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[G.R. No. 95694. October 9, 1997.] LAGUNA CATV NETWORK, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. ALEX E.

MARAAN,
Regional Director, Region IV, Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
ENRICO SAGMIT, Acting Deputy Sheriff, DOLE Region IV, PEDRO
VICENTE VILLAFLOR, substituted by his heirs, petitioner, vs. COURT IGNACIO, DIOMEDES CASTRO, FE ESPERANZA CANDILLA, RUBEN
OF APPEALS and NASIPIT LUMBER CO., INC., respondents. LAMINA, JR., JOEL PERSIUNCULA, ALVINO PRUDENTE, JOEL
RAYMUNDO, REGIE ROCERO, LINDA, RODRIGUEZ, JOHN SALUDO,
ALBERTO REYES, and ANACLETA VALOIS, respondents.
Renato S. Corpuz for petitioners.

Pelaez, Adriano & Gregorio for private respondents.


Emilio G. Abrogena for petitioner.

Hilario D. Quiambao for private respondents.


SYNOPSIS

On December 2, 1948, petitioner filed a sales application with the Bureau of Lands covering a SYNOPSIS
tract of public lands consisting of 140 hectares. In paragraph 6 thereof, he recognized that
the land is of public domain. On August 16, 1950, petitioner entered into a Deed of The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Region IV, conducted an inspection
Relinquishment of Rights in favor of private respondent in consideration of P5,000. On the within the premises of Laguna CATV Network, Inc. After the summary investigation, Regional
same date, August 16, 1950, private respondent filed a sales application over two parcels of Director Alex E. Maraan directed Laguna CATV to pay the concerned employees of their
land which was correspondingly awarded the following day. On January 31, 1974, petitioner unpaid claims. Laguna CATV filed a motion for reconsideration. However, for failure of
protested the sales application of private respondent claiming ownership, and claiming that it Laguna CATV to comply with the aforementioned Order, Director Maraan issued a writ of
has not paid the P5,000 provided for in the deed. The Director of Lands, however, found that execution. The sheriff levied the L300 van and garnished the bank deposits of Dr. Bernardino
petitioner was paid the stipulated amount, the same being part of the administrative process Bailon as owner of Laguna CATV. Laguna CATV and Dr. Bailon filed a motion to quash the
in the disposition of the land in question, that his sales application was rejected for leasing writ of execution, notice of levy and sale on execution. But it was denied by Director Maraan
the same to another even before he had acquired transmissible rights thereto and that he on the ground that Laguna CATV failed to perfect its appeal and the writ of execution should
recognized the public character of the land in his application and relinquished any and all be considered as an "overt denial" of Laguna CATV's motion for reconsideration. Instead of
rights he may have by virtue of continuous occupation and cultivation thereon. The same was appealing to the Secretary of Labor, Laguna CATV filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for
affirmed by the Minister of Natural Resources. aTcIEH extension of time to file a petition for review. Laguna CATV was of the view that an appeal to
On July 6, 1978, petitioner filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Agusan del the Secretary of Labor "would be an exercise in futility considering that the said appeal will be
Norte and Butuan City for Declaration of Nullity (Deed of Relinquishment of Rights), Recovery filed with the Regional Office and it will surely be disapproved." Consequently, it was
of Possession and Damages, at about the same time he appealed the decision of the Minister dismissed by the appellate court for reasons, among others, for failure to exhaust
of Natural Resources at to the Office of the President. The trial court dismissed the complaint, administrative remedies. Thus, Laguna CATV filed the instant petition. SaICcT
which on appeal was affirmed by the Court of Appeals Hence, this recourse, petitioner The Court of Appeals was correct in holding that petitioner failed to exhaust all
assailing the findings of the Bureau of Lands and the capacity of corporations to acquire administrative remedies. As provided under Article 128 of the Labor Code, as amended, an
public lands. order issued by the duly authorized representative of the Secretary of Labor may be appealed
The findings of fact of an administrative agency, such as the Bureau of Lands and the to the latter. Thus, petitioner should have first appealed to the Secretary of Labor instead of
Minister of Natural Resources, must be respected as long as they are supported by filing with the Court of Appeals a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review.
substantial evidence, even, if such evidence might not be overwhelming or even Courts, for reasons of law, comity and convenience, should not entertain suits unless the
preponderant. By reason of the special knowledge and expertise of said administrative available administrative remedies have first been resorted to and the proper authorities have
agencies over matters falling under their jurisdiction, they are in a better position to pass been given an appropriate opportunity to act and correct their alleged errors, if any,
judgment thereon; thus, their findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded great committed in the administrative forum. Observance of this doctrine is a sound practice and
respect, if not finality, by the courts. policy.
The prohibition in the 1973 Constitution against the holding of alienable lands of the public On March 3, 1998, private respondents Pedro Ignacio, Diomedes Castro, Fe Esperanza
domain by corporations has no retroactive effect and could not prevail over a vested right to Candilla, Ruben Lamina, Jr., Joel Persiuncula, Alvino Prudente, Joel Raymundo,
the land. RegieRocero, Linda Rodriguez, John Seludo, Alberto Reyes and Anacleta Valois filed with the
Department of Labor and Employment, Regional Office No. IV (DOLE Region IV), separate
complaints for underpayment of wages and non-payment of other employee
benefits. 1 Impleaded as respondent was their employer, Laguna CATV Network, Inc. (Laguna a bond equivalent to the monetary award of P261,009.19; and that the writ of execution
CATV). dated January 29, 1999 should be considered as an "overt denial" of Laguna CATV's motion
for reconsideration. 9
Private respondents filed their separate complaints pursuant to Article 128 of the Labor Code,
as amended by Republic Act No. 7730, 2 which provides: Instead of appealing to the Secretary of Labor, Laguna CATV filed with the Court of Appeals a
motion for extension of time to file a petition for review. 10 Laguna CATV was of the view that
"Article 128. Visitorial and enforcement powers. — (a) The Secretary of an appeal to the Secretary of Labor "would be an exercise in futility considering that the said
Labor or his duly authorized representatives, including labor regulation appeal will be filed with the Regional Office and it will surely be disapproved." 11
officers, shall have access to employer's records and premises at any time
of the day or night whenever work is being undertaken therein, and the On May 13, 1999, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution 12 denying Laguna CATV's
right to copy therefrom, to question any employee and investigate any fact, motion for extension and dismissing the case. The Appellate Court found, among others, that
condition or matter which may be necessary to determine violations or it failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
which may aid in the enforcement of this Code and of any labor law, wage
order or rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto. Laguna CATV filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the Court of Appeals in its
Resolution dated July 22, 1999. 13 Hence, it filed the instant petition for review
"(b) . . . on certiorari. 14

"An order issued by the duly authorized representative of the Secretary of Specifically, petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in denying its motion for
Labor and Employment under this article may be appealed to the latter. In extension and in dismissing the case.
case said order involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may
be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a Private respondents, in their comment on the petition, claim that the assailed Orders of
reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Secretary of Labor and DOLE Region IV have become final and executory for petitioner's failure to appeal to the
Employment in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the order Secretary of Labor.
appealed from. (emphasis added)
The petition lacks merit. The Court of Appeals was correct in holding that petitioner failed to
"xxxxxxxxx." exhaust all administrative remedies.

On April 1, 1998, DOLE Region IV conducted an inspection within the premises of Laguna As provided under Article 128 of the Labor Code, as amended, earlier quoted, an order issued
CATV and found that the latter violated the laws on payment of wages and other benefits. by the duly authorized representative of the Secretary of Labor may be appealed to the latter.
Thereupon, DOLE Region IV requested Laguna CATV to correct its violations but the latter Thus, petitioner should have first appealed to the Secretary of Labor instead of filing with the
refused, prompting Regional Director Alex E. Maraan to set the case for summary Court of Appeals a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review.
investigation. 3 Thereafter, he issued an Order dated August 19, 1998 4 directing Laguna Courts, for reasons of law, comity and convenience, should not entertain suits unless the
CATV to pay the concerned employees the sum of Two Hundred Sixty-One Thousand, Nine available administrative remedies have first been resorted to and the proper authorities have
and 19/100 (P261,009.19) Pesos representing their unpaid claims, within 10 days from been given an appropriate opportunity to act and correct their alleged errors, if any,
notice, and to submit proof of payment within the same period. Forthwith, Laguna CATV filed committed in the administrative forum. 15 Observance of this doctrine is a sound practice
a motion for reconsideration. 5 and policy. As succinctly explained by this Court in Carale vs. Abarintos. 16
In view of Laguna CATV's failure to comply with the Order directing it to pay the unpaid "It (the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies) ensures an
claims of its employees, DOLE Regional Director Maraan issued a writ of execution on orderly procedure which favors a preliminary sifting process, particularly
January 29, 1999 6 ordering Sheriff Enrico Sagmit to collect in cash from Laguna CATV the with respect to matters peculiarly within the competence of the
amount specified in the writ or, in lieu thereof, to attach its goods and chattels or those of its administrative agency, avoidance of interference with functions of the
owner, Dr. Bernardino Bailon. Sheriff Sagmit subsequently levied on Dr. Bailon's L300 van administrative agency by withholding judicial action until the
and garnished his bank deposits.
administrative process had run its course, and prevention of attempts to
swamp the courts by a resort to them in the first instance." 17

On March 2, 1999, Laguna CATV and Dr. Bailon, in his personal capacity, filed a motion to This Court, in a long line of cases, has consistently held that if a remedy within the
quash the writ of execution, notice of levy and sale on execution and garnishment of bank administrative machinery can still be resorted to by giving the administrative officer
deposits, 7 alleging that the writ was premature because Laguna CATV's motion for concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then
reconsideration of the Order dated August 19, 1998 has not yet been resolved by Regional such remedy should be exhausted first before the court's judicial power can be
Director Maraan. On April 21, 1999, he issued an Order 8 denying the motion to quash the sought. 18 The party with an administrative remedy must not merely initiate the prescribed
writ of execution, stating inter alia, that Laguna CATV failed to perfect its appeal of the administrative procedure to obtain relief but also pursue it to its appropriate conclusion before
August 19, 1998 Order because it did not comply with the mandatory requirement of posting seeking judicial intervention in order to give the administrative agency an opportunity to
decide the matter itself correctly and prevent unnecessary and premature resort to the
court. 19 The underlying principle of the rule rests on the presumption that the ||| (Laguna CATV Network, Inc. v. Maraan, G.R. No. 139492, [November 19, 2002], 440 PHIL
administrative agency, if afforded a complete chance to pass upon the matter will decide the 734-743)
same correctly. 20 Therefore, petitioner should have completed the administrative process by
appealing the questioned Orders to the Secretary of Labor.

Although this Court has allowed certain exceptions to the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies, such as:

1) when there is a violation of due process;

2) when the issue involved is a purely legal question;

3) when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or


excess of jurisdiction;

4) when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency


concerned;

5) when there is irreparable injury;

6) when the respondent is a Department Secretary whose acts as an alter


ego of the President bears the implied and assumed approval of the
latter;

7) when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be


unreasonable;

8) when it would amount to a nullification of a claim;

9) when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings;

10) when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy, adequate remedy;

11) when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial


intervention;

12) when no administrative review is provided by law;

13) where the rule of qualified political agency applies; and

14) when the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been


rendered moot, 21

petitioner fails to show that the instant case falls under any of the exceptions. Its
contention that an appeal to the Secretary of Labor would be futile as "it will surely be
disapproved," is purely conjectural and definitely misplaced.
In the recent case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Express Telecommunication Co., 22 this
Court held that "the premature invocation of the court's intervention is fatal to one's cause of
action." Accordingly, absent any finding of waiver, estoppel, or any of the exceptions to the
doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, the case is susceptible of dismissal for lack
of cause of action. 23

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is DENIED. SIDTCa


[G.R. No. L-17860. March 30, 1962.] On August 18, 1959, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, mandamus and quo warranto,
with preliminary mandatory injunction and damages, against the herein respondents. The
complaint, as amended, embodied four causes of action, and the reliefs sought therein read
R. MARINO CORPUS, petitioner-appellant, vs. MIGUEL CUADERNO, SR., as follows:
THE CENTRAL BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE MONETARY
BOARD and MARIO MARCOS, respondents-appellees. FILEMON "1. Upon the FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION, to reinstate petitioner immediately
MENDOZA,intervenor-appellee. to the position of Special Assistant in charge of the control of exports in
conformity with the Final Report of the Investigating Committee of May 5,
1959 and to declare that the action of the respondents per Monetary Board
DE LEON, J p: Resolution No. 957 is null and void, respondents having acted in
connection with the same in excess of their jurisdiction and with grave and
While petitioner-appellant was holding the position of Special Assistant to the Governor of the gross abuse of discretion and authority; and for the purposes thereof to
Central Bank of the Philippines — a position declared by the President of the Philippines as order respondent Miguel Cuaderno, Sr., as Governor of the Central Bank,
"highly technical in nature and placed in the exempt class" (Appendix "D", Exhibit VV) — he to prepare an agenda including therein as part of the business to be taken
was, on or about March 7, 1958, charged in an administrative case, for alleged dishonesty, up by respondent Monetary Board petitioner's said reinstatement;
incompetence, neglect of duty and/or abuse of authority, oppression, misconduct, etc., "2. Upon the SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION, to remove respondent Mario
preferred against him by employees of the Bank, resulting in his suspension by the Monetary Marcos from the Office of Special Assistant in charge of the Export
Board of the Bank and the creation of a 3-man committee to investigate him. The committee Department of the Central Bank, the same office to which petitioner in
was composed of representatives of the Bank, Bureau of Civil Service and the Office of the possession of the same and to declare that the attempted appointment of
City Fiscal of Manila. After receiving the answer of the respondent therein, the committee the said respondent Mario Marcos to the same is unwarranted and illegal,
heard the case, receiving testimonies of witnesses on both sides. On May 5, 1959, the there being no vacancy in the same as it has at all times been legally and
committee submitted its Final Report, the pertinent conclusion and recommendation therein physically filled by petitioner were it not for the unlawful acts of
reading as follows: respondents in ousting him therefrom;
"(1) In view of the foregoing, the Committee finds that there is no basis "3. Upon the THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION, to pay petitioner the sums of
upon which to recommend disciplinary action against respondent and P500,000.00 as moral damages, P34,000.00 as salaries accrued and
therefore respectfully recommends that he be immediately reinstated." uncollected since March 18, 1958, plus those that may subsequently
Unable to agree with the committee report, the Monetary Board adopted Resolution No. 957 accrue, P20,000.00 as bonuses, overtime pay, equity pay and other
on July 20, 1959 which considered "the respondent, R. Marino Corpus, resigned as of the allowances, which petitioner had failed to collect by reason of his
date of his suspension." The pertinent portion of the resolution reads thus: unwarranted and unjustified suspension by respondents, P20,000.00 as
attorney's fees plus the costs of this suit;
"After an exhaustive and mature deliberation of the report of the aforesaid
fact finding committee, in conjunction with the entire records of the case "4. Upon the FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION, to immediate]y reinstate
and representations of both complainants and respondent, through their petitioner to the position of Special Assistant in charge of the control of
respective counsel; and, further, after a thorough review of the service exports and not to remove or molest him therefrom pending the
record of the respondent, particularly the various cases presented against determination of this case and, to this end, upon petitioner's filing of a
him, object of Monetary Board Resolution No. 1527 dated August 30, 1955, bond with sufficient sureties in an amount to be fixed by this Honorable
which all involves fitness, discipline, etc. of respondent, and moreover, Court, to issue a preliminary mandatory injunction commanding
upon formal statement of the Governor that he has lost confidence in the respondents to do and/or refrain from doing the acts hereinabove referred
respondent as Special Assistant to the Governor and In-Charge of the to.
Export Department (such position being primarily confidential and highly Petitioner further prays for such other and further relief as may be just and
technical in nature), the Monetary Board finds that the continuance of the equitable in the premises."
respondent in the service of the Central Bank would be prejudicial to be
best interests of the Central Bank, and, therefore, in accordance with the The respondents filed their answer on September 4, 1959. Filemon Mendoza, a Central Bank
provisions of Section 14 of the Bank Charter, considers the respondent, employee, filed a petition for intervention. The respondents and the intervenor filed separate
Mr. R. Marino Corpus, resigned as of the date of his suspension." motions to dismiss, against which an opposition was filed by petitioner. On October 8, 1959,
an order was issued by the Court below holding in abeyance the resolution of the motions to
Three days after, the Monetary Board adopted Resolution No. 995, dated July 23, 1959, dismiss until the trial, stating that the grounds alleged therein do not appear to be
approving the appointment of herein respondent Mario Marcos to the position involved in indubitable. Subsequently, petitioner manifested in open court that he was abandoning his
place of petitioner R. Marino Corpus. prayer for the issuance of a preliminary mandatory injunction so that the case can be
speedily terminated. On June 8, 1960, upon representations of the respondents and otherwise provided by law," the Commissioner of Civil Service shall have "final authority to
intervenor, an order was issued vacating the order of October 8, 1959 and ordering that "the pass upon the removal, separation and suspension of all permanent officials and employees
Motions to Dismiss are deemed submitted anew for resolution." On June 14, 1960, after in the competitive or classified service and upon all matters relating to the conduct,
several hearings, another order was issued granting the motions to dismiss the amended discipline, and efficiency of such officials and employees; . . . ." Considering again the fact
petition, on the ground that petitioner did not exhaust all administrative remedies available that the Charter of the Central Bank provides for its own power, through the Monetary Board,
to him in law. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied in an order relative to the investigation, suspension or removal of its own employees except the Governor,
dated November 16, 1960. From said order of June 14, 1960, dismissing the petition, and the coupled with the fact that petitioner has admitted that he belongs to the non-competitive or
order of November 16, 1960, denying the motion for reconsideration, petitioner has brought unclassified service, it is evident that an appeal by petitioner to the Commissioner of Civil
this appeal, claiming that the lower court erred: Service is not required or at most is permissive and voluntary.

