You are on page 1of 42

G.R. No.

102976 October 25, 1995


IRON AND STEEL AUTHORITY, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and MARIA CRISTINA FERTILIZER
CORPORATION, respondents.

FELICIANO, J.:
Petitioner Iron and Steel Authority ("ISA") was created by Presidential Decree (P.D.)
No. 272 dated 9 August 1973 in order, generally, to develop and promote the iron and
steel industry in the Philippines. The objectives of the ISA are spelled out in the
following terms:
Sec. 2. Objectives — The Authority shall have the following objectives:
(a) to strengthen the iron and steel industry of the Philippines and to expand the
domestic and export markets for the products of the industry;
(b) to promote the consolidation, integration and rationalization of the industry in order
to increase industry capability and viability to service the domestic market and to
compete in international markets;
(c) to rationalize the marketing and distribution of steel products in order to achieve a
balance between demand and supply of iron and steel products for the country and to
ensure that industry prices and profits are at levels that provide a fair balance between
the interests of investors, consumers suppliers, and the public at large;
(d) to promote full utilization of the existing capacity of the industry, to discourage
investment in excess capacity, and in coordination, with appropriate government
agencies to encourage capital investment in priority areas of the industry;
(e) to assist the industry in securing adequate and low-cost supplies of raw materials
and to reduce the excessive dependence of the country on imports of iron and steel.
The list of powers and functions of the ISA included the following:
Sec. 4. Powers and Functions. — The authority shall have the following powers and
functions:
xxx xxx xxx
(j) to initiate expropriation of land required for basic iron and steel facilities for subsequent
resale and/or lease to the companies involved if it is shown that such use of the State's
power is necessary to implement the construction of capacity which is needed for the
attainment of the objectives of the Authority;
xxx xxx xxx
(Emphasis supplied)
P.D. No. 272 initially created petitioner ISA for a term of five (5) years counting from 9
August 1973.1 When ISA's original term expired on 10 October 1978, its term was
extended for another ten (10) years by Executive Order No. 555 dated 31 August 1979.
The National Steel Corporation ("NSC") then a wholly owned subsidiary of the National
Development Corporation which is itself an entity wholly owned by the National
Government, embarked on an expansion program embracing, among other things, the
construction of an integrated steel mill in Iligan City. The construction of such a steel
mill was considered a priority and major industrial project of the Government. Pursuant
to the expansion program of the NSC, Proclamation No. 2239 was issued by the
President of the Philippines on 16 November 1982 withdrawing from sale or settlement
a large tract of public land (totalling about 30.25 hectares in area) located in Iligan City,
and reserving that land for the use and immediate occupancy of NSC.
Since certain portions of the public land subject matter Proclamation No. 2239 were
occupied by a non-operational chemical fertilizer plant and related facilities owned by
private respondent Maria Cristina Fertilizer Corporation ("MCFC"), Letter of Instruction
(LOI), No. 1277, also dated 16 November 1982, was issued directing the NSC to
"negotiate with the owners of MCFC, for and on behalf of the Government, for the
compensation of MCFC's present occupancy rights on the subject land." LOI No. 1277
also directed that should NSC and private respondent MCFC fail to reach an agreement
within a period of sixty (60) days from the date of LOI No. 1277, petitioner ISA was to
exercise its power of eminent domain under P.D. No. 272 and to initiate expropriation
proceedings in respect of occupancy rights of private respondent MCFC relating to the
subject public land as well as the plant itself and related facilities and to cede the same
to the NSC.2
Negotiations between NSC and private respondent MCFC did fail. Accordingly, on 18
August 1983, petitioner ISA commenced eminent domain proceedings against private
respondent MCFC in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, of Iligan City, praying that it
(ISA) be places in possession of the property involved upon depositing in court the
amount of P1,760,789.69 representing ten percent (10%) of the declared market values
of that property. The Philippine National Bank, as mortgagee of the plant facilities and
improvements involved in the expropriation proceedings, was also impleaded as party-
defendant.
On 17 September 1983, a writ of possession was issued by the trial court in favor of ISA.
ISA in turn placed NSC in possession and control of the land occupied by MCFC's
fertilizer plant installation.
The case proceeded to trial. While the trial was ongoing, however, the statutory
existence of petitioner ISA expired on 11 August 1988. MCFC then filed a motion to
dismiss, contending that no valid judgment could be rendered against ISA which had
ceased to be a juridical person. Petitioner ISA filed its opposition to this motion.
In an Order dated 9 November 1988, the trial court granted MCFC's motion to dismiss
and did dismiss the case. The dismissal was anchored on the provision of the Rules of
Court stating that "only natural or juridical persons or entities authorized by law may be
parties in a civil case."3 The trial court also referred to non-compliance by petitioner ISA
with the requirements of Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court.4
Petitioner ISA moved for reconsideration of the trial court's Order, contending that
despite the expiration of its term, its juridical existence continued until the winding up
of its affairs could be completed. In the alternative, petitioner ISA urged that the
Republic of the Philippines, being the real party-in-interest, should be allowed to be
substituted for petitioner ISA. In this connection, ISA referred to a letter from the Office
of the President dated 28 September 1988 which especially directed the Solicitor
General to continue the expropriation case.
The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration, stating, among other things that:
The property to be expropriated is not for public use or benefit [__] but for the use and
benefit [__] of NSC, a government controlled private corporation engaged in private
business and for profit, specially now that the government, according to newspaper
reports, is offering for sale to the public its [shares of stock] in the National Steel
Corporation in line with the pronounced policy of the present administration to
disengage the government from its private business ventures.5 (Brackets supplied)
Petitioner went on appeal to the Court of Appeals. In a Decision dated 8 October 1991,
the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of dismissal of the trial court. The Court of
Appeals held that petitioner ISA, "a government regulatory agency exercising sovereign
functions," did not have the same rights as an ordinary corporation and that the ISA,
unlike corporations organized under the Corporation Code, was not entitled to a period
for winding up its affairs after expiration of its legally mandated term, with the result
that upon expiration of its term on 11 August 1987, ISA was "abolished and [had] no
more legal authority to perform governmental functions." The Court of Appeals went
on to say that the action for expropriation could not prosper because the basis for the
proceedings, the ISA's exercise of its delegated authority to expropriate, had become
ineffective as a result of the delegate's dissolution, and could not be continued in the
name of Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Solicitor General:
It is our considered opinion that under the law, the complaint cannot prosper, and
therefore, has to be dismissed without prejudice to the refiling of a new complaint for
expropriation if the Congress sees it fit." (Emphases supplied)
At the same time, however, the Court of Appeals held that it was premature for the trial
court to have ruled that the expropriation suit was not for a public purpose, considering
that the parties had not yet rested their respective cases.
In this Petition for Review, the Solicitor General argues that since ISA initiated and
prosecuted the action for expropriation in its capacity as agent of the Republic of the
Philippines, the Republic, as principal of ISA, is entitled to be substituted and to be
made a party-plaintiff after the agent ISA's term had expired.
Private respondent MCFC, upon the other hand, argues that the failure of Congress to
enact a law further extending the term of ISA after 11 August 1988 evinced a "clear
legislative intent to terminate the juridical existence of ISA," and that the authorization
issued by the Office of the President to the Solicitor General for continued prosecution
of the expropriation suit could not prevail over such negative intent. It is also contended
that the exercise of the eminent domain by ISA or the Republic is improper, since that
power would be exercised "not on behalf of the National Government but for the
benefit of NSC."
The principal issue which we must address in this case is whether or not the Republic of
the Philippines is entitled to be substituted for ISA in view of the expiration of ISA's
term. As will be made clear below, this is really the only issue which we must resolve at
this time.
Rule 3, Section 1 of the Rules of Court specifies who may be parties to a civil action:
Sec. 1. Who May Be Parties. — Only natural or juridical persons or entities authorized by
law may be parties in a civil action.
Under the above quoted provision, it will be seen that those who can be parties to a civil
action may be broadly categorized into two (2) groups:
(a) those who are recognized as persons under the law whether natural, i.e., biological
persons, on the one hand, or juridical person such as corporations, on the other hand;
and
(b) entities authorized by law to institute actions.
Examination of the statute which created petitioner ISA shows that ISA falls under
category (b) above. P.D. No. 272, as already noted, contains express authorization to
ISA to commence expropriation proceedings like those here involved:
Sec. 4. Powers and Functions. — The Authority shall have the following powers and
functions:
xxx xxx xxx
(j) to initiate expropriation of land required for basic iron and steel facilities for subsequent
resale and/or lease to the companies involved if it is shown that such use of the State's
power is necessary to implement the construction of capacity which is needed for the
attainment of the objectives of the Authority;
xxx xxx xxx
(Emphasis supplied)
It should also be noted that the enabling statute of ISA expressly authorized it to enter
into certain kinds of contracts "for and in behalf of the Government" in the following
terms:
xxx xxx xxx
(i) to negotiate, and when necessary, to enter into contracts for and in behalf of the
government, for the bulk purchase of materials, supplies or services for any sectors in
the industry, and to maintain inventories of such materials in order to insure a
continuous and adequate supply thereof and thereby reduce operating costs of such
sector;
xxx xxx xxx
(Emphasis supplied)
Clearly, ISA was vested with some of the powers or attributes normally associated with
juridical personality. There is, however, no provision in P.D. No. 272 recognizing ISA as
possessing general or comprehensive juridical personality separate and distinct from
that of the Government. The ISA in fact appears to the Court to be a non-incorporated
agency or instrumentality of the Republic of the Philippines, or more precisely of the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines. It is common knowledge that other
agencies or instrumentalities of the Government of the Republic are cast
in corporate form, that is to say, are incorporated agencies or instrumentalities,
sometimes with and at other times without capital stock, and accordingly vested with a
juridical personality distinct from the personality of the Republic. Among such
incorporated agencies or instrumentalities are: National Power Corporation; 6 Philippine
Ports Authority;7 National Housing Authority;8 Philippine National Oil
9 10
Company; Philippine National Railways; Public Estates Authority; Philippine 11

