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Mecano vs.

COA, 216 SCRA 500

CAMPOS, JR., J:

Antonio A. Mecano, through a petition for certiorari, seeks to nullify the decision of the Commission on Audit (COA, for brevity)
embodied in its 7th Indorsement, dated January 16, 1992, denying his claim for reimbursement under Section 699 of the Revised
Administrative Code (RAC), as amended, in the total amount of P40,831.00.

Petitioner is a Director II of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). He was hospitalized for cholecystitis from March 26, 1990 to
April 7, 1990, on account of which he incurred medical and hospitalization expenses, the total amount of which he is claiming from the
COA.

On May 11, 1990, in a memorandum to the NBI Director, Alfredo S. Lim (Director Lim, for brevity), he requested reimbursement for
his expenses on the ground that he is entitled to the benefits under Section 699 1 of the RAC, the pertinent provisions of which read:

"Sec. 699. Allowances in case of injury, death, or sickness incurred in performance of duty. - When a person in the service of the
national government or in the service of the government of a province, city, municipality or municipal district is so injured in the
performance of duty as thereby to receive some actual physical hurt or wound, the proper Head of Department may direct that absence
during any period of disability thereby occasioned shall be on full pay, though not more than six months, and in such case he may in his
discretion also authorize the payment of the medical attendance, necessary transportation, subsistence and hospital fees of the injured
person. Absence in the case contemplated shall be charged first against vacation leave, if any there be.

xxx xxx xxx

"In case of sickness caused by or connected directly with the performance of some act in the line of duty, the Department head may in
his discretion authorize the payment of the necessary hospital fees."

Director Lim then forwarded petitioner's claim, in a 1st Indorsement dated June 22, 1990, to the Secretary of Justice, along with the
comment, bearing the same date, of Gerarda Galang, Chief, LED of the NBI, "recommending favorable action thereof". Finding
petitioner's illness to be service -connected, the Committee on Physical Examination of the Department of Justice favorably
recommended the payment of petitioner's claim.

However, then Undersecretary of Justice Silvestre H. Bello III, in a 4th Indorsement dated November 21, 1990, returned petitioner's
claim to Director Lim, having considered the statements of the Chairman of the COA in its 5th Indorsement dated 19 September 1990,
to the effect that the RAC being relied upon was repealed by the Administrative Code of 1987.

Petitioner then re-submitted his claim to Director Lim, with a copy of Opinion No. 73, S. 1991 2 dated April 26, 1991 of then Secretary
of Justice Franklin M. Drilon (Secretary Drilon, for brevity) stating that "the issuance of the Administrative Code did not operate to
repeal or abrogate in its entirety the Revised Administrative Code, including the particular Section 699 of the latter."

On May 10, 1991, Director Lim, under a 5th Indorsement transmitted anew Mecano's claim to then Undersecretary Bello for favorable
consideration. Under a 6th Indorsement, dated July 2, 1991, Secretary Drilon forwarded petitioner's claim to the COA Chairman,
recommending payment of the same. COA Chairman Eufemio C. Domingo, in his 7th Indorsement of January 16, 1992, however
denied petitioner's claim on the ground that Section 699 of the RAC has been repealed by the Administrative Code of 1987, solely for
the reason that the same section was not restated nor re-enacted in the Administrative Code of 1987. He commented, however, that the
claim may be filed with the Employees' Compensation Commission, considering that the illness of Director Mecano occurred after the
effectivity of the Administrative Code of 1987.

Eventually, petitioner's claim was returned by Undersecretary of Justice Eduardo Montenegro to Director Lim under a 9th Indorsement
dated February 7, 1992, with the advice that petitioner "elevate the matter to the Supreme Court if he so desires."

On the sole issue of whether or not the Administrative Code of 1987 repealed or abrogated Section 699 of the RAC, this petition was
brought for the consideration of this Court.

Petitioner anchors his claim on Section 699 of the RAC, as amended, and on the aforementioned Opinion No. 73, S. 1991 of Secretary
Drilon. He further maintains that in the event that a claim is filed with the Employees' Compensation Commission, as suggested by
respondent, he would still not be barred from filing a claim under the subject section. Thus, the resolution of whether or not there was a
repeal of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 would decide the fate of petitioner's claim for reimbursement.

The COA, on the other hand, strongly maintains that the enactment of the Administrative Code of 1987 (Exec. Order No. 292) operated
to revoke or supplant in its entirety the Revised Administrative Code of 1917. The COA claims that from the "whereas" clauses of the
new Administrative Code, it can be gleaned that it was the intent of the legislature to repeal the old Code. Moreover, the COA
questions the applicability of the aforesaid opinion of the Secretary of Justice in deciding the matter. Lastly, the COA contends that
employment-related sickness, injury or death is adequately covered by the Employees' Compensation Program under P.D. 626, such
that to allow simultaneous recovery of benefits under both laws on account of the same contingency would be unfair and unjust to the
government.

The question of whether a particular law has been repealed or not by a subsequent law is a matter of legislative intent. The lawmakers
may expressly repeal a law by incorporating therein a repealing provision which expressly and specifically cites the particular law or
laws, and portions thereof, that are intended to be repealed. 3 A declaration in a statute, usually in its repealing clause, that a particular
and specific law, identified by its number or title, is repealed is an express repeal; all others are implied repeals. 4

In the case of the two Administrative Codes in question, the ascertainment of whether or not it was the intent of the legislature to
supplant the old Code with the new Code partly depends on the scrutiny of the repealing clause of the new Code. This provision is
found in Section 27, Book VII (Final Provisions) of the Administrative Code of 1987 which reads:

"Sec. 27. Repealing Clause. - All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, or portions thereof, inconsistent with this Code are hereby
repealed or modified accordingly."

The question that should be asked is: What is the nature of this repealing clause? It is certainly not an express repealing clause because
it fails to identify or designate the act or acts that are intended to be repealed. 5 Rather, it is an example of a general repealing
provision, as stated in Opinion No. 73, S. 1991. It is a clause which predicates the intended repeal under the condition that a substantial
conflict must be found in existing and prior acts. The failure to add a specific repealing clause indicates that the intent was not to repeal
any existing law, unless an irreconcilable inconsistency and repugnancy exist in the terms of the new and old laws. 6 This latter
situation falls under the category of an implied repeal.

Repeal by implication proceeds on the premise that where a statute of later date clearly reveals an intention on the part of the legislature
to abrogate a prior act on the subject, that intention must be given effect. 7 Hence, before there can be a repeal, there must be a clear
showing on the part of the lawmaker that the intent in enacting the new law was to abrogate the old one. The intention to repeal must be
clear and manifest; 8 otherwise, at least, as a general rule, the later act is to be construed as a continuation of, and not a substitute for,
the first act and will continue so far as the two acts are the same from the time of the first enactment. 9

There are two categories of repeal by implication. The first is where provisions in the two acts on the same subject matter are in an
irreconcilable conflict, The later act to the extent of the conflict constitutes an implied repeal of the earlier one. The second is if the
later act covers the whole subject of the earlier one and is clearly intended as a substitute, it will operate to repeal the earlier law. 10

Implied repeal by irreconcilable inconsistency takes place when the two statutes cover the same subject matter; they are so clearly
inconsistent and incompatible with each other that they cannot be reconciled or harmonized; and both cannot be given effect, that is,
that one law cannot he enforced without nullifying the other. 11

Comparing the two Codes, it is apparent that the new Code does not cover nor attempt to cover the entire subject matter of the old
Code. There are several matters treated in the old Code which are not found in the new Code, such as the provisions on notaries public,
the leave law, the public bonding law, military reservations, claims for sickness benefits under Section 699, and still others.

Moreover, the COA failed to demonstrate that the provisions of the two Codes on the matter of the subject claim are in an
irreconcilable conflict. In fact, there can be no such conflict because the provision on sickness benefits of the nature being claimed by
petitioner has not been restated in the Administrative Code of 1987. However, the COA would have Us consider that the fact that
Section 699 was not restated in the Administrative Code of 1987 meant that the same section had been repealed. It further maintained
that to allow the particular provisions not restated in the new Code to continue in force argues against the Code itself. The COA
anchored this argument on the whereas clause of the 1987 Code, which states:

"WHEREAS, the effectiveness of the Government will be enhanced by a new Administrative Code which incorporates in a unified
document the major structural, functional and procedural principles and rules of governance; and
xxx xxx xxx"

It argues, in effect, that what is contemplated is only one Code - the Administrative Code of 1987. This contention is untenable.

The fact that a later enactment may relate to the same subject matter as that of an earlier statute is not of itself sufficient to cause an
implied repeal of the prior act, since the new statute may merely be cumulative or a continuation of the old one. 12 What is necessary is
a manifest indication of legislative purpose to repeal. 13

We come now to the second category of repeal - the enactment of a statute revising or codifying the former laws on the whole subject
matter. This is only possible if this revised statute or code was intended to cover the whole subject to be a complete and perfect system
in itself. It is the rule that a subsequent statute is deemed to repeal a prior law if the former revises the whole subject matter of the
former statute. 14 When both intent and scope clearly evince the idea of a repeal, then all parts and provisions of the prior act that are
omitted from the revised act are deemed repealed. 15 Furthermore, before there can be an implied repeal under this category, it must be
the clear intent of the legislature that the later act be the substitute to the prior act. 16

According to Opinion No. 73, S. 1991 of the Secretary of Justice, what appears clear is the intent to cover only those aspects of
government that pertain to administration, organization and procedure, understandably because of the many changes that transpired in
the government structure since the enactment of the RAC decades of years ago. The COA challenges the weight that this opinion
carries in the determination of this controversy inasmuch as the body which had been entrusted with the implementation of this
particular provision has already rendered its decision. The COA relied on the rule in administrative law enunciated in the case of Sison
vs. Pangramuyen 17 that in the absence of palpable error or grave abuse of discretion, the Court would be loathe to substitute its own
judgment for that of the administrative agency entrusted with the enforcement and implementation of the law. This will not hold water.
This principle is subject to limitations. Administrative decisions may be reviewed by the courts upon a showing that the decision is
vitiated by fraud, imposition or mistake. 18 It has been held that Opinions of the Secretary and Undersecretary of Justice are material in
the construction of statutes in pari materia. 19

Lastly, it is a well-settled rule of statutory construction that repeals of statutes by implication are not favored. 20 The presumption is
against inconsistency and repugnancy for the legislature is presumed to know the existing laws on the subject and not to have enacted
inconsistent or conflicting statutes. 21

This Court, in a case, explains the principle in detail as follows: "Repeals by implication are not favored, and will not be decreed unless
it is manifest that the legislature so intended. As laws are presumed to be passed with deliberation with full knowledge of all existing
ones on the subject, it is but reasonable to conclude that in passing a statute it was not intended to interfere with or abrogate any former
law relating to some matter, unless the repugnancy between the two is not only irreconcilable, but also clear and convincing, and
flowing necessarily from the language used, unless the later act fully embraces the subject matter of the earlier, or unless the reason for
the earlier act is beyond peradventure renewed. Hence, every effort must be used to make all acts stand and if, by any reasonable
construction, they can be reconciled, the later act will not operate as a repeal of the earlier. 22

Regarding respondent's contention that recovery under this subject section shall bar the recovery of benefits under the Employees'
Compensation Program, the same cannot be upheld. The second sentence of Article 173, Chapter II, Title II (dealing on Employees'
Compensation and State Insurance Fund), Book IV of the Labor Code, as amended by P.D. 1921, expressly provides that "the payment
of compensation under this Title shall not bar the recovery of benefits as provided for in Section 669 of the Revised Administrative
Code xxx whose benefits are administered by the system (meaning SSS or GSIS) or by other agencies of the government."

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to GRANT the petition; respondent is, hereby ordered to give due course to
petitioner's claim for benefits. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo and Melo, JJ., concur.

Gutierrez, Jr., J., concurs in the result.


Iron and Steel Authority vs. CA, 249 SCRA 538

DECISION

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

(Underscoring 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 of 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 placed 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 on-going, 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 benefits [_] 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

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 terms, 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."

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:

"Section 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 persons 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:

"Section 4. Powers and Functions. - 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

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

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 Company; 9 Philippine National Railways; 10 Public Estates Authority; 11 Philippine 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 and controlled corporations.

xxx xxx xxx

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:

"Section 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 . . . "

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."
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
. . ."

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 around 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

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 delegate, 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:

"Section 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." (Underscoring
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 expropriation proceedings in the proper court."

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.
US vs. Dorr
DECISION

COOPER, J.:

On May 23, 1902, a complaint was filed in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila
against Fred L. Dorr and Edward F. O'Brien, charging them with the publication of a false
and malicious libel against Señor Benito Legarda, one of the United States Philippine
Commissioners, by placing certain headlines or caption above an article published in the
"Manila Freedom," a newspaper in the city of Manila, of which the defendant Fred L. Dorr
was the proprietor and the defendant Edward F. O'Brien was the editor.

The following are the headlines or caption upon which the prosecution is based:

"Traitor, seducer and perjurer. Sensational allegations against Commissioner Legarda.


Made of record and read in English. Spanish reading waived. Wife would have killed him.
Legarda pale and nervous."

The article over and above which the headlines were placed was a report of certain judicial
proceedings had in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, in the criminal case
of the United States vs. Valdez for the offense of libel1, and the report was a copy taken
from a document prepared by the attorney for Valdez, in which the offer was made, as a
defense, to prove the truth of the material allegations contained in and which were the
basis of the complaint against Valdez. The facts offered to be proven were published in
the "Miau," a newspaper of which Valdez was editor, and related to Señor Legarda, the
prosecuting witness in the Valdez case as well as in this case.

At that time, under the libel law, the truth of the libelous matter was inadmissible as
evidence. The judge of the Court of First Instance excluded the proof tendered in the
document, but permitted it to be filed in the case, and the copy was taken from it by one
Vogel, the city reporter of the "Manila Freedom." The report was handed by the reporter
to the defendant O'Brien, the editor of the paper, and the headlines were written by
O'Brien, and the report with the headlines thus prepared was published in the "Manila
Freedom" of date April 16, 1902.

The report seems to have been regarded by the prosecuting attorney as privileged matter
under section 7 of the Libel Act, and, as before stated, the prosecution is based upon the
matter contained in the headlines.

On August 25,1902, the defendants were tried and found guilty of the offense charged in
the complaint, and each was sentenced to six months' imprisonment at hard labor and a
fine of $1,000, United States currency. From this judgment the defendants have appealed
to this court.

A demurrer was filed to the complaint, based upon the ground that the facts charged in
the complaint did not constitute a public offense. This demurrer was overruled by the
trial court, and an exception to the ruling taken by the defendants.

During the course of the proceedings a motion was made by the defendants asking that
they be granted a trial by jury, as provided for in Article III, section 2, of the Constitution
of the United States, and under the sixth amendment to the Constitution, which motion
was denied by the court, and an exception was also taken to this ruling.

Before entering into a discussion of the case upon its merits, it will be necessary to
consider the questions of a preliminary nature which have been raised in the assignment
of errors and brief of counsel for the appellants.
The questions submitted may be embraced within the following propositions:

(1) That by the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain, ratified on the 11th
day of April, 1899, the Philippine Islands became a part of the United States;

(2) And being a part thereof, they are subject to the provisions of section 2, Article III,
of the Constitution, and to the provisions contained in the sixth amendment to the
Constitution, by which in all criminal cases a trial by jury is guaranteed;

(3) That Congress can exercise no power over the person or property of a citizen beyond
what the Constitution confers, nor deny any right guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

Stated in its simple form, the proposition made is that the provisions of the Constitution
of the United States relating to jury trials are in force in the Philippine Islands.

The determination of this question involves the consideration of the political status of
these Islands, the power of Congress under the Constitution, and the nature of the
constitutional provisions relating to jury trials.

The political status of the Philippine Islands has been defined to a large extent by the
decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Downes vs. Bidwell
(182 U. S., 244), in which case the status of Puerto Rico was directly involved.

The question in that case was whether merchandise brought into the port of New York
from Puerto Rico, after the ratification of the treaty of peace with Spain and since the
passage of the Foraker Act, is exempt from duty, and involved the question whether the
revenue clauses of the Constitution extend of their own force to the newly acquired
territories from Spain, and whether the act is in contravention of the uniformity clause of
the Constitution.

The conclusion was reached that the act in question was not unconstitutional. In the
consideration of the case an exhaustive review was made of the powers of Congress to
govern the territories belonging to the United States, under the power to acquire territory
by treaty and the incidental right to govern such territory, and under the clause of section
3, Article IV, of the Constitution, which vests Congress with the power to dispose of and
make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the
United States. This review was made in the light of the opinion of contemporaries, the
practical construction placed upon the Constitution by Congress, and the decisions of the
Supreme Court of the United States upon questions arising thereunder. Distinctions were
found to exist in the application of the Constitution depending upon the relation which
was borne to the National Government whether by a State or by the territories which
belonged to certain States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and which were
situated within the acknowledged limits of the United States, and such territory as might
be acquired by the establishment of a disputed line; or by those which were acquired by
cession from foreign powers and to which the Constitution was extended by the treaty
under which they were ceded, sanctioned by Congress, or to which the Constitution was
expressly extended by Congressional act; or by those territories acquired from a foreign
power by treaty, which have not been incorporated as a part of the United States nor to
which has been extended the Constitution by act of Congress.

The following conclusions are deducible from the decision in that case:

1. That Puerto Rico (to which the Philippines is equally situated) did not by the act of
cession from Spain to the United States become incorporated in the United States as a
part of it, but became territory pertaining to and belonging to the United States.

2. That as to such territory Congress may establish a temporary government, and in so


doing it is not subject to all the restrictions of the Constitution.
3. That the determination of what these restrictions are and what particular provisions of
the Constitution are applicable to such territories involves an inquiry into the situation of
the territory and its relation to the United States.

4. That the uniformity provided for in the revenue clause of the Constitution is not one of
those restrictions upon Congress in its government of the territory of Puerto Rico.

What is the character of these restrictions and how are they to be ascertained and
determined? And to what extent is the Constitution in force and effect in these Islands?

Both Mr. Justice Brown, in delivering the majority opinion, and Mr. Justice White, in
delivering the concurring opinion, refer to these constitutional restrictions.

In formulating certain propositions as his conclusions, Justice White uses the following
language:

"Whilst, therefore, there is no express or implied limitation on Congress, in exercising its


power to create local governments for any and all of the territories, by which that body
is restrained from the widest latitude of discretion, it does not follow that there may not
be inherent, although unexpressed, principles which are the basis of all free government
which can not be with impunity transcended. But this does not suggest that every express
limitation of the Constitution which is applicable has not force, but only signifies that even
in cases where there is no direct command of the Constitution which applies, there may
nevertheless be restrictions of so fundamental a nature that they can not be
transgressed, although not expressed in so many words in the Constitution." 2

He also says:

"Undoubtedly, there are general prohibitions in the Constitution in favor of the liberty and
property of the citizen which are not mere regulations as to the form and manner in which
a conceded power may be exercised, but which are an absolute denial of all authority
under any circumstances or conditions to do particular acts. In the nature of things,
limitations of this character can not be under any circumstances transcended, because of
the complete absence of power.

"The distinction which exists between the two characters of restrictions, those which
regulate a granted power and those which withdraw all authority on a particular subject,
has in effect been always conceded, even by those who most strenuously insisted on the
erroneous principle that the Constitution did not apply to Congress in legislating for the
territories, and was not operative in such districts of country."

Mr. Justice Brown in this connection quotes the following language used by Mr. Justice
Bradley in the case of the Mormon Church vs. United States (136 U.S., 1):

"Doubtless Congress, in legislating, for the Territories, would be subject to those


fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights which are formulated in the
Constitution and its amendments; but those limitations would exist rather by inference
and the general spirit of the Constitution from which Congress derives all its powers than
by any express and direct application of its provisions." 3

Again he says:

"There are certain principles of natural justice inherent in the Anglo-Saxon character
which need no expression in constitutions or statutes to give them effect, or to secure
dependencies against legislation manifestly hostile to their real interest." 4

The case of the American Insurance Company vs. Canter (1 Pet., 511) is a very
interesting and instructive case which well illustrates the difference in the application of
constitutional provisions to territories which are a part and within the limited States and
those acquired from a foreign power by cession which have not been incorporated into
the United States, nor have had by act of Congress the Constitution extended to them.

Florida was ceded by Spain to the United States, as was also the Philippines.

The status of the Philippines at the present time is very similar to that of Florida at the
date of the act passed by the legislative council of Florida, the constitutionality of which
was considered in the case of the American Insurance Company vs. Canter. The
statement of the case and the decision is taken from the opinion of Justice Brown in the
case of Downes vs. Bidwell, and is as follows:

"This case originated in the district court of South Carolina for the possession of 356 bales
of cotton, which had been wrecked on the coast of Florida, abandoned to the insurance
companies, and subsequently brought to Charleston. Canter claimed the cotton as bona
fide purchaser at a marshal's sale at Key West by virtue of a decree of a territorial court
consisting of a notary and five jurors, proceeding under an act of the governor and
legislative council of Florida. The case turned upon the question whether the sale by that
court was effectual to divest the interest of the underwriters. The district judge
pronounced the proceedings a nullity, and rendered a decree from which both parties
appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court reversed the decree of the district court
upon the ground that the proceedings of the court at Key West were legal, and transferred
the property to Canter, the alleged purchaser.

"The opinion of the circuit court was delivered by Mr. Justice Johnson of the Supreme
Court, and is published in full in a note in Peter's Reports. It was argued that the
Constitution vested the admiralty jurisdiction exclusively in the General Government; that
the legislature of Florida had exercised an illegal power in organizing this court, and that
its decrees were void. On the other hand, it was insisted that this was a court of separate
and distinct jurisdiction from the courts of the United States, and as such its acts were
not to be reviewed in a foreign tribunal, such as was the court of South Carolina; "that
the district of Florida was not part of the United States, but only an acquisition or
dependency, and as such the Constitution per se had no binding effect in or over it.' 'It
becomes,' said the court, 'indispensable to the solution of these difficulties, that we
should conceive a just idea of the relation in which Florida stands to the United States. .
. . And, first, it is obvious that there is a material distinction between the territory now
under consideration and that which is acquired from the aborigines (whether by purchase
or conquest) within the acknowledged limits of the United States, as also that which is
acquired by the establishment of a disputed line. As to both these, there can be no
question that the sovereignty of the State or territory within which it lies, and of the
United States, immediately attach, producing a complete subjection to all the laws and
institutions of the two governments, local and general, unless modified by treaty. The
question now to be considered relates to territories previously subject to the
acknowledged jurisdiction of another sovereign, such as was Florida to the crown of
Spain. And on this subject we have the most explicit proof that the understanding of our
public functionaries is that the government and laws of the United States do not extend
to such territory by the mere act of cession. For, in the act of Congress of March 30,
1822, section 9, we have an enumeration of the acts of Congress which are to be held in
force in the territory; and in the tenth section an enumeration, in the nature of a bill of
rights, of privileges and immunities, which could not be denied to the inhabitants of the
territory if they came under the constitution by the mere act of cession. . . . These States,
this territory, and future States to be admitted into the Union are the sole objects of the
Constitution; there is no express provision whatever made in the Constitution for the
acquisition or government of territories beyond those limits. He further held that the right
of acquiring territory was altogether incidental to the treaty-making power; that their
government was left to Congress; that the territory of Florida did not stand in the relation
of a state to the United States; that the acts establishing a territorial, government were
the constitution of Florida; that while under these acts the territorial legislature could
enact nothing inconsistent with what Congress had made inherent and permanent in the
territorial government, it had not done so in organizing the court at Key West.'' 5

Justice Brown further cites from the opinion of Chief Justice Marshall in this case, in which
the latter held "that the judicial clause of the Constitution, above quoted, did not apply
to Florida; that the judges of the superior courts of Florida held their office for four years;
that 'these courts are not constitutional courts in which the judicial power conferred by
the Constitution on the General Government can be deposited;' that 'they are legislative
courts, created in virtue of the general right of sovereignty which exists in the
government, or in virtue of the territorial clause of the Constitution; that the jurisdiction
with which they are invested is not a part of judicial power of the Constitution, but is
conferred by Congress, in the exercise of those general powers which that body possesses
over the territories of the United States; and that in legislating for them Congress
exercises the combined powers of the general and of State governments. The act of the
territorial legislature, creating the court in question, was held not to be 'inconsistent with
the laws and Constitution of the United States, and the decree of the circuit court v.-as
affirmed." 6

Remarking upon this case, Justice Brown says:

"As the only judicial power vested in Congress is to create courts whose judges shall hold
their offices during good behavior, it necessarily follows that, if Congress authorizes the
creation of courts and the appointment of judges for a limited time, it must act
independently of the Constitution, and upon territory which is not part of the United
States within the meaning of the Constitution." 7

The act of Congress of July 1, 1902, entitled "An Act temporarily to provide for the
administration of the affairs of civil government in the Philippine Islands, and for other
purposes," in section 5 extends to the Philippine Islands nearly all of the provisions of the
Constitution known as the Bill of Rights. But there was excepted from it the provisions of
the Constitution relating to jury trials contained in section article III, and in the sixth
amendment.

It becomes necessary for us to determine whether these provisions of the Constitution of


the United states relating to trials by jury are in force in the. Philippine Islands. It is
difficult to determine from the general statements contained in these decisions what are
"those fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights which are formulated in the
Constitution and its amendments and which exist by inference."

It seems fairly deducible from all that has been said upon this subject that such provisions
are negative in character rather than of a direct positive or affirmative nature, denying
to Congress the power to pass laws in contravention with such principles of the
Constitution.

If this is their-nature and this be the true distinction, it can not be said that either
Congress or the Philippine Commission have passed any laws which would come within
the inhibition of the Constitution, or which tend to impair the right to trial by jury in these
Islands.

All that can be said is that, in extending the various provisions of the Bill of Rights here,
Congress has failed to extend those provisions guaranteeing the right to trial by jury.

We will now turn to the consideration of the question as to whether a violation of the
right to a jury trial falls within the inhibition arising from the existence of those
fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights mentioned in the decisions.

There are a number of cases cited in Downes vs. Bidwell establishing the right to trial by
jury in territories of the United States, but these decisions have all arisen in cases relating
to territories which were a part of the United States and had been incorporated as a part
thereof and to which Congress had expressly extended the Constitution.

In Webster vs. Reid (11 How., 437) it was held that the law of the Territory of Iowa which
prohibited the trial by jury of certain actions at law, founded on contract to recover
payment for services, was void; but, as it is said, this case is of little value as bearing
upon the question of the extension of the Constitution to that Territory, inasmuch as the
organic law of the Territory of Iowa enacted by Congress by its express provision
extended to Iowa the laws of the United States, including the ordinance of l787 which
provided expressly for jury trials), so far as they were applicable; and the case was put
upon this ground.

In Callem vs. Wilson (127 U. S., 540) the defendant had been convicted without jury
trial, in the District of Columbia, but the District of Columbia was not only within and a
part of the United States but had formed a part of the original States of Virginia and
Maryland.

In the case of Springville vs. Thomas (166 U.S. 707) it was held that a verdict returned
by less than the whole number of jurors was invalid, because in contravention of the
seventh amendment to the Constitution and the act of Congress of April 7, 1874, which
provide that no party shall be deprived of the right of trial by jury in cases cognizable at
common law. This is, as stated by Mr. Justice Brown, "obviously true with respect to Utah,
since the organic act of that Territory had expressly extended to it the Constitution and
laws of the United States." 8

The other decisions cited by counsel for the appellants can all be traced to the same
principle; that is, that where Congress has extended the laws and the Constitution to the
territories, then Congress could be inhibited by the Constitution from enacting a law
depriving persons living in such territories from the right to trial by jury.

The only case which we have been able to discover arising under an act of Congress, and
which deprived a party of the right to a trial by jury at a place where the Constitution had
not been extended by express provision, is the case of In re Ross (140 U.S., 453). This
was a case in which the American consular tribunal in Japan, created by act of Congress
under treaty with the Government of Japan and vested with jurisdiction, to be exercised
and enforced in accordance with the laws of the United States, to try Americans, had, in
the exercise of this jurisdiction, convicted the defendant of the crime of murder, and he
was sentenced by- that court to the penalty of death.

It was held that "the guaranties it (the Constitution) affords against accusation of capital
or infamous crimes, except by indictment or presentment by a grand jury, and for an
impartial trial by a jury when thus accused, apply only to citizens and others within the
United States, or who are brought there for trial for alleged offenses committed
elsewhere, and not to residents and temporary sojourners abroad." 9

It seems from this decision that the powers of Congress to enact a law which could
deprive a person of the right to a trial by jury is expressly recognized, and that such
legislation does not come within the fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights,
for this act of Congress which operated upon citizens of the United States abroad is
recognized as a valid act of Congress.

The act is saved from the constitutional inhibition by reason that in such country the
Constitution of the United States does not extend, and is not in force there, but the
decision in this case nevertheless establishes the doctrine that there is not upon Congress
an absolute and total inhibition under any and all circumstances to enact a law in which
a person is deprived of the right to a trial by jury.

It may be further observed that if it should be held that the constitutional provision
guaranteeing the right to trial by jury has been introduced here by the simple act of
cession, there is no law in existence to give such provision effect.

Trial by jury was unknown to the law in force in these Islands prior to the date of cession,
nor has the Philippine Commission passed any law which would give it effect. Such
provisions of a constitution as those relating to trial by jury can hardly be regarded as
self-executing. It is necessary that there should be some legislation carrying them into
effect, such as laws prescribing the qualifications of persons for jury duty, for the
organization of juries and provisions of a like character.

Suppose the Constitution has been extended here by force of the cession of territory and
that it should be held that there could be no legal conviction for crime in the Philippines
on account of the absence of the law prescribing the qualifications of jurors or for the
organization of juries, and Congress, in the exercise of its sound judgment, after a careful
examination of the conditions prevailing in such territory and in the exercise of its
undoubted right to govern the territory, should reach the conclusion that an efficient
territorial government could not be conducted in which convictions for crime are
dependent upon the verdict of juries, by reason of the hostility of the inhabitants of such
country to the constituted authorities, or the lack of the qualification of the people of the
country or an extensive portion of it to perform jury service, and should refuse to enact
any law for jury trials, the criminal laws in such event must remain unenforced and a
state of anarchy would be the result. In such case the question assumes very mulch the
nature of a political question, and the judicial department might well hesitate to interfere
indirectly with Congress in the exercise of its judgment, and in the exercise of its broad
discretion in the government of a territory so situated.

It is contended, also, by counsel for the defendants, that Congress could not lawfully
authorize the Philippine Commission to enact; the libel law passed by it on October 24,
1901, under which the defendants have been convicted. The objection to the law is based
upon the theory of the division of the Federal Government into three branches, executive,
legislative, and judicial, and that the powers of legislation vested in Congress to make
laws can not be delegated by that department to the judgment, wisdom, or patriotism of
any other body or authority.

