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THELMA P. GAMINDE, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT and/or Hon. CELSO D. GANGAN, Hon. RAUL C.

FLORES and EMMANUEL M. DALMAN, respondents. FACTS: On June 11, 1993, the President of the Philippines appointed petitioner Thelma P. Gaminde, ad interim, Commissioner, Civil Service Commission. She assumed office on June 22, 1993, after taking an oath of office. On September 07, 1993, the Commission on Appointment, Congress of the Philippines confirmed the appointment. However, on February 24, 1998, petitioner sought clarification from the Office of the President as to the expiry date of her term of office. In reply to her request, the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, in a letter dated April 07, 1998 opined that petitioners term of office would expire on February 02, 2000, not on February 02, 1999. Relying on said advisory opinion, petitioner remained in Leon, wrote office after February 02, 1999. On February 04, 1999, Chairman Corazon Alma G. de the Commission on Audit requesting opinion on whether or not Commissioner Thelma P. Gaminde and her co-terminous staff may be paid their salaries notwithstanding the expiration of their appointments on February 02, 1999. On February 18, 1999, the General Counsel, Commission on Audit, issued an opinion that the term of Commissioner Gaminde has expired on February 02, 1999 as stated in her appointment conformably with the constitutional intent. Consequently, on March 24, 1999, CSC Resident Auditor Flovitas U. Felipe issued notice of disallowance No. 99002-101 (99), disallowing in audit the salaries and emoluments pertaining to petitioner and her co-terminous staff, effective February 02, 1999. On April 5, 1999, petitioner appealed the disallowance to the Commission on Audit en banc. On June 15, 1999, the Commission on Audit issued Decision dismissing petitioners appeal. The Commission on Audit affirmed the propriety of the disallowance, holding that the issue of petitioners term of office may be properly addressed by mere reference to her appointment paper which set the expiration date on February 02, 1999, and that the Commission is bereft of power to recognize an extension of her term, not even with the implied acquiescence of the Office of the President. In time, petitioner moved for reconsideration; however, on August 17, 1999, the Commission on Audit denied the motion. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: The basic issue raised is whether the term of office of Atty. Thelma P. Gaminde, as Commissioner, Civil Service Commission, to which she was appointed on June 11, 1993, expired on February 02, 1999, as stated in the appointment paper, or on February 02, 2000, as claimed by her. HELD: The term of office of Ms. Thelma P. Gaminde as Commissioner, Civil Service Commission, under an appointment extended to her by President Fidel V. Ramos on June 11, 1993, expired on February 02, 1999. However, she served as de facto officer in good faith until February 02, 2000, and thus entitled to receive her salary and other emoluments for actual service rendered. Consequently, the Commission on Audit erred in disallowing in audit such salary and other emoluments, including that of her co-terminous staff. RATIO: Consequently, the terms of the first Chairmen and Commissioners of the Constitutional Commissions under the 1987 Constitution must start on a common date, irrespective of the variations in the dates of appointments and qualifications of the appointees, in order that the expiration of the first terms of seven, five and three years should lead to the regular recurrence of the two-year interval between the expiration of the terms. Applying the foregoing conditions to the case at bar, we rule that the appropriate starting point of the terms of office of the first appointees to the Constitutional Commissions under the 1987 Constitution must be on February 02, 1987, the date of the adoption of the 1987 Constitution. In case of a belated appointment or qualification, the interval between the start of the term and the actual qualification of the appointee must be counted against the latter. In the law of public officers, there is a settled distinction between term and tenure. [T]he term of an office must be distinguished from the tenure of the incumbent. The term means the time during which the officer may claim to hold office as of right, and fixes the interval after which the several incumbents shall succeed one another. The tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually holds the office. The term of office is not affected by the hold-over. The tenure may be shorter than the term for reasons within or beyond the power of the incumbent. Clearly, the transitory provisions mean that the incumbent members of the Constitutional Commissions shall continue in office for one year after the ratification of this Constitution under their existing appointments at the discretion of the appointing power, who may cut short their tenure by: (1) their removal from office for cause; (2) their becoming incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office, or (3) their appointment to a new term thereunder, all of which events may occur before the end of the one year period after the effectivity of the Constitution. However, the transitory provisions do not affect the term of office fixed in Article IX, providing for a seven-five-three year rotational interval for the first appointees under this Constitution.

