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Topic:

Reference: Lucia Mapa Vda. De Dela Cruz et. al, vs. Adjuto Abille; G.R. 130196; February 26,
2001.

Facts:

Herminio Abille, now deceased, had a total landholding of 13.0561 hectares, located in Infanta,
Pangasinan, comprising of 9.2903 hectares of riceland; 2.0000 hectares of cogonland; 1.7658
hectares of coconut land and .4660 hectare of residential land.

Since 1968, Balbino dela Cruz was an agricultural tenant in the riceland tilling an area of 2.84
hectares. He died on June 14, 1981. After his death, Balbino dela Cruz was, nevertheless, is-
sued a Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) No. 0-064711 dated October 25, 1981 pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 27. The certificate was entered in the Registration Book of the Registry
of Deeds of Pangasinan. Tax Declaration No. 3 in the name of Herminio Abille was cancelled
and Tax Declaration No. 1134 was issued in the name of Balbino dela Cruz.

On April 3, 1987, Herminio Abille filed a petition for exemption under Operation Land Transfer
(OLT) of his landholdings alleging, among others, that he was not notified of the coverage of his
land under OLT; that he learned of its coverage only on March 25, 1987; that prior to the is-
suance of the Certificate of Land Transfer No. 0-064711, DAR did not notify him or his repre-
sentative; that he has been deprived of his constitutional right to due process.

On October 21, 1992, Regional Director Eligio P. Pacis of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal As-
sistance, Region I, San Fernando, La Union, issued an Order denying the petition for the is-
suance of an emancipation patent as CLT No. 0-064711 issued in favor of Balbino dela Cruz
had already been cancelled by virtue of the Order dated April 19, 1989, which was supported
by substantial evidence, and that said Order had long become final.

Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration praying that another Order be issued declaring as
null and void the Order dated April 19, 1989, which was issued allegedly without giving them a
day in court, hence, there was absence of due process of law, considering that Balbino dela
Cruz was already deemed owner of the subject property as of October 21, 1972. They sought
the reinstatement of CLT No. 0-064711 and the issuance of an emancipation patent in their fa-
vor as compulsory heirs of the late Balbino dela Cruz.

The said motion for reconsideration was treated as an appeal and elevated to the Secretary of
the Department of Agrarian Reform who rendered a Decision on June 20, 1994, dismissing the
said petition.

Consequently, the petitioners filed a petition for review with the CA. However, the same was
also denied. Hence the present case.

Issue/s:

Whether or not the petitioners were denied due process?

Ruling:


No. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard or, as applied to adminis-
trative proceedings, an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained
of. Further, the petition filed by landowner Herminio Abille, which was for exemption of his
property from the coverage of Operation Land Transfer, cognizable by Region I Director Anto-
nio M. Nuesa of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance, did not require notice to petitioners.

Moreover the court explained that although the petitioners were not given the opportunity to be
heard when Regional Director Antonio Nuesa in his Order dated April 19, 1989 ordered the
cancellation of Certificate of Land Transfer No. 0-064711 on the retained area nevertheless, in
their petition for issuance of an emancipation patent, petitioners were given the opportunity to
be heard as they raised in issue opportunity to be heard as they raised in issue the validity of
the cancellation of the said CL, which was resolved by DAR regional director Pacis in his order
dated Oct. 21, 1992, and also in their motion for reconsideration, which was treated as a n ap-
peal by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform and resolved in his Order dated June 20 1994.