While the authorities cited in support of the general proposition maintain the doctrine,
there are well-known exceptions to the general rule not referred to in these decisions,
for the reason that the decision of the case did not require their consideration. A well-
known exception is that of municipal corporations, upon which the powers of legislation
are commonly bestowed.

The case in question forms an exception to this general rule equally well established.
Congress, in the exercise of its power to make rules and regulations for the government
of the territories, has often delegated the power of legislation to the territorial
government. The case of American Insurance Company vs. Canter ( 1 Pet., 511 ), before
cited, originated under an act of the governor and legislative council of Florida, organizing
a court and vesting in it admiralty jurisdiction, and in which the jurisdiction of the court
was sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Speaking of the power of Congress in creating territorial governments, it is said in the


case of De Lima vs. Bidwell (182 U.S., 1) that "the power to establish territorial
government has been too long exercised by Congress and acquiesced in by the Supreme
Court to he deemed an unsettled question."

We reach the conclusion in this case:

1. That while the Philippine Islands constitute territory which has been acquired by and
belongs to the United States, there is a difference between such territory and the
territories which are a part of the United States with reference to the Constitution of the
United States.

2. That the Constitution was not extended here by the terms of the treaty of Paris, under
which the Philippine Islands were acquired from Spain. By the treaty the status of the
ceded territory was to be determined by Congress.

3. That the mere act of cession of the Philippines to the United States did not extend the
Constitution here, except such parts as fall within the general principles of fundamental
limitations in favor of personal rights formulated in the Constitution and its amendments,
and which exist rather by inference and the general spirit of the Constitution, and except
those express provisions of the Constitution which prohibit Congress from passing laws
in their contravention under any circumstances; that the provisions contained in the
Constitution relating to jury trials do not fall within either of these exceptions, and,
consequently, the right to trial by jury has not been extended here by the mere act of
the cession of the territory.

4. That Congress has passed no law extending here the provision of the Constitution
relating to jury trials, nor were any laws in existence in the Philippine Islands, at the date
of their cession, for trials by jury, and consequently there is no law in the Philippine
Islands entitling the defendants in this case to such trial; that the Court of First Instance
committed no error in overruling their application for a trial by jury.

We also reach the conclusion that the Philippine Commission is a body expressly
recognized and sanctioned by act of Congress, having the power to pass laws, and has
the power to pass the libel law under which the defendants were convicted.

We will now pass to the third assignment of error, which is that the headlines or caption
of the article charged to be libelous were legitimate deductions from a previous report of
a public judicial proceeding and were insufficient to constitute the offense of libel.

The testimony shows that the defendant Fred L. Dorr was the proprietor, and that the
defendant Edward F. O'Brien was the editor, of the "Manila Freedom ;" that the article
upon which the complaint is founded was published in the issue of that paper on the 16th
of April, 1902; that the privileged statements or report of the judicial proceedings, the
headlines of which are the basis of the prosecution, arose on the trial of the case of the
United States vs. Valdez, in the Court of First Instance in the city of Manila, in which case
Valdez was charged with the offense of libel, the complaining witness in that case being
Señor Legarda, who was also the complaining witness in this case; that counsel for the
defendant Valdez prepared a written statement of certain facts and offered to prove the
truth of these statements if permitted by the court.

A copy of this statement was made by the reporter of the "Manila freedom" ---- one Vogel
---- which, having been presented to the defendant O'Brien, the editor, the latter
prepared the headlines or caption set forth in the complaint.

The attorney for the defendants, under his assignment of errors, makes the proposition
that the headlines or caption was a legitimate deduction from the privileged report of the
judicial proceedings, and as such was itself a privileged publication. This proposition is
succinctly made and is easily understood; no material facts are in dispute; our law of libel
is contained in the few sections in which the law upon this subject is concisely and clearly
stated, and renders it unnecessary to refer to test-books or decisions of the courts of
other jurisdictions. Thus the labors of the court have been simplified in the determination
of the case.

Section 1 of Act No. 277, Philippine Commission, gives the following definition of libel:

"A libel is a malicious defamation, expressed either in writing, printing, or by signs or


pictures, or the like, or public theatrical exhibitions, tending to blacken the memory of
one who is dead, or to impeach the honesty, virtue, or reputation, or publish the alleged
or natural defects of one who is alive and thereby expose him to public hatred, contempt,
or ridicule."

Did the matter contained in these headlines or caption have a tendency to impeach the
honesty, virtue, and reputation of the injured party? We need not stop to discuss this
question.

Was it a malicious defamation? This appears equally plain, for section 3 is as follows:

"An injurious publication is presumed to have been malicious if no justifiable motive for
making it is shown."

No attempt has been made by the defendants to show a justifiable motive, and the
established presumption of law that the publication was malicious must prevail. Nor has
there been any attempt made to show the truth of the matter contained in the headlines.

But it is attempted to bring the headlines or caption within the exception of privileged
matter.

Section 7 of the act defines this character of privileged matter as follows:

"No reporter, editor, or proprietor of any newspaper is liable to any prosecution for a fair
and true report of any judicial, legislative, or other public official proceedings, or of any
statement, speech, argument, or debate in the course of the same, except upon proof of
malice in making such report, which shall not be implied from the mere fact of
publication."

Section 8 reads as follows:

"Libelous remarks or comments connected with matter privileged by the last section
receive no privilege by reason of being so connected."

It follows, therefore, that the matter is libelous; that it was a malicious publication as
defined by law. The only question that remains to be considered is, Were those headlines
or caption "remarks" or "comments" on the privileged matter?

The word "comment" is defined by Webster as a "remark, observation, or criticism;


gossip, discourse, talk; a note or observation intended to explain, illustrate or criticize
the meaning of a writing, book, etc. Explanation, annotation, exposition."

The word "remark" is defined by him as "an expression in speech or writing of something
remarked or noticed. The mention of that which is worthy of attention or notice. A casual
observation, comment, or statement.

The headlines or caption comes within the definition of "remarks" as, given by Webster,
in that it is "the mention of that which is worthy of attention or notice," and they also fall
within the definition of the word "comment" defined as "a note or observation intended
to explain.

The defendants counsel denominates the character of the headlines or caption as a


"legitimate deduction from he privileged report."

The word "deduction" is defined by Webster as "that which is deduce, or drawn from
premises by a process of reason; inference; acquisition."

It seems from these definitions that the word ''deduction" conveys about the same
meaning, as the words "comment" and " remark"; at least it would be as objectionable
to make injurious deductions as to make injurious comments or remarks.
To say that the headlines or caption is not a remark or comment but all "epitome ' or
"index" of what is contained in the privileged article is simply a play upon words, and it
is useless to follow this line of argument further.

The intention of the statute, as shown in sections 7 and 8, is that the privileged matter
should be a fair and true report, and must stand alone as such. If headlines or captions
are used, the matter contained in them must not be remarks or comments of a libelous
nature.

If by any process additional significance is added, either by display letters or by the


arrangement of catchwords, under whatever name they maybe designated, it comes
within the denunciation of the statute.

That the headlines were not a part of the report prepared by Vogel, the reporter who was
present in the court and who made a copy of the report, is shown in the testimony.

The defendant O'Brien, who, so far as the testimony shows, knew nothing about the
matter contained in the report except that acquired by the reading of it after it was
delivered to him, made the headlines or caption.

It is said that it is the common practice in the United States to make such headlines in
display letters to render the necessary assistance to the reader in determining whether
he cares to read the article.

It is immaterial what the real intention of those who write such headlines maybe; if such
caption and headlines are libelous, the writer must bear the consequences.

The law declares the motive of the writer, in the absence of proof of justifiable motive
and the truth of the matter, to be malicious.

The decisions of some of the courts of the United States have held that an index of words
contained in the privileged matter, when fairly and truly made, will partake of the nature
of the article indexed; but, as w e have shown, our law does not permit this. Nor is it
possible to reach the conclusion that the words contained in the headlines are a fair index.
No idea can be gathered from these headlines of the real nature of what is contained in
the published article.

The privileged report was a written statement prepared by the attorney in the Valdez
case, in which an offer was made to prove the truth of certain statements regarded as
material in the defense of the case and which was by the court excluded. This was the
general nature of the matter contained in the report. Can anyone, by reading the
headlines or caption, form any conception as to the real nature of the document to which
the headlines have been prefixed?

It is also said that the headlines in this case are not worse than the matter contained in
the report. This may be admitted as true, but in the eyes of the law there is a distinction.
The injurious matter contained in the report is regarded by the laws protected by a
privilege which should be extended to the report of judicial proceedings, but here the
privilege ends.

It is unnecessary to inquire why this distinction should be made. It is sufficient that the
law so makes it.

It is stated that there is not a word contained in the headlines or caption which is not
found in the privileged report. We have attempted to show that this is immaterial. But
this statement is in fact incorrect. The sentences "sensational allegations against
Commissioner Legarda, made of record and read in English; Spanish reading waived;
wife would have killed him; Legarda pale and nervous," are not found in the report, nor
can the sentence "Legarda pale and nervous" even be deduced from anything contained
in the report, nor does it appear from the testimony to have been in fact true. When the
statement in writing was offered and read before the court, according to the testimony
in the case, Señor Legarda was not at that time present in court.

We will notice briefly the character of the caption and headlines, the effect of which can
well be imagined.

The copy of the "Manila Freedom" containing the article is attached to the record. An
examination of it shows that the records "traitor, seducer, and perjurer" were printed in
large display letters, and were of a size sufficient in the use of these words to cover a
space equal to that of three columns across the paper. They were placed at the top of
the first page of the paper. The other words were in smaller type, but much larger than
the ordinary type. It is hard to conceive language stronger than that contained in the
three words "traitor, seducer, and perjurer."

No more effectual means could be adopted to destroy the good name and fame of a
person. More significant words call not be found in the English language to impeach the
honesty, reputation, and virtue. By skillful selection the sting of the entire document has
been placed in the caption and headlines in such a manner that in a literal sense "he who
runs may read."

We conclude that the publication of the caption and headlines in the "Manila Freedom,"
upon which the information is based, constituted the offense of libel; that the judgment
is sustained by the evidence; that the defendants, Fred L. Dorr and Edward F. O'Brien,
are guilty of the offense charged in the information; that no error was committed in the
trial of the case prejudicial to the rights of the defendants, and that the judgment of the
Court of First Instance should be affirmed, with costs against the defendants. It is so
ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres and Mapa, JJ., concur.


Fernandez vs. Sto. Tomas

DECISION

FELICIANO, J.:

In this Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order, petitioners Salvador C.
Fernandez and Anicia M. de Lima assail the validity of Resolution No. 94-3710 of the Civil Service Commission ("Commission") and
the authority of the Commission to issue the same.

Petitioner Fernandez was serving as Director of the Office of Personnel Inspection and Audit ("OPIA") while petitioner de Lima was
serving as Director of the Office of the Personnel Relations ("OPR"), both at the Central Office of the Civil Service Commission in
Quezon City, Metropolitan Manila. While petitioners were so serving, Resolution No. 94-3710, signed by public respondents Patricia
A. Sto. Tomas and Ramon Ereneta, Jr., Chairman and Commissioner, respectively, of the Commission, was issued on 7 June 1994. 1
Resolution No. 94-3710 needs to be quoted in full:

RESOLUTION NO. 94-3710

WHEREAS, Section 17 of Book V of Executive Order 292 provides that ". . . as an independent constitutional body, the Commission
may effect changes in the organization as the need arises;"

WHEREAS, the Commission finds it imperative to effect changes in the organization to streamline its operations and improve delivery
of public service;

WHEREAS, the Commission finds it necessary to immediately effect changes in the organization of the Central Offices in view of the
need to implement new programs in lieu of those functions which were transferred to the Regional Offices;

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Commission hereby RESOLVES to effect the following changes in its
organization, specifically in the Central Offices:

1. The OCSS [Office of Career Systems and Standards], OPIA [Office of Personnel Inspection and Audit] and OPR [Office of
Personnel Relations] are merged to form the Research and Development Office (RDO).

2. The Office for Human Resource Development (OHRD) is renamed Human Resource Development Office (HRDO).

3. The following functions and the personnel assigned to the unit performing said functions are hereby transferred to HRDO:

a. Administration of the Honor and Awards program under OCSS;

b. Registration and Accreditation of Unions under OPR; and

c. Accreditation of Agencies to take final action on appointments under OPIA.

4. The Office for Central Personnel Records (OCPR) is renamed Management Information Office (MIO).

5. The Information technology functions of OPM and the personnel assigned to the unit are transferred to MIO.

6. The following functions of OPM and the personnel assigned to the unit performing said functions are hereby transferred to the Office
of the Executive Director:

a. Financial Audit and Evaluation;

b. Internal Management and Improvement;


c. Research and Statistics; and

d. Planning and Programming.

7. The library service and its personnel under OCPR are transferred to the Central Administrative Office.

8. The budget allocated for the various functions shall be transferred to the Offices where the functions are transferred. Records,
fixtures and equipment that go with the functions shall be moved to where the functions are transferred.

Annex A contains the manning list for all the offices, except the OCES.

The changes in the organization and in operations shall take place before end of July 1994.

Done in Quezon City, July 07, 1994.

(Signed)
Patricia A. Sto. Tomas
Chairman

(Signed) Did not participate


Ramon P. Ereneta, Jr. Thelma P. Gaminde
Commissioner Commissioner

Attested by:

(Signed)
Carmencita Giselle B. Dayson
Board Secretary V" 2

During the general assembly of officers and employees of the Commission held in the morning of 28 July 1994, Chairman Sto. Tomas,
when apprised of objections of petitioners, expressed the determination of the Commission to implement Resolution No. 94-3710
unless restrained by higher authority.

Petitioners then instituted this Petition. In a Resolution dated 23 August 1994, the Court required public respondents to file a Comment
on the Petition. On 21 September 1994, petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order, alleging that
petitioners had received Office Orders from the Commission assigning petitioner Fernandez to Region V at Legaspi City and petitioner
de Lima to Region III in San Fernando, Pampanga and praying that public respondents be restrained from enforcing these Office
Orders. The Court, in a Resolution dated 27 September 1994, granted this Motion and issued the Temporary Restraining Order prayed
for by petitioners.

The Commission filed its own Comment, dated 12 September 1994, on the Petition and then moved to lift the Temporary Restraining
Order. The Office of the Solicitor General filed a separate Comment dated 28 November 1994, defending the validity of Resolution No.
94-3710 and urging dismissal of the Petition. Petitioners filed separate Replies to these Comments. The Commission in turn filed a
Rejoinder (denominated "Comment [on] the Reply").

The principal issues raised in this Petition are the following:

(1) Whether or not the Civil Service Commission had legal authority to issue Resolution No. 94-3710 to the extent it merged the OCSS
[Office of Career Systems and Standards], the OPIA [Office of Personnel Inspection and Audit] and the OPR [Office of Personnel
Relations], to form the RDO [Research and Development Office]; and

(2) Whether or not Resolution No. 94-3710 violated petitioners' constitutional right to security of tenure.

I.
The Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292 dated 25 July 1987) sets out, in Book V, Title I, Subtitle A,
Chapter 3, the internal structure and organization of the Commission in the following terms:
Sec. 16. Offices in the Commission. - The Commission shall have the following offices:

(1) The Office of the Executive Director - . . .

(2) The Merit System Protection Board - . . .

(3) The Office of Legal Affairs - . . .

(4) The Office of Planning and Management - . . .

(5) The Central Administrative Office - . . .

(6) The Office of Central Personnel Records - . . .

(7) The Office of Position Classification and Compensation - . . .

(8) The Office of Recruitment, Examination and Placement - . . .

(9) The Office of Career Systems and Standards shall provide leadership and assistance in the formulation and evaluation of personnel
systems and standards relative to performance appraisal, merit promotion and employee incentive benefits and awards.

(10) The Office of Human Resource Development - . . .

(11) The Office of Personnel Inspection and Audit shall develop policies, standards, rules and regulations for the effective conduct of
inspection and audit of personnel and personnel management programs and the exercise of delegated authority; provide technical and
advisory services to Civil Service Regional Offices and government agencies in the implementation of their personnel programs and
evaluation systems.

(12) The Office of Personnel Relations shall provide leadership and assistance in the development and implementation of policies,
standards, rules and regulations governing corporate officials and employees in the areas of recruitment, examination, placement, career
development, merit and awards systems, position classification and compensation, performance appraisal, employee welfare and
benefits, discipline and other aspects of personnel management on the basis of comparable industry practices.

(13) The Office of Corporate Affairs - . . .

(14) The Office of Retirement Administration - . . .

(15) The Regional and Field Offices. - . . .


Immediately after the foregoing listing of offices of the Commission and their respective functions, the 1987 Revised Administrative
Code goes on to provide as follows:

Sec. 17. Organizational Structure. - Each office of the Commission shall be headed by a Director with at least one (1) Assistant
Director, and may have such divisions as are necessary to carry out their respective functions. As an independent constitutional body,
the Commission may effect changes in the organization as the need arises.

xxx xxx xxx

Examination of the foregoing statutory provisions reveals that the OCSS, OPIA and OPR, and as well each of the other Offices listed in
Section 16 above, consist of aggrupations of Divisions, each of which Divisions is in turn a grouping of Sections. Each Section,
Division and Office comprises a group of positions within the agency called the Civil Service Commission, each group being entrusted
with a more or less definable function or functions. These functions are related to one another, each of them being embraced by a
common or general subject matter. Clearly, each Office is an internal department or organizational unit within the Commission and that
accordingly, the OCSS, OPIA and OPR, as well as all the other Offices within the Commission constitute administrative subdivisions
of the CSC. Put a little differently, these offices relate to the internal structure of the Commission.

What did Resolution No. 94-3710 of the Commission do? Examination of Resolution No. 94-3710 shows that thereby the Commission
re-arranged some of the administrative units (i.e., Offices) within the Commission and, among other things, merged three (3) of them
(OCSS, OPIA and OPR) to form a new grouping called the "Research and Development Office (RDO)." The same Resolution renamed
some of the Offices of the Commission, e.g., the Office for Human Resource Development (OHRD) was renamed Human Resource
Development Office (HRDO); the Office for Central Personnel Records (OCPR) was renamed Management Information Office (MIO).
The Commission also re-allocated certain functions moving some functions from one Office to another; e.g., the information
technology function of OPM (Office of Planning and Management) was transferred to the newly named Management Information
Office (MIO). This re-allocation or re-assignment of some functions carried with it the transfer of the budget earmarked for such
function to the Office where the function was transferred. Moreover, the personnel, records, fixtures and equipment that were devoted
to the carrying out of such functions were moved to the Offices to where the functions were transferred.

The objectives sought by the Commission in enacting Resolution No. 94-3710 were described in that Resolution in broad terms as
"effect[ing] changes in the organization to streamline [the Commission's] operations and improve delivery of service." These changes
in internal organization were rendered necessary by, on the one hand, the decentralization and devolution of the Commission's
functions effected by the creation of fourteen (14) Regional Offices and ninety-five (95) Field Offices of the Commission throughout
the country, to the end that the Commission and its staff may be brought closer physically to the government employees that they are
mandated to serve. In the past, its functions had been centralized in the Head Office of the Commission in Metropolitan Manila and
Civil Service employees all over the country were compelled to come to Manila for the carrying out of personnel transactions. Upon the
other hand, the dispersal of the functions of the Commission to the Regional Offices and the Field Offices attached to various
governmental agencies throughout the country makes possible the implementation of new programs of the Commission at its Central
Office in Metropolitan Manila.

The Commission's Office Order assigning petitioner de Lima to the CSC Regional Office No. 3 was precipitated by the incumbent
Regional Director filing an application for retirement, thus generating a need to find a replacement for him. Petitioner de Lima was
being assigned to that Regional Office while the incumbent Regional Director was still there to facilitate her take over of the duties and
functions of the incumbent Director. Petitioner de Lima's prior experience as a labor lawyer was also a factor in her assignment to
Regional Office No. 3 where public sector unions have been very active. Petitioner Fernandez's assignment to the CSC Regional Office
No. 5 had, upon the other hand, been necessitated by the fact that the then incumbent Director in Region V was under investigation and
needed to be transferred immediately to the Central Office. Petitioner Fernandez was deemed the most likely designee for Director of
Regional Office No. 5 considering that the functions previously assigned to him had been substantially devolved to the Regional
Offices such that his reassignment to a Regional Office would result in the least disruption of the operations of the Central Office. 4

It thus appears to the Court that the Commission was moved by quite legitimate considerations of administrative efficiency and
convenience in promulgating and implementing its Resolution No. 94-3710 and in assigning petitioner Salvador C. Fernandez to the
Regional Office of the Commission in Region V in Legaspi City and petitioner Anicia M. de Lima to the Commission's Regional
Office in Region III in San Fernando, Pampanga. It is also clear to the Court that the changes introduced and formalized through
Resolution No. 94-3710 - re-naming of existing Offices; re-arrangement of the groupings of Divisions and Sections composing
particular Offices; re-allocation of existing functions (and related personnel, budget, etc.) among the re-arranged Offices - are precisely
the kind of internal changes which are referred to in Section 17 (Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, Chapter 3) of the 1987 Revised
Administrative Code), quoted above, as "changes in the organization" of the Commission.

Petitioners argue that Resolution No. 94-3710 effected the "abolition" of public offices, something which may be done only by the
same legislative authority which had created those public offices in the first place.

The Court is unable, in the circumstances of this case, to accept this argument. The term "public office" is frequently used to refer to
the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, for a given period either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure
of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of government, to be exercised by that
individual for the benefit of the public. 5 We consider that Resolution No. 94-3710 has not abolished any public office as that term is
used in the law of public officers. 6 It is essential to note that none of the "changes in organization" introduced by Resolution No. 94-
3710 carried with it or necessarily involved the termination of the relationship of public employment between the Commission and any
of its officers and employees. We find it very difficult to suppose that the 1987 Revised Administrative Code having mentioned
fourteen (14) different "Offices" of the Civil Service Commission, meant to freeze those Offices and to cast in concrete, as it were, the
internal organization of the Commission until it might please Congress to change such internal organization regardless of the ever
changing needs of the Civil Service as a whole. To the contrary, the legislative authority had expressly authorized the Commission to
carry out "changes in the organization," "as the need [for such changes] arises." 7 Assuming, for purposes of argument merely, that
legislative authority was necessary to carry out the kinds of changes contemplated in Resolution No. 94-3710 (and the Court is not
saying that such authority is necessary), such legislative authority was validly delegated to the Commission by Section 17 earlier
quoted. The legislative standards to be observed and respected in the exercise of such delegated authority are set out not only in Section
17 itself (i.e., "as the need arises"), but also in the Declaration of Policies found in Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, Section 1 of the 1987
Revised Administrative Code which required the Civil Service Commission as the central personnel agency of the Government [to]
establish a career service, adopt measures to promote - efficiency - [and] responsiveness . . . in the civil service . . . and that personnel
functions shall be decentralized, delegating the corresponding authority to the departments, offices and agencies where such functions
can be effectively performed.

II.
We turn to the second claim of petitioners that their right to security of tenure was breached by the respondent's in promulgating
Resolution No. 94-3710 and ordering petitioners' assignment to the Commission's Regional Offices in Regions III and V. Section 2(3)
of Article IX(B) of the 1987 Constitution declares that "no officer or employee of the Civil Service shall be removed or suspended
except for cause provided by law." Petitioners in effect contend that they were unlawfully removed from their positions in the OPIA
and OPR by the implementation of Resolution No. 94-3710 and that they cannot, without their consent, be moved out to the Regional
Offices of the Commission.

We note, firstly, that appointments to the staff of the Commission are not appointments to a specified public office but rather
appointments to particular positions or ranks. Thus, a person may be appointed to the position of Director III or Director IV; or to the
position of Attorney IV or Attorney V; or to the position of Records Officer I or Records Officer II; and so forth. In the instant case,
petitioners were each appointed to the position of Director IV, without specification of any particular office or station. The same is true
with respect to the other persons holding the same position or rank of Director IV of the Commission.

Section 26(7), Book V, Title I, Subtitle A of the 1987 Revised Administrative Code recognizes reassignment as a management
prerogative vested in the Commission and, for that matter, in any department or agency of government embraced in the civil service:

Sec. 26. Personnel Actions. - . . .

xxx xxx xxx

As used in this Title, any action denoting the movement or progress of personnel in the civil service shall be known as personnel action.
Such action shall include appointment through certification, promotion, transfer, re-instatement, re-employment, detail, reassignment,
demotion, and separation. All personnel actions shall be in accordance with such rules, standards, and regulations as may be
promulgated by the Commission.

xxx xxx xxx

(7) Reassignment. An employee may be re-assigned from one organizational unit to another in the same agency; Provided, That such
re-assignment shall not involve a reduction in rank, status and salary."

It follows that the reassignment of petitioners Fernandez and de Lima from their previous positions in OPIA and OPR, respectively, to
the Research and Development Office (RDO) in the Central Office of the Commission in Metropolitan Manila and their subsequent
assignment from the RDO to the Commission's Regional Offices in Regions V and III had been effected with express statutory
authority and did not constitute removals without lawful cause. It also follows that such re-assignment did not involve any violation of
the constitutional right of petitioners to security of tenure considering that they retained their positions of Director IV and would
continue to enjoy the same rank, status and salary at their new assigned stations which they had enjoyed at the Head Office of the
Commission in Metropolitan Manila. Petitioners had not, in other words, acquired a vested right to serve at the Commission's Head
Office.

Secondly, the above conclusion is compelled not only by the statutory provisions relevant in the instant case, but also by a long line of
cases decided by this Court in respect of different agencies or offices of government.

In one of the more recent of these cases, Department of Education Culture and Sports, etc., et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al., 8 this Court
held that a person who had been appointed as "Secondary School Principal II" in the Division of City Schools, District II, Quezon City,
National Capital Region, and who had been stationed as High School Principal in the Carlos Albert High School in Quezon City for a
number of years, could lawfully be reassigned or transferred to the Manuel Roxas High School, also in Quezon City, without demotion
in rank or diminution of salary. This Court held:

The aforequoted provision of Republic Act No. 4670 particularly Section 6 thereof which provides that except for cause and in the
exigencies of the service no teacher shall be transferred without his consent from one station to another, finds no application in the case
at bar as this is predicated upon the theory that the teacher concerned is appointed - not merely assigned - to a particular station. Thus:

'The rule pursued by plaintiff only goes so far as the appointment indicates a specification. Otherwise, the constitutionally ordained
security of tenure cannot shield her. In appointments of this nature, this Court has consistently rejected the officer's demand to remain -
even as public service dictates that a transfer be made - in a particular station. Judicial attitude toward transfers of this nature is
expressed in the following statement in Ibañez, et al. vs. Commission on Elections, et al. (G.R. No. L-26558, April 27, 1967; 19 SCRA
1002 [1967]);:

"That security of tenure is an essential and constitutionally guaranteed feature of our Civil Service System, is not open to debate. The
mantle of its protection extends not only against removals without cause but also against unconsented transfer which, as repeatedly
enunciated, are tantamount to removals which are within the ambit of the fundamental guarantee. However, the availability of that
security of tenure necessarily depends, in the first instance, upon the nature of the appointment (Hojilla vs. Marino, 121 Phil. 280
[1965].) Such that the rule which proscribes transfers without consent as anathema to the security of tenure is predicated upon the
theory that the officer involved is appointed - not merely assigned - to a particular station (Miclat v. Ganaden, et al., 108 Phil. 439
[1960]; Jaro v. Hon. Valencia, et al., 118 Phil. 728 [1963])." [Brillantes v. Guevarra) 27 SCRA 138 (1969)]

The appointment of Navarro as principal does not refer to any particular station or school. As such, she could be assigned to any station
and she is not entitled to stay permanently at any specific school. (Bongbong v. Parado, 57 SCRA 623) When she was assigned to the
Carlos Albert High School, it could not have been with the intention to let her stay in said school permanently. Otherwise, her
appointment would have so stated. Consequently, she may be assigned to any station or school in Quezon City as the exigencies of
public service require even without her consent. As this Court ruled in Brillantes v. Guevarra, 27 SCRA 138, 143 -

'Plaintiff's confident stride falters. She took too loose a view of the applicable jurisprudence. Her refuge behind the mantle of security
of tenure guaranteed by the Constitution is not impenetrable. She proceeds upon the assumption that she occupies her station in
Sinalang Elementary School by appointment. But her first appointment as Principal merely reads thus: "You are hereby appointed a
Principal (Elementary School) in the Bureau of Public Schools, Department of Education", without mentioning her station. She cannot
therefore claim security of tenure as Principal of Sinalang Elementary School or any particular station. She may be assigned to any
station as exigency of public service requires, even without her consent. She thus has no right of choice.'" 9

In the very recent case of Fernando. et al. v. Hon. Sto. Tomas, etc., et al., 10 the Court addressed appointments of petitioners as
"Mediators-Arbiters in the National Capital Region" in dismissing a challenge on certiorari to resolutions of the CSC and orders of the
Secretary of Labor. The Court said:

Petitioners were appointed as Mediator Arbiters in the National Capital Region. They were not, however, appointed to a specific station
or particular unit of the Department of Labor in the National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR). Consequently, they can always be
reassigned from one organizational unit to another of the same agency where, in the opinion of respondent Secretary, their services may
be used more effectively. As such they can neither claim a vested right to the station to which they were assigned nor to security of
tenure thereat. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, petitioners' reassignment is not a transfer for they were not removed
from their position as med- arbiters. They were not given new appointments to new positions. It indubitably follows, therefore, that
Memorandum Order No. 4 ordering their reassignment in the interest of the service is legally in order. 11

In Quisumbing v. Gumban, 12 the Court, dealing with an appointment in the Bureau of Public Schools of the Department of Education,
Culture and Sports, ruled as follows:

After a careful scrutiny of the records, it is to be underscored that the appointment of private respondent Yap is simply that of a District
Supervisor of the Bureau of Public Schools which does not indicate a specific station (Rollo, p. 13). As such, she could be assigned to
any station and she is not entitled to stay permanently at any specific station (Bongbong v. Parado, 57 SCRA 623 [1974]; Department
of Education, Culture and Sports v. Court of Appeals [G.R. 81032, March 22, 1990] citing Brillantes v. Guevarra [27 SCRA 138
[1969]). 13

Again, in Ibañez v. Commission on Elections, 14 the Court had before it petitioners' appointments as "Election Registrars in the
Commission of Elections," without any intimation to what city, municipality or municipal district they had been appointed as such. 15
The Court held that since petitioners "were not appointed to, and consequently not entitled to any security of tenure or permanence in,
any specific station," "on general principles, they [could] be transferred as the exigencies of the service required," and that they had no
right to complain against any change in assignment. The Court further held that assignment to a particular station after issuance of the
appointment was not necessary to complete such appointment:
. . . . We cannot subscribe to the theory that an assignment to a particular station, in the light of the terms of the appointments in
question, was necessary to complete the said appointments. The approval thereof by the Commissioner of Civil Service gave those
appointments the stamp of finality. With the view that the respondent Commission then took of its power in the premises and the
demand of the mission it set out to accomplish with the appointments it extended, said appointments were definitely meant to be
complete as then issued. The subsequent assignment of the appointees thereunder that the said respondent Commission held in reserve
to be exercised as the needs of each locality justified did not in any way detract from the perfection attained by the appointments
beforehand. And the respective appointees were entitled only to such security of tenure as the appointment papers concerned actually
conferred - not in that of any place to which they may have been subsequently assigned. . . . As things stand, in default of any particular
station stated in their respective appointments, no security of tenure can be asserted by the petitioners on the basis of the mere
assignments which were given to them. A contrary rule will erase altogether the demarcation line we have repeatedly drawn between
appointment and assignment as two distinct concepts in the law of public officers. 16

The petitioner, in Miclat v. Ganaden, 17 had been appointed as a "Welfare Office Incharge, Division of Urban, Rural and Community
Administration, Social Welfare Administration." She was assigned as Social Welfare Incharge of the Mountain Province, by an office
order of the Administrator, Social Welfare Administration. After a little more than a year, petitioner was assigned elsewhere and
respondent Ganaden transferred to petitioner's first station in Baguio City. The Court ruled that petitioner was not entitled to remain in
her first station. In Jaro v. Hon. Valencia, et al., 18 petitioner Dr. Jaro had been appointed "Physician in the Municipal Maternity and
Charity Clinics, Bureau of Hospitals." He was first assigned to the Municipal Maternity and Charity Clinics in Batulati, Davao, and
later to the corresponding clinic in Saug, Davao and then to Catil, Davao. He was later assigned to the Municipality of Padada, also of
Davao Province. He resisted his last assignment and brought mandamus against the Secretary of Health to compel the latter to return
him to his station in Catil, Davao as Municipal Health Officer thereof. The Court, applying Miclat v. Ganaden, dismissed this Petition
holding that his appointment not being to any specific station but as a physician in the Municipal Maternity and Charity Clinics, Bureau
of Hospitals, he could be transferred or assigned to any station where, in the opinion of the Secretary of Health, his services may be
utilized more effectively. 19

Also noteworthy is Sta. Maria v. Lopez 20 which involved the appointment of petitioner Sta. Maria as "Dean, College of Education,
University of the Philippines." Dean Sta. Maria was transferred by the President of the University of the Philippines to the Office of the
President, U.P., without demotion in rank or salary, thereby acceding to the demands of student activists who were boycotting their
classes in the U.P. College of Education. Dean Sta. Maria assailed his transfer as an illegal and unconstitutional removal from office. In
upholding Dean Sta. Maria's claim, the Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Sanchez, laid down the applicable doctrine in the following
terms:

"4. Concededly, transfers there are which do not amount to removal. Some such transfers can be effected without the need for charges
being preferred, without trial or hearing, and even without the consent of the employee.

