said provision merely seeks to adopt a reasonable the liberty curtailed affects at the most rights of property, the
measure of insuring the interest or general welfare in honest and permissible scope of regulatory measure is wider."
clean public service and is therefore a legitimate exercise of the
police power." 10 Moreover, in the Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration
in the above case, we expressly affirmed: "This is not to discount
On February 27, 1962, plaintiff filed a Motion for judgment on the the possibility of a situation where the nullity of a statute, executive
pleadings as in his opinion all his material allegations were admitted. order, or ordinance may not be readily apparent but the threat to
constitutional rights, especially those involving the freedom of the in consideration for the help given or to be given; accepting or
mind, present and ominous." 14 In such an event therefore, "there having any member of his family accept employment in a private
should not be a rigid insistence on the requirement that evidence be enterprise which has pending official business with him during the
presented." Also, in the same Resolution, Professor Freund was pendency thereof or within one year after its termination; causing
quoted thus: "In short, when freedom of the mind is imperiled by law, any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving
it is freedom that commands a momentum of respect; when any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or
property is imperiled, it is the lawmakers' judgment that commands preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial
respect. This dual standard may not precisely reverse the functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
presumption of constitutionality in civil liberties cases, but obviously inexcusable negligence; neglecting or refusing, after due demand or
it does set up a hierarchy of values within the due process request, without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable
clause. 15 time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining,
directly or indirectly, from any person interested in the matter some
2. We inquire first whether or not by virtue of the above requirement pecuniary or material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of
for a periodical submission of sworn statement of assets and favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or
liabilities, there is an invasion of liberty protected by the due discriminating against any other interested party; entering, on behalf
process clause. of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and
grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public
Under the Anti-Graft Act of 1960, after the statement of officer profited or will profit thereby; having directly or indirectly
policy, 16 and definition of terms, 17 there is an enumeration of financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or
corrupt practices declared unlawful in addition to acts or omissions transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in
of public officers already penalized by existing law. They include his official capacity or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution
persuading, inducing, or influencing another public officer to or by any law from having any interests; becoming interested
perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly directly or indirectly, for personal gain, or having a material interest
promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection in any transaction or act requiring the approval of a board, panel or
with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in
persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or such approval, even if he votes against the same or does not
offense; requesting or receiving directly or indirectly any gift, participate in such action; approving or granting knowingly any
present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself, or for any other license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not
person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege
government and any other party, wherein the public officer in his or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is
official capacity, has to intervene under the law; requesting or not so qualified or entitled and divulging valuable information of a
receiving directly or indirectly any gift, present, or other pecuniary or confidential character, acquired by his office or by him on account
material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for of his official position to unauthorized persons, or releasing such
whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or information in advance of its authorized release date. 18
obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license,
After which come the prohibition on private individuals, 19 prohibition While in the attainment of such public good, no infringement of
on certain relatives, 20 and prohibition on Members of constitutional rights is permissible, there must be a showing, clear,
Congress. 21 Then there is this requirement of a statement of assets categorical, and undeniable, that what the Constitution condemns,
and liabilities, that portion requiring periodical submission being the statute allows. More specifically, since that is the only question
challenged here. 22 The other sections of the Act deal with dismissal raised, is that portion of the statute requiring periodical submission
due to unexplained wealth, reference being made to the previous of assets and liabilities, after an officer or employee had previously
statute, 23 penalties for violation, 24 the vesting of original jurisdiction done so upon assuming office, so infected with infirmity that it
in the Court of First Instance as the competent court, 25 the cannot be upheld as valid?
prescription of offenses, 26 the prohibition against any resignation or
retirement pending investigation, criminal or administrative or Or, in traditional terminology, is this requirement a valid exercise of
pending a prosecution, 27suspension and loss of the police power? In the aforesaid Ermita-Malate Hotel
benefits, 28 exception of unsolicited gifts or presents of small or decision, 33 there is a reaffirmation of its nature and scope as
insignificant value as well as recognition of legitimate practice of embracing the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health,
one's profession or trade or occupation, 29 the separability morals, education, good order, safety, or the general welfare of the
clause, 30 and its effectivity. 31 people. It has been negatively put forth by Justice Malcolm as "that
inherent and plenary power in the state which enables it to prohibit
Nothing can be clearer therefore than that the Anti-Graft Act of 1960 all things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society." 34
like the earlier statute 32 was precisely aimed at curtailing and
minimizing the opportunities for official corruption and maintaining a Earlier Philippine cases refer to police power as the power to
standard of honesty in the public service. It is intended to further promote the general welfare and public interest; 35 to enact such
promote morality in public administration. A public office must laws in relation to persons and property as may promote public
indeed be a public trust. Nobody can cavil at its objective; the goal health, public morals, public safety and the general welfare of each
to be pursued commands the assent of all. The conditions then inhabitant; 36 to preserve public order and to prevent offenses
prevailing called for norms of such character. The times demanded against the state and to establish for the intercourse of citizen with
such a remedial device. citizen those rules of good manners and good neighborhood
calculated to prevent conflict of rights. 37 In his work on due process,
The statute was framed with that end in view. It is comprehensive in Mott 38 stated that the term police power was first used by Chief
character, sufficiently detailed and explicit to make clear to all and Justice Marshall. 39
sundry what practices were prohibited and penalized. More than
that, an effort was made, so evident from even a cursory perusal As currently in use both in Philippine and American decisions then,
thereof, to avoid evasions and plug loopholes. One such feature is police power legislation usually has reference to regulatory
the challenged section. Thereby it becomes much more difficult by measures restraining either the rights to property or liberty of private
those disposed to take advantage of their positions to commit acts individuals. It is undeniable however that one of its earliest
of graft and corruption. definitions, valid then as well as now, given by Marshall's successor,
Chief Justice Taney does not limit its scope to curtailment of rights
whether of liberty or property of private individuals. Thus: "But what established by the great weight of authority that the power of
are the police powers of a State? They are nothing more or less removal or suspension for cause can not, except by clear statutory
than the powers of government inherent in every sovereignty to the authority, be exercised without notice and hearing." Such is likewise
extent of its dominions. And whether a State passes a quarantine the import of a statement from the then Justice, now Chief Justice,
law, or a law to punish offenses, or to establish courts of justice, or Concepcion, speaking for the Court in Meneses v. Lacson; 45 "At
requiring certain instruments to be recorded, or to regulate any rate, the reinstatement directed in the decision appealed from
commerce within its own limits, in every case it exercises the same does not bar such appropriate administrative action as the
power; that is to say, the power of sovereignty, the power to govern behaviour of petitioners herein may warrant, upon compliance with
men and things within the limits of its domain." 40 Text writers like the requirements of due process."
Cooley and Burdick were of a similar mind. 41
To the same effect is the holding of this Court extending the mantle
What is under consideration is a statute enacted under the police of the security of tenure provision to employees of government-
power of the state to promote morality in public service necessarily owned or controlled corporations entrusted with governmental
limited in scope to officialdom. May a public official claiming to be functions when through Justice Padilla in Tabora v.
adversely affected rely on the due process clause to annul such Montelibano, 46 it stressed: "That safeguard, guarantee, or feeling of
statute or any portion thereof? The answer must be in the security that they would hold their office or employment during good
affirmative. If the police power extends to regulatory action affecting behavior and would not be dismissed without justifiable cause to be
persons in public or private life, then anyone with an alleged determined in an investigation, where an opportunity to be heard
grievance can invoke the protection of due process which permits and defend themselves in person or by counsel is afforded them,
deprivation of property or liberty as long as such requirement is would bring about such a desirable condition." Reference was there
observed. made to promoting honesty and efficiency through an assurance of
stability in their employment relation. It was to be expected then that
While the soundness of the assertion that a public office is a public through Justice Labrador in Unabia v. City Mayor, 47 this Court could
trust and as such not amounting to property in its usual sense categorically affirm: "As the removal of petitioner was made without
cannot be denied, there can be no disputing the proposition that investigation and without cause, said removal is null and void. . . ."
from the standpoint of the security of tenure guaranteed by the
Constitution the mantle of protection afforded by due process could It was but logical therefore to expect an explicit holding of the
rightfully be invoked. It was so implicitly held in Lacson v. applicability of due process guaranty to be forthcoming. It did
Romero, 42 in line with the then pertinent statutory provisions 43 that in Cammayo v. Viña, 48 where the opinion of Justice Endencia for
procedural due process in the form of an investigation at which he the Court contained the following unmistakable language:
must be given a fair hearing and an opportunity to defend himself "Evidently, having these facts in view, it cannot be pretended that
must be observed before a civil service officer or employee may be the constitutional provision of due process of law for the removal of
removed. There was a reaffirmation of the view in even stronger the petitioner has not been complied with."
language when this Court through Justice Tuason in Lacson v.
Roque 44 declared that even without express provision of law, "it is
Then came this restatement of the principle from the pen of Justice from arbitrary personal restraint or servitude. The term cannot be
J.B.L. Reyes "We are thus compelled to conclude that the positions dwarfed into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of
formerly held by appellees were not primarily confidential in nature the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy the
so as to make their terms of office co-terminal with the confidence facilities with which he has been endowed by his Creator, subject
reposed in them. The inevitable corollary is that respondents- only to such restraint as are necessary for the common welfare." In
appellees, Leon Piñero, et al., were not subject to dismissal or accordance with this case therefore, the rights of the citizens to be
removal, except for cause specified by law and within due free to use his faculties in all lawful ways; to live and work where he
process. . . ." 49 In a still later decision, Abaya v. Subido, 50 this will; to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling; to pursue any
Court, through Justice Sanchez, emphasized "that the vitality of the avocation, are all deemed embraced in the concept of liberty. This
constitutional principle of due process cannot be allowed to weaken Court in the same case, however, gave the warning that liberty as
by sanctioning cancellation" of an employee's eligibility or "of his understood in democracies, is not license. Implied in the term is
dismissal from service — without hearing — upon a doubtful restraint by law for the good of the individual and for the greater
assumption that he has admitted his guilt for an offense against good, the peace and order of society and the general well-being. No
Civil Service rules." Equally emphatic is this observation from the one can do exactly as he pleases. Every man must renounce
same case: "A civil service employee should be heard before he is unbridled license. In the words of Mabini as quoted by Justice
condemned. Jurisprudence has clung to this rule with such Malcolm, "liberty is freedom to do right and never wrong; it is ever
unrelenting grasp that by now it would appear trite to make citations guided by reason and the upright and honorable conscience of the
thereof." individual."

If as is so clearly and unequivocally held by this Court, due process The liberty to be safeguarded is, as pointed out by Chief Justice
may be relied upon by public official to protect the security of tenure Hughes, liberty in a social organization, 52 implying the absence of
which in that limited sense is analogous to property, could he not arbitrary restraint not immunity from reasonable regulations and
likewise avail himself of such constitutional guarantee to strike prohibitions imposed in the interest of the community. 53 It was
down what he considers to be an infringement of his liberty? Both Linton's view that "to belong to a society is to sacrifice some
on principle, reason and authority, the answer must be in the measure of individual liberty, no matter how slight the restraints
affirmative. Even a public official has certain rights to freedom the which the society consciously imposes." 54 The above statement
government must respect. To the extent then, that there is a from Linton however, should be understood in the sense that liberty,
curtailment thereof, it could only be permissible if the due process in the interest of public health, public order or safety, of general
mandate is not disregarded. welfare, in other words through the proper exercise of the police
power, may be regulated. The individual thought, as Justice
Since under the constitutional scheme, liberty is the rule and Cardozo pointed out, has still left a "domain of free activity that
restraint the exception, the question raised cannot just be brushed cannot be touched by government or law at all, whether the
aside. In a leading Philippine case, Rubi v. Provincial command is specially against him or generally against him and
Board, 51 liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by others." 55
Justice Malcolm to include "the right to exist and the right to be free
Is this provision for a periodical submission of sworn statement of It would be to dwell in the realm of abstractions and to ignore the
assets and liabilities after he had filed one upon assumption of harsh and compelling realities of public service with its ever-present
office beyond the power of government to impose? Admittedly temptation to heed the call of greed and avarice to condemn as
without the challenged provision, a public officer would be free from arbitrary and oppressive a requirement as that imposed on public
such a requirement. To the extent then that there is a compulsion to officials and employees to file such sworn statement of assets and
act in a certain way, his liberty is affected. It cannot be denied liabilities every two years after having done so upon assuming
however that under the Constitution, such a restriction is allowable office. The due process clause is not susceptible to such a reproach.
as long as due process is observed. There was therefore no unconstitutional exercise of police power.

The more crucial question therefore is whether there is an 4. The due process question touching on an alleged deprivation of
observance of due process. That leads us to an inquiry into its liberty as thus resolved goes a long way in disposing of the
significance. "There is no controlling and precise definition of due objections raised by plaintiff that the provision on the periodical
process. It furnishes though a standard to which governmental submission of a sworn statement of assets and liabilities is violative
action should conform in order that deprivation of life, liberty or of the constitutional right to privacy. There is much to be said for
property, in each appropriate case, be valid. What then is the this view of Justice Douglas: "Liberty in the constitutional sense
standard of due process which must exist both as a procedural and must mean more than freedom from unlawful governmental
as substantive requisite to free the challenged ordinance, or any restraint; it must include privacy as well, if it is to be a repository of
action for that matter, from the imputation of legal infirmity sufficient freedom. The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all
to spell its doom? It is responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, freedom." 57 As a matter of fact, this right to be let alone is, to quote
obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively put, arbitrariness is from Mr. Justice Brandeis "the most comprehensive of rights and
ruled out and unfairness avoided. To satisfy the due process the right most valued by civilized men." 58
requirement, official action, to paraphrase Cardozo, must not outrun
the bounds of reason and result in sheer oppression. Due process The concept of liberty would be emasculated if it does not likewise
is thus hostile to any official action marred by lack of compel respect for his personality as a unique individual whose
reasonableness. Correctly has it been identified as freedom from claim to privacy and interference demands respect. As Laski so
arbitrariness. It is the embodiment of the sporting idea of fair play. It very aptly stated: "Man is one among many, obstinately refusing
exacts fealty 'to those strivings for justice' and judges the act of reduction to unity. His separateness, his isolation, are indefeasible;
officialdom of whatever branch 'in the light of reason drawn from indeed, they are so fundamental that they are the basis on which
considerations of fairness that reflect [democratic] traditions of legal his civic obligations are built. He cannot abandon the consequences
and political thought.' It is not a narrow or 'technical conception with of his isolation, which are, broadly speaking, that his experience is
fixed content unrelated to time, place and circumstances,' decisions private, and the will built out of that experience personal to himself.
based on such a clause requiring a 'close and perceptive inquiry If he surrenders his will to others, he surrenders his personality. If
into fundamental principles of our society.' Questions of due his will is set by the will of others, he ceases to be master of himself.
process are not to be treated narrowly or pedantically in slavery to I cannot believe that a man no longer master of himself is in any
form or phrases." 56 real sense free." 59
Nonetheless, in view of the fact that there is an express recognition guarantees." 65 It has wider implications though. The constitutional
of privacy, specifically that of communication and correspondence right to privacy has come into its own.1äwphï1.ñët
which "shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of Court or when
public safety and order" 60may otherwise require, and implicitly in So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy as such is
the search and seizure clause, 61 and the liberty of abode 62 the accorded recognition independently of its identification with liberty;
alleged repugnancy of such statutory requirement of further in itself, it is fully deserving of constitutional protection. The
periodical submission of a sworn statement of assets and liabilities language of Prof. Emerson is particularly apt: "The concept of
deserves to be further looked into. limited government has always included the idea that governmental
powers stop short of certain intrusions into the personal life of the
In that respect the question is one of first impression, no previous citizen. This is indeed one of the basic distinctions between
decision having been rendered by this Court. It is not so in the absolute and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of
United States where, in the leading case of Griswold v. the individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the
Connecticut, 63 Justice Douglas, speaking for five members of the absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited government,
Court, stated: "Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the individual, firmly
right of association contained in the penumbra of the First distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state can control.
Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third Amendment in its Protection of this private sector — protection, in other words, of the
prohibition against the quartering of soldiers 'in any house' in time of dignity and integrity of the individual — has become increasingly
peace without the consent of the owner is another facet of that important as modern society has developed. All the forces of a
privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the 'right of the technological age — industrialization, urbanization, and
people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, organization — operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate
against unreasonable searches and seizures.' The Fifth intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain and
Amendment in its Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to support this enclave of private life marks the difference between a
create a zone of privacy which government may not force him to democratic and a totalitarian society." 66
surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: 'The
enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be Even with due recognition of such a view, it cannot be said that the
construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." After challenged statutory provision calls for disclosure of information
referring to various American Supreme Court decisions, 64 Justice which infringes on the right of a person to privacy. It cannot be
Douglas continued: "These cases bear witness that the right of denied that the rational relationship such a requirement possesses
privacy which presses for recognition is a legitimate one." with the objective of a valid statute goes very far in precluding
assent to an objection of such character. This is not to say that a
The Griswold case invalidated a Connecticut statute which made public officer, by virtue of a position he holds, is bereft of
the use of contraceptives a criminal offense on the ground of its constitutional protection; it is only to emphasize that in subjecting
amounting to an unconstitutional invasion of the right of privacy of him to such a further compulsory revelation of his assets and
married persons; rightfully it stressed "a relationship lying within the liabilities, including the statement of the amounts and sources of
zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional income, the amounts of personal and family expenses, and the
amount of income taxes paid for the next preceding calendar year, inspect under the regulations subjects a dealer to a general search
there is no unconstitutional intrusion into what otherwise would be a of his papers for the purpose of learning whether he has any
private sphere. coupons subject to inspection and seizure. The nature of the
coupons is important here merely as indicating that the officers did
5. Could it be said, however, as plaintiff contends, that insofar as not exceed the permissible limits of persuasion in obtaining
the challenged provision requires the periodical filing of a sworn them." 71
statement of financial condition, it would be violative of the
guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure and against True, there was a strong dissenting opinion by Justice Frankfurter in
self-incrimination? which Justice Murphy joined, critical of what it considered "a
process of devitalizing interpretation" which in this particular case
His complaint cited on this point Davis v. United States. 67 In that gave approval "to what was done by arresting officers" and
case, petitioner Davis was convicted under an information charging expressing the regret that the Court might be "in danger of
him with unlawfully having in his possession a number of gasoline forgetting what the Bill of Rights reflects experience with police
ration coupons representing so many gallons of gasoline, an excesses."
offense penalized under a 1940 statute. 68 He was convicted both in
the lower court and in the Circuit Court of Appeals over the Even this opinion, however, concerned that the constitutional
objection that there was an unlawful search which resulted in the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure "does not give
seizure of the coupons and that their use at the trial was in violation freedom from testimonial compulsion. Subject to familiar
of Supreme Court decisions. 69 In the District Court, there was a qualifications every man is under obligation to give testimony. But
finding that he consented to the search and seizure. The Circuit that obligation can be exacted only under judicial sanctions which
Court of Appeals did not disturb that finding although expressed are deemed precious to Anglo-American civilization. Merely
doubt concerning it, affirming however under the view that such because there may be the duty to make documents available for
seized coupons were properly introduced in evidence, the search litigation does not mean that police officers may forcibly or
and seizure being incidental to an arrest, and therefore reasonable fraudulently obtain them. This protection of the right to be let alone
regardless of petitioner's consent. except under responsible judicial compulsion is precisely what the
Fourth Amendment meant to express and to safeguard." 72
In affirming the conviction the United States Supreme Court,
through Justice Douglas emphasized that the Court was dealing in It would appear then that a reliance on that case for an allegation
this case "not with private papers or documents, but with gasoline that this statutory provision offends against the unreasonable
ration coupons which never became the private property of the search and seizure clause would be futile and unavailing. This is
holder but remained at all times the property of the government and the more so in the light of the latest decision of this Court in
subject to inspection and recall by it." 70 He made it clear that the Stonehill v. Diokno, 73 where this Court, through Chief Justice
opinion was not to be understood as suggesting "that officers Concepcion, after stressing that the constitutional requirements
seeking to reclaim government property may proceed lawlessly and must be strictly complied with, and that it would be "a legal heresy
subject to no restraints. Nor [does it] suggest that the right to of the highest order" to convict anybody of a violation of certain
statutes without reference to any of its determinate provisions cases, "be they criminal, civil or administrative." 80 Prior to such a
delimited its scope as "one of the most fundamental rights stage, there is no pressing need to pass upon the validity of the fear
guaranteed in our Constitution," safeguarding "the sanctity, of the sincerely voiced that there is an infringement of the non-
domicile and the privacy of communication and incrimination clause. What was said in an American State decision
correspondence. . . ." Such is precisely the evil sought to be is of relevance. In that case, a statutory provision requiring any
remedied by the constitutional provision above quoted — to outlaw person operating a motor vehicle, who knows that injury has been
the so-called general warrants. caused a person or property, to stop and give his name, residence,
and his license number to the injured party or to a police officer was
It thus appears clear that no violation of the guarantee against sustained against the contention that the information thus exacted
unreasonable search and seizure has been shown to exist by such may be used as evidence to establish his connection with the injury
requirement of further periodical submission of one's financial and therefore compels him to incriminate himself. As was stated in
condition as set forth in the Anti-Graft Act of 1960. the opinion: "If the law which exacts this information is invalid,
because such information, although in itself no evidence of guilt,
Nor does the contention of plaintiff gain greater plausibility, much might possibly lead to a charge of crime against the informant, then
less elicit acceptance, by his invocation of the non-incrimination all police regulations which involve identification may be questioned
clause. According to the Constitution: "No person shall be on the same ground. We are not aware of any constitutional
compelled to be a witness against himself." 74 This constitutional provision designed to protect a man's conduct from judicial inquiry
provision gives the accused immunity from any attempt by the or aid him in fleeing from justice. But, even if a constitutional right
prosecution to make easier its task by coercing or intimidating him be involved, it is not necessary to invalidate the statute to secure its
to furnish the evidence necessary to convict. He may confess, but protection. If, in this particular case, the constitutional privilege
only if he voluntarily wills it. He may admit certain facts but only if he justified the refusal to give the information exacted by the statute,
freely chooses to.75 Or he could remain silent, and the prosecution that question can be raised in the defense to the pending
is powerless to compel him to talk. 76 Proof is not solely testimonial prosecution. Whether it would avail, we are not called upon to
in character. It may be documentary. Neither then could the decide in this proceeding." 81
accused be ordered to write, when what comes from his pen may
constitute evidence of guilt or innocence. 77 Moreover, there can be 6. Nor could such a provision be nullified on the allegation that it
no search or seizure of his house, papers or effects for the purpose constitutes "an insult to the personal integrity and official dignity" of
of locating incriminatory matter. 78 public officials. On its face, it cannot thus be stigmatized. As to its
being unnecessary, it is well to remember that this Court, in the
In a declaratory action proceeding then, the objection based on the language of Justice Laurel, "does not pass upon questions of
guaranty against self-incrimination is far from decisive. It is well to wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation." 82 As expressed by
note what Justice Tuason stated: "What the above inhibition seeks Justice Tuason: "It is not the province of the courts to supervise
to [prevent] is compulsory disclosure of incriminating legislation and keep it within the bounds of propriety and common
facts." 79 Necessarily then, the protection it affords will have to await, sense. That is primarily and exclusively a legislative
in the language of Justice J. B. L. Reyes, the existence of actual concern." 83 There can be no possible objection then to the
observation of Justice Montemayor: "As long as laws do not violate
any Constitutional provision, the Courts merely interpret and apply
them regardless of whether or not they are wise or salutary." 84 For
they, according to Justice Labrador, "are not supposed to override
legitimate policy and . . . never inquire into the wisdom of the
law." 85

