Thursday, September 27, 2012

academic freedom


SECOND DIVISION

[ G.R. No. 134372, August 22, 2002 ]

MANUEL CAMACHO, PETITIONER, VS. ATTY. JOVITO A. CORESIS, JR., GRAFT INVESTIGATION OFFICER I AND/OR OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN - MINDANAO, SIXTO O. DALEON, AIDA AGULO, DESIDERIO ALABA, NORMA TECSON, AND THE BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHEASTERN PHILIPPINES; SECRETARY RICARDO GLORIA, ASSISTANT SECRETARY RENO CAPINPIN – OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS (DECS), DR. EDMUNDO B. PRANTILLA, AND NEDA REGIONAL DIRECTOR SANTIAGO ENGINCO, RESPONDENTS.

D E C I S I O N


QUISUMBING, J.:

Subject of the present petition for certiorari is the Resolution dated June 3, 1997 of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, hereafter simply the Office, which dismissed the administrative and criminal complaints against respondents Sixto O. Daleon, Aida Agulo, Desiderio Alaba, Norma Tecson and the Board of Regents of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USP), Davao City, for violation of Section 3 [a], [e] and [j] of Republic Act 3019 also known as the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”[1] Also sought to be nullified is the Order of the Office dated September 10, 1997, denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. The pertinent facts as culled from the records are as follows:
Petitioner is the Dean of the College of Education of said university, since January 1994 to the present. He has served the university as faculty member and as administrator for almost 13 years.[2]
Respondent, Dr. Sixto O. Daleon, is a Professor 6 and officer-in-charge of the Graduate School of USP, with a salary grade of CS 29. The other respondents, Agulo, Tecson and Alaba, are faculty members of said university. They enrolled under Dr. Daleon in the subject Ed.D. 317, which is a Seminar in Curriculum Development, during the first semester of 1994-1995. At the end of the semester, Dr. Daleon gave the three final passing grades of 1.0, 1.25 and 1.5, respectively.[3] They were graded without requiring them to attend regular classes. Instead, Dr. Daleon gave them a special program of self-study with reading materials, once a week tutorial meetings, quizzes, and term papers.
Sometime in June 1995, several doctoral students complained to petitioner that during the first semester of school year 1994-1995, there were “ghost students” in the Ed.D. 317 class of Dr. Daleon. According to them, these “ghost students”, namely Agulo, Alaba and Tecson were given passing grades despite their failure to attend classes.[4]
On June 13, 1995, petitioner informed Dr. Daleon of the complaint. Petitioner requested the latter to furnish him with photocopies of exams, term papers, and record of attendance of the students involved. Dr. Daleon ignored the request.[5]
On July 28, 1995, the matter was raised in a university council meeting where it was agreed that the University President, Dr. Edmundo Prantilla, would create a committee to investigate the complaint.
In a letter dated August 10, 1995, Dr. Daleon apologized for the delay in responding to petitioner’s letter-request dated June 15, 1995. Dr. Daleon admitted that he made special arrangements with Agulo, Alaba and Tecson regarding their course without petitioner’s approval.
Thereafter, petitioner wrote Dr. Prantilla recommending that Agulo, Tecson and Alaba be required to attend regular classes in school year 1995-1996 and comply with the course requirements in Ed.D. 317. Dr. Prantilla approved the recommendations. However, on December 1, 1995, Dr. Prantilla entertained the appeal of Agulo for the validation of the grades given by Dr. Daleon to the three of them. On December 23, 1995, the Board of Regents passed its Resolution No. 2432 Series of 1995, upholding the grade given by Dr. Daleon to Agulo.
Consequently, petitioner filed a Complaint-Affidavit against Dr. Daleon before the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao. The complaint for gross incompetence, insubordination and violation of R.A. 6770[6] was docketed as OMB-ADM-3-96-0132.
On May 28, 1996, petitioner submitted a Manifestation with Prayer, with a Supplement to Complaint-Affidavit for Violation of R.A. 3019 and/or such other penal laws against Dr. Daleon, Agulo, Alaba, Tecson and members of the USP Board of Regents,[7] including Dr. Prantilla. On July 24, 1996, the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao issued an order directing respondent members of the Board of Regents and the committee created to hear Administrative Case No. 96-602 to desist from conducting further proceedings thereon and to have the entire records of said criminal complaint forwarded to the Office for possible consolidation with the administrative complaint.
On June 3, 1997, a Resolution was issued by Atty. Jovito Coresis, Jr., graft investigator in the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, dismissing the administrative and criminal complaints against respondents. Approved by Ombudsman Aniano Desierto, the resolution in its dispositive portion reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding insufficient evidence to hold respondent Dr. Daleon liable for the administrative charges of incompetence, insubordination and favoritism or unjust discrimination, or of any other laws, let the instant case be ordered DISMISSED.
Likewise, finding no prima facie case of violation of Section 3(a), (e) and (j), the criminal complaint filed by Dr. Camacho against Professor Daleon, Mr. Desiderio Alaba, Misses Aida Agulo, Norma Tecson, and the Members of the Board of Regents of USP is hereby DISMISSED outright for want of palpable merit.
AS RESOLVED.[8]
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but the same was denied for lack of merit in an Order dated September 10, 1997.
Before us, petitioner now anchors the present petition on the following grounds:
  1. THE SAID QUESTIONED DISPOSITIONS FAILED TO FIND THE ACTS OF RESPONDENTS DALEON AND HIS RESPONDENTS-STUDENTS-AGULO, ALABA AND TECSON TO BE NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE LAW IN THE UNIVERSITY – THE UNIVERSITY CODE, PARTICULARLY THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLES 128, 140, 141, 152 (LAST PARAGRAPH) THEREIN; AND OF THE ACTS OF RESPONDENT BOARD OF REGENTS AS “ULTRA VIRES” AND CONTRARY TO THE SAID LAW IN THE UNIVERSITY WHEN IT PASSED BOARD OF REGENTS (BOR) RESOLUTIONS NO. 2432 S. OF 1995 ON DECEMBER 23, 1995 AND NO. 2449 S. 1996, RESPECTIVELY;
  2. THERE WAS OBVIOUS ABUSE AND GRAVE ERROR IN MISAPPLYING THE PRINCIPLE OF “ACADEMIC FREEDOM” TO ABSOLVE RESPONDENT DALEON OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT; AND THE RESPONDENTS-STUDENTS AND THE BOARD OF REGENTS (ALONG WITH SAID RESPONDENT DALEON) OF THE ANTI-GRAFT CHARGES;
  3. THE SAID RESOLUTION AND ORDER OF RESPONDENT GRAFT INVESTIGATION OFFICER AND/OR THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-MINDANAO WERE ATTENDED BY PATENT “DUE PROCESS” VIOLATIONS AS THEIR FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS EMANATED FROM SELF-SERVING, INCREDIBLE AND HEARSAY PROFFERS; AND DID NOT CONSIDER THE EVIDENCE OF PETITIONER.[9]
In issue is whether or not public respondents committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in exonerating Dr. Daleon from administrative as well as criminal liability arising from his giving passing grades to Agulo, Tecson and Alaba without requiring them to attend classes. Petitioner avers that public respondent Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, committed grave abuse of discretion when it affirmed the impugned BOR resolution as it is contrary to the University Code, violates due process and is based on self-serving hearsays. He argues that the BOR resolution is based on a wrong interpretation of the constitutional provision on “academic freedom”.
In its Comment, the Office of Solicitor General posits a contrary view. The OSG argues that public respondent did not commit grave abuse of discretion.[10] According to the OSG, there is no provision in the University Code of USP which prohibits a professor or teacher from giving a special program or arrangement tailored to meet the requirements of a particular course.[11]
We are in agreement with the position taken by the respondents through the OSG. The petition lacks merit and ought to dismissed.
A special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is an extraordinary remedy for the correction of errors of jurisdiction. To invoke the Court’s power of judicial review under this Rule, it must first be shown that respondent tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi- judicial functions has indeed acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, and that there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[12] Conversely, absent a showing of lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the acts of the respondents may not be subjected to our review under Rule 65.
From the records, we find no valid ground nor cogent reason to hold that the respondent Office had gravely abused its discretion in issuing the assailed Resolution dated June 3, 1997. We note that the conclusions in said resolution are based on substantial evidence easily verifiable from the records. Well established is the principle that factual findings of administrative agencies are generally accorded respect and even finality by this Court, provided such findings are supported by substantial evidence,[13] as in this case. Graft Investigation Officer I Jovito A. Coresis, Jr., of said Office gave weight to the counter-affidavit of Dr. Daleon[14] as corroborated by the affidavit of Prof. Concesa P. Lagare,[15] Professor 2 of the College of Education, USP. These affidavits averred that during the graduate school orientation program sometime in July 1995, the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Luz D. Ancheta, declared that special arrangements between a professor and a graduate student may be allowed on a case-to-case basis. Dr. Ancheta made this statement in reply to Dr. Daleon’s query on the policy of USP on attendance of graduate school students and whether Dr. Daleon could give grades to students who do not attend classes. In her reply to Dr. Daleon’s query, the VPAA even cited her experience when she pursued her doctoral course at UP Los Baños. According to Dr. Ancheta, she was given a special arrangement by one of her professors. She added that she, too, had allowed the same special arrangement for her students at the USP Graduate School.
Public respondent also anchored his decision on Article 140 of the University Code, which provides that the rules on attendance of students shall be enforced in all classes subject to the modification by the Dean in the case of graduate students and other courses.[16] It is undisputed that at the time that Dr. Daleon handled the graduate class in Ed.D. 317, he had already been duly designated Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Graduate School by the President of USP and was even entitled to the emoluments inherent to the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.[17] Accordingly, as OIC, performing the functions of the Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Daleon had the authority to modify the rule on attendance without seeking permission of petitioner.
Further, Dr. Daleon’s teaching style had the support of the members of the Board of Regents, the body with the authority to formulate university policies, fully knowing the policy on attendance of students in the graduate school. In passing Resolution No. 2432, S. 1995,[18] not only did they validate the grade given by Dr. Daleon to Agulo, but they also gave an imprimatur on the propriety, regularity and acceptability of Dr. Daleon’s instructional approach. In said resolution, the BOR cited Article 155 and Article 3 of the University Code, thus:
The Board upheld the first grading sheet submitted by Dr. S. Daleon in the light of the following provisions of the University Code: (1) Article 155 which states that “no grade shall be changed after the report has been submitted” and (2) Article 3 which states that “Every member of the faculty shall enjoy academic freedom, which is the right of the professor to teach the subject of his specialization according to his best lights… nor shall any restraint be placed upon him in the choice of subjects for research and investigation.”
The Dean must promote unity in his unit and must ensure that the dignity of every professor in his unit is respected.[19]
As held by the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, the Resolution of the Board of Regents is clearly an exercise of its sound discretion as the final arbiter of issues affecting the internal operations of the university and as interpreter of the policies of the school.[20]
Finally, we agree with respondents’ position on the primacy of academic freedom in regard to higher institutions of learning. Dr. Daleon’s teaching style, validated by the action of the USP Board of Regents, is bolstered by the constitutional guarantee on academic freedom.[21] Academic freedom is two-tiered – that of the academic institution and the teacher’s.
Institutional academic freedom includes the right of the school or college to decide for itself, its aims and objectives and the methods on how best to attain them, free from outside coercion or interference save possibly when the overriding public welfare calls for some restraint.[22] It encompasses the freedom to determine for itself on academic grounds: who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study.”[23] The right of the school to confirm and validate the teaching method of Dr. Daleon is at once apparent in the third freedom, i.e., “how it shall be taught.”
Academic freedom also accords a faculty member the right to pursue his studies in his particular specialty.[24] It is defined as a right claimed by the accredited educator, as teacher and as investigator, to interpret his findings and to communicate his conclusions without being subjected to any interference, molestation, or penalty because these conclusions are unacceptable to some constituted authority within or beyond the institution.[25] As applied to the case at bar, academic freedom clothes Dr. Daleon with the widest latitude to innovate and experiment on the method of teaching which is most fitting to his students (graduate students at that), subject only to the rules and policies of the university. Considering that the Board of Regents, whose task is to lay down school rules and policies of the University of Southeastern Philippines, has validated his teaching style, we see no reason for petitioner to complain before us simply because he holds a contrary opinion on the matter.
In our view, petitioner failed to establish that Dr. Daleon and the Board of Regents of the University of Southeastern Philippines acted in evident bad faith or with manifest partiality in the performance of their official duties. Hence, there is no basis to hold that the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao committed any grave abuse of discretion in exonerating respondents below from both administrative and criminal charges. The resolution of that Office is in order for it accords with the facts and the law.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Resolution dated June 3, 1997, of the Office of the Ombudsman- Mindanao is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Acting C.J., (Chairman), Mendoza, and Corona, JJ., concur.