The clue to such transfers may be found in the 'nature of the appointment.' Where the appointment does not indicate a specific station
an employee may be transferred or reassigned provided the transfer affects no substantial change in title, rank and salary. Thus, one
who is appointed 'principal in the Bureau of Public Schools' and is designated to head a pilot school may be transferred to the post of
principal of another school.

And the rule that outlaws unconsented transfers as anathema to security of tenure applies only to an officer who is appointed - not
merely assigned - to a particular station. Such a rule does not proscribe a transfer carried out under a specific statute that empowers the
head of an agency to periodically reassign the employees and officers in order to improve the service of the agency. The use of
approved techniques or methods in personnel management to harness the abilities of employees to promote optimum public service
cannot be objected to. . . .

5. The next point of inquiry is whether or not Administrative Order 77 would stand the test of validity vis-a-vis the principles just
enunciated.

xxx xxx xxx

To be stressed at this point, however, is that the appointment of Sta. Maria is that of 'Dean, College of Education, University of the
Philippines.' He is not merely a dean 'in the university.' His appointment is to a specific position; and, more importantly, to a specific
station." 21

For all the foregoing, we conclude that the reassignment of petitioners Fernandez and de Lima from their stations in the OPIA and
OPR, respectively, to the Research Development Office (RDO) and from the RDO to the Commissions' Regional Offices in Regions V
and III, respectively, without their consent, did not constitute a violation of their constitutional right to security of tenure.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction or Temporary
Restraining Order is hereby DISMISSED. The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court on 27 September 1994 is hereby
LIFTED. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.

Republic vs. CA, 200 SCRA 220


CALALANG vs. Williams
DECISION

LAUREL, J.:

Maximo Calalang, in his capacity as a private citizen and as a taxpayer of Manila, brought before this court
this petition for a writ of prohibition against the respondents, A. D. Williams, as Chairman of the National
Traffic Commission; Vicente Fragante, as Director of Public Works; Sergio Bayan, as Acting Secretary of
Public Works and Communications; Eulogio Rodriguez, as Mayor of the City of Manila; and Juan Dominguez,
as Acting Chief of Police of Manila.

It is alleged in the petition that the National Traffic Commission, in its resolution of July 17, 1940, resolved
to recommend to the Director of Public Works and to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications
that animal-drawn vehicles be prohibited from passing along Rosario Street extending from Plaza Calderon
de la Barca to Dasmariñas Street, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and
along Rizal Avenue extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to Echague Street, from 7 a.m. to
11 p.m., from a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the
Chairman of the National Traffic Commission, on July 18, 1940 recommended to the Director of Public Works
the adoption of the measure proposed in the resolution aforementioned, in pursuance of the provisions of
Commonwealth Act No. 548 which authorizes said Director of Public Works, with the approval of the
Secretary of Public Works and Communications, to promulgate rules and regulations to regulate and control
the use of and traffic on national roads; that on August 2, 1940, the Director of Public Works, in his first
indorsement to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, recommended to the latter the approval
of the recommendation made by the Chairman of the National Traffic Commission as aforesaid, with the
modification that the closing of Rizal Avenue to traffic to animal-drawn vehicles be limited to the portion
thereof extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to Azcarraga Street; that on August 10,
1940, the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, in his second indorsement addressed to the
Director of Public Works, approved the recommendation of the latter that Rosario Street and Rizal Avenue
be closed to traffic of animal-drawn vehicles, between the points and during the hours as above indicated,
for a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the Mayor of
Manila and the Acting Chief of Police of Manila have enforced and caused to be enforced the rules and
regulations thus adopted; that as a consequence of such enforcement, all animal-drawn vehicles are not
allowed to pass and pick up passengers in the places above-mentioned to the detriment not only of their
owners but of the riding public as well.

It is contended by the petitioner that Commonwealth Act No. 548 by which the Director of Public Works,
with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, is authorized to promulgate rules
and regulations for the regulation and control of the use of and traffic on national roads and streets is
unconstitutional because it constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power. This contention is
untenable. As was observed by this court in Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro (39 Phil, 660, 700), "The
rule has nowhere been better stated than in the early Ohio case decided by Judge Ranney, and since
followed in a multitude of cases, namely: ’The true distinction therefore is between the delegation of power
to make the law, which necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or
discretion as to its execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done;
to the latter no valid objection can be made.’ (Cincinnati, W. & Z. R. Co. v. Comm’rs. Clinton County, 1 Ohio
St., 88.) Discretion, as held by Chief Justice Marshall in Wayman v. Southard (10 Wheat., 1) may be
committed by the Legislature to an executive department or official. The Legislature may make decisions of
executive departments or subordinate officials thereof, to whom it has committed the execution of certain
acts, final on questions of fact. (U.S. v. Kinkead, 248 Fed., 141.) The growing tendency in the decisions is to
give prominence to the ’necessity’ of the case." cralaw virtua1aw l ibra ry

Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 548 reads as follows: jgc:chan roble s.com.p h
"SECTION 1. To promote safe transit upon, and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets designated as
national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by executive orders of the President of the Philippines,
the Director of Public Works, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, shall
promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to regulate and control the use of and traffic on such roads
and streets. Such rules and regulations, with the approval of the President, may contain provisions
controlling or regulating the construction of buildings or other structures within a reasonable distance from
along the national roads. Such roads may be temporarily closed to any or all classes of traffic by the Director
of Public Works and his duly authorized representatives whenever the condition of the road or the traffic
thereon makes such action necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest, or for a specified
period, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications." cralaw virt ua1aw li bra ry

The above provisions of law do not confer legislative power upon the Director of Public Works and the
Secretary of Public Works and Communications. The authority therein conferred upon them and under which
they promulgated the rules and regulations now complained of is not to determine what public policy
demands but merely to carry out the legislative policy laid down by the National Assembly in said Act, to wit,
"to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets designated as national roads by
acts of the National Assembly or by executive orders of the President of the Philippines" and to close them
temporarily to any or all classes of traffic "whenever the condition of the road or the traffic makes such
action necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest." The delegated power, if at all,
therefore, is not the determination of what the law shall be, but merely the ascertainment of the facts and
circumstances upon which the application of said law is to be predicated. To promulgate rules and
regulations on the use of national roads and to determine when and how long a national road should be
closed to traffic, in view of the condition of the road or the traffic thereon and the requirements of public
convenience and interest, is an administrative function which cannot be directly discharged by the National
Assembly. It must depend on the discretion of some other government official to whom is confided the duty
of determining whether the proper occasion exists for executing the law. But it cannot be said that the
exercise of such discretion is the making of the law. As was said in Locke’s Appeal (72 Pa. 491): "To assert
that a law is less than a law, because it is made to depend on a future event or act, is to rob the Legislature
of the power to act wisely for the public welfare whenever a law is passed relating to a state of affairs not
yet developed, or to things future and impossible to fully know." The proper distinction the court said was
this: "The Legislature cannot delegate its power to make the law; but it can make a law to delegate a power
to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law makes, or intends to make, its own action
depend. To deny this would be to stop the wheels of government. There are many things upon which wise
and useful legislation must depend which cannot be known to the law-making power, and, must, therefore,
be a subject of inquiry and determination outside of the halls of legislation." (Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649,
694; 36 L. Ed. 294.)

In the case of People v. Rosenthal and Osmeña, G.R. Nos. 46076 and 46077, promulgated June 12, 1939,
and in Pangasinan Transportation v. The Public Service Commission, G.R. No. 47065, promulgated June 26,
1940, this Court had occasion to observe that the principle of separation of powers has been made to adapt
itself to the complexities of modern governments, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the
principle of "subordinate legislation," not only in the United States and England but in practically all modern
governments. Accordingly, with the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of
governmental regulations, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, the rigidity of the theory of
separation of governmental powers has, to a large extent, been relaxed by permitting the delegation of
greater powers by the legislative and vesting a larger amount of discretion in administrative and executive
officials, not only in the execution of the laws, but also in the promulgation of certain rules and regulations
calculated to promote public interest.

The petitioner further contends that the rules and regulations promulgated by the respondents pursuant to
the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 548 constitute an unlawful interference with legitimate business or
trade and abridge the right to personal liberty and freedom of locomotion. Commonwealth Act No. 548 was
passed by the National Assembly in the exercise of the paramount police power of the state.

Said Act, by virtue of which the rules and regulations complained of were promulgated, aims to promote
safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national roads, in the interest and convenience of the public. In
enacting said law, therefore, the National Assembly was prompted by considerations of public convenience
and welfare. It was inspired by a desire to relieve congestion of traffic. which is, to say the least, a menace
to public safety. Public welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the enactment of said law, and the state in order
to promote the general welfare may interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and
occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to
secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the state (U.S. v. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil., 218). To this
fundamental aim of our Government the rights of the individual are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing
without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then society
will fall into anarchy. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty because then the individual
will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the required balance of liberty and authority in his mind
through education and personal discipline, so that there may be established the resultant equilibrium, which
means peace and order and happiness for all. The moment greater authority is conferred upon the
government, logically so much is withdrawn from the residuum of liberty which resides in the people. The
paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is precisely the very means of insuring its
preservation.
The scope of police power keeps expanding as civilization advances. As was said in the case of Dobbins v.
Los Angeles (195 U.S. 223, 238; 49 L. ed. 169), "the right to exercise the police power is a continuing one,
and a business lawful today may in the future, because of the changed situation, the growth of population or
other causes, become a menace to the public health and welfare, and be required to yield to the public
good." And in People v. Pomar (46 Phil., 440), it was observed that "advancing civilization is bringing within
the police power of the state today things which were not thought of as being within such power yesterday.
The development of civilization, the rapidly increasing population, the growth of public opinion, with an
increasing desire on the part of the masses and of the government to look after and care for the interests of
the individuals of the state, have brought within the police power many questions for regulation which
formerly were not so considered." cralaw vi rtua 1aw lib rary

The petitioner finally avers that the rules and regulations complained of infringe upon the constitutional
precept regarding the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the
people. The promotion of social justice, however, is to be achieved not through a mistaken sympathy
towards any given group. Social justice is "neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy,"
but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice
in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the
promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure
economic stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic
and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the
adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying
the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex.

Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among
divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all
groups as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount
objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the
greatest good to the greatest number." cralaw virt ua1aw lib rary

In view of the foregoing, the writ of prohibition prayed for is hereby denied, with costs against the
petitioner. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Imperial, Diaz. and Horrilleno. JJ. concur.

G.R. No. 77707 August 8, 1988

PEDRO W. GUERZON, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, BUREAU OF ENERGY UTILIZATION, F. C. CAASI JR., and PILIPINAS
SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, respondents.

Llego, Llego & Collera for petitioner.

Florentino G. Dumlao, Jr. for respondent Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation.

CORTES, J.:

Raised by petitioner to this Court is the issue of whether or not the Bureau of Energy Utilization, the agency charged with regulating the
operations and trade practices of the petroleum industry, has the power to order a service station operator-lessee to vacate the service
station and to turn over its possession to the oil company-lessor upon the expiration of the dealership and lease agreements.

The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:

Basic antecedent facts show that on January 9, 1981 petitioner Pedro Guerzon
executed with Basic Landoil Energy Corporation, which was later acquired by
respondent Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, a contract denominated as
"Service Station Lease" for the use and operation of respondent SHELL's properties,
facilities and equipment, which included four (4) pieces of fuel dispensing Pumps and
one (1) piece air compressor, for a period of five (5) years from January 15, 1981
and ending on January 14, 1986. On January 7, 1981 petitioner likewise executed
with the same Corporation a "Dealer's Sales Contract" for the sale by petitioner of
respondent SHELL's petroleum and other products in the leased service station
which contract expired April 12,1986. On April 13,1981, respondent Bureau of
Energy Utilization (BEU) approved the Dealer's Sales Contract pursuant to which
petitioner was appointed dealer of SHELL's gasoline and other petroleum products
which he was to sell at the gasoline station located at Cagayan de Oro City. On the
same day, respondent BEU issued a certificate of authority in petitioner's favor,
which had a 5-year period of validity, in line with the terms of the contract.

Paragraph 9 of the Service Station Lease Contract provides:

The cancellation or termination of the Dealer's Sales Contract


executed between the COMPANY and the LESSEE on January
7,1981 shall automatically cancel this Lease.

As early as January 2, 1986 respondent SHELL through its District Manager—


Reseller Mindanao wrote to petitioner informing him that the Company was not
renewing the Dealer's Sales Contract which was to expire on April 12, 1986 together
with the service station lease and reminding him to take appropriate steps to wind up
his business activities at the station and, on the appropriate date to hand over the
station with all its facilities and equipment to the representative of respondent. A copy
of this letter was furnished respondent BEU, through the latter's Mindanao Division
Office. On April 12, 1986, respondent SHELL wrote petitioner reiterating the decision
not to extend the Dealer's Sales Contract, demanding the surrender of the station
premises and all company owned equipment to the respondent's representative.

On April 15, 1986 respondent BEU, through respondent Caasi, Jr., officer- in-charge
of its Mindanao Division Office, issued the assailed order directing the petitioner as
follows:

(1) immediately vacate the service station abovementioned and turn it


over to Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation; and

(2) show cause in writing, under oath within ten (10) days from receipt
hereof why no administrative and/or criminal proceedings shall be
instituted against you for the aforesaid violation.

The order directed that a copy of the same be furnished the PCINP Commander of
Cagayan de Oro City, requesting prompt and effective enforcement of the directive
and submitting to the BEU of the result of the action taken thereon.

On April 22, 1986, pursuant to the order of April 15, 1986, respondent SHELL,
accompanied by law enforcement officers, was able to secure possession of the
gasoline station in question together with the requisite equipments and accessories,
and turned them over to the control of the personnel of respondent SHELL who
accompanied them.

On May 9, 1986, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental a
complaint for certiorari, injunction and damages with preliminary mandatory
injunction (Civil Case No. 10619) to annul the disputed order dated April 15, 1986 of
respondent F.C. Caasi, Jr., but on September 18,1986 this complaint was dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction to annul the order of a quasi-judicial body of equivalent
category as the Regional Trial Court. [Rollo, pp. 37-39.]

Thus, petitioner filed in the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari with a prayer for preliminary
mandatory injunction against Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, F.C. Caasi, Jr. and the Bureau
of Energy Utilization seeking the annulment of respondent Caasi, Jr.'s order dated April 15, 1986
and the restoration to petitioner of possession of the service station and the equipment removed
therefrom.
In a decision promulgated on February 10, 1987, the Court of Appeals denied due course and
dismissed the petition after holding the disputed order valid and the proceedings undertaken to
implement the same sanctioned by Presidential Decree No. 1206, as amended.

Hence, petitioner's recourse to this Court.

In his petition for review, petitioner ascribed the following errors to the Court of Appeals:

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT BUREAU


OF ENERGY UTILIZATION HAS JURISDICTION TO EJECT THE PETITIONER FROM THE
GASOLINE SERVICE STATION LEASED.

II

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE IS NO NECESSITY


OF ANY NOTICE AND HEARING PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE DISPUTED ORDER
ISSUED BY RESPONDENT BUREAU OF ENERGY UTILIZATION ORDERING THE PETITIONER
TO VACATE THE LEASED PREMISES. [Rollo, p. 13]

The controversy revolves around the assailed order issued by respondent F.C. Caasi, Jr., Officer-in-
Charge of the Mindanao Division Office of the Bureau of Energy Utilization, which reads:

15 April 1986

Mr. Pedro W. Guerzon

Corner Velez-Recto Streets

Cagayan de Oro City

Sir:

We were officially informed by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation that you refused
to vacate its company-owned service station at the above address despite the fact
that you were advised by Shell in its letter of January 02, 1986 that it will not renew
the Dealer's Sales Contract between yourself and the company upon its expiration on
April 12,1986.

Your continued occupancy of the service station is not only considered a violation of
BEU laws, rules and regulations but is also detrimental to the interests of the parties
concerned and the public.

In view thereof, you are hereby directed to:

(1) immediately vacate the service station abovementioned and turn it over to
Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation; and

(2) show cause in writing, under oath within ten (1O) days from receipt hereof why no
administrative and/or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against you for the
aforesaid violation.

Let a copy of this directive be furnished the PC-INP Commander of Cagayan de Oro
City, who is hereby requested to cause the prompt and effective enforcement hereof
and to submit to this Bureau the result/s of the action/s taken thereon.

Very truly yours,


(Sgd.) F.C. CAASI JR.

Officer-in-Charge

cc: PC/INP Commander

Cagayan de Oro City Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Sasa, Davao City/Cagayan de Oro City

BEU-Manila

[Rollo, p. 122; Emphasis supplied.]

As stated at the outset, whether or not it is within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Energy Utilization
to issue the above order is the primary issue to be resolved.

The Solicitor General contends that since petitioner's license to sell petroleum products expired on
April 12,1986, when his dealership and lease contracts expired, as of the following day, April 13,
1986 he was engaged in illegal trading in petroleum products in violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 33
[Rollo, pp. 100-101.] The pertinent provisions of B.P. No. 33 state:

Sec. 2. Prohibited Acts.—The following acts are prohibited and penalized:

(a) Illegal trading in petroleum and/or petroleum products;

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 3. Definition of terms.—For the purposes of this Act, the si following terms shall
be understood to mean:

Illegal trading in petroleum and/or petroleum products-the sale or distribution of


petroleum products for profit without license or authority from the Government; non-
issuance of receipts by licensed traders; misrepresentation as to quality and/or
quantity; an sa oil companies, distributors and/or dealers violative of government
rules and regulations.

xxx xxx xxx

Thus, concludes the Solicitor General, the Bureau of Energy nation had the power to issue, and was
justified in issuing, the order to vacate pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1206, as amended, the
pertinent portion of which provides:

Sec. 7. Bureau of Energy Utilization.—There is created in the Department a Bureau


of Energy Utilization, hereafter referred to in this Section as the Bureau, which shall
have the following powers and functions, among others:

xxx xxx xxx

e. After due notice and hearing, impose and collect a fine not exceeding One
Thousand Pesos, for every violation or non-compliance with any term or condition of
any certificate, license, or permit issued by the Bureau or of any of its orders,
decisions, rules and regulations.

The fine so imposed shall be paid to the Bureau, and failure to pay the fine within the
time specified in the order or decision of the Bureau or failure to cease and
discontinue the violation or noncompliance shall be deemed good and sufficient
reason for the suspension, closure or stoppage of operations of the establishment of
the person guilty of the violation or non-compliance. In case the violation or default is
committed by a corporation or association, the manager or person who has charge of
the management of the corporation or association and the officers or directors
thereof who have ordered or authorized the violation or default shall be solidarily
liable for the payment of the fine.

The Bureau shall have the power and authority to issue corresponding writs of
execution directing the City Sheriff or provincial Sheriff or other peace officers whom
it may appoint to enforce the fine or the order of closure, suspension or stoppage of
operations. Payment may also be enforced by appropriate action brought in a court
of competent jurisdiction. The remedy provided herein shall not be a bar to or affect
any other remedy under existing laws, but shall be cumulative and additional to such
remedies;

xxx xxx xxx

However, the Solicitor General's line of reasoning is fatally flawed by the failure of the facts to
support it. From a cursory reading of the assailed order, it is readily apparent that the order is
premised on petitioner's refusal to vacate the service station in spite of the expiration and non-
renewal of his dealership and lease agreements with respondent Shell. Nowhere in the order is it
stated that petitioner had engaged in illegal trading in petroleum products or had committed any
other violation of B.P. Blg. 33. The order merely makes a vague reference to a "violation of BEU
laws, rules and regulations," without stating the specific provision violated. That petitioner had
engaged in illegal trading in petroleum products cannot even be implied from the wording of the
assailed order.

But then, even if petitioner was indeed engaged in illegal trading in petroleum products, there was no
basis under B.P. Blg. 33 to order him to vacate the service station and to turn it over to respondent
Shell. Illegal trading in petroleum products is a criminal act wherein the injured party is the State.
Respondent Shell is not even alleged by the Solicitor General as a private party prejudiced and,
therefore, it can claim no relief if a criminal case is instituted. *

Even on the assumption that petitioner's continued occupancy and operation of the service station
constituted a violation of a law or regulation, still the Court has no recourse but to rule against the
legality of the order, the Bureau of Energy Utilization not being empowered to issue it. Section 7 of
P.D. No. 1206, as amended, is very clear as to the courses of action that the Bureau of Energy
Utilization may take in case of a violation or non- compliance with any term or condition of any
certificate, license or permit issued by the Bureau or any of its orders, decisions, rules or regulations.
The Bureau may: (1) impose a fine not exceeding P1,000.00; and (2) in case of failure to pay the
fine imposed or to cease and discontinue the violation or non-compliance, order the suspension,
closure or stoppage of operations of the establishment of the guilty party. Its authority is limited to
these two (2) options. It can do no more, as there is nothing in P.D. No. 1206, as amended, which
empowers the Bureau to issue an order to vacate in case of a violation.

As it is, jurisdiction to order a lessee to vacate the leased premises is vested in the civil courts in an
appropriate case for unlawful detainer or accion publiciana [Secs. 19(2) and 33(2), B.P. Blg. 129, as
amended.] There is nothing in P.D. No. 1206, as amended, that would suggest that the same or
similar jurisdiction has been granted to the Bureau of Energy Utilization. It is a fundamental rule that
an administrative agency has only such powers as are expressly granted to it by law and those that
are necessarily implied in the exercise thereof [Makati Stock Exchange, Inc. v. Securities and
Exchange Commission, G.R. No. L-23004, June 30,1965,14 SCRA 620; Sy v. Central Bank, G.R.
No. L-41480, April 30, 1976, 70 SCRA 570.] That issuing the order to vacate was the most effective
way of stopping any illegal trading in petroleum products is no excuse for a deviation from this rule.
Otherwise, adherence to the rule of law would be rendered meaningless.

Moreover, contrary to the Solicitor General's theory, the text of the assailed order leaves no room for
doubt that it was issued in connection with an adjudication of the contractual dispute between
respondent Shell and petitioner. But then the Bureau of Energy Utilization, like its predecessor, the
defunct Oil Industry Commission, has no power to decide contractual disputes between gasoline
dealers and oil companies, in the absence of an express provision of law granting to it such power
[see Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. v. Oil Industry Commission, G.R. No. L-41315, November 13,
1986,145 SCRA 433.] As explicitly stated in the law, in connection with the exercise of quasi-judicial
powers, the Bureau's jurisdiction is limited to cases involving violation or non-compliance with any
term or condition of any certificate, license or permit issued by it or of any of its orders, decisions,
rules or regulations.

Viewed from any angle, respondent F.C. Caasi, Jr., in issuing the assailed order, acted beyond his
authority and overstepped the powers granted by P.D. No. 1206, as amended. The assailed order
was, therefore, null and void.

Even if the issuance of the order to vacate was within the authority of respondent Caasi, Jr., still its
nullity is apparent because of the failure to comply with the requirement of notice and hearing. That
P.D. No. 1206, as amended, requires notice and hearing before any administrative penalty provided
in Sec. (7)e may be imposed is patent. Sec. (7)e provides for a gradation of penalties of which the
imposition of a fine in an amount not exceeding P1,000.00 is the least severe, and requires that
even before a fine is imposed notice and an opportunity to be heard be given to the offender.

While the order dated April 15, 1986 is null and void, the Court, however, finds itself unable to issue
the writ of mandatory injunction prayed for ordering respondent Shell to restore possession of the
service station and the equipment and facilities therein to petitioner. Petitioner himself had admitted
in his petition that his dealership and lease agreements with respondent Shell had already expired.
Recognized the validity of the termination of the agreements, he requested for their renewal.
However, this request was denied. [Rollo, p. 9] Undeniably, after April 12, 1986, any right petitioner
had to possess the service station and the equipment and facilities therein had been extinguished.
No basis for an affirmative relief therefore exist.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 10,
1987 is REVERSED and the Order dated April 15,1986 issued by respondent Caasi, Jr. of the
Bureau of Energy Utilization is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.

However, the right of petitioner to the possession of the service station and the equipment and
facilities having been extinguished, the prayer for the issuance of a writ of mandatory injunction is
DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.

Fernan, C.J., took no part.

G.R. No. 178413 March 13, 2008

AQUILINO L. PIMENTEL III, petitioner,


vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC SITTING AS THE NATIONAL BOARD OF
CANVASSERS, THE SPECIAL PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS FOR MAGUINDANAO
CHAIRED BY ATTY. EMILIO S. SANTOS, and JUAN MIGUEL F. ZUBIRI, respondents.

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

On 4 July 2007, petitioner Aquilino L. Pimentel III (Pimentel) filed the present Petition
for Certiorari and Mandamus(with Urgent Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Status
Quo Ante Order).1
The Petition stemmed from the 14 May 2007 national elections for 12 senatorial posts. At the time of
filing of the Petition, around two months after the said elections, the 11 candidates with the highest
number of votes had already been officially proclaimed and had taken their oaths of office as
Senators. With other candidates conceding, the only remaining contenders for the twelfth and final
senatorial post were Pimentel and private respondent Juan Miguel F. Zubiri (Zubiri). Public
respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc, acting as the National Board of
Canvassers (NBC), continued to conduct canvass proceedings so as to determine the twelfth and
last Senator-elect in the 14 May 2007 elections.

Pimentel assailed the proceedings before the NBC and its constituted Special Provincial Board of
Canvassers for Maguindanao (SPBOC-Maguindanao) in which the Provincial and Municipal
Certificates of Canvass (PCOC and MCOCs) from the province of Maguindanao were respectively
canvassed.

The SPBOC-Maguindanao was created because the canvass proceedings held before the original
Provincial Board of Canvassers for Maguindanao (PBOC-Maguindanao), chaired by Provincial
Election Supervisor (PES) Lintang Bedol, were marred by irregularities, and the PCOC (Bedol
PCOC) and other electoral documents submitted by the said PBOC-Maguindanao were tainted with
fraud and statistical improbabilities. Hence, the Bedol PCOC was excluded from the national
canvass then being conducted by the NBC.

Task Force Maguindanao, headed by COMELEC Chairman Benjamin S. Abalos, Sr. and
Commissioner Nicodemo T. Ferrer, retrieved and collected 21 MCOCs from the municipalities of
Maguindanao, mostly copy 2, or the copy intended to be posted on the wall. The SPBOC-
Maguindanao was then tasked to re-canvass the MCOCs submitted by Task Force Maguindanao.
The re-canvassing of the Maguindanao MCOCs was conducted by the SPBOC-Maguindanao from
25 to 26 June 2007 at Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao. Although PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of
the Municipal Boards of Canvassers of Maguindanao (MBOCs-Maguindanao) were present during
the canvass proceedings before the SPBOC-Maguindanao, the candidates’ legal counsels were not
allowed to ask them any questions. Due to the consistent denial by the SPBOC-Maguindanao of the
repeated and persistent motions made by Pimentel’s counsel to propound questions to PES Bedol
and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao regarding the due execution and authenticity of
the Maguindanao MCOCs, Pimentel’s counsel manifested her continuing objection to the canvassing
of the said MCOCs. In particular, Pimentel’s counsel objected to the Maguindanao MCOCs because:

a) the proceedings were illegal;

b) the MCOCs were palpably manufactured;

c) the results reflected in the MCOCs were statistically improbable;

d) there is no basis for saying the MCOCs were authentic because there were no other
available copies for comparison purposes;

e) in most of the MCOCs[,] no watcher signed;

f) there was no evidence or indication that the copy 2 MCOCs had been posted as intended
by law;

g) the serial numbers of the MCOCs are not clearly stamped;

h) copy 2 of the MCOCs cannot be used for canvass;

i) that the MCOCs are therefore, improper, unworthy and unfit for canvass;

j) that the manner the "re-canvassing" which was being done where the parties are not
allowed to ask questions was patently illegal; and

k) that it has not been established that the other copies of the MCOCs have been lost.2
All of the foregoing observations, manifestations, and objections made by Pimentel’s counsel, as
well as those made by the other candidates’ counsels, were simply noted by the SPBOC-
Maguindanao without specific action thereon.

