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[G.R. No. 108619.

July 31, 1997] At their arraignment on August 9, 1991, all the accused pleaded
not guilty to the crime charged.
EPIFANIO LALICAN, Petitioner, v. HON. FILOMENO A.
VERGARA, Presiding Judge, RTC Branch 52, Puerto On August 23, 1991, petitioner Lalican filed a motion to quash
Princesa City and PEOPLE OF THE the information on the ground that the facts charged did not
PHILIPPINES, Respondents. constitute an offense. Contending that Sec. 68 of P.D. No. 705
refers to "timber and other forest products" and not to "lumber,"
DECISION and asserting that "timber" becomes "lumber" only after it is
sawed into beams, planks or boards, petitioner alleged that said
ROMERO, J.: decree "does not apply to 'lumber.'" He added that the law is
"vague and standardless" as it does not specify the authority or
the legal documents required by existing forest laws and
The issue posed for resolution in this petition for certiorari and
regulations. Hence, petitioner asserted that the information
prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary
should be quashed as it violated his constitutional rights to due
restraining order is whether or not a charge of illegal possession
process and equal protection of the law.2
of "lumber" is excluded from the crime of illegal possession of
chan roble svirtual lawlib rary

"timber" as defined in Sec. 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705


(The Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines), as amended, to The prosecution opposed the motion to quash on the ground that
warrant the quashal of an information charging the former it is not for the courts to determine the wisdom of the law nor to
offense or a "nonexistent crime." set out the policy of the legislature which deemed it proper that
the word "timber" should include "lumber" which is a "product or
derivative after the timber is cut." The position of the prosecution
On July 23, 1991, an information for violation of Section 68 of
was that to hold otherwise would result in the easy
P.D. No. 705, as amended by Executive Order No. 277, was filed
circumvention of the law, for one could stealthily cut timber from
by the City Prosecutor of Puerto Princesa City against petitioner
any forest, have it sawn into lumber and escape criminal
Epifanio Lalican,1 Ruben Benitez, Allan Pulgar and Jose Roblo
prosecution. The prosecution asserted that the issue raised by
before the Regional Trial Court of that city. Docketed as Criminal
petitioner was more semantical than a question of law.3
Case No. 9543, the information reads:
c han roblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

On September 24, 1991, the lower court,4 guided by the


"That on or about the 9th day of February, 1991, at Sitio Cadiz,
principles that penal laws should be construed strictly against the
Barangay Bacungan, City of Puerto Princesa, Philippines, and
state and that all doubts should be resolved in favor of the
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, issued an Order quashing the information. It held that
accused, without lawful authority or permit, conspiring and
the distinction between "timber" and "lumber" is not artificial nor
confederating together and mutually helping one another, did
a matter of semantics as the law itself distinguishes the two
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in their
terms. Sec. 3(q) of P.D. No. 705 classifies "timber" as a forest
possession, custody and control 1,800 board feet of assorted
product while Sec. 3(aa) thereof considers "lumber" as a finished
species and dimensions of lumber on board two (2) passenger
wood product. Adding that unlicensed cutting, gathering and/or
jeeps, with a value of Fourteen Thousand Pesos (14,000.00),
collecting of "timber" is penalized under Sec. 68 while sale of
Philippine Currency, to the damage and prejudice of the
"lumber" without compliance with grading rules established by
Government in the amount aforestated.
the government is prohibited by Sec. 79, the lower court
categorically stated that:
CONTRARY TO LAW."

1
"Logically, lumber, being a manufactured wood product, poses On June 10, 1992, the lower court8 issued the herein questioned
no more danger to forest lands by being cut, gathered, collected Order setting aside the quashal Order of the previous judge. It
or removed. It is in fact, only bought and sold. Thus, Sec. 68 declared that from the law itself, it is evident that what is sought
cannot be made to apply to lumber." to be penalized is not the possession, without the required legal
documents, of timber only but also of "other forest products." It
The court, however, refrained from exploring the constitutional stated that even if lumber is not timber, still, lumber is a forest
issues raised by petitioner upon a holding that the case could be product and possession thereof without legal documents is
resolved on some other grounds or issues.5 c hanro blesvi rt uallawl ibra ry
equally prohibited by the law which includes "wood" in the
definition of forest products.
The prosecution filed a motion for the reconsideration of this
Order, pointing out that under the Primer on Illegal Logging of Petitioner sought the reconsideration of this Order but the lower
the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR), timber court denied it. Hence, the instant petition arguing that the lower
is not just any piece of wood for it may consist of squared and court gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack of
manufactured timber or one which has been sawn to pieces to jurisdiction in setting aside the quashal order and in denying his
facilitate transportation or hauling. It stressed that to consider a motion for reconsideration on the ground that Sec. 68 of P.D. No.
person who had made lumber out of timber as not criminally 705 neither specifies nor includes "lumber" in the phrase "timber
liable is an absurd interpretation of the law. or other forest products."

Moreover, the prosecution underscored the facts that when The petition is devoid of merit.
apprehended, the accused presented Private Land Timber Permit
No. 030140 dated February 10, 1991 which had expired; that Sec. 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended by Executive Order No. 277
while the certificate of origin indicated Brgy. Sta. Cruz, the which was issued on July 25, 1987 by then President Corazon C.
product actually came from Sitio Cadiz, and that the two jeeps Aquino, provides:
bearing the product were not equipped with certificates of
transport agreement. Added to this was the fact that, if the "SEC. 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or collecting Timber, or Other
product were indeed lumber, then the accused could have Forest Products Without License.- Any person who shall cut,
presented a certificate of lumber origin, lumber sale invoices in gather, collect, remove timber or other forest products from any
case of sale, tally sheets and delivery receipts for transportation forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or
from one point to another.6 c hanro blesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

from private land, without any authority, or possess timber or


other forest products without the legal documents as required
Petitioner opposed the motion for reconsideration contending under existing forest laws and regulations, shall be punished with
that the DENR primer's definition of "timber" is erroneous the penalties imposed under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised
because the law itself distinguishes "timber" from "sawn lumber." Penal Code: Provided, That in the case of partnerships,
The non-inclusion of "lumber" in Sec. 68 could only mean a clear associations, or corporations, the officers who ordered the
legislative intent to exclude possession of "lumber" from the acts cutting, gathering, collection or possession shall be liable, and if
penalized under that section.7 chan roblesv irtuallaw lib rary such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be
deported without further proceedings on the part of the
Pending resolution of the motion for reconsideration, the Commission on Immigration and Deportation.
Presiding Judge of Branch 49 inhibited himself from taking
cognizance of Criminal Case No. 9543. The case was The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the
subsequently assigned to Branch 52. government of the timber or any forest products cut, gathered,
2
collected, removed, or possessed, as well as the machinery, Be that as it may, the legislative intent to include possession of
equipment, implements and tools illegally used in the area where lumber in Sec. 68 is clearly gleaned from the expressed reasons
the timber or forest products are found." (Underscoring for enacting the law which, under Executive Order No. 277, are
supplied.) the following:

Punished then in this section are: (a) the cutting, gathering, "WHEREAS, there is an urgency to conserve the remaining forest
collection, or removal of timber or other forest products from the resources of the country for the benefit and welfare of the
places therein mentioned without any authority; or (b) present and future generations of Filipinos;
possession of timber or other forest products without the legal
documents as required under existing forest laws and WHEREAS, our forest resources may be effectively conserved
regulations. and protected through the vigilant enforcement and
implementation of our forestry laws, rules and regulations;
In the recent case of Mustang Lumber, Inc. v. Court of
Appeals,9this Court, thru Justice Hilario Davide, held: WHEREAS, the implementation of our forestry laws suffers from
technical difficulties, due to certain inadequacies in the penal
"The Revised Forestry Code contains no definition of provisions of the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines; and
either timber or lumber. While the former is included in forest
products as defined in paragraph (q) of Section 3, the latter is WHEREAS, to overcome these difficulties, there is a need to
found in paragraph (aa) of the same section in the definition of penalize certain acts to make our forestry laws more responsive
'Processing plant,' which reads: to present situations and realities; x x x"

(aa) Processing plant is any mechanical set-up, machine or To exclude possession of "lumber" from the acts penalized in
combination of machine used for the processing of logs and other Sec. 68 would certainly emasculate the law itself. A law should
forest raw materials into lumber, veneer, plywood, wallboard, not be so construed as to allow the doing of an act which is
blockboard, paper board, pulp, paper or other finished wood prohibited by law, nor so interpreted as to afford an opportunity
product. to defeat compliance with its terms, create an inconsistency, or
contravene the plain words of the law.10 After all, the phrase
This simply means that lumber is a processed log or processed "forest products" is broad enough to encompass lumber which, to
forest raw material. Clearly, the Code uses the term lumber in its reiterate, is manufactured timber. Hence, to mention lumber in
ordinary or common usage. In the 1993 copyright edition of Sec. 68 would merely result in tautology. As the lower court
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, lumber is said:
defined, inter alia, as 'timber or logs after being prepared for the
market.' Simply put, lumber is a processed log or timber. "Even should it be conceded that lumber is not timber and is thus
not covered by the prohibition, still it cannot be denied that
It is settled that in the absence of legislative intent to the lumber is a forest product and possession thereof without legal
contrary, words and phrases used in a statute should be given documents is equally and, to the same extent, prohibited. Sec. 3
their plain, ordinary, and common usage meaning. And insofar as (q) of PD 705 as amended or otherwise known as the Revised
possession of timber without the required legal documents is Forestry Code defines forest products, viz., x x x
concerned, Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended, makes no
distinction between raw or processed timber. Neither should
we. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemus."
3
Stress must be given to the term WOOD embodied in the did, every error committed by a court would deprive it of its
definition of forest product (supra). If we are to follow the rather jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment would be a void
tangential argument by the accused that lumber is not timber, judgment. This cannot be allowed. The administration of justice
then, it will be very easy for a person to circumvent the law. He would not survive such a rule. Consequently, an error of
could stealthily cut timber from any forest, have it sawn into judgment that the court may commit in the exercise of its
lumber and escape criminal prosecution. It is rather too narrow jurisdiction is not correctible through the original civil action
an interpretation. But the law also provided a plug for the of certiorari."15
chan rob lesvi rtua llawlib ra ry

loophole. If lumber is not timber, then surely, lumber is wood. x


x x. In other words, certiorari will issue only to correct errors of
jurisdiction and not to correct errors of procedure or mistakes in
If in seeking to abate the proceedings the accused also seek to the judge's findings and conclusions.16 chan roble svirtuall awlib rary

imply that lumber seized in their possession were procured from


lawful source, all they have to do is produce the legal documents The unavailability of the writ of certiorari, and even that of
contemplated by the law. It is not the mere cutting or possession prohibition, in this case is borne out of the fact that what
of timber, forest products or whatever that is prohibited and petitioner considers as grave abuse of discretion in this case is
penalized by the law. What is prohibited and penalized is the act the denial of his motion to quash the information filed against
of cutting or possessing of timber, wood, or other forest products him and three others. This Court has consistently defined the
without lawful authority." proper procedure in case of denial of a motion to quash. The
accused has to enter a plea, go to trial without prejudice on his
The Court, therefore, finds that the lower court did not gravely part to present the special defenses he had invoked in his motion
abuse its discretion in denying the quashal of the information. and, if after trial on the merits, an adverse decision is rendered,
The petition simply has no legal basis. Certiorari may be issued to appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law.17 c hanro blesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

only where it is clearly shown that there is patent and gross


abuse of discretion as to amount to an evasion of positive duty Certiorari is not the proper remedy where a motion to quash an
or to virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act information is denied. That the appropriate recourse is to
at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in proceed to trial and in case of conviction, to appeal such
an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or conviction, as well as the denial of the motion to quash, is
personal hostility.11 Grave abuse of discretion implies a impelled by the fact that a denial of a motion to quash is an
capricious and whimsical exercise of power.12 chan roble svirtual lawlib rary

interlocutory procedural aspect which cannot be appealed nor


can it be the subject of a petition for certiorari.18 The remedies of
On the other hand, certiorari may not be availed of where it is appeal and certiorari are mutually exclusive and not alternative
not shown that the respondent court lacked or exceeded its or successive.19 An interlocutory order may be assailed
jurisdiction or committed grave abuse of discretion.13 Where the by certiorari or prohibition only when it is shown that the court
court has jurisdiction over the case, even if its findings are not acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
correct, its questioned acts would at most constitute errors of discretion.20 However, this Court generally frowns upon this
law and not abuse of discretion correctible by certiorari.14 As this remedial measure as regards interlocutory orders. To tolerate
Court said: the practice of allowing interlocutory orders to be the subject of
review by certiorari would not only delay the administration of
"x x x. When a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error justice but also would unduly burden the courts.21 chan roblesv irtuallaw lib rary

committed while so engaged does not deprive it of the


jurisdiction being exercised when the error is committed. If it
4
Petitioner may not seek refuge under Flordelis v.
Himalaloan22 for his contention that a denial of a motion to quash
may be the subject of a petition for certiorari. That case has an
entirely different factual milieu from the one at bar. The
information herein not being "patently defective" nor that the
offense charged has prescribed,23 this case may not be
considered an exception to the rule on the proper remedy for the
denial of a motion to quash.

With respect to the constitutionality of Sec. 68 of P.D. No. 705


which petitioner would have this Court consider,24 this Court has
always desisted from delving on constitutional issues. Thus, even
if all the requisites for judicial review of a constitutional matter
are present in a case,25 this Court will not pass upon a
constitutional question unless it is the lis mota of the case or if
the case can be disposed of on some other grounds, such as the
application of the statute or general law.26chan roble svi rtual lawlib rary

The Court can well take judicial notice of the deplorable problem
of deforestation in this country, considering that the deleterious
effects of this problem are now imperiling our lives and
properties, more specifically, by causing rampaging floods in the
lowlands. While it is true that the rights of an accused must be
favored in the interpretation of penal provisions of law, it is
equally true that when the general welfare and interest of the
people are interwoven in the prosecution of a crime, the Court
must arrive at a solution only after a fair and just balancing of
interests. This the Court did in arriving at the foregoing
interpretation of Sec. 68 of the Revised Forestry Reform Code.
This task, however, has not at all been a difficult one considering
that, contrary to petitioner's assertion, his rights to due process
and equal protection of the law have not been clearly shown to
have been jeopardized.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition is


hereby DISMISSED. The lower court is enjoined to proceed with
dispatch in the prosecution of Criminal Case No. 9543. This
Decision is immediately executory. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED

5
G.R. No. 112497 August 4, 1994 thirty (30) days after receipt of the decision or the lapse
of the sixty-day period without the Secretary of Justice
HON. FRANKLIN M. DRILON, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF acting upon the appeal, the aggrieved party may file
JUSTICE, petitioner, appropriate proceedings with a court of competent
vs. jurisdiction.
MAYOR ALFREDO S. LIM, VICE-MAYOR JOSE L. ATIENZA, CITY
TREASURER ANTHONY ACEVEDO, SANGGUNIANG Pursuant thereto, the Secretary of Justice had, on appeal to him of four
PANGLUNSOD AND THE CITY OF MANILA, respondents. oil companies and a taxpayer, declared Ordinance No. 7794, otherwise
known as the Manila Revenue Code, null and void for non-compliance
The City Legal Officer for petitioner. with the prescribed procedure in the enactment of tax ordinances and
for containing certain provisions contrary to law and public policy.1
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz for Caltex (Phils.).
In a petition for certiorari filed by the City of Manila, the Regional Trial
Joseph Lopez for Sangguniang Panglunsod of Manila. Court of Manila revoked the Secretary's resolution and sustained the
ordinance, holding inter alia that the procedural requirements had been
observed. More importantly, it declared Section 187 of the Local
L.A. Maglaya for Petron Corporation.
Government Code as unconstitutional because of its vesture in the
Secretary of Justice of the power of control over local governments in
violation of the policy of local autonomy mandated in the Constitution
and of the specific provision therein conferring on the President of the
CRUZ, J.: Philippines only the power of supervision over local governments.2

The principal issue in this case is the constitutionality of Section 187 of The present petition would have us reverse that decision. The
the Local Government Code reading as follows: Secretary argues that the annulled Section 187 is constitutional and
that the procedural requirements for the enactment of tax ordinances
Procedure For Approval And Effectivity Of Tax as specified in the Local Government Code had indeed not been
Ordinances And Revenue Measures; Mandatory Public observed.
Hearings. — The procedure for approval of local tax
ordinances and revenue measures shall be in Parenthetically, this petition was originally dismissed by the Court for
accordance with the provisions of this Code: Provided, non-compliance with Circular 1-88, the Solicitor General having failed
That public hearings shall be conducted for the purpose to submit a certified true copy of the challenged decision.3 However, on
prior to the enactment thereof; Provided, further, That motion for reconsideration with the required certified true copy of the
any question on the constitutionality or legality of tax decision attached, the petition was reinstated in view of the importance
ordinances or revenue measures may be raised on of the issues raised therein.
appeal within thirty (30) days from the effectivity thereof
to the Secretary of Justice who shall render a decision We stress at the outset that the lower court had jurisdiction to consider
within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the the constitutionality of Section 187, this authority being embraced in
appeal: Provided, however, That such appeal shall not the general definition of the judicial power to determine what are the
have the effect of suspending the effectivity of the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the
ordinance and the accrual and payment of the tax, fee, fundamental law. Specifically, BP 129 vests in the regional trial courts
or charge levied therein: Provided, finally, That within jurisdiction over all civil cases in which the subject of the litigation is
6
incapable of pecuniary estimation,4 even as the accused in a criminal see to it that lower officers perform their functions in accordance with
action has the right to question in his defense the constitutionality of a law."6 His conclusion was that the challenged section gave to the
law he is charged with violating and of the proceedings taken against Secretary the power of control and not of supervision only as vested by
him, particularly as they contravene the Bill of Rights. Moreover, Article the Constitution in the President of the Philippines. This was, in his
X, Section 5(2), of the Constitution vests in the Supreme Court view, a violation not only of Article X, specifically Section 4
appellate jurisdiction over final judgments and orders of lower courts in thereof, 7 and of Section 5 on the taxing powers of local
all cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, governments,8 and the policy of local autonomy in general.
international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree,
proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. We do not share that view. The lower court was rather hasty in
invalidating the provision.
In the exercise of this jurisdiction, lower courts are advised to act with
the utmost circumspection, bearing in mind the consequences of a Section 187 authorizes the Secretary of Justice to review only the
declaration of unconstitutionality upon the stability of laws, no less than constitutionality or legality of the tax ordinance and, if warranted, to
on the doctrine of separation of powers. As the questioned act is revoke it on either or both of these grounds. When he alters or modifies
usually the handiwork of the legislative or the executive departments, or sets aside a tax ordinance, he is not also permitted to substitute his
or both, it will be prudent for such courts, if only out of a becoming own judgment for the judgment of the local government that enacted
modesty, to defer to the higher judgment of this Court in the the measure. Secretary Drilon did set aside the Manila Revenue Code,
consideration of its validity, which is better determined after a thorough but he did not replace it with his own version of what the Code should
deliberation by a collegiate body and with the concurrence of the be. He did not pronounce the ordinance unwise or unreasonable as a
majority of those who participated in its discussion.5 basis for its annulment. He did not say that in his judgment it was a bad
law. What he found only was that it was illegal. All he did in reviewing
It is also emphasized that every court, including this Court, is charged the said measure was determine if the petitioners were performing their
with the duty of a purposeful hesitation before declaring a law functions in accordance with law, that is, with the prescribed procedure
unconstitutional, on the theory that the measure was first carefully for the enactment of tax ordinances and the grant of powers to the city
studied by the executive and the legislative departments and government under the Local Government Code. As we see it, that was
determined by them to be in accordance with the fundamental law an act not of control but of mere supervision.
before it was finally approved. To doubt is to sustain. The presumption
of constitutionality can be overcome only by the clearest showing that An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they
there was indeed an infraction of the Constitution, and only when such are not followed, he may, in his discretion, order the act undone or re-
a conclusion is reached by the required majority may the Court done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it himself.
pronounce, in the discharge of the duty it cannot escape, that the Supervision does not cover such authority. The supervisor or
challenged act must be struck down. superintendent merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he
himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he have the discretion
In the case before us, Judge Rodolfo C. Palattao declared Section 187 to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may order
of the Local Government Code unconstitutional insofar as it the work done or re-done but only to conform to the prescribed rules.
empowered the Secretary of Justice to review tax ordinances and, He may not prescribe his own manner for the doing of the act. He has
inferentially, to annul them. He cited the familiar distinction between no judgment on this matter except to see to it that the rules are
control and supervision, the first being "the power of an officer to alter followed. In the opinion of the Court, Secretary Drilon did precisely this,
or modify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the and no more nor less than this, and so performed an act not of control
performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former but of mere supervision.
for the latter," while the second is "the power of a superior officer to

7
The case of Taule v. Santos 9 cited in the decision has no application the right to declare that, in his opinion, it is unjust, excessive,
here because the jurisdiction claimed by the Secretary of Local oppressive or confiscatory. He has no discretion on this matter. In fact,
Governments over election contests in the Katipunan ng Mga Secretary Drilon set aside the Manila Revenue Code only on two
Barangay was held to belong to the Commission on Elections by grounds, to with, the inclusion therein of certain ultra vires provisions
constitutional provision. The conflict was over jurisdiction, not and non-compliance with the prescribed procedure in its enactment.
supervision or control. These grounds affected the legality, not
the wisdom or reasonableness, of the tax measure.
Significantly, a rule similar to Section 187 appeared in the Local
Autonomy Act, which provided in its Section 2 as follows: The issue of non-compliance with the prescribed procedure in the
enactment of the Manila Revenue Code is another matter.
A tax ordinance shall go into effect on the fifteenth day
after its passage, unless the ordinance shall provide In his resolution, Secretary Drilon declared that there were no written
otherwise: Provided, however, That the Secretary of notices of public hearings on the proposed Manila Revenue Code that
Finance shall have authority to suspend the effectivity were sent to interested parties as required by Art. 276(b) of the
of any ordinance within one hundred and twenty days Implementing Rules of the Local Government Code nor were copies of
after receipt by him of a copy thereof, if, in his opinion, the proposed ordinance published in three successive issues of a
the tax or fee therein levied or imposed is unjust, newspaper of general circulation pursuant to Art. 276(a). No minutes
excessive, oppressive, or confiscatory, or when it is were submitted to show that the obligatory public hearings had been
contrary to declared national economy policy, and when held. Neither were copies of the measure as approved posted in
the said Secretary exercises this authority the effectivity prominent places in the city in accordance with Sec. 511(a) of the
of such ordinance shall be suspended, either in part or Local Government Code. Finally, the Manila Revenue Code was not
as a whole, for a period of thirty days within which translated into Pilipino or Tagalog and disseminated among the people
period the local legislative body may either modify the for their information and guidance, conformably to Sec. 59(b) of the
tax ordinance to meet the objections thereto, or file an Code.
appeal with a court of competent jurisdiction; otherwise,
the tax ordinance or the part or parts thereof declared Judge Palattao found otherwise. He declared that all the procedural
suspended, shall be considered as revoked. Thereafter, requirements had been observed in the enactment of the Manila
the local legislative body may not reimpose the same Revenue Code and that the City of Manila had not been able to prove
tax or fee until such time as the grounds for the such compliance before the Secretary only because he had given it
suspension thereof shall have ceased to exist. only five days within which to gather and present to him all the
evidence (consisting of 25 exhibits) later submitted to the trial court.
That section allowed the Secretary of Finance to suspend the
effectivity of a tax ordinance if, in his opinion, the tax or fee levied To get to the bottom of this question, the Court acceded to the motion
was unjust, excessive, oppressive or confiscatory. Determination of of the respondents and called for the elevation to it of the said exhibits.
these flaws would involve the exercise of judgment or discretion and We have carefully examined every one of these exhibits and agree
not merely an examination of whether or not the requirements or with the trial court that the procedural requirements have indeed been
limitations of the law had been observed; hence, it would smack of observed. Notices of the public hearings were sent to interested parties
control rather than mere supervision. That power was never as evidenced by Exhibits G-1 to 17. The minutes of the hearings are
questioned before this Court but, at any rate, the Secretary of Justice is found in Exhibits M, M-1, M-2, and M-3. Exhibits B and C show that the
not given the same latitude under Section 187. All he is permitted to do proposed ordinances were published in the Balita and the Manila
is ascertain the constitutionality or legality of the tax measure, without Standard on April 21 and 25, 1993, respectively, and the approved

8
ordinance was published in the July 3, 4, 5, 1993 issues of the Manila
Standard and in the July 6, 1993 issue of Balita, as shown by Exhibits
Q, Q-1, Q-2, and Q-3.

The only exceptions are the posting of the ordinance as approved but
this omission does not affect its validity, considering that its publication
in three successive issues of a newspaper of general circulation will
satisfy due process. It has also not been shown that the text of the
ordinance has been translated and disseminated, but this requirement
applies to the approval of local development plans and public
investment programs of the local government unit and not to tax
ordinances.

We make no ruling on the substantive provisions of the Manila


Revenue Code as their validity has not been raised in issue in the
present petition.

WHEREFORE, the judgment is hereby rendered REVERSING the


challenged decision of the Regional Trial Court insofar as it declared
Section 187 of the Local Government Code unconstitutional but
AFFIRMING its finding that the procedural requirements in the
enactment of the Manila Revenue Code have been observed. No
pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

9
G.R. No. 79732 November 8, 1993 EFFECT OF JUDICIAL DECLARATION OF PD 1533 AS
UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND VOID; UP TO WHEN RETROACTIVELY;
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. COURT OF EFFECT ON A PENDING APPEALED CASE WHERE
APPEALS, HENRICO UVERO, ET AL., Respondents. CONSTITUTIONALITY OF PD 1533 NOT ASSAILED BEFORE
COURT A QUO.
The Solicitor General for petitioner. c han robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

II c han robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

Raymundo T. Nagrampa for private respondents.


WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT
VITUG, J.: IN EPZA VS. HON. DULAY, ETC., ET AL. (G.R. NO. 59603, APRIL
29, 1987) DECLARING PD 1533 UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND VOID,
BE APPLIED IN THIS CASE.
The Republic of the Philippines has sought the expropriation of
certain portions of land owned by the private respondents for the
widening and concreting of the Nabua-Bato-Agos Section, III chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

Philippine-Japan Highway Loan (PJHL) road. While the right of


the Republic is not now disputed, the private respondents, WHETHER OR NOT VALUATION OF LAND SOUGHT FOR
however, demand that the just compensation for the property EXPROPRIATION AS APPEARING ON THE TAX DECLARATION BE
should be based on fair market value and not that set by USED AS PRELIMINARY BASIS FOR THE TEN PER CENT (10%)
Presidential Decree No. 76, as amended, which fixes payment on DEPOSIT REQUIRED UNDER RULE 67 OF THE REVISED RULES OF
the basis of the assessment by the assessor or the declared COURT, AS AMENDED BEFORE PLAINTIFF IS PERMITTED ENTRY
valuation by the owner, whichever is lower. The Regional, Trial THEREON.
Court ruled for the private respondents. When elevated to it, the
Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. cha nrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry The last item is not an issue; being merely provisional in
character, the matter has not been questioned by the private
Hence, the instant petition by the Republic. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virt u al law lib rary
respondents. 3We will thus limit ourselves to the first two issues
which, in turn, really boil down to whether the declaration of
In Export Processing Zone Authority ("EPZA") vs. Dulay, etc. et nullity of the law in question should have prospective, not
al., 1this Court held the determination of just compensation in retroactive, application. The petitioner proposes the
eminent domain to be a judicial function and it thereby declared affirmative.chan roblesv irtualawl ibra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

Presidential Decree No. 76, as well as related decrees, including


Presidential Decree No. 1533, to the contrary extent, as Instruction is the brief treatise made by Mr. Justice Isagani A.
unconstitutional and as an impermissible encroachment of Cruz, whose words we quote -
judicial prerogatives. The ruling, now conceded by the Republic
was reiterated in subsequent cases.2 c hanro bles vi rt ual law li bra ry There are two views on the effects of a declaration of the
unconstitutionality of a statute. cha nrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan rob les vi rtual law lib rary

The petition for review, despite the aforesaid pronouncement by


this Court, has been given due course upon the pleas of the The first is the orthodox view. Under this rule, as announced
Solicitor General to have us address the following concerns: in Norton v. Shelby, an unconstitutional act is not a law; it
confers no right; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it
Ic han robles v irt ual law li bra ry
creates no office; it is, in legal contemplation, inoperative, as if it

10
had not been passed. It is therefore stricken from the statute A judicial declaration of invalidity, it is also true, may not
books and considered never to have existed at all. Not only the necessarily obliterate all the effects and consequences of a void
parties but all persons are bound by the declaration of act occurring prior to such a declaration. Thus, in our decisions
unconstitutionality, which means that no one may thereafter on the moratorium laws, 6we have been constrained to recognize
invoke it nor may the courts be permitted to apply it in the interim effects of said laws prior to their declaration of
subsequent cases. It is, in other words, a total nullity. chanro blesvi rtua lawlib rary chan roble s virtual law l ib rary unconstitutionality, but there we have likewise been unable to
simply ignore strong considerations of equity and fair play. So
The second or modern view is less stringent. Under this view, the also, even as a practical matter, a situation that may aptly be
court in passing upon the question of constitutionality does not described as fait accompli may no longer be open for further
annul or repeal the statute if it finds it in conflict with the inquiry, let alone to be unsettled by a subsequent declaration of
Constitution. It simply refuses to recognize it and determines the nullity of a governing statute. chan roble svi rtualawl ib raryc hanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

rights of the parties just as if such statute had no existence. The


court may give its reasons for ignoring or disregarding the law, The instant controversy, however, is too far distant away from
but the decision affects the parties only and there is no judgment any of the above exceptional cases. To this day, the controversy
against the statute. The opinion or reasons of the court may between the petitioner and the private respondents on the issue
operate as a precedent for the determination of other similar of just compensation is still unresolved, partly attributable to the
cases, but it does not strike the statute from the statute books; instant petition that has prevented the finality of the decision
it does not repeal, supersede, revoke, or annul the statute. The appealed from. The fact of the matter is that the expropriation
parties to the suit are concluded by the judgment, but no one cases, involved in this instance, were still pending appeal when
else is bound. cha nrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry the EPZA ruling was rendered and forthwith invoked by said
parties.
cha nrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

The orthodox view is expressed in Article 7 of the Civil Code,


providing that "when the courts declare a law to be inconsistent In fine, we hold that the appellate court in this particular case
with the Constitution, the former shall be void and the latter shall committed no error in its appealed decision. chanro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

govern. . . . 4
cha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is dismissed. No costs. chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

The strict view considers a legislative enactment which is


declared unconstitutional as being, for all legal intents and SO ORDERED.
purposes, a total nullity, and it is deemed as if had never
existed. Here, of course, we refer to the law itself being per
se repugnant to the Constitution. It is not always the case,
however, that a law is constitutionally faultyper se. Thus, it may
well be valid in its general import. but invalid in its application to
certain factual situations. To exemplify, an otherwise valid law
may be held unconstitutional only insofar as it is allowed to
operate retrospectively such as, in pertinent cases, when it
vitiates contractually vested rights. To that extent, its retroactive
application may be so declared invalid as impairing the
obligations of contracts. 5 c hanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

11
n 2003
(Chief model
Justice)
[A.M. NO. 11-7-10-SC - July 31, 2012]
Toyota 136,500.0 151,000.00 14,500.00
Re: COA Opinion on the Computation of the Appraised Value of the Grandia, 0
Properties Purchased by the Retired Chief/Associate Justices of the 2002
Supreme Court.
model
RESOLUTION
Toyota 115,800.0 156,000.00 40,200.00
Camry, 0
PER CURIAM:
2001
model
The present administrative matter stems from the two Memoranda, dated
July 14, 2011 and August 10, 2010, submitted by Atty. Eden T. Candelaria,
Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief Administrative Officer, Office of
Ruben T. Toyota 579,532.5 580,600.00 1,067.50
Administrative Services, to the Office of the Chief Justice. These Reyes Camry, 0
(Associate 2005
Memoranda essentially ask the Court to determine the proper formula to be Justice) model
used in computing the appraisal value that a retired Chief Justice and
several Associate Justices of the Supreme Court have to pay to acquire the Toyota 117,300.0 181,200.00 63,900.00
government properties they used during their tenure. Grandia, 0
2003
THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS model

This issue has its roots in the June 8, 2010 Opinion1 issued by the Legal Angelina Toyota 115,800.0 150,600.00 34,800.00
Services Sector, Office of the General Counsel of the Commission on Audit S. Grandia, 0
(COA), which found that an underpayment amounting to P221,021.50
Gutierrez 2002
resulted when five (5) retired Supreme Court justices purchased from the
Supreme Court the personal properties assigned to them during their (Associate model
incumbency in the Court, to wit:
ς ηα ñrοb lεš ν ιr†υαl l αω lιb rαrÿ
Justice)

Adolfo S. Toyota 536,105.0 543,300.00 9,195.00


Valuation Azcuna Camry, 0
under (Associate 2005
Valuatio
Items COA Differenc Justice) model
Name of n under
Purchase Memorandu e
Justice CFAG
d m (in pesos) Toyota 117,300.0 145,000.00 27,700.00
(in pesos)
No. 98-569A Grandia, 0
(in pesos) 2002
model
Artemio Toyota 341,241.1 365,000.00 23,758.90
Panganiba Camry, 0 Sony TV 2,399.90 2,500.00 100.10

12
agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled
Set corporations with original charters, and on a post-audit basis: (a)
constitutional bodies, commissions and offices that have been granted fiscal
Ma. Alicia 5,800.002 autonomy under this Constitution. emphasis ours

This authority, however, must be read not only in light of the Court s fiscal
The COA attributed this underpayment to the use by the Property Division of autonomy, but also in relation with the constitutional provisions on judicial
the Supreme Court of the wrong formula in computing the appraisal value of independence and the existing jurisprudence and Court rulings on these
the purchased vehicles. According to the COA, the Property Division matters.
erroneously appraised the subject motor vehicles by applying Constitutional
Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG) Joint Resolution No. 35 dated April 23, 1997
and its guidelines, in compliance with the Resolution of the Court En Banc Separation of Powers and Judicial Independence
dated March 23, 2004 in A.M. No. 03-12-01,3 when it should have applied
the formula found in COA Memorandum No. 98-569-A4 dated August 5, In Angara v. Electoral Commission,8 we explained the principle of separation
1998. of powers, as follows:ςrαl αω

Recommendations of the Office of Administrative Services In her The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of
Memorandum dated August 10, 2010, Atty. Candelaria recommended that government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual division
the Court advise the COA to respect the in-house computation based on the in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive
CFAG formula, noting that this was the first time that the COA questioned cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own
the authority of the Court in using CFAG Joint Resolution No. 35 and its sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be
guidelines in the appraisal and disposal of government property since these kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be
were issued in 1997. As a matter of fact, in two previous instances involving absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has
two (2) retired Court of Appeals Associate Justices,5 the COA upheld the in- provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure
house appraisal of government property using the formula found in the coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government.
CFAG guidelines. More importantly, the Constitution itself grants the x x x And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter,
Judiciary fiscal autonomy in the handling of its budget and resources. Full effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to
autonomy, among others,6 contemplates the guarantee of full flexibility in determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if
the allocation and utilization of the Judiciary s resources, based on its own violative of the Constitution.9 ςrν ll

determination of what it needs. The Court thus has the recognized authority
to allocate and disburse such sums as may be provided or required by law in The concept of the independence of the three branches of government, on
the course of the discharge of its functions.7 To allow the COA to substitute the other hand, extends from the notion that the powers of government
the Court s policy in the disposal of its property would be tantamount to an must be divided to avoid concentration of these powers in any one branch;
encroachment into this judicial prerogative. the division, it is hoped, would avoid any single branch from lording its
power over the other branches or the citizenry.10 To achieve this purpose,
OUR RULING the divided power must be wielded by co-equal branches of government that
are equally capable of independent action in exercising their respective
We find Atty. Candelaria s recommendation to be well-taken. mandates; lack of independence would result in the inability of one branch of
government to check the arbitrary or self-interest assertions of another or
others.11
The COA s authority to conduct post-audit examinations on constitutional
ςrν ll

bodies granted fiscal autonomy is provided under Section 2(1), Article IX-D
of the 1987 Constitution, which states: Under the Judiciary s unique circumstances, independence encompasses the
idea that individual judges can freely exercise their mandate to resolve
ςrα lαω

justiciable disputes, while the judicial branch, as a whole, should work in the
Section 2. (1) The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and discharge of its constitutional functions free of restraints and influence from
duty to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and the other branches, save only for those imposed by the Constitution
receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held itself.12 Thus, judicial independence can be "broken down into two distinct
in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, concepts: decisional independence and institutional
13
independence."13Decisional independence "refers to a judge s ability to The Constitution protects as well the salaries of the Justices and judges by
render decisions free from political or popular influence based solely on the prohibiting any decrease in their salary during their continuance in
individual facts and applicable law."14 On the other hand, institutional office,23 and ensures their security of tenure by providing that "Members of
independence "describes the separation of the judicial branch from the the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good
executive and legislative branches of government."15 Simply put, behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated
institutional independence refers to the "collective independence of the to discharge the duties of their office."24With these guarantees, justices and
judiciary as a body."16ςrν ll judges can administer justice undeterred by any fear of reprisals brought on
by their judicial action. They can act inspired solely by their knowledge of
In the case In the Matter of the Allegations Contained in the Columns of Mr. the law and by the dictates of their conscience, free from the corrupting
Amado P. Macasaet Published in Malaya Dated September 18, 19, 20 and influence of base or unworthy motives.25 ςrν ll

21, 2007,17 the Court delineated the distinctions between the two concepts
of judicial independence in the following manner: ς rα lαω All of these constitutional provisions were put in place to strengthen judicial
independence, not only by clearly stating the Court s powers, but also by
One concept is individual judicial independence, which focuses on each providing express limits on the power of the two other branches of
particular judge and seeks to insure his or her ability to decide cases with government to interfere with the Court s affairs.
autonomy within the constraints of the law. A judge has this kind of
independence when he can do his job without having to hear or at least Fiscal Autonomy
without having to take it seriously if he does hear criticisms of his personal
morality and fitness for judicial office. The second concept is institutional One of the most important aspects of judicial independence is the
judicial independence. It focuses on the independence of the judiciary as a constitutional grant of fiscal autonomy. Just as the Executive may not
branch of government and protects judges as a class. prevent a judge from discharging his or her judicial duty (for example, by
physically preventing a court from holding its hearings) and just as the
A truly independent judiciary is possible only when both concepts of Legislature may not enact laws removing all jurisdiction from courts,26 the
independence are preserved - wherein public confidence in the competence courts may not be obstructed from their freedom to use or dispose of their
and integrity of the judiciary is maintained, and the public accepts the funds for purposes germane to judicial functions. While, as a general
legitimacy of judicial authority. An erosion of this confidence threatens the proposition, the authority of legislatures to control the purse in the first
maintenance of an independent Third Estate. italics and emphases ours instance is unquestioned, any form of interference by the Legislative or the
Recognizing the vital role that the Judiciary plays in our system of Executive on the Judiciary s fiscal autonomy amounts to an improper check
government as the sole repository of judicial power, with the power to on a co-equal branch of government. If the judicial branch is to perform its
determine whether any act of any branch or instrumentality of the primary function of adjudication, it must be able to command adequate
government is attended with grave abuse of discretion,18no less than the resources for that purpose. This authority to exercise (or to compel the
Constitution provides a number of safeguards to ensure that judicial exercise of) legislative power over the national purse (which at first blush
independence is protected and maintained. appears to be a violation of concepts of separateness and an invasion of
legislative autonomy) is necessary to maintain judicial independence27 and is
The Constitution expressly prohibits Congress from depriving the Supreme expressly provided for by the Constitution through the grant of fiscal
Court of its jurisdiction, as enumerated in Section 5, Article VII of the autonomy under Section 3, Article VIII. This provision states: ςrαlαω

Constitution, or from passing a law that undermines the security of tenure of


the members of the judiciary.19 The Constitution also mandates that the Section 3. The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the
judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy,20 and grants the Supreme Court Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount
administrative supervision over all courts and judicial personnel. appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be
Jurisprudence21 has characterized administrative supervision as exclusive, automatically and regularly released.
noting that only the Supreme Court can oversee the judges and court
personnel's compliance with all laws, rules and regulations. No other branch In Bengzon v. Drilon,28 we had the opportunity to define the scope and
of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the extent of fiscal autonomy in the following manner:
doctrine of separation of powers.22
ς rα lαω

ς rνll

As envisioned in the Constitution, the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the


Judiciary, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, the
14
Commission on Elections, and the Office of the Ombudsman contemplates a The Court s declarations in Bengzon make it clear that the grant of fiscal
guarantee of full flexibility to allocate and utilize their resources with the autonomy to the Judiciary is more extensive than the mere automatic and
wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. It recognizes the power and regular release of its approved annual appropriations;31real fiscal autonomy
authority to levy, assess and collect fees, fix rates of compensation not covers the grant to the Judiciary of the authority to use and dispose of its
exceeding the highest rates authorized by law for compensation and pay funds and properties at will, free from any outside control or interference.
plans of the government and allocate and disburse such sums as may be
provided by law or prescribed by them in the course of the discharge of their Application to the Present Case
functions.

The Judiciary s fiscal autonomy is realized through the actions of the Chief
Fiscal autonomy means freedom from outside control. If the Supreme Court Justice, as its head, and of the Supreme Court En Banc, in the exercise of
says it needs 100 typewriters but DBM rules we need only 10 typewriters administrative control and supervision of the courts and its personnel. As the
and sends its recommendations to Congress without even informing us, the Court En Banc s Resolution (dated March 23, 2004) in A.M. No. 03-12-01
autonomy given by the Constitution becomes an empty and illusory reflects, the fiscal autonomy of the Judiciary serves as the basis in allowing
platitude. the sale of the Judiciary s properties to retiring Justices of the Supreme
Court and the appellate courts: ςrαlα ω

The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman must


have the independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their WHEREAS, by the constitutional mandate of fiscal autonomy as defined in
constitutional duties. The imposition of restrictions and constraints on the Bengzon v. Drilon (G.R. No. 103524, 15 April 1992, 208 SCRA 133, 150) the
manner the independent constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds Judiciary has "full flexibility to allocate and utilize (its) resources with the
appropriated for their operations is anathema to fiscal autonomy and wisdom and dispatch that (its) needs require";
violative not only of the express mandate of the Constitution but especially
as regards the Supreme Court, of the independence and separation of
powers upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system is based. In WHEREAS, the long-established tradition and practice of Justices or
the interest of comity and cooperation, the Supreme Court, Constitutional Members of appellate courts of purchasing for sentimental reasons at
Commissions, and the Ombudsman have so far limited their objections to retirement government properties they used during their tenure has been
constant reminders. We now agree with the petitioners that this grant of recognized as a privilege enjoyed only by such government officials; and cralawli bra ry

autonomy should cease to be a meaningless provision.29 (emphases ours)


WHEREAS, the exercise of such privilege needs regulation to the end that
In this cited case, the Court set aside President Corazon Aquino s veto of respect for sentiments that a retiring Justice attaches to properties he or she
particular provisions of the General Appropriations Act for the Fiscal Year officially used during his or her tenure should be in consonance with the
1992 relating to the payment of the adjusted pensions of retired justices of need for restraint in the utilization and disposition of government resources.
the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, on the basis of the Judiciary s
constitutionally guaranteed independence and fiscal autonomy. The Court By way of a long standing tradition, partly based on the intention to reward
ruled:ςrαlα ω
long and faithful service, the sale to the retired Justices of specifically
designated properties that they used during their incumbency has been
In the case at bar, the veto of these specific provisions in the General recognized both as a privilege and a benefit. This has become an established
Appropriations Act is tantamount to dictating to the Judiciary how its funds practice within the Judiciary that even the COA has previously
should be utilized, which is clearly repugnant to fiscal autonomy. The recognized.32 The En Banc Resolution also deems the grant of the privilege
freedom of the Chief Justice to make adjustments in the utilization of the as a form of additional retirement benefit that the Court can grant its
funds appropriated from the expenditures of the judiciary, including the use officials and employees in the exercise of its power of administrative
of any savings from any particular item to cover deficits or shortages in supervision. Under this administrative authority, the Court has the power to
other items of the Judiciary is withheld. Pursuant to the Constitutional administer the Judiciary s internal affairs, and this includes the authority to
mandate, the Judiciary must enjoy freedom in the disposition of the funds handle and manage the retirement applications and entitlements of its
allocated to it in the appropriations law. It knows its priorities just as it is personnel as provided by law and by its own grants.33 ςrνll

aware of the fiscal restraints. The Chief Justice must be given a free hand on
how to augment appropriations where augmentation is needed.30 ς rνll
Thus, under the guarantees of the Judiciary s fiscal autonomy and its
independence, the Chief Justice and the Court En Banc determine and decide

15
the who, what, where, when and how of the privileges and benefits they Let the Commission on Audit be accordingly advised of this Resolution for its
extend to justices, judges, court officials and court personnel within the guidance.
parameters of the Court s granted power; they determine the terms,
conditions and restrictions of the grant as grantor. SO ORDERED.

In the context of the grant now in issue, the use of the formula provided in
CFAG Joint Resolution No. 35 is a part of the Court s exercise of its
discretionary authority to determine the manner the granted retirement
privileges and benefits can be availed of. Any kind of interference on how
these retirement privileges and benefits are exercised and availed of, not
only violates the fiscal autonomy and independence of the Judiciary, but also
encroaches upon the constitutional duty and privilege of the Chief Justice
and the Supreme Court En Banc to manage the Judiciary s own affairs.

As a final point, we add that this view finds full support in the Government
Accounting and Auditing Manual (GAAM), Volume 1, particularly, Section 501
of Title 7, Chapter 3, which states:
ςrαl αω

Section 501. Authority or responsibility for property disposal/divestment.


The full and sole authority and responsibility for the divestment and disposal
of property and other assets owned by the national government agencies or
instrumentalities, local government units and government-owned and/or
controlled corporations and their subsidiaries shall be lodged in the heads of
the departments, bureaus, and offices of the national government, the local
government units and the governing bodies or managing heads of
government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries
conformably to their respective corporate charters or articles of
incorporation, who shall constitute the appropriate committee or body to
undertake the same. italics supplied; emphases ours

This provision clearly recognizes that the Chief Justice, as the head of the
Judiciary, possesses the full and sole authority and responsibility to divest
and dispose of the properties and assets of the Judiciary; as Head of Office,
he determines the manner and the conditions of disposition, which in this
case relate to a benefit. As the usual practice of the Court, this authority is
exercised by the Chief Justice in consultation with the Court En Banc.
However, whether exercised by the Chief Justice or by the Supreme Court
En Banc, the grant of such authority and discretion is unequivocal and leaves
no room for interpretations and insertions.

ACCORDINGLY, premises considered, the in-house computation of the


appraisal value made by the Property Division, Office of `Administrative
Services, of the properties purchased by the retired Chief Justice and
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, based on CFAG Joint Resolution
No. 35 dated April 23, 1997, as directed under the Court Resolution dated
March 23, 2004 in A.M. No. 03-12-01, is CONFIRMED to be legal and valid.

16
A.M. No. 88-4-5433 April 15, 1988 Resolved to dismiss the charges made by complaint Cuenco against
Mr.Justice Fernan for utter lack of merit. In the same Resolution, the
IN RE FIRST INDORSEMET FROM HONORABLE RAUL M. Court Resolved to require complainant Cuenco to show cause why he
GONZALEZ DATED 16 MARCH 1988 REQUESTING HONORABLE should not be administratively dealt with for making unfounded serious
JUSTICE MARCELO B. FERNAN TO COMMENT ON AN accusations against Mr. Justice Fernan. Upon request of Mr. Cueco,
ANONYMOUS LETTER-COMPLAINT. the Court had granted him an extension of up to 30 March 1988, Mr.
Cuenco filed a pleading which appears to be an omnibus pleading
RESOLUTION relating to, inter alia, Administrative Case No. 3135. Insofar as
Administrative Case No. 3135 is concerned, the Court treated this
pleading as a Motion for Reconsideration. By a per curiam Resolution
dated 15 April 1988, the Court denied with finality Mr Cuenco's Motion
for Reconsideration.
PER CURIAM:
It is important to underscore the rule of constitution law here involved.
The Court CONSIDERED the 1st Indorsement dated 16 March 1988 This principle may be succinctly formulated in the following terms. A
from Mr. Raul M. Gonzalez, "Tanodbayan/Special; Prosecutor" public officer who under the Constitution is required to be a Member of
forwarding to Mr. Justice Marcelo B. Fernan a "letter-complaint, dated the Philippine Bar as a qualification for the office held by him and who
14 December 1987 with enclosure of the Concerned Employees of the may be removed from office only by impeachment, cannot be charged
Supreme Court," together with a telegram of Miguel Cuenco, for with disbarment during the incumbency of such public officer. Further,
"comment within ten (10) days from receipt hereof." Mr. Justice Fernan such public officer, during his incumbency, cannot be charged
had brought this 1st Indorsement to the attention of the Court en banc criminally before the Sandiganbayan or any other court with any
in view of the important implications of policy raised by said 1st offence which carries with it the penalty of removal from office, or any
Indorsement. penalty service of which would amount to removal from office.

The mentioned 1st Indorsement has two (2) attachments. First, an The Court dealt with this matter in its Resolution of 17 February 1988
anonymous letter by "Concerned Employees of the Supreme Court" in Administrative Case No. 3135 in the following terms:
addressed to Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez referring to charges for
disbarment brought by Mr. Miguel Cuenco against Mr. Justice Marcelo
There is another reason why the complaining for
B. Fernan and asking Mr. Gonzalez "to do something about this." The
disbarment here must be dismissed. Members of the
second attachment is a copy of a telegram from Mr. Miguel Cuenco
Supreme Court must, under Article VIII (7) (1) of the
addressed to Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez, where Mr. Cuenco refers to
Constitution, be members of the Philippine Bar and
pleadings he apparently filed on 29 February 1988 with the Supreme
may be removed from office only by impeachment
Court in Administrative Case No. 3135, which, in the opinion of Mr.
(Article XI [2], Constitution). To grant a complaint for
Cuenco, made improper any "intervention" by Mr. Raul Gonzalez. Mr.
disbarment of a Member of the Court during the
Cuenco, nonetheless, encourages Mr. Gonzalez "to file responsive
Member's incumbency, would in effect be to circumbent
pleading Supreme Court en banc to comply with Petition Concerned
and hence to run afoul of the constitutional mandate
Employees Supreme Court asking Tanodbayan's intervention.
theat Members of the Court may be removed from
office only by impeachment for and conviction of certain
The Court DIRECTED the Clerk of Court to FURNISH Mr. Raul M offenses listed in Article XI (2) of the Constitution.
Gonzales a copy of the per curiam Resolution, dated 17 February 1988 Precisely the same situation exists in respect of the
of the Court in Administrative Case No. 3135 entitled "Miguel Cuenco Ombudsman and his deputies (Article XI [8] in relation
v. Honorable Marcelo B. Fernan" in which Resolution, the Court
17
to Article XI [2], Id.), a majority of the members of the be liable and subject to prosecution trial, and
Commission on Elections (Article IX [C] [1] [1] in punishment, in accordance with law. The above
relation to Article XI [2], Id. and the members of the provision is a reproduction of what was found in the
Commission on Audit who are not certified public 1935 Constitution. It is quite apparent from the explicit
accountants (Article XI [D] [1][1], Id.), all of whom are character of the above provision that the effect of
constitutionally required to be members of the impeachment is limited to the loss of position and
Philippine Bar. (Emphasis supplied) disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit
under the Republic. It is equally manifest that the party
This is not the first time the Court has had occasion to rule on this this convicted may be proceeded against, tried and
matter. In Lecaroz v. Sandiganbayan, 1 the Court said: thereafter punished in accordance with law. There can
be no clearer expression of the constitutional intent as
The broad power of the New Constitution vests the to the scope of the impeachment process (The
respondent court with jurisdiction over "public officers Constitution f the Philippines, pp. 465-466)." The clear
and employees, including those in government-owned implication is, the party convicted in the impeachment
or controlled corporations." There are exceptions, proceeding shall nevertheless be liable and subject of
however, like constitutional officers, particularly those prosecution, trial and punishment according to law; and
declared to be removed by impeachment. Section 2, that if the same does not result in a conviction and the
Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution provides: official is not thereby removed, the filing of a criminal
action "in accordance with law" may not prosper. 2
Sec. 2 The President, the Members of
the Supreme Court, and the Members The provisions of the 1973 Constitution we referred to above
of the Constitutional Commissions shall in Lecaroz v. Sandiganbayan are substantially reproduced in Article XI
be removed from office on of the 1987 Constitution:
impeachment for, and conviction of,
culpable violation of the Constitution, Sec. 2 The President, the Vice-President, the Members
treason, bribery, other high crimes, or of the Supreme Court, the Members of the
graft and corruption." Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may
be removed from office, on impeachment for, and
Thus, the above provision proscribes removal from conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution,
office of the aforementioned constitutional officers by treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes,
any other method; otherwise, to allow a public officer or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and
who may be removed solely by impeachment to be employees may be removed from office as provided by
charged criminally while holding his office, would be law, but not by impeachment.
violative of the clear mandate of the fundamental law.
Sec. 3 xxx xxx xxx
Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, in his authoritative
dissertation on the New Constitution, states that (7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend
"judgement in cases of impeachment shall be limited to further than removal from office and disqualification to
removal from office and disqualification to hold any hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines,
office of honor, trust, or profit under the Republic of the but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and
Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless
18
subject to prosecution, trial and punishment according
to law.