ABAKADA GURO PARTY LIST (formerly AASJS)1 OFFICERS/MEMBERS SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, ED VINCENT S. ALBANO, ROMEO R. ROBISO, RENE B. GOROSPE and EDWIN R. SANDOVAL, petitioners, vs. HON. CESAR V. PURISIMA, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance, HON. GUILLERMO L. PARAYNO, JR., in his capacity as Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and HON. ALBERTO D. LINA, in his Capacity as Commissioner of Bureau of Customs, respondents. FACTS: This petition for prohibition seeks to prevent respondents from implementing and enforcing Republic Act (RA) 9335 (Attrition Act of 2005). RA 9335 was enacted to optimize the revenue-generation capability and collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC). The law intends to encourage BIR and BOC officials and employees to exceed their revenue targets by providing a system of rewards and sanctions through the creation of a Rewards and Incentives Fund (Fund) and a Revenue Performance Evaluation Board (Board). It covers all officials and employees of the BIR and the BOC with at least six months of service, regardless of employment status. The DOF, DBM, NEDA, BIR, BOC and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) were tasked to promulgate and issue the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9335, to be approved by a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created for such purpose. Petitioners, invoking their right as taxpayers filed this petition challenging the constitutionality of RA 9335, a tax reform legislation. They contend that, by establishing a system of rewards and incentives, the law "transform[s] the officials and employees of the BIR and the BOC into mercenaries and bounty hunters" as they will do their best only in consideration of such rewards. Petitioners also claim that limiting the scope of the system of rewards and incentives only to officials and employees of the BIR and the BOC violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection. In addition, petitioners assert that the law unduly delegates the power to fix revenue targets to the President as it lacks a sufficient standard on that matter. While Section 7(b) and (c) of RA 9335 provides that BIR and BOC officials may be dismissed from the service if their revenue collections fall short of the target by at least 7.5%, the law does not, however, fix the revenue targets to be achieved. Instead, the fixing of revenue targets has been delegated to the President without sufficient standards. It will therefore be easy for the President to fix an unrealistic and unattainable target in order to dismiss BIR or BOC personnel. Finally, petitioners assail the creation of a congressional oversight committee on the ground that it violates the doctrine of separation of powers. After a careful consideration of the conflicting contentions of the parties, the Court finds that petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption of constitutionality in favor of RA 9335, except as shall hereafter be discussed. In this case, aside from the general claim that the dispute has ripened into a judicial controversy by the mere enactment of the law even without any further overt act, petitioners fail either to assert any specific and concrete legal claim or to demonstrate any direct adverse effect of the law on them. They are unable to show a personal stake in the outcome of this case or an injury to themselves. On this account, their petition is procedurally infirm. HELD: PARTIALLY GRANTED. Section 12 of RA 9335 creating a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to approve the implementing rules and regulations of the law is declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL and therefore NULL and VOID. The constitutionality of the remaining provisions of RA 9335 is UPHELD. Pursuant to Section 13 of RA 9335, the rest of the provisions remain in force and effect. RATIO: Public officers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties. This presumption necessarily obtains in favor of BIR and BOC officials and employees. Public service is its own reward. Nevertheless, public officers may by law be rewarded for exemplary and exceptional performance. A system of incentives for exceeding the set expectations of a public office is not anathema to the concept of public accountability. In fact, it recognizes and reinforces dedication to duty, industry, efficiency and loyalty to public service of deserving government personnel. In addition, RA 9335 establishes safeguards to ensure that the reward will not be claimed if it will be either the fruit of "bounty hunting or mercenary activity" or the product of the irregular performance of official duties. Both the BIR and the BOC are bureaus under the DOF. They principally perform the special function of being the instrumentalities through which the State exercises one of its great inherent functions taxation. Indubitably, such substantial distinction is germane and intimately related to the purpose of the law. Hence, the classification and treatment accorded to the BIR and the BOC under RA 9335 fully satisfy the demands of equal protection. Clearly, RA 9335 in no way violates the security of tenure of officials and employees of the BIR and the BOC. The guarantee of security of tenure only means that an employee cannot be dismissed from the service for causes other than those provided by law and only after due process is accorded the employee. In the case of RA 9335, it lays down a reasonable yardstick for removal (when the revenue collection falls short of the target by at least 7.5%) with due consideration of all relevant factors affecting the level of collection. This standard is analogous to inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties, a ground for disciplinary action under civil service laws. The action for removal is also subject to civil service laws, rules and regulations and compliance with substantive and procedural due process.
Section 12 of RA 9335 provides:SEC. 12. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. There is hereby created a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee composed of seven Members from the Senate and seven Members from the House of Representatives. The Members from the Senate shall be appointed by the Senate President, with at least two senators representing the minority. The Members from the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the Speaker with at least two members representing the minority. After the Oversight Committee will have approved the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) it shall thereafter become functus officio and therefore cease to exist.

The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee in RA 9335 was created for the purpose of approving the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) formulated by the DOF, DBM, NEDA, BIR, BOC and CSC. On May 22, 2006, it approved the said IRR. From then on, it became functus officio and ceased to exist. Hence, the issue of its alleged encroachment on the executive function of implementing and enforcing the law may be considered moot and academic. From the moment the law becomes effective, any provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of powers and is thus unconstitutional. Following this rationale, Section 12 of RA 9335 should be struck down as unconstitutional. While there may be similar provisions of other laws that may be invalidated for failure to pass this standard, the Court refrains from invalidating them wholesale but will do so at the proper time when an appropriate case assailing those provisions is brought before us. The separability clause of RA 9335 reveals the intention of the legislature to isolate and detach any invalid provision from the other provisions so that the latter may continue in force and effect. The valid portions can stand independently of the invalid section. Without Section 12, the remaining provisions still constitute a complete, intelligible and valid law which carries out the legislative intent to optimize the revenue-generation capability and collection of the BIR and the BOC by providing for a system of rewards and sanctions through the Rewards and Incentives Fund and a Revenue Performance Evaluation Board. To be effective, administrative rules and regulations must be published in full if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant to a valid delegation. The IRR of RA 9335 were published on May 30, 2006 in two newspapers of general circulation and became effective 15 days thereafter. Until and unless the contrary is shown, the IRR are presumed valid and effective even without the approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.