It is thus settled, to paraphrase Chief Justice Concepcion


in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 86 that only congressional
power or competence, not the wisdom of the action taken may be
the basis for declaring a statute invalid. This is as it ought to be.
The principle of separation of powers has in the main wisely
allocated the respective authority of each department and confined
its jurisdiction to such a sphere. There would then be intrusion not
allowable under the Constitution if on a matter left to the discretion
of a coordinate branch, the judiciary would substitute its own. If
there be adherence to the rule of law, as there ought to be, the last
offender should be courts of justice, to which rightly litigants submit
their controversy precisely to maintain unimpaired the supremacy of
legal norms and prescriptions. The attack on the validity of the
challenged provision likewise insofar as there may be objections,
even if valid and cogent on its wisdom cannot be sustained.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court of July 19, 1962


"declaring unconstitutional, null and void Section 7, Republic Act No.
3019, insofar as it requires periodical submittal of sworn statements
of financial conditions, assets and liabilities of an official or
employee of the government after he had once submitted such a
sworn statement . . . is reversed." Without costs.
G.R. No. 84301. April 7, 1993. 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; REORGANIZATION, VALID WHEN PURSUED IN
NATIONAL LAND TITLES AND DEEDS REGISTRATION GOOD FAITH; CASE AT BAR. — Nothing is better settled in our
ADMINISTRATION, petitioner, law than that the abolition of an office within the competence of a
vs. legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. Two
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and VIOLETA L. GARCIA, questions therefore arise: (1) was the abolition carried out by a
respondents. legitimate body?; and (2) was it done in good faith? There is no
SYLLABUS dispute over the authority to carry out a valid reorganization in any
branch or agency of the Government. Under Section 9, Article XVII
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 649; of the 1973 Constitution. The power to reorganize is, however; not
REORGANIZED LAND REGISTRATION COMMISSION TO absolute. We have held in Dario vs. Mison that reorganizations in
NALTDRA; EXPRESSLY PROVIDED THE ABOLITION OF this jurisdiction have been regarded as valid provided they are
EXISTING POSITIONS. — Executive Order No. 649 authorized the pursued in good faith. This court has pronounced that if the newly
reorganization of the Land Registration Commission (LRC) into the created office has substantially new, different or additional functions,
National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration duties or powers, so that it may be said in fact to create an office
(NALTDRA). It abolished all the positions in the now defunct LRC different from the one abolished, even though it embraces all or
and required new appointments to be issued to all employees of the some of the duties of the old office it will be considered as an
NALTDRA. The question of whether or not a law abolishes an office abolition of one office and the creation of a new or different one.
is one of legislative intent about which there can be no controversy The same is true if one office is abolished and its duties, for
whatsoever if there is an explicit declaration in the law itself. A reasons of economy are given to an existing officer or office.
closer examination of Executive Order No. 649 which authorized Executive Order No. 649 was enacted to improve the services and
the reorganization of the Land Registration Commission (LRC) into better systematize the operation of the Land Registration
the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration Commission. A reorganization is carried out in good faith if it is for
(NALTDRA), reveals that said law in express terms, provided for the the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. To
abolition of existing positions. Thus, without need of any this end, the requirement of Bar membership to qualify for key
interpretation, the law mandates that from the moment an positions in the NALTDRA was imposed to meet the changing
implementing order is issued, all positions in the Land Registration circumstances and new development of the times. Private
Commission are deemed non-existent. This, however, does not respondent Garcia who formerly held the position of Deputy
mean removal. Abolition of a position does not involve or mean Register of Deeds II did not have such qualification. It is thus clear
removal for the reason that removal implies that the post subsists that she cannot hold any key position in the NALTDRA, The
and that one is merely separated therefrom. (Arao vs. Luspo, 20 additional qualification was not intended to remove her from office.
SCRA 722 [1967]) After abolition, there is in law no occupant. Thus, Rather, it was a criterion imposed concomitant with a valid
there can be no tenure to speak of. It is in this sense that from the reorganization measure.
standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of
tenure does not arise. (De la Llana vs. Alba, 112 SCRA 294 [1982]) 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; THERE IS NO VESTED PROPERTY RIGHT TO BE
RE-EMPLOYED IN A REORGANIZED OFFICE; CASE AT BAR. —
There is no such thing as a vested interest or an estate in an office, was later reclassified to Deputy Register of Deeds III pursuant to
or even an absolute right to hold it. Except constitutional offices PD 1529, to which position, petitioner was also appointed under
which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no permanent status up to September 1984. She was for two years,
one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary. more or less, designated as Acting Branch Register of Deeds of
None of the exceptions to this rule are obtaining in this case. To Meycauayan, Bulacan. By virtue of Executive Order No. 649 (which
reiterate, the position which private respondent Garcia would like to took effect on February 9, 1981) which authorized the restructuring
occupy anew was abolished pursuant to Executive Order No. 649, a of the Land Registration Commission to National Land Titles and
valid reorganization measure. There is no vested property right to Deeds Registration Administration and regionalizing the Offices of
be re employed in a reorganized office. Not being a member of the the Registers therein, petitioner Garcia was issued an appointment
Bar, the minimum requirement to qualify under the reorganization as Deputy Register of Deeds II on October 1, 1984, under
law for permanent appointment as Deputy Register of Deeds II, she temporary status, for not being a member of the Philippine Bar. She
cannot be reinstated to her former position without violating the appealed to the Secretary of Justice but her request was denied.
express mandate of the law. Petitioner Garcia moved for reconsideration but her motion
remained unacted. On October 23, 1984, petitioner Garcia was
DECISION administratively charged with Conduct Prejudicial to the Best
Interest of the Service. While said case was pending decision, her
CAMPOS, JR., J p: temporary appointment as such was renewed in 1985. In a
Memorandum dated October 30, 1986, the then Minister, now
The sole issue for our consideration in this case is whether or not Secretary, of Justice notified petitioner Garcia of the termination of
membership in the bar, which is the qualification requirement her services as Deputy Register of Deeds II on the ground that she
prescribed for appointment to the position of Deputy Register of was "receiving bribe money". Said Memorandum of Termination
Deeds under Section 4 of Executive Order No. 649 (Reorganizing which took effect on February 9, 1987, was the subject of an appeal
the Land Registration Commission (LRC) into the National Land to the Inter-Agency Review Committee which in turn referred the
Titles and Deeds Registration Administration or NALTDRA) should appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
be required of and/or applied only to new applicants and not to
those who were already in the service of the LRC as deputy register In its Order dated July 6, 1987, the MSPB dropped the appeal of
of deeds at the time of the issuance and implementation of the petitioner Garcia on the ground that since the termination of her
abovesaid Executive Order. services was due to the expiration of her temporary appointment,
her separation is in order. Her motion for reconsideration was
The facts, as succinctly stated in the Resolution ** of the Civil denied on similar ground." 1
Service Commission, are as follows:
However, in its Resolution 2 dated June 30, 1988, the Civil Service
"The records show that in 1977, petitioner Garcia, a Bachelor of Commission directed that private respondent Garcia be restored to
Laws graduate and a first grade civil service eligible was appointed her position as Deputy Register of Deeds II or its equivalent in the
Deputy Register of Deeds VII under permanent status. Said position NALTDRA. It held that "under the vested right theory the new
requirement of BAR membership to qualify for permanent (NALTDRA), reveals that said law in express terms, provided for the
appointment as Deputy Register of Deeds II or higher as mandated abolition of existing positions, to wit:
under said Executive Order, would not apply to her (private
respondent Garcia) but only to the filling up of vacant lawyer Sec. 8. Abolition of Existing Positions in the Land Registration
positions on or after February 9, 1981, the date said Executive Commission . . .
Order took effect." 3 A fortiori, since private respondent Garcia had
been holding the position of Deputy Register of Deeds II from 1977 All structural units in the Land Registration Commission and in the
to September 1984, she should not be affected by the operation on registries of deeds, and all Positions therein shall cease to exist
February 1, 1981 of Executive Order No. 649. from the date specified in the implementing order to be issued by
the President pursuant to the preceding paragraph. Their pertinent
Petitioner NALTDRA filed the present petition to assail the validity functions, applicable appropriations, records, equipment and
of the above Resolution of the Civil Service Commission. It property shall be transferred to the appropriate staff or offices
contends that Sections 8 and 10 of Executive Order No. 649 therein created. (Emphasis Supplied.)
abolished all existing positions in the LRC and transferred their
functions to the appropriate new offices created by said Executive Thus, without need of any interpretation, the law mandates that
Order, which newly created offices required the issuance of new from the moment an implementing order is issued, all positions in
appointments to qualified office holders. Verily, Executive Order No. the Land Registration Commission are deemed non-existent. This,
649 applies to private respondent Garcia, and not being a member however, does not mean removal. Abolition of a position does not
of the Bar, she cannot be reinstated to her former position as involve or mean removal for the reason that removal implies that
Deputy Register of Deeds II. the post subsists and that one is merely separated therefrom. 5
After abolition, there is in law no occupant. Thus, there can be no
We find merit in the petition. tenure to speak of. It is in this sense that from the standpoint of
strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does
Executive Order No. 649 authorized the reorganization of the Land not arise. 6
Registration Commission (LRC) into the National Land Titles and
Deeds Registration Administration (NALTDRA). It abolished all the Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office
positions in the now defunct LRC and required new appointments to within the competence of a legitimate body if done in good faith
be issued to all employees of the NALTDRA. suffers from no infirmity. Two questions therefore arise: (1) was the
abolition carried out by a legitimate body?; and (2) was it done in
The question of whether or not a law abolishes an office is one of good faith?
legislative intent about which there can be no controversy
whatsoever if there is an explicit declaration in the law itself. 4 A There is no dispute over the authority to carry out a valid
closer examination of Executive Order No. 649 which authorized reorganization in any branch or agency of the Government. Under
the reorganization of the Land Registration Commission (LRC) into Section 9, Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution, the applicable law
the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration at that time:
Sec. 9. All officials and employees in the existing Government of A final word, on the "vested right theory" advanced by respondent
the Republic of the Philippines shall continue in office until Civil Service Commission. There is no such thing as a vested
otherwise provided by law or decreed by the incumbent President of interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold it.
the Philippines, but all officials whose appointments are by this Except constitutional offices which provide for special immunity as
Constitution vested in the Prime Minister shall vacate their regards salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested
respective offices upon the appointment and qualifications of their right in an office or its salary. 12 None of the exceptions to this rule
successors. are obtaining in this case.

The power to reorganize is, however; not absolute. We have held in To reiterate, the position which private respondent Garcia would like
Dario vs. Mison 7 that reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been to occupy anew was abolished pursuant to Executive Order No. 649,
regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith. This a valid reorganization measure. There is no vested property right to
court has pronounced 8 that if the newly created office has be re employed in a reorganized office. Not being a member of the
substantially new, different or additional functions, duties or powers, Bar, the minimum requirement to qualify under the reorganization
so that it may be said in fact to create an office different from the law for permanent appointment as Deputy Register of Deeds II, she
one abolished, even though it embraces all or some of the duties of cannot be reinstated to her former position without violating the
the old office it will be considered as an abolition of one office and express mandate of the law.
the creation of a new or different one. The same is true if one office
is abolished and its duties, for reasons of economy are given to an WHEREFORE, premises considered, We hereby GRANT the
existing officer or office. petition and SET ASIDE the questioned Resolution of the Civil
Service Commission reinstating private respondent to her former
Executive Order No. 649 was enacted to improve the services and position as Deputy Register of Deeds II or its equivalent in the
better systematize the operation of the Land Registration National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration.
Commission. 9 A reorganization is carried out in good faith if it is for
the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. 10 SO ORDERED.
To this end, the requirement of Bar membership to qualify for key
positions in the NALTDRA was imposed to meet the changing
circumstances and new development of the times. 11 Private
respondent Garcia who formerly held the position of Deputy
Register of Deeds II did not have such qualification. It is thus clear
that she cannot hold any key position in the NALTDRA, The
additional qualification was not intended to remove her from office.
Rather, it was a criterion imposed concomitant with a valid
reorganization measure.
G.R. No. L-55151 March 17, 1981 The provision of any law or regulation to the contrary
DAVID AGUILA, EDITA BUENO, EVELITO ELENTO, notwithstanding, an officer or employee of the
RESURRECTION INTING, ANTONIO LIM and WILFREDO government shag be eligible for membership in any
CABARDO, petitioners, cooperative if he meets the qualifications therefor
vs. and he shall not be precluded from being elected to
HON. MELECIO A. GENATO and DOMINADOR B. BORJE, or holding any Position therein, or from receiving
respondents. such compensation or fee in relation thereto as may
be authorized by the by-laws; Provided That elective
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: officers of the government, except barrio captains
and councilors, shall be ineligible to become officers
The principal issue raised in this certiorari petition with a prayer for and/or directors of any cooperative, ... (emphasis
a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is whether or not respondent Judge supplied)
committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing a Restraining Order,
which had the effect of allowing private respondent, Dominador B. Section 3, Article IV of the By-laws of MOELCI II also explicitly
Borje, to retain his position as member of the Board of Directors of states:
the Misamis Occidental Electric Cooperative, Inc ., (MOELCI II)
Section 3. Qualifications. ... No person shall be
Succintly stated, the pertinent facts follow: eligible to become or to remain a Board member of
the Cooperative who
Petitioners David Aguila and Edita Bueno are the Deputy
Administrator and Director for Cooperative Development, xxx xxx xxx
respectively, of the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
(c) holds an elective office in the government above
Petitioner Evelito Elento is the Acting General Manager of MOELCI the level of a Barangay Captain
II, while petitioners Ressurrection Inting, Antonio Lim and Wilfredo
Cabardo, are members of its Board of Directors. xxx xxx xxx

Private respondent Dominador B. Borje, representing the North (emphasis supplied)


District of Ozamiz City, was elected Director of MOELCI II, to hold
office as such for three years starting March 25, 1979. On 4 January 1980, private respondent filed his certificate of
candidacy for the position of member of the Sangguniang
Section 21 of Presidential Decree No. 269 (second paragraph) Panglunsod of Ozamiz City in the 30 January 1980 local elections.
provides:
On 7 January 1980, the NEA, through Administrator Pedro G. him to retain his position as member of the Board of Directors of
Dumol, issued Memorandum No. 18 to the effect that all officials MOELCI IIpending hearing. 2
and employees of electric cooperatives who run for public office,
win and assume office, shall be considered The Memorandum was Petitioners moved to dismiss and to dissolve the Restraining Order
issued pursuant to the authority granted under PD No. 1645, alleging lack of cause of action and invoking section 21 of PD No.
amending PD No. 269, reading. 269 (supra), section 3, Article IV of the by laws OF MOELCI
II(supra), as well as section 24 of PD No. 269 providing that:
10. ... the NEA is empowered to issue orders, rules
and regulations ... in the exercise of its power of ... The by-laws shall prescribe the number of
supervision and control over electric cooperatives directors their qualifications other than those
and other borrower, supervised or control entities prescribed in this Decree, the manner of holding
(Sec. 5, amending Sec. 10 of P.D. No. 269). 1 meetings of the board and of electing successors to
directors who shall resign, die or otherwise be
On January 1980, the NEA Deputy Administrator sent a telegram to incapable of acting. The bylaws may also provide for
the Acting General Manager of MOELCI II stating that should the removal of directors from office and for the
private respondent Borje be elected to the Sangguniang Bayan, he election of their successors ...
shall be considered resigned from his position as Director for the
North District of Ozamiz City, Private respondent moved On 24 March 1980, respondent Judge lifted and dissolved the
reconsideration and requested that he be allowed to serve the Restraining Order, 3 only to restore it the next day, 25 March 1980. 4
unexpired term of his office in accordance with PD No. 269.
Reconsideration was denied by NEA on 7 February 1980. In their Motion seeking reconsideration of the Order of 25 March
1980, petitioners stressed that NEA possessed the power and
On 3 March 1980, private respondent filed a Petition for "Prohibition, authority to promulgate Memorandum No 18, and that, similarly, the
mandamus & Construction of Legal Provisions with Preliminary Board of Directors of MOELCI IIhad the power to implement the
Injunction and Damages" against petitioners before the Court of same under PD No. 269, as amended by PD 1645.
First Instance of Misamis Occidental, Branch II (Spec. Case No.
0511), seeking a declaration of entitlement to remain and to serve Petitioners filed their Answer on 6 April 1980 reiterating the grounds
his unexpired term as Director of MOELCI II until March, 1982. in their Motion to Dismiss.

On 3 March 1980, having won the election, private respondent On 8 May 1980, vacation Judge Celso Largo reconsidered the
assumed office and began discharging his functions. Order of respondent Judge, dated 25 March 1980, and dissolved
the Restraining Order. 5
On the same date, 3 March 1980, respondent Judge issued, ex-
parte, a temporary restraining Order commanding petitioners
considering private respondent as resigned, and, instead, to snow
On 10 May 1980, the Board of Directors of MOELCI II held a position as such Director. By having been elected member of the
special meeting and passed Resolution No. 121, S-80, Sangguniang Panglunsod of Ozamiz City, private respondent
implementing NEA Circular No. 18 and declaring private rendered himself ineligible to continue serving as a Director of
respondent's position as member of the Board of Directors of MOELCI IIby virtue of the clear mandate of PD No. 269 providing
MOELCI II vacant. that except for "barrio captains and councilors", elective officials are
ineligible to become officers and/or directors of any cooperative. It
On 6 June 1980, upon a Motion for Reconsideration, respondent is clear to us that the term barrio modifies both captains and
Judge set aside the Order of the vacation Judge, dated 8 May 1980, councilors. Further, the MOELCI II, by-laws explicitly state that no
in effect reviving the Restraining Order, on the ground that, as person can remain a member of the Board if he "holds an elective
"councilor" of Ozamiz City, section 21 of PD No. 269 itself exempts office above the level of barrio captain.
private respondent from the prohibition imposed on elective officials
to become Directors of electric cooperatives. 6 Private respondent's argument that PD 269 (sec. 21) does not
prohibit Board members of a cooperatives from continuing in their
Hence, this Petition filed on 29 September 1980 by petitioners, position prior to their election, and that pursuant to section 24 of PD
through the Solicitor General, advancing the view that Courts of No. 269 he is entitled, as Director, to hold office for the term for
First Instance have no jurisdiction to issue a Restraining Order and which he is erected and until his successor is elected and qualified,"
that respondent Judge had committed grave abuse of discretion in is untenable. Eligibility to an office should be construed as of a
issuing the same. continuing nature and must exist at the commencement of the term
and during occupancy of the office. The fact that private respondent
On 10 October 1980 we required respondents to submit an Answer may have been qualified at the time he assumed the Directorship is
and issued a Restraining Order enjoining respondents from not sufficient to entitle him to continue holding office, if during the
enforcing the Order of the Court a quo dated 6 June 1980 and from continuance of his incumbency he ceases to be qualified. Private
conducting further proceedings in the case below. Private respondent was qualified to become a director of MOELCI II at the
respondent Borje has filed his Answer, petitioners have submitted time of the commencement of his term, but his election as member
their Reply, and on 2 February 1981, we resolved to give due of the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Ozamiz City, and his
course to the Petition and to consider the case submitted for subsequent assumption of office, disqualified him to continue as
decision. such.

