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Aratuc vs.

COMELEC
88 SCRA 251

FACTS: On April 7, 1978, election for the position of Representative to the Batasang
Pambansa were held throughout the Philippines. The cases at bar concern only the
results of the elections in Region XII which comprises the provinces of Lanao Del Sur,
Lanao Del Norte, Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, and the cities of
Marawi, Iligan and Cotabato. Tomatic Aratuc sought the suspension of the canvass then
being undertaken by Regional Board of Canvassers in Cotabato City and in which, the
returns in 1,966 out of 4,107 voting centers in the whole region had already been
canvassed showing partial results. A Supervening Panel headed by Commissioner of
Election Hon. Venancio S. Duque had conducted the hearings of the complaints of the
petitioners therein of the alleged irregularities in the election records of the mentioned
provinces. On July 11, 1978, the Regional Board of Canvassers issued a resolution, over
the objection of the Konsensiya ng Bayan candidates, declaring all the eight Kilusan ng
Bagong Lipunan candidates elected. Appeal was taken by the KB candidates to the
Comelec. On January 13, 1979, the Comelec issued its questioned resolution declaring
seven KBL candidates and one KB candidate as having obtained the first eight places,
and ordering the Regional Board of Canvassers to proclaim the winning candidates. The
KB candidates interposed the present petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Comelec has committed grave abuse of discretion,
amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

HELD: “As the Superior administrative body having control over boards of canvassers,
the Comelec may review the actuations of the Regional Board of Canvassers, such as by
extending its inquiry beyond the election records of the voting centers in questions.”
“The authority of the Commission is in reviewing such actuations does not spring from
any appellant jurisdiction conferred by any provisions of the law, for there is none such
provision anywhere in the election Code, but from the plenary prerogative of direct control
and supervision endowed to it by the provisions in Section 168. And in administrative law,
it is a too well settled postulate to need any supporting citation here, that a superior body
or office having supervision and control over another may do directly what the latter is
supposed to do or ought to have done.
EXACT WORDS:
Under Section 168 of the Revised Election Code of 1978, "the Commission (on Elections)
shall have direct control and supervision on over the board of canvassers" and that
relatedly, Section 175 of the same Code provides that it "shall be the sole judge of all pre-
proclamation controversies." While nominally, the procedure of bringing to the
Commission objections to the actuations of boards of canvassers has been quite loosely
referred to in certain quarters, even by the Commission and by this Court, such as in the
guidelines of May 23,1978 quoted earlier in this opinion, as an appeal, the fact of the
matter is that the authority of the Commission in reviewing such actuations does not
spring from any appellate jurisdiction conferred by any specific provision of law, for there
is none such provision anywhere in the Election Code, but from the plenary prerogative
of direct control and supervision endowed to it by the above-quoted provisions of Section
168. And in administrative law, it is a too well settled postulate to need any supporting
citation here, that a superior body or office having supervision and control over another
may do directly what the latter is supposed to do or ought to have done.
Comelec correctly and commendably asserted its statutory authority born of its
envisaged constitutional duties vis-a-vis the preservation of the purity of elections and
electoral processes and p in doing what petitioner it should not have done. Incidentally, it
cannot be said that Comelec went further than even what Aratuc et al. have asked, since
said complaints had impugned from the outset not only the returns from the 878 voting
centers examined by their experts but all those mentioned in their complaints in the
election cases filed originally with the Comelec enumerated in the opening statements
hereof, hence respondent Comelec had that much field to work on.