[1] SEC. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. – In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
(a) Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.
xxx
(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.
xxx
(j) Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is not so qualified or entitled. xxx
[2] Rollo, p. 184.
[3] Records, p. 8.
[4] Supra, note 2.
[5] Id. at 185.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Id. at 186.
[8] Id. at 41.
[9] Id. at 16-17.
[10] Id. at 188.
[11] Id. at 193.
[12] Rules of Court, Rule 65, Sec. 1.
[13] Litonjua vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 120294, 286 SCRA 136, 149 (1998).
[14] Records, p. 38, Item 7.
[15] Id. at 111, Annex “19”.
[16] Id. at 11.
[17] Id. at 68.
[18] Id. at 15.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Rollo, p. 39.
[21] Sec. 5., Art. XIV, 1987 Constitution-
xxx
(2) Academic freedom shall be enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning.
xxx
[22] Miriam College vs. CA, G.R. No. 127930, 348 SCRA 265, 284-285 (2000).
[23] Id. at 285.
[24] Montemayor vs. Araneta University Foundation et. al., No. L-44251, 77 SCRA 321, 327 (1977); citing Garcia vs. The Faculty Admission Committee, No. L-40779, 68 SCRA 277 (1975).
[25] Ibid.




Source: Supreme Court E-Library | Date created: March 24, 2011
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Case Digest Compendium in Political law



Political Law Case Digests

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE

UNILAB, INC. vs. ERNESTO ISIP and/or SHALIMAR PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 163858. June 28, 2005

Facts: UNILAB hired a private investigator to investigate a place purported to be manufacturing fake UNILAB products, especially Revicon multivitamins. The agent took some photographs where the clandestine manufacturing operation was taking place. UNILAB then sought the help of the NBI, which thereafter filed an application for the issuance of search warrant in the RTC of Manila. After finding probable cause, the court issued a search warrant directing the police to seize “finished or unfinished products of UNILAB, particularly REVICON multivitamins.” No fake Revicon was however found; instead, sealed boxes where seized, which, when opened contained 60 ml bottles of Disudrin and 200mg tablets of Inoflox, both were brands used by UNILAB. NBI prayed that some of the sized items be turned over to the custody of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) for examination. The court granted the motion. The respondents then filed a motion to quash the search warrant or to suppress evidence, alleging that the seized items are considered to be fruit of a poisonous tree, and therefore inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding, which the petitioners opposed alleging that the boxes of Disudrin and Inoflox were seized under the plain view doctrine. The court, however, granted the motion of the respondents.

Issue: Whether or not the seizure of the sealed boxes which, when opened, contained Disudrin syrup and Inoflox, were valid under the plain view doctrine.

Held: It is true that things not described in the warrant may be seized under the plain view doctrine. However, seized things not described in the warrant cannot be presumed as plain view. The State must adduce evidence to prove that the elements for the doctrine to apply are present, namely: (a) the executing law enforcement officer has a prior justification for an initial intrusion or otherwise properly in a position from which he can view a particular order; (b) the officer must discover incriminating evidence inadvertently; and (c) it must be immediately apparent to the police that the items they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband, or otherwise subject to seizure
It was thus incumbent on the NBI and the petitioner to prove that the items were seized on plain view. It is not enough that the sealed boxes were in the plain view of the NBI agents. However, the NBI failed to present any of officers who were present when the warrant was enforced to prove that the the sealed boxes was discovered inadvertently, and that such boxes and their contents were incriminating and immediately apparent. It must be stressed that only the enforcing officers had personal knowledge whether the sealed boxes and their contents thereof were incriminating and that they were immediately apparent. There is even no showing that the NBI agents knew the contents of the sealed boxes before they were opened. In sum then, the petitioner and the NBI failed to prove that the plain view doctrine applies to the seized items.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

PEOPLE’S JOURNAL et. al. vs. FRANCIS THOENEN
G.R. No. 143372 December 13, 2005

Facts: On 30 September 1990, a news item appeared in the People’s Journal claiming that a certain Francis Thoenen, a Swiss national who allegedly shoots wayward neighbors’ pets that he finds in his domain. It also claimed that BF Homes residents, in a letter through lawyer Atty. Efren Angara, requested for the deportation of Thoenen to prevent the recurrence of such incident in the future. Thoenen claimed that the article destroyed the respect and admiration he enjoyed in the community. He is seeking for damages.
The petitioners admitted publication of the news item, ostensibly out of a “social and moral duty to inform the public on matters of general interest, promote the public good and protect the moral public (sic) of the people,” and that the story was published in good faith and without malice.

Issue: Whether or not the news report fall under privileged communication and therefore protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of speech.

Held: The right of free speech is not absolute. Libel is not protected speech. In the instant case, even if we assume that the letter written by Atty. Angara is privileged communication, it lost its character when the matter was published in the newspaper and circulated among the general population, especially since the individual alleged to be defamed is neither a public official nor a public figure.
Moreover, the news item contained falsehoods on two levels. First, the BF Homes residents did not ask for the deportation of Thoenen, more so because the letter of the Atty. Anagara was a mere request for verification of Thoenen’s status as a foreign resident. The article is also untrue because the events she reported never happened. Worse, the main source of information, Atty. Efren Angara, apparently either does not exist, or is not a lawyer.
There is no constitutional value in false statements of fact. Neither the intentional lie nor the careless error materially advances society’s interest in ‘uninhibited, robust, and wide-open’ debate. Calculated falsehood falls into that class of utterances which “are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality… The knowingly false statement and the false statement made with reckless disregard of the truth, do not enjoy constitutional protection”

CUSTOMS SEARCH

TOMAS SALVADOR vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 146706. July 15, 2005

Facts: On June 3, 1994, a Special Mission Group from the PAF Special Operations Squadron conducted routine surveillance operations at the Manila Domestic Airport to check on reports of alleged drug trafficking and smuggling being facilitated by certain PAL personnel. They were ordered to keep close watch on the second airplane, an Airbus 300 parked inside the Domestic Airport terminal. At around 11:30 that same evening, three (3) persons had boarded the Airbus 300. The team did not move, but continued its surveillance. At 12:15 a.m. the team leader reported that the three (3) persons who earlier boarded the Airbus 300 had disembarked with their abdominal areas bulging and then boarded an airplane tow truck with its lights off. At the Lima Gate of the Domestic Airport, the team blocked and stopped the tow truck. The team leader identified himself and asked the four (4) persons on board to alight, and approached Aurelio Mandin whose uniform was partly open, showing a girdle. Then, a package wrapped in brown packaging tape fell. Suspecting that the package contained smuggled items, the leader yelled to his teammates, “Positive!” Thereupon, the rest of the team surrounded petitioner and his two co-accused who surrendered without a fight. The team searched their bodies and found that the three were wearing girdles beneath their uniforms, all containing packets wrapped in packaging tape. Mandin yielded five (5) packets, while petitioner and Santos had four (4) each. The team confiscated the packets and brought all the accused to the PAFSECOM Office.