1. In dismissing his petition for certiorari, mandamus and quo warranto, "On the other hand, the doctrine does not apply where, by the terms or
with preliminary mandatory injunction and damages; implications of the statute authorizing an administrative remedy, such
remedy is permissive only, warranting the conclusion that the legislature
2. In not finding that the Monetary Board removed him for a cause not intended to allow the judicial remedy even though the administrative
provided by law, therefore, in violation of the Constitution; and remedy has not been exhausted." (42 Am. Jur. 583).
3. In not finding that the appointment of Mario P. Marcos, the officer There is another reason. It must be remembered that the amended petition is for certiorari,
appointed by the respondent Monetary Board to the position to which he mandamus and quo warranto. The allegations of the second cause of action of the amended
was appointed, to have been made to a position that is not yet vacant. petition as above quoted sufficiently comply with Section 7, Rule 68 of the Rules of Court
The lower court was of the opinion that petitioner-appellant should have exhausted all on quo warranto proceedings, which requires that "When the action is against a person for
administrative remedies available to him, such as an appeal to the Commissioner of Civil usurping an office or franchise, the complaint shall set forth the name of the person who
Service, under Republic Act 2260, or the President of the Philippines who under the claims to be entitled thereto, if any, with an averment of his right to the same that the
Constitution and the law is the head of all the executive departments of the government defendant is unlawfully in possession thereof." And the complaint was filed within the period
including its agencies and instrumentalities. This is the main issue disputed in this appeal. of one year from the date of separation, pursuant to Section 16 of the same Rule (Madrid vs.
Auditor General 58 Off. Gaz., January, 1962, pp. 41-42-43).
True, the appellant did not elevate his case for review either by the President or the Civil
Service Commission. However, it is our opinion that a resort to these administrative appeals Section 9 of said Rule 68 provides that the time for pleadings and proceedings may be
is voluntary or permissive, taking into account the facts obtaining in this case. shortened and the action may be given precedence over any and other civil business. Section
16 of the same Rule requires the filing of the action against an officer for his ouster within
one year after the cause of such ouster. These judicial rules underscore the need for speed in
the determination of controversies to public offices (Remata vs. Javier, 37 Phil., 699; Tumulak
(1) There is no law requiring an appeal to the President in a case like the one at bar. The fact vs. Egay, 82 Phil., 828). As was stated in Pinullar vs. President of the Senate, G.R. No. L-
that the President had, in two instances cited in the orders appealed from, acted on appeals 11667, June 30, 1958, the rationale is that the Government must be immediately informed or
from decisions of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank, should not be regarded as advised if any person claims to be entitled to an office or position in the civil service as
precedents, but at most may be viewed as acts of condescension on the part of the Chief against another actually holding it, so that the Government may not be faced with the
Executive. (2) While there are provisions in the Civil Service Law regarding appeals to the predicament of having to pay two salaries, one, for the person actually holding the office,
Commissioner of Civil Service and the Civil Service Board of Appeals, We believe the although illegally, and another, for one not actually rendering service although entitled to do
petitioner is not bound to observe them, considering his status and the Charter of the Central so (see also Madrid vs. Auditor General, supra).
Bank. In Castillo vs. Bayona, et al., G.R. No. L-14375, January 13, 1960, We said that
Section 14, Republic Act 265, creating the Central Bank of the Philippines, particularly Giving life and effect to these provisions, we have held in Casin vs. Caluag, 45 Off. Gaz.,
paragraph (c) thereof, "is sufficiently broad to vest the Monetary Board with the power of Supp. No. 9, p. 379, that a special civil action for quo warranto may be tried and decided
investigation and removal of its officials, except the Governor thereof. In other words, the Civil independently of a pending criminal case. In another case (Abeto vs. Rodas 46 Off. Gaz., 930),
Service Law is the general legal provision for the investigation, suspension or removal of civil we denied by resolution a supplemental motion for reconsideration where the petitioner had
service employees, whereas Section 14 is a special provision of law which must govern the contended that the reglementary period of one year was suspended by the order of the
investigation, suspension or removal of employees of the Central Bank, though they may be President exonerating him from certain administrative charges because the petitioner "was
subject to the Civil Service Law and Regulations in other respects." In this case, the respondent justified in waiting for the President of the Philippines to reappoint him as the logical and
Monetary Board considered petitioner resigned from the office to which he has been legally legal consequence of his exoneration," and "only after considerable delay, when his hopes
appointed as of the date of his suspension, after he has been duly indicted and tried before a failed, did petitioner institute the present proceedings." Finally, in Torres vs. Quintos, G.R.
committee created by the Board for the purpose. An appeal to the Civil Service Commission No. L-3304, April 5, 1951, we recalled the Abeto case, supra, by commenting therein that the
would thereby be an act of supererogation, requiring the presentation of practically the same denial of the motion for reconsideration in that case had of course the effect of rejecting the
witnesses and documents produced in the investigation conducted at the instance of the theory that the pendency of an administrative remedy suspends the period within which a
Monetary Board. Moreover, Section 16(i) of the Civil Service Law provides that "except as petition for quo warranto should be filed, and we gave the reason thus:
"The reason is obvious. While it may be desirable that administrative
remedies be first resorted to, no one is compelled or bound to do so; and as
said remedies neither are prerequisite to nor bar the institution of quo
warranto proceedings, it follows that he who claims the right to hold a
public office allegedly usurped by another and who desires to seek redress
in the courts, should file the proper judicial action within the reglementary
period. As emphasized in Bautista vs. Fajardo, 38 Phil. 624, and Tumulak
vs. Egay, 46 Gaz., 3683, public interest requires that the right to a public
office should be determined as speedily as practicable."

Upon the foregoing, we have to disagree with the legal opinion of the trial judge and hold that
the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is inapplicable and does not bar the
present proceedings.

Considering the two views we have taken in the case, we deem it unnecessary to pass upon
the second and third assignments of error which partially involve the evaluation of facts. The
court below has started to receive the evidence, and it is better equipped and should be given
the chance to pass upon the credibility of the witnesses who testified before it (Veraguth vs.
Isabela Sugar Co., 57 Phil., 266).

WHEREFORE, the orders under consideration are hereby set aside and the record of the case
is hereby ordered remanded to the trial court for further proceedings and judgment on the
merits. No pronouncement as to costs.

||| (Corpus v. Cuaderno, Sr., G.R. No. L-17860, [March 30, 1962], 114 PHIL 683-692)
G.R. No. L-46218 October 23, 1990 On August 18, 1975, the Provincial Board, through Resolution No. 93, denied Madrigal's
request for reinstatement because his former posistion no longer exists. In the same
JOVENTINO MADRIGAL, petitioner-appellant, resolution, it ordered the appropriation of the amount of P4,200.00 as his back salaries
vs. covering the preiod December 1, 1971 up to June 30, 1973 (p. 47, Records).
PROV. GOV. ARISTEO M. LECAROZ, VICE-GOVERNOR CELSO ZOLETA, JR.,
PROVINCIAL BOARD MEMBERS DOMINGO RIEGO AND MARCIAL PRINCIPE; PROV. On December 15, 1975, Madrigal filed a petition before the Court of First Instance (now
ENGR. ENRIQUE M. ISIDRO, ABRAHAM T. TADURAN AND THE PROVINCE OF Regional Trial Court) of Marinduque against public respondents Governor Aristeo M. Lecaroz,
MARINDUQUE, respondents-appellees. Vice-Governor Celso Zoleta, Jr., Provincial Board Members Domingo Riego and Marcial
Principe, Provincial Engineer Enrique M. Isidro, Abraham I. Taduran and the Province of
Marinduque for mandamus and damages seeking, inter alia, (1) restoration of his abolished
position in the Roads and Bridges Fund Budget of the Province; (2) reinstatement to such
position; and (3) payment of his back salaries plus damages (pp. 1-5, Records).
F.S. Rivera Jr. for petitioner.
On March 16, 1976, the trial court issued an order dismissing the petition on the ground that
Madrigal's cause of action was barred by laches. The trial court rationalized its judgment as
follows (pp. 31-33, Rollo):
MEDIALDEA J.:
It is beyond question that herein petitioner was separated from the service
This case was certified to US by the Court of Appeals since it raises pure questions of law (pp. on November 25, 1971, and it was only on December 15, 1975, or FOUR (4)
66-68, Rollo). YEARS and TWENTY (20) DAYS after, that he filed this case for "Mandamus
and Damages" with the principal aim of causing his reinstatement to the
The issue raised in this case are certainly far from novel. We shall, therefore, simply reiterate public position from where his service was terminated.
well established jurisprudential rules on the prescriptive period within which to file a petition
for mandamus to compel reinstatement to a government office and a claim for back salaries Much as the petitioner might have had a good cause of action, it is
and damages related thereto. unfortunate that (sic) the same is now barred by laches.

The antecedent facts are as follows: A person claiming right to a position in the civil service
should file his action for reinstatement within one year from
On November 25, 1971, public respondents Governor Aristeo M. Lecaroz, Vice-Governor Celso his illegal removal from office, otherwise he is considered as
Zoleta, Jr., Provincial Board of Marinduque members Domingo Riego and Marcial Principe having abandoned the same (Gonzales vs. Rodriguez, L-
abolished petitioner-appellatJoventino Madrigal's possitionas a permanent construction 12976, March 24, 1961, 1 SCRA 755; Cebu Portland Cement
capataz in the office of the Provincial Engineer from the annual Roads Bridges Fund Budget Co. vs. CIR, L-17897, Aug. 31, 1962, 5 SCRA 1113; Alipio vs.
for fiscal year 1971-1972 (p.2, Records) by virtue of Resolution No. 204. The abolition was Rodriguez, L-17336, Dec. 26, 1963, 9 SCRA 752).
allegedly due to the poor financial condition of the province and it appearing that his position
was not essential (p. 6, Records). The rationale for the aforecited doctrine on time limitation of a cause of
action in a judicial tribunal by one seeking reinstatement in the civil service
On April 22, 1972, Madrigal appealed to the Civil Service Commission. On August 7, 1973, he is that the suitor thereby is guilty of LACHES (National Shipyards and Steel
transmitted a follow-up letter to the Commission regarding his appela. On January 7, 1974, Corporation vs. CIR, L-21675, May 23, 1967, 20 SCRA 134).
the Commission in its 1st Indorsement declared the removal of Madrigal from the service
illegal (pp. 7-8, Records). The ruling is no doubt inspired by the provision of Section 16, Rule 66 of the
Revised Rules of Court on"QuoWarranto", pertinent portion of which reads:
On April 26, 1974, public respondent Governor Aristeo M. Lecaroz moved for a
reconsideration of said resolution. On February 10, 1975, the Commission denied the motion Sec. 16. Limitations. — Nothing contained in this rule shall be construed to
for reconsideration (pp. 9-10, Records). authorize an action ... against a public officer or employee for his ouster from
office unless the same be commenced within one (1) year after the cause of
On August 4, 1975, Madrigal sent a letter to the Provincial Board requesting implementation such ouster, or the right of the plaintiff to hold such office or position, arose
of the resolution of the Commission and consequently, reinstatement to his former posistion. ....
and to the established jurisprudence interpreting the aforequoted rule to the The unbending jurisprudence in this jurisdiction is to the effect that a petition for quo
effect that the period of one year fixed therein is a condition precedent to the warranto and mandamusaffecting titles to public office must be filed within one (1) year from
existence of the cause of action for quo warranto(Bumanglag vs Fernandez, L- the date the petitioner is ousted from his position (Galano, et al. v. Roxas, G.R. No. L-31241,
11482, Nov. 29, 1960; Tañada vs. Yulo, 61 Phil. 515; Ortiz Oiroso vs. de September 12, 1975, 67 SCRA 8; Cornejo v. Secretary of Justice, G.R. No. L-32818, June 28,
Guzman, 49 Phil. 371; Tumulak vs. Egay, 82 Phil. 828). 1974, 57 SCRA 663; Sison v. Pangramuyen, etc., et al., G.R. No. L-40295, July 31, 1978, 84
SCRA 364; Cui v. Cui, G.R. No. L-18727, August 31, 1964, 11 SCRA 755; Villaluz v. Zaldivar,
That the instant case is one for MANDAMUS, and not QUO WARRANTO, is G.R. No. L-22754, December 31, 1965,15 SCRA 710; Villegas v. De la Cruz, G.R. No. L-
not of any significance, for the same principle applies as held in these cases: 23752, December 31, 1965,15 SCRA 720; De la Maza v. Ochave, G.R. No. L-22336, May 23,
1967,20 SCRA 142; Alejo v. Marquez, G.R. No. L-29053, February 27, 1971, 37 SCRA 762).
The reason behind this being was expounded in the case of Unabia v. City Mayor, etc., 99
An action for reinstatement, by a public official, whether it be Phil. 253 where We said:
quo warranto or mandamus, should be filed in court within
one year from removal or separation, otherwise the action
will be barred, (Morales, Jr. vs. Patriarca, L-21280, April 30, ..... [W]e note that in actions of quo warranto involving right to an office, the action must be
1965, 13 SCRA 766; emphasis supplied). instituted within the period of one year. This has been the law in the island since 1901, the
period having been originally fixed in Section 216 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Act No. 190).
We find this provision to be an expression of policy on the part of the State that persons
..... We hold that as petitioner was dismissed on June 16, claiming a right to an office of which they are illegally dispossessed should immediately take
1953 and did not file his petition for mandamus for his steps to recover said office and that if they do not do so within a period of one year, they shall
reinstatement until July 1, 1954 or after a period of one year, be considered as having lost their right thereto by abandonment. There are weighty reasons
he is deemed to have abandoned his right to his former of public policy and convenience that demand the adoption of a similar period for persons
position and is not entitled to reinstatement therein claiming rights to positions in the civil service. There must be stability in the service so that
by mandamus (Unabia vs. City Mayor, L-8759, May 25, public business may (sic) be unduly retarded; delays in the statement of the right to positions
1956, 53 O.G. 132; emphasis supplied). in the service must be discouraged. The following considerations as to public officers, by Mr.
Justice Bengzon, may well be applicable to employees in the civil service:
On April 27, 1976, the motion for reconsideration was denied (pp. 37-39, Rollo).
Furthermore, constitutional rights may certainly be waived, and the inaction
Madrigal assigns as errors the following: of the officer for one year could be validly considered as waiver, i.e., a
renunciation which no principle of justice may prevent, he being at liberty to
1) the trial court erred in dismissing the petition for mandamus and damages on the ground resign his position anytime he pleases.
of laches; and
And there is good justification for the limitation period; it is not proper that
2) assuming arguendo that his claim for reinstatement was not filed seasonably, the trial the title to public office should be subjected to continued uncertainly (sic),
court erred in not proceeding with the trial of the case on the merits to determine the claim and the peoples" interest require that such right should be determined as
for back salaries and damages. speedily as practicable (Tumulak vs. Egay, 46 Off. Gaz., [8], 3693, 3695.)

As regards the first assignment of error, Madrigal alleges that the one (1) year period Further, the Government must be immediately informed or advised if any
prescribed in an action for quo warranto is not applicable in an action for mandamus because person claims to be entitled to an office or a position in the civil service as
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court does not provide for such prescriptive period. The declaration against another actually holding it, so that the Government may not be faced
by the trial court that the pendency of administrative remedies does not operate to suspend with the predicament of having to pay the salaries, one, for the person
the period of one (1) year within which to file the petition for mandamus, should be confined actually holding the office, although illegally, and another, for one not
to actions for quo warranto only. On the contrary, he contends that exhaustion of actually rendering service although entitled to do so. We hold that in view of
administrative remedies is a condition sine qua non before one can petition for mandamus. the policy of the State contained in the law fixing the period of one year
within which action for quo warranto may be instituted, any person claiming
right to position in the civil service should also be required to file his petition
On the part of public respondents, they aver that it has become an established part of our for reinstatement within the period of one year, otherwise he is thereby
jurisprudence, being a public policy repeatedly cited by the courts in myriad considered as having abandoned his office.
of mandamus cases, that actions for reinstatement should be brought within one year from
the date of dismissal, otherwise, they will be barred by laches. The pendency of an
administrative remedy before the Commission does not stop the running of the one (1) year The fatal drawback of Madrigal's cause is that he came to court out of time. As
period within which a mandamus case for reinstatement should be filed. aforestated, it was only after four (4) years and twenty (20) days from the abolition of
his position that he file the petition for mandamus and damages. This single
circumstance has closed the door for any judicial remedy in his favor.

And this one (1) year period is not interrupted by the prosecution of any administrative
remedy (Torres v. Quintos, 88 Phil. 436). Actually, the recourse by Madrigal to the
Commission was unwarranted. It is fundamental that in a case where pure questions of law
are raised, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies cannot apply because issues
of law cannot be resolved with finality by the administrative officer. Appeal to the
administrative officer of orders involving questions of law would be an exercise in futility since
administrative officers cannot decide such issues with finality (Cebu Oxygen and Acetylene
Co., Inc. v. Drilon, et al., G.R. No. 82849, August 2, 1989, citing Pascual v. Provincial Board
of Nueva Ecija, 106 Phil. 466; Mondano v. Silvosa, 97 Phil. 143). In the present case, only a
legal question is to be resolved, that is, whether or not the abolition of Madrigal's position was
in accordance with law.

With respect to the second assignment of error, Madrigal asserts that despite (1) the ruling of
the Commission declaring his removal from office illegal; (2) Resolution No. 93 of the
Provincial Board; and (3) Provincial Voucher No. 714 covering the appropriation for the sum
of P3,667.29, representing his back salaries for said period, the trial court still refused to
grant his money claim.

In answer thereto, public respondents contend that the court cannot pass upon Madrigal's
right to back salaries without passing upon the validity of the abolition of his position which
is a matter that cannot now be a subject of judicial inquiry. This is so because the question of
back salaries and damages is only incidental to the issues involving the validity of said
abolition and his request for reinstatement.

Again, We uphold the view advanced by public respondents. Madrigal loses sight of the fact
that the claim for back salaries and damages cannot stand by itself. The principal action
having failed, perforce, the incidental action must likewise fail. Needless to state, the claim for
back salaries and damages is also subject to the prescriptive period of one (1) year (see
Gutierrez v. Bachrach Motor Co., Inc., 105 Phil. 9).