Virginia Tobacco Administration,12 and so forth. It is worth noting that the term
"Authority" has been used to designate both incorporated and non-incorporated
agencies or instrumentalities of the Government.
We consider that the ISA is properly regarded as an agent or delegate of the Republic of
the Philippines. The Republic itself is a body corporate and juridical person vested with
the full panoply of powers and attributes which are compendiously described as "legal
personality." The relevant definitions are found in the Administrative Code of 1987:
Sec. 2. General Terms Defined. — Unless the specific words of the text, or the context as
a whole, or a particular statute, require a different meaning:
(1) Government of the Republic of the Philippines refers to the corporate governmental
entity through which the functions of government are exercised throughout the
Philippines, including, save as the contrary appears from the context, the various arms
through which political authority is made effective in the Philippines, whether
pertaining to the autonomous regions, the provincial, city, municipal or barangay
subdivisions or other forms of local government.
xxx xxx xxx
(4) Agency of the Government refers to any of the various units of the Government,
including a department, bureau, office, instrumentality, or government-owned or
controlled corporation, or a local government or a distinct unit therein.
xxx xxx xxx
(10) Instrumentality refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated
within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by
law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds, and
enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. This term includes
regulatory agencies, chartered institutions and government-owned or controlled
corporations.
xxx xxx xxx
(Emphases supplied)
When the statutory term of a non-incorporated agency expires, the powers, duties and
functions as well as the assets and liabilities of that agency revert back to, and are re-
assumed by, the Republic of the Philippines, in the absence of special provisions of law
specifying some other disposition thereof such as, e.g., devolution or transmission of
such powers, duties, functions, etc. to some other identified successor agency or
instrumentality of the Republic of the Philippines. When the expiring agency is
an incorporated one, the consequences of such expiry must be looked for, in the first
instance, in the charter of that agency and, by way of supplementation, in the
provisions of the Corporation Code. Since, in the instant case, ISA is a non-incorporated
agency or instrumentality of the Republic, its powers, duties, functions, assets and
liabilities are properly regarded as folded back into the Government of the Republic of
the Philippines and hence assumed once again by the Republic, no special statutory
provision having been shown to have mandated succession thereto by some other
entity or agency of the Republic.
The procedural implications of the relationship between an agent or delegate of the
Republic of the Philippines and the Republic itself are, at least in part, spelled out in the
Rules of Court. The general rule is, of course, that an action must be prosecuted and
defended in the name of the real party in interest. (Rule 3, Section 2) Petitioner ISA
was, at the commencement of the expropriation proceedings, a real party in interest,
having been explicitly authorized by its enabling statute to institute expropriation
proceedings. The Rules of Court at the same time expressly recognize the role of
representative parties:
Sec. 3. Representative Parties. — A trustee of an expressed trust, a guardian, an
executor or administrator, or a party authorized by statute may sue or be sued without
joining the party for whose benefit the action is presented or defended; but the court
may, at any stage of the proceedings, order such beneficiary to be made a party. . . . .
(Emphasis supplied)
In the instant case, ISA instituted the expropriation proceedings in its capacity as an
agent or delegate or representative of the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to its
authority under P.D. No. 272. The present expropriation suit was brought on behalf of
and for the benefit of the Republic as the principal of ISA. Paragraph 7 of the complaint
stated:
7. The Government, thru the plaintiff ISA, urgently needs the subject parcels of land for
the construction and installation of iron and steel manufacturing facilities that are
indispensable to the integration of the iron and steel making industry which is vital to
the promotion of public interest and welfare. (Emphasis supplied)
The principal or the real party in interest is thus the Republic of the Philippines and not
the National Steel Corporation, even though the latter may be an ultimate user of the
properties involved should the condemnation suit be eventually successful.
From the foregoing premises, it follows that the Republic of the Philippines is entitled
to be substituted in the expropriation proceedings as party-plaintiff in lieu of ISA, the
statutory term of ISA having expired. Put a little differently, the expiration of ISA's
statutory term did not by itself require or justify the dismissal of the eminent domain
proceedings.
It is also relevant to note that the non-joinder of the Republic which occurred upon the
expiration of ISA's statutory term, was not a ground for dismissal of such proceedings
since a party may be dropped or added by order of the court, on motion of any
party or on the court's own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are
just. 13 In the instant case, the Republic has precisely moved to take over the
proceedings as party-plaintiff.
In E.B. Marcha Transport Company, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 14 the Court
recognized that the Republic may initiate or participate in actions involving its agents.
There the Republic of the Philippines was held to be a proper party to sue for recovery
of possession of property although the "real" or registered owner of the property was
the Philippine Ports Authority, a government agency vested with a separate juridical
personality. The Court said:
It can be said that in suing for the recovery of the rentals, the Republic of the Philippines
acted as principal of the Philippine Ports Authority, directly exercising the commission it
had earlier conferred on the latter as its agent. . . .15 (Emphasis supplied)
In E.B. Marcha, the Court also stressed that to require the Republic to commence all
over again another proceeding, as the trial court and Court of Appeals had required,
was to generate unwarranted delay and create needless repetition of proceedings:
More importantly, as we see it, dismissing the complaint on the ground that the Republic
of the Philippines is not the proper party would result in needless delay in the settlement of
this matter and also in derogation of the policy against multiplicity of suits. Such a
decision would require the Philippine Ports Authority to refile the very same complaint
already proved by the Republic of the Philippines and bring back as it were to square
one.16 (Emphasis supplied)
As noted earlier, the Court of Appeals declined to permit the substitution of the
Republic of the Philippines for the ISA upon the ground that the action for
expropriation could not prosper because the basis for the proceedings, the ISA's
exercise of its delegated authority to expropriate, had become legally ineffective by
reason of the expiration of the statutory term of the agent or delegated i.e., ISA. Since,
as we have held above, the powers and functions of ISA have reverted to the Republic
of the Philippines upon the termination of the statutory term of ISA, the question
should be addressed whether fresh legislative authority is necessary before the
Republic of the Philippines may continue the expropriation proceedings initiated by its
own delegate or agent.
While the power of eminent domain is, in principle, vested primarily in the legislative
department of the government, we believe and so hold that no new legislative act is
necessary should the Republic decide, upon being substituted for ISA, in fact to
continue to prosecute the expropriation proceedings. For the legislative authority, a
long time ago, enacted a continuing or standing delegation of authority to the
President of the Philippines to exercise, or cause the exercise of, the power of eminent
domain on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. The 1917
Revised Administrative Code, which was in effect at the time of the commencement of
the present expropriation proceedings before the Iligan Regional Trial Court, provided
that:
Sec. 64. Particular powers and duties of the President of the Philippines. — In addition to
his general supervisory authority, the President of the Philippines shall have such other
specific powers and duties as are expressly conferred or imposed on him by law, and
also, in particular, the powers and duties set forth in this Chapter.
Among such special powers and duties shall be:
xxx xxx xxx
(h) To determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the right of eminent
domain in behalf of the Government of the Philippines; and to direct the Secretary of
Justice, where such act is deemed advisable, to cause the condemnation proceedings to be
begun in the court having proper jurisdiction. (Emphasis supplied)
The Revised Administrative Code of 1987 currently in force has substantially
reproduced the foregoing provision in the following terms:
Sec. 12. Power of eminent domain. — The President shall determine when it is necessary
or advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the National
Government, and direct the Solicitor General, whenever he deems the action advisable, to
institute expopriation proceedings in the proper court. (Emphasis supplied)
In the present case, the President, exercising the power duly delegated under both the
1917 and 1987 Revised Administrative Codes in effect made a determination that it was
necessary and advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the
Government of the Republic and accordingly directed the Solicitor General to proceed
with the suit. 17
It is argued by private respondent MCFC that, because Congress after becoming once
more the depository of primary legislative power, had not enacted a statute extending
the term of ISA, such non-enactment must be deemed a manifestation of a legislative
design to discontinue or abort the present expropriation suit. We find this argument
much too speculative; it rests too much upon simple silence on the part of Congress and
casually disregards the existence of Section 12 of the 1987 Administrative Code already
quoted above.
Other contentions are made by private respondent MCFC, such as, that the
constitutional requirement of "public use" or "public purpose" is not present in the
instant case, and that the indispensable element of just compensation is also absent.
We agree with the Court of Appeals in this connection that these contentions, which
were adopted and set out by the Regional Trial Court in its order of dismissal, are
premature and are appropriately addressed in the proceedings before the trial court.
Those proceedings have yet to produce a decision on the merits, since trial was still on
going at the time the Regional Trial Court precipitously dismissed the expropriation
proceedings. Moreover, as a pragmatic matter, the Republic is, by such substitution as
party-plaintiff, accorded an opportunity to determine whether or not, or to what
extent, the proceedings should be continued in view of all the subsequent
developments in the iron and steel sector of the country including, though not limited
to, the partial privatization of the NSC.
WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 8
October 1991 to the extent that it affirmed the trial court's order dismissing the
expropriation proceedings, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the case is
REMANDED to the court a quo which shall allow the substitution of the Republic of the
Philippines for petitioner Iron and Steel Authority and for further proceedings
consistent with this Decision. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 142801-802. July 10, 2001]


BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB, CESAR POSADA, REMEDIOS G. PRINCESA,
BENJAMIN KHO, BENIGNO MANGA, LULU MENDOZA, petitioners, vs. HON.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY RONALDO B. ZAMORA, HON. SECRETARY JOSE PARDO,
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, HON. SECRETARY BENJAMIN DIOKNO,
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, HON. SECRETARY ARTEMIO
TUQUERO, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, respondents.
DECISION
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
In this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, petitioners Buklod Ng
Kawaning EIIB, Cesar Posada, Remedios Princesa, Benjamin Kho, Benigno Manga and
Lulu Mendoza, for themselves and in behalf of others with whom they share a common
or general interest, seek the nullification of Executive Order No. 191[1] and Executive
Order No. 223[2] on the ground that they were issued by the Office of the President with
grave abuse of discretion and in violation of their constitutional right to security of
tenure.
The facts are undisputed:
On June 30, 1987, former President Corazon C. Aquino, issued Executive Order No.
127[3] establishing the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) as part of
the structural organization of the Ministry of Finance.[4] The EIIB was designated to
perform the following functions:
(a) Receive, gather and evaluate intelligence reports and information and evidence on
the nature, modes and extent of illegal activities affecting the national economy, such
as, but not limited to, economic sabotage, smuggling, tax evasion, and dollar-salting,
investigate the same and aid in the prosecution of cases;
(b) Coordinate with external agencies in monitoring the financial and economic
activities of persons or entities, whether domestic or foreign, which may adversely
affect national financial interest with the goal of regulating, controlling or preventing
said activities;
(c) Provide all intelligence units of operating Bureaus or Offices under the Ministry with
the general framework and guidelines in the conduct of intelligence and investigating
works;
(d) Supervise, monitor and coordinate all the intelligence and investigation operations
of the operating Bureaus and Offices under the Ministry;
(e) Investigate, hear and file, upon clearance by the Minister, anti-graft and corruption
cases against personnel of the Ministry and its constituents units;
(f) Perform such other appropriate functions as may be assigned by the Minister or his
deputies.[5]
In a desire to achieve harmony of efforts and to prevent possible conflicts among
agencies in the course of their anti-smuggling operations, President Aquino issued
Memorandum Order No. 225 on March 17, 1989, providing, among others, that the
EIIB shall be the agency of primary responsibility for anti-smuggling operations in all land
areas and inland waters and waterways outside the areas of sole jurisdiction of the Bureau
of Customs.[6]
Eleven years after, or on January 7, 2000, President Joseph Estrada issued Executive
Order No. 191 entitledDeactivation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation
Bureau.[7] Motivated by the fact that the designated functions of the EIIB are also being
performed by the other existing agencies of the government and that there is a need to
constantly monitor the overlapping of functions among these agencies, former
President Estrada ordered the deactivation of EIIB and the transfer of its functions to
the Bureau of Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Meanwhile, President Estrada issued Executive Order No. 196[8] creating the
Presidential Anti-Smuggling Task Force Aduana.[9]
Then the day feared by the EIIB employees came. On March 29, 2000, President
Estrada issued Executive Order No. 223[10] providing that all EIIB personnel occupying
positions specified therein shall be deemed separated from the service effective April
30, 2000, pursuant to a bona fide reorganization resulting to abolition, redundancy,
merger, division, or consolidation of positions.[11]
Agonizing over the loss of their employment, petitioners now come before this Court
invoking our power of judicial review of Executive Order Nos. 191 and 223. They anchor
their petition on the following arguments:
A
Executive Order Nos. 191 and 223 should be annulled as they are unconstitutional
for being violative of Section 2(3), Article IX-B of the Philippine Constitution and/or
for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.
B.
The abolition of the EIIB is a hoax. Similarly, if Executive Order Nos. 191 and 223 are
considered to effect a reorganization of the EIIB, such reorganization was made in
bad faith.
C.
The President has no authority to abolish the EIIB.
Petitioners contend that the issuance of the afore-mentioned executive orders is: (a) a
violation of their right to security of tenure; (b) tainted with bad faith as they were not
actually intended to make the bureaucracy more efficient but to give way to Task Force
Aduana, the functions of which are essentially and substantially the same as that of
EIIB; and (c) a usurpation of the power of Congress to decide whether or not to abolish
the EIIB.
Arguing in behalf of respondents, the Solicitor General maintains that: (a) the President
enjoys the totality of the executive power provided under Sections 1 and 7, Article VII of
the Constitution, thus, he has the authority to issue Executive Order Nos. 191 and
223; (b) the said executive orders were issued in the interest of national economy, to
avoid duplicity of work and to streamline the functions of the bureaucracy; and (c) the
EIIB was not abolished, it was only deactivated.
The petition is bereft of merit.
Despite the presence of some procedural flaws in the instant petition, such as,
petitioners disregard of the hierarchy of courts and the non-exhaustion of
administrative remedies, we deem it necessary to address the issues. It is in the interest
of the State that questions relating to the status and existence of a public office be
settled without delay. We are not without precedent. In Dario v. Mison,[12] we liberally
decreed:
The Court disregards the questions raised as to procedure, failure to exhaust
administrative remedies, the standing of certain parties to sue, for two
reasons, `[b]ecause of the demands of public interest, including the need for
stability in the public service,' and because of the serious implications of these cases
on the administration of the Philippine civil service and the rights of public servants.
At first glance, it seems that the resolution of this case hinges on the question - Does
the deactivation of EIIB constitute abolition of an office? However, after coming to terms
with the prevailing law and jurisprudence, we are certain that the ultimate queries
should be a) Does the President have the authority to reorganize the executive
department? and, b) How should the reorganization be carried out?
Surely, there exists a distinction between the words deactivate and abolish.
To deactivate means to render inactive or ineffective or to break up by discharging or
reassigning personnel,[13] while to abolish means to do away with, to annul, abrogate or
destroy completely.[14] In essence, abolition denotes an intention to do away with the
office wholly and permanently.[15] Thus, while in abolition, the office ceases to exist, the
same is not true in deactivation where the office continues to exist, albeit remaining
dormant or inoperative. Be that as it may, deactivation and abolition are both
reorganization measures.
The Solicitor General only invokes the above distinctions on the mistaken assumption
that the President has no power to abolish an office.
The general rule has always been that the power to abolish a public office is lodged with
the legislature.[16] This proceeds from the legal precept that the power to create
includes the power to destroy. A public office is either created by the Constitution, by
statute, or by authority of law.[17] Thus, except where the office was created by the
Constitution itself, it may be abolished by the same legislature that brought it into
existence.[18]
The exception, however, is that as far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the executive
department are concerned, the Presidents power of control may justify him to
inactivate the functions of a particular office,[19] or certain laws may grant him the
broad authority to carry out reorganization measures.[20] The case in point is Larin v.
Executive Secretary.[21] In this case, it was argued that there is no law which empowers
the President to reorganize the BIR. In decreeing otherwise, this Court sustained the
following legal basis, thus:
Initially, it is argued that there is no law yet which empowers the President to issue E.O.
No. 132 or to reorganize the BIR.
We do not agree.
xxxxxx
Section 48 of R.A. 7645 provides that:
Sec. 48. Scaling Down and Phase Out of Activities of Agencies Within the Executive
Branch. The heads of departments, bureaus and offices and agencies are hereby
directed to identify their respective activities which are no longer essential in the
delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased out or
abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations. X x x. Actual scaling down,
phasing out or abolition of the activities shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders
issued for the purpose by the Office of the President.
Said provision clearly mentions the acts of scaling down, phasing out and abolition of
offices only and does not cover the creation of offices or transfer of
functions. Nevertheless, the act of creating and decentralizing is included in the
subsequent provision of Section 62 which provides that:
Sec. 62. Unauthorized organizational charges.- Unless otherwise created by law or
directed by the President of the Philippines, no organizational unit or changes in key
positions in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective
organization structures and be funded from appropriations by this Act. (italics ours)
The foregoing provision evidently shows that the President is authorized to effect
organizational changes including the creation of offices in the department or
agency concerned.
xxxxxx
Another legal basis of E.O. No. 132 is Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292 which states:
Sec. 20. Residual Powers. Unless Congress provides otherwise, the President shall
exercise such other powers and functions vested in the President which are provided for
under the laws and which are not specifically enumerated above or which are not
delegated by the President in accordance with law. (italic ours)
This provision speaks of such other powers vested in the President under the
law. What law then gives him the power to reorganize? It is Presidential Decree No.
1772 which amended Presidential Decree No. 1416. These decrees expressly grant
the President of the Philippines the continuing authority to reorganize the national
government, which includes the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies,
to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services
and activities and to standardize salaries and materials. The validity of these two
decrees are unquestionable. The 1987 Constitution clearly provides that all laws,
decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other executive
issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended,
repealed or revoked. So far, there is yet no law amending or repealing said
decrees. (Emphasis supplied)
Now, let us take a look at the assailed executive order.
In the whereas clause of E.O. No. 191, former President Estrada anchored his authority
to deactivate EIIB on Section 77 of Republic Act 8745 (FY 1999 General Appropriations
Act), a provision similar to Section 62 of R.A. 7645 quoted in Larin, thus;
Sec. 77. Organized Changes. Unless otherwise provided by law or directed by the
President of the Philippines, no changes in key positions or organizational units in any
department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organizational structures
and funded from appropriations provided by this Act.
We adhere to the precedent or ruling in Larin that this provision recognizes the
authority of the President to effect organizational changes in the department or agency
under the executive structure. Such a ruling further finds support in Section 78 of
Republic Act No. 8760.[22] Under this law, the heads of departments, bureaus, offices
and agencies and other entities in the Executive Branch are directed (a) to conduct a
comprehensive review of their respective mandates, missions, objectives, functions,
programs, projects, activities and systems and procedures; (b) identify activities which
are no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled down,
phased-out or abolished; and (c) adopt measures that will result in the streamlined
organization and improved overall performance of their respective agencies.[23] Section
78 ends up with the mandate that the actual streamlining and productivity improvement
in agency organization and operation shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders
issued for the purpose by the Office of the President.[24] The law has spoken
clearly. We are left only with the duty to sustain.
But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any
department or agency in the executive branch does not have to end here. We must not
lose sight of the very source of the power that which constitutes an express grant of
power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as
the Administrative Code of 1987), the President, subject to the policy in the Executive
Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the
continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the
President. For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or
Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre,[25] we ruled that
reorganization involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or
abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. It takes place
when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units
therein, including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them. The
EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance.[26] It falls under the Office of
the President. Hence, it is subject to the Presidents continuing authority to reorganize.
It having been duly established that the President has the authority to carry out
reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive department, what is then left
for us to resolve is whether or not the reorganization is valid. In this jurisdiction,
reorganizations have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good
faith. Reorganization is carried out in good faith if it is for the purpose of economy or to
make bureaucracy more efficient.[27] Pertinently, Republic Act No. 6656[28] provides for
the circumstances which may be considered as evidence of bad faith in the removal of
civil service employees made as a result of reorganization, to wit: (a) where there is a
significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of the
department or agency concerned; (b) where an office is abolished and another
performing substantially the same functions is created; (c) where incumbents are
replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment, performance and
merit; (d) where there is a classification of offices in the department or agency
concerned and the reclassified offices perform substantially the same functions as the
original offices, and (e) where the removal violates the order of separation.[29]
Petitioners claim that the deactivation of EIIB was done in bad faith because four days
after its deactivation, President Estrada created the Task Force Aduana.
We are not convinced.
An examination of the pertinent Executive Orders[30] shows that the deactivation of EIIB
and the creation of Task Force Aduana were done in good faith. It was not for the
purpose of removing the EIIB employees, but to achieve the ultimate purpose of E.O.
No. 191, which is economy. While Task Force Aduana was created to take the place of
EIIB, its creation does not entail expense to the government.
Firstly, there is no employment of new personnel to man the Task Force. E.O. No.
196 provides that the technical, administrative and special staffs of EIIB are to be
composed of people who are already in the public service, they being employees of
other existing agencies. Their tenure with the Task Force would only be temporary,
i.e., only when the agency where they belong is called upon to assist the Task
Force. Since their employment with the Task force is only by way of detail or
assignment, they retain their employment with the existing agencies. And should
the need for them cease, they would be sent back to the agency concerned.
Secondly, the thrust of E.O. No. 196 is to have a small group of military men under the
direct control and supervision of the President as base of the governments anti-
smuggling campaign. Such a smaller base has the necessary powers 1) to enlist the
assistance of any department, bureau, or office and to use their respective personnel,
facilities and resources; and 2) to select and recruit personnel from within the PSG and
ISAFP for assignment to the Task Force. Obviously, the idea is to encourage the
utilization of personnel, facilities and resources of the already existing
departments, agencies, bureaus, etc., instead of maintaining an independent office
with a whole set of personnel and facilities. The EIIB had proven itself burdensome for
the government because it maintained separate offices in every region in the
Philippines.
And thirdly, it is evident from the yearly budget appropriation of the government that
the creation of the Task Force Aduana was especially intended to lessen EIIBs
expenses. Tracing from the yearly General Appropriations Act, it appears that the
allotted amount for the EIIBs general administration, support, and operations for the
year 1995, was P128,031,000; for1996, P182,156,000;[32] for
[33] [34]
1998, P219,889,000; and, for 1999, P238,743,000. These amounts were far above
the P50,000,000[35] allocation to the Task Force Aduana for the year 2000.

While basically, the functions of the EIIB have devolved upon the Task Force Aduana,
we find the latter to have additional new powers. The Task Force Aduana, being
composed of elements from the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and Intelligence
Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP),[36] has the essential power to effect
searches, seizures and arrests. The EIIB did not have this power. The Task Force Aduana
has the power to enlist the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or
instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled
corporations; and to use their personnel, facilities and resources. Again, the EIIB did not
have this power. And, the Task Force Aduana has the additional authority to conduct
investigation of cases involving ill-gotten wealth. This was not expressly granted to the
EIIB.
Consequently, it cannot be said that there is a feigned reorganization. In Blaquera v.
Civil Sevice Commission, [37]we ruled that a reorganization in good faith is one designed
to trim the fat off the bureaucracy and institute economy and greater efficiency in its
operation.
Lastly, we hold that petitioners right to security of tenure is not violated. Nothing is
better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the competence of a
legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. Valid abolition of offices
is neither removal nor separation of the incumbents.[38] In the instructive words laid
down by this Court in Dario v. Mison,[39] through Justice Abraham F. Sarmiento:
Reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as valid provided they are
pursued in good faith. As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in good faith if it
is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event, no
dismissal (in case of dismissal) or separation actually occurs because the position
itself ceases to exist. And in that case, security of tenure would not be a Chinese
wall. Be that as it may, if the abolition, which is nothing else but a separation or
removal, is done for political reasons or purposely to defeat security of tenure,
otherwise not in good faith, no valid abolition takes and whatever abolition is done, is
void ab initio. There is an invalid abolition as where there is merely a change of
nomenclature of positions, or where claims of economy are belied by the existence of
ample funds.
Indeed, there is no such thing as an absolute right to hold office. Except constitutional
offices which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one can be
said to have any vested right in an office or its salary.[40]
While we cast a commiserating look upon the plight of all the EIIB employees whose
lives perhaps are now torn with uncertainties, we cannot ignore the unfortunate reality
that our government is also battling the impact of a plummeting economy. Unless the
government is given the chance to recuperate by instituting economy and efficiency in
its system, the EIIB will not be the last agency to suffer the impact. We cannot frustrate
valid measures which are designed to rebuild the executive department.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 152845. August 5, 2003]