Topic:
Reference: Smart Communications, Inc. and Pilipino Telephone Corporation vs. National
Telecommunications Commission; G.R. 151908; August 12, 2003

Facts:

Pursuant to its rule-making and regulatory powers, the National Telecommunications Commis-
sion (NTC) promulgated rules and regulations on the billing of telecommunications services.
Petitioners-communications companies filed an action for declaration of nullity of the billing
circulars, alleging, among others: that NTC contravened the Civil Code provisions on sales in
regulating the sale of prepaid call cards; and that the billing circular violated the constitutional
prohibition against the deprivation of property without due process of law. The NTC moved to
dismiss the case for failure of petitioners to exhaust administrative remedies. The trial court
denied the motion to dismiss and enjoined the NTC from implementing the questioned circu-
lars. The CA, however, dismissed the case on appeal without prejudice to the referral of the pe-
titioners' grievances and disputes on the assailed issuances with the NTC.

Issue/s:

Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that the National Telecommunications Commis-
sion (NTC) and not the Regular Court which has jurisdiction over the case.

Ruling:

Yes. In the instant case the court ruled that In questioning the validity or constitutionality of a
rule or regulation issued by an administrative agency, a party need not exhaust administrative
remedies before going to court. This principle applies only where the act of the administrative
agency concerned was performed pursuant to its quasi-judicial function, and not when the as-
sailed act pertained to its rule-making or quasi-legislative power. Even assuming arguendo that
the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies apply in this case, the records reveal that
petitioners sufficiently complied with this requirement. Even during the drafting and deliberation
stages leading to the issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 13-6-2000, petitioners were able
to register their protests to the proposed billing guidelines. They submitted their respective po-
sition papers setting forth their objections and submitting proposed schemes for the billing cir-
cular. After the same was issued, petitioners wrote successive letters dated July 3, 2000 and
July 5, 2000, asking for the suspension and reconsideration of the so-called Billing Circular.
These letters were not acted upon until October 6, 2000, when respondent NTC issued the
second assailed Memorandum implementing certain provisions of the Billing Circular. This was
taken by petitioners as a clear denial of the requests contained in their previous letters, thus
prompting them to seek judicial relief.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court also differentiated the Quasi-legislative from the Quasi-judicial
power of administrative agencies; the honorable court explained Administrative agencies pos-
sess quasi-legislative or rule-making powers and quasi judicial or administrative adjudicatory
powers. Quasi-legislative or rule-making power is the power to make rules and regulations
which results in delegated legislation that is within the confines of the granting statute and the
doctrine of non-delegability and separability of powers. The rules and regulations that adminis-
trative agencies promulgate, which are the product of a delegated legislative power to create
new and additional legal provisions that have the effect of law, should be within the scope of
the statutory authority granted by the legislature to the administrative agency. It is required that
the regulation be germane to the objects and purposes of the law, and be not in contradiction
to, but in conformity with, the standards prescribed by law. They must conform to and be con-
sistent with the provisions of the enabling statute in order for such rule or regulation to be valid.
Not to be confused with the quasi-legislative or rule-making power of an administrative agency
is its quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory power. This is the power to hear and deter-
mine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance
with the standards laid down by the law itself in enforcing and administering the same law. The
administrative body exercises its quasi judicial power when it performs in a judicial manner an
act which is essentially of an executive or administrative nature, where the power to act in such
manner is incidental to or reasonably necessary for the performance of the executive or admin-
istrative duty entrusted to it. In carrying out their quasi-judicial functions, the administrative of-
ficers or bodies are required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hear-
ings, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions from them as basis for their official action and ex-
ercise of discretion in a judicial nature.

Topic:

Reference: Wilfred A. Nicolas vs. Aniano A. Desierto; G.R. 154668; December 16, 2004

Facts:
On April 7, 1999, a 40-footer van declared to contain 'parts for rock crusher' arrived at the
Manila International Container Port (MICP) from Singapore on board vessel APL Lotus 0001.
The subject cargo, which was supposed to be transhipped to Cagayan de Oro City was con-
signed to Macro Equipment Corporation with Catalysts Customs Brokerage as broker. It was
issued a Boatnote No. 51723253 directing/authorizing the transfer of the said cargo from Mani-
la International Container Port to North Harbor, Manila.