ACCORDINGLY, the appeal is hereby DENIED. The orders of the Court of First Instance of
Marinduque dated March 16, 1976 and April 27, 1976 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 119645. August 22, 1996.] Petitioners Cabada and De Guzman then filed with the Honorable Secretary of the DILG and
Chairman of the NAPOLCOM their "Appeal" 13 dated 5 February 1995 and "Petition for
Review" 14 dated 4 February 1995, respectively.
SPO3 NOEL CABADA and SPO3 RODOLFO G. DE
GUZMAN, petitioners, vs. HON. RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, Secretary of the In its decision of 24 March 1995, the NAPOLCOM, through Commissioner Alexis Canonizado,
Department of Interior and Local Government & Chairman, National denied due course to the petitioners' appeal and petition for review for lack of jurisdiction "it
Police Commission (NAPOLCOM); HON. ALEXIS CANONIZADO, appearing . . . that both the Decision and the Resolution of the Regional Appellate Board had
Commissioner, NAPOLCOM, Manila; Chairman LEODEGARIO ALFARO, long become final and executory and there being no showing that the RAB failed to decide
Regional Appellate Board VIII; Regional Director EDMUNDO LAVILLA respondents' appeal within the reglementary period of sixty (60) days." 15 In support thereof,
LARROZA Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Command VIII; the NAPOLCOM cited Section 23, Rule IV of NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular No. 91-
and MARIO VALDEZ, respondents. 002 and Section 5, Rule III of NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular No. 91-006, which provide
as follows:

This is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court 1 to set aside
the decision (in the form of a letter) of 24 March 1995 2 of public respondent National Police Section 23. Effect of Failure to Decide Appeal. — Failure of the Regional
Commission (NAPOLCOM), which denied due course for lack of jurisdiction the appeal and Appellate Board to decide the appeal within the reglementary period shall
the petition for review filed by petitioners SPO3 Noel Cabada and SPO3 Rodolfo G. de render the decision final and executory without prejudice, however, to the
Guzman, respectively. Challenged in the said appeal and petition for review were the decision filing of an appeal by either party with the Secretary of the Department of
of 15 August 1994 3 and resolution of 25 October 1994 4 of the Regional Appellate Board of the Interior and Local Government.
the Eighth Regional Command (RAB 8), which affirmed their dismissal from the service.
xxxxxxxxx
The pleadings and annexes filed by the parties disclose the following factual and procedural
backdrop of this case: Section 5. Finality of Decision/Resolution. — The decision of the Regional
Appellate Board on an appealed case shall become final and executory after
On 29 October 1993, a complaint against the petitioners for Grave Misconduct, Arbitrary ten (10) days from receipt of a copy thereof by the appellant, if no Motion
Detention, and Dishonesty was filed with the Office of the Commission on Human Rights in for Reconsideration is filed within said period.
Tacloban City by private respondent Mario Valdez. 5The complaint was referred to the
Philippine National Police Eight Regional Command (PNP-RECOM 8) which, after the A motion for Reconsideration may be filed by either party from a Decision
conducting its own investigation, filed an administrative charge of Grave Misconduct against rendered by the Regional Appellate Board on an appealed case, provided
the petitioners and instituted summary dismissal proceedings. that the same is filed within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy of the
decision in question. However, only one (1) Motion for Reconsideration may
On 7 April 1994, the Regional Director of PNP-RECOM 8 handed down a decision 6 finding be allowed.
the petitioners guilty of grave misconduct and ordering their dismissal from the police service.
Pursuant to this decision, Special Order No. 174, dated 23 April 1994, 7 was issued ordering, Hence, the instant petition.
among other things, the dismissal of the petitioners from the service.
The Office of the Solicitor General seeks to dismiss this petition on the ground of prematurity
The petitioners claimed that they were not formally furnished with a copy of the decision and because the petitioners failed to exhaust administrative remedies; they should have instead
that they were able to secure a copy thereof "thru their own effort and initiative" only on 13 appealed to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) pursuant to Section 47, Chapter 6, Subtitle
June 1994. 8 However, they received a copy of Special Order No. 174 on 26 April 1994. A, Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 (E.O. No. 292), which vests upon the
CSC appellate jurisdiction over disciplinary cases of government personnel where the penalty
Although they insist that the basis of the appeal before RAB 8 was Special Order No. imposed is, inter alia, dismissal from office. The said provision reads:
174, 9 petitioner Cabada stated under oath in his Appeal 10 filed with the Department of
Interior and Local Government (DILG) that he in fact seasonably filed a motion for Section 47. Disciplinary Jurisdiction. — (1) The Commission shall decide
reconsideration of the decision of the Regional Director of PNP-RECOM 8, who, however, upon appeal all administrative disciplinary cases involving the imposition
failed or refused to act on the said motion, and that he asked that the said motion be treated of a penalty of suspension for more than thirty days, or fine in an amount
as an appeal to the RAB. exceeding thirty days salary, demotion in rank or salary or transfer, or
removal or dismissal from office. . . .
In its decision of 15 August 1994, 11 the RAB 8 affirmed the decision of the Regional
Director. In its resolution of 25 October 1994, 12 it denied the petitioners' motion for (2) The Secretaries . . . shall have jurisdiction to investigate and decide
reconsideration of its decision. The petitioners received a copy of this resolution on 26 matters involving disciplinary action against officers and employees under
January 1995. their jurisdiction. . . . In case the decision rendered by a bureau or office
head is appealable to the Commission, the same may be initially appealed
to the Department and finally to the Commission and pending appeal, the
same shall be executory except when the penalty is removal, in which case, in which case, it shall become final and executory upon receipt by the
the same shall be executory only after confirmation by the Secretary respondent-appellant of the resolution of the aforesaid board denying,
concerned. modifying or affirming the decision.

The Office of the Solicitor General opines that this provision covers PNP personnel, like the Section 45 of the DILG Act of 1990 specifically provides that if a RAB fails to decide an appeal
petitioners; consequently, they should have appealed to the CSC. It also advances the view within the reglementary period of sixty days, the appealed decision becomes final and
that the instant petition should have been filed with the proper forum, the Regional Trial executory without, however, prejudice to the right of the aggrieved party to appeal to the
Court. Secretary of the DILG. The said provision is, however, silent as regards the availability of an
appeal from a decision rendered by a RAB within the reglementary period.
The core issues that present themselves for our determination are whether
This gap in Section 45 cannot be construed to prohibit appeals from decisions of the RAB
(1) the NAPOLCOM committed grave abuse of discretion in denying due rendered within the reglementary period, for while the epigraph of the section is
course, for lack of jurisdiction, the petitioners' appeal from and petition for worded Finality of Disciplinary Action, there is nothing therein that explicitly bars any further
review of the decision and resolution of the RAB 8; and appeal. Complementary laws on discipline of government officials and employees must then
(2) this special civil action was prematurely filed for failure of the be inquired into considering that in conformity with the mandate of the Constitution that the
petitioners to exhaust administrative remedies. PNP must be national in scope and civilian in character, 17 it is now a part, as a bureau, of
the reorganized DILG. 1 8 As such, it falls within the definition of the civil service in Section
I 2(1), Article IX-B of the Constitution. 19 For this reason, Section 91 of the DILG Act of 1990
provides:
Section 45 of the DILG Act of 1990 16 provides for the finality of disciplinary actions against
members of the PNP as follows: SEC. 91. Application of Civil Service Laws. — The Civil Service Law and its
implementing rules and regulations shall apply to all personnel of the
SEC. 45. Finality of Disciplinary Action. — The disciplinary action imposed Department.
upon a member of the PNP shall be final and executory: Provided, That a
disciplinary action imposed by the regional director or by the PLEB The Civil Service Law referred to in Section 91 of the DILG Act of 1990 is Subtitle A, Title I,
involving demotion or dismissal from the service may be appealed to the Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 (E.O. No. 292). Section 47 of Chapter 6 thereof
regional appellate board within ten (10) days from receipt of the copy of the provides, inter alia, that in cases where the decision rendered by a bureau or office is
notice of decision: Provided, further, That the disciplinary action imposed appealable to the Commission, the same may initially be appealed to the department and
by the Chief of the PNP involving demotion or dismissal may be appealed to finally to the Commission.
the National Appellate Board within ten (10) days from receipt
thereof: Provided furthermore, That, the regional or National Appellate The rules and regulations implementing the Civil Service Law referred to in Section 91 of the
Board, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal within sixty (60) days DILG Act of 1990 is the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No.
from receipt of the notice of appeal: Provided, finally, That failure of the 292 known as the Administrative Code of 1987promulgated by the CSC. Section 31 and
regional appellate board to act on the appeal within said period shall render 32, Rule XIV of the said Rules provide as follows:
the decision final and executory without prejudice, however, to the filing of
SEC. 31. Except as otherwise provided by the Constitution or by law, the
an appeal by either party with the Secretary. (emphasis supplied)
Commission shall have the final authority to pass upon the removal,
The last proviso of this section is restated in Section 23, Rule IV of NAPOLCOM Memorandum separation and suspension of all officers and employees in the civil service
Circular No. 91-002. And Section 3, Rule III of NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular No. 92- and upon all matters relating to the conduct, discipline and efficiency of
006 provides: such officers and employees.

Section 3. Period Within Which to Decide Appealed Cases; Finality of SEC. 32. The Secretaries and heads of agencies and instrumentalities,
RAB/NAB Decisions. — The NAPOLCOM appellate board concerned shall provinces, cities and municipalities shall have jurisdiction to investigate
decide the appealed cases within sixty (60) days from receipt of the entire and decide matters involving disciplinary action against officers and
records of the case from the PNP summary dismissal authority. However, employees under their jurisdiction. Their decisions shall be final in case
failure of the NAPOLCOM Regional Appellate Board (RAB) to act on the the penalty imposed is suspension for not more than thirty (30) days or
appeal within said period renders the decision final and executory without fine in an amount not exceeding thirty (30) days' salary. In case the
prejudice to the filing of an appeal by the respondent-appellant with the decision rendered by a bureau or office head is appealable to the
Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. The Commission, the same may be initially appealed to the department, then to
decision rendered by the NAPOLCOM National Appellate Board (NAB) the Merit Systems Protection Board, and finally to the Commission and
disposing an appealed case shall be final and executory unless a timely pending appeal, the same shall be executory except when the penalty is
Motion for Reconsideration is filed within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, removal, in which case the same shall be executory only after confirmation
by the Secretary concerned.
Under Section 7 of E.O. No. 262, 20 the Secretary of the DILG has the power of supervision appeal and petition for review filed by petitioners Cabada and De Guzman, respectively, for
and control of his Department. His powers and functions thereunder are recognized and lack of jurisdiction because of Section 5, Rule III of NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular No.
affirmed in Section 10 of the DILG Act of 1990. 21 91-006 and Section 23, Rule IV of NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular No. 91-002. The
reference to these rules suggest that the NAPOLCOM believes it has jurisdiction over appeals
In view then of the aforementioned gap in Section 45 of the DILG Act of 1990, the provisions from decisions of the RAB if the latter has not decided the appeal within the reglementary
of the Civil Service Law and the rules and regulations implementing it must be taken into period of sixty days. Such a suggestion is flawed because it would allow a ridiculous situation
account in light of the maxim interpretareconcordarelegibusestoptimusinterpretandi or every where the NAPOLCOM vests upon itself an appellate jurisdiction from a decision rendered by
statute must be so construed and harmonized with other statutes as to form a uniform it in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction through the RAB, per Section 14(k) of the DILG
system of jurisprudence. 22 Act of 1990. Moreover, Commissioner Canonizado cannot, singly, act for the NAPOLCOM
As thus construed and harmonized, it follows that if a RAB fails to decide an appealed case because it is a collegial body composed of a Chairman and four Commissioners, pursuant
to Section 13 of the DILG Act of 1990.
within sixty days from receipt of the notice of appeal, the appealed decision is deemed final
and executory, and the aggrieved party may forthwith appeal therefrom to the Secretary of the In light of the foregoing, the petitioners could properly invoke our original jurisdiction to issue
DILG. Likewise, if the RAB has decided the appeal within the sixty-day period, its decision the extraordinary writ of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to annul and set aside
may still be appealed to the Secretary of the DILG. the NAPOLCOM's decision of 24 March 1995. It being a patent nullity, the filing of a motion
In the instant case, Cabada's appeal was addressed to "the Honorable Secretary of the for its reconsideration before the institution of this special civil action may be dispensed
with. 25
Department of the Interior and Local Government . . . as Chairman and Presiding Officer of
the National Police Commission," 23 while De Guzman's petition for review was addressed to II
"the Honorable Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Chairman,
National Police Commission, Makati City, Metro Manila." 24 The plea of the Office of the Solicitor General that the instant action is premature for non-
exhaustion of administrative remedies is thus untenable. We would have sustained it if the
Secretary of the DILG was the one who denied due course to or dismissed the appeal of
petitioner Cabada and the petition for review of petitioner De Guzman. By then, pursuant to
We consider the appeal and the petition for review as appeals to the Secretary of the DILG Section 91 of the DILG Act of 1990; Section 47, Chapter 6, Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of
under Section 45 of the DILG Act of 1990. the Administrative Code of 1987; and Section 31 and 32 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing
Only the Secretary of the DILG can act thereon, one way or the other. The NAPOLCOM did Book V of Executive Order No. 292, the appeal would have to be filed with the CSC. And futile
not have authority over the appeal and the petition for review, and just because both would be the petitioners claim in their Reply to the Comment of the OSG that their case falls
mentioned the Secretary of the DILG as Chairman or Presiding Officer of the NAPOLCOM did within the exceptions to the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies.
not bring them within the jurisdiction of the NAPOLCOM. The latter does not have such In view of all the foregoing, a discussion on the other issues raised by the petitioners relating
jurisdiction because Section 14 of the DILG Act of 1990 pertinently provides as follows: to the merits of the case and on the issue of due process is unnecessary.
SEC. 14. Powers and Functions of the Commission. — . . . WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The decision (in the
xxxxxxxxx form of a letter) of the National Police Commission of 24 March 1995 is ANNULLED and SET
ASIDE. The Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government is DIRECTED to
(j) Affirm, reverse or modify, through the National Appellate Board, RESOLVE with reasonable dispatch the appeal and petition for review of petitioners SPO3
personnel disciplinary action involving demotion or dismissal from the NOEL CABADA and SPO3 RODOLFO G. DE GUZMAN, respectively, from the decision of 15
service imposed upon members of the Philippine National Police by the August 1994 and resolution of 25 October 1994 of the Regional Appellate Board, Eighth
Chief of the Philippine National Police; Regional Command, if the same were filed on time.

(k) Exercise appellate jurisdiction through the regional appellate boards No pronouncement as to costs.
over administrative cases against policemen and over decisions on claims
for police benefits. . . . SO ORDERED.

This section clearly shows that the NAPOLCOM exercises appellate jurisdiction only on the ||| (Cabada v. Alunan III, G.R. No. 119645, [August 22, 1996], 329 PHIL 669-685)
following cases and THROUGH (a) the NAB in personnel disciplinary actions involving
demotion or dismissal from the service imposed by the Chief of the PNP, and (b) the RAB in
administrative cases against policemen and over decisions on claims for police benefits. It has
no appellate jurisdiction over decisions rendered by the NAB and the RAB.
Consequently, the NAPOLCOM did not have the power or authority to issue, through
Commissioner Alexis Canonizado, the 24 March 1995 decision denying due course to the
G.R. No. L-42380 June 22, 1990 Meanwhile, respondent Deypalubos submitted to the Bureau of Fisheries his formal protest
against petitioner's existing fishpond permit over the 49 hectares, subject on Civil Case
DATILES AND COMPANY, represented by LORETA DATILES and LARRY 1389. 6
DATILES, petitioner,
vs. Later, or on 18 February 1974, the trial court, in Civil Case No. 1389 ordered the issuance of
Honorable MELQUIADES S. SUCALDITO, Presiding Judge of Branch I, Court of First a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction against both respondents 7 resulting in the
Instance of Zamboanga del Sur, Honorable MATIAS A. GUIEB, or his Successor-in-Office, restoration of possession and occupancy of the disputed areas by the petitioner on 28 May
Regional Director, Region No. IX, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and JESUS 1974. 8
DEYPALUBOS and DANIEL CABELIEZA, respondents.
Thereafter, or on 2 June 1974, the Barrio Council of Batu, Slay, Zamboanga del Sur prepared
Larry B. Datiles for petitioners. and submitted to the Bureau of Fisheries a resolution 9 which attests that the 49 hectare
controverted fishpond area was never occupied by the Datiles family (herein petitioner
Cerilles&Cerilles, Vera Cruz, Largo, Bautista Law Offices for respondent J. Deypalubos. company's predecessor) and that it was Mr. Deypalubos (herein private co-respondent) who
cleared the same and constructed all the improvements therein. The resolution further
requests that the original grant of 175.9959 hectares to Datiles and Company (herein
petitioner) be reduced to fifty (50) hectares only in accordance with a certain presidential
decree limiting the cultivation of a fishpond to about fifty (50) hectares, with the remaining
PADILLA, J.: area to be distributed to poor families.