We find that respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion, Moreover, it should be recalled that when respondent Judge issued
amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in issuing the various Restraining the Restraining Order of 6 June 1980. NEA Memorandum Circular
Orders, the last of which was dated 6 June 1980. Private No. 18 had already been implemented by the MOELCI Board in the
respondent has shown no clear and explicit right to the position of latter's Resolution No. 121, passed on 10 May 1980, declaring the
Director of MOELCI IIand is, therefore, not entitled to a Restraining position of private respondent, as Director, vacant. Strictly speaking,
Order, which partook of the nature of a mandatory Injunction, therefore, there was no longer any position which private
commanding as it did that private respondent be retained in his respondent could retain.
WHEREFORE, finding that respondent Judge acted with grave
abuse of discretion tantamount to lack of jurisdiction in issuing the
Restraining Order, dated 6 June 1980, the said Order is hereby
annulled and set aside, and the Petition in Special Civil Case No.
05IIof the Court below hereby ordered dismissed. The temporary
Restraining Order heretofore issued by this Court is hereby made
permanent. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 120295. June 28, 1996] citizenship and elections, and upholds the superiority of substantial
JUAN G. FRIVALDO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON justice over pure legalisms.
ELECTIONS, and RAUL R. LEE, respondents.
[G.R. No. 123755. June 28, 1996] G.R. No. 123755.
RAUL R. LEE, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and This is a special civil action under Rules 65 and 58 of the Rules
JUAN G. FRIVALDO, respondents. of Court for certiorari and preliminary injunction to review and annul
a Resolution of the respondent Commission on Elections (Comelec),
DECISION First Division,1 promulgated on December 19,19952 and another
Resolution of the Comelec en bane promulgated February 23,
PANGANIBAN, J.: 19963 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
The Facts
The ultimate question posed before this Court in these twin
cases is: Who should be declared the rightful governor of Sorsogon
(i) Juan G. Frivaldo, who unquestionably obtained the highest On March 20, 1995, private respondent Juan G. Frivaldo filed
number of votes in three successive elections but who was twice his Certificate of Candidacy for the office of Governor of Sorsogon
declared by this Court to be disqualified to hold such office due to in the May 8, 1995 elections. On March 23, 1995, petitioner Raul R.
his alien citizenship, and who now claims to have re-assumed his Lee, another candidate, filed a petition4 with the Comelec docketed
lost Philippine citizenship thru repatriation; as SPA No. 95-028 praying that Frivaldo "be disqualified from
seeking or holding any public office or position by reason of not yet
being a citizen of the Philippines," and that his Certificate of
(ii) Raul R. Lee, who was the second placer in the canvass, but who
Candidacy be cancelled. On May 1, 1995, the Second Division of
claims that the votes cast in favor of Frivaldo should be considered
the Comelec promulgated a Resolution5granting the petition with
void; that the electorate should be deemed to have intentionally
the following disposition:6
thrown away their ballots; and that legally, he secured the most
number of valid votes; or "WHEREFORE, this Division resolves to GRANT the petition and
declares that respondent is DISQUALIFIED to run for the Office of
(iii) The incumbent Vice-Governor, Oscar G. Deri, who obviously Governor of Sorsogon on the ground that he is NOT a citizen of
was not voted directly to the position of governor, but who the Philippines. Accordingly, respondent's certificate of candidacy is
according to prevailing jurisprudence should take over the said post cancelled."
inasmuch as, by the ineligibility of Frivaldo, a "permanent vacancy
in the contested office has occurred"? The Motion for Reconsideration filed by Frivaldo remained
unacted upon until after the May 8, 1995 elections. So, his
In ruling for Frivaldo, the Court lays down new doctrines on candidacy continued and he was voted for during the elections held
repatriation, clarifies/reiterates/amplifies existing jurisprudence on on said date. On May 11, 1995, the Comelec en banc7 affirmed the
aforementioned Resolution of the Second Division.
The Provincial Board of Canvassers completed the canvass of (of Frivaldo) as governor x x x." In the alternative, he averred that
the election returns and a Certificate of Votes8.dated May 27, pursuant to the two cases of Labo vs. Comelec,12 the Vice-
1995 was issued showing the following votes obtained by the Governor not Lee should occupy said position of governor.
candidates for the position of Governor of Sorsogon:
On December 19, 1995, the Comelec First Division
Antonio H. Escudero, Jr. 51,060 promulgated the herein assailed Resolution13 holding that Lee, "not
having garnered the highest number of votes," was not legally
Juan G. Frivaldo 73,440 entitled to be proclaimed as duly-elected governor; and that
Frivaldo, "having garnered the highest number of votes, and xxx
RaulR.Lee 53,304 having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation on June 30,
1995 under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 725 xxx (is)
Isagani P. Ocampo 1,925 qualified to hold the office of governor of Sorsogon"; thus:
"PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Commission (First Division),
On June 9, 1995, Lee filed in said SPA No. 95-028, a therefore RESOLVES to GRANT the Petition.
(supplemental) petition9 praying for his proclamation as the duly-
elected Governor of Sorsogon. Consistent with the decisions of the Supreme Court, the
10
In an order dated June 21, 1995, but promulgated according proclamation of Raul R. Lee as Governor of Sorsogon is hereby
to the petition "only on June 29, 1995," the Comelec en ordered annulled, being contrary to law, he not having garnered the
bane directed "the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Sorsogon to highest number of votes to warrant his proclamation.
reconvene for the purpose of proclaiming candidate Raul Lee as the
winning gubernatorial candidate in the province of Sorsogon on Upon the finality of the annulment of the proclamation of Raul R.
June 29,1995 x x x." Accordingly, at 8:30 in the evening of June Lee, the Provincial Board of Canvassers is directed to immediately
30,1995, Lee was proclaimed governor of Sorsogon. reconvene and, on the basis of the completed canvass, proclaim
petitioner Juan G. Frivaldo as the duly elected Governor of
On July 6, 1995, Frivaldo filed with the Comelec a new Sorsogon having garnered the highest number of votes, and he
petition,11 docketed as SPC No. 95-317, praying for the annulment having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation on June
of the June 30, 1995 proclamation of Lee and for his own 30,1995 under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 725 and,
proclamation. He alleged that on June 30, 1995, at 2:00 in the thus, qualified to hold the office of Governor of Sorsogon.
afternoon, he took his oath of allegiance as a citizen of
the Philippines after "his petition for repatriation under P.D. 725 Conformably with Section 260 of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P.
which he filed with the Special Committee on Naturalization in Blg. 881), the Clerk of the Commission is directed to notify His
September 1994 had been granted." As such, when "the said order Excellency the President of the Philippines, and the Secretary of the
(dated June 21, 1995) (of the Comelec) x x x was released and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Sorsogon of this
received by Frivaldo on June 30, 1995 at 5:30 o'clock in the resolution immediately upon the due implementation thereof."
evening, there was no more legal impediment to the proclamation
On December 26,1995, Lee filed a motion for reconsideration which This is a petition to annul three Resolutions of the respondent
was denied by the Comelec en banc in its Resolution14 promulgated Comelec, the first two of which are also at issue in G.R. No. 123755,
on February 23, 1996. On February 26, 1996, the present petition as follows:
was filed. Acting on the prayer for a temporary restraining order,
this Court issued on February 27, 1996 a Resolution which inter 1. Resolution16 of the Second Division, promulgated on May 1, 1995,
alia directed the parties "to maintain the status quo prevailing prior disqualifying Frivaldo from running for governor of Sorsogon in
to the filing of this petition." the May 8, 1995 elections "on the ground that he is not a citizen of
the Philippines";
The Issues in G.R. No. 123755
2. Resolution17 of the Comelec en bane, promulgated on May 11,
1995; and
Petitioner Lee's "position on the matter at hand briefly be
capsulized in the following propositions":15 3. Resolution18 of the Comelec en bane, promulgated also on May
11, 1995 suspending the proclamation of, among others, Frivaldo.
"First - The initiatory petition below was so far insufficient in form
and substance to warrant the exercise by the COMELEC of its
The Facts and the Issue
jurisdiction with the result that, in effect, the COMELEC acted
without jurisdiction in taking cognizance of and deciding said
petition; The facts of this case are essentially the same as those in G.R.
No. 123755. However, Frivaldo assails the above-mentioned
Second- The judicially declared disqualification of respondent was a resolutions on a different ground: that under Section 78 of the
continuing condition and rendered him ineligible to run for, to be Omnibus Election Code, which is reproduced hereinunder:
elected to and to hold the Office of Governor;
"Section 78. Petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of
Third - The alleged repatriation of respondent was neither valid nor candidacy. A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to
is the effect thereof retroactive as to cure his ineligibility and qualify cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person
him to hold the Office of Governor; and exclusively on the ground that any material representation
contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. The
petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from
Fourth - Correctly read and applied, the Labo Doctrine fully
the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be
supports the validity of petitioner's proclamation as duly elected
decided, after notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before
Governor of Sorsogon."
the election." (Italics supplied.)
G.R. No. 120295
the Comelec had no jurisdiction to issue said Resolutions because
they were not rendered "within the period allowed by law," i.e., "not
later than fifteen days before the election."
Otherwise stated, Frivaldo contends that the failure of the 5. Did the respondent Commission on Elections exceed its
Comelec to act on the petition for disqualification within the period jurisdiction in promulgating the assailed Resolutions, all of which
of fifteen days prior to the election as provided by law is a prevented Frivaldo from assuming the governorship of Sorsogon,
jurisdictional defect which renders the said Resolutions null and considering that they were not rendered within ( the period referred
void. to in Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code, viz., "not later than
fifteen days before the elections"?
By Resolution on March 12, 1996, the Court consolidated G.R.
Nos. 120295 and 123755 since they are intimately related in their
The First Issue: Frivaldo's Repatriation
factual environment and are identical in the ultimate question
raised, viz., who should occupy the position of governor of
the province of Sorsogon. The validity and effectivity of Frivaldo's repatriation is the lis
On March 19, 1995, the Court heard oral argument from the mota, the threshold legal issue in this case. All the other matters
parties and required them thereafter to file simultaneously their raised are secondary to this.
respective memoranda. The Local Government Code of 199119 expressly requires
The Consolidated Issues Philippine citizenship as a qualification for elective local officials,
including that of provincial governor, thus:
"Sec. 39. Qualifications. (a) An elective local official must be a
From the foregoing submissions, the consolidated issues may
citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay,
be restated as follows:
municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the
1. Was the repatriation of Frivaldo valid and legal? If so, did it sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or
seasonably cure his lack of citizenship as to qualify him to be sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a
proclaimed and to hold the Office of Governor? If not, may it be resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the
given retroactive effect? If so, from when? day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other
local language or dialect.
2. Is Frivaldo's "judicially declared" disqualification for lack of
Filipino citizenship a continuing bar to his eligibility to run for, be (b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice governor or
elected to or hold the governorship of Sorsogon? member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice mayor or
member of the sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities
3. Did the respondent Comelec have jurisdiction over the initiatory must be at least twenty-three (23) years of age on election day.
petition in SPC No. 95-317 considering that : said petition is not "a
pre-proclamation case, an election protest or a quo warranto case"? xxx xxx xxx
Inasmuch as Frivaldo had been declared by this Court20 as a
4. Was the proclamation of Lee, a runner-up in the election, valid non-citizen, it is therefore incumbent upon him to show that he has
and legal in light of existing jurisprudence?
reacquired citizenship; in fine, that he possesses the qualifications En contrario, Lee argues that Frivaldo's repatriation is tainted ;
prescribed under the said statute (R. A. 7160). with serious defects, which we shall now discuss in seriatim.
Under Philippine law,21 citizenship may be reacquired by direct First, Lee tells us that P.D. No. 725 had "been effectively
act of Congress, by naturalization or by repatriation. Frivaldo told repealed," asserting that "then President Corazon Aquino
this Court in G.R. No. 10465422 and during the oral argument in this exercising legislative powers under the Transitory Provisions of the
case that he tried to resume his citizenship by direct act of 1987 Constitution, forbade the grant of citizenship by Presidential
Congress, but that the bill allowing him to do so "failed to Decree or Executive Issuances as the same poses a serious and
materialize, notwithstanding the endorsement of several members contentious issue of policy which the present government, in the
of the House of Representatives" due, according to him, to the exercise of prudence and sound discretion, should best leave to the
"maneuvers of his political rivals." In the same case, his attempt judgment of the first Congress under the 1987 Constitution," adding
at naturalization was rejected by this Court because of jurisdictional, that in her memorandum dated March 27,1987 to the members of
substantial and procedural defects. the Special Committee on Naturalization constituted for purposes of
Presidential Decree No. 725, President Aquino directed them "to
Despite his lack of Philippine citizenship, Frivaldo was cease and desist from undertaking any and all proceedings within
overwhelmingly elected governor by the electorate of Sorsogon, your functional area of responsibility as defined under Letter of
with a margin of 27,000 votes in the 1988 elections, 57,000 in 1992, Instructions (LOI) No. 270 dated April 11, 1975, as amended."23
and 20,000 in 1995 over the same opponent Raul Lee. Twice, he
was judicially declared a non-Filipino and thus twice disqualified This memorandum dated March 27, 198724 cannot by any
from holding and discharging his popular mandate. Now, he comes stretch of legal hermeneutics be construed as a law sanctioning or
to us a third time, with a fresh vote from the people of Sorsogon and authorizing a repeal of P.D. No. 725. Laws are repealed only by
a favorable decision from the Commission on Elections to boot. subsequent ones25 and a repeal may be express or implied. It is
Moreover, he now boasts of having successfully passed through the obvious that no express repeal was made because then President
third and last mode of reacquiring citizenship: by repatriation under Aquino in her memorandum based on the copy furnished us by Lee
P.D. No. 725, with no less than the Solicitor General himself, who did not categorically and/or impliedly state that P.D. 725 was being
was the prime opposing counsel in the previous cases he lost, this repealed or was being rendered without any legal effect. In fact, she
time, as counsel for co-respondent Comelec, arguing the validity of did not even mention it specifically by its number or text. On the
his cause (in addition to his able private counsel Sixto S. Brillantes, other hand, it is a basic rule of statutory construction that repeals by
Jr.). That he took his oath of allegiance under the provisions of said implication are not favored. An implied repeal will not be allowed
Decree at 2:00 p.m. on June 30, 1995 is not disputed. Hence, he "unless it is convincingly and unambiguously demonstrated that the
insists that henot Leeshould have been proclaimed as the duly- two laws are clearly repugnant and patently inconsistent that they
elected governor of Sorsogon when the Provincial Board of cannot co-exist."26
Canvassers met at 8:30 p.m. on the said date since, clearly and
unquestionably, he garnered the highest number of votes in the The memorandum of then President Aquino cannot even be
elections and since at that time, he already reacquired his regarded as a legislative enactment, for not every pronouncement
citizenship. of the Chief Executive even under the Transitory Provisions of the
1987 Constitution can nor should be regarded as an exercise of her simply baseless as there were many others who applied and were
law-making powers. At best, it could be treated as an executive considered for repatriation, a list of whom was submitted by him to
policy addressed to the Special Committee to halt the acceptance this Court, through a Manifestation28 filed on April 3, 1996.
and processing of applications for repatriation pending whatever
"judgment the first Congress under the 1987 Constitution" might On the basis of the parties' submissions, we are convinced that
make. In other words, the former President did not repeal P.D. 725 the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and
but left it to the first Congress once createdto deal with the matter. If the presumption of legality in the repatriation of Frivaldo have not
she had intended to repeal such law, she should have been successfully rebutted by Lee. The mere fact that the
unequivocally said so instead of referring the matter to Congress. proceedings were speeded up is by itself not a ground to conclude
The fact is she carefully couched her presidential issuance in terms that such proceedings were necessarily tainted. After all, the
that clearly indicated the intention of "the present government, in requirements of repatriation under P.D. No. 725 are not difficult to
the exercise of prudence and sound discretion" to leave the matter comply with, nor are they tedious and cumbersome. In fact, P.D.
of repeal to the new Congress. Any other interpretation of the said 72529 itself requires very little of an applicant, and even the rules
Presidential Memorandum, such as is now being proffered to the and regulations to implement the said decree were left to the
Court by Lee, would visit unmitigated violence not only upon Special Committee to promulgate. This is not unusual since, unlike
statutory construction but on common sense as well. in naturalization where an alien covets a first-time entry into
Philippine political life, in repatriation the applicant is a former
Second. Lee also argues that "serious congenital irregularities natural-born Filipino who is merely seeking to reacquire his
flawed the repatriation proceedings," asserting that Frivaldo's previous citizenship. In the case of Frivaldo, he was undoubtedly a
application therefor was "filed on June 29, 1995 x x x (and) was natural-born citizen who openly and faithfully served his country and
approved in just one day or on June 30, 1995 x x x," which his province prior to his naturalization in the United States a
"prevented a judicious review and evaluation of the merits thereof." naturalization he insists was made necessary only to escape the
Frivaldo counters that he filed his application for repatriation with iron clutches of a dictatorship he abhorred and could not in
the Office of the President in Malacanang Palace on August 17, conscience embrace and who, after the fall of the dictator and the
1994. This is confirmed by the Solicitor General. However, the re-establishment of democratic space, wasted no time in returning
Special Committee was reactivated only on June 8, 1995, when to his country of birth to offer once more his talent and services to
presumably the said Committee started processing his application. his people.
On June 29, 1995, he filled up and re-submitted the FORM that the
Committee required. Under these circumstances, it could not be So too, the fact that ten other persons, as certified to by the
said that there was "indecent haste" in the processing of his Solicitor General, were granted repatriation argues convincingly and
application. conclusively against the existence of favoritism vehemently posited
by Raul Lee. At any rate, any contest on the legality of Frivaldo's
Anent Lee's charge that the "sudden reconstitution of the repatriation should have been pursued before the Committee itself,
Special Committee on Naturalization was intended solely for the and, failing there, in the Office of the President, pursuant to the
personal interest of respondent,"27 the Solicitor General explained doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies.
during the oral argument on March 19, 1996 that such allegation is
Third. Lee further contends that assuming the assailed election) and age (at least twenty three years of age on election
repatriation to be valid, nevertheless it could only be effective as at day).
2:00 p.m. of June 30, 1995 whereas the citizenship qualification
prescribed by the Local Government Code "must exist on the date Philippine citizenship is an indispensable requirement for
of his election, if not when the certificate of candidacy is filed," citing holding an elective public office,31and the purpose of the citizenship
our decision in G.R. 10465430 which held that "both the Local qualification is none other than to ensure that no alien, i.e., no
Government Code and the Constitution require that only Philippine person owing allegiance to another nation, shall govern our people
citizens can run and be elected to Public office" Obviously, however, and our country or a unit of territory thereof. Now, an official begins
this was a mere obiter as the only issue in said case was whether to govern or to discharge his functions only upon his
Frivaldo's naturalization was valid or not and NOT the effective date proclamation and on the day the law mandates his term of office to
thereof. Since the Court held his naturalization to be invalid, then begin. Since Frivaldo re-assumed his citizenship on June 30,
the issue of when an aspirant for public office should be a citizen 1995the very day32 the term of office of governor (and other elective
was NOT resolved at all by the Court. Which question we shall now officials) beganhe was therefore already qualified to be proclaimed,
directly rule on. to hold such office and to discharge the functions and
responsibilities thereof as of said date. In short, at that time, he was
Under Sec. 39 of the Local Government Code, "(a)n elective already qualified to govern his native Sorsogon. This is the liberal
local official must be: interpretation that should give spirit, life and meaning to our law on
qualifications consistent with the purpose for which such law was
* a citizen of the Philippines; enacted. So too, even from a literal (as distinguished
* a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or from liberal) construction, it should be noted that Section 39 of the
province x x x where he intends to be elected; Local Government Code speaks of "Qualifications" of "ELECTIVE
OFFICIALS," not of candidates. Why then should such qualification
* a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately be required at the time of election or at the time of the filing of the
preceding the day of the election; certificates of candidacies, as Lee insists? Literally, such
* able to read and write Filipino or any other local language qualifications unless otherwise expressly conditioned, as in the
or dialect." case of age and residence should thus be possessed when the
"elective [or elected] official" begins to govern, i.e., at the time he is
* In addition, "candidates for the position of governor x x x proclaimed and at the start of his term in this case, on June 30,
must be at least twenty-three (23) years of age on 1995. Paraphrasing this Court's ruling in Vasquez vs. Giapand Li
election day." Seng Giap & Sons,33 if the purpose of the citizenship requirement is
From the above, it will be noted that the law does not specify to ensure that our people and country do not end up being
any particular date or time when the candidate must possess governed by aliens, i.e., persons owing allegiance to another nation,
citizenship, unlike that for residence (which must consist of at that aim or purpose would not be thwarted but instead achieved by
least one year's residency immediately preceding the day of construing the citizenship qualification as applying to the time of
proclamation of the elected official and at the start of his term.
But perhaps the more difficult objection was the one raised judicial declaration x x x In fact, he cast his vote in his precinct
during the oral argument34 to the effect that the citizenship on May 8, 1995."36
qualification should be possessed at the time the candidate (or for
that matter the elected official) registered as a voter. After all, So too, during the oral argument, his counsel stead-fastly
Section 39, apart from requiring the official to be a citizen, also maintained that "Mr. Frivaldo has always been a registered voter of
specifies as another item of qualification, that he be a "registered Sorsogon. He has voted in 1987,1988,1992, then he voted again in
voter." And, under the law35 a "voter" must be a citizen of 1995. In fact, his eligibility as a voter was questioned, but the court
the Philippines. So therefore, Frivaldo could not have been a voter- dismissed (sic) his eligibility as a voter and he was allowed to vote
much less a validly registered one if he was not a citizen at the time as in fact, he voted in all the previous elections including on May
of such registration. 8,1995.37

The answer to this problem again lies in discerning the purpose It is thus clear that Frivaldo is a registered voter in the
of the requirement. If the law intended the citizenship qualification to province where he intended to be elected.
be possessed prior to election consistent with the requirement of There is yet another reason why the prime issue of
being a registered voter, then it would not have made citizenship a citizenship should be reckoned from the date of proclamation, not
SEPARATE qualification. The law abhors a redundancy. It therefore necessarily the date of election or date of filing of the certificate of
stands to reason that the law intended CITIZENSHIP to be a candidacy. Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code38 gives any
qualification distinct from being a VOTER, even if being a voter voter, presumably including the defeated candidate, the opportunity
presumes being a citizen first. It also stands to reason that the voter to question the ELIGIBILITY (or the disloyalty) of a candidate. This
requirement was included as another qualification (aside from is the only provision of the Code that authorizes a remedy on how
"citizenship"), not to reiterate the need for nationality but to require to contest before the Comelec an incumbent's ineligibility arising
that the official be registered as a voter IN THE AREA OR from failure to meet the qualifications enumerated under Sec. 39 of
TERRITORY he seeks to govern, i.e., the law states: "a registered the Local Government Code. Such remedy of Quo Warranto can be
voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province x x x where he availed of "within ten days after proclamation" of the winning
intends to be elected." It should be emphasized that the Local candidate. Hence, it is only at such time that the issue of ineligibility
Government Code requires an elective official to be a registered may be taken cognizance of by the Commission. And since, at the
voter. It does not require him to vote actually. Hence, registrationnot very moment of Lee's proclamation (8:30 p.m., June 30, 1995),
the actual votingis the core of this "qualification." In other words, the Juan G. Frivaldo was already and indubitably a citizen, having
law's purpose in this second requirement is to ensure that the taken his oath of allegiance earlier in the afternoon of the same day,
prospective official is actually registered in the area he seeks to then he should have been the candidate proclaimed as he
govern and not anywhere else. unquestionably garnered the highest number of votes in the
Before this Court, Frivaldo has repeatedly emphasizedand Lee immediately preceding elections and such oath had already cured
has not disputed that he "was and is a registered voter of Sorsogon, his previous "judicially-declared" alienage. Hence, at such time, he
and his registration as a voter has been sustained as valid by was no longer ineligible.
But to remove all doubts on this important issue, we also hold recognizes the plight of "many Filipino women (who) had lost their
that the repatriation of Frivaldo RETRO ACTED to the date of the Philippine citizenship by marriage to aliens" and who could not,
filing of his application on August 17,1994. under the existing law (C. A. No. 63, as amended) avail of
repatriation until "after the death of their husbands or the
It is true that under the Civil Code of the Philippines,39 "(l)aws termination of their marital status" and who could neither be
shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided." benefitted by the 1973 Constitution's new provision allowing "a
But there are settled exceptions40 to this general rule, such as when Filipino woman who marries an alien to retain her Philippine
the statute is CURATIVE or REMEDIAL in nature or when it citizenship xxx" because "such provision of the new Constitution
CREATES NEW RIGHTS. does not apply to Filipino women who had married aliens before
According to Tolentino,41 curative statutes are those which said constitution took effect." Thus, P.D. 725 granted a new right to
undertake to cure errors and irregularities, thereby validating judicial these womenthe right to re-acquire Filipino citizenship even during
or administrative proceedings, acts of public officers, or private their marital coverture, which right did not exist prior to P.D. 725. On
deeds and contracts which otherwise would not produce their the other hand, said statute also provided a new remedy and a new
intended consequences by reason of some statutory disability or right in favor of other "natural born Filipinos who (had) lost their
failure to comply with some technical requirement. They operate on Philippine citizenship but now desire to re-acquire Philippine
conditions already existing, and are necessarily retroactive in citizenship," because prior to the promulgation of P.D. 725 such
operation. Agpalo,42 on the other hand, says that curative statutes former Filipinos would have had to undergo the tedious and
are "healing acts x x x curing defects and adding to the means of cumbersome process of naturalization, but with the advent of P.D.
enforcing existing obligations x x x (and) are intended to supply 725 they could now re-acquire their Philippine citizenship under the
defects, abridge superfluities in existing laws, and curb certain evils simplified procedure of repatriation.
x x x By their very nature, curative statutes are retroactive xxx (and) The Solicitor General44 argues:
reach back to past events to correct errors or irregularities and to
render valid and effective attempted acts which would be otherwise "By their very nature, curative statutes are retroactive, (DBP vs. CA,
ineffective for the purpose the parties intended." 96 SCRA 342), since they are intended to supply defects, abridge
superfluities in existing laws (Del Castillo vs. Securities and
On the other hand, remedial or procedural laws, i.e., those Exchange Commission, 96 Phil. 119) and curb certain evils
statutes relating to remedies or modes of procedure, which do not (Santos vs. Duata, 14 SCRA 1041).
create new or take away vested rights, but only operate in
furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of such rights, ordinarily
In this case, P.D. No. 725 was enacted to cure the defect in the
do not come within the legal meaning of a retrospective law, nor
existing naturalization law, specifically C. A. No. 63 wherein married
within the general rule against the retrospective operation of
Filipino women are allowed to repatriate only upon the death of their
statutes.43
husbands, and natural-born Filipinos who lost their citizenship by
A reading of P.D. 725 immediately shows that it creates a new naturalization and other causes faced the difficulty of undergoing
right, and also provides for a new remedy, thereby filling certain the rigid procedures of C.A. 63 for reacquisition of Filipino
voids in our laws. Thus, in its preamble, P.D. 725 expressly citizenship by naturalization.
Presidential Decree No. 725 provided a remedy for the even the repatriation granted under said law to Frivaldo on June 30,
aforementioned legal aberrations and thus its provisions are 1995 is to be deemed to have retroacted to the date of his
considered essentially remedial and curative." application therefor, August 17, 1994. The reason for this is simply
that if, as in this case, it was the intent of the legislative authority
In light of the foregoing, and prescinding from the wording of that the law should apply to past events i.e., situations and
the preamble, it is unarguable that the legislative intent was transactions existing even before the law came into being in order
precisely to give the statute retroactive operation. "(A) retrospective to benefit the greatest number of former Filipinos possible thereby
operation is given to a statute or amendment where the intent that it enabling them to enjoy and exercise the constitutionally guaranteed
should so operate clearly appears from a consideration of the act as right of citizenship, and such legislative intention is to be given the
a whole, or from the terms thereof."45 It is obvious to the Court that fullest effect and expression, then there is all the more reason to
the statute was meant to "reach back" to those persons, events and have the law apply in a retroactive or retrospective manner to
transactions not otherwise covered by prevailing law and situations, events and transactions subsequent to the passage of
jurisprudence. And inasmuch as it has been held that citizenship is such law. That is, the repatriation granted to Frivaldo on June 30,
a political and civil right equally as important as the freedom of 1995 can and should be made to take effect as of date of his
speech, liberty of abode, the right against unreasonable searches application. As earlier mentioned, there is nothing in the law that
and seizures and other guarantees enshrined in the Bill of Rights, would bar this or would show a contrary intention on the part of the
therefore the legislative intent to give retrospective operation to P.D. legislative authority; and there is no showing that damage or
725 must be given the fullest effect possible. "(I)t has been said prejudice to anyone, or anything unjust or injurious would result
that a remedial statute must be so construed as to make it effect the from giving retroactivity to his repatriation. Neither has Lee shown
evident purpose for -which it was enacted, so that if the reason of that there will result the impairment of any contractual obligation,
the statute extends to past transactions, as well as to those in the disturbance of any vested right or breach of some constitutional
future, then it will be so applied although the statute does not in guaranty.
terms so direct, unless to do so would impair some vested right or
Being a former Filipino who has served the people repeatedly,
violate some constitutional guaranty."46 This is all the more true of
Frivaldo deserves a liberal interpretation of Philippine laws and
P.D. 725, which did not specify any restrictions on or delimit or
whatever defects there were in his nationality should now be
qualify the right of repatriation granted therein.
deemed mooted by his repatriation.
At this point, a valid question may be raised: How can the
Another argument for retroactivity to the date of filing is that it
retroactivity of P.D. 725 benefit Frivaldo considering that said law
would prevent prejudice to applicants. If P.D. 725 were not to be
was enacted on June 5,1975, while Frivaldo lost his Filipino
given retroactive effect, and the Special Committee decides not to
citizenship much later, on January 20, 1983, and applied for
act, i.e., to delay the processing of applications for any substantial
repatriation even later, on August 17, 1994?
length of time, then the former Filipinos who may be stateless, as
While it is true that the law was already in effect at the time that Frivaldohaving already renounced his American citizenship was,
Frivaldo became an American citizen, nevertheless, it is not only may be prejudiced for causes outside their control. This should not
the law itself (P.D. 725) which is tobe given retroactive effect, but be. In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is
to be presumed that the law-making body intended right and justice STATELESS at the time he took said oath of allegiance and even
to prevail.47 before that, when he ran for governor in 1988. In his Comment,
Frivaldo wrote that he "had long renounced and had long
And as experience will show, the Special Committee was able to abandoned his American citizenshiplong before May 8, 1995. At
process, act upon and grant applications for repatriation within best, Frivaldo was stateless in the interim when he abandoned and
relatively short spans of time after the same were filed. 48 The fact renounced his US citizenship but before he was repatriated to his
that such interregna were relatively insignificant minimizes the Filipino citizenship."50
likelihood of prejudice to the government as a result of giving
retroactivity to repatriation. Besides, to the mind of the Court, direct
On this point, we quote from the assailed Resolution
prejudice to the government is possible only where a person's
dated December 19, 1995:51
repatriation has the effect of wiping out a liability of his to the
government arising in connection with or as a result of his being an
alien, and accruing only during the interregnum between application "By the laws of the United States, petitioner Frivaldo lost his
and approval, a situation that is not present in the instant case. American citizenship when he took his oath of allegiance to the
And it is but right and just that the mandate of the people, Philippine Government when he ran for Governor in 1988, in 1992,
already twice frustrated, should now prevail. Under the and in 1995. Every certificate of candidacy contains an oath of
circumstances, there is nothing unjust or iniquitous in treating allegiance to the Philippine Government."
Frivaldo's repatriation as having become effective as of the date of
his application, i.e., on August 17, 1994. This being so, all questions These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign
about his possession of the nationality qualification whether at the nationality long before the elections of 1995 have not been
date of proclamation (June 30, 1995) or the date of election (May 8, effectively rebutted by Lee. Furthermore, it is basic that such
1995) or date of filing his certificate of candidacy (March 20, 1995) findings of the Commission are conclusive upon this Court, absent
would become moot. any showing of capriciousness or arbitrariness or abuse.52