On 29 June 2007, the SPBOC-Maguindanao submitted to the NBC the second PCOC for
Maguindanao. In the proceedings before the NBC, Pimentel’s counsel reiterated her request to
propound questions to PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and the
SPBOC-Maguindanao. The NBC, however, refused to grant her request. Pimentel’s counsel
thereafter moved for the exclusion of the second Maguindanao PCOC from the canvass, maintaining
that the said PCOC did not reflect the true results of the elections because it was based on the
manufactured Maguindanao MCOCs, the authenticity and due execution of which had not been duly
established. The motion to exclude made by Pimentel’s counsel was once again denied by the NBC,
and she was ordered to sit down or she would be forcibly evicted from the session hall. The second
Maguindanao PCOC was thus included in the canvass proceedings conducted by the NBC and,
resultantly, Pimentel’s lead over Zubiri was significantly reduced from 133,000 votes to only 4,000
votes.

Pimentel averred that said canvass proceedings were conducted by the NBC and SPBOC-
Maguindanao in violation of his constitutional rights to substantive and procedural due process and
equal protection of the laws, and in obvious partiality to Zubiri. Pimentel thus filed the Petition at bar
on 4 July 2007, anchored on the following grounds:

I. The petitioner [Pimentel] was denied his right to due process of law when the respondent
SPBOC and the respondent NBC adopted an unconstitutional procedure which disallowed
the petitioner [Pimentel] the opportunity to raise questions on the COCs subject of the
canvass.

II. The petitioner [Pimentel] was denied his right to equal protection of the law when the
respondent SPBOC and the respondent NBC unconstitutionally adopted a procedure of "no
questions" in the canvass of COCs from Maguindanao, different from the procedure adopted
in the canvass of COCs from other provinces/areas.

III. The respondent NBC acted with manifest grave abuse of discretion when it refused to
exercise its broad, plenary powers in fully or accurately ascertaining due execution,
authenticity and fitness for the canvass of the MCOCs collected by the Comelec in the
exercise of such broad plenary powers. It violated its own rules when it deprived petitioner
[Pimentel] of the right to ventilate and prove his objections to the Maguindanao COCs.3

Pimentel seeks from this Court the following remedies:

1. Forthwith ISSUE A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER enjoining the respondent


Commission on Elections en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for Senators
for the May 14, 2007 elections ("NBC") from proceeding with any proclamation (of the twelfth
and last winner of the May 14, 2007 Elections for Senators) based on the on-going senatorial
canvass which includes the new/second Provincial Certificate of Canvass of Maguindanao,
until further orders from this Court, or, in the alternative, in the event that the proclamation of
Respondent Zubiri is made before the application for a TRO is acted upon, ISSUE A
STATUS QUO ANTE ORDER requiring the parties to observe the status quo at the time of
the filing of the Petition, in order to maintain and preserve the situation of the parties at the
time of the filing of this Petition, so as not to render the issues raised in this Petition moot
and academic;

2. After proper proceedings, RENDER JUDGMENT: (a) ANNULLING AND SETTING


ASIDE for being unconstitutional and illegal the proceedings and acts of respondent
Commission on Elections en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for Senators
for the May 14, 2007 elections ("NBC") of including, on June 29, 2007, in the national
canvass of votes for Senators the results from the Province of Maguindanao as reflected in
its new/second Provincial Certificate of Canvass as well as the proceedings and acts of the
respondent Special Provincial Board of Canvassers for Maguindanao ("SPBOC") in
canvassing or "re-canvassing" the collected MCOCs, on June 25, 26 and 27, 2007, leading
to the preparation of the new/second PCOC for Maguindanao, and
(b) COMPELLING or ORDERING respondent NBC and its deputy, the SPBOC, to perform
their ministerial constitutional duty of fully determining the due execution and authenticity of
the MCOCs, including, but not limited to, allowing petitioner [Pimentel] to substantiate his
claim of manufactured results and propound questions to the officers concerned, primarily,
the Chairpersons of the former PBOC and SPBOC of Maguindanao and the Chairpersons of
the Municipal Boards of Canvassers of Maguindanao.

Petitioner [Pimentel] also prays for other reliefs, just and equitable, under the premises.4

Pursuant to the Resolution5 dated 10 July 2007 issued by this Court, Zubiri filed his Comment6 on
the Petition at bar on 12 July 2007; while the NBC and SPBOC-Maguindano, chaired by Atty. Emilio
S. Santos, filed their joint Comment7 on even date. The respondents Zubiri, NBC, and SPBOC-
Maguindanao collectively sought the denial of Pimentel’s application for Temporary Restraining
Order (TRO) and/or Status Quo Ante Order and the dismissal of the instant Petition.

Pimentel’s prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or Status Quo Ante Order was set for oral
arguments on 13 July 2007. After hearing the parties’ oral arguments, the Court voted seven for the
grant and seven for the denial of Pimentel’s prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or Status Quo
Ante Order; thus, said prayer was deemed denied for failure to garner the required majority vote.
The parties were then directed to submit their respective Memoranda, after which, the case would be
deemed submitted for resolution.8 All the parties complied, with Zubiri submitting his
Memorandum9 on 31 July 2007; Pimentel,10 on 1 August 2007; and the NBC and SPBOC-
Maguindanao,11 on 10 August 2007.

In the meantime, without any TRO and/or Status Quo Ante Order from the Court, the canvass
proceedings before the NBC continued, and by 14 July 2007, Zubiri (with 11,004,099 votes) and
Pimentel (with 10,984,807 votes) were respectively ranked as the twelfth and thirteenth Senatorial
candidates with the highest number of votes in the 14 May 2007 elections. Since the NBC found that
the remaining uncanvassed certificates of canvass would no longer materially affect Zubiri’s lead of
19,292 votes over Pimentel, it issued Resolution No. NBC 07-67,12 dated 14 July 2007, proclaiming
Zubiri as the twelfth duly elected Senator of the Philippines in the 14 May 2007 elections, to serve for
a term of six years beginning 30 June 2007 in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

On 19 July 2007, Zubiri filed with this Court a Manifestation with Motion to Dismiss.13 Zubiri sought
the dismissal of the Petition at bar arguing that, in consideration of his proclamation pursuant to
Resolution No. NBC 07-67 and his formal assumption of office on 16 July 2007, controversies
involving his election and qualification as a Senator are now within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

Zubiri further informed the Court through a Manifestation,14 dated 16 August 2007, that Pimentel filed
an Election Protest (Ex Abudante Ad Cautelam) before the SET on 30 July 2007, docketed as SET
Case No. 001-07, to which Zubiri filed his Answer Ad Cautelam (With Special Affirmative Defenses,
Counter-Protest and Petition for a Preliminary Hearing on the Affirmative Defenses) on 13 August
2007. In his election protest, Pimentel prays, among other remedies, for the annulment of Zubiri’s
proclamation as the twelfth winning Senator in the 14 May 2007 elections. Zubiri called the attention
of the Court to the "glaring reality" that with G.R. No. 178413 before this Court and SET Case No.
001-07 before the SET, "there are now two cases involving the same parties with practically the
same issues and similar remedies sought filed before the two (2) separate courts/tribunals." Zubiri
also pointed out Pimentel’s ostensible failure to inform this Court of his institution of SET Case No.
001-07 and the subsequent developments therein.

On 23 August 2007, Pimentel filed before this Court his Comment/Opposition (to Private
Respondent’s Manifestation with Motion to Dismiss).15 Pimentel alleged that Zubiri’s Motion to
Dismiss solely relied on Aggabao v. Commission on Elections.16 However, Pimentel argued
that Aggabao cannot be applied to the instant Petition because of the difference in the factual
backgrounds of the two cases. In Aggabao, therein petitioner Aggabao filed his Petition before this
Court after the proclamation of therein private respondent Miranda as Congressman for the Fourth
District of Isabela; while in the present case, Pimentel already filed his Petition before this Court prior
to the proclamation of Zubiri as Senator. Moreover, Pimentel asserted that his Petition questioned
not Zubiri’s proclamation, but the conduct of the canvass proceedings before the NBC and SPBOC-
Maguindanao. He maintained that his case was one of first impression and no existing jurisprudence
could be used as precedent for its summary dismissal. Pimentel then reiterated his arguments in his
Memorandum that Sections 37 and 38 of Republic Act No. 9369,17 amending Sections 30 and 15 of
Republic Act No. 7166,18 respectively, significantly affected and changed the nature of canvass
proceedings, the nature of the duty of canvassing boards, and the extent of allowable pre-
proclamation controversies in Senatorial elections. Based on the foregoing, Pimentel prayed for the
denial of Zubiri’s Motion to Dismiss.

After a close scrutiny of the allegations, arguments, and evidence presented by all the parties before
this Court, this Court rules to dismiss the present Petition.

Pre-proclamation controversy/case

A pre-proclamation controversy has been defined by Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as
the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, as follows:

SEC. 241. Definition. – A pre-proclamation controversy is any question pertaining to or


affecting the proceeding of the board of canvassers which may be raised by any candidate or
by any registered political party or coalition of political parties before the board or directly
with the Commission, or any matter raised under Sections 233, 234, 235 and 236 in relation
to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appearance of the election returns.

Under Republic Act No. 7166, providing for synchronized national and local elections, pre-
proclamation controversies refer to matters relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody
and appearance of election returns and certificates of canvass.19

Essentially reiterating Section 243 of the Omnibus Election Code, but adding the reference to the
certificates of canvass, COMELEC Resolution No. 7859, dated 17 April 2007, identified the issues
that may be subject of a pre-proclamation controversy, to wit:

SEC. 37. Issues that may be raised in pre-proclamation controversy. – The following shall be
proper issues that may be raised in a pre-proclamation controversy:

1) Illegal composition or proceedings of the Board of Canvassers;

2) The canvassed election returns/certificates of canvass are incomplete, contain material


defects, appear to be tampered with or falsified, or contain discrepancies in the same
returns/certificates or in the other authentic copies thereof as mentioned in Sections 233,
234, 235 and 236 of the Omnibus Election Code;

3) The election returns/certificates of canvass were prepared under duress, threats,


coercion, or intimidation, or they are obviously manufactured or not authentic; and

4) When substitute or fraudulent election return/certificates of canvass were canvassed, the


results of which materially affected the standing of the aggrieved candidate or candidates.

Pre-proclamation cases to resolve pre-proclamation controversies are allowed in local elections.


According to Section 16 of Republic Act No. 7166:

SEC. 16. Pre-proclamation Cases Involving Provincial, City and Municipal Offices. – Pre-
proclamation cases involving provincial, city and municipal officer shall be allowed and shall
be governed by Sections 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 hereof.

All pre-proclamation cases pending before the Commission shall be deemed terminated at
the beginning of the term of the office involved and the rulings of the boards of canvassers
concerned shall be deemed affirmed, without prejudice to the filing of a regular election
protest by the aggrieved party. However, proceedings may continue when on the basis of the
evidence thus far presented, the Commission determines that the petition appears
meritorious and accordingly issues an order for the proceeding to continue or when an
appropriate order has been issued by the Supreme Court in a petition for certiorari.
SEC. 17. Pre-proclamation Controversies: How Commenced. – Questions affecting the
composition or proceedings of the board of canvassers may be initiated in the board or
directly with the Commission. However, matters raised under Sections 233, 234, 235 and
236 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to the preparation, transmission, receipt,
custody and appreciation of the election returns, and the certificates of canvass shall be
brought in the first instance before the board of canvassers only.

However, as to elections for President, Vice-President, Senators, and Members of the House of
Representatives, pre-proclamation cases are prohibited. Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166, prior
to its amendment, read:

SEC. 15. Pre-proclamation Cases Not Allowed in Elections for President, Vice-President,
Senator, and Member of the House of Representatives. – For purposes of the elections for
President, Vice-President, Senator, and Member of the House of Representatives, no pre-
proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters relating to the preparation, transmission,
receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns or the certificates of canvass, as the
case may be. However, this does not preclude the authority of the appropriate canvassing
body motu propio or upon written complaint of an interested person to correct manifest errors
in the certificate of canvass or election returns before it.

Questions affecting the composition or proceedings of the board of canvassers may be


initiated in the board or directly with the Commission in accordance with Section 19 hereof.

Any objection on the election returns before the city or municipal board of canvassers, or on
the municipal certificates of canvass before the provincial board of canvassers or district
boards of canvassers in Metro Manila Area, shall be specifically noted in the minutes of their
respective proceedings.

As Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166 was then worded, it would appear that any pre-proclamation
case relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of election returns
or certificates of canvass, was prohibited in elections for President, Vice-President, Senators and
Members of the House of Representatives. The prohibition aims to avoid delay in the proclamation
of the winner in the election, which delay might result in a vacuum in these sensitive posts.
Proceedings which may delay the proclamation of the winning candidate beyond the date20 set for
the beginning of his term of office must be avoided, considering that the effect of said delay is, in the
case of national offices for which there is no hold over, to leave the office without any incumbent.21

The law, nonetheless, recognizes an exception and allows the canvassing body motu proprio or an
interested person to file a written complaint for the correction of manifest errors in the election
returns or certificates of canvass even in elections for President, Vice-President, Senators and
Members of the House of Representatives, for the simple reason that the correction of manifest error
will not prolong the process of canvassing nor delay the proclamation of the winner in the
election.22 To be manifest, the errors must appear on the face of the certificates of canvass or
election returns sought to be corrected and/or objections thereto must have been made before the
board of canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their respective proceedings.23 The law
likewise permits pre-proclamation cases in elections for President, Vice-President, Senators and
Members of the House of Representatives, when these cases question the composition or
proceedings of the board of canvassers before the board itself or the COMELEC, since such cases
do not directly relate to the certificate of canvass or election returns.

Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166, after the amendment introduced by Republic Act No. 9369,
now reads:

SEC. 15. Pre-proclamation Cases in Elections for President, Vice-President, Senator, and
Member of the House of Representatives. – For purposes of the elections for president, vice-
president, senator, and member of the House of Representatives, no pre-proclamation cases
shall be allowed on matters relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and
appreciation of election returns or the certificates of canvass, as the case may be, except as
provided for in Section 30 hereof. However, this does not preclude the authority of the
appropriate canvassing body motu propio or upon written complaint of an interested person
to correct manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or election returns before it.

Questions affecting the composition or proceedings of the board of canvassers may be


initiated in the board or directly with the Commission in accordance with Section 19 hereof.

Any objection on the election returns before the city or municipal board of canvassers, or on
the municipal certificates of canvass before the provincial board of canvassers or district
board of canvassers in Metro Manila Area, shall be specifically noticed in the minutes of their
respective proceedings. (Emphasis supplied.)

Republic Act No. 9369 significantly amended Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166 by adding an
excepting phrase to the general prohibition against pre-proclamation controversies in elections for
President, Vice-President, Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. According to
the amended Section 15, no pre-proclamation cases on matters relating to the preparation,
transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of election returns or the certificates of canvass shall
be allowed in elections for President, Vice-President, Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives, except as provided by Section 30 of the same statute.

Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, which was likewise amended by Republic Act No. 9369,
provides:

SEC. 30. Congress as the National Board of Canvassers for the Election of President and
Vice President: The Commission en banc as the National Board of Canvassers for the
election of senators:Determination of Authenticity and Due Execution of Certificates of
Canvass. – Congress and the Commission en banc shall determine the authenticity and
due execution of the certificate of canvass for president and vice-president and
senators, respectively, as accomplished and transmitted to it by the local board of
canvassers, on a showing that: (1) each certificate of canvass was executed, signed and
thumbmarked by the chairman and members of the board of canvassers and transmitted or
caused to be transmitted to Congress by them; (2) each certificate of canvass contains the
names of all of the candidates for president and vice-president or senator, as the case may
be, and their corresponding votes in words and figures; (3) there exists no discrepancy in
other authentic copies of the certificates of canvass or in any of its supporting documents
such as statement of votes by city/municipality/by precinct or discrepancy in the votes
of any candidate in words and figures in the certificate; and (4) there exists no discrepancy
in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the certificate of canvass against
the aggregate number of votes appearing in the election returns of precincts covered
by the certificate of canvass: Provided, That certified print copies of election returns
or certificates of canvass may be used for the purpose of verifying the existence of
the discrepancy.

When the certificate of canvass, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province,
city or district, appears to be incomplete the Senate President or the Chairman of the
Commission, as the case may beshall require the board of canvassers concerned to
transmit by personal delivery the election returns from polling places that were not included
in the certificate of canvass and supporting statements. Said election returns shall be
submitted by personal delivery within two (2) days from receipt of notice.

When it appears that any certificate of canvass or supporting statement of votes


by city/municipality or by precinct bears erasures or alterations which may cast doubt as to
the veracity of the number of votes stated herein and may affect the result of the election,
upon request of the presidential, vice-presidential or senatorial candidate concerned or his
party, Congress or the Commission en banc, as the case may be, shall, for the sole
purpose of verifying the actual number of votes cast for President and Vice-President or
senator, count the votes as they appear in the copies of the election returns submitted to it.

In case of any discrepancy, incompleteness, erasure or alteration as mentioned


above, the procedure on pre-proclamation controversies shall be adopted and applied
as provided in Sections 17, 18, 19 and 20.
Any person who presents in evidence a simulated copy of an election return,
certificate of canvass or statement of votes, or a printed copy of an election return,
certificate of canvass or statement of votes bearing a simulated certification or a
simulated image, shall be guilty of an election offense and shall be penalized in
accordance with Batas Pambansa Blg. 881. (Emphasis supplied.)

The highlighted portions in the afore-quoted section identify the amendments introduced by Republic
Act No. 9369, specifically: (1) the duty to determine the authenticity and due execution of certificates
of canvass is now imposed, not only on Congress acting as the NBC for the election for President
and Vice-President, but also on COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC for the election for Senators;
(2) the third criterion for the determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of
canvass requires the absence of discrepancy in comparison not only with other authentic copies of
the said certificates, but also with the supporting documents, such as the statements of votes; (3) a
fourth criterion for the determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of
canvass was added, mandating the absence of discrepancy between the number of votes of a
candidate in a certificate when compared with the aggregate number of votes appearing in the
election returns of the precincts covered by the same certificate; (4) pursuant to the exception now
provided in Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, permissible
pre-proclamation cases shall adopt and apply the procedure provided in Sections 17 to 20 of the
same statute; and (5) the use of a simulated copy of an election return, certificate of canvass, or
statement of vote, or a printed copy of said election documents bearing a simulated certification or
image shall be penalized as an election offense.

Indeed, this Court recognizes that by virtue of the amendments introduced by Republic Act No. 9369
to Sections 15 and 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, pre-proclamation cases involving the authenticity
and due execution of certificates of canvass are now allowed in elections for President, Vice-
President, and Senators. The intention of Congress to treat a case falling under Section 30 of
Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, as a pre-proclamation case is
apparent in the fourth paragraph of the said provision which adopts and applies to such a case the
same procedure provided under Sections 17,24 18,25 1926 and 2027 of Republic Act No. 7166 on pre-
proclamation controversies.

In sum, in elections for President, Vice-President, Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives, the general rule still is that pre-proclamation cases on matters relating to the
preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of election returns or certificates of
canvass are still prohibited. As with other general rules, there are recognized exceptions to the
prohibition, namely: (1) correction of manifest errors; (2) questions affecting the composition or
proceedings of the board of canvassers; and (3) determination of the authenticity and due execution
of certificates of canvass as provided in Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by
Republic Act No. 9369.

The Petition at bar

Pimentel’s objections to the Maguindanao MCOCs delve into "matters relating to the preparation,
transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation" of the said MCOCs by the SPBOC-Maguindanao.
He suspects the authenticity and due execution of the Maguindanao MCOCs used by the SPBOC-
Maguindanao in its canvass, which were mostly copy 2 or the copy for the wall,28 because of the
supposed mysterious circumstances surrounding the loss or unavailability of any other copy of the
said MCOCs. He decries the denial by the SPBOC-Maguindanao and the NBC of the opportunity to
question PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao on "where did that copy 2
come from, what was the basis, when was it accomplished, how was it posted x x x";29 and to
substantiate his claim that the Maguindanao MCOCs are palpably manufactured and are not fit for
canvass.30 He is raising issues related to the tampering with, falsification of, or discrepancies in the
Maguindanao MCOCs, which are properly the subject of a pre-proclamation controversy.31

Pimentel insists that the SPBOC-Maguindanao and the NBC should hear his observations, accept
his evidence, and rule on his objections to the Maguindanao MCOCs in what would undeniably be a
pre-proclamation case. Ultimately, what Pimentel seeks is that his pre-proclamation case be given
due course by the boards of canvassers.
Respondents contend that Pimentel cannot initiate and pursue a pre-proclamation case before the
SPBOC-Maguindanao or the NBC, since such a case is prohibited in elections for Senators.
Pimentel, however, argues that his pre-proclamation case is an exception to the prohibition pursuant
to Section 30, in relation to Section 15, of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No.
9369.

This Court rules for the respondents.

Proceedings before the SPBOC-Maguindanao

The SPBOC-Maguindanao, in the conduct of its canvass proceedings, properly refused to allow
Pimentel to contest the Maguindanao MCOCs at that stage by questioning PES Bedol and the
Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and presenting evidence to prove the alleged
manufactured nature of the said MCOCs, for such would be tantamount to a pre-proclamation case
still prohibited by Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166, even after its amendment by Republic Act
No. 9369.

The SPBOC-Maguindanao, as its name suggests, was constituted to be of the same stature and to
perform the same function as the PBOC-Maguindano: to canvass the Maguindanao MCOCs and
prepare the Maguindanao PCOC to be submitted to the NBC. Undeniably, the SPBOC-
Maguindanao is not Congress nor COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC, specifically charged
by Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, with the duty
to determine the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass submitted to it
in accordance with the four given criteria. There is no ambiguity in the said provision, at least, as
to whom it imposes the duty, namely: (1) Congress as the NBC for the election for President and
Vice-President; and (2) COMELEC en banc as the NBC for the election for Senators. This is a case
where the law is clear. It speaks in a language that is categorical. It is quite explicit; it is too plain to
be misread. No interpretation is needed. All that is called for is to apply the statutory command.32

Even if there is still a need for this Court to construe Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as
amended by Republic Act No. 9369, it still cannot extend the scope of said provision to local boards
of canvassers. A pre-proclamation case under Section 30 is allowed only as an exception to the
prohibition under Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369.
According to the rules of statutory construction, exceptions, as a general rule, are strictly, but
reasonably construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts
should be resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. Where a general rule
is established by statute with exceptions, the court will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by
implication.33 A maxim of recognized practicality is the rule that the expressed exception or
exemption excludes others. Exceptio firmat regulim in casibus non exceptis. The express mention of
exceptions operates to exclude other exceptions; conversely, those which are not within the
enumerated exceptions are deemed included in the general rule.34 And, in this case, the exception
applies only to Congress or the COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC, and not to local
boards of canvassers who must still be deemed covered by the prohibition on pre-
proclamation controversies.

It is also significant to note that Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act
No. 9369, prohibits pre-proclamation cases in elections for President, Vice-President, Senators,
and Members of the House of Representatives; while Section 30 of the same statute, as
amended, refers only to elections for President, Vice-President and Senators. The intent of the
Legislature to confine the application of Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by
Republic Act No. 9369, only to Congress or the COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC thus
becomes even more evident, considering that the said provision does not apply to elections for
Members of the House of Representatives. It must be borne in mind that only the votes for national
elective positions such as the President, Vice-President, and Senators are canvassed by the NBC.
The canvassing of votes for local elective positions, including those for Members of the House of
Representatives, end with the local boards of canvassers. Therefore, it would be contrary to the
legislative intent to extend Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No.
9369, even to the canvass proceedings before local boards of canvassers.

This Court can only conclude that the canvass proceedings before local boards of canvassers in
elections for Senators are unaffected by the amendment of Republic Act No. 7166 by Republic Act
No. 9369. They still remain administrative and summary in nature, so as to guard against the
paralyzation of canvassing and proclamation proceedings that would lead to a vacuum in so
important and sensitive office as that of Senator of the Republic.35

For the same reasons stated in the preceding paragraphs, the four criteria enumerated by Section
30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, are not mandatory on local
boards of canvassers in their determination of authenticity and due execution of the certificates of
canvass submitted to them. It is already well-settled that the local boards of canvassers, as well as
the SPBOC-Maguindanao in this case, may proceed with the canvassing of the election returns or
certificates of canvass for as long as they appear to be authentic and duly accomplished on their
face.36

Boards of canvassers are ad hoc bodies that exist only for the interim task of canvassing election
returns. They do not have the facilities, the time and even the competence to hear, examine and
decide on alleged election irregularities, unlike regular courts or the COMELEC itself or the electoral
tribunals (Presidential, Senate, and House), which are regular agencies of government tasked and
equipped for the purpose. While this Court has time and again expressed its abhorrence of the
nefarious "grab the proclamation and prolong the protest" strategy of some candidates, nonetheless,
it recognizes the very limited jurisdiction of MBOCs and PBOCs. Unless Pimentel is able to show
cogently and clearly his entitlement to the summary exclusion of clearly unacceptable certificates of
canvass, this Court must uphold the constitutional and legal presumption of regularity in the
performance of official functions and authenticity of official documents.37

The burden is upon Pimentel to establish that the Maguindanao MCOCs are manufactured, and that
it is evident on the face thereof. Pimentel’s insistence on being allowed to propound questions to
PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and SPBOC-Maguindanao reveals
that, although he has his suspicions, he has yet no actual evidence that the Maguindanao MCOCs
were indeed manufactured.

Moreover, Pimentel’s main objection to the Maguindanao MCOCs used in the canvass by the
SPBOC-Maguindanao is that they are mostly copy 2 or the copy intended to be posted on the wall.
According to Section 43 of COMELEC Resolution No. 7859, dated 17 April 2007, the MBOCs must
transmit copy 1 of the MCOCs to the PBOC for use in the provincial canvassing of votes. The
SPBOC-Maguindanao was compelled to use copy 2 of the Maguindanao MCOCs in the absence of
copy 1 thereof. The fact that copy 2 of the Maguindanao MCOCs was not the copy meant for the
PBOC-Maguindanao does not necessarily mean that copy 2 of the said MCOCs was manufactured,
falsified or tampered with. All the seven copies of the MCOCs required to be prepared by the
MBOCs should be considered duplicate originals.38 Just like copy 1 of the MCOCs, copy 2 should be
afforded the presumption of authenticity as an official document prepared by the MBOCs-
Maguindanao in the regular performance of their official functions. Copy 2 is no less authentic than
all the other copies of the MCOCs although it may be more susceptible to manufacture, falsification,
or tampering. If the manufacture, falsification, or tampering of copy 2 of the MCOCs is not apparent
on its face, the burden to prove the same falls on the candidate making the allegation in a regular
election protest. At least as far as the proceedings before the local boards of canvassers are
concerned, this Court’s ruling in Pangarungan v. Commission on Elections39 still holds true: it is not
required that all the other copies of the election returns or certificates of canvass be taken into
account and compared with one another before one of them, determined to be authentic, may be
used or included in the canvass.

The SPBOC-Maguindanao determined that copy 2 of the Maguindanao MCOCs is authentic and
duly executed on its face, while Pimentel insists otherwise. This issue involves the appreciation of
copy 2 of the Maguindanao MCOCs by the SPBOC-Maguindanao, the proper subject of a pre-
proclamation controversy, which, as this Court already declared, is still prohibited in proceedings
before local boards of canvassers for elections for Senators.

The resolution of the issues raised by Pimentel as to the irregularities and suspicious circumstances
surrounding the Maguindanao MCOCs, which appear prima facie regular on their face, compels or
necessitates the piercing of the veil of the said MCOCs. These issues, however, are more
appropriate in a regular election protest, wherein the parties may litigate all the legal and factual
issues raised by them in as much detail as they may deem necessary or appropriate.40
Proceedings before the COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC for elections for Senators

Similarly, the COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC for the election for Senators, did not violate
Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, when it denied
Pimentel’s request to question PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and
SPBOC-Maguindanao, and his subsequent motion to exclude the second Maguindanao PCOC.

As already declared by this Court, the NBC has the duty to determine the authenticity and due
execution of the certificates of canvass submitted to it in accordance with the four criteria
enumerated in Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369. It has
not been established to the satisfaction of this Court that the NBC failed to comply with its duty under
said provision.

Pimentel asserts that in the absence of all the other copies of the Maguindanao MCOCs, except
copy 2, there is no way to apply the third criterion under Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as
amended by Republic Act No. 9369. According to this criterion for authenticity and due execution of
a certificate of canvass, there must exist no discrepancy in other authentic copies of the certificate or
in any of its supporting documents such as the statement of votes by city/municipality/precinct and
no discrepancy in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the certificate. Pimentel posits
that without any other copies available for comparison, then copy 2 of the Maguindanao MCOCs
cannot be deemed authentic and duly executed.

While it is true that having only one copy of the certificate of canvass may raise problems as to the
determination by the NBC of its authenticity and due execution since there are no other copies to
compare it with, such is not the situation in the Petition at bar.

According to Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, Congress
and the COMELEC en banc, acting as the NBC, shall determine the authenticity and due execution
of the certificates of canvass for President, Vice-President and Senators, respectively, as
accomplished and transmitted to them by the local boards of canvassers. For the province of
Maguindanao, it is the PBOC which transmits the PCOC to the NBC. For the 14 May 2007 senatorial
elections, the NBC excluded from the national canvass the Bedol PCOC submitted by the PBOC-
Maguindanao after it found the same to be tainted by irregularities and statistical improbabilities.
Thereafter, the SPBOC-Maguindanao was created, which re-canvassed the Maguindanao MCOCs
and prepared and submitted to the NBC the second Maguindanao PCOC.

Hence, the four criteria enumerated in Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by
Republic Act No. 9369, must be applied by the NBC to the second Maguindanao PCOC. The
authenticity and due execution of the Maguindanao MCOCs, which had already been determined by
the SPBOC-Maguindanao, are no longer in issue before the NBC. To allow Pimentel to revive again
before the NBC the issue of authenticity and due execution of the Maguindanao MCOCs after a
determination thereof by the SPBOC-Maguindanao is like granting him an appeal, a remedy which is
without any statutory or regulatory basis.

The SPBOC-Maguindanao prepared all seven copies of the second Maguindanao PCOC. It properly
submitted the first copy to the NBC for national canvassing of the votes for Senators. All the six other
copies are in existence and have been distributed to the intended recipients. There is no allegation
or proof that there is a discrepancy among the seven authentic copies of the second Maguindanao
PCOC. Neither is it shown that the second Maguindanao PCOC contains any discrepancy when
compared with its supporting documents. It would thus appear to this Court that the second
Maguindanao PCOC passed the third criterion for its authenticity and due execution as provided in
Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369. As for the three other
criteria, there is no sufficient allegation, much less proof, that the NBC did not apply them to the
second Maguindanao PCOC or that the second Maguindanao PCOC actually failed to meet any of
them.

Given the foregoing, there is indeed no merit in Pimentel’s request before the NBC to still question
PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and SPBOC-Maguindanao regarding
the Maguindanao MCOCs. There is also no reason to exclude the second Maguindanao PCOC from
the national canvass of votes for Senators after its authenticity and due execution had been
determined by the NBC in accordance with the criteria provided by the law.