The issue before the Court is whether or not an investigation of a formal protest over a lease No investigation of both the above-mentioned barrio council resolution and Deypalubos'
grant, by a Regional Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources may be the formal protest over the forty-nine (49) hectares was held in view of a 29 October 1974 order of
subject of a petition for prohibition and/or injunction before the Regional Trial Court, in the the Bureau Director to hold in abeyance any hearing on the matter until such time that Civil
light of the following antecedent facts: Case No. 1389 shall have been finally resolved. 10

Petitioner Datiles and Company has in its favor a fishpond lease agreement 1 whereby the On 3 January 1975, another memorandum was issued by the Bureau Director addressed to
Republic of the Philippines, thru the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, agreed herein public respondent Regional Director Guieb, directing "an immediate formal
to lease to the company one hundred seventy five hectares, ninety nine ares and fifty-nine investigation of those issues involved in the foregoing resolution and the protest of Mr. Jesus
centares (175.9959 has.) of public land located in Batu, Siay, Zamboanga del Sur, for Deypalubos ...and not touched upon in Civil Case No. 1389." 11
fishpond purposes. Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA) No. 1902 was executed on 16 June
1971, with an original period of ten (10) years, later extended to twenty five (25) years, or up Accordingly, public respondent Guieb notified the parties of the scheduled hearing of the said
to year 2002. 2 protest and resolution. 12

About the middle of 1973, petitioner-lessee filed a complaint for "Injunction with Writ of Praying to restrain the proposed investigation on the fishpond conflict, petitioner filed its 10
Possession with Preliminary and Prohibitory Injunction, with Damages" before the Court of February 1975 petition for "Prohibition and/or Injunction with Preliminary Injunction"
First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Zamboanga del Sur, and docketed as Civil Case (Special Civil Case No. 1426) before the CFI of Zamboanga del Sur against public respondent
No. 1389, against herein private respondents Jesus Deypalubos and Daniel Cabdieza. 3 Said Guieb and impleading pro forma therein respondents Deypalubos and Cabelieza. 13 Following
court action was alleged to have been resorted to after the vehement refusal of the the limitation on the scope of issues to be investigated as directed in the 3 January 1975
respondents to obey the orders of the then Philippine Fisheries Commission and Bureau of Memorandum of the Bureau Director, petitioner alleged that Regional Director Guieb has no
Fisheries 4 (now Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) to vacate that portion of the area longer any authority to conduct the investigation, as the issues proposed to be investigated
covered by FLA No. 1902 which they (private respondents) were occupying without a fishpond are the same issues raised in the then pending Civil Case No. 1389.
permit and the knowledge and consent of petitioner.
The presiding judge of the court a quo, Hon. Melquiades S. Sucaldito (now respondent),
To the accusation of their unlawful entry, private respondents set up the defense of good faith seeing that a possible irreparable injury could be caused the petitioner if the investigation in
at the time of their entry and occupation of the land which they described as forested and question were to proceed, issued the 31 March 1975 restraining order. 14
uncultivated. They added that prior to the filing of their own respective fishpond lease
applications over the disputed area (i.e., Deypalubos on the southern portion of about forty-
nine (49) hectares and Cabelieza on the eastern part of about two (2) hectares) on 3 January During the trial of said Sp. Civil Case No. 1426, private respondents moved to dismiss the
1973, they were assured by an officer from the Bureau that the areas were unoccupied and case and to dissolve the restraining order, 15 anchored on the grounds of (a) lack of the
not subject of any pending leasehold agreement or application. 5 court's jurisdiction to try the case for failure on the part of petitioner to exhaust available
administrative remedies, and (b) violation of Section 1 of Pres. Decree No. 605 which provides, Resources. The plaintiff having failed to do this, the Court has no jurisdiction
in part, as follows: to entertain the present petition for prohibition. ...

SECTION 1. No court of the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any Hence, this petition for review, which was previously denied for lack of merit by this Court in
restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory a 28 May 1976 Resolution. 17 Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the said order of
injunction in any case involving or growing out of the issuance, approval or denial 18 and on 22 April 1977, the Court decided to give due course to the instant petition. 19
disapproval, revocation or suspension of, or any action whatsoever by the
proper administrative official or body on concessions, licenses, permits, Petitioner's recourse to this Court is actually based on Section 2, Rule 65 of the Rules of
patents, or public grants of connection with the disposition, exploitation, Court, seeking to prevent public respondent Guieb from investigating the subject fishpond
utilization, exploration and/or development of the natural resources of the conflict, on the ground that this threatened act constitutes excess in the exercise of his
Philippines. jurisdiction. On the other hand, while respondents do not contest that the nature of the
contemplated action (investigation) can be a proper subject of a petition for prohibition, it is
Upholding respondents' contentions, the respondent judge dismissed Sp. Civil Case No. 1426 nonetheless submitted that there being no prior exhaustion of administrative remedies on
and lifted the 31 March 1975 restraining order on 4 August 1975. Pertinent portions of his petitioner's part and in view of PD. No. 606, the respondent court cannot Properly take
decision read as follows: 16 jurisdiction of the petition for prohibition.

... the element of said section which read: We rule for the petitioner.

or any action whatsoever by the proper administrative It is a well-settled rule that, for prohibition to lie against an executive officer, the petitioner
officials or body on concessions, licenses, permits, patents or must first exhaust administrative remedies. This doctrine rests upon the assumption that the
public grants of any kind. administrative body, board or officer, if given the chance to correct its/his mistake or error,
may amend its/his decision on a given matter. 20 It follows therefore that there has to be
is so embrasive as to include the projected investigation sought to be some sort of a decision, order or act, more or less final in character, that is ripe for review
prohibited. Clearly, therefore, Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 605, as and properly the subject of an appeal to a higher administrative body or officer, for the
cited above, is squarely applicable to the restraining order sought to be principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies to operate. In the present case, however,
dissolved. ... there is no administrative order or act as above described, that can be appealed from. The
respondent Regional Director has not rendered any decision, or made any final finding of any
sort, and is in fact just about to conduct an investigation which happens to be the very act
... in that Civil Case No. 1389, in granting the said Writ of Preliminary sought to be prevented. Consequently, administrative remedies that must be exhausted,
Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunction, the Court acted solely to eject the although available, cannot be resorted to. There being urgency in stopping public respondent
respondents Deypalubos and Cabelleza from, and to prevent their return to Guieb's investigation but no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
the premises in question; to prevent them in widening their possession .... law, petitioner's recourse to the respondent court for relief by way of a petition for prohibition
This Civil Case No. 1389 has not yet been tried on the merit. On the other was proper.
hand, the investigation sought to be enjoined, and/or prohibited, involved
not only mere possession, but the right of the parties to lease the premises in
question, based on law, rules and regulations issued by the Bureau of We now look into PD No. 605. Its evident purpose is to prevent the substitution of judicial
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. This investigation, therefore, pertains to, judgments for those of public administrative officials in disputes involving the disposition or
and within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Bureau of Fisheries. In this utilization of natural resources of the country. The decree seeks to leave to administrative
investigation of the protest, it might be shown that while defendants may agencies the authority to decide controversies involving licenses, permits, patents or public
have no right in the beginning, they might have acquired later on, equitable grants in connection with natural resources, obviously because of the expertise of such
right which may lead to the approval of their fishpond applications on the administrative officials in dealing with such problems.
land in question. It may likewise show, upon the other hand, that petitioner
has not complied with the conditions of its lease agreement; The issuance of said decree (No. 605) does not, however, mean that courts cannot exercise
jurisdiction where questions of law are involved, as in the case at bar. Here, what was
xxx assailed before respondent judge is Regional Director Guieb's move to conduct an
investigation on Deypalubos' formal protest, the petitioner's theory being that to investigate
the matter is to go beyond what the Director of the Bureau of Fisheries had authorized in his
Besides, the petitioner in this case has an available, adequate and speedy 3 January 1975 Memorandum, which is "to cause an immediate formal investigation of those
remedy that is to appeal this matter of investigation to the proper superior issues involved in the foregoing resolution and the protest ... and not touched upon in Civil
official-which in this case is the Secretary of agriculture and Natural Case No. 1389. 21 (Emphasis supplied)
The situation, therefore, called for a determination of whether or not the proposed WHEREFORE, the 4 August 1975 decision in Sp. Civil Case No. 1426 is REVERSED and
investigation was indeed an over-exercise of authority by respondent Regional Director as public respondent Guieb is hereby ordered to REFRAIN and DESIST from investigating the
claimed by the petitioner; and if this was resolved in the negative, the investigation would respondent Deypalubos' protest of 18 September 1973 and the Barrio Council Resolution of 2
have been allowed to proceed. The respondent court was called upon to look only into the June 1974 of Batu-Siay, Zamboanga del Sur questioning Fishpond Lease Agreement No.
propriety of the investigation regardless of the fact that the investigation could result in the 1902 in favor of petitioner.
issuance and/or revocation of fishpond lease permits of the contending parties.
SO ORDERED.
As to the prohibition dictated by PD No. 605, the same pertains to the issuance by courts of
injunctions or restraining orders against administrative acts on controversies which involve
facts or exercise of discretion in technical cases, because to allow courts to judge these
matters could disturb the smooth functioning of the administrative machinery. But on issues
definitely outside of this dimension and involving questions of law, courts are not prevented
by PD No. 605 from exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts.

Instead of remanding this case to respondent court for further proceedings, we win put a
finish to it. At bottom line, the real legal issue here is whether public respondent Guieb
should desist from investigating petitioner's fishpond lease No. 1902. It will be recalled that
when respondent Guieb issued the notice of hearing of 24 February 1975 to the parties, the
subjects of investigation, as indicated therein, were the 18 September 1973 Protest against
FLA No. 1902 and the 2 June 1974 Barrio Council Resolution. The said Protest consists of
Deypalubos' assertions that prior to his application for a fishpond permit for the area in
question, he was assured of the absence of any improvements in the area he occupied, and
that it was he who introduced all the substantial improvements therein until petitioner
company began harassing him. These issues were however raised and, in fact, already passed
upon in the decision rendered in Civil Case No. 1389, which became final and executory on
26 October 1980. 22 Elaborating on these points, the court in said Civil Case No. 1389, in a
21-page decision, found the above allegations not credible and ordered, among others, the
forfeiture in favor of petitioner of the improvements built and constructed by Deypalubos in
the controverted area covered by FLA No. 1902. Said court findings are consistent with the
results of the inspection by the former Philippine Fisheries Commission and Bureau of
Fisheries conducted in 1973. 23

The insistence still of respondent Regional Director Guieb to proceed with the investigation,
knowing fully well that there remain no other issues in Deypalubos' protest that were not
previously raised in Civil Case No. 1389 and before the same Bureau, leads one to conclude
that he is acting in excess of his delegated authority to investigate. After these issues had
been tried and investigated, administratively and judicially, the same issues can no longer be
reopened by public respondent Guieb.

The Barrio Council Resolution intended to be included in the investigation by public


respondent Guieb likewise contains the very same averments made in the protest, the only
new matter presented being that petitioner should have been awarded fifty (50) hectares only
in view of a presidential decree limiting administrative grants of fishpond permits or leases to
just this much. The provisions of the invoked decree have not however been set forth nor the
decree number indicated. All that was said is that there is an existing decree to that effect,
and nothing more. Such a broad statement does not justify a reinvestigation of this fishpond
conflict.

Justice and fairness dictate that long-resolved matters be finally closed and laid to rest.
[G.R. Nos. 115121-25. February 9, 1996.] allowed to participate in the prebidding and bidding scheduled on June 4 and 18, 1993,
respectively.

NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY and ROMEO G. DAVID, petitioners, vs.


THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS,
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 85, Quezon City, HON. The prebidding and bidding dates were later reset to June 18 and 30, 1993 to give more time
RODOLFO ORTIZ, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 89, for the participants to comply with documentary requirements. Forty-one security agencies,
Quezon City, HON. TIRSO D. C. VELASCO, Presiding Judge, Regional composed of the incumbents and new applicants, including private respondent Masada
Trial Court, Branch 88, Quezon City, HON. BENEDICTO B. ULEP, Security Agency, submitted the necessary documents for prequalification.
Presiding Judge, Branch 105, Quezon City, HON. JUSTO M. SULTAN, Upon a review of the documents submitted, the PBAC disqualified respondent Mapagay for
Presiding Judge, Branch 98, Quezon City, COL. FELIX M. MANUBAY, failure to submit proof of his financial capability to support his bid. It also disqualified
MASADA SECURITY AGENCY, CONTINENTAL WATCHMAN AND respondent Lasala for alleged failure to meet the five-year service requirement. Only
SECURITY AGENCY, ALBERTO T. LASALA, and NORMAN D. respondents Manubay, Continental and Masada participated in the prebidding and were
MAPAGAY, respondents.
declared on June 17, 1993 prequalified to bid.

Meanwhile, however, two of the applicants who failed to prequalify, namely Lanting Security
PUNO, J p: and Watchman Agency and respondent Lasala, filed separate complaints with the Regional
Trial Court, Quezon City to restrain Administrator David and the PBAC from proceeding with
The case at bar involves the legality of negotiated security contracts awarded by the National the public bidding. As prayed for, restraining orders were issued by the two courts on June
Food Authority (NFA), a government-owned and controlled corporation and its Administrator, 29, 1993 which the NFA received on June 30, 1993, the day of the scheduled bidding. No
Romeo G. David, to several private security agencies, in default of a public bidding. bidding thus took place on said date.
Petitioners NFA and David seek a modification of the decision of the Court of Appeals insofar
On respondent Lasala's application, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 93, Quezon City issued
as it nullifies and enjoins the implementation of the said negotiated security contracts.
on July 20, 1993 a preliminary injunction ordering the PBAC to refrain from proceeding with
The facts are not disputed. the bidding until the merits of the case shall have been heard and resolved.

In 1990, the NFA, through then Administrator Pelayo J. Gabaldon, conducted a public During the effectivity of the writ of preliminary injunction, Administrator David sent to all
bidding to award security contracts for the protection of its properties and facilities all over incumbent security agencies, including four of herein private respondents, notices of
the country. Twelve security agencies were awarded one-year contracts, among whom were termination dated July 30, 1993. Private respondents were informed that their services were
private respondents Col. Felix M. Manubay (doing business under the name Greenview to end on August 16, 1993 inasmuch as their respective contracts had expired and they no
Investigation and Security Agency), Continental Watchman and Security Agency, Alberto T. longer enjoyed the trust and confidence of the NFA. They were thus instructed to withdraw
Lasala (doing business under the name PSF Watchman and Investigation Agency) and their security guards from all NFA installations. SDML
Norman D. Mapagay (doing business under the name People's Protective and Security
On August 4, 1993, Administrator David contracted the services of seven new security
Agency).
agencies starting August 16, 1993 on a month-to-month basis pending resolution of the
In August 1992, petitioner Romeo G. David became NFA Administrator. He caused a review of injunction against the bidding. Private respondents forthwith filed separate complaints with
all security service contracts, procedures on the accreditation of private security agencies and the Regional Trial Court, Branches 85, 89, 88, 105 and 98, Quezon City for
the bidding for security services. Pending this review, Administrator David extended the prohibition, mandamus and damages with a prayer for the issuance of a preliminary
services of private respondents and the other incumbent security agencies on a periodic injunction and restraining order. 1
basis.
The trial courts issued five separate restraining orders and injunctions ordering the NFA to
The review was completed in March 1993 and new terms for accreditation, bidding and hiring desist from terminating the services of respondents, and from awarding and installing the
of security agencies were made. The bidding areas were also reclassified and reduced from new security agencies replacing them.
fourteen NFA regions to only five NFA areas nationwide. A special order was thereafter issued
These orders were challenged by NFA and David in separate petitions before the Court of
for the implementation of the new rules and procedure.
Appeals alleging grave abuse of discretion by respondent judges. The Court of Appeals
On April 6, 1993, Special Order No. 04-07 was issued under which Administrator David consolidated the petitions and on March 11, 1994 rendered a decision partially granting the
created a Prequalification, Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC) to undertake the same by annulling that part of the orders restraining NFA from terminating the contracts
prequalification of prospective bidders, conduct the bidding, evaluate the bids tendered and with the incumbent security agencies but affirming the orders insofar as they enjoined NFA
recommend to the Administrator the bids accepted. Notices for prequalification and bidding from awarding the contracts to the seven new security agencies. The Court of Appeals
for security services were published in a newspaper of national circulation. All incumbent ordered:
security contractors were required to prequalify and only those prequalified were to be
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is found meritorious in "I
part and partially given DUE COURSE. The assailed orders and writs of
preliminary injunction are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE insofar as they IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS HAVE NO
order petitioners to cease and desist from terminating or implementing the RIGHT AND CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST PETITIONERS, AND
termination of private respondents' expired security contracts with NFA. THEREFORE, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE QUESTIONED RELIEF
The said assailed orders and writs of preliminary injunction issued are, GRANTED THEM BY RESPONDENTS RTC JUDGES AND COURT OF
however, declared LEGAL, VALID and NOT issued in excess of jurisdiction APPEALS;
or with grave abuse of discretion insofar as they enjoin petitioners from II
awarding the security service contracts to the seven (7) security agencies
named by petitioners and/or implementing said awards. To this extent the IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS DID NOT
petitions are DISMISSED for lack of merit." 2 AVAIL OF, MUCH LESS EXHAUST, AVAILABLE ADMINISTRATIVE
REMEDIES, THEREBY RENDERING THEIR COMPLAINT PREMATURE
Reconsideration was denied on April 15, 1994. AND LEGALLY DEFICIENT TO MERIT THE GRANT OF JUDICIAL RELIEF;
Petitioners now assail that part of the decision of the Court of Appeals nullifying and
enjoining the implementation of the contracts with the new security agencies. They plead that III
we restrain the lower courts from enforcing the injunction as against the new security IN ITS FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE EXECUTION OF THE NEW
agencies. They argue that the new security agencies were hired as an "emergency measure" INTERIM MONTHLY NEGOTIATED SECURITY CONTRACTS OF NFA,
after the contracts with the incumbent security agencies expired. They claim that without the INTENDED TO PROVIDE NFA WITH AMPLE SECURITY DURING THE
new security agencies, the properties of the NFA worth billions of pesos would be exposed to TEMPORARY EMERGENCY PERIOD THAT A PUBLIC BIDDING CANNOT
danger of loss and dissipation. 3 BE CONDUCTED BY REASON OF THE INJUNCTIVE ORDERS OF THE
On May 18, 1994, we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents from COURTS A QUO, ARE SANCTIONED BY LAW, BEING LEGITIMATE
enforcing the decision of the Court of Appeals and the writs of preliminary injunction issued EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL REQUIREMENT OF A PUBLIC BIDDING;
by the trial courts "insofar as the same nullify or otherwise stop the implementation of the IV
subject interim negotiated NFA security contracts." We however ordered petitioners to
"proceed with the public bidding of the security contracts without delay and submit to us a IN ITS GENERAL FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE EXECUTION OF
report on the result of such bidding within 30 days from the holding thereof." 4 THE INTERIM MONTHLY NEGOTIATED NFA SECURITY CONTRACTS ARE
A VALID EXERCISE OF BUSINESS JUDGMENT WITHIN THE
On July 21, 1994, petitioners submitted a report dated July 19, 1994 informing the Court PERIMETERS OF NFA MANAGEMENT'S AREA OF COMPETENCE. THE CA,
that a public bidding was held on June 21, 1994 but no contract had been awarded because MOREOVER, SERIOUSLY ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT
the PBAC had to study and evaluate each and every bid proposal. 5 THE LAW AND THE SITUATIONAL FACTS OF THE CASE SANCTION AND
A second report dated March 3, 1995 was filed by petitioners informing us that deliberation EVEN CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF SAID INTERIM
on the bids was prolonged by the necessity of passing upon the technical merits of each bid CONTRACTS." 10
and by the discovery of collusion between two bidders "which spawned threats against the life We reject these contentions.
of the members of the PBAC." The PBAC decided to conduct a rebidding in Areas 1, 2, and 3
and apprise the court of the results thereof. 6 The principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a hard and fast rule. It is
subject to some limitations and exceptions. In this case, private respondents' contracts were
A third report dated July 13, 1995 was submitted where petitioners manifested that still no terminated in the midst of bidding preparations and their replacements hired barely five days
contract had been awarded because the minimum number of bidders per area was not met. after their termination. In fact, respondent Masada, a prequalified bidder, submitted all
Two bidders 7 for Areas 3, 4 and 5 submitted identical bids which were held collusive by the requirements and was preparing for the public bidding only to find out that contracts had
PBAC per advice of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel. The rejection of the two already been awarded by negotiation. Indeed, an appeal to the NFA Board or Council of
agencies reduced the number of bidders in each area below the required minimum compelling Trustees and the Secretary of Agriculture pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative
the PBAC to recommend a failure of bidding in all five NFA areas. Petitioners, however, could Code of 1987 11 was not a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the
not act on the PBAC's recommendation because a temporary restraining order was issued on law. 12 The urgency of the situation compelled private respondents to go to court to stop the
April 10, 1995 by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 17, Davao. One of the bidders found in implementation of these negotiated security contracts.
collusion 8 filed a complaint with the said Regional Trial Court questioning the legality of the
PBAC's rejection of its bids and enjoining NFA and the PBAC from awarding security We are neither impressed by petitioners' claim that the subject contracts were negotiated as a
contracts to any lowest or next lowest qualified bidder. 9 necessity to stave off a crisis that gripped the NFA, i.e., the loss, destruction and dissipation
of their properties, warehouses, rice and corn stocks and facilities with an estimated value of
We shall now resolve the contentions of petitioners that the Court of Appeals gravely erred: P19 billion. Petitioners allege they were merely exercising their sound business judgment in
an emergency situation brought about by respondent security agencies themselves who, in excluded them and recommended that the Administrator declare a failure of bidding in all five
the first place, obtained the injunctions from the Quezon City trial courts. ELC areas of responsibility.