Maceda vs. Energy Regulatory Board


G.R no. 96266

FACTS: Upon the outbreak of the Persian Gulf conflict on August 2, 1990, private
respondents oil companies filed with the ERB their respective applications on oil price
increases. ERB issued an order granting a provisional increase In that same order, ERB
set the applications for hearing but petitioner Maceda failed to appear at the first and
second hearing. Petitioner Maceda sought to nullify on ground of lack of hearing. The
court dismissed the petition and reaffirmed ERB’s provisional increase without hearing
pursuant to Sec. 8 of E.O no. 172. Petitioner contends that he was deprived of his right
to finish his cross-examination of Petron's witnesses and denied him his right to cross-
examine each of the witnesses of Caltex and Shell. He points out that this relaxed
procedure in the order of testimony resulted in the denial of due process.
ISSUE: Whether or not ERB orders granting provisional oil increase without prior notice
is valid.
HELD: Yes. Such a relaxed procedure is especially true in administrative bodies, such as
the ERB which in matters of rate or price fixing is considered as exercising a quasi-
legislative, not quasi-judicial, function. As such administrative agency, it is not bound by
the strict or technical rules of evidence governing court proceedings. Sec. 2 of Rules of
Practice and Procedure Governing Hearings Before the ERB provides that “in the broader
interest of justice, the Board may, in any particular matter, except itself from these rules
and apply such suitable procedure as shall promote the objectives of the Order.”
While E. O 172, a hearing is indispensable, it does not preclude the board from ordering
ex-parte, a provisional increase, subject to final disposition of whether or not: to make it
permanent; to reduce or increase it further; to deny the application. Sec. 3, par. e is akin
to temporary restraining order. It outlines the jurisdiction of the grounds for which it may
decree a price adjustment, subject of notice and hearing. However, under Sec. 8, it may
order the price increase provisionally, without need of hearing, subject to final outcome
of the proceeding. The Board is not prevented from conducting a hearing on the grant of
provisional authority, however, it cannot be stigmatized later if it failed to conduct one.

Maria Elena Malaga, et al. vs. Manuel R. Penachos Jr. et al.


GR No. 86695 September 3, 1992

FACTS: The Iloilo State College of Fisheries (ISCOF) through its Pre-qualification, Bids
and Awards Committee (PBAC) caused the publication for an Invitation to Bid for the
construction of a Micro Laboratory Building. The notice announced that the last day for
submission of pre-qualification requirements (PRE-C1) was 2 December 1988, and that
the bids would be opened on 12 December 1988 at 3 pm. Petitioners Malaga and Najarro
submitted their PRE-C1 at 2pm of 2 December 1988 while petitioner Occena submitted
on 5 December 1988. All three were not allowed to participate in the bidding because
their documents were considered late, having been submitted after the cut-off time of 10
am of 2 December 1988. On 12 December, petitioners file a complaint with the RTC
against the chairman and PBAC members, claiming that although they submitted their
PRE-C1 on time, the PBAC refused without just cause to accept them. On the same date,
respondent Judge Labaquin issued a restraining order prohibiting PBAC from conducting
the bidding and awarding the project. On 16 December, defendants filed a motion to lift
the restraining order on the ground that the Court was prohibited from issuing restraining
orders, preliminary injunctions and preliminary mandatory injunctions by PD No. 1818,
which provides: “Section 1. No court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any
restraining order… in any case, dispute, or controversy involving an infrastructure
project… of the government… to prohibit any person or persons, entity or government
official from proceeding with, or continuing the execution or implementation of any such
project…” Plaintiffs argue against the applicability of PD No. 1818, pointing out that while
ISCOF was a state college, it had its own charter and separate existence and was not
part of the national government or of any local political subdivision; that even if PD No.
1818 were applicable, the prohibition presumed a valid and legal government project, not
one tainted with anomalies like the project at bar. On 2 January 1989, the RTC lifted the
restraining order and denied the petition for preliminary injunction. It declared that the
building sought to be constructed was an infrastructure project of the government falling
within the coverage of PD 1818.

ISSUE: Whether or not the ISCOF is considered a government instrumentality such that
it would necessarily fall under the prohibition in PD 1818.