RODANTE D. MARCOLETA, Complainant vs. RESURRECCION Z. BORRA AND ROMEO A. BRAWNER, Respondents. FACTS: A Complaint1 for disbarment was filed by Atty. Rodante D. Marcoleta (complainant) against respondents Commissioners Resurreccion Z. Borra (Borra) and Romeo A. Brawner (Brawner) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) charging them with violating Canons 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct2 and Canons 4, 5, 6 and 17 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. During the 2007 National and Local Elections, the warring factions of complainant and Diogenes S. Osabel (Osabel) each filed a separate list of nominees for the party-list group Alagad.1avvphi1With Alagad winning a seat in the House of Representatives, the two protagonists contested the right to represent the party. By Omnibus Resolution of July 18, 2007, the dispute was resolved by the Comelecs First Division in favor of Osabel. Commissioner Borra wrote the ponencia while Commissioner Brawner concurred. The dispute was elevated to the Comelec En Banc which, by Resolution of November 6, 2007, reversed the First Division Resolution and reinstated the certificate of nomination of complainants group. For failing to muster the required majority voting, however, the Comelec ordered the re-hearing of the controversy. Petitioners alleged the gross incompetence and misconduct of the respondents. Complainant filed a Supplemental Complainton February 12, 2008, this time charging respondent Brawner of "tamper[ing] the record of the proceedings in [SPA No. 07-020]" by falsely alleging in an Order dated February 5, 2008 that there had been a re-hearing; that both parties had agreed to simultaneously file their memoranda during the re-hearing; and that the parties filed their respective memoranda. Respondent Brawner, in his Answer dated April 2, 2008, asserted in the main that "the remedy of complainant is not to file a complaint for disbarment, but to file an appeal before [the Supreme Court] via [p]etition for [c]ertiorari," and that being members of a constitutional body enjoying presumption of regularity in the performance of their functions, he and co-respondent Borra "are supposed to be insulated from a disbarment complaint for being impeachable officers." In his Comment, respondent Borra contends that the Code of Judicial Conduct and Canons of Judicial Ethics cannot be made to apply to him and his co-respondent, they not being members of the judiciary; and that since they perform quasi-judicial functions as well as administrative duties, they are bound by the Comelecs own set of internal rules and procedure over and above a Code of Conduct that prescribes the norms and standards of behavior to be observed by the officials and employees of the Comelec, a constitutional body. Respondent Borra further contends that the present complaint is premature as "the validity and legality of the resolutions are still subject to review;" and that the complaint is meant to "harass [him] and punish him for exercising his judgment on the case filed before him." Complainant goes on to charge respondent Borra of violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for collecting his retirement benefits "hurriedly despite knowledge of the existence of criminal and administrative charges against him." Additionally, he charges respondents of culpable violation of the Constitution when they, together with the other members of the Comelec, adjusted their compensation scheme under Resolution No. 7685. HELD: The complaint for disbarment against now deceased Comelec Commissioner Romeo Brawner is DISMISSED for being moot. That against Commissioner Resurreccion Borra is likewise DISMISSED for lack of merit. RATIO: The Court takes notice that respondent Borra retired from the Comelec on February 2, 2008 while respondent Brawner passed away on May 29, 2008. As regards respondent Brawner then, the present case is already moot. An impeachable officer who is a member of the Bar cannot be disbarred without first being impeached. Complainants availment of Section 1 (1) of Article IX-C of the Constitution to skirt this rule is specious. It bears emphasis that the provision that majority of Comelec members should be lawyers pertains to the desired composition of the Comelec. As an impeachable officer who is at the same time a member of the Bar, respondent Borra must first be removed from office via the constitutional route of impeachment before he may be held to answer administratively for his supposed errant resolutions and actions. Respondent Borra having retired from the Comelec does not, of course, necessarily call for the dismissal of the complaint. The Court thus finds respondent Borras contention that the grounds-bases of the disbarment complaint, fastened on supposed errors of judgment or grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts, are proper for an appeal, hence, complainants remedy is judicial, not administrative.lawphil.net As for complainants invocation of Section 58 of Article VII of the Omnibus Election Code reading:The chairman and members of the Commission shall be subject to the canons of judicial ethics in the discharge of their functions. The same relates to the quasi-judicial function of the Comelec, which function rests on judgment or discretion, so that while it is of judicial nature or character, it does not involve the exercise of functions of a judge. The same provision thus directs that in the exercise of the Comelecs quasi-judicial power, the chairman and members should be guided by the canons of judicial ethics. It bears emphasis that the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary applies only to courts of law, of which the Comelec is not, hence, sanctions pertaining to violations thereof are made exclusively applicable to judges and justices in the judiciary, not to quasi-judicial officers like the Comelec chairman and members, who have their own codes of conduct to steer them. Even if the Court were to gauge the assailed actions of respondent Borra under the Code of Professional Responsibility, no specific incidents and sufficient evidence can be gathered to show that respondent did engage in dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct in his capacity as a lawyer. It bears reiteration that the acts particularized in the complaint pertain to respondent Borras duties as a Comelec commissioner. Interestingly, while complainant singled out the participation of respondents Borra and Brawner in the promulgation of the questioned resolutions, he spared the other commissioners who were also signatories to the resolutions.(HULI KA BALBON!)