It is important to make clear that the Court is not here saying that it
Members or the other constitutional officers we referred to above are
entitled to immunity from liability for possibly criminal acts or for alleged
violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics or other supposed
misbehavior. What the Court is saying is that there is a fundamental
procedural requirements that must be observed before such liability
may be determined and enforced. A Member of the Supreme Court
must first be removed from office via the constitutional route of
impeachment under Sections 2 and 3 of Article XI of the 1987
Constitution. Should the tenure of the Supreme Court Justice be thus
terminated by impeachment, he may then be held to answer either
criminally or administratively (by disbarment proceedings) for any
wrong or misbehavior that may be proven against him in appropriate
proceedings.

The above rule rests on the fundamental principles of judicial


independence and separation of powers. The rule is important because
judicial independence is important. Without the protection of this rule,
Members of the Supreme Court would be brought against them by
unsuccessful litigants or their lawyers or by other parties who, for any
number of reasons might seek to affect the exercise of judicial authority
by the Court.

It follows from the foregoing that a fiscal or other prosecuting officer


should forthwith and motu proprio dismiss any charges brought against
a Member of this Court. The remedy of a person with a legitimate
grievance is to file impeachment proceedings.

The Clerk of Court is hereby DIRECTED to serve a copy of this


Resolution upon Hon. Raul M. Gonzales and Mr Miguel Cuenco.

19
[G.R. No. 102781. April 22, 1993.]
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; OMBUDSMAN CANNOT SUBPOENA SUPREME COURT
BONIFACIO SANZ MACEDA, Presiding Judge, Branch 12, Regional AND ITS PERSONNEL; REASON. — The Ombudsman cannot compel this
Trial Court, Antique, Petitioner, v. HON. OMBUDSMAN CONRADO M. Court, as one of the three branches of government, to submit its records, or
VASQUEZ AND ATTY. NAPOLEON A. ABIERA, Respondents. to allow its personnel to testify on this matter, as suggested by public
respondent Abiera in his affidavit-complaint. The rationale for the foregoing
Bonifacio Sanz Maceda for and in his own behalf. pronouncement is evident in this case. Administratively, the question before
Us is this: should a judge, having been granted by this Court an extension of
Public Attorney’s Office for Private Respondent. time to decide cases before him, report these cases in his certificate of
service? As this question had not yet been raised with, much less resolved
by, this Court, how could the Ombudsman resolve the present criminal
SYLLABUS complaint that requires the resolution of said question?

1. REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN HAS DECISION


JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE OFFENSE COMMITTED BY JUDGE WHETHER
OR NOT OFFENSE RELATES TO OFFICIAL DUTIES; REASON. — Petitioner
also contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said cases NOCON, J.:
despite this Court’s ruling in Orap v. Sandiganbayan, since the offense
charged arose from the judge’s performance of his official duties, which is
under the control and supervision of the Supreme Court . . . The Court The issue in this petition for certiorari with prayer for preliminary mandatory
disagrees with the first part of petitioner’s basic argument. There is nothing injunction and/or restraining order is whether the Office of the Ombudsman
in the decision in Orap that would restrict it only to offenses committed by a could entertain a criminal complaint for the alleged falsification of a judge’s
judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies his certificate of certification submitted to the Supreme Court, and assuming that it can,
service is administratively liable to the Supreme Court for serious whether a referral should be made first to the Supreme Court.
misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court,
and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his Petitioner Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, Presiding Judge of Branch 12 of the
felonious act. Regional Trial Court of Antique, seeks the review of the following orders of
the Office of the Ombudsman: (1) the Order dated September 18, 1991
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE OFFENSE RELATED TO denying the ex-parte motion to refer to the Supreme Court filed by
OFFICIAL DUTIES SUBJECT TO PRIOR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN petitioner; and (2) the Order dated November 22, 1951 denying petitioner’s
AGAINST JUDGE BY SUPREME COURT; REASON. — However, We agree with motion for reconsideration and directing petitioner to file his counter-
petitioner that in the absence of any administrative action taken against him affidavit and other controverting evidences. cha nrob les vi rtua l lawlib ra ry

by this Court with regard to his certificates of service, the investigation being
conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court’s power of In his affidavit-complaint dated April 18, 1991 filed before the Office of the
administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of Ombudsman, respondent Napoleon A. Abiera of the Public Attorney’s Office
the doctrine of separation of powers. alleged that petitioner had falsified his Certificate of Service 1 dated
February 6, 1989, by certifying "that all civil and criminal cases which have
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PROCEDURE TO BE OBSERVED BY OMBUDSMAN been submitted for decision or determination for a period of 90 days have
REGARDING COMPLAINT AGAINST JUDGE OR OTHER COURT EMPLOYEE; been determined and decided on or before January 31, 1998," when in truth
PURPOSE. — Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of and in fact, petitioner knew that no decision had been rendered in five (5)
petitioner’s certificates of service to this Court for determination of whether civil and ten (10) criminal cases that have been submitted for decision.
said certificates reflected the true status of his pending case load, as the Respondent Abiera further alleged that petitioner similarly falsified his
Court has the necessary records to make such a determination . . . In fine, certificates of service for the months of February, April, May, June, July and
where a criminal complaint against a judge or other court employee arises August, all in 1989; and the months beginning January up to September
from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said 1990, or for a total of seventeen (17) months.
complaint and refer the same to this Court for determination whether said
judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their administrative On the other hand, petitioner contends that he had been granted by this
duties. Court an extension of ninety (90) days to decide the aforementioned cases.
20
granted by this Court an extension of time to decide cases before him,
Petitioner also contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said report these cases in his certificate of service? As this question had not yet
case despite this Court’s ruling in Orap v. Sandiganbayan, 2 since the been raised with, much less resolved by, this Court. how could the
offense charged arose from the judge’s performance of his official duties, Ombudsman resolve the present criminal complaint that requires the
which is under the control and supervision of the Supreme Court. resolution of said question?
Furthermore, the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an
encroachment into the Supreme Court’s constitutional duty of supervision In fine, where a criminal complaint against a Judge or other court employee
over all inferior courts. arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action
on said complaint and refer the same to this Court for determination
The Court disagrees with the first Part of petitioner’s basic argument. There whether said Judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their
is nothing in the decision in Orap that would restrict it only to offenses administrative duties.
committed by a judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies
his certificate of service is administratively liable to the Supreme Court for WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Ombudsman is
serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of hereby directed to dismiss the complaint filed by public respondent Atty.
Court, and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his Napoleon A. Abiera and to refer the same to this Court for appropriate
felonious act. action.

However, We agree with petitioner that in the absence of any administrative SO ORDERED
action taken against him by this Court with regard to his certificates of
service, the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches
into the Court’s power of administrative supervision over all courts and its
personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.

Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the


Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and court
personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the
lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the
Supreme Court that can oversee the judges’ and court personnel’s
compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against
them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government
may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of
separation of powers.

The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the powers


granted to it by the Constitution, 3 for such a justification not only runs
counter to the specific mandate of the Constitution granting supervisory
powers to the Supreme Court over all courts and their personnel, but
likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary. cha nrob les.c om.ph : virt ual law li bra ry

Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner’s certificates
of service to this Court for determination of whether said certificates
reflected the true status of his pending case load, as the Court has the
necessary records to make such a determination. The Ombudsman cannot
compel this Court, as one of the three branches of government, to submit its
records, or to allow its personnel to testify on this matter, as suggested by
public respondent Abiera in his affidavit-complaint. 4

The rationale for the foregoing pronouncement is evident in this case.


Administratively. the question before Us is this: should a judge, having been

21
On July 9, 1998, the trial court denied petitioner’s application for a
temporary restraining order. Petitioner moved for reconsideration. The
G.R. No. 137354 July 6, 2000 court denied the same on September 1, 1998.5

SALVADOR M. DE VERA, petitioner, On September 23, 1998, petitioner filed with the Office of the
vs. Ombudsman an affidavit-complaint6 against Judge Pelayo, accusing
HON. BENJAMIN V. PELAYO, Presiding Judge, Branch 168, him of violating Articles 2067 and 2078 of the Revised Penal Code and
Regional Trial Court, Pasig City; and EVALUATION AND Republic Act No. 3019.9
INVESTIGATION BUREAU, OFFICE OF THE
OMBUDSMAN, respondents. On October 2, 1998, Associate Graft Investigation Officer, Erlinda S.
Rojas submitted an Evaluation Report recommending referral of
DECISION petitioners’ complaint to the Supreme Court. Assistant Ombudsman
Abelardo L. Apotadera approved the recommendation.10 We quote the
decretal portion of the report:11
PARDO, J.:
"FOREGOING CONSIDERED, and in accordance with the ruling in
"It is said that a little learning is a dangerous thing; and he who acts as
Maceda vs. Vasquez, 221 SCRA 464, it is respectfully recommended
his own lawyer has a fool for a client."
that the instant complaint be referred to the Supreme Court for
appropriate action. The same is hereby considered CLOSED and
In Re: Joaquin Borromeo TERMINATED insofar as this Office is concerned."
241 SCRA 408 (1995)
On October 13, 1998, the Office of the Ombudsman referred the case
The case is a petition for certiorari and mandamus1 assailing the to the Court Administrator, Supreme Court.12
Evaluation Report of the Evaluation and Investigation Office, Office of
the Ombudsman, dated October 2, 1998 referring petitioner’s
On November 6, 1998, petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the
complaint to the Supreme Court and its Memorandum, dated January
Evaluation Report.
4, 1999,2 denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
On January 4, 1999, the Ombudsman denied the motion for
We state the relevant facts.
reconsideration.13
Petitioner is not a member of the bar. Possessing some awareness of
Hence, this petition.14
legal principles and procedures, he represents himself in this petition.
The issue is whether or not the Ombudsman has jurisdiction to
On August 28, 1996, petitioner instituted with the Regional Trial Court,
entertain criminal charges filed against a judge of the regional trial
Pasig City a special civil action for certiorari, prohibition
court in connection with his handling of cases before the court.
and mandamus to enjoin the municipal trial court from proceeding with
a complaint for ejectment against petitioner.3 When the Judge originally
assigned to the case inhibited himself, the case was re-raffled to Petitioner criticizes the jurisprudence15 cited by the Office of the
respondent Judge Benjamin V. Pelayo.4 Ombudsman as erroneous and not applicable to his complaint. He
insists that since his complaint involved a criminal charge against a
judge, it was within the authority of the Ombudsman not the Supreme

22
Court to resolve whether a crime was committed and the judge This having been said, we find that the Ombudsman acted in
prosecuted therefor. accordance with law and jurisprudence when he referred the cases
against Judge Pelayo to the Supreme Court for appropriate action.
The petition can not succeed.
WHEREFORE, there being no grave abuse of discretion amounting to
We find no grave abuse of discretion committed by the Ombudsman. lack or excess of jurisdiction committed by the respondent, we
The Ombudsman did not exercise his power in an arbitrary or despotic DISMISS the petition and AFFIRM the Evaluation Report of the
manner by reason of passion, prejudice or personal hostility.16 There Evaluation and Investigation Office, Office of the Ombudsman dated
was no evasion of positive duty. Neither was there a virtual refusal to October 2, 1998 and its memorandum, dated January 4, 1999, in toto.
perform the duty enjoined by law.17
No costs.
We agree with the Solicitor General that the Ombudsman committed
no grave abuse of discretion warranting the writs prayed for.18 The SO ORDERED.
issues have been settled in the case of In Re: Joaquin
Borromeo.19 There, we laid down the rule that before a civil or criminal
action against a judge for a violation of Art. 204 and 205 (knowingly
rendering an unjust judgment or order) can be entertained, there must
first be "a final and authoritative judicial declaration" that the decision
or order in question is indeed "unjust." The pronouncement may result
from either:20

(a).....an action of certiorari or prohibition in a higher court


impugning the validity of the judgment; or

(b).....an administrative proceeding in the Supreme Court


against the judge precisely for promulgating an unjust judgment
or order.

Likewise, the determination of whether a judge has maliciously delayed


the disposition of the case is also an exclusive judicial function.21

"To repeat, no other entity or official of the Government, not the


prosecution or investigation service of any other branch, not any
functionary thereof, has competence to review a judicial order or
decision -- whether final and executory or not -- and pronounce it
erroneous so as to lay the basis for a criminal or administrative
complaint for rendering an unjust judgment or order. That
prerogative belongs to the courts alone (underscoring ours)."22

23
[G.R. NO. 167916 : August 26, 2008] Picture Seat Plan (PSP). Upon further probing, it was confirmed
that the person claiming the eligibility was different from the one
SARAH P. AMPONG, Petitioner, v. CIVIL SERVICE who took the examinations. It was petitioner Ampong who took
COMMISSION, CSC-Regional Office No. 11, Respondents. and passed the examinations under the name Evelyn Decir.

DECISION The CSRO conducted a preliminary investigation and determined


the existence of a prima facie case against Decir and Ampong for
REYES R.T., J.: Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the
Best Interest of the Service. On August 23, 1994, they were
formally charged and required to file answers under oath. The
CAN the Civil Service Commission (CSC) properly assume
formal charge reads:
jurisdiction over administrative proceedings against a judicial
employee involving acts of dishonesty as a teacher,
committed prior to her appointment to the judiciary? That sometime before the conduct of the November 10, 1991
Professional Board Examination for Teachers (PBET), a certain
c ra lawlib ra ry

Ms. Evelyn B. Junio (now Decir) took the said examination at


Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the
Rm. 16 Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Elementary School, Davao
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) affirming the CSC's
City, with a passing rate of 74.27%; That on July 5, 1994 she
exercise of administrative jurisdiction over petitioner.
appeared before the CSC Region XI Office to get her Guro
Certificate; That upon verification, it was found out that the
The Facts picture attached in the Picture Seat Plan, marked as Annex "A"
and "A-1," respectively, were not the same compared to the
The following facts are uncontroverted: picture attached in the CSC Form 212 of Evelyn Junio-Decir
marked herein as annex "B," "B-1," respectively. There was also
On November 10, 1991, a Professional Board Examination for a marked difference in the signatures affixed in the said
Teachers (PBET)2 was held in Davao City. A certain Evelyn Junio- annexes; That further investigations revealed that it was the
Decir3 applied for and took the examination at Room 16, Kapitan pictures of Ms. Sarah Navarra, wife of her husband's first cousin,
Tomas Monteverde Elementary School. She passed with a rating who took the said examination in behalf of Ms. Evelyn Junio-
of 74.27%.4 Decir, a provisional teacher; That the said act of Mesdames Decir
and Navarra are acts of dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the
At the time of the PBET examinations, petitioner Sarah P. best interest of the service; that in (sic) taking the CS
Ampong (nee Navarra) and Decir were public school teachers examination for and in behalf of another undermines the sanctity
under the supervision of the Department of Education, Culture of the CS examinations; All these contrary to existing civil
and Sports (DECS).5 Later, on August 3, 1993, Ampong service laws and regulations. (Emphasis supplied) cralawli bra ry

transferred to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Alabel, Sarangani


Province, where she was appointed as Court Interpreter III. In her sworn statement dated November 3, 1994, Decir denied
the charges against her. She reasoned out that it must have
On July 5, 1994, a woman representing herself as Evelyn Decir been the examination proctor who pasted the wrong picture on
went to the Civil Service Regional Office (CSRO) No. XI, Davao the PSP and that her signatures were different because she was
City, to claim a copy of her PBET Certificate of Eligibility. During still signing her maiden name at the time of the examination. In
the course of the transaction, the CSRO personnel noticed that her Answer, Decir contended that:
the woman did not resemble the picture of the examinee in the
24
2. The same accusation is denied, the truth being: Q: What else do you want to tell the Commission? cra lawl ibra ry

A. When I took the Professional Board Examination for Teachers A: x x x Inasmuch as I am already remorseful, I am repenting
(PBET) in the year 1991, I handed my 1x1 I.D. picture to the of the wrong that I have done. I am hoping that the Commission
proctor assigned in the examination room who might have can help x x x so that I will be given or granted another chance
inadvertently pasted in the Seat Plan [the] wrong picture instead to serve the government.
[of] my own picture;
x x x
b. With respect to the marked difference in my signature both
appearing in the aforesaid Seat Plan and also with the Form 212, Q: Now inasmuch as you have declared that you have
the disparity lies in that in the year 1991, when I took the admitted the guilt that you took the examination for and in
afroresaid examination, I was still sporting my maiden name behalf of Evelyn Junio Decir, are you telling this to the
Evelyn B. Junio in order to coincide with all my pertinent Commission without the assistance of the counsel or waiver of
supporting papers, like the special order (s.o.), appointment and your right to be assisted by counsel.
among others, purposely to take said communications. However,
immediately after taking the PBET Examination in 1991, I started A: Yes, Ma'am. I am waiving my right.7 (Emphasis supplied)
using the full name of Evelyn Junio-Decir.6
c ralawl ibra ry

Petitioner reiterated her admission in her sworn Answer dated


Even before filing an Answer, petitioner Ampong voluntarily March 16, 1995:
appeared at the CSRO on February 2, 1995 and admitted to the
wrongdoing. When reminded that she may avail herself of the
3. That, during the commission of the act, I was still under the
services of counsel, petitioner voluntarily waived said right.
Department of Education, Culture and Sports, as Teacher in-
charge of San Miguel Primary School, Malungon North District,
On March 13, 1995, petitioner gave another admission in the way back in 1991, when the husband of Evelyn Junio-Decir, my
following tenor: husband's cousin came to me and persuaded me to take the
examination in behalf of his wife to which I disagreed but he
Q: Now, what is then your intention in coming to this Region earnestly begged so that I was convinced to agree because I pity
inasmuch as you are still intending to file an answer to the his wife considering that she is an immediate relative, and there
formal charge?cra lawlib rary

was no monetary consideration involved in this neither a


compensatory reward for me, as I was overcome by their
A: I came here because I want to admit personally. So that I persuasion;
will not be coming here anymore. I will submit my case for
Resolution. 4. That, despite the fact that I was a teacher, I was not aware
that the acts I was charged, is a ground for disciplinary action
Q: So, you intend to waive your right for the formal hearing and punishable by dismissal;
and you also admit orally on the guilt of the charge on the
Formal Charge dated August 24, 1994? cra lawl ibra ry

5. That I should not have conformed to this anomalous


transaction considering that I was born in a Christian family, and
A: Yes, Ma'am. was brought up in the fear of Lord, and had been a consistent
officer of the Church Board, had been a religious leader for so

25
many years, and had been the organizer of the Music Festival of this Commission does not have administrative supervision over
the Association of Evangelical Churches of Malungon, Sarangani employees in the judiciary, it definitely has concurrent
Province, thus I was devoted to church work and was known to jurisdiction over them. Such jurisdiction was conferred upon the
be of good conduct; and that my friends and acquaintances can Civil Service Commission pursuant to existing law specifically
vouch to that, but I was just forced by circumstances to agree to Section 12(11), Chapter 3, Book V of the Administrative Code of
the spouses Godfre and Evelyn Decir.8(Emphasis added) 1987 (Executive Order No. 292) which provides as follows:

CSC Finding and Penalty "(11) Hear and decide administrative cases instituted by or
through it directly or on appeal, including contested
On March 21, 1996, the CSC found petitioner Ampong and Decir appointment, and review decisions and actions of its offices and
guilty of dishonesty, dismissing them from the service. The of the agencies attached to it x x x."
dispositive part of the CSC resolution states:
The fact that court personnel are under the administrative
WHEREFORE, the Commission hereby finds Evelyn J. Decir and supervision of the Supreme Court does not totally isolate them
Sarah P. Navarra guilty of Dishonesty. Accordingly, they are from the operations of the Civil Service Law. Appointments of all
meted the penalty of dismissal with all its accessory penalties. officials and employees in the judiciary is governed by the Civil
The PBET rating of Decir is revoked.9 Service Law (Section 5(6), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution).
(Emphasis supplied) cra lawlib rary

Petitioner moved for reconsideration, raising for the first time the
issue of jurisdiction.10 She argued that the exclusive authority to CA Disposition
discipline employees of the judiciary lies with the Supreme
Court; that the CSC acted with abuse of discretion when it Via Petition for Review under Rule 43, petitioner elevated the
continued to exercise jurisdiction despite her assumption of duty matter to the CA.12 She insisted that as a judicial employee, it is
as a judicial employee. She contended that at the time the case the Supreme Court and not the CSC that has disciplinary
was instituted on August 23, 1994, the CSC already lost jurisdiction over her.
jurisdiction over her. She was appointed as Interpreter III of the
RTC, Branch 38, Alabel, Sarangani Province on August 3, 1993. In a Decision dated November 30, 2004,13 the CA denied the
petition for lack of merit.
The CSC denied the motion for reconsideration.11 According to
the Commission, to allow petitioner to evade administrative The CA noted that petitioner never raised the issue of jurisdiction
liability would be a mockery of the country's administrative until after the CSC ruled against her. Rather, she willingly
disciplinary system. It will open the floodgates for others to appeared before the commission, freely admitted her
escape prosecution by the mere expedient of joining another wrongdoing, and even requested for clemency. Thus, she was
branch of government. In upholding its jurisdiction over estopped from questioning the Commission's jurisdiction. The
petitioner, the CSC differentiated between administrative appellate court opined that while lack of jurisdiction may be
supervision exercised by the Supreme Court and administrative assailed at any stage, a party's active participation in the
jurisdiction granted to the Commission over all civil service proceedings before a court, tribunal or body will estop such party
employees: from assailing its jurisdiction.

Moreover, it must be pointed out that administrative supervision


is distinct from administrative jurisdiction. While it is true that
26
The CA further ruled that a member of the judiciary may be examinations."16 This authority grants to the CSC the right to
under the jurisdiction of two different bodies. As a public school take cognizance of any irregularity or anomaly connected with
teacher or a court interpreter, petitioner was part of the civil the examinations.17
service, subject to its rules and regulations. When she committed
acts in violation of the Civil Service Law, the CSC was clothed However, the Constitution provides that the Supreme
with administrative jurisdiction over her. Court is given exclusive administrative supervision over
all courts and judicial personnel.18 By virtue of this power, it
Issue is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court
personnel's compliance with all laws, rules and regulations. It
Petitioner, through this petition, assigns the lone error that: may take the proper administrative action against them if they
commit any violation. No other branch of government may
The Honorable Court of Appeals-First Division decided a question intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of
of substance in a way not in accord with law and jurisprudence, separation of powers.19 Thus, this Court ruled that the
gravely erred in facts and in law, and has sanctioned such Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of a judge on the
departure and grave error because it ignored or was not aware powers granted to it by the Constitution. It violates the specific
of Garcia v. De la Peña, 229 SCRA 766 (1994) and Adm. Matter mandate of the Constitution granting to the Supreme Court
No. OCA I.P.I. 97-329-P (CSC v. Ampong) dated January 31, supervisory powers over all courts and their personnel; it
2001, which reiterate the rule that exclusive authority to undermines the independence of the judiciary.20
discipline employees of the judiciary lies with the
Supreme Court, in issuing the questioned decision and In Civil Service Commission v. Sta. Ana,21 this Court held that
resolution; which grave error warrant reversal of the questioned impersonating an examinee of a civil service examination is an
decision and resolution.14 act of dishonesty. But because the offender involved a judicial
employee under the administrative supervision of the Supreme
Put simply, the issue boils down to whether the CSC has Court, the CSC filed the necessary charges before the Office of
administrative jurisdiction over an employee of the Judiciary for the Court Administrator (OCA), a procedure which this Court
acts committed while said employee was still with the Executive validated.
or Education Department.
A similar fate befell judicial personnel in Bartolata v.
Our Ruling Julaton,22involving judicial employees who also impersonated
civil service examinees. As in Sta. Ana, the CSC likewise filed the
necessary charges before the OCA because respondents were
The answer to the question at the outset is in the negative but
judicial employees. Finding respondents guilty of dishonesty and
We rule against the petition on the ground of estoppel.
meting the penalty of dismissal, this Court held that
"respondents' machinations reflect their dishonesty and lack of
It is true that the CSC has administrative jurisdiction over the integrity, rendering them unfit to maintain their positions as
civil service. As defined under the Constitution and the public servants and employees of the judiciary."23
Administrative Code, the civil service embraces every branch,
agency, subdivision, and instrumentality of the government, and
Compared to Sta. Ana and Bartolata, the present case involves a
government-owned or controlled corporations.15 Pursuant to its
similar violation of the Civil Service Law by a judicial employee.
administrative authority, the CSC is granted the power to
But this case is slightly different in that petitioner committed the
"control, supervise, and coordinate the Civil Service
offense before her appointment to the judicial branch. At the
27
time of commission, petitioner was a public school teacher under teachers belongs to the appropriate committee created for the
the administrative supervision of the DECS and, in taking the purpose as provided for under the Magna Carta for Public School
civil service examinations, under the CSC. Petitioner Teachers.29 It was there held that a party who fully participated
surreptitiously took the CSC-supervised PBET exam in place of in the proceedings before the CSC and was accorded due process
another person. When she did that, she became a party to is estopped from subsequently attacking its jurisdiction.
cheating or dishonesty in a civil service-supervised examination.
Petitioner was given ample opportunity to present her side and
That she committed the dishonest act before she joined the RTC adduce evidence in her defense before the CSC. She filed with it
does not take her case out of the administrative reach of the her answer to the charges leveled against her. When the CSC
Supreme Court. found her guilty, she moved for a reconsideration of the ruling.
These circumstances all too clearly show that due process was
The bottom line is administrative jurisdiction over a court accorded to petitioner.
employee belongs to the Supreme Court, regardless of
whether the offense was committed before or after Petitioner's admission of guilt stands. Apart from her full
employment in the judiciary. participation in the proceedings before the CSC, petitioner
admitted to the offense charged - that she impersonated Decir
Indeed, the standard procedure is for the CSC to bring its and took the PBET exam in the latter's place. We note that even
complaint against a judicial employee before the OCA. Records before petitioner filed a written answer, she voluntarily went to
show that the CSC did not adhere to this procedure in the the CSC Regional Office and admitted to the charges against her.
present case. In the same breath, she waived her right to the assistance of
counsel. Her admission, among others, led the CSC to find her
However, We are constrained to uphold the ruling of the CSC guilty of dishonesty, meting out to her the penalty of dismissal.
based on the principle of estoppel. The previous actions of
petitioner have estopped her from attacking the jurisdiction of Now, she assails said confession, arguing that it was given
the CSC. A party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction without aid of counsel. In police custodial investigations, the
of a court or tribunal exercising quasi-judicial functions to secure assistance of counsel is necessary in order for an extra-judicial
an affirmative relief may not afterwards deny that same confession to be made admissible in evidence against the
jurisdiction to escape a penalty.24 As this Court declared accused in a criminal complaint. If assistance was waived, the
in Aquino v. Court of Appeals:25 waiver should have been made with the assistance of counsel.30

In the interest of sound administration of justice, such practice But while a party's right to the assistance of counsel is sacred in
cannot be tolerated. If we are to sanction this argument, then all proceedings criminal in nature, there is no such requirement in
the proceedings had before the lower court and the Court of administrative proceedings. In Lumiqued v. Exevea,31 this Court
Appeals while valid in all other respects would simply become ruled that a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be
useless.26 assisted by counsel. Moreover, the administrative body is under
no duty to provide the person with counsel because assistance of
Under the principle of estoppel, a party may not be permitted to counsel is not an absolute requirement.32
adopt a different theory on appeal to impugn the court's
jurisdiction.27 In Emin v. De Leon,28 this Court sustained the Petitioner's admission was given freely. There was no
exercise of jurisdiction by the CSC, while recognizing at the same compulsion, threat or intimidation. As found by the CSC,
time that original disciplinary jurisdiction over public school
28
petitioner's admission was substantial enough to support a highest court of the land and erode the faith of the people in the
finding of guilt. judiciary.

The CSC found petitioner guilty of dishonesty. It is categorized x x x


as "an act which includes the procurement and/or use of
fake/spurious civil service eligibility, the giving of assistance to As a final point, we take this opportunity to emphasize that no
ensure the commission or procurement of the same, cheating, quibbling, much less hesitation or circumvention, on the part of
collusion, impersonation, or any other anomalous act which any employee to follow and conform to the rules and regulations
amounts to any violation of the Civil Service enunciated by this Court and the Commission on Civil Service,
examination."33 Petitioner impersonated Decir in the PBET exam, should be tolerated. The Court, therefore, will not hesitate to rid
to ensure that the latter would obtain a passing mark. By its ranks of undesirables who undermine its efforts toward an
intentionally practicing a deception to secure a passing mark, effective and efficient system of justice.37 (Emphasis added)
their acts undeniably involve dishonesty.34
We will not tolerate dishonesty for the Judiciary expects the best
This Court has defined dishonesty as the "(d)isposition to lie, from all its employees.38 Hindi namin papayagan ang
cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; pandaraya sapagkat inaasahan ng Hudikatura ang
lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness pinakamabuti sa lahat nitong kawani.
and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or
betray."35Petitioner's dishonest act as a civil servant renders her WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
unfit to be a judicial employee. Indeed, We take note that
petitioner should not have been appointed as a judicial employee
SO ORDERED.
had this Court been made aware of the cheating that she
committed in the civil service examinations. Be that as it may,
petitioner's present status as a judicial employee is not a
hindrance to her getting the penalty she deserves.

The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office


charged with the dispensation of justice is circumscribed with a
heavy burden or responsibility. The image of a court, as a true
temple of justice, is mirrored in the conduct, official or otherwise,
of the men and women who work thereat, from the judge to the
least and lowest of its personnel.36 As the Court held in another
administrative case for dishonesty:

x x x Any act which diminishes or tends to diminish the faith of


the people in the judiciary shall not be countenanced. We have
not hesitated to impose the utmost penalty of dismissal for even
the slightest breach of duty by, and the slightest irregularity in
the conduct of, said officers and employees, if so warranted.
Such breach and irregularity detract from the dignity of the

29
G.R. Nos. 217126-27, November 10, 2015 investigation report, and file the necessary complaint, if warranted (1st
Special Panel).15 Pursuant to the Ombudsman's directive, on March 5, 2015,
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES, IN HER CAPACITY AS THE the 1st Special Panel filed a complaint16 (OMB Complaint) against Binay,
OMBUDSMAN, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS (SIXTH DIVISION) Jr., et al, charging them with six (6) administrative cases17for Grave
AND JEJOMAR ERWIN S. BINAY, JR., Respondents. Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest
of the Service, and six (6) criminal cases18 for violation of Section 3 (e) of
RA 3019, Malversation of Public Funds, and Falsification of Public Documents
DECISION (OMB Cases).19

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: As to Binay, Jr., the OMB Complaint alleged that he was involved in
anomalous activities attending the following procurement and construction
phases of the Makati Parking Building project, committed during his previous
"All government is a trust, every branch of government is a trust, and
and present terms as City Mayor of Makati:
immemorially acknowledged so to be[.]"1 ChanRoblesVirt ualawli bra ry

The Case Binay, Jr.'s First Term (2010 to 2013)20


(a) On September 21, 2010, Binay, Jr. issued the Notice of
Before the Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition2 filed on March Award21 for Phase III of the Makati Parking Building project to Hilmarc's
25, 2015 by petitioner Conchita Carpio Morales, in her capacity as the Construction Corporation (Hilmarc's), and consequently, executed the
Ombudsman (Ombudsman), through the Office of the Solicitor General corresponding contract22 on September 28, 2010,23 without the required
(OSG), assailing: (a) the Resolution3 dated March 16, 2015 of public publication and the lack of architectural design,24 and approved the release
respondent the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453, which of funds therefor in the following amounts as follows: (1) P130,518,394.80
granted private respondent Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr.'s (Binay, Jr.) prayer on December 15, 2010;25 (2) P134,470,659.64 on January 19, 2011;26 (3)
for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the P92,775,202.27 on February 25, 2011;27 (4) P57,148,625.51 on March 28,
implementation of the Joint Order4 dated March 10, 20,15 of the 2011;28 (5) P40,908,750.61 on May 3, 2011;29 and (6) P106,672,761.90
Ombudsman in OMB-C-A-15-0058 to 0063 (preventive suspension order) on July 7, 2011;30
preventively suspending him and several other public officers and employees
of the City Government of Makati, for six (6) months without pay; and (b) (b) On August 11, 2011, Binay, Jr. issued the Notice of Award31 for Phase
the Resolution5dated March 20, 2015 of the CA, ordering the Ombudsman to IV of the Makati Parking Building project to Hilmarc's, and consequently,
comment on Binay, Jr.'s petition for contempt6 in CA-G.R. SP No. 139504. executed the corresponding contract32 on August 18, 2011,33 without the
required publication and the lack of architectural design,34 and approved the
Pursuant to the Resolution7 dated April 6, 2015, the CA issued a writ of release of funds therefor in the following amounts as follows: (1)
preliminary injunction8 (WPI) in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 which further P182,325,538.97 on October 4, 2O11;35 (2) P173,132,606.91 on October
enjoined the implementation of the preventive suspension order, prompting 28,2011;36 (3) P80,408,735.20 on December 12, 2011;37 (4)
the Ombudsman to file a supplemental petition9 on April 13, 2015. P62,878,291.81 on February 10, 2012;38 and (5) P59,639,167.90 on
October 1, 2012;39
The Facts
(c) On September 6, 2012, Binay, Jr. issued the Notice of Award40 for Phase
V of the Makati Parking Building project to Hilmarc's, and consequently,
On July 22, 2014, a complaint/affidavit10 was filed by Atty. Renato L. Bondal
executed the corresponding contract41 on September 13, 2012,42 without the
and Nicolas "Ching" Enciso VI before the Office of the Ombudsman against
required publication and the lack of architectural design,43 and approved the
Binay, Jr. and other public officers and employees of the City Government of
release of the funds therefor in the amounts of P32,398,220.0544 and
Makati (Binay, Jr., et al), accusing them of Plunder11 and violation of
P30,582,629.3045 on December 20, 2012; and
Republic Act No. (RA) 3019,12 otherwise known as "The Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act," in connection with the five (5) phases of the
procurement and construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building Binay, Jr.'s Second Term (2013 to 2016)46
(Makati Parking Building).13
(d) On July 3, 2013 and July 4, 2013, Binay, Jr. approved the release of
On September 9, 2014, the Ombudsman constituted a Special Panel of funds for the remaining balance of the September 13, 2012 contract with
Investigators14 to conduct a fact-finding investigation, submit an Hilmarc's for Phase V of the Makati Parking Building project in the amount of
P27,443,629.97;47 and
30
since: (a) Phases I and II were undertaken before he was elected Mayor of
(e) On July 24, 2013, Binay, Jr. approved the release of funds for the Makati in 2010; and (b) Phases III to V transpired during his first term and
remaining balance of the contract48 with MANA Architecture & Interior that his re-election as City Mayor of Makati for a second term
Design Co. (MANA) for the design and architectural services covering the effectively condoned his administrative liability therefor, if any, thus
Makati Parking Building project in the amount of P429,011.48.49 rendering the administrative cases against him moot and academic.61In any
event, Binay, Jr. claimed that the Ombudsman's preventive
On March 6, 2015, the Ombudsman created another Special Panel of suspension order failed to show that the evidence of guilt presented
Investigators to conduct a preliminary investigation and administrative against him is strong, maintaining that he did not participate in any of the
adjudication on the OMB Cases (2nd Special Panel).50Thereafter, on March 9, purported irregularities.62 In support of his prayer for injunctive relief, Binay,
2015, the 2nd Special Panel issued separate orders51 for each of the OMB Jr. argued that he has a clear and unmistakable right to hold public office,
Cases, requiring Binay, Jr., et al. to file their respective counter-affidavits.52 having won by landslide vote in the 2010 and 2013 elections, and that, in
view of the condonation doctrine, as well as the lack of evidence to sustain
Before Binay, Jr., et al.'s filing of their counter-affidavits, the Ombudsman, the charges against him, his suspension from office would undeservedly
upon the recommendation of the 2nd Special Panel, issued on March 10, deprive the electorate of the services of the person they have
2015, the subject preventive suspension order, placing Binay, Jr., et conscientiously chosen and voted into office.63
al. under preventive suspension for not more than six (6) months without
pay, during the pendency of the OMB Cases.53 The Ombudsman ruled that On March 16, 2015, at around 8:24 a.m., Secretary Roxas caused the
the requisites for the preventive suspension of a public officer are implementation of the preventive suspension order through the DILG
present,54 finding that: (a) the evidence of Binay, Jr., et al.'s guilt was National Capital Region - Regional Director, Renato L. Brion, CESO III
strong given that (1) the losing bidders and members of the Bids and (Director Brion), who posted a copy thereof on the wall of the Makati City
Awards Committee of Makati City had attested to the irregularities attending Hall after failing to personally serve the same on Binay, Jr. as the points of
the Makati Parking Building project; (2) the documents on record negated entry to the Makati City Hall were closed. At around 9:47 a.m., Assistant
the publication of bids; and (3) the disbursement vouchers, checks, and City Prosecutor of Makati Billy C. Evangelista administered the oath of office
official receipts showed the release of funds; and (b) (1) Binay, Jr., et on Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo V. Peña, Jr. (Peña, Jr.) who thereupon
al. were administratively charged with Grave Misconduct, Serious assumed office as Acting Mayor.64
Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service; (2)
said charges, if proven to be true, warrant removal from public service At noon of the same day, the CA issued a Resolution65 (dated March 16,
under the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service 2015), granting Binay, Jr.'s prayer for a TRO,66 notwithstanding Pena, Jr.'s
(RRACCS), and (3) Binay, Jr., et al.'s respective positions give them access assumption of duties as Acting Mayor earlier that day.67Citing the case
to public records and allow them to influence possible witnesses; hence, of Governor Garcia, Jr. v. CA,68 the CA found that it was more prudent on its
their continued stay in office may prejudice the investigation relative to the part to issue a TRO in view of the extreme urgency of the matter and
OMB Cases filed against them.55 Consequently, the Ombudsman directed the seriousness of the issues raised, considering that if it were established that
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), through Secretary the acts subject of the administrative cases against Binay, Jr. were all
Manuel A. Roxas II (Secretary Roxas), to immediately implement the committed during his prior term, then, applying the condonation doctrine,
preventive suspension order against Binay, Jr., et al., upon receipt of the Binay, Jr.'s re-election meant that he can no longer be administratively
same.56 charged.69 The CA then directed the Ombudsman to comment on Binay, Jr.'s
petition for certiorari .70
On March 11, 2015, a copy of the preventive suspension order was sent to
the Office of the City Mayor, and received by Maricon Ausan, a member of On March 17, 2015, the Ombudsman manifested71 that the TRO did not
Binay, Jr.'s staff.57 state what act was being restrained and that since the preventive
suspension order had already been served and implemented, there was no
The Proceedings Before the CA longer any act to restrain.72

On even date,58 Binay, Jr. filed a petition for certiorari59 before the CA, On the same day, Binay, Jr. filed a petition for contempt,73 docketed as CA-
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 139453, seeking the nullification of the G.R. SP No. 139504, accusing Secretary Roxas, Director Brion, the officials
preventive suspension order, and praying for the issuance of a TRO and/or of the Philippine National Police, and Pena, Jr. of deliberately refusing to
WPI to enjoin its implementation.60Primarily, Binay, Jr. argued that he obey the CA, thereby allegedly impeding, obstructing, or degrading the
could not be held administratively liable for any anomalous activity administration of justice.74 The Ombudsman and Department of Justice
attending any of the five (5) phases of the Makati Parking Building project Secretary Leila M. De Lima were subsequently impleaded as additional

31
respondents upon Binay, Jr.'s filing of the amended and supplemental resulting in removal from office. Thus, the fact that the Ombudsman is an
petition for contempt75 (petition for contempt) on March 19, 2015.76 Among impeachable officer should not deprive the CA of its inherent power to
others, Binay, Jr. accused the Ombudsman and other respondents therein punish contempt.89
for willfully and maliciously ignoring the TRO issued by the CA against the
preventive suspension order.77 Meanwhile, the CA issued a Resolution90 dated April 6, 2015, after the
oral arguments before it were held,91 granting Binay, Jr.'s prayer for a WPI,
In a Resolution78dated March 20, 2015, the CA ordered the consolidation which further enjoined the implementation of the preventive suspension
of CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 and CA-G.R. SP No. 139504, and, without order. In so ruling, the CA found that Binay, Jr. has an ostensible right to
necessarily giving due course to Binay, Jr.'s petition for the final relief prayed for, namely, the nullification of the preventive
contempt, directed the Ombudsman to file her comment thereto.79 The suspension order, in view of the condonation doctrine, citing Aguinaldo v.
cases were set for hearing of oral arguments on March 30 and 31, 2015.80 Santos.92 Particularly, it found that the Ombudsman can hardly impose
preventive suspension against Binay, Jr. given that his re-election in 2013 as
The Proceedings Before the Court City Mayor of Makati condoned any administrative liability arising from
anomalous activities relative to the Makati Parking Building project from
Prior to the hearing of the oral arguments before the CA, or on March 25, 2007 to 2013.93 In this regard, the CA added that, although there were acts
2015, the Ombudsman filed the present petition before this Court, assailing which were apparently committed by Binay, Jr. beyond his first term —
the CA's March 16, 2015 Resolution, which granted Binay, Jr.'s prayer for namely, the alleged payments on July 3, July 4, and July 24,
TRO in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453, and the March 20, 2015 Resolution directing 2013,94 corresponding to the services of Hillmarc's and MANA - still, Binay,
her to file a comment on Binay, Jr.'s petition for contempt in CA-G.R. SP No. Jr. cannot be held administratively liable therefor based on the cases
139504.81 The Ombudsman claims that: (a) the CA had no jurisdiction to of Salalima v. Guingona, Jr.,95 and Mayor Garcia v. Mojica96 wherein the
grant Binay, Jr.'s prayer for a TRO, citing Section 14 of RA 6770,82 or "The condonation doctrine was still applied by the Court although the payments
Ombudsman Act of 1989," which states that no injunctive writ could be were made after the official's re-election, reasoning that the payments were
issued to delay the Ombudsman's investigation unless there is prima facie merely effected pursuant to contracts executed before said re-election.97 To
evidence that the subject matter thereof is outside the latter's this, the CA added that there was no concrete evidence of Binay, Jr.'s
jurisdiction;83 and (b) the CA's directive for the Ombudsman to comment on participation for the alleged payments made on July 3, 4, and 24, 2013.98
Binay, Jr.'s petition for contempt is illegal and improper, considering that the
Ombudsman is an impeachable officer, and therefore, cannot be subjected In view of the CA's supervening issuance of a WPI pursuant to its April 6,
to contempt proceedings.84 2015 Resolution, the Ombudsman filed a supplemental petition99 before this
Court, arguing that the condonation doctrine is irrelevant to the
In his comment85 filed on April 6, 2015, Binay, Jr. argues that Section 1, determination of whether the evidence of guilt is strong for purposes of
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution specifically grants the CA judicial power issuing preventive suspension orders. The Ombudsman also maintained that
to review acts of any branch or instrumentality of government, including the a reliance on the condonation doctrine is a matter of defense, which should
Office of the Ombudsman, in case of grave abuse of discretion amounting to have been raised by Binay, Jr. before it during the administrative
lack or excess of jurisdiction, which he asserts was committed in this case proceedings, and that, at any rate, there is no condonation because Binay,
when said office issued the preventive suspension order against Jr. committed acts subject of the OMB Complaint after his re-election in
him.86 Binay, Jr. posits that it was incumbent upon the Ombudsman to1 2013.100
have been apprised of the condonation doctrine as this would have weighed
heavily in determining whether there was strong evidence to warrant the On April 14 and 21, 2015,101 the Court conducted hearings for the oral
issuance of the preventive suspension order.87 In this relation, Binay, Jr. arguments of the parties. Thereafter, they were required to file their
maintains that the CA correctly enjoined the implementation of the respective memoranda.102 In compliance thereto, the Ombudsman filed her
preventive suspension order given his clear and unmistakable right to public Memorandum103 on May 20, 2015, while Binay, Jr. submitted his
office, and that it is clear that he could not be held administratively liable for Memorandum the following day.104
any of the charges against him since his subsequent re-election in 2013
operated as a condonation of any administrative offenses he may have Pursuant to a Resolution105 dated June 16, 2015, the Court directed the
committed during his previous term.88 As regards the CA's order for the parties to comment on each other's memoranda, and the OSG to comment
Ombudsman to comment on his petition for contempt, Binay, Jr. submits on the Ombudsman's Memorandum, all within ten (10) days from receipt of
that while the Ombudsman is indeed an impeachable officer and, hence, the notice.
cannot be removed from office except by way of impeachment, an action for
contempt imposes the penalty of fine and imprisonment, without necessarily On July 15, 2015, both parties filed their respective comments to each

32
other's memoranda.106Meanwhile, on July 16, 2015, the OSG filed its or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy,
Manifestation In Lieu of Comment,107 simply stating that it was mutually and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person
agreed upon that the Office of the Ombudsman would file its Memorandum, aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging
consistent with its desire to state its "institutional position."108 In her the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or
Memorandum and Comment to Binay, Jr.'s Memorandum, the Ombudsman modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting
pleaded, among others, that this Court abandon the condonation such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require.
doctrine.109 In view of the foregoing, the case was deemed submitted for
resolution.chan rob leslaw xxxx

The Issues Before the Court Section 2. Petition for prohibition. - When the proceedings of any tribunal,
corporation, board, officer or person, whether exercising judicial, quasi-
Based on the parties' respective pleadings, and as raised during the oral judicial or ministerial functions, are without or in excess of its or his
arguments conducted before this Court, the main issues to be resolved in jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
seriatim are as follows: jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any other plain, speedy, and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved
thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts r
I. Whether or not the present petition, and not motions for
with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the
reconsideration of the assailed CA issuances in CA-G.R. SP No.
respondent to desist from further proceedings in the action or matter
139453 and CA-G.R. SP No. 139504, is the Ombudsman's plain,
specified therein, or otherwise granting such incidental reliefs as law and
speedy, and adequate remedy;
justice may require.
cralaw lawlib rary

II. Whether or not the CA has subject matter jurisdiction over the main x x x x (Emphases supplied)
petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453; cralawlawli bra ry

III. Whether or not the CA has subject matter jurisdiction to issue a TRO Hence, as a general rule, a motion for reconsideration must first be filed with
and/or WPI enjoining the implementation of a preventive suspension the lower court prior to resorting to the extraordinary remedy of certiorari or
order issued by the Ombudsman; cralawlawlib rary

prohibition since a motion for reconsideration may still be considered as a


IV. Whether or not the CA gravely abused its discretion in issuing the plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The
TRO and eventually, the WPI in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 enjoining rationale for the pre-requisite is to grant an opportunity for the lower court
the implementation of the preventive suspension order against or agency to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by the re-
Binay, Jr. based on the condonation doctrine; and examination of the legal and factual circumstances of the case.110
V. Whether or not the CA's directive for the Ombudsman to ' comment
on Binay, Jr.'s petition for contempt in CA- G.R. SP No. 139504 is Jurisprudence states that "[i]t is [the] inadequacy, [and] not the mere
improper and illegal. absence of all other legal remedies and the danger of failure of justice
without the writ, that must usually determine the propriety of certiorari [or
prohibition]. A remedy is plain, speedy[,] and adequate if it will promptly
The Ruling of the Court relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of the judgment, order, or
resolution of the lower court or agency, x x x."111
The petition is partly meritorious. chan robles law

In this light, certain exceptions were crafted to the general rule requiring a
I. prior motion for reconsideration before the filing of a petition
for certiorari, which exceptions also apply to a petition for
A common requirement to both a petition for certiorari and a petition for prohibition.112 These are: (a) where the order is a patent nullity, as where
prohibition taken under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is that the court a quo has no jurisdiction; (b) where the questions raised in
the petitioner has no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the
ordinary course of law. Sections 1 and 2 thereof provide: lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower
court; (c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the
Section 1. Petition for certiorari. - When any tribunal, board or officer question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the
exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess Government or of the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is
of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack perishable; (d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for

33
reconsideration would be useless; (e) where petitioner was deprived of due Section 14. Restrictions. - No writ of injunction shall be issued by any court
process and there is extreme urgency for relief; (f) where, in a criminal to delay an investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman under this
case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief Act, unless there is a prima facie evidence that the subject matter of the
by the trial court is improbable; (g) where the proceedings in the lower court investigation is outside the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman.
are a nullity for lack of due process; (h) where the proceedings were ex
parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and (i) where No court shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against the decision
the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is or findings of the Ombudsman, except the Supreme Court, on pure question
involved.113 of law.

In this case, it is ineluctably clear that the above-highlighted exceptions The subject provision may be dissected into two (2) parts.
attend since, for the first time, the question on the authority of the CA - and
of this Court, for that matter - to enjoin the implementation of a preventive The first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 is a prohibition against any
suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman is put to the fore. court (except the Supreme Court119) from issuing a writ of injunction to
This case tests the constitutional and statutory limits of the fundamental delay an investigation being conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman.
powers of key government institutions - namely, the Office of the Generally speaking, "[injunction is a judicial writ, process or proceeding
Ombudsman, the Legislature, and the Judiciary - and hence, involves an whereby a party is ordered to do or refrain from doing a certain act. It may
issue of transcendental public importance that demands no less than a be the main action or merely a provisional remedy for and as an incident in
careful but expeditious resolution. Also raised is the equally important issue the main action."120 Considering the textual qualifier "to delay," which
on the propriety of the continuous application of the condonation doctrine as connotes a suspension of an action while the main case remains pending,
invoked by a public officer who desires exculpation from administrative the "writ of injunction" mentioned in this paragraph could only refer to
liability. As such, the Ombudsman's direct resort to certiorari and prohibition injunctions of the provisional kind, consistent with the nature of a provisional
before this Court, notwithstanding her failure to move for the prior injunctive relief.
reconsideration of the assailed issuances in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 and CA-
G.R. SP No. 139504 before the CA, is justified. cha nrob leslaw The exception to the no injunction policy is when there is prima
facie evidence that the subject matter of the investigation is outside the
II. office's jurisdiction. The Office of the Ombudsman has disciplinary authority
over all elective and appointive officials of the government and its
Albeit raised for the first time by the Ombudsman in her Memorandum,114 it subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies, with the exception only of
is nonetheless proper to resolve the issue on the CA's lack of subject matter impeachable officers, Members of Congress, and the
jurisdiction over the main petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453, in Judiciary.121 Nonetheless, the Ombudsman retains the power to investigate
view of the well-established rule that a court's jurisdiction over the subject any serious misconduct in office allegedly committed by officials removable
matter may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. The rationale is that by impeachment, for the purpose of filing a verified complaint for
subject matter jurisdiction is conferred by law, and the lack of it affects the impeachment, if warranted.122 Note that the Ombudsman has concurrent
very authority of the court to take cognizance of and to render judgment on jurisdiction over certain administrative cases which are within the jurisdiction
the action.115 Hence, it should be preliminarily determined if the CA indeed of the regular courts or administrative agencies, but has primary jurisdiction
had subject matter jurisdiction over the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 to investigate any act or omission of a public officer or employee who is
petition, as the same determines the validity of all subsequent proceedings under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.123
relative thereto. It is noteworthy to point out that Binay, Jr. was given the
opportunity by this Court to be heard on this issue,116 as he, in fact, duly On the other hand, the second paragraph of Section 14, RA
submitted his opposition through his comment to the Ombudsman's 6770 provides that no appeal or application for remedy may be heard
Memorandum.117 That being said, the Court perceives no reasonable against the decision or findings of the Ombudsman, with the exception of
objection against ruling on this issue. the Supreme Court on pure questions of law. This paragraph, which the
Ombudsman particularly relies on in arguing that the CA had no jurisdiction
The Ombudsman's argument against the CA's lack of subject matter over the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 petition, as it is supposedly this Court
jurisdiction over the main petition, and her corollary prayer for its dismissal, which has the sole jurisdiction to conduct a judicial review of its decisions or
is based on her interpretation of Section 14, RA 6770, or the Ombudsman findings, is vague for two (2) reasons: (1) it is unclear what the phrase
Act,118 which reads in full: "application for remedy" or the word "findings" refers to; and (2) it does not
specify what procedural remedy is solely allowable to this Court, save that
the same be taken only against a pure question of law. The task then, is to

34
apply the relevant principles of statutory construction to resolve the himself has the right to exhaust the administrative remedies available to
ambiguity. him?

