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Digest by: Quintana, Marie Antoinette

Department of Finance v
Hon. Marino M. Dela Cruz
GR No. 209331, April 24, 2015
Carpio, J.

Interpretative Regulations is internal in nature therefore the requirement for publication
need not be complied with for its validity.

Executive Order No. 140 or EO 140 was issued on September 2, 2013, it created the Customs
Policy Research Office or CPRO under the Department of Finance. CPRO is responsible for
reviewing Custom’s policies, administration, policies and recommending improvements for the
Bureau. Section 3 of CPRO provides that “CPRO shall be composed of its organic personnel, as
approved by the Department of Budget and Management upon recommendation of the DOF
Secretary.” The issuance also provide that it should take effect immediately upon publication. On
the same day of its publication, BOC Commissioner Rufino Biazon issued Custom’s personnel
no. 189-2013 detailing 27 BOC personnel holding position such as Collector V and Vl to CPRO
effective immediately and valid until revoked.
The respondents filed an action for Declaratory Relief with application of TRO and Writ of
Preliminary Injunction before the RTC.

1. Does the RTC has jurisdiction on action for Declaratory Relief filed by respondents?
2. Did the respondents fail to exhaust administrative remedies when it filed an action before
the RTC?
3. Did EO 140 violate Article 2 of the Civil Code?
4. Is CPO 189-2013 valid?
1. As a general rule, the Civil Service Commission CSC has jurisdiction over all employees
of government, its agencies and instrumentalities, including GOCC’s with original
charters. However, upon a careful reading of the case, the court ruled that the petition of
the respondents were also questioning the validity of CPO 189-2013. The contention of
the respondents is that CPO was issued before the effective date of EO 140. The Court
held that when the respondents raised the issue of the constitutionality of CPO 189-2013
along with the issue on the detailing, the issue went beyond the jurisdiction of the CSC.
The issue no longer delved solely on personnel action. Thus, the RTC is correct in taking
cognizance of the case.
2. On the issue of failure to exhaust administrative remedies, the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies allow administrative bodies to perform their duties in accordance
with their specialties or technical expertise on certain areas. As a general rule, direct
recourse to courts when there is still administrative remedies may be a ground for
dismissal. However there are exceptions to this rule among such some of its exceptions
are : 1) when there is estoppel on the part invoking the doctrine; 2) where the challenged
administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; 3) where there is
unreasonable delay that will prejudice the complainant; 4) where the question is purely
legal and will eventually be decided by the court; and 5) where application of the
doctrine will result to great irreparable injury. In this case, the respondents contend that
CPO 187-2013 is illegal and oppressive, thus falling under the exceptions provided.
3. Article 2 of the Civil Code provide that laws shall take effect after fifteen days following
completion of the publication requirement unless otherwise provided. In this case, section
9 of EO 140 state that it shall take effect immediately upon publication. EO 140 was
published in September 17, 2013 in 2 newspapers of general circulation, thus there is
compliance in the requirement. Further, the court also held that the assailed interpretative
regulations or those that are internal in nature because it regulates only personnel of
administrative personnel need not be published. Internal regulations only affect
personnel. Thus, even if there is no publication, it still remains valid.
4. On the forth issue on the validity of CPO 189-2013. The court ruled that section 2 of the
Omnibus rules provide for the duration of a detail, that it shall only be allowed for a
maximum period of one year. Here, CPO 189-2013 did not provide for the duration of the
detail. Thus it is indefinite in nature, and therefore, violating the Omnibus Rule in