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G.R. No.

L-37878 November 25, 1932 falling within the terms of a statute enacted for such purpose and affecting others than the parties
to a particular franchise. Here, however, whatever else may be said in extenuation, it remains true
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, petitioner, that the decision of the board of arbitrators is made final, which if literally enforced would leave a
vs. public utility, not a party to the contract authorized by Act No. 1446, without recourse to the courts
PASAY TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC., ET AL., respondents. for a judicial determination of the question in dispute.
Ross, Lawrence & Selph for petitioner. Counsel for the petitioner rely principally on the case of Tallassee Falls Mfg. Co. vs.
Rivera & Francisco for respondent Pasay Transportation Co. Commissioner's Court [1908], 158 Ala., 263. It was there held that an Act of a state legislature
P. A. Remigio for respondent E. B. Gutierrez. A. M. Zarate for respondent Raymundo authorizing the commissioners' court of a certain county to regulate and fix the rate of toll to be
Transportation Co. charged by the owners of a bridge is not unconstitutional as delegating legislative power to the
Vicente Ampil for respondent J. Ampil. courts. But that is not the question before us. Here the question is not one of whether or not there
has been a delegation of legislative authority to a court. More precisely, the issue concerns the
legal right of the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators the decision of a
majority of whom shall be final, to act in that capacity.
MALCOLM, J.:
We run counter to this dilemma. Either the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of
The preliminary and basic question presented by the petition of the Manila Electric Company, arbitrators, exercise judicial functions, or the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as board of
requesting the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, to fix the terms arbitrators, exercise administrative or quasi judicial functions. The first case would appear not to
upon which certain transportation companies shall be permitted to use the Pasig bridge of the fall within the jurisdiction granted the Supreme Court. Even conceding that it does, it would
Manila Electric Company and the compensation to be paid to the Manila Electric Company by presuppose the right to bring the matter in dispute before the courts, for any other construction
such transportation companies, relates to the validity of section 11 of Act No. 1446 and to the legal would tend to oust the courts of jurisdiction and render the award a nullity. But if this be the proper
right of the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, to act on the petition. construction, we would then have the anomaly of a decision by the members of the Supreme
Act No. 1446 above referred to is entitled. "An Act granting a franchise to Charles M. Swift to Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, taken therefrom to the courts and eventually coming before
construct, maintain, and operate an electric railway, and to construct, maintain, and operate an the Supreme Court, where the Supreme Court would review the decision of its members acting as
electric light, heat, and power system from a point in the City of Manila in an easterly direction to arbitrators. Or in the second case, if the functions performed by the members of the Supreme
the town of Pasig, in the Province of Rizal." Section 11 of the Act provides: "Whenever any Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, be considered as administrative or quasi judicial in nature,
franchise or right of way is granted to any other person or corporation, now or hereafter in that would result in the performance of duties which the members of the Supreme Court could not
existence, over portions of the lines and tracks of the grantee herein, the terms on which said lawfully take it upon themselves to perform. The present petition also furnishes an apt illustration
other person or corporation shall use such right of way, and the compensation to be paid to the of another anomaly, for we find the Supreme Court as a court asked to determine if the members
grantee herein by such other person or corporation for said use, shall be fixed by the members of of the court may be constituted a board of arbitrators, which is not a court at all.lawphil.net
the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, the decision of a majority of whom shall be
final." The Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands represents one of the three divisions of power in our
government. It is judicial power and judicial power only which is exercised by the Supreme Court.
When the petition of the Manila Electric Company was filed in this court, it was ordered that the Just as the Supreme Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction
petitioner be required to serve copies on the Attorney-General and the transportation companies usurpations by any other department of the government, so should it as strictly confine its own
affected by the petition. Thereafter, the Attorney-General disclaimed any interest in the sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act.
proceedings, and opposition was entered to the petition by a number of public utility operators. On The Supreme Court and its members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or
the submission of memoranda after an oral hearing, the petition was made ready for resolution. to perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the administering
Examining the statutory provision which is here invoked, it is first noted that power is attempted to of judicial functions.
be granted to the members of the Supreme Court sitting as a board of arbitrators and to the The Organic Act provides that the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands shall possess and
Supreme Court as an entity. It is next seen that the decision of a majority of the members of the exercise jurisdiction as heretofore provided and such additional jurisdiction as shall hereafter be
Supreme Court is made final. And it is finally observed that the franchise granted the Manila prescribed by law (sec. 26). When the Organic Act speaks of the exercise of "jurisdiction" by the
Electric Company by the Government of the Philippine Islands, although only a contract between Supreme Court, it could not only mean the exercise of "jurisdiction" by the Supreme Court acting
the parties to it, is now made to effect the rights of persons not signatories to the covenant. as a court, and could hardly mean the exercise of "jurisdiction" by the members of the Supreme
The law calls for arbitration which represents a method of the parties' own choice. A submission Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators. There is an important distinction between the Supreme
to arbitration is a contract. The parties to an arbitration agreement may not oust the courts of Court as an entity and the members of the Supreme Court. A board of arbitrators is not a "court"
jurisdiction of the matters submitted to arbitration. These are familiar rules which find support in in any proper sense of the term, and possesses none of the jurisdiction which the Organic Act
articles 1820 and 1821 of the Civil Code. Citation of authority is hardly necessary, except that it contemplates shall be exercised by the Supreme Court.lawph!l.net
should be recalled that in the Philippines, and in the United States for that matter, it has been held In the last judicial paper from the pen of Chief Justice Taney, it was said:
that a clause in a contract, providing that all matters in dispute between the parties shall be referred
to arbitrators and to them alone, is contrary to public policy and cannot oust the courts of The power conferred on this court is exclusively judicial, and it cannot be required or
jurisdiction (Wahl and Wahl vs. Donaldson, Sims & Co. [1903], 2 Phil., 301; Puentebella vs. Negros authorized to exercise any other. . . . Its jurisdiction and powers and duties being
Coal Co. [1927], 50 Phil., 69; Vega vs. San Carlos Milling Co. [1924], 51 Phil., 908; District of defined in the organic law of the government, and being all strictly judicial, Congress
Columbia vs. Bailey [1897], 171 U. S., 161.) cannot require or authorize the court to exercise any other jurisdiction or power, or
perform any other duty. . . . The award of execution is a part, and an essential part of
We would not be understood as extending the principles governing arbitration and award too far. every judgment passed by a court exercising judicial power. It is no judgment, in the
Unless the arbitration agreement is such as absolutely to close the doors of the courts against the legal sense of the term, without it. Without such an award the judgment would be
parties, the courts should look with favor upon such amicable arrangements. We can also perceive inoperative and nugatory, leaving the aggrieved party without a remedy. It would be
a distinction between a private contract for submission to arbitration and agreements to arbitrate merely an opinion, which would remain a dead letter, and without any operation upon
the rights of the parties, unless Congress should at some future time sanction it, and On March 17, 1968, petitioner Noblejas received a communication signed by the
pass a law authorizing the court to carry its opinion into effect. Such is not the judicial Executive Secretary, "by authority of the President", whereby, based on "finding that
power confided to this court, in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction; yet it is the a prima facie case exists against you for gross negligence and conduct prejudicial to
whole power that the court is allowed to exercise under this act of Congress. . . . And the public interest", petitioner was "hereby suspended, upon receipt hereof, pending
while it executes firmly all the judicial powers entrusted to it, the court will carefully investigation of the above charges."chanrobles virtual law library
abstain from exercising any power that is not strictly judicial in its character, and which
is not clearly confided to it by the Constitution. . . . (Gordon vs. United States [1864], 2 On March 18, 1968, petitioner applied to this Court, reiterating the contentions
Wall., 561; 117 U. S., 697 Appendix.) advanced in his letter to the Secretary of Justice, claiming lack of jurisdiction and
abuse of discretion, and praying for restraining writs. In their answer respondents
Confirming the decision to the basic question at issue, the Supreme Court holds that section 11
admit the facts but denied that petitioner, as Land Registration Commissioner,
of Act No. 1446 contravenes the maxims which guide the operation of a democratic government
constitutionally established, and that it would be improper and illegal for the members of the exercises judicial functions, or that the petitioner may be considered a Judge of First
Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, the decision of a majority of whom shall be final, Instance within the purview of the Judiciary Act and Revised Rules of Court 140; that
to act on the petition of the Manila Electric Company. As a result, the members of the Supreme the function of investigating charges against public officers is administrative or
Court decline to proceed further in the matter. executive in nature; that the Legislature may not charge the judiciary with non-
judicial functions or duties except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of
Avanceña, C.J., Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Hull, Vickers, Imperial and judicial duties, as it would be in violation of the principle of the separation of
Butte, JJ., concur. powers.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Thus, the stark issue before this Court is whether the Commissioner of Land
G.R. No. L-28790 April 29, 1968 Registration may only be investigated by the Supreme Court, in view of the
conferment upon him by the Statutes heretofore mentioned (Rep. Act 1151 and
ANTONIO H. NOBLEJAS, as Commissioner of Land Registration, Petitioner, Appropriation Laws) of the rank and privileges of a Judge of the Court of First
vs. CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, as Secretary of Justice, and RAFAEL M. SALAS, as Instance.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Executive Secretary, Respondents.
First to militate against petitioner's stand is the fact that section 67 of the Judiciary
Leandro Sevilla, Ramon C. Aquino and Lino M. Patajo for petitioner. Act providing for investigation, suspension or removal of Judges, specifically recites
Claudio Teehankee for and in his own behalf as appellee. that "No District Judge shall be separated or removed from office by the President of
REYES, J.B.L., Actg. C.J.:chanrobles virtual law library the Philippines unless sufficient cause shall exist in the judgment of the Supreme
Court . . ." and it is nowhere claimed, much less shown, that the Commissioner of
Petition for a writ of prohibition with preliminary injunction to restrain the Secretary Land Registration is a District Judge, or in fact a member of the Judiciary at
of Justice from investigating the official actuations of the Commissioner of Land all.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Registration, and to declare inoperative his suspension by the Executive Secretary
pending investigation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library In the second place, petitioner's theory that the grant of "privileges of a Judge of First
Instance" includes by implication the right to be investigated only by the Supreme
The facts are not in dispute. Petitioner Antonio H. Noblejas is the duly appointed, Court and to be suspended or removed upon its recommendation, would necessarily
confirmed and qualified Commissioner of Land Registration, a position created by result in the same right being possessed by a variety of executive officials upon whom
Republic Act No. 1151. By the terms of section 2 of said Act, the said Commissioner the Legislature had indiscriminately conferred the same privileges. These favoured
is declared "entitled to the same compensation, emoluments and privileges as those officers include (a) the Judicial Superintendent of the Department of Justice (Judiciary
of a Judge of the Court of First Instance." The appropriation laws (Rep. Acts 4642, Act, sec. 42); (b) the Assistant Solicitors General, seven in number (Rep. Act No.
4856 and 5170) in the item setting forth the salary of said officer, use the following 4360); (c) the City Fiscal of Quezon City (R.A. No. 4495); (d) the City Fiscal of Manila
expression: (R. A. No. 4631) and (e) the Securities and Exchange Commissioner (R. A. No. 5050,
1. One Land Registration Commissioner with the rank and privileges of district judge s. 2). To adopt petitioner's theory, therefore, would mean placing upon the Supreme
- P19,000.00. Court the duty of investigating and disciplining all these officials, whose functions are
plainly executive, and the consequent curtailment by mere implication from the
On March 7, 1968, respondent Secretary of Justice coursed to the petitioner a letter Legislative grant, of the President's power to discipline and remove administrative
requiring him to explain in writing not later than March 9, 1968 why no disciplinary officials who are presidential appointees, and which the Constitution expressly placed
action should be taken against petitioner for "approving or recommending approval under the President's supervision and control (Constitution, Art. VII, sec.
of subdivision, consolidation and consolidated-subdivision plans covering areas 10[i]).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
greatly in excess of the areas covered by the original titles." Noblejas answered and
apprised the Secretary of Justice that, as he enjoyed the rank, privileges, emoluments Incidentally, petitioner's stand would also lead to the conclusion that the Solicitor
and compensation of a Judge of the Court of First Instance, he could only be General, another appointee of the President, could not be removed by the latter, since
suspended and investigated in the same manner as a Judge of the Courts of First the Appropriation Acts confer upon the Solicitor General the rank and privileges of a
Instance, and, therefore, the papers relative to his case should be submitted to the Justice of the Court of Appeals, and these Justices are only removable by the
Supreme Court, for action thereon conformably to section 67 of the Judiciary Act (R. Legislature, through the process of impeachment (Judiciary Act, sec. 24, par.
A. No. 296) and Revised Rule 140 of the Rules of 2).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library In our opinion, such unusual corollaries could not have been intended by the
Legislature when it granted these executive officials the rank and privileges of Judges
of First Instance. This conclusion gains strength when account is taken of the fact that Sec. 4. Reference of doubtful matters to Commissioner of Land Registration. - When
in the case of the Judges of the Court of Agrarian Relations and those of the Court of the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or
Tax Appeals, the organic statutes of said bodies (Republic Act 1267, as amended by memorandum to be made in pursuance of any deed, mortgage, or other instrument
Act 1409; Rep. Act No. 1125) expressly provide that they are to be removed from presented to him for registration, or where any party in interest does not agree with
office for the same causes and in the same manner provided by law for Judges of First the Register of Deeds with reference to any such matter, the question shall be
Instance", or "members of the judiciary of appellate rank". The same is true of Judges submitted to the Commissioner of Land Registration either upon the certification of
of the Court of Agrarian Relations (Comm. Act No. 103) and of the Commissioner of the Register of Deeds, stating the question upon which he is in doubt, or upon the
Public Service (Public Service Act, Sec. 3). It is thereby shown that where the suggestion in writing by the party in interest; and thereupon the Commissioner,
legislative design is to make the suspension or removal procedure prescribed for after consideration of the matter shown by the records certified to him, and in case
Judges of First Instance applicable to other officers, provision to that effect is made of registered lands, after notice to the parties and hearing, shall enter an order
in plain and unequivocal language.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law prescribing the step to be taken or memorandum to be made. His decision in such
library cases shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of Deeds: Provided, further,
That, when a party in interest disagrees with the ruling or resolution of the
But the more fundamental objection to the stand of petitioner Noblejas is that, if the
Commissioner and the issue involves a question of law, said decision may be
Legislature had really intended to include in the general grant of "privileges" or "rank
appealed to the Supreme Court within thirty days from and after receipt of the
and privileges of Judges of the Court of First Instance" the right to be investigated by
notice thereof.
the Supreme Court, and to be suspended or removed only upon recommendation of
that Court, then such grant of privileges would be unconstitutional, since it would Serious doubt may well be entertained as to whether the resolution of a consulta by
violate the fundamental doctrine of separation of powers, by charging this court with a Register of Deeds is a judicial function, as contrasted with administrative process.
the administrative function of supervisory control over executive officials, and It will be noted that by specific provision of the section, the decision of the Land
simultaneously reducing pro tanto the control of the Chief Executive over such Registration Commissioner "shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of
officials.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library Deeds" alone, and not upon other parties. This limitation1 in effect identifies the
resolutions of the Land Registration Commissioner with those of any other bureau
Justice Cardozo ruled in In re Richardson et al., Connolly vs. Scudder (247 N. Y. 401,
director, whose resolutions or orders bind his subordinates alone. That the
160 N. E. 655), saying:
Commissioner's resolutions are appealable does not prove that they are not
There is no inherent power in the Executive or Legislature to charge the judiciary administrative; any bureau director's ruling is likewise appealable to the
with administrative functions except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of corresponding department head.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
judicial duties. library
The United States Supreme Court said in Federal Radio Commission vs. General But even granting that the resolution of consultas by the Register of Deeds should
Electric Co., et al., 281 U.S. 469, 74 Law. Ed., 972, - constitute a judicial (or more properly quasi judicial) function, analysis of the powers
and duties of the Land Registration Commissioner under Republic Act No. 1151,
But this court cannot be invested with jurisdiction of that character, whether for
sections 3 and 4, will show that the resolution of consultas are but a minimal portion
purposes of review or otherwise. It was brought into being by the judiciary article of
of his administrative or executive functions and merely incidental to the
the Constitution, is invested with judicial power only and can have no jurisdiction
latter.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
other than of cases and controversies falling within the classes enumerated in that
article. It cannot give decisions which are merely advisory; nor can it exercise or Conformably to the well-known principle of statutory construction that statutes should
participate in the exercise of functions which are essentially legislative or be given, whenever possible, a meaning that will not bring them in conflict with the
administrative. Keller v. Potomac Electric Power Co., supra (261 U.S. 444, 67 L. ed. Constitution,2 We are constrained to rule that the grant by Republic Act 1151 to the
736, 43 Sup. Ct. Rep. 445) and cases cited; Postum Cereal Co. vs. California Fig Nut Commissioner of Land Registration of the "same privileges as those of a Judge of the
Co. supra (272 U.S. 700, 701, 71 L. ed. 481, 47 Sup. Ct. Rep. 284); Liberty Court of First Instance" did not include, and was not intended to include, the right to
Warehouse Co. v. Grannis, 273 U.S. 70, 74, 71 L. ed. 541, 544, 47 Sup. Ct. Rep. demand investigation by the Supreme Court, and to be suspended or removed only
282; Willing v. Chicago Auditorium Asso. 277 U.S. 274, 289, 72 L. ed. 880, 884, 48 upon that Court's recommendation; for otherwise, the said grant of privileges would
Sup. Ct. Rep. 507; Ex parte Bakelite Corp. 279 U.S. 438, 449, 73 L. ed. 789, 793, be violative of the Constitution and be null and void. Consequently, the investigation
49 Sup. Ct. Rep. 411. (Federal Radio Commission v. General Electric Company, 281 and suspension of the aforenamed Commissioner pursuant to sections 32 and 34 of
U.S. 469, 74 L. ed. 972.) (Emphasis supplied.) the Civil Service Law (R. A. 2260) are neither abuses of discretion nor acts in excess
of jurisdiction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In this spirit, it has been held that the Supreme Court of the Philippines and its
members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to perform any WHEREFORE, the writs of prohibition and injunction applied for are denied, and the
trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the administration of petition is ordered dismissed. No costs.
judicial functions; and a law requiring the Supreme Court to arbitrate disputes
Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando,
between public utilities was pronounced void in Manila Electric Co. vs. Pasay
JJ., concur.
Transportation Co. (57 Phil. 600).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
Concepcion, C.J., is on leave.
library
Petitioner Noblejas seeks to differentiate his case from that of other executive officials
by claiming that under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 1151, he is endowed with judicial A.M. No. 198-J May 31, 1971
functions. The section invoked runs as follows:
PAZ M. GARCIA, complainant, 6. That by his deliberate violation of his Oath of Office as a District Judge of
vs. the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo, Branch VI he has
HON. CATALINO MACARAIG, JR., respondent. manifested such moral bankruptcy as to deny his fitness to perform or
discharge official duties in the administration of justice.