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and PHOTOKINA MARKETING CORPORATION VERSUS ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO (TWO CONSOLIDATED CASES) G.R. No. 154473 On January 31, 2002, respondent Alfredo L. Benipayo, then Chairman of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), delivered a speech in the Forum on Electoral Problems: Roots and Responses in the Philippines held at the Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines-Diliman Campus, Quezon City. The speech was subsequently published in the February 4 and 5, 2002 issues of the Manila Bulletin. Petitioner charged him of libel. Arguing that he was an impeachable officer, respondent questioned the jurisdiction of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City. Petitioner later filed a Motion for Inhibition and Consolidation, contending that Judge Jaime N. Salazar of Branch 102 could not impartially preside over the case because his appointment to the judiciary was made possible through the recommendation of respondents father-in-law. Petitioner further moved that the case be ordered consolidated with the other libel case pending with Branch 101 of the RTC. While the said motion remained unresolved, respondent, for his part, moved for the dismissal of the case on the assertion that the trial court had no jurisdiction over his person for he was an impeachable officer and thus, could not be criminally prosecuted before any court during his incumbency; and that, assuming he can be criminally prosecuted, it was the Office of the Ombudsman that should investigate him and the case should be filed with the Sandiganbayan. Complaint was dismissed by the RTC. Rule 122 in relation to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the following grounds:THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE FIRST RESOLVED THE MOTION TO INHIBIT BEFORE RESOLVING THE MOTION TO DISMISS; THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL IN THIS CASE WAS COMMITTED BY ACCUSED IN RELATION TO HIS OFFICE; AND THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION IN THIS CASE. G.R. No. 155573 On March 13, 2002, respondent, as COMELEC Chair, and COMELEC Commissioner Luzviminda Tangcangco were guests of the talk show Point Blank, hosted by Ces Drilon and televised nationwide on the ANC-23 channel. Petitioner considered respondents statement as defamatory, and, through its authorized representative, filed a Complaint-Affidavit for libel. Respondent similarly questioned the jurisdiction of the OCP-QC. The City Prosecutor, however, consequently instituted Criminal Case No. Q-02-109406 by filing the corresponding Information with the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 101. Displeased with the rulings of the trial court, petitioners seasonably filed before this Court, on pure questions of law, another Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 122 in relation to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Considering that the two petitions, as aforesaid, involve the same issues and the same parties, the Court, upon the recommendation of the Clerk of Court, consolidated the cases. ISSUE: The core issue for the resolution of the Court in these twin cases is whether the RTC has jurisdiction over libel cases to the exclusion of all other courts. RULING: The Court, however, notes that both parties are working on a wrong premise. The foremost concern, which the parties, and even the trial court, failed to identify, is whether, under our current laws, jurisdiction over libel cases, or written defamations to be more specific, is shared by the RTC with the Sandiganbayan. Indeed, if the said courts do not have concurrent jurisdiction to try the offense, it would be pointless to still determine whether the crime is committed in relation to office. Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Republic Act No. 4363, is explicit on which court has jurisdiction to try cases of written defamations. As we have constantly held in Jalandoni, Bocobo, People v. Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Br. 32, Manzano, and analogous cases, we must, in the same way, declare herein that the law, as it still stands at present, dictates that criminal and civil actions for damages in cases of written defamations shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the RTC to the exclusion of all other courts. A subsequent enactment of a law defining the jurisdiction of other courts cannot simply override, in the absence of an express repeal or modification, the specific provision in the RPC vesting in the RTC, as aforesaid, jurisdiction over defamations in writing or by similar means. The grant to the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over offenses committed in relation to (public) office, similar to the expansion of the jurisdiction of the MTCs, did not divest the RTC of its exclusive and original jurisdiction to try written defamation cases regardless of whether the offense is committed in relation to office. The broad and general phraseology of Section 4, Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Republic Act No. 8249, cannot be construed to have impliedly repealed, or even simply modified, such exclusive and original jurisdiction of the RTC. This Court, therefore, ruled that the consolidated petitions for review on certiorari are GRANTED, and their remand to the respective Regional Trial Courts for further proceedings.

ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner, NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG


PILIPINO, INC., ITS OFFICERS AND MEMBERS, petitioner-in-intervention,WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention, vs.THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THESENATE,REPRESENTED BY SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, respondents.JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-Intervention,SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.AT IBA PANG MGA KASO... (DISCLAIMER:THIS IS A CONSOLIDATION OF 18 CASES. OA

SA DAMI NG PANGALAN KAYA DI KO NA ILALAGAY)

FACTS: On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution,sponsored by Representative Felix William D. Fuentebella, which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)." On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint (first impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes." The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo B. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen,and was referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," but voted to dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for being insufficient in substance.To date, the Committee Report to this effect has not yet been sent to the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on October 23, 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second impeachment complaint was filed with the Secretary General of the Houseby Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B. Fuentebella against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by abovementioned House Resolution. This second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House of Representatives. In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr., alleging that he has a duty as a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to use all available legal remedies to stop an unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus are of transcendental importance, and that he "himself was a victim of the capricious and arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the 12th Congress," posits that his right to bring an impeachment complaint against then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been violated due to the capricious and arbitrary changes in the House Impeachment Rules adopted and approved on November 28, 2001 by the House of Representatives and prays that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 thereof be declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of mandamus directing respondents House of Representatives et. al. to comply with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3) and (5) of the Constitution, to return the second impeachment complaint and/or strike it off the records of the House of Representatives, and to promulgate rules which are consistent with the Constitution; and (3) this Court permanently enjoin respondent House of Representatives from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint. Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction which were filed on or before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and Vitug offered to recuse themselves, but the Court rejected their offer. Justice Panganiban inhibited himself, but the Court directed him to participate. Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a) consolidate them with the earlier consolidated petitions; (b) require respondents to file their comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c) include them for oral arguments on November 5, 2003. On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating that insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are plainly premature and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of the filing of the petitions, no justiciable issue was presented before it since (1) its constitutional duty to constitute itself as an impeachment court commences only upon its receipt of the Articles of Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the principal issues raised by the petitions pertain exclusively to the proceedings in the House of Representatives.

Motions for interventions were filed by different people and sectoral organizations. In discussing these issues, the following may be taken up:

a) locus standi of petitioners; b) ripeness(prematurity; mootness); c) political question/justiciability; d) House's "exclusive" power to initiate all cases of impeachment; e) Senate's "sole" power to try and decide all cases of impeachment; f) constitutionality of the House Rules on Impeachment vis-a-vis Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution; and g) judicial restraint (Italics in the original)