Due process and equal protection of the law

Pimentel alleges that the proceedings before the NBC and the SPBOC-Maguindanao disallowing
him from asking certain election officials, such as PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-
Maguindanao and SPBOC-Maguindanao, questions regarding the Maguindanao PCOC and
MCOCs, deprived him of his right to due process.

In City of Manila v. Hon. Laguio, Jr.,41 this Court already provided a discourse on due process, to wit:

The constitutional safeguard of due process is embodied in the fiat "(N)o person shall be
deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law x x x."

There is no controlling and precise definition of due process. It furnishes though a standard
to which governmental action should conform in order that deprivation of life, liberty or
property, in each appropriate case, be valid. This standard is aptly described as a
responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice, and as
such it is a limitation upon the exercise of the police power.

The purpose of the guaranty is to prevent governmental encroachment against the life,
liberty and property of individuals; to secure the individual from the arbitrary exercise of the
powers of the government, unrestrained by the established principles of private rights and
distributive justice; to protect property from confiscation by legislative enactments, from
seizure, forfeiture, and destruction without a trial and conviction by the ordinary mode of
judicial procedure; and to secure to all persons equal and impartial justice and the benefit of
the general law.

The guaranty serves as a protection against arbitrary regulation, and private corporations
and partnerships are "persons" within the scope of the guaranty insofar as their property is
concerned.

This clause has been interpreted as imposing two separate limits on government, usually
called "procedural due process" and "substantive due process."

Procedural due process, as the phrase implies, refers to the procedures that the government
must follow before it deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. Classic procedural due
process issues are concerned with what kind of notice and what form of hearing the
government must provide when it takes a particular action.

Substantive due process, as that phrase connotes, asks whether the government has an
adequate reason for taking away a person’s life, liberty, or property. In other words,
substantive due process looks to whether there is a sufficient justification for the
government’s action. Case law in the United States (U.S.) tells us that whether there is such
a justification depends very much on the level of scrutiny used. For example, if a law is in an
area where only rational basis review is applied, substantive due process is met so long as
the law is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. But if it is an area where
strict scrutiny is used, such as for protecting fundamental rights, then the government will
meet substantive due process only if it can prove that the law is necessary to achieve a
compelling government purpose.

This Court finds Pimentel’s argument of deprivation of due process problematic since he has not
established what he is being deprived of: life, liberty, or property. He was a candidate in the
senatorial elections. At the time he filed the instant Petition, he might have been leading in the
canvassing of votes, yet the canvass proceedings were still ongoing, and no winner for the twelfth
and last senatorial post had been proclaimed. May he already claim a right to the elective post prior
to the termination of the canvass proceedings and his proclamation as winner, and may such a right
be considered a property right which he cannot be deprived of without due process? These were
clearly substantial and weighty issues which Pimentel did not address. Unfortunately, this Court
cannot argue and settle them for him.

Pimentel only made a sweeping claim that in the canvass proceedings of the Maguindanao votes
before the NBC and the SPBOC-Maguindanao, he was deprived of his constitutional right to due
process, both procedural and substantive. After going over his allegations, however, and the
definition of substantive due process, this Court finds that Pimentel cannot invoke denial of
substantive due process because he is not assailing any law, which, arbitrarily or without sufficient
justification, supposedly deprived him of life, liberty, or property.

At most, Pimentel can claim that he was denied procedural due process when he was not allowed by
the NBC and the SPBOC-Maguindanao to propound questions to certain election officials. But even
on this point, Pimentel fails to convince this Court. Asking election officials questions and confronting
them with evidence are not part of the canvass proceedings. There is no statute or regulation
expressly providing for such a procedure.

Any objection or manifestation concerning a certificate of canvass before the NBC, as well as any
contest involving the inclusion or exclusion of an election return or certificate of canvass before a
local board of canvassers, must be orally submitted to the Chairperson of the NBC or the local board
of canvassers, as the case may be. Simultaneous with the oral submission, the party concerned
must submit his written objection, manifestation, or contest in the form required. The objection,
manifestation, or contest shall also be recorded in the minutes of the canvass. In the event that the
NBC or local board of canvassers shall determine that there is a proper case for the objection,
manifestation, or contest submitted, it shall automatically defer the canvass of the assailed election
return or certificate of canvass. Within 24 hours from the submission of the objection, manifestation,
or contest, the party concerned shall submit his evidence which shall be attached to his written
objection, manifestation, or contest. Within the same 24-hour period, any party may file a written and
verified opposition to the objection, manifestation, or contest. Upon receipt of the evidence, the NBC
or the local board of canvassers shall take up the assailed election return or certificate of canvass,
and after considering the objection, manifestation or contest, together with the opposition thereto
and the evidences submitted, shall summarily and immediately rule thereon.42

The afore-described procedure does not provide any party the opportunity to question and confront
election officials and other witnesses. It may have been allowed on occasion by the boards of
canvassers, but it does not necessarily ripen into a legally demandable right. Again, canvass
proceedings are administrative and summary in nature. As for local boards of canvassers, in
elections for Senators, they only need to determine the authenticity and due execution of the election
returns or certificates of canvass on the face thereof. As for the COMELEC en banc, acting as the
NBC, the determination of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass shall be
limited only to those submitted before it by the local boards of canvassers and in accordance with
the criteria provided in Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9369.
The limitations on the powers and duties of the boards of canvassers are meant to avoid any delay
in the proclamation of the elected official. Issues whose resolution would require the presentation
and examination of witnesses are more properly raised in a regular election protest.

And as a final observation on the matter of due process, this Court notes that although Pimentel was
not able to propound questions to the election officials involved in the preparation and canvassing of
the Maguindanao MCOCs and PCOC, he was still able, through his counsel, to state his
observations, manifestations, and objections regarding the said certificates, which were duly
noted.43 He may not have received the response or action that he wanted with respect to his
observations, manifestations, and objections, but Pimentel cannot deny that these were heard and
presented in the canvass proceedings. Pimentel further admitted that he did not submit his written
observations, manifestations, and objections as the rules of procedure before the NBC and the local
boards of canvassers require.44 He cannot now decry that his observations, manifestations, and
objections were not given due course when he himself failed to comply with the procedure governing
the same.

Equally baseless is Pimentel’s averment that his right to equal protection of the laws was violated
when the NBC and the SPBOC-Maguindanao adopted a procedure of "no questions" in the canvass
of the Maguindanao MCOCs, different from the procedure adopted in the canvass of the certificates
of canvass from other provinces/areas. Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that
no person shall be denied equal protection of the laws. According to a long line of decisions, equal
protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as
to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. Similar subjects, in other words, should not be
treated differently, so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly discriminate against
others.45According to Pimentel, he was deprived of equal protection of the laws when he was not
allowed to question the election officials involved in the canvass proceedings for Maguindanao,
although he was allowed to do so for other provinces or districts. In support of his claim, Pimentel
compared his own experiences in the canvass proceedings for different provinces or districts. This
Court, however, finds Pimentel’s assessment misplaced. What would have been essential for
Pimentel to allege and prove was that other senatorial candidates were allowed during the canvass
proceedings to question the election officials involved in the preparation and canvassing of the
Maguindanao MCOCs and PCOC, while he was not; and that the other senatorial candidates were
given undue favor, while he was the only one unjustly discriminated against. It seems apparent to
this Court that the position of the SPBOC-Maguindanao and the NBC not to allow, during the
canvass proceedings, the questioning of election officials involved in the preparation and canvassing
of the Maguindanao MCOCs and PCOC, was consistent for all senatorial candidates. Hence,
petitioner was similarly situated with all the other senatorial candidates and they were all treated
alike insofar as the canvass proceedings for Maguindanao were concerned.

Electoral protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET)

Pimentel’s Petition is for Certiorari and Mandamus, both governed by Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

A special civil action for certiorari may be filed under the following circumstances:

SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari. – When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or
quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any
plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved
thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and
praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal,
board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require.

In a special civil action for certiorari, the burden is on the part of petitioner to prove not merely
reversible error, but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
of the public respondent issuing the impugned order. Grave abuse of discretion means a capricious
and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion
is not enough, it must be so grave as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner
by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an
evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in
contemplation of law.46

The extraordinary remedy of mandamus, on the other hand, may be availed of under the conditions
provided below:

RULE 65, SECTION 3. Petition for mandamus. – When any tribunal, corporation, board,
officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically
enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another
from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person
aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the respondent, immediately
or at some other time to be specified by the court, to do the act required to be done to protect
the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of
the wrongful acts of the respondent.

The writ of mandamus shall be issued only if the legal right to be enforced is well defined, clear and
certain. It lies only to compel an officer to perform a ministerial duty, not a discretionary one. The
duty is ministerial only when its discharge requires neither the exercise of official discretion nor
judgment.47
To avail of both special civil actions, there must be no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in
the ordinary course of law available to the petitioner, and in this, Pimentel’s Petition falters.

It must be kept in mind that Zubiri was proclaimed the twelfth Senator-elect in the 14 May 2007
elections on 14 July 2007, and that he formally assumed office on 16 July 2007. In accordance with
this Court’s ruling in Aggabao, Pimentel’s Petition must be dismissed, for his recourse lies, not with
this Court, but with the SET.

This Court elucidated in Aggabao48 that:

Article VI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution provides:

Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of
nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by
the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
representation from the political parties and the parties or organization registered under the
party-list system represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its
Chairman.

In Pangilinan v. Commission on Elections we ruled that:

The Senate and the House of Representatives now have their respective Electoral
Tribunals which are the "sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns,
and qualifications of their respective Members, thereby divesting the Commission on
Elections of its jurisdiction under the 1973 Constitution over election cases pertaining
to the election of the Members of the Batasang Pambansa (Congress). It follows that
the COMELEC is now bereft of jurisdiction to hear and decide pre-proclamation
controversies against members of the House of Representatives as well as of the
Senate.

The HRET has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relative to the election,
returns, and qualifications of members of the House of Representatives. Thus, once a
winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of
the House of Representatives, COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election contests relating to his
election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRET’s own jurisdiction begins.

It is undisputed that Miranda has already been proclaimed, taken his oath and assumed
office on June 14, 2004. As such, petitioner’s recourse would have been to file an electoral
protest before the HRET. His remedy is not this petition for certiorari. Thus:

Finally, the private respondent Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. has already been proclaimed
as the winner in the congressional elections in the fourth district of Quezon City. He
has taken his oath of office and assumed his duties as representative; hence, the
remedy open to the petitioner was to have filed an electoral protest with the Electoral
Tribunal of the House of Representatives.

The allegation that Miranda’s proclamation is null and void ab initio does not divest the HRET
of its jurisdiction. Thus:

(I)n an electoral contest where the validity of the proclamation of a winning candidate
who has taken his oath of office and assumed his post as Congressman is raised,
that issue is best addressed to the HRET. The reason for this ruling is self-evident,
for it avoids duplicity of proceedings and a clash of jurisdiction between constitutional
bodies, with due regard to the people’s mandate.
In Lazatin v. Commission on Elections we ruled that, upon proclamation of the winning
candidate and despite its alleged invalidity, the COMELEC is divested of its jurisdiction to
hear the protest. Thus:

The petition is impressed with merit because the petitioner has been proclaimed
winner of the Congressional elections in the first district of Pampanga, has taken his
oath of office as such, and assumed his duties as Congressman. For this Court to
take cognizance of the electoral protest against him would be to usurp the functions
of the House Electoral Tribunal. The alleged invalidity of the proclamation (which has
been previously ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite alleged irregularities in
connection therewith, and despite the pendency of the protests of the rival
candidates, is a matter that is also addressed, considering the premises, to the
sound judgment of the Electoral Tribunal.

In this case, certiorari will not lie considering that there is an available and adequate remedy
in the ordinary course of law for the purpose of annulling or modifying the proceedings before
the COMELEC. After the proclamation, petitioner’s remedy was an electoral protest before
the HRET. The resolution of the issues presented in this petition is best addressed to the
sound judgment and discretion of the electoral tribunal.

The afore-quoted pronouncements are likewise applicable to the Petition at bar, with the references
therein to the jurisdiction of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal over election protests
involving members of the House of Representatives also being true for the SET as regards election
protests involving Senators.

In Chavez v. Commission on Elections,49 this Court similarly ruled that the word "sole" in Article VI,
Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution underscores the exclusivity of the electoral tribunals' jurisdiction
over election contests relating to their respective members. It is therefore crystal clear that this Court
has no jurisdiction to entertain a petition for certiorari and mandamus on matters which may be
threshed out in an election contest. It is the SET which has exclusive jurisdiction to act on the
complaint of Pimentel involving, as it does, a contest relating to the election of Zubiri, now a member
of the Senate.

Pimentel attempts to bring his case outside the jurisprudential precedent set by Aggabao, but to no
avail.

That Pimentel filed the present Petition prior to Zubiri’s proclamation is insignificant. Since Pimentel’s
prayer for a TRO and/or Status Quo Ante Order had been denied, Zubiri was proclaimed the twelfth
winning Senator in the 2007 Senatorial Elections.

Pimentel further claims that he is not challenging Zubiri’s proclamation, but rather the conduct of the
proceedings before the NBC and the SPBOC-Maguindanao. This is just a roundabout argument.
Pimentel cannot deny that he assails the canvass proceedings because he believes that the
annulment and setting aside thereof would result in his winning as the twelfth Senator in the 14 May
2007 elections; and if he is the rightful winner, then logically and necessarily, Zubiri’s proclamation
must also be annulled and set aside.

Finally, while Section 15, in relation to Section 30, of Republic Act No. 7166, as amended by
Republic Act No. 9369, did introduce an additional exception to the prohibition against pre-
proclamation controversies in elections for President, Vice-President, and Senators, this Court has
already established in the preceding discussion that Pimentel cannot invoke the same in his Petition.
The provisions in question did not materially change the nature of canvass proceedings before the
boards of canvassers, which still remain summary and administrative in nature for the purpose of
canvassing the votes and determining the elected official with as little delay as possible and in time
for the commencement of the new term of office.

This Court deems it necessary to stress that attempts to delay the canvass proceedings, except for
the permissible pre-proclamation controversies, must be shunned. Grounds which are proper for
electoral protests should not be allowed to delay the proclamation of the winners.50 It may well be
true that public policy may occasionally permit the occurrence of "grab the proclamation and prolong
the protest" situations; that public policy, however, balances the possibility of such situations against
the shortening of the period during which no winners are proclaimed, a period commonly fraught with
tension and danger for the public at large. For those who disagree with that public policy, the
appropriate recourse is not to ask this Court to abandon case law, which merely interprets faithfully
existing statutory norms, to engage in judicial legislation and in effect to rewrite portions of the
Omnibus Election Code. The appropriate recourse is, of course, to the Legislative Department of the
Government and to ask that Department to strike a new and different equilibrium in the balancing of
the public interests at stake.51

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the present Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus is
hereby DISMISSED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 113219 August 14, 1995

ANICETO G. MATEO, MAXIMO SAN DIEGO, QUIRINO MATEO, DANIEL FRANCISCO, and
LEONILA KUIZON, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ARTURO A. MARAVE, and EDGAR STA.
MARIA, respondents.

PUNO, J.:

Upon complaint of some Morong Water District (MOWAD) employees, petitioners, all Board
Members of MOWAD, conducted an investigation on private respondent Edgar Sta. Maria, then
General Manager.1 On December 13, 1992, private respondent was placed under preventive
suspension and Maximo San Diego was designated in his place as Acting General Manager. He
was later dismissed on January 7, 1993.

On January 18, 1993, private respondent filed a Special Civil Action for Quo
Warranto and Mandamus with Preliminary Injunction2 before the Regional Trial Court of Rizal,
Branch 78, challenging his dismissal by petitioners. The petition embodied three (3) causes of
action. It reads:

xxx xxx xxx

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

xxx xxx xxx

II-2 Petitioner is the General Manager of the MOWAD since August 1984 with concomitant
security of tenure in office and could not be removed either temporarily or permanently,
except for cause and only after compliance with the elementary rules of due process;

II-3 However, on December 14, 1992, contrary to the tenets of justice and fairness, as well
as for want of procedural due process, the respondents (petitioners) and members of the
Board of Directors of the MOWAD have arbitrarily, whimsically, and unilaterally stopped and
prohibited the petitioner from exercising his rights and performing his duties as General
Manager of the MOWAD and, in his place, have designated the respondent (petitioner)
Maximo San Diego as Acting General Manager . . .

II-4 On December 15, 1992, while petitioner was out of office on official travel, . . . thru
stealth and strategy, the respondents have conspired and helped one another in removing
the petitioner from the Office of the General Manager of the MOWAD by forcibly destroying
its door and locked it with a replaced door-knob and all attempts on his part to gain access
and entry proved futile; . . .

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

xxx xxx xxx

III-2 On January 7, 1993, . . . in confabulation with his co-respondents and members of the
Board of Directors of the MOWAD, the respondent Aniceto G. Mateo slapped the petitioner
with an Order terminating his services as General Manger . . .

III-5 Petitioner has a clear right to the Office of General Manager of the MOWAD which is
being usurped or unlawfully held by respondent Maximo San Diego in conspiracy with his co-
respondents; . . .

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

xxx xxx xxx

IV-1-a Petitioner is entitled to the relief mandated, and the whole or part of such relief
consists in restraining the commission, or continuance of the acts complained of more
particularly the continuous acts of repondents in stopping and prohibiting him from exercising
his rights and performing his duties as General Manager of the MOWAD and from stopping
and prohibiting him to gain access and entry to office. 3

Petitioners, in turn, moved to dismiss the case on two (2) grounds: (1) the court had no jurisdiction
over disciplinary actions of government employees which is vested exclusively in the Civil Service
Commission; and (2) quo warranto was not the proper remedy.4 Respondent Judge Arturo Marave
denied the Motion to Dismiss on April 26, 1993, and the Motion for Reconsideration on June 9,
1993.5

Petitioners then elevated the matter to this Court through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 which
was referred to respondent Court of Appeals for adjudication. In its Decision, dated November 24,
1993, respondent Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of merit, and in its Resolution,
dated January 11, 1994, denied the Motion for Reconsideration.6

The main issue in this petition for review is whether or not the Regional Trial Court of Rizal has
jurisdiction over Sp. Civil Case No. 014-M involving dismissal of an employee of quasi-public
corporation.

We hold that it has no jurisdiction.

There is no question that MOWAD is a quasi-public corporation created pursuant to Presidential


Decree (P.D.) No. 198, known as the provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973, as amended.7 In Davao
City Water District v. Civil Service Commissions 8 the Court en banc ruled that employees of government-owned or
controlled corporations with original charter fall under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission, viz:

xxx xxx xxx

As early as Baguio Water District v. Trajano et, al., We already ruled that a water district is a
corporation created pursuant to a special
law — P.D. No. 198, as amended, and as such its officers and employees are covered by
the Civil Service Law.
In another case (Hagonoy Water District v. NLRC), We ruled once again that local water
districts are quasi-public corporations whose employees belong to the Civil Service.
(emphasis omitted)

Indeed, the established rule is that the hiring and firing of employees of goverment-own and
controlled corporations are governed by the provisions of the Civil Service Law and Rules and
Regulations. 9

Presidential Decee No. 807, Executive Order No. 292, 10 and Rule II section 1 of Memorandum
Circular No. 44 series of 1990 of the Civil Service Commission spell out the initial remedy of private
respondent against illegal dismissal. They categorically provide that the party aggrieved by a
decision, ruling, order, or action of an agency of the government involving termination of
services may appeal to the Commission within fifteen (15) days. Thereafter, private respondent
could go on certiorari to this Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court if he still feels aggrieved by
the ruling of the Civil Service Commission. So We held in Mancita v. Barcinas, 11 viz:

xxx xxx xxx

[N]o appeal lies from the decision of the Service Commission, * and that parties aggrieved
thereby may proceed to this Court alone on certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
within thirty (30) days from receipt of a copy thereof, pursuant to section 7, Article IX of the
1987 Constitution. We quote:

Sec. 7. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any


decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the
Supreme Court on certiorari by the party within thirty days from receipt of a
copy thereof.

The Civil Service Commission under the Constitution, is the single arbiter of all contests
relating to the Civil service and as such, its judgments are unappealable and subject only to
this Court's certiorari judgment.

Mancita, however, no longer governs for under the present rule, Revised Circular No. 1-91 as
amended by Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95 which took effect on June 1, 1995, final
resolutions of the Civil Service Commission shall be appealable to the Court of Appeals. In any
event, whether under the old rule or present rule, Regional Trial Courts have no jurisdiction to
entertain cases involving dismissal of officers and employees covered by the Civil Service Law.

IN VIEW HEREOF, the petition is GRANTED and the decision of respondent Court of Appeals dated
November 24, 1993 and its Resolution dated January 1, 1994 in CA G.R. SP No. 31530 are
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., defendant-appellee.

Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro
and Solicitor Enrique M. Reyes for plaintiff-appellant.

Angel A. Sison for defendant-appellee.

FERNANDO, J.:

The right of a holder of a backpay certificate to use the same in the payment of his taxes has been
recognized by law.1 Necessarily, this Court, in Tirona v. Cudiamat,2 yielding obedience to such statutory
prescription, saw nothing objectionable in a taxpayer taking advantage of such a provision. That much is
clear; it is settled beyond doubt. What is involved in this appeal from a lower court decision of November
24, 1965, dismissing a complaint by plaintiff-appellant Republic of the Philippines, seeking the invalidation
of the payment by defendant-appellee Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. for the registration fees 3 of its
motor vehicles in the sum of P78,636.17, in the form of such negotiable backpay certificates of
indebtedness, is the applicability of such a provision to such a situation. The lower court held that it did.
The Republic of the Philippines appealed. While originally the matter was elevated to the Court of
Appeals, it was certified to us, the decisive issue being one of law. The statute having restricted the
privilege to the satisfaction of a tax, a liability for fees under the police power being thus excluded from its
benefits, we cannot uphold the decision appealed from. We reverse.

The complaint of plaintiff-appellant Republic of the Philippines was filed on January 17, 1963
alleging that defendant-appellee, as the registered owner of two hundred thirty eight (238) motor
vehicles, paid to the Motor Vehicles Office in Baguio the amount of P78,636.17, corresponding to the
second installment of registration fees for 1959, not in cash but in the form of negotiable certificate of
indebtedness, the defendant being merely an assignee and not the backpay holder itself. The
complaint sought the payment of such amount with surcharges plus the legal rate of interest from the
filing thereof and a declaration of the nullity of the use of such negotiable certificate of indebtedness
to satisfy its obligation. The answer by defendant-appellee, filed on February 18, 1963, alleged that
what it did was in accordance with law, both the Treasurer of the Philippines and the General
Auditing Office having signified their conformity to such a mode of payment. It sought the dismissal
of the complaint.

After noting the respective theories of both parties in its pleadings, the lower court, in its decision,
stated that the issue before it "is whether or not the acceptance of the negotiable certificates of
indebtedness tendered by defendant bus firms to and accepted by the Motor Vehicles Office of
Baguio City and the corresponding issuance of official receipts therefor acknowledging such
payment by said office is valid and binding on plaintiff Republic."4

In the decision now on appeal, the lower court, after referring to a documentary evidence introduced
by plaintiff-appellant continued: "From the evidence adduced by defendant bus firm, it appears that
as early as August 28, 1958, the National Treasurer upon whom devolves the function of
administering the Back Pay Law (Republic Act 304 as amended by Republic Act Nos. 800 and 897),
in his letter to the Chief of the Motor Vehicles Office who in turn quoted and circularized same in his
Circular No. 5 dated September 1, 1958, to draw the attention thereto of all Motor Vehicle
Supervisors, Registrars and employees ..., had approved the acceptance of negotiable certificates of
indebtedness in payment of registration fees of motor vehicles with the view that such certificates
'should be accorded with the same confidence by other governmental instrumentalities as other
evidences of public debt, such as bonds and treasury certificates'. Significantly, the Auditor General
concurred in the said view of the National Treasurer."5

The argument of plaintiff-appellant that only the holders of the backpay certificates themselves could
apply the same to the payment of motor vehicle registration fees did not find favor with the lower
court. Thus, "[Plaintiff] Republic urges that defendant bus firm being merely an assignee of the
negotiable certificates of indebtedness in question, it could not use the same in payment of taxes.
Such contention, this Court believes, runs counter to the recitals appearing on the said certificates
which states that 'the Republic of the Philippines hereby acknowledges to (name) or assigns ...',
legally allowing the assignment of backpay rights."6

It therefore, as above noted, rendered judgment in favor of defendant-appellee "upholding the


validity and efficacy" of such payment made and dismissing the complaint. Hence this appeal which,
on the decisive legal issue already set forth at the outset, we find meritorious.

1. If a registration fee were a tax, then what was done by defendant-appellee was strictly in
accordance with law and its nullity, as sought by plaintiff-appellant Republic of the Philippines,
cannot be decreed. But is it? The answer to that question is decisive of this controversy. A tax refers
to a financial obligation imposed by a state on persons, whether natural or juridical, within its
jurisdiction, for property owned, income earned, business or profession engaged in, or any such
activity analogous in character for raising the necessary revenues to take care of the responsibilities
of government.7 An often-quoted definition is that of Cooley: "Taxes are the enforced proportional
contributions from persons and property levied by the state by virtue of its sovereignty for the support of
government and for all public needs."8

As distinguished from other pecuniary burdens, the differentiating factor is that the purpose to be
subserved is the raising of revenue. A tax then is neither a penalty that must be satisfied or a liability
arising from contract.9 Much less can it be confused or identified with a license or a fee as a
manifestation of an exercise of the police power. It has been settled law in this jurisdiction as far back
as Cu Unjieng v. Potstone, decided in 1962, 10 that this broad and all-encompassing governmental competence to restrict
rights of liberty and property carries with it the undeniable power to collect a regulatory fee. Unlike a tax, it has not for its object the raising of
revenue but looks rather to the enactment of specific measures that govern the relations not only as between individuals but also as between
private parties and the political society. To quote from Cooley anew: "Legislation for these purposes it would seem proper to look upon as
being made in the exercise of that authority ... spoken of as the police power." 11

The registration fee which defendant-appellee had to pay was imposed by Section 8 of the Revised
Motor Vehicle Law. 12 Its heading speaks of "registration fees." The term is repeated four times in the body thereof. Equally so,
mention is made of the "fee for registration." 13 A subsection starts with a categorical statement "No fees shall be charged." 14 The
conclusion is difficult to resist therefore that the Motor Vehicle Act requires the payment not of a tax but of a registration fee under the police
power. Hence the inapplicability of the section relied upon by defendant-appellee under the Back Pay Law. It is not held liable for a tax but for
a registration fee. It therefore cannot make use of a backpay certificate to meet such an obligation.

Any vestige of any doubt as to the correctness of the above conclusion should be dissipated by
Republic Act No. 5448. 15 A special science fund was thereby created and its title expressly sets forth that a tax on privately-owned
passenger automobiles, motorcycles and scooters was imposed. The rates thereof were provided for in its Section 3 which clearly specifies
that "additional tax" was to be paid as distinguished from the registration fee under the Motor Vehicle Act. There cannot be any clearer
expression therefore of the legislative will, even on the assumption that the earlier legislation could be stretching the point be susceptible of
the interpretation that a tax rather than a fee was levied. What is thus most apparent is that where the legislative body relies on its authority
to tax it expressly so states, and where it is enacting a regulatory measure, it is equally explicit.

It may further be stated that a statute is meaningful not only by what it includes but also by what it
omits. What is left out is not devoid of significance. As observed by Frankfurter: "An omission at the
time of enactment, whether careless or calculated, cannot be judicially supplied however much later
wisdom may recommend the inclusion. 16 In the light of this consideration, the reversal of the appealed judgment is
unavoidable.

2. In the brief for plaintiff-appellant Republic of the Philippines, filed by the then Solicitor General,
now Justice Antonio P. Barredo, the principal error imputed to the trial court is its failure to hold that
the Back Pay Law prohibits an assignee, as is defendant-appellee, from using certificates of
indebtedness to pay their taxes. In view of the conclusion reached by us that the liability of
defendant-appellee under the Motor Vehicle Act does not arise under the taxing power of the state,
there is no need to pass upon this particular question.

3. The Republic of the Philippines, in its brief, likewise assigned as error the failure of the lower court
to hold that estoppel does not lie against the government for mistakes committed by its agents. As
could be discerned from an excerpt of the decision earlier referred to, the lower court was impressed
by the fact that the national treasurer to whom it correctly referred as being vested with the function
of administering the backpay law did in a communication to the Motor Vehicles Office approve the
acceptance of negotiable certificate of indebtedness in payment of registration fees, a view with
which the Auditor General was in concurrence. The appealed decision likewise noted: "By the
testimonies of Pedro Flores, the then Registrar of the Motor Vehicles Office of Baguio City and
Casiano Catbagan, the Cashier of the Bureau of Public Highways in the same city, defendant bus
firm has undisputedly shown that, after the said certificates of indebtedness were properly indorsed
in favor of the Motor Vehicles Office of Baguio City and accepted by the Bureau of Public Highways
on May 29, 1959, it was duly and properly issued official receipts ... acknowledging full payment of
its registration fees for the second installment of 1959 of its 238 vehicles, and that the Bureau of
Public Highways, thru its collecting and disbursing officer, was validly and regularly authorized to
receive such payment." 17

Thus did the lower court, as pointed out by the then Solicitor General, conclude that the government
was bound by the mistaken interpretation arrived at by the national treasurer and the auditor
general. It would consider estoppel as applicable. That is not the law. Estoppel does not lie. Such a
principle dates back to Aguinaldo de Romero v. Director of Lands, 18 a 1919 decision. Insofar as the taxing power
is concerned, Pineda v. Court of First Instance, a 1929 decision, speaks categorically: "The Government is never estopped by mistake or
error on the part of its agents. It follows that, in so far as this record shows, the petitioners have not made it appear that the additional tax
claimed by the Collector is not in fact due and collectible. The assessment of the tax by the Collector creates, it must be remembered, a
charge that is at least prima facie valid." 19 That principle has since been subsequently followed. 20 While the question here is one
of the collection of a regulatory fee under the police power, reliance on the above course of decisions is
not inappropriate. There is nothing to stand in the way, therefore, of the collection of the registration fees
from defendant-appellee.

WHEREFORE, the decision of November 24, 1965 is reversed and defendant-appellee ordered to
pay the sum of P78,636.17. With costs against defendant-appellee.

G.R. No. 114222 April 6, 1995

FRANCISCO S. TATAD, JOHN H. OSMENA and RODOLFO G. BIAZON, petitioners,


vs.
HON. JESUS B. GARCIA, JR., in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of
Transportation and Communications, and EDSA LRT CORPORATION, LTD., respondents.