RESOLUTION
7. That on June 29, 1970, respondent Judge wrote to the Honorable
Secretary of Justice informing him that he was entering upon the
BARREDO, J.: performance of his duties, which letter of his reads in full:
Administrative complaint filed by one Paz M. Garcia against the Honorable Catalino Macaraig, 'I have the honor to inform you that I am entering upon
Jr., formerly Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, Branch VI, now Undersecretary of the performance of the duties of the office of Judge of
Justice, in his former capacity as judge, for alleged "dishonesty, violation of his oath of office as the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo
judge ... gross incompetence, violation of Republic Act 296 or the Judiciary Act of 1948, as City (Branch VI) today, June 29, 1970.'
amended, (particularly) Sections 5, 55 and 58 thereof, committed (allegedly) as follows:
That such actuation of deliberately telling a deliberate falsehood aggravates
2. That from July 1, 1970 up to February 28, 1971 inclusive, as such his moral bankruptcy incompatible to the requirements of the highest degree
incumbent Judge, respondent herein, has not submitted his monthly reports of honesty, integrity and good moral character appertaining to holding the
containing the number of cases filed, disposed of, decided and/or resolved, position of Judge in the administration of justice.
the number of cases pending decisions for one month, two months to over
Upon being so required, in due time, respondent filed an answer alleging pertinently that:
three months, together with the title, number, number of hours of court
session held a day, etc., as evidenced by the certificate issued by Hon. THE FACTS
Eulalio D. Pichay, Judicial Superintendent, Dept. of Justice, copy of which is
Respondent took his oath as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna
hereto attached as Annex "A", Item No. 1, in violation of Circular No. 10 of
and San Pablo City with station at Calamba on June 29, 1970. The court,
the Dept. of Justice dated February 6, 1952, copy of which is hereto
being one of the 112 newly created CFI branches, had to be organized from
attached as Annex "B";
scratch. After consultations with the officials of the province of Laguna, the
3. That he has not submitted his certificate of service (New Judicial Form municipality of Calamba and the Department of Justice, respondent decided
No. 86, Revised 1966) from July to December, 1970 and from January to to accept the offer of the Calamba Municipal Government to supply the
February, 1971 inclusive as evidenced by the certificate issued by Judge space for the courtroom and offices of the court; to utilize the financial
Pichay, Judicial Superintendent, Dept. of Justice Annex "A", Item No. 2 assistance promised by the Laguna provincial government for the purchase
thereof; of the necessary supplies and materials; and to rely on the national
government for the equipment needed by the court (Under Section 190 of
4. That as incumbent Judge of Branch VI, Court of First Instance of Laguna
the Revised Administrative Code, all these items must be furnished by the
and San Pablo and knowing fully well that he has never performed his
provincial government. The provincial officials of Laguna, however, informed
official duties or discharged the duties appertaining to his office, he has
the respondent that the province was not in a position to do so).
collected and was paid his salaries from July to December, 1970 and from
January to February 1971 as evidenced by the certificate issued by the As to the space requirements of the court, the Municipal Mayor of Calamba
cashier Mrs. Santos of the Department of Justice hereto attached as Annex assured the respondent that the court could be accommodated in the west
"C" and the certificate of Mr. Pichay Annex "A", last paragraph thereof, wing of the Calamba municipal building as soon as the office of the
aggravated by his repeated failure to submit the certificate of service in municipal treasurer and his personnel are transferred to another location.
flagrant violation of action 5 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as amended which When the projected transfer of the municipal treasurer's office was about to
provides as follows: be effected, the treasurer and several municipal councilors objected. The
municipal mayor then requested the respondent to look over some of the
... District judges, judges of City Courts, and municipal
office spaces for rent in Calamba, with the commitment that the municipal
Judges shall certify on their application for leave, and
government will shoulder the payment of the rentals. Respondent's first
upon salary vouchers presented by them for payment,
choice was the second floor of the Republic Bank branch in Calamba, but
or upon the payrolls upon which their salaries are paid,
the negotiations failed when the owner of the building refused to reduce the
that all special proceedings, applications, petitions,
rent to P300 a month. The next suitable space selected by respondent was
motions, and all civil and criminal cases which have
the second floor of the Laguna Development Bank. After a month's
been under submission for decision or determination for
negotiations, the municipality finally signed a lease agreement with the
a period of ninety days or more have been determined
owner on October 26, 1970. Another month passed before the municipal
and decided on or before the date of making the
government could release the amount necessary for the improvements to
certificate and ... no salary shall be paid without such
convert the space that was rented, which was a big hall without partitions,
certificate' (Emphasis supplied).
into a courtroom and offices for the personnel of the court and for the
5. That his deliberate failure to submit the monthly reports from July to assistant provincial fiscal. Thereafter, upon respondent's representations,
December, 1970 and from January, 1971 to February, 1971 stating therein the provincial government appropriated the amount of P5,000 for the
the number of hours of session that the Court holds daily, the purchase of the supplies and materials needed by the court. Early in
accomplishments of the Court constitutes a clear violation of Sections 55 December, 1970 respondent also placed his order for the necessary
and 58 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended. equipment with the Property Officer of the Department of Justice but,
unfortunately, the appropriation for the equipment of courts of first instance
was released only on December 23, 1970 and the procurement of the
equipment chargeable against this allotment is still under way (please see After mature study and deliberation, the Court is convinced that the complaint must be
enclosed certification of the Financial Officer of the Department of Justice dismissed. To begin with, We cannot discern any tinge of dishonesty in the actuations for the
marked Annex "A"). respondent complained of. As We see it, the situation is not exactly as complainant has
attempted to portray it. Complainant's theory is that respondent collected or received salaries as
"When respondent realized that it would be sometime before he could actually preside over his
judge when in fact he has never acted as such, since the date he took his oath up to the filing of
court, he applied for an extended leave (during the 16 years he had worked in the Department of
the complaint. In the sense that respondent has not yet performed any judicial function, it may
Justice, respondent had, due to pressure of duties, never gone on extended leave, resulting in
be admitted that respondent has not really performed the duties of judge. What is lost sight of,
his forfeiting all the leave benefits he had earned beyond the maximum ten months allowed by
however, is that after taking his oath and formally assuming this position as judge, respondent
the law). The Secretary of Justice, however, prevailed upon respondent to forego his leave and
had a perfect right to earn the salary of a judge even in the extreme supposition that he did not
instead to assist him, without being extended a formal detail, whenever respondent was not busy
perform any judicial function for he could, while preparing himself for his new job or for any good
attending to the needs of his court.
reason, take a leave, as in fact, he had planned to do, were it not for the request of the Secretary
"Charges Have No Basis -- . of Justice for him to forego the idea and, instead, help the Department in whatever way possible
which would not, it must be presumed, impair his position as a judge. This is more so, when, as
"Complainant has charged respondent with dishonesty, violation of his oath of office, grave
in this case, the government officials or officers in duty bound to furnish him the necessary place
incompetence and violation of Sections 5, 55 and 58 of the Judiciary Act. and facilities for his court and the performance of his functions have failed to provide him
"It is respectfully submitted that -- . therewith without any fault on his part. That respondent took it upon himself to personally work
for early action on the part of the corresponding officials in this direction and, in his spare time,
"A. Respondent's inability to perform his judicial duties under the circumstances mentioned made himself available to the Department of Justice to assist the Secretary, what with his vast
above does not constitute incompetence. Respondent was like every lawyer who gets his first experience, having worked therein for sixteen years, is, far from being dishonesty, to his credit.
appointment to the bench, eager to assume his judicial duties and rid himself of the stigma of In the circumstances, it was certainly not improper that he rendered some kind of service to the
being 'a judge without a sala', but forces and circumstances beyond his control prevented him government, since he was receiving salaries, while being unable to perform his regular duties as
from discharging his judicial duties. judge without any fault on, his part. As to whether or not in doing so he, placed in jeopardy the
"B. Respondent's collection of salaries as judge does not constitute dishonesty because aside independence of the judiciary and failed to act according to the correct norm of conduct which a
from the time, effort and money he spent in organizing the CFI at Calamba, he worked in the judge should observe vis-a-vis service to the other departments of the government will be
Department of Justice (please see enclosed certification of Undersecretary of Justice Guillermo discussed a non. At this juncture, the only point We settle is that complainant's theory of
S. Santos marked Annex 'B'). Indeed, even if respondent did no more than exert efforts to dishonesty cannot hold water.
organize his court, he could, as other judges have done, have collected his salaries as judge Admittedly respondent has not prepared and submitted any of the reports of accomplishments
without being guilty of dishonesty. and status of cases in his sala which are usually required of judges under existing laws as well
"Incidentally, when respondent took his oath as CFI judge which position then carried a salary of as the corresponding circulars of the Department of Justice. The reason is simple. He has not
P19,000 per annum, he automatically ceased to be Chief of the Technical Staff of the yet started performing any judicial functions. None of those laws and circulars apply to him for all
Department of Justice and Member of the Board of Pardons and Parole, positions from which he of them contemplate judges who are actually holding trials and hearings and making decisions
was receiving P16,200 and P8,000 per annum, respectively. Also, in anticipation of the judicial and others. On the other hand, respondent Could not be blamed for taking his oath as he did, for
duties which he was about to assume, respondent took a leave of absence from his professorial he had a valid confirmed appointment in his favor. In other words, he simply made himself
lecturer's duties in the U.P. College of Law where he was receiving approximately P600 a available for the purpose for which he was appointed. That he could not actually hold office in
month. the court to which he was appointed was not of his making. The other officials in charge of
providing him therewith seem to have been caught unprepared and have not had enough time to
"C. Sections 5, 55 and 58 of the Judiciary Act and Circular No. 10 dated February 6, 1952 of the have it read. Conceivably, under the law, with the permission of this Court, respondent could
Department of Justice are not applicable to a Judge not actually discharging his judicial duties. have been assigned to another court pending all these preparations, but that is something within
"The Department of Justice has never required judges who have not actually started, to perform the initiative control of the Secretary of Justice and nor of the respondent.
their judicial duties to comply with the abovementioned statutory-provisions and circular (please Of course, none of these is to be taken as meaning that this Court looks with favor at the
see enclosed certification of Judge Eulalio D. Pichay, Judicial Superintendent, marked Annex practice of long standing to be sure, of judges being detailed in the Department of Justice to
'C'). assist the Secretary even if it were only in connection with his work of exercising administrative
"Moreover, a reading of these sections and circular makes evident the folly of requiring a judge authority over the courts. The line between what a judge may do and what he may not do in
who has not entered into the Performance of his judicial duties to comply with them. Taking collaborating or working with other offices or officers under the other great departments of the
Section 5, how could a judge who has not started to discharge his judicial duties certify that 'all government must always be kept clear and jealously observed, least the principle of separation
special proceedings, applications, petitions, motions, and all civil and criminal cases, which have of powers on which our government rests by mandate of the people thru the Constitution be
been under submission for decision or determination for a period of ninety days or more have gradually eroded by practices purportedly motivated by good intentions in the interest of the
been determined and decided on or before the date of making the certificate.' And bow could public service. The fundamental advantages and the necessity of the independence of said three
such a judge hold court in his place of permanent station as required by Section 55; observe the departments from each other, limited only by the specific constitutional precepts a check and
hours of daily sessions of the court as prescribed by Section 58; and render the reports required balance between and among them, have long been acknowledged as more paramount than the
by Circular No. 10 when his court is not yet in physical existence Clearly, therefore, Sections 5, serving of any temporary or passing governmental conveniences or exigencies. It is thus of
55 and 58 of the Judiciary Act and Circular No. 10 cannot apply to such a judge." . grave importance to the judiciary under our present constitutional scheme of government that no
judge or even the lowest court in this Republic should place himself in a position where his
In view of the nature of the allegations of complainant and respondent in their respective actuations on matters submitted to him for action or resolution would be subject to review and
complaint and answer and considering, in the light thereof, that the material facts are more or prior approval and, worst still, reversal, before they can have legal effect, by any authority other
less undisputed, the Court feels that this case can be disposed of without any further than the Court of Appeals or this Supreme Court, as the case may be. Needless to say, this
proceeding. Court feels very strongly that, it is best that this practice is discontinued.
WHEREFORE, the herein administrative complaint is hereby dismissed. Let a copy of this An examination of Executive Order No. 856, as amended, reveals that Provincial/City
resolution be furnished the Secretary of Justice. Committees on Justice are created to insure the speedy disposition of cases of detainees,
particularly those involving the poor and indigent ones, thus alleviating jail congestion and
improving local jail conditions. Among the functions of the Committee are—
A.M. No. 88-7-1861-RTC October 5, 1988 3.3 Receive complaints against any apprehending officer, jail warden, final
IN RE: DESIGNATION OF JUDGE RODOLFO U. MANZANO AS MEMBER OF THE ILOCOS or judge who may be found to have committed abuses in the discharge of
NORTE PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE. his duties and refer the same to proper authority for appropriate action;
3.5 Recommend revision of any law or regulation which is believed
prejudicial to the proper administration of criminal justice.
PADILLA, J.:
It is evident that such Provincial/City Committees on Justice perform administrative functions.
On 4 July 1988, Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, Executive Judge, RTC, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control over the conduct and
Branch 19, sent this Court a letter which reads: affairs of individuals for; their own welfare and the promulgation of rules and regulations to better
Hon. Marcelo Fernan carry out the policy of the legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court the organic law of its existence (Nasipit Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring Services Inc., vs.
of the Philippines Tapucar, SP-07599-R, 29 September 1978, Blacks Law Dictionary).
Manila Furthermore, under Executive Order No. 326 amending Executive Order No. 856, it is provided
Thru channels: Hon. Leo Medialdea that—
Court Administrator Section 6. Supervision.—The Provincial/City Committees on Justice shall be
Supreme Court of the Philippines under the supervision of the Secretary of justice Quarterly accomplishment
Sir: reports shall be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Justice.
By Executive Order RF6-04 issued on June 21, 1988 by the Honorable Under the Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts established by law
Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon. Rodolfo C. Farinas, I was shag not be designated to any agency performing quasi- judicial or administrative functions
designated as a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on (Section 12, Art. VIII, Constitution).
Justice created pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 856 of 12 Considering that membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on
December 1986, as amended by Executive Order No. 326 of June 1, 1988. Justice, which discharges a administrative functions, will be in violation of the Constitution, the
In consonance with Executive Order RF6-04, the Honorable Provincial Court is constrained to deny his request.
Governor of Ilocos Norte issued my appointment as a member of the
Committee. For your ready reference, I am enclosing herewith machine Former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando in his concurring opinion in the case of Garcia vs.
copies of Executive Order RF6-04 and the appointment. Macaraig (39 SCRA 106) ably sets forth:
Before I may accept the appointment and enter in the discharge of the 2. While the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be
powers and duties of the position as member of the Ilocos (Norte) Provincial enforced with pedantic rigor, the practical demands of government
Committee on Justice, may I have the honor to request for the issuance by precluding its doctrinaire application, it cannot justify a member of the
the Honorable Supreme Court of a Resolution, as follows: judiciary being required to assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial
in character. That is implicit in the principle. Otherwise there is a plain
(1) Authorizing me to accept the appointment and to as departure from its command. The essence of the trust reposed in him is to
assume and discharge the powers and duties attached decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by Justice Barredo, can
to the said position; pass on his actuation. He is not a subordinate of an executive or legislative
(2) Considering my membership in the Committee as official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no exception to
neither violative of the Independence of the Judiciary the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the task of
nor a violation of Section 12, Article VIII, or of the adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no less than the
second paragraph of Section .7, Article IX (B), both of maintenance of respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less.
the Constitution, and will not in any way amount to an This declaration does not mean that RTC Judges should adopt an attitude of monastic
abandonment of my present position as Executive insensibility or unbecoming indifference to Province/City Committee on Justice. As incumbent
Judge of Branch XIX, Regional Trial Court, First Judicial RTC Judges, they form part of the structure of government. Their integrity and performance in
Region, and as a member of the Judiciary; and the adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of such structure. As public officials, they are
(3) Consider my membership in the said Committee as trustees of an orderly society. Even as non-members of Provincial/City Committees on Justice,
part of the primary functions of an Executive Judge. RTC judges should render assistance to said Committees to help promote the laudable
purposes for which they exist, but only when such assistance may be reasonably incidental to
May I please be favored soon by your action on this request. the fulfillment of their judicial duties.
Very respectfully yours, ACCORDINGLY, the aforesaid request of Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano is DENIED.
(Sgd) RODOLFO U. MANZANO SO ORDERED.
Judge
Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., administration of justice and arriving at purely recommendatory solutions do not in any way
concur. involve the encroachment of. the judiciary into executive or legislative functions or into matters
which are none of its concerns. Much less is it an encroachment of the other departments into
judicial affairs.
As the visible representation of the law and of justice in his community, the Judge should not shy
Separate Opinions away from public activities which do not interfere with the prompt and proper performance of his
office, but which, in fact, enhance his effectiveness as a Judge. He cannot stop mingling in civic
intercourse or shut himself into solitary seclusion. The Committees on Justice will also be
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting: immensely benefited by the presence of Judges in the study groups. The work of the
Committees is quite important. Let it not be said that the Judges the officials most concerned
The Constitution prohibits the designation of members of the judiciary to any agency performing with justice have hesitated to join in such a worthy undertaking because of a strained
quasi-judicial or administrative functions (Section 12, Article VIII, Constitution.). interpretation of their functions.
Insofar as the term "quasi-judicial" is concerned, it has a fairly clear meaning and Judges can It is well for this Court to be generally cautious, conservative or restrictive when it interprets
confidently refrain from participating in the work of any administrative agency which adjudicates provisions of the Constitution or statutes vesting us with powers or delimit the exercise of our
disputes and controversies involving the rights of parties within its jurisdiction. The issue jurisdiction and functions. However, we should not overdo it. The basic principles of
involved in this case is where to draw the line insofar as administrative functions are concerned. constitutional interpretation apply as well to the provisions which define or circumscribe our
"Administrative functions" as used in Section 12 refers to the executive machinery of government powers and functions as they do to the provisions governing the other dependents of
and the performance by that machinery of governmental acts. It refers to the management government. The Court should not adopt a strained construction which impairs its own efficiency
actions, determinations, and orders of executive officials as they administer the laws and try to to meet the responsibilities brought about by the changing times and conditions of society. The
make government effective. There is an element of positive action, of supervision or control. familiar quotation is apt in this case—constitutional provisions are interpreted by the spirit which
vivifies and not by the letter which killeth.
Applying the definition given in the opinion of the majority which reads:
I, therefore, dissent from the majority opinion and vote to allow Judge Rodolfo U.
Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control
over the conduct and affairs of individuals for their own welfare and the Fernan C.J., Narvasa and Griño-Aquino, JJ., join in Gutierrez dissent.
promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the
organic law of its existence (Nasipit Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring I hesitate to give such a restrictive and impractical interpretation to Section 12, Article VIII of the
Services Inc. v. Tapucar, S.P-07599-R, 29 September 1978, Black's Law 1987 Constitution, and thus join the dissent of Justice Gutierrez, Jr.