"The underlying principle of all construction is that the intent of the Senator Angara. Yes, Mr. President, that is correct.
legislature should be sought in the words employed to express it, and that
when found[,] it should be made to govern, x x x. If the words of the law Senator Guingona. And he himself may cut the proceeding short
seem to be of doubtful import, it may then perhaps become necessary to by appealing to the Supreme Court only on certiorari ?
look beyond them in order to ascertain what was in the legislative mind at
the time the law was enacted; what the circumstances were, under which Senator Angara. On question of law, yes.
the action was taken; what evil, if any, was meant to be redressed; x x x
[a]nd where the law has contemporaneously been put into operation, and in Senator Guingona. And no other remedy is available to him?
doing so a construction has necessarily been put upon it, this construction,
especially if followed for some considerable period, is entitled to great Senator Angara. Going to the Supreme Court, Mr. President?
respect, as being very probably a true expression of the legislative purpose,
and is not lightly to be overruled, although it is not conclusive."124 Senator Guingona. Yes. What I mean to say is, at what stage, for
example, if he is a presidential appointee who is the respondent, if there is f
As an aid to construction, courts may avail themselves of the actual no certiorari available, is the respondent given the right to exhaust his
proceedings of the legislative body in interpreting a statute of doubtful administrative remedies first before the Ombudsman can take the
meaning. In case of doubt as to what a provision of a statute means, the appropriate action?
meaning put to the provision during the legislative deliberations may be
adopted,125 albeit not controlling in the interpretation of the law.126 Senator Angara. Yes, Mr. President, because we do not intend to change
the administrative law principle that before one can go to court, he must
A. The Senate deliberations cited by the exhaust all administrative remedies xxx available to him before he goes and
Ombudsman do not pertain to the second seeks judicial review.
paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770.
xxxx
The Ombudsman submits that the legislative intent behind Section 14, RA
6770, particularly on the matter of judicial review of her office's decisions or Senator [Neptali A.] Gonzales. What is the purpose of the Committee
findings, is supposedly clear from the following Senate deliberations:127 in changing the method of appeal from one of a petition for review
to a petition for certiorari?
Senator [Edgardo J.] Angara, x x x. On page 15, Mr. President, line 14,
after the phrase "petition for" delete the word "review" and in lieu thereof, Senator Angara. To make it consistent, Mr. President, with the
insert the word CERTIORARI. So that, review or appeal from the decision of provision here in the bill to the effect that the finding of facts of the
the Ombudsman would only be taken not on a petition for review, but Ombudsman is conclusive if supported by substantial evidence.
on certiorari.
Senator Gonzales. A statement has been made by the Honorable Presiding
The President [Jovito R. Salonga]. What is the practical effect of Officer to which I concur, that in an appeal by certiorari , the appeal is
that? Will it be more difficult to reverse the decision under review? more difficult. Because in certiorari it is a matter of discretion on the
part of the court, whether to give due course to the petition or
Senator Angara. It has two practical effect ways, Mr. President. First is dismiss it outright. Is that not correct, Mr. President?
that the findings of facts of the Ombudsman would be almost
conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. Second, we would Senator Angara. That is absolutely correct, Mr. President
not unnecessarily clog the docket of the Supreme Court. So, it in
effect will be a very strict appeal procedure. Senator Gonzales. And in a petition for certiorari , the issue
is limited to whether or not the Ombudsman here has acted without
xxxx jurisdiction and has committed a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Is that not the consequence, Mr.
Senator [Teofisto T.] Guingona, [Jr.]. Does this mean that, for example, President.
if there are exhaustive remedies available to a respondent, the respondent
35
Senator Angara. That is correct, Mr. President. Ombudsman invokes. Note that the exchange begins with the suggestion of
Senator Angara to delete the word "review" that comes after the phrase
Senator Gonzales. And it is, therefore, in this sense that the intention of "petition for review" and, in its stead, insert the word "certiorari" so that the
the Committee is to make it harder to have a judicial review, but "review or appeal from the decision of the Ombudsman would not only be
should be limited only to cases that I have enumerated. taken on a petition for review, but on certiorari" The ensuing exchange
between Senators Gonzales and Angara then dwells on the purpose of
Senator Angara. Yes, Mr. President. changing the method of review from one of a petition for review to a petition
for certiorari - that is, to make "the appeal x x x more difficult." Ultimately,
Senator Gonzales. I think, Mr. President, our Supreme Court has made a the amendment to the change in wording, from "petition for review" to
distinction between a petition for review and a petition for certiorari ; "petition for certiorari" was approved.
because before, under the 1935 Constitution appeal from any order, ruling
or decision of the COMELEC shall be by means of review. But under the Noticeably, these references to a "petition for review" and the proposed
Constitution it is now by certiorari and the Supreme Court said that by this "petition for certiorari" are nowhere to be found in the text of Section 14, RA
change, the court exercising judicial review will not inquire into the facts, 6770. In fact, it was earlier mentioned that this provision, particularly its
into the evidence, because we will not go deeply by way of review into the second paragraph, does not indicate what specific procedural remedy one
evidence on record but its authority will be limited to a determination of should take in assailing a decision or finding of the Ombudsman; it only
whether the administrative agency acted without, or in excess of, reveals that the remedy be taken to this Court based on pure questions of
jurisdiction, or committed a grave abuse of discretion. So, I assume that law. More so, it was even commented upon during the oral arguments of this
that is the purpose of this amendment, Mr. President. case129 that there was no debate or clarification made on the current
formulation of the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 per the
Senator Angara. The distinguished Gentleman has stated it so well. available excerpts of the Senate deliberations. In any case, at least for the
above-cited deliberations, the Court finds no adequate support to sustain the
Senator Gonzales. I just want to put that in the Record. Senator Angara. It Ombudsman's entreaty that the CA had no subject matter jurisdiction over
is very well stated, Mr. President. the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 petition.

xxxx On the contrary, it actually makes greater sense to posit that these
deliberations refer to another Ombudsman Act provision, namely Section 27,
The President. It is evident that there must be some final authority RA 6770. This is because the latter textually reflects the approval of Senator
to render decisions. Should it be the Ombudsman or should it be the Angara's suggested amendment, i.e., that the Ombudsman's decision or
Supreme Court? finding may be assailed in a petition for certiorari to this Court (fourth
paragraph), and further, his comment on the conclusive nature of the factual
Senator Angara. As I understand it, under our scheme of government, Mr. findings of the Ombudsman, if supported by substantial evidence (third
President, it is and has to be the Supreme Court to make the final paragraph):
determination.
Section 27. Effectivity and Finality of Decisions.— (1) All provisionary orders
The President. Then if that is so, we have to modify Section 17. of the Office of the Ombudsman are immediately effective and executory.

Senator Angara. That is why, Mr. President, some of our Colleagues have A motion for reconsideration of any order, directive or decision of the Office
made a reservation to introduce an appropriate change during the period of of the Ombudsman must be filed within five (5) days after receipt of written
Individual Amendments. notice and shall be entertained only on any of the following grounds: chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

(1) New evidence has been discovered which materially affects the order,
xxxx directive or decision;
cra lawlawlib rary

The President. All right. Is there any objection to the amendment inserting (2) Errors of law or irregularities have been committed prejudicial to the
the word CERTIORARI instead of "review"? [Silence] Hearing none, the same interest of the movant. The motion for reconsideration shall be resolved
is approved.128 within three (3) days from filing: Provided, That only one motion for
reconsideration shall be entertained. ChanRobles Vi rtua lawlib rary

Upon an assiduous scrutiny of these deliberations, the Court is, however, Findings of fact by the Office of the Ombudsman when supported by
unconvinced that the provision debated on was Section 14, RA 6770, as the substantial evidence are conclusive. Any order, directive or decision
36
imposing the penalty of public censure or reprimand, suspension of not more As a general rule, the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 bans the
than one (1) month's salary shall be final and unappealable. whole range of remedies against issuances of the Ombudsman, by
prohibiting: (a) an appeal against any decision or finding of the
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives, or Ombudsman, and (b) "any application of remedy" (subject to the exception
decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the below) against the same. To clarify, the phrase "application for remedy,"
Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within ten (10) days being a generally worded provision, and being separated from the term
from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision "appeal" by the disjunctive "or",133 refers to any remedy (whether taken
or denial of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule mainly or provisionally), except an appeal, following the maxim generalia
45 of the Rules of Court. verba sunt generaliter intelligenda: general words are to be understood in a
general sense.134 By the same principle, the word "findings," which is also
The above rules may be amended or modified by the Office of the ' separated from the word "decision" by the disjunctive "or", would therefore
Ombudsman as the interest of justice may require. (Emphasis and refer to any finding made by the Ombudsman (whether final or provisional),
underscoring supplied) except a decision.

At first blush, it appears that Section 27, RA 6770 is equally ambiguous in The subject provision, however, crafts an exception to the foregoing
stating that a "petition for certiorari" should be taken in accordance with general rule. While the specific procedural vehicle is not explicit from its
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as it is well-known that under the present text, it is fairly deducible that the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, petitions for certiorari are governed by Rule excepts, as the only allowable remedy against "the decision or findings of
65 of the said Rules. However, it should be discerned that the Ombudsman the Ombudsman," a Rule 45 appeal, for the reason that it is the only
Act was passed way back in 1989130and, hence, before the advent of the remedy taken to the Supreme Court on "pure questions of law,"
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.131 At that time, the governing 1964 Rules of whether under the 1964 Rules of Court or the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure:
Court,132 consistent with Section 27, RA 6770, referred to the appeal taken
thereunder as a petition for certiorari , thus possibly explaining the remedy's Rule 45, 1964 Rules of Court
textual denomination, at least in the provision's final approved version:
RULE 45
RULE 45 Appeal from Court of Appeals to Supreme Court
Appeal from Court of Appeals to Supreme Court
xxxx
SECTION 1. Filing of Petition with Supreme Court. - A party may appeal
by certiorari , from a judgment of the Court of Appeals, by filing with the Section 2. Contents of Petition. — The petition shall contain a concise
Supreme Court a petition forcertiorari , within fifteen (15) days from statement of the matters involved, the assignment of errors made in the
notice of judgment or of the denial of his motion for reconsideration filed in court below, and the reasons relied on for the allowance of the petition, and
due time, and paying at the same time, to the clerk of said court the it should be accompanied with a true copy of the judgment sought to be
corresponding docketing fee. The petition shall not be acted upon without reviewed, together with twelve (12) copies of the record on appeal, if any,
proof of service of a copy thereof to the Court of Appeals. (Emphasis and of the petitioner's brief as filed in the Court of Appeals. A verified
supplied) statement of the date when notice of judgment and denial of the motion for
reconsideration, if any, were received shall accompany the petition.
B. Construing the second paragraph of
Section 14, RA 6770. Only questions of law may be raised in the petition and must be
distinctly set forth. If no record on appeal has been filed in the Court of
The Senate deliberations' lack of discussion on the second paragraph of Appeals, the clerk of the Supreme Court, upon admission of the petition,
Section 14, RA 6770 notwithstanding, the other principles of statutory shall demand from the Court of Appeals the elevation of the whole record of
construction can apply to ascertain the meaning of the provision. the case. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

To recount, the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 states that "[n]o Rule 45, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
court shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against the
decision or findings of the Ombudsman, except the Supreme Court,
on pure question of law." ; cralawlawli bra ry

37
RULE 45 provision is, in fact, very similar to the fourth paragraph of Section 27, RA
Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court 6770 (as above-cited), which was invalidated in the case of Fabian v.
Desiertoni137 (Fabian).138
Section 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. - A party desiring to appeal
by certiorarifrom a judgment, final order or resolution of the Court of In Fabian, the Court struck down the fourth paragraph of Section 27, RA
Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Regional Trial 6770 as unconstitutional since it had the effect of increasing the appellate
Court or other courts, whenever authorized by law, may file with the jurisdiction of the Court without its advice and concurrence in violation of
Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition may Section 30, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.139 Moreover, this provision
include an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or other provisional was found to be inconsistent with Section 1, Rule 45 of the present 1997
remedies and shall raise only questions of law, which must be Rules of Procedure which, as above-intimated, applies only to a review of
distinctly set forth. The petitioner may seek the same provisional "judgments or final orders of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the
remedies by verified motion filed in the same action or proceeding at any Court of Tax Appeals, the Regional Trial Court, or other courts authorized by
time during its pendency. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) law;" and not of quasi-judicial agencies, such as the Office of the
Ombudsman, the remedy now being a Rule 43 appeal to the Court of
That the remedy excepted in the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 Appeals. In Ruivivar v. Office of the Ombudsman,140 the Court's
could be a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1964 Rules of Court or ratiocinations and ruling in Fabian were recounted:
the 1997 Rules of Procedure is a suggestion that defies traditional norms of
procedure. It is basic procedural law that a Rule 65 petition is based on The case of Fabian v. Desierto arose from the doubt created in the
errors of jurisdiction, and not errors of judgment to which the classifications application of Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770 (The Ombudsman's Act) and
of (a) questions of fact, (b) questions of law, or (c) questions of mixed fact Section 7, Rule III of A.O. No. 7 (Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
and law, relate to. In fact, there is no procedural rule, whether in the old or Ombudsman) on the availability of appeal before the Supreme Court to
new Rules, which grounds a Rule 65 petition on pure questions of law. assail a decision or order of the Ombudsman in administrative
Indeed, it is also a statutory construction principle that the lawmaking body cases. In Fabian, we invalidated Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770 (and
cannot be said to have intended the establishment of conflicting and hostile Section 7, Rule III of A.O. No. 7 and the other rules implementing
systems on the same subject. Such a result would render legislation a the Act) insofar as it provided for appeal by certiorari under Rule 45
useless and idle ceremony, and subject the laws to uncertainty and from the decisions or orders of the Ombudsman in administrative
unintelligibility.135 There should then be no confusion that the second cases. We held that Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770 had the effect, not
paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 refers to a Rule 45 appeal to this Court, only of increasing the appellate jurisdiction of this Court without its
and no other. In sum, the appropriate construction of this Ombudsman Act advice and concurrence in violation of Section 30, Article VI of the
provision is that all remedies against issuances of the Office of the Constitution; it was also inconsistent with Section 1, Rule 45 of the
Ombudsman are prohibited, except the above-stated Rule 45 remedy to the Rules of Court which provides that a petition for review
Court on pure questions of law. on certiorari shall apply only to a review of "judgments or final
orders of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax
C. Validity of the second paragraph of Appeals, the Regional Trial Court, or other courts authorized by
Section 14, RA 6770. law." We pointedly said: chanRob lesvi rtual Lawli bra ry

As a consequence of our ratiocination that Section 27 of Republic Act No.


Of course, the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770's extremely limited 6770 should be struck down as unconstitutional, and in line with the
restriction on remedies is inappropriate since a Rule 45 appeal -which is regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from quasi-judicial agencies in the
within the sphere of the rules of procedure promulgated by this Court - can 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, appeals from decisions of the Office
only be taken against final decisions or orders of lower courts,136 and not of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to
against "findings" of quasi-judicial agencies. As will be later elaborated upon, the CA under the provisions of Rule 43.141 (Emphasis supplied)
Congress cannot interfere with matters of procedure; hence, it cannot alter
the scope of a Rule 45 appeal so as to apply to interlocutory "findings" Since the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 limits the remedy
issued by the Ombudsman. More significantly, by confining the remedy to against "decision or findings" of the Ombudsman to a Rule 45 appeal and
a Rule 45 appeal, the provision takes away the remedy of certiorari, thus - similar to the fourth paragraph of Section 27, RA 6770142 - attempts
grounded on errors of jurisdiction, in denigration of the judicial power to effectively increase the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction without its
constitutionally vested in courts. In this light, the second paragraph of advice and concurrence,143 it is therefore concluded that the former
Section 14, RA 6770 also increased this Court's appellate jurisdiction, provision is also unconstitutional and perforce, invalid. Contrary to the
without a showing, however, that it gave its consent to the same. The Ombudsman's posturing,144Fabian should squarely apply since the above-
38
stated Ombudsman Act provisions are in part materia in that they "cover the In several cases decided after Fabian, the Court has ruled that Rule 65
same specific or particular subject matter,"145 that is, the manner of judicial petitions for certiorari against unappelable issuances150 of the Ombudsman
review over issuances of the Ombudsman. should be filed before the CA, and not directly before this Court:

Note that since the second paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 is clearly In Office of the Ombudsman v. Capulong151 (March 12, 2014), wherein a
determinative of the existence of the CA's subject matter jurisdiction over preventive suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman was -
the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 petition, including all subsequent similar to this case - assailed through a Rule 65 petition for certiorari filed by
proceedings relative thereto, as the Ombudsman herself has developed, the the public officer before the CA, the Court held that "[t]here being a finding
Court deems it proper to resolve this issue ex mero motu (on its own of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman, it was certainly
motion146). This procedure, as was similarly adopted in Fabian, finds its imperative for the CA to grant incidental reliefs, as sanctioned by Section 1
bearings in settled case law: of Rule 65."152

The conventional rule, however, is that a challenge on constitutional grounds In Dagan v. Office of the Ombudsman153 (November 19, 2013), involving a
must be raised by a party to the case, neither of whom did so in this case, Rule 65 petition for certiorariassailing a final and unappealable order of the
but that is not an inflexible rule, as we shall explain. Office of the Ombudsman in an administrative case, the Court remarked that
"petitioner employed the correct mode of review in this case, i.e., a special
Since the constitution is intended for the observance of the judiciary and civil action for certiorari before the Court of Appeals."154 In this relation, it
other departments of the government and the judges are sworn to support stated that while "a special civil action for Certiorari is within the concurrent
its provisions, the courts are not at liberty to overlook or disregard its original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, such
commands or countenance evasions thereof. When it is clear , that a statute petition should be initially filed with the Court of Appeals in observance of
transgresses the authority vested in a legislative body, it is the duty of the the doctrine of hierarchy of courts." Further, the Court upheld Barata v.
courts to declare that the constitution, and not the statute, governs in a case Abalos, Jr.155 (June 6, 2001), wherein it was ruled that the remedy against
before them for judgment. final and unappealable orders of the Office of the Ombudsman in an
administrative case was a Rule 65 petition to the CA. The same verdict was
Thus, while courts will not ordinarily pass upon constitutional questions reached in Ruivivar156(September 16, 2008).
which are not raised in the pleadings, the rule has been recognized to admit
of certain exceptions. It does not preclude a court from inquiring into its own Thus, with the unconstitutionality of the second paragraph of Section 14, RA
jurisdiction or compel it to enter a judgment that it lacks jurisdiction to 6770, the Court, consistent with existing jurisprudence, concludes that the
enter. If a statute on which a court's jurisdiction in a proceeding depends is CA has subject matter jurisdiction over the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453
unconstitutional, the court has no jurisdiction in the proceeding, and since it petition. That being said, the Court now examines the objections of the
may determine whether or not it has jurisdiction, it necessarily follows that it Ombudsman, this time against the CA's authority to issue the assailed TRO
may inquire into the constitutionality of the statute. and WPI against the implementation of the preventive suspension order,
incidental to that main case.
Constitutional questions, not raised in the regular and orderly
procedure in the trial are ordinarily rejected unless the jurisdiction III.
of the court below or that of the appellate court is involved in which
case it may be raised at any time or on the court's own motion. The From the inception of these proceedings, the Ombudsman has been
Court ex mero motu may take cognizance of lack of jurisdiction at any point adamant that the CA has no jurisdiction to issue any provisional injunctive
in the case where that fact is developed. The court has a clearly recognized writ against her office to enjoin its preventive suspension orders. As basis,
right to determine its own jurisdiction in any proceeding.147 (Emphasis she invokes the first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 in conjunction
supplied) with her office's independence under the 1987 Constitution. She advances
the idea that "[i]n order to further ensure [her office's] independence, [RA
D. Consequence of invalidity. 6770] likewise insulated it from judicial intervention,"157particularly, "from
injunctive reliefs traditionally obtainable from the courts,"158 claiming that
In this case, the Rule 65 petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 was said writs may work "just as effectively as direct harassment or political
filed by Binay, Jr. before the CA in order to nullify the preventive suspension pressure would."159
order issued by the Ombudsman, an interlocutory order,148 hence,
unappealable.149 A. The concept of Ombudsman independence.

39
Section 5, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution guarantees the independence
of the Office of the Ombudsman: More significantly, Gonzales III explained the broad scope of the office's
mandate, and in correlation, the impetus behind its independence:
Section 5. There is hereby created the independent Office of the
Ombudsman, composed of the Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan, Under Section 12, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Office of the
one overall Deputy and at least one Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas[,] and Ombudsman is envisioned to be the "protector of the people" against the
Mindanao. A separate Deputy for the military establishment may likewise be inept, abusive, and corrupt in the Government, to function essentially as a
appointed. (Emphasis supplied) complaints and action bureau. This constitutional vision of a Philippine
Ombudsman practically intends to make the Ombudsman an authority to
In Gonzales III v. Office of the President160 (Gonzales III), the Court traced directly check and guard against the ills, abuses and excesses , of the
the historical underpinnings of the Office of the Ombudsman: bureaucracy. Pursuant to Section 13 (8), Article XI of the 1987 Constitution,
Congress enacted RA No. 6770 to enable it to further realize the vision of
Prior to the 1973 Constitution, past presidents established several the Constitution. Section 21 of RA No. 6770 provides: chanRoble svi rtual Lawli bra ry

Ombudsman-like agencies to serve as the people's medium for airing Section 21. Official Subject to Disciplinary Authority; Exceptions. - The Office
grievances and for direct redress against abuses and misconduct in the of the Ombudsman shall have disciplinary authority over all elective and
government. Ultimately, however, these agencies failed to fully realize their appointive officials of the Government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities,
objective for lack of the political independence necessary for the effective and agencies, including Members of the Cabinet, local government,
performance of their function as government critic. government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, except
over officials who may be removed only by impeachment or over Members
It was under the 1973 Constitution that the Office of the Ombudsman of Congress, and the Judiciary. ChanRobles Virtualawl ibra ry

became a constitutionally-mandated office to give it political independence As the Ombudsman is expected to be an "activist watchman," the < Court
and adequate powers to enforce its mandate. Pursuant to the ( 1973 has upheld its actions, although not squarely falling under the broad powers
Constitution, President Ferdinand Marcos enacted Presidential Decree (PD) granted [to] it by the Constitution and by RA No. 6770, if these actions are
No. 1487, as amended by PD No. 1607 and PD No. 1630, creating the Office reasonably in line with its official function and consistent with the law and
of the Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan. It was tasked principally to the Constitution.
investigate, on complaint or motu proprio, any administrative act of any
administrative agency, including any government-owned or controlled The Ombudsman's broad investigative and disciplinary powers include all
corporation. When the Office of the Tanodbayan was reorganized in 1979, acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance of all public officials,
the powers previously vested in the Special Prosecutor were transferred to including Members of the Cabinet and key Executive officers, during their
the Tanodbayan himself. He was given the exclusive authority to conduct tenure. To support these broad powers, the Constitution saw it fit to
preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, file insulate the Office of the Ombudsman from the pressures and
the corresponding information, and control the prosecution of these cases. influence of officialdom and partisan politics and from fear of
external reprisal by making it an "independent" office, x x x.
With the advent of the 1987 Constitution, a new Office of the Ombudsman
was created by constitutional fiat. Unlike in the 1973 Constitution, its xxxx
independence was expressly and constitutionally guaranteed. Its
objectives are to enforce the state policy in Section 27, Article II and the Given the scope of its disciplinary authority, the Office of the Ombudsman is
standard of accountability in public service under Section 1, Article XI of the a very powerful government constitutional agency that is considered "a
1987 Constitution. These provisions read: cha nRoblesvi rtua lLaw lib rary
notch above other grievance-handling investigative bodies." It has powers,
Section 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public both constitutional and statutory, that are commensurate , with its daunting
service and take positive and effective measures against graft and task of enforcing accountability of public officers.162 (Emphasis and
corruption. underscoring supplied)

Section 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, Gonzales III is the first case which grappled with the meaning of the
at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost Ombudsman's independence vis-a-vis the independence of the other
responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and constitutional bodies. Pertinently, the Court observed:
justice, and lead modest lives.161 (Emphasis supplied)
(1) "[T]he independence enjoyed by the Office of the Ombudsman and by
the Constitutional Commissions shares certain characteristics - they do not
40
owe their existence to any act of Congress, but are created by the categorically stated that the tenure of the commissioners of the independent
Constitution itself; additionally, they all enjoy fiscal autonomy. In Commission on Human Rights could not be placed under the
general terms, the framers of the Constitution intended that these discretionary power of the President.
'independent' bodies be insulated from political pressure to the extent
that the absence of 'independence' would result in the impairment of their xxxx
core functions"163;
cralawlawl ibra ry

The kind of independence enjoyed by the Office of the Ombudsman certainly


(2) "[T]he Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman cannot be inferior - but is similar in degree and kind - to the independence
must have the independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their similarly guaranteed by the Constitution to the Constitutional Commissions
constitutional duties. The imposition of restrictions and constraints on the since all these offices fill the political interstices of a republican democracy
manner the independent constitutional offices allocate and utilize that are crucial to its existence and proper functioning.166 (Emphases and
the funds appropriated for their operations is anathema to fiscal underscoring supplied)
autonomy and violative not only [of] the express mandate of the
Constitution, but especially as regards the Supreme Court, of the Thus, in Gonzales III, the Court declared Section 8 (2), RA 6770, which
independence and separation of powers upon which the entire fabric of our provides that "[a] Deputy or the Special Prosecutor, may be removed from
constitutional system is based";164 and office by the President for any of the grounds provided for the removal of
the Ombudsman, and after due process," partially unconstitutional insofar as
(3) "[T]he constitutional deliberations explain the Constitutional it subjected the Deputy Ombudsman to the disciplinary authority of the
Commissions' need for independence. In the deliberations of the 1973 President for violating the principle of independence. Meanwhile, the validity
Constitution, the delegates amended the 1935 Constitution by providing for of Section 8 (2), RA 6770 was maintained insofar as the Office of the Special
a constitutionally-created Civil Service Commission, instead of one created Prosecutor was concerned since said office was not considered to be
by law, on the premise that the effectivity of this body is dependent constitutionally within the Office of the Ombudsman and is, hence, not
on its freedom from the tentacles of politics. In a similar manner, the entitled to the independence the latter enjoys under the Constitution.167
deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the Commission on Audit
highlighted the developments in the past Constitutions geared towards As may be deduced from the various discourses in Gonzales III, the concept
insulating the Commission on Audit from political pressure."165 of Ombudsman's independence covers three (3) things:

At bottom, the decisive ruling in Gonzales III, however, was that the First: creation by the Constitution, which means that the office cannot be
independence of the Office of the Ombudsman, as well as that of the abolished, nor its constitutionally specified functions and privileges, be
foregoing independent bodies, meant freedom from control or removed, altered, or modified by law, unless the Constitution itself allows, or
supervision of the Executive Department: an amendment thereto is made; cralawlawl ibrary

[T]he independent constitutional commissions have been consistently Second: fiscal autonomy, which means that the office "may not be
intended by the framers to be independent from executive control or obstructed from [its] freedom to use or dispose of [its] funds for purposes
supervision or any form of political influence. At least insofar as these germane to [its] functions;168hence, its budget cannot be strategically
bodies are concerned, jurisprudence is not scarce on how the decreased by officials of the political branches of government so as to impair
"independence" granted to these bodies prevents presidential said functions; and
interference.
Third: insulation from executive supervision and control, which means
In Brillantes, Jr. v. Yorac (G.R. No. 93867, December 18, 1990, 192 SCRA that those within the ranks of the office can only be disciplined by an
358), we emphasized that the Constitutional Commissions, which have been internal authority.
characterized under the Constitution as "independent," are not under the
control of the President, even if they discharge functions that are Evidently, all three aspects of independence intend to protect the Office of
executive in nature. The Court declared as unconstitutional the President's the Ombudsman from political harassment and pressure, so as to free it
act of temporarily appointing the respondent in that case as Acting Chairman from the "insidious tentacles of politics."169
of the [Commission on Elections] "however well-meaning" it might have
been. That being the case, the concept of Ombudsman independence cannot be
invoked as basis to insulate the Ombudsman from judicial power
In Bautista v. Senator Salonga (254 Phil. 156, 179 [1989]), the Court constitutionally vested unto the courts. Courts are apolitical bodies, which

41
are ordained to act as impartial tribunals and apply even justice to all.
Hence, the Ombudsman's notion that it can be exempt from an incident of Further, she acknowledges that by virtue of Sections 1 and 5 (1), Article VIII
judicial power - that is, a provisional writ of injunction against a preventive of the 1987 Constitution, acts of the Ombudsman, including interlocutory
suspension order - clearly strays from the concept's rationale of insulating orders, are subject to the Supreme Court's power of judicial review As a
the office from political harassment or pressure. corollary, the Supreme Court may issue ancillary mjunctive writs or
provisional remedies in the exercise of its power of judicial review over
B. The first paragraph of Section 14, RA matters pertaining to ongoing investigations by the Office of the
6770 in light of the powers of Congress and the Ombudsman. Respecting the CA, however, the Ombudsman begs to differ.172
Court under the 1987 Constitution.
With these submissions, it is therefore apt to examine the validity of the first
The Ombudsman's erroneous abstraction of her office's independence paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 insofar as it prohibits all courts, except
notwithstanding, it remains that the first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 this Court, from issuing provisional writs of injunction to enjoin an
textually prohibits courts from extending provisional injunctive relief to delay Ombudsman investigation. That the constitutionality of this provision is
any investigation conducted by her office. Despite the usage of the general the lis mota of this case has not been seriously disputed. In fact, the issue
phrase "[n]o writ of injunction shall be issued by any court," the anent its constitutionality was properly raised and presented during the
Ombudsman herself concedes that the prohibition does not cover the course of these proceedings.173 More importantly, its resolution is clearly
Supreme Court.170 As support, she cites the following Senate deliberations: necessary to the complete disposition of this case.174

Senator [Ernesto M.] Maceda. Mr. President, I do not know if an In the enduring words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. The Electoral
amendment is necessary. I would just like to inquire for the record Commission (Angara),175 the "Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes
whether below the Supreme Court, it is understood that there is no and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative[,] and
injunction policy against the Ombudsman by lower courts. Or, is it the judicial departments of the government."176 The constitutional
necessary to have a special paragraph for that? demarcation of the three fundamental powers of government is more
commonly known as the principle of separation of powers. In the landmark
Senator Angara. Well, there is no provision here, Mr. President, that will case of Belgica v. Ochoa, Jr. (Belgica),177 the Court held that "there is a
prevent an injunction against the Ombudsman being issued. violation of the separation of powers principle when one branch of
government unduly encroaches on the domain of another."178 In particular,
Senator Maceda. In which case, I think that the intention, this being "there is a violation of the principle when there is impermissible (a)
one of the highest constitutional bodies, is to subject this only interference with and/or (b) assumption of another department's
to certiorari to the Supreme Court. I think an injunction from the functions."179
Supreme Court is, of course, in order but no lower courts should be
allowed to interfere. We had a very bad experience with even, let us say, Under Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, judicial power is
the Forestry Code where no injunction is supposed to be issued against the allocated to the Supreme Court and all such lower courts:
Department of Natural Resources. Injunctions are issued right and left
by RTC judges all over the country. Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in
such lower courts as may be established by law.
The President. Why do we not make an express provision to that
effect? Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,
Senator Angara. We would welcome that, Mr. President. and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
The President. No [writs of injunction] from the trial courts other instrumentality of the Government.
than the Supreme Court.
This Court is the only court established by the Constitution, while all other
Senator Maceda. I so move, Mr. President, for that amendment. lower courts may be established by laws passed by Congress. Thus,
through the passage of Batas Pambansa Bilang (BP) 129,180 known as "The
The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] Hearing none, the same Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980," the Court of Appeals,181 the Regional
is approved.171 Trial Courts,182 and the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts183were established. Later, through the passage
42
of RA 1125,184 and Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1486,185the Court of Tax [T]his concurrence of jurisdiction is not x x x to be taken as according to
Appeals, and the Sandiganbayan were respectively established. parties seeking any of the writs an absolute, unrestrained freedom of choice
of the court to which application therefor will be directed. There is after all
In addition to the authority to establish lower courts, Section 2, Article a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of
VIII of the 1987 Constitution empowers Congress to define, prescribe, appeals, and should also serve as a general determinant of the appropriate
and apportion the jurisdiction of all courts, exceptthat it may not forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. A becoming regard for that
deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of
in Section 5186 of the same Article: extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with
the Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, ' and Appeals.189
apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the
Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof. When a court has subject matter jurisdiction over a particular case, as
conferred unto it by law, said court may then exercise its
xxxx ChanRoblesVi rt ualawlib ra ry
jurisdiction acquired over that case, which is called judicial power.

Jurisdiction, as hereinabove used, more accurately pertains to jurisdiction Judicial power, as vested in the Supreme Court and all other courts
over the subject matter of an action. In The Diocese ofBacolod v. established by law, has been defined as the "totality of powers a court
Commission on Elections,187 subject matter jurisdiction was defined as "the exercises when it assumes jurisdiction and hears and decides a
authority 'to hear and determine cases of the general class to which case."190 Under Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, it includes
the proceedings in question belong and is conferred by the sovereign "the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving
authority which organizes the court and defines its powers.'" rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
Among others, Congress defined, prescribed, and apportioned the subject amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch
matter jurisdiction of this Court (subject to the aforementioned or instrumentality of the Government."
constitutional limitations), the Court of Appeals, and the trial courts, through
the passage of BP 129, as amended. In Oposa v. Factoran, Jr.191 the Court explained the expanded scope of
judicial power under the 1987 Constitution:
In this case, the basis for the CA's subject matter jurisdiction over Binay,
Jr.'s main petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 is Section 9(1), The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial
Chapter I of BP 129, as amended: power, involving the settlement of conflicting rights as conferred by law. The
second part of the authority represents a broadening of f judicial power to
Section 9. Jurisdiction. - The Court of Appeals shall exercise: enable the courts of justice to review what was before forbidden territory, to
wit, the discretion of the political departments of the government.
1. Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus,
As worded, the new provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the
prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and
Supreme Court, the power to rule upon even the wisdom of the decisions of
auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate
the executive and the legislature and to declare their acts invalid for lack or
jurisdiction[.]
excess of jurisdiction because they are tainted with grave abuse of
discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning of "grave abuse of
discretion," which is a very elastic phrase that can expand or contract
Note that the CA's certiorari jurisdiction, as above-stated, is not according to the disposition of the judiciary.192
only original but also concurrent with the Regional Trial Courts (under
Section 21 (1), Chapter II of BP 129), and the Supreme Court (under Judicial power is never exercised in a vacuum. A court's exercise of the
Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution). In view of the jurisdiction it has acquired over a particular case conforms to the
concurrence of these courts' jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, limits and parameters of the rules of procedure duly promulgated by
the doctrine of hierarchy of courts should be followed. In People v. this Court. In other words, procedure is the framework within which judicial
Cuaresma,188 the doctrine was explained as follows: power is exercised. In Manila Railroad Co. v. Attorney-General,193 the Court
elucidated that "[t]he power or authority of the court over the subject
matter existed and was fixed before procedure in a given cause
43
began. Procedure does not alter or change that power or authority; it National Assembly." Eventually, a compromise formulation was reached
simply directs the manner in which it shall be fully and justly wherein (a) the Committee members agreed to Commissioner Aquino's
exercised. To be sure, in certain cases, if that power is not exercised in proposal to delete the phrase "the National Assembly may repeal, alter, or
conformity with the provisions of the procedural law, purely, the court supplement the said rules with the advice and concurrence of the Supreme
attempting to exercise it loses the power to exercise it legally. This does not Court" and (b) in turn, Commissioner Aquino agreed to withdraw his
mean that it loses jurisdiction of the subject matter."194 proposal to add "the phrase with the concurrence of the National
Assembly." The changes were approved, thereby leading to the
While the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the present lack of textual reference to any form of Congressional
various courts is, by constitutional design, vested unto Congress, the power participation in Section 5 (5), Article VIII, supra. The prevailing
to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of consideration was that "both bodies, the Supreme Court and the
constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all Legislature, have their inherent powers."201
courts belongs exclusively to this Court. Section 5 (5), Article VIII of the
1987 Constitution reads: Thus, as it now stands, Congress has no authority to repeal, alter, or
supplement rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure. As
Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: pronounced in Echegaray:

xxxx The rule making power of this Court was expanded. This Court for the first
time was given the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of enforcement of constitutional rights. The Court was also r granted for the
constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, first time the power to disapprove rules of procedure of special courts and
the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance quasi-judicial bodies. But most importantly, the 1987 Constitution took
to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive away the power of Congress to repeal, alter, or supplement rules
procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts concerning pleading, practice and procedure. In fine, the power to
of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is no longer
rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall shared by this Court with Congress, more so with the
remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. (Emphases and Executive.202 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
underscoring supplied)
Under its rule-making authority, the Court has periodically passed various
In Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice195 (Echegaray), the Court traced the rules of procedure, among others, the current 1997 Rules of Civil
evolution of its rule-making authority, which, under the 1935196 and 1973 Procedure. Identifying the appropriate procedural remedies needed
Constitutions,197 had been priorly subjected to a power-sharing scheme with for the reasonable exercise of every court's judicial power, the
Congress.198 As it now stands, the 1987 Constitution textually altered the provisional remedies of temporary restraining orders and writs of
old provisions by deleting the concurrent power of Congress to preliminary injunction were thus provided.
amend the rules, thus solidifying in one body the Court's rule-
making powers, in line with the Framers' vision of institutionalizing a A temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction both
"[s]tronger and more independent judiciary."199 constitute temporary measures availed of during the pendency of the action.
They are, by nature, ancillary because they are mere incidents in and are
The records of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission would dependent upon the result of the main action. It is well-settled that the sole
show200 that the Framers debated on whether or not the Court's rule-making objectof a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary
powers should be shared with Congress. There was an initial suggestion to injunction, whether prohibitory or mandatory, is to preserve
insert the sentence "The National Assembly may repeal, alter, or supplement the status quo203 until the merits of the case can be heard. They are
the said rules with the advice and concurrence of the Supreme Court", right usually granted when it is made to appear that there is a substantial
after the phrase "Promulgate rules concerning the protection and controversy between the parties and one of them is committing an act or
enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all threatening the immediate commission of an act that will cause irreparable
courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal injury or destroy the status quo of the controversy before a full hearing can
assistance to the underprivileged^" in the enumeration of powers of the be had on the merits of the case. In other words, they are preservative
Supreme Court. Later, Commissioner Felicitas S. Aquino proposed to delete remedies for the protection of substantive rights or interests, and, hence,
the former sentence and, instead, after the word "[underprivileged," place a not a cause of action in itself, but merely adjunct to a main suit.204 In a
comma (,) to be followed by "the phrase with the concurrence of the sense, they are regulatory processes meant to prevent a case from being
44
mooted by the interim acts of the parties. jurisdiction. These should be regarded as powers which are inherent
in its jurisdiction and the court must possess them in order to
Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure generally governs the enforce its rules of practice and to suppress any abuses of its
provisional remedies of a TRO and a WPI. A preliminary injunction is defined process and to t defeat any attempted thwarting of such process.
under Section 1,205 Rule 58, while Section 3206 of the same Rule enumerates
the grounds for its issuance. Meanwhile, under Section 5207 thereof, a TRO xxxx cralawlawlib rary

may be issued as a precursor to the issuance of a writ of preliminary


injunction under certain procedural parameters. Indeed, courts possess certain inherent powers which may be said to be
implied from a general grant of jurisdiction, in addition to those expressly
The power of a court to issue these provisional injunctive reliefs coincides conferred on them. These inherent powers are such powers as are
with its inherent power to issue all auxiliary writs, processes, and necessary for the ordinary and efficient exercise of jurisdiction; or
other means necessary to carry its acquired jurisdiction into effect are essential to the existence, dignity and functions of the courts, as
under Section 6, Rule 135 of the Rules of Court which reads: well as to the due administration of justice; or are directly
appropriate, convenient and suitable to the execution of their
Section 6. Means to carry jurisdiction into effect. - When by law jurisdiction granted powers; and include the power to maintain the court's
is conferred on a court or judicial officer, all auxiliary writs, f processes and jurisdiction and render it effective in behalf of the
other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed by such court litigants.214 (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
or officer; and if the procedure to be followed in the exercise of such
jurisdiction is not specifically pointed out by law208 or by these rules, any Broadly speaking, the inherent powers of the courts resonates the long-
suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which appears entrenched constitutional principle, articulated way back in the 1936 case
comfortable to the spirit of the said law or rules. ChanRobles Vi rtua lawlib rary
of Angara, that "where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every
particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or the performance of
In City of Manila v. Grecia-Cuerdo,209 which is a case involving "[t]he the other is also conferred."215
supervisory power or jurisdiction of the [Court of Tax Appeals] to issue a
writ of certiorari in aid of its appellate jurisdiction"210 over "decisions, In the United States, the "inherent powers doctrine refers to the
orders or resolutions of the RTCs in local tax cases originally decided or principle, by which the courts deal with diverse matters over which they are
resolved by them in the exercise of their original or appellate thought to have intrinsic authority like procedural [rule-making] and general
jurisdiction,"211 the Court ruled that said power "should coexist with, and be judicial housekeeping. To justify the invocation or exercise of inherent
a complement to, its appellate jurisdiction to review, by appeal, the final powers, a court must show that the powers are reasonably necessary to
orders and decisions of the RTC, in order to have complete supervision over achieve the specific purpose for which the exercise is sought.
the acts of the latter:"212 Inherent powers enable the judiciary to accomplish its
constitutionally mandated functions."216
A grant of appellate jurisdiction implies that there is included in it the power
necessary to exercise it effectively, to make all orders that ; will In Smothers v. Lewis217 (Smothers), a case involving the constitutionality of
preserve the subject of the action, and to give effect to the final a statute which prohibited courts from enjoining the enforcement of a
determination of the appeal. It carries with it the power to protect that revocation order of an alcohol beverage license pending appeal,218 the
jurisdiction and to make the decisions of the court thereunder effective. The Supreme Court of Kentucky held:
court, in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, has authority to control all auxiliary
and incidental matters necessary to the efficient and proper exercise of that [T]he Court is x x x vested with certain "inherent" powers to do that
jurisdiction. For this purpose, it may, when necessary, prohibit or restrain which is reasonably necessary for the administration of justice
the performance of any act which might interfere with the proper exercise of within the scope of their jurisdiction. x x x [W]e said while considering
its rightful jurisdiction in cases pending before it.213 (Emphasis supplied) the rule making power and the judicial power to be one and the same that ".
. . the grant of judicial power [rule making power] to the courts by
In this light, the Court expounded on the inherent powers of a court the constitution carries with it, as a necessary incident, the right to
endowed with subject matter jurisdiction: make that power effective in the administration of justice."
(Emphases supplied)
[A] court which is endowed with a particular jurisdiction should have powers
which are necessary to enable it to act effectively within such Significantly, Smothers characterized a court's issuance of provisional
injunctive relief as an exercise of the court's inherent power, and to this end,
45
stated that any attempt on the part of Congress to interfere with the same constitutional rule-making authority. Clearly, these issuances, which are, by
was constitutionally impermissible: nature, provisional reliefs and auxiliary writs created under the provisions of
the Rules of Court, are matters of procedure which belong exclusively
It is a result of this foregoing line of thinking that we now adopt the within the province of this Court. Rule 58 of the Rules of Court did not
language framework of 28 Am.Jur.2d, Injunctions, Section 15, and once and create, define, and regulate a right but merely prescribed the means of
for all make clear that a court, once having obtained jurisdiction of a cause implementing an existing right220 since it only provided for temporary reliefs
of action, has, as an incidental to its constitutional grant of power, inherent to preserve the applicant's right in esse which is threatened to be violated
power to do all things reasonably necessary to the administration of justice during the course of a pending litigation. In the case of Fabian,211 it was
in the case before it. In the exercise of this power, a court, when stated that:
necessary in order to protect or preserve the subject matter of the
litigation, to protect its jurisdiction and to make its judgment If the rule takes away a vested right, it is not procedural. If the rule creates
effective, may grant or issue a temporary injunction in aid of or a right such as the right to appeal, it may be classified as a substantive
ancillary to the principal action. matter; but if it operates as a means of implementing an existing right then
the rule deals merely with procedure. ChanRoble sVi rt ualawlib ra ry

The control over this inherent judicial power, in this particular


instance the injunction, is exclusively within the constitutional realm Notably, there have been similar attempts on the part of Congress, in the
of the courts. As such, it is not within the purview of the legislature exercise of its legislative power, to amend the Rules of Court, as in the cases
to grant or deny the power nor is it within the purview of the of: (a) In Re: Exemption of The National Power Corporation from Payment of
legislature to shape or fashion circumstances under which this Filing/ Docket Fees;222 (b) Re: Petition for Recognition of the Exemption of
inherently judicial power may be or may not be granted or denied. the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) from Payment of Legal
Fees;223 and (c) Baguio Market Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative
This Court has historically recognized constitutional limitations upon the (BAMARVEMPCO) v. Cabato-Cortes224 While these cases involved legislative
power of the legislature to interfere with or to inhibit the performance of enactments exempting government owned and controlled corporations and
constitutionally granted and inherently provided judicial functions, x x x cooperatives from paying filing fees, thus, effectively modifying Rule 141 of
the Rules of Court (Rule on Legal Fees), it was, nonetheless, ruled that the
xxxx prerogative to amend, repeal or even establish new rules of
procedure225 solely belongs to the Court, to the exclusion of the
We reiterate our previously adopted language, ". . . a court, once having legislative and executive branches of government. On this score, the
obtained jurisdiction of a cause of action, has, as incidental to its general Court described its authority to promulgate rules on pleading, practice, and
jurisdiction, inherent power to do all things reasonably necessary f to the procedure as exclusive and "[o]ne of the safeguards of [its]
administration of justice in the case before it. . ." This includes the institutional independence."226
inherent power to issue injunctions. (Emphases supplied)
That Congress has been vested with the authority to define, prescribe, and
Smothers also pointed out that the legislature's authority to provide a right apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts under Section 2, Article
to appeal in the statute does not necessarily mean that it could control the VIII supra, as well as to create statutory courts under Section 1, Article
appellate judicial proceeding: VIII supra, does not result in an abnegation of the Court's own power to
promulgate rules of pleading, practice, and procedure under Section 5 (5),
However, the fact that the legislature statutorily provided for this appeal Article VIII supra. Albeit operatively interrelated, these powers are
does not give it the right to encroach upon the constitutionally granted nonetheless institutionally separate and distinct, each to be preserved under
powers of the judiciary. Once the administrative action has ended and its own sphere of authority. When Congress creates a court and
the right to appeal arises the legislature is void of any right to delimits its jurisdiction, the procedure for which its jurisdiction is
control a subsequent appellate judicial proceeding. The judicial rules exercised is fixed by the Court through the rules it promulgates. The
have come into play and have preempted the field.219 (Emphasis first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 is not a jurisdiction-vesting
supplied) provision, as the Ombudsman misconceives,227 because it does not define,
prescribe, and apportion the subject matter jurisdiction of courts to act
With these considerations in mind, the Court rules that when Congress on certiorari cases; the certiorari jurisdiction of courts, particularly the CA,
passed the first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 and, in so doing, took stands under the relevant sections of BP 129 which were not shown to have
away from the courts their power to issue a TRO and/or WPI to enjoin an been repealed. Instead, through this provision, Congress interfered with
investigation conducted by the Ombudsman, it encroached upon this Court's a provisional remedy that was created by this Court under its duly
46
promulgated rules of procedure, which utility is both integral and 5, would you kindly read that provision?
inherent to every court's exercise of judicial power. Without the
Court's consent to the proscription, as may be manifested by an ACTING SOLICTOR GENERAL HILBAY.
adoption of the same as part of the rules of procedure through an "Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of
administrative circular issued therefor, there thus, stands to be a constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts..."
violation of the separation of powers principle.
JUSTICE LEONEN:
In addition, it should be pointed out that the breach of Congress in Okay, we can stop with that, promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice
prohibiting provisional injunctions, such as in the first paragraph of Section and procedure in all courts. This is the power, the competence, the
14, RA 6770, does not only undermine the constitutional allocation of jurisdiction of what constitutional organ?
powers; it also practically dilutes a court's ability to carry out its
functions. This is so since a particular case can easily be mooted by ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
supervening events if no provisional injunctive relief is extended The Supreme Court, Your Honor.
while the court is hearing the same. Accordingly, the court's acquired
jurisdiction, through which it exercises its judicial power, is rendered JUSTICE LEONEN:
nugatory. Indeed, the force of judicial power, especially under the present The Supreme Court. This is different from Article VIII Sections 1 and 2 which
Constitution, cannot be enervated due to a court's inability to regulate what we've already been discussed with you by my other colleagues, is that not
occurs during a proceeding's course. As earlier intimated, when jurisdiction correct?
over the subject matter is accorded by law and has been acquired by a
court, its exercise thereof should be undipped. To give true meaning to the ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
judicial power contemplated by the Framers of our Constitution, the Court's Correct, Your Honor.
duly promulgated rules of procedure should therefore remain unabridged,
this, even by statute. Truth be told, the policy against provisional injunctive JUSTICE LEONEN:
writs in whatever variant should only subsist under rules of procedure duly Okay, so in Section 2, [apportion] jurisdiction that is the power of Congress,
promulgated by the Court given its sole prerogative over the same. is that not correct?

The following exchange between Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
Leonen (Justice Leonen) and the Acting Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay Correct, Your Honor.
(Acting Solicitor General Hilbay) mirrors the foregoing observations:
JUSTICE LEONEN:
JUSTICE LEONEN: On the other hand, the power to promulgate rules is with the Court, is that
Okay. Now, would you know what rule covers injunction in the Rules of not correct?
Court?
ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: Correct, Your Honor.
Rule 58, Your Honor.
JUSTICE LEONEN:
JUSTICE LEONEN: A TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction, would it be a separate case or is
58, that is under the general rubric if Justice Bersamin will correct me if I it part of litigation in an ordinary case?
will be mistaken under the rubric of what is called provisional remedies, our
resident expert because Justice Peralta is not here so Justice Bersamin for a ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
while. So provisional remedy you have injunction, x x x. It is an ancillary remedy, Your Honor.

xxxx JUSTICE LEONEN:


In fact, it originated as an equitable remedy, is that not correct?
JUSTICE LEONEN:
Okay, Now, we go to the Constitution. Section 5, subparagraph 5 of Article ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
VIII of the Constitution, if you have a copy of the Constitution, can you Correct, Your Honor.
please read that provision? Section 5, Article VIII the Judiciary subparagraph
47
JUSTICE LEONEN: create a special agrarian court it has all procedures with it but it does not
In order to preserve the power of a court so that at the end of attach particularly to that particular court, is that not correct?
litigation, it will not be rendered moot and academic, is that not
correct? ACTING SOLICTOR GENERAL HILBAY:
When Congress, Your Honor, creates a special court...
ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
Correct, Your Honor. JUSTICE LEONEN:
Again, Counsel, what statute provides for a TRO, created the concept of a
JUSTICE LEONEN: TRO? It was a Rule. A rule of procedure and the Rules of Court, is that not
In that view, isn't Section 14, first paragraph, unconstitutional? correct?

ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:


No, Your Honor. Yes, Your Honor.

xxxx JUSTICE LEONEN:


And a TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction does not exist unless it is
JUSTICE LEONEN. [an] ancillary to a particular injunction in a court, is that not correct?
Can Congress say that a Court cannot prescribe Motions to Dismiss under
Rule 16? ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
Correct, Your Honor.
ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
Your Honor, Congress cannot impair the power of the Court to create xxxx228 (Emphasis supplied)
remedies, x x x.
In Biraogo v. The Philippine Truth Commission of 2010,229 the Court
JUSTICE LEONEN. instructed that "[i]t is through the Constitution that the fundamental powers
What about bill [of] particulars, can Congress say, no Court shall have the of government are established, limited and defined, and by which these
power to issue the supplemental pleading called the bill of t particular [s]? It powers are distributed among the several departments. The Constitution is
cannot, because that's part of procedure... the basic and paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to
which all persons, including the highest officials of the land, must defer." It
ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: would then follow that laws that do not conform to the Constitution shall be
That is true. stricken down for being unconstitutional.230

JUSTICE LEONEN However, despite the ostensible breach of the separation of powers
...or for that matter, no Court shall act on a Motion to Quash, is that not principle, the Court is not oblivious to the policy considerations behind the
correct? first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770, as well as other statutory provisions
of similar import. Thus, pending deliberation on whether or not to adopt the
ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: same, the Court, under its sole prerogative and authority over all matters of
Correct. procedure, deems it proper to declare as ineffective the prohibition against
courts other than the Supreme Court from issuing provisional injunctive
JUSTICE LEONEN: writs to enjoin investigations conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman,
So what's different with the writ of injunction? until it is adopted as part of the rules of procedure through an administrative
circular duly issued therefor.
ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
Writ of injunction, Your Honor, requires the existence of jurisdiction on the Hence, with Congress interfering with matters of procedure (through passing
part of a court that was created by Congress. In the absence of the first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770) without the Court's consent
jurisdiction... (interrupted) thereto, it remains that the CA had the authority to issue the questioned
injunctive writs enjoining the implementation of the preventive suspension
JUSTICE LEONEN: order against Binay, Jr. At the risk of belaboring the point, these issuances
No, writ of injunction does not attach to a court. In other words, when they were merely ancillary to the exercise of the CA's certiorari jurisdiction

48
conferred to it under Section 9 (1), Chapter I of BP 129, as amended, and actual penalty of suspension imposed upon the employee found
which it had already acquired over the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 case. guilty.232(Emphases supplied) ChanRobles Vi rtua lawlib rary

IV. The requisites for issuing a preventive suspension order are explicitly stated
in Section 24, RA 6770:
The foregoing notwithstanding, the issue of whether or not the CA gravely
abused its jurisdiction in issuing the TRO and WPI in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 Section 24. Preventive Suspension. - The Ombudsman or his Deputy may
against the preventive suspension order is a persisting objection to the preventively suspend any officer or employee under his authority pending an
validity of said injunctive writs. For its proper analysis, the Court first investigation, if in his judgment the evidence of guilt is
provides the context of the assailed injunctive writs. strong, and (a) the charge against such officer or employee involves
dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the
A. Subject matter of the CA's iniunctive writs is the preventive performance of duty; (b) the charges would warrant removal from
suspension order. the service; or (c) the respondent's continued stay in office may
prejudice the case filed against him.
By nature, a preventive suspension order is not a penalty but only a
preventive measure. In Quimbo v. Acting Ombudsman Gervacio,231 the The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is terminated by the
Court explained the distinction, stating that its purpose is to prevent the Office of the Ombudsman but not more than six (6) months, without pay,
official to be suspended from using his position and the powers and except when the delay in the disposition of the case by the Office of the
prerogatives of his office to influence potential witnesses or tamper Ombudsman is due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent, in
with records which may be vital in the prosecution of the case which case the period of such delay shall not be counted in computing the
against him: period of suspension herein provided. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Jurisprudential law establishes a clear-cut distinction between suspension as In other words, the law sets forth two (2) conditions that must be satisfied
preventive measure and suspension as penalty. The distinction, by to justify the issuance of an order of preventive suspension pending an
considering the purpose aspect of the suspensions, is readily cognizable as investigation, namely:
they have different ends sought to be achieved.
(1) The evidence of guilt is strong; and
Preventive suspension is merely a preventive measure, a preliminary
step in an administrative investigation. The purpose of the (2) Either of the following circumstances co-exist with the first
suspension order is to prevent the accused from using his position requirement: chanRob lesvi rtual Lawli bra ry

and the powers and prerogatives of his office to influence potential (a) The charge involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or
witnesses or tamper with records which may be vital in the neglect in the performance of duty; cralawlawli bra ry

prosecution of the case against him. If after such investigation, the


charge is established and the person investigated is found guilty of acts (b) The charge would warrant removal from the service; or
warranting his suspension or removal, then he is suspended, removed or
dismissed. This is the penalty. (c) The respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed
against him.233 ChanRoblesVirt ualawli bra ry

That preventive suspension is not a penalty is in fact explicitly provided by


Section 24 of Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of the B. The basis of the CA's injunctive writs is the condonation doctrine.
Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292) and other Pertinent
Civil Service Laws. Examining the CA's Resolutions in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 would, however,
Section. 24. Preventive suspension is not a punishment or penalty for show that the Ombudsman's non-compliance with the requisites provided in
misconduct in office but is considered to be a preventive measure. Section 24, RA 6770 was not the basis for the issuance of the assailed
(Emphasis supplied) ChanRob les Vi rtualawl ib rary injunctive writs.
Not being a penalty, the period within which one is under preventive
suspension is not considered part of the actual penalty of suspension. So The CA's March 16, 2015 Resolution which directed the issuance of the
Section 25 of the same Rule XIV provides: chanRoblesvi rt ual Lawlib rary assailed TRO was based on the case of Governor Garcia, Jr. v.
Section 25. The period within which a public officer or employee charged is CA234 (Governor Garcia, Jr.), wherein the Court emphasized that "if it were
placed under preventive suspension shall not be considered part of the established in the CA that the acts subject of the administrative complaint
49
were indeed committed during petitioner [Garcia's] prior term, then,
following settled jurisprudence, he can no longer be administratively With the preliminary objection resolved and the basis of the assailed writs
charged."235 Thus, the Court, contemplating the application of the herein laid down, the Court now proceeds to determine if the CA gravely
condonation doctrine, among others, cautioned, in the said case, that "it abused its discretion in applying the condonation doctrine.
would have been more prudent for [the appellate court] to have, at the very
least, on account of the extreme urgency of the matter and the seriousness C. The origin of the condonation doctrine.
of the issues raised in the certiorari petition, issued a TRO x x x"236 during
the pendency of the proceedings. Generally speaking, condonation has been defined as "[a] victim's express or
implied forgiveness of an offense, [especially] by treating the offender as
Similarly, the CA's April 6, 2015 Resolution which directed the issuance of if there had been no offense."246
the assailed WPI was based on the condonation doctrine, citing the case
of Aguinaldo v. Santos237 The CA held that Binay, Jr. has an ostensible The condonation doctrine - which connotes this same sense of complete
right to the final relief prayed for, i.e., the nullification of the preventive extinguishment of liability as will be herein elaborated upon - is not based on
suspension order, finding that the Ombudsman can hardly impose statutory law. It is a jurisprudential creation that originated from the 1959
preventive suspension against Binay, Jr. given that his re-election in 2013 as case of Pascual v. Hon. Provincial Board ofNueva
City Mayor of Makati condoned any administrative liability arising from Ecija,247 (Pascual), which was therefore decided under the 1935
anomalous activities relative to the Makati Parking Building project from Constitution.
2007 to 2013.238 Moreover, the CA observed that although there were acts
which were apparently committed by Binay, Jr. beyond his first term , i.e., In Pascual, therein petitioner, Arturo Pascual, was elected Mayor of San
the alleged payments on July 3, 4, and 24, 2013,239 corresponding to the Jose, Nueva Ecija, sometime in November 1951, and was later re-elected to
services of Hillmarc's and MANA - still, Binay, Jr. cannot be held the same position in 1955. During his second term, or on October 6,
administratively liable therefor based on the cases of Salalima v. 1956, the Acting Provincial Governor filed administrative charges before
Guingona, Jr.,240 and Mayor Garcia v. Mojica,241 wherein the condonation the Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija against him for grave abuse of authority
dobtrine was applied by the Court although the payments were made after and usurpation of judicial functions for acting on a criminal complaint in
the official's election, reasoning that the payments were merely effected Criminal Case No. 3556 on December 18 and 20, 1954. In defense, Arturo
pursuant to contracts executed before said re-election.242 Pascual argued that he cannot be made liable for the acts charged against
him since they were committed during his previous term of office, and
The Ombudsman contends that it was inappropriate for the CA to have therefore, invalid grounds for disciplining him during his second term. The
considered the condonation doctrine since it was a matter of defense which Provincial Board, as well as the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, later
should have been raised and passed upon by her office during the decided against Arturo Pascual, and when the case reached this Court on
administrative disciplinary proceedings.243 However, the Court agrees with appeal, it recognized that the controversy posed a novel issue - that is,
the CA that it was not precluded from considering the same given that it was whether or not an elective official may be disciplined for a wrongful act
material to the propriety of according provisional injunctive relief in committed by him during his immediately preceding term of office.
conformity with the ruling in Governor Garcia, Jr., which was the subsisting
jurisprudence at that time. Thus, since condonation was duly raised by As there was no legal precedent on the issue at that time, the Court,
Binay, Jr. in his petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453,244 the CA did not err in in Pascual, resorted to American authorities and "found that cases on
passing upon the same. Note that although Binay, Jr. secondarily argued the matter are conflicting due in part, probably, to differences in statutes
that the evidence of guilt against him was not strong in his petition in CA- and constitutional provisions, and also, in part, to a divergence of views with
G.R. SP No. 139453,245it appears that the CA found that the application of respect to the question of whether the subsequent election or appointment
the condonation doctrine was already sufficient to enjoin the implementation condones the prior misconduct."248Without going into the variables of
of the preventive suspension order. Again, there is nothing aberrant with these conflicting views and cases, it proceeded to state that:
this since, as remarked in the same case of Governor Garcia, Jr., if it was
established that the acts subject of the administrative complaint were indeed The weight of authorities x x x seems to incline toward the rule
committed during Binay, Jr.'s prior term, then, following the condonation denying the right to remove one from office because of misconduct
doctrine, he can no longer be administratively charged. In other words, with during a prior term, to which we fully subscribe.249 (Emphasis and
condonation having been invoked by Binay, Jr. as an exculpatory affirmative underscoring supplied)
defense at the onset, the CA deemed it unnecessary to determine if the
evidence of guilt against him was strong, at least for the purpose of issuing The conclusion is at once problematic since this Court has now uncovered
the subject injunctive writs. that there is really no established weight of authority in the United States
50
(US) favoring the doctrine of condonation, which, in the words of Pascual, each term of a re-elected incumbent is not taken as separate and distinct,
theorizes that an official's re-election denies the right to remove him from but rather, regarded as one continuous term of office. Thus, infractions
office due to a misconduct during a prior term. In fact, as pointed out during committed in a previous term are grounds for removal because a re-elected
the oral arguments of this case, at least seventeen (17) states in the US incumbent has no prior term to speak of258 (see Attorney-General v.
have abandoned the condonation doctrine.250 The Ombudsman aptly cites Tufts;259State v. Welsh;260Hawkins v. Common Council of Grand
several rulings of various US State courts, as well as literature published on Rapids;261Territory v. Sanches;262 and Tibbs v. City of Atlanta).263
the matter, to demonstrate the fact that the doctrine is not uniformly applied
across all state jurisdictions. Indeed, the treatment is nuanced: (3) Furthermore, some State courts took into consideration the continuing
nature of an offense in cases where the condonation doctrine was invoked.
(1) For one, it has been widely recognized that the propriety of removing a In State ex rel. Douglas v. Megaarden,264 the public officer charged with
public officer from his current term or office for misconduct which he malversation of public funds was denied the defense of condonation by the
allegedly committed in a prior term of office is governed by the language of Supreme Court of Minnesota, observing that "the large sums of money
the statute or constitutional provision applicable to the facts of a particular illegally collected during the previous years are still retained by him."
case (see In Re Removal of Member of Council Coppola).251 As an example, In State ex rel. Beck v. Harvey265 the Supreme Court of Kansas ruled that
a Texas statute, on the one hand, expressly allows removal only for an act "there is no necessity" of applying the condonation doctrine since "the
committed during a present term: "no officer shall be prosecuted or misconduct continued in the present term of office[;] [thus] there was a
removed from office for any act he may have committed prior to his election duty upon defendant to restore this money on demand of the county
to office" (see State ex rel. Rowlings v. Loomis).252 On the other hand, the commissioners." Moreover, in State ex rel. Londerholm v. Schroeder,266 the
Supreme Court of Oklahoma allows removal from office for "acts of Supreme Court of Kansas held that "insofar as nondelivery and excessive
commission, omission, or neglect committed, done or omitted during a prices are concerned, x x x there remains a continuing duty on the part of
previous or preceding term of office" (see State v. Bailey)253 Meanwhile, in the defendant to make restitution to the country x x x, this duty extends
some states where the removal statute is silent or unclear, the case's into the present term, and neglect to discharge it constitutes misconduct."
resolution was contingent upon the interpretation of the phrase "in office."
On one end, the Supreme Court of Ohio strictly construed a removal statute Overall, the foregoing data clearly contravenes the preliminary conclusion
containing the phrase "misfeasance of malfeasance in office" and thereby in Pascual that there is a "weight of authority" in the US on the condonation
declared that, in the absence of clear legislative language making, the word doctrine. In fact, without any cogent exegesis to show that Pascual had
"office" must be limited to the single term during which the offense charged accounted for the numerous factors relevant to the debate on condonation,
against the public officer occurred (see State ex rel. Stokes v. Probate Court an outright adoption of the doctrine in this jurisdiction would not have been
of Cuyahoga County)254 Similarly, the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny proper.
County, Pennsylvania decided that the phrase "in office" in its state
constitution was a time limitation with regard to the grounds of removal, so At any rate, these US cases are only of persuasive value in the process of
that an officer could not be removed for misbehaviour which occurred; prior this Court's decision-making. "[They] are not relied upon as precedents, but
to the taking of the office (see Commonwealth v. Rudman)255 The opposite as guides of interpretation."267 Therefore, the ultimate analysis is on whether
was construed in the Supreme Court of Louisiana which took the view that or not the condonation doctrine, as espoused in Pascual, and carried over in
an officer's inability to hold an office resulted from the commission of certain numerous cases after, can be held up against prevailing legal norms. Note
offenses, and at once rendered him unfit to continue in office, adding the that the doctrine of stare decisis does not preclude this Court from revisiting
fact that the officer had been re-elected did not condone or purge the existing doctrine. As adjudged in the case of Belgica, the stare decisis rule
offense (see State ex rel. Billon v. Bourgeois).256 Also, in the Supreme Court should not operate when there are powerful countervailing considerations
of New York, Apellate Division, Fourth Department, the court construed the against its application.268 In other words, stare decisis becomes an
words "in office" to refer not to a particular term of office but to an entire intractable rule only when circumstances exist to preclude reversal of
tenure; it stated that the whole purpose of the legislature in enacting the standing precedent.269 As the Ombudsman correctly points out,
statute in question could easily be lost sight of, and the intent of the law- jurisprudence, after all, is not a rigid, atemporal abstraction; it is an organic
making body be thwarted, if an unworthy official could not be removed creature that develops and devolves along with the society within which it
during one term for misconduct for a previous one (Newman v. Strobel).257 thrives.270 In the words of a recent US Supreme Court Decision, "[w]hat we
can decide, we can undecide."271
(2) For another, condonation depended on whether or not the public officer
was a successor in the same office for which he has been administratively In this case, the Court agrees with the Ombudsman that since the
charged. The "own-successor theory," which is recognized in numerous time Pascual was decided, the legal landscape has radically shifted.
States as an exception to condonation doctrine, is premised on the idea that Again, Pascual was a 1959 case decided under the 1935 Constitution, which

51
dated provisions do not reflect the experience of the Filipino People under
the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. Therefore, the plain difference in setting, (1) Lizares v. Hechanova275 (May 17, 1966) - wherein the Court first
including, of course, the sheer impact of the condonation doctrine on public applied the condonation doctrine, thereby quoting the above-stated
accountability, calls for Pascual's judicious re-examination. passages from Pascual in verbatim.

D. Testing the Condonation Doctrine. (2) Insco v. Sanchez, et al.276 (December 18, 1967) - wherein the Court
clarified that the condonation doctrine does not apply to a criminal case.
Pascual's ratio decidendi may be dissected into three (3) parts: It was explained that a criminal case is different from an administrative case
in that the former involves the People of the Philippines as a community, and
First, the penalty of removal may not be extended beyond the term in is a public wrong to the State at large; whereas, in the latter, only the
which the public officer was elected for each term is separate and distinct: populace of the constituency he serves is affected. In addition, the Court
noted that it is only the President who may pardon a criminal offense.
Offenses committed, or acts done, during previous term are
generally held not to furnish cause for removal and this is especially (3) Aguinaldo v. Santos277 (Aguinaldo; August 21, 1992) - a case decided
true where the constitution provides that the penalty in proceedings for under the 1987 Constitution wherein the condonation doctrine was
removal shall not extend beyond the removal from office, and applied in favor of then Cagayan Governor Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo although
disqualification from holding office for the term for which the officer his re-election merely supervened the pendency of, the proceedings.
was elected or appointed. (67 C.J.S. p. 248, citing Rice vs. State, 161
S.W. 2d. 401; Montgomery vs. Nowell, 40 S.W. 2d. 418; People ex (4) Salalima v. Guinsona, Jr.278 (Salalima; May 22, 1996) -wherein the
rel.Bagshaw vs. Thompson, 130 P. 2d. 237; Board of Com'rs of Kingfisher Court reinforced the condonation doctrine by stating that the same is
County vs. Shutter, 281 P. 222; State vs. Blake, 280 P. 388; In re justified by "sound public policy." According to the Court, condonation
Fudula, 147 A. 67; State vs. Ward, 43 S.W. 2d. 217). prevented the elective official from being "hounded" by administrative cases
The underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms x filed by his "political enemies" during a new term, for which he has to defend
x x.272 himself "to the detriment of public service." Also, the Court mentioned that
the administrative liability condoned by re-election covered the execution of
Second, an elective official's re-election serves as a condonation of previous the contract and the incidents related therewith.279
misconduct, thereby cutting the right to remove him therefor; and
(5) Mayor Garcia v. Mojica280 (Mayor Garcia; September 10, 1999) -
[T]hat the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer's wherein the benefit of the doctrine was extended to then Cebu City Mayor
previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him Alvin B. Garcia who was administratively charged for his involvement in an
therefor. (43 Am. Jur. p. 45, citing Atty. Gen. vs. Hasty, 184 Ala. 121, 63 anomalous contract for the supply of asphalt for Cebu City, executed only
So. 559, 50 L.R.A. (NS) 553.273(emphasis supplied) four (4) days before the upcoming elections. The Court ruled that
notwithstanding the timing of the contract's execution, the electorate is
Third, courts may not deprive the electorate, who are assumed to have presumed to have known the petitioner's background and character,
known the life and character of candidates, of their right to elect officers: including his past misconduct; hence, his subsequent re-election was
deemed a condonation of his prior transgressions. More importantly, the
Court held that the determinative time element in applying the condonation
As held in Conant vs. Grogan (1887) 6 N.Y.S.R. 322, cited in 17 A.I.R. 281,
doctrine should be the time when the contract was perfected; this meant
63 So. 559, 50 LRA (NS) 553 —
that as long as the contract was entered into during a prior term,
The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his
acts which were done to implement the same, even if done during a
present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of
succeeding term, do not negate the application of the condonation
their right to elect their officers. When the people have elected a man to
doctrine in favor of the elective official.
office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his
life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or
(6) Salumbides, Jr. v. Office of the Ombudsman281 (Salumbides, Jr.;
misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by
April 23, 2010) - wherein the Court explained the doctrinal innovations in
reason of such faults or misconduct to practically overrule the will of the
the Salalima and Mayor Garcia rulings, to wit:
people.274 (Emphases supplied)

The notable cases on condonation following Pascual are as follows: Salalima v. Guingona, Jr. and Mayor Garcia v. Hon. Mojica reinforced the
doctrine. The condonation rule was applied even if the administrative
52
complaint was not filed before the reelection of the public official, public trust. The provision in the 1935 Constitution that comes closest in
and even if the alleged misconduct occurred four days before the dealing with public office is Section 2, Article II which states that "[t]he
elections, respectively. Salalima did not distinguish as to the date of filing defense of the State is a prime duty of government, and in the fulfillment of
of the administrative complaint, as long as the alleged misconduct was this duty all citizens may be required by law to render personal military or
committed during the prior term, the precise timing or period of civil service."287 Perhaps owing to the 1935 Constitution's silence on public
which Garcia did not further distinguish, as long as the wrongdoing that accountability, and considering the dearth of jurisprudential rulings on the
gave rise to the public official's culpability was committed prior to the date of matter, as well as the variance in the policy considerations, there was no
reelection.282 (Emphasis supplied) ChanRoble sVirt ualawli bra ry glaring objection confronting the Pascual Court in adopting the condonation
doctrine that originated from select US cases existing at that time.
The Court, citing Civil Service Commission v. Sojor,283 also clarified that the
condonation doctrine would not apply to appointive officials since, as With the advent of the 1973 Constitution, the approach in dealing with
to them, there is no sovereign will to disenfranchise. public officers underwent a significant change. The new charter introduced
an entire article on accountability of public officers, found in Article XIII.
(7) And finally, the above discussed case of Governor Garcia, Jr. -wherein Section 1 thereof positively recognized, acknowledged, and declared that
the Court remarked that it would have been prudent for the appellate court "[p]ublic office is a public trust." Accordingly, "[p]ublic officers and
therein to have issued a temporary restraining order against the employees shall serve with the highest degree of responsibility,
implementation of a preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman integrity, loyalty and efficiency, and shall remain accountable to the
in view of the condonation doctrine. people."

A thorough review of the cases post-1987, among others, Aguinaldo, After the turbulent decades of Martial Law rule, the Filipino People have
Salalima, Mayor Garcia, and Governor Garcia, Jr. - all cited by the CA to framed and adopted the 1987 Constitution, which sets forth in the
justify its March 16, 2015 and April 6, 2015 Resolutions directing the Declaration of Principles and State Policies in Article II that "[t]he State
issuance of the assailed injunctive writs - would show that the basis for shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take
condonation under the prevailing constitutional and statutory framework was positive and effective measures against graft and
never accounted for. What remains apparent from the text of these cases is corruption."288 Learning how unbridled power could corrupt public servants
that the basis for condonation, as jurisprudential doctrine, was - and still under the regime of a dictator, the Framers put primacy on the integrity of
remains - the above-cited postulates of Pascual, which was lifted from the public service by declaring it as a constitutional principle and a State
rulings of US courts where condonation was amply supported by their own policy. More significantly, the 1987 Constitution strengthened and solidified
state laws. With respect to its applicability to administrative cases, the core what has been first proclaimed in the 1973 Constitution by commanding
premise of condonation - that is, an elective official's re-election cuts qff the public officers to be accountable to the people at all times:
right to remove him for an administrative offense committed during a prior
term - was adopted hook, line, and sinker in our jurisprudence largely Section 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and
because the legality of that doctrine was never tested against existing legal employees must at all timesbe accountable to the people, serve them
norms. As in the US, the propriety of condonation is - as it should be - with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency and act
dependent on the legal foundation of the adjudicating jurisdiction. Hence, with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. ChanRoblesVirt ualawli bra ry

the Court undertakes an examination of our current laws in order to


determine if there is legal basis for the continued application of the doctrine In Belgica, it was explained that:
of condonation.
[t]he aphorism forged under Section 1, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution,
The foundation of our entire legal system is the Constitution. It is the which states that "public office is a public trust," is an overarching reminder
supreme law of the land;284 thus, the unbending rule is that every statute that every instrumentality of government should exercise their official
should be read in light of the Constitution.285 Likewise, the Constitution is a functions only in accordance with the principles of the Constitution which
framework of a workable government; hence, its interpretation must take embodies the parameters of the people's trust. The notion of a public
into account the complexities, realities, and politics attendant to the trust connotes accountability x x x.289 (Emphasis supplied)
operation of the political branches of government.286
ChanRoble sVirt ualawli bra ry

The same mandate is found in the Revised Administrative Code under the
As earlier intimated, Pascual was a decision promulgated in 1959. Therefore, section of the Civil Service Commission,290 and also, in the Code of Conduct
it was decided within the context of the 1935 Constitution which was silent and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.291
with respect to public accountability, or of the nature of public office being a

53
For local elective officials like Binay, Jr., the grounds to discipline,
suspend or remove an elective local official from office are stated In contrast, Section 66 (b) of the LGC states that the penalty of
in Section 60 of Republic Act No. 7160,292 otherwise known as the "Local suspension shall not exceed the unexpired term of the elective local official
Government Code of 1991" (LGC), which was approved on October 10 1991, nor constitute a bar to his candidacy for as long as he meets the
and took effect on January 1, 1992: qualifications required for the office. Note, however, that the provision only
pertains to the duration of the penalty and its effect on the official's
Section 60. Grounds for Disciplinary Action. - An elective local official may be candidacy. Nothing therein states that the administrative liability
disciplined, suspended, or removed from office on any of the r following therefor is extinguished by the fact of re-election:
grounds: chanRoble svi rtual Lawli bra ry

(a) Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines; c ralawlaw lib rary Section 66. Form and Notice of Decision. - x x x.
(b) Culpable violation of the Constitution; cralawlawlib ra ry

(c) Dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence, or xxxx


dereliction of duty; cra lawlawlib rary

(d) Commission of any offense involving moral turpitude or an offense (b) The penalty of suspension shall not exceed the unexpired term of the
punishable by at least prision mayor; cralawlawlib ra ry respondent or a period of six (6) months for every administrative offense,
(e) Abuse of authority; cralawlawlib rary nor shall said penalty be a bar to the candidacy of the respondent so
(f) Unauthorized absence for fifteen (15) consecutive working days, except suspended as long as he meets the qualifications required for the office.
in the case of members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang
panlunsod, sanggunian bayan, and sangguniang barangay; cralawlawl ibra ry Reading the 1987 Constitution together with the above-cited legal provisions
(g) Application for, or acquisition of, foreign citizenship or residence or the now leads this Court to the conclusion that the doctrine of condonation is
status of an immigrant of another country; and actually bereft of legal bases.
(h) Such other grounds as may be provided in this Code and other laws.
An elective local official may be removed from office on the grounds To begin with, the concept of public office is a public trust and the
enumerated above by order of the proper court. corollary requirement of accountability to the people at all times, as
mandated under the 1987 Constitution, is plainly inconsistent with the
Related to this provision is Section 40 (b) of the LGC which states idea that an elective local official's administrative liability for a misconduct
that those removed from office as a result of an administrative committed during a prior term can be wiped off by the fact that he was
case shall be disqualified from running for any elective local position: elected to a second term of office, or even another elective post. Election is
not a mode of condoning an administrative offense, and there is
Section 40. Disqualifications. - The following persons are disqualified from simply no constitutional or statutory basis in our jurisdiction to support the
running for any elective local position: notion that an official elected for a different term is fully absolved of any
administrative liability arising from an offense done during a prior term. In
xxxx this jurisdiction, liability arising from administrative offenses may be
condoned bv the President in light of Section 19, Article VII of the 1987
(b) Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case; Constitution which was interpreted in Llamas v. Orbos293 to apply to
administrative offenses:
x x x x (Emphasis supplied) ChanRoblesVirtualawl ibra ry

The Constitution does not distinguish between which cases executive


In the same sense, Section 52 (a) of the RRACCS provides that the penalty clemency may be exercised by the President, with the sole exclusion of
of dismissal from service carries the accessory penalty of perpetual impeachment cases. By the same token, if executive clemency may be
disqualification from holding public office: exercised only in criminal cases, it would indeed be unnecessary to provide
for the exclusion of impeachment cases from the coverage of Article VII,
Section 52. - Administrative Disabilities Inherent in Certain Penalties. - Section 19 of the Constitution. Following petitioner's proposed interpretation,
cases of impeachment are automatically excluded inasmuch as the same do
not necessarily involve criminal offenses.
a. The penalty of dismissal shall carry with it cancellation of eligibility,
forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from
In the same vein, We do not clearly see any valid and convincing , reason
holding public office, and bar from taking the civil service
why the President cannot grant executive clemency in administrative cases.
examinations.
It is Our considered view that if the President can grant reprieves,
54
commutations and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures in criminal cases, individual to hold a public office. In this jurisdiction, there is, again, no legal
with much more reason can she grant executive clemency in administrative basis to conclude that election automatically implies condonation. Neither is
cases, which are clearly less serious than criminal offenses. there any legal basis to say that every democratic and republican state has
an inherent regime of condonation. If condonation of an elective official's
Also, it cannot be inferred from Section 60 of the LGC that the grounds for administrative liability would perhaps, be allowed in this jurisdiction, then
discipline enumerated therein cannot anymore be invoked against an the same should have been provided by law under our governing legal
elective local official to hold him administratively liable once he is re-elected mechanisms. May it be at the time of Pascual or at present, by no means
to office. In fact, Section 40 (b) of the LGC precludes condonation since in has it been shown that such a law, whether in a constitutional or statutory
the first place, an elective local official who is meted with the penalty of provision, exists. Therefore, inferring from this manifest absence, it cannot
removal could not be re-elected to an elective local position due to a direct be said that the electorate's will has been abdicated.
disqualification from running for such post. In similar regard, Section 52 (a)
of the RRACCS imposes a penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding Equally infirm is Pascual's proposition that the electorate, when re-electing a
public office as an accessory to the penalty of dismissal from service. local official, are assumed to have done so with knowledge of his life and
character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if
To compare, some of the cases adopted in Pascual were decided by US State he had been guilty of any. Suffice it to state that no such presumption
jurisdictions wherein the doctrine of condonation of administrative liability exists in any statute or procedural rule.302 Besides, it is contrary to
was supported by either a constitutional or statutory provision stating, in human experience that the electorate would have full knowledge of a public
effect, that an officer cannot be removed by a misconduct committed official's misdeeds. The Ombudsman correctly points out the reality that
during a previous term,294 or that the disqualification to hold the office most corrupt acts by public officers are shrouded in secrecy, and concealed
does not extend beyond the term in which the official's delinquency from the public. Misconduct committed by an elective official is easily
occurred.295 In one case,296 the absence of a provision against the re- covered up, and is almost always unknown to the electorate when
election of an officer removed - unlike Section 40 (b) of the LGC-was the they cast their votes.303 At a conceptual level, condonation presupposes
justification behind condonation. In another case,297 it was deemed that that the condoner has actual knowledge of what is to be condoned. Thus,
condonation through re-election was a policy under their constitution - there could be no condonation of an act that is unknown. As observed
which adoption in this jurisdiction runs counter to our present Constitution's in Walsh v. City Council of Trenton304 decided by the New Jersey Supreme
requirements on public accountability. There was even one case where the Court:
doctrine of condonation was not adjudicated upon but only invoked by a
party as a ground;298 while in another case, which was not reported in full in Many of the cases holding that re-election of a public official prevents his
the official series, the crux of the disposition was that the evidence of a prior removal for acts done in a preceding term of office are reasoned out on the
irregularity in no way pertained to the charge at issue and therefore, was theory of condonation. We cannot subscribe to that theory because
deemed to be incompetent.299Hence, owing to either their variance or condonation, implying as it does forgiveness, connotes knowledge and in the
inapplicability, none of these cases can be used as basis for the continued absence of knowledge there can be no condonation. One cannot forgive
adoption of the condonation doctrine under our existing laws. something of which one has no knowledge.

At best, Section 66 (b) of the LGC prohibits the enforcement of the That being said, this Court simply finds no legal authority to sustain the
penalty of suspension beyond the unexpired portion of the elective local condonation doctrine in this jurisdiction. As can be seen from this discourse,
official's prior term, and likewise allows said official to still run for re-election it was a doctrine adopted from one class of US rulings way back in 1959 and
This treatment is similar to People ex rel Bagshaw v. thus, out of touch from - and now rendered obsolete by - the current legal
Thompson300 and Montgomery v. Novell301 both cited in Pascual, wherein it regime. In consequence, it is high time for this Court to abandon the
was ruled that an officer cannot be suspended for a misconduct committed condonation doctrine that originated from Pascual, and affirmed in the cases
during a prior term. However, as previously stated, nothing in Section 66 (b) following the same, such as Aguinaldo, Salalima, Mayor
states that the elective local official's administrative liability is extinguished Garcia, and Governor Garcia, Jr. which were all relied upon by the CA.
by the fact of re-election. Thus, at all events, no legal provision actually
supports the theory that the liability is condoned. It should, however, be clarified that this Court's abandonment of the
condonation doctrine should be prospective in application for the reason that
Relatedly it should be clarified that there is no truth in Pascual's postulation judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution, until
that the courts would be depriving the electorate of their right to elect their reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.305 Unto this
officers if condonation were not to be sanctioned. In political law, election Court devolves the sole authority to interpret what the Constitution means,
pertains to the process by which a particular constituency chooses an

55
and all persons are bound to follow its interpretation. As explained in De amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a
Castro v. Judicial Bar Council.306 duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the
power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion
Judicial decisions assume the same authority as a statute itself and, until and hostility.311 It has also been held that "grave abuse of discretion
authoritatively abandoned, necessarily become, to the extent that they are arises when a lower court or tribunal patently violates the
applicable, the criteria that must control the actuations, not only of those Constitution, the law or existing jurisprudence."312
called upon to abide by them, but also of those duty-bound to enforce
obedience to them.307 As earlier established, records disclose that the CA's resolutions directing the
issuance of the assailed injunctive writs were all hinged on cases enunciating
Hence, while the future may ultimately uncover a doctrine's error, it should the condonation doctrine. To recount, the March 16, 2015 Resolution
be, as a general rule, recognized as "good law" prior to its abandonment. directing the issuance of the subject TRO was based on the case of Governor
Consequently, the people's reliance thereupon should be respected. The Garcia, Jr., while the April 6, 2015 Resolution directing the issuance of the
landmark case on this matter is People v. Jabinal,308 wherein it was ruled: subject WPI was based on the cases of Aguinaldo, Salalima, Mayor
Garcia, and again, Governor Garcia, Jr. Thus, by merely following settled
[W]hen a doctrine of this Court is overruled and a different view is adopted, precedents on the condonation doctrine, which at that time, unwittingly
the new doctrine should be applied prospectively, and should not apply to remained "good law," it cannot be concluded that the CA committed a grave
parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof. abuse of discretion based on its legal attribution above. Accordingly, the WPI
against the Ombudsman's preventive suspension order was correctly issued.
Later, in Spouses Benzonan v. CA,309 it was further elaborated:
With this, the ensuing course of action should have been for the CA to
resolve the main petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 on the
[Pursuant to Article 8 of the Civil Code "judicial decisions applying or
merits. However, considering that the Ombudsman, on October 9, 2015, had
interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system
already found Binay, Jr. administratively liable and imposed upon him the
of the Philippines." But while our decisions form part of the law of the land,
penalty of dismissal, which carries the accessory penalty of perpetual
they are also subject to Article 4 of the Civil Code which provides that "laws
disqualification from holding public office, for the present administrative
shall have no retroactive effect unless the contrary is provided." This is
charges against him, the said CA petition appears to have been mooted.313As
expressed in the familiar legal maxim lex prospicit, non respicit, the law
initially intimated, the preventive suspension order is only an ancillary
looks forward not backward. The rationale against retroactivity is easy to
issuance that, at its core, serves the purpose of assisting the Office of the
perceive. The retroactive application of a law usually divests rights that have
Ombudsman in its investigation. It therefore has no more purpose - and
already become vested or impairs the obligations of contract and hence, is
perforce, dissolves - upon the termination of the office's process of
unconstitutional.310
investigation in the instant administrative case.
ChanRoblesVirtualawl ibra ry

Indeed, the lessons of history teach us that institutions can greatly benefit
F. Exceptions to the mootness principle.
from hindsight and rectify its ensuing course. Thus, while it is truly
perplexing to think that a doctrine which is barren of legal anchorage was
This notwithstanding, this Court deems it apt to clarify that the mootness of
able to endure in our jurisprudence for a considerable length of time, this
the issue regarding the validity of the preventive suspension order subject of
Court, under a new membership, takes up the cudgels and now abandons
this case does not preclude any of its foregoing determinations, particularly,
the condonation doctrine.
its abandonment of the condonation doctrine. As explained in Belgica, '"the
moot and academic principle' is not a magical formula that can automatically
E. Consequence of ruling.
dissuade the Court in resolving a case. The Court will decide cases,
otherwise moot, if: first, there is a grave violation of the
As for this section of the Decision, the issue to be resolved is whether or
Constitution; second, the exceptional character of the situation and the
not the CA committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
paramount public interest is involved; third, when the constitutional issue
excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed injunctive writs.
raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the
bar, and the public; and fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet evading
It is well-settled that an act of a court or tribunal can only be considered as
review."314 All of these scenarios obtain in this case:
with grave abuse of discretion when such act is done in a capricious or
whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
First, it would be a violation of the Court's own duty to uphold and defend
jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to
the Constitution if it were not to abandon the condonation doctrine now that

56
its infirmities have become apparent. As extensively discussed, the
continued application of the condonation doctrine is simply impermissible The sole premise of the Ombudsman's contention is that, as an impeachable
under the auspices of the present Constitution which explicitly mandates officer, she cannot be the subject of a charge for indirect
that public office is a public trust and that public officials shall be contempt317 because this action is criminal in nature and the penalty therefor
accountable to the people at all times. would result in her effective removal from office.318 However, a reading of
the aforesaid March 20, 2015 Resolution does not show that she has already
Second, the condonation doctrine is a peculiar jurisprudential creation that been subjected to contempt proceedings. This issuance, in? fact, makes it
has persisted as a defense of elective officials to escape administrative clear that notwithstanding the directive for the Ombudsman to
liability. It is the first time that the legal intricacies of this doctrine have comment, the CA has not necessarily given due course to Binay, Jr.'s
been brought to light; thus, this is a situation of exceptional character which contempt petition:
this Court must ultimately resolve. Further, since the doctrine has served as
a perennial obstacle against exacting public accountability from the Without necessarily giving due course to the Petition for
multitude of elective local officials throughout the years, it is indubitable that Contempt respondents [Hon. Conchita Carpio Morales, in her capacity as
paramount public interest is involved. the Ombudsman, and the Department of Interior and Local Government] are
hereby DIRECTED to file Comment on the Petition/Amended and
Third, the issue on the validity of the condonation doctrine clearly requires Supplemental Petition for Contempt (CA-G.R. SP No. 139504) within an
the formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the inextendible period of three (3) days from receipt hereof. (Emphasis and
public. The issue does not only involve an in-depth exegesis of underscoring supplied) ChanRob les Virtualawl ibra ry

administrative law principles, but also puts to the forefront of legal discourse
the potency of the accountability provisions of the 1987 Constitution. The Thus, even if the Ombudsman accedes to the CA's directive by filing a
Court owes it to the bench, the bar, and the public to explain how this comment, wherein she may properly raise her objections to the contempt
controversial doctrine came about, and now, its reasons for abandoning the proceedings by virtue of her being an impeachable officer, the CA, in the
same in view of its relevance on the parameters of public office. exercise of its sound judicial discretion, may still opt not to give due course
to Binay, Jr.'s contempt petition and accordingly, dismiss the same. Sjmply
And fourth, the defense of condonation has been consistently invoked by put, absent any indication that the contempt petition has been given due
elective local officials against the administrative charges filed against them. course by the CA, it would then be premature for this Court to rule on the
To provide a sample size, the Ombudsman has informed the Court that "for issue. The submission of the Ombudsman on this score is perforce denied.
the period of July 2013 to December 2014 alone, 85 cases from the Luzon
Office and 24 cases from the Central Office were dismissed on the ground of WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. Under the premises of
condonation. Thus, in just one and a half years, over a hundred cases of this Decision, the Court resolves as follows:
alleged misconduct - involving infractions such as dishonesty, oppression,
gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct - were placed beyond the reach (a) the second paragraph of Section 14 of Republic Act No. 6770 is
of the Ombudsman's investigatory and prosecutorial powers."315 Evidently, declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL, while the policy against the issuance of
this fortifies the finding that the case is capable of repetition and must provisional injunctive writs by courts other than the Supreme Court to enjoin
therefore, not evade review. an investigation conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman under the first
paragraph of the said provision is DECLARED ineffective until the Court
In any event, the abandonment of a doctrine is wholly within the prerogative adopts the same as part of the rules of procedure through an administrative
of the Court. As mentioned, it is its own jurisprudential creation and may circular duly issued therefor; cralawlaw lib rary

therefore, pursuant to its mandate to uphold and defend the Constitution,


revoke it notwithstanding supervening events that render the subject of (b) The condonation doctrine is ABANDONED, but the abandonment
discussion moot. chanrob leslaw
is PROSPECTIVE in effect; cralawla wlibra ry

V. (c) The Court of Appeals (CA) is DIRECTED to act on respondent Jejomar


Erwin S. Binay, Jr.'s (Binay, Jr.) petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No.
With all matters pertaining to CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 passed upon, the 139453 in light of the Office of the Ombudsman's supervening issuance of its
Court now rules on the final issue on whether or not the CA's Joint Decision dated October 9, 2015 finding Binay, Jr. administratively liable
Resolution316 dated March 20, 2015 directing the Ombudsman to comment in the six (6) administrative complamts, docketed as OMB-C-A-15-0058,
on Binay, Jr.'s petition for contempt in CA-G.R. SP No. 139504 is improper OMB-C-A-15-0059, OMB-C-A-15-0060, OMB-C-A-15-0061, OMB-C-A-15-
and illegal. 0062, and OMB-C-A-15-0063; and
57
(d) After the filing of petitioner Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales's
comment, the CA is DIRECTED to resolve Binay, Jr.'s petition for contempt
in CA-G.R. SP No. 139504 with utmost dispatch.

SO ORDERED. chanroblesvi rtua llawli bra ry

58
G.R. No. 226679 On June 15, 2016, Estipona filed a Motion to Allow the Accused to
Enter into a Plea Bargaining Agreement,5 praying to withdraw his not
SALVADOR ESTIPONA, JR. y ASUELA, Petitioner, guilty plea and, instead, to enter a plea of guilty for violation of Section
vs. 12, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 (Possession of Equipment, Instrument,
HON. FRANK E. LOBRIGO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs) with a
Court, Branch 3, Legazpi City, Albay, and PEOPLE OF THE penalty of rehabilitation in view of his being a first-time offender and the
PHILIPPINES, Respondents. minimal quantity of the dangerous drug seized in his possession. He
argued that Section 23 of R.A. No. 9165 violates: (1) the intent of the
DECISION law expressed in paragraph 3, Section 2 thereof; (2) the rule-making
authority of the Supreme Court under Section 5(5), Article VIII of the
1987 Constitution; and (3) the principle of separation of powers among
PERALTA, J.:
the three equal branches of the government.
Challenged in this petition for certiorari and prohibition1 is the
In its Comment or Opposition6 dated June 27, 2016, the prosecution
constitutionality of Section 23 of Republic Act (R.A.)No. 9165, or
moved for the denial of the motion for being contrary to Section 23 of
the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, "2 which provides:
R.A. No. 9165, which is said to be justified by the Congress'
prerogative to choose which offense it would allow plea bargaining.
SEC 23. Plea-Bargaining Provision. - Any person charged under any Later, in a Comment or Opposition7 dated June 29, 2016, it manifested
provision of this Act regardless of the imposable penalty shall not be that it "is open to the Motion of the accused to enter into plea
allowed to avail of the provision on plea-bargaining.3 bargaining to give life to the intent of the law as provided in paragraph
3, Section 2 of [R.A. No.] 9165, however, with the express mandate of
The facts are not in dispute. Section 23 of [R.A. No.] 9165 prohibiting plea bargaining, [it] is left
without any choice but to reject the proposal of the accused."
Petitioner Salvador A. Estipona, Jr. (Estipona) is the accused in
Criminal Case No. 13586 for violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. On July 12, 2016, respondent Judge Frank E. Lobrigo of the Regional
No. 9165 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs). The Information alleged: Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3, Legazpi City, Albay, issued an Order
denying Estipona's motion. It was opined:
That on or about the 21st day of March, 2016, in the City of Legazpi,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the The accused posited in his motion that Sec. 23 of RA No. 9165, which
above-named accused, not being lawfully authorized to possess or prohibits plea bargaining, encroaches on the exclusive constitutional
otherwise use any regulated drug and without the corresponding power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of procedure because
license or prescription, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and plea bargaining is a "rule of procedure." Indeed, plea bargaining forms
feloniously have, in his possession and under his control and custody, part of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, particularly under Rule 118,
one (1) piece heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet marked as VOP the rule on pre-trial conference. It is only the Rules of Court
03/21/16- l G containing 0.084 [gram] of white crystalline substance, promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to its constitutional rule-
which when examined were found to be positive for Methamphetamine making power that breathes life to plea bargaining. It cannot be found
Hydrocloride (Shabu), a dangerous drug. in any statute.

CONTRARY TO LAW.4 Without saying so, the accused implies that Sec. 23 of Republic Act
No. 9165 is unconstitutional because it, in effect, suspends the
operation of Rule 118 of the Rules of Court insofar as it allows plea

59
bargaining as part of the mandatory pre-trial conference in criminal II.
cases.
WHETHER SECTION 23 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165 IS
The Court sees merit in the argument of the accused that it is also the UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS IT ENCROACHED UPON THE POWER OF
intendment of the law, R.A. No. 9165, to rehabilitate an accused of a THE SUPREME COURT TO PROMULGATE RULES OF
drug offense. Rehabilitation is thus only possible in cases of use of PROCEDURE.
illegal drugs because plea bargaining is disallowed. However, by case
law, the Supreme Court allowed rehabilitation for accused charged with III.
possession of paraphernalia with traces of dangerous drugs, as held
in People v. Martinez, G.R. No. 191366, 13 December 2010. The ruling WHETHER THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, AS PRESIDED BY HON.
of the Supreme Court in this case manifested the relaxation of an FRANK E. LOBRIGO, COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
otherwise stringent application of Republic Act No. 9165 in order to DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
serve an intent for the enactment of the law, that is, to rehabilitate the JURISDICTION WHEN IT REFUSED TO DECLARE SECTION 23 OF
offender. REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165 AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.10

Within the spirit of the disquisition in People v. Martinez, there might be We grant the petition.
plausible basis for the declaration of Sec. 23 of R.A. No. 9165, which
bars plea bargaining as unconstitutional because indeed the inclusion
PROCEDURAL MATTERS
of the provision in the law encroaches on the exclusive constitutional
power of the Supreme Court.
The People of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG), contends that the petition should be dismissed outright
While basic is the precept that lower courts are not precluded from
for being procedurally defective on the grounds that: (1) the Congress
resolving, whenever warranted, constitutional questions, the Court is
should have been impleaded as an indispensable party; (2) the
not unaware of the admonition of the Supreme Court that lower courts
constitutionality of Section 23 of R.A. No. 9165 cannot be attacked
must observe a becoming modesty in examining constitutional
collaterally; and (3) the proper recourse should have been a petition for
questions. Upon which admonition, it is thus not for this lower court to
declaratory relief before this Court or a petition for certiorari before the
declare Sec. 23 of R.A. No. 9165 unconstitutional given the potential
RTC. Moreover, the OSG argues that the petition fails to satisfy the
ramifications that such declaration might have on the prosecution of
requisites of judicial review because: (1) Estipona lacks legal standing
illegal drug cases pending before this judicial station.8
to sue for failure to show direct injury; (2) there is no actual case or
controversy; and (3) the constitutionality of Section 23 of R.A. No. 9165
Estipona filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied in an is not the lis mota of the case.
Order9 dated July 26, 2016; hence, this petition raising the issues as
follows:
On matters of technicality, some points raised by the OSG maybe
correct. Nonetheless, without much further ado, it must be
1âw phi 1

I. underscored that it is within this Court's power to make exceptions to


the rules of court. Under proper conditions, We may permit the full and
WHETHER SECTION 23 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165, WHICH exhaustive ventilation of the parties' arguments and positions despite
PROHIBITS PLEA BARGAINING IN ALL VIOLATIONS OF THE SAID the supposed technical infirmities of a petition or its alleged procedural
LAW, IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING VIOLATIVE OF THE flaws. In discharging its solemn duty as the final arbiter of constitutional
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW. issues, the Court shall not shirk from its obligation to determine novel
issues, or issues of first impression, with far-reaching implications.11
60
Likewise, matters of procedure and technicalities normally take a his cause, free from the constraints of technicalities. Time and again,
backseat when issues of substantial and transcendental importance this Court has consistently held that rules must not be applied rigidly so
are present.12 We have acknowledged that the Philippines' problem on as not to override substantial justice. 19
illegal drugs has reached "epidemic," "monstrous," and "harrowing"
proportions,13 and that its disastrously harmful social, economic, and SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES
spiritual effects have broken the lives, shattered the hopes, and
destroyed the future of thousands especially our young citizens.14 At Rule-making power of the Supreme
the same time, We have equally noted that "as urgent as the campaign Court under the 1987 Constitution
against the drug problem must be, so must we as urgently, if not more
so, be vigilant in the protection of the rights of the accused as
Section 5(5), A1iicle VIII of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides:
mandated by the Constitution x x x who, because of excessive zeal on
the part of the law enforcers, may be unjustly accused and
convicted."15 Fully aware of the gravity of the drug menace that has Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
beset our country and its direct link to certain crimes, the Court, within
its sphere, must do its part to assist in the all-out effort to lessen, if not xxxx
totally eradicate, the continued presence of drug lords, pushers and
users.16 (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of
constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the
Bearing in mind the very important and pivotal issues raised in this admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal
petition, technical matters should not deter Us from having to make the assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified
final and definitive pronouncement that everyone else depends for and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall
enlightenment and guidance.17 When public interest requires, the Court be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish,
may brush aside procedural rules in order to resolve a constitutional increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special
issue.18 courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless
disapproved by the Supreme Court.
x x x [T]he Court is invested with the power to suspend the application
of the rules of procedure as a necessary complement of its power to The power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is
promulgate the same. Barnes v. Hon. Quijano Padilla discussed the now Our exclusive domain and no longer shared with the Executive
rationale for this tenet, viz. : and Legislative departments.20 In Echegaray v. Secretary of
Justice, 21 then Associate Justice (later Chief Justice) Reynato S. Puno
Let it be emphasized that the rules of procedure should be viewed as traced the history of the Court's rule-making power and highlighted its
mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict evolution and development.
and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that tend to
frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, must always be x x x It should be stressed that the power to promulgate rules of
eschewed. Even the Rules of Court reflect this principle. The power to pleading, practice and procedure was granted by our Constitutions to
suspend or even disregard rules can be so pervasive and compelling this Court to enhance its independence, for in the words of Justice
as to alter even that which this Court itself has already declared to be Isagani Cruz "without independence and integrity, courts will lose that
final, x x x. popular trust so essential to the maintenance of their vigor as
champions of justice." Hence, our Constitutions continuously vested
The emerging trend in the rulings of this Court is to afford every party this power to this Court for it enhances its independence. Under
litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of the 1935 Constitution, the power of this Court to promulgate rules

61
concerning pleading, practice and procedure was granted but it The ruling of this Court in In re Cunanan was not changed by the 1973
appeared to be co-existent with legislative power for it was subject to Constitution. For the 1973 Constitution reiterated the power of this
the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement. Thus, its Section Court "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and
13, Article VIII provides: procedure in all courts, x x x which, however, may be repealed, altered
or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa x x x." More completely,
"Sec. 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules Section 5(2)5 of its Article X provided:
concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the
admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all xxxx
courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or modify
substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and "Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers.
procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of
Court, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify xxxx
the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter or
supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and
(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in
the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines."
all courts, the admission to the practice of law, and the integration of
the Bar, which, however, may be repealed, altered, or supplemented
The said power of Congress, however, is not as absolute as it may by the Batasang Pambansa. Such rules shall provide a simplified and
appear on its surface. In In re: Cunanan Congress in the exercise of its inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be
power to amend rules of the Supreme Court regarding admission to the uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish,
practice of law, enacted the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953 which considered increase, or modify substantive rights."
as a passing grade, the average of 70% in the bar examinations after
July 4, 1946 up to August 1951 and 71 % in the 1952 bar
Well worth noting is that the 1973 Constitution further strengthened the
examinations. This Court struck down the law as unconstitutional. In
independence of the judiciary by giving to it the additional power to
his ponencia, Mr. Justice Diokno held that "x x x the disputed law is not
promulgate rules governing the integration of the Bar.
a legislation; it is a judgment - a judgment promulgated by this Court
during the aforecited years affecting the bar candidates concerned;
and although this Court certainly can revoke these judgments even The 1987 Constitution molded an even stronger and more independent
now, for justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that only this Court, and judiciary. Among others, it enhanced the rule making power of this
not the legislative nor executive department, that may do so. Any Court. Its Section 5(5), Article VIII provides:
attempt on the part of these departments would be a clear usurpation
of its function, as is the case with the law in question." The venerable xxxx
jurist further ruled: "It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to
grant license for the practice of law belongs exclusively to this Court, "Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of permissive
character, or as other authorities say, merely to fix the minimum xxx
conditions for the license." By its ruling, this Court qualified the
absolutist tone of the power of Congress to "repeal, alter or supplement (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of
the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and the constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, the
admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal
assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified
and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall

62
be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, repeal, alter, or supplement the said rules with the advice and
increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special concurrence of the Supreme Court," right after the phrase "Promulgate
courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional
disapproved by the Supreme Court. " rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to
the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the
The rule making power of this Court was expanded. This Court for underprivileged[,]" in the enumeration of powers of the Supreme Court.
the first time was given the power to promulgate rules concerning the Later, Commissioner Felicitas S. Aquino proposed to delete the former
protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. The Court was also sentence and, instead, after the word "[under]privileged," place a
granted for the .first time the power to disapprove rules of procedure of comma(,) to be followed by "the phrase with the concurrence of the
special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. But most importantly, the 1987 National Assembly." Eventually, a compromise formulation was
Constitution took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter, or reached wherein (a) the Committee members agreed to Commissioner
supplement rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. In fine, Aquino's proposal to delete the phrase "the National Assembly may
the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is repeal, alter, or supplement the said rules with the advice and
no longer shared by this Court with Congress, more so with the concurrence of the Supreme Court" and (b) in turn, Commissioner
Executive. x x x.22 Aquino agreed to withdraw his proposal to add "the phrase with the
concurrence of the National Assembly." The changes were approved,
Just recently, Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals (Sixth thereby leading to the present lack of textual reference to any
Division)23 further elucidated: form of Congressional participation in Section 5 (5), Article
VIII, supra. Theprevailing consideration was that "both bodies, the
Supreme Court and the Legislature, have their inherent powers."
While the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of
the various courts is, by constitutional design, vested unto
Congress, the power to promulgate rules concerning the Thus, as it now stands, Congress has no authority to repeal, alter, or
protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, supplement rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure.x x x.24
practice, and procedure in all courts belongs exclusively to this
Court.Section 5 (5), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution reads: The separation of powers among the three co-equal branches of our
government has erected an impregnable wall that keeps the power to
xxxx promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure within the sole
province of this Court.25 The other branches trespass upon this
prerogative if they enact laws or issue orders that effectively repeal,
In Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice (Echegaray), the Court traced the
alter or modify any of the procedural rules promulgated by the
evolution of its rule-making authority, which, under the 1935 and 1973
Court.26 Viewed from this perspective, We have rejected previous
Constitutions, had been priorly subjected to a power-sharing scheme
attempts on the part of the Congress, in the exercise of its legislative
with Congress. As it now stands, the 1987 Constitution textually
power, to amend the Rules of Court (Rules), to wit:
altered the old provisions by deleting the concurrent power of
Congress to amend the rules, thus solidifying in one body the
Court's rule-making powers, in line with the Framers' vision of 1. Fabian v. Desierto27 -Appeal from the decision of the Office of the
institutionalizing a " [ s] tronger and more independent judiciary." Ombudsman in an administrative disciplinary case should be taken to
the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43 of
the Rulesinstead of appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 as provided in
The records of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission
Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770.
would show that the Framers debated on whether or not the Court's
rulemaking powers should be shared with Congress. There was an
initial suggestion to insert the sentence "The National Assembly may
63
2. Cathay Metal Corporation v. Laguna West Multi-Purpose of guilty to a lesser offense was amended. Section 2, Rule 116
Cooperative, Inc. 28 - The Cooperative Code provisions on notices provided:
cannot replace the rules on summons under Rule 14 of the Rules.
SEC. 2. Plea of guilty to a lesser offense. - The accused with the
3. RE: Petition for Recognition of the Exemption of the GSIS from consent of the offended party and the fiscal, may be allowed by the trial
Payment of Legal Fees; 29 Baguio Market Vendors Multi-Purpose court to plead guilty to a lesser offense, regardless of whether or not it
Cooperative (BAMARVEMPCO) v. Hon. Judge Cabato-Cortes;30 In Re: is necessarily included in the crime charged, or is cognizable by a court
Exemption of the National Power Corporation from Payment of of lesser jurisdiction than the trial court. No amendment of the
Filing/Docket Fees; 31 and Rep. of the Phils. v. Hon. Mangotara, et complaint or information is necessary. (4a, R-118)
al. 32 - Despite statutory provisions, the GSIS, BAMARVEMPCO, and
NPC are not exempt from the payment of legal fees imposed by Rule As well, the term "plea bargaining" was first mentioned and expressly
141 of the Rules. required during pre-trial. Section 2, Rule 118 mandated:

4. Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals (Sixth Division)33 - The first SEC. 2. Pre-trial conference; subjects. - The pre-trial conference shall
paragraph of Section 14 of R.A. No. 6770, which prohibits courts consider the following:
except the Supreme Court from issuing temporary restraining order
and/or writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin an investigation (a) Plea bargaining;
conducted by the Ombudsman, is unconstitutional as it contravenes
Rule 58 of the Rules.
(b) Stipulation of facts;
Considering that the aforesaid laws effectively modified the Rules, this
(c) Marking for identification of evidence of the parties;
Court asserted its discretion to amend, repeal or even establish new
rules of procedure, to the exclusion of the legislative and executive
branches of government. To reiterate, the Court's authority to (d) Waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; and
promulgate rules on pleading, practice, and procedure is exclusive and
one of the safeguards of Our institutional independence.34 (e) Such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial. (n)

Plea bargaining in criminal cases The 1985 Rules was later amended. While the wordings of Section 2,
Rule 118 was retained, Section 2, Rule 116 was modified in 1987. A
Plea bargaining, as a rule and a practice, has been existing in our second paragraph was added, stating that "[a] conviction under this
jurisdiction since July 1, 1940, when the 1940 Rules took effect. plea shall be equivalent to a conviction of the offense charged for
Section 4, Rule 114 (Pleas) of which stated: purposes of double jeopardy."