QUIASON, J.:

This is a petition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to prohibit respondents from further
implementing and enforcing the "Revised and Restated Agreement to Build, Lease and Transfer a
Light Rail Transit System for EDSA" dated April 22, 1992, and the "Supplemental Agreement to the
22 April 1992 Revised and Restated Agreement To Build, Lease and Transfer a Light Rail Transit
System for EDSA" dated May 6, 1993.

Petitioners Francisco S. Tatad, John H. Osmena and Rodolfo G. Biazon are members of the
Philippine Senate and are suing in their capacities as Senators and as taxpayers. Respondent Jesus
B. Garcia, Jr. is the incumbent Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications
(DOTC), while private respondent EDSA LRT Corporation, Ltd. is a private corporation organized
under the laws of Hongkong.

In 1989, DOTC planned to construct a light railway transit line along EDSA, a major thoroughfare in
Metropolitan Manila, which shall traverse the cities of Pasay, Quezon, Mandaluyong and Makati. The
plan, referred to as EDSA Light Rail Transit III (EDSA LRT III), was intended to provide a mass
transit system along EDSA and alleviate the congestion and growing transportation problem in the
metropolis.

On March 3, 1990, a letter of intent was sent by the Eli Levin Enterprises, Inc., represented by
Elijahu Levin to DOTC Secretary Oscar Orbos, proposing to construct the EDSA LRT III on a Build-
Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis.
On March 15, 1990, Secretary Orbos invited Levin to send a technical team to discuss the project
with DOTC.

On July 9, 1990, Republic Act No. 6957 entitled "An Act Authorizing the Financing, Construction,
Operation and Maintenance of Infrastructure Projects by the Private Sector, and For Other
Purposes," was signed by President Corazon C. Aquino. Referred to as the Build-Operate-Transfer
(BOT) Law, it took effect on October 9, 1990.

Republic Act No. 6957 provides for two schemes for the financing, construction and operation of
government projects through private initiative and investment: Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) or
Build-Transfer (BT).

In accordance with the provisions of R.A. No. 6957 and to set the EDSA LRT III project underway,
DOTC, on January 22, 1991 and March 14, 1991, issued Department Orders Nos. 91-494 and 91-
496, respectively creating the Prequalification Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC) and the
Technical Committee.

After its constitution, the PBAC issued guidelines for the prequalification of contractors for the
financing and implementation of the project The notice, advertising the prequalification of bidders,
was published in three newspapers of general circulation once a week for three consecutive weeks
starting February 21, 1991.

The deadline set for submission of prequalification documents was March 21, 1991, later extended
to April 1, 1991. Five groups responded to the invitation namely, ABB Trazione of Italy, Hopewell
Holdings Ltd. of Hongkong, Mansteel International of Mandaue, Cebu, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. of Japan,
and EDSA LRT Consortium, composed of ten foreign and domestic corporations: namely, Kaiser
Engineers International, Inc., ACER Consultants (Far East) Ltd. and Freeman Fox, Tradeinvest/CKD
Tatra of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republics, TCGI Engineering All Asia Capital and Leasing
Corporation, The Salim Group of Jakarta, E. L. Enterprises, Inc., A.M. Oreta & Co. Capitol Industrial
Construction Group, Inc, and F. F. Cruz & co., Inc.

On the last day for submission of prequalification documents, the prequalification criteria proposed
by the Technical Committee were adopted by the PBAC. The criteria totalling 100 percent, are as
follows: (a) Legal aspects — 10 percent; (b) Management/Organizational capability — 30 percent;
and (c) Financial capability — 30 percent; and (d) Technical capability — 30 percent (Rollo, p. 122).

On April 3, 1991, the Committee, charged under the BOT Law with the formulation of the
Implementation Rules and Regulations thereof, approved the same.

After evaluating the prequalification, bids, the PBAC issued a Resolution on May 9, 1991 declaring
that of the five applicants, only the EDSA LRT Consortium "met the requirements of garnering at
least 21 points per criteria [sic], except for Legal Aspects, and obtaining an over-all passing mark of
at least 82 points" (Rollo, p. 146). The Legal Aspects referred to provided that the BOT/BT
contractor-applicant meet the requirements specified in the Constitution and other pertinent laws
(Rollo, p. 114).

Subsequently, Secretary Orbos was appointed Executive Secretary to the President of the
Philippines and was replaced by Secretary Pete Nicomedes Prado. The latter sent to President
Aquino two letters dated May 31, 1991 and June 14, 1991, respectively recommending the award of
the EDSA LRT III project to the sole complying bidder, the EDSA LRT Consortium, and requesting
for authority to negotiate with the said firm for the contract pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of the BOT Law (Rollo, pp. 298-302).

In July 1991, Executive Secretary Orbos, acting on instructions of the President, issued a directive to
the DOTC to proceed with the negotiations. On July 16, 1991, the EDSA LRT Consortium submitted
its bid proposal to DOTC.

Finding this proposal to be in compliance with the bid requirements, DOTC and respondent EDSA
LRT Corporation, Ltd., in substitution of the EDSA LRT Consortium, entered into an "Agreement to
Build, Lease and Transfer a Light Rail Transit System for EDSA" under the terms of the BOT Law
(Rollo, pp. 147-177).

Secretary Prado, thereafter, requested presidential approval of the contract.

In a letter dated March 13, 1992, Executive Secretary Franklin Drilon, who replaced Executive
Secretary Orbos, informed Secretary Prado that the President could not grant the requested
approval for the following reasons: (1) that DOTC failed to conduct actual public bidding in
compliance with Section 5 of the BOT Law; (2) that the law authorized public bidding as the only
mode to award BOT projects, and the prequalification proceedings was not the public bidding
contemplated under the law; (3) that Item 14 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the BOT
Law which authorized negotiated award of contract in addition to public bidding was of doubtful
legality; and (4) that congressional approval of the list of priority projects under the BOT or BT
Scheme provided in the law had not yet been granted at the time the contract was awarded (Rollo,
pp. 178-179).

In view of the comments of Executive Secretary Drilon, the DOTC and private respondents re-
negotiated the agreement. On April 22, 1992, the parties entered into a "Revised and Restated
Agreement to Build, Lease and Transfer a Light Rail Transit System for EDSA" (Rollo, pp. 47-78)
inasmuch as "the parties [are] cognizant of the fact the DOTC has full authority to sign the
Agreement without need of approval by the President pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order
No. 380 and that certain events [had] supervened since November 7, 1991 which necessitate[d] the
revision of the Agreement" (Rollo, p. 51). On May 6, 1992, DOTC, represented by Secretary Jesus
Garcia vice Secretary Prado, and private respondent entered into a "Supplemental Agreement to the
22 April 1992 Revised and Restated Agreement to Build, Lease and Transfer a Light Rail Transit
System for EDSA" so as to "clarify their respective rights and responsibilities" and to submit [the]
Supplemental Agreement to the President, of the Philippines for his approval" (Rollo, pp. 79-80).

Secretary Garcia submitted the two Agreements to President Fidel V. Ramos for his consideration
and approval. In a Memorandum to Secretary Garcia on May 6, 1993, approved the said
Agreements, (Rollo, p. 194).

According to the agreements, the EDSA LRT III will use light rail vehicles from the Czech and Slovak
Federal Republics and will have a maximum carrying capacity of 450,000 passengers a day, or 150
million a year to be achieved-through 54 such vehicles operating simultaneously. The EDSA LRT III
will run at grade, or street level, on the mid-section of EDSA for a distance of 17.8 kilometers from
F.B. Harrison, Pasay City to North Avenue, Quezon City. The system will have its own power facility
(Revised and Restated Agreement, Sec. 2.3 (ii); Rollo p. 55). It will also have thirteen (13)
passenger stations and one depot in 16-hectare government property at North Avenue
(Supplemental Agreement, Sec. 11; Rollo, pp. 91-92).

Private respondents shall undertake and finance the entire project required for a complete
operational light rail transit system (Revised and Restated Agreement, Sec. 4.1; Rollo, p. 58). Target
completion date is 1,080 days or approximately three years from the implementation date of the
contract inclusive of mobilization, site works, initial and final testing of the system (Supplemental
Agreement, Sec. 5; Rollo, p. 83). Upon full or partial completion and viability thereof, private
respondent shall deliver the use and possession of the completed portion to DOTC which shall
operate the same (Supplemental Agreement, Sec. 5; Revised and Restated Agreement, Sec.
5.1; Rollo, pp. 61-62, 84). DOTC shall pay private respondent rentals on a monthly basis through an
Irrevocable Letter of Credit. The rentals shall be determined by an independent and internationally
accredited inspection firm to be appointed by the parties (Supplemental Agreement, Sec. 6; Rollo,
pp. 85-86) As agreed upon, private respondent's capital shall be recovered from the rentals to be
paid by the DOTC which, in turn, shall come from the earnings of the EDSA LRT III (Revised and
Restated Agreement, Sec. 1, p. 5; Rollo, p. 54). After 25 years and DOTC shall have completed
payment of the rentals, ownership of the project shall be transferred to the latter for a consideration
of only U.S. $1.00 (Revised and Restated Agreement, Sec. 11.1; Rollo, p. 67).

On May 5, 1994, R.A. No. 7718, an "Act Amending Certain Sections of Republic Act No. 6957,
Entitled "An Act Authorizing the Financing, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of
Infrastructure Projects by the Private Sector, and for Other Purposes" was signed into law by the
President. The law was published in two newspapers of general circulation on May 12, 1994, and
took effect 15 days thereafter or on May 28, 1994. The law expressly recognizes BLT scheme and
allows direct negotiation of BLT contracts.

II

In their petition, petitioners argued that:

(1) THE AGREEMENT OF APRIL 22, 1992, AS AMENDED BY THE


SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT OF MAY 6, 1993, INSOFAR AS IT GRANTS EDSA
LRT CORPORATION, LTD., A FOREIGN CORPORATION, THE OWNERSHIP OF
EDSA LRT III, A PUBLIC UTILITY, VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTION AND, HENCE,
IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL;

(2) THE BUILD-LEASE-TRANSFER SCHEME PROVIDED IN THE AGREEMENTS


IS NOT DEFINED NOR RECOGNIZED IN R.A. NO. 6957 OR ITS IMPLEMENTING
RULES AND REGULATIONS AND, HENCE, IS ILLEGAL;

(3) THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT ON A NEGOTIATED BASIS VIOLATES R; A.


NO. 6957 AND, HENCE, IS UNLAWFUL;

(4) THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT EDSA LRT


CORPORATION, LTD. VIOLATES THE REQUIREMENTS PROVIDED IN THE
IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE BOT LAW AND, HENCE,
IS ILLEGAL;

(5) THE AGREEMENTS VIOLATE EXECUTIVE ORDER NO 380 FOR THEIR


FAILURE TO BEAR PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL AND, HENCE, ARE ILLEGAL
AND INEFFECTIVE; AND

(6) THE AGREEMENTS ARE GROSSLY DISADVANTAGEOUS TO THE


GOVERNMENT (Rollo, pp. 15-16).

Secretary Garcia and private respondent filed their comments separately and claimed that:

(1) Petitioners are not the real parties-in-interest and have no legal standing to institute the present
petition;

(2) The writ of prohibition is not the proper remedy and the petition requires ascertainment of facts;

(3) The scheme adopted in the Agreements is actually a build-transfer scheme allowed by the BOT
Law;

(4) The nationality requirement for public utilities mandated by the Constitution does not apply to
private respondent;

(5) The Agreements executed by and between respondents have been approved by President
Ramos and are not disadvantageous to the government;

(6) The award of the contract to private respondent through negotiation and not public bidding is
allowed by the BOT Law; and

(7) Granting that the BOT Law requires public bidding, this has been amended by R.A No. 7718
passed by the Legislature On May 12, 1994, which provides for direct negotiation as a mode of
award of infrastructure projects.

III

Respondents claimed that petitioners had no legal standing to initiate the instant action. Petitioners,
however, countered that the action was filed by them in their capacity as Senators and as taxpayers.
The prevailing doctrines in taxpayer's suits are to allow taxpayers to question contracts entered into
by the national government or government-owned or controlled corporations allegedly in
contravention of the law (Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 [1994]) and to disallow the
same when only municipal contracts are involved (Bugnay Construction and Development
Corporation v. Laron, 176 SCRA. 240 [1989]).

For as long as the ruling in Kilosbayan on locus standi is not reversed, we have no choice but to
follow it and uphold the legal standing of petitioners as taxpayers to institute the present action.

IV

In the main, petitioners asserted that the Revised and Restated Agreement of April 22, 1992 and the
Supplemental Agreement of May 6, 1993 are unconstitutional and invalid for the following reasons:

(1) the EDSA LRT III is a public utility, and the ownership and operation thereof is
limited by the Constitution to Filipino citizens and domestic corporations, not foreign
corporations like private respondent;

(2) the Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) scheme provided in the agreements is not the
BOT or BT Scheme under the law;

(3) the contract to construct the EDSA LRT III was awarded to private respondent not
through public bidding which is the only mode of awarding infrastructure projects
under the BOT law; and

(4) the agreements are grossly disadvantageous to the government.

1. Private respondent EDSA LRT Corporation, Ltd. to whom the contract to construct the EDSA LRT
III was awarded by public respondent, is admittedly a foreign corporation "duly incorporated and
existing under the laws of Hongkong" (Rollo, pp. 50, 79). There is also no dispute that once the
EDSA LRT III is constructed, private respondent, as lessor, will turn it over to DOTC, as lessee, for
the latter to operate the system and pay rentals for said use.

The question posed by petitioners is:

Can respondent EDSA LRT Corporation, Ltd., a foreign corporation own EDSA LRT
III; a public utility? (Rollo, p. 17).

The phrasing of the question is erroneous; it is loaded. What private respondent owns are the rail
tracks, rolling stocks like the coaches, rail stations, terminals and the power plant, not a public utility.
While a franchise is needed to operate these facilities to serve the public, they do not by themselves
constitute a public utility. What constitutes a public utility is not their ownership but their use to serve
the public (Iloilo Ice & Cold Storage Co. v. Public Service Board, 44 Phil. 551, 557 558 [1923]).

The Constitution, in no uncertain terms, requires a franchise for the operation of a public utility.
However, it does not require a franchise before one can own the facilities needed to operate a public
utility so long as it does not operate them to serve the public.

Section 11 of Article XII of the Constitution provides:

No franchise, certificate or any other form of authorization for the operation of a


public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or
associations organized under the laws of the Philippines at least sixty per centum of
whose capital is owned by such citizens, nor shall such franchise, certificate or
authorization be exclusive character or for a longer period than fifty years . . .
(Emphasis supplied).

In law, there is a clear distinction between the "operation" of a public utility and the ownership of the
facilities and equipment used to serve the public.
Ownership is defined as a relation in law by virtue of which a thing pertaining to one person is
completely subjected to his will in everything not prohibited by law or the concurrence with the rights
of another (Tolentino, II Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the Philippines 45
[1992]).

The exercise of the rights encompassed in ownership is limited by law so that a property cannot be
operated and used to serve the public as a public utility unless the operator has a franchise. The
operation of a rail system as a public utility includes the transportation of passengers from one point
to another point, their loading and unloading at designated places and the movement of the trains at
pre-scheduled times (cf. Arizona Eastern R.R. Co. v. J.A.. Matthews, 20 Ariz 282, 180 P.159, 7
A.L.R. 1149 [1919] ;United States Fire Ins. Co. v. Northern P.R. Co., 30 Wash 2d. 722, 193 P. 2d
868, 2 A.L.R. 2d 1065 [1948]).

The right to operate a public utility may exist independently and separately from the ownership of the
facilities thereof. One can own said facilities without operating them as a public utility, or conversely,
one may operate a public utility without owning the facilities used to serve the public. The devotion of
property to serve the public may be done by the owner or by the person in control thereof who may
not necessarily be the owner thereof.

This dichotomy between the operation of a public utility and the ownership of the facilities used to
serve the public can be very well appreciated when we consider the transportation industry.
Enfranchised airline and shipping companies may lease their aircraft and vessels instead of owning
them themselves.

While private respondent is the owner of the facilities necessary to operate the EDSA. LRT III, it
admits that it is not enfranchised to operate a public utility (Revised and Restated Agreement, Sec.
3.2; Rollo, p. 57). In view of this incapacity, private respondent and DOTC agreed that on completion
date, private respondent will immediately deliver possession of the LRT system by way of lease for
25 years, during which period DOTC shall operate the same as a common carrier and private
respondent shall provide technical maintenance and repair services to DOTC (Revised and Restated
Agreement, Secs. 3.2, 5.1 and 5.2; Rollo, pp. 57-58, 61-62). Technical maintenance consists of
providing (1) repair and maintenance facilities for the depot and rail lines, services for routine
clearing and security; and (2) producing and distributing maintenance manuals and drawings for the
entire system (Revised and Restated Agreement, Annex F).

Private respondent shall also train DOTC personnel for familiarization with the operation, use,
maintenance and repair of the rolling stock, power plant, substations, electrical, signaling,
communications and all other equipment as supplied in the agreement (Revised and Restated
Agreement, Sec. 10; Rollo, pp. 66-67). Training consists of theoretical and live training of DOTC
operational personnel which includes actual driving of light rail vehicles under simulated operating
conditions, control of operations, dealing with emergencies, collection, counting and securing cash
from the fare collection system (Revised and Restated Agreement, Annex E, Secs. 2-3). Personnel
of DOTC will work under the direction and control of private respondent only during training (Revised
and Restated Agreement, Annex E, Sec. 3.1). The training objectives, however, shall be such that
upon completion of the EDSA LRT III and upon opening of normal revenue operation, DOTC shall
have in their employ personnel capable of undertaking training of all new and replacement personnel
(Revised and Restated Agreement, Annex E Sec. 5.1). In other words, by the end of the three-year
construction period and upon commencement of normal revenue operation, DOTC shall be able to
operate the EDSA LRT III on its own and train all new personnel by itself.

Fees for private respondent' s services shall be included in the rent, which likewise includes the
project cost, cost of replacement of plant equipment and spare parts, investment and financing cost,
plus a reasonable rate of return thereon (Revised and Restated Agreement, Sec. 1; Rollo, p. 54).

Since DOTC shall operate the EDSA LRT III, it shall assume all the obligations and liabilities of a
common carrier. For this purpose, DOTC shall indemnify and hold harmless private respondent from
any losses, damages, injuries or death which may be claimed in the operation or implementation of
the system, except losses, damages, injury or death due to defects in the EDSA LRT III on account
of the defective condition of equipment or facilities or the defective maintenance of such equipment
facilities (Revised and Restated Agreement, Secs. 12.1 and 12.2; Rollo, p. 68).
In sum, private respondent will not run the light rail vehicles and collect fees from the riding public. It
will have no dealings with the public and the public will have no right to demand any services from it.

It is well to point out that the role of private respondent as lessor during the lease period must be
distinguished from the role of the Philippine Gaming Management Corporation (PGMC) in the case
of Kilosbayan Inc. v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 (1994). Therein, the Contract of Lease between
PGMC and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was actually a collaboration or joint
venture agreement prescribed under the charter of the PCSO. In the Contract of Lease; PGMC, the
lessor obligated itself to build, at its own expense, all the facilities necessary to operate and maintain
a nationwide on-line lottery system from whom PCSO was to lease the facilities and operate the
same. Upon due examination of the contract, the Court found that PGMC's participation was not
confined to the construction and setting up of the on-line lottery system. It spilled over to the actual
operation thereof, becoming indispensable to the pursuit, conduct, administration and control of the
highly technical and sophisticated lottery system. In effect, the PCSO leased out its franchise to
PGMC which actually operated and managed the same.

Indeed, a mere owner and lessor of the facilities used by a public utility is not a public utility
(Providence and W.R. Co. v. United States, 46 F. 2d 149, 152 [1930]; Chippewa Power Co. v.
Railroad Commission of Wisconsin, 205 N.W. 900, 903, 188 Wis. 246 [1925]; Ellis v. Interstate
Commerce Commission, Ill 35 S. Ct. 645, 646, 237 U.S. 434, 59 L. Ed. 1036 [1914]). Neither are
owners of tank, refrigerator, wine, poultry and beer cars who supply cars under contract to railroad
companies considered as public utilities (Crystal Car Line v. State Tax Commission, 174 p. 2d 984,
987 [1946]).

Even the mere formation of a public utility corporation does not ipso facto characterize the
corporation as one operating a public utility. The moment for determining the requisite Filipino
nationality is when the entity applies for a franchise, certificate or any other form of authorization for
that purpose (People v. Quasha, 93 Phil. 333 [1953]).

2. Petitioners further assert that the BLT scheme under the Agreements in question is not
recognized in the BOT Law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

Section 2 of the BOT Law defines the BOT and BT schemes as follows:

(a) Build-operate-and-transfer scheme — A contractual arrangement whereby the


contractor undertakes the construction including financing, of a given infrastructure
facility, and the operation and maintenance thereof. The contractor operates the
facility over a fixed term during which it is allowed to charge facility users appropriate
tolls, fees, rentals and charges sufficient to enable the contractor to recover its
operating and maintenance expenses and its investment in the project plus a
reasonable rate of return thereon. The contractor transfers the facility to the
government agency or local government unit concerned at the end of the fixed term
which shall not exceed fifty (50) years. For the construction stage, the contractor may
obtain financing from foreign and/or domestic sources and/or engage the services of
a foreign and/or Filipino constructor [sic]: Provided, That the ownership structure of
the contractor of an infrastructure facility whose operation requires a public utility
franchise must be in accordance with the Constitution: Provided, however, That in
the case of corporate investors in the build-operate-and-transfer corporation, the
citizenship of each stockholder in the corporate investors shall be the basis for the
computation of Filipino equity in the said corporation: Provided, further, That, in the
case of foreign constructors [sic], Filipino labor shall be employed or hired in the
different phases of the construction where Filipino skills are available: Provided,
furthermore, that the financing of a foreign or foreign-controlled contractor from
Philippine government financing institutions shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) of
the total cost of the infrastructure facility or project: Provided, finally, That financing
from foreign sources shall not require a guarantee by the Government or by
government-owned or controlled corporations. The build-operate-and-transfer
scheme shall include a supply-and-operate situation which is a contractual
agreement whereby the supplier of equipment and machinery for a given
infrastructure facility, if the interest of the Government so requires, operates the
facility providing in the process technology transfer and training to Filipino nationals.
(b) Build-and-transfer scheme — "A contractual arrangement whereby the contractor
undertakes the construction including financing, of a given infrastructure facility, and
its turnover after completion to the government agency or local government unit
concerned which shall pay the contractor its total investment expended on the
project, plus a reasonable rate of return thereon. This arrangement may be employed
in the construction of any infrastructure project including critical facilities which for
security or strategic reasons, must be operated directly by the government
(Emphasis supplied).

The BOT scheme is expressly defined as one where the contractor undertakes the construction and
financing in infrastructure facility, and operates and maintains the same. The contractor operates the
facility for a fixed period during which it may recover its expenses and investment in the project plus
a reasonable rate of return thereon. After the expiration of the agreed term, the contractor transfers
the ownership and operation of the project to the government.

In the BT scheme, the contractor undertakes the construction and financing of the facility, but after
completion, the ownership and operation thereof are turned over to the government. The
government, in turn, shall pay the contractor its total investment on the project in addition to a
reasonable rate of return. If payment is to be effected through amortization payments by the
government infrastructure agency or local government unit concerned, this shall be made in
accordance with a scheme proposed in the bid and incorporated in the contract (R.A. No. 6957, Sec.
6).

Emphasis must be made that under the BOT scheme, the owner of the infrastructure facility must
comply with the citizenship requirement of the Constitution on the operation of a public utility. No
such a requirement is imposed in the BT scheme.

There is no mention in the BOT Law that the BOT and BT schemes bar any other arrangement for
the payment by the government of the project cost. The law must not be read in such a way as to
rule out or unduly restrict any variation within the context of the two schemes. Indeed, no statute can
be enacted to anticipate and provide all the fine points and details for the multifarious and complex
situations that may be encountered in enforcing the law (Director of Forestry v. Munoz, 23 SCRA
1183 [1968]; People v. Exconde, 101 Phil. 1125 [1957]; United States v. Tupasi Molina, 29 Phil. 119
[1914]).

The BLT scheme in the challenged agreements is but a variation of the BT scheme under the law.

As a matter of fact, the burden on the government in raising funds to pay for the project is made
lighter by allowing it to amortize payments out of the income from the operation of the LRT System.

In form and substance, the challenged agreements provide that rentals are to be paid on a monthly
basis according to a schedule of rates through and under the terms of a confirmed Irrevocable
Revolving Letter of Credit (Supplemental Agreement, Sec. 6; Rollo, p. 85). At the end of 25 years
and when full payment shall have been made to and received by private respondent, it shall transfer
to DOTC, free from any lien or encumbrances, all its title to, rights and interest in, the project for only
U.S. $1.00 (Revised and Restated Agreement, Sec. 11.1; Supplemental Agreement, Sec; 7; Rollo,
pp. 67, .87).

A lease is a contract where one of the parties binds himself to give to another the enjoyment or use
of a thing for a certain price and for a period which may be definite or indefinite but not longer than
99 years (Civil Code of the Philippines, Art. 1643). There is no transfer of ownership at the end of the
lease period. But if the parties stipulate that title to the leased premises shall be transferred to the
lessee at the end of the lease period upon the payment of an agreed sum, the lease becomes a
lease-purchase agreement.

Furthermore, it is of no significance that the rents shall be paid in United States currency, not
Philippine pesos. The EDSA LRT III Project is a high priority project certified by Congress and the
National Economic and Development Authority as falling under the Investment Priorities Plan of
Government (Rollo, pp. 310-311). It is, therefore, outside the application of the Uniform Currency Act
(R.A. No. 529), which reads as follows:
Sec. 1. — Every provision contained in, or made with respect to, any domestic
obligation to wit, any obligation contracted in the Philippines which provisions
purports to give the obligee the right to require payment in gold or in a particular kind
of coin or currency other than Philippine currency or in an amount of money of the
Philippines measured thereby, be as it is hereby declared against public policy, and
null, void, and of no effect, and no such provision shall be contained in, or made with
respect to, any obligation hereafter incurred. The above prohibition shall not apply to
(a) . . .; (b) transactions affecting high-priority economic projects for agricultural,
industrial and power development as may be determined by
the National Economic Council which are financed by or through foreign funds; . . . .

3. The fact that the contract for the construction of the EDSA LRT III was awarded through
negotiation and before congressional approval on January 22 and 23, 1992 of the List of National
Projects to be undertaken by the private sector pursuant to the BOT Law (Rollo, pp. 309-312) does
not suffice to invalidate the award.

Subsequent congressional approval of the list including "rail-based projects packaged with
commercial development opportunities" (Rollo, p. 310) under which the EDSA LRT III projects falls,
amounts to a ratification of the prior award of the EDSA LRT III contract under the BOT Law.

Petitioners insist that the prequalifications process which led to the negotiated award of the contract
appears to have been rigged from the very beginning to do away with the usual open international
public bidding where qualified internationally known applicants could fairly participate.

The records show that only one applicant passed the prequalification process. Since only one was
left, to conduct a public bidding in accordance with Section 5 of the BOT Law for that lone participant
will be an absurb and pointless exercise (cf. Deloso v. Sandiganbayan, 217 SCRA 49, 61 [1993]).

Contrary to the comments of the Executive Secretary Drilon, Section 5 of the BOT Law in relation to
Presidential Decree No. 1594 allows the negotiated award of government infrastructure projects.

Presidential Decree No. 1594, "Prescribing Policies, Guidelines, Rules and Regulations for
Government Infrastructure Contracts," allows the negotiated award of government projects in
exceptional cases. Sections 4 of the said law reads as follows:

Bidding. — Construction projects shall generally be undertaken by contract after


competitive public bidding. Projects may be undertaken by administration or force
account or by negotiated contract only in exceptional cases where time is of the
essence, or where there is lack of qualified bidders or contractors, or where there is
conclusive evidence that greater economy and efficiency would be achieved through
this arrangement, and in accordance with provision of laws and acts on the matter,
subject to the approval of the Minister of Public Works and Transportation and
Communications, the Minister of Public Highways, or the Minister of Energy, as the
case may be, if the project cost is less than P1 Million, and the President of the
Philippines, upon recommendation of the Minister, if the project cost is P1 Million or
more (Emphasis supplied).

xxx xxx xxx

Indeed, where there is a lack of qualified bidders or contractors, the award of government
infrastructure contracts may he made by negotiation. Presidential Decree No. 1594 is the general
law on government infrastructure contracts while the BOT Law governs particular arrangements or
schemes aimed at encouraging private sector participation in government infrastructure projects.
The two laws are not inconsistent with each other but are in pari materia and should be read
together accordingly.

In the instant case, if the prequalification process was actually tainted by foul play, one wonders why
none of the competing firms ever brought the matter before the PBAC, or intervened in this case
before us (cf. Malayan Integrated Industries Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 213 SCRA 640 [1992];
Bureau Veritas v. Office of the President, 205 SCRA 705 [1992]).
The challenged agreements have been approved by President Ramos himself. Although then
Executive Secretary Drilon may have disapproved the "Agreement to Build, Lease and Transfer a
Light Rail Transit System for EDSA," there is nothing in our laws that prohibits parties to a contract
from renegotiating and modifying in good faith the terms and conditions thereof so as to meet legal,
statutory and constitutional requirements. Under the circumstances, to require the parties to go back
to step one of the prequalification process would just be an idle ceremony. Useless bureaucratic "red
tape" should be eschewed because it discourages private sector participation, the "main engine" for
national growth and development (R.A. No. 6957, Sec. 1), and renders the BOT Law nugatory.

Republic Act No. 7718 recognizes and defines a BLT scheme in Section 2 thereof as:

(e) Build-lease-and-transfer — A contractual arrangement whereby a project


proponent is authorized to finance and construct an infrastructure or development
facility and upon its completion turns it over to the government agency or local
government unit concerned on a lease arrangement for a fixed period after which
ownership of the facility is automatically transferred to the government unit
concerned.

Section 5-A of the law, which expressly allows direct negotiation of contracts, provides:

Direct Negotiation of Contracts. — Direct negotiation shall be resorted to when there


is only one complying bidder left as defined hereunder.

(a) If, after advertisement, only one contractor applies for prequalification and it
meets the prequalification requirements, after which it is required to submit a bid
proposal which is subsequently found by the agency/local government unit (LGU) to
be complying.

(b) If, after advertisement, more than one contractor applied for prequalification but
only one meets the prequalification requirements, after which it submits bid/proposal
which is found by the agency/local government unit (LGU) to be complying.

(c) If, after prequalification of more than one contractor only one submits a bid which
is found by the agency/LGU to be complying.

(d) If, after prequalification, more than one contractor submit bids but only one is
found by the agency/LGU to be complying. Provided, That, any of the disqualified
prospective bidder [sic] may appeal the decision of the implementing agency,
agency/LGUs prequalification bids and awards committee within fifteen (15) working
days to the head of the agency, in case of national projects or to the Department of
the Interior and Local Government, in case of local projects from the date the
disqualification was made known to the disqualified bidder: Provided, furthermore,
That the implementing agency/LGUs concerned should act on the appeal within
forty-five (45) working days from receipt thereof.