HELD: Yes, the 1987 Administrative Code defines a government instrumentality as


follows: Instrumentality refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated
within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law,
endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds, and enjoying
operational autonomy, usually through a charter. This includes regulatory agencies,
chartered institutions, and GOCC’s. The same Code describes a chartered institution
thus: Chartered Institution—refers to any agency organized or operating under a special
charter, and vested by law with functions relating to specific constitutional policies or
objectives. This includes state universities and colleges, and the monetary authority of
the state. It is clear from the above definitions that ISCOF is a chartered institution and is
therefore covered by PD 1818. HOWEVER, it is apparent that the present controversy
did not arise from the discretionary acts of the administrative body nor does it involve
merely technical matters. What is involved here is non-compliance with the procedural
rules on bidding which required strict observance. Under the Rules Implementing P.D.
1594, prescribing policies and guidelines for government infrastructure contracts, PBAC
shall provide prospective bidders with the Notice to Pre-qualification and other relevant
information regarding the proposed work. Prospective contractors shall be required to file
their ARC-Contractors Confidential Application for Registration & Classifications & the
PRE-C2 Confidential Pre-qualification Statement for the Project (prior to the amendment
of the rules, this was referred to as Pre-C1) not later than the deadline set in the published
Invitation to Bid, after which date no PRE-C2 shall be submitted and received. Invitations
to Bid shall be advertised for at least three times within a reasonable period but in no case
less than two weeks in at least two newspapers of general circulations. (IB 13 1.2-19,
Implementing Rules and Regulations of P.D. 1594 as amended) PBAC advertised the
pre-qualification deadline as December 2, 1988, without stating the hour thereof, and
announced that the opening of bids would be at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of December
12, 1988. This scheduled was changed and a notice of such change was merely posted
at the ISCOF bulletin board. The notice advanced the cut-off time for the submission of
pre-qualification documents to 10 o’clock in the morning of December 2, 1988, and the
opening of bids to 1 o’clock in the afternoon of December 12, 1988. The new schedule
caused the pre-disqualification of the petitioners as recorded in the minutes of the PBAC
meeting held on December 6, 1988. While it may be true that there were fourteen
contractors who were pre-qualified despite the change in schedule, this fact did not cure
the defect of the irregular notice. Notably, the petitioners were disqualified because they
failed to meet the new deadline and not because of their expired licenses. (B.E. & Best
Built’s licenses were valid until June 30, 1989. [Ex. P & O respectively: both were marked
on December 28, 1988]) We have held that where the law requires a previous
advertisement before government contracts can be awarded, non-compliance with the
requirement will, as a general rule, render the same void and of no effect. (Caltex Phil. v.
Delgado Bros., 96 Phil. 368) The fact that an invitation for bids has been communicated
to a number of possible bidders is not necessarily sufficient to establish compliance with
the requirements of the law if it is shown that other possible bidders have not been
similarly notified. PD 1818 was not intended to shield from judicial scrutiny irregularities
committed by administrative agencies such as the anomalies in the present case. Hence,
the challenged restraining order was not improperly issued by the respondent judge and
the writ of preliminary injunction should not have been denied.
The prohibition pertained to the issuance of injunctions or restraining orders by courts
against administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in
technical cases. The Court observed that to allow the courts to judge these matters would
disturb the smooth functioning of the administrative machinery. Justice Teodoro Padilla
made it clear, however, that on issues definitely outside of this dimension and involving
questions of law, courts could not be prevented from exercising their power to restrain or
prohibit administrative acts.
Beja Sr. vs. Court of Appeals
207 SCRA 689