SEC. 4. Plea of guilty of lesser offense. - The defendant, with the When R.A. No. 8493 ("Speedy Trial Act of 1998 ') was
consent of the court and of the fiscal, may plead guilty of any lesser enacted,35 Section 2, Rule 118 of the Rules was substantially adopted.
offense than that charged which is necessarily included in the offense Section 2 of the law required that plea bargaining and other
charged in the complaint or information. matters36 that will promote a fair and expeditious trial are to be
considered during pre-trial conference in all criminal cases cognizable
by the Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Metropolitan
When the 1964 Rules became effective on January 1, 1964, the same
Trial Court, Regional Trial Court, and the Sandiganbayan.
provision was retained under Rule 118 (Pleas). Subsequently, with the
1âw phi 1

effectivity of the 1985 Rules on January 1, 1985, the provision on plea


64
Currently, the pertinent rules on plea bargaining under the Plea bargaining is a rule of procedure
2000 Rules37 are quoted below:
The Supreme Court's sole prerogative to issue, amend, or repeal
RULE 116 (Arraignment and Plea): procedural rules is limited to the preservation of substantive
rights, i.e., the former should not diminish, increase or modify the
SEC. 2. Plea of guilty to a lesser offense. - At arraignment, the latter.38 "Substantive law is that part of the law which creates, defines
accused, with the consent of the offended party and the prosecutor, and regulates rights, or which regulates the right and duties which give
may be allowed by the trial court to plead guilty to a lesser offense rise to a cause of action; that part of the law which courts are
which is necessarily included in the offense charged. After arraignment established to administer; as opposed to adjective or remedial law,
but before trial, the accused may still be allowed to plead guilty to said which prescribes the method of enforcing rights or obtain redress for
lesser offense after withdrawing his plea of not guilty. No amendment their invasions."39 Fabian v. Hon. Desierto40 laid down the test for
of the complaint or information is necessary. (Sec. 4, Cir. 38-98) determining whether a rule is substantive or procedural in nature.

RULE 118 (Pre-trial): It will be noted that no definitive line can be drawn between those rules
or statutes which are procedural, hence within the scope of this Court's
SEC. 1. Pre-trial; mandatory in criminal cases. - In all criminal cases rule-making power, and those which are substantive. In fact, a
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan,Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan particular rule may be procedural in one context and substantive in
Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and another. It is admitted that what is procedural and what is substantive
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the court shall, after arraignment and is frequently a question of great difficulty. It is not, however, an
within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over insurmountable problem if a rational and pragmatic approach is taken
the person of the accused, unless a shorter period is provided for in within the context of our own procedural and jurisdictional system.
special laws or circulars of the Supreme Court, order a pre-trial
conference to consider the following: In determining whether a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court, for the
practice and procedure of the lower courts, abridges, enlarges, or
(a) plea bargaining; modifies any substantive right, the test is whether the rule really
regulates procedure, that is, the judicial process for enforcing rights
and duties recognized by substantive law and for justly administering
(b) stipulation of facts;
remedy and redress for a disregard or infraction of them. If the rule
takes away a vested right, it is not procedural. If the rule creates a right
(c) marking for identification of evidence of the parties; such as the right to appeal, it may be classified as a substantive
matter; but if it operates as a means of implementing an existing right
(d) waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; then the rule deals merely with procedure.41

(e) modification of the order of trial if the accused admits the charge In several occasions, We dismissed the argument that a procedural
but interposes a lawful defense; and rule violates substantive rights. For example, in People v.
Lacson, 42 Section 8, Rule 117 of the Rules on provisional dismissal
(f) such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the was held as a special procedural limitation qualifying the right of the
criminal and civil aspects of the case. (Sec. 2 & 3, Cir. 38-98) State to prosecute, making the time-bar an essence of the given right
or as an inherent part thereof, so that its expiration operates to
extinguish the right of the State to prosecute the accused.43Speaking

65
through then Associate Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., the Court The inordinate delay in the revival or refiling of criminal cases may
opined: impair or reduce the capacity of the State to prove its case with the
disappearance or nonavailability of its witnesses. Physical evidence
In the new rule in question, as now construed by the Court, it has fixed may have been lost. Memories of witnesses may have grown dim or
a time-bar of one year or two years for the revival of criminal cases have faded. Passage of time makes proof of any fact more difficult.
provisionally dismissed with the express consent of the accused and The accused may become a fugitive from justice or commit another
with a priori notice to the offended party. The time-bar may appear, on crime. The longer the lapse of time from the dismissal of the case to
first impression, unreasonable compared to the periods under Article the revival thereof, the more difficult it is to prove the crime.
90 of the Revised Penal Code. However, in fixing the time-bar, the
Court balanced the societal interests and those of the accused for the On the other side of the fulcrum, a mere provisional dismissal of a
orderly and speedy disposition of criminal cases with minimum criminal case does not terminate a criminal case. The possibility that
prejudice to the State and the accused. It took into account the the case may be revived at any time may disrupt or reduce, if not
substantial rights of both the State and of the accused to due process. derail, the chances of the accused for employment, curtail his
The Court believed that the time limit is a reasonable period for the association, subject him to public obloquy and create anxiety in him
State to revive provisionally dismissed cases with the consent of the and his family. He is unable to lead a normal life because of community
accused and notice to the offended parties. The time-bar fixed by the suspicion and his own anxiety. He continues to suffer those penalties
Court must be respected unless it is shown that the period is manifestly and disabilities incompatible with the presumption of innocence. He
short or insufficient that the rule becomes a denial of justice. The may also lose his witnesses or their memories may fade with the
petitioners failed to show a manifest shortness or insufficiency of the passage of time. In the long run, it may diminish his capacity to defend
time-bar. himself and thus eschew the fairness of the entire criminal justice
system.
The new rule was conceptualized by the Committee on the Revision of
the Rules and approved by the Court en banc primarily to enhance the The time-bar under the new rule was fixed by the Court to excise the
administration of the criminal justice system and the rights to due malaise that plagued the administration of the criminal justice system
process of the State and the accused by eliminating the deleterious for the benefit of the State and the accused; not for the accused only.44
practice of trial courts of provisionally dismissing criminal cases on
motion of either the prosecution or the accused or jointly, either with no Also, We said in Jaylo, et al. v. Sandiganbayan, et al. 45 that Section 6,
time-bar for the revival thereof or with a specific or definite period for Rule 120 of the Rules, which provides that an accused who failed to
such revival by the public prosecutor. There were times when such appear at the promulgation of the judgment of conviction shall lose the
criminal cases were no longer revived or refiled due to causes beyond remedies available against the judgment, does not take away
the control of the public prosecutor or because of the indolence, apathy substantive rights but merely provides the manner through which an
or the lackadaisical attitude of public prosecutors to the prejudice of the existing right may be implemented.
State and the accused despite the mandate to public prosecutors and
trial judges to expedite criminal proceedings. Section 6, Rule 120, of the Rules of Court, does not take away per
se the right of the convicted accused to avail of the remedies under the
It is almost a universal experience that the accused welcomes delay as Rules. It is the failure of the accused to appear without justifiable cause
it usually operates in his favor, especially if he greatly fears the on the scheduled date of promulgation of the judgment of conviction
consequences of his trial and conviction. He is hesitant to disturb the that forfeits their right to avail themselves of the remedies against the
hushed inaction by which dominant cases have been known to expire. judgment.

66
It is not correct to say that Section 6, Rule 120, of the Rules of Court the chance to acknowledge his guilt, and a prompt start in realizing
diminishes or modifies the substantive rights of petitioners. It only whatever potential there may be for rehabilitation. Judges and
works in pursuance of the power of the Supreme Court to "provide a prosecutors conserve vital and scarce resources. The public is
simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of protected from the risks posed by those charged with criminal offenses
cases." This provision protects the courts from delay in the speedy who are at large on bail while awaiting completion of criminal
disposition of criminal cases - delay arising from the simple expediency proceedings. (Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 71 [1977])
of nonappearance of the accused on the scheduled promulgation of
the judgment of conviction.46 In this jurisdiction, plea bargaining has been defined as "a process
whereby the accused and the prosecution work out a mutually
By the same token, it is towards the provision of a simplified and satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court approval."49 There is
inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases in all give-and-take negotiation common in plea bargaining.50 The essence of
courts47 that the rules on plea bargaining was introduced. As a way of the agreement is that both the prosecution and the defense make
disposing criminal charges by agreement of the parties, plea concessions to avoid potential losses.51 Properly administered, plea
bargaining is considered to be an "important," "essential," "highly bargaining is to be encouraged because the chief virtues of the system
desirable," and "legitimate" component of the administration of - speed, economy, and finality - can benefit the accused, the offended
justice.48 Some of its salutary effects include: party, the prosecution, and the court.52

x x x For a defendant who sees slight possibility of acquittal, the Considering the presence of mutuality of advantage,53 the rules on plea
advantages of pleading guilty and limiting the probable penalty are bargaining neither create a right nor take away a vested right. Instead,
obvious - his exposure is reduced, the correctional processes can it operates as a means to implement an existing right by regulating the
begin immediately, and the practical burdens of a trial are eliminated. judicial process for enforcing rights and duties recognized by
For the State there are also advantages - the more promptly imposed substantive law and for justly administering remedy and redress for a
punishment after an admission of guilt may more effectively attain the disregard or infraction of them.
objectives of punishment; and with the avoidance of trial, scarce
judicial and prosecutorial resources are conserved for those cases in The decision to plead guilty is often heavily influenced by the
which there is a substantial issue of the defendant's guilt or in which defendant's appraisal of the prosecution's case against him and by the
there is substantial doubt that the State can sustain its burden of apparent likelihood of securing leniency should a guilty plea be offered
proof. (Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 752 [1970]) and accepted.54 In any case, whether it be to the offense charged or to
a lesser crime, a guilty plea is a "serious and sobering occasion"
Disposition of charges after plea discussions x x x leads to prompt and inasmuch as it constitutes a waiver of the fundamental rights to be
largely final disposition of most criminal cases; it avoids much of the presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, to be heard by himself
corrosive impact of enforced idleness during pretrial confinement for and counsel, to meet the witnesses face to face, to bail (except those
those who are denied release pending trial; it protects the public from charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when
those accused persons who are prone to continue criminal conduct evidence of guilt is strong), to be convicted by proof beyond
even while on pretrial release; and, by shortening the time between reasonable doubt, and not to be compelled to be a witness against
charge and disposition, it enhances whatever may be the rehabilitative himself.55
prospects of the guilty when they are ultimately
imprisoned. (Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257, 261 [1971]) Yet a defendant has no constitutional right to plea bargain. No basic
rights are infringed by trying him rather than accepting a plea of guilty;
The defendant avoids extended pretrial incarceration and the anxieties the prosecutor need not do so if he prefers to go to trial.56 Under the
and uncertainties of a trial; he gains a speedy disposition of his case, present Rules, the acceptance of an offer to plead guilty is not a

67
demandable right but depends on the consent of the offended If the accused moved to plead guilty to a lesser offense subsequent to
party57and the prosecutor, which is a condition precedent to a valid plea a bail hearing or after the prosecution rested its case, the rules allow
of guilty to a lesser offense that is necessarily included in the offense such a plea only when the prosecution does not have sufficient
charged.58 The reason for this is that the prosecutor has full control of evidence to establish the guilt of the crime charged.66 The only basis on
the prosecution of criminal actions; his duty is to always prosecute the which the prosecutor and the court could rightfully act in allowing
proper offense, not any lesser or graver one, based on what the change in the former plea of not guilty could be nothing more and
evidence on hand can sustain.59 nothing less than the evidence on record. As soon as the prosecutor
has submitted a comment whether for or against said motion, it
[Courts] normally must defer to prosecutorial decisions as to whom to behooves the trial court to assiduously study the prosecution's
prosecute. The reasons for judicial deference are well known. evidence as well as all the circumstances upon which the accused
Prosecutorial charging decisions are rarely simple. In addition to made his change of plea to the end that the interests of justice and of
assessing the strength and importance of a case, prosecutors also the public will be served.67 The ruling on the motion must disclose the
must consider other tangible and intangible factors, such as strength or weakness of the prosecution's evidence.68 Absent any
government enforcement priorities. Finally, they also must decide how finding on the weight of the evidence on hand, the judge's acceptance
best to allocate the scarce resources of a criminal justice system that of the defendant's change of plea is improper and irregular.69
simply cannot accommodate the litigation of every serious criminal
charge. Because these decisions "are not readily susceptible to the
kind of analysis the courts are competent to undertake," we have been
"properly hesitant to examine the decision whether to prosecute. "60 On whether Section 23 of R.A. No.
9165 violates the equal protection
The plea is further addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, clause
which may allow the accused to plead guilty to a lesser offense which
is necessarily included in the offense charged. The word may denotes At this point, We shall not resolve the issue of whether Section 23 of
an exercise of discretion upon the trial court on whether to allow the R.A. No. 9165 is contrary to the constitutional right to equal protection
accused to make such plea.61 Trial courts are exhorted to keep in mind of the law in order not to preempt any future discussion by the Court on
that a plea of guilty for a lighter offense than that actually charged is the policy considerations behind Section 23 of R.A. No. 9165. Pending
not supposed to be allowed as a matter of bargaining or compromise deliberation on whether or not to adopt the statutory provision in toto or
for the convenience of the accused.62 a qualified version thereof, We deem it proper to declare as invalid the
prohibition against plea bargaining on drug cases until and unless it is
Plea bargaining is allowed during the arraignment, the pre-trial, or even made part of the rules of procedure through an administrative circular
up to the point when the prosecution already rested its case.63 As duly issued for the purpose.
regards plea bargaining during the pre-trial stage, the trial court's
exercise of discretion should not amount to a grave abuse WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED.
thereof.64 "Grave abuse of discretion" is a capricious and whimsical Section 23 of Republic Act No. 9165 is declared unconstitutional for
exercise of judgment so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion being contrary to the rule-making authority of the Supreme Court under
of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, Section 5(5), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution.
as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner
because of passion or hostility; it arises when a court or tribunal SO ORDERED.
violates the Constitution, the law or existing jurisprudence.65

68
A.M. No. SCC-13-18-J (Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 11-36-SCC), July
01, 2015 On March 24, 2011, Abdullah issued the Certificate of Registration of
Divorce12 (CRD) finalizing the divorce between Mamiscal and Adelaidah.
BAGUAN M. MAMISCAL, Complainant, v. CLERK OF COURT MACALINOG
S. ABDULLAH, SHARI'A CIRCUIT COURT, MARAWI CITY, Respondent. Mamiscal sought the revocation of the CRD, questioning the validity of
the kapasadan on which the CRD was based. In his motion, Mamiscal
contended that the kapasadan was invalid considering that he did not
DECISION prepare the same. Moreover, there were no witnesses to its execution. He
claimed that he only signed the kapasadan because of Adelaidah's threats.
MENDOZA, J.:
Mamiscal also questioned the validity of the COD, denying that he had
executed and filed the same before the office of Abdullah. Insisting that he
This resolves the complaint of Baguan M. Mamiscal (Mamiscal) against 1
never really intended to divorce his wife, Mamiscal pointed out the fact that
respondent Macalinog S. Abdullah (Abdullah), Clerk of Court, Shari'a Circuit
on December 13, 2010, before the expiration of the 'iddah, he wrote his
Court, Marawi City, for partiality, violation of due process, dishonesty, and
wife13 to inform her that he was revoking the repudiation he made on
conduct unbecoming of a court employee. Originally, the complaint also
September 26, 2010 and the kapasadan they entered into on the same day
charged Judge Aboali J. Cali (Judge Cali), Presiding Judge, Shari'a Circuit
because he did it on the "spur of the moment."14
Court, Marawi City, for his participation in the subject controversy. On
ChanRoblesVirtualawl ibra ry

January 9, 2013, the Court resolved to dismiss the charges against Judge
For Mamiscal, the CRD should be declared invalid considering that: a) he
Cali for lack of merit.2
was deprived of due process because the AAC, before which he and his
ChanRobles Virtualawl ibra ry

children were supposed to express their sentiments regarding the divorce,


The Facts
was yet to be constituted; b) three days before the issuance of the CRD,
Professor Mustafa Lomala M. Dimaro, appeared before Judge Cali to discuss
In his complaint, Mamiscal averred that on September 26, 2010, he and his
the possibility of reconciliation between the parties; and c) their children,
wife, Adelaidah Lomondot (Adelaidah) had a heated argument. In a fit of
Adelah Rima and Nairn Mamiscal, prayed that the trial court advise their
anger, Mamiscal decided to divorce his wife by repudiating her (talaq).3 The
mother not to proceed with the divorce.15 In addition to the revocation of the
repudiation was embodied in an agreement4 (kapasadan) signed by
CRD, Mamiscal also prayed that Abdullah order the reconvening of the AAC
Mamiscal and Adelaidah.
and, thereafter, grant the restoration of his marital rights with Adelaidah.
The next day, Adelaidah left their conjugal dwelling in Iligan City and went
On April 20, 2011, Abdullah denied Mamiscal's motion.16 In sustaining the
back to her family's home in Marinaut, Marawi City. A few days later, during
divorce between Mamiscal and Abdullah, Abdullah opined that it was simply
the obligatory period of waiting ('iddah),5 Mamiscal had a change of heart
his ministerial duty to receive the COD and the attached kapasadan filed by
and decided to make peace with his wife. For the purpose, he sent their
Adelaidah. Abdullah also noted that when the AAC was convened during the
common relatives to see Adelaidah and make peace with her on his
February 28, 2010 hearing, only Mamiscal and his representatives appeared.
behalf.6
Considering the fact that Adelaidah manifested her opposition in writing to
ChanRobles Vi rtualawl ib rary

any reconciliation with her husband and the fact that the 90-day period of
Almost five (5) months later, however, on February 23, 2011, Adelaidah
'iddah had already lapsed, Abdullah ruled that any move to reconstitute the
filed7 the Certificate of Divorce (COD),8 dated September 26, 2010, with the
AAC would have been futile because the divorce between Mamiscal and his
office of Abdullah for registration. Although unsigned, the certificate,
wife had already become final and irrevocable.
purportedly executed by Mamiscal, certified that he had pronounced talaq in
the presence of two (2) witnesses and in accordance with Islamic Law for
Contending that the issuance of the CRD was tainted with irregularity,
the purpose of effecting divorce from Adelaidah. A notation on the certificate
Mamiscal comes to this Court, through the subject complaint, charging
stated that it was being filed together with the kapasadan.
Abdullah with partiality, violation of due process, dishonesty, and conduct
unbecoming of a court employee.
On the same day, Abdullah, in the exercise of his duty as both Clerk of Court
and Circuit Civil Registrar,9issued the Invitation10 notifying the couple and
The Charge
their representatives to appear before the Shari'a Circuit Court on February
28, 2011, in order to constitute the Agama Arbitration Council (AAC) that
In his complaint, Mamiscal averred that Abdullah should not have
would explore the possibility of reconciling the spouses.11
entertained or acted upon the COD and the kapasadan filed by Adelaidah. He
ChanRobles Vi rtua lawlib rary

69
contended that under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws, a divorce As to Mamiscal's contention that he already revoked his repudiation of his
under talaq could only be filed and registered by the male spouse, wife, Abdullah pointed out that his office was not informed of any revocation
considering that female Muslims could do so only if the divorce was of the divorce. According to Abdullah, if Mamiscal had indeed revoked his
through tafwid.17ChanRoblesVirt ualawli bra ry repudiation, he should have complied with the provisions of Rule II (1)(2) of
NSO Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2001, which required the husband
Moreover, Mamiscal alleged that Abdullah "fabricated and twisted the to file five (5) copies of his sworn statement attesting to the fact of
facts"18 when he declared that only Mamiscal and his representative revocation, together with the written consent of his wife.
appeared when the AAC was convened. Mamiscal insisted that Adelaidah and
her relatives were also present during the hearing of February 28, 2010, and In its report,20 the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found Abdullah
that the AAC was never convened because the parties agreed to reset the guilty of gross ignorance of the law and recommended that he be fined in
proceedings so that they could explore the possibility of reconciling the the amount of P10,000.00 with a stern warning that a repetition of the same
differences between them. Notwithstanding the ongoing mediation offense shall be dealt with severely.
proceedings, Abdullah proceeded to act on the COD and finalized the divorce
by issuing the CRD. On January 30, 2014, Abdullah filed a motion,21 praying for the early
resolution of the complaint filed against him. Reiterating his plea for the
Finally, it was averred that Abdullah violated the Shari'a rules of procedure dismissal of the said complaint, Abdullah claimed that he was due for
when he initially refused to receive Mamiscal's motion for reconsideration compulsory retirement on June 5, 2014. chanroble slaw

when it was first filed. Mamiscal also argued that Abdullah should not have
considered the opposition of Adelaidah when he denied his attempt to seek The Court's Ruling
reconsideration because he was never furnished a copy of Adelaidah's
opposition. At the outset, it must first be pointed out that while it may seem to be a
related issue, the validity of the divorce between Mamiscal and Adelaidah is
Abdullah's Comment not in issue here. Whether or not Mamiscal had validly effected a divorce
from his wife is a matter that must first be addressed by the Shari'a Circuit
In his comment,19 Abdullah countered that although he had the authority to Court which, under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines
process the registration of the divorce as court registrar, he could not be (Muslim Code),22 enjoys exclusive original jurisdiction to resolve disputes
held responsible for the contents of the COD and the kapasadan because his relating to divorce.
functions were only ministerial. Nevertheless, Abdullah asserted that the
divorce between Mamiscal and Adelaidah had already attained finality, not Thus, Article 155 of the Muslim Code provides:
only because of the lapse of the required 'iddah, but also because
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

Article 155. Jurisdiction. The Shari'a Circuit Courts shall have exclusive
the kapasadan and Adelaidah's opposition both proved that there could be original jurisdiction over;
no reconciliation between the spouses.
(1) All cases involving offenses defined and punished under this Code.
Abdullah also discounted any impropriety for processing the unsigned COD,
arguing that since it was accompanied by the kapasadan which bore the (2) All civil actions and proceedings between parties who are Muslims or
signature of Mamiscal and his declaration that he was divorcing his wife have been married in accordance with Article 13 involving disputes relating
by talaq - there was nothing wrong with Adelaidah filing it with his office. to:
Moreover, with the lapse of the 'iddah, Abdullah argued that the COD had
remained to be nothing more than a formality for the purpose of registering
(a) Marriage;
the divorce with the National Statistics Office (NSO) and its issuance using
the NSO security paper.
(b) Divorce recognized under this Code;
As to the allegations pertaining to the February 28, 2010 hearing, Abdullah
(c) Betrothal or breach of contract to marry;
stated that he only conducted the same because it was required under the
Muslim Personal Code. Abdullah explained that he did not convene the ACC
(d) Customary dower (mahr);
anymore not only because Adelaidah or her representatives were not
present, but also because the divorcing couple's own children wrote to him
(e) Disposition and distribution of property upon divorce;
opposing the convening of the council.

70
(f) Maintenance and support, and consolatory gifts, (mut'a); and Section 18. Neglect of duty with reference to the provisions of this Act. —
Any local registrar who fails to properly perform his duties in accordance
(g) Restitution of marital rights. with the provisions of this Act and of the regulations issued hereunder, shall
be punished for the first offense, by an administrative fine in a sum equal to
(3) All cases involving disputes relative to communal properties. his salary for not less than fifteen days nor more than three months, and for
a second or repeated offense, by removal from the service.
[Emphases Supplied]
Consequently, in resolving the subject complaint, the Court shall confine [Emphasis Supplied]
itself to the sole issue of whether or not Abdullah should be held The same Act provides:
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

administratively liable for his actions in connection with the registration of Section 2. Civil Registrar-General his duties and powers. - The director of
the divorce between Mamiscal and Adelaidah. A priori to the resolution of the the National Library shall be Civil Registrar-General and shall enforce the
foregoing issue is the question of whether this Court has jurisdiction to provisions of this Act. The Director of the National Library, in his capacity as
impose administrative sanction against Abdullah for his acts. Civil Registrar-General, is hereby authorized to prepare and issue, with the
approval of the Secretary of Justice, regulations for carrying out the
The Court rules in the negative. purposes of this Act, and to prepare and order printed the necessary forms
for its proper compliance. In the exercise of his functions as Civil Registrar-
The civil registrar is the person charged by law for the recording of vital General, the Director of the National Library shall have the power to give
events and other documents affecting the civil status of persons. The Civil orders and instructions to the local Civil registrars with reference to the
Registry Law embraces all acts of civil life affecting the status of persons and performance of their duties as such. It shall be the duty of the Director of
is applicable to all persons residing in the Philippines.23
ChanRoble sVirtua lawlib rary
the National Library to report any violation of the provisions of this Act
and all irregularities, negligence or incompetency on the part of the
To ensure the proper registration of all facets of the civil life of Muslim officers designated as local civil registrars to the (Chief of the
Filipinos throughout the country, Article 81 of the Muslim Code provides:
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry
Executive Bureau or the Director of the Non-Christian Tribes)
Article 81. District Registrar. The Clerk of Court of the Shari' a District Court Secretary of the Interior, as the case may be, who shall take the
shall, in addition to his regular functions, act as District Registrar of Muslim proper disciplinary action against the offenders.
Marriages, Divorces, Revocations of Divorces, and Conversions within the
territorial jurisdiction of said court. The Clerk of Court of the Shari'a [Emphasis and Underscoring Supplied]
Circuit Court shall act as Circuit Registrar of Muslim Marriages, Prescinding from the foregoing, it becomes apparent that this Court does
Divorces, Revocations of Divorces, and Conversions within his not have jurisdiction to impose the proper disciplinary action against
jurisdiction. civil registrars. While he is undoubtedly a member of the Judiciary as Clerk
of Court of the Shari'a Circuit Court, a review of the subject complaint
[Emphasis Supplied] reveals that Mamiscal seeks to hold Abdullah liable for registering the
In view of the above-quoted provision, it becomes apparent that the Clerk of divorce and issuing the CRD pursuant to his duties as Circuit Registrar
Court of the Shari'a Circuit Court enjoys the privilege of wearing two of Muslim divorces. It has been said that the test of jurisdiction is the
hats: first, as Clerk of Court of the Shari'a Circuit Court, and second, as nature of the offense and not the personality of the offender.26 The fact that
Circuit Registrar within his territorial jurisdiction. Although the Constitution the complaint charges Abdullah for "conduct unbecoming of a court
vests the Court with the power of administrative supervision over all courts employee" is of no moment. Well-settled is the rule that what controls is not
and its personnel,24 this power must be taken with due regard to other the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited in the complaint.
prevailing laws. Verily, unless jurisdiction has been conferred by some legislative act, no
court or tribunal can act on a matter submitted to it.27ChanRoblesVirt uala wlibra ry

Thus, Article 185 of the Muslim Code provides:


chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

Article 185. Neglect of duty by registrars. Any district registrar or circuit It bears to stress at this point that this Court can resolve the foregoing
registrar who fails to perform properly his duties in accordance with this jurisdictional issue even if the matter of jurisdiction was never raised by any
Code shall be penalized in accordance with Section 18 of Act 3753. of the parties. Jurisprudence is replete with rulings that jurisdiction, or the
power and authority of a court to hear, try and decide a case must first be
chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 375325 is the primary law that governs the
registry of civil status of persons. To ensure that civil registrars perform acquired by the court or an adjudicative body over the subject matter and
their duties under the law, Section 18 of C.A. No. 3753 provides: the parties in order to have authority to dispose of the case on the
merits.28 Elementary is the distinction between jurisdiction over the subject
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

71
matter and jurisdiction over the person. Jurisdiction over the subject matter Article 82. Duties of District Registrar. Every District Registrar shall exercise
is conferred by the Constitution or by law. In contrast, jurisdiction over the supervision over Circuit Registrars in every Shari'a District. He shall, in
person is acquired by the court by virtue of the party's voluntary submission addition to an entry book, keep and bind copies of certificates of
to the authority of the court or through the exercise of its coercive Marriage, Divorce, Revocation of Divorce, and Conversion sent to
processes. Jurisdiction over the person is waivable unlike jurisdiction over him by the Circuit Registrars in separate general registers. He shall
the subject matter which is neither subject to agreement nor conferred by send copies in accordance with Act. No. 3753, as amended, to the office of
consent of the parties.29 ChanRoblesVirt ualawli bra ry the Civil Registrar-General.
chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

All these notwithstanding, the power of administrative supervision over


Having settled the foregoing issue, the following question now confronts the civil registrars remains with the National Government. As Section 2 of CA
Court: Who, among the various agencies and instrumentalities of the No. 3753 provides:
government, is empowered with administrative supervisory powers in order
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

Section 2. Civil Registrar-General his duties and powers. - The director of


to impose disciplinary sanctions against erring civil registrars? the National Library shall be Civil Registrar-General and shall enforce the
provisions of this Act. The Director of the National Library, in his capacity as
On this score, a recap of the legislative history surrounding our system of Civil Registrar-General, is hereby authorized to prepare and issue, with the
civil registration is in order. approval of the Secretary of Justice, regulations for carrying out the
purposes of this Act, and to prepare and order printed the necessary forms
The system of civil registration was first established in the Philippines by the for its proper compliance. In the exercise of his functions as Civil Registrar-
revolutionary government on June 18, 1898 or barely six days after the General, the Director of the National Library shall have the power to give
declaration of the country's independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. orders and instructions to the local Civil registrars with reference to the
Originally, the system was decentralized in the sense that civil registration performance of their duties as such. It shall be the duty of the Director of
was purely a local government responsibility. It was only on February 27, the National Library to report any violation of the provisions of this Act
1931, when C.A. No. 375330 took effect and centralized the system of civil and all irregularities, negligence or incompetency on the part of the
registration in the country. Under this law, the director of the National officers designated as local civil registrars to the (Chief of the
Library was made responsible as the Civil Registrar-General to exercise Executive Bureau or the Director of the Non-Christian
technical supervision and ensure the proper establishment and maintenance Tribes) Secretary of the Interior, as the case may be, who shall take
of our civil registry system. the proper disciplinary action against the offenders.

Then, following C.A. No. 591,31 the duties exercised by the director of [Emphasis Supplied]
National Library with regard to matters concerning the system of civil It was only with the advent of the Local Government Code that the power of
registration were transferred to the Bureau of Census and Statistics. This administrative supervision over civil registrars was devolved to
bureau subsequently became the NSO,32 whose Administrator concurrently the municipal and city mayors of the respective local government units.
served as the Civil Registrar-General.33 At present, the National Statistician Under the "faithful execution clause" embodied in Section 455(b)(l)(x)35 and
is empowered by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10625, as Civil Registrar-General Section 444(b)(l)(x)36 of the Local Government Code, in relation to Section
to exercise technical supervision of civil registrars.34 ChanRoble sVirtualawl ibra ry

47937 under Article IX, Title V38 of the same Code, the municipal and city
mayors of the respective local government units, in addition to their power
Due to the need to address the cultural peculiarities practiced by our Muslim to appoint city or municipal civil registrars are also given ample authority to
brethren, however, Congress saw the need to designate the Clerk of Court of exercise administrative supervision over civil registrars. Thus, when
the Shari'a Circuit Court to act as the Circuit Registrar of Muslim marriages, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1993 of the Office of the Civil
divorces, revocations of divorces, and conversions to Islam within his Registrar-General (OCRG) was passed to implement CA No. 3753 it was
jurisdiction. As earlier cited, Article 181 of the Muslim Code provides declared:
that: The Clerk of Court of the Shari'a Circuit Court shall act as Circuit chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

Rule 1. Duties and Powers of the Civil Registrar-General. - The Civil


Registrar of Muslim Marriages, Divorces, Revocations of Divorces, and
Registrar-General shall have the following duties and powers:
Conversions within his jurisdiction.

In order to ensure that Circuit Registrars remain faithful to their duties, a) To enforce the provisions of Act No. 3753;
Article 82 of the Muslim Code tasks the Clerks of Court of the b) To prepare and issue regulations for carrying out the
Shari'a District Court to act as District Registrars and exercise technical purposes of Act No. 3753 and other laws relative to civil
supervision over Circuit Registrars by requiring them to keep a proper registration, and to prepare and order printed the necessary
recording of all matters pertaining to the personal lives of Muslims. Thus:
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

72
forms for its proper compliance;
c) To give orders and instructions to the city/municipal civil
registrars with reference to the performance of their duties as
such; and
d) To report any violation of the provisions of Act No. 3753 and
other laws on civil registration, and all irregularities,
negligence or incompetency of city/municipal civil
registrar to the concerned mayor who shall take the
proper disciplinary action against the offender.
This authority of the Mayor to exercise administrative jurisdiction over
Circuit Registrars was also recognized generally, under Section 47(2) of the
Administrative Code of 1987,39 and specifically, under Rule 11 of
Administrative Order No. 2, Series of 199340 of the OCRG, and the more
recent Administrative Order No. 5, Series of 200541 of the same office, which
applies specially to the registration of acts and events concerning the civil
status of Muslim Filipinos.

At this juncture, it should be remembered that the authority of the Mayor to


exercise administrative supervision over C/MCRs is not exclusive. The Civil
Service Commission (CSC), as the central personnel agency of the
government, has the power to appoint and discipline its officials and
employees and to hear and decide administrative cases instituted by or
brought before it directly or on appeal.42 Under Section 9 of the Revised
Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, the CSC is
granted original concurrent jurisdiction over administrative cases. Thus:
chanRoble svirtual Lawlib ra ry

Section 9. Jurisdiction of Heads of Agencies. - The Secretaries and heads of


agencies, and other instrumentalities, provinces, cities and municipalities
shall have original concurrent jurisdiction with the Commission over
their respective officers and employees. x x x
chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

Consequently, it behooves the Court to also forward the subject complaint to


the Office of the Mayor, Marawi City and to the CSC for appropriate action.

WHEREFORE, the administrative matter against Macalinog S. Abdullah,


Clerk of Court II, Shari'a Circuit Court, Marawi City, for partiality, violation of
due process, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming a court employee
is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction, without prejudice. The complaint of
Baguan M. Mamiscal against Macalinog S. Abdullah is hereby REFERRED to
the Office of the Mayor, Marawi City and the Civil Service Commission for
appropriate action.

SO ORDERED

73
THE INTERNAL RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT (d) These Rules shall be posted on the Supreme Court
website.
PART I
Section 4. Amendment or suspension of the Rules. – In the interest of
RULE 1 sound and efficient administration of justice, and upon a majority vote
THE INTERNAL RULES of the Court en banc, any provision of these Rules may be amended,
revised, deleted, suspended or dispensed with in particular cases,
Section 1. The Internal Rules. – These Rules shall govern the internal upon such terms as the Court en banc may decide to be just, fair and
operations of the Supreme Court and guide its exercise of judicial and proper.
administrative functions. They shall be cited as The Internal Rules of
the Supreme Court. RULE 2
THE OPERATING STRUCTURES
Section 2. Interpretation. – The Internal Rules of the Supreme Court
shall be interpreted in accordance with the mandates of the Supreme Section 1. Exercise of judicial and administrative functions. – The
Court under the Constitution, applicable laws, and the Rules of Court to Court exercises its judicial functions and its powers of administrative
ensure a just, fair and efficient administration of justice. Nothing in supervision over all courts and their personnel through the Court en
these Rules shall be interpreted to procedure or limit the exercise of banc or its Divisions. It administers its activities under the leadership of
the power and authority of the Court as provided in the Constitution, the Chief Justice, who may, for this purpose, constitute supervisory or
the applicable laws, and the Rules of Court. special committees headed by individual Members of the Court or
working committees of court officials and personnel.
Section 3. Committee on Internal Rules. –
Section 2. Quorum of the Court en banc. – Eight Members shall
(a) A permanent Committee on Internal Rules of the Supreme constitute a quorum of the Court. In the absence of the Chief Justice,
Court shall ensure, through appropriate recommendation to the the most senior Associate Justice present shall chair the sessions of
Court en banc, that these Rules are kept current and the Court.
responsive to the needs of the Court and the public it serves;
Section 3. Court en banc matters and cases. – The Court en
(b) The Committee, composed mainly to Members of the Court, banc shall act on the following matters and cases:
shall include the Clerk of the Supreme Court and the Chief
Attorney as permanent members, and may include other court (a) cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty,
officials as may needed; international or executive agreement, law, executive order,
presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance,
(c) The Committee shall collate relevant materials from laws, or regulation is in question;
the Rules of Court, and Resolutions of the Court at the end of
every year and submit to the Court en banc an update of the (b) criminal cases in which the appealed decision imposes the
Rules the following January. It shall likewise recommend to the death penalty or reclusion perpetua;
Court en banc the amendment, revision, or deletion of any of
these Rules to reflect and achieve the objectives of justice, (c) cases raising novel questions of law;
fairness and efficiency;

74
(d) cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and (o) all matters involving policy decisions in the administrative
consuls; supervision of all courts and their personnel.

(e) cases involving decisions, resolutions, and orders of the Section 4. Division cases. – All cases and matters under the
Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and jurisdiction of the Court not otherwise provided for by law, by the Rules
the Commission on Audit; of Court or by these Internal Rules to be cognizable by the Court en
banc shall be cognizable by the Divisions.
(f) cases where the penalty recommended or imposed is the
dismissal of a judge, the disbarment of a lawyer, the Section 5. Composition and quorum of a Division. – Unless the
suspension of any of them for a period of more than one year, Court en banc decrees otherwise, a quorum shall consist of a majority
or a fine exceeding forty thousand pesos; of all Members of the Division, and an absent or a non-participating
regular Member of a Division may be replaced at the request of the
(g) cases covered by the preceding paragraph and involving regular Members by a Member designated from another Division in
the reinstatement in the judiciary of a dismissed judge, the order to constitute a quorum.
reinstatement of a lawyer in the roll of attorneys, or the lifting of
a judge’s suspension or a lawyer’s suspension from the Section 6. Resolutions of motions for reconsideration or clarification of
practice of law; an unsigned resolution or minute resolution.– Motions for
reconsideration or clarification of an unsigned resolution or a minute
(h) cases involving the discipline of a Member of the Court, or a resolution shall be acted upon by the regular Division to which the
Presiding Justice, or any Associate Justice of the collegial ponente belongs at the time of the filling of the motion. The ponente is
appellate court; the Member to whom the Court, after its deliberation on the merits of a
case, assigns the writing of its decision or resolution in the case.
(i) cases where a doctrine or principle laid down by the
Court en banc or by a Division my be modified or reversed; Section 7. Resolutions of motions for reconsideration or clarification of
decisions or signed resolutions; creation of a Special Division. –
(j) cases involving conflicting decisions of two or more Motions for reconsideration or clarification of a decision or of a signed
divisions; resolution shall be acted upon by the ponente and the other Members
of the Division who participated in the rendition of the decision or
signed resolution.
(k) cases where three votes in a Division cannot be obtained;
If the ponente or a Member of the Division who participated in the
(l) Division cases where the subject matter has a huge financial
rendition of the decision or signed resolution has retired, is no longer a
impact on businesses or affects the welfare of a community;
Member of the Court, is disqualified, or has inhibited himself or herself
from acting on the motion for reconsideration, he or she shall be
(m) Subject to Section 11 (b) of this rule, other division cases replaced through raffle by a new ponente or Member. For this purpose,
that, in the opinion of at least three Members of the Division the Division that rendered the decision or signed resolution, including
who are voting and present, are appropriate for transfer to the the replacement Member, shall be constituted as a Special Division
Court en banc; and shall thereafter act on the motion for reconsideration and all other
pleadings, motions, and incidents.
(n) Cases that the Court en banc deems of sufficient
importance to merit its attention; and

75
Section 8. Composition and reorganization of a division. – The difference from the caseload of the incumbent Members
composition of each Division shall be based on seniority as follows: divided among them in equal number;

(a) First Division – Chief Justice, the fourth in seniority as (c) cases submitted for decision within the last twelve months
working chairperson, the seventh in seniority, the tenth in preceding the appointment of the new Member of the Court
seniority, and the thirteenth in seniority. may be unloaded to him or her.

(b) Second Division – the second in seniority as Chairperson, Section 11. Actions on cases referred to the Court en banc. – The
the fifth in seniority, the eighth in seniority; the eleventh in referral of a Division case to the Court en bancshall be subject to the
seniority, and the fourteenth in seniority. following rules:

(c) Third Division – the third in seniority as Chairperson, the (a) the resolution of a Division denying a motion for referral to
sixth in seniority, the ninth in seniority, the twelfth in seniority, the Court en banc shall be final and shall not be appealable to
and the fifteenth in seniority. the Court en banc;

The Chief Justice may, however, consider factors other than seniority (b) the Court en banc may, in the absence of sufficiently
in Division assignments. The appointment of a new Member of the important reasons, decline to take cognizance of a case
Court shall necessitate the reorganization of Divisions at the call of the referred to it and return the case to the Division; and
Chief Justice.
(c) No motion for reconsideration of a resolution of the Court en
Section 9. Effect of reorganization of Divisions on assigned cases. – In banc declining cognizance of a referral by a Division shall be
the reorganization of the membership of Divisions, cases already entertained.
assigned to a Member-in-Charged shall be transferred to the Division
to which the Member-in-Charged moves, subject to the rule on the Section 12. Committees. – (a) The Court shall have the following
resolution of motions for reconsideration under Section 7 of this Rule. permanent Committees, whose members shall be designated by the
The Member-in-Charged is the Member given the responsibility of Chief Justice:
overseeing the progress and disposition of a case assigned by raffle.
(i) Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court;
Section 10. Formula for assigning cases to a new Member of the
Court. – The following rules shall be observed in assigning cases to a (ii) Committee on Computerization and Library;
newly appointed Member of the Court:
(iii) Committee on Security;
(a) the average caseload of each Member shall be determined
by dividing the total number of pending cases of all fifteen
(iv) Bids and Awards Committees;
Members by fifteen;
(v) Committee on Administrative Concerns;
(b) the newly appointed Member of the Court shall inherit the
caseload of the Member being replaced, and the inherited
caseload, if less than the average caseload as determined in (vi) Legislative-Executive Relations Committee;
(a), shall be equalized with the average caseload by taking the

76
(vii) Committee on Publication of the Court Systems (c) a retired Supreme Court Justice chosen by the Chief Justice
Journal; as a non-voting observer-consultant.

(viii) Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters; The Vice-Chair, the Members and the retired Supreme Court Justice
shall serve for a term of one (1) year, with the election in the case of
(ix) Committee on Retirement Program; elected Members to be held at the call of the Chief Justice. The
Committee shall have the task of preliminarily investigating all
(x) Committee on Public Information; complaints involving graft and corruption and violations of ethical
standards, including anonymous complaints, filed against Members of
the Court, and of submitting findings and recommendations to the en
(xi) Judicial Reform Support Project Management
banc. All proceedings shall be completely confidential. The Committee
Committee;
shall also monitor and report to the Court the progress of the
investigation of similar complaints against Supreme Court officials and
(xii) Committee on Publication of the Advanced Syllabi; employees, and handle the annual update of the Court’s ethical rules
and standards for submission to the en banc.
(xiii) Committee on Foreign Travel;
Section 14. Per curiam decisions. – Unless otherwise requested by
(xiv) Committee on Justice on Wheels; and the Member assigned to write the opinion of the Court, the decision or
resolution shall be rendered per curiam
(xv) Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the
Judiciary. (a) where the penalty imposed is dismissal from service,
disbarment, or indefinite suspension in administrative cases; or
The Court may create other Committees as may be necessary,
with the Chief Justice designating the Committee Chairperson (b) in any other case by agreement of the majority of the
and Members. Members or upon request of a Member.

(b) Subcommittees may be created by the Chief Justice upon Section 15. Form of resolution on motion for reconsideration in cases
the recommendation of the Committee Chairperson. where the vote of Members of the Court is divided. – The resolution of
motions for reconsideration, in case the opinion of the Court en banc or
(c) Ad Hoc committees shall be created as the need arises. Division is divided, may be by minute resolution specifying the
respective votes of the Members.
Section 13. Ethics Committee. – In addition to the above, a permanent
Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards shall be established and Section 16. Filling up of Court positions in Senate and House Electoral
chaired by the Chief Justice, with the following membership: Tribunals. – Positions for Members of the Court in the Senate Electoral
Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal shall be
(a) a working Vice-Chair appointed by the Chief Justice; designated by the Chief Justice among the Members of the Court in
the order of seniority: The most senior Member shall serve as
(b) three (3) members chosen among themselves by the en chairperson of the tribunal.
banc by secret vote; and
RULE 3
THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL FUNCTION
77
Section 1. The Supreme Court a court of law. – The Court is a court of (g) the findings of fact of the collegial appellate courts are
law. Its primary task is to resolve and decide cases and issues contrary to those of the trial court;
presented by litigants according to law. However, it may apply equity
where the court is unable to arrive at a conclusion or judgment strictly (h) said findings of fact are conclusions without citation specific
on the basis of law due to a gap, silence, obscurity or vagueness of the evidence on which they are based;
law that the Court can still legitimately remedy, and the special
circumstances of the case. (i) the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s
main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents;
Section 2. The Court not a trier of facts. – The Court is not a trier of
facts its role is to decide cases based on the findings of fact before it. (j) the findings of fact of the collegial appellate courts are
Where the Constitution, the law or the Court itself, in the exercise of its premised on the supposed evidence, but are contradicted by
discretion, decides to receive evidence, the reception of evidence may the evidence on record; and
be delegated to a member of the Court, to either the Clerk of Court or
one of the Division Clerks of Court, or to one of the appellate courts or
(k) all other similar and exceptional cases warranting a review
its justices who shall submit to the Court a report and recommendation
of the lower courts’ findings of fact.
on the basis of the evidence presented.
RULE 4
Section 3. Advisory opinions proscribed. – The Court cannot issue
THE EXERCISE OF ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION
advisory opinions on the state and meaning of laws, or take
cognizance of moot and academic questions, subject only to notable
exceptions involving constitutional issues. Section 1. Disciplinary cases against Court personnel. –
Administrative supervision of courts and court personnel shall be
undertaken by the court en banc, provided that, in appropriate cases,
Section 4. Cases when the Court may determine factual issues. – The
such function may be undertaken by the Divisions.
Court shall respect factual findings of lower courts, unless any of the
following situations is present:
Section 2. Assisting officers in the exercise of administrative
function. – In the discharge of its administrative functions, the Court
(a) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation,
shall be assisted by the Office of the Clerk of Court in administrative
surmise and conjecture;
matters and cases involving the Court and the collegial appellate
courts, and by the Office of the Court Administrative matters and cases
(b) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; involving the lower courts.

(c) there is grave abuse of discretion; Section 3. Administrative functions of the Court. – The administrative
functions of the Court en banc consist of , but are not limited to, the
(d) the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; following:

(e) the findings of fact are conflicting; (a) the discipline of justices, judges and court personnel,
whether by en banc or by Division, subject to matters
(f) the collegial appellate courts went beyond the issues of the assignable to the Divisions, disciplinary matters involving
case, and their findings are contrary to the admissions of both justices, judges and court personnel;
appellant and appellee;

78
(b) the temporary assignment of judges to other stations as PART II
public interest may require;
RULE 6
(c) the transfer of cases, from one court, administrative area or FILING, RECEIVING, AND PROCESSING OF INITIATORY
judicial region, to another, or the transfer of venue of the trial of PLEADINGS AND APPEALS
cases to avoid miscarriage of justice;
Section 1. Governing rules of procedure in appeals or petitions filed in
(d) the amendment, modification or revocation of administrative the Supreme Court. – All appeals or petitions and pleadings that initiate
orders and circulars issued by the Court; an application for relief shall be filed with the Court only in accordance
with the procedure provided by the Rules of Court and other issuances
(e) the policy consideration and determination of matters and of the Court.
issues; and
Section 2. Reception of pleadings and other documents. – All appeals
(f) matters involving the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) or the and petitions in all types of cases, and original records in criminal
Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) in the exercise of the cases shall be filed with and received by the Receiving Section of the
Court’s supervisory authority over them. Docket Division of the Judicial Records Office during office hours.