On April 16, 1999, elements of Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) appre-
hended the shipment — based on reliable information that duties and taxes of cargo contained
therein were not properly paid along Quirino Avenue, Parañaque City. On April 19, 1999, the
EIIB turned over the container van and its cargo to the AFP Logistics Command at Camp
Aguinaldo, Quezon City for safekeeping, and on the same date, respondent Wilfredo A. Nicolas
,the Commissioner of the EIIB, issued Mission Order No. 04-10599 directing the inventory of
the container van. It was only then when it was discovered that the cargo consisted of various
electronics and communications equipment, appliances, parts, and accessories.

On May 6, 1999, upon the recommendation of J. Francisco Arriola, then Chief of the EIIB's
Special Operations Group, petitioner Nicolas issued a Notice of Withdrawal for the release of
the subject shipment in favor of Trinity Brokerage, after payment of the necessary customs du-
ties and other fees. However, it was discovered later that the documents presented in support
of the release of the cargo were spurious.

As a result thereof, Ruben Frogoso filed a complaint against Wilfredo A. Nicolas, J. Francisco
Arriola, Edward dela Cuesta, Rogelio Hurtado, and Allan Pagkalinawan before the Office of the
Ombudsman. After finding that petitioner Nicolas Arriola and the other persons cited in the
complaint appeared to be criminally and administratively liable, the Fact Finding and Intelli-
gence Bureau (FFIB) Investigation Panel of the Office of the Ombudsman directed them to file
their respective counter-affidavits to controvert the charge against them.

Petitioner Nicolas contended in his counter-affidavit that he had no knowledge that the alleged
documents for the payment of cargo duties were spurious. He claimed good faith in releasing
the subject cargo and that the documents did not show that the cargo in the container vans
were parts for rock crusher. Petitioner Nicolas further claimed that he cannot be held liable for
Gross Neglect of Duty and Dishonesty since the said offenses are incompatible with one an-
other.

A preliminary conference of the case was held on June 1, 2000 wherein dela Cuesta manifest-
ed in open proceedings to submit the case for resolution based on the evidence on record. On
the other hand, Arriola, through his counsel, and Pagkalinawan and Hurtado requested for the
resetting of the preliminary conference to June 16, 2000. However, petitioner Nicolas failed to
appear at the preliminary conference.

Graft Investigation Officer II Joselito P. Fangon rendered a Decision dated July 4, 2000, which
was duly approved by the Ombudsman on February 9, 2001, finding the petitioner guilty of
Gross Neglect of Duty. The petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the said decision but the
same was denied by the respondent in its Order dated April 3, 2001. Hence the instant petitio

Issue/s:
Whether or not the petitioner was denied due process?

Ruling:
Yes. The Supreme Court citing the case of Ang Tibay vs. Court of Industrial Relations stated
that the cardinal requirements of due process in administrative proceedings were thus: (1) there
must be a right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one's case and submit evi-
dence in support thereof; (2) the tribunal must consider the evidence presented; (3) the deci-
sion must have some basis to support itself; (4) the evidence must be substantial; (5) the deci-
sion must be based on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the
record and disclosed to the parties affected; (6) the tribunal or body or any of its judges must
act on its own independent consideration of the law and the facts of the controversy, and not
simply accept the views of a subordinate; (7) the board or body should, in all controversial
questions, render its decision in such a manner as would allow the parties to know the various
issues involved and the reason for the decision rendered.

In the present case, Nicolas was not accorded the first requirement — the right to present his
case and submit evidence in support thereof. Petitioner was not notified of the preliminary con-
ference, which would have afforded him the opportunity to appear and defend his rights, in-
cluding the right to request a formal investigation.

The Order requiring Nicolas to attend the preliminary conference was sent to the EIIB office at
EIIB-DOF, National Government Center, East Triangle, Quezon City. A certain Baby Averion re-
ceived the Order, allegedly on behalf of petitioner on May 19, 2000.