ISSUE: Whether the filing of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the one year bar provided in the Constitution, and whether the resolution thereof is a political question has resulted in a political crisis. Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may be invoked; who can invoke it; on what issues and at what time; and whether it should be exercised by this Court at this time. These petitions raise five substantial issues: I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Second impeachment complaint constitute valid impeachable offenses under the Constitution. II. Whether the second impeachment complaint was filed in accordance with Section 3(4), Article XI of the Constitution. III. Whether the legislative inquiry by the House Committee on Justice into the Judicial Development Fund is an unconstitutional infringement of the constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary. IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the Rules on Impeachment adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution. V. Whether the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution. RULING: This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section 1, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution. As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts as a necessary consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable." As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, judicial review is indeed an integral component of the delicate system of checks and balances which, together with the corollary principle of separation of powers, forms the bedrock of our republican form of government and insures that its vast powers are utilized only for the benefit of the people for which it serves. To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions, this Court must necessarily turn to the Constitution itself which employs the well-settled principles of constitutional construction. First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the intent of its framers. Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution and American authorities cannot be credited to support the proposition that the Senate's "sole power to try and decide impeachment cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the Constitution, is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of all issues pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, to the total exclusion of the power of judicial review to check and restrain any grave abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the interpretation that it necessarily confers upon the Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional questions incident to impeachment proceedings. The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of judicial review is only impliedly granted to the U.S. Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any government branch or instrumentality. There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution with respect to the power of the House of Representatives over impeachment proceedings. While the U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives without limitation, our Constitution, though vesting in the House of Representatives the exclusive power to initiate impeachment cases, provides for several limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section 3(2), (3), (4) and (5), Article XI thereof. These limitations include the

manner of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one year bar on the impeachment of one and the same official. Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for the contention that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings would upset the system of checks and balances. Verily, the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is not to be allowed to defeat another." Both are integral components of the calibrated system of independence and interdependence that insures that no branch of government act beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution. Essential Requisites for Judicial Review

While rights personal to the Chief Justice may have been injured by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives, none of the petitioners before us asserts a violation of the personal rights of the Chief Justice. On the contrary, they invariably invoke the vindication of their own rights as taxpayers; members of Congress; citizens, individually or in a class suit; and members of the bar and of the legal profession which were supposedly violated by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives. When suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a statute must be direct and personal. He must be able to show, not only that the law or any government act is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. While an association has legal personality to represent its members, especially when it is composed of substantial taxpayers and the outcome will affect their vital interests, the mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, although undoubtedly true, does not suffice to clothe it with standing. Its interest is too general. It is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons intervening must be sufficiently numerous to fully protect the interests of all concerned to enable the court to deal properly with all interests involved in the suit, for a judgment in a class suit, whether favorable or unfavorable to the class, is, under the res judicata principle, binding on all members of the class whether or not they were before the court. With respect to the motions for intervention, Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court requires an intervenor to possess a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof.

Ripeness and Prematurity

In Tan v. Macapagal, this Court, through Chief Justice Fernando, held that for a case to be considered ripe for adjudication, "it is a prerequisite that something had by then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture." Only then may the courts pass on the validity of what was done, if and when the latter is challenged in an appropriate legal proceeding. First, the withdrawal by the Representatives of their signatures would not, by itself, cure the House Impeachment Rules of their constitutional infirmity. Neither would such a withdrawal, by itself, obliterate the questioned second impeachment complaint since it would only place it under the ambit of Sections 3(2) and (3) of Article XI of the Constitution and, therefore, petitioners would continue to suffer their injuries. Second and most importantly, the futility of seeking remedies from either or both Houses of Congress before coming to this Court is shown by the fact that, as previously discussed, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with the power to rule with definitiveness on the issue of constitutionality, whether concerning impeachment proceedings or otherwise, as said power is exclusively vested in the judiciary by the earlier quoted Section I, Article VIII of the Constitution. Remedy cannot be sought from a body which is bereft of power to grant it. Justiciability

Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without consistency and seemingly without any rhyme or reason, this Court vacillated on its stance of taking cognizance of cases which involved political questions. In some cases, this Court hid behind the cover of the political question doctrine and refused to exercise its power of judicial review. In other cases, however, despite the seeming political nature of the therein issues involved, this Court assumed jurisdiction whenever it found constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear that judicial power is not only a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere specter of this creature

called the political question doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly political questions." From this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions." Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to be maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature. Of these standards, the more reliable have been the first three: (1) a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; (2) the lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; and (3) the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion. These standards are not separate and distinct concepts but are interrelated to each in that the presence of one strengthens the conclusion that the others are also present. In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly political question from a non-justiciable political question lies in the answer to the question of whether there are constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are, then our courts are duty-bound to examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the government properly acted within such limits. This Court shall thus now apply this standard to the present controversy. Lis Mota

It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that an issue assailing the constitutionality of a governmental act should be avoided whenever possible. Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue of constitutionality unless it is truly unavoidable and is the very lis mota or crux of the controversy. As noted earlier, the instant consolidated petitions, while all seeking the invalidity of the second impeachment complaint, collectively raise several constitutional issues upon which the outcome of this controversy could possibly be made to rest. In determining whether one, some or all of the remaining substantial issues should be passed upon, this Court is guided by the related cannon of adjudication that "the court should not form a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is applied." In sum, this Court holds that the two remaining issues, inextricably linked as they are, constitute the very lis mota of the instant controversy: (1) whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution; and (2) whether, as a result thereof, the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution. Judicial Restraint

The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an option before this Court. Adjudication may not be declined, because this Court is not legally disqualified. Nor can jurisdiction be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the controversy may be referred." Otherwise, this Court would be shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII, Sec. 1(2) of the Constitution. More than being clothed with authority thus, this Court is dutybound to take cognizance of the instant petitions. In the august words of amicus curiae Father Bernas, "jurisdiction is not just a power; it is a solemn duty which may not be renounced. To renounce it, even if it is vexatious, would be a dereliction of duty." The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial review, summarized in Ashwander v. TVA from different decisions of the United States Supreme Court, can be encapsulated into the following categories: 1. that there be absolute necessity of deciding a case 2. that rules of constitutional law shall be formulated only as required by the facts of the case 3. that judgment may not be sustained on some other ground 4. that there be actual injury sustained by the party by reason of the operation of the statute 5. that the parties are not in estoppel 6. that the Court upholds the presumption of constitutionality. As stated previously, parallel guidelines have been adopted by this Court in the exercise of judicial review: 1. actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power 2. the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement 3. the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity 4. the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.136 Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes that the coordinate branches of the government would behave in a lawless manner and not do their duty under the law to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land.

Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure for Impeachment Proceedings adopted by the 12th Congress

The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the interpretation of the term "initiate." Resort to statutory construction is, therefore, in order. That the sponsor of the provision of Section 3(5) of the Constitution, Commissioner Florenz Regalado, who eventually became an Associate Justice of this Court, agreed on the meaning of "initiate" as "to file," as proffered and explained by Constitutional Commissioner Maambong during the Constitutional Commission proceedings, which he (Commissioner Regalado) as amicus curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on the instant petitions held on November 5, 2003 at which he added that the act of "initiating" included the act of taking initial action on the complaint, dissipates any doubt that indeed the word "initiate" as it twice appears in Article XI (3) and (5) of the Constitution means to file the complaint and take initial action on it. As Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate the first action," which jibes with Justice Regalado's position, and that of Father Bernas, who elucidated during the oral arguments of the instant petitions on November 5, 2003. It is thus clear that the framers intended "initiation" to start with the filing of the complaint. In his amicus curiae brief, Commissioner Maambong explained that "the obvious reason in deleting the phrase "to initiate impeachment proceedings" as contained in the text of the provision of Section 3 (3) was to settle and make it understood once and for all that the initiation of impeachment proceedings starts with the filing of the complaint, and the vote of one-third of the House in a resolution of impeachment does not initiate the impeachment proceedings which was already initiated by the filing of a verified complaint under Section 3, paragraph (2), Article XI of the Constitution." The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its ordinary meaning. Thus when a proposal reached the floor proposing that "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary to initiate impeachment proceedings," this was met by a proposal to delete the line on the ground that the vote of the House does not initiate impeachment proceeding but rather the filing of a complaint does. Thus the line was deleted and is not found in the present Constitution. Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules, impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House. Validity of the Second Impeachment Complaint

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution. In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003, the second impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a one-year period. Conclusion

To reiterate what has been already explained, the Court found the existence in full of all the requisite conditions for its exercise of its constitutionally vested power and duty of judicial review over an issue whose resolution precisely called for the construction or interpretation of a provision of the fundamental law of the land. What lies in here is an issue of a genuine constitutional material which only this Court can properly and competently address and adjudicate in accordance with the clear-cut allocation of powers under our system of government. Face-to-face thus with a matter or problem that squarely falls under the Court's jurisdiction, no other course of action can be had but for it to pass upon that problem head on. The Chief Justice is not above the law and neither is any other member of this Court. But just because he is the Chief Justice does not imply that he gets to have less in law than anybody else. The law is solicitous of every individual's rights irrespective of his station in life. WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings which were approved by the House of Representatives on November 28, 2001 are unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. which was filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B. Fuentebella

with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives on October 23, 2003 is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution. VICTORIANO V. OROCIO, petitioner,vs.COMMISSION ON AUDIT, SOFRONIO B. URSAL, MARCOS S. SEGARRA, LEON J. PILAR, JR., and JOSE M. AGUSTIN, respondents. FACTS: On 25 May 1982, an accident occurred at the Malaya Thermal Plant of the National Power Corporation (NPC). An NPC employee, suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns on the lower part of his body while Domingo Abodizo, a casual employee of O.P. Landrito's General Services (OPLGS), a janitorial contractor of the NPC, assigned to the Maintenance Section, suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns on nearly seventy percent (70%) of his body. The injured personnel were brought to the Tanay General Hospital for treatment and were later transferred to Meralco's J.F. Cotton Hospital. Total hospitalization expenses for the treatment of Domingo Abodizo reached P53,802.26.The NPC initially advanced this amount by setting it up as an account receivable from OPLGS deducted on a staggered basis from the latter's billings against NPC until the same was fully satisfied. Subsequently, OPLGS, through its manager Ofelia Landrito, in a letter to Mr. Larry S. Gaerlan, Vice-President, Human Resources & General Services NPC, dated 30 August 1982, requested for a refund of the total amount deducted from their billings representing payment of the advances made by the NPC. In his Memorandum to the VP-HRGS dated 14 September 1982, Atty. C.Q. Crucillo, Assistant Chief Legal Counsel of the NPC, recommended favorable action on the request of the contractor. This was forwarded to the Acting Manager, Metro Manila Regional Center (MMRC) of the NPC. In turn, this opinion was referred to the General Counsel of the NPC for comment. Thereupon, the amount for the hospitalization expenses was refunded to the contractor OPLGS. In Certificate of Settlement and Balances prepared by respondent Jose M. Agustin, Unit Auditor of the Commission on Audit (COA) assigned to the NPCMRRC, on 30 July 1989, the refund of the hospitalization expenses for Domingo Abodizo was disallowed for "[u]nder the NPC-O.P. Landrito contract, there is no employer-employee relationship between the Corporation and the latter's employees." Hence, the NPC is not answerable for such expenses. General Counsel Marcelino C. Ilao of the NPC, in his Memorandum of 6 September 1984, asked for a reconsideration of the aforesaid disallowance. In his memorandum dated 9 January 1985, respondent Agustin informed General Counsel Ilao of the NPC that he is adopting his stand contained in his memorandum to the COA Regional Director dated 9 October 1984 as the answer to the request for reconsideration. The COA Regional Director, herein respondent Leon J. Pilar, Jr., in a Memorandum dated 3 December 1984, confirmed the disallowance and held that the persons determined to be liable should be directed to immediately refund the amount disallowed and/or the proper official be directed to retain any money due them in satisfaction thereof. Petitioner, on 28 September 1986, filed the instant petition seeking to annul and get aside the above-mentioned: a) Memorandum of respondent Agustin dated 9 January 1985; b) Memorandum of respondent Pilar dated 3 December 1984; c) lst indorsement of respondent Agustin, dated 22 March 1985, to the Chairman, COA; d) 3rd indorsement of respondent Segarra dated 24 April 1985; e) 4th indorsement of respondent Ursal, dated 30 May 1985, to the General Counsel of the COA, conforming to the position of Jose M. Agustin; and f) 5th indorsement of the COA General Counsel Nepomuceno, Jr. dated 21 May 1986. and praying for a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin respondents from enforcing the same. In support thereof, petitioner alleges that he prepared the questioned legal opinion in the performance of his official functions as mandated by law. At the time he rendered it, he was the officer-in-charge of the NPC's Office of the General Counsel. Since this function is quasi-judicial in nature, the discretion exercised in the discharge thereof is not subject to reexamination or controversion by the respondents; when the latter did what was proscribed, they in effect usurped the statutory function of the General Counsel of the NPC. There is no law which expressly authorizes the respondents to reexamine or controvert the General Counsel's opinion. Petitioner additionally stresses that he is not personally liable for the amount disallowed as he was merely performing his official functions. In the Resolution of 6 October 1986, this Court dismissed the petition "for having been filed out of time . . . and for late payment of the legal fees . . ." Acting on petitioner's motion for reconsideration, this Court, on 22 June 1987, granted the motion, reinstated the petition and required the respondents to comment on the same. ISSUES: The principal issues raised in this case are: (1) Does the legal opinion of petitioner, which was relied upon for the disbursement in question, preclude or bar the COA from disallowing in post-audit such disbursement? (2) Has the General Counsel of the COA the authority to decide a motion to reconsider the disallowance in question? (3) Is the petitioner personally liable for the disallowance on the theory that the disbursement was made on the basis thereof?