FACTS: Fidencio Beja Sr., an employee of Philippine ports authority, was hired as
Arrastre supervisor in 1975 and later on appointed as Terminal Supervisor in 1988. On
October 21, 1988, the General Manager, Rogelio A. Dayan filed an administrative case
against Beja Sr. and Villaluz for grave dishonesty, grave misconduct, willful violation of
reasonable office rules and regulations, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the
service. Consequently, they were preventively suspended for the charges. After the
conduct of preliminary investigation, the case was considered closed for lack of merit. On
December 13, 1988, another administrative case was filed against Beja by the PPA
manager also for dishonesty, grave misconduct, violation of office rules and regulations,
conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and for being notoriously
undesirable. Beja was also placed under preventive suspension pursuant to sec. 412 of
PD No. 807. The case was redocketed and thereafter, the PPA indorsed it to the AAB
for appropriate action. The AAB proceeded to hear the case and gave Beja an opportunity
to present evidence. However, on February 20, 1989, Beja filed a petition for certiorari
with preliminary injunction before the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental. Two days
later, he filed with the ABB a manifestation and motion to suspend the hearing of the
administrative case on account of the pendency of the certiorari proceeding before the
court. AAB denied the motion and continued with the hearing of the administrative case.
Thereafter, Beja moved for the dismissal of the certiorari case and proceeded to file
before the Court for a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction and/or temporary
restraining order. Beja challenges the legality of the preventive suspension issued by the
General Manager without the Board’s approval, and the jurisdiction of the DOTC
Secretary and/or the AAB to initiate and hear administrative cases against PPA personnel
below the rank of Assistant General Manager.

ISSUE: 1. Whether or not the Gen. Manager has the authority to issue preventive
suspension (YES) 2. Whether or not the Whether or not the Administrative Action Board
of DOTC has jurisdiction over administrative cases involving personnel below the rank of
Assistant General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority, an attached agency of
DOTC.

HELD: 1. YES. The PPA General Manager is the disciplining authority who may, by
himself and without the approval of the PPA Board of Directors, subject respondent in an
administrative case to preventive suspension. His disciplining powers are sanctioned not
only by Sec.8 of PD no. 857 but also by Sec. 37 of PD no. 807 granting the heads of
agencies the “Jurisdiction to investigate and decide matters involving disciplinary actions
against officers and employees in the PPA. With respect to the issue, the Court qualifiedly
rules in favor of the petitioner.
2. The PPA was created through PD no. 505 dated July 1974. Under the Law, the
corporate powers of the PPA were vested in a governing Board of Directors known as
the Philippine Ports Authority Council. Sec. 5(i) of the same decree gave the council the
power “to appoint, discipline and remove, and determine the composition of the
technical staff of the authority and other personnel”. On December 23, 1975, PD no.
505 was substituted by PD no. 857 sec. 4(a) thereof created the Philippine Ports
Authority which would be attached to the then Department of Public Works,
Transportation and Communication. When Executive order no. 125 dated January 30,
1987 reorganizing the Ministry of Transportation and Communication was issued, the
PPA retained its attached status. Administrative Code of 1987 re-classiffied PPA as an
attached agency to the DOTC. Sec. 24 of Book IV, Title XV, Chapter 6 of the same
Code provides that the agencies attached to the DOTC "shall continue to operate and
function in accordance with the respective charters or laws creating them, except when
they conflict with this Code." Attachment of an agency to a Department is one of the
three administrative relationships mentioned in Book IV of the Administrative Code of
1987, the other two being supervision and control and administrative supervision.
“Attachment” is defined as the “lateral relationship between the department or its
equivalent and the attached agency or corporation for purposes of policy and program
coordination”. An attached agency has a larger measure of independence from the
Department to which it is attached than one which is under departmental supervision
and control or administrative supervision. This is borne out by the “lateral relationship”
between the Department and the attached agency. The attachment is merely for policy
and program coordination.” With respect to administrative matters, the independence of
an attached agency from the department control and supervision is furthermore
reinforced by the fact that even an agency under a Department’s administrative
supervision is free from Departmental interference with respect to appointments and
other personnel actions “in accordance with the decentralization of personnel functions”
under the administrative Code of 1987. Hence, the inescapable conclusion is that with
respect to the management of personnel, an attached agency is, to a certain extent,
free from Departmental interference and control. P.D. 587, by vesting the power to
remove erring employees on the General Manager, with the approval of the PPA Board
of Directors, the law impliedly grants said officials the power to investigate its personnel
below the rank of Assistant Manager who may be charged with an administrative
offense. During such investigation, the PPA General Manager, as earlier stated, may
subject the employee concerned to preventive suspension. The investigation should be
conducted in accordance with the procedure set out in Sec. 38 of P.D. No. 807. 13 Only
after gathering sufficient facts may the PPA General Manager impose the proper
penalty in accordance with law. It is the latter action which requires the approval of the
PPA Board of Directors. 14