At the time the Notice was sent, however, Nicolas was no longer holding office at the said ad-
dress, because the EIIB had already been deactivated. The ombudsman should have sent the
notice to the home address of petitioner, who had indicated it in his Counter-Affidavit that was
submitted to the ombudsman during the fact-finding investigation.

The absence of petitioner at the scheduled preliminary conference was therefore justified. The
ombudsman erred in declaring that the former's case had been submitted for decision and in
subsequently rendering the assailed Decision.

Topic:

Reference: Enrique A. Arboleda vs. National Labor Relations Commission and Manila Electric
Company; G.R. 119509; February 11, 1999

Facts: Petitioner, an employee for 25 years of respondent Meralco, was dismissed for misap-
propriating or withholding company funds. He was found to have received without official re-
ceipt the amount of P1,200 as payment for Antonio Sy's Found Connection (FC) bills. Sy had
been found twice to have illegal connections. Sy's meter was thereafter installed without the go
signal from Meralco. This irregularity was discovered by Marcelo Umali, branch manager of
Meralco, who recommended petitioner's investigation. However, Sy identified petitioner as the
one who received P1,200 payment of his FC bills, but did not issue a receipt. Petitioner was
thereafter terminated. On 7 November 1987 he was suspended pending his investigation. On 9
November 1987 the investigation proceeded with Juanito Rivera, Chief Steward and Vice-Pres-
ident of the employees' labor union, as petitioner's representative. In the investigation, Arbole-
da made a general denial about knowing Sy, "Adu" and "Mulong."He claimed that sometime
thereafter Brigido Anonuevo went to his house bringing his Affidavit of Justification, Certificate
of Attendance at a MERALCO Seminar and Sy's Affidavit of Desistance. Despite his suspen-
sion which lasted until his dismissal, petitioner continued to receive his salary of P11,332.50
from 20 December 1987 to 11 February 1988. Petitioner, notified of the charge against him,
denied the charge. Aggrieved, petitioner filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the Labor
Arbiter who rendered judgment in his favor. The NLRC, on appeal, reversed the Labor Arbiter.
Hence, this recourse.

Issue/s:

Whether or not the petitioner was denied due process during the investigation conducted by
MERALCO as he did not have the opportunity to confront the witnesses against him.

Ruling:

No. The Supreme Court Explained that the essence of due process in administrative proceed-
ings is an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the
action or ruling complained of. Before an employee can be validly dismissed, the Labor Code
requires the employer to furnish the employee with two (2) written notices: (a) a written notice
containing a statement of the cause for termination to afford the employee ample opportunity
to be heard and defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if he so desires; and,
(b) if the employer decides to terminate the services of the employee, the employer must notify
him in writing of the decision to dismiss him, stating clearly the reasons therefor. This MERAL-
CO more than substantially complied with when it notified Arboleda in a letter dated 21 Octo-
ber 1987 of the charges against him and of his right to be represented by a lawyer or represen-
tative, and when it gave him notice by letter dated 11 February 1988 of his dismissal and the
reasons therefor.

The requirement of notice and hearing in termination cases does not connote full adversarial
proceedings as elucidated in numerous cases decided by this Court. Actual adversarial pro-
ceedings become necessary only for clarification or when there is a need to propound search-
ing questions to witnesses who give vague testimonies. This is a procedural right which the
employee must ask for since it is not an inherent right, and summary proceedings may be con-
ducted thereon.

Topic:

Reference: Fulgencio S. Facturan, JR., vs. CA; G.R. 93540; December 13, 1999
Facts:
Private respondent's six-wheeler truck was apprehended by police officers of the
Marikina Police Station carrying 4,000 board feet of narra lumber. The truck driver, private re-
spondent Jesus Sy, were brought to the Personnel Investigation Committee/Special Actions
and Investigation Division (PIC/SAID) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR) in Quezon City. The PIC/SAID found after an investigation that private respondents vio-
lated Bureau of Forestry and Development Circular No. 10 and P.D. No. 705, otherwise known
as the Revised Forestry Code.