DRIANITA BAGAOISAN, FELY MADRIAGA, SHIRLY TAGABAN, RICARDO
SARANDI, SUSAN IMPERIAL, BENJAMIN DEMDEM, RODOLFO DAGA, EDGARDO
BACLIG, GREGORIO LABAYAN, HILARIO JEREZ, and MARIA CORAZON
CUANANG, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION, represented
by ANTONIO DE GUZMAN and PERLITA BAULA, respondents.
DECISION
VITUG, J.:
President Joseph Estrada issued on 30 September 1998 Executive Order No. 29,
entitled Mandating the Streamlining of the National Tobacco Administration (NTA), a
government agency under the Department of Agriculture. The order was followed by
another issuance, on 27 October 1998, by President Estrada of Executive Order No. 36,
amending Executive Order No. 29, insofar as the new staffing pattern was concerned,
by increasing from four hundred (400) to not exceeding seven hundred fifty (750) the
positions affected thereby. In compliance therewith, the NTA prepared and adopted a
new Organization Structure and Staffing Pattern (OSSP) which, on 29 October 1998,
was submitted to the Office of the President.
On 11 November 1998, the rank and file employees of NTA Batac, among whom
included herein petitioners, filed a letter-appeal with the Civil Service Commission and
sought its assistance in recalling the OSSP. On 04 December 1998, the OSSP was
approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) subject to certain
revisions. On even date, the NTA created a placement committee to assist the
appointing authority in the selection and placement of permanent personnel in the
revised OSSP. The results of the evaluation by the committee on the individual
qualifications of applicants to the positions in the new OSSP were then disseminated
and posted at the central and provincial offices of the NTA.
On 10 June 1996, petitioners, all occupying different positions at the NTA office in
Batac, Ilocos Norte, received individual notices of termination of their employment
with the NTA effective thirty (30) days from receipt thereof. Finding themselves
without any immediate relief from their dismissal from the service, petitioners filed a
petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, with prayer for preliminary
mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order, with the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Batac, Ilocos Norte, and prayed -
1) that a restraining order be immediately issued enjoining the respondents from
enforcing the notice of termination addressed individually to the petitioners and/or
from committing further acts of dispossession and/or ousting the petitioners from their
respective offices;
2) that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued against the respondents, commanding
them to maintain the status quo to protect the rights of the petitioners pending the
determination of the validity of the implementation of their dismissal from the service;
and
3) that, after trial on the merits, judgment be rendered declaring the notice of
termination of the petitioners illegal and the reorganization null and void and ordering
their reinstatement with backwages, if applicable, commanding the respondents to
desist from further terminating their services, and making the injunction permanent.[1]
The RTC, on 09 September 2000, ordered the NTA to appoint petitioners in the new
OSSP to positions similar or comparable to their respective former assignments. A
motion for reconsideration filed by the NTA was denied by the trial court in its order of
28 February 2001. Thereupon, the NTA filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals,
raising the following issues:
I. Whether or not respondents submitted evidence as proof that petitioners,
individually, were not the best qualified and most deserving among the incumbent
applicant-employees.
II. Whether or not incumbent permanent employees, including herein petitioners,
automatically enjoy a preferential right and the right of first refusal to
appointments/reappointments in the new Organization Structure And Staffing Pattern
(OSSP) of respondent NTA.
III. Whether or not respondent NTA in implementing the mandated reorganization
pursuant to E.O. No. 29, as amended by E.O. No. 36, strictly adhere to the
implementing rules on reorganization, particularly RA 6656 and of the Civil Service
Commission Rules on Government Reorganization.
IV. Whether or not the validity of E.O. Nos. 29 and 36 can be put in issue in the instant
case/appeal.[2]
On 20 February 2002, the appellate court rendered a decision reversing and setting
aside the assailed orders of the trial court.
Petitioners went to this Court to assail the decision of the Court of Appeals, contending
that -
I. The Court of Appeals erred in making a finding that went beyond the issues of the
case and which are contrary to those of the trial court and that it overlooked certain
relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if properly considered, would
justify a different conclusion;
II. The Court of Appeals erred in upholding Executive Order Nos. 29 and 36 of the Office
of the President which are mere administrative issuances which do not have the force
and effect of a law to warrant abolition of positions and/or effecting total
reorganization;
III. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that petitioners removal from the service is in
accordance with law;
IV. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that respondent NTA was not guilty of bad
faith in the termination of the services of petitioners; (and)
V. The Court of Appeals erred in ignoring case law/jurisprudence in the abolition of an
office.[3]
In its resolution of 10 July 2002, the Court required the NTA to file its comment on the
petition. On 18 November 2002, after the NTA had filed its comment of 23 September
2002, the Court issued its resolution denying the petition for failure of petitioners to
sufficiently show any reversible error on the part of the appellate court in its challenged
decision so as to warrant the exercise by this Court of its discretionary appellate
jurisdiction. A motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied in the Courts
resolution of 20 January 2002.
On 21 February 2003, petitioners submitted a Motion to Admit Petition For En
Banc Resolution of the case allegedly to address a basic question, i.e., the legal and
constitutional issue on whether the NTA may be reorganized by an executive fiat, not
by legislative action.[4] In their Petition for an En Banc Resolution petitioners would
have it that -
1. The Court of Appeals decision upholding the reorganization of the National Tobacco
Administration sets a dangerous precedent in that:
a) A mere Executive Order issued by the Office of the President and procured by a
government functionary would have the effect of a blanket authority to reorganize a
bureau, office or agency attached to the various executive departments;
b) The President of the Philippines would have the plenary power to reorganize the
entire government Bureaucracy through the issuance of an Executive Order, an
administrative issuance without the benefit of due deliberation, debate and discussion
of members of both chambers of the Congress of the Philippines;
c) The right to security of tenure to a career position created by law or statute would be
defeated by the mere adoption of an Organizational Structure and Staffing Pattern
issued pursuant to an Executive Order which is not a law and could thus not abolish an
office created by law;
2. The case law on abolition of an office would be disregarded, ignored and abandoned
if the Court of Appeals decision subject matter of this Petition would remain
undisturbed and untouched. In other words, previous doctrines and precedents of this
Highest Court would in effect be reversed and/or modified with the Court of Appeals
judgment, should it remain unchallenged.
3. Section 4 of Executive Order No. 245 dated July 24, 1987 (Annex D, Petition), issued
by the Revolutionary government of former President Corazon Aquino, and the law
creating NTA, which provides that the governing body of NTA is the Board of Directors,
would be rendered meaningless, ineffective and a dead letter law because the
challenged NTA reorganization which was erroneously upheld by the Court of Appeals
was adopted and implemented by then NTA Administrator Antonio de Guzman
without the corresponding authority from the Board of Directors as mandated
therein. In brief, the reorganization is an ultra vires act of the NTA Administrator.
4. The challenged Executive Order No. 29 issued by former President Joseph Estrada
but unsigned by then Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora would in effect be
erroneously upheld and given legal effect as to supersede, amend and/or modify
Executive Order No. 245, a law issued during the Freedom Constitution of President
Corazon Aquino. In brief, a mere executive order would amend, supersede and/or
render ineffective a law or statute.[5]
In order to allow the parties a full opportunity to ventilate their views on the matter, the
Court ultimately resolved to hear the parties in oral argument. Essentially, the core
question raised by them is whether or not the President, through the issuance of an
executive order, can validly carry out the reorganization of the NTA.
Notwithstanding the apparent procedural lapse on the part of petitioner to implead the
Office of the President as party respondent pursuant to Section 7, Rule 3, of the 1997
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure,[6] this Court resolved to rule on the merits of the
petition.
Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB vs. Zamora[7] ruled that the President, based on existing laws,
had the authority to carry out a reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive
department. In said case, Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB challenged the issuance, and sought
the nullification, of Executive Order No. 191 (Deactivation of the Economic Intelligence
and Investigation Bureau) and Executive Order No. 223 (Supplementary Executive
Order No. 191 on the Deactivation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation
Bureau and for Other Matters) on the ground that they were issued by the President
with grave abuse of discretion and in violation of their constitutional right to security of
tenure. The Court explained:
The general rule has always been that the power to abolish a public office is lodged with
the legislature. This proceeds from the legal precept that the power to create includes
the power to destroy. A public office is either created by the Constitution, by statute, or
by authority of law. Thus, except where the office was created by the Constitution
itself, it may be abolished by the same legislature that brought it into existence.
The exception, however, is that as far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the executive
department are concerned, the Presidents power of control may justify him to
inactivate the functions of a particular office, or certain laws may grant him the broad
authority to carry out reorganization measures. The case in point is Larin v. Executive
Secretary [280 SCRA 713]. In this case, it was argued that there is no law which
empowers the President to reorganize the BIR. In decreeing otherwise, this Court
sustained the following legal basis, thus:
`Initially, it is argued that there is no law yet which empowers the President to issue
E.O. No. 132 or to reorganize the BIR.
`We do not agree.
`x x x x x x
`Section 48 of R.A. 7645 provides that:
``Sec. 48. Scaling Down and Phase Out of Activities of Agencies Within the Executive
Branch. The heads of departments, bureaus and offices and agencies are hereby
directed to identify their respective activities which are no longer essential in the
delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased out or
abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations. x x x. Actual scaling down,
phasing out or abolition of the activities shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders
issued for the purpose by the Office of the President.
`Said provision clearly mentions the acts of `scaling down, phasing out and abolition of
offices only and does not cover the creation of offices or transfer of
functions. Nevertheless, the act of creating and decentralizing is included in the
subsequent provision of Section 62 which provides that:
``Sec. 62. Unauthorized organizational changes. Unless otherwise created by law or
directed by the President of the Philippines, no organizational unit or changes in key
positions in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective
organization structures and be funded from appropriations by this Act.
`The foregoing provision evidently shows that the President is authorized to effect
organizational changes including the creation of offices in the department or agency
concerned.
`x x x x x x
`Another legal basis of E.O. No. 132 is Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292 which states:
``Sec. 20. Residual Powers. Unless Congress provides otherwise, the President shall
exercise such other powers and functions vested in the President which are provided for
under the laws and which are not specifically enumerated above or which are not
delegated by the President in accordance with law.
`This provision speaks of such other powers vested in the President under the law. What
law then gives him the power to reorganize? It is Presidential Decree No. 1772 which
amended Presidential Decree No. 1416. These decrees expressly grant the President of the
Philippines the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, which
includes the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to
transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services and activities and to
standardize salaries and materials. The validity of these two decrees are
unquestionable. The 1987 Constitution clearly provides that `all laws, decrees,
executive orders, proclamations, letter of instructions and other executive issuances
not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed
or revoked. So far, there is yet no law amending or repealing said decrees.
Now, let us take a look at the assailed executive order.
In the whereas clause of E.O. No. 191, former President Estrada anchored his authority
to deactivate EIIB on Section 77 of Republic Act 8745 (FY 1999 General Appropriations
Act), a provision similar to Section 62 of R.A. 7645 quoted in Larin, thus:
`Sec. 77. Organized Changes. Unless otherwise provided by law or directed by the
President of the Philippines, no changes in key positions or organizational units in any
department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organizational structures
and funded from appropriations provided by this Act.
We adhere to the x x x ruling in Larin that this provision recognizes the authority of the
President to effect organizational changes in the department or agency under the
executive structure. Such a ruling further finds support in Section 78 of Republic Act No.
8760. Under this law, the heads of departments, bureaus, offices and agencies and
other entities in the Executive Branch are directed (a) to conduct a comprehensive
review of this respective mandates, missions, objectives, functions, programs, projects,
activities and systems and procedures; (b) identify activities which are no longer
essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased-out
or abolished; and (c) adopt measures that will result in the streamlined organization
and improved overall performance of their respective agencies. Section 78 ends up with
the mandate that the actual streamlining and productivity improvement in agency
organization and operation shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for
the purpose by the Office of the President. The law has spoken clearly. We are left only
with the duty to sustain.
But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any
department or agency in the executive branch does not have to end here. We must not
lose sight of the very source of the power that which constitutes an express grant of
power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the
Administrative Code of 1987), the President, subject to the policy in the Executive
Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the
continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the
President. For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or
Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado vs. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312], we
ruled that reorganization involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices,
or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. It takes place
when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units
therein, including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them. The
EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the
President. Hence, it is subject to the Presidents continuing authority to reorganize.
It having been duly established that the President has the authority to carry out
reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive department, what is then left
for us to resolve is whether or not the reorganization is valid. In this jurisdiction,
reorganizations have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good
faith. Reorganization is carried out in `good faith if it is for the purpose of economy or
to make bureaucracy more efficient. Pertinently, Republic Act No. 6656 provides for
the circumstances which may be considered as evidence of bad faith in the removal of
civil service employees made as a result of reorganization, to wit: (a) where there is a
significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of the
department or agency concerned; (b) where an office is abolished and another
performing substantially the same functions is created; (c) where incumbents are
replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment, performance and
merit; (d) where there is a classification of offices in the department or agency
concerned and the reclassified offices perform substantially the same functions as the
original offices, and (e) where the removal violates the order of separation.[8]
The Court of Appeals, in its now assailed decision, has found no evidence of bad faith
on the part of the NTA; thus -
In the case at bar, we find no evidence that the respondents committed bad faith in
issuing the notices of non-appointment to the petitioners.
Firstly, the number of positions in the new staffing pattern did not increase. Rather, it
decreased from 1,125 positions to 750. It is thus natural that ones position may be lost
through the removal or abolition of an office.
Secondly, the petitioners failed to specifically show which offices were abolished and
the new ones that were created performing substantially the same functions.
Thirdly, the petitioners likewise failed to prove that less qualified employees were
appointed to the positions to which they applied.
x x x x x x x x x.
Fourthly, the preference stated in Section 4 of R.A. 6656, only means that old
employees should be considered first, but it does not necessarily follow that they
should then automatically be appointed. This is because the law does not preclude the
infusion of new blood, younger dynamism, or necessary talents into the government
service, provided that the acts of the appointing power are bonafide for the best
interest of the public service and the person chosen has the needed qualifications.[9]
These findings of the appellate court are basically factual which this Court must respect
and be held bound.
It is important to emphasize that the questioned Executive Orders No. 29 and No.
36 have not abolished the National Tobacco Administration but merely mandated
its reorganization through the streamlining or reduction of its personnel. Article VII,
Section 17,[10] of the Constitution, expressly grants the President control of all executive
departments, bureaus, agencies and offices which may justify an executive action to
inactivate the functions of a particular office or to carry out reorganization measures
under a broad authority of law.[11] Section 78 of the General Provisions of Republic Act
No. 8522 (General Appropriations Act of FY 1998) has decreed that the President may
direct changes in the organization and key positions in any department, bureau or
agency pursuant to Article VI, Section 25,[12] of the Constitution, which grants to the
Executive Department the authority to recommend the budget necessary for its
operation. Evidently, this grant of power includes the authority to evaluate each and
every government agency, including the determination of the most economical and
efficient staffing pattern, under the Executive Department.
In the recent case of Rosa Ligaya C. Domingo, et al. vs. Hon. Ronaldo D. Zamora, in his
capacity as the Executive Secretary, et al.,[13] this Court has had occasion to also delve on
the Presidents power to reorganize the Office of the President under Section 31(2) and
(3) of Executive Order No. 292 and the power to reorganize the Office of the
President Proper. The Court has there observed:
x x x. Under Section 31(1) of EO 292, the President can reorganize the Office of the
President Proper by abolishing, consolidating or merging units, or by transferring
functions from one unit to another. In contrast, under Section 31(2) and (3) of EO 292,
the Presidents power to reorganize offices outside the Office of the
President Proper but still within the Office of the President is limited to merely
transferring functions or agencies from the Office of the President to Departments or
Agencies, and vice versa.
The provisions of Section 31, Book III, Chapter 10, of Executive Order No. 292
(Administrative Code of 1987), above-referred to, reads thusly:
SEC. 31. Continuing Authority of the President to Reorganize his Office. The President,
subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy
and efficiency, shall have continuing authority to reorganize the administrative
structure of the Office of the President. For this purpose, he may take any of the
following actions:
(1) Restructure the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper, including
the immediate Offices, the Presidential Special Assistants/Advisers System and the
Common Staff Support System, by abolishing, consolidating or merging units thereof
or transferring functions from one unit to another;
(2) Transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or
Agency as well as transfer functions to the Office of the President from other
Departments and Agencies; and
(3) Transfer any agency under the Office of the President to any other department or
agency as well as transfer agencies to the Office of the President from other
departments and agencies.
The first sentence of the law is an express grant to the President of a continuing
authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the
President. The succeeding numbered paragraphs are not in the nature of provisos that
unduly limit the aim and scope of the grant to the President of the power to reorganize
but are to be viewed in consonance therewith. Section 31(1) of Executive Order No. 292
specifically refers to the Presidents power to restructure the internal organization of the
Office of the President Proper, by abolishing, consolidating or merging units hereof or
transferring functions from one unit to another, while Section 31(2) and (3) concern
executive offices outside the Office of the President Properallowing the President to
transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or
Agency and vice-versa, and the transfer of any agency under the Office of the President
to any other department or agency and vice-versa.[14]
In the present instance, involving neither an abolition nor transfer of offices, the
assailed action is a mere reorganization under the general provisions of the law
consisting mainly of streamlining the NTA in the interest of simplicity, economy and
efficiency. It is an act well within the authority of President motivated and carried out,
according to the findings of the appellate court, in good faith, a factual assessment that
this Court could only but accept.[15]
In passing, relative to petitioners Motion for an En Banc Resolution of the Case, it may
be well to remind counsel, that the Court En Banc is not an appellate tribunal to which
appeals from a Division of the Court may be taken. A Division of the Court is the
Supreme Court as fully and veritably as the Court En Banc itself and a decision of its
Division is as authoritative and final as a decision of the Court En Banc. Referrals of
cases from a Division to the Court En Banc do not take place as just a matter of routine
but only on such specified grounds as the Court in its discretion may allow.[16]
WHEREFORE, the Motion to Admit Petition for En Banc resolution and the Petition for
an En Banc Resolution are DENIED for lack of merit. Let entry of judgment be made in
due course. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-53581-83 December 19, 1980