Based on the foregoing, any question regarding Frivaldo's status as The Second Issue: Is Lack of Citizenship a Continuing
a registered voter would also be deemed settled. Inasmuch as he is Disqualification?
considered as having been repatriatedi.e., his Filipino citizenship
restored as of August 17, 1994, his previous registration as a voter
Lee contends that the May 1,1995 Resolution53 of the Comelec
is likewise deemed validated as of said date.
Second Division in SPA No. 95-028 as affirmed in toto by
Comelec En Banc in its Resolution of May 11, 1995 "became final
It is not disputed that on January 20, 1983 Frivaldo became an and executory after five (5) days or on May 17,1995, no restraining
American. Would the retroactivity of his repatriation not effectively order having been issued by this Honorable Court."54 Hence, before
give him dual citizenship, which under Sec. 40 of the Local Lee "was proclaimed as the elected governor on June 30, 1995,
Government Code would disqualify him "from running for any there was already a final and executory judgment disqualifying"
elective local position?"49 We answer this question in the negative, Frivaldo. Lee adds that this Court's two rulings (which Frivaldo now
as there is cogent reason to hold that Frivaldo was really concedes were legally "correct") declaring Frivaldo an alien have
also become final and executory way before the 1995 elections, citizenship is generally not considered res judicata, hence it has to
and these "judicial pronouncements of his political status as an be threshed out again and again, as the occasion demands."
American citizen absolutely and for all time disqualified (him) from
running for, and holding any public office in the Philippines." The Third Issue: Comelec's Jurisdiction
Over The Petition in SPC No. 95-317
We do not agree.
Lee also avers that respondent Comelec had no jurisdiction to
It should be noted that our first ruling in G.R. No. 87193
entertain the petition in SPC No. 95-317 because the only "possible
disqualifying Frivaldo was rendered in connection with the 1988
types of proceedings that may be entertained by the Comelec are a
elections while that in G.R. No. 104654 was in connection with the
pre-proclamation case, an election protest or a quo warranto case."
1992 elections. That he was disqualified for such elections is final
Again, Lee reminds us that he was proclaimed on June 30, 1995
and can no longer be changed. In the words of the respondent
but that Frivaldo filed SPC No. 95-317 questioning his (Lee's)
Commission (Second Division) in its assailed Resolution:55
proclamation only on July 6, 1995 "beyond the 5-day reglementary
"The records show that the Honorable Supreme Court had decided period." Hence, according to him, Frivaldo's "recourse was to file
that Frivaldo was not a Filipino citizen and thus disqualified for the either an election protest or a quo warranto action."
purpose of the 1988 and 1992 elections. However, there is no
This argument is not meritorious. The Constitution57 has given
record of any 'final judgment' of the disqualification of Frivaldo as a
the Comelec ample power to "exercise exclusive original jurisdiction
candidate for the May 8, 1995 elections. What the Commission said
over all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications
in its Order of June 21, 1995 (implemented on June 30,
of all elective x x x provincial x x x officials." Instead of dwelling at
1995), directing the proclamation of Raul R. Lee, was that Frivaldo
length on the various petitions that Comelec, in the exercise of its
was not a Filipino citizen 'having been declared by the Supreme
constitutional prerogatives, may entertain, suffice
Court in its Order dated March 25, 1995, not a citizen of the
Philippines.' This declaration of the Supreme Court, however, was it to say that this Court has invariably recognized the
in connection with the 1992 elections." Commission's authority to hear and decide petitions for annulment
of proclamations of which SPC No. 95-317 obviously is
Indeed, decisions declaring the acquisition or denial of one.58Thus, in Mentang vs. COMELEC,59 we ruled:
citizenship cannot govern a person's future status with finality. This
is because a person may subsequently reacquire, or for that matter "The petitioner argues that after proclamation and assumption of
office, a pre-proclamation controversy is no longer viable. Indeed,
lose, his citizenship under any of the modes recognized by law for
the purpose. Hence, in Lee vs. Commissioner of Immigration,56 we we are aware of cases holding that pre-proclamation controversies
held: may no longer be entertained by the COMELEC after the winning
candidate has been proclaimed, (citing Gallardo vs. Rimando, 187
"Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or indispensable SCRA 463; Salvacion vs. COMELEC, 170 SCRA 513;
in a judicial or administrative case, whatever the corresponding Casimiro vs. COMELEC, 171 SCRA 468.) This rule, however, is
court or administrative authority decides therein as to such premised on an assumption that the proclamation is no
proclamation at all and the proclaimed candidate's assumption of
office cannot deprive the COMELEC of the power to make such "But this is not the situation obtaining in the instant dispute. It has
declaration of nullity. (citing Aguam vs. COMELEC, 23 SCRA 883; not been shown, and none was alleged, that petitioner Labo was
Agbayani vs. COMELEC, 186 SCRA 484.)" notoriously known as an ineligible candidate, much less the
electorate as having known of such fact. On the contrary, petitioner
The Court however cautioned that such power to annul a Labo was even allowed by no less than the Comelec itself in its
proclamation must "be done within ten (10) days following the resolution dated May 10, 1992 to be voted for the office of
proclamation." Inasmuch as Frivaldo's petition was filed only six (6) the city mayor as its resolution dated May 9,1992 denying due
days after Lee's proclamation, there is no question that the course to petitioner Labo's certificate of candidacy had not yet
Comelec correctly acquired jurisdiction over the same. become final and subject to the final outcome of this case."
The Fourth Issue: Was Lee's Proclamation Valid The last-quoted paragraph in Labo, unfortunately for Lee, is the
ruling appropriate in this case because Frivaldo was in 1995 in an
Frivaldo assails the validity of the Lee proclamation. We uphold identical situation as Labo was in 1992 when the Comelec's
him for the following reasons: cancellation of his certificate of candidacy was not yet final on
election day as there was in both cases a pending motion for
First. To paraphrase this Court in Labo vs. COMELEC,60 "the fact reconsideration, for which reason Comelec issued an (omnibus)
remains that he (Lee) was not the choice of the sovereign will," and resolution declaring that Frivaldo (like Labo in 1992) and several
in Aquino vs. COMELEC,61 Lee is "a second placer, xxx just that, a others can still be voted for in the May 8, 1995 election, as in fact,
second placer." he was.