Issue: Whether or not the seized items are admissible in evidence.

Held: Our jurisprudence provides for privileged areas where searches and seizures may lawfully be effected sans a search warrant. These recognized exceptions include: (1) search of moving vehicles; (2) search in plain view; (3) customs searches; (4) waiver or consented searches; (5) stop-and-frisk situations; and (6) search incidental to a lawful arrest.
Here, it should be noted that during the incident in question, the special mission of the PAF operatives was to conduct a surveillance operation to verify reports of drug trafficking and smuggling by certain PAL personnel in the vicinity of the airport. In other words, the search made by the PAF team on petitioner and his co-accused was in the nature of a customs search. As such, the team properly effected the search and seizure without a search warrant since it exercised police authority under the customs law. Law enforcers who are tasked to effect the enforcement of the customs and tariff laws are authorized to search and seize, without a search warrant, any article, cargo or other movable property when there is reasonable cause to suspect that the said items have been introduced into the Philippines in violation of the tariff and customs law. They may likewise conduct a warrantless search of any vehicle or person suspected of holding or conveying the said articles, as in the case at bar.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

MARCELO LASOY and FELIX BANISA, vs. HON. MONINA A. ZENAROSA
G.R. No. 129472. April 12, 2005

Facts: On July 2, 1996 the accused were arrested fro possession and transport of marijuana leaves (in bricks). They were charged with the violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, with the information containing the fact that they were in possession of and were transporting, selling or offering to sell 42.410 grams of dried marijuana fruiting tops. The accused was then arraigned, pleaded guilty and convicted. Subsequently they applied for probation. Thereafter the prosecutor’s office filed two motions to admit amended information (claiming that the marijuana recovered was 42.410 kilos, not grams) and to set aside the arraignment of the accused; the accused then moved to quash the motion raising the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

Issue: Whether or not double jeopardy attaches.

Held: To invoke the defense of double jeopardy, the following requisites must be present: (1) a valid complaint or information; (2) the court has jurisdiction to try the case; (3) the accused has pleaded to the charge; and (4) he has been convicted or acquitted or the case against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.
An information is valid as long as it distinctly states the statutory designation of the offense and the acts or omissions constitutive thereof. In other words, if the offense is stated in such a way that a person of ordinary intelligence may immediately know what is meant, and the court can decide the matter according to law, the inevitable conclusion is that the information is valid. The inescapable conclusion, then, is that the first information is valid inasmuch as it sufficiently alleges the manner by which the crime was committed. Verily the purpose of the law, that is, to apprise the accused of the nature of the charge against them, is reasonably complied with.
Moreover, an administrative order of the Supreme Court designated Regional Trial Courts to exclusively try and decide cases of … violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended, regardless of the quantity of the drugs involved. (PP. vs. Velasco)
Therefore, the requisites of double jeopardy being present, the defense attaches.

EMINENT DOMAIN

REPUBLIC, as represented by the NIA vs. CA and FRANCISCO DIAZ
G.R. No. 147245. March 31, 2005

Facts: Manuel Diaz owned approximately 172 hectares of property devoted to the planting of palay. The property was located in La Fuente, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija, and allegedly yielded between 132 to 200 cavans of palay per hectare every year. After Manuel Diaz’s death, his son, Franciso Diaz, was appointed administrator of the property.
In 1972, the National Irrigation Administration bulldozed ten (10) hectares of the Property to build two irrigation canals. Although the canals when finished occupied only a portion of the 10 hectares, the entire area became prone to flooding two months out of every year because of the side-burrow method NIA used in the construction of the canals. NIA completed the canals without instituting expropriation proceedings or indemnifying the property’s owners. Respondent then sought compensation from NIA for the land affected by the canals, as well as for losses due to unrealized profits. In 1980, NIA belatedly offered to buy the portions of the Property occupied by the canals pursuant to NIA’s expansion program. The 1980 deeds of sale were never implemented. Respondent did not receive any consideration pursuant to these deeds. On 20 August 1993, respondent, as administrator of the Property, filed an action for damages and just compensation against NIA. NIA countered that respondent’s right to bring the action had prescribed in accordance with RA 3601, as amended by PD 552. NIA also argued that respondent’s failure to pursue the implementation of the 1980 deeds of sale amounted to laches.

Issue: Whether or not prescription or laches bars the respondent’s right to just compensation.

Held: The principle of laches finds no application in the present case. There is nothing inequitable in giving due course to respondent’s claim for compensation. Both equity and the law direct that a property owner should be compensated if his property is taken for public use.
Eminent domain is the inherent power of a sovereign state to appropriate private property to particular uses to promote public welfare. No one questions NIA’s authority to exercise the delegated power of eminent domain. However, the power of eminent domain is not limitless. NIA cannot exercise the power with wanton disregard for property rights. One basic limitation on the State’s power of eminent domain is the constitutional directive that, “private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.”
The thirteen-year interval between the execution of the 1980 deeds of sale and the 1993 filing of the complaint does not bar the claim for compensation. This Court reiterated the long-standing rule “that where private property is taken by the Government for public use without first acquiring title thereto either through expropriation or negotiated sale, the owner’s action to recover the land or the value thereof does not prescribe.”

BAIL
JUDGE NAPOLEON INOTURAN, vs. JUDGE MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR
A.M. No. MTJ-01-1362. May 6, 2005

Facts: Mario Balucero was charged before the RTC of Makati Branch 133, the presiding judge of which is Napoleon Inoturan, with the violation of BP 22. Balucero, however, failed to appear during arraignment despite notice. Inoturan then issued a bench warrant against him. Balucero was subsequently arrested in Bacolod City, but was released upon posting of a property bail before the MCTC of Pulupundan, Negros Occidental, which order was signed by Judge Manuel Limsiaco, Jr. The arraignment of Balucero was subsequently set, but he failed to appear notwithstanding his receipt of notices. Inoturan then ordered that the property bond be cancelled and forfeited. He then ordered Ignacio Denila, the Clerk of Court of the MCTC to forward the property bond. Unable to comply with Inoturan’s order, Denila was cited in contempt and was detained. Denila was ordered released by Limisiaco. Upon investigation, the Office of Court Administrator found that Judge Limsiaco ordered the release of the some other accused although they did not post bail. Limsiaco was administratively charged for gross ignorance of the law and negligence in the performance of his duties.

Issue: What are the requisites before an order for release can be given in cases of bail?

Held: Bail is the security given for the release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, conditioned upon his appearance before any court as required under the conditions herein after specified. It is thus clear that without bail, an accused under detention cannot be released. As found by the investigating Judges, accused Balucero did not post bail but still respondent Judge Limsiaco ordered his release.
A person applying for bail should be in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of liberty. Indeed, bail is unavailing with respect to an accused who has not voluntarily surrendered or has yet to be placed in legal custody. In this case, Limsiaco issued the Order for the release of accused Balucero on November 21, 1996 or fifteen (15) days before December 6, 1996, the day he was actually arrested.
Moreover, Limsiaco acted without authority in approving Balucero’s alleged application for bail. Section 17, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that “if the accused is arrested in a province, city of municipality, other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed with any Regional Trial Court of said place, or if no judge thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge therein.” Here, respondent should not have approved Balucero’s application for bail. It is only one of the 14 Branches of the RTC in Bacolod City which has the authority to act thereon.

POLICE POWER

LUCENA GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, INC., petitioner, vs. JAC LINER, INC., respondent.
G.R. No. 148339. February 23, 2005

Facts: The City of Lucena enacted an ordinance which provides, inter alia, that: all buses, mini-buses and out-of-town passenger jeepneys shall be prohibited from entering the city and are hereby directed to proceed to the common terminal, for picking-up and/or dropping of their passengers; and (b) all temporary terminals in the City of Lucena are hereby declared inoperable starting from the effectivity of this ordinance. It also provides that all jeepneys, mini-buses, and buses shall use the grand central terminal of the city. JAC Liner, Inc. assailed the city ordinance as unconstitutional on the ground that, inter alia, the same constituted an invalid exercise of police power, an undue taking of private property, and a violation of the constitutional prohibition against monopolies.

Issue: Whether or not the ordinance satisfies the requisite of valid exercise of police power, i.e. lawful subject and lawful means.

Held: The local government may be considered as having properly exercised its police power only if the following requisites are met: (1) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require the interference of the State, and (2) the means employed are reasonably necessary for the attainment of the object sought to be accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. Otherwise stated, there must be a concurrence of a lawful subject and lawful method
The questioned ordinances having been enacted with the objective of relieving traffic congestion in the City of Lucena, they involve public interest warranting the interference of the State. The first requisite for the proper exercise of police power is thus present. This leaves for determination the issue of whether the means employed by the Lucena Sangguniang Panlungsod to attain its professed objective were reasonably necessary and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. The ordinances assailed herein are characterized by overbreadth. They go beyond what is reasonably necessary to solve the traffic problem. Additionally, since the compulsory use of the terminal operated by petitioner would subject the users thereof to fees, rentals and charges, such measure is unduly oppressive, as correctly found by the appellate court. What should have been done was to determine exactly where the problem lies and then to stop it right there.
The true role of Constitutional Law is to effect an equilibrium between authority and liberty so that rights are exercised within the framework of the law and the laws are enacted with due deference to rights. It is its reasonableness, not its effectiveness, which bears upon its constitutionality. If the constitutionality of a law were measured by its effectiveness, then even tyrannical laws may be justified whenever they happen to be effective.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

COMMISSION OF SIMPLE NEGLIGENCE, VIOLATION OF REVENUE REGULATION NO. 4-93


BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, et al vs. LILIA B. ORGANO
G.R. No. 14995, February 26, 2004


Facts: Respondent Lilia B. Organo is a revenue collection officer of the BIR, Revenue Region 7, Quezon City. On May 13, 1997, then BIR Commissioner Liwayway Vinsons-Chato filed with the BIR a formal administrative charge against petitioner for grave misconduct and dishonesty.
Respondent filed a verified answer, in which she admitted that she had no specific authority allowing her to receive withholding tax returns and check payments. She alleged in her counter-affidavit that her duties as collection officer consisted merely of collecting delinquent accounts and performing other tasks that her supervisor would assign to her from time to time; and that her acceptance of the withholding tax returns and check payments for transmittal to BIR-authorized banks was a mere assistance extended to taxpayers, without any consideration.
The administrative case against respondent was transferred to the Office of Ombudsman, which adopted the “proceedings, evidence/exhibits presented at the administrative proceedings before the BIR.” In due course, it rendered its decision finding respondent guilty of grave misconduct.