First of all, the restraining orders and writ of preliminary injunction issued by the two The Administrator should have immediately acted upon the PBAC's recommendation and
Quezon City trial courts on complaint by Lanting and respondent Lasala suspending the accordingly scheduled another public bidding but somehow petitioners chose to abide by a
public bidding scheduled on June 30, 1993 did not result in the emergency situation restraining order of the Davao trial court. It must be noted that what the Davao trial court
petitioners alleged. The security vacuum was created when petitioners terminated the issued was a temporary restraining order enjoining petitioners from awarding the contracts to
services of the incumbent security agencies after the issuance of the said orders the lowest or next lowest bidder at the June 21, 1994 public bidding. It was not a writ of
and before the injunctions issued by respondent trial courts on application by private preliminary injunction nor was it an order restraining the holding of another bidding.
respondents.
Petitioners and the PBAC are obviously taking their sweet time to select and award security
contracts to winning bidders. They took one year evaluating and deliberating on thirteen bid
proposals only to declare a failure of bidding in all five areas of responsibility. Then they
When the bidding did not take place on June 30, 1993, the incumbent security agencies relied on a restraining order of a trial court after no less than this Highest Court specifically
continued rendering services to petitioners, albeit on a temporary and provisional basis. ordered them to conduct and conclude a public bidding.
However, one month later, they were all terminated on grounds of expiration of contract and
loss of trust and confidence. Litigants should be conscious of the position lower courts occupy in the operation of the
integrated judicial system of the nation. 17 There is only one Supreme Court and all courts
We agree with the Court of Appeals that it was well within the power of petitioners to and litigants should take their bearings from this Court.18
discontinue the services of the incumbent security agencies. Their contracts with the NFA
expired in 1992, hence, their services were deemed terminated on said date. 13 The fact that Petitioners' manifest reluctance to hold a public bidding and award a contract to the winning
these agencies continued rendering services to NFA did not amount to an implied renewal of bidder smacks of favoritism and partiality toward the security agencies to whom it awarded
their respective contracts. Respondents do not have any vested right to continue their the negotiated contracts and cannot be countenanced. A competitive public bidding aims to
contracts with NFA. They remained and continued performing their tasks at the tolerance of protect the public interest by giving the public the best possible advantages thru open
NFA who, by sending the notices of termination, simply reminded them of the expiration of competition. It is a mechanism that enables the government agency to avoid or preclude
their contracts. 14 These contracts can be renewed, revived or extended only by mutual anomalies in the execution of public contracts. 19
consent of the parties. No court can compel a party to agree to a contract thru the
instrumentality of a writ of preliminary injunction. The General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 1993 20 cannot be used by petitioners to justify
their actuations. An appropriations act is primarily a special type of legislation whose content
Nevertheless, what causes eyebrows to arch is the act of petitioners in discontinuing the is limited to specified sums of money dedicated to a specific purpose or a separate fiscal
incumbents' services. Respondents Manubay and Lasala allege that their agencies had been unit. 21 Section 31 on the General Provisions of the GAA of 1993 merely authorizes the heads
rendering security services to the NFA since 1985 15and 1988, 16 respectively. Moreover, of departments, bureaus, offices or agencies of the national government to hire, through
Manubay and Continental passed the prequalification stage and were declared by the PBAC public bidding or negotiated contracts, contractual personnel to perform specific activities or
eligible to join the public bidding. Scarcely a month later, however, their services were services related or incidental to their functions. This law specifically authorizes expenditures
terminated at the same time and for the same reasons as the rest of the incumbent security for the hiring of these personnel. 22 It is not the governing law on the award of service
agencies. It is certainly strange why petitioners chose to do away with the incumbents' contracts by government agencies nor does it do away with the general requirement of public
services at a time when a "security void" would directly and most necessarily result from their bidding. 23
withdrawal. The least petitioners could have done under the circumstances was to maintain
the status quo until the writ of preliminary injunction obtained by respondent Lasala shall IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is dismissed and the decision dated March 11, 1994 and
have been lifted. resolution dated April 15, 1994 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 32213, 32230 and
32274-76 are affirmed. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on May 18,
Assuming arguendo that an emergency actually existed and the negotiated contracts were 1994 is hereby lifted. Treble costs against petitioners. LexLibris
justified, petitioners' continued failure to conduct a public bidding and select the bidder
within a reasonable time casts doubts on the good faith behind the negotiated contracts. This SO ORDERED.
Court, on May 18, 1994, specifically ordered petitioners to conduct a public bidding and ||| (National Food Authority v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 115121-25, [February 9, 1996], 323
report the results within thirty days from holding thereof. In compliance, a public bidding was PHIL 558-575)
conducted on June 21, 1994 but until now no bidder has been chosen and no contract has
been awarded.

Petitioners cited various reasons for the delay. They alleged that the minimum number of
bidders in three of the five areas had not been met and that two bidders in the other two
areas were in collusion. This suspicion of collusion generated so much controversy that the
PBAC could not decide whether to include the bids of the two agencies. Finally, the PBAC
G.R. No. L-24989 July 21, 1967 On October 19, 1964 the petitioner wrote to the Division Superintendents of Schools,
reiterating his claim that he had not reached the age of 65 and enclosing some papers in
PEDRO GRAVADOR, petitioner-appellee, support thereof.
vs.
EUTIQUIO MAMIGO, THE DISTRICT SUPERVISOR OF BAYAWAN-STA. CATALINA On April 13, 1965 he filed this suit for quo warranto, mandamus and damages in the Court of
SCHOOL DISTRICT, First Instance of Negros Oriental. He asked the court to adjudge him entitled to the office of
THE DIVISION SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS OF NEGROS ORIENTAL, THE principal of the Sta. Catalina Elementary School and to order payment to him of not only his
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS and THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, (all sued in back salaries but also damages in the total amount of P52,400. Named as respondents were
their official and personal capacities),respondents-appellants. EutiquioMamigo, the District Supervisor, the Superintendent of Schools, the Director of
Public Schools and the Secretary of Education.
Office of the Solicitor Genero Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General I. C. Borromeo and
Solicitor F. J. Bautista for respondents-appellants. The respondents filed their answer, entered into a stipulation of facts with the petitioner, and
Newton E. Serion for petitioner-appellee. thereafter the case was submitted for decision. The trial court concluded that the petitioner
was born on December 11, 1901 accordingly granted his petition. Immediate execution was
CASTRO, J.: ordered, as a result of which the petitioner was reinstated.

The petitioner Pedro Gravador was the principal of the Sta. Catalina Elementary School in The respondents appealed directly to this Court.
Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental on August 15, 1964 when he was advised by the then,
Superintendent of Schools Angel Salazar, Jr., through the respondent Supervisor Teodulfo E. On July 6, 1967 the petitioner asked for the dismissal of the appeal on the ground that the
Dayao, of his separation from the service on the ground that he had reached the compulsory issues posed thereby had become moot with his retirement from the service on December 11,
retirement age of 65. The advice reads: 1966 and the payment to him of the corresponding retirement benefits. We deem it necessary,
however, to review the trial court's decision on the merits, considering that the computation
According to your pre-war records as a teacher in the public schools, including your of retirement annuities is based among other things, on the number of years of service of a
Employee's Record Card, which has just been found in connection with the retiree,1 and that payment of benefits already made to the petitioner on the basis of December
verification of the services of all school officials including elementary school 11, 1901 as the date of his birth would not exempt him from the obligation to make a refund
principals in this division, you were born on November 26, 1897. As of this date, should this Court ultimately rule that he was actually born November 26, 1897, as the
therefore, you are now 66 years, 8 months, and 22 days old. respondents claim.

In view of the above, you are hereby advised of your separation from the service The controversy on the petitioner's date of birth arose as a result of the conflicting records of
effective immediately unless you can show valid proof in the form of a baptismal or the Division of Schools of Negros Oriental. On the one hand the pre-war records show his
birth certificate that you are below sixty-five years of age today. date of birth to be November 26, 1897. These records consist of two Insular Teachers
Cards2 and one Employee's Record Card.3 It is on the basis of these records that the
Superintendent of Schools determined the petitioner's age to be 66 years, 8 months and 22
A few days later the respondent EutiquioMamigo was designated teacher-in-charge of the said days on August 15, 1964.
elementary school.
On the other hand, the post-war records, consisting of an Elementary Teacher's Report
On August 31, 1964 the petitioner wrote the Director of Public Schools, protesting his forced Card,4 an Employee's Record Card,5 and an Employee's Record of Qualifications,6 state that
retirement on the ground that the date of his birth is not November 26, 1897 but December the petitioner was born on Dec. 11, 1901. These are the records on which the petitioner bases
11, 1901. Attached to his letter was the affidavit, executed on July 26, 1962, of Lazaro his claim.
Bandoquillo and Pedro A. Sienes both of Amlan Negros Oriental, in which these two affiants
declared that they knew that the petitioner "was born on December 11, 1901, in the
Municipality of Amlan formerly known as New Ayuquitan Province of Negros Oriental, The problem is aggravated by two uncontroverted facts, namely, that the records of the
Philippines" because, "we were the neighbors of the late spouses, NEPOMUCENO GRAVADOR church where the petitioner was baptized were destroyed by fire, and that the municipal civil
and AGUEDA REGOROSA [petitioner's parents], and we were present when said PEDRO register contains no record. of the petitioner's birth.
GRAVADOR was born; furthermore,we were also invited during the baptismal party a few
weeks after the birth of said PEDRO GRAVADOR." According to the trial court, the post-war records were intended to replace the pre-war
records and therefore the correct date of birth of the petitioner is December 11, 1901. The
court also took into account the verified answer in a cadastral proceeding in the Court of First
Instance of Negros Oriental, dated March 15, 1924, filed by the petitioner's brother, Romulo
Gravador, now deceased. It is therein stated that the petitioner, said to be one of the co- warranto to recover a public office must be brought within one year.11 Before filing this case
owners of a piece of land, was at the time 23 years old. the petitioner waited for eight months for the school officials to act on his protest. To require
him to tarry a little more would obviously be unfair to him since on April 13, 1965, when this
The respondents now contend that the trial court erred in placing full reliance on the post- case was filed, he had only four months left within which to bring the case to court. There
war records to establish the date of birth (December 11, 1901) of the petitioner. They argue was neither manner nor form of assurance that the decision of the Director of Public Schools
that these records were made only because it was thought that the pre-war records had been would be forthcoming. The rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies does not apply
lost or destroyed, but as some pre-war records had since been located, the date contained in where insistence on its observance would result in the nullification of the claim being
the pre-war records should be regarded as controlling and that the finding of the asserted.12
Superintendent of Schools that the petitioner was born on November 26, 1897 is an
administrative finding that should not be disturbed by the court. Accordingly, the judgment a quo is affirmed. No pronouncement as to costs.

That the findings of fact of administrative officials are binding on the courts if supported by
substantial evidence, is a settled rule of administrative law, But whether there is substantial
evidence supporting the finding of the Superintendent of Schools is precisely the issue in this
case. The school official based his determination of the petitioner's age on the pre-war records
in the preparation of which the petitioner does not appear to have taken a part.7 On the other
hand, the petitioner post-war records which he personally accomplished to prove the date of
his birth.8

It is our considered view that the lower court correctly relied upon the post-war records, for
three cogent reasons.

In the first place, as Moran states, although a person can have no personal knowledge of the
date of his birth, he may testify as to his age as he had learned it from his parents and
relatives and his testimony in such case is an assertion of a family tradition.9 Indeed, even in
is application for back pay which he filed with the Department of Finance, through the Office
of the Superintendent of Schools, on October 7, 1948, the petitioner stated that the date of
his birth is December 11, 1901. He repeated the same assertion in 1956 and again in 1960
when he asked the Government Service Insurance System and the Civil Service Commission
to correct the date of his birth to December 11, 1901.

In the second place, the import of the declaration of the petitioner's brother, contained in a
verified pleading in a cadastral case way back in 1924, to the effect that the petitioner was
then 23 years old, can not be ignored. Made ante litem motam by a deceased relative, this
statement is at once a declaration regarding pedigree within the intendment and meaning of
section 33 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.

Thus, December 11, 1901 is established as the date of birth of the petitioner not only by
evidence of family tradition but also by the declaration ante litem motam of a deceased
relative.1äwphï1.ñët

Finally, the patties are agreed that the petitioner has a brother, Constantino, who was born
on June 10, 1898 and who retired on June 10, 1963 with full retirement pay. The petitioner
then could not have been born earlier than Constantino, say in 1897 as pre-war records
indicate, because Constantino is admittedly older than he.10

Still it is argued that the petitioner's action was prematurely brought because he had not
availed of all administrative remedies. This argument is without merit. Suit for quo
[G.R. No. 80719. September 26, 1989.] who on October 31, 1985 filed his report recommending the cancellation of private
respondent's CLT. Said report was elevated to the MAR. In an endorsement dated November
25, 1985, Regional Director Salvador Pejo manifested his concurrence with the report of Atty.
HILDA Evasco holding that the properties of the petitioner consist of 4.3589 hectares as evidenced
RALLA ALMINE, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 27167, 27168 and 27344 and hence not covered by the
MINISTRY OF AGRARIAN REFORM (MAR) AND SULPICIO Operation Land Transfer Program. Juanito L. Lorena, the Officer-in-Charge of MAR likewise
BOMBALES, respondents. concurred therewith. However, in the order dated February 13, 1986, then Minister Conrado
Estrella denied petitioner's application for retention. LLphil

SYLLABUS On April 17, 1986, petitioner appealed to the then Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC). The
case was entitled Hilda Ralla Almine vs. MAR and docketed as AC-G.R. SP No. 08550. Private
respondent filed a motion to dismiss the appeal. However, it was denied in an order dated
1. LABOR LAWS; MINISTER OF AGRARIAN REFORM; JURISDICTION; DECISION OF THE May 28, 1986. A motion for reconsideration thereof was likewise denied. After the parties filed
PRESIDENT MAY BE REVIEWED BY THE COURTS THROUGH SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION. — A their respective pleadings, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision dated June 29,
perusal of Section 12, P.D. No. 946 reveals that questions as to whether a landowner should 1987 1dismissing the appeal on the ground of lack of jurisdiction holding that questions as to
or should not be allowed to retain his landholdings are exclusively cognizable by the Minister whether a landowner should or should not be allowed to retain his landholdings, if
(now Secretary) of Agrarian Reform whose decision may be appealed to the Office of the administratively decided by the Minister of Agrarian Reform, are appealable and could be
President and not to the Court of Agrarian Relations. These cases are thus excluded from reviewed only by the Court of Agrarian Relations and now by the Regional Trial Courts
those cognizable by the then CAR, now the Regional Trial Courts, There is no appeal from a pursuant to Batas PambansaBlg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary
decision of the President. However, the said decision may be reviewed by the courts through a Reorganization Act of 1980. 2 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was
special civil action for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus, as the case may be under Rule denied in a resolution dated October 22, 1987. 3
65 of the Rules of court.
Hence, the present petition.
2. ID.; ID.; DECISION; FAILURE TO APPEAL THEREFROM TO THE PRESIDENT, NOT A
VIOLATION OF EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES; MINISTER IS AN ALTER Petitioner's posture is that it is an error for the respondent appellate court to dismiss the
EGO OF THE PRESIDENT. — The failure to appeal to the Office ofthe President from the appeal on the ground of lack of jurisdiction since under Section 9 of Batas PambansaBlg.
decision of the Minister of Agrarian Reform in this case is not a violation of the rule on 129, said appellate court is vested with the exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all decisions,
exhaustion of administrative remedies as the latter is the alter ego of the President. resolutions, or orders of quasi-judicial agencies except those falling within the appellate
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Petitioner argues that since the appeal involves both
calibration of the evidence and the determination of the laws applicable thereto, then an
appeal to the Court of Appeals is the appropriate remedy and hence her appeal should not
DECISION have been dismissed. Petitioner argues further that on the assumption that
the Court of Appeals has no jurisdiction on the matter, still the appeal should not have been
dismissed but should have been certified to the proper court citing Section 3 of Rule 50 of the
Revised Rules of Court.
GANCAYCO, J p:
The Court of Agrarian Relations has original and exclusive jurisdiction as follows: prcd
This case involves the issue of the power of review of the Court of Appeals over the "Jurisdiction over Subject Matter. — The Courts of Agrarian Relations shall
administrative decision on the transfer of the land to the tenant-farmer under Presidential have original and exclusive jurisdiction over:
Decree No. 27 and the amendatory and related decrees.
a) Cases involving the rights and obligations of persons in the cultivation
The facts are few and simple. On December 25, 1975, petitioner filed a sworn application for and use of agricultural land except those cognizable by the National Labor
retention of her riceland or for exemption thereof from the Operation Land Transfer Program Relations Commission; Provided, That no case involving the
with the then Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR), Regional Office in Tabaco, Albay. After due determination of rentals over any kind of tenanted agricultural land shall
hearing, Atty. CidarmindaArresgado of the said office filed an investigation report dated June be taken cognizance of by the Courts of Agrarian Relations unless there
26, 1980 for the cancellation of the Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) of private respondent has been a prior fixing of provisional rental by the Department of Agrarian
who appears to be petitioner's tenant over her riceland. Upon failure of the Ministry to take Reform, except that the tenant-farmer may directly bring the case for
the necessary action, petitioner reiterated her application sometime in 1979-1985 alleging immediate determination by the Courts of Agrarian Relations;
that her tenant deliberately failed and refused to deliver her landowner's share from 1975 up
to the time of the filing of the said application and that the latter had distributed his b) Questions involving rights granted and obligations imposed by laws,
landholding to his children. A reinvestigation was conducted this time by Atty. Seth Evasco Presidential Decrees, Orders, Instructions, Rules and Regulations issued
and promulgated in relation to the agrarian reform program; Provided,
however, That matters involving the administrative implementation of the
transfer of the land to the tenant-farmer under Presidential Decree No.
27 and amendatory and related decrees, orders, instructions, rules and
regulations, shall be exclusively cognizable by the Secretary of Agrarian
Reform, namely:

(1) classification and identification of landholdings;

(2) identification of tenant-farmers and landowners, and


determination of their tenancy relationship;

(3) parcellary mapping;

(4) determination of the total production and value of the


land to be transferred to the tenant-farmer;

(5) issuance, recall or cancellation of certificates of land


transfer in cases outside the purview of Presidential Decree No.
816;

(6) right of retention of the landowner;

xxxxxxxxx

Provided, further, That the decision of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform


may be appealed to the President of the Philippines." 4

A perusal of the provision above cited reveals that questions as to whether a landowner
should or should not be allowed to retain his landholdings are exclusively cognizable by the
Minister (now Secretary) of Agrarian Reform whose decision may be appealed to the
Office of the President and not to the Court of Agrarian Relations. These cases are thus
excluded from those cognizable by the then CAR, now the Regional Trial Courts. There is no
appeal from a decision of the President. However, the said decision may be reviewed by the
courts through a special civil action for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus, as the case may
be under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. LLjur

Thus, the respondent appellate court erred in holding that it has no jurisdiction over the
petition for review by way of certiorari brought before it of a decision of the
Minister of Agrarian Reform allegedly made in grave abuse of his discretion and in holding
that this is a matter within the competence of the Court of Agrarian Reform.
The Court of Appeals has concurrent jurisdiction with this Court and the Regional
Trial Court over petitions seeking the extraordinary remedy of certiorari, prohibition or
mandamus. 5

The failure to appeal to the Office of the President from the decision of the
Minister of Agrarian Reform in this case is not a violation of the rule on
exhaustion of administrative remedies as the latter is the alter ego of the President. 6

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated June 29,
1987 and its resolution dated October 22, 1987, in CA-G.R. SP No. 08550 are set aside and
the records of the case are remanded to said appellate court for further proceedings. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

||| (Almine v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 80719, [September 26, 1989], 258 PHIL 595-599)
SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (SMART) and PILIPINO TELEPHONE (1) The billing statements shall be received by the subscriber of the
CORPORATION (PILTEL), petitioners, vs. NATIONAL telephone service not later than 30 days from the end of each billing cycle.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NTC), respondent. In case the statement is received beyond this period, the subscriber shall
have a specified grace period within which to pay the bill and the public
telecommunications entity (PTEs) shall not be allowed to disconnect the
[G.R. No. 152063. August 12, 2003.] service within the grace period.

(2) There shall be no charge for calls that are diverted to a voice
GLOBE TELECOM, INC. (GLOBE) and ISLA COMMUNICATIONS CO., mailbox, voice prompt, recorded message or similar facility excluding the
INC. (ISLACOM), petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS (The Former 6th customer's own equipment.
Division) and the NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS
(3) PTEs shall verify the identification and address of each
COMMISSION,respondents.
purchaser of prepaid SIM cards. Prepaid call cards and SIM cards shall be
valid for at least 2 years from the date of first use. Holders of prepaid SIM
cards shall be given 45 days from the date the prepaid SIM card is fully
QuevedoEspañolIbaySyquia-Santos & Plaza-Cortes and Ian R.A. Pangalangan for consumed but not beyond 2 years and 45 days from date of first use to
petitioners in G.R. No. 151908. replenish the SIM card, otherwise the SIM card shall be rendered invalid.
Salalima and Gonzales for Globe Telecoms, Inc. The validity of an invalid SIM card, however, shall be installed upon
request of the customer at no additional charge except the presentation of
Latina and Carelo for Isla Communications Co., Inc. a valid prepaid call card.

(4) Subscribers shall be updated of the remaining value of their


cards before the start of every call using the cards.
SYNOPSIS
(5) The unit of billing for the cellular mobile telephone service
whether postpaid or prepaid shall be reduced from 1 minute per pulse to 6
Pursuant to its rule-making and regulatory powers, the National Telecommunications
seconds per pulse. The authorized rates per minute shall thus be divided
Commission (NTC) promulgated rules and regulations on the billing of telecommunications
by 10. 1
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 The Memorandum Circular provided that it shall take effect 15 days after its
on sales in regulating the sale of prepaid call cards; and that the billing circular violated the publication in a newspaper of general circulation and three certified true copies thereof
constitutional prohibition against the deprivation of property without due process of law. The furnished the UP Law Center. It was published in the newspaper, The Philippine Star, on
NTC moved to dismiss the case for failure of petitioners to exhaust administrative remedies. June 22, 2000. 2 Meanwhile, the provisions of the Memorandum Circular pertaining to the
The trial court denied the motion to dismiss and enjoined the NTC from implementing the sale and use of prepaid cards and the unit of billing for cellular mobile telephone service took
questioned circulars. The CA, however, dismissed the case on appeal without prejudice to the effect 90 days from the effectivity of the Memorandum Circular.
referral of the petitioners' grievances and disputes on the assailed issuances with the NTC.
On August 30, 2000, the NTC issued a Memorandum to all cellular mobile telephone
On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the trial court has jurisdiction to hear and service (CMTS) operators which contained measures to minimize if not totally eliminate the
decide the civil case. Judicial power includes the authority of the courts to determine the incidence of stealing of cellular phone units. The Memorandum directed CMTS operators to:
validity of the acts of administrative agencies. In questioning the validity or constitutionality
of a rule or regulation issued by an administrative agency, a party need not exhaust a. strictly comply with Section B(1) of MC 13-6-2000 requiring the
administrative remedies before going to court. This principle applies only where the act of the presentation and verification of the identity and addresses of
administrative agency concerned was performed pursuant to its quasi-judicial function, and prepaid SIM card customers;
not when the assailed act pertained to its rule-making or quasi-legislative power. In like
manner, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies only where the administrative agency b. require all your respective prepaid SIM cards dealers to comply with
exercises its quasi judicial or adjudicatory function. Section B(1) of MC 13-6-2000;

Pursuant to its rule-making and regulatory powers, the National Telecommunications c. deny acceptance to your respective networks prepaid and/or postpaid
Commission (NTC) issued on June 16, 2000 Memorandum Circular No. 13-6-2000, customers using stolen cellphone units or cellphone units
promulgating rules and regulations on the billing of telecommunications services. Among its registered to somebody other than the applicant when properly
pertinent provisions are the following: informed of all information relative to the stolen cellphone units;
d. share all necessary information of stolen cellphone units to all other WHEREFORE, premises considered, the defendants' motion to
CMTS operators in order to prevent the use of stolen cellphone dismiss is hereby denied for lack of merit. The plaintiffs' application for the
units; and issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is hereby granted. Accordingly,
the defendants are hereby enjoined from implementing NTC Memorandum
e. require all your existing prepaid SIM card customers to register and Circular 13-6-2000 and the NTC Memorandum, dated October 6, 2000,
present valid identification cards. 3 pending the issuance and finality of the decision in this case. The plaintiffs
This was followed by another Memorandum dated October 6, 2000 addressed to all and intervenors are, however, required to file a bond in the sum of FIVE
public telecommunications entities, which reads: HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00), Philippine currency.

SO ORDERED. 8
This is to remind you that the validity of all prepaid cards sold on
07 October 2000 and beyond shall be valid for at least two (2) years from Defendants filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied in an Order dated
date of first use pursuant to MC 13-6-2000. February 1, 2001. 9
In addition, all CMTS operators are reminded that all SIM packs Respondent NTC thus filed a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with the
used by subscribers of prepaid cards sold on 07 October 2000 and beyond Court of Appeals, which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP. No. 64274. On October 9, 2001, a
shall be valid for at least two (2) years from date of first use. Also, the decision was rendered, the decretal portion of which reads:
billing unit shall be on a six (6) seconds pulse effective 07 October 2000.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition
For strict compliance. 4 for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED, in that, the order of the court a
On October 20, 2000, petitioners Isla Communications Co., Inc. and Pilipino quo denying the petitioner's motion to dismiss as well as the order of the
Telephone Corporation filed against the National Telecommunications Commission, court a quo granting the private respondents' prayer for a writ of
Commissioner Joseph A. Santiago, Deputy Commissioner Aurelio M. Umali and Deputy preliminary injunction, and the writ of preliminary injunction issued
Commissioner Nestor C. Dacanay, an action for declaration of nullity of NTC Memorandum thereby, are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The private respondents'
Circular No. 13-6-2000 (the Billing Circular) and the NTC Memorandum dated October 6, complaint and complaint-in-intervention below are hereby DISMISSED,
2000, with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary without prejudice to the referral of the private respondents' grievances and
restraining order. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-00-42221 at the Regional disputes on the assailed issuances of the NTC with the said
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 77. 5 agency. TSDHCc

Petitioners Islacom and Piltel alleged, inter alia, that the NTC has no jurisdiction to SO ORDERED. 10
regulate the sale of consumer goods such as the prepaid call cards since such jurisdiction Petitioners' motions for reconsideration were denied in a Resolution dated January
belongs to the Department of Trade and Industry under the Consumer Act of the Philippines; 10, 2002 for lack of merit. 11
that the Billing Circular is oppressive, confiscatory and violative of the constitutional
prohibition against deprivation of property without due process of law; that the Circular will Hence, the instant petition for review filed by Smart and Piltel, which was docketed
result in the impairment of the viability of the prepaid cellular service by unduly prolonging as G.R. No. 151908, anchored on the following grounds:
the validity and expiration of the prepaid SIM and call cards; and that the requirements of
identification of prepaid card buyers and call balance announcement are unreasonable. A.
Hence, they prayed that the Billing Circular be declared null and void ab initio.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING
Soon thereafter, petitioners Globe Telecom, Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. THAT THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NTC) AND
filed a joint Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit Complaint-in-Intervention. 6 This was NOT THE REGULAR COURTS HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE.
granted by the trial court.
B.
On October 27, 2000, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ALSO GRAVELY ERRED IN
the NTC from implementing Memorandum Circular No. 13-6-2000 and the Memorandum HOLDING THAT THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FAILED TO EXHAUST AN
dated October 6, 2000. 7 AVAILABLE ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY.
In the meantime, respondent NTC and its co-defendants filed a motion to dismiss the C.
case on the ground of petitioners' failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT
Subsequently, after hearing petitioners' application for preliminary injunction as well THE BILLING CIRCULAR ISSUED BY THE RESPONDENT NTC IS
as respondent's motion to dismiss, the trial court issued on November 20, 2000 an Order, the UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND CONTRARY TO LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY.
dispositive portion of which reads:
D. The rules and regulations that administrative agencies promulgate, which are the
product of a delegated legislative power to create new and additional legal provisions that
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE have the effect of law, should be within the scope of the statutory authority granted by the
PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FAILED TO SHOW THEIR CLEAR POSITIVE legislature to the administrative agency. It is required that the regulation be germane to the
RIGHT TO WARRANT THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY objects and purposes of the law, and be not in contradiction to, but in conformity with, the
INJUNCTION. 12 standards prescribed by law. 17 They must conform to and be consistent with the provisions
Likewise, Globe and Islacom filed a petition for review, docketed as G.R. No. 152063, of the enabling statute in order for such rule or regulation to be valid. Constitutional and
assigning the following errors: statutory provisions control with respect to what rules and regulations may be promulgated
by an administrative body, as well as with respect to what fields are subject to regulation by
1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SO GRAVELY ERRED it. It may not make rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of the
BECAUSE THE DOCTRINES OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION AND Constitution or a statute, particularly the statute it is administering or which created it, or
EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES DO NOT APPLY which are in derogation of, or defeat, the purpose of a statute. In case of conflict between a
SINCE THE INSTANT CASE IS FOR LEGAL NULLIFICATION statute and an administrative order, the former must prevail. 18
(BECAUSE OF LEGAL INFIRMITIES AND VIOLATIONS OF LAW)
OF A PURELY ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION PROMULGATED Not to be confused with the quasi-legislative or rule-making power of an
BY AN AGENCY IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS RULE MAKING administrative agency is its quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory power. This is the
POWERS AND INVOLVES ONLY QUESTIONS OF LAW. power to hear and determine 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
2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SO GRAVELY ERRED administering the same law. The administrative body exercises its quasi-judicial power when
BECAUSE THE DOCTRINE ON EXHAUSTION OF it performs in a judicial manner an act which is essentially of an executive or administrative
ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES DOES NOT APPLY WHEN THE nature, where the power to act in such manner is incidental to or reasonably necessary for
QUESTIONS RAISED ARE PURELY LEGAL QUESTIONS. the performance of the executive or administrative duty entrusted to it. In carrying out their
quasi-judicial functions, the administrative officers or bodies are required to investigate facts
3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SO GRAVELY ERRED or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions from
BECAUSE THE DOCTRINE OF EXHAUSTION OF them as basis for their official action and exercise of discretion in a judicial nature. 19
ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES DOES NOT APPLY WHERE THE
ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IS COMPLETE AND EFFECTIVE, In questioning the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by an
WHEN THERE IS NO OTHER REMEDY, AND THE PETITIONER administrative agency, a party need not exhaust administrative remedies before going to
STANDS TO SUFFER GRAVE AND IRREPARABLE INJURY. 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 assailed act pertained to
4. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SO GRAVELY ERRED its rule-making or quasi-legislative power. In Association of Philippine Coconut Desiccators v.
BECAUSE PETITIONERS IN FACT EXHAUSTED ALL Philippine Coconut Authority, 20 it was held:
ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO THEM.
The rule of requiring exhaustion of administrative remedies before
5. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SO GRAVELY ERRED IN a party may seek judicial review, so strenuously urged by the Solicitor
ISSUING ITS QUESTIONED RULINGS IN THIS CASE BECAUSE General on behalf of respondent, has obviously no application here. The
GLOBE AND ISLA HAVE A CLEAR RIGHT TO AN INJUNCTION. 13 resolution in question was issued by the PCA in the exercise of its rule-
making or legislative power. However, only judicial review of decisions of
The two petitions were consolidated in a Resolution dated February 17, 2003. 14
administrative agencies made in the exercise of their quasi-judicial
On March 24, 2003, the petitions were given due course and the parties were function is subject to the exhaustion doctrine.
required to submit their respective memoranda. 15
Even assuming arguendo that the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies
We find merit in the petitions. 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 position papers setting forth their
Administrative agencies possess quasi-legislative or rule-making powers and quasi- objections and submitting proposed schemes for the billing circular. 21 After the same was
judicial or administrative adjudicatory powers. Quasi-legislative or rule-making power is the issued, petitioners wrote successive letters dated July 3, 2000 22 and July 5,
power to make rules and regulations which results in delegated legislation that is within the 2000, 23 asking for the suspension and reconsideration of the so-called Billing Circular.
confines of the granting statute and the doctrine of non-delegability and separability of These letters were not acted upon until October 6, 2000, when respondent NTC issued the
powers. 16 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, Section 5(2), of the Constitution vests in the Supreme Court appellate
thus prompting them to seek judicial relief. jurisdiction over final judgments and orders of lower courts in all cases in
which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or
In like manner, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies only where the executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order,
administrative agency exercises its quasi-judicial or adjudicatory function. Thus, in cases instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. 29
involving specialized disputes, the practice has been to refer the same to an administrative
agency of special competence pursuant to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The courts will In their complaint before the Regional Trial Court, petitioners averred that the
not determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of the Circular contravened Civil Code provisions on sales and violated the constitutional
administrative tribunal prior to the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, prohibition against the deprivation of property without due process of law. These are within
where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the the competence of the trial judge. Contrary to the finding of the Court of Appeals, the issues
special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine raised in the complaint do not entail highly technical matters. Rather, what is required of the
technical and intricate matters of fact, and a uniformity of ruling is essential to comply with judge who will resolve this issue is a basic familiarity with the workings of the cellular
the premises of the regulatory statute administered. The objective of the doctrine of primary telephone service, including prepaid SIM and call cards — and this is judicially known to be
jurisdiction is to guide a court in determining whether it should refrain from exercising its within the knowledge of a good percentage of our population — and expertise in fundamental
jurisdiction until after an administrative agency has determined some question or some principles of civil law and the Constitution.
aspect of some question arising in the proceeding before the court. It applies where the claim
is originally cognizable in the courts and comes into play whenever enforcement of the claim Hence, the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction to hear and decide Civil Case No. Q-
requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, has been placed within 00-42221. The Court of Appeals erred in setting aside the orders of the trial court and in
the special competence of an administrative body; in such case, the judicial process is dismissing the case.
suspended pending referral of such issues to the administrative body for its view. 24
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the consolidated petitions are GRANTED. The
However, where what is assailed is the validity or constitutionality of a rule or decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 64274 dated October 9, 2001 and its
regulation issued by the administrative agency in the performance of its quasi-legislative Resolution dated January 10, 2002 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Order dated
function, the regular courts have jurisdiction to pass upon the same. The determination of November 20, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 77, in Civil Case No.
whether a specific rule or set of rules issued by an administrative agency contravenes the law Q-00-42221 is REINSTATED. This case is REMANDED to the court a quo for continuation of
or the constitution is within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. Indeed, the Constitution the proceedings. HcSCED
vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare a law, treaty, international or SO ORDERED.
executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation in the
courts, including the regional trial courts. 25 This is within the scope of judicial power, which ||| (Smart Communications, Inc. v. National Telecommunications Commission, G.R.
includes the authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the validity of the Nos. 151908 & 152063, [August 12, 2003], 456 PHIL 145-160)
acts of the political departments. 26 Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice
to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,
and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government. 27