Dictionary. ) What I believe is contemplated by the Constitutional prohibition is designation, for example, to
we can readily see that membership in the Provincial or City Committee on Justice would not such quasi-judicial bodies as the SEC, or administrative agencies like the BIR. Those are full-
involve any regulation or control over the conduct and affairs of individuals. Neither will the time positions involving running the affairs of government, which will interfere with the discharge
Committee on Justice promulgate rules and regulations nor exercise any quasi-legislative of judicial functions or totally remove a Judge/Justice from the performance of his regular
functions. Its work is purely advisory. I do not see anything wrong in a member of the judiciary functions.
joining any study group which concentrates on the administration of justice as long as the group The Committee on Justice cannot be likened to such an administrative agency of government. It
merely deliberates on problems involving the speedy disposition of cases particularly those is a study group with recommendatory functions. In fact, membership by members of the Bench
involving the poor and needy litigants or detainees, pools the expertise and experiences of the
in said committee is called for by reason of the primary functions of their position.
members, and limits itself to recommendations which may be adopted or rejected by those who
have the power to legislate or administer the particular function involved in their implementation. The matter of supervision by the Secretary of Justice provided for under E.O. No. 326 amending
E.O. No. 856, need not be a cause for concern. That supervision is confined to Committee work
We who are Judges cannot operate in a vacuum or in a tight little world of our own. The
and will by no means extend to the performance of judicial functions per se.
administration of justice cannot be pigeonholed into neat compartments with Judges, Fiscals,
Police, Wardens, and various other officials concerned erecting water-tight barriers against one Manzano to become a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice.
another and limiting our interaction to timidly peeping over these unnecessary and impractical
barriers into one another's work, all the while blaming the Constitution for such a quixotic and
unreal interpretation. As intimated in the majority opinion, we should not be monastically Separate Opinions
insensible or indifferent to projects or movements cogitating on possible solutions to our
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
common problems of justice and afterwards forwarding their findings to the people, public or
private, where these findings would do the most good. The Constitution prohibits the designation of members of the judiciary to any agency performing
quasi-judicial or administrative functions (Section 12, Article VIII, Constitution.).
The majority opinion suggests the giving of assistance by Judges to the work of the Committees
on Justice. Assistance is a vague term. Can Judges be designated as observers? Advisers? Insofar as the term "quasi-judicial" is concerned, it has a fairly clear meaning and Judges can
Consultants? Is it the act of being "designated" which is proscribed by the Constitution or is it confidently refrain from participating in the work of any administrative agency which adjudicates
participation in the prohibited functions? If judges cannot become members, why should they be disputes and controversies involving the rights of parties within its jurisdiction. The issue
allowed or even encouraged to assist these Committees The line drawn by the majority is vague involved in this case is where to draw the line insofar as administrative functions are concerned.
and unrealistic.
"Administrative functions" as used in Section 12 refers to the executive machinery of government
The constitutional provision is intended to shield Judges from participating in activities which and the performance by that machinery of governmental acts. It refers to the management
may compromise their independence or hamper their work. Studying problems involving the
actions, determinations, and orders of executive officials as they administer the laws and try to to meet the responsibilities brought about by the changing times and conditions of society. The
make government effective. There is an element of positive action, of supervision or control. familiar quotation is apt in this case—constitutional provisions are interpreted by the spirit which
vivifies and not by the letter which killeth.
Applying the definition given in the opinion of the majority which reads:
I, therefore, dissent from the majority opinion and vote to allow Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano to
Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control
become a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice.
over the conduct and affairs of individuals for their own welfare and the
promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the Fernan C.J., Narvasa and Griño-Aquino, JJ., join in Gutierrez dissent.
legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the
organic law of its existence (Nasipit Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring
Services Inc. v. Tapucar, S.P-07599-R, 29 September 1978, Black's Law G.R. No. L-51122 March 25, 1982
Dictionary. )
EUGENIO J. PUYAT, ERWIN L. CHIONGBIAN, EDGARDO P. REYES, ANTONIO G. PUYAT,
we can readily see that membership in the Provincial or City Committee on Justice would not JAIME R. BLANCO, RAFAEL R. RECTO and REYNALDO L. LARDIZABAL, petitioners,
involve any regulation or control over the conduct and affairs of individuals. Neither will the vs.
Committee on Justice promulgate rules and regulations nor exercise any quasi-legislative HON. SIXTO T. J. DE GUZMAN, JR., as Associate Commissioner of the Securities &
functions. Its work is purely advisory. I do not see anything wrong in a member of the judiciary Exchange Commission, EUSTAQUIO T. C. ACERO, R. G. VILDZIUS, ENRIQUE M. BELO,
joining any study group which concentrates on the administration of justice as long as the group MANUEL G. ABELLO, SERVILLANO DOLINA, JUANITO MERCADO and ESTANISLAO A.
merely deliberates on problems involving the speedy disposition of cases particularly those FERNANDEZ, respondents.
involving the poor and needy litigants or detainees, pools the expertise and experiences of the
members, and limits itself to recommendations which may be adopted or rejected by those who
have the power to legislate or administer the particular function involved in their implementation. MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
We who are Judges cannot operate in a vacuum or in a tight little world of our own. The This suit for certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction is poised against the Order of
administration of justice cannot be pigeonholed into neat compartments with Judges, Fiscals, respondent Associate Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Police, Wardens, and various other officials concerned erecting water-tight barriers against one granting Assemblyman Estanislao A. Fernandez leave to intervene in SEC Case No. 1747.
another and limiting our interaction to timidly peeping over these unnecessary and impractical
barriers into one another's work, all the while blaming the Constitution for such a quixotic and A question of novel import is in issue. For its resolution, the following dates and allegations are
unreal interpretation. As intimated in the majority opinion, we should not be monastically being given and made:
insensible or indifferent to projects or movements cogitating on possible solutions to our a) May 14,1979. An election for the eleven Directors of the International Pipe Industries
common problems of justice and afterwards forwarding their findings to the people, public or Corporation (IPI) a private corporation, was held. Those in charge ruled that the following were
private, where these findings would do the most good. elected as Directors:
The majority opinion suggests the giving of assistance by Judges to the work of the Committees Eugenio J. Puyat Eustaquio T.C. Acero
on Justice. Assistance is a vague term. Can Judges be designated as observers? Advisers? Erwin L. Chiongbian R. G. Vildzius
Consultants? Is it the act of being "designated" which is proscribed by the Constitution or is it Edgardo P. Reyes Enrique M. Belo
participation in the prohibited functions? If judges cannot become members, why should they be Antonio G. Puyat Servillano Dolina
allowed or even encouraged to assist these Committees The line drawn by the majority is vague Jaime R. Blanco Juanito Mercado
and unrealistic. Rafael R. Recto
The constitutional provision is intended to shield Judges from participating in activities which Those named on the left list may be called the Puyat Group; those on the right, the Acero Group.
may compromise their independence or hamper their work. Studying problems involving the Thus, the Puyat Group would be in control of the Board and of the management of IPI.
administration of justice and arriving at purely recommendatory solutions do not in any way
involve the encroachment of. the judiciary into executive or legislative functions or into matters b) May 25, 1979. The Acero Group instituted at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
which are none of its concerns. Much less is it an encroachment of the other departments into quo warranto proceedings, docketed as Case No. 1747 (the SEC Case), questioning the
judicial affairs. election of May 14, 1979. The Acero Group claimed that the stockholders' votes were not
properly counted.
As the visible representation of the law and of justice in his community, the Judge should not shy
away from public activities which do not interfere with the prompt and proper performance of his c) May 25-31, 1979. The Puyat Group claims that at conferences of the parties with respondent
office, but which, in fact, enhance his effectiveness as a Judge. He cannot stop mingling in civic SEC Commissioner de Guzman, Justice Estanislao A. Fernandez, then a member of the Interim
intercourse or shut himself into solitary seclusion. The Committees on Justice will also be Batasang Pambansa, orally entered his appearance as counsel for respondent Acero to which
immensely benefited by the presence of Judges in the study groups. The work of the the Puyat Group objected on Constitutional grounds. Section 11, Article VIII, of the 1973
Committees is quite important. Let it not be said that the Judges the officials most concerned Constitution, then in force, provided that no Assemblyman could "appear as counsel before ...
with justice have hesitated to join in such a worthy undertaking because of a strained any administrative body", and SEC was an administrative body. Incidentally, the same
interpretation of their functions. prohibition was maintained by the April 7, 1981 plebiscite. The cited Constitutional prohibition
being clear, Assemblyman Fernandez did not continue his appearance for respondent Acero.
It is well for this Court to be generally cautious, conservative or restrictive when it interprets
provisions of the Constitution or statutes vesting us with powers or delimit the exercise of our d) May 31, 1979. When the SEC Case was called, it turned out that:
jurisdiction and functions. However, we should not overdo it. The basic principles of (i) On May 15, 1979, Assemblyman Estanislao A. Fernandez had purchased
constitutional interpretation apply as well to the provisions which define or circumscribe our from Augusto A. Morales ten (10) shares of stock of IPI for P200.00 upon
powers and functions as they do to the provisions governing the other dependents of request of respondent Acero to qualify him to run for election as a Director.
government. The Court should not adopt a strained construction which impairs its own efficiency
(ii) The deed of sale, however, was notarized only on May 30, 1979 and was representing ten shares out of 262,843 outstanding shares. He acquired them "after the fact"
sought to be registered on said date. that is, on May 30, 1979, after the contested election of Directors on May 14, 1979, after the quo
warranto suit had been filed on May 25, 1979 before SEC and one day before the scheduled
(iii) On May 31, 1979, the day following the notarization of Assemblyman
hearing of the case before the SEC on May 31, 1979. And what is more, before he moved to
Fernandez' purchase, the latter had filed an Urgent Motion for Intervention
intervene, he had signified his intention to appear as counsel for respondent Eustaquio T. C.
in the SEC Case as the owner of ten (10) IPI shares alleging legal interest in
Acero, 2 but which was objected to by petitioners. Realizing, perhaps, the validity of the
the matter in litigation.
objection, he decided, instead, to "intervene" on the ground of legal interest in the matter under
e) July 17, 1979. The SEC granted leave to intervene on the basis of Atty. Fernandez' ownership litigation. And it maybe noted that in the case filed before the Rizal Court of First Instance (L-
of the said ten shares. 1 It is this Order allowing intervention that precipitated the instant petition 51928), he appeared as counsel for defendant Excelsior, co-defendant of respondent Acero
for certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction. therein.
f) July 3, 1979. Edgardo P. Reyes instituted a case before the Court of First Instance of Rizal Under those facts and circumstances, we are constrained to find that there has been an indirect
(Pasig), Branch XXI, against N.V. Verenigde Bueinzenfabrieken Excelsior — De Maas and "appearance as counsel before ... an administrative body" and, in our opinion, that is a
respondent Eustaquio T. C. Acero and others, to annul the sale of Excelsior's shares in the IPI to circumvention of the Constitutional prohibition. The "intervention" was an afterthought to enable
respondent Acero (CC No. 33739). In that case, Assemblyman Fernandez appeared as counsel him to appear actively in the proceedings in some other capacity. To believe the avowed
for defendant Excelsior In L-51928, we ruled that Assemblyman Fernandez could not appear as purpose, that is, to enable him eventually to vote and to be elected as Director in the event of an
counsel in a case originally filed with a Court of First Instance as in such situation the Court unfavorable outcome of the SEC Case would be pure naivete. He would still appear as counsel
would be one "without appellate jurisdiction." indirectly.
On September 4, 1979, the Court en banc issued a temporary Restraining Order enjoining A ruling upholding the "intervention" would make the constitutional provision ineffective. All an
respondent SEC Associate Commissioner from allowing the participation as an intervenor, of Assemblyman need do, if he wants to influence an administrative body is to acquire a minimal
respondent Assemblyman Estanislao Fernandez at the proceedings in the SEC Case. participation in the "interest" of the client and then "intervene" in the proceedings. That which the
Constitution directly prohibits may not be done by indirection or by a general legislative act which
The Solicitor General, in his Comment for respondent Commissioner, supports the stand of the is intended to accomplish the objects specifically or impliedly prohibited. 3
latter in allowing intervention. The Court en banc, on November 6, 1979, resolved to consider
the Comment as an Answer to the Petition. In brief, we hold that the intervention of Assemblyman Fernandez in SEC. No. 1747 falls within
the ambit of the prohibition contained in Section 11, Article VIII of the Constitution.
The issue which will be resolved is whether or not Assemblyman Fernandez, as a then
stockholder of IPI may intervene in the SEC Case without violating Section 11, Article VIII of the Our resolution of this case should not be construed as, absent the question of the constitutional
Constitution, which, as amended, now reads: prohibition against members of the Batasan, allowing any stockholder, or any number of
stockholders, in a corporation to intervene in any controversy before the SEC relating to intra-
SEC. 11. corporate matters. A resolution of that question is not necessary in this case.
No Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall appear as counsel before any WHEREFORE, respondent Commissioner's Order granting Atty. Estanislao A. Fernandez leave
court without appellate jurisdiction. to intervene in SEC Case No. 1747 is hereby reversed and set aside. The temporary Restraining
before any court in any civil case wherein the Government, or any Order heretofore issued is hereby made permanent.
subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party, No costs.
or in any criminal case wherein any officer or employee of the Government SO ORDERED.
is accused of an offense committed in relation to his office,
Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero, Abad Santos, De
or before any administrative body. Castro, Ericta, Plana and Escolin, JJ., concur.
Neither shall he, directly or indirectly be interested financially in any contract Aquino, J., took no part.
with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or
any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including any Barredo, J., I reserve my vote.
government-owned or controlled corporation, during his term of office.
He shall not accept employment to intervene in any cause or matter where
he may be called to act on account of his office. (Emphasis supplied)
What really has to be resolved is whether or not, in intervening in the SEC Case, Assemblyman Today
Fernandez is, in effect, appearing as counsel, albeit indirectly, before an administrative body in
contravention of the Constitutional provision.
Ordinarily, by virtue of the Motion for Intervention, Assemblyman Fernandez cannot be said to
be appearing as counsel. Ostensibly, he is not appearing on behalf of another, although he is
joining the cause of the private respondents. His appearance could theoretically be for the
protection of his ownership of ten (10) shares of IPI in respect of the matter in litigation and not
for the protection of the petitioners nor respondents who have their respective capable and
respected counsel.
However, certain salient circumstances militate against the intervention of Assemblyman
Fernandez in the SEC Case. He had acquired a mere P200.00 worth of stock in IPI,
Republic of the Philippines We find the pleadings filed in this case to be sufficient bases for arriving at a decision and hence, the filing o
SUPREME COURT
In his petition, Beja assails the Court of Appeals for having "decided questions of substance in a way probab
Manila
this Court. 5 Specifically, Beja contends that the Court of Appeals failed to declare that: (a) he was denied d
EN BANC issue a preventive suspension order without the necessary approval of the PPA board of directors; (c) the P
case filed against him to the DOTC-AAB, and (d) the DOTC Secretary, the Chairman of the DOTC-AAB and
jurisdiction to try the administrative case against him. Simply put, Beja challenges the legality of the prevent
G.R. No. 97149 March 31, 1992 and/or the AAB to initiate and hear administrative cases against PPA personnel below the rank of Assistant
FIDENCIO Y. BEJA, SR., petitioner, Petitioner anchors his contention that the PPA general manager cannot subject him to a preventive suspens
vs. Decree No. 857 reorganizing the PPA:
COURT OF APPEALS, HONORABLE REINERIO O. REYES, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications;
(d) the General Manager shall, subject to the approval of the Board, appoint a
COMMODORE ROGELIO A. DAYAN, in his capacity as General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority; DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND
Manager. (Emphasis supplied.)
COMMUNICATIONS, ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION BOARD; and JUSTICE ONOFRE A. VILLALUZ, in his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Action
Board, DOTC, respondents. Petitioner contends that under this provision, the PPA Board of Directors and not the PPA General Manager
As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, the petitioner erroneously equates "preventive suspension" a
administrative dereliction. The imposition of preventive suspension on a government employee charged with
ROMERO, J.:
of the Civil Service Law, P.D. No. 807:
The instant petition for certiorari questions the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and/or its Administrative
Sec. 41. Preventive Suspension. — The proper disciplining authority may pre
Action Board (AAB) over administrative cases involving personnel below the rank of Assistant General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), an agency
his authority pending an investigation, if the charge against such officer or em
attached to the said Department.
or neglect in the performance of duty, or if there are reasons to believe that th
Petitioner Fidencio Y. Beja, Sr. 1 was first employed by the PPA as arrastre supervisor in 1975. He became Assistant Port Operations Officer removal from
in 1976 thePort
and service.
Operations
Officer in 1977. In February 1988, as a result of the reorganization of the PPA, he was appointed Terminal Supervisor.
Imposed during the pendency of an administrative investigation, preventive suspension is not a penalty in its
On October 21, 1988, the PPA General Manager, Rogelio A. Dayan, filed Administrative Case No. 11-04-88who is charged
against mayBeja
petitioner be separated, for obvious
and Hernando reasons,
G. Villaluz from the scene of his alleged misfeasance while the
for grave
distinct
dishonesty, grave misconduct, willful violation of reasonable office rules and regulations and conduct prejudicial frombest
to the the interest
administrative penalty of
of the service. Bejaremoval from office such as the one mentioned in Sec. 8(d) of P.D
and Villaluz
during the investigation
allegedly erroneously assessed storage fees resulting in the loss of P38,150.77 on the part of the PPA. Consequently, of the charges
they were preventively against for
suspended him,thethecharges.
latter is the penalty which may only be meted upon h
disposition
After a preliminary investigation conducted by the district attorney for Region X, Administrative Case No. 11-04-88 wasof"considered
the case. closed for lack of merit."
On December 13, 1988, another charge sheet, docketed as Administrative Case No. 12-01-88, was filed against The PPABejageneral
by the manager
PPA General is theManager
disciplining
alsoauthority who may, by himself and without the approval of the
for dishonesty,
administrative
grave misconduct, violation of reasonable office rules and regulations, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the servicecase
andtoforpreventive suspension.
being notoriously His disciplinary
undesirable. The powers are sanctioned, not only by Sec. 8 of
charge consisted of six (6) different specifications of administrative offenses including fraud against the PPAgranting heads
in the total of agencies
amount the "jurisdiction
of P218,000.00. Beja wasto investigate
also placed and decide matters involving disciplinary actions a
under preventive suspension pursuant to Sec. 41 of P.D. No. 807.
Parenthetically, the period of preventive suspension is limited. It may be lifted even if the disciplining authori
The case was redocketed as Administrative Case No. PPA-AAB-1-049-89 and thereafter, the PPA general ninety-day period from
manager indorsed it to the effectivity of the preventive
AAB for "appropriate suspension
action." At the has been exhausted. The employee conc
scheduled hearing, Beja asked for continuance on the ground that he needed time to study the charges against period may
him. ThebeAAB
interrupted.
proceededSection 42 of
to hear theP.D.
case No.
and807 alsoBeja
gave mandates that any fault, negligence or petition o
computation
an opportunity to present evidence. However, on February 20, 1989, Beja filed a petition for certiorari with preliminary of the said
injunction period.
before the Thus, when
Regional a suspended
Trial Court of employee obtains from a court of justice a restrain
Misamis Oriental. 2 Two days later, he filed with the AAB a manifestation and motion to suspend the hearinganofadministrative
Administrativecase,
Casethe No.lifespan of such court on
PPA-AAB-1-049-89 order shouldofbe excluded in the reckoning of the permissib
account
the pendency of the certiorari proceeding before the court. AAB denied the motion and continued with the hearing of the administrative case.