Issue: Whether or not respondent is liable for grave misconduct.

Held: The Court held that by accommodating and accepting withholding tax returns and checks payments respondent disregarded as established BIR rule. Revenue Regulation No. 4-93 requires payments through the banks precisely to avoid, whenever possible, BIR employee’s direct receipt of tax payments. Yet, respondent was not deterred from making accommodations that circumvented this provision.
To compound matters, her acts were essential ingredients paving the way for the commission of fraud against, and consequent damage to, the government. Her claimed ignorance thereof cannot erase her liability. Obviously, she disregarded the established practice and rules. In the face of her silence, the fact that the checks ended up in an unauthorized BIR account eloquently speaks, at the very least, of her gross negligence in taking care of collections that should not have passed through her hands in the first place.
Because of her complicity in the transgression of the cited BIR regulation as well as her gross negligence, respondent is administratively liable for simple misconduct and is suspended for six months.

POWER OF COA

RODOLFO S. DE JESUS, ET AL. vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT
G.R. No. 149154, June 10, 2003

Facts: The Board of Directors (BOD) of the Catbalogan Water District granted to themselves RATA, rice allowance, productivity incentive, anniversary, and year-end bonus and cash gifts, as authorized by Resolution No. 313 of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). The COA disallowed and ordered the refund of these allowances as they are not allowed by P.D. No. 198, the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.

Issue: Whether COA is vested with authority to disallow release of allowance not authorized by law even if authorized by the LWUA.

Held: Art. IX, Sec. 2 D of the Constitution mandates the COA to audit all the government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) with original charters. The COA is vested with authority to disallow illegal or irregular disbursements of government funds. A Water District is a GOCC with a special charter since it is created pursuant to special law, PD 198. The COA can disallow allowances not authorized by law, even if authorized by the LWUA.
Considering that the disallowed allowances were received in good faith, without knowledge that payment had no legal basis, the allowances need not to be refunded.

QUASI-LEGISLATIVE & QUASI-JUDICIAL POWERS; RULE ON EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES; DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION;WHEN APPLICABLE


SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. ET AL. V. NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NTC)
G.R. 151908, August 12, 2003

Facts: The NTC issued Billing Circular 13-6-2000 which promulgated rules and regulations on the billing of telecommunications services. Petitioners filed with the RTC a petition to declare the circular as unconstitutional. A motion to dismiss was filed by the NTC on the ground of petitioner’s to exhaust administrative remedies. The RTC denied the motion to dismiss but on certiorari, the CA reversed RTC.

Held: 1. Administrative bodies had (a) quasi-legislative or rule-making powers and (b) quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory powers. Quasi-legislative or rule-making power is the power to make rules and regulations which results in delegated legislation that is within the confines of the granting statute and the doctrine of non-delegability and separability of powers. To be valid, such rules and regulations must conform to, and be consistent with, the provisions of enabling statute.
Quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory power is the power to hear and determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by law itself in enforcing and administering the same law. In carrying out their quasi-judicial functions, the administrative officers or bodies are required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions from them for their official action and exercise of discretion in a judicial.
2. The determination of whether a specific rule or set of rules issued by an administrative body contravenes the law or the constitution is within the judicial power as defined by the Constitution which is “ the duty of the Courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there haw been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.” The NTC circular was issued pursuant to its quasi-legislative or rule-making power. Hence, the action must be filed directly with the regular courts without requiring exhaustion of administrative remedies.
3. Where the act of administrative agency was performed pursuant to its quasi-judicial function, exhaustion of administrative remedy is required, before going to court.
4. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies only where the administrative agency exercises its quasi-judicial or adjudicatory function. Thus, in cases involving specialized disputes, the same must be referred to an administrative agency of special competence pursuant to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. This doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies where the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, has been placed within the special competence of an administrative body. In such case, the judicial process is suspended pending referral of such issues to the administrative body for its view.


REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6770 ( THE OMBUDSMAN ACT OF 1998) PENALTIES WHICH ARE FINAL AND UNAPPEALABLE;

RENATO HERRERA v. ELMER BOHOL
G.R. No. 155320. February 5,2004

Facts: Renato F. Herrera, former Director III at DAR Central Office, approved the request for shift of item number of Plaridel Elmer J. Bohol, a Senior Agrarian Reform officer at the BARIE. The shift or item number from 577-1 of Fund 108 to 562-3 of Fund 101 resulted to Bohol ontaining his salary under Fund 101. When Bohol was informed that he could not draw his salary under such item anymore because his item was recalled and was given to another person, he charged Herrera before the Office of the Ombudsman, with Grave Misconduct and/or Inefficiency and Incompetence. The Ombudsman found Renato Herrera guilty of simple misconduct and was suspended for one month without pay. Such decision was contested by Herrera and he even appealed to the CA on the ground that he did not fail to take measures to correct respondent’s recall; but, such petition was just denied by the CA.A petition for review was raised to the SC stressing that one month suspension, as stated in the Ombudsman Act of 1998, is appealable considering that it is not among those enumerated as final and unappealable.

Issue: Whether or not the provision in R.A. No. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1998, providing suspension of not more than one month’s salary is final and unappealable.

Held: Sec. 27 of RA No. 6770 states that: “any order, directive or decision imposing the penalty of public censure, reprimand, suspension of not more than one month’s salary shall be final and unappealable…”
Salary suspension is an effect of work suspension following the “no work, no pay” principle. It will be the employee concerned who will be suspended and such suspension without pay,being final, and unappealable, is clearly expressed the law. RA No. 6770, therefore, is a legal and clear basis of denying the petitioner’s appeal.

COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY;HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR A SUPERIOR OFFICER SHALL NOT BE CIVILLY LIABLE FOR THE WRONGFUL ACTS.OMISSION OF DUTY, NEGLIGENCE FOR MISFEASANCE OF HIS SUBORDINATE.UNLESS HE HAS ACTUALLY AUTHORIZE BY WRITTEN ORDER OF THE SPECIFIC ACT OR MISCONDUCT COMPLAINED OF

ALBERTO V. REYES, ET AL. v. RURAL BANK OF SAN MIGUEL (BULACAN), INC.ET. AL,.
G.R. No. 154499, February 27, 2004

Facts: In a letter dated May 19,1999, addressed to then BSP Governor Singson, RBSMI charge the petitioner with violation of RA No. 6713 ( code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees). The Monetary Board (MB) of the BSP created an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the matter.
The ensuing investigation disclosed that sometime in September 1996, RBSMI, which had a history of major violations/exceptions dating back to 1995, underwent periodic examination by the BSP. The examination team headed by Principio noted serious 20 exceptions/violations and deficiencies of RBSMI.
Through Resolution No. 96, the MB required RBSMI to submit within 15 days a written explanation with respect to the findings of the examiner. It also directed the Department of Rural Banks DRB), to verify, monitor and report to the Deputy Governor, Supervision and Examination Sector (SES) on the findings noted, until the same shall have been corrected.
Meanwhile on June 13,1997, the MB approved Resolution No. 724 ordering RBSMI to correct the major exceptions noted within 30 days from receipt of the advice, and to remit to the BSP the amount of P2,538,483.00 as fines and penalties for incurring deficiencies in reserves against deposit liabilities.
More than a year after, however, the RBSMI asked for a reconsideration of MB Resolution No. 724 insofar as the imposition of fine amounting to P P2,538,483.00.On January 21, 1999, the MB adopted Resolution No. 71, authorizing the conditional reversal of sixty of the dispute on the findings on reserve deficiency. Subsequently, on April 7, 1999, the MB approved the interim reversal of the entire amount of the penalty “pending the outcome of the study on the legal and factual basis for the imposition of the penalty.”
The above incidents, particularly the alleged “brokering” by Reyes and the petitioners’ “unsupported” recommendation to impose a penalty of P2,538,483.00 for legal reserve deficiency, prompted the respondent to file the letter-complaint charging the petitioners with “unprofessionalism.”
In the Decision if March 14,2003, this Court found Deputy Governor Reyes and Director Domo-ong liable for violation of the “standards of professionalism” prescribed by RA 6713in that they used the distressed financial condition of respondent RBSMI as the subject of a case study in one of the BSP seminars and did the “brokering” of the sale of RBSMI. The Court modified the decision of the CA by reducing the penalty imposed from the a fine equivalent to six months’salary to a fine of 2 months salary for Reyes and one month salary for Domo-ong.
The court exonerated petitioner Proncipio of the Administrative charges. The exoneration is subject to RBSMI’s Motion for Partial Reconsideration.

Issue: Whether or not the Superior officer shall not be civilly liable for the wrongful acts, omissions of duty, negligence or misfeasance of his subordinate officer.

Held: The immunity of public officers from liability for nonfeasance, negligence or omissions of duty of their official subordinate and even for the latter’s misfeasance or positive wrong rests, according to MECHEM, “upon obvious considerations of public policy, the necessities of the public service and the perplexities and embarrassments of a contrary doctrine.” These official subordinates are themselves public officers though of an inferior grade, and therefore directly liable in the cases in which any public officer is liable, for their own misdeeds or defaults.
Under the Admin Code of 1987, which provides that head of a department or a superior officer shall not be civilly liable for the wrongful acts, omissions of duty, negligence, misfeasance of his subordinates, unless he has actually authorized by written order the specific act or misconduct complained of.