MARIANO J. PIMENTEL, BENJAMIN R. RAMOS, AMANDO AMBULAN, SABINO
ANCHETA, JOSE APOLONIO, EDNA CABANILLA, GAUDENCIO CARINO, ESMENIO
TACADENA, ROSALINDA SAMOY and DELFIN VAGULAR JR., petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, HON. PRESIDING JUDGE, COURT OF FIRST
INSTANCE OF QUIRINO, SILVERIO L. PASCUA, FAUSTINO S. TACTAC, JOSE
CABANERO, MARIA VALENCIA, REYNALDO DUPA, ALFREDO LADAO, DAVID
GARNACE DOMINGO CASIA MATEO GERVACIO and PAULA
VILLACORTA, respondents.

ABAD SANTOS, J.:


The vital issue to be resolved in this petition for certiorari and prohibition with
preliminary mandatory injunction is whether or not the Commission on Elections had
jurisdiction to issue Resolution No. 9592, dated March 25, 1980, which (1) required the
herein petitioners to answer the petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
injunction filed by the herein private respondents, thereby taking cognizance of such
special civil action which questioned the validity of an interlocutory order, dated March
20, 1980, issued by the Court of First Instance of Quirino in Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and
10, involving the offices of Mayor, Vice Mayor and Members of the Sangguniang Bayan
of the Municipality of Diffun, Quirino Province; and (2) temporarily restrained said
Court of First instance of Quirino from enforcing said order of March 20. 1980, which
denied herein private respondents' motion to prevent the trial court from re-examining
the ballots and to the counting of votes cast in favor of petitioners-contestants to those
reflected in the election returns.
The herein petitioners are the contestants while herein private respondents are the
contestees in Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10 which are pending before the court of
First Instance of Quirino, Petitioners-contestants allege in their election protests that
they were duly certified candidates or mayor, vice-mayor and members of the
Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Diffun, Quirino, Province, in the general
elections held last January 30, 1980, as shown in the resolution of the Comelec dated
February 4. 1980 attached to the election protests as Annex "A") but that they were not
considered as such by the Municipal Board of Canvasser who, consequently, did not
count the votes east in their favor (having considered the same as stray votes) and
proceeded of proclaim the contestees as the duly elected officials oil Diffun. Petitioners
contestants contend that had it not been for the said error in the appreciation of the
votes cast in their favor, they would have certainly emerged as the winners in said
election. They therefore pray of said Court of First Instance of Quirino - (1) to fix the
bond to be filed by them: (2) to cause to be brought to the court the registration list,
the unused ballots and the documents used in all of the precincts of the municipality of
Diffun; (3) to order the examination of the ballots, using the necessary officers with
emoluments to be fixed by said court: (4) to order the votes cast in favor of contestants
to be counted in their favor; and (5) to annul the proclamation of the contestees and to
declare the contestants as the duly elected officials of Diffun.
In their answers to the election protests, the contestees deny that contestants are duly
certified candidates and allege that during the voting and the counting of votes in the
voting centers, the contestants were not bona fide candidates and it was for this reason
that the votes cast in their favor were not counted. They further allege that even
assuming the authenticity of the corrected certified list of candidates found in Annex
"A" of the election protests, the same does not include the names of contestants Edna
Cabanilla, Gervacio Carino, Esmenio Tacadena and Rosalina Samoy, and that as to
them, therefore, the protests should be summarily dismissed. By way of counter-
contest, the contestees allege that the ballots with votes in favor of KBL which should
have been counted in favor of the contestees (except contestees Jose Cabanero and
Reynaldo Dupa) as KBL official candidates were not so counted in their favor.
During the hearing of said protests, the contestees filed with the CFI of Quirino a
pleading dated March 10, 1980, and entitled: "Joint Motion to Limit Reception of
Evidence Pursuant to Material Allegations in the Protests." Alleging that the election
protests do not question the proceedings in the Citizens Election Committees but only
those before the Municipal Board of Canvassers, the contestees pray that only the
election returns should be considered in the counting of the votes in favor of the
contestants and that the ballots should not be re-examined for that purpose.
On March 20, 1980, the CFI of Quirino issued an order denying the motion of the
contestees. On that same day the counsel for the contestees orally moved for
reconsideration of said order; but the court denied said motion for reconsideration in an
order of even date. Accordingly, the court ordered the opening of the ballot boxes and
the counting of the votes as reflected in the ballots and not in the election returns.
On March 22, 1980, the contestees filed with the Commission on Elections a petition for
certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction seeking to restrain the CFI of
Quirino from enforcing its orders of March 20, 1980. Acting on said petition, the
COMELEC issued on March 25, 1980 Resolution No. 9592 which reads as follows:
9592. In the matter of the PETITION FOR certiorari AND PROHIBITION WITH
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION filed by Petitioners-Contestees' Counsel in EAC No. 1-80
Pascua, et al. vs. The Honorable Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Quirino, et
al): the Commission RESOLVED (1) to require the Respondents- Contestants to file an
answer, not a motion to dismiss, within ten (10) days from date of notice hereof, and (2)
in the meantime to restrain respondent Presiding Judge from enforcing his order of
March 20, 1980.
In view of such resolution of the COMELEC, the CFI of Quirino issued on April 1, 1980,
an order postponing the hearing of Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10 "until such time that
a superior Court orders otherwise or after the petition for certiorari, etc., filed by
contestees with the Commission on Elections has been resolved." Contestants moved
for a reconsideration of said order but the CFI of Quirino denied the same.
Thus, on April 10, 1980, the contestants filed with this Court the present petition for
certiorari and prohibition with preliminary mandatory injunction seeking to annul
Resolution No. 9592 of the Commission on Elections; to prohibit the enforcement of
said resolution; and to compel the Court of First Instance of Quirino to proceed with the
hearing of the election cases. Petitioners allege, among others, that the Commission on
Elections has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the petition for certiorari and
prohibition filed by the herein private respondents questioning an interlocutory order
issued by the Court of First Instance of Quirino, much less to restrain said court from
enforcing said order.
On April 15, 1980, We required the respondents to file an answer to the petition. On
that same day, We issued an order temporarily restraining the Commission on Elections
from enforcing the questioned resolution to enable the Court of First Instance of
Quirino to proceed with Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10.
On May 2, 1980, the private respondents filed their answer to the petition. They
contend that since election cases recognizable by Courts of First Instance are
appealable to the Commission on Elections under Sec. 196 of the 1978 Election Code,
said Commission. therefore, has jurisdiction to take cognizance of petitions for
certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving said cases in aid of its appellate
jurisdiction over the same. Touching on the merit of their petition with the COMELEC,
the herein private respondents allege that since the members of the Board of
Canvassers were impleaded as contestees in Election Cases Nos. 8, 9 and 10 said cases
should be limited to a recounting of the votes as reflected in the election returns, To
count the votes through the ballots is, according to them, "not in-keeping with the rules
of evidence and jurisprudence," Private respondents further allege that petitioners
Edna Cabanilla, Gaudencio Carino, Esmenio Tacadena and Rosalinda Samoy were not
certified as candidates in the last election, as per Annex "A" (resolution of the
COMELEC dated February 4, 1980) of the election protests, and, therefore, have no
personality in the present petition.
Respondent Commission on Elections filed its answer to the petition on May 16, 1980,
alleging, among others, that it had jurisdiction to issue Resolution No. 9592 and that
being interlocutory in nature, said resolution cannot be challenged in the present
petition for certiorari since there is no showing of grave abuse of discretion committed
in its issuance.
On July 3, 1980, We issued a resolution requiring the parties to submit memoranda
principally on the question as to whether or not the Commission on Elections had the
power to issue Resolution No. 9592.
Private respondents and respondent Commission on Elections filed their memoranda
on August 13, 1980, and September 6, 1980, respectively. Petitioners failed to file their
memorandum. Nonetheless, on December 2, 1980, We resolved to consider the case
submitted for decision.
In support of the contention that the Commission on Elections has jurisdiction over
petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus involving election cases filed with the
Court of First Instance by candidates for municipal offices, the respondents argue as
follow: That Section 192 of the 1978 Election Code (P.D. No. 1296) grants the
Commission on Elections the power to "prescribe the rules to govern the procedure and
other matters relating to election contests"; that, accordingly, the COMELEC issued
Resolution No. 1451 prescribing the procedural rules for election contests in the Court
of First Instance involving elective municipal and municipal district offices; that Section
19 of said Rules provides that the Rules of Court of the Philippines "shall serve as
supplementary rules in election contests filed with the Court of First Instance"; that
under Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines, petitions for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus may also be filed with the Court of Appeals if it is in aid of its
appellate jurisdiction"; that since the COMELEC exercise appellate jurisdiction over
election cases filed with the Court of First Instance involving municipal offices, pursuant
to Section 196 of the 1978 Election Code, said Commission is, thus, vested with
jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus involving said
election cases, applying by analogy the quoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules
of Court of the Philippines.
The fallacy of the foregoing arguments of the respondents lies in the erroneous
interpretation of the aforequoted portion of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court of the
Philippines, as a grant of jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals and, by analogy, to the
Commission on Elections, to take cognizance of petitions for certiorari, prohibition or
mandamus involving cases over which said court or commission exercises appellate
jurisdiction.
Settled is the rule that jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or the law.
(Bacalso vs. Ramolete, October 26, 1967, 21 SCRA 519, 523.) Thus, it cannot be
conferred by the Rules of Court which are neither constitutional provisions nor
legislative enactments but mere procedural rules promulgated by this Court in the
exercise of its power to prescribe "rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in
all courts" (Sec. 5 (5), Art. X, 1973 Constitution; Sec. 13, Art. VIII, 1935 Constitution).
Accordingly, the aforequoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, cannot
be construed as a grant of jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over petitions for
certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving cases appealable to it. Much less can such
provision be interpreted, by analogy, as a grant to the Commission on Elections of
jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus involving election
cases cognizable by the Court of First Instance and appealable to said commission
under Sec. 196 of the Revised Election Code.
While it is true that the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari,
prohibition or mandamus involving cases appealable to it, the grant of jurisdiction is not
by virtue of the aforequoted provision of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, but by
express legislative fiat, namely, Sec. 30 of the Judiciary Act (R.A. No. 296). to wit:
SEC. 30. ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS. — The Court of
Appeals shall have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition,
injunction, certiorari, habeas corpus, and all other auxiliary writs s and process in aid of
its appellate jurisdiction.
No such legislative grant of jurisdiction exists in the case of the Commission on
Elections. Consequently, respondents' contention that the Commission on Elections
has Jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or man mandamus involving
election cases cognizable by the Courts of First Instance and appealable to said
Commission cannot be sustained. It results, therefore, that Resolution, that Resolution
No. 9592 was issued by the COMELEC without authority to do so.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is hereby granted. Resolution
No. 9592, issued by the Commission on Elections in EAC No. 1-80 is hereby declared
null and void and said Commission is permanently enjoined from taking any further
action on said case except to dismiss the same for lack of jurisdiction. Costs against
private respondents.
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:


I concur. I only wish to add that even assuming that the Comelec had jurisdiction to
issue the prerogative writ of certiorari in the pending election contest before the court
of first instance because of its appellate jurisdiction, its challenged order restraining the
court of first instance from opening the ballot boxes and examining the ballots and
recounting the votes and limiting the counting of votes cast in favor of petitioners-
protestants to those reflected in the election returns, as sought by respondents-
protestees, must be set aside as a grave abuse of discretion. An election protest
conducted under such a strait-jacket would be but an absurd and facical exercise in
futility.
AQUINO, J., concurring:
I concur. The novel issue in this case is whether the appellate jurisdiction of the
Commission on Elections over the decision of the Court of First Instance in an election
protest implies that it has certiorari jurisdiction over the interlocutory incidents in that
case during its pendency in court.
In my opinion, the Comelec has no such certiorari jurisdiction because no law expressly
confers such jurisdiction upon it and because it is not a regular court of justice. As a rule,
jurisdiction cannot be conferred upon a court of justice by implication.
In the instant case, the ten petitioners were candidates for mayor, vice-mayor and
members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Diffun, Quirino Province in the elections held on
January 30, 1980.
However, the municipal board of canvassers did not recognize their candidacies, did not
count the votes in their favor and regarded those votes as stray votes. The board
proclaimed the ten private respondents as the duly elected officials of Diffun.
The petitioners filed an election protest in the Court of First Instance of Quirino. They
prayed that the ballots be examined and that the votes cast in their favor be counted,
that the proclamation of the protestees be cancelled and that the petitioners, as the
winning candidates, be proclaimed as the duly elected officials of Diffun.
The protestees in their answers denied that the protestants were bona fide candidates.
They filed a motion praying that in counting the votes only the election returns should
be considered and that the ballots should not be examined.
The court in its order of March 20, 1980 denied that motion and ordered the opening of
the ballot boxes so that the votes can be counted.
The petitioners assailed that order by filing with the Comelec a petition for certiorari
and prohibition against the Court of First Instance and the protestees. The Comelec
entertained that petition,
In its resolution of March 25, 1980, it issued a restraining order enjoining the court from
enforcing its order for the opening of the ballot boxes.
In return, the protestants filed with this Court this petition for certiorari to set aside that
resolution of the Comelec on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. This Court issued on
April 15, 1980 an order restraining the Comelec from enforcing its questioned
resolution.
The Solicitor General contends that the Comelec has jurisdiction to entertain the
petition for certiorari because it has appellate jurisdiction over the election protest and,
like the Court of Appeals, it issued the restraining order in aid of its appellate
jurisdiction.
I agree with the opinion of Justice Abad Santos that contention is untenable. The
Comelec is not a court of Justice. It has not been vested with the prerogative to issue
the writ of certiorari. Hence, it has no jurisdiction to issue that writ.
Under the 1935 Constitution, the Comelec had "exclusive charge of the enforcement
and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections" and exercised "all
other functions which may be conferred upon it by law". It could decide
"all administrative questions, affecting elections", except questions "involving the right
to vote". (Sec. 2, Article X) Its functions were essentially executive and administrative
(Ututalum vs. Commission on Elections, L-25349, December 3, 1965, 15 SCRA 465).
Hence, under the 1935 Constitution, it was held that the Comelec was simply an
independent administrative body. It could not be classified as a court of justice
although it exercised quasi-judicial functions in controversies coming within its
jurisdiction. In the exercise of its ministerial powers, it had no power to punish for
contempt because that power is inherently judicial in nature (Guevara vs. Commission
on Elections, 104 Phil. 268; Masangcay vs. Comelec, 116 Phil. 355).
On the other hand, the 1973 Constitution enlarged the powers of the Comelec. In
addition to its executive and administrative functions, it is the sole judge of all contests
relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all members of the National
Assembly and elective provincial and city officials" (Sec. 2, Art. XII[C]).
It is "the sole judge of all pre-proclamation controversies and any of its decisions, orders
or rulings shall be final and executory" (Sec. 175, 1978 Election Code).
It has original jurisdiction in quo warranto cases based on the ground of ineligibility or of
disloyalty of an elected official. It may adjudicate moral and exemplary damages in
election contests and quo warranto proceedings, It has appellate jurisdiction over
election contests for municipal and municipal district offices decided by the Court of
First Instance. (Secs. 189, 194 and 196, 1978 Election Code).
In my view, although the Comelec now exercises judicial functions, still it has no
certiorari jurisdiction to review the interlocutory orders of the Court of First of First
Instance in election contests involving the election of municipal officials.
Certiorari is a writ issued from a superior court to an inferior court or tribunal
commanding the latter to send up the record of a particular case (14 C.J.S. 121).
Its effect is the removal of the record and the case from a lower to a higher court. "It is a
common-law revisory, remedial, and prerogative writ." It "is an extraordinary writ
offering a limited form of review, its principal function being to keep inferior tribunals
within their j jurisdiction" (1 4 C.J. S. 12 1 122).
"While the power to issue the writ of certiorari is in some instance conferred on all
courts by constitutional or statutory provisions, ordinarily the particular courts which
have such power are expressly designated" (14 C.J.S. 202).
Sections 17, 30 and 44 of the Judiciary Law expressly empower the Supreme Court,
Court of Appeals and Court of First Instance to issue the writ of certiorari.
Since there is no law expressly authorizing the Comelec to issue the writ of certiorari.
and the Comelec is not a court of justice, it is powerless to issue that writ.
DE CASTRO, J., dissenting:
While I am in agreement with the rejection of the argument of private respondents in
support of their view that COMELEC has jurisdiction to entertain the petition filed by
them because it would trace the said jurisdiction to the Rules of Court, not to a law or
the Constitution which alone can confer jurisdiction, I believe that when the law
conferred appellate jurisdiction on COMELEC (Section 196, Revised Election Code 1978)
in election cases originally tried and decided by the Court of First Instance, which
jurisdiction used to pertain to the Court of Appeals, the law, at least impliedly,
transferred along with such appellate jurisdiction the competence to issue writs of
certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, etc. For any appellate court, such as the COMELEC
in election contests appealed to it from the Court of First Instance, in order to
effectively exercise its appellate jurisdiction, must have at least the authority to issue
such writs in the same manner that such is conferred upon the Court of Appeals in aid of
its appellate jurisdiction. In transferring jurisdiction over appealed election contests to
the COMELEC, it can reasonably be assumed that the law intended to transfer also such
power as is deemed necessary, if not indispensable, "in aid of the appellate jurisdiction"
conferred on i the COMELEC. There is no reason perceivable why the transfer is only
partial, not total, for as stated in 11 Corpus, Jr. p. 139, the jurisdiction to issue the writs
may be expressly or impliedly conferred by constitutional or statutory provision. From
this legal approach, the source of the power or jurisdiction of COMELEC over petitions
such as the petition in question, is the law, the Revised Election Code of 1978, not the
Rules of Court.
To hold that COMELEC has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition for certiorari etc.
would be to leave no other court to which recourse may be had than the Supreme
Court. But from the provision of the Revised Election Code of 1978 giving the appellate
jurisdiction over election cases decided originally by the Courts of First Instance to the
COMELEC, and the provision of the Constitution limiting the power of the Supreme
Court to exercising only certiorari jurisdiction over decisions, orders and resolutions of
the COMELEC, I am unable to say that the intention of the 1978 Election Code is to
disperse or divide the authority over an election case filed in the Court of First Instance
by giving to the Supreme Court jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus against orders of the Court of First Instance but giving to the COMELEC the
jurisdiction over the ultimate appeal from the decision of said court in the very same
election case. It is more easy to say, with full legal rationality, that the grant of
appellate jurisdiction over election cases filed in and decided by the Court of First
Instance, carries with it the power to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus when necessary in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, as indeed. it cannot be
denied that, it was such aid with the Court of Appeals, it must be so in the same way
with the COMELEC.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 96938 October 15, 1991
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS), petitioner,
vs.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, HEIRS OF ELIZAR NAMUCO, and HEIRS OF
EUSEBIO MANUEL, respondents.
Benigno M. Puno for private respondents.
Fetalino, Llamas-Villanueva and Noro for CSC.

NARVASA, J.:
In May, 1981, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) dismissed six (6)
employees as being "notoriously undersirable," they having allegedly been found to be
connected with irregularities in the canvass of supplies and materials. The dismissal was
based on Article IX, Presidential Decree No. 807 (Civil Service Law) 1 in relation to LOI
14-A and/or LOI No. 72. The employees' Motion for Reconsideration was subsequently
denied.
Five of these six dismissed employees appealed to the Merit Systems Board. The Board
found the dismissals to be illegal because effected without formal charges having been
filed or an opportunity given to the employees to answer, and ordered the remand of
the cases to the GSIS for appropriate disciplinary proceedings.
The GSIS appealed tothe Civil Service Commission. By Resolution dated October 21,
1987, the Commission ruled that the dismissal of all five was indeed illegal and disposed
as follows:
WHEREFORE, it being obvious that respondents' separation from the service is illegal,
the GSIS is directed to reinstate them with payment of back salaries and benefits due
them not later than ten (10) days from receipt of a copy hereof, without prejudice to the
right of the GSIS to pursue proper disciplinary action against them. It is also directed
that the services of their replacement be terminated effective upon reinstatement of
herein respondents.
xxx xxx xxx
Still unconvinced, the GSIS appealed to the Supreme Court (G.R. Nos. 80321-22). Once
more, it was rebuffed. On July 4, 1988 this Court's Second Division promulgated a
Resolution which:
a) denied its petition for failing to show any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
Civl Service Commission, the dismissals of the employees having in truth been made
without formal charge and hearin, and
b) declared that reinstatement of said five employees was proper, "without prejudice to
the right of the GSIS to pursue proper disciplinary action against them;"
c) MODIFIED, however, the challenged CSC Resolution of October 21, 1987 "by
elminating the payment of back salaries to private respondents (employees) until the
outcome of the disciplinary proceedings is known, considering the gravity of the offenses
imputed to them ..., 2
d) ordered reinstateement only of three employees, namely: Domingo Canero, Renato Navarro and Belen Guerrero, "it appearing
tht respondents Elizar Namuco and Eusebio Manuel have since passed away." 3

On January 8, 1990, the aforesaid Resolution of July 4, 1988 having become final, the heirs
of Namuco and Manuel filed a motion for execution of the Civil Service Commission
Resolution of October 21, 1987, supra. The GSIS opposed the motion. It argued that the
CSC Resolution of October 21, 1987 — directing reinstatement of the employees and
payment to them of back salaries and benefits — had been superseded by the Second
Division's Resolution of July 4, 1988 — precisely eliminating the payment of back salaries.
The Civil Service Commission granted the motion for execution in an Order dated June 20,
1990. It accordingly directed the GSIS "to pay the compulsory heirs of deceased Elizar
Namuco and Eusebio Manuel for the period from the date of their illegal separation up to the
date of their demise." The GSIS filed a motion for reconsideration. It was denied by Order of
the CSC dated November 22, 1990.
Once again the GSIS has come to this Court, this time praying that certiorari issue to nullify
the Orders of June 20, 1990 and November 22, 1990. Here it contends that the Civil Service
Commission has no pwer to execute its judgments and final orders or resolutions, and even
conceding the contrary, the writ of execution issued on June 20, 1990 is void because it
varies this Court's Resolution of July 4, 1988.