RULING: As to the first, We find petitioner's proposition to be a bit outlandish; he overrates the power of the General Counsel of the NPC and belittles the authority of the COA. While it may be true that Section 15-A of R.A. No. 6395 (charter of the NPC) provides that all legal matters shall be handled by the General Counsel of the Corporation, it by no means follows that all legal opinions of the General Counsel are ex-cathedra and binding upon all. In short, said provision does not confer upon him any degree of infallibility. It would have been dangerous if it were otherwise for not only would he be able to inextricably and unjustly bind the corporation or compel it to abide by his legal opinion even if it were wrong, he would also subordinate this Court to such opinion even if this Court is the final authority on how the law should be read. Petitioner's theory destroys the very essence of the public trust character of a public office. The NPC, as a government-owned corporation, is under the COA's audit power. Under the 1973 Constitution, which was the Constitution in force at the time the disallowance in question was made, the COA had the power to, inter alia, examine, audit, and settle, in accordance with law and regulations, all accounts pertaining to the revenues and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations; and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations including those for the prevention of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, or extravagant expenditures or uses of funds or property. In the instant case, on the basis of the pertinent documents attached to the pleadings, the COA auditor had every reason to believe that the disbursement of P53,802.26 by the NPC as a refund to the OPLGS for the hospitalization expenses of Abodizo, on the theory that the NPC was actually liable under the law on quasi-delict, as determined by the petitions, was irregular, if not illegal. On the contrary, in its letter of 30 August 1982, the OPLGS admitted that the "incident was purely accidental in nature," but that "considering that the accident took place within the premises of the National Power Corporation and the cause of which was the Tube leaks of HPH 5B, which was still undergoing repair, it is but proper that cost of hospital bills and other expenses incurred by MR. DOMINGO ABODIZO be shouldered by the National Power Corporation." Respondent Agustin then cannot be faulted when in his Certificate of Settlement and Balances No. 01-04-83, he disallowed NPC's questioned disbursement. However, in his notation as to the persons to be liable therefor. Petitioner was not found to be liable. Clearly, therefore, the motion for reconsideration became a matter for the COA to resolve or decide. Under the provisions of the Constitution then in force, the COA was bound to decide it within sixty (60) days from the date of its submission for resolution. The COA, both under the 1973 and 1987 Constitution, is a collegial body. It must resolve cases presented to it as such. Its General Counsel cannot act for the Commission for he is not even a Commissioner thereof. He can only offer legal advice or render an opinion in order to aid the COA in the resolution of a case or a legal question. What Mr. Nepomuceno should have done was to render the opinion precisely sought for in the preceding 4th indorsement of respondent Ursal dated 30 May 1985, and submit the same to the Commission for the latter's guidance in resolving the motion for reconsideration.Respondent Agustin, therefore, acted prematurely and with undue haste in implementing the disallowance against the parties allegedly liable therefor on the basis of the favorable opinion of Mr. Nepomuceno who, incidentally, merely concurred with his (Agustin's) 22 March 1985 indorsement. In the instant case, while it may perhaps be true that the petitioner had rendered the opinion which was relied upon for the disbursement, it cannot be said that he was directly responsible therefor. His was only a legal opinion which the governing board of the NPC or any of its authorized officials could adopt or reject in the resolution of the request of OPLGS for reimbursement. As earlier indicated, there is no showing at all that such governing board or any authorized official formally approved the request and granted the authority to make the refund. Respondent then was originally correct in excluding petitioner from the Certificate of Settlement and Balances. It does not necessarily follow, however, that in no case may the petitioner be liable for his legal opinion. As the then officer-in-charge of the Office of the General Counsel of NPC, he exercised quasi judicial functions. He was empowered with discretion and authority to render an opinion as to whether the claim for reimbursement by the OPLGS was proper and ultimately, to determine if the NPC or any of its employees was responsible for the accident and, therefore, liable for the injury suffered by Abodizo under the law on quasi-delict. If he rendered the opinion in the just performance of his official duties and within the scope of his assigned tasks, he would not be personally liable for any injury that may result therefrom. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The challenged 5th endorsement of the General Counsel of the respondent Commission on Audit, dated 21 May 1986, Memorandum of respondent Agustin of 30 June 1986, insofar, as it holds petitioner personally liable for the disallowed disbursement and the Debit Memo, dated 22 July 1986, of the Manager of the Accounting Department of the National Power Corporation, are hereby set aside for being null and void.