Petitioners' claim that the BLT scheme and direct negotiation of contracts are not contemplated by
the BOT Law has now been rendered moot and academic by R.A. No. 7718. Section 3 of this law
authorizes all government infrastructure agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations
and local government units to enter into contract with any duly prequalified proponent for the
financing, construction, operation and maintenance of any financially viable infrastructure or
development facility through a BOT, BT, BLT, BOO (Build-own-and-operate), CAO (Contract-add-
operate), DOT (Develop-operate-and-transfer), ROT (Rehabilitate-operate-and-transfer), and ROO
(Rehabilitate-own-operate) (R.A. No. 7718, Sec. 2 [b-j]).

From the law itself, once and applicant has prequalified, it can enter into any of the schemes
enumerated in Section 2 thereof, including a BLT arrangement, enumerated and defined therein
(Sec. 3).

Republic Act No. 7718 is a curative statute. It is intended to provide financial incentives and "a
climate of minimum government regulations and procedures and specific government undertakings
in support of the private sector" (Sec. 1). A curative statute makes valid that which before enactment
of the statute was invalid. Thus, whatever doubts and alleged procedural lapses private respondent
and DOTC may have engendered and committed in entering into the questioned contracts, these
have now been cured by R.A. No. 7718 (cf. Development Bank of the Philippines v. Court of
Appeals, 96 SCRA 342 [1980]; Santos V. Duata, 14 SCRA 1041 [1965]; Adong V. Cheong Seng
Gee, 43 Phil. 43 [1922].

4. Lastly, petitioners claim that the agreements are grossly disadvantageous to the government
because the rental rates are excessive and private respondent's development rights over the 13
stations and the depot will rob DOTC of the best terms during the most productive years of the
project.

It must be noted that as part of the EDSA LRT III project, private respondent has been granted, for a
period of 25 years, exclusive rights over the depot and the air space above the stations for
development into commercial premises for lease, sublease, transfer, or advertising (Supplemental
Agreement, Sec. 11; Rollo, pp. 91-92). For and in consideration of these development rights, private
respondent shall pay DOTC in Philippine currency guaranteed revenues generated therefrom in the
amounts set forth in the Supplemental Agreement (Sec. 11; Rollo, p. 93). In the event that DOTC
shall be unable to collect the guaranteed revenues, DOTC shall be allowed to deduct any shortfalls
from the monthly rent due private respondent for the construction of the EDSA LRT III (Supplemental
Agreement, Sec. 11; Rollo, pp. 93-94). All rights, titles, interests and income over all contracts on the
commercial spaces shall revert to DOTC upon expiration of the 25-year period. (Supplemental
Agreement, Sec. 11; Rollo, pp. 91-92).

The terms of the agreements were arrived at after a painstaking study by DOTC. The determination
by the proper administrative agencies and officials who have acquired expertise, specialized skills
and knowledge in the performance of their functions should be accorded respect absent any
showing of grave abuse of discretion (Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co. v. Deputy Executive Secretary, 190
SCRA 673 [1990]; Board of Medical Education v. Alfonso, 176 SCRA 304 [1989]).

Government officials are presumed to perform their functions with regularity and strong evidence is
necessary to rebut this presumption. Petitioners have not presented evidence on the reasonable
rentals to be paid by the parties to each other. The matter of valuation is an esoteric field which is
better left to the experts and which this Court is not eager to undertake.

That the grantee of a government contract will profit therefrom and to that extent the government is
deprived of the profits if it engages in the business itself, is not worthy of being raised as an issue. In
all cases where a party enters into a contract with the government, he does so, not out of charity and
not to lose money, but to gain pecuniarily.

5. Definitely, the agreements in question have been entered into by DOTC in the exercise of its
governmental function. DOTC is the primary policy, planning, programming, regulating and
administrative entity of the Executive branch of government in the promotion, development and
regulation of dependable and coordinated networks of transportation and communications systems
as well as in the fast, safe, efficient and reliable postal, transportation and communications services
(Administrative Code of 1987, Book IV, Title XV, Sec. 2). It is the Executive department, DOTC in
particular that has the power, authority and technical expertise determine whether or not a specific
transportation or communication project is necessary, viable and beneficial to the people. The
discretion to award a contract is vested in the government agencies entrusted with that function
(Bureau Veritas v. Office of the President, 205 SCRA 705 [1992]).

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.


G.R. No. 96409 February 14, 1992

CITIZEN J. ANTONIO M. CARPIO, petitioner,


vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, THE
SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and THE NATIONAL TREASURER, respondents.

PARAS, J.:

At the very outset, it should be well to set forth the constitutional provision that is at the core of the
controversy now confronting us, thus:

Article XVI, Section 6:

The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which stall be national in
scope and civilian in character, to be administered and controlled by a national police
commission. The authority of local executives over the police units in their jurisdiction
shall be provided by law. 1

With the aforequoted provision in mind, Congress passed Republic Act No. 6975 entitled "AN ACT
ESTABLISHING THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE UNDER A REORGANIZED DEPARTMENT
OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES" as the
consolidated version of House Bill No. 23614 and Senate Bill No. 463.

Following the said Act's approval by President Corazon C. Aquino on December 13, 1990, it was
published on December 17, 1990. 2

Presently, however, petitioner as citizen, taxpayer and member of the Philippine Bar sworn to defend
the Constitution, filed the petition now at bar on December 20, 1990, seeking this Court's declaration
of unconstitutionality of RA 6975 with prayer for temporary restraining order.

But in an en banc resolution dated December 27, 1990, We simply required the public respondents
to file their Comment, without however giving due course to the petition and the prayer therein.
Hence, the Act took effect after fifteen days following its publication, or on January 1, 1991. 3

Before we settle down on the merits of the petition, it would likewise be well to discuss albeit briefly
the history of our police force and the reasons for the ordination of Section 6, Article XVI in our
present Constitution.

During the Commonwealth period, we had the Philippine Constabulary as the nucleus of the
Philippine Ground Force (PGF), now the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The PC was made
part of the PGF but its administrative, supervisory and directional control was handled by the then
Department of the Interior. After the war, it remained as the "National Police" under the Department
of National Defense, as a major service component of the AFP. 4

Later, the Integration Act of 1975 5 created the Integrated National Police (INP) under the Office of
the President, with the PC as the nucleus, and the local police forces as the civilian components.
The PC-INP was headed by the PC Chief who, as concurrent Director-General of the INP, exercised
command functions over the INP. 6

The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) 7 exercised administrative control and supervision
while the local executives exercised operational supervision and direction over the INP units
assigned within their respective localities. 8
The set-up whereby the INP was placed under the command of the military component, which is the PC, severely eroded the INP's civilian
character and the multiplicity in the governance of the PC-INP resulted in inefficient police service. 9 Moreover, the integration of the national
police forces with the PC also resulted in inequities since the military component had superior benefits and privileges. 10

The Constitutional Commission of 1986 was fully aware of the structural errors that beset the
system. Thus, Com. Teodulo C. Natividad explained that:

xxx xxx xxx

MR. NATIVIDAD. . . . The basic tenet of a modern police organization


is to remove it from the military. 11

xxx xxx xxx

Here in our draft Constitution, we have already made a constitutional postulate that
the military cannot occupy any civil service position [in Section 6 of the Article on the
Civil Service 12] Therefore, in keeping with this and because of the universal
acceptance that a police force is a civilian function, a public service, and should not
be performed by military force, one of the basic reforms we are presenting here is
that it should be separated from the military force which is the PC. 13

xxx xxx xxx

Furthermore:

xxx xxx xxx

. . . the civilian police cannot blossom into full profession because most of the key
positions are being occupied by the military So, it is up to this Commission to remove
the police from such a situation so that it can develop into a truly professional civilian
police. . . . 14

Hence, the "one police force, national in scope, and civilian in character" provision that is now Article
XVI, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution.

And so we now come to the merits of the petition at hand.

In the main, petitioner herein respectfully advances the view that RA 6975 emasculated the National
Police Commission by limiting its power "to administrative control" over the Philippine National Police
(PNP), thus, "control" remained with the Department Secretary under whom both the National Police
Commission and the PNP were placed. 15

We do not share this view.

To begin with, one need only refer to the fundamentally accepted principle in Constitutional Law that
the President has control of all executive departments, bureaus, and offices to lay at rest petitioner's
contention on the matter.

This presidential power of control over the executive branch of government extends over all
executive officers from Cabinet Secretary to the lowliest clerk 17 and has been held by us, in the
landmark case of Mondano vs. Silvosa, 18to mean "the power of [the President] to alter or modify or
nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to
substitute the judgment of the former with that of the latter." It is said to be at the very "heart of the
meaning of Chief Executive." 19

Equally well accepted, as a corollary rule to the control powers of the President, is the "Doctrine of
Qualified Political Agency". As the President cannot be expected to exercise his control powers all at
the same time and in person, 20he will have to delegate some of them to his Cabinet members.
Under this doctrine, which recognizes the establishment of a single executive, 21 "all executive and
administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of the various
executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases where
the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or law to act in person on the exigencies of the
situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious executive and administrative functions of
the Chief Executive are performed by and through the executive departments, and the acts of the
Secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in the regular course of business,
unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive presumptively the acts of the Chief
Executive." 22 (emphasis ours)

Thus, and in short, "the President's power of control is directly exercised by him over the members of
the Cabinet who, in turn, and by his authority, control the bureaus and other offices under their
respective jurisdictions in the executive department." 23

Additionally, the circumstance that the NAPOLCOM and the PNP are placed under the reorganized
Department of Interior and Local Government is merely an administrative realignment that would
bolster a system of coordination and cooperation among the citizenry, local executives and the
integrated law enforcement agencies and public safety agencies created under the assailed
Act, 24 the funding of the PNP being in large part subsidized by the national government.

Such organizational set-up does not detract from the mandate of the Constitution that the national
police force shall be administered and controlled by a national police commission as at any rate, and
in fact, the Act in question adequately provides for administration and control at the commission
level, as shown in the following provisions, to wit:

Sec. 14. Powers and Functions of the Commission. — The Commission shall
exercise the following powers and functions:

xxx xxx xxx

(i) Approve or modify plans and programs on education and training, logistical
requirements, communications, records, information systems, crime laboratory, crime
prevention and crime reporting;

(j) Affirm, reverse or modify, through the National Appellate Board, personnel
disciplinary actions involving demotion or dismissal from the service imposed upon
members of the Philippine National Police by the Chief of the PNP;

(k) Exercise appellate jurisdiction through .the regional. appellate boards over
administrative cases against policemen and over decisions on claims for police
benefits;

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 26. The Command and direction of the PNP shall be vested in the Chief of the
PNP . . . Such command and direction of the Chief of the PNP may be delegated to
subordinate officials with respect to the units under their respective commands, in
accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed by the Commission. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 35. . . . To enhance police operational efficiency and effectiveness, the Chief of
the PNP may constitute such other support units as may be necessary subject to the
approval of the Commission. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 37. . . . There shall be established a performance evaluation system which shall
be administered in accordance with the rules, regulations and standards; and a code
of conduct promulgated by the Commission for members of the PNP. . . .
xxx xxx xxx

Petitioner further asserts that in manifest derogation of the power of control of the NAPOLCOM over
the PNP, RA 6975 vested the power to choose the PNP Provincial Director and the Chiefs of Police
in the Governors and Mayors, respectively; the power of "operational supervision and control" over
police units in city and municipal mayors; in the Civil Service Commission, participation in
appointments to the positions of Senior Superintendent to Deputy Director-General as well as the
administration of qualifying entrance examinations; disciplinary powers over PNP members in the
"People's Law Enforcement Boards" and in city and municipal mayors. 25

Once more, we find no real controversy upon the foregoing assertions.

It is true that when the Constitutional Commissioners of 1986 provided that the authority of local
executives over the police units in their jurisdiction shall be provided by law, they intended that the
day-to-day functions of police work like crime, investigation, crime prevention activities, traffic
control, etc., would be under the operational control of the local executives as it would not be
advisable to give full control of the police to the local executives. 26

They reasoned that in the past, this gave rise to warlordism, bossism, and sanctuaries for vices and
abuses. 27

It would appear then that by vesting in the local executives the power to choose the officers in
question, the Act went beyond the bounds of the Constitution's intent.

Not so. We find light in the principle of constitutional construction that every presumption should be
indulged in favor of constitutionality and the court in considering the validity of the statute in question
should give it such reasonable construction as can be reached to bring it within the fundamental
law. 28

Under the questioned provisions, which read as follows:

D. PARTICIPATION OF LOCAL EXECUTIVES IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE


PNP.

Sec. 51. Powers of Local Government Officials over the PNP Units or Forces.

Governors and mayors shall be deputized as representatives of the Commission in


their respective territorial jurisdictions. As such, the local executives shall discharge
the following functions:

a.) Provincial Governor — (1) . . .

The provincial governor shall choose the provincial director from a list of three (3)
eligibles recommended by the PNP Regional Director.

4) . . . City and municipal mayors shall have the following authority over the PNP
units in their respective jurisdictions:

i.) Authority to choose the chief of police from a list of five (5) eligibles recommended
by the Provincial Police Director. . . . (Emphasis ours)

full control remains with the National Police Commission.

We agree, and so hold, with the view of the Solicitor General that "there is no usurpation of the
power of control of the NAPOLCOM under Section 51 because under this very same provision, it is
clear that the local executives are only acting as representatives of the NAPOLCOM. . . . As such
deputies, they are answerable to the NAPOLCOM for their actions in the exercise of their functions
under that section. Thus, unless countermanded by the NAPOLCOM, their acts are valid and binding
as acts of the NAPOLCOM." 29 It is significant to note that the local officials, as NAPOLCOM
representatives, will choose the officers concerned from a list of eligibles (those who meet the
general qualifications for appointment to the PNP) 30 to be recommended by PNP officials.

The same holding is true with respect to the contention on the operational supervision and control
exercised by the local officials. Those officials would simply be acting as representatives of the
Commission.

As regards the assertion involving the Civil Service Commission, suffice it to say that the questioned
provisions, which read:

Sec. 31. Appointment of PNP Officers and Members. — The Appointment of the
officers and members of the PNP shall be effected in the following manner:

a.) Police Officer I to Senior Police Officer IV. — Appointed by the PNP regional
director for regional personnel or by the Chief of the PNP for national headquarters
personnel and attested by the Civil Service Commission;

b.) Inspector to Superintendent. — Appointed by the Chief of the PNP, as


recommended by their immediate superiors, and attested by the Civil Service
Commission;

c.) Senior Superintendent to Deputy Director-General. — Appointed by the President


upon recommendation of the Chief of the PNP, with proper endorsement by the
Chairman of the Civil Service
Commission . . .

Sec. 32. Examinations for Policemen. — The Civil Service Commission shall
administer the qualifying entrance examinations for policemen on the basis of the
standards set by the NAPOLCOM.

precisely underscore the civilian character of the national police force, and will undoubtedly
professionalize the same.

The grant of disciplinary powers over PNP members to the "People's Law Enforcement Boards" (or
the PLEB) and city and municipal mayors is also not in derogation of the commission's power of
control over the PNP.

Pursuant to the Act, the Commission exercises appellate jurisdiction, thru the regional appellate
boards, over decisions of both the PLEB and the said mayors. This is so under Section 20(c).
Furthermore, it is the Commission which shall issue the implementing guidelines and procedures to
be adopted by the PLEB for in the conduct of its hearings, and it may assign NAPOLCOM hearing
officers to act as legal consultants of the PLEBs (Section 43-d4, d5).

As a disciplinary board primarily created to hear and decide citizen's complaints against erring
officers and members of the PNP, the establishment of PLEBs in every city, and municipality would
all the more help professionalize the police force.

Petitioner would likewise have this Court imagine that Section 12 of the questioned Act, the pertinent
portion of which reads:

Sec. 12. Relationship of the Department with the Department of National Defense. —
During a period of twenty- four (24) months from the effectivity of this Act, the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shall continue its present role of preserving the
internal and external security of the State: Provided, that said period may be
extended by the President, if he finds it justifiable, for another period not exceeding
twenty-four (24) months, after which, the Department shall automatically take over
from the AFP the primary role of preserving internal security, leaving to the AFP its
primary role of preserving external security.

xxx xxx xxx


constitutes an "encroachment upon, interference with, and an abdication by the President of,
executive control and commander-in-chief powers."

That We are not disposed to do for such is not the case at all here. A rejection thus of petitioner's
submission anent Section 12 of the Act should be in order in the light of the following exchanges
during the CONCOM deliberations of Wednesday, October 1, 1986:

xxx xxx xxx

MR. RODRIGO. Just a few questions. The President of the Philippines is the
Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces.

MR. NATIVIDAD. Yes, Madam President.

MR. RODRIGO. Since the national police is not integrated with the armed forces, I
do not suppose they come under the Commander-in-Chief powers of the President of
the Philippines.

MR. NATIVIDAD. They do, Madam President. By law they are under the supervision
and control of the President of the Philippines.

MR. RODRIGO. Yes, but the President is not the Commander-in-Chief of the
national police.

MR. NATIVIDAD. He is the President.

MR. RODRIGO. Yes, the Executive. But they do not come under that specific
provision that the President is Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces.

MR. NATIVIDAD. No, not under the Commander-in-Chief provision.

MR. RODRIGO. There are two other powers of the President. The President has
control over departments, bureaus and offices, and supervision over local
governments. Under which does the police fall, under control or under supervision?

MR. NATIVIDAD. Both, Madam President.

MR. RODRIGO. Control and Supervision.

MR. NATIVIDAD. Yes, in fact, the National Police Commission is under the Office of
the President. (CONCOM RECORDS, Vol. 5, p. 296)

It thus becomes all too apparent then that the provision herein assailed precisely gives muscle to
and enforces the proposition that the national police force does not fall under the Commander-in-
Chief powers of the President. This is necessarily so since the police force, not being integrated with
the military, is not a part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As a civilian agency of the
government, it properly comes within, and is subject to, the exercise by the President of the power of
executive control.

Consequently, Section 12 does not constitute abdication of commander-in-chief powers. It simply


provides for the transition period or process during which the national police would gradually assume
the civilian function of safeguarding the internal security of the State. Under this instance, the
President, to repeat, abdicates nothing of his war powers. It would bear to here state, in reiteration of
the preponderant view, that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, is not a member of the Armed
Forces. He remains a civilian whose duties under the Commander-in-Chief provision "represent only
a part of the organic duties imposed upon him. All his other functions are clearly civil in nature." 31 His
position as a civilian Commander-in-Chief is consistent with, and a testament to, the constitutional
principle that "civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military." (Article II, Section 3, 1987
Constitution)
Finally, petitioner submits that the creation of a "Special Oversight Committee" under Section 84 of
the Act, especially the inclusion therein of some legislators as members (namely: the respective
Chairmen of the Committee on Local Government and the Committee on National Defense and
Security in the Senate, and the respective Chairmen of the Committee on Public Order and Security
and the Committee on National Defense in the House of Representatives) is an "unconstitutional
encroachment upon and a diminution of, the President's power of control over all executive
departments, bureaus and offices."

But there is not the least interference with the President's power of control under Section 84. The
Special Oversight Committee is simply an ad hoc or transitory body, established and tasked solely
with planning and overseeing the immediate "transfer, merger and/or absorption" into the
Department of the Interior and Local Governments of the "involved agencies." This it will undertake
in accordance with the phases of implementation already laid down in Section 85 of the Act and
once this is carried out, its functions as well as the committee itself would cease altogether. 32 As
an ad hoc body, its creation and the functions it exercises, decidedly do not constitute an
encroachment and in diminution of the power of control which properly belongs to the President.
What is more, no executive department, bureau or office is placed under the control or authority, of
the committee. 33

As a last word, it would not be amiss to point out here that under the Constitution, there are the so-
called independent Constitutional Commissions, namely: The Civil Service Commission,
Commission on Audit, and the Commission on Elections. (Article IX-A, Section 1)

As these Commissions perform vital governmental functions, they have to be protected from external
influences and political pressures. Hence, they were made constitutional bodies, independent of and
not under any department of the government. 34 Certainly, they are not under the control of the
President.

The Constitution also created an independent office called the "Commission on Human Rights."
(Article XIII, Section 17[1]).However, this Commission is not on the same level as the Constitutional
Commissions under Article IX, although it is independent like the latter Commissions. 35 It still had to
be constituted thru Executive Order No. 163 (dated May 5, 1987).

In contrast, Article XVI, Section 6 thereof, merely mandates the statutory creation of a national police
commission that will administer and control the national police force to be established thereunder.

This commission is, for obvious reasons, not in the same category as the independent Constitutional
Commissions of Article IX and the other constitutionally created independent Office, namely, the
Commission on Human Rights.

By way of resume, the three Constitutional Commissions (Civil Service, Audit, Elections) and the
additional commission created by the Constitution (Human Rights) are all independent of the
Executive; but the National Police Commission is not. 36 In fact, it was stressed during the CONCOM
deliberations that this commission would be under the President, and hence may be controlled by
the President, thru his or her alter ego, the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government.

WHEREFORE, having in view all of the foregoing holdings, the instant petition is hereby
DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
TOMASA VDA. DE JACOB, as Special Administratrix of the Intestate Estate
of Deceased Alfredo E. Jacob, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS,
PEDRO PILAPIL, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS for the Province of
Camarines Sur, and JUAN F. TRIVINO as publisher of
Balalong, respondents.

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

The contents of a document may be proven by competent evidence other than the document
itself, provided that the offeror establishes its due execution and its subsequent loss or
destruction. Accordingly, the fact of marriage may be shown by extrinsic evidence other than the
marriage contract.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Decision
of the Court of Appeals[1] (CA) dated January 15, 1998, and its Resolution dated August 24, 1998,
denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The dispositive part of the CA Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from it being


more consistent with the facts and the applicable law, the challenged Decision dated
05 April 1994 of the RTC, Br. 30, Tigaon, Camarines Sur is AFFIRMED in toto.[2]

The decretal portion of the trial court Decision[3] is as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, decision is hereby rendered in favor of [herein


Respondent] Pedro Pilapil, and against [herein Petitioner] Tomasa Guison as follows:

a) Declaring Exh. B, the so called reconstructed marriage contract excluded under the best
evidence rule, and therefore declaring said Exh. B spurious and non-existent.
b) Declaring Exh. 3 Order dated July 18, 1961, and the signature of the issuing Judge JOSE L.
MOYA (Exh. 34) to be genuine.
c) Permanently setting aside and lifting the provisional writ of injunction earlier issued; and
d) To pay attorneys fees of P50,000.
And costs against [herein petitioner.]

The Facts

The Court of Appeals narrates the facts thus:

Plaintiff-appellant [petitioner herein] claimed to be the surviving spouse of deceased


Dr. Alfredo E. Jacob and was appointed Special Administratix for the various estates
of the deceased by virtue of a reconstructed Marriage Contract between herself and
the deceased.

Defendant-appellee on the other hand, claimed to be the legally-adopted son of


Alfredo. In support of his claim, he presented an Order dated 18 July 1961 issued by
then Presiding Judge Jose L. Moya, CFI, Camarines Sur, granting the petition for
adoption filed by deceased Alfredo in favor of Pedro Pilapil.

During the proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased Alfredo in Case
No. T-46 (entitled Tomasa vda. de Jacob v. Jose Centenera, et al) herein defendant-
appellee Pedro sought to intervene therein claiming his share of the deceaseds estate
as Alfredos adopted son and as his sole surviving heir. Pedro questioned the validity
of the marriage between appellant Tomasa and his adoptive father Alfredo.

Appellant Tomasa opposed the Motion for Intervention and filed a complaint for
injunction with damages (Civil Case No. T-83) questioning appellees claim as the
legal heir of Alfredo.

The following issues were raised in the court a quo:

a) Whether the marriage between the plaintiff-appellant and deceased Alfredo Jacob
was valid;

b) Whether the defendant-appellee is the legally adopted son of deceased Jacob.

On the first issue, appellant claims that the marriage between her and Alfredo was
solemnized by one Msgr. Florencio C. Yllana, CBCP, Intramuros, Manila sometime
in 1975. She could not however present the original copy of the Marriage Contract
stating that the original document was lost when Msgr. Yllana allegedly gave it to Mr.
Jose Centenera for registration. In lieu of the original, Tomasa presented as secondary
evidence a reconstructed Marriage Contract issued in 1978.

During the trial, the court a quo observed the following irregularities in the execution
of the reconstructed Marriage Contract, to wit:

1. No copy of the Marriage Contract was sent to the local civil registrar by the solemnizing officer
thus giving the implication that there was no copy of the marriage contract sent to, nor a record
existing in the civil registry of Manila;
2. In signing the Marriage Contract, the late Alfredo Jacob merely placed his thumbmark on said
contract purportedly on 16 September 1975 (date of the marriage). However, on a Sworn
Affidavit executed between appellant Tomasa and Alfredo a day before the alleged date of
marriage or on 15 September 1975 attesting that both of them lived together as husband and
wife for five (5) years, Alfredo [af]fixed his customary signature. Thus the trial court
concluded that the thumbmark was logically not genuine. In other words, not of Alfredo
Jacobs;
3. Contrary to appellants claim, in his Affidavit stating the circumstances of the loss of the
Marriage Contract, the affiant Msgr. Yllana never mentioned that he allegedly gave the copies
of the Marriage Contract to Mr. Jose Centenera for registration. And as admitted by appellant
at the trial, Jose Centenera (who allegedly acted as padrino) was not present at the date of the
marriage since he was then in Australia. In fact, on the face of the reconstructed Marriage
Contract, it was one Benjamin Molina who signed on top of the typewritten name of Jose
Centenera. This belies the claim that Msgr. Yllana allegedly gave the copies of the Marriage
Contract to Mr. Jose Centenera;
4. Appellant admitted that there was no record of the purported marriage entered in the book of
records in San Agustin Church where the marriage was allegedly solemnized.

Anent the second issue, appellee presented the Order dated 18 July 1961 in Special
Proceedings No. 192 issued by then Presiding Judge Moya granting the petition for
adoption filed by deceased Alfredo which declared therein Pedro Pilapil as the legally
adopted son of Alfredo.

Appellant Tomasa however questioned the authenticity of the signature of Judge


Moya.

In an effort to disprove the genuineness and authenticity of Judge Moyas signature in


the Order granting the petition for adoption, the deposition of Judge Moya was taken
at his residence on 01 October 1990.

In his deposition, Judge Moya attested that he could no longer remember the facts in
judicial proceedings taken about twenty-nine (29) years ago when he was then
presiding judge since he was already 79 years old and was suffering from glaucoma.

The trial court then consulted two (2) handwriting experts to test the authenticity and
genuineness of Judge Moyas signature.

A handwriting examination was conducted by Binevenido C. Albacea, NBI Document


Examiner. Examiner Albacea used thirteen (13) specimen signatures of Judge Moya
and compared it with the questioned signature. He pointed out irregularities and
significant fundamental differences in handwriting characteristics/habits existing
between the questioned and the standard signature and concluded that the questioned
and the standard signatures JOSE L. MOYA were NOT written by one and the same
person.

On the other hand, to prove the genuineness of Judge Moyas signature, appellee
presented the comparative findings of the handwriting examination made by a former
NBI Chief Document Examiner Atty. Desiderio A. Pagui who examined thirty-two
(32) specimen signatures of Judge Moya inclusive of the thirteen (13) signatures
examined by Examiner Albacea. In his report, Atty. Pagui noted the existence of
significant similarities of unconscious habitual pattern within allowable variation of
writing characteristics between the standard and the questioned signatures and
concluded that the signature of Judge Moya appearing in the Order dated 18 July 1961
granting the petition for adoption was indeed genuine.

Confronted with two (2) conflicting reports, the trial court sustained the findings of
Atty. Pagui declaring the signature of Judge Moya in the challenged Order as genuine
and authentic.

Based on the evidence presented, the trial court ruled for defendant-appellee
sustaining his claim as the legally adopted child and sole heir of deceased Alfredo and
declaring the reconstructed Marriage Contract as spurious and non-existent.[4] (citations
omitted, emphasis in the original)

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In affirming the Decision of the trial court, the Court of Appeals ruled in this wise:

Dealing with the issue of validity of the reconstructed Marriage Contract, Article 6,
par. 1 of the Family Code provides that the declaration of the contracting parties that
they take each other as husband and wife shall be set forth in an instrument signed by
the parties as well as by their witnesses and the person solemnizing the marriage.
Accordingly, the primary evidence of a marriage must be an authentic copy of the
marriage contract.

And if the authentic copy could not be produced, Section 3 in relation to Section 5,
Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:

Sec. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. - When the subject of


inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the
original document itself, except in the following cases:

(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court
without bad faith on the part of the offeror;

xxxxxxxxx

Sec. 5. When the original document is unavailable. - When the original document has
been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror, upon proof of its
execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his part,
may prove its contents by a copy. Or by a recital of its contents in some authentic
document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated.

As required by the Rules, before the terms of a transaction in reality may be


established by secondary evidence, it is necessary that the due execution of the
document and subsequent loss of the original instrument evidencing the transaction be
proved. For it is the due execution of the document and subsequent loss that would
constitute the foundation for the introduction of secondary evidence to prove the
contents of such document.

In the case at bench, proof of due execution besides the loss of the three (3) copies of
the marriage contract has not been shown for the introduction of secondary evidence
of the contents of the reconstructed contract. Also, appellant failed to sufficiently
establish the circumstances of the loss of the original document.

With regard to the trial courts finding that the signature of then Judge Moya in the
questioned Order granting the petition for adoption in favor of Pedro Pilapil was
genuine, suffice it to state that, in the absence of clear and convincing proof to the
contrary, the presumption applies that Judge Moya in issuing the order acted in the
performance of his regular duties.

Furthermore, since the signature appearing in the challenged Order was subjected to a
rigid examination of two (2) handwriting experts, this negates the possibility of
forgery of Judge Moyas signature. The value of the opinion of a handwriting expert
depends not upon his mere statement of whether a writing is genuine or false, but
upon the assistance he may afford in pointing out distinguishing marks,
characteristics, and discrepancies in and between genuine and false specimens of
writing of which would ordinarily escape notice or dete[c]tion from an unpracticed
observer. And in the final analysis, the assessment of the credibility of such expert
witnesses rests largely in the discretion of the trial court, and the test of qualification
is necessarily a relative one, depending upon the subject under investigation and the
fitness of the particular witness. Except in extraordinary cases, an appellate court will
not reverse on account of a mistake of judgment on the part of the trial court in
determining qualifications of this case.