From an adverse decision of the PPA General Manager and the Board of Directors, the
employee concerned may elevate the matter to the Department Head or Secretary.
Otherwise, he may appeal directly to the Civil Service Commission. The permissive
recourse to the Department Secretary is sanctioned by the Civil Service Law (P.D. No.
807).

It is, therefore, clear that the transmittal of the complaint by the PPA General Manager
to the AAB was premature. The PPA General Manager should have first conducted an
investigation, made the proper recommendation for the imposable penalty and sought
its approval by the PPA Board of Directors. It was discretionary on the part of the herein
petitioner to elevate the case to the then DOTC Secretary Reyes. Only then could the
AAB take jurisdiction of the case.

the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED insofar as it upholds the power of the
PPA General Manager to subject petitioner to preventive suspension and REVERSED
insofar as it validates the jurisdiction of the DOTC and/or the AAB to act on
Administrative Case No. PPA-AAB-1-049-89 and rules that due process has been
accorded the petitioner.

The AAB decision in said case is hereby declared NULL and VOID and the case in
REMANDED to the PPA whose General Manager shall conduct with dispatch its
reinvestigation.

Eugenio vs. Civil Service Commission GR No. 115863 31 March 1995

Facts:

Petitioner is the Deputy Director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. She applied
for a Career Executive Service (CES) Eligibility and a CESO rank on August 2, 1993, she
was given a CES eligibility. On September 15, 1993, she was recommended to the
President for a CESO rank 4 by the Career Executive Service Board. But her appointment
to said rank was impeded when in the same year, the Civil Service Commission (CSC)
abolished the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) through a CSC Resolution. CESB
is the office tasked with promulgating rules, standards, and procedures on the selection,
classification and compensation of the members of the Career Executive Service.
Eugenio then assailed the resolution which abolished CESB. She averred that the CSC
does not have the power to abolish CESB because the same was created by law (P.D.
No. 1). CSC on the other hand argued that it has the power to do so pursuant to the
Administrative Code of 1987 which granted the CSC the right to reorganize the CSC.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Civil Service Commission may validly abolish the Career
Executive Service Board.
HELD: No. The CESB is created by law. It can only be abolished by the legislature. The
creation and abolition of public offices is primarily a legislative function, except for
Constitutional offices. The power to reorganize granted to the CSC is limited to offices
under its control. The CESB was intended to be an autonomous entity, albeit
administratively attached to respondent Commission. As conceptualized by the
Reorganization Committee "the CESB shall be autonomous. It is expected to view the
problem of building up executive manpower in the government with a broad and positive
outlook." 6 The essential autonomous character of the CESB is not negated by its
attachment to respondent Commission. By said attachment, CESB was not made to fall
within the control of respondent Commission. Under the Administrative Code of 1987, the
purpose of attaching one functionally inter-related government agency to another is to
attain "policy and program coordination."
THE PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-DOLLAR SALTING TASK FORCE vs. COURT OF
APPEALS

G.R. No. 83578 March 16, 1989

FACTS:

On March 12, 1985, State Prosecutor Jose B. Rosales, who is assigned with the
Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force hereinafter referred to as PADS Task Force
for purposes of convenience, issued search warrants Nos. 156, 157, 158, 159, 160 and
161 against the private respondents. The application for the issuance of said search
warrants was filed by Atty. Napoleon Gatmaytan of the Bureau of Customs who is a
deputized member of the PADS Task Force. Attached to the said application is the
affidavit of Josefin M. Castro who is an operative and investigator of the PADS Task
Force. Said Josefin M. Castro is likewise the sole deponent in the purported deposition
to support the application for the issuance of the 6 search warrants involved in this case.
The application filed by Atty. Gatmaytan, the affidavit and deposition of Josefin M. Castro
are all dated March 12, 1985. Shortly thereafter, the private respondent went to the
Regional Trial Court on a petition to enjoin the implementation of the search warrants in
question. On March 13, 1985, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order
[effective "for a period of five days notice"] and set the case for hearing on March 18,
1985. The lower court declared Search Warrant Nos. 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, and 161
to be null and void. Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force went to the respondent
Court of Appeals to contest. Appellate Court held that petitioner is a special quasi-judicial
body with express powers enumerated under PD 1936 to prosecute foreign exchange
violations defined and punished under P.D. No. 1883. Further, the petitioner, in exercising
its quasi-judicial powers, ranks with the Regional Trial Courts, and the latter in the case
at bar had no jurisdiction to declare the search warrants in question null and void.

ISSUE

Whether or not the Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force a quasi-judicial body and
it is one co-equal in rank and standing with the Regional Trial Court, and accordingly,
beyond the latter's jurisdiction

HELD:
No. It is the basic function of quasi-judicial bodies to adjudicate claims and/or to determine
rights, and unless its decisions are seasonably appealed to the proper reviewing
authorities, the same attain finality and become executory. A perusal of the Presidential
Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force's organic act, Presidential Decree No. 1936, as amended
by Presidential Decree No. 2002, convinces the Court that the Task Force was not meant
to exercise quasi-judicial functions, that is, to try and decide claims and execute its
judgments. The Presidential Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force has the following powers and
authority:

a) Motu proprio or upon complaint, to investigate and prosecute all dollar


salting activities, including the overvaluation of imports and the undervaluation of
exports;

b) To administer oaths, summon persons or issue subpoenas requiring the


attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of such books, papers,
contracts, records, statements of accounts, agreements, and other as may be
necessary in the conduct of investigation;

c) To appoint or designate experts, consultants, state prosecutors or fiscals,


investigators and hearing officers to assist the Task Force in the discharge of its
duties and responsibilities; gather data, information or documents; conduct
hearings, receive evidence, oath oral and documentary, in all cases involving
violation of foreign exchange laws or regulations; and submit reports containing
findings and recommendations for consideration of appropriate authorities;

d) To punish direct and indirect contempts with the appropriate penalties


therefor under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court; and To adopt such measures and
take such actions as may be necessary to implement this Decree.

xxx xxx xxx

"f. After due investigation but prior to the filing of the appropriate criminal
charges with the fiscal's office or the courts as the case may be, to impose a fine
and/or administrative sanctions as the circumstances warrant, upon any person
found committing or to have committed acts constituting blackmarketing or salting
abroad of foreign exchange, provided said person voluntarily admits the facts and
circumstances constituting the offense and presents proof that the foreign
exchange retained abroad has already been brought into the country.

Thereafter, no further civil or criminal action may be instituted against said person
before any other judicial regulatory or administrative body for violation of
Presidential Decree No. 1883.
The amount of the fine shall be determined by the Chairman of the Presidential
Anti-Dollar Salting Task Force and paid in Pesos taking into consideration the
amount of foreign exchange retained abroad, the exchange rate differentials,
uncollected taxes and duties thereon, undeclared profits, interest rates and such
other relevant factors.

The fine shall be paid to the Task Force which shall retain Twenty percent (20%)
thereof. The informer, if any, shall be entitled to Twenty percent (20%) of the fine.
Should there be no informer, the Task Force shall be entitle to retain Forty percent
(40%) of the fine and the balance shall accrue to the general funds of the National
government. The amount of the fine to be retained by the Task Force shall form
part of its Confidential Fund and be utilized for the operations of the Task Force."