REPUBLIC ACT No. 7975 AN ACT TO STRENGTHEN THE FUNCTIONAL AND STRUCTURAL ORGANIZATION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, AMENDING FOR THAT PURPOSE PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606, AS AMENDED Section 1. Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Executive Order No. 184, is hereby further amended to read as follows: "Sec. 3. Division of the Court; Quorum. - The Sandiganbayan shall sit in five (5) divisions of three justices each. The five (5) may sit at the same time. "The first three divisions shall be stationed in the Metro Manila area, the fourth division shall be in Cebu City for cases coming from the Visayas region, and the fifth division shall be in Cagayan de Oro City for cases coming from the Mindanao region. "Three Justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions in divisions: Provided, That when the required quorum for the particular division cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, the Presiding Justice may designate an Associate Justice of the Court, to be determined by strict rotation on the basis of the reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said division with all the rights and prerogatives of a regular member of said division in the trial and determination of a case or cases assigned thereto, unless the operation of the court will be prejudiced thereby, in which case, the President shall, upon the recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice or Justices of the Court of Appeals to sit temporarily therein." Section 2. Section 4 of the same Decree is hereby further amended to read as follows: "Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving: "a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense: "(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: "(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads; "(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; "(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher; "(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; "(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank; "(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor; "(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations; "(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989; "(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; "(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and "(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989; "b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office.

"c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. "In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. "The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the final judgments, resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying positions lower than salary grade "27", or not otherwise covered by the preceding enumeration. "The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction, and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction: Provided, That the jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court. "The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the people of the Philippines except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. "In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them. "Any provision of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall at all times be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned." Section 3. Section 7 of the same decree is hereby amended to read as follows: "Sec. 7. Form, Finality and Enforcement of Decisions. - All decisions and final orders determining the merits of a case or finally disposing of the action or proceedings of the Sandiganbayan shall contain complete findings of the facts and the law on which they are based, on all issues properly raised before it and necessary in deciding the case. "A petition for reconsideration of any final order or decision may be filed within fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice of the final order or judgment, and such motion for reconsideration shall be decided within thirty (30) days from submission thereon. "Decisions and final orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Whenever, in any case decided by the Sandiganbayan, the penalty of reclusion perpetua or higher is imposed, the decision shall be appealable to the Supreme Court in the manner prescribed in the Rules of Court. In case the penalty imposed is death, review by the Supreme Court shall be automatic, whether or not the accused filed an appeal. "Judgments and orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be executed and enforced in the manner provided by law. "Decisions and final orders of other courts, in cases cognizable by said courts under this Act shall be appealable to the Sandiganbayan within fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice to the parties." Section 4. Section 9 of the same Decree is hereby amended to read as follows: "Sec. 9. Rules of Procedure. - The Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court shall apply to all cases and proceedings filed with the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan shall have no power to promulgate its own rules of procedure, except to adopt internal rules governing the allotment of cases among the divisions, the rotation of justices among them, and other matters relating to the internal operations of the court which shall be inforced until repealed or modified by the Supreme Court." Section 5. Section 10 of the same Decree is hereby repealed. Section 6. Presidential Decrees Nos. 1486, 1606 and 1861, Executive Orders Nos. 101 and 184 and all other laws, decrees, orders and rules of which are inconsistent therewith are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. Section 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts. Section 8. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

Art X Section 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays, shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions. ARTICLE IX D. THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT Section 1. (1) There shall be a Commission on Audit composed of a Chairman and two Commissioners, who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, Certified Public Accountants with not less than ten years of auditing experience, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment. At no time shall all Members of the Commission belong to the same profession. (2) The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for seven years, one Commissioner for five years, and the other Commissioner for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity. Section 2. (1) The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, and on a post- audit basis: (a) constitutional bodies, commissions and offices that have been granted fiscal autonomy under this Constitution; (b) autonomous state colleges and universities; (c) other government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; and (d) such non-governmental entities receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the Government, which are required by law or the granting institution to submit to such audit as a condition of subsidy or equity. However, where the internal control system of the audited agencies is inadequate, the Commission may adopt such measures, including temporary or special pre-audit, as are necessary and appropriate to correct the deficiencies. It shall keep the general accounts of the Government and, for such period as may be provided by law, preserve the vouchers and other supporting papers pertaining thereto. (2) The Commission shall have exclusive authority, subject to the limitations in this Article, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods required therefor, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds and properties. Section 3. No law shall be passed exempting any entity of the Government or its subsidiaries in any guise whatever, or any investment of public funds, from the jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit. Section 4. The Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress, within the time fixed by law, an annual report covering the financial condition and operation of the Government, its subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and non-governmental entities subject to its audit, and recommend measures necessary to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. It shall submit such other reports as may be required by law. ARTICLE VII Section 13. The President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly, practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office. The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of the President shall not, during his tenure, be appointed as Members of the Constitutional Commissions, or the Office of the Ombudsman, or as Secretaries, Undersecretaries, chairmen or heads of bureaus or offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries. Art. XVIII Section 17. Until the Congress provides otherwise, the President shall receive an annual salary of three hundred thousand pesos; the Vice-President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, two hundred forty thousand pesos each; the Senators, the Members of the House of Representatives, the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and the Chairmen of the Constitutional Commissions, two hundred four thousand pesos each; and the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, one hundred eighty thousand pesos each. ART XI Section 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

ART VI Section 20. The President may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. The Monetary Board shall, within thirty days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the Congress a complete report of its decision on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the Government or government-owned and controlled corporations which would have the effect of increasing the foreign debt, and containing other matters as may be provided by law.