RULE 5 Section 3. Assessment and payment. – An initiatory pleading shall be


PRECEDENCE AND PROTOCOL processed pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court
and issuances of the Court. The corresponding legal fees shall then be
Section 1. Concept. – The Chief Justice enjoys precedence over all assessed and paid.
the other Members of the Court in all official functions. The Associate
Justices shall have precedence according to the order of their Section 4. Docket number and entry in logbook. – An initiatory
appointments as officially transmitted to the Supreme Court. pleading properly filed shall be assigned a docket or G.R. (General
Register) number, which shall identify the case for record purposes
Section 2. When rule on precedence is applicable. – The rule on until its termination under the Rules of Court. Any case for which no
precedence shall be applied in the following instances: docket fee has been paid shall be assigned an undocketed or UDK
number. All initiatory pleadings shall be entered in the logbook of the
Receiving Section.
(a) in the determination of the Chairpersonship of the Division;
Section 5. Case Administration System. – Pleadings, letters,
(b) in the seating arrangement of the Justices in all official
resolutions, decisions, entry of judgment, and all the relevant
functions; and
information regarding any particular case identified by a G.R. number
or a UDK number shall be encoded in the Case Administration System
(c) in the choice of office space, facilities, equipment, (CAS).
transportation, and cottages.
Section 6. Indexing and transmittal to Docket Division. – After the
Section 3. When rule on precedence is not applicable. – Precedence recording in the logbook and encoding in the CAS by the Receiving
in rank shall not beobserved in social and other non-official functions or Section, the initiatory pleading shall be indexed on a card that shall
be used to justify discrimination in the assignment of cases, amount of indicates such information as court of origin, the lower court case
compensation, allowance or other forms of remuneration. number(s), the nature of the case, the names of the counsel(s) for the
79
litigants, and the date and time of transmittal to the Docket Division of of Court or Division Clerk of Court within forty-eight hours from receipt
the Judicial Records Office. The indexing of cases shall serve as a of pleadings, documents or papers attached to them, unless immediate
backup record of the receipt of a case by the Court. Thereafter, the transmittal is demanded by the nature of the case. Copies of pleadings,
initiatory pleading shall be transmitted to the Docket Division. documents, or papers not attached to the rollo shall be distributed by
said Offices to all Members of the Court en banc or of the Division.
Section 7. Classification of cases. – A court attorney in the Docket
Division shall preliminarily classify the petitions and appeals filed as en RULE 7
banc or as Division cases in accordance with law. RAFFLE OF CASES

Section 8. Recording of cases in the main docket book. – The case Section 1. Raffle of cases. – Every initiatory pleading already identified
shall be recorded in the main docket book of the Docket Division, by a G.R. or a UDK number shall be raffled among the Members of the
where all pleadings, motions, communications, resolutions, the Court. The Member-in-Charge to whom a case is raffled, whether such
decision, the entry of judgment, and all relevant information on a case is to be taken up by the Court en banc or by a Division, shall
particular case shall be recorded by handwriting. The personnel oversee its progress and disposition unless for valid reason, such as
charged with making entries in the main docket book of the said inhibition, the case has to be re-raffled, unloaded or assigned to
pleadings and other said pleadings and other information shall affix his another Member.
or her initials after such entries.
Section 2. Raffle Committee. – Two Raffle Committees – one for
Section 9. The rollo for each case. – All original pleadings and other the en banc and the other for Division cases, each to be composed of
documents filed under the same docket number shall be encased in a a Chairperson and two members – shall be designated by the Chief
folder or rollo with a Court en banc-approved, color-coded cartolina Justice from among the Members of the Court on the basis of seniority.
cover indicating the G.R. or UDK number, the title of the case, the date
of filing, the date of submission for decision, and the nature of the Section 3. Raffle Committee Secretariat. – The Clerk of Court shall
case. The pages of the pleadings and other documents shall be serve as the Secretary of the Raffle Committee. He or she shall be
consecutively numbered and attached to the rollo preferably by assisted by a court attorney, duly designated by the Chief Justice from
stitching or any method that ensures the integrity of the contents of either the Office of the Chief Justice or the Office of the Clerk of Court,
the rollo. who shall be responsible for (a) recording the raffle proceedings and
(b) submitting the minutes thereon to the Chief Justice. The Clerk of
Section 10. Processing. – A court attorney at the Docket Division of Court shall make the result of the raffle available to the parties and
the Judicial Records Office shall accomplish the processing slips for all their counsels or to their duly authorized representatives, except the
initiatory pleadings, including motions for extension of time to file raffle of (a) bar matters; (b) administrative cases; and (c) criminal
petition. The processing slip shall serve as the checklist of the cases where the penalty imposed by the lower court is life
requirements of the Rules of Court for filing a case, and shall inform imprisonment, and which shall be treated with strict confidentiality.
the Court of compliance or non-compliance by the appellant or
petitioner with such requirements, as gathered from the initiatory Section 4. Classification of cases for raffle. – The initiatory pleadings
pleading filed. Information provided by the processing slip shall be duly docketed at the Judicial Records Office shall be classified into en
reported in the initial agenda item on the case. banc and Division cases for purposes of the raffle. The Clerk of Court
shall forthwith make a report on the classified cases to the Chief
Section 11. Transmittal of rollo from the Receiving Section to the Justice.1avv phi1

Office of the Clerk of Court or the Division Clerk of Court. – The


Judicial Records Office shall transmit all rollos to the Office of the Clerk
80
Section 5. Schedule of regular raffle. – Regular raffle of en banc and (f) Upon receipt of the rollo, the Clerk of Court – or, should the
Division cases shall be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, case be classified as a Division case, the Division Clerk of
respectively. Court – shall immediately (i) prepare the Agenda item on the
specially raffled case; and (ii) forward the rollo and a copy of
Section 6. Special raffle of cases. – Should an initiatory pleading pray the Special Agenda to the Rollo Room, which shall transmit
for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or an urgent and the rollo to the Member-in-Charge and distribute the Special
extraordinary writ such as the writ of habeas corpus or of amparo, and Agenda to the Chief Justice and the Members of the Court or to
the case cannot be included in the regular raffle, the Clerk of Court the Chairperson and Members of the Division, as the case may
shall immediately call the attention of the Chief Justice or, in the latter’s be.
absence, the most senior Member of the Court present. The Chief
Justice or the Senior Member of the Court may direct the conduct of a (g) When the Court in recess and the urgency of the case
special raffle, in accordance with the following procedure: requires immediate action, the Clerk of Court or the Division
Clerk of Court shall personally transmit the rollo to the Chief
(a) Upon receipt of an initiatory pleading containing a motion Justice or the Division Chairperson for his or her action.
for the conduct of a special raffle, the Judicial Records Office
shall immediately (I) process the pleading and (ii) transmit a Section 7. Conduct of the raffle. – The cases included in a previously
copy of it to the Office of the Clerk of Court. prepared list shall beraffled using a reasonably acceptable random
raffle device under a system that shall ensure the fair and equitable
(b) The Judicial Records Office shall inform the Clerk of Court distribution of case load among all Members of the Court.
in writing of the motion for special raffle, and the Clerk of Court
shall forthwith seek authority to conduct the special raffle from Section 8. Transfer of rollos of raffled cases. – The rollos of all raffled
the Chief Justice or substitute Senior Member, as the case may cases shall bedelivered to the Officers of the respective Clerks of
be. Court, for inclusion in the next agenda of the Court en banc or the
Division.
(c) The special raffle shall be conducted immediately.
RULE 8
(d) The Clerk of Court shall furnish the Member-in-Charge to INHIBITION AND SUBSTITUTE OF MEMBERS OF THE COURT
whom the case is raffled, the Judicial Records Office, and
the Rollo Room at the Office of the Chief Justice, copies of the Section 1. Grounds for inhibition. – A Member of the Court shall inhibit
result of the special raffle in an envelope marked "RUSH". The himself or herself from participating in the resolution of the case for any
Member-in-Charge shall also be furnished a copy of the of these and similar reasons:
pleading. If the case is classified as a Division case, the Clerk
of Court shall furnish the same copies to the Office of the Clerk (a) the Member of the Court was the ponente of the decision or
of Court of the Division to which the same Member-in-Charge participated in the proceedings in the appellate or trial court;
belongs and to the Division Chairperson.
(b) the Member of the Court was counsel, partner or member of
(e) Upon receipt of the special raffle result, the Judicial law firm that is or was the counsel in the case subject to
Records Office shall immediately forward the rollo to the Section 3(c) of this rule;
Division concerned, with the word "RUSH" clearly indicated on
the rollo cover.

81
(c) the Member of the Court or his or her spouse, parent or Section 3. Effects of inhibition. – The consequences of an inhibition of
child is pecuniarily interested in the case; a Member of the Court shall be governed by these rules:

(d) the Member of the Court is related to either party in the (a) Whenever a Member-in-Charge of a case in a Division
case within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to inhibits himself for a just and valid reason, the case shall be
an attorney or any member of a law firm who is counsel of returned to the Raffle Committee for re-raffling among the
record in the case within the fourth degree of consanguinity or Members of the same Division other than the Member-in-
affinity; Charge of a case, and the fifth Member of the Division chosen
by raffle among the Members of the Divisions shall act in place
(e) the Member of the Court was executor, administrator, of the inhibiting Member.
guardian or trustee in the case; and
(b) Whenever a Member of the Division, other than the
(f) the Member of the Court was an official or is the spouse of Member-in-Charge of a case, inhibits on any of the grounds
an official or former official of a government agency or private specified in Section 1, except paragraph (b), the case shall be
entity that is a party to the case, and the Justice or his or her decided by the four remaining Members of the Division and
spouse has reviewed or acted on any matter relating to the another Member of the two other Divisions chosen by raffle to
case. act on the case.

A Member of the Court may in the exercise of his or her sound (c) When a Member of the Division, other than the Member-in-
discretion, inhibit himself or herself for a just or valid reason other than Charge of a case, was counsel or partner or member of a law
any of those mentioned above. firm that is or was counsel in the case before the Division, such
Member shall inhibit himself or herself, unless the Member was
The inhibiting Member must state the precise reason for the inhibition. no longer a partner or member of the law firm when it was
engaged as counsel in the case and the Member votes against
the client of such firm. In any event, the mandatory inhibition
Section 2. Motion to inhibit a Division or a Member of the Court. – A
shall case after the lapse of ten years from the resignation or
motion for inhibition must be in writing and under oath and shall state
withdrawal of the Member from the law firm, unless the
the grounds therefor.
Member personally handled the case when he or she was a
partner or member of the law firm.
A motion for inhibition of a Division or a Member of the Court must be
acted upon by the Division or the Member of the Court concerned, as
(d) Whenever two or more Members o the Division, other than
the case may be, within ten working days from receipt thereof except
the Member-in-Charge of a case, inhibit themselves from a
when there is an application for a temporary restraining order, in which
case, they shall be replaced by raffle by Members of the other
case the motion must be acted upon immediately.
Divisions.
No motion for inhibition of a Division or a Member of the Court shall be
(e) A Member of the Court who inhibits, on the grounds
granted after a decision on the merits or substance of the case has
specified in Section 1, shall be assigned an additional case at
been rendered or issued by an Division, except for a valid or just
the next raffle of Division cases.
reason such as an allegation of a graft and corrupt practice or ground
not earlier apparent.
Section 4. Substitution of Member. – When a Member of the Court is
on leave or a vacancyoccurs in a Division, another Member from the
82
other Divisions shall be designated by the Chief Justice by rotation, other Court personnel handling documents relating to the raffling of
according to a reverse order of seniority, to act as Member of the cases are bound by strict confidentiality on the identify of the Member-
Division until the regular Member reports back to work or a newly in-Charge or ponente and on the actions taken on the case.
appointed Member assumes office, as the case may be.
Rollo Room personnel may release a rollo only upon an official written
RULE 9 request from the Chief Judicial Staff Head or the Chief of Office of the
FOLDER OF PLEADINGS, COMMUNICATIONS, DOCUMENTS AND requesting Office. The rollo room personnel may release a rollo only to
OTHER PAPERS IN A CASE an authorized personnel named in the official written request. All
personnel handling the rollos are bound by the same strict
Section 1. The rollo of a case. – The original of all pleadings, confidentiality rules.
communications, documents, and other papers filed by the parties shall
be encased in a rollo, which shall serve as their official repository for Section 5. Consolidation of cases. – The Court may order the
purposes of the case. The rollo shall be properly and sequentially consolidation of cases involving common questions of law or of act.
paginated by the Docket Division of the Judicial Records Office to The Chief Justice shall assign the consolidated cases to he Member-
prevent intercalation or detachment of a page. in-Charge to whom the case having the lower or lowest docket number
has been raffled, subject to equalization of case load by raffle. The
Section 2. Repository of rollos. – All rollos shall be kept in Judicial Records Office shall see to it that (a) the rollos of the
the Rollo Room in the Office of the Chief Justice. No rolloshall be taken consolidated cases are joined together to prevent the loss,
out except for delivery to any following: (1) the Judicial Records Office misplacement or detachment of any of them; and (b) the cover of
for attachment of a pleading, communication, document or other each rollo indicates the G.R. or UDK number of the case with which the
papers filed; (2) the Office of the Clerk of Court or the Office of the former is consolidated.
Division Clerk of Court, for the preparation of the Agenda and to the
Minutes of a Court session, as well for the attachment of the decisions The Member-in-Charge who finds after study that the cases do not
or resolutions to the rollo; (3) the Office of the Member-in-Charge or involve common questions of law or of fact may request the Court to
the Office of the ponente or writer of the decision or resolution; (4) any have the case or cases returned to the original Member-in-Charge.
Office or official charged with the study of the case.
Section 6. Reconstitution of lost rollo. – When a rollo is lost and a
All personnel charged with the safekeeping and distribution diligent search for it proves futile, the personnel-in-charge of
of rollos shall be bound by strict confidentiality on the identity of the the Rollo Room shall immediately inform the Chief Justice or the
Member-in-Charge or the ponente, as well as on the integrity of proper Chairperson of the Division of such loss. Without prejudice to
the rollos, under pain of administrative sanction and criminal any administrative or criminal liability of the personnel responsible for
prosecution for any breach thereof. the loss, the Chief Justice or the Chairperson of the Division concerned
shall direct the Judicial Records Office to reconstitute the rollo and
Section 3. The expediente. - The Office of the Clerk of Court of the request the counsel and the parties to personally appear and submit,
Division Clerk of Court shall provide copies of all pleadings, on a specified date, legible copies of the pleadings, communications,
communications, documents, and other papers of a case to the Offices documents, and other papers filed in the case, and to authenticate their
of the Members of the Court for the constitution of an expediente to respective submissions.
facilitate access and easy reference to a case.
The same procedure shall be observed when the loss of a rollo occurs
Section 4. Confidentiality of identify of Member-in-Charge or ponente in the office of a Member of the Court. The Judicial Staff Head
and of Court actions. – Personnel assigned to the Rollo Room and all concerned shall immediately report the loss.
83
Entries in the main docket book of the Judicial Records Office, as well notes, using the tape or electronic of the hearing for verification
as in the Case4 Administration System, shall be used for verification purposes.
purposes.
RULE 11
RULE 10 AGENDA AND MINUTES OF COURT SESSIONS
COURT SESSIONS AND HEARINGS
Section 1. Agenda. – The Clerk o9f Court and the Division Clerks of
Section 1. Court sessions. – The Court en banc shall hold sessions Court shall ensure that all pleadings, communications, documents, and
every Tuesday. The Divisions may meet on Monday s and other papers duly filed in a case shall be reported in the Agenda for
Wednesdays. Special sessions may be held whenever necessary. In consideration by the Court en banc or the Division. The Agenda items
every session, proceedings shall follow the agenda of cases and for each case shall adequately apprise the Court of relevant matters for
matters to be taken up. Actions taken during sessions shall be duly its consideration.
reflected in the minutes of the proceedings.
Section 2. Periods for inclusion of pleadings, motions, and other
Section 2. Confidentiality of court sessions. – Court sessions are matters in the agenda. – The Clerk of Court and the Division Clerks of
executive in character, with only the Members of the Court present. Court shall observe the following periods for the inclusion of pleadings,
Court deliberations are confidential and shall not be disclosed to motions, and other matters in the agenda counted from receipt:
outside parties, except as may be provided herein or as authorized by
the Court. (a) motions for extension of time to file petitions – immediately
calendared;
The Chief Justice or the Division Chairperson shall record the action or
actions taken in each case for transmittal to the Clerk of Court or (b) appeals in criminal cases under Article 47 of the Revised
Division Clerk of Court after each session. The notes of the Chief Penal Code, as amended, or under Rule 122 of the Rules of
Justice and the Division Chairperson, which the Clerk of Court and the Court – within fifteen days;
Division Clerks of Court must treat with strict confidentiality, shall be
the bases of the minutes of the sessions. (c) petitions under Rules 45, 64 and 65 – within ten days,
unless a party asks for the issuance of a temporary restraining
Section 3. Oral arguments. – The Court may hear any case on oral order or an extraordinary writ, immediate inclusion of the case
arguments upon defined issues. The petitioner shall argue first, in the Agenda; and
followed by the respondent and the amicus curiae, if any. Rebuttal
arguments may be allowed by the Chief Justice or the Chairperson. If (d) other pleadings – within ten days.
necessary, the Court may invite amicus curiae.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the Chief Justice may direct the
Section 4. Transcripts of hearings, recording of oral arguments. – Oral immediate inclusion ofany matter in the agenda.
arguments shall be recorded by at least two stenographers, alternately
taking stenographic notes of the proceedings. The stenographers shall
Section 3. Minutes of proceedings. – The Chief Justice or the
transcribe their notes and submit the consolidated transcripts to the
Chairperson of the Divisionshall provide the Clerk of Court or the
Clerk of Court or the Division Clerk of Court within twenty-four hours
Division Clerk of Court his or her notes on the actions taken by the
from the termination of the oral arguments. The Clerk of Court or the
Court. The copy of the Agenda containing the handwritten notes of the
Division Clerk of Court shall review the transcripts of stenographic
Chief Justice or Division Chairperson shall serve as the basis for the

84
preparation of the minutes of the session by the Office of the Clerk of Section 7. Form of notice of a minute resolution. – A notice of a minute
Court or of the Division Clerks of Court. resolution shall be embodied in a letter of the Clerk of Court or the
Division Clerk of Court notifying the parties of the action or actions
Section 4. Preparation of minutes of proceedings. – Within forty-eight taken in their case in the following form:
hours from the time the copy of the Agenda containing the handwritten
actions of the Court is transmitted to him or her, the Clerk of Court or (SUPREME COURT Seal)
the Division Clerk of Court shall submit the draft of the minutes of the
session for the approval by the Chief Justice or the Division REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
Chairperson. The draft of the minutes of a Court session shall follow SUPREME COURT
the chronological sequence of the cases in the Agenda. Excerpts of the Manila
minutes pertaining to a particular case quoted in a letter of the Clerk of
Court or the Division Clerk of Court to the parties, and extended EN BANC/_____ DIVISION
resolutions showing the actions of the Court on the cases on agenda
shall be released to the parties only after the Chief Justice or the
NOTICE
Division Chairperson has approved the minutes in writing.
Sirs/Mesdames:
Section 5. Confidentiality of minutes prior to release. – The Offices of
the Clerk of Court and of the Division Clerks of Court are bound by
strict confidentiality on the action or actions taken by the Court prior to Please take notice that the Court en banc/_____ Division issued a
the release of the resolutions embodying the Court action or actions. Resolution dated ______________, which reads as follows:

A resolution is considered officially released once the envelope "G.R./UDK/A.M./A.C. NO. _________ (TITLE). – (QUOTE
containing a final copy of it addressed to the parties has been RESOLUTION")
transmitted to the process server for personal service or to the mailing
section of the Judicial Records Office. Only after its official release may Very truly yours,
a resolution be made available to the public.
(Sgd.)
Section 6. Preparation of minute resolutions and unsigned extended
resolutions. – A minute resolution quoting an excerpt of the minutes of CLERK OF COURT/Division Clerk of Court
Court sessions pertinent to a case shall be prepared by the court
attorneys in the Office of the Clerk of Court or the Division Clerk of Section 8. Release of resolutions. – All resolutions shall be released
Court and personally reviewed, approved, and initialled by the Clerk of within forty-eight hours from approval of the Minutes of any session by
Court or the Division Clerk of Court before submission for final the Chief Justice or the Division Chairperson. Resolutions with the
approval by the Chief Justice or the Division Chairperson. An unsigned following actions shall be released immediately to the parties:
extended resolution may be prepared by the Office of the Member-in-
Charge or by the Office of the Clerk of Court or Division Clerk of Court, (a) directing the issuance of extraordinary writs;
upon instructions of either the Chief Justice or the Division
Chairperson, who shall approve the resolution. The Chief Justice and (b) granting or denying motions for extension of time to file
the Division Chairperson shall order the Clerk of Court or the Division petitions or subsequent pleadings, or other motions of urgent
of Clerk of Court to release duly approved minute and unsigned nature;
extended resolutions.

85
(c) granting applications for a temporary restraining Constitution for dismissal cannot be had, the Court shall
order/status quo order/writ of preliminary injunction; deliberate on the case anew. If after such deliberation still no
decision is reached, the Court shall dismiss the administrative
(d) preventively suspending judges or court personnel; and case, unless a majority vote decides to impose a lesser
penalty.
(e) directing any party, the Office of the Court Administrator, or
any other official or agency to submit a comment, a report or a (d) Where the Court en banc is equally divided in opinion of the
recommendation within a non-extendible period. majority vote required by the Constitution for annulling any
treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential
RULE 12 decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or
VOTING REQUIREMENTS regulation cannot be had, the Court shall deliberate on the
case anew. If such deliberation still no decision is reached, the
Court shall deny the challenge to the constitutionally of the act.
Section 1. Voting requirements. – (a) All decisions and actions in
Court en banc cases shall be made up upon the concurrence of the
majority of the Members of the Court who actually took part in the (e) In all matters incidental to the main action where the
deliberation on the issues or issues involved and voted on them. Court en banc is equally divided in opinion, the relief sought
shall be denied.
(b) All decisions and actions in Division cases shall be made
upon the concurrence of at least three Members of the Division Section 3. Failure to obtain required votes in Division. – Where the
who actually took part in the deliberations on the issue or necessary majority of three votes is not obtained in a case in a
issues involved and voted on them.1 Division, the case shall be elevated to the Court en banc.

Section 2. Tie voting in the Court en banc. – (a) In civil cases, Section 4. Leaving a vote. – A Member who goes on leave or is
including special proceedings and special civil actions, where the unable to attend the voting on nay decision, resolution, or matter may
Court en banc is equally divided in option or the necessary majority leave his or her vote in writing, addressed to the Chief Justice or the
vote cannot be had, the Court shall deliberate on it anew. If after such Division Chairperson, and the vote shall be counted, provided that he
deliberation still no decision is reached, the Court shall, in an original or she took part in the deliberation.
action filed with it, dismiss the case; in appealed cases, it shall affirm
the judgment or order appealed from. RULE 13
DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
(b) In criminal cases, when the Court en banc is equally divided
in option of the necessary majority cannot be had, the Court Section 1. Period for deciding or resolving cases. – The Court shall
shall deliberate on it anew. If after such deliberation still no decide or resolve all cases within twenty-four months from the date of
decision is reached, the Court shall reverse the judgement of submission for resolution. A case shall be deemed submitted for
conviction of the lower court and acquit the accused. decision or resolution upon the filling of the last pleading, brief, or
memorandum that the Court or its Rules require.
(c) When, in an administrative case against any of the Justices
of the appealed courts or any of the Judges of the trial Courts, The Member-in-charge, assigned to oversee the progress and
the impossible penalty is dismissal and the Court en banc is disposition of a case, who is unable to decide or resolve the oldest
equally divided in opinion or the majority vote required by the cases within that period shall request the Court en banc for an
extension of the period, stating the ground for the request. The Court
86
shall act on the request as it sees fit, according to the circumstances of case, unless the said Member requests a continuance and the
the case. Court grants it.

Should a Member object to the request, the Court shall grant a final Section 4. Continuance in deliberations. – The deliberation on a case
extension of thirty days within the Member-in-Charge shall report the may be adjourned to another date to enable the Member who
case for deliberation, falling which, the case shall be re-raffled to requested it to further study the case; provided, however, that the total
another Member who shall submit the report within thirty days from period of continuances shall not exceed three months from the date
assignment. was first adjourned. This rule shall likewise apply to actions on months
for reconsideration of the decisions and resolutions of the Court, unless
Section 2. List of cases submitted for decision or resolution. – The a Member, whose vote in the original decision of a divided Court
Clerk of Court and the Division Clerks of Court shall maintain a system matters, is about to retire. In such a situation, the action on the motion
for apprising the Court periodically, at least six months before the last for reconsideration submitted for resolution shall be made before his or
day of the twenty-four-month period for deciding or resolving a case, of her retirement.
the approach of such cut off date.
Section 5. Ponente or Opinion writer. – Immediately upon arriving at a
Section 3. Actions and decisions, how reached. – The actions and conclusion regarding the issue or issues in the case, the Court shall
decisions of the Court whether en banc or through a Division, shall be assign2 a Member to write the opinion of the Court. Should the majority
arrived at as follows: vote of the court on such conclusion be different from or contrary to the
conclusion arrived at by the ponente, the writing of the new opinion
(a) Initial action on the petition or complaint. – After a petition or shall be assigned to a ponente chosen by the majority.
complaint has been placed on the agenda for the first time, the
Member-in-Charge shall except in urgent cases, submit to the Section 6. Manner of adjudication. – The Court shall adjudicate cases
other Members at least three days before the initial deliberation as follows:
in such case, a summary of facts, the issue or issues involved,
and the arguments that the petitioner presents in support of his (a) By decision, when the Court disposes of the case on its
or her case. The Court shall, in consultation with its Members, merits and its rulings have significant doctrinal values; resolve
decide on what action it will take. novel issues; or impact on the social, political, and economic
life of the nation. The decision shall state clearly and distinctly
(b) Action on incidents. – The Member-in-Charge shall the facts and the law on which it is based. It shall bear the
recommend to the Court the action to be taken on any incident signatures of the members who took part in the deliberation.
during the pendency of the case.
(b) By signed resolution, when the Court comprehensively
(c) Decision or Resolution. – When a case is submitted for resolves the motion for reconsideration filed in the case or
decision or resolution, the Member-in-Charge shall have the when a dissenting opinion is registered against such resolution.
same placed in the agenda of the Court for deliberation. He or The signed resolution shall no longer discuss issues resolved
she shall submit to the other Members of the Court, at least in the decision and need not repeat the facts and the law stated
seven days in advance, a report that shall contain the facts, the in it. It shall also bear the signatures of the Members who took
issue or issues involved, the arguments of the contending part in the deliberation.
parties, and the laws and jurisprudence that can aid the Court
in deciding or resolving the case. In consultation, the Members (c) By unsigned resolution when the Court disposes of the case
of the Court shall agree on the conclusion or conclusions in the on the merits, but its ruling is essentially meaningful only to the
87
parties; has no significant doctrinal value; or is minimal interest conduct of consultant among the Members of the Court and the
to the law profession, the academe, or the public. The assignment of the writing of the decision to a Member after such
resolution shall state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law consultation.
on which it is based.
Section 9. Submission of decisions and resolutions. – The original of
(d) By minute resolution when the Court (1) dismisses a all decisions and resolutions as well as separate, concurring, or
petition filed under Rule 64 or 65 of the Rules of Court, citing dissenting opinions shall be submitted to the Chief Justice,
as legal basis the failure of the petition to show that the accompanied by electronic copies. The Judicial Staff Head of the
tribunal, board or officer exercising or quasi-judicial functions Office of the ponente or the writer of the majority opinion shall certify, in
has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave writing, the authenticity of the electronic copies, which shall be placed
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; in a separately marked, dated, and signed envelop.
(2) denies petition filed under Rule 45 of the said Rules, citing
as legal basis the absence of reversible error committed in the Section 10. Promulgation of decisions and resolutions. – The Clerk of
challenged decision, resolution, or order of the court below; (3) Court or the Division Clerk of Court shall promulgated every decision or
Dismisses an administrative complaint, citing as legal basis resolution within forty-eight hours from receipt of the same from the
failure to show a prima facie case against the respondent; (4) Office of the Chief Justice, indicating the date and hour of promulgation
denies a motion for reconsideration, citing as legal basis the and affixing his or her signature underneath such date and hour. In the
absence of a compelling or cogent reason to grant the motion, absence of the Clerk of Court, the First Division Clerk of Court shall
or the failure to raise any substantial argument to support such promulgated the decisions of the Court en banc.
motion; and (5) dismisses a petition on technical grounds or
deficiencies. Section 11. Authentication of decisions and resolutions. – All
decisions, resolutions, and other Court issuances shall be released to
Section 7. Dissenting separate or concurring opinion. – A Member the parties concerned only after these shall have been authenticated
who disagrees with the majority opinion, its conclusions, and the by the Clerk of Court of Division Clerk of Court through a bar code at
disposition of the case may submit to the Chief Justice or Division the bottom of each page, which he or she shall personally affix, or by
Chairperson a dissenting opinion, setting forth the reason for such other means to protect the authenticity and integrity of such document.
dissent. A Member who agrees with the result of the case, but based They shall also initial every page of per curiam decisions, minute
on different reason or reasons may submit a separate opinion; a resolutions, and unsigned extended resolutions.
concurrence "in the result" should state the reason for the qualified
concurrence. A Member who agrees with the main opinion, but opts to RULE 14
express other reasons for concurrence may submit a concurring HANDLING AND DISSEMINATION OF DECISIONS AND
opinion. The dissenting, separate, or concurring opinion must be within RESOLUTIONS
one week from the date the writer of the majority opinion presents the
decision for the signature of the Members.
Section 1. Promulgation. – A decision or resolution shall deemed
promulgated on the date it is received and acknowledged by the Clerk
Section 8. Attestations and certifications on consultations held. – In of Court or Division Clerk of Court from the Office of the Chief Justice
cases decided by a Division, the Division Chairperson shall issue an or the Division Chairperson.
attestation regarding the conduct of consultation among its Members
and the assignment of the writing of the decision to a Member after
Section 2. Report of promulgation. – Within twenty-four hours from the
such consultation. In all decided cases, whether by the Court en
promulgation of a decision or resolution, the Clerk of Court or the
banc or by a Division, the Chief shall issue a certification regarding the

88
Division Clerk of Court shall formally inform the Chief Justice or the Section 6. Safekeeping of original hard copy of decision and drafting
Division Chairperson of such promulgation. of syllabus of each promulgated decision. – As soon as hard copies of
the decision or resolution shall have been served on the parties and
Section 3. Electronic dissemination of decision or resolution. – Upon disseminated in accordance with these Rules, the Clerk of Court or the
receipt of the report of promulgation, the Chief Justice shall direct the Division Clerk of Court shall deliver to the Office of the Reporter (a) the
Chief Justice’s Staff Head to deliver immediately the magnetic or original hard copy of each signed decision or resolution for
electronic copy of the decision or resolution to the Management safekeeping, and (b) a reproduction of such hard copy for the
Information Systems Office (MISO). preparation of the concise synopsis and syllabus of each decision or
resolution duly approved by the writer of the decision or by the Chief
Section 4. Responsibilities of the MISO. – Upon receipt of a copy of a Justice if the writer has retired or is no longer in the judicial service,
promulgated decision or resolution, the MISO shall prior to publication in the Philippine Reports. The Office of the Reporter
shall (a) see to the secured safekeeping of original decisions that shall
be collated and bound on a monthly basis, and (b) be responsible for
(a) log the date and time of receipt;
the updated publication of the Philippine Reports.
(b) format the decision or resolution in such a way as to make it
Section 7. Publication of decisions and resolutions. – A decision and
readable on the Supreme Court website;
signed resolution of the Court shall be published in the Philippine
Reports, with the synopsis and syllabus prepared by the Office of the
(c) scan any handwritten notes on the signature page, such as Reporter. Other decisions and signed resolutions not so published may
"In the result," and include signature page with the same also be published in the Philippine Reports in the form of memoranda
handwritten notes for posting; prepared by the Office of the Reporter. The Public Information (PIO)
may choose and submit significant decisions and resolutions for
(d) take note of any typographical error in the magnetic or publication in the Official Gazette.
electronic file of the decision or resolution, and immediately
bring it to the attention of the writer of the decision or RULE 15
resolution, or the Chief Justice in case of a per curiam decision FINALITY OF DECISION AND RESOLUTIONS
or when the writer has ceased to serve the Court;
Section 1. Finality of decisions and resolutions. – A decision or
(e) immediately furnish the Library with soft copies of all resolution of the Court may be deemed final after the lapse of fifteen
decisions and resolutions for archival purposes. days from receipt by the parties of a copy of the same subject to the
following:
Section 5. Service and dissemination of decisions and signed
resolutions. – The Clerk of Court or the Division Clerk of Court shall (a) the date of receipt indicated on the registry return card
see to the service of authenticated copies of the promulgated decision signed by the party-or, in case he or she is represented by
or signed resolution upon the parties in accordance with the provisions counsel, by such counselor his or her representative- shall be
of the Rules of Court. The Clerk of Court of the Division Clerk of Court the reckoning date for counting the fifteen-day period; and
shall also immediately provide hard copies of the same to the Public
Information Office, Office of the Court Administrator, Office of the Chief
(b) if the Judgement Division is unable to retrieve the registry
Attorney, Philippine Judicial Academy, and the Library.
return card within fifteen days from mailing, it shall immediately
inquire from the receiving post office on (i) the date when the
addressee received the mailed decision or resolution; and (ii)
89
who received the same, with the information provided by Judicial Records Office in the same manner that decisions and
authorized personnel of the said post office serving as the resolutions are authenticated.
basis for the computation of the fifteen-day period.
Section 3. Time frame for entry of judgement. – Unless the Court
Section 2. Motion for reconsideration. – A motion for reconsideration requires an immediate entry of judgement, the Judicial records Office
filed within the fifteen-day period from receipt of a copy of the decision shall enter judgement within fifteen days from the expiration of the
or resolution shall stay the execution of such decision or resolution fifteen-day reglementary period for filling a motion for reconsideration.
unless, for good reasons shown, the Court directs otherwise.
Section 4. Return of case records to lower court. – The records of
Section 3. Second motion for reconsideration. – The Court shall not every decided case shall be returned to the court where it originated for
entertain a second motion for reconsideration, and any exception to execution of judgement on the same day that entry of judgement is
this rule can only be granted in the higher interest of justice by the made.
Court en banc upon a vote of at least two-thirds of its actual
membership. There is reconsideration "in the higher interest of justice" RULE 17
when the assailed decision is not only legally erroneous, but is likewise CORRECTION OF TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS IN DECISIONS AND
patently unjust and potentially capable of causing unwarranted and RESOLUTIONS
irremediable injury or damage to the parties. A second motion for
reconsideration can only be entertained before the ruling sought to be Section 1. Correction of typographical errors in decisions and
reconsidered becomes final by operation of law or by the Court’s resolutions. – Typographical errors discovered after the promulgation
declaration.1avv ph!1

or even after the publication of a decision or signed resolution may be


corrected as follows:
In the Division, a vote of three Members shall be required to elevate a
second motion for reconsideration to the Court En Banc. (a) The Reporter and the MISO shall, with the authority of the
writer of the decision or resolution, make the necessary
RULE 16 correction of typographical errors. In per curiam decisions and
ENTRY OF JUDGEMENT in unsigned resolutions, or when the ponente has retired,
resigned or is no longer in the judicial service, the authority
Section 1. Entry of judgement. – The entry of judgement covering the shall be given by the Chief Justice.
final decisions and resolutions of the Court shall be made in
accordance with the Rules of Court. The date of entry of judgement (b) The correction of typographical errors shall be made by
shall be the date such decision or resolution becomes executory, crossing out the incorrect word and inserting by hand the
unless the Court directs its immediate execution. appropriate correction immediately above the corrected or
cancelled word. The writer of the decision of the Chief Justice,
Section 2. How entry of judgement is made. – The entry of judgement as the case may be, shall authenticate the correction by
shall be in the form of a certification indicating the date when the final affixing his or her initials and the date or correction immediately
decision or resolution of the Court has become executory and entered below the correction.
in the book of judgements. The entry shall restate the dispositive
portion of the judgement of final resolution, and be duly signed by the Section 2. Report of corrections made. – The Reporter and the MISO
Chief of the Judicial Records Office as the Deputy Clerk of Court. The Chief shall submit to the Court, through the Clerk of Court, a quarterly
Judicial Records Office shall furnish the parties with a photocopy of the report of cases where the decisions and resolutions have been
entry of judgement, which shall be authenticated by the Chief of the
90
corrected. The Clerk of Court shall thereafter include the report in the
Agenda of the Court en banc for confirmation of the correction.

RULE 18
EFFECTIVITY

Section 1. Effectivity. – These Rules shall take effect fifteen (15) days
after publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the
Philippines.

91
G.R. No. 203655, September 07, 2015 and policy, courts must dispose of every case as promptly as possible; and
in fulfillment of their role in the administration of justice, they should brook
SM LAND, INC., Petitioner, v. BASES CONVERSION AND DEVELOPMENT no delay in the termination of cases by stratagems or maneuverings of
AUTHORITY AND ARNEL PACIANO D. CASANOVA, ESQ., IN HIS parties or their lawyers...5
OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF BCDA, Respondents.
Indeed, all cases are to eventually reach a binding conclusion and must not
remain indefinitely afloat in limbo. Otherwise, the exercise of judicial power
RESOLUTION would be for naught if court decisions can effectively be thwarted at every
turn by dilatory tactics that prevent the said rulings from attaining finality.
VELASCO JR., J.: Hence, the Court has taken a conservative stance when entertaining second
motions for reconsideration, allowing only those grounded on extraordinarily
persuasive reasons and, even then, only upon express leave first
Once again, respondent-movants Bases Conversion Development Authority
obtained.6 As proscribed under Sec. 3, Rule 15 of the Internal Rules of the
(BCDA) and Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, Esq. (Casanova) urge this Court to
Supreme Court:
reconsider its August 13, 2014 Decision1 in the case at bar. In their Motion
for Leave to file Second Motion for Reconsideration and to Admit the
Attached Second Motion for Reconsideration (With Motion for the Court en SEC. 3. Second motion for reconsideration. - The Court shall not
banc to Take Cognizance of this Case and/to Set the Case for Oral Argument entertain a second motion for reconsideration, and any exception to
Before the Court en banc),2 respondent-movants remain adamant in this rule can only be granted in the higher interest of justice by the
claiming that the assailed rulings of the Court would cause unwarranted and Court en banc upon a vote of at least two-thirds of its actual membership.
irremediable injury to the government, specifically to its major beneficiaries, There is reconsideration "in the higher interest of justice" when the assailed
the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the decision is not only legally erroneous, but is likewise patently unjust and
Philippines (AFP).3 potentially capable of causing unwarranted and irremediable injury or
damage to the parties. A second motion for reconsideration can only be
The motion fails to persuade. entertained before the ruling sought to be considered becomes final by
operation of law or by the Court's declaration.
The instant recourse partakes the nature of a second motion for
reconsideration, a prohibited pleadingunder Section 2, Rule 56,4 in In the Division, a vote of three Members shall be required to elevate
relation to Sec. 2, Rule 52 of the Rules of Court. The rule categorically a second motion for reconsideration to the Court En Banc.7
states: "no second motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final (emphasis added) ChanRobles Vi rtua lawlib rary

resolution by the same party shall be entertained." The rationale behind the
rule is explained in Manila Electric Company v. Barlis, thusly: Succinctly put, the concurrence of the following elements are required for a
second motion for reconsideration to be entertained: chanRob lesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

The propriety or acceptability of such a second motion for reconsideration is


not contingent upon the averment of "new" grounds to assail the judgment, 1. The motion should satisfactorily explain why granting the same
i.e.. grounds other than those theretofore presented and rejected. would be in the higher interest of justice; cra lawlawlib rary

Otherwise, attainment of finality of a judgment might be staved off 2. The motion must be made before the ruling sought to be
indefinitely, depending on the party's ingeniousness or cleverness in reconsidered attains finality; cralawlawl ibra ry

conceiving and formulating "additional flaws" or "newly discovered errors'" 3. If the ruling sought to be reconsidered was rendered by the Court
therein, or thinking up some injury or prejudice to the rights of the movant through one of its Divisions, at least three (3) members of the said
for reconsideration. "Piece-meal1" impugnation of a judgment by successive Division should vote to elevate the case to the Court En Banc; and
motions for reconsideration is anathema, being precluded by the salutary 4. The favorable vote of at least two-thirds of the Court En Banc's
axiom that a party seeking the setting aside of a judgment, act or actual membership must be mustered for the second motion for
proceeding must set out in his motion all the grounds therefor, and those reconsideration to be granted.
not so included are deemed waived and cease to be available for subsequent
motions.
Unfortunately for respondent-movants, the foregoing requirements do not
For all litigation must come to an end at some point, in accordance with obtain in the case at bench. To begin with, there are no extraordinarily
established rules of procedure and jurisprudence. As a matter of practice persuasive reasons "in the higher interest of justice" on which the instant

92
second motion for reconsideration is anchored on. The enumerated grounds
for the second motion for reconsideration say as much: xxxx

GROUNDS8 BCDA and SMLI have agreed to subject SMLI's Original Proposal to
Competitive Challenge pursuant to Annex C - Detailed Guidelines for
I Competitive Challenge Procedure for Public-Private Joint Ventures of the
NEDA .TV guidelines, which competitive challenge process shall be
THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN SMLI AND BCDA WAS NEVER PERFECTED TO immediately implemented following the Terms of Reference (TOR) Volumes
COMPEL BCDA TO COMPLETE THE COMPETITIVE CHALLENGE AS THERE WAS 1 and 2.12 (emphasis added)
NO MEETING OF THE MINDS.
Under the agreement and the National Economic Development Authority
II Joint Venture Guidelines (NEDA JV Guidelines), the BCDA is duty-bound to
proceed with and complete the competitive challenge after the detailed
THE GOVERNMENT RESERVATION TO CANCEL THE COMPETITIVE negotiations proved successful. Thus, the Court found that BCDA gravely
CHALLENGE IS A POLICY DECISION AND REMAINS ELECTIVE IN THE ENTIRE abused its discretion for having acted arbitrarily and contrary to its
PROCEEDINGS AND BINDING TO ALL PRIVATE SECTOR ENTITIES contractual commitment to SMLI, to the damage and prejudice of the latter,
INCLUDING SMLI. when it cancelled the competitive challenge prior to its completion.13

Respondent-movants' reliance on the Terms of Reference (TOR) provision on


III
Qualifications and Waivers14to cancel the Swiss Challenge is misplaced for
the provision, as couched, focuses only on the eligibility requirements for
THE DECISION TO TERMINATE THE COMPETITIVE CHALLENGE IS A POLICY
Private Sector Entities (PSEs) who wish to challenge SMLI's proposal, and
AND ECONOMIC DECISION. MANDAMUS WILL THEREFORE NOT LIE.
not to the Swiss Challenge in its entirety.15 To rule otherwise - that the TOR
allows the BCDA to cancel the competitive challenge at any time - would
IV contravene the NEDA JV Guidelines, which has the force and effect of law.16
ESTOPPEL CANNOT OPERATE TO PREJUDICE THE GOVERNMENT. Respondent-movants cannot also find solace in the dictum that the State is
never be barred by estoppel by the perceived mistakes or errors of its
V officials or agents.17 As jurisprudence elucidates, the doctrine is subject to
exceptions, viz:
THE PERCEIVED GOVERNMENT LOSSES IS NOT IMAGINED BUT REAL.
Estoppels against the public are little favored. They should not be invoked
Based on the records, the second motion for reconsideration is a mere except in a rare and unusual circumstances, and may not be invoked where
rehash, if not a reiteration, of respondent-movants' previous arguments and they would operate to defeat the effective operation of a policy adopted to
submissions, which have amply been addressed by the Court in its August protect the public. They must be applied with circumspection and should be
13, 2014 Decision, and effectively affirmed at length in its March 18, 2015 applied only in those special cases where the interests of justice clearly
Resolution.9 require it. Nevertheless, the government must not be allowed to deal
dishonorably or capriciously with its citizens, and must not play an ignoble
To recapitulate, there exists between SMLI and BCDA a perfected part or do a shabby thing; and subject to limitations x x x, the doctrine of
agreement, embodied in the Certification of Successful Negotiations, upon equitable estoppel may be invoked against public authorities as well as
which certain rights and obligations spring forth, including the against private individuals.18
commencement of activities for the solicitation for comparative
proposals.10 As evinced in the Certification of Successful Negotiation: Here, despite BCDA's repeated assurances that it would respect SMLFs rights
as an original proponent, and after putting the latter to considerable trouble
NOW, THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the foregoing, BCDA and and expense, BCDA went back on its word and instead ultimately cancelled
SMLI have, after successful negotiations pursuant to Stage II of Annex its agreement with SMLI.19 BCDA's capriciousness became all the more
C x x x. reached an agreement on the purpose, terms and conditions on the evident in its conflicting statements as regards whether or not SMLI's
JV development of the subject property, which shall become the terms for proposal would be advantageous to the government.20 The alleged
the Competitive Challenge pursuant to Annex C of the Guidelines, x x x.11 dubiousness of the proceeding that led to the perfection of the agreement
93
cannot also be invoked as a ground to cancel the contract for to rule that fundamental principle in our justice system, without which there would be no
irregularities marred the actions of BCDA's former board and officers, as end to litigations. Utmost respect and adherence to this principle must
respondent-movant would have us to believe, would be tantamount to always be maintained by those who exercise the power of adjudication. Any
prematurely exposing them, who are non-parties to this case, to potential act, which violates such principle, must immediately be struck down. Indeed,
administrative liability without due process of law.21 the principle of conclusiveness of prior adjudications is not confined in its
operation to the judgments of what are ordinarily known as courts, but
Respondent-movants would then asseverate that to proceed with the extends to all bodies upon which judicial powers had been conferred.27
competitive challenge starting at the floor price of P38,500.00 per square
meter is patently unjust and grossly disadvantageous to the government The only exceptions to the rule on the immutability of final judgments are
since the property in issue is allegedly appraised at P78,000.00 per square (1) the correction of clerical errors, (2) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries
meter.22However, this alleged adverse economic impact on the government, which cause no prejudice to any party, and (3) void
in finding for SMLI, remains speculative. To clarify, Our ruling did not award judgments.28 Respondent-movants, therefore, question the validity of the
the project in petitioner's favor but merely ordered that SMLI's proposal be Court's Third Division's rulings and postulate that a deliberation of the case
subjected to a competitive challenge. And lest it be misunderstood, the by the Court en banc is warranted under Sec. 4(2), Article VIII, of the 1987
perceived low floor price for the project, based on SMLI's proposal, remains Constitution, which reads:
just that - a floor price. Without first subjecting SMLI's proposal to a
competitive challenge, no bid can yet be obtained from private sector SECTION 4. x x x x
entities and, corollarily, no determination can be made at present as to
whether or not the final bid price for the project is indeed below the (2) All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or
property's fair market value.23 executive agreement, or law, which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en
banc, and all other cases which under the Rules of Court are required to be
Overall, the foregoing goes to show that the BCDA failed to establish a heard en banc, including those involving the constitutionality,
justifiable reason for its refusal to proceed with the competitive application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders,
challenge.24 We are left to believe that the cancellation of the competitive instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the
challenge, in violation not only of the agreement between the parties but concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the
also of the NEDA JV Guidelines, was only due to BCDA's whims and caprices, deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon, (emphasis added)
and is correctible by the extraordinary writ of certiorari .
In support of their contention, respondent-movants cite the 1953 case
With the foregoing disquisitions, respondent-movants' second motion for of Ykalina v. Oricio, which held that a presidential order may either be in a
reconsideration, as its first, is totally bereft of merit. There exists no written memorandum or merely verbal.29 They then argue that the issuance
argument "in the higher interest of justice" that would convincingly compel of Supplemental Notice No. 5, effectively cancelling the Swiss Challenge of
this Court to even admit the prohibited pleading. It also then goes without petitioner's duly accepted suo moto proposal, was pursuant to a verbal
saying that this Division does not find cogent reason to elevate the matter to presidential order or instruction. And pursuant to the constitutional
the Court en banc. provision, the challenge against this presidential directive, so respondent-
movants insist, is within the jurisdiction of Court en banc, not with its
Furthermore, it is well to note that the Court's ruling in this case has already divisions.30
attained finality and an Entry of Judgment25 has correspondingly been
issued. The Court, therefore, no longer has jurisdiction to modify the We disagree.
Decision granting SMLI's petition for its finality and executoriness
consequently rendered it immutable and unalterable.26 As elucidated Respondent-movants' interpretation of the antiquated 1953 doctrine
in Mocorro, Jr. v. Ramirez: in Ykalina is highly distorted. In the said case, the Court, finding for
respondent Ananias Oricio (Oricio), sustained his appointment in spite of
This quality of immutability precludes the modification of a final judgment, having been merely verbally made. As held:
even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact
and law. And this postulate holds true whether the modification is made by While the appointment of an officer is usually evidenced by a Commission,
the court that rendered it or by the highest court in the land. The orderly as a general rule it is not essential to the validity of an appointment that a
administration of justice requires that, at the risk of occasional errors, the commission issue, and an appointment may be made by an oral
judgments/resolutions of a court must reach a point of finality set by the announcement of his determination by the appointing
law. The noble purpose is to write finis to dispute once and for all. This is a power.31 (emphasis added, citation omitted)
94
the resultant distribution of property in custodia legis. The Court has further
Based on the Court's reasoning, the presidential order that "may either be in expounded on this concept of legal interest and set the parameters for
a written memorandum or merely verbal " adverted to in Ykalina should granting intervention as follows:41
therefore be understood as limited specifically to those pertaining to
appointments. Current jurisprudence, however, no longer recognizes the xxx As regards the legal interest as qualifying factor, this Court has ruled
validity of oral appointments and, in fact, requires the transmission and that such interest must be of a direct and immediate character so that the
receipt of the necessary appointment papers for their completion.32 intervenor will either gain or lose by the direct legal operation of the
judgment. The interest must be actual and material, a concern which is
To further distinguish Ykalina with the extant case, it was observed in the more than mere curiosity, or academic or sentimental desire; it must not
former that Oricio's verbal appointment was established in evidence by a be indirect and contingent, indirect and remote, conjectural,
communication duly signed by the then Acting Executive Secretary "by order consequential or collateral. However, notwithstanding the presence of a
of the President."33 Applied in modern day scenarios, the limited application legal interest, permission to intervene is subject to the sound discretion of
of the Ykalina doctrine should only govern those that were similarly verbally the court, the exercise of which is limited by considering "whether or not the
given by the president but were, nevertheless, attested to by the Executive intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of
Secretary. This is in hew with Section 27 (10) of Book III, Title III, Chapter the original parties and whether or not the intervenor's rights may be fully
9-B of Executive Order No. 292 (EO 292),34 otherwise known as the protected in a separate proceeding, (emphasis added) ChanRob les Virtualawl i brary

Administrative Code of 1987, which empowers the Executive Secretary to


attest executive orders and other presidential issuances "by authority of the In the case at bar, the DND and AFP moved for intervention on the ground
President." These "executive orders and presidential issuances," in turn, that they are the beneficiaries of the proceeds from the project to be
relate to the enumeration under Book III, Title I, Chapter 2 of EO 292.35 undertaken by the BCDA. Obviously, this "right to the proceeds" is far from
actual as it veritably rests on the success of the bidding process, such that
Here, it is well to recall that the President did not issue any said executive there will be no proceeds that will accrue to their benefit to speak of if the
order or presidential issuance in intimating to the BCDA that he wishes for project does not push through. All the applicants have then, at best, is an
the competitive challenge to be cancelled. There was no document offered inchoate right to the proceeds of the development of the property in
that was signed by either the Chief Executive or the Executive Secretary, for litigation. Said inchoate right, contradistinguished with vested rights that
the President, to that effect. The situation, therefore, does not involve a have become fixed and established, are still expectant and contingent and,
presidential order or instruction within the contemplation of Sec. 4(2), thus, open to doubt or controversy.42 Consequently, the said right does not
Article VIII of the Constitution, and, consequently, does not fall within the constitute sufficient legal interest that would qualify the DND and AFP, in
jurisdiction of the Court en banc. Given the glaring differences in context, this case, to intervene. And in any event, regardless of the presence or
the doctrine in Ykalina cannot find application herein, and cannot operate to absence of sufficient legal interest, the Comment in Intervention43 filed does
divest the Court's division of its jurisdiction over the instant case. not contain any new issue that has not yet been resolved by the Court in its
Decision and Resolution. Hence, there is no cogent reason to grant the
Anent the joint motion for intervention36 filed by the DND and AFP, both motion for intervention and to admit DND and AFP's comment.
agencies claimed therein that they are the statutory beneficiaries of the
proceeds from the conversion, development, and disposal of the camps As a final note, the Rule of Law allows the citizenry to reasonably assume
transferred to BCDA, which include the subject property. These expected that future conduct will be in observance of government regulations, and to
proceeds that would redound to their benefit are to be applied in funding the conceivably expect that any deviation therefrom will not be
AFP Modernization Program as per Republic Act No. (RA) 7227,37 as countenanced.44 The Judiciary, therefore, undertakes to strengthen the Rule
amended by RA 10349.38 As such, so the applicants claim, they have legal of Law by embedding a sense of predictability in the jurisprudence it builds.
and financial interests and stakes in the outcome of the subject matter, and
should, therefore, be allowed to intervene. To allow the government to trample on the very rules it itself issued and to
renege on its contractual and legal obligations by invoking the all too
The argument does not hold merit. familiar mantra of public interest, at any time it pleases, will only result in
uncertainty in the application of laws, a trait inimical to the Rule of Law. The
Intervention is not a matter of absolute right but may be permitted by the Court, therefore, steps in to send a strong signal that the government will be
Court when the applicant shows facts which satisfy the requirements of the honorable in its dealings and that it can be trusted in the partnerships it
statute authorizing intervention."39 Under the Rules of Court,40 what qualifies forges with the private sector. In holding respondent-movants accountable
a person to intervene is his possession of a legal interest in the case - be it for the representations they made during the long drawn-out negotiation
in the subject matter of litigation itself, in the success of the parties, or in process and during the times the competitive challenge repeatedly
95
encountered roadblocks in the form of constant delays and postponements,
the Court endeavors to concretize into a norm the government's strict
adherence to its statutory enactments, and its fulfilment in good faith of the
commitments it made and of the covenants it entered into. By granting
SMLI's petition, We ruled that this is the conduct the public should
reasonably expect of the government. This is what strengthening the Rule of
Law exacts.

Nevertheless, We underscore Our finding that "the government is not


without protection for it is not precluded from availing of safeguards
and remedies it is entitled to after soliciting comparative proposals,
as provided under the TOR and the NEDA JV Guidelines".45 Indeed,
there are sufficient safeguards installed in the guidelines to ensure that the
government will not be in the losing end of the agreement; enough, in fact,
to avoid the dreaded "unwarranted, irreparable injury" that it will allegedly
sustain. If only respondent-movants devoted sufficient time in perusing and
reviewing the NEDA JV guidelines, they would have identified the remedies
BCDA, and ultimately the Philippine government, is entitled to that would
have dispelled any apprehension towards conducting the competitive
challenge, and any fear of the government ending up with a low price for the
lot.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Motion for Leave to file
Second Motion for Reconsideration and to Admit the Attached Second Motion
for Reconsideration (With Motion for the Court en banc to Take Cognizance
of this Case and/to Set the Case for Oral Argument Before the Court en
banc), filed by the respondent-movants Bases Conversion Development
Authority and Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, is hereby DENIED for lack of
merit. Likewise, the Motion for Leave to File Comment-in-Intervention and to
Admit Attached Comment-in-Intervention, jointly filed by the Department of
National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is
hereby DENIED.