ELECTION LAW

RONALD ALLAN POE a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR. VS. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
P.E.T. CASE No. 002. March 29, 2005

Facts: In the 2004 election, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) was proclaimed the duly elected President of the Philippines. The second-placer in the elections, Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ), filed an election protest before the Electoral Tribunal. When the Protestant died in the course of his medical treatment, his widow, Mrs. Jesusa Sonora Poe a.k.a. Susan Roces filed a motion to intervene as a substitute for deceased protestant FPJ. She claims that there is an urgent need for her to continue and substitute for her late husband to ascertain the true and genuine will of the electorate in the interest of the Filipino people. The Protestee, GMA asserts that the widow of a deceased candidate is not the proper party to replace the deceased protestant since a public office is personal and not a property that passes on to the heirs. Protestee also contends that under the Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, only the registered candidates who obtained the 2nd and 3rd highest votes for the presidency may contest the election of the president.

Issue: May the widow substitute/intervene for the protestant who died during the pendency of the latter’s protest case?

Held: Only the registered candidate for President or for Vice-President of the Philippines who received the second or third highest number of votes may contest the election of the President or the Vice-President, as the case may be, by filing a verified petition with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within thirty (30) days after the proclamation of the winner.
An election protest is not purely personal and exclusive to the protestant or to the protestee, hence, substitution and intervention is allowed but only by a real party in interest. Note that Mrs. FPJ herself denies any claim to the office of President but rather stresses that it is with the “paramount public interest” in mind that she desires “to pursue the process” commenced by her late husband. However, nobility of intention is not the point of reference in determining whether a person may intervene in an election protest. In such intervention, the interest which allows a person to intervene in a suit must be in the matter of litigation and of such direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by the effect of the judgment. In this protest, Mrs. FPJ will not immediately and directly benefit from the outcome should it be determined that the declared president did not truly get the highest number of votes.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL. VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, COMELEC CHAIRMAN BENJAMIN ABALOS, SR., ET AL.
G.R. No. 159139. January 13, 2004

Facts: On June 7, 1995, Congress passed R.A. 8046 (An act authorizing the COMELEC to conduct a nationwide demonstration of a computerized election system and pilot-test it in the March 1996 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and for other purposes). On December 22, 1997, Congress enacted R.A. 8436 (An act authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system in the May 11, 1998 national or local elections and in subsequent national and local electoral exercises, providing funds therefore and for other purposes).
On October 29, 2002, COMELEC adopted its Resolution 02-0170 a modernization program for the 2004 elections. It resolved to conduct biddings for the three phases of its Automated Election System: namely, Phase I-Voter Registration and Validation System; Phase II-Automated Counting and Canvassing System; and Phase III-Electronic Transmissions.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued EO No. 172, which allocated the sum of P 2.5 billion to fund the AES for May 10, 2004 elections. She authorized the release of an additional P 500 million, upon the request of COMELEC.
The COMELEC issued an “Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid”. There are 57 bidders who participated therein. The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) found MPC and the Total Information Management Corporation (TIMC) eligible. Both were referred to Technical Working Group (TWG) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
However, the DOST said in its Report on the Evaluation of Technical Proposals on Phase II that both MPC and TIMC had obtained a number of failed marks in technical evaluation. Notwithstanding these failures, the COMELEC en banc issued Resolution No. 6074, awarding the project to MPC.
Wherefore, petitioners Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines wrote a letter to the COMELEC chairman Benjamin Abalos, Sr. They protested the award of the contract to respondent MPC. However in a letter-reply, the COMELEC rejected the protest.

Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in awarding the contract to MPC in violation of law and in disregard of its own bidding rules and procedure.

Held: The Court has explained that COMELEC flagrantly violated the public policy on public biddings (1) by allowing MPC/MPEI to participate in the bidding even though it was not qualified to do so; and (2) by eventually awarding the contract to MPC/MPEI. It is clear that the Commission further desecrated the law on public bidding by permitting the winning bidder to alter the subject of the contract, in effect allowing a substantive amendment without public bidding.

SPECIAL ELECTION

ARTURO TOLENTINO AND ARTURO MOJICA VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, SENATOR RALPH RECTO AND SENATOR GREGORIO HONASAN
G.R. No. 148334. January 21, 2004

Facts: Following the appointment of Senator Teofisto Guingona as Vice-President of the Philippines, the Senate on February 8, 2001 passed Resolution No. 84, calling on COMELEC to fill the vacancy through a special election to be held simultaneously with the regular elections on May 14, 2001. Twelve senators, with 6-year term each, were due to be elected in that election. The resolution further provides that the “Senatorial candidate garnering the 13th highest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired term of former Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr. which ends on June 30, 2004.
On June 5, 2001, after canvassing the election results, the COMELEC proclaimed 13 candidates as the elected Senators, with the first 12 Senators to serve the unexpired term of 6 years and the 13th Senator to serve the full term of 3 years of Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr. Gregorio Honasan ranked 13th.
Petitioners Arturo Tolentino and Arturo Mojica, as voters and taxpayers, filed the instant petition for prohibition, praying for the nullification of Resolution No. 01-005.

Issue: Whether or not the Special Election held on May 14, 2001 should be nullified: (1) for failure to give notice by the body empowered to and (2) for not following the procedure of filling up the vacancy pursuant to R.A. 6645.

Held: (1) Where the law does not fix the time and place for holding a special election but empowers some authority to fix the time and place after the happening of a condition precedent, the statutory provision on the giving of notice is considered mandatory, and failure to do so will render the election a nullity.
The test in determining the validity of a special election in relation to the failure to give notice of the special election is whether want of notice has resulted in misleading a sufficient number of voters as would change the result of special election. If the lack of official notice misled a substantial number of voters who wrongly believed that there was no special election to fill vacancy, a choice by small percentage of voters would be void.
(2) There is no basis in the petitioners’ claim that the manner by which the COMELEC conducted the special Senatorial election on May 14, 2001 is a nullity because the COMELEC failed to document separately the candidates and to canvass separately the votes cast for the special election. No such requirement exists in our election laws. What is mandatory under Section 2 of R.A. 6645 is that the COMELEC “fix the date of election,” if necessary, and state among others, the office/s to be voted for.
Significantly, the method adopted by the COMELEC in conducting the special election on May 14, 2001 merely implemented the procedure specified by the Senate in Resolution No. 84. Initially, the original draft of said resolution as introduced by Senator Francisco Tatad made no mention of the manner by which the seat vacated by former Senator Guingona would be filled. However, upon the suggestion of Senator Raul Roco, the Senate agreed to amend the resolution by providing as it now appears, that “the senatorial cabdidate garnering the 13th highest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired term of former Senator Teofisto Giongona, Jr.”


ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS OF COMELEC

BAYTAN ET AL. VS. COMELEC
GR No. 153945. February 4, 2003

Facts: Reynato Baytan registered as a voter in two precincts and the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the recommendation of its Law Department to file information of double registration in violation of the Election Code. Baytan filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari on the grounds, among others, that there was no probable cause and that election cases must first be heard and decided by a Division before the COMELEC En Banc can assume jurisdiction.

Held: 1. It is well- settled that the finding of probable cause in the prosecution of election offenses rests in the sound discretion of the COMELEC. Generally, the Court will not interfere with such finding of the COMELEC, absent a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion. This principle emanates from the exclusive power of the COMELEC to conduct preliminary investigation of all election investigation of all election offenses and to prosecute the same.
2. Under Sec. 2, Art. IX-C of the Constitution, the COMELEC exercises both administrative and quasi-judicial powers. The administrative powers are found in Sec 2. (1), (3) to (9) of Art IX-C. The Constitution does not provide on whether these administrative powers shall be exercised by the COMELEC en banc or in division. The COMELEC en banc therefore can act on administrative matters, and this had been the practice under the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. The prosecution by the COMELEC of violations of election laws is an administrative power.
3. The exercise by the COMELEC of its quasi-judicial powers is subject to Sec.3, Art.IX-C which expressly requires that all election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies, shall be decided by the COMELEC in division, and the motion for reconsideration shall be decided by the COMELEC en banc.

IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY

BAROT VS. COMELEC ET AL.
GR No. 149147. June 18, 2003

Facts: In the May 14, 2001 elections Barot was proclaimed the 10th winning candidate for councilor of Tanjay City, Negros Oriental. On May 29, 2001 the Chairman of the Board of Canvassers sent a Memorandum to the COMELEC requesting for authority to correct the Certificate of Canvass and to proclaim Tabaloc, instead of Barot, as the 10th winning candidate for Councilor, by errors committed by the Board of Canvassers. The COMELEC considered the Memorandum as a petition, and after notice and hearing, granted the request. Tabaloc was proclaimed the 10th winning Councilor. Barot filed with the Supreme Court a petition for and prohibition.

Held: 1. Rule 27, Sec.5, par (b) of the COMELEC Rules provides that a petition for correction must be filed not later than five (5) days following the date of proclamation, impleading the candidates who may be adversely affected thereby. Rule 1, Sec.4 of the COMELEC Rules also provides that “in the interest of justice and in the order to obtain speedy disposition of all matters pending before the Commission, these rules or any option thereof may be suspended by the Commission.” The filing of the petition beyond the 5- day period was upheld in the interest of justice, it having been clearly shown that it was Tabaloc and not Barot who was the 10th winning candidate for councilor.
2. The COMELEC had the authority to consider the Memorandum of the Chairman of the Board of Canvassers, after notice and hearing, may even motu propio correct errors committed by in the tabulation of the votes.




PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY

NAVARRO VS. COMELEC
GR No. 150799. February 3, 2003

Facts: Petitioner was a candidate for Mayor in the May 14, 2001 elections and during the canvassing, he petitioned the Board of Canvassers (BOC) to exclude the election returns contained in nine (9) ballot boxes on the ground that said boxes were not secured by the required “3 padlocks.” The BOC denied the petition and petitioner appealed to the COMELEC. The COMELEC en banc denied the appeal and ordered the BOC to proceed with the canvassing and proclaim the winning local candidates. Petitioner lost in the election.