In spite of this, Lee anchors his claim to the governorship on Furthermore, there has been no sufficient evidence presented
the pronouncement of this Court in the aforesaid Labo62 case, as to show that the electorate of Sorsogon was "fully aware in fact and
follows: in law" of Frivaldo's alleged disqualification as to "bring such
awareness within the realm of notoriety", in other words, that the
"The rule would have been different if the electorate fully aware in voters intentionally wasted their ballots knowing that, in spite of their
fact and in law of a candidate's disqualification so as to bring such voting for him, he was ineligible. If Labo has any relevance at all, it
awareness within the realm of notoriety, would nonetheless cast is that the vice-governor and not Leeshould be proclaimed, since in
their votes in favor of the ineligible candidate. In such case, the losing the election, Lee was, to paraphrase Labo again, "obviously
electorate may be said to have waived the validity and efficacy of not the choice of the people" of Sorsogon. This is the emphatic
their votes by notoriously misapplying their franchise or throwing teaching of Labo:
away their votes, in which case, the eligible candidate obtaining the
next higher number of votes may be deemed elected." "The rule, therefore, is: the ineligibility of a candidate receiving
majority votes does not entitle the eligible candidate receiving the
next highest number of votes to be declared elected. A minority or
But such holding is qualified by the next paragraph, thus:
defeated candidate cannot be deemed elected to the office."
Second. As we have earlier declared Frivaldo to have reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an
seasonably re-acquired his citizenship and inasmuch as he election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the -
obtained the highest number of votes in the 1995 elections, henot winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission
Lee should be proclaimed. Hence, Lee's proclamation was patently shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or
erroneous and should now be corrected. protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may
during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
The Fifth Issue: Is Section 78 of the Election Code Mandatory? proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt
is strong." (Italics supplied)
In G.R. No. 120295, Frivaldo claims that the assailed
Resolution of the Comelec (Second Division) dated May 1, 1995 Refutation of Mr. Justice Davide's Dissent
and the confirmatory en banc Resolution of May 11, 1995
disqualifying him for want of citizenship should be annulled because
In his dissenting opinion, the esteemed Mr. Justice Hilario G.
they were rendered beyond the fifteen (15) day period prescribed
Davide, Jr. argues that President Aquino's memorandum dated
by Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code which reads as follows:
March 27, 1987 should be viewed as a suspension (not a repeal, as
"Section 78. Petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of urged by Lee) of P.D. 725. But whether it decrees a suspension or
candidacy. A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to a repeal is a purely academic distinction because the said issuance
cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person is not a statute that can amend or abrogate an existing law. The
exclusively on the ground that any material representation existence and subsistence of P.D. 725 were recognized in the first
contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. The Frivaldo case;64 viz, "(u)nder CA No. 63 as amended by CA No. 473
petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from and P.D. No. 725, Philippine citizenship maybe reacquired by xxx
the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be repatriation" He also contends that by allowing Frivaldo to register
decided after notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before and to remain as a registered voter, the Comelec and in effect this
the election" (italics supplied.) Court abetted a "mockery" of our two previous judgments declaring
him a non-citizen. We do not see such abetting or mockery. The
This claim is now moot and academic inasmuch as these retroactivity of his repatriation, as discussed earlier, legally cured
resolutions are deemed superseded by the subsequent ones issued whatever defects there may have been in his registration as a voter
by the Commission (First Division) on December 19, 1995, for the purpose of the 1995 elections. Such retroactivity did not
affirmed en banc63 on February 23, 1996, which both upheld his change his disqualifications in 1988 and 1992, which were the
election. At any rate, it is obvious that Section 78 is merely directory subjects of such previous rulings.
as Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 authorizes the Commission to try and
Mr. Justice Davide also believes that Quo Warranto is not the
decide petitions for disqualifications even after the elections, thus: sole remedy to question the ineligibility of a candidate, citing the
"SEC. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. Any candidate who has Comelec's authority under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted Code allowing the denial of a certificate of candidacy on the ground
for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any of a false material representation therein as required by Section 74.
Citing Loong, he then states his disagreement with our holding that citizenship." Since our courts are charged only with the duty of the
Section 78 is merely directory. We really have no quarrel. Our point determining who are Philippine nationals, we cannot rule on the
is that Frivaldo was in error in his claim in G.R. No. 120295 that the legal question of who are or who are not Americans. It is basic in
Comelec Resolutions promulgated on May 1, 1995 and May 11, international law that a State determines ONLY those who are its
1995 were invalid because they were issued "not later than fifteen own citizens not who are the citizens of other countries.65 The issue
days before the election" as prescribed by Section 78. In dismissing here is: the Comelec made a finding of fact that Frivaldo was
the petition in G.R. No. 120295, we hold that the Comelec did not stateless and such finding has not been shown by Lee to be
commit grave abuse of discretion because "Section 6 of R. A. 6646 arbitrary or whimsical. Thus, following settled case law, such finding
authorizes the Comelec to try and decide disqualifications even is binding and final.
after the elections." In spite of his disagreement with us on this
point, i.e., that Section 78 "is merely directory," we note that just like The dissenting opinion also submits that Lee who lost by
us, Mr. Justice Davide nonetheless votes to "DISMISS G.R. No. chasmic margins to Frivaldo in all three previous elections, should
120295." One other point. Loong, as quoted in the dissent, teaches be declared winner because "Frivaldo's ineligibility for being an
that a petition to deny due course under Section 78 must American was publicly known." First, there is absolutely no
be filed within the 25-day period prescribed therein. The present empirical evidence for such "public" knowledge. Second, even if
case however deals with the period during which the Comelec there is, such knowledge can be true post facto only of the last two
previous elections. Third, even the Comelec and now this Court
may decide such petition. And we hold that it may be decided even
after the fifteen day period mentioned in Section 78. Here, we rule were/are still deliberating on his nationality before, during and after
that a decision promulgated by the Comelec even after the the 1995 elections. How then can there be such "public" knowledge?
elections is valid but Loong held that a petition filed beyond the 25- Mr. Justice Davide submits that Section 39 of the Local
day period is out of time. There is no inconsistency nor conflict. Government Code refers to the qualifications of elective local
officials, i.e., candidates, and not elected officials, and that the
Mr. Justice Davide also disagrees with the Court's holding that,
given the unique factual circumstances of Frivaldo, repatriation may citizenship qualification [under par. (a) of that section] must be
be given retroactive effect. He argues that such retroactivity possessed by candidates, not merely at the commencement of the
"dilutes" our holding in the first Frivaldo case. But the first (and even term, but by election day at the latest. We see it differently. Section
the second Frivaldo) decision did not directly involve repatriation as 39, par. (a) thereof speaks of "elective local official" while par. (b) to
(f) refer to "candidates." If the qualifications under par. (a) were
a mode of acquiring citizenship. If we may repeat, there is no
question that Frivaldo was not a Filipino for purposes of determining intended to apply to "candidates" and not elected officials, the
his qualifications in the 1988 and 1992 elections. That is settled. But legislature would have said so, instead of differentiating par. (a)
his supervening repatriation has changed his political status not in from the rest of the paragraphs. Secondly, if Congress had meant
1988 or 1992, but only in the 1995 elections. that the citizenship qualification should be possessed at election
day or prior thereto, it would have specifically stated such detail, the
Our learned colleague also disputes our holding that Frivaldo same way it did in pars. (b) to (f) for other qualifications of
was stateless prior to his repatriation, saying that "informal candidates for governor, mayor, etc.
renunciation or abandonment is not a ground to lose American
Mr. Justice Davide also questions the giving of retroactive In sum, we rule that the citizenship requirement in the Local
effect to Frivaldo's repatriation on the ground, among others, that Government Code is to be possessed by an elective official at the
the law specifically provides that it is only after taking the oath of latest as of the time he is proclaimed and at the start of the term of
allegiance that applicants shall be deemed to have reacquired office to which he has been elected. We further hold P.D. No. 725
Philippine citizenship. We do not question what the provision states. to be in full force and effect up to the present, not having been
We hold however that the provision should be understood thus: that suspended or repealed expressly nor impliedly at any time, and
after taking the oath of allegiance the applicant is deemed to have Frivaldo's repatriation by virtue thereof to have been properly
reacquired Philippine citizenship, which reacquisition (or repatriation) granted and thus valid and effective. Moreover, by reason of the
is deemed for all purposes and intents to have retroacted to the remedial or curative nature of the law granting him a new right to
date of his application therefor. resume his political status and the legislative intent behind it, as
well as his unique situation of having been forced to give up his
In any event, our "so too" argument regarding the literal citizenship and political aspiration as his means of escaping a
meaning of the word "elective" in reference to Section 39 of the regime he abhorred, his repatriation is to be given retroactive effect
Local Government Code, as well as regarding Mr. Justice Davide's as of the date of his application therefor, during the pendency of
thesis that the very wordings of P.D. 725 suggest non-retroactivity, which he was stateless, he having given ' up his U. S. nationality.
were already taken up rather extensively earlier in this Decision. Thus, in contemplation of law, he possessed the vital requirement
Mr. Justice Davide caps his paper with a clarion call: "This of Filipino citizenship as of the start of the term of office of governor,
Court must be the first to uphold the Rule of Law." We agree we and should have been proclaimed instead of Lee. Furthermore,
must all follow the rule of law. But that is NOT the issue here. The since his reacquisition of citizenship retroacted to August 17, 1994,
issue is how should the law be interpreted and applied in this case his registration as a voter of Sorsogon is deemed to have been
so it can be followed, so it can rule! validated as of said date as well. The foregoing, of course, are
precisely consistent with our holding that lack of the citizenship
At balance, the question really boils down to a choice of requirement is not a continuing disability or disqualification to run for
philosophy and perception of how to interpret and apply laws and hold public office. And once again, we emphasize herein our
relating to elections: literal or liberal; the letter or the spirit; the previous rulings recognizing the Comelec's authority and jurisdiction
naked provision or its ultimate purpose; legal syllogism or to hear and decide petitions for annulment of proclamations.
substantial justice; in isolation or in the context of social conditions;
harshly against or gently in favor of the voters' obvious choice. In This Court has time and again liberally and equitably construed
applying election laws, it would be far better to err in favor of the electoral laws of our country to give fullest effect to the manifest
popular sovereignty than to be right in complex but little understood will of our people,66 for in case of doubt, political laws must be
legalisms. Indeed, to inflict a thrice rejected candidate upon the
interpreted to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely
electorate of Sorsogon would constitute unmitigated judicial tyranny expressed through the ballot. Otherwise stated, legal niceties and
and an unacceptable assault upon this Court's conscience. technicalities cannot stand in the way of the sovereign will.
EPILOGUE Consistently, we have held:
"x x x (L)aws governing election contests must be liberally sometimes harsh anachronisms of the law in order to evoke
construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of substantial justice in the larger social context consistent with
public officials may not be defeated by mere technical objections Frivaldo's unique situation approximating venerability in Philippine
(citations omitted)."67 political life. Concededly, he sought American citizenship only to
escape the clutches of the dictatorship. At this stage, we cannot
The law and the courts must accord Frivaldo every possible seriously entertain any doubt about his loyalty and dedication to this
protection, defense and refuge, in deference to the popular will. country. At the first opportunity, he returned to this land, and sought
Indeed, this Court has repeatedly stressed the importance of giving to serve his people once more. The people of Sorsogon
effect to the sovereign will in order to ensure the survival of our overwhelmingly voted for him three times. He took an oath of
democracy. In any action involving the possibility of a reversal of allegiance to this Republic every time he filed his certificate of
the popular electoral choice, this Court must exert utmost effort to candidacy and during his failed naturalization bid. And let it not be
resolve the issues in a manner that would give effect to the will of overlooked, his demonstrated tenacity and sheer determination to
the majority, for it is merely sound public policy to cause elective re-assume his nationality of birth despite several legal set-backs
offices to be filled by those who are the choice of the majority. To speak more loudly, in spirit, in fact and in truth than any legal
successfully challenge a winning candidate's qualifications, the technicality, of his consuming intention and burning desire to re-
petitioner must clearly demonstrate that the ineligibility is so embrace his native Philippines even now at the ripe old age of 81
patently antagonistic68 to constitutional and legal principles that years. Such loyalty to and love of country as well as nobility of
overriding such ineligibility and thereby giving effect to the apparent purpose cannot be lost on this Court of justice and equity. Mortals
will of the people, would ultimately create greater prejudice to the of lesser mettle would have given up. After all, Frivaldo was
very democratic institutions and juristic traditions that our assured of a life of ease and plenty as a citizen of the most powerful
Constitution and laws so zealously protect and promote. In this country in the world. But he opted, nay, single-mindedly insisted on
undertaking, Lee has miserably failed. returning to and serving once more his struggling but beloved land
In Frivaldo's case, it would have been technically easy to find of birth. He therefore deserves every liberal interpretation of the law
fault with his cause. The Court could have refused to grant which can be applied in his favor. And in the final analysis, over and
retroactivity to the effects of his repatriation and hold him still above Frivaldo himself, the indomitable people of Sorsogon most
ineligible due to his failure to show his citizenship at the time he certainly deserve to be governed by a leader of their overwhelming
registered as a voter before the 1995 elections. Or, it could have choice.
disputed the factual findings of the Comelec that he was stateless WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing:
at the time of repatriation and thus hold his consequent dual (1) The petition in G.R. No. 123755 is hereby DISMISSED. The
citizenship as a disqualification "from running for any elective local assailed Resolutions of the respondent Commission are
position." But the real essence of justice does not emanate from AFFIRMED.
quibblings over patchwork legal technicality. It proceeds from the (2) The petition in G.R. No. 120295 is also DISMISSED for
spirit's gut consciousness of the dynamic role of law as a brick in being moot and academic. In any event, it has no merit.
the ultimate development of the social edifice. Thus, the Court No costs.
struggled against and eschewed the easy, legalistic, technical and SO ORDERED.
EN BANC The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
[G.R. No. 88177 : December 4, 1990.]
Petitioner Paredes entered the government service in July 1950 as
192 SCRA 84 a public school teacher. Later she transferred to the General
Auditing Office as Auditing Clerk detailed at the Philippine Tobacco
DOLORES A. PAREDES, Petitioner, vs. CIVIL SERVICE
Administration. On November 16, 1977, she joined the then Human
COMMISSION AND REMEDIOS A. AMOR, Respondents.
Settlements Regulatory Commission 2 (HSRC for brevity) as
[G.R. No. 89530 : December 4, 1990.] Project Officer II. She was promoted to H.S. Project Officer III on
192 SCRA 84 July 1980 then to H.S. Project Officer II on December 1, 1981. On
October 1, 1985 she was extended a promotional appointment as
DOLORES A. PAREDES, Petitioner, vs. CIVIL SERVICE H.S. Project Supervisor.
COMMISSION, MERIT SYSTEMS PROTECTION BOARD AND
REMEDIOS A. AMOR, Respondents. On December 30, 1985, private respondent Atty. Remedios A.
Amor, H.S. Project Officer IV, contested the promotional
appointment of petitioner Paredes as H.S. Project Supervisor, on
DECISION the ground that she is the qualified next-in-rank pursuant to Section
9 (16) and (20) of P.D. 807 and the Qualification Standards of the
HSRC. The case was docketed as HSRC Protest Case No. 86-01.
PARAS, J.: On January 14, 1986, HSRC Commissioner and Chief Executive
Officer Ernesto C. Mendiola, rendered a decision dismissing private
respondent Amor's protest as it was filed five days beyond the
Submitted for decision are the separate petitions fifteen (15) day reglementary period provided under Section 10 of
for Certiorari questioning the following resolutions 1 of the public Rule IV of the Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Commissioner
respondent Civil Service Commission, viz: Mendiola stated that (1) the contested appointment dated October 1,
In G.R. No. 88177, petitioner Dolores Paredes assails resolution No. 1985 was issued and posted on the Commission's Bulletin Board
89-072 dated February 6, 1989, sustaining the decision of the Merit on November 13, 1985, but private respondent Amor filed her
Systems Protection Board (MSPB) directing the revocation of her protest only on December 3, 1985; (2) private respondent Amor is
appointment as HS Project Coordinator in the Housing and Land not among the top six next-in-rank candidates recommended by the
Use Regulatory Board and declaring the said position vacant. Selection and Promotion Board; and (3) pursuant to Resolution 85-
132 dated April 11, 1985 of the Civil Service Commission petitioner
In G.R. No. 89530, petitioner Paredes assails resolution No. 89-276 Paredes can be extended a promotional appointment as H.S.
dated April 27, 1989, affirming the decision of the Merit Systems Project Supervisor because although she is only a holder of a two
Protection Board dated April 22, 1988, dismissing all charges year Elementary Teachers Certificate her educational deficiency
against Atty. Remedios A. Amor except habitual tardiness for which can be substituted with her 31 years of service in the government
the latter was reprimanded and warned that a repetition of the same the greater part of which has been in the supervisory level (Rollo, p.
in the future would be dealt with more severely.:-cralaw 163).
On January 21, 1986, private respondent appealed the decision of which she has originally protested but also to the higher and more
Commissioner Mendiola to the Office of the President. In the First responsible position of HS Program Coordinator which she recently
Indorsement dated August 12, 1986, the Office of the President protested. It is hereby directed that Atty. Amor be appointed to the
requested public respondent to comment on the appeal pursuant to position of HS Program Coordinator in the Housing and Land Use
Section 19(6) of P.D. 807. On September 9, 1987, the MSPB Regulatory Board (HLURB), immediately.
requested the Office of the President to forward the record of the
"Let a copy hereof be furnished the Chief Executive Officer, HLURB,
case to the former pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order
the contending parties, the Commission on Audit (COA), and the
135 dated February 27, 1987, which repealed Memorandum
CSC Field Office, Malacañang, Manila, for their information." (Rollo,
Circular dated June 4, 1985 of the Office of the President.
pp. 65-66).
On September 21, 1987, by way of comment on the appeal,
In arriving at the above stated decision, the MSPB opined that the
Commissioner Mendiola in his Second Indorsement reiterated his
contested position specifically requires a lawyer, architect, engineer
decision dated January 14, 1986. He also opined that the appeal
or a holder of a masteral degree for appointment thereto; that
may be considered moot and academic because petitioner was
petitioner's length of service in the government cannot be used to
promoted to the position of HS Program Coordinator effective
make up for her educational deficiency; that even if the two year
August 17, 1987 (Rollo, pp. 62-63, Annex G, Petition G.R. No.
educational requirement can be substituted, petitioner is only a
88177).
holder of a two year elementary teachers certificate so that she is
In her letter dated October 26, 1987, private respondent Amor again still one year short of the minimum educational requirement of the
protested the promotional appointment of petitioner Paredes as HS contested position as provided in the HSRC Qualification Standards
Program Coordinator arguing that the latter is not qualified for the contained in its Merit Promotion Plan and System of Ranking
said position.: nad positions approved by the Commission in its Resolution No. 84-215
dated June 28, 1984; that although the appointing authority has a
On January 4, 1988, the MSPB rendered its decision, the
wide latitude of discretion the same is not absolute; that in the
dispositive portion of which provides, viz:
exercise of discretion the appointing authority should be guided by
"WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is found meritorious. The the Civil Service Law and Rules.
decision appealed from is hereby reversed. Protestee-appellee
In her motion for reconsideration dated January 21, 1988, petitioner
Dolores A. Paredes is found not at all qualified for the contested
alleged inter alia, that the HSRC has no approved Qualification
position of HS Project Supervisor as well as of the higher position of
Standards; that the CSC Resolution No. 84-215 dated June 28,
HS Program Coordinator which she presently occupies. Accordingly,
1984 approved only the HSRC's Merit Promotion Plan and the
the CSC approval on said appointments are hereby revoked and
System of Ranking Position; that the Qualification Standards is
the subject appointment is consequently considered ineffective. She
separate from the Merit Promotion Plan and the System of Ranking
should be reverted to her former position of HS Project Officer IV,
Position; that the promotional appointments of petitioner are legal.
the validity of which does not have to be decided here. Protestant-
appellant Remedios A. Amor is found to be the competent and On April 25, 1988, the MSPB denied for lack of merit petitioner's
qualified next-in-rank not only to the Project Supervisor position motion for reconsideration. It noted that the Personnel Officer III of
HSRC forwarded to the Office of the President a duly certified copy the issuance of Passport No. A-161889 that she had no occupation
of the HSRC Qualification Standards (Rollo, pp. 80-83, G.R. No. when at that she was already employed with the HSRC; that on
88177). February 27, 1984, she again misrepresented and/or falsely stated
in her application for the issuance of Passport No. A-0640312 that
On appeal the Civil Service Commission ruled that although the
she had no occupation when she was and still is an employee of
HLURB Qualification Standards has not been approved it can be
HSRC; that on July 31, 1984 private respondent Amor secured a
used as a basis for recruitment and promotion in order not to
medical certificate issued by a government physician that she is
jeopardize the operations of the office. Accordingly, it issued
suffering from acute pneumonitis requiring complete rest for at least
Resolution No. 89-072 dated February 1, 1989, the dispositive
two months; that the medical certificate contained false information
portion of which reads, viz:
as she was not ill, the fact that she reported to work from July 31,
"WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing premises, the 1984 to August 3, 1984 and she travelled to the United States from
Commission resolved to set aside, as it hereby sets aside the August 8, 1984 to September 30, 1984; that using the medical
MSPB decision No. 1529 directing the revocation of the certificate she filed on August 3, 1984 an application for sick leave
appointment of Mrs. Dolores A. Paredes as H.S. Project of absence for two months enabling her to collect her salary for the
Coordinator and the appointment of Atty. Remedios A. Amor to the said period; that private respondent Amor in a pleading she filed
position of H.S. Program Coordinator. Accordingly, the position of with the HSRC attached a certificate of authority to travel to the
H.S. Program Coordinator in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory United States purportedly issued on August 3, 1984 by the then
Board, is declared vacant. It must be filled in by a qualified applicant Deputy Presidential Executive Assistant Joaquin Venus, Jr.; that
subject to the discretion of the proper appointing authority and the said authority to travel is false because there is no record on file in
requirements of the Civil Service Law and Rules." (Rollo, p. 3). the Office of the President aside from the fact that she could not
On April 1, 1989, the Civil Service Commission issued Resolution have filed an application for such authority to travel as an employee
No. 89-265 denying for lack of merit petitioner's motion for of the government because in her passport application she had no
reconsideration (Rollo, pp. 161-162, G.R. No. 88177). Hence, the occupation; that an examination of her daily time record will show
instant petition for Certiorari which was docketed as G.R. No. 88177. that she was habitually tardy in reporting to work; that despite her
employment as Med-Arbiter in the Ministry of Labor and later as
Meanwhile, on May 7, 1986, petitioner Paredes filed a sworn Project Officer II in the HSRC she appeared as counsel de oficio
complaint against private respondent Amor for falsification of official before Branch XXX, RTC, Pasay City, without proper authority, in
documents, dishonesty, violation of Civil Service Law and violation of Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Accordingly,
reasonable office Rules and Regulations, habitual tardiness, petitioner prayed for an investigation and thereafter the dismissal
conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and for being from the service of private respondent Amor.
notoriously undesirable. In her complaint she alleged, among others,
that as Head of the Administrative Services Department of the In her answer dated June 18, 1986, private respondent Amor
HSRC it is her duty to monitor observance of Civil Service rules and denied the charges and countered that the same is only a
regulations among the employees of HSRC; that on October 17, retaliatory measure intended to harass and intimidate her as she
1979 private respondent Amor falsely stated in her application for protested the promotional appointment of petitioner Paredes. She
also pointed out that her passport application which is the basis of
the complaint is filed by her in her personal capacity and not in any presented as a witness. Thus, it ruled that the doctor's findings that
way related to the performance of her official functions. On the private respondent Amor is suffering from acute pneumonitis
medical certificate and the Malacañang clearance she argued that requiring her to rest for at least two months cannot be regarded as
they were issued by public officials so said documents carry with false just because she reported to work from August 1 to 3, 1984.
them the presumption that they were regularly issued. (Rollo, p. 71, As regards the certificate of authority to travel the MSPB found
G.R. No. 89530). nothing irregular, apart from the fact that Deputy Presidential
Executive Assistant Venus was not presented to deny the
Finding the existence of a prima facie case against private
genuineness of his signature.
respondent Amor, Jezarene C. Aquino, Legal Officer, HSRC,
recommended that to resolve all doubts of partiality the case be Not satisfied with the decision of the MSPB, petitioner Paredes
forwarded to the Civil Service Commission for trial on the merits. interposed an appeal to the Civil Service Commission. In its
Pursuant to CSC Memorandum Circular No. 6, Series of 1978, Resolution No. 89-276 dated April 27, 1989, the Civil Service
implementing PD No. 1409, then Commissioner Mendiola Commission dismissed the appeal on the ground that petitioner
requested in his letter dated June 25, 1986 that the said Paredes is not the party adversely affected by the decision. Citing
administrative case be taken cognizance of by the Merit System Section 39(a) of Presidential Decree No. 807, it ruled that the
Protection Board.:- nad parties who can appeal in an administrative case are the
government and the respondent. In its Resolution No. 89-534 dated
After hearing and the submission of the parties' memoranda, the
July 28, 1989, denying petitioner Paredes' motion for
MSPB rendered its decisions dated April 22, 1988, absolving
reconsideration, the Civil Service Commission stressed that the
private respondent Amor of all charges except for habitual tardiness.
party adversely affected under Section 30(a) of P.D 807 had been
Considering that habitual tardiness is a light offense and the
consistently interpreted to refer to the respondent against whom an
evidence on record does not show that she was previously warned,
adverse decision had been rendered or the Department or Agency
private respondent Amor was only reprimanded and warned that a
concerned and not the complainant. The complainant after the filing
repetition would be dealt with more severely (Rollo, pp. 54-59, G.R.
of the complaint is relegated to the status of a complaining witness
No. 89530).
as the offense is committed against the government (Rollo, pp. 45-
In absolving private respondent Amor of the administrative charge 53, G.R. 89530). Hence, the instant petition for Certiorari which was
of falsification of official document, the MSPB opined that no docketed as G.R. No. 89530.
credible evidence was presented and formally offered to prove the
In its En Banc Resolution dated September 28, 1989, this Court
charges. It noted that the person who issued the certification
resolved (1) to consolidate the above entitled cases (2) to give due
containing the entry in private respondent Amor's passport
course to the petitions (3) to consider the comment as answer and
application that she has no occupation was not presented in the
(4) to require the parties to file their memoranda within twenty days
hearing; that the entry on occupation was merely typewritten and
from notice (Rollo, p. 76). In compliance therewith, all the parties
the other entries are all printed; that the PR verification slip
filed their respective memoranda.
presented as evidence did not contain information indicating the
source thereof and the signature of person issuing it. As to the Cited as grounds for the allowance of the petition in G.R. No. 88177
medical certificate, it noted that the issuing physician was not are the following:
I III
A QUALIFICATION STANDARDS NOT BROUGHT INTO THE PETITIONER IS NOT PRECLUDED FROM DISPUTING THE
EXISTENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AS ITS WORDS TOTALLY BASELESS, UNLAWFUL AND PREJUDICED
EXPLICITLY STATE CANNOT BE THE BASIS FOR ANNULLING DECISION RENDERED BY THE RESPONDENT BOARD.
THE PROMOTIONAL APPOINTMENTS EXTENDED TO THE
IV
PETITIONER.
THE RESPONDENT BOARD AS WELL AS THE RESPONDENT
II
COMMISSION HAD COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AS TO AMOUNT TO LACK OF JURISDICTION
DISCRETION AS TO AMOUNT TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN THEREBY WARRANTING THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT
HOLDING THAT THE APPOINTING AUTHORITY, IN OF CERTIORARI.
EXERCISING THE WIDE LATITUDE OF DISCRETION
The primary issue for resolution in G.R. No. 88177 is whether or not
ACCORDED TO IT IN APPOINTMENTS, IS BOUND BY A
the public respondent committed a grave abuse of discretion when
QUALIFICATIONS STANDARD WHICH HAS NOT BEEN
it sustained the revocation of petitioner Paredes' appointment as
BROUGHT INTO EXISTENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW.
HS Project Coordinator and in declaring the said position vacant.
III
For an act of a court or tribunal to be considered as committed in
THE PETITIONER IS WELL-QUALIFIED FOR THE grave abuse of discretion the same must be performed in a
PROMOTIONAL APPOINTMENTS AWARDED TO HER capricious and whimsical manner as tantamount to lack of
CONSIDERING HER LONG YEARS OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as
QUALIFICATIONS AS A PUBLIC SERVANT. where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by
reason of passion or personal hostility as to amount to an evasion
Likewise, in G.R. No. 89530 petitioner Paredes cited the following
of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by
grounds for the allowance of her petition, viz:
law or to act in contemplation and within the bounds of law (Carson
I et al. v. Judge Pantamosos, Jr., G.R. No. 75934, December 13,
THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IN THE HEARINGS OUGHT TO 1989; Intestate Estate of Carmen de Luna v. Intermediate Appellate
HAVE OVERWHELMINGLY ESTABLISHED THE GUILT OF THE Court, G.R. 72424, February 13, 1989; People v. Manuel, 11 SCRA
PRIVATE RESPONDENT FOR THE OFFENSES IMPUTED TO 618). Failure on the part of the petitioner to show grave abuse of
HER. discretion will result in the dismissal of the petition (Del Rosario v.
Subido, 31 SCRA 382).
II
It is not disputed that the Qualification Standards which the HSRC
THE RESPONDENT BOARD RENDERED AN ADMINISTRATIVE formulated sometime in February 1989 was submitted to the public
DETERMINATION WHICH IS CONTRARY TO THE TENETS OF respondent and returned to the HLURB in June 1984 together with
DUE PROCESS OF LAW.: rd the approved Merit Promotion Plan (Private Respondent's
Comment, Rollo, p. 161, G.R. No. 88177). The absence of the Based on the above provisions of law a Qualification Standard
approved Qualification Standards was attested to no less by prescribes for the minimum qualification requirement in terms of
Director Antonio M. Hocan, Office of Career System and Standards, education, Civil Service eligibility, training, experience, physical
Civil Service Commission, in his letter dated January 13, 1988 fitness and other qualities for appointment to a particular position as
addressed to Commissioner Ernesto Mendiola (Rollo, pp. 165, G.R. determined by the appointing authority. A Qualification Standard is
No. 88177). to be established or formulated by the Department or agency
concerned but must be approved by the Civil Service Commission.
Section 20 of Article III on Personnel Policies and Standards under
Approval is required by law because the Civil Service Commission
Presidential Decree No. 807 dated October 6, 1975, expressly
is the central personnel agency of the government entrusted with
mandates that:
the enforcement of laws relative to the selection, promotion and
"SEC. 20. Qualification Standards. — (1) A qualification discipline of civil servants. Once approved, the Qualification
standard expresses the minimum requirements for a class of Standards shall be used as guides in appointment and in the
positions in terms of education, training and experience, civil adjudication of contested appointments.
service eligibility, physical fitness, and other qualities
In the case at bar, it may be conceded that in the exercise of its
required for successful performance. The degree of
quasi-judicial functions, the public respondent Civil Service
qualifications of an officer or employee shall be determined
Commission committed an error in applying the Qualification
by the appointing authority on the basis of the qualification
Standards which it admitted it has not approved. Exigency of the
standard for the particular position.
service does not justify the use of Qualification Standard it has not
"Qualification standards shall be used as basis for civil approved. However, the error is not so grave as would warrant the
service examinations for positions in the career service, as nullification of its resolution declaring the position of H.S. Project
guides in appointment and other personnel actions, in the Coordinator vacant. The absence of a Qualification Standard does
adjudication of protested appointments, in determining not justify the appointment of petitioner Paredes or any body for that
training needs, and as aid in the inspection and audit for the matter to the contested position. Without a duly approved
agencies personnel work programs. Qualification Standard it would be extremely difficult if not
"It shall be administered in such manner as to continually impossible for the appointing authority to determine the qualification
provide incentives to officers and employees towards and fitness of the applicant for the particular position. Without an
professional growth and foster the career system in the approved Qualification Standard the appointing authority would
government service. have no basis or guide in extending a promotional or original
appointment in filling up vacant positions in its department or
"(2) The establishment, administration and maintenance of agency. Public interest therefore requires that a Qualification
qualification standards shall be the responsibility of the Standard must exist to guide the appointing authority not only in
department or agency, with the assistance and approval of extending an appointment but also in setting contested
the Civil Service Commission and the consultation with the appointments.
Wage and Position Classification Office.": nad
Here the appointing authority erroneously assumed that the ascertain the law applicable to determine whether or not the party
Qualification Standard it had formulated in February, 1984, had can appeal the order or decision.:-cralaw
been approved when it was returned in June, 1984, by public
Section 37 of Presidential Decree No. 807 provides, viz:
respondent together with the approved Merit Promotion Plan. The
unapproved Qualification Standard was apparently used by "SEC. 37. — (a) The Commission shall decide upon appeal
Commissioner Mendiola in appointing petitioner Paredes as its all administrative disciplinary cases involving the imposition
Project Supervisor effective October 1, 1985, because in dismissing of a penalty of suspension for more than thirty days salary,
private respondent Amor's protest he ruled, among others, that demotion in rank or salary or transfer, removal or dismissal
although petitioner Paredes is only a holder of a two year from office. A complaint may be filed directly with the
Elementary Teacher's Certificate, her educational deficiency can be Commission by a private citizen against a government
substituted with her 31 years service in the government. His official or employee in which case it may hear and decide
erroneous belief of the existence of an approved Qualification the case or it may deputize any department or agency or
Standard may have prompted him to complicate matters by official or group of officials to conduct the investigation. The
promoting petitioner Paredes to the position of HS Program results of the investigation shall be submitted to the
Coordinator effective August 17, 1987 which was likewise protested Commission with recommendation as to the penalty to be
by private respondent Amor. Even the Personnel Officer III of the imposed or other action to be taken.
HSRC entertained said belief as it forwarded to the Office of the (b) The heads of departments, agencies and
President a certified true copy of the so-called HSRC Qualification instrumentalities, provinces, cities and municipalities shall
Standards. have jurisdiction to investigate and decide matters involving
In declaring the Position of HS Project Coordinator vacant; the disciplinary action against officers and employees under
public respondent has therefore not abused its discretion as the their jurisdiction. Their decisions shall be final in case the
Qualification Standards of the HSRC which should be the basis and penalty imposed is suspension for not more than thirty days
guide for appointment has not been approved by the Civil Service or fine in an amount not exceeding thirty days salary. In
Commission. case the decision rendered by a bureau or office head is
appealable to the Commission, the same may be initially
As regards G.R. No. 89530, the crucial issue to be resolved is
appealed to the department and finally to the Commission
whether or not petitioner Paredes has the legal personality to
and pending appeal, the same shall be executory except
appeal the decision of the MSPB absolving private respondent
when the penalty is removal, in which case the same shall
Amor of all charges except for habitual tardiness for which the latter
be executory only after confirmation by the department
was reprimanded.
head."
Appeal in judicial proceedings is a statutory right that must be
(c) An investigation may be entrusted to regional director or
exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions
similar officials who shall make the necessary report and
of law (Ozaeta v. Court of Appeals, G.R. 83281, December 4, 1989;
recommendation to the chief of bureau or office or
Velasco v. Court of Appeals, 51 SCRA 439). This doctrine is also
applicable in quasi-judicial proceedings so that one must first
department, within the period specified in Paragraph (d) of exceeding thirty days salary demotion in rank or salary or transfer,
the following Section." removal or dismissal from office. The decision of the disciplining
authority is even final and not appealable to the Civil Service
(d) An appeal shall not stop the decision from being
Commission in cases where the penalty imposed is suspension for
executory, and in case the penalty is suspension or removal,
not more than thirty days or fine in an amount not exceeding thirty
the respondent shall be considered as having been under
days salary. Appeal in cases allowed by law must be filed within
preventive suspension during the pendency of the appeal in
fifteen days from receipt of the decision.
the event he wins an appeal."
Here the MSPB after hearing and the submission of memoranda
Section 39 thereof also provides, viz:
exonerated private respondent Amor of all charges except for
"SEC. 39. — (a) Appeals, where allowable, shall be made habitual tardiness. The penalty was only a reprimand so that even
by the party adversely affected by the decision within fifteen private respondent Amor, the party adversely affected by the
days from receipt of the decision unless a petition for decision, cannot even interpose an appeal to the Civil Service
reconsideration is seasonably filed, which petition shall be Commission.chanrobles virtual law library
decided within fifteen days. Notice of the appeal shall be
As correctly ruled by private respondent, petitioner Paredes the
filed with the disciplining office, which shall forward the
complainant is not the party adversely affected by the decision so
records of the case, together with the notice of appeal, to
that she has no legal personality to interpose an appeal to the Civil
the appellate authority within fifteen days from filing of the
Service Commission. In an administrative case, the complainant is
notice of appeal, with its comment, if any. The notice of
a mere witness (Gonzalo v. D. Roda, 64 SCRA 120). Even if she is
appeal shall specifically state the date of the decision
the Head of the Administrative Services Department of the HSRC
appealed from and the date or receipt thereof. It shall also
as a complainant she is merely a witness for the government in an
specifically set forth clearly the grounds relied upon for
administrative case. No private interest is involved in an
excepting from the decision.
administrative case as the offense is committed against the
"(b) A petition for reconsideration shall be based only on any government.
of the following grounds: (1) new evidence has been
In view of the foregoing discussion it would be unnecessary to
discovered which materially affects the decision rendered; (2)
consider the other issues raised in these petitions.
the decision is not supported by the evidence on record; or
(3) errors of law or irregularities have been committed PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petitions are hereby
prejudicial to the interest of the respondent: Provided, That DISMISSED for lack of merit.
only one petition for reconsideration shall be entertained."
SO ORDERED.
Based on the above provisions of law, appeal to the Civil Service
Commission in an administrative case is extended to the party
adversely affected by the decision, that is, the person or the
respondent employee who has been meted out the penalty of
suspension for more than thirty days; or fine in an amount
G.R. No. 104732 June 22, 1993 Petitioners, who claim to be taxpayers, employees of the U.S.
ROBERTO A. FLORES, DANIEL Y. FIGUEROA, ROGELIO T. Facility at the Subic, Zambales, and officers and members of the
PALO, DOMINGO A. JADLOC, CARLITO T. CRUZ and MANUEL Filipino Civilian Employees Association in U.S. Facilities in the
P. REYES, petitioner, Philippines, maintain that the proviso in par. (d) of Sec. 13 herein-
vs. above quoted in italics infringes on the following constitutional and
HON. FRANKLIN M. DRILON, Executive Secretary, and statutory provisions: (a) Sec. 7, first par., Art. IX-B, of the
RICHARD J. GORDON, respondents. Constitution, which states that "[n]o elective official shall be eligible
for appointment or designation in any capacity to any public officer
BELLOSILLO, J.: or position during his tenure,"3 because the City Mayor of Olongapo
City is an elective official and the subject posts are public offices; (b)
The constitutionality of Sec. 13, par. (d), of R.A. 7227,1 otherwise Sec. 16, Art. VII, of the Constitution, which provides that "[t]he
known as the "Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992," President shall . . . . appoint all other officers of the Government
under which respondent Mayor Richard J. Gordon of Olongapo City whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and
was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Subic those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint",4since it was
Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), is challenged in this original Congress through the questioned proviso and not the President
petition with prayer for prohibition, preliminary injunction and who appointed the Mayor to the subject posts;5 and, (c) Sec. 261,
temporary restraining order "to prevent useless and unnecessary par. (g), of the Omnibus Election Code, which says:
expenditures of public funds by way of salaries and other
operational expenses attached to the office . . . ."2 Paragraph (d) Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. — The following shall be
reads — guilty of an election offense: . . . (g) Appointment of
new employees, creation of new position, promotion,
(d) Chairman administrator — The President shall or giving salary increases. — During the period of
appoint a professional manager as administrator of forty-five days before a regular election and thirty
the Subic Authority with a compensation to be days before a special election, (1) any head, official
determined by the Board subject to the approval of or appointing officer of a government office, agency
the Secretary of Budget, who shall be the ex or instrumentality, whether national or local, including
oficio chairman of the Board and who shall serve as government-owned or controlled corporations, who
the chief executive officer of the Subic appoints or hires any new employee, whether
Authority: Provided, however, That for the first year provisional, temporary or casual, or creates and fills
of its operations from the effectivity of this Act, the any new position, except upon prior authority of the
mayor of the City of Olongapo shall be appointed as Commission. The Commission shall not grant the
the chairman and chief executive officer of the Subic authority sought unless it is satisfied that the position
Authority (emphasis supplied). to be filled is essential to the proper functioning of
the office or agency concerned, and that the position
shall not be filled in a manner that may influence the
election. As an exception to the foregoing provisions, instrumentality thereof, including government-owned
a new employee may be appointed in case of urgent or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.
need: Provided, however, That notice of the
appointment shall be given to the Commission within The section expresses the policy against the concentration of
three days from the date of the appointment. Any several public positions in one person, so that a public officer or
appointment or hiring in violation of this provision employee may serve full-time with dedication and thus be efficient
shall be null and void. (2) Any government official in the delivery of public services. It is an affirmation that a public
who promotes, or gives any increase of salary or office is a full-time job. Hence, a public officer or employee, like the
remuneration or privilege to any government official head of an executive department described in Civil Liberties Union
or employee, including those in government-owned v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 83896, and Anti-Graft League of
or controlled corporations . . . . the Philippines, Inc. v. Philip Ella C. Juico, as Secretary of Agrarian
Reform, G.R. No. 83815,6 ". . . . should be allowed to attend to his
for the reason that the appointment of respondent Gordon to the duties and responsibilities without the distraction of other
subject posts made by respondent Executive Secretary on 3 April governmental duties or employment. He should be precluded from
1992 was within the prohibited 45-day period prior to the 11 May dissipating his efforts, attention and energy among too many
1992 Elections. positions of responsibility, which may result in haphazardness and
inefficiency . . . ."
The principal question is whether the proviso in Sec. 13, par. (d), of
R.A. 7227 which states, "Provided, however, That for the first year Particularly as regards the first paragraph of Sec. 7, "(t)he basic
of its operations from the effectivity of this Act, the mayor of the City idea really is to prevent a situation where a local elective official will
of Olongapo shall be appointed as the chairman and chief executive work for his appointment in an executive position in government,
officer of the Subic Authority," violates the constitutional proscription and thus neglect his constituents . . . ."7
against appointment or designation of elective officials to other
government posts. In the case before us, the subject proviso directs the President to
appoint an elective official, i.e., the Mayor of Olongapo City, to other
In full, Sec. 7 of Art. IX-B of the Constitution provides: government posts (as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive
Officer of SBMA). Since this is precisely what the constitutional
No elective official shall be eligible for appointment proscription seeks to prevent, it needs no stretching of the
or designation in any capacity to any public office or imagination to conclude that the proviso contravenes Sec. 7, first
position during his tenure. par., Art. IX-B, of the Constitution. Here, the fact that the expertise
of an elective official may be most beneficial to the higher interest of
Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary the body politic is of no moment.
functions of his position, no appointive official shall
hold any other office or employment in the It is argued that Sec. 94 of the Local Government Code (LGC)
Government or any subdivision, agency or permits the appointment of a local elective official to another post if
so allowed by law or by the primary functions of his office.8 But, the MR. FOZ. Yes, I suggest we make that difference,
contention is fallacious. Section 94 of the LGC is not determinative because in the case of appointive officials, there will
of the constitutionality of Sec. 13, par. (d), of R.A. 7227, for no be certain situations where the law should allow
legislative act can prevail over the fundamental law of the land. them to hold some other positions. 12
Moreover, since the constitutionality of Sec. 94 of LGC is not the
issue here nor is that section sought to be declared unconstitutional, The distinction being clear, the exemption allowed to appointive
we need not rule on its validity. Neither can we invoke a practice officials in the second paragraph cannot be extended to elective
otherwise unconstitutional as authority for its validity. officials who are governed by the first paragraph.