The Court sees nothing in the provisions (except with respect to the Task Force's powers
to issue search warrants) that will reveal a legislative intendment to confer it with quasi-
judicial responsibilities relative to offenses punished by Presidential Decree No. 1883. As
the President's arm called upon to combat the vice of "dollar salting" or the blackmarketing
and salting of foreign exchange, it is tasked alone by the Decree to handle the prosecution
of such activities, but nothing more. It cannot be said to be co-equal or coordinate with
the Regional Trial Court. There is nothing in its enabling statutes that would demonstrate
its standing at par with the said court.

DE LLANA vs. ALBA


FACTS:
In 1981, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, entitled “An Act Reorganizing the Judiciary,
Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes”, was passed. Gualberto De la
Llana, a judge in Olongapo, was assailing its validity because, first of all, he would be one
of the judges that would be removed because of the reorganization and second, he said
such law would contravene the constitutional provision which provides the security of
tenure of judges of the courts. He averred that only the Supreme Court can remove judges
NOT the Congress.
ISSUE: Whether or not a judge like Judge De La Llana can be validly removed by the
legislature by such statute (BP 129).
HELD: Yes. The SC ruled the following way: “Moreover, this Court is empowered “to
discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight members, order their
dismissal.” Thus it possesses the competence to remove judges. Under the Judiciary Act,
it was the President who was vested with such power. Removal is, of course, to be
distinguished from termination by virtue of the abolition of the office. There can be
no tenure to a non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no occupant.
In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his
position. It is in that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of
any impairment of security of tenure does not arise. Nonetheless, for the incumbents
of inferior courts abolished, the effect is one of separation. As to its effect, no distinction
exists between removal and the abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid of
significance. He ceases to be a member of the judiciary. In the implementation of the
assailed legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance with accepted principles of
constitutional construction that as far as incumbent justices and judges are concerned,
this Court be consulted and that its view be accorded the fullest consideration. No fear
need be entertained that there is a failure to accord respect to the basic principle that this
Court does not render advisory opinions. No question of law is involved. If such were
the case, certainly this Court could not have its say prior to the action taken by either of
the two departments. Even then, it could do so but only by way of deciding a case where
the matter has been put in issue. Neither is there any intrusion into who shall be appointed
to the vacant positions created by the reorganization. That remains in the hands of the
Executive to whom it properly belongs. There is no departure therefore from the tried and
tested ways of judicial power. Rather what is sought to be achieved by this liberal
interpretation is to preclude any plausibility to the charge that in the exercise of the
conceded power of reorganizing the inferior courts, the power of removal of the present
incumbents vested in this Tribunal is ignored or disregarded. The challenged Act would
thus be free from any unconstitutional taint, even one not readily discernible except to
those predisposed to view it with distrust. Moreover, such a construction would be in
accordance with the basic principle that in the choice of alternatives between one which
would save and another which would invalidate a statute, the former is to be preferred.”
The Batasang Pambansa is expressly vested with the authority to reorganize inferior
courts and in the process to abolish existing ones. As noted in the preceding paragraph,
the termination of office of their occupants, as a necessary consequence of such abolition,
is hardly distinguishable from the practical standpoint from removal, a power that is now
vested in this Tribunal. It is of the essence of constitutionalism to assure that neither
agency is precluded from acting within the boundaries of its conceded competence. That
is why it has long been well-settled under the constitutional system we have adopted that
this Court cannot, whenever appropriate, avoid the task of reconciliation. As Justice
Laurel put it so well in the previously cited Angara decision, while in the main, "the
Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the
executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government, the overlapping
and interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments, however,
sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves off and the other begins." 84

"The classical separation of government powers, whether viewed in the light of the
political philosophy of Aristotle, Locke, or Motesquieu or of the postulations of Mabini,
Madison, or Jefferson, is a relative theory of government. There is more truism and
actuality in interdependence than in independence and separation of powers, for as
observed by Justice Holmes in a case of Philippine origin, we cannot lay down 'with
mathematical precision and divide the branches into water-tight compartments' not only
because 'the great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of
black and white but also because 'even the more specific of them are found to terminate
in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other.'" 85 This too from Justice
Tuazon, likewise expressing with force and clarity why the need for reconciliation or
balancing is well-nigh unavodiable under the fundamental principle of separation of
powers: "The constitutional structure is a complicated system, and overlappings of
governmental functions are recognized, unavoidable, and inherent necessities of
governmental coordination." 86 In the same way that the academe has noted the
existence in constitutional litigation of right versus right, there are instances, and this is
one of them, where, without this attempt at harmonizing the provisions in question, there
could be a case of power against power. That we should avoid.