With respect to the issue of whether or not the DOTC Secretary and/or the AAB may initiate and hear admin
Thereafter, Beja moved for the dismissal of the certiorari case below and proceeded to file before this CourtAssistant
a petitionGeneral Manager,
for certiorari the Court qualifiedly
with preliminary injunctionrules in favor of petitioner.
and/or
temporary restraining order. The case was docketed as G.R. No. 87352 captioned "Fidencio Y. Beja v. Hon. Reinerio 0. Reyes, etc., et al." In the en banc resolution of
The PPA was created through P.D. No. 505 dated July 11, 1974. Under that Law, the corporate powers of t
March 30, 1989, this Court referred the case to the Court of Appeals for "appropriate action." 3 G.R. No. 87352 was docketed in the Court of Appeals as CA-G.R. SP No.
as the Philippine Port Authority Council. Sec. 5(i) of the same decree gave the Council the power "to appoin
17270.
the technical staff of the Authority and other personnel."
Meanwhile, a decision was rendered by the AAB in Administrative Case No. PPA-AAB-049-89. Its dispositive portion reads:
On December 23, 1975, P.D. No. 505 was substituted by P.D. No. 857, See. 4(a) thereof created the Philipp
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, adjudging the following, namely: Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communication. When Executive Order No. 125 dated Jan
Communications was issued, the PPA retained its "attached" status. 10 Even Executive Order No. 292 or the
a) That respondents Geronimo Beja, Jr. and Hernando Villaluz are exonerated from the
agency charge to
"attached" against them;
the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). Sec. 24 of Book IV, T
b) That respondent Fidencio Y. Beja be dismissed from the service; agencies attached to the DOTC "shall continue to operate and function in accordance with the respective ch
this Code."
c) That his leave credits and retirement benefits are declared forfeited;
Attachment of an agency to a Department is one of the three administrative relationships mentioned in Book
d) That he be disqualified from re-employment in the government service; two being supervision and control and administrative supervision. "Attachment" is defined in Sec. 38 thereof
e) That his eligibility is recommended to be cancelled. (3) Attachment. — (a) This refers to the lateral relationship between the Depa
Pasig, Metro Manila, February 28, 1989. corporation for purposes of policy and program coordination. The coordinatio
4
represented in the governing board of the attached agency or corporation, eit
On December 10, 1990, after appropriate proceedings, the Court of Appeals also rendered a decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 17270 dismissing theispetition
if this for by
permitted certiorari for having the attached corporation or agency c
the charter;
lack of merit. Hence, Beja elevated the case back to this Court through an "appeal by certiorari with preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order."
the progress of programs and projects; and having the department or its equivalent provide general policies(b) through
The heads
its representative
of departments,
in agencies and instrumentalities, provinces, citie
the board, which shall serve as the framework for the internal policies of the attached corporation or agency;decide matters involving disciplinary action against officers and employees u
penalty imposed is suspension for not more than thirty days or fine in an amo
(b) Matters of day-to-day administration or all those pertaining to internal operations shall he left to the discretion or judgment of the
rendered by a bureau or office head is appealable to the Commission, the sa
executive officer of the agency or corporation. In the event that the Secretary and the head of the board or the attached agency or
the Commission and pending appeal, the same shall be executory except wh
corporation strongly disagree on the interpretation and application of policies, and the Secretary is unable to resolve the disagreement, he
executory only after confirmation by the department head.
shall bring the matter to the President for resolution and direction;
xxx xxx xxx
(c) Government-owned or controlled corporations attached to a department shall submit to the Secretary concerned their audited financial
statements within sixty (60) days after the close of the fiscal year; and (Emphasis supplied.)
(d) Pending submission of the required financial statements, the corporation Itshall is, therefore,
continue to clear
operate
that the
on the
transmittal
basis ofofthethepreceding
complaintyear's
by the PPA General Manager to the AAB was prem
budget until the financial statements shall have been submitted. Should any government-owned
conducted an investigation, or controlled
madecorporation
the proper incur
recommendation
an for the imposable penalty and sought its app
operation deficit at the close of its fiscal year, it shall be subject to administrative
the part
supervision
of the herein
of thepetitioner
department;to elevate
and the thecorporation's
case to the then DOTC Secretary Reyes. Only then could the
operating and capital budget shall be subject to the department's examination, review, modification and approval. (emphasis supplied.)
The AAB, which was created during the tenure of Secretary Reyes under Office Order No. 88-318 dated Ju
An attached agency has a larger measure of independence from the Department to which it is attached than himone "all
which
casesis of
under
administrative
departmentalmalfeasance,
supervisionirregularities,
and control or grafts and acts of corruption in the Department."
administrative supervision. This is borne out by the "lateral relationship" between the Department and the attachedcame into agency.
being pursuant
The attachment
to Administrative
is merely for Order
"policy 25 issued by the President on May 25, 1987. 15 Its sp
No.and
program coordination." With respect to administrative matters, the independence of an attached agency from notwithstanding,
Departmental controlthe AAB andis not
supervision
exempt from
is further reinforced of due process in its proceedings. 16 We are no
the observance
by the fact that even an agency under a Department's administrative supervision is free from Departmental protestation
interference that withpetitioner
respect towaived
appointments
his rightand
to beother
heardpersonnel
notwithstanding. It should be observed that petitione
11
actions "in accordance with the decentralization of personnel functions" under the Administrative Code of 1987. sought Moreover,
judicial recourse.
the Administrative Code explicitly provides
12
that Chapter 8 of Book IV on supervision and control shall not apply to chartered institutions attached to a Department.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED insofar as it upholds the power of the PP
Hence, the inescapable conclusion is that with respect to the management of personnel, an attached agency suspension
is, to a certain
and REVERSED
extent, free from
insofar
Departmental
as it validatesinterference
the jurisdiction of the DOTC and/or the AAB to act on Ad
and control. This is more explicitly shown by P.D. No. 857 which provides: process has been accorded the petitioner.
Sec. 8. Management and Staff. — a) The President shall, upon the recommendation
The AABofdecision
the Board,
in said
appoint
casethe
is hereby
Generaldeclared
Manager NULL
and the
and VOID and the case in REMANDED to the PPA
Assistant General Managers. reinvestigation.
(b) All other officials and employees of the Authority shall be selected and appointed
The preventive
on the basis
suspension
of meritofand
petitioner
fitnessshall
basedcontinue
on a unless after a determination of its duration, it is found
comprehensive and progressive merit system to be established by the Authority he shall
immediately
be reinstated
upon immediately.
its organization and consistent with Civil
Service rules and regulations. The recruitment, transfer, promotion, and dismissal of all personnel of the Authority, including temporary
SO ORDERED.
workers, shall be governed by such merit system.
Narvasa, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Da
(c) The General Manager shall, subject to the approval of the Board, determine the staffing pattern and the number of personnel of the
Authority, define their duties and responsibilities, and fix their salaries and emoluments.
Padilla and For professional
Bellosillo, and
JJ., took notechnical
part. positions, the
General Manager shall recommend salaries and emoluments that are comparable to those of similar positions in other government-owned
Feliciano,
corporations, the provisions of existing rules and regulations on wage and position J., is on leave
classification notwithstanding.
(d) The General Manager shall, subject to the approval by the Board, appoint and remove personnel below the rank of Assistant General
Manager.
xxx xxx xxx G.R. No. 115863 March 31, 1995
(emphasis supplied.) AIDA D. EUGENIO, petitioner,
vs. of personnel, by vesting the power to remove erring
Although the foregoing section does not expressly provide for a mechanism for an administrative investigation
CIVIL
employees on the General Manager, with the approval of the PPA Board of Directors, the law impliedly grants SERVICE
said COMMISSION,
officials the HON. TEOFISTO
power to investigate T. GUINGONA,
its personnel below JR. & HON. SALVADOR
ENRIQUEZ,
the rank of Assistant Manager who may be charged with an administrative offense. During such investigation, JR., respondents.
the PPA General Manager, as earlier stated, may subject
the employee concerned to preventive suspension. The investigation should be conducted in accordance with the procedure set out in Sec. 38 of P.D. No. 807. 13 Only
after gathering sufficient facts may the PPA General Manager impose the proper penalty in accordance with law. It is the latter action which requires the approval of the
PPA Board of Directors. 14 PUNO, J.:
From an adverse decision of the PPA General Manager and the Board of Directors, the employee concerned The power
may of the
elevate theCivil Service
matter to theCommission
DepartmenttoHead
abolish
or the Career Executive Service Board is
Secretary. Otherwise, he may appeal directly to the Civil Service Commission. The permissive recourse to the challenged
Departmentin this petition for
Secretary certiorari and
is sanctioned by prohibition.
the Civil Service
Law (P.D. No. 807) under the following provisions:
First the facts. Petitioner is the Deputy Director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. She
Sec. 37. Disciplinary Jurisdiction. — (a) The Commission shall decide upon appealappliedall
foradministrative
a Career Executive Service
disciplinary (CES)
cases Eligibility
involving theand a CESO rank on August 2, 1993,
she wasexceeding
imposition of a penalty of suspension for more than thirty days, or fine in an amount given a CES eligibility.
thirty On September
days salary, demotion in15, 1993,
rank or she was recommended to the
salary or transfer, removal or dismissal from office. A complaint may be filed President forthe
directly with a CESO rank byby
Commission thea Career
private Executive Service
citizen against a Board. 1
government official or employee in which case it may hear and decide the case or it may deputize any department or agency or official or
All was not to turn well for petitioner. On October 1, 1993, respondent Civil Service Commission 2
group of officials to conduct the investigation. The results of the investigation shall be submitted to the Commission with recommendation
passed Resolution No. 93-4359, viz:
as to the penalty to be imposed or other action to be taken.
RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359
WHEREAS, Section 1(1) of Article IX-B provides that Civil Service shall be You may, however, bring a case before the appropriate court to settle the
administered by the Civil Service Commission, . . .; legal issues arising from issuance by the Civil Service Commission of CSC
Resolution No. 93-4359, for guidance of all concerned.
WHEREAS, Section 3, Article IX-B of the 1987 Philippine Constitution
provides that "The Civil Service Commission, as the central personnel Thank You.
agency of the government, is mandated to establish a career service and
Finding herself bereft of further administrative relief as the Career Executive Service Board
adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness,
which recommended her CESO Rank IV has been abolished, petitioner filed the petition at
progresiveness and courtesy in the civil service, . . .";
bench to annul, among others, resolution No. 93-4359. The petition is anchored on the following
WHEREAS, Section 12 (1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative arguments:
Code of 1987 grants the Commission the power, among others, to
A.
administer and enforce the constitutional and statutory provisions on the
merit system for all levels and ranks in the Civil Service; IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, RESPONDENT COMMISSION
USURPED THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS OF CONGRESS WHEN IT
WHEREAS, Section 7, Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative Code
ABOLISHED THE CESB, AN OFFICE CREATED BY LAW, THROUGH
of 1987 Provides, among others, that The Career Service shall be
THE ISSUANCE OF CSC: RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359;
characterized by (1) entrance based on merit and fitness to be determined
as far as practicable by competitive examination, or based highly technical B.
qualifications; (2) opportunity for advancement to higher career positions;
ALSO IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, RESPONDENT CSC
and (3) security of tenure;
USURPED THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS OF CONGRESS WHEN IT
WHEREAS, Section 8 (c), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the administrative ILLEGALLY AUTHORIZED THE TRANSFER OF PUBLIC MONEY,
Code of 1987 provides that "The third level shall cover Positions in the THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF CSC RESOLUTION NO. 93-4359.
Career Executive Service";
Required to file its Comment, the Solicitor General agreed with the contentions of petitioner.
WHEREAS, the Commission recognizes the imperative need to consolidate, Respondent Commission, however, chose to defend its ground. It posited the following position:
integrate and unify the administration of all levels of positions in the career
ARGUMENTS FOR PUBLIC RESPONDENT-CSC
service.
WHEREAS, the provisions of Section 17, Title I, Subtitle A. Book V of the I. THE INSTANT PETITION STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST
Administrative Code of 1987 confers on the Commission the power and THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT-CSC.
authority to effect changes in its organization as the need arises. II. THE RECOMMENDATION SUBMITTED TO THE PRESIDENT FOR
WHEREAS, Section 5, Article IX-A of the Constitution provides that the Civil APPOINTMENT TO A CESO RANK OF PETITIONER EUGENIO WAS A
Service Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy and the necessary VALID ACT OF THE CAREER EXECUTIVE SERVICE BOARD OF THE
implications thereof; CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND IT DOES NOT HAVE ANY DEFECT.

NOW THEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Civil Service III. THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT IS ESTOPPED FROM
QUESTIONING THE VALIDITY OF THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE
Commission hereby resolves to streamline reorganize and effect changes in
its organizational structure. Pursuant thereto, the Career Executive Service CESB IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER EUGENIO SINCE THE PRESIDENT
Board, shall now be known as the Office for Career Executive Service of the HAS PREVIOUSLY APPOINTED TO CESO RANK FOUR (4) OFFICIALS
SIMILARLY SITUATED AS SAID PETITIONER. FURTHERMORE, LACK
Civil Service Commission. Accordingly, the existing personnel, budget,
properties and equipment of the Career Executive Service Board shall now OF MEMBERS TO CONSTITUTE A QUORUM. ASSUMING THERE WAS
form part of the Office for Career Executive Service. NO QUORUM, IS NOT THE FAULT OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT CIVIL
SERVICE COMMISSION BUT OF THE PRESIDENT WHO HAS THE
The above resolution became an impediment. to the appointment of petitioner as Civil Service POWER TO APPOINT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CESB.
Officer, Rank IV. In a letter to petitioner, dated June 7, 1994, the Honorable Antonio T. Carpio,
Chief Presidential legal Counsel, stated: IV. THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB INTO THE COMMISSION IS
AUTHORIZED BY LAW (Sec. 12 (1), Title I, Subtitle A, Book V of the
xxx xxx xxx Administrative Code of the 1987). THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE HAD
ALREADY BEEN SETTLED WHEN THE HONORABLE COURT
On 1 October 1993 the Civil Service Commission issued CSC Resolution
DISMISSED THE PETITION FILED BY THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF
No. 93-4359 which abolished the Career Executive Service Board.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NAMELY: SIMEON A.
Several legal issues have arisen as a result of the issuance of CSC DATUMANONG, FELICIANO R. BELMONTE, JR., RENATO V. DIAZ, AND
Resolution No. 93-4359, including whether the Civil Service Commission MANUEL M. GARCIA IN G.R. NO. 114380. THE AFOREMENTIONED
has authority to abolish the Career Executive Service Board. Because these PETITIONERS ALSO QUESTIONED THE INTEGRATION OF THE CESB
issues remain unresolved, the Office of the President has refrained from WITH THE COMMISSION.
considering appointments of career service eligibles to career executive
We find merit in the petition.3
ranks.
The controlling fact is that the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) was created in the
xxx xxx xxx
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1 on September 1, 19744 which adopted the Integrated Plan.
Article IV, Chapter I, Part of the III of the said Plan provides:
Article IV — Career Executive Service (2) The Merit System Protection Board composed of a Chairman and two
(2) members shall have the following functions:
1. A Career Executive Service is created to form a continuing pool of well-
selected and development oriented career administrators who shall provide xxx xxx xxx
competent and faithful service.
(3) The Office of Legal Affairs shall provide the Chairman with legal advice
2. A Career Executive Service hereinafter referred to in this Chapter as the and assistance; render counselling services; undertake legal studies and
Board, is created to serve as the governing body of the Career Executive researches; prepare opinions and ruling in the interpretation and application
Service. The Board shall consist of the Chairman of the Civil Service of the Civil Service law, rules and regulations; prosecute violations of such
Commission as presiding officer, the Executive Secretary and the law, rules and regulations; and represent the Commission before any court
Commissioner of the Budget as ex-officio members and two other members or tribunal.
from the private sector and/or the academic community who are familiar
(4) The Office of Planning and Management shall formulate development
with the principles and methods of personnel administration.
plans, programs and projects; undertake research and studies on the
xxx xxx xxx different aspects of public personnel management; administer management
improvement programs; and provide fiscal and budgetary services.
5. The Board shall promulgate rules, standards and procedures on the
selection, classification, compensation and career development of members (5) The Central Administrative Office shall provide the Commission with
of the Career Executive Service. The Board shall set up the organization personnel, financial, logistics and other basic support services.
and operation of the service. (Emphasis supplied)
(6) The Office of Central Personnel Records shall formulate and implement
It cannot be disputed, therefore, that as the CESB was created by law, it can only be abolished policies, standards, rules and regulations pertaining to personnel records
by the legislature. This follows an unbroken stream of rulings that the creation and abolition of maintenance, security, control and disposal; provide storage and extension
public offices is primarily a legislative function. As aptly summed up in AM JUR 2d on Public services; and provide and maintain library services.
Officers and
(7) The Office of Position Classification and Compensation shall formulate
Employees, 5 viz:
and implement policies, standards, rules and regulations relative to the
Except for such offices as are created by the Constitution, the creation of administration of position classification and compensation.
public offices is primarily a legislative function. In so far as the legislative
(8) The Office of Recruitment, Examination and Placement shall provide
power in this respect is not restricted by constitutional provisions, it
leadership and assistance in developing and implementing the overall
supreme, and the legislature may decide for itself what offices are suitable,
Commission programs relating to recruitment, execution and placement,
necessary, or convenient. When in the exigencies of government it is
and formulate policies, standards, rules and regulations for the proper
necessary to create and define duties, the legislative department has the
implementation of the Commission's examination and placement programs.
discretion to determine whether additional offices shall be created, or
whether these duties shall be attached to and become ex-officio duties of (9) The Office of Career Systems and Standards shall provide leadership
existing offices. An office created by the legislature is wholly within the and assistance in the formulation and evaluation of personnel systems and
power of that body, and it may prescribe the mode of filling the office and standards relative to performance appraisal, merit promotion, and employee
the powers and duties of the incumbent, and if it sees fit, abolish the office. incentive benefit and awards.
In the petition at bench, the legislature has not enacted any law authorizing the abolition of the (10) The Office of Human Resource Development shall provide leadership
CESB. On the contrary, in all the General Appropriations Acts from 1975 to 1993, the legislature and assistance in the development and retention of qualified and efficient
has set aside funds for the operation of CESB. Respondent Commission, however, invokes work force in the Civil Service; formulate standards for training and staff
Section 17, Chapter 3, Subtitle A. Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 as the development; administer service-wide scholarship programs; develop
source of its power to abolish the CESB. Section 17 provides: training literature and materials; coordinate and integrate all training
activities and evaluate training programs.
Sec. 17. Organizational Structure. — Each office of the Commission shall
be headed by a Director with at least one Assistant Director, and may have (11) The Office of Personnel Inspection and Audit shall develop policies,
such divisions as are necessary independent constitutional body, the standards, rules and regulations for the effective conduct or inspection and
Commission may effect changes in the organization as the need arises. audit personnel and personnel management programs and the exercise of
delegated authority; provide technical and advisory services to Civil Service
But as well pointed out by petitioner and the Solicitor General, Section 17 must be read together
Regional Offices and government agencies in the implementation of their
with Section 16 of the said Code which enumerates the offices under the respondent
personnel programs and evaluation systems.