Held: 1. Lack of the required number of padlocks on the ballot boxes is not a proper issue in a pre-proclamation controversy. The issues that may be raised in a pre-proclamation controversy are enumerated in Sec 243 of the Omnibus Election Code, to wit:
a. Illegal composition or proceeding of the board of canvassers;
b. The canvassed election returns are incomplete, contain material defects, and appear to be
tampered with or falsified, or contain discrepancies in the same returns or in other authentic copies thereof as mentioned in Sections 233, 234, 235, and 236 of this Code;
c. The election returns were prepared under duress, threats, coercion, or intimidation, or they are obviously manufactured or not authentic; and
d. When substitute or fraudulent returns in controverted polling places were canvassed, the results of which materially affected the standing of the aggrieved candidate or candidates.
This enumeration is exclusive.
2. A pre-proclamation controversy is limited to an examination of the election returns on their face and the COMELEC as a general rule need not go beyond the face of the returns and investigate the alleged election irregularities. In the case of Baterina, et al. v. COMELEC, 205 SCRA 1, the following facts were shown: (a) failure to close the entries with the signatures of the election inspectors; (b) lack of inner and outer seals; (c) canvassing by the Board of copies not intended for it; (d) lack of time and date receipt by the Board of the election returns; (e) lack of signatures of petitioners’ watchers; and (f) lack of authority of the person receiving the election returns. It was held that while said facts may, indeed, involve violation of the rules governing the preparation and delivery of election returns for canvassing, they do not necessarily affect the authenticity and genuineness of the subject election returns as to warrant their exclusion from the canvassing. Above facts are clearly defects in form insufficient to support a conclusion that the election returns were tampered with or spurious.
3. The COMELEC en banc validly ordered the proclamation of the winning candidate even during the pendency of the appeal to the COMELEC from the BOC’s denial of the petition for exclusion of the questioned election returns. RA 7166, Sec 20 (I) provides as follows:
(i) The BOC shall not proclaim any candidate as winner unless authorized by the Commission after the latter has ruled on the objection brought to it on appeal by the losing party. Any proclamation in violation hereof shall be void ab initio, unless the contested returns will not adversely affect the results of the election.
Above-quoted provision applies only where the objection deals with a pre-proclamation controversy.

IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY

COMELEC VS. TAGLE, ET AL.
GR No.s 148948 & 148951, February 17, 2003

Facts: In connection with the May 11, 1998 elections, candidate for Mayor Florentino A. Bautista filed a complaint against Mayor Federico Poblete et al. for vote –buying in violation of Sec 261 (a) and (b) of the Omnibus Election Code. The Information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 7034-99 of the RTC of Imus, Cavite. Subsequently, a complaint for vote-selling in violation of Sec 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code was filed with the Prosecutor’s Office as witnesses in Criminal Case No. 7034-99 and the Provincial Prosecutor in Imus, Cavite filed separate Informations for vote-selling against said witnesses. On appeal, the COMELEC en banc declared that the witnesses in Criminal Case No. 7034-99 were exempt from criminal prosecution pursuant to 4th paragraph of Sec 28, RA No. 6646, otherwise known as “The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987” which grants immunity from criminal prosecution to persons who voluntarily give information and willingly testify against those liable for vote-buying or vote-selling. The Law Department of the COMELEC moved to dismiss the Informations against the said witnesses but the RTC in Imus, Cavite denied the motion to dismiss.


Held: 1. One of the effective ways of preventing the commission of vote-buying and of prosecuting those committing it is the grant of immunity from criminal liability in favor of the party whose vote was bought. Sec 28 of RA No. 6646 concludes with the following paragraph:
The giver, offeror, the promissory as well as the solicitor, acceptor, recipient and conspirator referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 261 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 shall be liable as principals: Provided, that any person, otherwise guilty under said paragraphs who voluntarily gives information and willingly testifies on any violation thereof in any official investigation or proceeding shall be exempt from prosecution and punishment for the offenses with reference to which his information and testimony were given: Provided, further, that nothing herein shall exempt such person from criminal prosecution for perjury or false testimony.
2. To avoid possible fabrication of evidence against the vote-buyers, especially by the latter’s opponents, Congress saw it fit to warn “vote-sellers” who denounce the vote-buying that they could be liable for perjury or false testimony should they not tell the truth.
3. The prosecution witnesses in Criminal Case No. 7034-99 are exempt from criminal prosecution for vote-selling by virtue of the proviso in the last paragraph of Section 28, RA 6646. At the time when the complaint for vote-selling was filed with the office of the Provincial Prosecutor, the respondents had already executed sworn statements attesting to the corrupt practice of vote-buying. It cannot then be denied that they had already voluntarily given information in the vote-buying case. In fact, they willingly testified in Crim. Case No. 7034-99.
4. The COMELEC has the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under the election laws and to prosecute the same. The Chief State Prosecutor, all Provincial and City Prosecutors, or their respective assistants are, however, given continuing authority, as deputies of the COMELEC to conduct preliminary investigation of complaints involving election offenses and to prosecute the same. This authority may be revoked or withdrawn by the COMELEC anytime whenever, in its judgment, such revocation or withdrawal is necessary to protect the integrity of the COMELEC and to promote the common good, or when it believes that the successful prosecution of the case can be done by the COMELEC. When the COMELEC nullified the resolution of the Provincial Prosecutor, it in effect withdrew the deputation granted by the COMELEC.

PREMATURE CAMPAIGNING

PANGKAT LAGUNA VS. COMELEC ET AL.
G.R. No. 148075. February 4, 2002

Facts: On January 30, 2001 then Vice Governor Teresita Lazaro succeeded to the office of the Governor of Laguna when then Gov. Jose Lina was appointed Secretary of the DILG. Upon assumption of office as Governor, Lazaro publicly declared her “intention to run for Governor” in the coming May 2001 elections. Subsequently, she ordered the purchase of trophies, basketballs, volleyballs, chessboard sets, t-shirts, medals and pins, and other sports materials worth P4.5 millions. Gov. Lazaro bidded 79 public works projects on March 28, 2001. Pangkat Laguna, a registered political party, filed a petition for disqualification of Gov. Lazaro for premature campaigning.

Held: 1. The act of Gov. Lazaro in “ordering the purchase of various items and the consequent distribution thereof of Laguna, in line with the local government unit’s sports and education program” is not election campaigning or partisan political activity contemplated and explicitly prescribed under the pertinent provisions of Sec 80 of the Omnibus Election Code.
2. Evidence is wanting to sufficiently establish the allegation that public funds were released, disbursed, or expended during the 45-day prohibitive period provided under the law and implementing rules. Absent such clear and convincing proof, the factual findings of the COMELEC cannot be disturbed considering that the COMELEC is the constitutional body tasked to decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections.

PUBLIC CORPORATION / PUBLIC OFFICERS
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS; SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN; MAJORITY OF ALL THE MEMBERS REQUIRED TO CONSTITUTE QUORUM

MANUEL ZAMORA VS. GOV. JOSE CABALLERO, ET AL.
G.R. No. 147767. January 14, 2002

Facts: Manuel Zamora, a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Compostela Valley, filed before the RTC a petition to invalidate all acts executed and resolutions issued by the Sanggunian during its sessions held on February 8 and 26, 2001 for lack of quorum. Said sessions noted the resignation letter of Board Member Sotto, declared the entire province under a state of calamity and approved the Governor to enter into the contract with the Allado Company. Zamora, the petitioner, argued that the Sanggunian, during its February 26 session, conducted official business without a quorum since only 7 out of the 14 members were present. He further questioned the February 8 session’s validity arguing that only 7 members were present and the failure to provide written notice to all members at least 24 hours before the holding of the special session. Respondents argued that Board Member Sotto was in the United States during such sessions and that the actual number of Board Members in the country was only 13 which, they claimed, should be the basis for the determination of a quorum. Such petition raised by Zamora was dismissed by the RTC but reversed and granted by the Supreme Court.

Issues: 1) Whether or not Section 53 (a) of the LGC provides and specifies applicable rule regarding the determination of a quorum.

2) Whether or not Sanggunian Members who are abroad should not be included in the counting of the entire Sangguniang body.

3) Whether or not the approved decisions during the sessions, alleged to be without quorum, is deemed to be valid.

Held: Section 53 (a) of the LGC states that : “A majority of all members of the Sanggunian who have been elected and qualified shall constitute a quorum to transact official business.” Quorum is defined as the “number of members of a body which, when legally assembled, will enable the body to transact its proper business or that number which makes a lawful body and gives it power to pass upon a law or ordinance or do any valid act.” When required to constitute a quorum, “majority” means the number greater than half or more than half of the total.
As further stated, it requires the majority of ALL members of the Sanggunian. Quorum should, thus, be based on the total number of members regardless of whether or not a member is said to be abroad.
Therefore, in cases where decisions have been made during sessions deemed to have not met the required quorum, such sessions and decisions shall be considered void.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT; 3-TERM LIMIT

RAYMUNDO ADORMEO VS. COMELEC, ET AL.
G.R. No. 147927. February 4, 2002

Facts: Respondent Talaga was elected Mayor of Lucena City in 1992, re-elected in 1995, but lost to Tagarao in 1998 elections. Tagarao was recalled and in the May 12, 2000 recall elections, Talaga won and served the unexpired term of Tagarao until June 30, 2001. Talaga was candidate for Mayor in the May 14, 2001 elections, and a petition for cancellation of his certificate of candidacy was filed on the ground that he has served as Mayor for three consecutive terms.

Issue: Whether or not Talaga has served as Mayor of Lucena City for three consecutive terms.