No further pleadings, motions, letters, or other communications shall be


entertained in this case.

SO ORDERED. chanrobl

96
G.R. No. 161390 April 16, 2008 During the pendency of the aforesaid cases or on April 17, 1979,
petitioner registered his charging/retaining lien based on the
RAUL H. SESBREÑO, petitioner, Agreement.9
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, PROVINCE OF CEBU, GOV. The camineros obtained favorable judgment when the Court of First
EDUARDO R. GULLAS, THE PROVINCIAL TREASURER, THE Instance (now RTC) of Cebu ordered that they be reinstated to their
PROVINCIAL AUDITOR, THE PROVINCIAL ENGINEER original positions with back salaries, together with all privileges and
PATROCINIO BACAY (sued both in their official and personal salary adjustments or increases.10 Aggrieved, the Commissioner of
capacities), respondents. Public Highways and the District Engineer filed certiorari cases before
this Court where the petitioner willingly rendered further legal
DECISION assistance and represented the camineros.

NACHURA, J.: When respondent Eduardo R. Gullas (Gov. Gullas) assumed the
position of governor of Cebu, he proposed the compromise settlement
For review is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated July 23, of all mandamus cases then pending against the province which
2003 and its Resolution2 dated January 12, 2004 in CA-G.R. CV No. included Civil Cases Nos. R-10933 and R-11214 handled by the
43287. The assailed decision reversed the decision3 of the Regional petitioner.
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 6, Cebu City in Civil Case R-19022 insofar
as the RTC held the Province of Cebu liable for damages to petitioner On April 21, 1979, the camineros, represented by the petitioner, and
Raul H. Sesbreño. The assailed resolution denied petitioner’s motion the province of Cebu, through then Gov. Gullas, forged a Compromise
for reconsideration. Agreement,11 with the following terms and conditions:

On January 26, 1970, Mrs. Rosario Sen and other camineros4 hired the 1. The respondent Province of Cebu represented in this act by
petitioner to prosecute Civil Cases Nos. R-109335 and R- Gov. Eduardo R. Gullas, duly authorized by proper resolution
11214,6 evidenced by an Agreement,7 the terms of which read as of the Sanguniang Panlalawigan, hereby agrees to immediately
follows: appropriate and pay full backwages and salaries as awarded
by the trial court in its decision to all the private respondents-
AGREEMENT employees from and after July 1, 1968, the date of their
termination, up to the date of the approval of the herein
Compromise Agreement by the Honorable Supreme Court,
WE, the undersigned, hereby agree to pay Atty. Raul H.
except for those who are qualified for compulsory retirement
Sesbreño, thirty (30%) percent of whatever back salaries,
whose back salaries and wages shall be limited up to the
damages, etc. that we may recover in the mandamus and other
effective date of their retirement.
cases that we are filing or have filed against the Province of
Cebu, the Provincial Governor, etc., whether or not the said
cases will be amicably settled or decided by the courts by final xxxx
judgment. We shall take care of all expenses in connection with
the said cases.8 9. That the amounts payable to the employees concerned
represented by Atty. Raul H. Sesbreño is subject to said
lawyer’s charging and retaining liens as registered in the trial
court and in the Honorable Court of Appeals.

97
xxxx approved by the Court by computing the camineros’ money claims
based on the provincial instead of the national wage rate which,
11. That upon request of the employees concerned, most of consequently, yielded a lower amount.21 Petitioner went on to say that
whom are in dire actual financial straits, the Province of Cebu although he was not a party to the above contracts, by virtue of the
is agreeable to paying an advance of P5,000.00 to each registration of his charging lien, he was a quasi-party and thus, had
employee payable through their counsel, Atty. Raul H. legal standing to institute the case below.22
Sesbreño, deductible from the total amount that each will
receive from the Province of Cebu, effective upon confirmation On August 23, 1982, petitioner moved to dismiss the case against
by the Honorable Solicitor General, the Supreme Court and the the camineros after he had entered into an agreement with them and
Philippine National Bank where the JJ (now infrastructure settled their differences.23 The case, however, proceeded against the
funds) are now in deposit under trust.12 respondents.

Apparently, the camineros waived their right to reinstatement On October 18, 1992, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of the
embodied in the CFI decision and the province agreed that it petitioner and against the respondent province of Cebu, the pertinent
immediately pay them their back salaries and other claims. This Court portion of which reads:
adopted said compromise agreement in our decision13 dated December
18, 1979.14 Wherefore, for all the foregoing, judgment is rendered, ordering
the defendant Province of Cebu to pay the plaintiff the following
In view of the finality of the above decision, the camineros, through sums:
their new counsel (who substituted for the petitioner), moved for its
execution. The court then ordered the issuance of a partial writ of (a) P669,336.51 in actual damages; with interest of 12% per
execution directing the payment of only 45% of the amount due them annum from date of demand until fully paid;
based on the computation of the provincial engineering office as
audited by the authority concerned.15 The court did not release the (b) P20,000.00 in moral damages;
remaining 55%, thus holding in abeyance the payment of the lawyer’s
fees pending the determination of the final amount of such
(c) P5,000.00 in litigation expenses; and
fees.16 However, instead of complying with the court order directing
partial payment, the province of Cebu directly paid the camineros the
full amount of their adjudicated claims.17 (d) To pay the costs.24

Thus, petitioner filed the complaint for Damages (Thru Breach of While maintaining the validity of the compromise agreement, the trial
Contract) and Attorney’s Fees against the Province of Cebu, the court found that the petitioner’s money claims should have been
provincial governor, treasurer, auditor, and engineer in their official and computed based on the national and not the provincial rate of wages
personal capacities, as well as against his former clients paid the camineros. Accordingly, the court declared that the petitioner
(the camineros).18 was prejudiced to the extent of the difference between these two rates.
The court further upheld the petitioner’s status as a quasi-party
considering that he had a registered charging lien. However, it did not
Petitioner anchored his claim on the provision of the Civil Code,
give credence to the petitioner’s claim that the respondent public
specifically Article 1919 thereof. He alleged that by directly paying
officials induced the camineros to violate their contract, and thus,
the camineros the amounts due them, the respondents induced
absolved them from liability.
the camineros to violate their written contract for attorney’s fees.20 He
likewise claimed that they violated the compromise agreement
98
On appeal, the CA reversed the trial court’s decision and dismissed the The petition is bereft of merit.
complaint.25 The appellate court concluded that petitioner failed to
sufficiently establish his allegation that the respondents induced Petitioner insists that the CA should have affirmed the trial court’s
the camineros to violate the agreement for attorney’s fees and the decision in view of the delay in resolving the case, and should have
compromise agreement, and that he suffered damage due to denied the appeal because of the formal defects in the appellant’s
respondents’ act of directly paying the camineros the amounts due brief.28 Petitioner cites the cases of Malacora v. Court of
them.26 Appeals29 and Flora v. Pajarillaga30 where this Court held that an
appealed case which had been pending beyond the time fixed by the
Hence, the instant petition. In his Memorandum, petitioner raises the Constitution should be "deemed affirmed."
following issues:
We cannot apply the cited cases to the one at bench because they
1. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT were decided on the basis of Section 11 (2), Article X of the 1973
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT DECISION DUE TO LONG Constitution, which reads:
DELAY IN DECIDING CA-G.R. CV NO. 43287.
SEC. 11. x x x
2. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
DISMISSING THE APPEAL IN CA-G.R. CV NO. 43287 FOR (2) With respect to the Supreme Court and other collegiate
FAILURE TO PROSECUTE AND DUE TO THE FATALLY- appellate courts, when the applicable maximum period shall
DEFECTIVE APPELLANT’S BRIEF. have lapsed without the rendition of the corresponding decision
or resolution because the necessary vote cannot be had, the
3. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN judgment, order, or resolution appealed from shall be deemed
REVERSING THE TRIAL COURT DECISION BY DECLARING affirmed x x x.
THAT THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD NOT FIX THE
ATTORNEY’S FEES OF PETITIONER DESPITE THE FACT That provision is not found in the present Constitution. The court, under
THAT THE TRIAL COURT DECISION IS CLEAR THAT WHAT the 1987 Constitution, is now mandated to decide or resolve the case
WAS ADJUDGED WAS THE DECLARATION THAT THERE or matter submitted to it for determination within specified
WAS BREACH OF THE COMPROMISE CONTRACT AND periods.31 Even when there is delay and no decision or resolution is
DAMAGES ARE TO BE AWARDED THE PETITIONER. made within the prescribed period, there is no automatic affirmance of
the appealed decision. The appellate court, therefore, cannot be
4. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT faulted in not affirming the RTC’s decision. While we do not tolerate
DECLARING RESPONDENTS GULLAS, RESENTES, delay in the disposition of cases, we cannot dismiss appealed cases
SANCHEZ AND BACAY AS PERSONALLY LIABLE AND solely because they had been pending in court for a long period,
THAT THEIR PERSONAL LIABILITY IS SOLIDARY WITH especially when the appeal is highly meritorious as in the present
THAT OF RESPONDENT PROVINCE OF CEBU. case.

5. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT Likewise, we cannot agree with the petitioner that the appealed case
DECLARING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS ARE be dismissed on account of the formal defects in respondent’s
SOLIDARILY LIABLE TO PAY TO PETITIONER ACTUAL OR appellant’s brief filed before the CA. The requirements laid down by the
COMPENSATORY, MORAL, EXEMPLARY, NOMINAL, Rules of Court on the contents of the brief are intended to aid the
TEMPERATE DAMAGES, LITIGATION EXPENSES AND appellate court in arriving at a just and proper conclusion of the
LOSS OF EARNINGS AND INTERESTS.27 case.32However, despite its deficiencies, respondent’s appellant’s brief
99
is sufficient in form and substance as to apprise the appellate court of was specifically provided for in their contract nor was a specified rate
the essential facts and nature of the case, as well as the issues raised agreed upon on how the money claims were to be computed. The use
and the laws necessary for the disposition of the same.33 Thus, we of the word "whatever" shows that the basis for the computation would
sustain the CA’s decision to rule on the merits of the appeal instead of be the amount that the court would award in favor of the camineros.
dismissing it on mere technicality. Considering that the parties agreed to a compromise, the payment
would have to be based on the amount agreed upon by them in the
Now, on the main issue of whether or not respondents are liable for compromise agreement approved by the court. And since the
damages for breach of contract. compromise agreement had assumed finality, this Court can no longer
delve into its substance, especially at this time when the judgment had
Petitioner clarifies that he instituted the instant case for breach of the already been fully satisfied. We cannot allow the petitioner to question
compromise agreement and not for violation of the agreement for anew the compromise agreement on the pretext that he suffered
attorney’s fees as mistakenly concluded by the appellate court. He also damage. As long as he was given the agreed percentage of the
cites Calalang v. De Borja34 in support of his right to collect the amount received by the camineros, then, the agreement is deemed
amounts due him against the judgment debtor (the complied with, and petitioner cannot claim to have suffered damage.
respondents).35Lastly, petitioner argues that the respondent public
officials acted beyond the scope of their authority when they directly Petitioner likewise claims that he was prejudiced by respondents’ act in
paid the camineros their money claims and failed to withhold the directly paying the camineros the amounts due them, as it rendered
petitioner’s fees. There is, according to the petitioner, a showing of bad inutile the charging lien duly registered for his protection.
faith on the part of the province and the public officials concerned.
To insure payment of his professional fees and reimbursement of his
After a careful scrutiny of the record of the case, we find no compelling lawful disbursements in keeping with his dignity as an officer of the
reason to disturb the appellate court’s conclusion. We would like to court, the law creates in favor of a lawyer a lien, not only upon the
stress at this point that the compromise agreement had been validly funds, documents and papers of his client which have lawfully come
entered into by the respondents and the camineros and the same into his possession until what is due him has been paid, but also a lien
became the basis of the judgment rendered by this Court. Its validity, upon all judgments for the payment of money and executions issued
therefore, had been laid to rest as early as 1979 when the Court pursuant to such judgments rendered in the case wherein his services
promulgated its decision in Commissioner of Public Highways v. have been retained by the client.37 Section 37, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Burgos.36 In fact, the judgment had already been fully satisfied by the Court specifically provides:
respondents. It was precisely this full satisfaction of judgment that gave
rise to the instant controversy, based primarily on the petitioner’s claim Section 37. Attorney’s liens. – An attorney shall have a lien
that he was prejudiced because of the following: 1) the wrong upon the funds, documents and papers of his client, which
computation in the camineros’ money claims by using the provincial have lawfully come into his possession and may retain the
and not the national wage rate; and 2) the mode of satisfying the same until his lawful fees and disbursements have been paid,
judgment through direct payment which impaired his registered and may apply such funds to the satisfaction thereof. He shall
charging lien. also have a lien to the same extent upon all judgments for the
payment of money, and executions issued in pursuance of
Petitioner’s claim for attorney’s fees was evidenced by an agreement such judgments, which he has secured in a litigation of his
for attorney’s fees voluntarily executed by the camineros where the client, from and after the time when he shall have caused a
latter agreed to pay the former "thirty (30%) percent of whatever back statement of his claim of such lien to be entered upon the
salaries, damages, etc. that they might recover in the mandamus and records of the court rendering such judgment, or issuing such
other cases that they were filing or have filed." Clearly, no fixed amount execution, and shall have caused written notice thereof to be

100
delivered to his client and to the adverse party; and he shall While the respondents may have impaired the petitioner’s charging lien
have the same right and power over such judgments and by satisfying the judgment without regard for the lawyer’s right to
executions as his client would have to enforce his lien and attorney’s fees, we cannot apply the doctrine enunciated in Calalang v.
secure the payment of his just fees and disbursements. Judge de Borja,40because of the peculiar circumstances obtaining in
this case. In Calalang, this Court stressed that the judgment debtor
A charging lien is an equitable right to have the fees and costs due to may be held responsible for his failure to withhold the amount of
the lawyer for services in a suit secured to him out of the judgment or attorney’s fees in accordance with the duly registered charging
recovery in that particular suit. It is based on the natural equity that the lien.41 However, there is a disparity between the two cases, because, in
plaintiff should not be allowed to appropriate the whole of a judgment in this case, the petitioner had withdrawn his complaint against
his favor without paying thereout for the services of his attorney in the camineros with whom he had a contract for legal services. The
obtaining such judgment.38 withdrawal was premised on a settlement, which indicates that his
former clients already paid their obligations. This is bolstered by the
In this case, the existence of petitioner’s charging lien is undisputed certification of the clerk of court that his former clients had deposited
since it was properly registered in the records. The parties even their passbooks to ensure payment of the agreed fees. Having been
acknowledged its existence in their compromise agreement. However, paid by his clients in accordance with the agreement, his claim against
a problem arose when the respondents directly paid in full the respondents, therefore, has no leg to stand on.
the camineros’ money claims and did not withhold that portion which
corresponds to petitioner’s fees. Neither can the petitioner rely on Bacolod Murcia Milling Co., Inc. v.
Henares, etc.42 where this court declared that satisfaction of the
When the judgment debt was fully satisfied, petitioner could have judgment, in general, does not by itself bar or extinguish the attorney’s
enforced his lien either against his clients (the camineros herein) or liens, as the court may even vacate such satisfaction and enforce
against the judgment debtor (the respondents herein). The clients, judgment for the amount of the lien.43 However, the satisfaction of the
upon receiving satisfaction of their claims without paying their lawyer, judgment extinguishes the lien if there has been a waiver, as shown
should have held the proceeds in trust for him to the extent of the either by the attorney’s conduct or by his passive omission.44 In the
amount of his recorded lien, because after the charging lien had instant case, petitioner’s act in withdrawing the case against
attached, the attorney is, to the extent of said lien, regarded as an the camineros and agreeing to settle their dispute may be considered a
equitable assignee of the judgment or funds produced by his waiver of his right to the lien. No rule will allow a lawyer to collect from
efforts.39 The judgment debtors may likewise be held responsible for his client and then collect anew from the judgment debtor except,
their failure to withhold from the camineros the amount of attorney’s perhaps, on a claim for a bigger amount which, as earlier discussed, is
fees due the petitioner. baseless.

In the instant case, the petitioner rightly commenced an action against Lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not
both his clients and the judgment debtors. However, at the instance of merchants. Law advocacy is not capital that yields profits. The returns
the petitioner himself, the complaint against his clients was withdrawn it births are simple rewards for a job done or service rendered. It is a
on the ground that he had settled his differences with them. He calling that, unlike mercantile pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of
maintained the case against respondents because, according to him, freedom from governmental interference, is impressed with a public
the computation of the camineros’ money claims should have been interest, for which it is subject to state regulation.45
based on the national and not the provincial wage rate. Thus, petitioner
insists that the respondents should be made liable for the difference. Considering that petitioner’s claim of higher attorney’s fees is baseless
and considering further that he had settled his case as against his
former clients, we cannot sustain his right to damages for breach of

101
contract against the respondents, even on the basis of Articles
119146 or 1311.47 Although we sustain his status to institute the instant
case, we cannot render a favorable judgment because there was no
breach of contract. Even if there was such a breach, he had waived his
right to claim against the respondents by accepting payment and/or
absolving from liability those who were primarily liable to him. Thus, no
liability can be imputed to the province of Cebu or to the respondent
public officials, either in their personal or official capacities.

Lastly, we cannot ascribe bad faith to the respondents who directly


paid the camineros the amounts due them. The records do not show
that when they did so, they induced the camineros to violate their
contract with the petitioner; nor do the records show that they paid their
obligation in order to cause prejudice to the petitioner. The attendant
circumstances, in fact, show that the camineros acknowledged their
liability to the petitioner and they willingly fulfilled their obligation. It
would be contrary to human nature for the petitioner to have acceded
to the withdrawal of the case against them, without receiving the
agreed attorney’s fees.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED.


The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 23, 2003 and its
Resolution dated January 12, 2004 in CA-G.R. CV No. 43287
are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED

102
A. M. No. 00-8-05-SC November 28, 2001 "WHEREAS, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines has received
numerous complaints from its members about serious delays in
RE: PROBLEM OF DELAYS IN CASES BEFORE THE the decision of cases and in the resolution of motions and other
SANDIGANBAYAN pending incidents before the different divisions of the
Sandiganbayan;
RESOLUTION
"WHEREAS, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94
PARDO, J.: requires all Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts to
submit to the Supreme Court a bi-annual report indicating the
The Case
title of the case, its date of filing, the date of pre-trial in civil
cases and arraignment in criminal cases, the date of initial trial,
Submitted to the Court for consideration is a resolution of the Board of the date of last hearing and the date that the case is submitted
Governors, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereafter, the IBP) for decision, and to post, in a conspicuous place within its
recommending an inquiry into the causes of delays in the resolution of premises, a monthly list of cases submitted for decision;
incidents and motions and in the decision of cases pending before the
Sandiganbayan.
"WHEREAS, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94
has not been made applicable to the Sandiganbayan;
The Antecedents
"WHEREAS, considering that the Sandiganbayan is also a trial
On July 31, 2000, the IBP, through its National President, Arthur D. court, the requirements imposed upon trial courts by Supreme
Lim, transmitted to the Court a Resolution1addressing the problem of Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94 should also be
delays in cases pending before the Sandiganbayan (hereafter, the imposed upon the Sandiganbayan;
Resolution).2 We quote the Resolution in full:3
"NOW, THEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Board of
"WHEREAS, Section 16, Article III of the Constitution Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines hereby
guarantees that, "[a]ll persons shall have the right to a speedy resolves as follows:
disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or
administrative bodies,"
"1. To recommend to the Supreme Court that Supreme Court
Administrative Circular No. 10-94 be made applicable to the
"WHEREAS, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Sandiganbayan in regard cases over which the Sandiganbayan
Responsibility for Lawyers mandates that "[a] lawyer shall exert has original jurisdiction; and
every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and
efficient administration of justice;"
"2. To recommend to the Supreme Court an inquiry into the
causes of delay in the resolution of incidents and motions and
"WHEREAS, it is the duty of the Integrated Bar of the in the decision of cases before the Sandiganbayan for the
Philippines to undertake measures to assist in the speedy purpose of enacting measures intended at avoiding such
disposition of cases pending before the various courts and delays.
tribunals;
"Done in Los Baños, Laguna, this 29th day of July, 2000."

103
On August 8, 2000, the Court required Sandiganbayan Presiding not include pending motions, and it is a fact that motions not resolved
Justice Francis E. Garchitorena to comment on the letter of the IBP over a long period of time would suspend and delay the disposition of a
and to submit a list of all Sandiganbayan cases pending decision, or case. Third, since the Sandiganbayan is a trial court, it is required to
with motion for reconsideration pending resolution, indicating the dates submit the same reports required of Regional Trial Courts. Fourth, the
they were deemed submitted for decision or resolution.4 Constitution10states that, "all lower collegiate courts" must decide or
resolve cases or matters before it within twelve (12) months "from date
On September 27, 2000, complying with the order, Presiding Justice of submission"; however, the Sandiganbayan, as a trial court, is
Francis E. Garchitorena submitted a report5(hereafter, the compliance) required to resolve and decide cases within a reduced period of three
admitting a number of cases submitted for decision and motion for (3) months like regional trial courts, or at the most, six (6) months from
reconsideration pending resolution before its divisions. We quote: date of submission.11

"Cases Submitted W/ Motions For On November 21, 2000, the Court resolved to direct then Court
"For Decision Reconsideration Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo (hereafter, the OCA) "to conduct a
judicial audit of the Sandiganbayan, especially on the cases subject of
"1st Division 341 None this administrative matter, and to submit a report thereon not later than
"2nd Division 5 None 31 December 2000."12

"3rd Division 12 None On December 4, 2000, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice,
"4th Division 5 None Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena admitted that the First
Division of the Sandiganbayan13 has a backlog of cases; that one
"5th Division 52 1 case14 alone made the backlog of the First Division so large, involving
"Total 415"6 156 cases but the same has been set for promulgation of decision on
December 8, 2000, which would reduce the backlog by at least fifty
percent (50%).15
Thus, the Sandiganbayan has a total of four hundred fifteen (415)
cases for decision remaining undecided long beyond the reglementary
On January 26, 2001, the Court Administrator submitted a
period to decide, with one case submitted as early as May 24,
memorandum to the Court16 stating that the causes of delay in the
1990,7 and motion for reconsideration which has remained unresolved
disposition of cases before the Sandiganbayan are:17
over thirty days from submission.8
(1) Failure of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to submit
On October 20, 2000, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis E.
reinvestigation report despite the lapse of several years;
Garchitorena submitted a "schedule of cases submitted for decision,
the schedule indicating the number of detained prisoners, of which
there are (were) none."9 (2) Filing of numerous incidents such as Motion to Dismiss,
Motion to Quash, Demurrer to Evidence, etc. that remain
unresolved for years;
On October 26, 2000, the IBP submitted its reply to the compliance
stating: First, that it was not in a position to comment on the accuracy
of the compliance; nonetheless, it showed that there was much to be (3) Suspension of proceedings because of a pending petition
desired with regard to the expeditious disposition of cases, particularly for certiorari and prohibition with the Supreme Court;
in the Sandiganbayan's First Division, where cases submitted for
decision since 1990 remained unresolved. Second, the compliance did (4) Cases remain unacted upon or have no further settings
despite the lapse of considerable length of time; and
104
(5) Unloading of cases already submitted for decision even if Article VIII, Section 15 (1) and (2), of the 1987 Constitution provides:
the ponente is still in service.
"Sec. 15. (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this
We consider ex mero motu the Resolution of the Integrated Bar of the Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four
Philippines (IBP) as an administrative complaint against Presiding months from date of submission to the Supreme Court, and,
Justice Francis E. Garchitorena for "serious delays in the decision of unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all
cases and in the resolution of motions and other pending incidents lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower
before the different divisions of the Sandiganbayan," amounting to courts.
incompetence, inefficiency, gross neglect of duty and misconduct in
office. "(2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or
resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief or
We find no need to conduct a formal investigation of the charges in memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court
view of the admission of Justice Francis E. Garchitorena in his itself."22
compliance of October 20, 2000, that there are indeed hundreds of
cases pending decision beyond the reglementary period of ninety (90) The above provision does not apply to the Sandiganbayan. The
days from their submission. In one case, he not only admitted the delay provision refers to regular courts of lower collegiate level that in the
in deciding the case but took sole responsibility for such inaction for present hierarchy applies only to the Court of Appeals.23
more than ten (10) years that constrained this Court to grant
mandamus to dismiss the case against an accused to give substance The Sandiganbayan is a special court of the same level as the Court of
and meaning to his constitutional right to speedy trial.18 Appeals and possessing all the inherent powers of a court of
justice,24 with functions of a trial court.25
The Issues
Thus, the Sandiganbayan is not a regular court but a special one.26 The
The issues presented are the following: (1) What is the reglementary Sandiganbayan was originally empowered to promulgate its own rules
period within which the Sandiganbayan must decide/resolve cases of procedure.27 However, on March 30, 1995, Congress repealed the
falling within its jurisdiction? (2) Are there cases submitted for decision Sandiganbayan's power to promulgate its own rules of procedure28 and
remaining undecided by the Sandiganbayan or any of its divisions instead prescribed that the Rules of Court promulgated by the
beyond the afore-stated reglementary period? (3) Is Supreme Court Supreme Court shall apply to all cases and proceedings filed with the
Administrative Circular No. 1094 applicable to the Sandiganbayan?19 Sandiganbayan.29

The Court's Ruling "Special courts are judicial tribunals exercising limited jurisdiction over
particular or specialized categories of actions. They are the Court of
We resolve the issues presented in seriatim. Tax Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, and the Shari'a Courts."30

1. Period To Decide/Resolve Cases.-- There are two views. The first Under Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the Constitution "Rules of procedure
view is that from the time a case is submitted for decision or resolution, of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless
the Sandiganbayan has twelve (12) months to decide or resolve disapproved by the Supreme Court."
it.20 The second view is that as a court with trial function, the
Sandiganbayan has three (3) months to decide the case from the date In his report, the Court Administrator would distinguish between cases
of submission for decision.21 which the Sandiganbayan has cognizance of in its original

105
jurisdiction,31 and cases which fall within the appellate jurisdiction of the DARAB "should have set the example of observance of orderly
Sandiganbayan.32 The Court Administrator posits that since in the first procedure." Otherwise, it would render its own Revised Rules of
class of cases, the Sandiganbayan acts more as a trial court, then for Procedure uncertain and whose permanence would be dependent
that classification of cases, the three (3) month reglementary period upon the instability of its own whims and caprices.
applies. For the second class of cases, the Sandiganbayan has the
twelve-month reglementary period for collegiate courts.33 We do not Similarly, in Cabagnot v. Comelec,42 this Court held that the
agree. Commission on Elections ought to be the first one to observe its own
Rules. Its departure from its own rules constitutes "arrogance of power"
The law creating the Sandiganbayan, P.D. No. 160634 is clear on this tantamount to abuse. Such inconsistency denigrates public trust in its
issue.35 It provides: objectivity and dependability. The Court reminded the Comelec to be
more judicious in its actions and decisions and avoid imprudent volte-
"Sec. 6. Maximum period for termination of cases – As far as face moves that undermine the public's faith and confidence in it.
practicable, the trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan once
commenced shall be continuous until terminated and the The ratio decidendi in the afore-cited cases applies mutatis mutandis to
judgment shall be rendered within three (3) months from the the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan ought to be the first to
date the case was submitted for decision." observe its own rules. It cannot suspend its rules, or except a case
from its operation.
On September 18, 1984, the Sandiganbayan promulgated its own
rules,36 thus:37 2. Undecided Cases Beyond the Reglementary Period.-- We find that
the Sandiganbayan has several cases undecided beyond the
"Sec. 3 Maximum Period to Decide Cases – The judgment or reglementary period set by the statutes and its own rules, some as
final order of a division of the Sandiganbayan shall be long as more than ten (10) years ago.
rendered within three (3) months from the date the case was
submitted for decision (italics ours)." According to the compliance submitted by the Sandiganbayan, three
hundred and forty one (341) cases were submitted for decision but
Given the clarity of the rule that does not distinguish, we hold that the were undecided as of September 15, 2000. A number of the cases
three (3) month period, not the twelve (12) month period, to decide were submitted for decision as far back as more than ten (10) years
cases applies to the Sandiganbayan. Furthermore, the Sandiganbayan ago. As of September 15, 2000, the following cases43 had not been
presently sitting in five (5) divisions,38 functions as a trial court. The decided:44
term "trial" is used in its broad sense, meaning, it allows introduction of
evidence by the parties in the cases before it.39 The Sandiganbayan, in First Division
original cases within its jurisdiction, conducts trials, has the discretion
to weigh the evidence of the parties, admit the evidence it regards as Date Submitted
Case Title Case No.
credible and reject that which they consider perjurious or fabricated.40 for Decision
(1) People v. Pañares 12127 May 24, 1990
Compliance with its Own Rules
(2) People v. Gabriel Duero 11999 December 11,
1990
In Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) v.
Court of Appeals,41 the Court faulted the DARAB for violating its own (3) People v. Rhiza 133533 December 14,
rules of procedure. We reasoned that the DARAB does not have Monterozo 1990
unfettered discretion to suspend its own rules. We stated that the
106
(4) People v. Zenon R. 13353 January 7, 1991 Parale, et al.
Perez
(22) People v. Robert P. 14375 June 21, 1993
(5) People v. Bernardo B. 12305- February 7, 1991 Wa-acon
Dayao, Jr. 12306
(23) People v. Linda J. 13668 July 13, 1993
(6) People v. Melquiades 13521 May 7, 1991 Necessito
Ribo
(24) People v. Simon Flores 16946 August 4, 1993
(7) People v. Carlos Benitez 12102 June 19, 1991
(25) People v. Alejandro F. 14986 August 31, 1993
(8) People v. Salvador P. 11156- August 9, 1991 Buccat
Nopre, et. al. 11160
(26) People v. Irma Collera 15301 March 9, 1994
(9) People v. Delfina A. 12289 August 28, 1991 Monge
Letegio
(27) People v. Melencio F. 9977 May 10, 1994
(10) People v. Rodolfo A. 13618 August 28, 1991 Ilajas
Lasquite
(28) People v. 13747- August 19, 1994
(11) People v. Potenciana 13679- September 3, Buenaventura Q. Sindac, et 13748
Evangelista 13680 1991 al.
(12) People v. Ramon N. 16516 December 2, (29) People v. Jesus A. 17514 August 24, 1994
Guico, Jr. et. al 1991 Bravo
(13) People v. Ruperto N. 16239 January 10, 1992 (30) People v. Raul S. Tello 15006 November 15,
Solares 1994
(14) People v. Socorro Alto 13708 March 9, 1992 (31) People v. Celso N. 14975 January 10, 1995
Jacinto
(15) People v. Tomas 130151 March 11, 1992
Baguio (32) People v. Mayor 17670 January 24, 1995
Antonio Abad Santos, et al.
(16) People v. Felipa D. de 13672 April 13, 1992
Veyra (33) People v. Lamberto R. 20588 February 14,
Te 1995
(17) People v. Felicidad 12139 July 23, 1992
Tabang (34) People v. Ale 21020 July 18, 1995
Francisco
(18) People v. Jose S. 14227 September 9,
Buguiña 1992 (35) People v. Dir. Felix R. 13563 July 25, 1995
Gonzales, et al.
(19) People v. Eleno T. 13689- January 6, 1993
Regidor, et al. 13695 (36) People v. Mayor 14324 January 3, 1996
Adelina Gabatan, et al.
(20) People v. Serafin 14411 February 2, 1993
Unilongo (37) People v. Victoria 17202 January 4, 1996
Posadas-Adona
(21) People v. Manuel 15168 June 21, 1993
107
(38) People v. Roberto 16854 January 22, 1996 Miguel, et al.
Estanislao Chang, et al.
(55) People v. Rogelio A. 17601 April 7, 1998
(39) People v. Godofredo 16927- March 13, 1996 Aniversario
Yambao, et al. 16928
(56) People v. Corazon 9812-9967 May 8, 1998
(40) People v. Honesto G. 13171 April 26, 1996 Gammad Leaño
Encina
(57) People v. Teresita S. 17901 June 8, 1998
(41) People v. Pablito 13971 May 10, 1996 Lazaro
Rodriguez
(58) People v. Brig. Gen. 20688 October 19, 1998
(42) People v. Leandro A. 17759 June 28, 1996 Raymundo Jarque, et al.
Suller
(59) People v. Pros. Filotea 23509 October 19, 1998
(43) People v. Trinidad M. 16695 August 26, 1996 Estorninos
Valdez
(60) People v. Orlando 19534- October 20, 1998
(44) People v. Vivencio B. 19651 January 27, 1997 Mina 19545
Patagoc
(61) People v. Vice Gov. 23042 October 20, 1998
(45) People v. Engr. 14195 March 31, 1997 Milagros A. Balgos
Antonio B. Laguador
(62) People v. Ceferino 18857 November 17,
(46) People v. Paterno C. 16583- March 31, 1997 Paredes, Jr., et al. 1998
Belciña, Jr. 16585
(63) People v. Brig. Gen. 18696 January 15, 1999
(47) People v. SPO3 21608 March 31, 1997 Rayundo Jarque, et al.
Serafin V. Reyes
(64) People v. Mayor 23336 January 15, 1999
(48) People v. Mayor 22195- March 31, 1997 Agustin R. Escaño, Jr.
Samuel F. Bueser, et al. 22196
(65) People v. Mayor Edgar 23374 January 15, 1999
(49) People v. Romeo C. 14223 May 6, 1997 V. Teves, et al.
Monteclaro
(66) People v. C/Supt. 22832 January 29, 1999
(50) People v. Rodolfo E. 20948- October 17, 1997 Alfonso T. Clemente, et al.
Aguinaldo 20949
(67) People v. Dominica 19059- February 18,
(51) People v. Aniceto M. 23324 October 27, 1997 Santos 19063 1999
Sobrepeña
(68) People v. Edith G. Tico 23273 April 20, 1999
(52) People v. Marietta T. 17001 November 26,
(69) People v. Sec. Hilarion 23511 August 6, 1999
Caugma, et al. 1997
J. Ramiro, et al.
(53) People v. Mayor 19708 February 23,
(70) People v. Timoteo A. 24042- August 6, 1999
Meliton Geronimo, et al. 1998
Garcia, et al. 24098
(54) People v. Fernando 17600 April 7, 1998
(71) People v. Mayor Jeceju 24402 August 6, 1999
108
L. Manaay (2) People v. Benjamin 22858 August 11, 2000
T. Damian
(72) People v. Dir. 24355 August 18, 1999
Rosalinda Majarais, et al. (3)People v. Lino L. 22398 July 18, 2000
Labis, et al.
(73) People v. Victor S. 24281 August 13, 1999
Limlingan (4)People v. Alfredo 24407- August 11, 2000
Sarmiento, et al. 24408
(74) People v. Nestor S. 24631 August 31, 1999
Castillo, et al. Third Division**
(75) People v. Apolinar 22145 September 6, Case Date Submitted for
Case Title
Candelaria 1999 No. Decision
(76) People v. Bernardo 19773- October 11, 1999 (1) People v. Sergia A/R # November 16, 1999
Billote Resoso 19779 Zoleta 016
(77) People v. Atty. Alfredo 24433- October 11, 1999 (2) People v. Manuel A/R # December 9, 1999
Fordan Rellora, et al. 24434 Solon Y Tenchaves 029
(78) People v. Faustino 98 December 22, (3) People v. Eliseo L. 13861- April 6, 2000
Balacuit 1999 Ruiz 13863
(79) People v. Mayor 23418- January 6, 2000 (4) People v. Manuel 13889 September 30, 1999
Bernardino Alcaria, Jr., et 23423 R. Galvez, et al.
al.
(5) People v. Tolentino 16756 August 28, 1999
(80) People v. Joel R. 24319- January 6, 2000 Mendoza, et al.
Lachica, et al. 24329
(6) People v. Rodrigo 19563 April 6, 2000
(81) People v. Jose 24531- April 27, 2000 Villas
Micabalo, et al. 24534
(7) People v. Ernesto 19574 April 6, 2000
(82) People v. Mayor 23069 May 29, 2000 Vargas
Eduardo Alarilla
(8) People v. Ernesto, 20053 April 6, 2000
(83) People v. Pros. Nilo M. 23323 May 29, 2000 Vargas, et al.
Sarsaba, et al.
(9) People v. Marcelo 23522 July 6, 2000
(84) People v. Philip G. 24150 May 29, 2000 T. Abrenica, et al.
Zamora
(10) People v. 25657 May 5, 2000
Second Division* Florencio Garay, et al.
Case Date Submitted for Fourth Division***
Case Title
No. Decision
Case Date Submitted for
Case Title
(1) People v. Marcelino 18435 August 11, 2000 No. Decision
Cordova, et al.
(1) People v. Jaime 17664 August 31, 1999
109
Alos, et al. et al.
(2) People v. Antonio 23366 November 26, 1999 (12) People v. Ma. 18036 January 18, 1995
R. De Vera Lourdes L. Falcon
(3) People v. Aurora 24841- May 9, 2000 (13) People v. Luis D. 18684 July 24, 1998
Mantele 42 Montero, et al.
(4) People v. Olegario 25198 July 12, 2000 (14) People v. Roel 18699 December 22, 1995
Clarin, Jr., et al. D. Morales
Fifth Division**** (15) People v. 18759 October 18, 1995
Diosdado T. Gulle
Case Date Submitted for
Case Title
No. Decision (16) People v. 18785 August 31, 1995
Benjamin Sapitula, et
(1) People v. Nestor 13344 January 16, 1998
al.
A. Pablo
(17) People v. Danilo 18932 November 4, 1997
(2) People v. Hernand 14397 January 13, 1999
R. Santos, et al.
D. Dabalus, et al.
(18) People v. Pat. 19039 May 24, 1995
(3) People v. Eduardo 16672 March 23, 2000
Danilo Marañon
Pilapil
(19) People v. Romeo 19378- May 27, 1996
(4) People v. P/Sgt. 17030 April 16, 1998
Cabando, et al. 19379
Nazario Marifosque
(20) People v. SPO2 19593 July 6, 1998
(5) People v. Ignacio 17055 September 12, 1995
Rodolfo Burbos
B. Bueno
(21) People v. 19614 August 31, 1998
(6) People v. Corazon 17072 March 31, 1997
Guillermo M. Viray, et
G. Garlit
al.
(7) People v. Mayor 17538 November 14, 1995
(22) People v. Mayor 20427 November 5, 1999
Rufo Pabelonia, et al.
Bonifacio Balahay
(8) People v. Enrique 17617 March 13, 1996
(23) People v. 20487 December 17, 1998
B. Lenon, et al.
Enrique Sy, et al.
(9) People v. 17618- May 1, 1995
(24) People v. PO2 20648- March 31, 1998
Constancio Bonite, et 17619
Manuel L. Bien 20649
al.
(25) People v. Felipe 23066 September 28, 1999
(10) People v. Jesus 17884 January 9, 1996
L. Laodenio
Villanueva
(26) People v. Mayor 23427 January 16, 1998
(11) People v. 18008 March 9, 1998
Walfrido A. Siasico
Ricardo T. Liwanag,

110
The Sandiganbayan is a special court created "in an effort to maintain 5. 11160 8/9/91 103. 23420 10/15/99
honesty and efficiency in the bureaucracy, weed out misfits and
undesirables in the government and eventually stamp out graft and 6. 11999 12/10/90 104. 23421 10/15/99
corruption."45 We have held consistently that a delay of three (3) years 7. 12102 7/1/91 105. 23422 10/15/99
in deciding a single case is inexcusably long.46 We can not accept the
excuses of Presiding Justice Sandiganbayan Francis E. Garchitorena 8. 12127 2/12/90 106. 23423 10/15/99
that the court was reorganized in 1997; that the new justices had to 9. 12139 6/10/92 107. 23509 9/5/98
undergo an orientation and that the Sandiganbayan relocated to its
present premises which required the packing and crating of records; 10. 12289 8/28/91 108. 23511 4/23/99
and that some boxes were still unopened.47 11. 12305 2/7/91 109. 23540 10/15/99

We likewise find unacceptable Presiding Justice Garchitorena's excuse 12. 12306 2/7/91 110. 24042 4/28/99
that one case alone48 comprises more that fifty percent (50%) of the 13. 13015 3/2/92 111. 24043 4/28/99
First Division's backlog and that the same has been set for
promulgation on December 8, 2000.49 As we said, a delay in a single 14. 13171 11/16/95 112. 24044 4/28/99
case cannot be tolerated, "para muestra, basta un boton." (for an 15. 13353 10/6/90 113. 24045 4/28/99
example, one button suffices). It is admitted that there are several
16. 13521 12/12/99 114. 24046 4/28/99
other cases submitted for decision as far back as ten (10) years ago
that have remained undecided by the First Division, of which Justice 17. 13563 7/4/95 115. 24047 4/28/99
Garchitorena is presiding justice and chairman. Indeed, there is even
18. 13618 7/14/91 116. 24048 4/28/99
one case, which is a simple motion to withdraw the information filed by
the prosecutor. This has remained unresolved for more than seven (7) 19. 13668 6/13/93 117. 24049 4/28/99
years (since 1994).50 The compliance submitted by the Sandiganbayan
20. 13672 3/5/92 118. 24050 4/28/99
presiding justice incriminates him. The memorandum submitted by the
Court Administrator likewise testifies to the unacceptable situation in 21. 13679 8/6/91 119. 24051 4/28/99
the Sandiganbayan. Indeed, there is a disparity in the reports
22. 13680 8/6/91 120. 24052 4/28/99
submitted by the Sandiganbayan presiding justice and the OCA.
According to the Court Administrator, the cases submitted for decision 23. 13689 11/14/92 121. 24053 4/28/99
that were still pending promulgation51 before the five divisions of the
24. 13690 11/14/92 122. 24054 4/28/99
Sandiganbayan are:52
25. 13691 11/14/92 123. 24055 4/28/99
First Division 26. 13692 11/14/92 124. 24056 4/28/99
Case Date Case Date 27. 13693 11/14/92 125. 24057 4/28/99
Number Submitted Number Submitted
28. 13694 11/14/92 126. 24058 4/28/99
1. 11156 8/9/91 99. 23336 9/4/97
29. 13695 11/14/92 127. 24059 4/28/99
2. 11157 8/9/91 100. 23374 12/17/98
30. 13708 3/9/92 128. 24060 4/28/99
3. 11158 8/9/91 101. 23418 10/15/99
31. 13747 8/19/94 129. 24061 4/28/99
4. 11159 8/9/91 102. 23419 10/15/99
32. 13748 8/19/94 130. 24062 4/28/99

111
33. 13971 3/12/95 131. 24063 4/28/99 61. 17600 8/30/97 159. 24091 4/28/99
34. 14223 3/7/97 132. 24064 4/28/99 62. 17601 8/30/97 160. 24092 4/28/99
35. 14227 9/5/92 133. 24065 4/28/99 63. 17670 11/25/94 161. 24093 4/28/99
36. 14230 11/30/90 134. 24066 4/28/99 64. 17759 6/25/96 162. 24094 4/28/99
37. 14287 7/3/94 135. 24067 4/28/99 65. 17901 5/28/98 163. 24095 4/28/99
38. 14324 11/5/95 136. 24068 4/28/99 66. 18283 2/21/95 164. 24096 4/28/99
39. 14375 5/22/95 137. 24069 4/28/99 67. 18696 8/9/98 165. 24097 4/28/99
40. 14411 1/24/93 138. 24070 4/28/99 68. 18857 10/21/98 166. 24098 4/28/99
41. 14975 9/29/94 139. 24071 4/28/99 69. 19059 2/11/99 167. 24150 1/31/00
42. 14986 12/11/92 140. 24072 4/28/99 70. 19060 2/11/99 168. 24236 2/14/00
43. 15006 11/19/94 141. 24073 4/28/99 71. 19061 2/11/99 169. 24237 2/14/00
44. 15168 3/25/93 142. 24074 4/28/99 72. 19062 2/11/99 170. 24281 5/9/99
45. 15301 3/16/94 143. 24075 4/28/99 73. 19063 2/11/99 171. 24319 11/4/99
46. 16239 12/26/91 144. 24076 4/28/99 74. 19534 9/2/98 172. 24320 11/4/99
47. 16516 11/19/91 145. 24077 4/28/99 75. 19535 9/2/98 173. 24321 11/4/99
48. 16583 8/13/96 146. 24078 4/28/99 76. 19651 11/15/96 174. 24322 11/4/99
49. 16584 8/13/96 147. 24079 4/28/99 77. 19708 8/25/98 175. 24323 11/4/99
50. 16585 8/13/96 148. 24080 4/28/99 78. 19773 5/21/99 176. 24324 11/4/99
51. 16695 8/15/96 149. 24081 4/28/99 79. 19774 5/21/99 177. 24325 11/4/99
52. 16854 1/15/96 150. 24082 4/28/99 80. 19775 5/21/99 178. 24326 11/4/99
53. 16927 12/17/95 151. 24083 4/28/99 81. 19976 5/21/99 179. 24327 11/4/99
54. 16928 12/17/95 152. 24084 4/28/99 82. 19977 5/21/99 180. 24328 11/4/99
55. 16946 8/4/93 153. 24085 4/28/99 83. 19978 5/21/99 181. 24329 11/4/99
56. 17001 9/4/97 154. 24086 4/28/99 84. 19979 5/21/99 182. 24339 10/20/00
57. 17278 5/2/94 155. 24087 4/28/99 85. 20588 2/14/95 183. 24355 2/18/99
58. 17447 9/6/94 156. 24088 4/28/99 86. 20688 7/9/98 184. 24395 7/13/99
59. 17448 9/6/94 157. 24089 4/28/99 87. 20948 10/9/97 185. 24402 6/17/99
60. 17514 8/19/94 158. 24090 4/28/99 88. 20949 10/9/97 186. 24433 9/6/99

112
89. 21020 7/4/95 187. 24434 9/6/99 12. 184404 12/4/98
90. 22145 7/7/99 188. 24531 12/16/99 13. 184405 12/4/98
91. 22195 6/14/96 189. 24532 12/16/99 14. 184406 12/4/98
92. 22196 6/14/96 190. 24533 12/16/99 15. 184407 12/4/98
93. 22832 10/21/98 191. 24534 12/16/99 16. 184408 12/4/98
94. 23042 8/27/98 192. 24631 8/9/99 17. 184409 12/4/98
95. 23146 11/13/00 193. 24768 7/8/00 18. 184410 12/4/98
96. 23273 4/19/99 194. 6672 7/11/90 19. 184411 12/4/98
97. 23323 3/23/00 195. 9977 5/10/94 20. 184412 12/4/98
98. 23324 8/3/97 21. 184413 12/4/98
Civil Case 22. 184414 12/4/98
1. 0112 1/11/92 23. 184415 12/4/98
2. 0116 10/16/91 24. 184416 12/4/98
3. 0156 3/14/97 25. 184417 12/4/98
Second Division 26. 13827 8/30/00
Case No. Date Submitted 27. 13828 8/30/00
Criminal Case 28. 13829 8/30/00
1. 19542 4/16/99 29. 13830 8/30/00
2. 19004 9/10/96 30. 13831 8/30/00
3. 22934 10/14/00 31. 13832 8/30/00
4. 20483 8/28/96 32. 18965 11/30/00
5. 20484 8/28/96 33. 19848 3/28/96
6. 23529 10/23/00 34. 20765 8/30/96
7. 23530 10/23/00 35. 20816 3/11/98
8. 23338 12/2/99 36. 19692 8/27/00
9. 18786 11/28/00 37. 19693 8/27/00
10. 19686 07/2/97 38. 19694 8/27/00
11. 184403 12/4/98 39. 19695 8/27/00

113
40. 19696 8/27/00 1. SCA/005 12/18/00
41. 19697 8/27/00 2. A/R 016 8/5/99
42. 19698 8/27/00 3. A/R 029 10/2/00
43. 19699 8/27/00 4. 487 4/8/98
44. 19700 8/27/00 5. 488 4/8/98
45. 19701 8/27/00 6.489 4/8/98
46. 19702 8/27/00 7.490 4/8/98
47. 19703 8/27/00 8.491 4/8/98
48. 19704 8/27/00 9.11794 6/10/00
49. 19705 8/27/00 10.13861 4/6/00
50. 19706 8/27/00 11. 13862 4/6/00
51. 19707 8/27/00 12. 13863 4/6/00
52. 23262 10/11/00 13. 13889 3/25/99
53. AR#035 12/9/00 14. 16756 8/25/99
54. 24994 8/17/00 15. 17532 12/11/00
55. 21097 12/13/00 16. 18867 10/5/00
56. 20660 12/20/00 17. 18868 10/5/00
57. 23111 11/27/00 18. 18869 10/5/00
58. 24407 7/27/00 19. 18870 10/5/00
59. 24408 7/27/00 20. 18871 10/5/00
60. 18435 3/21/00 21. 18872 10/5/00
61. 22858 8/4/00 22. 19182 4/6/00
62. 22976 5/4/99 23. 19563 4/6/00
24. 19574 4/6/00
Civil Case
25. 19622 4/6/00
1. 0171 7/10/00
26. 19623 4/6/00
Third Division
27. 19624 4/6/00
Case Number Date Submitted
28. 20053 4/6/00

114
29. 20054 4/6/00 9. 16809 03/26/00
30. 20271 12/18/00 10. 17015 06/06/94
31. 22143 12/18/00 11. 17016 06/06/94
32. 23014 9/23/00 12. 17140 06/13/96
33. 23522 7/6/00 13. 17141 06/13/96
34. 23699 3/22/00 14. 17209 12/27/96
35. 23700 3/22/00 15. 17805 02/15/00
36. 23701 3/22/00 16. 17806 02/15/00
37. 23802 9/10/00 17. 17809 02/15/00
38. 23803 9/10/00 18. 17856 04/02/00
39. 24153 12/18/00 19. 18005 05/07/96
40. 24697 9/10/00 20. 18006 05/07/96
41. 24698 9/10/00 21. 18257 09/22/97
42. 24741 12/7/00 22. 18894 11/17/00
43. 24779 10/28/00 23. 18895 11/17/00
44. 24780 10/28/00 24. 18896 11/17/00
45. 24781 10/28/00 25. 18900 10/28/00
46. 25657 5/5/00 26. 18935 06/16/00
Fourth Division 27. 18936 06/16/00
Case No. Date Submitted 28. 18937 06/16/00
1. 11960 09/21/98 29. 19567 05/21/96
2. 17664 01/29/98 30. 20338 05/19/97
3. 13036 02/22/99 31. 20469 07/07/00
4. 13037 02/22/99 32. 20470 07/07/00
5. 13593 05/21/96 33. 20471 07/07/00
6. 13594 05/21/96 34. 20472 07/07/00
7. 13757 03/21/97 35. 20473 07/07/00
8. 14380 02/14/95 36. 20474 07/07/00