Commission, viz:
(12) The Office of Personnel Relations shall provide leadership and
Sec. 16. Offices in the Commission. — The Commission shall have the
assistance in the development and implementation of policies, standards,
following offices:
rules and regulations in the accreditation of employee associations or
(1) The Office of the Executive Director headed by an Executive Director, organizations and in the adjustment and settlement of employee grievances
with a Deputy Executive Director shall implement policies, standards, rules and management of employee disputes.
and regulations promulgated by the Commission; coordinate the programs
(13) The Office of Corporate Affairs shall formulate and implement policies,
of the offices of the Commission and render periodic reports on their
standards, rules and regulations governing corporate officials and
operations, and perform such other functions as may be assigned by the
employees in the areas of recruitment, examination, placement, career
Commission.
development, merit and awards systems, position classification and
compensation, performing appraisal, employee welfare and benefit, MANUEL ALBA, Minister of Budget, FRANCISCO TANTUICO, Chairman, Commission on
discipline and other aspects of personnel management on the basis of Audit, and RICARDO PUNO, Minister of Justice, Respondents.
comparable industry practices.
(14) The Office of Retirement Administration shall be responsible for the
FERNANDO, C.J.:
enforcement of the constitutional and statutory provisions, relative to
retirement and the regulation for the effective implementation of the This Court, pursuant to its grave responsibility of passing upon the validity of any executive or
retirement of government officials and employees. legislative act in an appropriate cases, has to resolve the crucial issue of the constitutionality of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, entitled "An act reorganizing the Judiciary, Appropriating Funds
(15) The Regional and Field Offices. — The Commission shall have not less
Therefor and for Other Purposes." The task of judicial review, aptly characterized as exacting
than thirteen (13) Regional offices each to be headed by a Director, and
and delicate, is never more so than when a conceded legislative power, that of judicial
such field offices as may be needed, each to be headed by an official with at
reorganization, 1 may possibly collide with the time-honored principle of the independence of the
least the rank of an Assistant Director.
judiciary 2 as protected and safeguarded by this constitutional provision: "The Members of the
As read together, the inescapable conclusion is that respondent Commission's power Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts shall hold office during good behavior until they
to reorganize is limited to offices under its control as enumerated in Section 16, supra. reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office.
From its inception, the CESB was intended to be an autonomous entity, albeit The Supreme Court shall have the power to discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of
administratively attached to respondent Commission. As conceptualized by the at least eight Members, order their dismissal." 3 For the assailed legislation mandates that
Reorganization Committee "the CESB shall be autonomous. It is expected to view the Justices and judges of inferior courts from the Court of Appeals to municipal circuit courts,
problem of building up executive manpower in the government with a broad and except the occupants of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals, unless appointed to
positive outlook." 6 The essential autonomous character of the CESB is not negated by the inferior courts established by such Act, would be considered separated from the judiciary. It
its attachment to respondent Commission. By said attachment, CESB was not made is the termination of their incumbency that for petitioners justifies a suit of this character, it being
to fall within the control of respondent Commission. Under the Administrative Code of alleged that thereby the security of tenure provision of the Constitution has been ignored and
1987, the purpose of attaching one functionally inter-related government agency to disregarded,
another is to attain "policy and program coordination." This is clearly etched out in
That is the fundamental issue raised in this proceeding, erroneously entitled Petition for
Section 38(3), Chapter 7, Book IV of the aforecited Code, to wit:
Declaratory Relief and/or for Prohibition 4 considered by this Court as an action for prohibited
(3) Attachment. — (a) This refers to the lateral relationship between the petition, seeking to enjoin respondent Minister of the Budget, respondent Chairman of the
department or its equivalent and attached agency or corporation for Commission on Audit, and respondent Minister of Justice from taking any action implementing
purposes of policy and program coordination. The coordination may be Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. Petitioners 5 sought to bolster their claim by imputing lack of good
accomplished by having the department represented in the governing board faith in its enactment and characterizing as an undue delegation of legislative power to the
of the attached agency or corporation, either as chairman or as a member, President his authority to fix the compensation and allowances of the Justices and judges
with or without voting rights, if this is permitted by the charter; having the thereafter appointed and the determination of the date when the reorganization shall be deemed
attached corporation or agency comply with a system of periodic reporting completed. In the very comprehensive and scholarly Answer of Solicitor General Estelito P.
which shall reflect the progress of programs and projects; and having the Mendoza, 6 it was pointed out that there is no valid justification for the attack on the
department or its equivalent provide general policies through its constitutionality of this statute, it being a legitimate exercise of the power vested in the Batasang
representative in the board, which shall serve as the framework for the Pambansa to reorganize the judiciary, the allegations of absence of good faith as well as the
internal policies of the attached corporation or agency. attack on the independence of the judiciary being unwarranted and devoid of any support in law.
A Supplemental Answer was likewise filed on October 8, 1981, followed by a Reply of petitioners
Respondent Commission also relies on the case of Datumanong, et al., vs. Civil Service
on October 13. After the hearing in the morning and afternoon of October 15, in which not only
Commission, G. R. No. 114380 where the petition assailing the abolition of the CESB was
petitioners and respondents were heard through counsel but also the amici curiae, 7 and
dismissed for lack of cause of action. Suffice to state that the reliance is misplaced considering
thereafter submission of the minutes of the proceeding on the debate on Batas Pambansa Blg.
that the cited case was dismissed for lack of standing of the petitioner, hence, the lack of cause
129, this petition was deemed submitted for decision.
of action.
The importance of the crucial question raised called for intensive and rigorous study of all the
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Resolution No. 93-4359 of the respondent
legal aspects of the case. After such exhaustive deliberation in several sessions, the exchange
Commission is hereby annulled and set aside. No costs.
of views being supplemented by memoranda from the members of the Court, it is our opinion
SO ORDERED. and so hold that Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 is not unconstitutional.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, 1. The argument as to the lack of standing of petitioners is easily resolved. As far as Judge de la
Quiason, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur. Llana is concerned, he certainly falls within the principle set forth in Justice Laurel's opinion in
People v. Vera. 8 Thus: "The unchallenged rule is that the person who impugns the validity of a
statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or
G.R. No. L-57883 March 12, 1982 will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement." 9 The other petitioners as members of
the bar and officers of the court cannot be considered as devoid of "any personal and substantial
GUALBERTO J. DE LA LLANA Presiding Judge, Branch II of the City Court of Olongapo, interest" on the matter. There is relevance to this excerpt from a separate opinion in Aquino, Jr.
ESTANISLAO L. CESA, JR., FIDELA Y. VARGAS, BENJAMIN C. ESCOLANGO, JUANITO C. v. Commission on Elections: 10 "Then there is the attack on the standing of petitioners, as
ATIENZA, MANUEL REYES ROSAPAPAN, JR., VIRGILIO E. ACIERTO, and PORFIRIO vindicating at most what they consider a public right and not protecting their rights as individuals.
AGUILLON AGUILA, petitioners, This is to conjure the specter of the public right dogma as an inhibition to parties intent on
vs. keeping public officials staying on the path of constitutionalism. As was so well put by Jaffe: 'The
protection of private rights is an essential constituent of public interest and, conversely, without a
well-ordered state there could be no enforcement of private rights. Private and public interests true meaning of social justice." 17 This process of modernization and change compels the
are, both in substantive and procedural sense, aspects of the totality of the legal order.' government to extend its field of activity and its scope of operations. The efforts towards
Moreover, petitioners have convincingly shown that in their capacity as taxpayers, their standing reducing the gap between the wealthy and the poor elements in the nation call for more
to sue has been amply demonstrated. There would be a retreat from the liberal approach regulatory legislation. That way the social justice and protection to labor mandates of the
followed in Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, foreshadowed by the very decision of People Constitution could be effectively implemented." 18 There is likelihood then "that some measures
v. Vera where the doctrine was first fully discussed, if we act differently now. I do not think we deemed inimical by interests adversely affected would be challenged in court on grounds of
are prepared to take that step. Respondents, however, would hark back to the American validity. Even if the question does not go that far, suits may be filed concerning their
Supreme Court doctrine in Mellon v. Frothingham with their claim that what petitioners possess interpretation and application. ... There could be pleas for injunction or restraining orders. Lack
'is an interest which is shared in common by other people and is comparatively so minute and of success of such moves would not, even so, result in their prompt final disposition. Thus delay
indeterminate as to afford any basis and assurance that the judicial process can act on it.' That in the execution of the policies embodied in law could thus be reasonably expected. That is not
is to speak in the language of a bygone era even in the United States. For as Chief Justice conducive to progress in development." 19 For, as mentioned in such Report, equally of vital
Warren clearly pointed out in the later case of Flast v. Cohen, the barrier thus set up if not concern is the problem of clogged dockets, which "as is well known, is one of the utmost gravity.
breached has definitely been lowered." 11 Notwithstanding the most determined efforts exerted by the Supreme Court, through the
leadership of both retired Chief Justice Querube Makalintal and the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz
2. The imputation of arbitrariness to the legislative body in the enactment of Batas Pambansa
Castro, from the time supervision of the courts was vested in it under the 1973 Constitution, the
Blg. 129 to demonstrate lack of good faith does manifest violence to the facts. Petitioners should
trend towards more and more cases has continued." 20 It is understandable why. With the
have exercised greater care in informing themselves as to its antecedents. They had laid
accelerated economic development, the growth of population, the increasing urbanization, and
themselves open to the accusation of reckless disregard for the truth, On August 7, 1980, a
other similar factors, the judiciary is called upon much oftener to resolve controversies. Thus
Presidential Committee on Judicial Reorganization was organized. 12 This Executive Order was
confronted with what appears to be a crisis situation that calls for a remedy, the Batasang
later amended by Executive Order No. 619-A., dated September 5 of that year. It clearly
Pambansa had no choice. It had to act, before the ailment became even worse. Time was of the
specified the task assigned to it: "1. The Committee shall formulate plans on the reorganization
essence, and yet it did not hesitate to be duly mindful, as it ought to be, of the extent of its
of the Judiciary which shall be submitted within seventy (70) days from August 7, 1980 to
coverage before enacting Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
provide the President sufficient options for the reorganization of the entire Judiciary which shall
embrace all lower courts, including the Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the City 3. There is no denying, therefore, the need for "institutional reforms," characterized in the Report
and Municipal Courts, and all Special Courts, but excluding the Sandigan Bayan." 13 On October as "both pressing and urgent." 21 It is worth noting, likewise, as therein pointed out, that a major
17, 1980, a Report was submitted by such Committee on Judicial Reorganization. It began with reorganization of such scope, if it were to take place, would be the most thorough after four
this paragraph: "The Committee on Judicial Reorganization has the honor to submit the following generations. 22 The reference was to the basic Judiciary Act generations . enacted in June of
Report. It expresses at the outset its appreciation for the opportunity accorded it to study ways 1901, 23 amended in a significant way, only twice previous to the Commonwealth. There was, of
and means for what today is a basic and urgent need, nothing less than the restructuring of the course, the creation of the Court of Appeals in 1935, originally composed "of a Presiding Judge
judicial system. There are problems, both grave and pressing, that call for remedial measures. and ten appellate Judges, who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines, with the
The felt necessities of the time, to borrow a phrase from Holmes, admit of no delay, for if no step consent of the Commission on Appointments of the National Assembly, 24 It could "sit en banc,
be taken and at the earliest opportunity, it is not too much to say that the people's faith in the but it may sit in two divisions, one of six and another of five Judges, to transact business, and
administration of justice could be shaken. It is imperative that there be a greater efficiency in the the two divisions may sit at the same time." 25 Two years after the establishment of
disposition of cases and that litigants, especially those of modest means — much more so, the independence of the Republic of the Philippines, the Judiciary Act of 1948 26 was passed. It
poorest and the humblest — can vindicate their rights in an expeditious and inexpensive continued the existing system of regular inferior courts, namely, the Court of Appeals, Courts of
manner. The rectitude and the fairness in the way the courts operate must be manifest to all First Instance, 27 the Municipal Courts, at present the City Courts, and the Justice of the Peace
members of the community and particularly to those whose interests are affected by the exercise Courts, now the Municipal Circuit Courts and Municipal Courts. The membership of the Court of
of their functions. It is to that task that the Committee addresses itself and hopes that the plans Appeals has been continuously increased. 28 Under a 1978 Presidential Decree, there would be
submitted could be a starting point for an institutional reform in the Philippine judiciary. The forty-five members, a Presiding Justice and forty-four Associate Justices, with fifteen divisions. 29
experience of the Supreme Court, which since 1973 has been empowered to supervise inferior Special courts were likewise created. The first was the Court of Tax Appeals in 1954, 30 next
courts, from the Court of Appeals to the municipal courts, has proven that reliance on improved came the Court of Agrarian Relations in 1955, 31 and then in the same year a Court of the
court management as well as training of judges for more efficient administration does not suffice. Juvenile and Domestic Relations for Manila in 1955, 32 subsequently followed by the creation of
I hence, to repeat, there is need for a major reform in the judicial so stem it is worth noting that it two other such courts for Iloilo and Quezon City in 1966. 33 In 1967, Circuit Criminal Courts were
will be the first of its kind since the Judiciary Act became effective on June 16, 1901." 14 I t went established, with the Judges having the same qualifications, rank, compensation, and privileges
to say: "I t does not admit of doubt that the last two decades of this century are likely to be as judges of Courts of First Instance. 34
attended with problems of even greater complexity and delicacy. New social interests are
4. After the submission of such Report, Cabinet Bill No. 42, which later became the basis of
pressing for recognition in the courts. Groups long inarticulate, primarily those economically
Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, was introduced. After setting forth the background as above
underprivileged, have found legal spokesmen and are asserting grievances previously ignored.
narrated, its Explanatory Note continues: "Pursuant to the President's instructions, this proposed
Fortunately, the judicially has not proved inattentive. Its task has thus become even more
legislation has been drafted in accordance with the guidelines of that report with particular
formidable. For so much grist is added to the mills of justice. Moreover, they are likewise to be
attention to certain objectives of the reorganization, to wit, the attainment of more efficiency in
quite novel. The need for an innovative approach is thus apparent. The national leadership, as is
disposal of cases, a reallocation of jurisdiction, and a revision of procedures which do not tend to
well-known, has been constantly on the search for solutions that will prove to be both acceptable
the proper meeting out of justice. In consultation with, and upon a consensus of, the
and satisfactory. Only thus may there be continued national progress." 15 After which comes: "To
governmental and parliamentary leadership, however, it was felt that some options set forth in
be less abstract, the thrust is on development. That has been repeatedly stressed — and rightly
the Report be not availed of. Instead of the proposal to confine the jurisdiction of the
so. All efforts are geared to its realization. Nor, unlike in the past, was it to b "considered as
intermediate appellate court merely to appellate adjudication, the preference has been opted to
simply the movement towards economic progress and growth measured in terms of sustained
increase rather than diminish its jurisdiction in order to enable it to effectively assist the Supreme
increases in per capita income and Gross National Product (GNP). 16 For the New Society, its
Court. This preference has been translated into one of the innovations in the proposed Bill." 35 In
implication goes further than economic advance, extending to "the sharing, or more
accordance with the parliamentary procedure, the Bill was sponsored by the Chairman of the
appropriately, the democratization of social and economic opportunities, the substantiation of the
Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Good Government to which it was referred. judicial districts, the Ninth Judicial District, and establishes an entirely new district comprising
Thereafter, Committee Report No. 225 was submitted by such Committee to the Batasang Manila and the provinces of Rizal and Palawan, is valid and constitutional. This conclusion flows
Pambansa recommending the approval with some amendments. In the sponsorship speech of from the fundamental proposition that the legislature may abolish courts inferior to the Supreme
Minister Ricardo C. Puno, there was reference to the Presidential Committee on Judicial Court and therefore may reorganize them territorially or otherwise thereby necessitating new
Reorganization. Thus: "On October 17, 1980, the Presidential Committee on Judicial appointments and commissions. Section 2, Article VIII of the Constitution vests in the National
Reorganization submitted its report to the President which contained the 'Proposed Guidelines Assembly the power to define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts,
for Judicial Reorganization.' Cabinet Bill No. 42 was drafted substantially in accordance with the subject to certain limitations in the case of the Supreme Court. It is admitted that section 9 of the
options presented by these guidelines. Some options set forth in the aforesaid report were not same article of the Constitution provides for the security of tenure of all the judges. The
availed of upon consultation with and upon consensus of the government and parliamentary principles embodied in these two sections of the same article of the Constitution must be
leadership. Moreover, some amendments to the bill were adopted by the Committee on Justice, coordinated and harmonized. A mere enunciation of a principle will not decide actual cases and
Human Rights and Good Government, to which The bill was referred, following the public controversies of every sort. (Justice Holmes in Lochner vs. New York, 198 U.S., 45; 49 Law. ed;
hearings on the bill held in December of 1980. The hearings consisted of dialogues with the 937)" 44 justice Laurel continued: "I am not insensible to the argument that the National
distinguished members of the bench and the bar who had submitted written proposals, Assembly may abuse its power and move deliberately to defeat the constitutional provision
suggestions, and position papers on the bill upon the invitation of the Committee on Justice, guaranteeing security of tenure to all judges, But, is this the case? One need not share the view
Human Rights and Good Government." 36 Stress was laid by the sponsor that the enactment of of Story, Miller and Tucker on the one hand, or the opinion of Cooley, Watson and Baldwin on
such Cabinet Bill would, firstly, result in the attainment of more efficiency in the disposal of the other, to realize that the application of a legal or constitutional principle is necessarily factual
cases. Secondly, the improvement in the quality of justice dispensed by the courts is expected and circumstantial and that fixity of principle is the rigidity of the dead and the unprogressive. I
as a necessary consequence of the easing of the court's dockets. Thirdly, the structural changes do say, and emphatically, however, that cases may arise where the violation of the constitutional
introduced in the bill, together with the reallocation of jurisdiction and the revision of the rules of provision regarding security of tenure is palpable and plain, and that legislative power of
procedure, are designated to suit the court system to the exigencies of the present day reorganization may be sought to cloak an unconstitutional and evil purpose. When a case of that
Philippine society, and hopefully, of the foreseeable future." 37 it may be observed that the kind arises, it will be the time to make the hammer fall and heavily. But not until then. I am
volume containing the minutes of the proceedings of the Batasang Pambansa show that 590 satisfied that, as to the particular point here discussed, the purpose was the fulfillment of what
pages were devoted to its discussion. It is quite obvious that it took considerable time and effort was considered a great public need by the legislative department and that Commonwealth Act
as well as exhaustive study before the act was signed by the President on August 14, 1981. No. 145 was not enacted purposely to affect adversely the tenure of judges or of any particular
With such a background, it becomes quite manifest how lacking in factual basis is the allegation judge. Under these circumstances, I am for sustaining the power of the legislative department
that its enactment is tainted by the vice of arbitrariness. What appears undoubted and under the Constitution. To be sure, there was greater necessity for reorganization consequent
undeniable is the good faith that characterized its enactment from its inception to the affixing of upon the establishment of the new government than at the time Acts Nos. 2347 and 4007 were
the Presidential signature. approved by the defunct Philippine Legislature, and although in the case of these two Acts there
was an express provision providing for the vacation by the judges of their offices whereas in the
5. Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the competence of
case of Commonwealth Act No. 145 doubt is engendered by its silence, this doubt should be
a legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. The ponencia of Justice J.B.L.