Lacson-Magallanes Co. vs. Jose Pano

FACTS:

Jose Magallanes was permitted to use and occupy a land used for pasture in Davao. The
said land was a forest zone which was later declared as an agricultural zone. Magallanes
then ceded his rights to Lacson-Magallanes Co., Inc. (LMC) of which he is a co-owner.
Jose Paño was a farmer who asserted his claim over the same piece of land. The Director
of Lands denied Paño’s request. The Secretary of Agriculture likewise denied his petition
hence it was elevated to the Office of the President.
Executive Secretary Juan Pajo ruled in favor of Paño. LMC averred that the earlier
decision of the Secretary of Agriculture is already conclusive hence beyond appeal. He
also averred that the decision of the Executive Secretary is an undue delegation of
power. The Constitution, LMC asserts, does not contain any provision whereby the
presidential power of control may be delegated to the Executive Secretary. It is argued
that it is the constitutional duty of the President to act personally upon the matter.
ISSUE: 1. Whether or not the decision of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources has full force and effect 2. Whether or not the power of control may be
delegated to the Executive Secretary.
HELD:

1. No. he President's duty to execute the law is of constitutional origin. So, too, is his
control of all executive departments.Thus it is, that department heads are men of his
confidence. His is the power to appoint them; his, too, is the privilege to dismiss them at
pleasure. Naturally, he controls and directs their acts. Implicit then is his authority to go
over, confirm, modify or reverse the action taken by his department secretaries. In this
context, it may not be said that the President cannot rule on the correctness of a
decision of a department secretary.

Particularly in reference to the decisions of the Director of Lands, as affirmed by the


Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the standard practice is to allow
appeals from such decisions to the Office of the President.This Court has recognized
this practice in several cases. In one, the decision of the Lands Director as approved by
the Secretary was considered superseded by that of the President's appeal.

2. Yes. It is true that as a rule, the President must exercise his constitutional powers in
person. However, the president may delegate certain powers to the Executive Secretary
at his discretion. The president may delegate powers which are not required by the
Constitution for him to perform personally. The reason for this allowance is the fact that
the President is not expected to perform in person all the multifarious executive and
administrative functions. The office of the Executive Secretary is an auxiliary unit which
assists the President. The rule which has thus gained recognition is that “under our
constitutional set-up the Executive Secretary who acts for and in behalf and by authority
of the President has an undisputed jurisdiction to affirm, modify, or even reverse any
order” that the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, including the Director of
Lands, may issue.
The act of the Executive Secretary, acting as the alter ego of the President, shall remain
valid until reversed, disapproved, or reprobated by the President. In this case, no
reprobation was made, hence the decision granting the land to Paño cannot be reversed.
Plaintiff underscores the fact that the Executive Secretary is equal in rank to the other
department heads, no higher than anyone of them. From this, plaintiff carves the
argument that one department head, on the pretext that he is an alter ego of the
President, cannot intrude into the zone of action allocated to another department
secretary. This argument betrays lack of appreciation of the fact that where, as in this
case, the Executive Secretary acts "[b]y authority of the President," his decision is that
of the President's. Such decision is to be given full faith and credit by our courts. The
assumed authority of the Executive Secretary is to be accepted. For, only the President
may rightfully say that the Executive Secretary is not authorized to do so. Therefore,
unless the action taken is "disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive," 13 that
remains the act of the Chief Executive, and cannot be successfully assailed.14 No such
disapproval or reprobation is even intimated in the record of this case.