Held: The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office. He must also have been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply.
In the case at bar, Talaga did not serve for 3 consecutive terms. For nearly 2 years, he was a private citizen. The continuity of his mayorship was disrupted by his defeat in the 1998 elections.
“If one is elected representative to serve the unexpired term of another, that unexpired term, no matter how short, will be considered one term for the purpose of computing the number of successive terms allowed”—this comment of Constitutional Commissioner Fr. Bernas applies only to members of the House of Representatives. Unlike government officials, there is no recall election for members of Congress.

PUBLIC OFFICERS; ANTI-GRAFT

MAYOR ALVIN GARCIA VS. HON. PRIMO. MIRA, ET AL.
G.R. No. 148944. February 5, 2003

Facts: City Mayor Garcia was charged by Ombudsman Special Prosecution Officer Jesus Rodrigo Tagaan for violation of the Anti-Graft Law as a result of his having entered into a contract with F.E. Zuellig for the supply of asphalt batching plant for three years. The joint affidavits of State Auditors Cabreros and Quejada alleged that petitioner entered into the contract without available funds appropriated to cover the expenditure in violation of Sections 85 and 86 of P.D. 1445 or the State Audit Code of the Phil.; that petitioner exceeded the authority granted him by the Sangguniang Panlungsod; and that the contract is manifestly disadvantageous to the City. Note however that thereafter, Special Prosecution Officer Tagaan resigned from his office and his name was withdrawn as complainant in the case. Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, Garcia filed with the Supreme Court a petition to prohibit the Ombudsman from conducting the preliminary investigation on the ground that there is no sufficient complaint.

Issue: Whether or not the complaint/affidavits filed against Garcia is sufficient in form or manner.

Held: For purposes of initiating a preliminary investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman, a complaint in any form or manner is sufficient. The Constitution states that the Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the government. In Almonte vs. Vasquez, 244 SCRA 286, we held that even unverified and anonymous letters may suffice to start an investigation. The Office of the Ombudsman is different from the other investigatory and prosecutory agencies of the government because those subject to its jurisdiction are public officials who, through official pressure and influence, can quash, delay, or dismiss investigations against them. The joint affidavits of State Auditors Cabreros and Quejada contain allegations specific enough for petitioner to prepare his evidence and counter-arguments.
The fact that Special Prosecution Officer Tagaan already resigned from his office and that his name was withdrawn as complainant in the case is of no consequence. First, Tagaan’s report and affidavit still form part of the records of the case. He can still be called by subpoena, if necessary. Second, Tagaan was only a nominal party whose duty as special prosecutor was to investigate the commission of crimes and file the corresponding complaint whenever warranted. Since the illegal acts committed are public offenses, the real complainant is the State, which is represented by the remaining complainants.

PUBLIC OFFICERS; APPOINTMENT; CONFIRMATION BY COA

ATTY. ELPIDIO SORIANO III VS. REUBEN LISTA, ET AL.
G.R. No. 153881. March 24, 2003

Facts: Eight officers of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were promoted by the President to Vice Admiral, Rear Admiral, Commodore, Naval Captain, and they assumed office without confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (COA). Petitioner, as a taxpayer, filed a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of their assumption of office, which requires confirmation of the COA.

Held: Petitioner has no locus standi. A party bringing a suit challenging the constitutionality of an act or statute must show not only that the law or act is invalid, but also that he has sustained, or is in immediate or imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. The instant petition cannot even be classified as a taxpayer’s suit because petitioner has no interest as such and this case does not involve the exercise by Congress of its taxing power.
Pursuant to Executive Order of President Ramos, the PCG was transferred from the Department of National Defense to the Office of the President, and later to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

examination sample


1. What is a Bicameral Conference Committee? What is its function?
Under the provisions of both the Rules of the House of Representatives and Senate Rules, the Bicameral Conference Committee is mandated to settle the differences between the disagreeing provisions in the House bill and the Senate bill. The term “settle” is synonymous to “reconcile” and “harmonize.”[25] To reconcile or harmonize disagreeing provisions, the Bicameral Conference Committee may then (a) adopt the specific provisions of either the House bill or Senate bill, (b) decide that neither provisions in the House bill or the provisions in the Senate bill would be carried into the final form of the bill, and/or (c) try to arrive at a compromise between the disagreeing provisions.
2. What is a “no amendment rule”? What is its applicable use and limitations in the passing of a bill or its approval into law?
Article VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the Constitution, states:
No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.
Petitioners’ argument that the practice where a bicameral conference committee is allowed to add or delete provisions in the House bill and the Senate bill after these had passed three readings is in effect a circumvention of the “no amendment rule” (Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution), fails to convince the Court to deviate from its ruling in the Tolentino case that:
Nor is there any reason for requiring that the Committee’s Report in these cases must have undergone three readings in each of the two houses. If that be the case, there would be no end to negotiation since each house may seek modification of the compromise bill. . . .

Art. VI. § 26 (2) must, therefore, be construed as referring only to bills introduced for the first time in either house of Congress, not to the conference committee report.[32] (Emphasis supplied)
The Court reiterates here that the “no-amendment rule” refers only to the procedure to be followed by each house of Congress with regard to bills initiated in each of said respective houses, before said bill is transmitted to the other house for its concurrence or amendment. Verily, to construe said provision in a way as to proscribe any further changes to a bill after one house has voted on it would lead to absurdity as this would mean that the other house of Congress would be deprived of its constitutional power to amend or introduce changes to said bill. Thus, Art. VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the Constitution cannot be taken to mean that the introduction by the Bicameral Conference Committee of amendments and modifications to disagreeing provisions in bills that have been acted upon by both houses of Congress is prohibited.