resolved in favor of the valid exercise of the legislative power." 45
Reyes in Cruz v. Primicias, Jr. 38 reiterated such a doctrine: "We find this point urged by
respondents, to be without merit. No removal or separation of petitioners from the service is here 6. A few more words on the question of abolition. In the above-cited opinion of Justice Laurel in
involved, but the validity of the abolition of their offices. This is a legal issue that is for the Courts Zandueta, reference was made to Act No. 2347 46 on the reorganization of the Courts of First
to decide. It is well-known rule also that valid abolition of offices is neither removal nor Instance and to Act No. 4007 47 on the reorganization of all branches of the government,
separation of the incumbents. ... And, of course, if the abolition is void, the incumbent is deemed including the courts of first instance. In both of them, the then Courts of First Instance were
never to have ceased to hold office. The preliminary question laid at rest, we pass to the merits replaced by new courts with the same appellation. As Justice Laurel pointed out, there was no
of the case. As well-settled as the rule that the abolition of an office does not amount to an illegal question as to the fact of abolition. He was equally categorical as to Commonwealth Act No.
removal of its incumbent is the principle that, in order to be valid, the abolition must be made in 145, where also the system of the courts of first instance was provided for expressly. It was
good faith." 39 The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Bendanillo, Sr. v. Provincial pointed out by Justice Laurel that the mere creation of an entirely new district of the same court
Governor, 40 two earlier cases enunciating a similar doctrine having preceded it. 41 As with the is valid and constitutional. such conclusion flowing "from the fundamental proposition that the
offices in the other branches of the government, so it is with the judiciary. The test remains legislature may abolish courts inferior to the Supreme Court and therefore may reorganize them
whether the abolition is in good faith. As that element is conspicuously present in the enactment territorially or otherwise thereby necessitating new appointments and commissions." 48 The
of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, then the lack of merit of this petition becomes even more challenged statute creates an intermediate appellate court, 49 regional trial courts, 50 metropolitan
apparent. The concurring opinion of Justice Laurel in Zandueta v. De la Costa 42 cannot be any trial courts of the national capital region, 51 and other metropolitan trial courts, 52 municipal trial
clearer. This is a quo warranto proceeding filed by petitioner, claiming that he, and not courts in cities, 53 as well as in municipalities, 54 and municipal circuit trial courts. 55 There is even
respondent, was entitled to he office of judge of the Fifth Branch of the Court of First Instance of less reason then to doubt the fact that existing inferior courts were abolished. For the Batasang
Manila. There was a Judicial Reorganization Act in 1936, 43 a year after the inauguration of the Pambansa, the establishment of such new inferior courts was the appropriate response to the
Commonwealth, amending the Administrative Code to organize courts of original jurisdiction grave and urgent problems that pressed for solution. Certainly, there could be differences of
known as the Courts of First Instance Prior to such statute, petitioner was the incumbent of such opinion as to the appropriate remedy. The choice, however, was for the Batasan to make, not for
branch. Thereafter, he received an ad interim appointment, this time to the Fourth Judicial this Court, which deals only with the question of power. It bears mentioning that in Brillo v.
District, under the new legislation. Unfortunately for him, the Commission on Appointments of Eñage 56 this Court, in an unanimous opinion penned by the late Justice Diokno, citing Zandueta
then National Assembly disapproved the same, with respondent being appointed in his place. He v. De la Costa, ruled: "La segunda question que el recurrrido plantea es que la Carta de
contested the validity of the Act insofar as it resulted in his being forced to vacate his position Tacloban ha abolido el puesto. Si efectivamente ha sido abolido el cargo, entonces ha quedado
This Court did not rule squarely on the matter. His petition was dismissed on the ground of extinguido el derecho de recurente a ocuparlo y a cobrar el salario correspodiente. Mc Culley vs.
estoppel. Nonetheless, the separate concurrence of Justice Laurel in the result reached, to State, 46 LRA, 567. El derecho de un juez de desempenarlo hasta los 70 años de edad o se
repeat, reaffirms in no uncertain terms the standard of good faith to preclude any doubt as to the incapacite no priva al Congreso de su facultad de abolir, fusionar o reorganizar juzgados no
abolition of an inferior court, with due recognition of the security of tenure guarantee. Thus: " I constitucionales." 57 Nonetheless, such well-established principle was not held applicable to the
am of the opinion that Commonwealth Act No. 145 in so far as it reorganizes, among other situation there obtaining, the Charter of Tacloban City creating a city court in place of the former
justice of the peace court. Thus: "Pero en el caso de autos el Juzgado de Tacloban no ha sido Section 7 of the Constitution. There was a similar provision in the 1935 Constitution. It did not,
abolido. Solo se le ha cambiado el nombre con el cambio de forma del gobierno local." 58 The however, go as far as conferring on this Tribunal the power to supervise administratively inferior
present case is anything but that. Petitioners did not and could not prove that the challenged courts. 75 Moreover, this Court is em powered "to discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a
statute was not within the bounds of legislative authority. vote of at least eight members, order their dismissal." 76 Thus it possesses the competence to
remove judges. Under the Judiciary Act, it was the President who was vested with such power.
7. This opinion then could very well stop at this point. The implementation of Batas Pambansa 77
Removal is, of course, to be distinguished from termination by virtue of the abolition of the
Blg. 129, concededly a task incumbent on the Executive, may give rise, however, to questions
office. There can be no tenure to a non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no
affecting a judiciary that should be kept independent. The all-embracing scope of the assailed
occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his
legislation as far as all inferior courts from the Courts of Appeals to municipal courts are
position. It is in that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment
concerned, with the exception solely of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals 59 gave
of security of tenure does not arise. Nonetheless, for the incumbents of inferior courts abolished,
rise, and understandably so, to misgivings as to its effect on such cherished Ideal. The first
the effect is one of separation. As to its effect, no distinction exists between removal and the
paragraph of the section on the transitory provision reads: "The provisions of this Act shall be
abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid of significance. He ceases to be a member of the
immediately carried out in accordance with an Executive Order to be issued by the President.
judiciary. In the implementation of the assailed legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance
The Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and
with accepted principles of constitutional construction that as far as incumbent justices and
Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal
judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and that its view be accorded the fullest
Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to function as presently constituted and
consideration. No fear need be entertained that there is a failure to accord respect to the basic
organized, until the completion of the reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the
principle that this Court does not render advisory opinions. No question of law is involved. If such
President. Upon such declaration, the said courts shall be deemed automatically abolished and
were the case, certainly this Court could not have its say prior to the action taken by either of the
the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold the office." 60 There is all the more reason then why
two departments. Even then, it could do so but only by way of deciding a case where the matter
this Court has no choice but to inquire further into the allegation by petitioners that the security of
has been put in issue. Neither is there any intrusion into who shall be appointed to the vacant
tenure provision, an assurance of a judiciary free from extraneous influences, is thereby reduced
positions created by the reorganization. That remains in the hands of the Executive to whom it
to a barren form of words. The amended Constitution adheres even more clearly to the long-
properly belongs. There is no departure therefore from the tried and tested ways of judicial
established tradition of a strong executive that antedated the 1935 Charter. As noted in the work
power, Rather what is sought to be achieved by this liberal interpretation is to preclude any
of former Vice-Governor Hayden, a noted political scientist, President Claro M. Recto of the
plausibility to the charge that in the exercise of the conceded power of reorganizing tulle inferior
1934 Convention, in his closing address, in stressing such a concept, categorically spoke of
courts, the power of removal of the present incumbents vested in this Tribunal is ignored or
providing "an executive power which, subject to the fiscalization of the Assembly, and of public
disregarded. The challenged Act would thus be free from any unconstitutional taint, even one not
opinion, will not only know how to govern, but will actually govern, with a firm and steady hand,
readily discernidble except to those predisposed to view it with distrust. Moreover, such a
unembarrassed by vexatious interferences by other departments, or by unholy alliances with this
construction would be in accordance with the basic principle that in the choice of alternatives
and that social group." 61 The above excerpt was cited with approval by Justice Laurel in Planas
between one which would save and another which would invalidate a statute, the former is to be
v. Gil. 62 Moreover, under the 1981 Amendments, it may be affirmed that once again the principle
preferred. 78 There is an obvious way to do so. The principle that the Constitution enters into and
of separation of powers, to quote from the same jurist as ponente in Angara v. Electoral
forms part of every act to avoid any constitutional taint must be applied Nuñez v.
Commission, 63 "obtains not through express provision but by actual division." 64 The president,
Sandiganbayan, 79 promulgated last January, has this relevant excerpt: "It is true that other
under Article VII, shall be the head of state and chief executive of the Republic of the
Sections of the Decree could have been so worded as to avoid any constitutional objection. As
Philippines." 65 Moreover, it is equally therein expressly provided that all the powers he
of now, however, no ruling is called for. The view is given expression in the concurring and
possessed under the 1935 Constitution are once again vested in him unless the Batasang
dissenting opinion of Justice Makasiar that in such a case to save the Decree from the direct fate
Pambansa provides otherwise." 66 Article VII of the 1935 Constitution speaks categorically: "The
of invalidity, they must be construed in such a way as to preclude any possible erosion on the
Executive power shall be vested in a President of the Philippines." 67 As originally framed, the
powers vested in this Court by the Constitution. That is a proposition too plain to be committed. It
1973 Constitution created the position of President as the "symbolic head of state." 68 In addition,
commends itself for approval." 80 Nor would such a step be unprecedented. The Presidential
there was a provision for a Prime Minister as the head of government exercising the executive
Decree constituting Municipal Courts into Municipal Circuit Courts, specifically provides: "The
power with the assistance of the Cabinet 69 Clearly, a modified parliamentary system was
Supreme Court shall carry out the provisions of this Decree through implementing orders, on a
established. In the light of the 1981 amendments though, this Court in Free Telephone Workers
province-to-province basis." 81 It is true there is no such provision in this Act, but the spirit that
Union v. Minister of Labor 70 could state: "The adoption of certain aspects of a parliamentary
informs it should not be ignored in the Executive Order contemplated under its Section 44. 82
system in the amended Constitution does not alter its essentially presidential character." 71 The
Thus Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 could stand the most rigorous test of constitutionality. 83
retention, however, of the position of the Prime Minister with the Cabinet, a majority of the
members of which shall come from the regional representatives of the Batasang Pambansa and 9. Nor is there anything novel in the concept that this Court is called upon to reconcile or
the creation of an Executive Committee composed of the Prime Minister as Chairman and not harmonize constitutional provisions. To be specific, the Batasang Pambansa is expressly vested
more than fourteen other members at least half of whom shall be members of the Batasang with the authority to reorganize inferior courts and in the process to abolish existing ones. As
Pambansa, clearly indicate the evolving nature of the system of government that is now noted in the preceding paragraph, the termination of office of their occupants, as a necessary
operative. 72 What is equally apparent is that the strongest ties bind the executive and legislative consequence of such abolition, is hardly distinguishable from the practical standpoint from
departments. It is likewise undeniable that the Batasang Pambansa retains its full authority to removal, a power that is now vested in this Tribunal. It is of the essence of constitutionalism to
enact whatever legislation may be necessary to carry out national policy as usually formulated in assure that neither agency is precluded from acting within the boundaries of its conceded
a caucus of the majority party. It is understandable then why in Fortun v. Labang 73 it was competence. That is why it has long been well-settled under the constitutional system we have
stressed that with the provision transferring to the Supreme Court administrative supervision adopted that this Court cannot, whenever appropriate, avoid the task of reconciliation. As Justice
over the Judiciary, there is a greater need "to preserve unimpaired the independence of the Laurel put it so well in the previously cited Angara decision, while in the main, "the Constitution
judiciary, especially so at present, where to all intents and purposes, there is a fusion between has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the
the executive and the legislative branches." 74 legislative and the judicial departments of the government, the overlapping and interlacing of
functions and duties between the several departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to
8. To be more specific, petitioners contend that the abolition of the existing inferior courts
say just where the one leaves off and the other begins." 84 It is well to recall another classic
collides with the security of tenure enjoyed by incumbent Justices and judges under Article X,
utterance from the same jurist, even more emphatic in its affirmation of such a view, moreover
buttressed by one of those insights for which Holmes was so famous "The classical separation is insensible to his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. 95 In the
of government powers, whether viewed in the light of the political philosophy of Aristotle, Locke, meanwhile, the existing inferior courts affected continue functioning as before, "until the
or Motesquieu or of the postulations of Mabini, Madison, or Jefferson, is a relative theory of completion of the reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such
government. There is more truism and actuality in interdependence than in independence and declaration, the said courts shall be deemed automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof
separation of powers, for as observed by Justice Holmes in a case of Philippine origin, we shall cease to hold office." 96 There is no ambiguity. The incumbents of the courts thus
cannot lay down 'with mathematical precision and divide the branches into water-tight automatically abolished "shall cease to hold office." No fear need be entertained by incumbents
compartments' not only because 'the great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and whose length of service, quality of performance, and clean record justify their being named
divide fields of black and white but also because 'even the more specific of them are found to anew, 97 in legal contemplation without any interruption in the continuity of their service. 98 It is
terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other.'" 85 This too from equally reasonable to assume that from the ranks of lawyers, either in the government service,
Justice Tuazon, likewise expressing with force and clarity why the need for reconciliation or private practice, or law professors will come the new appointees. In the event that in certain
balancing is well-nigh unavodiable under the fundamental principle of separation of powers: "The cases a little more time is necessary in the appraisal of whether or not certain incumbents
constitutional structure is a complicated system, and overlappings of governmental functions are deserve reappointment, it is not from their standpoint undesirable. Rather, it would be a
recognized, unavoidable, and inherent necessities of governmental coordination." 86 In the same reaffirmation of the good faith that will characterize its implementation by the Executive. There is
way that the academe has noted the existence in constitutional litigation of right versus right, pertinence to this observation of Justice Holmes that even acceptance of the generalization that
there are instances, and this is one of them, where, without this attempt at harmonizing the courts ordinarily should not supply omissions in a law, a generalization qualified as earlier shown
provisions in question, there could be a case of power against power. That we should avoid. by the principle that to save a statute that could be done, "there is no canon against using
common sense in construing laws as saying what they obviously mean." 99 Where then is the
10. There are other objections raised but they pose no difficulty. Petitioners would characterize
unconstitutional flaw
as an undue delegation of legislative power to the President the grant of authority to fix the
compensation and the allowances of the Justices and judges thereafter appointed. A more 11. On the morning of the hearing of this petition on September 8, 1981, petitioners sought to
careful reading of the challenged Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 ought to have cautioned them have the writer of this opinion and Justices Ramon C. Aquino and Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera
against raising such an issue. The language of the statute is quite clear. The questioned disqualified because the first-named was the chairman and the other two, members of the
provisions reads as follows: "Intermediate Appellate Justices, Regional Trial Judges, Committee on Judicial Reorganization. At the hearing, the motion was denied. It was made clear
Metropolitan Trial Judges, municipal Trial Judges, and Municipal Circuit Trial Judges shall then and there that not one of the three members of the Court had any hand in the framing or in
receive such receive such compensation and allowances as may be authorized by the President the discussion of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. They were not consulted. They did not testify. The
along the guidelines set forth in Letter of Implementation No. 93 pursuant to Presidential Decree challenged legislation is entirely the product of the efforts of the legislative body. 100 Their work
No. 985, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597." 87 The existence of a standard is thus was limited, as set forth in the Executive Order, to submitting alternative plan for reorganization.
clear. The basic postulate that underlies the doctrine of non-delegation is that it is the legislative That is more in the nature of scholarly studies. That the undertook. There could be no possible
body which is entrusted with the competence to make laws and to alter and repeal them, the test objection to such activity. Ever since 1973, this Tribunal has had administrative supervision over
being the completeness of the statue in all its terms and provisions when enacted. As pointed interior courts. It has had the opportunity to inform itself as to the way judicial business is
out in Edu v. Ericta: 88 "To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there must be a standard, which conducted and how it may be improved. Even prior to the 1973 Constitution, it is the recollection
implies at the very least that the legislature itself determines matters of principle and lays down of the writer of this opinion that either the then Chairman or members of the Committee on
fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge of complete abdication may be hard to repel. A Justice of the then Senate of the Philippines 101 consulted members of the Court in drafting
standard thus defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies proposed legislation affecting the judiciary. It is not inappropriate to cite this excerpt from an
the public agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative command article in the 1975 Supreme Court Review: "In the twentieth century the Chief Justice of the
is to be effected. It is the criterion by which legislative purpose may be carried out. Thereafter, United States has played a leading part in judicial reform. A variety of conditions have been
the executive or administrative office designated may in pursuance of the above guidelines responsible for the development of this role, and foremost among them has been the creation of
promulgate supplemental rules and regulations. The standard may be either express or implied. explicit institutional structures designed to facilitate reform." 102 Also: "Thus the Chief Justice
If the former, the non-delegation objection is easily met. The standard though does not have to cannot avoid exposure to and direct involvement in judicial reform at the federal level and, to the
be spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the policy and purpose of the act considered extent issues of judicial federalism arise, at the state level as well." 103
as a whole." 89 The undeniably strong links that bind the executive and legislative departments
12. It is a cardinal article of faith of our constitutional regime that it is the people who are
under the amended Constitution assure that the framing of policies as well as their
endowed with rights, to secure which a government is instituted. Acting as it does through public
implementation can be accomplished with unity, promptitude, and efficiency. There is accuracy,
officials, it has to grant them either expressly or impliedly certain powers. Those they exercise
therefore, to this observation in the Free Telephone Workers Union decision: "There is
not for their own benefit but for the body politic. The Constitution does not speak in the language
accordingly more receptivity to laws leaving to administrative and executive agencies the
of ambiguity: "A public office is a public trust." 104 That is more than a moral adjuration It is a
adoption of such means as may be necessary to effectuate a valid legislative purpose. It is worth
legal imperative. The law may vest in a public official certain rights. It does so to enable them to
noting that a highly-respected legal scholar, Professor Jaffe, as early as 1947, could speak of
perform his functions and fulfill his responsibilities more efficiently. It is from that standpoint that
delegation as the 'dynamo of modern government.'" 90 He warned against a "restrictive
the security of tenure provision to assure judicial independence is to be viewed. It is an added
approach" which could be "a deterrent factor to much-needed legislation." 91 Further on this point
guarantee that justices and judges can administer justice undeterred by any fear of reprisal or
from the same opinion" "The spectre of the non-delegation concept need not haunt, therefore,
untoward consequence. Their judgments then are even more likely to be inspired solely by their
party caucuses, cabinet sessions or legislative chambers." 92 Another objection based on the
knowledge of the law and the dictates of their conscience, free from the corrupting influence of
absence in the statue of what petitioners refer to as a "definite time frame limitation" is equally
base or unworthy motives. The independence of which they are assured is impressed with a
bereft of merit. They ignore the categorical language of this provision: "The Supreme Court shall
significance transcending that of a purely personal right. As thus viewed, it is not solely for their
submit to the President, within thirty (30) days from the date of the effectivity of this act, a
welfare. The challenged legislation Thus subject d to the most rigorous scrutiny by this Tribunal,
staffing pattern for all courts constituted pursuant to this Act which shall be the basis of the
lest by lack of due care and circumspection, it allow the erosion of that Ideal so firmly embedded
implementing order to be issued by the President in accordance with the immediately
in the national consciousness There is this farther thought to consider. independence in thought
succeeding section." 93 The first sentence of the next section is even more categorical: "The
and action necessarily is rooted in one's mind and heart. As emphasized by former Chief Justice
provisions of this Act shall be immediately carried out in accordance with an Executive Order to
Paras in Ocampo v. Secretary of Justice, 105 there is no surer guarantee of judicial independence
be issued by the President." 94 Certainly petitioners cannot be heard to argue that the President
than the God-given character and fitness of those appointed to the Bench. The judges may be Fider designated and subsequently appointed, as Assistant Hospital Administrator private
guaranteed a fixed tenure of office during good behavior, but if they are of such stuff as allows respondent Dr. Mackay, a Resident Physician in said hospital. Petitioner, Dr. Medalla, Jr.,
them to be subservient to one administration after another, or to cater to the wishes of one protested Dr. Mackay's designation and subsequent appointment alleging among others that, as
litigant after another, the independence of the judiciary will be nothing more than a myth or an Chief of Clinics, he (Medalla) was next-in-rank. The then Acting City Mayor Virgilio P. Robles,
empty Ideal. Our judges, we are confident, can be of the type of Lord Coke, regardless or in who succeeded former Mayor, now Assemblyman Alejandro A. Fider, in his 4th Indorsement
spite of the power of Congress — we do not say unlimited but as herein exercised — to dated September 20, 1978, sustained Mackay's appointment stating:
reorganize inferior courts." 106 That is to recall one of the greatest Common Law jurists, who at
... as of April 18, 1978 when Dr. Honorato G. Mackay was promoted to
the cost of his office made clear that he would not just blindly obey the King's order but "will do
Assistant Hospital Administrator from his previous position of Resident
what becomes [him] as a judge." So it was pointed out in the first leading case stressing the
Physician, he was next in rank to the said higher position by reason of his
independence of the judiciary, Borromeo v. Mariano, 107 The ponencia of Justice Malcolm
having completed all academic requirements for the Certificate in Hospital
Identified good judges with "men who have a mastery of the principles of law, who discharge
Administration ... contrary to the claim of Dr. Eustaquio Medalla, Jr. in his
their duties in accordance with law, who are permitted to perform the duties of the office
letter of May 2, 1978.