Jurisprudence is settled that the trial courts findings of fact when ably supported by
substantial evidence on record are accorded with great weight and respect by the
Court. Thus, upon review, We find that no material facts were overlooked or ignored
by the court below which if considered might vary the outcome of this case nor there
exist cogent reasons that would warrant reversal of the findings below. Factual
findings of the trial court are entitled to great weight and respect on appeal especially
when established by unrebutted testimony and documentary evidence.[5] (citations omitted,
emphasis in the original)

Disagreeing with the above, petitioner lodged her Petition for Review before this Court.[6]

The Issues

In her Memorandum, petitioner presents the following issues for the resolution of this Court:

a) Whether or not the marriage between the plaintiff Tomasa Vda. De Jacob and
deceased Alfredo E. Jacob was valid; and

b) Whether defendant Pedro Pilapil is the legally adopted son of Alfredo E. Jacob.[7]

The Courts Ruling

The Petition is meritorious. Petitioners marriage is valid, but respondents adoption has not
been sufficiently established.

First Issue:

Validity of Marriage
Doctrinally, a void marriage may be subjected to collateral attack, while a voidable one may
be assailed only in a direct proceeding.[8] Aware of this fundamental distinction, Respondent Pilapil
contends that the marriage between Dr. Alfredo Jacob and petitioner was void ab initio, because
there was neither a marriage license nor a marriage ceremony.[9] We cannot sustain this contention.
To start with, Respondent Pedro Pilapil argues that the marriage was void because the parties
had no marriage license. This argument is misplaced, because it has been established that Dr. Jacob
and petitioner lived together as husband and wife for at least five years.[10] An affidavit to this effect
was executed by Dr. Jacob and petitioner.[11] Clearly then, the marriage was exceptional in
character and did not require a marriage license under Article 76 of the Civil Code.[12] The Civil
Code governs this case, because the questioned marriage and the assailed adoption took place prior
the effectivity of the Family Code.

When Is Secondary Evidence Allowed?

It is settled that if the original writing has been lost or destroyed or cannot be produced in
court, upon proof of its execution and loss or destruction, or unavailability, its contents may be
proved by a copy or a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by recollection of
witnesses.[13] Upon a showing that the document was duly executed and subsequently lost, without
any bad faith on the part of the offeror, secondary evidence may be adduced to prove its contents.[14]
The trial court and the Court of Appeals committed reversible error when they (1) excluded
the testimonies of petitioner, Adela Pilapil and Msgr. Florencio Yllana and (2) disregarded the
following: (a) photographs of the wedding ceremony; (b) documentary evidence, such as the letter
of Monsignor Yllana stating that he had solemnized the marriage between Dr. Jacob and petitioner,
informed the Archbishop of Manila that the wedding had not been recorded in the Book of
Marriages, and at the same time requested the list of parties to the marriage; (c) the subsequent
authorization issued by the Archbishop -- through his vicar general and chancellor, Msgr.
Benjamin L. Marino -- ordaining that the union between Dr. Jacob and petitioner be reflected
through a corresponding entry in the Book of Marriages; and (d) the Affidavit of Monsignor Yllana
stating the circumstances of the loss of the marriage certificate.
It should be stressed that the due execution and the loss of the marriage contract, both
constituting the conditio sine qua non for the introduction of secondary evidence of its contents,
were shown by the very evidence they have disregarded. They have thus confused the evidence to
show due execution and loss as "secondary" evidence of the marriage. In Hernaez v.
Mcgrath,[15] the Court clarified this misconception thus:

x x x [T]he court below was entirely mistaken in holding that parol evidence of the
execution of the instrument was barred. The court confounded the execution and the
contents of the document. It is the contents, x x x which may not be prove[n] by
secondary evidence when the instrument itself is accessible. Proofs of the execution
are not dependent on the existence or non-existence of the document, and, as a matter
of fact, such proofs precede proofs of the contents: due execution, besides the loss,
has to be shown as foundation for the introduction of secondary evidence of the
contents.

xxxxxxxxx

Evidence of the execution of a document is, in the last analysis, necessarily collateral
or primary. It generally consists of parol testimony or extrinsic papers. Even when the
document is actually produced, its authenticity is not necessarily, if at all, determined
from its face or recital of its contents but by parol evidence. At the most, failure to
produce the document, when available, to establish its execution may affect the
weight of the evidence presented but not the admissibility of such evidence. (emphasis
ours)

The Court of Appeals, as well as the trial court, tried to justify its stand on this issue by relying
on Lim Tanhu v. Ramolete.[16] But even there, we said that marriage may be prove[n] by other
competent evidence.[17]
Truly, the execution of a document may be proven by the parties themselves, by the swearing
officer, by witnesses who saw and recognized the signatures of the parties; or even by those to
whom the parties have previously narrated the execution thereof.[18] The Court has also held that
[t]he loss may be shown by any person who [knows] the fact of its loss, or by any one who ha[s]
made, in the judgment of the court, a sufficient examination in the place or places where the
document or papers of similar character are usually kept by the person in whose custody the
document lost was, and has been unable to find it; or who has made any other investigation which
is sufficient to satisfy the court that the instrument [has] indeed [been] lost.[19]
In the present case, due execution was established by the testimonies of Adela Pilapil, who
was present during the marriage ceremony, and of petitioner herself as a party to the event. The
subsequent loss was shown by the testimony and the affidavit of the officiating priest, Monsignor
Yllana, as well as by petitioners own declaration in court. These are relevant, competent and
admissible evidence. Since the due execution and the loss of the marriage contract were clearly
shown by the evidence presented, secondary evidence -- testimonial and documentary -- may be
admitted to prove the fact of marriage.
The trial court pointed out that on the face of the reconstructed marriage contract were certain
irregularities suggesting that it had fraudulently been obtained.[20] Even if we were to agree with
the trial court and to disregard the reconstructed marriage contract, we must emphasize that this
certificate is not the only proof of the union between Dr. Jacob and petitioner.

Proof of Marriage

As early as Pugeda v. Trias[21], we have held that marriage may be proven by any competent
and relevant evidence. In that case, we said:

"Testimony by one of the parties to the marriage, or by one of the witnesses to the
marriage, has been held to be admissible to prove the fact of marriage. The person
who officiated at the solemnization is also competent to testify as an eyewitness to the
fact of marriage."[22] (emphasis supplied)

In Balogbog v. CA,[23] we similarly held:

[A]lthough a marriage contract is considered primary evidence of marriage, the failure


to present it is not proof that no marriage took place. Other evidence may be presented
to prove marriage. (emphasis supplied, footnote omitted)

In both cases, we allowed testimonial evidence to prove the fact of marriage. We reiterated
this principle in Trinidad v. CA,[24] in which, because of the destruction of the marriage contract,
we accepted testimonial evidence in its place.[25]
Respondent Pedro Pilapil misplaces emphasis on the absence of an entry pertaining to 1975
in the Books of Marriage of the Local Civil Registrar of Manila and in the National Census and
Statistics Office (NCSO).[26] He finds it quite bizarre for petitioner to have waited three years
before registering their marriage.[27] On both counts, he proceeds from the wrong premise. In the
first place, failure to send a copy of a marriage certificate for record purposes does not invalidate
the marriage.[28] In the second place, it was not the petitioners duty to send a copy of the marriage
certificate to the civil registrar. Instead, this charge fell upon the solemnizing officer.[29]

Presumption in Favor of Marriage

Likewise, we have held:

The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is xxx of


marriage. Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract, but it is a new
relation, an institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply
interested. Consequently, every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing
matrimony. Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the
absence of any counterpresumption or evidence special to the case, to be in fact
married. The reason is that such is the common order of society, and if the parties
were not what they thus hold themselves out as being, they would be living in the
constant violation of decency and of law. A presumption established by our Code of
Civil Procedure is that a man and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife
have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio -
- Always presume marriage.[30] (emphasis supplied)

This jurisprudential attitude[31], 1984; Perido v. Perido, 63 SCRA 97, March 12, 1975.31
towards marriage is based on the prima facie presumption that a man and a woman deporting
themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage.[32] Given the
undisputed, even accepted,[33] fact that Dr. Jacob and petitioner lived together as husband and
wife,[34] we find that the presumption of marriage was not rebutted in this case.

Second Issue:

Validity of Adoption Order

In ruling that Respondent Pedro Pilapil was adopted by Dr. Jacob and that the signature of
Judge Moya appearing on the Adoption Order was valid, the Court of Appeals relied on the
presumption that the judge had acted in the regular performance of his duties. The appellate court
also gave credence to the testimony of respondents handwriting expert, for the assessment of the
credibility of such expert witness rests largely on the discretion of the trial court x x x.[35]
We disagree. As a rule, the factual findings of the trial court are accorded great weight and
respect by appellate courts, because it had the opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses
and to note telltale signs indicating the truth or the falsity of a testimony. The rule, however, is not
applicable to the present case, because it was Judge Augusto O. Cledera, not the ponente, who
heard the testimonies of the two expert witnesses. Thus, the Court examined the records and found
that the Court of Appeals and the trial court failed to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly
considered, will justify a different conclusion.[36] Hence, the present case is an exception to the
general rule that only questions of law may be reviewed in petitions under Rule 45.[37]
Central to the present question is the authenticity of Judge Moyas signature on the questioned
Order of Adoption. To enlighten the trial court on this matter, two expert witnesses were presented,
one for petitioner and one for Respondent Pilapil. The trial court relied mainly on respondents
expert and brushed aside the Deposition of Judge Moya himself.[38] Respondent Pilapil justifies the
trial judges action by arguing that the Deposition was ambiguous. He contends that Judge Moya
could not remember whether the signature on the Order was his and cites the following portion as
proof:[39]
"Q. What was you[r] response, sir?
A. I said I do not remember.
Respondent Pilapil's argument is misleading, because it took the judges testimony out of its
context. Considered with the rest of the Deposition, Judge Moyas statements contained no
ambiguity. He was clear when he answered the queries in the following manner:
Atty. Benito P. Fabie
Q. What else did she tell you[?]
A. And she ask[ed] me if I remembered having issued the order.
Q. What was your response sir[?]
A. I said I do not remember.[40]
The answer I do not remember did not suggest that Judge Moya was unsure of what he was
declaring. In fact, he was emphatic and categorical in the subsequent exchanges during the
Deposition:
Atty. Benito P. Fabie
Q. I am showing to you this Order, Exh. A deposition[;] will you please recall whether you issued this
Order and whether the facsimile of the signature appearing thereon is your signature.
A. As I said, I do not remember having issued such an order and the signature reading Jose[;] I cant
make out clearly what comes after the name[;] Jose Moya is not my signature.[41]
Clearly, Judge Moya could not recall having ever issued the Order of Adoption. More
importantly, when shown the signature over his name, he positively declared that it was not his.
The fact that he had glaucoma when his Deposition was taken does not discredit his
statements. At the time, he could with medication still read the newspapers; upon the request of
the defense counsel, he even read a document shown to him.[42] Indeed, we find no reason and the
respondent has not presented any to disregard the Deposition of Judge Moya.
Judge Moyas declaration was supported by the expert testimony of NBI Document Examiner
Bienvenido Albacea, who declared:
Atty. Paraiso
Q And were you able to determine [w]hat purpose you had in your examination of this document?
A Yes sir, [based on] my conclusion, [I] stated that the questioned and the standard signature Jose L.
Moya were not written by one and the same person. On the basis of my findings that I would point
out in detail, the difference in the writing characteristics [was] in the structural pattern of letters
which is very apparent as shown in the photograph as the capital letter J.[43]
It is noteworthy that Mr. Albacea is a disinterested party, his services having been sought
without any compensation. Moreover, his competence was recognized even by Respondent
Pilapils expert witness, Atty. Desiderio Pagui.[44]
Other considerations also cast doubt on the claim of respondent. The alleged Order was
purportedly made in open court. In his Deposition, however, Judge Moya declared that he did not
dictate decisions in adoption cases. The only decisions he made in open court were criminal cases,
in which the accused pleaded guilty.[45] Moreover, Judge Moya insisted that the branch where he
was assigned was always indicated in his decisions and orders; yet the questioned Order did not
contain this information.Furthermore, Pilapils conduct gave no indication that he recognized his
own alleged adoption, as shown by the documents that he signed and other acts that he performed
thereafter.[46] In the same vein, no proof was presented that Dr. Jacob had treated him as an adopted
child. Likewise, both the Bureau of Records Management[47] in Manila and the Office of the Local
Civil Registrar of Tigaon, Camarines Sur,[48] issued Certifications that there was no record that
Pedro Pilapil had been adopted by Dr. Jacob. Taken together, these circumstances inexorably
negate the alleged adoption of respondent. [49]
The burden of proof in establishing adoption is upon the person claiming such
relationship.[50] This Respondent Pilapil failed to do. Moreover, the evidence presented by
petitioner shows that the alleged adoption is a sham.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The marriage between Petitioner Tomasa Vda. de Jacob and the
deceased Alfredo E. Jacob is hereby recognized and declared VALID and the claimed adoption of
Respondent Pedro Pilapil is DECLARED NONEXISTENT. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-17169 November 30, 1963

ISIDRO C. ANG-ANGCO, Petitioner, vs. HON. NATALIO P.


CASTILLO, ET AL., Respondents.

Juan T. David for petitioner.


Office of the Solicitor General for respondents.

BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:

On October 8, 1956, the Pepsi-Cola Far East Trade Development


Co., Inc. wrote a letter to the Secretary of Commerce and Industry
requesting for special permit to withdraw certain commodities from
the customs house which were imported without any dollar
allocation or remittance of foreign exchange. Said commodities
consisted of 1,188 units of pepsi-cola concentrates which were not
covered by any Central Bank release certificate. On the same date,
the company addressed an identical request to the Secretary of
Finance who was also the Chairman of the Monetary Board of the
Central Bank. Senator Pedro Sabido, in behalf of the company,
likewise wrote said official urging that authority be given to
withdraw the abovementioned concentrates. Not content with this
step, he also wrote to Dr. Andres Castillo, Acting Governor of the
Central Bank, urging, the same matter. Then Secretary Hernandez
wrote another letter to Dr. Castillo stating, "Senator Sabido is taking
this to you personally. Unless we have legal objection, I would like
to authorize the withdrawal of the concentrates upon payment of all
charges in pesos. Please expedite action." chanroble s virtual law lib rary
Almost at the same time, the Import-Export Committee of the
Central Bank, thru Mr. Gregorio Licaros, submitted to the Monetary
Board a memorandum on the joint petition of the company and
Sabido Law Office for authority to withdraw the concentrates from
the customs house stating therein that it sees no objection to the
proposal. The Monetary Board, however, failed to take up the
matter in its meeting of October 12, 1956 for the reason that the
transaction did not involve any dollar allocation or foreign exchange,
and of this decision Mr. Licaros was informed. chanroblesvi rtual awlib raryc han robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

Having failed to secure the necessary authority from the Central


Bank, on October 13, 1956, the counsel of the Pepsi-Cola Far East
Trade Development Co., Inc., approached Collector of Customs
Isidro Ang-Angco in an attempt to secure from him the immediate
release of the concentrates, but this official seeing perhaps that the
importation did not carry any release certificate from the Central
Bank advised the counsel to try to secure the necessary release
certificate from the No-Dollar Import Office that had jurisdiction
over the case. In the morning of the same day, Mr. Aquiles J. Lopez,
of said Office, wrote a letter addressed to the Collector of Customs
stating, among other things, that his office had no objection to the
release of the 1,188 units of concentrates but that it could not take
action on the request as "the same is not within the jurisdiction of
the No-Dollar Import Office within the contemplation of R.A. No.
1410." The counsel already referred to above showed the letter to
Collector of Customs Ang-Angco who upon perusing it still hesitated
to grant the release. Instead he suggested that the letter be
amended in order to remove the ambiguity appearing therein, but
Mr. Lopez refused to amend the letter stating that the same was
neither a permit nor a release. Secretary of Finance Hernandez
having been contacted by telephone, Collector of Customs Ang-
Angco read to him the letter after which the Secretary verbally
expressed his approval of the release on the basis of said certificate.
Collector Ang-Angco, while still in doubt as to the propriety of the
action suggested, finally authorized the release of the concentrates
upon payment of the corresponding duties, customs charges, fees
and taxes.chanroble svi rtualaw lib raryc hanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

When Commissioner of Customs Manuel P. Manahan learned of the


release of the concentrates in question he immediately ordered their
seizure but only a negligible portion thereof remained in the
warehouse. Whereupon, he filed an administrative complaint against
Collector of Customs Ang-Angco charging him with having
committed a grave neglect of duty and observed a conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the customs service. On the
strength of this complaint President Ramon Magsaysay constituted
an investigating committee to investigate Ang-Angco composed of
former Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla, as Chairman, and Atty.
Arturo A. Alafriz and Lt. Col. Angel A. Salcedo, as members.
Together with Collector Ang-Angco, Mr. Aquiles J. Lopez, was also
investigated by the same Committee, who was also charged in a
separate complaint with serious misconduct in office or conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the State. As a result, Collector
Ang-Angco was suspended from office in the latter part of
December, 1956. chanroble svirt ualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtual law lib rary

After the investigation, the committee submitted to President


Magsaysay its report recommending that a suspension of 15 days,
without pay, be imposed upon Ang-Angco chargeable against the
period of his suspension. On April 1, 1957, Collector Ang-Angco was
reinstated to his office by Secretary Hernandez, but the decision on
the administrative case against him remained pending until the
death of President Magsaysay. After around three years from the
termination of the investigation during which period Ang-Angco had
been discharging the duties of his office, Executive Secretary Natalio
P. Castillo, by authority of the President, rendered a decision on the
case on February 12, 1960 finding Ang-Angco "guilty of conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the service", and considering him
resigned effective from the date of notice, with prejudice to
reinstatement in the Bureau of Customs. chanroble svirtualawl ibra rycha nro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

Upon learning said decision from the newspapers, Collector Ang-


Angco wrote a letter to President Carlos P. Garcia calling attention
to the fact that the action taken by Secretary Castillo in removing
him from office had the effect of depriving him of his statutory right
to have his case originally decided by the Commissioner of Civil
Service, as well as of his right of appeal to the Civil Service Board of
Appeals, whose decision under Republic Act No. 2260 is final,
besides the fact that such decision is in violation of the guaranty
vouchsafed by the Constitution to officers or employees in the civil
service against removal or suspension except for cause in the
manner provided by law. chanrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

In a letter dated February 16, 1960, Secretary Castillo, also by


authority of the President, denied the request for reconsideration.
Not satisfied with this resolution, Collector Ang-Angco sent a
memorandum to President Garcia reiterating once more the same
grounds on which he predicated his request for reconsideration.
Again Secretary Castillo, also by authority of the President, in letter
dated July 1, 1960, denied the appeal. In this instance, Secretary
Castillo asserted that the President virtue of his power of control
over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, can take direct
action and dispose of the administrative case in question inasmuch
as the provisions of law that would seem to vest final authority in
subordinate officers of the executive branch of the government over
administrative matters falling under their jurisdiction cannot divest
the President of his power of control nor diminish the same. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

Hence, after exhausting all the administrative remedies available to


him to secure his reinstatement to the office from which he was
removed without any valid cause or in violation of his right to due
process of law, Collector Ang-Angco filed before this Court the
present petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with a
petition for the issuance of a preliminary mandatory injunction. The
Court gave due course to the petition, but denied the request for
injunction.
chanroble svirtualawl ibraryc hanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

The main theme of petitioner is that respondent Executive Secretary


Natalio P. Castillo in acting on his case by authority of the President
in the sense of considering him as resigned from notice thereof,
violated the guaranty vouchsafed by the Constitution to officers and
employees in the classified service in that he acted in violation of
Section 16 (i) of the Civil Service Act of 1959 which vests in the
Commissioner of Civil Service the original and exclusive jurisdiction
to decide administrative cases against officers and employees in the
classified service, deprived him of his right of appeal under Section
18 (b) of the same Act to the Civil Service Board of Appeals whose
decision on the matter is final, and removed him from the service
without due process in violation of Section 32 of the same Act which
expressly provides that the removal or suspension of any officer or
employee from the civil service shall be accomplished only after due
process, and of Section 4, Article XII of our Constitution which
provides that "No officer or employee in the civil service shall be
removed except for cause as provided for by law." Since petitioner
is an officer who belongs to the classified civil service and is not a
presidential appointee, but one appointed by the Secretary of
Finance under the Revised Administrative Code, he cannot be
removed from the service by the President in utter disregard of the
provisions of the Civil Service Act of 1959. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

Respondents, on their part, do not agree with this theory


entertained by petitioner. They admit that if the theory is to be
considered in the light of the provisions of the Civil Service Act of
1959, the same may be correct, for indeed the Civil Service Law as
it now stands provides that all officers and employees who belong to
the classified service come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the
Commissioner of Civil Service and as such all administrative cases
against them shall be indorsed to said official whose decision may
be appealed to the Civil Service Board of Appeals from whose
decision no further appeal can be taken. They also admit that
petitioner belongs to the classified civil service. But it is their theory
that the pertinent provisions of the Civil Service Law applicable to
employees in the classified service do not apply to the particular
case of petitioner since to hold otherwise would be to deprive the
President of his power of control over the officers and employees of
the executive branch of the government. In other words,
respondents contend that, whether the officers or employees
concerned are presidential appointees or belong to the classified
service, if they are all officers and employees in the executive
department, they all come under the control of the President and,
therefore, his power of removal may be exercised over them
directly without distinction. Indeed, respondents contend that, if, as
held in the case of Negado v. Castro, 55 O.G., 10534, the President
may modify or set aside a decision of the Civil Service Board of
Appeals at the instance of the office concerned, or the respondent
employee, or may even do so motu propio, there would be in the
final analysis no logical difference between removing petitioner by
direct action of the President and separating him from the service
by ultimate action by the President should an appeal be taken from
the decision of the Civil Service Board of Appeals to him, or if in his
discretion he may motu proprio consider it necessary to review the
Board's decision. It is contended that this ruling still holds true in
spite of the new provision wrought into the law by Republic Act
2260 which eliminated the power of review given to the President
because the power of control given by the Constitution to the
President over officers and employees in the executive department
can only be limited by the Constitution and not by Congress, for to
permit Congress to do so would be to diminish the authority
conferred on the President by the Constitution which is tantamount
to amending the Constitution itself (Hebron v. Reyes, L- 9124, July
28, 1958). Indeed this is the argument invoked by respondent
Castillo in taking direct action against petitioner instead of following
the procedure outlined in the Civil Service Act of 1959 as may be
seen from the following portion of his decision.

In connection with the second ground advanced in support of your


petition, it is contended that in deciding the case directly, instead of
transmitting it to the Commissioner of Civil Service for original
decision, his Office deprived the respondent of his right to appeal to
the Civil Service Board of Appeals. This contention overlooks the
principle that the President may modify or set aside a decision of
the Civil Service Board of Appeals at the instance of either the office
concerned or the respondent employee, or may even do so motu
proprio (Negado vs. Castro, 55 O.G, No. 51, p. 10534, Dec. 21,
1959). There would therefore be no difference in effect between
direct action by the President and ultimate action by him should an
appeal be taken from the decision of the Commissioner of Civil
Service or the Civil Service Board of Appeals. The result is that the
President's direct action would be the final decision that would be
reached in case an appeal takes its due course.

Thus, we see that the main issue involved herein is whether the
President has the power to take direct action on the case of
petitioner even if he belongs to the classified service in spite of the
provisions now in force in the Civil Service Act of 1959. Petitioner
sustains the negative contending that the contrary view would
deprive him of his office without due process of law while
respondents sustain the affirmative invoking the power of control
given to the President by the Constitution over all officers and
employees, belonging to the executive department. chanroble svirtual awlibra rycha nrob les vi rtual law lib rary

To begin with, we may state that under Section 16 (i) of the Civil
Service Act of 1959 it is the Commissioner of Civil Service who has
original and exclusive jurisdiction to decide administrative cases of
all officers and employees in the classified service for in said section
the following is provided: "Except as otherwise provided by law,
(the Commissioner shall) have final authority to pass upon the
removal, separation and suspension of all permanent officers and
employees in the competitive or classified service and upon all
matters relating to the employees." The only limitation to this power
is that the decision of the Commissioner may be appealed to the
Civil Service Board of Appeals, in which case said Board shall decide
the appeal within a period of 90 days after the same has been
submitted for decision, whose decision in such case shall be final
(Section 18, Republic Act 2260). It should be noted that the law as
it now stands does not provide for any appeal to the President, nor
is he given the power to review the decision motu proprio, unlike
the provision of the previous law, Commonwealth Act No. 598,
which was expressly repealed by the Civil Service Act of 1959 (Rep.
Act 2260), which provides that the decision of the Civil Service
Board of Appeals may be reversed or modified motu proprio by the
President. It is, therefore, clear that under the present provision of
the Civil Service Act of 1959, the case of petitioner comes under the
exclusive jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Civil Service, and
having been deprived of the procedure laid down therein in
connection with the investigation and disposition of his case, it may
be said that he has been deprived of due process as guaranteed by
said law.chan roblesv irtualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary
It must, however, be noted that the removal, separation and
suspension of the officers and employees of the classified service
are subject to the saving clause "Except as otherwise provided by
law" (Section 16 [i], Republic Act No. 2260). The question then may
be asked: Is the President empowered by any other law to remove
officers and employees in the classified civil service? chanro bles virtual law lib rary

The only law that we can recall on the point is Section 64 (b) of the
Revised Administrative Code, the pertinent portion of which we
quote:

(b) To remove officials from office conformably to law and to declare


vacant the offices held by such removed officials. For disloyalty to
the (United States) Republic of the Philippines, the (Governor-
General) President of the Philippines may at any time remove a
person from any position of trust or authority under the
Government of the (Philippine Islands) Philippines.

The phrase "conformably to law" is significant. It shows that the


President does not have blanket authority move any officer or
employee of the government but his power must still be subject to
the law that passed by the legislative body particularly with regard
the procedure, cause and finality of the removal of persons who
may be the subject of disciplinary action. Here, as above stated we
have such law which governs action to be taken against officers and
employees in classified civil service. This law is binding upon
President.chanroblesvi rt ualawlib ra rychan rob les vi rtual law lib rary

Another provision that may be mentioned is Section (D) of the


Revised Administrative Code, which provides:

Power to appoint and remove. - The Department Head, the


recommendation of the chief of the Bureau or office concerned, shall
appoint all subordinate officers and employees appointment is
not expressly vested by law in the (Governor-General) President of
the Philippines, and may remove or punish them, except as
especially provided otherwise, in accordance the Civil Service Law.

The phrase "in accordance with the Civil Service is also significant.
So we may say that even granting for administrative purposes, the
President of the Philippines is considered as the Department Head of
the Civil Service Commission, his power to remove is still subject to
the Civil Service Act of 1959, and we already know with regard to
officers and employees who belong to classified service the finality
of the action is given to the Commissioner of Civil Service or the
Civil Board of Appeals. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rychan rob les vi rtual law lib rary
Let us now take up the power of control given to President by the
Constitution over all officers and employees in the executive
department which is now in by respondents as justification to
override the specific visions of the Civil Service Act. This power of
control couched in general terms for it does not set in specific
manner its extent and scope. Yes, this Court in the case of Hebron
v. Reyes, supra, had already occasion to interpret the extent of such
power to mean "the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify
or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance
of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of
the latter,"1 to distinguish it from the power of general supervision
over municipal government, but the decision does not go to the
extent of including the power to remove an officer or employee in
the executive department. Apparently, the power merely applies to
the exercise of control over the acts of the subordinate and not over
the actor or agent himself of the act. It only means that the
President may set aside the judgment or action taken by a
subordinate in the performance of his duties. chanroble svirtualawl ibra rycha nro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

That meaning is also the meaning given to the word "control" as


used in administrative law. Thus, the Department Head pursuant to
Section 79(C) is given direct control of all bureaus and offices under
his department by virtue of which he may "repeal or modify
decisions of the chiefs of said bureaus or offices", and under Section
74 of the same Code, the President's control over the executive
department only refers to matters of general policy. The term
"policy" means a settled or definite course or method adopted and
followed by a government, body, or individual,2 and it cannot be
said that the removal of an inferior officer comes within the
meaning of control over a specific policy of government. chanroble svi rtualaw lib raryc hanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

But the strongest argument against the theory of respondents is


that it would entirely nullify and set at naught the beneficient
purpose of the whole civil service system implanted in this
jurisdiction, which is to give stability to the tenure of office of those
who belong to the classified service, in derogation of the provisions
of our Constitution which provides that "No officer or employee in
the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause as
provided by law" (Section 4, Article XII, Constitution).Here, we have
two provisions of our Constitution which are apparently in conflict,
the power of control by the President embodied in Section 10 (1),
Article VII, and the protection extended to those who are in the civil
service of our government embodied in Section 4, Article XII. It is
our duty to reconcile and harmonize these conflicting provisions in a
manner that may give to both full force and effect and the only
logical, practical and rational way is to interpret them in the manner
we do it in this decision. As this Court has aptly said in the case
of Lacson v. Romero:

... To hold that civil service officials hold their office at the will of the
appointing power subject to removal or forced transfer at any time,
would demoralize and undermine and eventually destroy the whole
Civil Service System and structure. The country would then go back
to the days of the old Jacksonian Spoils System under which a
victorious Chief Executive, after the elections could if so minded,
sweep out of office, civil service employees differing in Political color
or affiliation from him, and sweep in his Political followers and
adherents, especially those who have given him help, political or
otherwise. (Lacson v. Romero, 84 Phil. 740, 754)

There is some point in the argument that the Power of control of the
President may extend to the Power to investigate, suspend or
remove officers and employees who belong to the executive
department if they are presidential appointees or do not belong to
the classified service for such can be justified under the principle
that the power to remove is inherent in the power to appoint
(Lacson V. Romero, supra), but not with regard to those officers or
employees who belong to the classified service for as to them that
inherent power cannot be exercised. This is in line with the provision
of our Constitution which says that "the Congress may by law vest
the appointment of the inferior officers, in the President alone, in
the courts, or in heads of department" (Article VII, Section 10 [3],
Constitution). With regard to these officers whose appointments are
vested on heads of departments, Congress has provided by law for
a procedure for their removal precisely in view of this constitutional
authority. One such law is the Civil Service Act of 1959.

We have no doubt that when Congress, by law, vests the


appointment of inferior officers in the heads of departments it may
limit and restrict power of removal as it seem best for the public
interest. The constitutional authority in Congress to thus vest the
appointment implies authority to limit, restrict, and regulate the
removal by such laws as Congress may enact in relation to the
officers so appointed. The head of a department has no
constitutional prerogative of appointment to officers independently
of legislation of Congress, and by such legislation he must be
governed, not only in making appointments but in all that is incident
thereto. (U.S. v. Perkins, 116 U.S. 483)

In resume, we may conclude that the action taken by respondent


Executive Secretary, even with the authority of the President, in
taking direct action on the administrative case of petitioner, without
submitting the same to the Commissioner of Civil Service, is
contrary to law and should be set aside.chan roblesv irt ualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

WHEREFORE, it is hereby ordered that petitioner be immediately


reinstated to his office as Collector of Customs for the Port of
Manila, without prejudice of submitting his case to the
Commissioner of Civil Service to be dealt with in accordance with
law. No costs.
chanroble svirtualawl ib