3. When an international law is made part of the law of the land, pursuant to the doctrine of incorporation, what then is the standing of international law vis-à-vis our national law in the municipal sphere? How did the Supreme Court rule on this matter in the case of Ichong v. Hernandez and Gonzales v. Hechanova? Explain your answer.
A rather recent formulation of the relation of international law vis-à-vis municipal law was expressed in Philip Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, to wit:
xxx Withal, the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of international law over national law in the municipal sphere. Under the doctrine of incorporation as applied in most countries, rules of international law are given a standing equal, not superior, to national legislation.
This is not exactly helpful in solving the problem at hand since in trying to find a middle ground, it favors neither one law nor the other, which only leaves the hapless seeker with an unsolved dilemma. Other more traditional approaches may offer valuable insights.
From the perspective of public international law, a treaty is favored over municipal law pursuant to the principle of pacta sunt servanda. Hence, “[e]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.” Further, a party to a treaty is not allowed to “invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.”
Our Constitution espouses the opposing view. Witness our jurisdiction as stated in section 5 of Article VIII:
The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
xxx xxx xxx xxx
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and order of lower courts in:
(A) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
xxx xxx xxx xxx
In Ichong v. Hernandez, we ruled that the provisions of a treaty are always subject to qualification or amendment by a subsequent law, or that it is subject to the police power of the State. In Gonzales v. Hechanova,
xxx As regards the question whether an international agreement may be invalidated by our courts, suffice it to say that the Constitution of the Philippines has clearly settled it in the affirmative, by providing, in Section 2 of Article VIII thereof, that the Supreme Court may not be deprived “of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error as the law or the rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in —(1) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question.” In other words, our Constitution authorizes the nullification of a treaty, not only when it conflicts with the fundamental law, but, also, when it runs counter to an act of Congress.
4.Distinguish pardon from amnesty: (a) grantor (b) kind of act (c) judicial notice (d) conviction (e) forward
In the case of People vs. Casido, the difference between pardon and amnesty is given:
"Pardon is granted by the Chief Executive and as such it is a private act which must be pleaded and proved by the person pardoned, because the courts take no notice thereof; while amnesty by Proclamation of the Chief Executive with the concurrence of Congress, is a public act of which the courts should take judicial notice. Pardon is granted to one after conviction; while amnesty is granted to classes of persons or communities who may be guilty of political offenses, generally before or after the institution of the criminal prosecution and sometimes after conviction. Pardon looks forward and relieves the offender from the consequences of an offense of which he has been convicted, that is, it abolishes or forgives the punishment, and for that reason it does 'not work the restoration of the rights to hold public office, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the pardon,' and it 'in no case exempts the culprit from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence' (Article 36, Revised Penal Code). While amnesty looks backward and abolishes and puts into oblivion the offense itself, it so overlooks and obliterates the offense with which he is charged that the person released by amnesty stands before the law precisely as though he had committed no offense."
5. Accused-appellant Jose Patriarca, Jr., with the aliases of "Ka Django," "Carlos Narra" and "Ka Jessie," appeals the decision of the Regional Trial Court at Sorsogon, Sorsogon, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 2773 entitled "People of the Philippines versus Jose Patriarca, Jr. alias 'Ka Django,' 'Carlos Narra,' 'Ka Jessie,' and 21 John Does" convicting him of murder and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua. Accused-appellant applied for amnesty under Proclamation No. 724 amending Proclamation No. 347, dated March 25, 1994, entitled "Granting Amnesty to Rebels, Insurgents, and All Other Persons Who Have or May Have Committed Crimes Against Public Order, Other Crimes Committed in Furtherance of Political Ends, and Violations of the Article of War, and Creating a National Amnesty Commission."
Question: (1) Based on the above-mentioned facts, is it within the power of the President to grant him amnesty despite the fact that there is still a pending appeal of his conviction? Explain.
ANSWER: Yes. Amnesty can be granted in any stage of the proceedings, hence even if there is still a pending appeal of his conviction.
6. During the public hearings conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (hereafter called the Committee), it appeared that the AFP-RSBS purchased a lot in General Santos City, designated as Lot X, MR-1160, for P10,500.00 per square meter from private respondent Atty. Nilo J. Flaviano. However, the deed of sale filed with the Register of Deeds indicated that the purchase price of the lot was only P3,000.00 per square meter.
The Committee thereafter caused the service of a subpoena to respondent Atty. Flaviano, directing him to appear and testify before it. Respondent refused to appear at the hearing. Instead, he filed a petition for prohibition and preliminary injunction with prayer for temporary restraining order with the Regional Trial Court of General Santos City, Branch 23, which was docketed as SP Civil Case No. 496.
Question: If you were the Judge concerned, will you grant the Temporary Restraining Order, or eventually the petition for Prohibition? Explain.
ANSWER: The Judge should not grant the TRO, since that will be considered an an interference of the Judiciary over the affairs of Congress in its exercise of its investigations in aid of legislation.
7. Realizing the unfairness of the discrimination against the members of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Commissions, Congress approved in 1990 a bill for the reenactment of the repealed provisions of Republic Act No. 1797 and Republic Act No. 3595. Congress was under the impression that Presidential Decree 644 became law after it was published in the Official Gazette on April 7, 1977. In the explanatory note of House Bill No. 16297 and Senate Bill No. 740, the legislature saw the need to reenact Republic Act Nos. 1797 and 3595 to restore said retirement pensions and privileges of the retired Justices and members of the Constitutional Commissions, in order to assure those serving in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Constitutional Commissions adequate old age pensions even during the time when the purchasing power of the peso has been diminished substantially by worldwide recession or inflation. This is underscored by the fact that the petitioner retired Chief Justice, a retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and the retired Presiding Justice are presently receiving monthly pensions of P3,333.33, P2,666.66 and P2,333.33 respectively.
President Aquino, however vetoed House Bill No. 16297 on July 11, 1990 on the ground that according to her "it would erode the very foundation of the Government's collective effort to adhere faithfully to and enforce strictly the policy on standardization of compensation as articulated in Republic Act No. 6758 known as Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989." She further said that "the Government should not grant distinct privileges to select group of officials whose retirement benefits under existing laws already enjoy preferential treatment over those of the vast majority of our civil service servants."
Question: Is the exercise of the veto power of the president in this particular case valid? Explain.
ANSWER: The exercise of his veto power in this particular case is invalid.
“In the case at bar, the veto of these specific provisions in the General Appropriations Act is tantamount to dictating to the Judiciary how its funds should be utilized, which is clearly repugnant to fiscal autonomy. The freedom of the Chief Justice to make adjustments in the utilization of the funds appropriated for the expenditures of the judiciary, including the use of any savings from any particular item to cover deficits or shortages in other items of the Judiciary is withheld. Pursuant to the Constitutional mandate, the Judiciary must enjoy freedom in the disposition of the funds allocated to it in the appropriations law. It knows its priorities just as it is aware of the fiscal restraints. The Chief Justice must be given a free hand on how to augment appropriations where augmentation is needed.” (G.R. No. 103524 April 15, 1992CESAR BENGZON, QUERUBE MAKALINTAL, LINO M. PATAJO, JOSE LEUTERIO, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.HON. FRANKLIN N. DRILON, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of Department of Budget and Management, and HON. ROSALINA CAJUCOM, in her capacity as National Treasurer, respondents.)
8. (a) Where is executive power vested? (b) Is executive power defined under the 1987 Constitution? (c) Is it accurate to say that executive power is the power to enforce the laws? Explain.
As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is meant by "executive power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws, the appointing power, the powers under the commander-in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to enter into treaties or international agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to address Congress [Art. VII, Secs. 14-23]. LLphil
The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the Constitution intend that the President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are these enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has enumerated powers, and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius." [Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4; Rollo p. 233.] This argument brings to mind the institution of the U. S. Presidency after which ours is legally patterned.
XXX It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.
On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated.
9. The essence of due process is distilled in the immortal cry of Themistocles to Alcibiades "Strike — but hear me first!" It is this cry that the petitioner in effect repeats here as he challenges the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 626-A.
The said executive order reads in full as follows:
WHEREAS, the President has given orders prohibiting the interprovincial movement of carabaos and the slaughtering of carabaos not complying with the requirements of Executive Order No. 626 particularly with respect to age;
WHEREAS, it has been observed that despite such orders the violators still manage to circumvent the prohibition against inter-provincial movement of carabaos by transporting carabeef instead; and
WHEREAS, in order to achieve the purposes and objectives of Executive Order No. 626 and the prohibition against interprovincial movement of carabaos, it is necessary to strengthen the said Executive Order and provide for the disposition of the carabaos and carabeef subject of the violation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby promulgate the following:
SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 626 is hereby amended such that henceforth, no carabao regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose and no carabeef shall be transported from one province to another. The carabao or carabeef transported in violation of this Executive Order as amended shall be subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the government, to be distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commission may ay see fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit, in the case of carabaos.
SECTION 2. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 25th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty.
(SGD.) FERDINAND E. MARCOS
President
Republic of the Philippines
The petitioner had transported six carabaos in a pump boat from Masbate to Iloilo on January 13, 1984, when they were confiscated by the police station commander of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, for violation of the above measure. 1 The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ of replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After considering the merits of the case, the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order, as raise by the petitioner, for lack of authority and also for its presumed validity. 2 Questions: (1) Is the court correct in declining to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order? (2) Is the E.O. constitutional? (3) If unconstitutional, would it be proper to rule that the police station commander should be compelled to return the value of the confiscated carabao to petitioner? Explain.
AnswerL1) The court is wrong. The municipal trial court is an established court created by law and possesses judicial power, which of course, includes the power to determine whether any part of the government gravely abused its discretion. (2) In the case of Ynot v. IAC, the SC declared it as unconstitutional. (3) The Station Commander however cannot be compelled to return the value of the carabao, pursuant to the doctrine of operative fact (i.e. he was just merely doing his duty when the law was still considered as constitutional). Thus the SC said: To sum up then, we find that the challenged measure is an invalid exercise of the police power because the method employed to conserve the carabaos is not reasonably necessary to the purpose of the law and, worse, is unduly oppressive. Due process is violated because the owner of the property confiscated is denied the right to be heard in his defense and is immediately condemned and punished. The conferment on the administrative authorities of the power to adjudge the guilt of the supposed offender is a clear encroachment on judicial functions and militates against the doctrine of separation of powers. There is, finally, also an invalid delegation of legislative powers to the officers mentioned therein who are granted unlimited discretion in the distribution of the properties arbitrarily taken. For these reasons, we hereby declare Executive Order No. 626-A unconstitutional.
We agree with the respondent court, however, that the police station commander who confiscated the petitioner's carabaos is not liable in damages for enforcing the executive order in accordance with its mandate. The law was at that time presumptively valid, and it was his obligation, as a member of the police, to enforce it. It would have been impertinent of him, being a mere subordinate of the President, to declare the executive order unconstitutional and, on his own responsibility alone, refuse to execute it. Even the trial court, in fact, and the Court of Appeals itself did not feel they had the competence, for all their superior authority, to question the order we now annul.
The Court notes that if the petitioner had not seen fit to assert and protect his rights as he saw them, this case would never have reached us and the taking of his property under the challenged measure would have become a fait accompli despite its invalidity. We commend him for his spirit. Without the present challenge, the matter would have ended in that pump boat in Masbate and another violation of the Constitution, for all its obviousness, would have been perpetrated, allowed without protest, and soon forgotten in the limbo of relinquished rights.
The strength of democracy lies not in the rights it guarantees but in the courage of the people to invoke them whenever they are ignored or violated. Rights are but weapons on the wall if, like expensive tapestry, all they do is embellish and impress. Rights, as weapons, must be a promise of protection. They become truly meaningful, and fulfill the role assigned to them in the free society, if they are kept bright and sharp with use by those who are not afraid to assert them.
10. The Roppongi property was acquired from the Japanese government under the Second Year Schedule and listed under the heading "Government Sector", through Reparations Contract No. 300 dated June 27, 1958. The Roppongi property consists of the land and building "for the Chancery of the Philippine Embassy". As intended, it became the site of the Philippine Embassy until the latter was transferred to Nampeidai on July 22, 1976 when the Roppongi building needed major repairs. Due to the failure of our government to provide necessary funds, the Roppongi property has remained undeveloped since that time.
Questions: (1) What is the nature of the Roppongi property?
(2) Can the Roppongi property be alienated by the Philippine Government?
(3) Does the Chief Executive, her officers and agents, have the authority and jurisdiction, to sell the Roppongi property? Explain.
Answer: (1)The nature of the Roppongi lot as property for public service is expressly spelled out. It is dictated by the terms of the Reparations Agreement and the corresponding contract of procurement which bind both the Philippine government and the Japanese government.
There can be no doubt that it is of public dominion unless it is convincingly shown that the property has become patrimonial. This, the respondents have failed to do.
(2) As property of public dominion, the Roppongi lot is outside the commerce of man. It cannot be alienated. Its ownership is a special collective ownership for general use and enjoyment, an application to the satisfaction of collective needs, and resides in the social group. The purpose is not to serve the State as a juridical person, but the citizens; it is intended for the common and public welfare and cannot be the object of appropration. (Taken from 3 Manresa, 66-69; cited in Tolentino, Commentaries on the Civil Code of the Philippines, 1963 Edition, Vol. II, p. 26).
The applicable provisions of the Civil Code are:
ART. 419. Property is either of public dominion or of private ownership.
ART. 420. The following things are property of public dominion
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks shores roadsteads, and others of similar character;
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth.
ART. 421. All other property of the State, which is not of the character stated in the preceding article, is patrimonial property.
The Roppongi property is correctly classified under paragraph 2 of Article 420 of the Civil Code as property belonging to the State and intended for some public service.
(3) it is not for the President to convey valuable real property of the government on his or her own sole will. Any such conveyance must be authorized and approved by a law enacted by the Congress. It requires executive and legislative concurrence.(see SALVADOR H. LAUREL, petitioner, vs.RAMON GARCIA, as head of the Asset Privatization Trust, RAUL MANGLAPUS, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and CATALINO MACARAIG, as Executive Secretary, respondents.G.R. No. 92047 July 25, 1990 )