In any case, the view that an elective official may be appointed to It is further argued that the SBMA posts are merely ex officio to the
another post if allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position of Mayor of Olongapo City, hence, an excepted
office, ignores the clear-cut difference in the wording of the two (2) circumstance, citing Civil Liberties Union v. Executive
paragraphs of Sec. 7, Art. Secretary, 13 where we stated that the prohibition against the
IX-B, of the Constitution. While the second paragraph authorizes holding of any other office or employment by the President, Vice-
holding of multiple offices by an appointive official when allowed by President, Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants
law or by the primary functions of his position, the first paragraph during their tenure, as provided in Sec. 13, Art. VII, of the
appears to be more stringent by not providing any exception to the Constitution, does not comprehend additional duties and
rule against appointment or designation of an elective official to the functions required by the primary functions of the officials
government post, except as are particularly recognized in the concerned, who are to perform them in an ex officio capacity as
Constitution itself, e.g., the President as head of the economic and provided by law, without receiving any additional compensation
planning agency;9 the Vice-President, who may be appointed therefor.
Member of the Cabinet; 10 and, a member of Congress who may be
designated ex officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council. 11 This argument is apparently based on a wrong premise. Congress
did not contemplate making the subject SBMA posts as ex officio or
The distinction between the first and second paragraphs of Sec. 7, automatically attached to the Office of the Mayor of Olongapo City
Art. IX-B, was not accidental when drawn, and not without reason. It without need of appointment. The phrase "shall be appointed"
was purposely sought by the drafters of the Constitution as shown unquestionably shows the intent to make the SBMA posts
in their deliberation, thus — appointive and not merely adjunct to the post of Mayor of Olongapo
City. Had it been the legislative intent to make the subject
MR. MONSOD. In other words, what then positions ex officio, Congress would have, at least, avoided the
Commissioner is saying, Mr. Presiding Officer, is that word "appointed" and, instead, "ex officio" would have been used. 14
the prohibition is more strict with respect to elective
officials, because in the case of appointive officials, Even in the Senate deliberations, the Senators were fully aware that
there may be a law that will allow them to hold other subject proviso may contravene Sec. 7, first par., Art. IX-B, but they
positions. nevertheless passed the bill and decided to have the controversy
resolved by the courts. Indeed, the Senators would not have been As may be defined, an "appointment" is "[t]he designation of a
concerned with the effects of Sec. 7, first par., had they considered person, by the person or persons having authority therefor, to
the SBMA posts as ex officio. discharge the duties of some office or trust," 17 or "[t]he selection or
designation of a person, by the person or persons having authority
Cognizant of the complication that may arise from the way the therefor, to fill an office or public function and discharge the duties
subject proviso was stated, Senator Rene Saguisag remarked that of the same. 18 In his treatise, Philippine Political
"if the Conference Committee just said "the Mayor shall be the Law, 19 Senior Associate Justice Isagani A. Cruz defines
Chairman" then that should foreclose the issue. It is a legislative appointment as "the selection, by the authority vested with the
choice." 15 The Senator took a view that the constitutional power, of an individual who is to exercise the functions of a given
proscription against appointment of elective officials may have been office."
sidestepped if Congress attached the SBMA posts to the Mayor of
Olongapo City instead of directing the President to appoint him to Considering that appointment calls for a selection, the appointing
the post. Without passing upon this view of Senator Saguisag, it power necessarily exercises a discretion. According to Woodbury,
suffices to state that Congress intended the posts to be appointive, J., 20 "the choice of a person to fill an office constitutes the essence
thus nibbling in the bud the argument that they are ex officio. of his appointment," 21and Mr. Justice Malcolm adds that an
"[a]ppointment to office is intrinsically an executive act involving the
The analogy with the position of Chairman of the Metro Manila exercise of discretion." 22 In Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila v.
Authority made by respondents cannot be applied to uphold the Intermediate Appellate Court 23 we held:
constitutionality of the challenged proviso since it is not put in issue
in the present case. In the same vein, the argument that if no The power to appoint is, in essence, discretionary.
elective official may be appointed or designated to another post The appointing power has the right of choice which
then Sec. 8, Art. IX-B, of the Constitution allowing him to receive he may exercise freely according to his judgment,
double compensation 16 would be useless, is non sequitur since deciding for himself who is best qualified among
Sec. 8 does not affect the constitutionality of the subject proviso. In those who have the necessary qualifications and
any case, the Vice-President for example, an elective official who eligibilities. It is a prerogative of the appointing
may be appointed to a cabinet post under Sec. 3, Art. VII, may power . . . .
receive the compensation attached to the cabinet position if
specifically authorized by law. Indeed, the power of choice is the heart of the power to appoint.
Appointment involves an exercise of discretion of whom to appoint;
Petitioners also assail the legislative encroachment on the it is not a ministerial act of issuing appointment papers to the
appointing authority of the President. Section 13, par. (d), itself appointee. In other words, the choice of the appointee is a
vests in the President the power to appoint the Chairman of the fundamental component of the appointing power.
Board and the Chief Executive Officer of SBMA, although he really
has no choice under the law but to appoint the Mayor of Olongapo Hence, when Congress clothes the President with the power to
City. appoint an officer, it (Congress) cannot at the same time limit the
choice of the President to only one candidate. Once the power of appointment. The deliberation in the Constitutional Commission is
appointment is conferred on the President, such conferment enlightening:
necessarily carries the discretion of whom to appoint. Even on the
pretext of prescribing the qualifications of the officer, Congress may MR. DAVIDE. On Section 4, page 3, line 8, I propose
not abuse such power as to divest the appointing authority, directly the substitution of the word "term" with TENURE.
or indirectly, of his discretion to pick his own choice. Consequently,
when the qualifications prescribed by Congress can only be met by MR. FOZ. The effect of the proposed amendment is
one individual, such enactment effectively eliminates the discretion to make possible for one to resign from his position.
of the appointing power to choose and constitutes an irregular
restriction on the power of appointment. 24 MR. DAVIDE. Yes, we should allow that prerogative.

In the case at bar, while Congress willed that the subject posts be MR. FOZ. Resign from his position to accept an
filled with a presidential appointee for the first year of its operations executive position.
from the effectivity of R.A. 7227, the proviso nevertheless limits the
appointing authority to only one eligible, i.e., the incumbent Mayor MR. DAVIDE. Besides, it may turn out in a given
of Olongapo City. Since only one can qualify for the posts in case that because of, say, incapacity, he may leave
question, the President is precluded from exercising his discretion the service, but if he is prohibited from being
to choose whom to appoint. Such supposed power of appointment, appointed within the term for which he was elected,
sans the essential element of choice, is no power at all and goes we may be depriving the government of the needed
against the very nature itself of appointment. expertise of an individual. 25
While it may be viewed that the proviso merely sets the Consequently, as long as he is an incumbent, an elective official
qualifications of the officer during the first year of operations of remains ineligible for appointment to another public office.
SBMA, i.e., he must be the Mayor of Olongapo City, it is manifestly
an abuse of congressional authority to prescribe qualifications
Where, as in the case of respondent Gordon, an incumbent elective
where only one, and no other, can qualify. Accordingly, while the
official was, notwithstanding his ineligibility, appointed to other
conferment of the appointing power on the President is a perfectly
government posts, he does not automatically forfeit his elective
valid legislative act, the proviso limiting his choice to one is certainly
office nor remove his ineligibility imposed by the Constitution. On
an encroachment on his prerogative.
the contrary, since an incumbent elective official is not eligible to the
appointive position, his appointment or designation thereto cannot
Since the ineligibility of an elective official for appointment remains be valid in view of his disqualification or lack of eligibility. This
all throughout his tenure or during his incumbency, he may however provision should not be confused with Sec. 13, Art. VI, of the
resign first from his elective post to cast off the constitutionally- Constitution where "(n)o Senator or Member of the House of
attached disqualification before he may be considered fit for Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the
Government . . . during his term without forfeiting his seat . . . ." The was not eligible, or because there was a want of power in the
difference between the two provisions is significant in the sense that electing or appointing body, or by reason of some defect or
incumbent national legislators lose their elective posts only after irregularity in its exercise, such ineligibility, want of power or defect
they have been appointed to another government office, while other being unknown to the public . . . . [or] under color of an election, or
incumbent elective officials must first resign their posts before they appointment, by or pursuant to a public unconstitutional law, before
can be appointed, thus running the risk of losing the elective post as the same is adjudged to be such (State vs. Carroll, 38 Conn., 499;
well as not being appointed to the other post. It is therefore clear Wilcox vs. Smith, 5 Wendell [N.Y.], 231; 21 Am. Dec., 213;
that ineligibility is not directly related with forfeiture of office. ". . . . Sheehan's Case, 122 Mass, 445, 23 Am. Rep., 323)." 28
The effect is quite different where it is expressly provided by law
that a person holding one office shall be ineligible to another. Such Conformably with our ruling in Civil Liberties Union, any and all per
a provision is held to incapacitate the incumbent of an office from diems, allowances and other emoluments which may have been
accepting or holding a second office (State ex rel. Van Antwerp v received by respondent Gordon pursuant to his appointment may
Hogan, 283 Ala. 445, 218 So 2d 258; McWilliams v Neal, 130 Ga be retained by him.
733, 61 SE 721) and to render his election or appointment to the
latter office void (State ex rel. Childs v Sutton, 63 Minn 147, 65 NW The illegality of his appointment to the SBMA posts being now
262. Annotation: 40 ALR 945) or voidable (Baskin v State, 107 Okla evident, other matters affecting the legality of the
272, 232 p 388, 40 ALR 941)." 26 "Where the constitution, or questioned proviso as well as the appointment of said respondent
statutes declare that persons holding one office shall be ineligible made pursuant thereto need no longer be discussed.
for election or appointment to another office, either generally or of a
certain kind, the prohibition has been held to incapacitate the In thus concluding as we do, we can only share the lament of Sen.
incumbent of the first office to hold the second so that any attempt Sotero Laurel which he expressed in the floor deliberations of S.B.
to hold the second is void (Ala. — State ex rel. Van Antwerp v. 1648, precursor of R.A. 7227, when he articulated —
Hogan, 218 So 2d 258, 283 Ala 445)." 27
. . . . (much) as we would like to have the present
As incumbent elective official, respondent Gordon is ineligible for Mayor of Olongapo City as the Chief Executive of
appointment to the position of Chairman of the Board and Chief this Authority that we are creating; (much) as I,
Executive of SBMA; hence, his appointment thereto pursuant to a myself, would like to because I know the capacity,
legislative act that contravenes the Constitution cannot be integrity, industry and dedication of Mayor Gordon;
sustained. He however remains Mayor of Olongapo City, and his (much) as we would like to give him this terrific,
acts as SBMA official are not necessarily null and void; he may be burdensome and heavy responsibility, we cannot do
considered a de facto officer, "one whose acts, though not those of it because of the constitutional prohibition which is
a lawful officer, the law, upon principles of policy and justice, will very clear. It says: "No elective official shall be
hold valid so far as they involve the interest of the public and third appointed or designated to another position in any
persons, where the duties of the office were exercised . . . . under capacity." 29
color of a known election or appointment, void because the officer
For, indeed, "a Constitution must be firm and immovable, like a
mountain amidst the strife of storms or a rock in the ocean amidst
the raging of the waves." 30 One of the characteristics of the
Constitution is permanence, i.e., "its capacity to resist capricious or
whimsical change dictated not by legitimate needs but only by
passing fancies, temporary passions or occasional infatuations of
the people with ideas or personalities . . . . Such a Constitution is
not likely to be easily tampered with to suit political expediency,
personal ambitions or ill-advised agitation for change." 31

Ergo, under the Constitution, Mayor Gordon has a choice. We have


no choice.

WHEREFORE, the proviso in par. (d), Sec. 13, of R.A. 7227, which
states: ". . . Provided, however, That for the first year of its
operations from the effectivity of this Act, the Mayor of the City of
Olongapo shall be appointed as the chairman and chief executive
officer of the Subic Authority," is declared unconstitutional;
consequently, the appointment pursuant thereto of the Mayor of
Olongapo City, respondent Richard J. Gordon, is INVALID, hence
NULL and VOID.

However, all per diems, allowances and other emoluments received


by respondent Gordon, if any, as such Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer may be retained by him, and all acts otherwise
legitimate done by him in the exercise of his authority as officer de
facto of SBMA are hereby UPHELD.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 116183 October 6, 1995 Questioned in effect by the petitioners is only the portion of the
SEC. RICARDO T. GLORIA, in his capacity as Secretary of judgment ordering the reinstatement of private respondent Rosario V.
Education, Culture & Sports and Chairman of the Board of Cerillo to the position of "Coordinator for Extension Services".
Trustees of the Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PSCA);
JULIAN J. LOLENG, JR., in his capacity as Officer-in-Charge of Actually, the act of effecting the termination of the appointment of
PSCA; and BOARD OF TRUSTEES of PSCA, petitioners, Rosario V. Cerillo was perpetrated by Col. Julian J. Loleng, Jr. while it
vs. was the Hon. Isidro Cariño who was the DECS Secretary. The case for
HON. SALVADOR P. DE GUZMAN, JR., Presiding Judge of Branch reinstatement which was filed before respondent Judge Salvador P. de
113, Regional Trial Court of Pasay, Metro Manila; VIRGILIO R. Guzman, Jr. of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court was instituted
RAMOS, LEONY P. SENDIN, ROSARIO V. CERILLO, ANDREA A. during the incumbency of the succeeding DECS Secretary, the Hon.
PESTANO, ARTHUR V. RODRIGUEZA, LENI V. DIMAYUGA, JAIME Armand Fabella. The judgment of the lower court, as a matter of fact,
ABON, RIZALDO O. VALLE, JOIE ARCEO, SHIRLEY PESTANO, involved the Hon. Armand Fabella as defendant. In view of the
SERVANDO SACUEZA, JAIME C. PONEGAL, EDGARDO resignation of Secretary Fabella, the duty and obligation to question
MERCADO, CRISTINA BULADO, BENIGNO T. AQUINO, RODEL the decision aforesaid of Judge Salvador P. de Guzman, Jr. devolved
PESTANO, JUN JAY PARMA, NILO B. ELLO, and NELSON on the incumbent Secretary, the Hon. Ricardo T. Gloria.
SACUEZA, respondents.
Consequently, the dramatis personae in this case include: DECS
Secretary Ricardo T. Gloria; PSCA Board of Trustees Chairman Col.
HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.: Julian J. Loleng, Jr.; and the PSCA Board of Trustees created under
Republic Act
Intransigence of private respondents in maintaining a patently No. 7605, as petitioners; and RTC Executive Judge Salvador P. de
indefensible position sparked this long drawn out controversy. Knowing Guzman, Jr., as public respondent, and the named private respondents
fully well that, as temporary employees whose terms of office, whether who were the petitioners in the court below.
by contract or by the tenor of their appointments, had expired one year
after their respective temporary appointments, that is, on December 31, The facts of the case are not in dispute. The question at issue is one of
1992, they insist on a perceived, albeit mistaken, right to reinstatement. law: Is private respondent Rosario V. Cerillo entitled to reinstatement to
the position of "Coordinator for Extension Services"?
Before this Court is a Petition for Certiorari, filed by Hon. Ricardo T.
Gloria, in his capacity as Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports Private respondents were employees of the Philippine Air Force
(DECS) and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine College of Aeronautics (PAFCA) which was created by virtue of
State College of Aeronautics (PSCA); Col. Julian J. Loleng, Jr., in his Presidential Decree No. 1078 on January 26, 1977. Under the said
capacity as Officer-in-Charge of the PSCA; and the Board of Trustees of the decree, the Board of Trustees is vested with authority, among others,
PSCA 1, under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, with the end in view of nullifying the
Decision2 and Order3 of respondent Judge Salvador P. de Guzman, Jr., Presiding Judge of Branch to appoint, as it did appoint, officials and employees of the college,
113, Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, dated January 31, 1994 and June 29, 1994, respectively. except the members of the Board of Trustees themselves and the
President of the college. In line with this authority, the PAFCA Board of
Trustees issued Resolution No. 91-026 on April 1, 1991, which
declared that "All faculty/administrative employees are also subject to On June 25, 1993, barely five months after the lapse of the terms of
the required civil service eligibilities", in accordance with pertinent civil their temporary appointments as determined by the PSCA
service law, rules and regulations. Thus, herein private respondents administration, the herein private respondents filed before the Regional
were issued only temporary appointments because at the time of their Trial Court of Pasay City, presided over by respondent Judge Salvador
appointment, they lacked appropriate civil service eligibilities or P. de Guzman, Jr., a "Petition for Mandamus and Reinstatement, with
otherwise failed to meet the necessary qualification standards for their Back Wages and Damages", docketed as Civil Case No. 10049. The
respective positions. complaint in effect prayed that then DECS Secretary Armand Fabella
complete the filling up of positions for Board of Trustees and order the
Private respondent Rosario V. Cerillo, specifically, was issued a one- Board of Trustees to reinstate the respondents in the case at bench to
year temporary appointment to the position of Board Secretary II of their respective positions.
PAFCA (now PSCA), that is, from January 1, 1992 to December 31,
1992. This appointment went along the line enunciated by the Civil In their Answer,5 the herein petitioners opposed the petition upon the
Service Commission in a letter, dated March 25, 1992.4 The letter ground that mandamus will not lie to compel reinstatement because
emphasized that temporary appointments were good and renewable the reappointment prayed for is discretionary on the part of the
only up to 1992. appointing power. Besides, it was the claim of Secretary Fabella that a
writ of mandamus should be unavailing to private respondents because
On March 24, 1992, private respondent Rosario V. Cerillo was of their failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
relieved as Board Secretary of the PAFCA in accordance with Board
Resolution No. 92-017 by reason of loss of confidence. Subsequently, We find the petition to be impressed with merit.
however, she was designated as "Coordinator for Extension Services".
I
On June 3, 1992, Republic Act No. 7605 was enacted into law. It
converted PAFCA into a state college to be known as the Philippine The judgment of respondent Judge Salvador P. de Guzman, Jr. which
State College of Aeronautics (PSCA). The Board of Trustees likewise orders the reinstatement of Ms. Rosario V. Cerillo to the position of
was the governing body of the PSCA. The power to make "Coordinator for Extension Services" is patently improper because it
appointments was retained by the Board. Petitioner Col. Julian J. finds no support as to facts and the law. Respondent Cerillo, although
Loleng, Jr. remained as Officer-in-Charge by virtue of a designation temporarily extended an appointment as Board Secretary II, was
made anew by then DECS Secretary Isidro Cariño on June 8, 1992. dismissed therefrom because of loss of confidence. This dismissal was
neither contested nor appealed from by Ms. Cerillo. There is no
Only on December 7, 1992 did Col. Loleng inform private respondents question, therefore, that her dismissal as Board Secretary II could not
that they shall be deemed separated from the service upon the have been the subject of the petition for mandamus and reinstatement
expiration of their temporary appointments. Had private respondent filed before respondent Judge. The fact is that private respondent's
Rosario V. Cerillo not been summarily dismissed as Board Secretary assignment as "Coordinator for Extension Services" was a mere
on March 24, 1992, her temporary appointment as such was supposed designation. Not being a permanent appointment, the designation to
to have lasted until December 31, 1992. the position cannot be the subject of a case for reinstatement.
Furthermore, even granting that Ms. Cerillo could be validly reinstated xxx xxx xxx
as "Coordinator for Extension Services", her reinstatement thereto
would not be possible because the position is not provided for in the Please note that temporary appointments last only for a
PSCA plantilla. The PSCA could not have made any valid appointment maximum of one (1) year and all personnel appointed
for this inexistent position. This could very well be the reason why she in a temporary capacity can be replaced any time by a
was merely designated as Coordinator. As a mere designee, she could civil service eligible. Since you have just been recently
not have acquired any right to the position even if the position existed. covered by the Civil Service Law and rules, this Field
Office approved all your temporary appointments
At any rate, a mere "designation" does not confer upon the designee subject to yearly renewal up to 1992 only. Subsequent
security of tenure in the position or office which he occupies in an appointments should strictly conform with civil service
acting capacity only 6. policies. You may, therefore, advise all your temporary
personnel to take civil service examinations in order to
II be eligible for appointment.