undeterred by outside influence, and who are independent and self-respecting human units in a
judicial system equal and coordinate to the other two departments of government." 108 There is xxx xxx xxx
no reason to assume that the failure of this suit to annul Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 would be
attended with deleterious consequences to the administration of justice. It does not follow that Dissatisfied, Medalla elevated his case to the Civil Service Commission on appeal. On
December 29, 1978, the Civil Service Merit Systems Board issued Resolution No. 49 sustaining
the abolition in good faith of the existing inferior courts except the Sandiganbayan and the Court
of Tax Appeals and the creation of new ones will result in a judiciary unable or unwilling to Medalla's appeal and revoking Mackay's appointment as Assistant Hospital Administrator. The
discharge with independence its solemn duty or one recreant to the trust reposed in it. Nor pertinent portion of the aforestated Resolution reads:
should there be any fear that less than good faith will attend the exercise be of the appointing A perusal of the records shows that appellant Medalla is the Chief of Clinics
power vested in the Executive. It cannot be denied that an independent and efficient judiciary is of the Caloocan City General Hospital; he is a holder of the Degree of
something to the credit of any administration. Well and truly has it been said that the Doctor of Medicine; he has completed the requirements in Hospital
fundamental principle of separation of powers assumes, and justifiably so, that the three Administration and is recommended for the title of Certificate in Hospital
departments are as one in their determination to pursue the Ideals and aspirations and to Administration; he is also a candidate of a Masters degree in Hospital
fulfilling the hopes of the sovereign people as expressed in the Constitution. There is wisdom as Administration He possesses the First Grade eligibility (BA 1080) and had
well as validity to this pronouncement of Justice Malcolm in Manila Electric Co. v. Pasay undergone relevant training in Hospital Administration. His performance
Transportation Company, 109 a decision promulgated almost half a century ago: "Just as the rating is 'Very Satisfactory'.
Supreme Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction usurpations by any
other department or the government, so should it as strictly confine its own sphere of influence On the other hand, appellee Mackay had been a Resident Physician, the
to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act." 110 To that basic position he held prior to his promotion to the contested position. He is a
postulate underlying our constitutional system, this Court remains committed. holder of the degree of Doctor of Medicine and is a First Grade eligible (BA
1080-Medical Board). He is a graduate student in Hospital Administration
WHEREFORE, the unconstitutionality of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 not having been shown, this and as completed all academic requirements for a certificate in Hospital
petition is dismissed. No costs. Administration. His performance rating is "Very Satisfactory".
Makasiar and Escolin, JJ., concur. A perusal of the organizational chart of the Ospital ng Caloocan approved
Concepcion, Jr., concur in the result. by the Hospital Administrator would show that the Chief of Clinics is the next
lower position to the Assistant Hospital Administrator. The Resident
Physician is not a next lower position to the Assistant Hospital
Administrator. Therefore, Medalla and not Mackay is the person next in rank
who may be promoted to the position involved.
.R. No. L-54554 March 30, 1981 Moreover, even on the basis of competence and qualifications to perform
EUSTAQUIO M. MEDALLA, JR., petitioner, the duties of the position, the records show that Dr. Medalla is more
vs. competent and qualified than Dr. Mackay. The qualification relied upon by
THE HONORABLE MARCELINO N. SAYO, Judge of the CFI of Rizal, Branch XXXIII and the Acting City Mayor in justifying the appointment of Dr. Mackay which is
HONORATO G. MACKAY, acting Hospital Administrator of the Caloocan City General his having completed the academic requirements for the Certificate in
Hospital and the CITY MAYOR OF CALOOCAN, respondents. Hospital Administration does not give Dr. Mackay the advantage inasmuch
as Dr. Medalla has also completed the academic requirements for a
certificate in Hospital Administration and is recommended for a title of
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: Certificate in Hospital Administration apart from being also a candidate for a
Masters degree in Hospital Administration. 1
In this Petition for "Certiorari, mandamus and Prohibition", seeking the dismissal of Civil Case
No. C-7770 below, we have, as factual background, the following: xxx xxx xxx
Petitioner, Dr. Eustaquio M. Medalla, Jr., is the Chief of Clinics of the Caloocan City General Upon automatic review by the Office of the President, pursuant to section 19(6), PD No. 807,
Hospital, Caloocan City. Private respondent,, Dr. Honorato G. Mackay was the Resident Presidential Executive Assistant Jacobo C. Clave rendered a Decision on April 24, 1979
Physician thereat. declaring that:
When the position of Assistant, hospital Administrator of the Caloocan City General Hospital WHEREFORE, premises considered, and as recommended by Civil Service
became vacant upon the resignation of the incumbent, former Caloocan City Mayor Alejandro A. Commission, the appointment of Dr. Honorato G. Mackay as Assistant
Hospital Administrator in the Caloocan City General Hospital is hereby non- exhaustion of administrative remedies resulting to
revoked and the position awarded in favor of appellant Dr. Eustaquio M. a lack of cause of action;
Medalla. 2
2. Declaring the decision of the Office of the President
The Acting City Mayor, on behalf of Mackay, moved for reconsideration. (Annex "C") and the Merit Systems Board (Annex "E")
as valid and enforceable. 4
On May 7, 1979, totally disregarding the Decision of the Office of the President, the same Acting
City Mayor appointed Mackay, this time as Hospital Administrator, and designated Dr. Tantoco We issued a Restraining Order on August 27, 1980 enjoining respondents from proceeding with
as his Assistant, thereby again completely bypassing Medalla. Mackay took his oath of office on the case below.
May 7, 1979.
On November 7, 1980, we required petitioner Medalla to implead the Mayor of Caloocan City as
On June 27, 1979, however, the Civil Service Commission, acting on Medalla's protest, and party-respondent, and the latter to comment on the Petition and to state whether he is ready to
besides calling attention to the penal provision of P.D. No. 807, disapproved Mackay's issue an appointment to Medalla as Hospital Administrator, Medalla's rights thereto having been
appointment as follows: upheld by the Civil Service Merit Systems Board and by the Office of the President.
Wherefore, premises considered and finding the protest of Dr. Medalla in In his Compliance, Medalla included an additional prayer that the City Mayor of Caloocan be
order, the appointment of Dr. Mackay as hospital Administrator at P26,388 ordered to immediately appoint him as Hospital Administrator and to pay him salary differentials.
per annum effective May 7, 1979 is hereby disapproved. it is hereby ordered
In his Comment, the City Mayor of Caloocan invoked the privilege of an appointing authority to
that Dr. Medalla be appointed to the position of Hospital Administrator of the
determine who can best fulfill the functions of an office citing the case of Aguilar vs. Nieva, Jr. 5
Caloocan City General Hospital. 3
to that effect. And as to the matter of his readiness to issue an appointment to Medalla, he
On July 20, 1979, Mackay moved for reconsideration asserting 1) denial of due process of law manifested his preference to withhold action pending Mackay's unresolved Motion for
inasmuch as the contested Resolution/Decisions were issued ex-parte, and 2) that the Civil Reconsideration of the Decision of June 27, 1979 of the Civil Service Merit Systems Board.
Service Commission can not ignore nor overrule an appointment made by a City Executive.
Petitioner Medalla submits that the Trial Court erred in not dismissing Mackay's Petition before it,
Without awaiting the resolution of his Motion for Consideration- Mackay filed, on July 23, 1979, there being a clear showing of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, and that said Court
before tile Court of First Instance of Rizal, Caloocan City, presided by respondent, Judge, a was devoid of jurisdiction in reviewing on certiorari decisions of the Office of the President and of
Petition for "Certiorari, Prohibition and mandamus with Preliminary Injunction and Damages" civil the Civil service Commission rendered in the exercise of their quasi-judicial functions.
Case No. C7770) against Hon. Jacobo Clave, the Civil Service Commission, the Acting City
Private respondent Mackay takes the contrary view and prays, instead, that the contested
Mayor, the City Treasurer, and Medalla, praying that said respondents be restrained from
Decisions/Resolution be declared null and void and respondent Judge ordered to proceed with
implementing the Decision of Hon. Jacobo Clave of April 24, 1979, the Resolution No. 49 of the
the hearing of the case below.
Merit Systems Board dated December 29, 1978, and the Decision of the Civil Service
Commission of June 27, 1979. The Court a quo issued the Restraining Order prayed for on July Although Mackay's Motions for Reconsideration were, in fact, still pending resolution by Hon.
25, 1979 enjoining implementation of the aforestated Resolution/Decisions. Jacobo C. Clave and the Civil Service Commission, respectively, at the time private respondent
Mackay filed the Petition below, dismissal of said Petition can no longer be anchored on the
On August 2, 1979, Medalla moved to dissolve the Restraining Order and to dismiss the Petition
ground of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, as Medalla prays, considering that
alleging mainly that Mackay had not exhausted his administrative remedies and that the latter's
Manifestations dated August 17 and 23, 1979 filed by the said parties before the Court a quo
right to a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was not only dubious or debatable but was clearly non-
show that they had resolved the incidents adversely against Mackay. 6 That issue, therefore, has
existent. Hon. Jacobo Clave and the Civil Service Commission likewise filed a Motion to Dismiss
become moot and academic.
on the same ground of failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
In so far as jurisdiction of the Court below to review by certiorari decisions and/or resolutions of
On August 13, 1979, Mackay moved to suspend proceedings pending final resolution by the
the Civil Service Commission and of the Presidential Executive Assistant is concerned, there
Civil Service Commission of his Motion for the reconsideration of the Decision of said
should be no question but that the power of judicial review should be upheld. The following
Commission dated June 27, 1979.
rulings buttress this conclusion:
On September 24, 1979, the Trial Court denied both Motions to Dismiss filed by Medalla, on the
The objection to a judicial review of a Presidential act arises from a failure to
one hand, and Hon. Clave and the Civil Service Commission, on the other, holding that
recognize the most important principle in our system of government, i.e., the
Mackay's failure to await resolution of his Motions for Reconsideration pending before the Office
separation of powers into three coequal departments, the executive, the
of the President and the Civil Service Commission did not deprive him of a cause of action
legislative and the judicial, each supreme within its own assigned powers
besides the fact that according to the respective Manifestations of the said Offices, the Motions
and duties. When a presidential act is challenged before the courts of
for Reconsideration had already been resolved adversely against Mackay.
justice, it is not to be implied therefrom that the Executive is being made
Acting on Medalla's Motion for Reconsideration thereof as well as his Motion to Lift Restraining subject and subordinate to the courts. The legality of his acts are under
Order, the Court a quo, in its Order of July 15, 1980, denied reconsideration but lifted the judicial review, not because the Executive is inferior to the courts, but
Restraining Order "there being no showing that petitioner is entitled to the issuance of a Writ of because the law is above the Chief Executive himself, and the courts seek
Preliminary Injunction. " Respondent Judge then set the case for hearing. only to interpret, apply or implement it (the law). A judicial review of the
President's decision on a case of an employee decided by the Civil Service
At this juncture, Medalla instituted this Petition before us praying that the Court a quo be
Board of Appeals should be viewed in this light and the bringing of the case
restrained from proceeding with the hearing and that judgment be rendered as follows:
to the Courts should be governed by the same principles as govern the
1. Ordering the Honorable Marcelino N. Sayo, Judge of judicial review of all administrative acts of all administrative officers. 7
the Court of First Instance of Rizal Branch XXXIII,
The courts may always examine into the exercise of power by a ministerial
Caloocan City, to dismiss respondent Mackay's
officer to the extent of determining whether the particular power has been
petitions, on the ground of lack of jurisdiction and/or
granted to the officer, whether it is a legal power that could have been Respondent Mackay's urging that he was denied due process deserves scant consideration
granted to him, and whether it has been exercised in a legal manner. This considering that subsequent developsments in the case establish that he was heardon his
jurisdiction does not depend upon an act of the legislature authorizing it, but Motions for Reconsideration by both the Civil Service Commission and the office of the
inheres in the courts of general jurisdiction as an essential function of the President.
judicial department (State Racing Commission v. Latonia Agri. Asso. 123
It is true that, as the respondent City Mayor alleges, a local executive should be allowed the
SW 68 1). 8 (emphasis supplied).
choice of men of his confidence, provided they are qualified and elligible, who in his best
For the speedy determination of the controversy, however, and considering that the position estimation are possesses of the requisite reputation, integrity, knowledgeability, energy and
involved is infused with public interest, rather than remand the case to the Court below for judgement. 9 However, as reproduced heretofore, the Decision of the Civil Service Merit
further proceedings, we hold that grave abuse of discretion on the part of Hon. Jacobo C. Clave Systems Board, upheld by the Office of the President, contains a judicious assessment of the
and the Civil Service Merit Systems Board is absent. qualifications of both petitioner Medalla and private respondent Mackay for the contested
position, revealing a careful study of the controversy between the parties, which cannot be
To start with, under the Revised Charter of the City of Caloocan RA No. 5502), it is clear that the
ignored. The revocation of Mackay's appointment reveals no arbitrariness nor grave abuse of
power of appointment by the City Mayor of heads of offices entirely paid out of city funds is
discretion.
subject to Civil Service law, rules and regulations (ibid., section 19). The Caloocan City General
Hospital is one of the city departments provided for in the said law (ibid., sec. 17). The Hospital WHEREFORE, 1) the appointment extended to private respondent, Dr. Honorato C. Mackay, as
Administrator is appointed by the City Mayor (ibid., section 66-B). The Hospital Administrator is Hospital Administrator is hereby declared null and void; 2) respondent City Mayor of Caloocan
the head of the City General Hospital empowered to administer, direct, and coordinate all City is hereby ordered to extend an appointment to petitioner, Dr. Eustaquio M. Medalla, as
activities of the hospital to carry out its objectives as to the care of the sick and the injured (ibid.). Hospital Administrator of the Caloocan City General Hospital immediately upon notice of this
Decision; 3) petitioner, Dr. Eustaquio M. Medalla, shall receive all compensation and
Under section 19 (3) of the Civil Service Decree (PD No. 807, effective on October 6, 1975), the
emoluments appertaining to said position thenceforth, but without entitlement to salary
recruitment or selection of employees for promotions is drawn from the next-in-rank.
differentials; and 4) respondent Judge is hereby permanently enjoined from further proceeding
SEC. 19. Recruitment and Selection of Employees. — with Civil Case No. 7770.
xxx xxx xxx This Decision is immediately executory. No costs.
(3) When a vacancy occurs in a position in the second level of the Career SO ORDERED.
Service as defined in Section 7, the employees in the government service
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur,
who occupy the next lower positions i the occupational group under which
the vacant position is classified and in other functionally related
occupational groups and who are competent, qualified and with the
appropriate civil service eligibility shall be considered for promotion.
Section 19 (6) of the same Decree provides for the administrative procedure by an aggrieved G.R. No. L-30637 July 16, 1987
employee in case of non-observance by the appointing authority of the next-in-rank rule, thus: LIANGA BAY LOGGING, CO., INC., petitioner,
Sec. 19(6) A qualified next-in-rank employee shall have the right to appeal vs.
initially, to the department head and finally to the Office of the President an HON. MANUEL LOPEZ ENAGE, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch II of the
appointment made ... (2. in favor of one who is not next-in-rank, ... if the Court of First, Instance of Agusan, and AGO TIMBER CORPORATION, respondents.
employee making the appeal is not satisfied with the written special reason TEEHANKEE, C.J.:
or reasons given by the appointing authority for such appointment: ... Before
deciding a contested appointment the Office of the President shall consult The Court grants the petition for certiorari and prohibition and holds that respondent judge, absent
the Civil Service Commission. For purposes of this Section, .qualified next- any showing of grave abuse of discretion, has no competence nor authority to review anew the
in-rank' refers to an employee appointed on a permanent basis to a position decision in administrative proceedings of respondents public officials (director of forestry,
previously determined to be next-in- rank to the vacancy proposed to be secretary of agriculture and natural resources and assistant executive secretaries of the Office of
filled and who meets the requisites for appointment thereto as previously the President) in determining the correct boundary line of the licensed timber areas of the
determined by the appointing authority and approved by the Commission. contending parties. The Court reaffirms the established principle that findings of fact by an
administrative board or agency or official, following a hearing, are binding upon the courts and will
The prescribed procedure has been followed by petitioner Medalla He had appealed to the not be disturbed except where the board, agency and/or official(s) have gone beyond their
department head and from thence, in view of the latter's unfavorable action, to the Civil Service statutory authority, exercised unconstitutional powers or clearly acted arbitrarily and without regard
Commission and thereafter to the Office of the President. Resolution No. 49 of the Civil Service to their duty or with grave abuse of discretion.