Petitioner Fulgencio S. Factoran, then Secretary of the DENR, issued an order for the
confiscation of the narra lumber and the truck. Private respondents neither asked for reconsid-
eration of nor appealed, the said order to the Office of the President. Consequently, the confis-
cated narra lumber and six-wheeler truck were forfeited in favor of the government. They were
subsequently advertised to be sold at public auction on March 20, 1989. On March 17, 1989
private respondents filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City with prayer
for the issuance of writs of replevin and preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining or-
der for the recovery of the confiscated lumber and truck and to enjoin the planned auctioned
sale of the subject narra lumber, respectively. The trial court issued an order directing petition-
ers to desist from proceeding with the planned auction sale. On March 20, 1989, the scheduled
date of the auction sale, private respondents filed an Ex parte Motion for Release and Return of
Goods and Documents.

The trial court granted the writ of replevin. Thereafter, the trial court issued a writ of
seizure. However, petitioners refused to comply therewith. On the same day, petitioners filed a
Manifestation stating their intention to file their counterbond under Rule 60 of the Rules of
Court to stay the execution of the writ of seizure and to post a cash bond in the amount of
P180,000.00, but it was refused. On March 27, 1989, private respondents filed a motion to de-
clare petitioners in contempt for disobeying the writ of seizure. Petitioners filed with the Court
of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus to annul the Orders of the trial
court dated March 20, 1989 and March 27, 1989. The appellate court lifted the writ of prelimi-
nary injunction and dismissed the petition. It declared that the complaint for replevin filed by
private respondents complied with the requirements under the Revised Rules of Court. As for
the contempt charge against petitioners, the appellate court believed the same were sufficient-
ly based on a written charge by private respondents and the report submitted by the sheriff.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied. Hence, the present petition.
Petitioners contended that the confiscated lumber cannot be the subject of replevin and the
writ of replevin was issued in contravention of P.D. No. 705.

Issue/s:
Whether or not Section 80 of P.D. No. 705 which requires delivery of the seized forest products
within six hours from the time of seizure to the appropriate official designated by law to con-
duct preliminary investigation applies to administrative confiscations effected pursuant to Sec-
tion 68-A of the same law.

Ruling:
No. Sec. 80 of P.D. No. 705 which requires delivery of the seized forest products within six (6)
hours from the time of the seizure to the appropriate official designated by law to conduct pre-
liminary investigations applies only to criminal prosecutions provided for in Sec. 68, and not to
administrative confiscation provided for in Section 68-A. The title of Sec. 80-A — "Arrest; Insti-
tution of Criminal Actions" — bespeaks this intendment of the law.

The fact, too, those Secs. 68 and 80 were co-existing prior to the introduction of Sec. 68-A,
proves that Sec. 80 applies to the criminal prosecution subject of Sec. 68 and not to the ad-
ministrative confiscation subject of Sec. 68-A. Sec. 68-A, therefore, should not be interpreted
in relation to Sec. 80 as to require that criminal charges be filed with and seized forest products
be immediately delivered to, the fiscal in case of administrative confiscation, for this renders
nugatory the purpose sought to be achieved thereby. Statutes should always be construed in
the light of the object to be achieved and the evil or mischief to be suppressed, and they
should be given such interpretation as will advance the object, suppress the mischief, and se-
cure the benefits intended.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court explained that the issuance of the confiscation order by peti-
tioner Secretary was a valid exercise of his power under Section 68-A of P.D. No. 705. By virtue
of said order, the Narra lumber and the six-wheeler truck were held in custodial legis and,
hence, beyond the reach of replevin. According to the Court, when a thing is in official custody
of a judicial or executive officer in pursuance of his execution of a legal writ, replevin will not lie
to recover it. Otherwise, there would be interference with the possession before the function of
law had been performed to the process under which the property was taken.