The Civil Service Commission, like the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit, is a consitutional commission
invested by the Constitution and relevant laws not only with authority to administer the civil service, 4
but also with
quasi-judicial powers. 5
It has the authority to hear and decide administrative
disciplinary cases instituted directly with it or brought to it on appeal. 6 The Commission
shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or matter brought before it
within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision it within sixty days from
the date of its submission for on certiorari by any aggrieved party within thirty days
from receipt of a copy thereof. 7 It has the power, too, sitting en banc, to promulgate its
own rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices, which
rules should not however diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. 8
On October 9, 1989, the Civil Service Commission promulgated Resolution No. 89-779 adopting, approving and putting into effect
simplified rules of procedure on administrative disciplinary and protest cases, pursuant tothe authority granted by the
constitutional and statutory provisions above cited, as well as Republic Act No. 6713. 9 Those
rules provide, among
other things, 10 that
decision in "administrative disciplinary cases" shall be immediately
executory unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed. If the decision of the
Commission is brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari, the same shall still be
executory unless a restraining order or preliminary injunction is issued by the High
Court." 11 This is similar to a provision in the former Civil Service Rules authorizing the
Commissioner, "if public interest so warrants, ... (to) order his decision executed
pending appeal to the Civil Service Board of Appeals." 12 The provisions are analogous
and entirely consistent with the duty or responsibility reposed in the Chairman by PD
807, subject to policies and resolutions adopted by the Commission, "to enforce
decision on administrative discipline involving officials of the Commission," 13 as well as
with Section 37 of the same decree declaring that an appeal to the Commission 14 "shall
not stop the decision from being executory, and in case the penalty is suspension or
removal, the respondent shall be considered as having been under preventive
suspension during the pendency of the appeal in the event he wins an appeal."
In light of all the foregoing consitutional and statutory provisions, it would appear
absurd to deny to the Civil Service Commission the power or authority or order
execution of its decisions, resolutions or orders which, it should be stressed, it has been
exercising through the years. It would seem quite obvious that the authority to decide
cases is inutile unless accompanied by the authority to see taht what has been decided
is carried out. Hence, the grant to a tribunal or agency of adjudicatory power, or the
authority to hear and adjudge cases, should normally and logically be deemed to
include the grant of authority to enforce or execute the judgments it thus renders,
unless the law otherwise provides.
In any event, the Commission's exercise of that power of execution has been
sanctioned by this Court in several cases.
In Cucharo v. Subido, 15 for instance, this Court sustained the challenged directive of the
Civil Service Commissioner, that his decision "be executed immediately 'but not beyond
ten days from receipt thereof ...". The Court said:
As a major premise, it has been the repeated pronouncement of this Supreme Tribunal
that the Civil Service Commissioner has the discretion toorder the immediate execution in
the public interst of his decisionseparating petitioner-appellant from the service, always
sbuject however to the rule that, in the event the Civil Service Board of Appeals or the
proper court determines that his dismissal is illegal, he should be paid the salary
corresponding to the period of his separation from the service unitl his reinstatement.
Petitioner GSIS concedes that the heirs of Namuco and Manuel "are entitled tothe
retirement/death and other benefits due them as government employees" since, at the
time of their death, they "can be considered not to have been separated from the
separated from the service." 16
It contend, however, that since Namuco and Manuel had not been "completely exonerated of the administrative charge filed against
them — as the filing of the proper disciplinary action was yet to have been taken had death not claimed them" — no back salaries
may be paid to them, although they "may charge the period of (their) suspension against (their) leave credits, if any, and may
commute such leave credits to money
value;" 17
this, on the authority of this Court's decision in Clemente v. Commission on
Audit. 18 It is in line with these considerations, it argues, that the final and executory
Resolution of this Court's Second Division of July 4, 1988 should be construed; 19 and
since the Commission's Order of July 20, 1990 maikes a contrary disposition, the latter
order obviously cannot prevail and must be deemed void and ineffectual.
This Court's Resolution of July 4, 1988, as already stated, modified the Civil Service
Commission's Resolution of October 21, 1987 — inter alia granting back salaries tothe
five dismissed employees, including Namuco and Manuel — and pertinently reads as
follows:
We modify the said Order, however, by eliminating the payment of back salaries to
private respondents until the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings is known,
considering the gravity of the offense imputed to them in connection with the
irregularities in the canvass of supplies and materials at the GSIS.
The reinstatement order shall apply only to respondents Domingo Canero, Renato
Navarro and Belen Guerrero, it appearing that respondents Elizar Namuco and Eusebio
Manuel have since passed away. ....
On the other hand, as also already stated, the Commission's Order of June 20, 1990
directed the GSIS "to pay the compulsory heirs of deceased Elizar Namuco and Eusebio
Manuel for the period from the date of their illegal separation up to the date of their
demise."
The Commission asserted that in promulgating its disparate ruling, it was acting "in the
interest of justice and for other humanitarian reasons," since the question of whether or
not Namuco and Manuel should receive back salaries was "dependent on the result of
the disciplinary proceedings against their co-respondents in the administrative case
before the GSIS," and since at the tiem of their death, "no formal charge ... (had) as yet
been made, nor any finding of their personal culpability ... and ... they are no longer in a
position to refute the charge."
The Court agrees that the challenged orders of the Civil Service Commission should be
upheld, and not merely upon compassionate grounds, but simply because there is no
fair and feasible alternative in the circumstances. To be sure, if the deceased employees
were still alive, it would at least be arguable, positing the primacy of this Court's final
dispositions, that the issue of payment of their back salaries should properly await the
outcome of the disciplinary proceedings referred to in the Second Division's Resolution
of July 4, 1988.
Death, however, has already sealed that outcome, foreclosing the initiation of
disciplinary administrative proceedings, or the continuation of any then pending,
against the deceased employees. Whatever may be said of the binding force of the
Resolution of July 4, 1988 so far as, to all intents and pursposes, it makes exoneration in
the adminstrative proceedings a condition precedent to payment of back salaries, it
cannot exact an impossible performance or decree a useless exercise. Even in the case
of crimes, the death of the offender exteinguishes criminal liability, not only as to the
personal, but also as to the pecuniary, penalties if it occurs before final judgment.20 In
this context, the subsequent disciplinary proceedings, even if not assailable on grounds
of due process, would be an inutile, empty procedure in so far as the deceased
employees are concerned; they could not possibly be bound by any substatiation in said
proceedings of the original charges: irrigularities in the canvass of supplies and
materials. The questioned order of the Civil Service Commission merely recognized the
impossibility of complying with the Resolution of July 4, 1988 and the legal futility of
attempting a post-mortem investigation of the character contemplated.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED, without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 110120 March 16, 1994


LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. MANUEL JN. SERAPIO, Presiding Judge RTC, Branch
127, Caloocan City, HON. MACARIO A. ASISTIO, JR., City Mayor of Caloocan and/or
THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF CALOOCAN, respondents.
Alberto N. Hidalgo and Ma. Teresa T. Oledan for petitioner.
The City Legal Officer & Chief, Law Department for Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. and the
City Government of Caloocan.