In the case at bar, the issuance by the NTC of Memorandum Circular No. 13-6-2000
and its Memorandum dated October 6, 2000 was pursuant to its quasi-legislative or rule-
making power. As such, petitioners were justified in invoking the judicial power of the
Regional Trial Court to assail the constitutionality and validity of the said issuances. In Drilon
v. Lim, 28 it was held:

We stress at the outset that the lower court had jurisdiction to


consider the constitutionality of Section 187, this authority being embraced
in the general definition of the judicial power to determine what are the
valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the
fundamental law. Specifically, B.P. 129 vests in the regional trial courts
jurisdiction over all civil cases in which the subject of the litigation is
incapable of pecuniary estimation, even as the accused in a criminal action
has the right to question in his defense the constitutionality of a law he is
charged with violating and of the proceedings taken against him,
particularly as they contravene the Bill of Rights. Moreover, Article X,
[G.R. No. 91551. August 16, 1991.] RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT
RESPONDENT ESTRELLA IS ENTITLED TO THE PROTECTIVE MANTLE
U.P. BOARD OF REGENTS, DR. JOSE V. ABUEVA, in his capacity as OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE OF SECURITY OF TENURE
U.P. President, DR. ERNESTO O. DOMINGO, in his capacity as
Chancellor of U.P.-Manila, and the Nomination Committee for the II
Director of the U.P.-P.G.H. Medical Center, petitioners, vs. HON. JAINAL RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
D. RASUL, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 69 of the AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE
Regional Trial Court, Pasig, Metro Manila, and DR. FELIPE A. REORGANIZATION OF U.P. MANILA, INCLUDING THE PGH, WAS DONE IN
ESTRELLA, JR., respondents. BAD FAITH

III
GANCAYCO, J p: RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT
The principal issue in this case is whether or not respondent Dr. Felipe A. Estrella who holds RESPONDENT ESTRELLA NEED NOT EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE
the position of Director of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) can invoke security of tenure REMEDIES BEFORE HE CAN BRING SUIT AGAINST THE U.P. BOARD OF
during his term of office notwithstanding the abolition of the said position by the University of REGENTS, ET AL.
the Philippines Board of Regents.
IV
Petitioners seek to annul and set aside the decision dated August 28, 1989 and the order RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
dated October 23, 1989 issued and rendered by respondent Judge, Honorable Jainal D. AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE
Rasul of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 69, Pasig, Metro Manila. The dispositive portion of REORGANIZATION PLAN FOR THE U.P. PGH MEDICAL CENTER CANNOT
the decision in question reads as follows: YET BE IMPLEMENTED
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing and by virtue of preponderance of
evidence, this Court hereby renders judgment in favor of the plaintiff and
against the defendants. V
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
1. Permanently enjoining the Defendants Dr. Jose V. Abueva, in his AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE U.P.
capacity as UP President; Dr. Ernesto Domingo, in his capacity as BOARD OF REGENTS HAS NO AUTHORITY TO REORGANIZE
Chancellor of UP-Manila; the Nomination Committee for the Director of the
UP-PGH Medical Center and the UP Board of Regents, from proceeding VI
with the nomination of a Medical Director, until the expiration of the term RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
of office of the plaintiff, Dr. Felipe A. Estrella, Jr., in his capacity as AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT HE CAN
Director of the PGH or unless sooner removed, for cause provided by law; SUBSTITUTE HIS OWN JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE U.P. BOARD OF
REGENTS
2. Permanently enjoining the UP Board of Regents from implementing the
so-called Reorganization Plan of UP-PGH, unless there is a prior legislative VII
enactment of enabling law authorizing it and finally,
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
3. Ordering the defendants to pay attorney's fees and litigation expenses for AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT NON-
P50,000.00 and the costs of this suit. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REORGANIZATION PLAN WILL NOT CAUSE
CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE TO U.P. IN GENERAL AND TO PGH IN
SO ORDERED." 1 PARTICULAR" 2
In an order dated October 23, 1989, the respondent Judge denied petitioners' motion for The petition is devoid of merit.
reconsideration of the decision above-mentioned.
The facts and background of the case as narrated by the trial court are as follows —
Assailing the above-mentioned rulings, petitioners allege as errors the following:
"That on June 26, 1986, plaintiff Dr. Felipe A. Estrella, Jr., was appointed
"REASONS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF THE WRIT" by the defendant Board of Regents (B.O.R.) as Director of the Philippine
General Hospital, to take effect "1 September 1986 until 30 April 1992"
I (Exh. "A-14"); that the defendant U.P. Board of Regents speaking thru its
then University Secretary Professor Martin Gregorio intended to have the differences aside from changes of designations and enlargement of
plaintiff serve his full term, as Director, since any other arrangement would functions and powers, namely: (1) The positions of Assistant Director for
impede the hospital's development, not to mention the continuity of its Administration and Assistant Director for Fiscal Matters in the present set-
service operations (Exh. "A"); that the duties and responsibilities, under up are combined into only one position of Assistant Director for
Chapter 29, of the Revised Administrative Code, as PGH Director, inter Administrative and Fiscal Matters in the reorganization plan; (2) The
alia, to direct and manage various activities within the hospital; formulate position of Assistant Director for Health Operation in the present set-up
and implement regulations; develop institutional plans and policies; was changed to position of Director of Health Services, directly under the
approve/recommend budget proposals of the hospital; execute contracts; UP-PGH Medical Center Director with one Assistant Director for Allied
represent the hospital in proper functions; approve and sign warrants, Medical Services, under it, in the reorganization plan and (3) The five (5)
checks, vouchers and recommend or endorse appointments of personnel to Departments of Oncology, Out-Patient Department, Emergency Room,
higher authorities (Exh. "M"). Charity Ward and Pay Ward under the present set-up were converted into
Institute of Oncology, Out-Patient Hospital, Emergency Hospital, Charity
On September 16, 1987, barely two (2) weeks after assuming the Hospital and Non-Charity Hospital under the reorganization plan.
presidency of the University of the Philippines defendant Jose V. Abueva
submitted a memorandum to the Board of Regents to reorganize the U.P. In other words, these five (5) units were merely enlarged, expanded and
Manila including the Philippine General Hospital with a draft resolution for called hospitals headed each by a Director. The Director of the PGH under
approval of the Board of Regents, recommending that certain key positions the present set-up became Director of UP-PGH Medical Center. Aside from
of U.P. Manila including that of plaintiff be declared vacant (Exhs. "C" to the three changes above and change of designations and transfers of
"C-3"); that on March 20, 1988, the defendant Board of Regents, upon duties, the structure remains substantially the same. The leadership
recommendation of defendants Abueva and Domingo approved the so- element which the defendant Abueva wants to impress upon this Court,
called reorganization plan for the Philippine General Hospital. encourages reorganization and justifies abolition of positions. But the
whole reorganization set-up under our law cannot or should not have the
On April 29, 1988, defendant Dr. Ernesto Domingo acting on instruction of effect of abolishing the position of the plaintiff unless legal requirements
defendant Dr. Jose V. Abueva, U.P. President, issued a memorandum are complied with. (Brallo vs. Enage, 94 Phil. 732) If the reorganization plan
creating the Nomination Committee for the UP-PGH Medical Center results in abolishing the position of the plaintiff and in putting in his place
Director; that on May 10, 1988, defendant-members of the Nomination another one, with substantially the same duties, not to say qualifications,
Committee thus created, are scheduled to nominate plaintiff's replacement in the name of leadership, it will surely be considered a device to unseat
as Director; that consequently on May 2, 1988, plaintiff filed with this the incumbent and to circumvent the constitutional and statutory
Court, his complaint for Injunction with Preliminary Injunction or prohibition of removal from office of a civil service officer even without
temporary restraining Order, seeking to enjoin defendants Abueva, cause provided by law. Plaintiff's position should not therefore be deemed
Domingo, the Nomination Committee and the U.P. Board of Regents from abolished by mere implication. (Cuneta vs. CA, 1 SCRA 663, 111 Phil. 249)
proceeding with the nomination of UP-PGH Medical Center Director, in If the abolition of office is made to circumvent the constitutional security of
order to forestall the consequent removal/dismissal of the plaintiff Dr. tenure of civil service employees, our Supreme Court, has ruled that such
Felipe A. Estrella, Jr., incumbent PGH Director even before the expiration abolition is null and void. (Gutierrez vs. CA, 1-25972, 2/26/68, 26 SCRA
of his term of office on April 30, 1992 without any cause provided by law. 32)" 4
On May 2, this Court issued the Restraining Order and on May 30, after Respondent Dr. Estrella was appointed Director of PGH on June 26, 1986 by the UP Board of
due hearing this Court, thru its then Presiding Judge Hon. Julio Logarta Regents. His appointment was to be effective September 1, 1986 until April 30, 1992 or
issued the Writ of Preliminary Injunction, enjoining defendants from unless sooner terminated. Appointees of the UP Board of Regents enjoy security of tenure
implementing the reorganization plan for the UP-PGH Medical Center during their term of office. In Tapales v. President of the University of the Philippines, 5 We
(Exh. "A" Affidavit of plaintiff Dr. Felipe A. Estrella, Jr.; Exh. "10" Affidavit of held that Director Tapales who was appointed by the UP Board of Regents as Director of the
defendant Dr. Ernesto O. Domingo; TSN pp. 1-23, June 1, 1989, TSN pp. 1- Conservatory of Music for a term of five (5) years is entitled to security of tenure during his
106, June 1, 1989; TSN pp. 1-52, June 1, 1989)". 3 term of office. Likewise, in Sta. Maria v. President Salvador P. Lopez, et. al., 6 We rejected the
Respondent Judge, based on the evidence presented, concluded that the reorganization of removal of Professor Sta. Maria as dean of the College of Education. In that case, Professor
PGH was done in bad faith. Accordingly, the lower court ruled that respondent Dr. Estrella Sta. Maria was appointed by the UP Board of Regents as dean of the College of Education
cannot be removed from office as a result of such defective abolition of the position to which effective May 16, 1967 until May 17, 1972 or unless sooner terminated. Before the expiration
he was appointed. Significant in this regard is the following pronouncement of the lower of his term of office, President Salvador P. Lopez removed him as dean of the College of
court. Education and transferred him to the office of the UP President. Upholding the right of
Professor Sta. Maria to security of tenure, We explained out that ". . . a college dean holding
"Going over the organizational structure of present set-up of the PGH and an appointment with a fixed term . . . cannot, without his consent, be terminated before the
proposed reorganizational structure, it appears that there are other minor end of his term. He cannot be asked to give up his post. Nor may he be appointed as dean of
another college. Much less can he be transferred to another position even if it be dignified On the other hand, the power to create and abolish offices carries with it the power to fix the
with a dean's rank." number of positions, salaries, emoluments, and to provide funds for the operation of the
office created. 7 This power is inherently legislative in character. The UP Board of Regents
Petitioners argue, however, that the abolition of the position of respondent Dr. Estrella Jr. does not have such power. Hence, the abolition of the position of respondent Dr. Estrella is
negates his claim to security of tenure. The argument is devoid of merit. not valid.
It is clear from the record that the PGH itself was not abolished in the reorganization plan It is true that a valid and bona fide abolition of an office denies to the incumbent the right to
approved by the UP Board of Regents. The PGH was merely renamed "UP-PGH Medical security of tenure. 8 However, in this case, the renaming and restructuring of the PGH and
Center" and some of its functions and objectives were expanded or consolidated. There is no its component units cannot give rise to a valid andbona fide abolition of the position of PGH
substantial distinction, in terms of functions, between PGH and the proposed UP-PGH Director. This is because where the abolished office and the offices created in its place have
Medical Center. similar functions, the abolition lacks good faith. 9 We hereby apply the principle enunciated
While PGH itself was not abolished, the position of PGH Director was abolished and in its in Cesar Z. Dario vs. Hon. Salvador M. Mison 10 that abolition which merely changes the
nomenclature of positions is invalid and does not result in the removal of the incumbent.
place, the position of UP-PGH Medical Center Director was created. After abolishing said
position, it was proposed to be reclassified as Director, Charity Hospital, one of the five (5) The above notwithstanding, and assuming that the abolition of the position of the PGH
hospital director positions proposed to be created in the reorganized PGH. Director and the creation of a UP-PGH Medical Center Director are valid, the removal of the
The UP Board of Regents acted within the scope and limitations of its charter, Act No. 1870, incumbent is still not justified for the reason that the duties and functions of the two
as amended when it approved the reorganization plan renaming the PGH and expanding and positions are basically the same. The UP-PGH Medical Center is essentially the same PGH
consolidating some of its functions and objectives. The UP Board of Regents did not and could hence, the Medical Center Director will be performing duties very similar to the present PGH
not have abolished PGH. And rightly so. The PGH and one of its component units, the Cancer Director. It cannot be invoked to sustain the argument that respondent is not entitled to
Institute, are creations of special laws, the old Administrative Code (Chapter 29, Secs. 706- security of tenure. In Palma-Fernandez v. de la Paz, 11 the abolition of the position of "Chief
707) and Commonwealth Act No. 398, respectively. The authority of the UP under Act No. of Clinic" and the creation of the position of "Assistant Director, Professional Services" were
1870 as amended, to combine two or more colleges in the interest of economy and efficiency set aside for the reason that the two positions are basically one and the same except for the
change of nomenclature.
does not empower UP to abolish offices created by special laws. Section 6(b) of Act No. 1870,
as amended, reads as follows: The proposal to establish five hospitals within the UP-PGH Medical Center, and with it, the
"(b) To provide for the establishment of one or more Colleges of Liberal Arts; proposal to create five hospital director positions militate against the propriety of giving due
a College of Law; a College of Social and Political Science; a College of course to this petition. As presently organized, there is only one hospital director position in
Medicine and Surgery; a College of Pharmacy; a College of Dentistry; a the plantilla of positions of the PGH, the PGH-Director. In the proposed reorganization, such
College of Veterinary Science; a College of Engineering; a College of Mines; number will be increased to six, one UP-PGH Medical Center Director and five directors for
a College of Agriculture; a College of Education; a School of Fine Arts; a each of the five hospitals proposed to be established namely, the Out-Patient Hospital,
School of Forestry; a Conservatory of Music, and such other colleges and Emergency Hospital, Charity Hospital, Non-Charity Hospital and Institute of Oncology.
schools as the Board of Regents may deem necessary: Provided, That the In Guerrero vs. Arizabal, 12 We held that the creation of additional management positions in
Board of Regents may establish these colleges, or any of them, in Manila or a proposed reorganization is evidence of bad faith and is in violation of Republic Act No.
6656. We hold that the same applies to the PGH reorganization.
in any other place in the Archipelago, as soon as in its judgment conditions
shall favor their opening and funds shall be available for their Finally, the admission by petitioner Dr. Jose V. Abueva that the staffing pattern for the
maintenance: And provided further, That the Board of Regents shall have reorganized PGH has not been prepared is fatal to petitioners' cause. In Dario v. Mison, 13 We
the power to combine two or more of the colleges authorized by this Act, in made the observation that no reorganization of the Bureau of Customs actually took place
the interests of economy and efficiency; And provided finally,That the since a staffing pattern which could have been the basis for hiring and firing was lacking. In
Philippine Medical School, as established by Act Numbered Fourteen this case, petitioners were poised to nominate and appoint a UP-PGH Medical Center Director
Hundred and Fifteen, as amended, shall become the College of Medicine inspite of the absence of a staffing pattern. The absence of such an important element in the
and Surgery of the Philippine University as soon as two or more colleges of reorganization plan contradicts the petitioners' claim of good faith and only proves that
the University of the Philippines shall have been established and in actual petitioners were unreasonably in a hurry to remove respondent Estrella from his office.
operation."
Anent the issue regarding respondent Estrella's failure to exhaust all administrative
remedies, We hold that this case has special circumstances that made it fall under the
It is therefore clear that the authority of the UP is limited to what is expressly provided in Act jurisprudentially accepted exceptions to the rule. As the facts show, respondent Dr. Estrella
No. 1870 as amended, that is, to combine or merge colleges. That is all the law speaks of in was about to be replaced by the Nomination Committee. He must have believed that airing
such instance. his protest with the Board of Regents would only be fruitless and that unless he goes to the
courts, irreparable damage or injury on his part will be caused by the implementation of the
proposed reorganization.
Respondent Judge did not commit any reversible error much less grave abuse of discretion.
The facts as supported by evidence established may no longer be disturbed.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated August 28, 1989
and Order dated October 23, 1989 of the respondent Judge are hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No
costs.