Should the object of private respondent Cerillo in prosecuting the case This letter was implemented by Col. Julian J. Loleng, Jr. Objecting
in the court below be her reinstatement to the position of Board thereto, private respondents pointed out to the PSCA administration
Secretary II, the reinstatement prayed for appears to be impermissible. that, in Resolution No. 91-026, dated April 1, 1991, the Board of
In the first place, Trustees declared that all faculty/administrative employees of the
Ms. Cerillo had already been dismissed from this position for loss of college, while required to acquire civil service eligibilities under
confidence. She did not contest this dismissal possibly because the pertinent civil service law, rules and regulations, must exert effort to
position of Board Secretary II is primarily confidential and the Board of acquire civil service eligibilities within a period of three years from their
Trustees, when finding her, the incumbent to the position, to be temporary appointments. This, the private respondents believe should
wanting in faithfulness and integrity dismissed her for that reason alone. be taken to mean that, should they acquire civil service eligibilities
She accepted the dismissal without any ripple and when designated as within that period of three years, they cannot be terminated from the
Coordinator for Extension Services, she indicated acceptance by service.
performing the acts called for by the designation.
The fact that private respondent Cerillo passed the requisite Civil
The quarrel between the private respondents, on the one hand, and Service Examination after the termination of her temporary
the PSCA administration, on the other, came about in this manner: appointment is no reason to compel petitioners to reappoint her.
Acquisition of civil service eligibility is not the sole factor for
The Civil Service Commission, mandating a policy, wrote petitioner reappointment. Still to be considered by the appointing authority are:
Col. Julian J. Loleng, Jr. a letter7 mandating that temporary performance, degree of education, work experience, training, seniority,
appointments of officers/employees of the PSCA were to last only up to and, more importantly, as in this case, whether or not the applicant
December 31, 1992. For a better perspective, We quote a pertinent enjoys the confidence and trust of the appointing power. As We said
portion of the letter: earlier, the position of Board Secretary II, by its nature, is primarily
confidential, requiring as it does "not only confidence in the aptitude of
the appointee for the duties of the office but primarily close intimacy It is Our holding that the questioned order of reinstatement amounts to
which ensures freedom from misgivings of betrayals of personal trust an undue interference by the Court in the exercise of the discretionary
or confidential matters of state."8 In other words, the choice of an power of appointment vested in the PSCA Board of Trustees.
appointee from among those who possessed the required
qualifications is a political and administrative decision calling for Surprisingly, the Court a quo, while upholding the right of private
considerations of wisdom, convenience, utility and the interests of the respondent Cerillo to a reappointment, adhered to this pontification by
service which can best be made by the Head of the office concerned.9 stating that:

It cannot be overemphasized that the PSCA Board Resolution No. 91- The appointment of the petitioners to their former
026 must yield to the Civil Service Commission policies on the positions is not a matter of right; rather, it is a matter of
issuance of temporary appointments. When the Civil Service discretion on the part of the
Commission directed that temporary appointments were to be effective respondents. Mandamus cannot be availed of to
only up to 1992, it did so in pursuance of the general purpose of the compel anyone to exercise his discretion absent any
civil service law, as stated under Section 2 of Republic Act No. 2260, showing of grave abuse of discretion.
as amended, which is "to ensure and promote the constitutional
mandate regarding appointments only according to merit and fitness III
and to provide within the public service a progressive system of
personal administration to ensure the maintenance of an honest and
The termination of the services of private respondents was proper and
efficient progressive and courteous civil service in the
legal, it being the consequence of the Board of Trustees' power to
Philippines. 10 For that matter, it is vested with the function, among
appoint. The view of respondent Judge, however, is that there was no
others, to promulgate policies, standards and guidelines for the civil
termination ordered. Either the employees' contracts lapsed or their
service and adopt plans and programs to promote economical, efficient
temporary appointments were abrogated by circulars from the Civil
and effective personnel administration in the government. 11
Service Commission. This, as a necessary consequence of the
transition from the Philippine Air Force College of Aeronautics (PAFCA)
We hold that reappointment to the position of Board Secretary II is an to the Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PSCA).
act which is discretionary on the part of the appointing power.
Consequently, it cannot be the subject of an application for a writ
We agree with respondent Judge's disquisition on this point:
of mandamus.
To the question was the termination of the services of
Reinstatement is technically issuance of a new appointment which is
the petitioners legal or not?, the only answer is there
essentially discretionary, to be performed by the officer in which it is
was not termination to speak of. Termination
vested according to his best lights, the only condition being that the
presupposes an overt act committed by a superior
appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. 12 Such
officer. There was none whatsoever in the case at bar.
exercise of the discretionary power of appointment cannot be
At most, Col. Julian (Loleng) gave notice to the
controlled, not even by the Court as long as it is exercised properly by
petitioners of the expiration of their respective contracts,
the appointing authority. 13
Petitioners appointment or employment simply expired
either by its very own terms, or because it may not SO ORDERED.
exceed one year, but most importantly because the
PAFCA was dissolved and replaced by the PSCA. The
notice given by Col. Loleng to the petitioners seem to
have been misunderstood by them as an act of
dismissal which as they correctly state, belongs to the
Board of Trustees alone.

IV

Considering Our finding that there is merit to the petition, the issue as
to whether attorney's fees and costs of litigation should be awarded to
private respondent Rosario V. Cerillo as adjudged in the questioned
decision of respondent Judge has become moot and academic. At any
rate, the Court holds that the said award could not have been imposed
because, while it was directly ordered in the dispositive portion of the
decision, it was neither discussed nor justified in the body of the
questioned decision. Clear on this point is Our decision in Policarpio
vs.Court of Appeals, 194 SCRA 129, 742, [1991]: "The Court had
occasion to state that the reason for the award of attorney's fees must
be stated in the text of the decision, otherwise, if it is stated only in the
dispositive portion of the decision, the same shall be disallowed." This
ruling We reiterated in the case of Koa vs. Court of Appeals, 219
SCRA 541, 549, [1991], citing Central Azucarcra de Bais vs. Court of
Appeals, 188 SCRA 328, 340, where it was stated that "The award of
attorney's fees must be disallowed for want of factual and legal
premise in the text of the decision rendered by the court of origin and
the appellate court as well."

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The challenged decision,


dated January 31, 1994, insofar as it ordered the reinstatement of
Ms. Rosario V. Cerillo and the payment to the latter of back wages and
attorney's fees, and the Order, dated June 29, 1994, of respondent
Judge Salvador P. de Guzman, Jr. are hereby declared null and void
and ordered set aside. The temporary restraining order/preliminary
injunction heretofore issued is hereby made permanent.
G.R. NO. L-69137 August 5, 1986 The Solicitor General, rather than face the question squarely, says the
FELIMON LUEGO, petitioner-appellant, petitioner could be validly replaced in the instant case because his
vs. appointment was temporary and therefore could be withdrawn at will,
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and FELICULA TUOZO, respondents- with or without cause. Having accepted such an appointment, it is
appellees. argued, the petitioner waived his security of tenure and consequently
ran the risk of an abrupt separation from his office without violation of
CRUZ, J.: the Constitution.5
Stripped of irrelevant details and impertinent incidents that have
cluttered the voluminous record, the facts of this case may be briefly While the principle is correct, and we have applied it many times,6 it is
narrated as follows: not correctly applied in this case. The argument begs the question. The
appointment of the petitioner was not temporary but permanent and
The petitioner was appointed Administrative Officer 11, Office of the was therefore protected by Constitution. The appointing authority
City Mayor, Cebu City, by Mayor Florentino Solon on February 18, indicated that it was permanent, as he had the right to do so, and it
1983. 1 The appointment was described as permanent" but the Civil was not for the respondent Civil Service Commission to reverse him
Service Commission approved it as "temporary," subject to the final and call it temporary.
action taken in the protest filed by the private respondent and another
employee, and provided "there (was) no pending administrative case The stamping of the words "APPROVED as TEMPORARY" did not
against the appointee, no pending protest against the appointment nor change the character of the appointment, which was clearly described
any decision by competent authority that will adversely affect the as "Permanent" in the space provided for in Civil Service Form No. 33,
approval of the appointment." 2 On March 22, 1984, after protracted dated February 18, 1983. 7 What was temporary was the approval of
hearings the legality of which does not have to be decided here, the the appointment, not the appointment it sell And what made
Civil Service Commission found the private respondent better qualified the approval temporary was the fact that it was made to depend on the
than the petitioner for the contested position and, accordingly, directed condition specified therein and on the verification of the qualifications
"that Felicula Tuozo be appointed to the position of Administrative of the appointee to the position.
Officer 11 in the Administrative Division, Cebu City, in place of Felimon
Luego whose appointment as Administrative Officer II is hereby The Civil Service Commission is not empowered to determine the kind
revoked."3 The private respondent was so appointed on June 28, 1984, or nature of the appointment extended by the appointing officer, its
by the new mayor, Mayor Ronald Duterte. 4 The petitioner, invoking his authority being limited to approving or reviewing the appointment in the
earlier permanent appointment, is now before us to question that order light of the requirements of the Civil Service Law. When the appointee
and the private respondent's title. is qualified and authorizing the other legal requirements are satisfied,
the Commission has no choice but to attest to the appointment in
The issue is starkly simple: Is the Civil Service Commission authorized accordance with the Civil Service Laws.
to disapprove a permanent appointment on the ground that another
person is better qualified than the appointee and, on the basis of this As Justice Ramon C. Fernandez declared in an earlier case:
finding, order his replacement by the latter?
It is well settled that the determination of the kind of appointing process, which was held complete only after such
appointment to be extended lies in the official vested by confirmation. 11
law with the appointing power and not the Civil Service
Commission. The Commissioner of Civil Service is not Moreover, the Commission on Appointments could review the wisdom
empowered to determine the kind or nature of the of the appointment and had the power to refuse to concur with it even if
appointment extended by the appointing officer. When the President's choice possessed all the qualifications prescribed by
the appointee is qualified, as in this case, the law. No similar arrangement is provided for in the Civil Service Decree.
Commissioner of Civil Service has no choice but to On the contrary, the Civil Service Commission is limited only to the
attest to the appointment. Under the Civil Service Law, non-discretionary authority of determining whether or not the person
Presidential Decree No. 807, the Commissioner is not appointed meets all the required conditions laid down by the law.
authorized to curtail the discretion of the appointing
official on the nature or kind of the appointment to be It is understandable if one is likely to be misled by the language of
extended. 8 Section 9(h) of Article V of the Civil Service Decree because it says the
Commission has the power to "approve" and "disapprove"
Indeed, the approval is more appropriately called an attestation, that is, appointments. Thus, it is provided therein that the Commission shag
of the fact that the appointee is qualified for the position to which he have inter alia the power to:
has been named. As we have repeatedly held, such attestation is
required of the Commissioner of Civil Service merely as a check to 9(h) Approve all appointments, whether original or
assure compliance with Civil Service Laws.9 promotional to positions in the civil service, except
those presidential appointees, members of the Armed
Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be Forces of the Philippines, police forces, firemen, and
performed by the officer in which it is vested according to his best lights, jailguards, and disapprove those where the appointees
the only condition being that the appointee should possess the do not possess appropriate eligibility or required
qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot qualifications. (emphasis supplied)
be faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified who
should have been preferred. This is a political question involving However, a full reading of the provision, especially of the underscored
considerations of wisdom which only the appointing authority can parts, will make it clear that all the Commission is actually allowed to
decide. do is check whether or not the appointee possesses the appropriate
civil service eligibility or the required qualifications. If he does, his
It is different where the Constitution or the law subjects the appointment is approved; if not, it is disapproved. No other criterion is
appointment to the approval of another officer or body, like the permitted by law to be employed by the Commission when it acts on--
Commission on Appointments under 1935 or as the Decree says, "approves" or "disapproves" an appointment
Constitution. 10 Appointments made by the President of the Philippines made by the proper authorities.
had to be confirmed by that body and could not be issued or were
invalidated without such confirmation. In fact, confirmation by the Significantly, the Commission on Civil Service acknowledged that both
Commission on Appointments was then considered part of the the petitioner and the private respondent were qualified for the position
in controversy. 12 That recognition alone rendered it functus officio in SO ORDERED.
the case and prevented it from acting further thereon except to affirm
the validity of the petitioner's appointment. To be sure, it had no
authority to revoke the said appointment simply because it believed
that the private respondent was better qualified for that would have
constituted an encroachment on the discretion vested solely in the city
mayor.

In preferring the private respondent to the petitioner, the Commission


was probably applying its own Rule V, Section 9, of Civil Service Rules
on Personnel Actions and Policies, which provides that "whenever
there are two or more employees who are next-in-rank, preference
shall be given to the employee who is most competent and qualified
and who has the appropriate civil service eligibility." This rule is
inapplicable, however, because neither of the claimants is next in rank.
Moreover, the next-in-rank rule is not absolute as the Civil Service
Decree allows vacancies to be filled by transfer of present employees,
reinstatement, re-employment, or appointment of outsiders who have
the appropriate eligibility. 13

There are apparently no political overtones in this case, which looks to


be an honest contention between two public functionaries who each
sincerely claims to be entitled to the position in dispute. This is
gratifying for politics should never be permitted to interfere in the
apolitical organization of the Civil Service, which is supposed to serve
all the people regardless of partisan considerations. This political
detachment will be impaired if the security of tenure clause in the
Constitution is emasculated and appointments in the Civil Service are
revoked and changed at will to suit the motivations and even the
fancies of whatever party may be in power.

WHEREFORE, the resolution of the respondent Commission on Civil


Service dated March 22, 1984, is set aside, and the petitioner is hereby
declared to be entitled to the office in dispute by virtue of his
permanent appointment thereto dated February 18, 1983. No costs.
In a decision dated July 26, 1988, the City Attorney, with the approval
of the City Mayor, dismissed petitioner's protest and upheld the
appointment of private respondent. This dismissal was affirmed by the
CSC Regional Office and later on appeal, by respondent CSC. Hence,
G.R. No. 102948 February 2, 1994 the present petition.
JAIME T. PANIS, petitioner,
vs. II.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and BELLA V. VELOSO, respondent.
Petitioner contends that the appointment of private respondent was
QUIASON, J.: made in violation of law, existing civil service rules and established
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of jurisprudence because (1) the position of Assistant Chief of Hospital for
Court in relation to Section 7 of Article IX (A) of the Constitution, to Administration was not legally created; (2) assuming that it was, there
nullify Resolution No. 90-1047 dated November 22, 1990 and was no qualification standard nor valid screening procedure; and (3)
Resolution No. 91-1100 dated September 24, 1991, of the Civil Service the seniority and next-in-rank rules were disregarded.
Commission. The first Resolution dismissed petitioner's appeal from
the decision of the Regional Office of the Civil Service Commission, III.
and at the same time, upheld the appointment of respondent Bella V.
Veloso to the position of Assistant Chief of Hospital for Administration
The petition is not impressed with merit.
of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC). The second Resolution
denied the motion for reconsideration of the decision.
Ordinance No. 1216, passed by the Cebu City Sangguniang
Panglunsod on June 17, 1986, amended the charter of the Cebu City
I.
Hospital for the purpose of correcting the deficiencies and improving
the performance of said institution. The hospital's name was changed
The CCMC, formerly known as the Cebu City Hospital, is operated and to CCMC, and the departments and offices therein were reorganized.
maintained by the local government of Cebu City. Petitioner was The Office of Hospital Administrator was created and granted such
employed as Administrative Officer of the Hospital, while private powers as were deemed in line with the objectives of the Ordinance.
respondent was Administrative Officer of the City Health Department
detailed at the said hospital.
On March 6, 1987, the City Mayor appointed private respondent to the
position of Hospital Administrator. This appointment was, however, not
On November 9, 1987, the Mayor of Cebu City appointed private acted upon by the CSC but returned to the appointing authority on
respondent to the position of Assistant Chief of Hospital for October 21, 1987 for lack of the screening requirement. On even date,
Administration of CCMC. Petitioner, a candidate for the said position, the City Mayor withdrew private respondent's appointment. The title of
promptly protested the appointment before the Regional Office of the Hospital Administrator was later found to be a misnomer and thus was
Civil Service Commission (CSC). The CSC Regional Office, however, properly classified by the Joint Commission on Local Government
indorsed the matter to the Office of the City Mayor, which in turn Personnel Administration as one of Assistant Chief of Hospital for
referred it to the Office of the City Attorney.
Administration. This classification was subsequently approved by the It is ironic that petitioner is personally interested in the subject position,
Department of Budget Management. the creation and validity of which he himself originally questioned. Be
that as it may, the "next in rank" rule specifically applies only in cases
The position of Assistant Chief of Hospital for Administration is the very of promotion (Medenilla v. Civil Service Commission, 194 SCRA 278
same position of Hospital Administrator created by Ordinance No. 1216. [1991]; Pineda v. Claudio, 28 SCRA 34 [1969]). The instant
The Office of Hospital Administrator was not extinguished, but the controversy, however, involves a new office and a position created in
designation thereof merely corrected to reflect the proper classification the course of a valid reorganization. Under the law, a vacancy not filled
of the position under existing rules (Rollo, pp. 78-80). The Office of by promotion may be filled by transfer of present employees in the
Assistant Chief of Hospital for Administration therefore was created government service, by reinstatement, by reemployment of those
and existed in accordance with law. separated from the service, and appointment of outsiders who have
appropriate civil service eligibility, but not necessarily in this order (P.D.
As a result of the reclassification, candidates to the position, among 807 Art. VIII, Sec. 19 (5); E.O. 292, Bk. V, Sec. 21 (5); Español v. Civil
whom were petitioner and private respondent, were notified by the Service Commission, 206 SCRA 715 [1992]; Medenilla v. Civil Service
Personnel Selection Board (Board) of the screening scheduled on Commission, supra., at 289-290).
October 22, 1987. The notice sent petitioner at 9:30 A.M. may have
been "too close for comfort to the 10:00 schedule," but the screening It cannot be said that private respondent was an outsider. Although
was actually reset to the following day, October 23, 1987. Petitioner directly employed by the City Health Department, she actually worked
however never appeared before the Board. Neither did he appear, at the CCMC prior to her appointment to the subject position. Besides,
despite due notice, at the final selection process on November 5, 1987. even, if she was an outsider, the law does not prohibit the employment
of persons from the private sector so long as they have the appropriate
The fact that private respondent was actually screened and interviewed civil service eligibility.
by the Board does not mean that her appointment was a fait accompli.
The screening was just a stage in the appointment process. Assuming nonetheless that a vacancy actually occurred that can be
filled up only by promotion, the concept of "next in rank" does not
Private respondent and petitioner are college degree holders with three impose any mandatory or peremptory requirement to appoint the
units in Public Administration and three years experience in Hospital person occupying the next lower position in the occupational group of
Administration or Health Administration. Indeed, both candidates the office. What the Civil Service Law and the Administrative Code of
possess the minimum qualifications for the position. The determination, 1987 provide is that if a vacancy is filled up by the promotion, the
however, who among the qualified candidates should be preferred person holding the position next in rank thereto "shall be considered for
belongs to the appointing authority. The Mayor of Cebu City, in the promotion" (P.D. 807, Sec. 19 (3); E.O. 292, Bk. V, Sec. 20 (3);
instant case, chose to appoint private respondent. Español v. Civil Service Commission, supra; Barrozo v. Civil Service
Commission, 198 SCRA 487 [1991]). In other words, one who is "next
in rank" to a vacancy is given preferential consideration for promotion
The argument that petitioner should have been the one appointed
to the vacant position, but it does nor necessarily follow that he alone
because he was next in rank to the contested position and that he had
and no one else can be appointed. There is no vested right granted the
been with CCMC since 1961 as compared to private respondent, who
next in rank nor a ministerial duty imposed on the appointing authority
joined the hospital in 1986 and only on detail, cannot be upheld.
to promote the holder to the vacant position (Barrozo v. Civil Service
Commission, supra; Santiago, Jr. v. Civil Service Commission, 178 WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
SCRA 733 [1989]). public respondent, the Court resolved to DISMISS the petition for lack
of merit.
An appointment, whether to a vacancy or to a newly created position,
is essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested. SO ORDERED.
Once a candidate possesses the minimum qualities required by law,
sufficient discretion, if not plenary, is granted to the appointing authority
(Medenilla v. Civil Service Commission, supra, at 291; Central Bank v.
Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744 [1989]). After all, the
appointing authority is the officer primarily responsible for the
administration of the office, and is likewise in the best position to
determine who among the qualified candidates can efficiently
discharge the functions of the position (Villegas v. Subido, 30 SCRA
498 [1969]); Reyes v. Abeleda, 22 SCRA 825 [1968]). Indeed, whom to
appoint among those qualified is an administrative question involving
considerations of wisdom for the best interest of the service which only
the appointing authority can decide (Simpao v. Civil Service
Commission, 191 SCRA 396 [1990]; Luego v. Civil Service
Commission, 143 SCRA 327 [1986]).