ROMERO, J.:
The clash between the responsibility of the City Government of Caloocan to dispose off
the 350 tons of garbage it collects daily and the growing concern and sensitivity to a
pollution-free environment of the residents of Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate,
Caloocan City where these tons of garbage are dumped everyday is the hub of this
controversy elevated by the protagonists to the Laguna Lake Development Authority
(LLDA) for adjudication.
The instant case stemmed from an earlier petition filed with this Court by Laguna Lake
Development Authority (LLDA for short) docketed as G.R.
No. 107542 against the City Government of Caloocan, et al. In the Resolution of
November 10, 1992, this Court referred G.R. No. 107542 to the Court of Appeals for
appropriate disposition. Docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP
1
No. 29449, the Court of Appeals, in a decision promulgated on January 29, 1993 ruled
that the LLDA has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist order enjoining
the dumping of garbage in Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City. The LLDA
now seeks, in this petition, a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals.
The facts, as disclosed in the records, are undisputed.
On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish,
Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed a letter-complaint2 with the Laguna Lake
Development Authority seeking to stop the operation of the 8.6-hectare open garbage
dumpsite in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City due to its harmful effects on
the health of the residents and the possibility of pollution of the water content of the
surrounding area.
On November 15, 1991, the LLDA conducted an on-site investigation, monitoring and
test sampling of the leachate3that seeps from said dumpsite to the nearby creek which
is a tributary of the Marilao River. The LLDA Legal and Technical personnel found that
the City Government of Caloocan was maintaining an open dumpsite at the Camarin
area without first securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, as required under Presidential Decree No. 1586,4 and clearance from
LLDA as required under Republic Act No. 4850,5 as amended by Presidential Decree No.
813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983.6
After a public hearing conducted on December 4, 1991, the LLDA, acting on the
complaint of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite, found that the water collected from the
leachate and the receiving streams could considerably affect the quality, in turn, of the
receiving waters since it indicates the presence of bacteria, other than coliform, which
may have contaminated the sample during collection or handling.7 On December 5,
1991, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order8 ordering the City Government of
Caloocan, Metropolitan Manila Authority, their contractors, and other entities, to
completely halt, stop and desist from dumping any form or kind of garbage and other
waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite.
The dumping operation was forthwith stopped by the City Government of Caloocan.
However, sometime in August 1992 the dumping operation was resumed after a
meeting held in July 1992 among the City Government of Caloocan, the representatives
of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA at the Office of Environmental
Management Bureau Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes failed to settle the problem.
After an investigation by its team of legal and technical personnel on August 14, 1992,
the LLDA issued another order reiterating the December 5, 1991, order and issued an
Alias Cease and Desist Order enjoining the City Government of Caloocan from
continuing its dumping operations at the Camarin area.
On September 25, 1992, the LLDA, with the assistance of the Philippine National
Police, enforced its Alias Cease and Desist Order by prohibiting the entry of all garbage
dump trucks into the Tala Estate, Camarin area being utilized as a dumpsite.
Pending resolution of its motion for reconsideration earlier filed on September 17, 1992
with the LLDA, the City Government of Caloocan filed with the Regional Trial Court of
Caloocan City an action for the declaration of nullity of the cease and desist order with
prayer for the issuance of writ of injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. C-15598. In its
complaint, the City Government of Caloocan sought to be declared as the sole
authority empowered to promote the health and safety and enhance the right of the
people in Caloocan City to a balanced ecology within its territorial jurisdiction.9
On September 25, 1992, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan
City issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the LLDA from enforcing its cease
and desist order. Subsequently, the case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court, Branch
126 of Caloocan which, at the time, was presided over by Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127, the pairing judge of the recently-retired presiding
judge.
The LLDA, for its part, filed on October 2, 1992 a motion to dismiss on the ground,
among others, that under Republic Act No. 3931, as amended by Presidential Decree
No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution Control Law, the cease and desist order
issued by it which is the subject matter of the complaint is reviewable both upon the
law and the facts of the case by the Court of Appeals and not by the Regional Trial
Court. 10
On October 12, 1992 Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio issued an order consolidating Civil Case
No. C-15598 with Civil Case No. C-15580, an earlier case filed by the Task Force Camarin
Dumpsite entitled "Fr. John Moran, et al. vs. Hon. Macario Asistio." The LLDA, however,
maintained during the trial that the foregoing cases, being independent of each other,
should have been treated separately.
On October 16, 1992, Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, after hearing the motion to dismiss,
issued in the consolidated cases an order11 denying LLDA's motion to dismiss and
granting the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the LLDA, its agent
and all persons acting for and on its behalf, from enforcing or implementing its cease
and desist order which prevents plaintiff City of Caloocan from dumping garbage at the
Camarin dumpsite during the pendency of this case and/or until further orders of the
court.
On November 5, 1992, the LLDA filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction
with prayer for restraining order with the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R. No. 107542,
seeking to nullify the aforesaid order dated October 16, 1992 issued by the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 127 of Caloocan City denying its motion to dismiss.
The Court, acting on the petition, issued a Resolution12 on November 10, 1992 referring
the case to the Court of Appeals for proper disposition and at the same time, without
giving due course to the petition, required the respondents to comment on the petition
and file the same with the Court of Appeals within ten (10) days from notice. In the
meantime, the Court issued a temporary restraining order, effective immediately and
continuing until further orders from it, ordering the respondents: (1) Judge Manuel Jn.
Serapio, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 127, Caloocan City to cease and
desist from exercising jurisdiction over the case for declaration of nullity of the cease
and desist order issued by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA); and (2) City
Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from
dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City.
Respondents City Government of Caloocan and Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. filed on
November 12, 1992 a motion for reconsideration and/or to quash/recall the temporary
restraining order and an urgent motion for reconsideration alleging that ". . . in view of
the calamitous situation that would arise if the respondent city government fails to
collect 350 tons of garbage daily for lack of dumpsite (i)t is therefore, imperative that
the issue be resolved with dispatch or with sufficient leeway to allow the respondents
to find alternative solutions to this garbage problem."
On November 17, 1992, the Court issued a Resolution13 directing the Court of Appeals
to immediately set the case for hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not
the temporary restraining order issued by the Court should be lifted and what
conditions, if any, may be required if it is to be so lifted or whether the restraining order
should be maintained or converted into a preliminary injunction.
The Court of Appeals set the case for hearing on November 27, 1992, at 10:00 in the
morning at the Hearing Room, 3rd Floor, New Building, Court of Appeals.14 After the
oral argument, a conference was set on December 8, 1992 at 10:00 o'clock in the
morning where the Mayor of Caloocan City, the General Manager of LLDA, the
Secretary of DENR or his duly authorized representative and the Secretary of DILG or
his duly authorized representative were required to appear.
It was agreed at the conference that the LLDA had until December 15, 1992 to finish its
study and review of respondent's technical plan with respect to the dumping of its
garbage and in the event of a rejection of respondent's technical plan or a failure of
settlement, the parties will submit within 10 days from notice their respective
memoranda on the merits of the case, after which the petition shall be deemed
submitted for resolution.15Notwithstanding such efforts, the parties failed to settle the
dispute.
On April 30, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision holding that: (1) the
Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction on appeal to try, hear and decide the action for
annulment of LLDA's cease and desist order, including the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and preliminary injunction in relation thereto, since appeal therefrom
is within the exclusive and appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals under Section
9, par. (3), of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129; and (2) the Laguna Lake Development
Authority has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist order under its
enabling law, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order
No. 927, series of 1983.
The Court of Appeals thus dismissed Civil Case No. 15598 and the preliminary injunction
issued in the said case was set aside; the cease and desist order of LLDA was likewise
set aside and the temporary restraining order enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan
and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage
at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City was lifted, subject, however, to
the condition that any future dumping of garbage in said area, shall be in conformity
with the procedure and protective works contained in the proposal attached to the
records of this case and found on pages 152-160 of the Rollo, which was thereby
adopted by reference and made an integral part of the decision, until the corresponding
restraining and/or injunctive relief is granted by the proper Court upon LLDA's
institution of the necessary legal proceedings.
Hence, the Laguna Lake Development Authority filed the instant petition for review
on certiorari, now docketed as G.R. No. 110120, with prayer that the temporary
restraining order lifted by the Court of Appeals be re-issued until after final
determination by this Court of the issue on the proper interpretation of the powers and
authority of the LLDA under its enabling law.
On July, 19, 1993, the Court issued a temporary restraining order 16 enjoining the City
Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from
dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, effective as
of this date and containing until otherwise ordered by the Court.
It is significant to note that while both parties in this case agree on the need to protect
the environment and to maintain the ecological balance of the surrounding areas of the
Camarin open dumpsite, the question as to which agency can lawfully exercise
jurisdiction over the matter remains highly open to question.
The City Government of Caloocan claims that it is within its power, as a local
government unit, pursuant to the general welfare provision of the Local Government
Code, 17 to determine the effects of the operation of the dumpsite on the ecological
balance and to see that such balance is maintained. On the basis of said contention, it
questioned, from the inception of the dispute before the Regional Trial Court of
Caloocan City, the power and authority of the LLDA to issue a cease and desist order
enjoining the dumping of garbage in the Barangay Camarin over which the City
Government of Caloocan has territorial jurisdiction.
The Court of Appeals sustained the position of the City of Caloocan on the theory that
Section 7 of Presidential Decree No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution Control law,
authorizing the defunct National Pollution Control Commission to issue an ex-
parte cease and desist order was not incorporated in Presidential Decree No. 813 nor in
Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983. The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act No.
4850, as amended, the LLDA is instead required "to institute the necessary legal
proceeding against any person who shall commence to implement or continue
implementation of any project, plan or program within the Laguna de Bay region
without previous clearance from the Authority."
The LLDA now assails, in this partition for review, the abovementioned ruling of the
Court of Appeals, contending that, as an administrative agency which was granted
regulatory and adjudicatory powers and functions by Republic Act No. 4850 and its
amendatory laws, Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983, it is invested with the power and authority to issue a cease and desist order
pursuant to Section 4 par. (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) of Executive Order No. 927 series of
1983 which provides, thus:
Sec. 4. Additional Powers and Functions. The authority shall have the following powers
and functions:
xxx xxx xxx
(c) Issue orders or decisions to compel compliance with the provisions of this Executive
Order and its implementing rules and regulations only after proper notice and hearing.
(d) Make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of pollution specifying the
conditions and the time within which such discontinuance must be accomplished.
(e) Issue, renew, or deny permits, under such conditions as it may determine to be
reasonable, for the prevention and abatement of pollution, for the discharge of sewage,
industrial waste, or for the installation or operation of sewage works and industrial
disposal system or parts thereof.
(f) After due notice and hearing, the Authority may also revoke, suspend or modify any
permit issued under this Order whenever the same is necessary to prevent or abate
pollution.
(g) Deputize in writing or request assistance of appropriate government agencies or
instrumentalities for the purpose of enforcing this Executive Order and its
implementing rules and regulations and the orders and decisions of the Authority.
The LLDA claims that the appellate court deliberately suppressed and totally
disregarded the above provisions of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, which
granted administrative quasi-judicial functions to LLDA on pollution abatement cases.
In light of the relevant environmental protection laws cited which are applicable in this
case, and the corresponding overlapping jurisdiction of government agencies
implementing these laws, the resolution of the issue of whether or not the LLDA has
the authority and power to issue an order which, in its nature and effect was injunctive,
necessarily requires a determination of the threshold question: Does the Laguna Lake
Development Authority, under its Charter and its amendatory laws, have the authority
to entertain the complaint against the dumping of garbage in the open dumpsite in
Barangay Camarin authorized by the City Government of Caloocan which is allegedly
endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the residents therein and the sanitation
and quality of the water in the area brought about by exposure to pollution caused by
such open garbage dumpsite?
The matter of determining whether there is such pollution of the environment that
requires control, if not prohibition, of the operation of a business establishment is
essentially addressed to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR
which, by virtue of Section 16 of Executive Order No. 192, series of 1987,18 has assumed
the powers and functions of the defunct National Pollution Control Commission
created under Republic Act No. 3931. Under said Executive Order, a Pollution
Adjudication Board (PAB) under the Office of the DENR Secretary now assumes the
powers and functions of the National Pollution Control Commission with respect to
adjudication of pollution cases. 19
As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the Pollution
Adjudication Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides for another
forum. It must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a specialized
administrative agency, is specifically mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its
amendatory laws to carry out and make effective the declared national policy 20 of
promoting and accelerating the development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake
area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San Pablo,
Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan21 with due regard and adequate provisions for
environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of human life and
ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and
pollution. Under such a broad grant and power and authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its
special charter, obviously has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna
Lake region from the deleterious effects of pollutants emanating from the discharge of
wastes from the surrounding areas. In carrying out the aforementioned declared policy,
the LLDA is mandated, among others, to pass upon and approve or disapprove all
plans, programs, and projects proposed by local government offices/agencies within
the region, public corporations, and private persons or enterprises where such plans,
programs and/or projects are related to those of the LLDA for the development of the
region. 22
In the instant case, when the complainant Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of
Lourdes Parish, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed its letter-complaint before the
LLDA, the latter's jurisdiction under its charter was validly invoked by complainant on
the basis of its allegation that the open dumpsite project of the City Government of
Caloocan in Barangay Camarin was undertaken without a clearance from the LLDA, as
required under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act. No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No.
813 and Executive Order No. 927. While there is also an allegation that the said project
was without an Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Environmental
Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR, the primary jurisdiction of the LLDA over this
case was recognized by the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR when the
latter acted as intermediary at the meeting among the representatives of the City
Government of Caloocan, Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA sometime in July
1992 to discuss the possibility of
re-opening the open dumpsite.
Having thus resolved the threshold question, the inquiry then narrows down to the
following issue: Does the LLDA have the power and authority to issue a "cease and
desist" order under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws, on the basis of the
facts presented in this case, enjoining the dumping of garbage in Tala Estate, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City.
The irresistible answer is in the affirmative.
The cease and desist order issued by the LLDA requiring the City Government of
Caloocan to stop dumping its garbage in the Camarin open dumpsite found by the
LLDA to have been done in violation of Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, and other
relevant environment laws,23 cannot be stamped as an unauthorized exercise by the
LLDA of injunctive powers. By its express terms, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by
P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, authorizes the LLDA to
"make, alter or modify order requiring the discontinuance or pollution."24 (Emphasis
supplied) Section 4, par. (d) explicitly authorizes the LLDA to make whatever order may
be necessary in the exercise of its jurisdiction.
To be sure, the LLDA was not expressly conferred the power "to issue and ex-
parte cease and desist order" in a language, as suggested by the City Government of
Caloocan, similar to the express grant to the defunct National Pollution Control
Commission under Section 7 of P.D. No. 984 which, admittedly was not reproduced in
P.D. No. 813 and E.O. No. 927, series of 1983. However, it would be a mistake to draw
therefrom the conclusion that there is a denial of the power to issue the order in
question when the power "to make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance
of pollution" is expressly and clearly bestowed upon the LLDA by Executive Order No.
927, series of 1983.
Assuming arguendo that the authority to issue a "cease and desist order" were not
expressly conferred by law, there is jurisprudence enough to the effect that the rule
granting such authority need not necessarily be express.25 While it is a fundamental rule
that an administrative agency has only such powers as are expressly granted to it by
law, it is likewise a settled rule that an administrative agency has also such powers as
are necessarily implied in the exercise of its express powers.26 In the exercise, therefore,
of its express powers under its charter as a regulatory and quasi-judicial body with
respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the LLDA to issue
a "cease and desist order" is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it may well be reduced to a
"toothless" paper agency.
In this connection, it must be noted that in Pollution Adjudication Board v. Court of
Appeals, et al.,27 the Court ruled that the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has the
power to issue an ex-parte cease and desist order when there isprima facie evidence of
an establishment exceeding the allowable standards set by the anti-pollution laws of
the country. The ponente, Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, declared:
Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations like
that here presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of pollutive
and untreated effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the Philippines cannot
be made to wait until protracted litigation over the ultimate correctness or propriety of
such orders has run its full course, including multiple and sequential appeals such as
those which Solar has taken, which of course may take several years. The relevant
pollution control statute and implementing regulations were enacted and promulgated
in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to protect the safety, health, and
general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as the protection of plant and animal
life, commonly designated as the police power. It is a constitutional commonplace that
the ordinary requirements of procedural due process yield to the necessities of
protecting vital public interests like those here involved, through the exercise of police
power. . . .
The immediate response to the demands of "the necessities of protecting vital public
interests" gives vitality to the statement on ecology embodied in the Declaration of
Principles and State Policies or the 1987 Constitution. Article II, Section 16 which
provides:
The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful
ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries the correlative duty of
non-impairment. This is but in consonance with the declared policy of the state "to
protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness
among them."28 It is to be borne in mind that the Philippines is party to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the Alma Conference Declaration of 1978 which
recognize health as a fundamental human right. 29
The issuance, therefore, of the cease and desist order by the LLDA, as a practical
matter of procedure under the circumstances of the case, is a proper exercise of its
power and authority under its charter and its amendatory laws. Had the cease and
desist order issued by the LLDA been complied with by the City Government of
Caloocan as it did in the first instance, no further legal steps would have been
necessary.
The charter of LLDA, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, instead of conferring upon
the LLDA the means of directly enforcing such orders, has provided under its Section 4
(d) the power to institute "necessary legal proceeding against any person who shall
commence to implement or continue implementation of any project, plan or program
within the Laguna de Bay region without previous clearance from the LLDA."
Clearly, said provision was designed to invest the LLDA with sufficiently broad powers
in the regulation of all projects initiated in the Laguna Lake region, whether by the
government or the private sector, insofar as the implementation of these projects is
concerned. It was meant to deal with cases which might possibly arise where decisions
or orders issued pursuant to the exercise of such broad powers may not be obeyed,
resulting in the thwarting of its laudabe objective. To meet such contingencies, then
the writs of mandamus and injunction which are beyond the power of the LLDA to
issue, may be sought from the proper courts.
Insofar as the implementation of relevant anti-pollution laws in the Laguna Lake region
and its surrounding provinces, cities and towns are concerned, the Court will not dwell
further on the related issues raised which are more appropriately addressed to an
administrative agency with the special knowledge and expertise of the LLDA.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The temporary restraining order issued by the
Court on July 19, 1993 enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City
Government of Caloocan from dumping their garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City is hereby made permanent.
SO ORDERED.