Merit Systems Board its Decision of June 27, 1979, and the Decision of the presidential
Executive Assistant dated April 24, 1979, were all rendered in Medalla's favor. The special The parties herein are both forest concessionaries whose licensed areas are adjacent to each
reason given by the Acting City Mayor for Mackay's appointment, which is, that lie had other. The concession of petitioner Lianga Bay Logging Corporation Co., Inc. (hereinafter referred
completed all academic requirements for the Certificate of Hospital Administration, is not to as petitioner Lianga) as described in its Timber License Agreement No. 49, is located in the
tenable, since Medalla himself was found to be in possession of the same qualification. But while municipalities of Tago, Cagwait, Marihatag and Lianga, all in the Province of Surigao, consisting
the qualifications of both petitioner Medalla and private respondent Mackay are at par, yet, it is of 110,406 hectares, more or less, while that of respondent Ago Timber Corporation (hereinafter
clear that the position of Chief of Clinics is the next lower position to I hospital Administrator referred to as respondent Ago) granted under Ordinary Timber License No. 1323-60 [New] is
under the organizational line-up of the hospital. Consequently, at the time of Mackays located at Los Arcos and San Salvador, Province of Agusan, with an approximate area of 4,000
appointment as Assistant Hospital Administrator and subsequently hospital Administrator, hectares. It was a part of a forest area of 9,000 hectares originally licensed to one Narciso Lansang
Medalla outranked Mackay who was only a Resident Physician and, therefore, as the next-in under Ordinary Timber License No. 584-'52.
rank, Medalla is entitled to appointment as Hospital Administrator.
Since the concessions of petitioner and respondent are adjacent to each other, they have a the Ago Timber Corporation and the Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc., should be that indicated by the
common boundary-the Agusan-Surigao Provincial boundary-whereby the eastern boundary of green line on the same sketch which had been made an integral part of the appealed decision." 4
respondent Ago's concession is petitioner Lianga's western boundary. The western boundary of
Petitioner elevated the case to the Office of the President, where in a decision dated June 16,
petitioner Lianga is described as "... Corner 5, a point in the intersection of the Agusan-Surigao
1966, signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Jose J. Leido, Jr., the ruling of the then
Provincial boundary and Los Arcos-Lianga Road; thence following Agusan-Surigao Provincial
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources was affirmed. 5 On motion for reconsideration, the
boundary in a general northerly and northwesterly and northerly directions about 39,500 meters
Office of the President issued another decision dated August 9, 1968 signed by then Assistant
to Corner 6, a point at the intersection of the Agusan-Surigao Provincial boundary and Nalagdao
Executive Secretary Gilberto Duavit reversing and overturning the decision of the then Acting
Creek ..." The eastern boundary of respondent Ago's concession is described as "... point 4, along
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and affirming in toto and reinstating the decision,
the Agusan-Surigao boundary; thence following Agusan-Surigao boundary in a general
dated March 20, 1961, of the Director of Forestry. 6
southeasterly and southerly directions about 12,000 meters to point 5, a point along Los Arcos-
Lianga Road; ..." 1 Respondent Ago filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision dated August 9, 1968 of the
Office of the President but after written opposition of petitioner Lianga, the same was denied in an
Because of reports of encroachment by both parties on each other's concession areas, the
order dated October 2, 1968, signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Jose J. Leido, Jr. 7
Director of Forestry ordered a survey to establish on the ground the common boundary of their
respective concession areas. Forester Cipriano Melchor undertook the survey and fixed the On October 21, 1968, a new action was commenced by Ago Timber Corporation, as plaintiff, in
common boundary as "Corner 5 of Lianga Bay Logging Company at Km. 10.2 instead of Km. 9.7 the Court of First Instance of Agusan, Branch II, docketed thereat as Civil Case No. 1253, against
on the Lianga-Arcos Road and lines N900E, 21,000 meters; N12 W, 21,150 meters; N40 W, 3,000 Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc., Assistant Executive Secretaries Jose J. Leido, Jr. and Gilberto M.
meters; N31 W, 2,800 meters; N50 W, 1,700 meters" which respondent Ago protested claiming Duavit and Director of Forestry, as defendants, for "Determination of Correct Boundary Line of
that "its eastern boundary should be the provincial boundary line of Agusan-Surigao as described License Timber Areas and Damages with Preliminary Injunction" reiterating once more the same
in Section 1 of Art. 1693 of the Philippine Commission as indicated in the green pencil in the question raised and passed upon in DANR Case No. 2268 and insisting that "a judicial review of
attached sketch" of the areas as prepared by the Bureau of Forestry. 2 The Director of Forestry, such divergent administrative decisions is necessary in order to determine the correct boundary
after considering the evidence, found: fine of the licensed areas in question." 8
That the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation portrays a line (green line) far different As prayed for, respondent judge issued a temporary restraining order on October 28, 1968, on a
in alignment with the line (red) as indicated in the original License Control Map of this bond of P20,000, enjoining the defendants from carrying out the decision of the Office of the
Office; President. The corresponding writ was issued the next day, or on October 29, 1968. 9
That the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation (green line does not conform to the On November 10, 1968, defendant Lianga (herein petitioner) moved for dismissal of the complaint
distance of 6,800 meters from point 3 to point 4 of the original description of the area and for dissolution of the temporary restraining order on grounds that the complaint states no
of Narciso Lansang but would project said line to a distance of approximately 13,800 cause of action and that the court has no jurisdiction over the person of respondent public officials
meters; and respondent corporation. It also submitted its opposition to plaintiff's (herein respondent prayer
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. 10 A supplemental motion was filed on December
That to follow the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation would increase the area of
6, 1968. 11
Narciso Lansang from 9,000 to 12,360 hectares;
On December 19, 1968, the lower court issued an order denying petitioner Lianga's motion to
That to follow the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation would reduce the area of the
dismiss and granting the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by respondent Ago. 12 Lianga's
Lianga Bay Logging, Co., Inc. to 107,046 hectares instead of the area granted which
Motion for Reconsideration of the Order was denied on May 9, 1969. 13 Hence, this petition praying
is 110,406 hectares.
of the Court (a) to declare that the Director of Forestry has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine
and ruled that "the claim of the Ago Timber Corporation runs counter to the intentions of this Office the common boundary of the licensed areas of petitioners and respondents and that the decision
is granting the license of Mr. Narciso Lansang; and further, that it also runs counter to the of the Office of the President dated August 9, 1968 is final and executory; (b) to order the dismissal
intentions of this Office in granting the Timber License Agreement to the Lianga Bay Logging Co., of Civil Case No. 1253 in the Court of First Instance of Agusan; (c) to declare that respondent
Inc. The intentions of this Office in granting the two licenses (Lansang and Lianga Bay Logging Judge acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion,
Co., Inc.) are patently manifest in that distances and bearings are the controlling factors. If mention amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in issuing the temporary restraining order dated October 28, 1968
was ever made of the Agusan-Surigao boundary, as the common boundary line of both licensees, and granting the preliminary injunction per its Order dated December 19, 1968; and (d) to annul
this Office could not have meant the Agusan-Surigao boundary as described under Section 1 of the aforementioned orders.
Act 1693 of the Philippine Commission for were it so it could have been so easy for this Office to
After respondent's comments on the petition and petitioner's reply thereto, this Court on June 30,
mention the distance from point 3 to point 4 of Narciso Lansang as approximately 13,800 meters.
1969 issued a restraining order enjoining in turn the enforcement of the preliminary injunction and
This cannot be considered a mistake considering that the percentage of error which is more or
related orders issued by the respondent court in Civil Case No. 1253. 14
less 103% is too high an error to be committed by an Office manned by competent technical men.
The Agusan-Surigao boundary as mentioned in the technical descriptions of both licensees, is, The Court finds merit in the petition.
therefore, patently an imaginary line based on B.F. License Control Map. Such being the case, it
is reiterated that distance and bearings control the description where an imaginary line exists. 3 Respondent Judge erred in taking cognizance of the complaint filed by respondent Ago, asking
The decision fixed the common boundary of the licensed areas of the Ago Timber Corporation for the determination anew of the correct boundary fine of its licensed timber area, for the same
issue had already been determined by the Director of Forestry, the Secretary of Agriculture and
and Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc. as that indicated in red pencil of the sketch attached to the
decision. Natural Resources and the Office of the President, administrative officials under whose
jurisdictions the matter properly belongs. Section 1816 of the Revised Administrative Code vests
In an appeal interposed by respondent Ago, docketed in the Department of Agriculture and Natural in the Bureau of Forestry, the jurisdiction and authority over the demarcation, protection,
Resources as DANR Case No. 2268, the then Acting Secretary of Agriculture and Natural management, reproduction, reforestation, occupancy, and use of all public forests and forest
Resources Jose Y. Feliciano, in a decision dated August 9, 1965 set aside the appealed decision reserves and over the granting of licenses for game and fish, and for the taking of forest products,
of the Director of Forestry and ruled that "(T)he common boundary line of the licensed areas of including stone and earth therefrom. The Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as
department head, may repeal or in the decision of the Director of Forestry when advisable in the whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. (Abad Santos v. Province
public interests, 15 whose decision is in turn appealable to the Office of the President. 16 of Tarlac, 67 Phil. 480; Tan vs. People, 88 Phil. 609)"
In giving due course to the complaint below, the respondent court would necessarily have to Respondent Ago contends that the motion filed by petitioner Lianga for reconsideration of the
assess and evaluate anew all the evidence presented in the administrative proceedings, 17 which decision of the Office of the President was denied in an alleged "decision" dated August 15, 1966,
is beyond its competence and jurisdiction. For the respondent court to consider and weigh again allegedly signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Jose J. Leido, Jr. that, "however, for some
the evidence already presented and passed upon by said officials would be to allow it to substitute mysterious, unknown if not anomalous reasons and/or illegal considerations, the "decision"
its judgment for that of said officials who are in a better position to consider and weigh the same allegedly dated August 15, 1966(Annex "D") was never released" and instead a decision was
in the light of the authority specifically vested in them by law. Such a posture cannot be released on August 9, 1968, signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Gilberto M. Duavit,
entertained, for it is a well-settled doctrine that the courts of justice will generally not interfere with which reversed the findings and conclusions of the Office of the President in its first decision dated
purely administrative matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies June 16, 1966 and signed by then Assistant Executive Secretary Leido.
and their expertise unless there is a clear showing that the latter acted arbitrarily or with grave
It is elementary that a draft of a decision does not operate as judgment on a case until the same
abuse of discretion or when they have acted in a capricious and whimsical manner such that their
is duly signed and delivered to the clerk for filing and promulgation. A decision cannot be
action may amount to an excess or lack of jurisdiction. 18
considered as binding on the parties until its promulgation. 23 Respondent should be aware of this
A doctrine long recognized is that where the law confines in an administrative office the power to rule. In still another case of Ago v. Court of Appeals, 24 (where herein respondent Ago was the
determine particular questions or matters, upon the facts to be presented, the jurisdiction of such petitioner) the Court held that, "While it is to be presumed that the judgment that was dictated in
office shall prevail over the courts. 19 open court will be the judgment of the court, the court may still modify said order as the same is
being put into writing. And even if the order or judgment has already been put into writing and
The general rule, under the principles of administrative law in force in this jurisdiction, is that
signed, while it has not yet been delivered to the clerk for filing, it is stin subject to amendment or
decisions of administrative officers shall not be disturbed by the courts, except when the former
change by the judge. It is only when the judgment signed by the judge is actually filed with the
have acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion. Findings of
clerk of court that it becomes a valid and binding judgment. Prior thereto, it could still be subject
administrative officials and agencies who have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is
to amendment and change and may not, therefore, constitute the real judgment of the court."
confined to specific matters are generally accorded not only respect but at times even finality of
such findings are supported by substantial evidence. 20 As recently stressed by the Court, "in this Respondent alleges "that in view of the hopelessly conflicting decisions of the administrative
era of clogged court dockets, the need for specialized administrative boards or commissions with bodies and/or offices of the Philippine government, and the important questions of law and fact
the special knowledge, experience and capability to hear and determine promptly disputes on involved therein, as well as the well-grounded fear and suspicion that some anomalous, illicit and
technical matters or essentially factual matters, subject to judicial review in case of grave abuse unlawful considerations had intervened in the concealment of the decision of August 15, 1966
of discretion, has become well nigh indispensable." 21 (Annex "D") of Assistant Executive Secretary Gilberto M. Duavit, a judicial review of such divergent
administrative decisions is necessary in order to determine the correct boundary line of the
The facts and circumstances in the instant case are similar to the earlier case of Pajo, et al. v.
licensed areas in question and restore the faith and confidence of the people in the actuations of
Ago, et al. 22 (where therein respondent Pastor Ago is the president of herein respondent Ago
our public officials and in our system of administration of justice."
Timber Corporation). In the said case, therein respondent Pastor Ago, after an adverse decision
of the Director of Forestry, Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Executive The mere suspicion of respondent that there were anomalies in the non-release of the Leido
Secretary in connection with his application for renewal of his expired timber licenses, filed with "decision" allegedly denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration and the substitution thereof by
the Court of First instance of Agusan a petition for certiorari, prohibition and damages with the Duavit decision granting reconsideration does not justify judicial review. Beliefs, suspicions
preliminary injunction alleging that the rejection of his application for renewal by the Director of and conjectures cannot overcome the presumption of regularity and legality of official actions. 25 It
Forestry and Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and its affirmance by the Executive is presumed that an official of a department performs his official duties regularly. 26 It should be
Secretary constituted an abuse of discretion and was therefore illegal. The Court held that "there noted, furthermore, that as hereinabove stated with regard to the case history in the Office of the
can be no question that petitioner Director of Forestry has jurisdiction over the grant or renewal of President, Ago's motion for reconsideration of the Duavit decision dated August 9, 1968 was
respondent Ago's timber license (Sec. 1816, Rev. Adm. Code); that petitioner Secretary of denied in the Order dated October 2, 1968 and signed by Assistant Executive Secretary Leido
Agriculture and Natural Resources as department head, is empowered by law to affirm, modify or himself (who thereby joined in the reversal of his own first decision dated June 16, 1966 and
reject said grant or renewal of respondent Ago's timber license by petitioner Director of Forestry signed by himself).
(Sec. 79[c], Rev. Adm. Code); and that petitioner Executive Secretary, acting for and in behalf and
The Ordinary Timber License No. 1323-'60[New] which approved the transfer to respondent Ago
by authority of the President has, likewise, jurisdiction to affirm, modify or reverse the orders
of the 4,000 hectares from the forest area originally licensed to Narciso Lansang, stipulates certain
regarding the grant or renewal of said timber license by the two aforementioned officials." The
conditions, terms and limitations, among which were: that the decision of the Director of Forestry
Court went on to say that, "(I)n the case of Espinosa, et al. v. Makalintal, et al. (79 Phil. 134; 45
as to the exact location of its licensed areas is final; that the license is subject to whatever decision
Off. Gaz. 712), we held that the powers granted to the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce
that may be rendered on the boundary conflict between the Lianga Bay Logging Co. and the Ago
(Natural Resources) by law regarding the disposition of public lands such as granting of licenses,
Timber Corporation; that the terms and conditions of the license are subject to change at the
permits, leases, and contracts or approving, rejecting, reinstating, or cancelling applications or
discretion of the Director of Forestry and the license may be made to expire at an earlier date.
deciding conflicting applications, are all executive and administrative in nature. It is a well-
Under Section 1834 of the Revised Administrative Code, the Director of Forestry, upon granting
recognized principle that purely administrative and discretionary functions may not be interfered
any license, may prescribe and insert therein such terms, conditions, and limitations, not
with by the courts. In general, courts have no supervising power over the proceedings and actions
inconsistent with law, as may be deemed by him to be in the public interest. The license operates
of the administrative departments of the government. This is generally true with respect to acts
as a contract between the government and respondent. Respondent, therefore, is estopped from
involving the exercise of judgment or discretion, and findings of act. Findings of fact by an
questioning the terms and stipulation thereof.
administrative board, agency or official, following a hearing, are binding upon the courts and will
not be disturbed except where the board, agency or official has gone beyond his statutory Clearly, the injunctive writ should not have been issued. The provisions of law explicitly provide
authority, exercised unconstitutional powers or clearly acted arbitrarily and without regard to his that Courts of First Instance shall have the power to issue writ of injunction, mandamus, certiorari,
duty or with grave abuse of discretion. And we have repeatedly held that there is grave abuse of prohibition, quo warranto and habeas corpus in their respective places, 27 if the petition filed relates
discretion justifying the issuance of the writ of certiorari only when there is capricious and
to the acts or omissions of an inferior court, or of a corporation, board, officer or person, within
their jurisdiction. 28
The jurisdiction or authority of the Court of First Instance to control or restrain acts by means of
the writ of injunction is limited only to acts which are being committed within the territorial
boundaries of their respective provinces or districts 29 except where the sole issue is the legality of
the decision of the administrative officials. 30
In the leading case of Palanan Lumber Plywood Co., Inc. v. Arranz 31 which involved a petition for
certiorari and prohibition filed in the Court of First Instance of Isabela against the same respondent
public officials as here and where the administrative proceedings taken were similar to the case
at bar, the Court laid down the rule that: "We agree with the petitioner that the respondent Court
acted without jurisdiction in issuing a preliminary injunction against the petitioners Executive
Secretary, Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Director of Forestry, who have
their official residences in Manila and Quezon City, outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the
respondent Court of First Instance of Isabela. Both the statutory provisions and the settled
jurisdiction of this Court unanimously affirm that the extraordinary writs issued by the Court of First
Instance are limited to and operative only within their respective provinces and districts."
A different rule applies only when the point in controversy relates solely to a determination of a
question of law whether the decision of the respondent administrative officials was legally correct
or not. 32 We thus declared in Director of Forestry v. Ruiz. 33 "In Palanan Lumber & Plywood Co.,
Inc., supra, we reaffirmed the rule of non-jurisdiction of courts of first instance to issue injunctive
writs in order to control acts outside of their premises or districts. We went further and said that
when the petition filed with the courts of first instance not only questions the legal correctness of
the decision of administrative officials but also seeks to enjoin the enforcement of the said
decision, the court could not validly issue the writ of injunction when the officials sought to be
restrained from enforcing the decision are not stationed within its territory.1avvphi1
"To recapitulate, insofar as injunctive or prohibitory writs are concerned, the rule still stands that
courts of first instance have the power to issue writs limited to and operative only within their
respective provinces or districts. "
The writ of preliminary injunction issued by respondent court is furthermore void, since it appears
that the forest area described in the injunctive writ includes areas not licensed to respondent Ago.
The forest area referred to and described therein comprises the whole area originally licensed to
Narciso Lansang under the earlier Ordinary Timber License No. 58452. Only a portion of this area
was in fact transferred to respondent Ago as described in its Ordinary Timber License No. 1323-
'60[New].
It is abundantly clear that respondent court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of Civil Case
No. 1253 of the Court of First Instance of Agusan nor has it jurisdiction to decide on the common
boundary of the licensed areas of petitioner Lianga and respondent Ago, as determined by
respondents public officials against whom no case of grave abuse of discretion has been made.
Absent a cause of action and jurisdiction, respondent Judge acted with grave abuse of discretion
and excess, if not lack, of jurisdiction in refusing to dismiss the case under review and in issuing
the writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of the final decision dated August 9,
1968 and the order affirming the same dated October 2, 1968 of the Office of the President.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is granted. The restraining order
heretofore issued by the Court against enforcement of the preliminary injunction and related orders
issued by respondent judge is the case below is made permanent and the respondent judge or
whoever has taken his place is hereby ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 1253.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Cruz, Paras and Gancayco, JJ., concur.