It is markworthy that private respondent was detailed at the CCMC


primarily to help in upgrading the level of performance of the said
hospital. She accomplished this mission by institutionalizing changes in
the management and financial reporting system of the hospital such
that its income doubled in less than two years since her detail. Private
respondent's competence and her remarkable achievement are things
the appointing authority took notice of and which served as basis for
her appointment to the contested position.

Finally, the moral character and honesty of private respondent are


issues that should be threshed out in an appropriate action before the
proper forum. As it stands, private respondent is presumed innocent
and her acts done in good faith, until proven otherwise.
G.R. No. L-30324 November 29, 1973 office to respondent Quiambao, who likewise on the same day June 17,
RODULFO C. NIERE, petitioner, 1968, advised petitioner that he was assuming as city engineer of La
vs. Carlota City.
HON. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL,
BRANCH II, JOSE K. QUIAMBAO, and JAIME PARROCO, City In reply to petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the confirmation of
Treasurer of La Carlota City, respondents. respondent Quiambao, the Secretary of the Commission on
Appointments, in a letter dated June 21, 1968, informed the petitioner
MAKASIAR, J.: that his said motion was filed beyond the reglementary period and that
his sole remedy is to file quo warranto proceedings in court.
Petitioner Rodulfo C. Niere filed this petition for review
on certiorari seeking the reversal of the decision dated December 28, Private respondent Quiambao graduated cum laude from the Silliman
1968 of the respondent Court. University in 1957 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil
Engineering and passed the Board Examinations the same year with a
It is undisputed that La Carlota City was created by Republic Act No. rating of 82.4%. He entered the government service in 1957 while he
4585 enacted on June 19, 1965. Petitioner Rodulfo C. Niere is a Civil was not yet a registered engineer in the City Engineer's Office of
Service eligible, having passed the Board Examinations for Civil Dumaguete City, then as associate engineer in 1965 in the same office,
Engineers in August, 1960 with a rating of 71.98%. He entered the from which he was promoted upon recommendation of the
government service on October 3, 1960 as a civil engineer aide in the Commissioner of Public Highways as heretofore intimated, to the
District Engineer's Office at Bacolod City at P4.00 a day until he was position of City Engineer of La Carlota City effective May 14, 1968.
given a permanent appointment as such on December 1, 1961 at
P2544.00 per annum. He was promoted on November 16, 1962 as Petitioner claims that he was legally appointed by the City Mayor of La
junior civil engineer; on September 9, 1963, as associate civil engineer; Carlota City under Section 21 of Republic Act No. 4585.
and on October 28, 1964 as civil engineer. On January 3, 1966, he
was appointed city engineer of La Carlota City by then City Mayor
On the other hand, respondents maintain that the position of city
Jaime Marino pursuant to the provisions of Section 21 of Republic Act
engineer, created in the Charter of La Carlota City (Secs. 19 & 29, R.A.
No. 4585, which appointment was endorsed to the Commissioner of
No. 4585) which was enacted on June 19, 1965 and therefore already
Civil Service, who approved the same on January 10, 1966. Petitioner
existing at the time of the appointment of petitioner on January 3, 1966,
thereafter assumed office as such city engineer of La Carlota City.
can be filled up only by appointment of the President of the Philippines
with the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments under
After the enactment on July 17, 1967 of the Decentralization Act, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 5185, which expressly excepts the city,
otherwise known as Republic Act No. 5185, private respondent Jose K. engineer from the appointing authority of the city mayor.
Quiambao was appointed on May 14, 1968 by the President of the
Philippines as city engineer of La Carlota City, upon recommendation
Section 21 of Republic Act No. 4585 provides thus:
of the Commissioner of Public Highways, who, on June 17, 1968,
officially informed herein petitioner of said appointment of private
respondent Quiambao, which appointment was duly confirmed by the Appointment and removal of officials and employees.
Commission on Appointments, and directed petitioner to turn over the — The mayor shall appoint the city treasurer, the city
health officer, the chief of police and fire department, The petition should be dismissed and the decision of the court a
and other heads and other employees of such city quo must be affirmed.
department as may be created. Said office shall not be
suspended nor removed except in the manner and for I
causes provided by law: Provided, That appointments House Bill No. 9711, which became Republic Act No. 4585, originally
of heads and other employees of the city shall be expressly included the city engineer as one of those whom the city
limited to civil service eligibles as may from time to time mayor can appoint under Section 21 of Republic Act No. 4585, but
be certified as such by the Commissioner of Civil during the period of amendment in the Senate, the position of said
Service. engineer was deleted in the final draft of Section 21. This fact clearly
indicates that the intention of the Legislature was to exclude from the
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 5185 reads thus: appointing power of the mayor the position of the city engineer. This is
not an amendment purely on a matter of form; because nothing could
The City Assesssor, City Agriculturist, City Chief of be more substantial than the vesting of a power to appoint such an
Police and City Chief of Fire Department and other important city official as the city engineer. Petitioner's assertion that
heads of offices entirely paid out of city funds and their Senator Tolentino stated that this amendment is merely one of form is
respective assistants or deputies shall, subject to civil not accurate; because the records of the Senate session during the
service law, rules and regulations, be appointed by the period of amendments, as quoted by petitioner himself, show that:
City Mayor; Provided, however, that this section shall
not apply to Judges, Auditors, Fiscals, City THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE. We are in the
Superintendents of Schools, Supervisors, Principals, period of amendments.
City Treasurers, City Health officers and City Engineers.
SENATOR TOLENTINO. There are committed
Section 10(3) of Article VII of the 1935 Constitution states: amendments, Mr. President, embodied in the
committee Report. Some of them are matters of form.
The President shall nominate and with the consent of The other refers to the allotment of collection of taxes. I
the Commission on Appointments, shall appoint the move that these committee amendments be approved.
heads of the executive departments and bureaus,
officers of the Army from the rank of colonel, of the THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE. Is there any
Navy and Air Forces from the rank of captain or objection? (Silence) The Chair hears none. The motion
commander, and all other officers of the Government is approved. (P. 20 of Petition; p. 30, rec.; p. 42,
whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided petitioner's brief).
for, and those whom he maybe authorized by law to
appoint; but the Congress may by law vest the The Committee amendments included:
appointment of inferior officers, in the President alone,
in the courts, or in the heads of departments. 3. Page 33, line 6 .
Delete the following: of Section 21 would be a superfluity, and would have no meaning at all.
"the city engineer, As evident from the construction of the first sentence in said Section 21,
the city attorney. the terminal phrase "as may be created" modifies the last clause "and
"(P. 21 of Petition; p. 31, rec.; p. 43, other heads and other employees of such department," by all the
petitioner's brief). principles of logic and syntax.

As aforequoted, Senator Tolentino was careful or deliberate in stating III


that some, not all, of the amendments were matters of form. Neither Since the city mayor under Section 21 is without authority to appoint
did he refer expressly to the deletion of the words city engineer from the city engineer, this prerogative can only be exercised by the
Section 21 of the Charter of La Carlota City as purely a formal President of the Philippines, who, under Section 10(3) of Article VII of
amendment. If Congress wanted to authorize the city mayor to appoint the 1935 Constitution, shall nominate with the consent of the
all heads and employees of city department, it could have easily re- Commission on Appointments "all other officers of the government
phrased Section 21 of the City Charter to that effect. That this is a whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for"; because
material modification is underscored by the fact that the City Charters We ruled in Ramos vs. Alvarez (97 Phil. 844, 849) that when a statute
of Toledo, Cotabato, Kanlaon, Dapitan, San Carlos, Gingoog, Davao, does not specify how an officer is to be appointed, the appointment
Tacloban, Silahis, Bago, Bacolod, Cebu, Legaspi and Roxas or must be made by the President with the consent of the Commission on
Republic Acts Nos. 2688, 2364, 3445, 3811, 2643, 2668, 3028, 3068, Appointments.
4382, 3857, 2234 and 603 expresslly vest the power to appoint the city
department heads, including the city engineer, in the President of the The appointing power is essentially the exclusive prerogative of the
Philippines, who is the repository of the appointing power by express President. Consequently, any diminution in its scope must be clear and
constitutional conferment (Sec. 10(3), Art. VII, 1935 Constitution; see unequivocal. This test is not met by Section 21 of Republic Act No.
also Sec. 13, Art. IX, 1973 Constitution). 4585 so as to remove the power to appoint the city engineer of La
Carlota City from the residual power of appointment vested in the
II President by Section 10(3) of Article VII of the 1935 Constitution.
The clear legislative intendment in excepting the engineer from the
appointing authority of the city mayor under Section 21 of the Charter Hence, the appointment of petitioner as city engineer by then city
of La Carlota City is evident from the phraseology of the same. Said mayor of La Carlota City is illegal and therefore null and void. However,
section expressly limits the appointing authority of the mayor to "the as conceded by respondents, petitioner was a de facto city engineer
city treasurer, the city health officer, the chief of police and fire during the period of time that he performed the functions of the position
department, ..." among the heads of the then duly created and existing until he was displaced by respondent Quiambao who was validly
departments, like the city engineer, of the city government of La nominated by the President of the Philippines and confirmed by the
Carlota City. The following phrase in said Section 21 "and other heads Commission on Appointments (Cordilla vs. Martinez, 110 Phil. 24, 25;
and other employees of the city departments as may be created," Rodriguez vs. Tan, 91 Phil. 724, 728; Luna vs. Rodriguez, 37 Phil. 866).
whom the mayor can appoint, refers to heads of city departments that
may be created after the enactment of Republic Act No. 4585. WHEREFORE, THE APPEALED DECISION IS HEREBY AFFIRMED,
Otherwise, as emphasized by respondents, the first conjunction "and" WITH COSTS AGAINST PETITIONER.
before "fire department" in the preceding clause of that same sentence
G.R. No. L-25716 July 28, 1966 candidates elected for President and Vice-President; that the recount
FERNANDO LOPEZ, petitioner, of votes by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, as an incident of an
vs. election contest, is inconsistent with the exclusive power of Congress
GERARDO ROXAS and PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL to canvass the election returns for the President and the Vice-
TRIBUNAL, respondents. President; that no amendment to the Constitution providing for an
election protest involving the office of President and Vice-President has
CONCEPCION, C.J.: been adopted, despite the constitutional amendment governing
election contests for Members of Congress; that the tenure of the
Petitioner Fernando Lopez and respondent Gerardo Roxas were the President and the Vice-President is fixed by the Constitution and
main contenders for the Office of Vice-President of the Philippines in cannot be abridged by an Act of Congress, like Republic Act No. 1793;
the general elections held on November 9, 1965. By Resolution No. 2, that said Act has the effect of amending the Constitution, in that it
approved on December 17, 1965, the two Houses of Congress, in joint permits the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to review the congressional
session assembled as the board charged with the duty to canvass the proclamation of the president-elect and the vice-president-elect; that
votes then cast for President and Vice President of the Philippines, the constitutional convention had rejected the original plan to include in
proclaimed petitioner Fernando Lopez elected to the latter office with the Constitution a provision authorizing election contest affecting the
3,531,550 votes, or a plurality of 26,724 votes over his closest president-elect and the vice-president-elect before an electoral
opponent, respondent Gerardo M. Roxas, in whose favor 3,504,826 commission; that the people understood the Constitution to authorize
votes had been tallied, according to said resolution. On January 5, election contests only for Members of Congress, not for President and
1966, respondent filed, with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, Vice-President, and, in interpreting the Constitution, the people's intent
Election Protest No. 2, contesting the election of petitioner herein as is paramount; that it is illegal for Justices of the Supreme Court to sit as
Vice-President of the Philippines, upon the ground that it was not he, members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, since the decisions
but said respondent, who had obtained the largest number of votes for thereof are appealable to the Supreme Court on questions of law; that
said office. the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is a court inferior to the Supreme
Court; and that Congress cannot by legislation appoint in effect the
On February 22, 1966, petitioner Lopez instituted in the Supreme Court members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
the present original action, for prohibition with preliminary injunction,
against respondent Roxas, to prevent the Presidential Electoral Pursuant to the Constitution, "the Judicial power shall be vested in one
Tribunal from hearing and deciding the aforementioned election Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by
contest, upon the ground that Republic Act No. 1793, creating said law.1
Tribunal, is "unconstitutional," and that, "all proceedings taken by it are
a nullity." This provision vests in the judicial branch of the government, not
merely some specified or limited judicial power, but "the" judicial power
Petitioner's contention is predicated upon the ground, that Congress under our political system, and, accordingly, the entirety or "all" of said
may not, by law, authorize an election contest for President and Vice- power, except, only, so much as the Constitution confers upon some
President, the Constitution being silent thereon; that such contest other agency, such as the power to "judge all contests relating to the
tends to nullify the constitutional authority of Congress to proclaim the election, returns and qualifications" of members of the Senate and
those of the House of Representatives which is vested by the
fundamental law solely in the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House as such, he is entitled to assume the duties attached to said office. And
Electoral Tribunal, respectively.2 by providing, further, that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal "shall be
composed of the Chief Justice and the other ten Members of the
Judicial power is the authority to settle justiciable controversies or Supreme Court," said legislation has conferred upon such Court
disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable before an additional original jurisdiction of an exclusive character.8
the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of such
rights.3 The proper exercise of said authority requires legislative action: Republic Act No. 1793 has not created a new or separate court. It has
(1) defining such enforceable and demandable rights and/or merely conferred upon the Supreme Court the functions of a
prescribing remedies for violations thereof; and (2) determining the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. The result of the enactment may be
court with jurisdiction to hear and decide said controversies or disputes, likened to the fact that courts of first instance perform the functions of
in the first instance and/or on appeal. For this reason, the Constitution such ordinary courts of first instance,9 those of court of land
ordains that "Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and registration, 10those of probate courts, 11 and those of courts of juvenile
apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts," subject to the and domestic relations. 12 It is, also, comparable to the situation
limitations set forth in the fundamental law.4 obtaining when the municipal court of a provincial capital exercises its
authority, pursuant to law, over a limited number of cases which were
Prior to the approval of Republic Act No. 1793, a defeated candidate previously within the exclusive jurisdiction of courts of first instance. 13
for president or vice-president, who believe that he was the candidate
who obtained the largest number of votes for either office, despite the In all of these instances, the court (court of first instance or municipal
proclamation by Congress of another candidate as the president-elect court) is only one, although the functions may be distinct and,
or vice-president-elect, had no legal right to demand by election protest even, separate. Thus the powers of a court of first instance, in the
a recount of the votes cast for the office concerned, to establish his exercise of its jurisdiction over ordinary civil cases, are broader than,
right thereto. As a consequence, controversies or disputes on this as well as distinct and separate from, those of the same court acting as
matter were not justiciable.5 a court of land registration or a probate court, or as a court of juvenile
and domestic relations. So too, the authority of the municipal court of a
Section 1 of Republic Act No. 1793, which provides that: provincial capital, when acting as such municipal court, is, territorially
more limited than that of the same court when hearing the
There shall be an independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal ... aforementioned cases which are primary within the jurisdiction of
which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the courts of first instance. In other words, there is only one court, although
election, returns, and qualifications of the president-elect and it may perform the functions pertaining to several types of courts, each
the vice-president-elect of the Philippines. having some characteristics different from those of the others.

has the effect of giving said defeated candidate the legal right to Indeed, the Supreme Court, 14 the Court of Appeals 15 and courts of first
contest judicially the election of the President-elect or Vice-President- instance, 16 are vested with original jurisdiction, as well as with
elect and to demand a recount of the votes cast for the office involved appellate jurisdiction, in consequence of which they are booth trial
in the litigation as well as to secure a judgment declaring that he6 is the courts and appellate courts, without detracting from the fact that there
one elected president or vice-president, as the case may be,7 and that, is only one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and one court of first
instance, clothed with authority to discharged said dual functions. A court of justice shall have jurisdiction to hear the contest. It is, even,
court of first instance, when performing the functions of a probate court debatable whether such jurisdiction may be conferred, by statute, to a
or a court of land registration, or a court of juvenile and domestic board, commission or tribunal composed partly of Members of
relations, although with powers less broad than those of a court of first Congress and Members of the Supreme Court because of its possible
instance, hearing ordinary actions, is not inferior to the latter, for one inconsistency with the constitutional grant of the judicial power to "the
cannot be inferior to itself. So too, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal Supreme Court and ... such inferior courts as may be established by
is not inferior to the Supreme Court, since it is the same Court although law," for said board, commission or tribunal would be neither "the
the functions peculiar to said Tribunal are more limited in scope than Supreme Court, 21 nor, certainly, "such inferior courts as, may be
those of the Supreme Court in the exercise of its ordinary functions. established by law."
Hence, the enactment of Republic Act No. 1793, does not entail an
assumption by Congress of the power of appointment vested by the It follows, therefore, not only that Republic Act No. 1793 is not
Constitution in the President. It merely connotes the imposition of inconsistent with the Constitution or with the principle of separation of
additional duties upon the Members of the Supreme Court. 17 powers underlying the same, but, also, that it is in harmony with the
aforementioned grant of "the judicial power" to said courts. Indeed,
Moreover, the power to be the "judge ... of ... contests relating to the when Claro M. Recto, Chairman of the Constitutional Convention,
election, returns, and qualifications" of any public officer is essentially proposed that the original move therein to include in the fundamental
judicial. As such — under the very principle of separation of powers law a provision creating an Electoral Commission 22 to hear election
invoked by petitioner herein — it belongs exclusively to contests against the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect, be
the judicial department, except only insofar as the Constitution given up, he expressed the view that the elimination of said provision
provides otherwise. This is precisely the reason why said organic law would have the effect of leaving in the hands of the legislative
ordains that "the Senate and the House of Representatives shall each department the power to decide what entity or body would "look into
have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests the protests for the positions of President and Vice-
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective President." 23 Twenty-two (22) years later, or on May 3, 1957 then
Members" (Article VI, Section 11, of the Constitution). In other words, Senator Recto reiterated this view, when, in the course of the debates
the purpose of this provision was to exclude the power to decide such on the Bill which later became Republic Act No. 1793, he stated:
contests relating to Members of Congress — which by nature is
judicial 18 — from the operation of the general grant of judicial ... Mr. President, as far as I can remember, the intention of the
power 19 to "the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be constitutional convention was to leave this matter to ordinary
established by law. legislation.

Instead of indicating that Congress may not enact Republic Act No. Such was, also, the impression of Dr. Jose M. Aruego, another
1793, the aforementioned provision of the Constitution, establishing prominent Member of the Convention, who says 24that
said Electoral Tribunals for Members of Congress only, proves the
exact opposite, namely: that the Constitution intended to vest Election protests for the Presidency and the Vice-
Congress with discretion 20 to determine by law whether or not the Presidendency were left to be judged in a manner and by a
election of a president-elect or that of a vice-president-elect may be body decided by the National Assembly. (Emphasis ours.)
contested and, if Congress should decide in the affirmative, which
No less than one of the main counsel for petitioner herein, himself, ordinary legislation, whether or not protests against the election of said
another delegate to the Constitutional Convention, evidently shared officers may properly be entertained by the judicial department.
this view as late as September 30, 1965, for the introduction to his
1965 edition of "the Revised Election Code" states that "he will always Needless to say, the power of congress to declare who, among the
be remembered for ... his famous bill creating the Presidential Electoral candidates for President and/or Vice-President, has obtained the
Tribunal ...". Indeed as a member of the Senate, on January 3, 1950, largest number of votes, is entirely different in nature from and not
he Introduced Senate Bill No. 1 seeking to create a Presidential inconsistent with the jurisdiction vested in the Presidential Electoral
Electoral Tribunal "to try, hear and decide protests contesting the Tribunal by Republic Act No. 1793. Congress merely acts as a national
election of the President and the Vice-President of the Philippines", board of canvassers, charged with
which shall be composed of three Justices of the Supreme Court, the ministerial and executive duty 27 to make said declaration, on the
including the Chief Justice, and four Senators and four Members of the basis of the election returns duly certified by provincial and city boards
House of Representatives. of canvassers. 28 Upon the other hand, the Presidential Electoral
Tribunal has the judicial power to determine whether or not said duly
Then, again, the records of the Convention show, that in voting certified election returns have been irregularly made or tampered with,
eventually to eliminate, from the draft of the Constitution, the provision or reflect the true result of the elections in the areas covered by each,
establishing a Presidential Electoral Commission, the delegates were and, if not, to recount the ballots cast, and, incidentally thereto, pass
influenced by the fact that there was no similar provision in the Federal upon the validity of each ballot or determine whether the same shall be
Constitution of the United States. Having followed the pattern thereof, it counted, and, in the affirmative, in whose favor, which Congress has
must be assumed, therefore, in the absence of any indicium to the power to do.
contrary,25 that the Convention had adhered, also, to the interpretation
given to this feature of said Federal Constitution, as may be deduced It is, likewise, patent that the aforementioned authority of the
from the fact that, by an act of Congress of the United States, Presidential Electoral Tribunal to determine whether or not the
approved on January 29, 1877, an Electoral Commission was created protestant has a better right than the President and/or the Vice-
to hear and decide certain issues concerning the election of the President declared elected by Congress would not abridge the
President of said nation held in 1876. It is, also worthy of notice that constitutional tenure. If the evidence introduced in the election protest
pursuant to said Act, nothing therein "shall be held to impair or affect shows that the person really elected president or vice-president is the
any right now existing under the Constitution and laws to question, by protestant, not the person declared elected by Congress, then the
proceedings in the judicial courts of the United States, the right or title latter had legally no constitutional tenure whatsoever, and, hence, he
of the person who shall be declared elected, or who shall claim to be can claim no abridgement thereof. 1äwphï1.ñët

President or Vice-President of the United States, if any such right


exists". 26 Thus the absence of a provision in said Federal Constitution It is similarly obvious that, in imposing upon the Supreme Court the
governing protests against the election of the President and the Vice- additional duty of performing the functions of a Presidential Electoral
President had been construed to be without prejudice to the right of the Tribunal, Congress has not, through Republic Act No. 1793,
defeated candidate to file a protest before the courts of justice of the encroached upon the appointing power of the Executive. The
United States, if the laws thereof permitted it. In other words, the imposition of new duties constitutes, neither the creation of an office,
Federal Congress was deemed clothed with authority to determine, by nor the appointment of an officer. 29
In view of a resolution of this Court dated July 8, 1966, upholding the
validity of Republic Act No. 1793, upon the ground that it merely vests
additional jurisdiction in the Supreme Court, petitioner has filed a
motion dated July 13, 1966, praying this Court "to clarify whether or
not" this "election contest should as a consequence ... be docketed
with, and the records thereof transferred, to this Supreme Court, and
all pleadings, papers and processes relative thereto should thence
forth be filed with it". The motion is, evidently, based upon the premise
that the Supreme Court is different and distinct from the Presidential
Electoral Tribunal, which is erroneous, as well as contrary to the ruling
made in said resolution.

Wherefore, the petition herein is hereby dismissed and the writs therein
prayed for denied accordingly. The aforesaid motion is, moreover,
denied. With costs against the petitioner. It is so ordered.