SO ORDERED.

||| (U.P. Board of Regents v. Rasul, G.R. No. 91551, [August 16, 1991], 277 PHIL 779-793)
[G.R. No. L-39655. March 21, 1975.] 11, 1974. In the answer submitted the facts alleged were substantially admitted. 11 It denied
the allegation that there must be a publication before a provisional permit can be issued,
reference being made, as noted, to Presidential Decree No. 101, which authorized respondent
ARROW TRANSPORTATION CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. BOARD OF Board to grant provisional permits when warranted by compelling circumstances and to
TRANSPORTATION and SULTAN RENT-A-CAR, INC., respondents. proceed promptly along the method of legislative inquiry. 12 The case was then argued on
December 11, 1974, Attorney Manuel Imbong appearing for petitioner and Assistant Solicitor
General Reynato S. Puno appearing for respondent Board of Transportation. 13 Thereafter,
SYNOPSIS the parties were given twenty days to file their respective memoranda and an additional ten-
day period to submit replies thereto if so minded. In time, all the pleadings were submitted,
and the case was ready for decision.
Private respondent was issued a provincial permit to operate a public utility bus without any
publication. Pending a motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner, the latter filed this The petition, to repeat, cannot prosper.
certiorari petition on ground that there having been no publication the Board did not acquire
jurisdiction and therefore the issuance of the order is illegal or was performed without 1. It is to be admitted that the claim for relief on the asserted constitutional deficiency based
jurisdiction. on procedural due process, not from the standpoint of the absence of a hearing but from the
lack of jurisdiction without the required publication having been made, was argued vigorously
The Supreme Court dismissed the petition holding that the procedure set forth in Presidential and developed exhaustively in the memoranda of petitioner. The arguments set forth, while
Decree 101 having been followed and the provisional authority to operate being based on the impressed with plausibility, do not suffice to justify the grant of certiorari. Moreover, the
urgent public need, the contention of petitioner is untenable. doctrine announced in the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company decision, heavily
leaned on by petitioner is, at the most, a frail and insubstantial support and gives way to
It must have been the realization that a challenge to a provisional permit issued by decisions of this Court that have an even more specific bearing on this litigation.
respondent Board of Transportation 1 based on the absence of a hearing is not likely to be
attended with success that prompted petitioner to rely on another aspect of procedural due 2. A barrier to petitioners's pretension, not only formidable but also insurmountable, is the
process, the infirmity alleged being traceable to what it considered lack of well-settled doctrine that for a provisional permit, an ex parte hearing suffices. 14 The
jurisdiction. 2 There is the invocation of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v. decisive consideration is the existence of the public need. 15 That was shown in this case,
Medina 3 with its mention of both competitors and the public being notified. It does not respondent Board, on the basis of demonstrable data, being satisfied of the pressing necessity
suffice. Something more, much more, is necessary. The reliance is misplaced. Its applicability for the grant of the provisional permit sought. There is no warrant for the nullification of what
is by no means obvious. As was pointed out in the answer of respondent Board of was ordered by it. It must have been, as already noted, this state of the law that did lead
Transportation, such a claim is hardly persuasive with the procedure set forth in Presidential petitioner to harp on its interpretation of what for it is the teaching of the Philippine Long
Decree No. 101 being followed and the provisional authority to operate being based on an Distance Telephone Company decision. 16 There was therein stated that one of the
urgent public need. Such a contention merits the approval of the Court. The petition cannot compelling reasons that led this Court to hold that the defunct Public Service Commission
prosper. did not acquire jurisdiction was that no provision was made for bringing in as parties thereto
the competitors of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. 17 That is the basis for
Both petitioner and private respondent Sultan Rent-a-Car are domestic corporations. 4 The the objection on procedural due process ground. While no doubt such a holding was
former has in his favor a certificate of public convenience to operate a public utility bus air- necessary for the decision of that case which dealt with a petition for the reexamination of a
conditioned-auto-truck service from Cebu City to Mactan International Airport and vice-versa decision that was held to be final and executory, it finds no application to this controversy
with the use of twenty (20) units. 5 Private respondent on September 12, 1974 filed a petition dealing with a provisional permit. This is made clear by this portion of the opinion of Justice
with the respondent Board for the issuance of a certificate of public convenience to operate a Sanchez: "Araneta seeks reexamination of the rates approved by the Commission. Araneta
similar service on the same line. 6 Eight days later, without the required publication, the avers that PLDT can carry out its improvement and expansion program at less onerous terms
Board issued an order granting it provisional permit to operate such auto-truck service on to the subscribers. But Araneta [University] was not a party to the rate-fixing case or to any of
the line applied for. 7 There was a motion for reconsideration and for the cancellation of such the other proceedings below. These rate-fixing and allied cases terminated with the final
provisional permit filed on October 21, 1974, 8 but without awaiting final action thereon, this judgment of January 9, 1964. Not being a party, it could not have moved to reconsider said
petition was filed. 9 This is the explanation: "That petitioner has not waited for the resolution decision. Nor could it have appealed from that decision — it had no standing in that case.
of his Motion for Reconsideration before going to this Court considering that the question Even if we treat Araneta's reexamination petition as one for reconsideration, the time therefor
involved herein is purely a legal one, aside from the fact that the issuance of the Order has long passed." 18 It was then stated: "The reexamination herein sought by Araneta,
without the Board having acquired jurisdiction of the case yet, is patently illegal or was perforce seeks the fixing of new and different rates." 19 Further: "Araneta, in effect, institutes
performed without jurisdiction." 10 a fresh petition — for new rates, different from those already established. Such petition is a
So it was set forth in the petition filed on November 16, 1974. As a preliminary injunction proceeding separate and distinct from those concluded by the final judgment of PSC of
was likewise sought, a hearing was scheduled for November 29, 1974. It was cancelled, this January 9, 1964." 20 The conclusion, therefore, necessarily follows: "We hold that the Public
Court issuing a resolution instead, requiring respondents to file an answer not later than Service Commission may not reduce or increase rates established in a judgment that has
December 6, 1974 and setting the hearing on the merits of the case on Wednesday, December become final, without proper notice; and that a Commission order reducing or increasing said
rates without such notice is void." 21 Under the facts of that case, the procedural due
process infirmity amounting to lack of jurisdiction is quite apparent. The opposite is true with
this present petition which deals with a grant of provisional permit. It would be to lift out of
context the reference made in the aforesaid opinion with reference to notification to the
competitors to give a color of applicability to the situation before us. Clearly then, the
allegation of a failure to follow the command of the due process guarantee is bereft of any
legal foundation.

3. The question of whether the controversy is ripe for judicial determination was likewise
argued by the parties. For it is undeniable that at the time the petition was filed, there was
pending with the respondent Board a motion for reconsideration. Ordinarily, its resolution
should be awaited. Prior thereto, an objection grounded on prematurity can be raised.
Nonetheless, counsel for petitioner would stress that certiorari lies as the failure to observe
procedural due process ousted respondent Board of whatever jurisdiction it could have had in
the premises. This Court was impelled to go into the merits of the controversy at this stage,
not only because of the importance of the issue raised but also because of the strong public
interest in having the matter settled. As was set forth in Executive Order No. 101 which
prescribes the procedure to be followed by respondent Board, it is the policy of the State, as
swiftly as possible, to improve the deplorable condition of vehicular traffic, obtain maximum
utilization of existing public motor vehicles and eradicate the harmful and unlawful trade of
clandestine operators, as well as update the standards of those carrying such business,
making it "imperative to provide, among other urgently needed measures, more expeditious
methods in prescribing, redefining, or modifying the lines and mode of operation of public
utility motor vehicles that now or thereafter, may operate in this country." 22 It is essential
then both from the standpoint of the firms engaged as well as of the riding public to ascertain
whether or not the procedure followed in this case and very likely in others of a similar nature
satisfies the procedural due process requirement. Thus its ripeness for adjudication becomes
apparent.

To paraphrase what was said in Edu v. Ericta 23 where the validity of a legislation was
passed upon in a certiorari proceeding to annul and set aside a writ of preliminary injunction,
to so act would be to conserve both time and effort. Those desiring to engage in public utility
business as well as the public are both vitally concerned with the final determination of the
standards to be followed in the procedure that must be observed. There is, to repeat, a great
public interest in a definitive outcome of the crucial issue involved. One of the most noted
authorities on Administrative Law, Professor Kenneth Culp Davis, discussing the ripeness
concept, is of the view that the resolution of what could be a debilitating uncertainty with the
conceded ability of the judiciary to work out a solution of the problem posed is a potent
argument for minimizing the emphasis laid on its technical aspect. 24

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is dismissed. No costs.

||| (Arrow Trans. Corp. v. Board of Transportation, G.R. No. L-39655, [March 21, 1975], 159
PHIL 796-803)
[G.R. No. L-12944. March 30, 1959.] 6. That on June 18, 1955, the Secretary and Chief of Office Staff
the Veterans Back Pay Commission sent a letter to General Vicente Lopez
of the United States-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines apprising the
MARIA NATIVIDAD VDA. DE TAN, petitioner-appellee, vs. VETERANS latter that the Commission has reaffirmed its solution granting the back
BACKPAY COMMISSION, respondent-appellant. pay to alien members;
7. That the Adjutant, Armed Forces of the Philippines, has verified
REYES, J.B.L., J p: and certified that deceased veteran has rendered service as a recognized
guerrilla for the period indicated in his (Adjutant's) indorsement to the
Chief, Finance Service Armed Forces of the Philippines;
On March 5, 1957, petitioner-appellee, Maria Natividad vda. de Tan, filed with the
Court of First Instance of Manila a verified petition for mandamus seeking an order to 8. That, likewise, the Chief of Finance Service, Camp Murphy, has
compel the respondent-appellant Veterans Back Pay Commission: (1) to declare deceased computed the backpay due the petitioner and the same was passed in
Lt. Tan Chiat Bee alias Tan Lian Lay, a Chinese national, entitled to backpay rights, audit by the representative of the Auditor General;
privileges, and prerogatives under Republic Act No. 304, as amended by Republic Act No. 9. That after due deliberation respondent revoked its previous
897, and (2) to give due course to the claim of petitioner, as the widow of the said stands and ruled that aliens are not entitled to back pay;
veterans, by issuing to her the corresponding backpay certificate of indebtedness.
10. That on February 13, 1957, the respondent Veterans Back Pay
Respondent Commission filed its answer in due time asserting certain special Commission, through its Secretary & Chief of Office Staff, made a formal
and affirmative defenses, on the basis of which, the Commission unsuccessful moved to reply to the aforesaid claim of the herein petitioner denying her request on
dismiss the petition. the ground that aliens are not entitled to backpay;
The parties then submitted a stipulation of facts hereinbelow reproduced: 11. That upon refusal of the Veterans Back Pay Commission the
"Come now the petitioner and respondent in the above-entitled petitioner brought the case direct to this Honorable Court by way of
case through their respective counsel, and to this Honorable Court mandamus;
respectfully agree and stipulate that the following facts are true: 12. That petitioner and respondent admit the existence and
1. That the petitioner is of legal age, widow, and a resident of 400 authenticity of the following documents;
Lallana, Tondo, Manila; that the respondent is a government Annex A-Resolution of the Veterans Back Pay dated November 19,
instrumentality or agency, with offices in the City of Manila, Philippines, 1953.
duly vested with authority to implement the provisions of Backpay Law,
otherwise known as Republic Act No. 897, further amending Republic Act Annex B-Letter dated December 9, 1953.
No. 304; Annex C-Letter dated June 18, 1955.
2. That the petitioner is the widow of the late Lt. Tan Chiat Bee Annex D-Executive Order No. 21 dated October 28, 1944.
alias Tan Lian Lay, a Chinese national, and bonafide member the 1st
Regiment, United State-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines; Annex E-Executive Order No. 68 dated September 26, 1945.
3. That the United States-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines a Annex F-Minutes of the Resolution of the Back Pay Commission
guerrilla organization duly recognized by the Army of the United States and regarding the opinion of the Secretary of Justice dated February 8, 1956.
forming part and parcel of the Philippine Army; Annex G-Letter of Back Pay Commission dated February 26, 1954
4. That Tan Chiat Bee alias Lian Lay died in the service April 4, to Secretary of Justice.
1945 in the battle at Ipo Dam, Rizal Province, Philippines; he was duly Annex H-Opinion No. 213 series of 1956 of the Secretary of
recognized as a guerrilla veteran and certified by the Armed Forces of the Justice.
Philippines as having rendered aritorious military services during the
Japanese occupation; Annex I-Reply of Veterans Backpay Commission.

5. That petitioner as widow of the said recognized deceased Annex J-Explanatory note to House Bill No, 1953.
veteran, filed an application for back pay under the provisions Republic Act Annex K-Explanatory note to Senate Bill No. 10.
No. 897, the resolution of the Veterans Back pay Commission dated
November 19, 1953 and the letter of the Veterans Back Pay Commission Annex L-Explanatory note to House Boll No, 1228, now Republic
dated December 9, 1953; Act No. 897.
Annex M-Joint Resolution No, 5 of the First Congress of the
Philippines.
13. That the parties waive the presentation of further evidence; Commonwealth," which clause was construed by this office to refer to
"experts and technical personnel employed for highly specialized service" by
14. That the respondents will file its memorandum within ten (10)
the government (Opinion No. 30, s. 1949, this office ruled that a civil
days from August 1, 1957 and the petitioner may file her memorandum
service employee of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey rendering service
within ten (10) days from receipt of respondent's memorandum, after which
to the Philippine Government when war broke out on December 8, 1941,
the case is deemed submitted for decision.
was entitled to back pay.
Manila, July 31, 1957."
Based on the foregoing, the lower court rendered judgment the dispositive portion
As regards guerrillas, it seems clear that all the law requires is that
of which, reads:
they be "duly recognized by the Army of the United States." Section 1 of the
"Wherefore, the petition is granted, ordering respondent Back Pay Law, it is also noted, enumerates those who are not entitled to its
Commission to give due course to the claim of herein petitioner to the benefits; recognized guerrillas who are not Filipino citizens are not among
backpay to which her deceased husband was entitled as member of a duly those expressly mentioned. The maxim expressiouniusestexclusioalterius, I
recognized guerrilla organization." think, finds application here.
Against the decision, the respondent instituted this appeal averring once more, in Moreover, Executive Order No. 21, dated October 28, 1944,
its assignment of errors, the special and affirmative defenses that the petitioner failed to expressly declared that Sections 22 (a) and 27 of Commonwealth Act No.
exhaust available administrative remedies; that the suit is, in effect, an action to enforce 1 to the contrary notwithstanding, "all persons of any nationality or
a money claim against the government without its consent; that mandamus will not lie to citizenship, who are actively serving in recognized military forces in the
compel the exercise of a discretionary function; and that Republic Act Nos. 304 and 897 Philippines, are thereby considered to be on active service in the Philippine
already referred to were never intended to benefit aliens. Army."
We find no merit in the appal. As to the claim that mandamus is not the proper It is the respondent's main argument that it could not have been the intention of
remedy to correct the exercise of discretion of the Commission, it may well be Congress to extend its benefit to aliens, as the purpose of the law was "precisely to help
remembered that its discretion is limited to the facts of the case, i.e., in merely evaluating rehabilitate members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and recognized guerrillas by
the evidence whether or not claimant is a member of a guerrilla force duly recognized by giving them the right to acquire public lands and public property by using the back pay
the United State Army. Nowhere in the law is the respondent Commission given the certificate", and "it is fundamental under the Constitution that aliens except American
power to adjudicate or determine rights after such facts are established. Having been citizens cannot acquire public lands or exploit our natural resources". Respondent
satisfied that deceased Tan Chiat Bee was an officer of a duly recognized guerrilla outfit, commission fails to realize that this is just one of the various uses of the certificate; and
certified to by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, having served under the United that it may also be utilized for the payment of obligations to the Government or to any of
States-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines, a guerrilla unit recognized by the United its branches or instrumentalities, i.e., taxes, government hospital bills, etc. (See Sec.
States Army and forming part of the Philippine Army, it becomes the ministerial duty of 2, Rep. Act No. 897.)
the respondent to give due course to his widow's application. (See sections 1 and
As further observed by the lower court:
6, Republic Act 897.) Note that the Chief of the Finance Service, Camp Murphy, has
accepted the backpay due the petitioner's husband and the same was passed in audit by "It is one thing to be entitled to backpay and to received
the representatives of the Auditor General. acknowledgment therefor, and another thing to receive backpay certificates
in accordance with the resolutions of the Commission and to make use of
It is insisted by the respondent Commission that aliens are not included within
the same."
the purview of the law. We disagree. The law as contained in Republic Act Nos. 304 and
897 is explicit enough, and it extends its benefits to members of "guerrilla forces duly It was, therefore, unreasonable if not arbitrary on the part of respondent
recognized by the Army of the United States." From the plain and clear language thereof, Commission to deny petitioner's claim on this basis.
we fail to see any indication that its operation should be limited to citizens of the
It is further contended by the Commission that the petitioner should have first
Philippines only, for all that is required is that the guerrilla unit be duly recognized by the
exhausted her administrative remedies by appealing to the President of the Philippines,
Army of the United States. We are in full accord with Opinion No. 213, series of 1956, of
and that her failure to do so is a bar to her action in court (Montes vs. The Civil Service
the Secretary of Justice, which reads:
Board of Appeals, 101 Phil., 490; 54 Off. Gaz. [7] 2174. The respondent Commission is in
"Section 1 of the cited Act No. 304, as amended by Republic Act estoppel to invoke this rule, considering that in its resolution (Annex F of the Stipulation
No. 897), otherwise known as the Back Pay Law, recognizes the rights to of Facts) reiterating its obstinate refusal to abide by the opinion of the Secretary of
the backpay of members of "guerrilla forces duly recognized by the Army of Justice, who is the legal adviser of the Executive Department, the Commission declared
the United States, among others. A perusal of its provisions reveals nothing that —
which may be construed to mean that only Filipino citizens are entitle to
back pay thereunder. On the contrary, the statute expressly includes
within its coverage "persons under contract with the Government of the
"The opinions promulgated by the Secretary of Justice are advisory
in nature, which may either be accepted or ignored by the office seeking
the opinion, and any aggrieved party has the court for recourse," (Annex F)
thereby leading the petitioner to conclude that only a final judicial ruling in her favor
would be accepted by the Commission.
Neither is there substance in the contention that the petition is, in effect, a suit
against the government without its consent. The relief prayed for is simply "the
recognition of the rights of the petitioner-appellee" under the provisions of sections 1 and
2 of Republic Act No, 897, and consists in "directing an agency of the government to
perform an act . . . it is bound to perform." Republic Act Nos. 304 and 897 necessarily
embody state consent to an action against the officers entrusted with the implementation
of said Acts in case of unjustified refusal to recognize the rights of proper applicants.
The decision appealed from should be, and hereby is, affirmed. No. costs. So
ordered.
||| (Vda. de Tan v. Veterans Backpay Commission, G.R. No. L-12944, [March 30, 1959], 105
PHIL 377-384)