115
37. 20475 07/07/00 65. 24842 03/22/00
38. 20476 07/07/00 66. 24851 10/29/00
39. 20664 06/29/96 67. 25198 05/31/00
40. 20685 02/18/00 68. 25389 09/26/00
41. 20828 09/13/00 69. 25543 12/27/00
42. 21093 08/07/99 70. 25658 07/28/00
43. 21131 08/04/96 Fifth Division
44. 21778 09/29/97 Case Number Date Submitted
45. 21779 09/29/97 Criminal Cases
46. 21780 09/29/97 1. 14397 1/4/99
47. 22891 03/02/00 2. 16672 2/13/00
48. 22892 03/02/00 3. 17030 2/19/98
49. 23007 05/24/99 4. 17826 12/9/00
50. 23058 04/27/00 5. 17827 12/9/00
51. 23059 04/27/00 6. 18478 8/21/00
52. 23060 04/27/00 7. 18684 5/29/98
53. 23061 04/27/00 8. 18880 12/6/00
54. 23062 04/27/00 9. 19510 12/4/00
55. 23366 03/28/99 10. 19511 12/4/00
56. 23415 05/25/00 11. 19512 12/4/00
57. 23534 12/15/00 12. 19593 6/5/98
58. 23708 09/27/00 13. 19614 7/31/98
59. 24447 09/18/00 14. 19668 7/26/98
60. 24448 09/18/00 15. 20194 1/8/01
61. 24464 07/26/00 16. 20427 11/3/99
62. 24465 07/26/00 17. 20648 1/4/98
63. 24742 10/10/00 18. 20649 1/4/98
64. 24841 03/22/00 19. 20694 3/11/98
116
20. 21882 8/12/00 194. 11999 12/10/90 Garchitorena Under study,
submitted
21. 22184 12/16/00
before the
22. 22873 12/4/99 reorganization
23. 22926 11/13/00 195. 12102 7/1/91 Garchitorena Under study,
submitted
24. 23066 8/16/99
before the
25. 23319 9/30/00 reorganization
26. 23450 9/16/00 196. 12127 2/12/90 Not reported; unaccounted for
by Sandiganbayan report
27. 23515 1/29/00
197. 12139 6/10/92 Castaneda* Under study
28. 24155 11/30/00
submitted
29. 24379 8/27/00 before the
reorganization
30. 24759 5/5/00
198. 12289 8/28/91 Castaneda Under study
31. 24858 12/28/00
submitted
before the
We find that Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena failed to devise reorganization
an efficient recording and filing system to enable him to monitor the
flow of cases and to manage their speedy and timely disposition. This 199. 12305- 2/7/91 Castaneda Under study
is his duty on which he failed.53 06 submitted
before the
reorganization
Memorandum of the Court Administrator
200. 13015 3/2/92 Garchitorena Under study
On November 14, 2001, the Court required the Office of the Court submitted
Administrator54 to update its report.55 before the
reorganization
On November 16, 2001, OCA Consultant Pedro A. Ramirez (Justice, 201. 13171 11/16/95 Castaneda Under study
Court of Appeals, Retired) submitted a "compliance report" with the submitted
Court's order. The compliance report shows that to this day, several before the
cases that were reported pending by the Sandiganbayan on reorganization
September 26, 2000, and likewise reported undecided by the OCA on
January 26, 2001, have not been decided/resolved. We quote the 202. 13353 10/6/90 Garchitorena Under study
compliance report:56 submitted
before the
reorganization
First Division
203. 13521 12/12/99 Garchitorena Under study
Case Date Ponente Reason for Not submitted
Number Submitted Assigned Deciding Case before the
117
reorganization 213. 14223 3/7/97 Death of accused is
unconfirmed and dismissal of
204. 13563 7/4/95 Garchitorena Under study
the case was held in
submitted
abeyance. (Ong, J.)*
before the
reorganization 214. 14227 9/5/92 Castaneda Under study
submitted
205. 13618 7/14/91 Castaneda Under study
before the
submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 215. 14230 11/30/90 Castaneda Under study
submitted
206. 13668 6/13/93 Castaneda Under study
before the
submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 216. 14287 7/3/94 Castaneda Under study
submitted
207. 13672 3/5/92 Castaneda Under study
before the
submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 217. 14324 11/5/95 Castaneda Under study
submitted
208. 13679- 8/6/91 Castaneda Under study
before the
80 submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 218. 14375 5/22/95 Castaneda Under study
submitted
209. 13689- 11/14/92 Castaneda Under study
before the
95 submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 219. 14411 1/24/93 Castaneda Under study
submitted
210. 13708 3/9/92 Castaneda Under study
before the
submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 220. 14975 9/29/94 Castaneda Under study
submitted
211. 13747- 8/19/94 Castaneda Under study
before the
48 submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 221. 14986 12/11/92 Castaneda Under study
submitted
212. 13971 3/12/95 Castaneda Under study
before the
submitted
reorganization
before the
reorganization 222. 15006 11/19/94 Castaneda Under study
118
submitted before the
before the reorganization
reorganization
232. 17001 9/4/97 Not yet
223. 15168 3/25/93 Castaneda Under study assigned
submitted
233. 17278 5/2/94 Death of accused is
before the
unconfirmed and dismissal of
reorganization
the case was held in
224. 15301 3/16/94 Castaneda Under study abeyance. (Ong, J.)
submitted
234. 17600 8/30/97 Not yet
before the
assigned
reorganization
235. 17601 8/30/97 Not yet
225. 16239 12/26/91 Castaneda Under study
assigned
submitted
before the 236. 17759 6/25/96 Ong Decided and
reorganization set for
promulgation
226. 16516 11/19/91 Castaneda Under study
submitted 237. 17901 5/28/98 Not yet
before the assigned
reorganization
238. 18696 8/9/98 Not yet
227. 16583- 8/13/96 Castaneda Under study assigned
85 submitted
239. 18857 10/21/98 Not yet
before the
assigned
reorganization
240. 19059- 2/11/99 Not yet
228. 16695 8/15/96 Castaneda Under study
63 assigned
submitted
before the 241. 19534- 9/2/98 Not yet
reorganization 35 assigned
229. 16854 1/15/96 Castaneda Under study 242. 19708 8/25/98 Not yet
submitted assigned
before the
243. 19773- 5/21/99 Not yet
reorganization
79 assigned
230. 16927- 12/17/95 Castaneda Under study
244. 20688 7/9/98 Not yet
28 submitted
assigned
before the
reorganization 245. 20948 10/9/97 Not reported; unaccounted for
by Sandiganbayan report
231. 16946 8/4/93 Castaneda Under study
submitted 246. 20949 10/9/97 Not reported; unaccounted for
119
by Sandiganbayan report assigned
247. 21020 7/4/95 Ong Set for 262. 24042- 4/28/99 Ong Set for
Promulgation 98 Promulgation
on November on November
27, 2001 27, 2001
248. 22145 7/7/99 Not yet 263. 24150 1/31/00 Not yet
assigned assigned
249. 22195- 6/14/96 Castaneda Under study, 264. 24236- 2/14/00 Not yet
96 submitted 37 assigned
before the
265. 24281 5/9/99 Not yet
reorganization
assigned
250. 22832 10/21/98 Not yet
266. 24319- 11/4/99 Not yet
assigned
29 assigned
251. 23042 8/27/98 Not yet
267.24319- 11/4/99 Not reported; unaccounted for
assigned
29 by Sandiganbayan report
252. 23146 11/13/00 Not yet
268. 24355 2/18/99 Not yet
assigned
assigned
253. 23273 4/19/99 Not yet
269.24395 7/13/99 Not reported; unaccounted for
assigned
by Sandiganbayan report
254. 23323 3/23/00 Not yet
270. 24402 6/17/99 Not yet
assigned
assigned
255. 23324 8/3/97 Not yet
271. 24433- 9/6/99 Not yet
assigned
34 assigned
256. 23336 9/4/97 Not yet
272. 24531- 12/16/99 Not yet
assigned
34 assigned
257. 23374 12/17/98 Not yet
273. 24631 8/9/99 Not yet
assigned
assigned
258. 23418- 10/15/99 Not yet
274. 24768 7/8/00 Not yet
23 assigned
assigned
259. 23509 9/5/98 Not yet
275. 6672 7/11/90 Garchitorena Under Study,
assigned
before the
260. 23511 4/23/99 Not yet reorganization
assigned
276. 9977 5/10/94 Garchitorena Under Study,
261. 23540 10/15/99 Not yet before the
120
reorganization 49. 487- 4/8/98 With pending demurrer
491 to evidence, submitted,
277. 0112 1/11/92 Not reported; unaccounted for
01/26/01 re Submitted,
by Sandiganbayan report
03/20/01
278. 0116 10/16/91 Not reported; unaccounted for
50. 11794 6/10/00 De Castro --
by Sandiganbayan report
51. 17532 12/11/00 Ilarde --
279. 0156 3/14/97 Not reported; unaccounted for
by Sandiganbayan report 52. 18867- 10/5/00 Pending trial per order
72 dated 08/17/00
Summary/Tally
53. 19182 4/6/00 Unloaded to the 5th
Cases Assigned to Garchitorena, PJ. 9
Division, 10/13/97
Cases Assigned to Castaneda, J. 42
54. 19563 4/6/00 No --
Cases Assigned to Ong, J. 5 Assignment
Cases not yet assigned 73 55. 19574 4/6/00 No --
Assignment
Cases not accounted for or reported 9
56. 19622- 4/6/00 Unloaded to the 5th
Total 138
24 Division, 10/13/97
Second Division
57. 20053- 4/6/00 Not with the 3rd Division
Case Date Ponente Reason for Not 54
Number Submitted Assigned Deciding Case
58. 20271 12/18/00 Illarde --
63. 19542 4/16/99 For retaking of testimony
59. 22143 12/18/00 De Castro --
due to incomplete TSN
60. 23014 9/23/00 De Castro --
64. 13827- 8/30/00 Victorino For promulgation
32 61. 23699- 3/22/00 Ilarde --
701
65. 18965 11/30/00 For retaking of testimony
due to incomplete TSN 62. 23802- 9/10/00 No --
03 Assignment
Third Division
63. 24153 12/18/00 No --
Case Date Ponente Reason for
Assignment
Number Submitted Assigned Not
Deciding 64. 24697- 9/10/00 Ilarde --
Case 98
47. 12/18/00 Ilarde -- 65. 24741 12/7/00 De Castro --
SCA/005
66. 24779- 10/28/00 No --
48. A/R 10/2/00 Illarde 81 Assignment
029
121
67. 25657 5/5/00 With Defense pending Case Date Ponente Reason for Not
motion for the re- Number Submitted Assigned Deciding Case
examination of the
32. 14397 1/4/99 Badoy, Inherited
Information and the
Jr. case/lack of
parties' affidavits, etc.
personnel
Order dated 08/31/01
33. 16672 2/13/00 Badoy, Inherited
Summary/Tally
Jr. case/lack of
Cases Assigned to Illarde, J. 9 personnel
Cases Assigned to De Castro, J. 4 34. 17030 2/19/98 Badoy, Inherited
Jr. case/lack of
Cases not yet assigned 8
personnel
Others 18
35. 18478 8/21/00 Estrada Inherited
Total 39 case/lack of
personnel
Fourth Division**
36. 18684 5/29/98 Badoy, Inherited
Case Date Ponente Reason for
Jr. case/lack of
Number Submitted Assigned Not
personnel
Deciding
Case 37. 18880 12/6/00 Badoy, Inherited
Jr. case/lack of
71. 09/21/98 Draft of decision
personnel
11960 penned by J. Nario in
view of the dissenting 38. 19510- 12/4/00 Estrada Inherited
opinion of one Justice 12 case/lack of
was referred to a personnel
Division of five (5)
39. 19593 6/5/98 Badoy, Inherited
composed of Nario,
Jr. case/lack of
Palattao, Ferrer,
personnel
Badoy, Jr. and De
Castro, JJ. 40. 19614 7/31/98 Badoy, Inherited
Jr. case/lack of
72. 03/26/00 Palattao --
personnel
16809
41. 20194 1/8/01 Chico- Complicated
73. 04/27/00 Nario --
Nazario Issues
23058-62
42. 20427 11/3/99 Badoy, Inherited
74. 09/26/00 Nario --
Jr. case/lack of
25389
personnel
Fifth Division
43. 20648- 1/4/98 Badoy, Inherited

122
49 Jr. case/lack of "3. Date arraignment in criminal cases of Pre-trial in civil cases
personnel and

44. 20694 3/11/98 Estrada Inherited "4. Date of initial trial


case/lack of
personnel
"5. Date of last hearing
45. 22926 11/13/00 No report, Unaccounted for
by the Sandiganbayan "6. Date submitted for Decision
report
46. 23066 8/16/99 Badoy, Not yet due "b. The tabulation shall end with a certification by the trial judge
Jr. that he/she has personally undertaken an inventory of the
pending cases in his/her court; that he/she has examined each
47. 24155 11/30/00 Estrada case record and initialled the last page thereof. The judge shall
48. 24379 8/27/00 Estrada Draft decision indicate in his/her certification the date when inventory was
released 7/31/01 conducted.
Summary/Tally
"c. The Tabulation and Certification shall be in the following
Cases Assigned to Badoy, J. *** 11 form.
Cases Assigned to Estrada, J. 7
Docket Inventory for the Period
Cases Assigned to Chico-Nazario, J. 1
No report/Unaccounted For 1 January __ to June ___, ___/July
Total 20
To December ___, ___

3. Applicability of SC Adm. Circular No. 10-94.-- Supreme Court (Indicate Period)


Circular No. 10-94 applies to the Sandiganbayan.
Court and Station ________
Administrative Circular 10-9457 directs all trial judges to make a
physical inventory of the cases in their dockets. The docket inventory
Presiding Judge ________
procedure is as follows:58

"a. Every trial judge shall submit not later than the last week of Date
Title Pretrial/ Date of
February and the last week of August of each year a tabulation Date Initial submitte
of Arraign Last
of all pending cases which shall indicate on a horizontal column Filed Hearing d for
Case ment Hearing
the following data: Decision

"1. Title of the case

"2. Date of Filing "CERTIFICATION:

123
"I hereby certify that on (Date/Dates___), I personally the right of all persons to a speedy disposition of their cases and avert
conducted a physical inventory of pending cases in the docket the precipitate loss of their rights.
of this court, that I personally examined the records of each
case and initialled the last page thereof, and I certify that the Practice of Unloading Cases
results of the inventory are correctly reflected in the above
tabulation. According to the memorandum submitted by the OCA, there is a
practice in the first and third divisions of the Sandiganbayan of
_________. _________________ unloading cases to other divisions despite the fact that these cases
____ have been submitted for decision before them. We cite relevant
Presiding portions of the memorandum:67
Judge"
Cases Submitted for Decision When Unloaded to the Fourth Division
Given the rationale behind the Administrative Circular, we hold that it is
applicable to the Sandiganbayan with respect to cases within its
original and appellate jurisdiction. Division Date
where Submitted
Case No. Title of the Case
case for
Mora Decidendi originated Decision

We reiterate the admonition we issued in our resolution of October 10, 1) 17015 PP vs. Raul Zapatos 3rd 06/06/94
2000:59 2) 17016 PP vs. Raul Zapatos 3rd 06/06/94

"This Court has consistently impressed upon judges (which 3) 14380 PP vs. Francisco 3rd 02/14/95
includes justices) to decide cases promptly and expeditiously Ramoran
on the principle that justice delayed is justice denied. Decision 4) 18005 PP vs. Panfilo 3rd 05/07/96
making is the primordial and most important duty of the Bongcac
member of the bench.60 Hence, judges are enjoined to decide
cases with dispatch. Their failure to do so constitutes gross 5) 18006 PP vs. Panfilo 3rd 05/07/96
inefficiency61 that warrants disciplinary sanction, including Bongcac
fine,62suspension63 and even dismissal.64 The rule particularly 6) 13593 PP vs. Dominador 3rd 05/30/96
applies to justices of the Sandiganbayan. Delays in the Meninguito
disposition of cases erode the faith and confidence of our
people in the judiciary, lower its standards, and bring it into 7) 13594 PP vs. Dominador 3rd 05/30/96
disrepute.65 Delays cannot be sanctioned or tolerated Meninguito
especially in the anti-graft court, the showcase of the nation's 8) 19567 PP vs. Dominador 3rd 05/30/96
determination to succeed in its war against graft (italics ours)." Meninguito
9) 17140 PP vs. Jose Café, et. 3rd 06/13/96
In Yuchengco v. Republic,66 we urged the Sandiganbayan to promptly al.
administer justice. We stated that the Sandiganbayan has the inherent
power to amend and control its processes and orders to make them 10) 17141 PP vs. Jose Café, et. 3rd 06/13/96
conformable to law and justice. The Sandiganbayan as the nation's al.
anti-graft court must be the first to avert opportunities for graft, uphold
124
11) 20064 PP vs. Ben dela 3rd 07/01/96 17. 17617 3/28/96
Pena
18. 17618 4/6/95
12) 21131 PP vs. Rufino 3rd 08/05/96
19. 17619 4/6/95
Mamanguin
20. 17640 6/12/95
13) 17209 PP vs. Isidro 3rd 12/27/96
Catapang 21. 17661 12/15/94
14) 13757 PP vs. Catalino 3rd 03/21/97 22. 17666 8/25/97
Daganzo
23. 17884 11/12/95
15) 18257 PP vs. Zenaida 1st 09/22/97
24. 17902 4/16/95
Sazon
25. 18008 9/15/97
Cases Submitted for Decision When Unloaded to the Fifth Division 26. 18423 1/15/96
27. 18687 9/30/94
Case Number Date Submitted
28. 18759 10/12/95
1. 10264 12/22/90
29. 18785 7/13/95
2. 13344 5/14/97
30. 18932 4/20/97
3. 16223 4/25/94
31. 18988 10/25/95
4. 16574 5/30/95
32. 18999 12/21/95
5. 16760 5/25/95
33. 19039 5/6/95
6. 16810 1/23/96
34. 19378 4/17/96
7. 17018 7/20/94
35. 19379 4/17/96
8. 17055 7/5/95
36. 19679 10/5/95
9. 17139 4/24/94
37. 19712 2/18/95
10. 17162 2/23/95
38. 19907 6/22/95
11. 17193 3/8/94
39. 20487 12/14/96
12. 17426 2/12/94
40. 20624 7/15/95
13. 17480 3/22/94
41. 23427 7/25/97
14. 17538 11/20/95
15. 17567 2/24/93 We suggest a review of the practice of unloading cases that greatly
16. 17598 8/3/94 contributes to the backlog of undecided cases. When a case has been

125
heard and tried before a division of the Sandiganbayan, it is ideal that February 21, February 23,
the same division and no other must decide it as far as practicable. 18283 Ong
1995 2001

We further note that several cases which were earlier reported as August 19,
17514 April 24, 2001 Ong
undecided by the Sandiganbayan and the OCA have been decided 1994
since the reports of September 26, 2000 and January 26, 2001. Second Division
Nonetheless, the delay in deciding these cases is patent and merits
reprobation. According to the compliance report submitted by the OCA Submitted
Case Date of
on November 16, 2001, there are several cases decided way beyond for Ponente
Number Promulgation
the reglementary period prescribed by law, even assuming without Decision
granting, a reglementary period of twelve months from the time a case 18403- December February 2,
is submitted for decision.68 Victorino
18417 4, 1998 2001
August 11, March 26,
In a case brought before this Court, Presiding Justice Garchitorena 18435 Victorino
2000 2001
admitted fault and that the fault is exclusively his own, in failing to
decide the case, though submitted for decision as early as June 20, November March 28,
18786 Legaspi
1990.69 This case was not even included among pending cases in the 28, 2000 2001
Sandiganbayan report of September 26, 2000. September March 16,
19004 Victorino
10, 1996 2001
The following cases were decided, though beyond the prescribed
period: 19692- August 27, February 26,
Sandoval
19707 2000 2001
First Division March 28, January 29,
19848 Victorino
1996 2001
Case Submitted for Date of
Ponente 20483- July 26,
Number Decision Promulgation April 6, 2001 Victorino
20484 1995
March 31, November
14195 Ong December August 2,
1997 10, 2000 20660 Legaspi
20, 2000 2001
March 31, November
21608 Ong August 30, February 23,
1997 15, 2000 20765 Victorino
1996 2001
February 14, January 12,
20588 Ong March 11, January 25,
1998 2001 20816 Victorino
1998 2001
November January 26,
19651 Ong December June 15,
15, 1996 2001 21097 Victorino
13, 2000 2001
November January 26,
17670 Ong August 11, January 31,
25, 1994 2001 22858 Victorino
2000 2001
September February 22,
17447-48 Ong 22934 October February 15, Sandoval
6, 1994 2001

126
14, 2000 2001 August 31,
17664 June 1, 2000 Pallatao
1999
May 4, March 1,
22976 Sandoval
1999 2001 March 27,
17016 June 6, 1994 Ferrer
2001
November March 14,
23111 Sandoval
27, 2000 2001 17140- February 6,
June 13, 1996 Nario
41 2001
October
23262 May 16, 2001 Victorino
11, 2000 December 27,
17209 April 30, 2001 Ferrer
1996
December December
23338 Sandoval
2, 1999 14, 2000 17805-
February 15, October 10,
09; Palattao
23529- October March 28, 2000 2001
Victorino 17814
23530 23, 2000 2001
June 25,
24407- August 11, January 24, 17856 April 2, 2000 Palattao
Legaspi 2001
24408 2000 2001
18005-
August 17, May 7, 1996 May 18, 2001 Ferrer
24994 May 30, 2001 Sandoval 06
2000
September 22,
December August 28, 18257 July 26, 2001 Ferrer
AR#035 Legaspi 1997
9, 2000 2001
18894- November 17, March 20,
Third Division Palattao
96 2000 2001
Case Submitted for Date of
Ponente October 28, March 23,
Number Decision Promulgation 18900 Ferrer
2000 2001
November 16, January 26,
A/R 016 Ilarde 18935- January 18,
1999 2001 June 16, 2000 Palattao
37 2001
13861- December Del
April 6, 2000 January 15,
13863 22, 2000 Rosario 19567 May 21, 1996 Ferrer
2001
September 30,
13889 May 10, 2001 Ilarde February 9,
1999 20338 May 19, 1997 Ferrer
2001
August 28, December Del
16756 June 25,
1999 11, 2000 Rosario 20469 July 7, 2000 Palattao
2001
January 12, Del
23522 July 6, 2000 13036- February 22, February 28,
2001 Rosario Ferrer
37 1999 2001
Fourth Division
13593- January 15,
May 21, 1996 Ferrer
Case Submitted for Date of 94 2001
Ponente
Number Decision Promulgation
127
20470- June 25, October 10, March 22,
July 7, 2000 Palattao 24742 Ferrer
76 2001 2000 2001
February 20, 24841- March 7,
20664 June 29, 1996 Ferrer May 9, 2000 Ferrer
2001 42 2001
February 18, March 2, February 6,
20685 Palattao 25198 July 12, 2000 Nario
2000 2001 2001
September 13, October 8, December 27, February 26,
20828 Palattao 25543 Palattao
2000 2001 2000 2001
January 15, 25658 July 28, 2000 July 20, 2001 Palattao
21093 August 7, 1999 Palattao
2001
24447- September 18, December 7,
Palattao
February 13, 48 2000 2001
21131 August 4, 1996 Ferrer
2001
Fifth Division
21778- September 29, June 21,
Ferrer Case Submitted for Date of
80 1997 2001 Ponente
Number Decision Promulgation
22891- December
March 2, 2000 Ferrer 17826- December 9, March 28, Chico-
92 13, 2000
17827 2000 2001 Nazario
March 14,
23007 May 24, 1999 Ferrer February 9, Badoy,
2000 19668 July 26, 1998
2001 Jr.
March 21,
13757 July 2, 2001 Ferrer August 12, Chico-
1997 21882 July 25, 2001
2000 Nazario
February 14,
14380 April 23, 2001 Ferrer December 16, Chico-
1995 22184 May 21, 2001
2000 Nazario
March 27,
17015 June 6, 1994 Ferrer December 4, Chico-
2001 22873 May 31, 2001
1999 Nazario
November 26, October 29,
23366 Ferrer September 30, Chico-
1999 2001 23319 April 23, 2001
2000 Nazario
23415 May 25, 2000 May 28, 2001 Palattao
September 16, March 16, Chico-
23450
December 15, February 28, 2000 2001 Nazario
23534 Palattao
2000 2001
January 29, Cortez-
23515 May 28, 2001
September 27, September 2000 Estrada
23708 Nario
2000 10, 2001
Cortez-
24759 May 5, 2000 July 10, 2001
24464- June 26, Estrada
July 26, 2000 Nario
65 2001
24858 December 28, May 31, 2001 Chico-
128
2000 Nazario previously heard by another judge not the deciding judge in which case
the latter shall have the full period of ninety (90) days from the
completion of the transcripts within which to decide the same."73 The
Relief of Presiding Justice designation of a ponente to a case is not a difficult administrative task.

At this juncture, the Court cites the case of Canson v. Administrative sanctions must be imposed. "Mora reprobatur in
Garchitorena.70 In that case, we admonished respondent Presiding lege."74 Again, we reiterate the principle that decision-making is the
Justice Francis E. Garchitorena. General Jewel F. Canson, Police most important of all judicial functions and responsibilities.75 In this
Chief Superintendent, National Capital Region Command Director, area, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, as
complained of deliberate delayed action of the Presiding Justice on the the ponente assigned to the cases submitted for decision/resolution
transfer of Criminal Cases Nos. 23047-23057 to the Regional Trial long ago, some as far back as more than ten (10) years ago, has been
Court of Quezon City, depriving complainant of his right to a just and remiss constituting gross neglect of duty and inefficiency.76 As we said
speedy trial. Due to a finding of lack of bad faith on the part of in Canson,77 unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a case
respondent justice, we issued only a warning. However, the dispositive amounts to a denial of justice, bringing the Sandiganbayan
portion of the decision cautioned respondent justice that "a repetition of into disrepute, eroding the public faith and confidence in the judiciary.78
the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with more
severely."71
Consequently, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena should be
relieved of all trial and administrative work as Presiding Justice and as
Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena sits as the Chairman, First Chairman, First Division so that he can devote himself full time to
Division, with a backlog of cases pending decision. At least seventy- decision-making until his backlog is cleared. He shall finish this
three cases have been unassigned for the writing of the extended assignment not later than six (6) months from the promulgation of this
opinion, though submitted for decision. It may be the thinking of the resolution.
Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan that an unassigned case is not
counted in its backlog of undecided cases. This is not correct. It is the
We have, in cases where trial court judges failed to decide even
duty of the Presiding Justice and the Chairmen of divisions to assign
a single case within the ninety (90) day period, imposed a fine ranging
the ponente as soon as the case is declared submitted for decision, if
from five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to the equivalent of their one
not earlier. If he fails to make the assignment, he shall be deemed to
month's salary.79According to the report of the Sandiganbayan, as of
be the ponente.
September 26, 2000, there were three hundred forty one (341) cases
submitted for decision before its first division headed by the Presiding
The Constitution provides that a case shall be deemed submitted for Justice. In the memorandum of the OCA, there were one hundred
decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or ninety eight (198) cases reported submitted for decision before the
memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself.72 In First Division.80Even in the updated report, there are one hundred thirty
Administrative Circular No. 28, dated July 3, 1989, the Supreme Court eight (138) cases still undecided in the First Division.
provided that "A case is considered submitted for decision upon the
admission of the evidence of the parties at the termination of the trial.
In fact, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena admitted that he has
The ninety (90) days period for deciding the case shall commence to
a backlog.81 He claimed that one (1) case alone comprises fifty percent
run from submission of the case for decision without memoranda; in
(50%) of the backlog. We find this claim exaggerated. We cannot
case the court requires or allows its filing, the case shall be considered
accept that a backlog of three hundred forty one (341) cases in the
submitted for decision upon the filing of the last memorandum or the
First Division could be eliminated by the resolution of a single
expiration of the period to do so, whichever is earlier. Lack of transcript
consolidated case of one hundred fifty six (156) counts. A consolidated
of stenographic notes shall not be a valid reason to interrupt or
case is considered only as one case. The cases referred to were
suspend the period for deciding the case unless the case was
129
consolidated as Criminal Case Nos. 9812-9967, People v. Corazon exercise the powers, functions, and duties of the office of the
Gammad-Leaño, decided on December 8, 2000. What about the one Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan, until further orders from this
hundred eighty five (185) cases that unfortunately remained undecided Court.
to this date? Worse, the motion for reconsideration of the decision in
said cases, submitted as of January 11, 2001, has not been resolved (3) To DIRECT Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena and
to this date.82 The First Division has only thirty (30) days from the associate justices of the Sandiganbayan to decide/resolve
submission to resolve the same. It is now ten (10) months from the undecided cases submitted for decision as of this date,
submission. The expediente and the motion were transmitted to within three (3) months from their submission, and to resolve
the ponente, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, on that date, motions for new trial or reconsiderations and petitions for
but to this day the case remains unresolved.83Unfortunately, even other review within thirty (30) days from their submission. With
divisions of the Sandiganbayan may be following his example.84 respect to the backlog of cases, as hereinabove enumerated,
the Sandiganbayan shall decide/resolve all pending cases
In the first report of the Court Administrator, he indicated a total of one including incidents therein within six (6) months from notice of
hundred ninety five (195) criminal cases and three (3) civil cases, or a this resolution.
total of one hundred ninety eight (198) cases submitted for decision as
of December 21, 2000.85 Almost a year later, as of November 16, 2001, (4) To ORDER the Sandiganbayan to comply with Supreme
there are still one hundred thirty eight (138) cases undecided submitted Court Administrative Circular 10-94, effective immediately.
long ago. For almost one year, not one case was decided/resolved by
the Presiding Justice himself.86 (5) To DIRECT the Sandiganbayan en banc to adopt not later
than December 31, 2001 internal rules to govern the allotment
Directive of cases among the divisions, the rotation of justices among
them and other matters leading to the internal operation of the
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court resolves: court, and thereafter to submit the said internal rules to the
Supreme Court for its approval.87
(1) To IMPOSE on Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena a
fine of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), for inefficiency This directive is immediately executory.
and gross neglect of duty.
SO ORDERED.
(2) Effective December 1, 2001, to RELIEVE Presiding Justice
Francis E. Garchitorena of his powers, functions and duties as Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza,
the Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan, and from presiding over Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and
the trial of cases as a justice and Chairman, First Division, so Carpio, JJ., concur.
that he may DEVOTE himself exclusively to DECISION Buena, J., on official leave.
WRITING, until the backlog of cases assigned to him as well as De Leon, Jr., J., see dissenting and concurring opinion.
cases not assigned to any ponente, of which he shall be
deemed the ponente in the First Division, are finally decided.
There shall be no unloading of cases to other divisions, or to
the First Division inter se.
Separate Opinions
In the interim, Associate Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario, as
the most senior associate justice, shall TAKE OVER and
130
DE LEON, Jr., J.: concurring and dissenting procedure of a court on the other, the former, being a part of the
fundamental law of the land, must prevail. Also, pursuant to Section 4
I respectfully dissent from the resolution of Mr. Justice Bernardo P. of Republic Act No. 8245 (approved on February 5, 1997) the
Pardo insofar as it declares and rules that the judgment of any division Sandiganbayan has also exclusive appellate jurisdiction "over final
of the Sandiganbayan shall be rendered within three (3) months, and judgments, resolutions or orders of the regional trial courts whether in
not within twelve (12) months, from the date the case was submitted the exercise of their original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction
for decision. as herein provided."

The resolution cites Section 6 of P.D. No. 1606 which requires that the In this connection, be it noted that section 1 of R.A. No. 8249 further
judgment of the Sandiganbayan "shall be rendered within three (3) amending P.D. No. 1606, as amended, provides that:
months from the date the case was submitted for decision". The said
provision was apparently adopted by the Sandiganbayan in Section 3 SECTION 1. Sandiganbayan; Composition; Qualifications;
of Rule XVIII of its Revised Rules of Procedure which was issued Tenure; Removal and Compensation — A special court, of
pursuant to P.D. No. 1606. The resolution also cites Supreme Court the same level as the Court of Appeals and possessing all the
Administrative Circular No. 10-94, dated June 25, 1994 which is inherent powers of a court of justice, to be known as the
addressed "To: All Trial Court Judges and Clerks of Courts, Branch Sandiganbayan is hereby created composed of a presiding
Clerks of Courts" but not to Sandiganbayan Justices or the Clerk of justice and fourteen associate justices who shall be appointed
Court and Division Clerks of Courts of the Sandiganbayan. by the President.

SECTION 15 (1) and (2) Article VII of the 1997 Constitution, however, Incidentally, per the Rules of Procedure of the Sandiganbayan, each
provides that: division is composed of three (3) justices whose unanimous vote is
required to render a decision, resolution or order. In the event there is
SECTION 15(1). All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of a dissent, a special division is formed whereby two (2) justices who
this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four shall be chosen by raffle and added to the division concerned, in which
months from date of submission for the Supreme Court, and, event, the majority rule shall prevail. For that reason and considering
unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all also that appeals from the decisions of the Sandiganbayan are to be
lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower filed directly with the Supreme Court, the Sandiganbayan as a
courts. collegiate trial court, is significantly different from the one-man regional
trial court.
(2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or
resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or Subject to the foregoing observations and partial dissent, I concur with
memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the Court the rest of the resolution.
itself.

xxx xxx xxx

The Supreme Court in Administrative Circular No. 10-94 has not


reduced the 12-month period mentioned in the above quoted
constitutional provision insofar as the Sandiganbayan, a collegiate
court, is concerned. It is basic that in case of conflict between a
constitutional provision on one hand and a statute or an internal rule of
131
A.M. No. 09-7-284-RTC February 16, 2011 resolve the incidents in two cases; and (3) take appropriate action on
the 247 dormant cases within 45 days from notice.
RE: REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT - BRANCH 56, MANDAUE CITY, CEBU. Likewise, in the same Memorandum, Atty. Emeline Bullever-Cabahug
(Atty. Cabahug), Clerk of Court of the same court, was directed to
DECISION devise and adopt a records management system that will ensure the
immediate and orderly filing of court records, and effectively facilitate
PERALTA, J.: the monitoring of the status of cases and supervise her staff members
to ensure prompt delivery of their respective assignments.
This administrative matter stemmed from the Report dated July 6, 2009
on the judicial audit and physical inventory of cases conducted by the On June 20, 2007, in compliance with the Court's directives, Judge
Audit Team of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) in March Vestil, without explaining the reason for the delay, reported the
2007 in the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 56, Cebu, in subsequent actions taken in the cases referred to in the Memorandum
anticipation of the compulsory retirement of Judge Augustine A. Vestil dated April 23, 2007, to wit:
(Judge Vestil), then presiding judge of the same court.
As to directive no. 2:
The report disclosed that during the audit, the trial court has: (1) a total
caseload of 1,431 cases consisting of 555 civil cases and 876 criminal 1. Civil Case No. MAN-2910 - submitted for decision in May
cases; (2) 15 cases submitted for decision, but were already beyond 2007 as the defendant's Formal Offer of Exhibits was filed on
the reglementary period;1 (3) two cases with pending incidents awaiting February 12, 2007 and the exhibits were admitted on March
resolution, which were beyond the reglementary period;2 and (4) 247 19, 2007;
cases, which had remained dormant for a considerable length of time.
2. Civil Case No. MAN-3084 – still pending trial and hearing
It was further reported that Branch 56 did not observe an organized was reset to June 28, 2007;
record management. No system was being followed to facilitate the
monitoring of the status of cases. The court records were found to be 3. Civil Case No. MAN-4009 - decided on February 20, 2007,
in disarray as: (1) court records of terminated and archived cases were or 17 days before the lapse of the reglementary period. But due
mixed with active cases; (2) copies of orders, pleadings and other to the absence of the typist-in-charge, the typing of the decision
documents were not chronologically attached to the case folders; (3) was left unfinished;
copies of the minutes of the hearings/proceedings were left unattached
to the case folders and were merely kept in a separate file; and (4) 4. LRC No. 638 – decided on March 8, 2007;
loose copies of orders, pleadings and other documents were found
merely inserted in the case folders. 5. LRC (Fe Cortes Dabon, petitioner) – decided on December
7, 2006;
Thus, on April 23, 2007, then Deputy Court Administrator Zenaida N.
Elepaño issued a Memorandum, directing Judge Vestil to: (1) submit 6. Criminal Case No. DU-3316 – decided on September 4,
an explanation of his failure to: [a] decide 15 cases submitted for 2006 and was promulgated on June 6, 2007;
decision within the reglementary period, [b] resolve the incidents for
resolution in two cases within the reglementary period, and [c] take
7. Criminal Case No. DU-5308 - decided on September 21,
further action on the 247 cases despite the lapse of a considerable
2004. Promulgated set on December 5, 2006. Reset to May 28,
length of time; (2) decide the 15 cases submitted for decision and
132
2007. Reset to April 26, 2007 and reset to May 21, 2007. Pre- archived; others were set for pre-marking of exhibits, deposition-taking,
trial of other accused was still set on May 21, 2007; arraignment, pre-trial or hearing; and, some were ordered submitted for
decision. Judge Vestil, however, offered no explanation why there was
8. Criminal Case No. DU-7047 – decided on April 13, 2007; delay in the court's action in these cases.
promulgated on March 26, 2007;
For her part, Atty. Cabahug reported that:
9. Criminal Case No. DU-7518 – decided on April 7, 2006;
promulgated on April 3, 2007; (1) they have already conducted an inventory of court records
in the storage room to properly give space for cases which are
10. Criminal Case No. DU-7649 – decided on February 9, archived, disposed or decided cases;
2007; promulgated on May 28, 2007;
(2) they made a list in separate logbooks - of the cases: (a)
11. Criminal Case No. DU-9207 – decided on August 1, 2006 forwarded to the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals; (b)
and promulgated on April 18, 2007; those placed in the bodega; (c) transmitted to the Office of the
Clerk of Court; (d) newly filed and transferred from other courts;
12. Criminal Case No. DU-9650 – submitted for decision on and (e) already disposed of, decided or archived;
March 1, 2007;
(3) they already gave instructions to the court clerks to note in
13. Criminal Case No. DU-11862 – decided per judgment the Semi Annual Inventory Report the last action of the court in
dated October 16, 2006; set for promulgation on March 1. all the cases assigned to them;
2007;
(4) issued a memorandum to her staff members to seek
14. Criminal Case No. DU-12508 – originally set to be permission and enter in the logbook the time whenever they go
promulgated on December 6, 2006 but due to lack of judges, it out of the office during office hours;
was eventually promulgated only on May 11, 2007;
(5) and suggested to have a staff meeting every Monday of the
15. Criminal Case No. DU-13453 – promulgated on April 2007; month to monitor the concerns of their staff.

16. Civil Case No. MAN-3762 (Motion to Dismiss) - counsels In a Resolution dated March 26, 2008, the Court granted the request of
were required to submit their respective memoranda with Judge Vestil for the release of his retirement benefits, "provided the
regard to the motion to dismiss only up to June 11, 2007, thus, amount of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000.00) shall be
not yet submitted for decision; retained/withheld therefrom to answer for whatever adverse decision
the Court may impose on him in relation to the instant case.
17. Criminal Case No. DU-10480 (Demurrer to Evidence)- per
order dated May 25, 2007, demurrer to evidence was denied. The audit team maintained, however, that except for Civil Case No.
Reception of Accused evidence was set to August 28, 2007. MAN-3084 and Criminal Cases Nos. DU-9650 and DU-11862 which
were inadvertently included as submitted for decision but were in fact
already decided or still pending trial, all other cases reported in the
With regard to the alleged dormant cases, Judge Vestil acted, although
audit report suffered undue delay in its disposition. While, Judge Vestil
belatedly, on the two hundred forty-seven (247) cases before he retired
claimed that certain cases were decided within the reglementary
on August 8, 2007. Some of the cases were ordered dismissed or
133
period, he, however, also admitted that while he was able to prepare with heavy caseloads should request the Court for an extension of the
the decisions, the same remained unpromulgated within the reglementary period within which to decide their cases if they think they
reglementary period. With regard to the 247 dormant cases, while he cannot comply with their judicial duty. This, Judge Vestil failed to do.
immediately acted upon its resolution, he however, offered no Corollarily, a heavy caseload may excuse a judge’s failure to decide
explanation for the delay in the resolution thereof. cases within the reglementary period but not their failure to request an
extension of time within which to decide the case on time.3 Hence, all
On August 8, 2007, Judge Vestil compulsorily retired from service. that respondent judge needs to do is request for an extension of time
over which the Court has, almost customarily, been considerate.
Later, on July 6, 2009, the OCA, in its Report, found Judge Vestil guilty
of undue delay in deciding cases and recommended that a fine of Moreover, as correctly pointed out by the OCA, it is not enough that he
twenty thousand pesos (₱20,000.00) be deducted from the one pens his decision; it is imperative to promulgate the same within the
hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) previously withheld from his mandated period. The lack of staff that will prepare and type the
retirement benefits. However, in so far as Atty. Cabahug is concerned, decision is equally inexcusable to justify the delay in the promulgation
the instant matter was recommended to be considered as closed and of the cases.
terminated.
We cannot overemphasize the Court’s policy on prompt resolution of
On August 19, 2009, the Court resolved to consider the instant disputes. Justice delayed is justice denied. Failure to resolve cases
complaint CLOSED and TERMINATED in so far as Atty. Cabahug is submitted for decision within the period fixed by law constitutes a
concerned. serious violation of Section 16,4 Article III of the Constitution.

On October 12, 2009, Judge Vestil manifested that since his retirement The honor and integrity of the judicial system is measured not only by
in 2007, he had already undergone several medical examinations and the fairness and correctness of decisions rendered, but also by the
presently his continuous medication costs at least ₱500.00 daily. efficiency with which disputes are resolved. Thus, judges must perform
Judge Vestil, thus, prays for the resolution of the instant complaint their official duties with utmost diligence if public confidence in the
against him and the subsequent release of the ₱100,000.00 which was judiciary is to be preserved. There is no excuse for mediocrity in the
previously withheld from his retirement benefits upon his retirement. performance of judicial functions. The position of judge exacts nothing
less than faithful observance of the law and the Constitution in the
We sustain the findings and recommendation of the OCA. discharge of official duties.5

A review of the records would show the undisputed delay in the Furthermore, the proper and efficient court management is the
disposition of numerous cases assigned to Branch 56 which was then responsibility of the judge, and he is the one directly responsible for the
presided by Judge Vestil. There were at least 80 civil cases, some proper discharge of his official functions.6 What we emphasized before
were filed as early as 1997, which are still pending as of March 2007. bears repeating: "It is the duty of a judge to take note of the cases
Furthermore, at least 100 criminal cases are still pending beyond the submitted for his decision or resolution and to see to it that the same
90-day reglementary period. are decided within the 90-day period fixed by law, and failure to resolve
a case within the required period constitutes gross inefficiency." "A
judge ought to know the cases submitted to him for decision or
In his defense, Judge Vestil sought refuge from the fact that Branch 56
resolution and is expected to keep his own record of cases so that he
was saddled with a heavy caseload. We are, however, unconvinced.
may act on them promptly." "The public trust character of his office
The Court knew the heavy caseloads heaped on the shoulders of
imposes upon him the highest degree of responsibility and
every trial judge. But such cannot excuse him from doing his mandated
efficiency."7 Accordingly, it is incumbent upon him to devise an efficient
duty to resolve cases with diligence and dispatch. Judges burdened
134
recording and filing system in his court, so that no disorderliness can
affect the flow of cases and their speedy disposition.

Failure to render decisions and orders within the mandated period


constitutes a violation of Rule 3.05,8 Canon 3, of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, which then makes Judge Vestil liable administratively.
Section 9, Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court classifies undue
delay in rendering a decision or order as a less serious charge
punishable under Section 11 (B) of the same Rule. 1avv phi 1

Here, considering that Judge Vestil had been previously


administratively sanctioned for dereliction of duty,9 the imposition of
fine amounting to ₱40,000.00 is, thus, proper.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, Judge Augustine A. Vestil


is adjudged administratively liable for failure to decide cases within the
reglementary period and is hereby FINED in the amount
of ₱40,000.00, to be deducted from the ₱100,000.00 previously
retained from his retirement benefits. The Fiscal Management Office
is DIRECTED to immediately release the balance of Judge Vestil’s
retirement benefits after such fine has been deducted therefrom.

SO ORDERED.

135
G.R. No. 202242 April 16, 2013 On July 31, 2012, following respondents’ motion for reconsideration
and with due regard to Senate Resolution Nos. 111,3 112,4 113,5 and
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, Petitioner, 114,6 the Court set the subject motion for oral arguments on August 2,
vs. 2012.7 On August 3, 2012, the Court discussed the merits of the
JUDICIALAND BAR COUNCIL, SEN. FRANCIS JOSEPH G. arguments and agreed, in the meantime, to suspend the effects of the
ESCUDERO and REP. NIEL C. TUPAS, JR., Respondents. second paragraph of the dispositive portion of the July 17, 2012
Decision which decreed that it was immediately executory. The
RESOLUTION decretal portion of the August 3, 2012 Resolution8 reads:

MENDOZA, J.: WHEREFORE, the parties are hereby directed to submit their
respective MEMORANDA within ten (10) days from notice. Until further
orders, the Court hereby SUSPENDS the effect of the second
This resolves the Motion for Reconsideration1 filed by the Office of the
paragraph of the dispositive portion of the Court’s July 17, 2012
Solicitor General (OSG) on behalf of the respondents, Senator Francis
Decision, which reads: "This disposition is immediately executory."9
Joseph G. Escudero and Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr.
(respondents), duly opposed2 by the petitioner, former Solicitor General
Francisco I. Chavez (petitioner). Pursuant to the same resolution, petitioner and respondents filed their
respective memoranda.10
By way of recapitulation, the present action stemmed from the
unexpected departure of former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona on Brief Statement of the Antecedents
May 29, 2012, and the nomination of petitioner, as his potential
successor. In his initiatory pleading, petitioner asked the Court to In this disposition, it bears reiterating that from the birth of the
determine 1] whether the first paragraph of Section 8, Article VIII of the Philippine Republic, the exercise of appointing members of the
1987 Constitution allows more than one (1) member of Congress to sit Judiciary has always been the exclusive prerogative of the executive
in the JBC; and 2] if the practice of having two (2) representatives from and legislative branches of the government. Like their progenitor of
each House of Congress with one (1) vote each is sanctioned by the American origins, both the Malolos Constitution11 and the 1935
Constitution. Constitution12vested the power to appoint the members of the Judiciary
in the President, subject to confirmation by the Commission on
On July 17, 2012, the Court handed down the assailed subject Appointments. It was during these times that the country became
decision, disposing the same in the following manner: witness to the deplorable practice of aspirants seeking confirmation of
their appointment in the Judiciary to ingratiate themselves with the
members of the legislative body.13
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The current numerical
composition of the Judicial and Bar Council is declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The Judicial and Bar Council is hereby Then, under the 1973 Constitution,14 with the fusion of the executive
enjoined to reconstitute itself so that only one (1) member of Congress and legislative powers in one body, the appointment of judges and
will sit as a representative in its proceedings, in accordance with justices ceased to be subject of scrutiny by another body. The power
Section 8(1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. became exclusive and absolute to the Executive, subject only to the
condition that the appointees must have all the qualifications and none
of the disqualifications.
This disposition is immediately executory.
Prompted by the clamor to rid the process of appointments to the
SO ORDERED.
Judiciary of the evils of political pressure and partisan activities,15 the
136
members of the Constitutional Commission saw it wise to create a that the rationale of the Court in declaring a seven-member
separate, competent and independent body to recommend nominees composition would provide a solution should there be a stalemate is
to the President. not exactly correct.

Thus, it conceived of a body, representative of all the stakeholders in While the Court may find some sense in the reasoning in amplification
the judicial appointment process, and called it the Judicial and Bar of the third and fourth grounds listed by respondents, still, it finds itself
Council (JBC). The Framers carefully worded Section 8, Article VIII of unable to reverse the assailed decision on the principal issues covered
the 1987 Constitution in this wise: by the first and second grounds for lack of merit. Significantly, the
conclusion arrived at, with respect to the first and second grounds,
Section 8. (1) A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the carries greater bearing in the final resolution of this case.
supervision of the Supreme Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex
officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the As these two issues are interrelated, the Court shall discuss them
Congress as ex officio Members, a representative of the Integrated jointly.
Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and a
representative of the private sector. Ruling of the Court

From the moment of the creation of the JBC, Congress designated one The Constitution evinces the direct action of the Filipino people by
(1) representative to sit in the JBC to act as one of the ex-officio which the fundamental powers of government are established, limited
members.16 Pursuant to the constitutional provision that Congress is and defined and by which those powers are distributed among the
entitled to one (1) representative, each House sent a representative to several departments for their safe and useful exercise for the benefit of
the JBC, not together, but alternately or by rotation. the body politic.19 The Framers reposed their wisdom and vision on one
suprema lex to be the ultimate expression of the principles and the
In 1994, the seven-member composition of the JBC was substantially framework upon which government and society were to operate. Thus,
altered. An eighth member was added to the JBC as the two (2)
1âwphi 1 in the interpretation of the constitutional provisions, the Court firmly
representatives from Congress began sitting simultaneously in the relies on the basic postulate that the Framers mean what they say. The
JBC, with each having one-half (1/2) of a vote.17 language used in the Constitution must be taken to have been
deliberately chosen for a definite purpose. Every word employed in the
In 2001, the JBC En Banc decided to allow the representatives from Constitution must be interpreted to exude its deliberate intent which
the Senate and the House of Representatives one full vote each.18 It must be maintained inviolate against disobedience and defiance. What
has been the situation since then. the Constitution clearly says, according to its text, compels acceptance
and bars modification even by the branch tasked to interpret it.
Grounds relied upon by Respondents
For this reason, the Court cannot accede to the argument of plain
Through the subject motion, respondents pray that the Court oversight in order to justify constitutional construction. As stated in the
reconsider its decision and dismiss the petition on the following July 17, 2012 Decision, in opting to use the singular letter "a" to
grounds: 1] that allowing only one representative from Congress in the describe "representative of Congress," the Filipino people through the
JBC would lead to absurdity considering its bicameral nature; 2] that Framers intended that Congress be entitled to only one (1) seat in the
the failure of the Framers to make the proper adjustment when there JBC. Had the intention been otherwise, the Constitution could have, in
was a shift from unilateralism to bicameralism was a plain oversight; 3] no uncertain terms, so provided, as can be read in its other provisions.
that two representatives from Congress would not subvert the intention
of the Framers to insulate the JBC from political partisanship; and 4]
137
A reading of the 1987 Constitution would reveal that several provisions chamber; and 2) in consonance with the principle of checks and
were indeed adjusted as to be in tune with the shift to bicameralism. balances, as to the other branches of government.
One example is Section 4, Article VII, which provides that a tie in the
presidential election shall be broken "by a majority of all the Members In checkered contrast, there is essentially no interaction between the
of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately."20 Another is two Houses in their participation in the JBC. No mechanism is required
Section 8 thereof which requires the nominee to replace the Vice- between the Senate and the House of Representatives in the
President to be confirmed "by a majority of all the Members of both screening and nomination of judicial officers. Rather, in the creation of
Houses of the Congress, voting separately."21 Similarly, under Section the JBC, the Framers arrived at a unique system by adding to the four
18, the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of (4) regular members, three (3) representatives from the major
the writ of habeas corpus may be revoked or continued by the branches of government - the Chief Justice as ex-officio Chairman
Congress, voting separately, by a vote of at least a majority of all its (representing the Judicial Department), the Secretary of Justice
Members."22 In all these provisions, the bicameral nature of Congress (representing the Executive Department), and a representative of the
was recognized and, clearly, the corresponding adjustments were Congress (representing the Legislative Department). The total is seven
made as to how a matter would be handled and voted upon by its two (7), not eight. In so providing, the Framers simply gave recognition to
Houses. the Legislature, not because it was in the interest of a certain
constituency, but in reverence to it as a major branch of government.
Thus, to say that the Framers simply failed to adjust Section 8, Article
VIII, by sheer inadvertence, to their decision to shift to a bicameral form On this score, a Member of Congress, Hon. Simeon A. Datumanong,
of the legislature, is not persuasive enough. Respondents cannot just from the Second District of Maguindanao, submitted his well-
lean on plain oversight to justify a conclusion favorable to them. It is considered position28 to then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno:
very clear that the Framers were not keen on adjusting the provision on
congressional representation in the JBC because it was not in the I humbly reiterate my position that there should be only one
exercise of its primary function – to legislate. JBC was created to representative of Congress in the JBC in accordance with Article VIII,
support the executive power to appoint, and Congress, as one whole Section 8 (1) of the 1987 Constitution x x x.
body, was merely assigned a contributory non-legislative function.
The aforesaid provision is clear and unambiguous and does not need
The underlying reason for such a limited participation can easily be any further interpretation. Perhaps, it is apt to mention that the oft-
discerned. Congress has two (2) Houses. The need to recognize the repeated doctrine that "construction and interpretation come only after
existence and the role of each House is essential considering that the it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate
Constitution employs precise language in laying down the functions without them."
which particular House plays, regardless of whether the two Houses
consummate an official act by voting jointly or separately. Whether in
Further, to allow Congress to have two representatives in the Council,
the exercise of its legislative23 or its non-legislative functions such as
with one vote each, is to negate the principle of equality among the
inter alia, the power of appropriation,24 the declaration of an existence
three branches of government which is enshrined in the Constitution.
of a state of war,25 canvassing of electoral returns for the President and
Vice-President,26 and impeachment,27 the dichotomy of each House
must be acknowledged and recognized considering the interplay In view of the foregoing, I vote for the proposition that the Council
between these two Houses. In all these instances, each House is should adopt the rule of single representation of Congress in the JBC
constitutionally granted with powers and functions peculiar to its nature in order to respect and give the right meaning to the above-quoted
and with keen consideration to 1) its relationship with the other provision of the Constitution. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

138
On March 14, 2007, then Associate Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing, treat each ex-officio member as representing one co-equal branch of
also a JBC Consultant, submitted to the Chief Justice and ex-officio government. xxx Thus, the JBC was designed to have seven voting
JBC Chairman his opinion,29 which reads: members with the three ex-officio members having equal say in the
choice of judicial nominees.
8. Two things can be gleaned from the excerpts and citations above:
the creation of the JBC is intended to curtail the influence of politics in xxx
Congress in the appointment of judges, and the understanding is that
seven (7) persons will compose the JBC. As such, the interpretation of No parallelism can be drawn between the representative of Congress
two votes for Congress runs counter to the intendment of the framers. in the JBC and the exercise by Congress of its legislative powers under
Such interpretation actually gives Congress more influence in the Article VI and constituent powers under Article XVII of the Constitution.
appointment of judges. Also, two votes for Congress would increase Congress, in relation to the executive and judicial branches of
the number of JBC members to eight, which could lead to voting government, is constitutionally treated as another co-equal branch in
deadlock by reason of even-numbered membership, and a clear the matter of its representative in the JBC. On the other hand, the
violation of 7 enumerated members in the Constitution. (Emphases and exercise of legislative and constituent powers requires the Senate and
underscoring supplied) the House of Representatives to coordinate and act as distinct bodies
in furtherance of Congress’ role under our constitutional scheme. While
In an undated position paper,30 then Secretary of Justice Agnes VST the latter justifies and, in fact, necessitates the separateness of the two
Devanadera opined: Houses of Congress as they relate inter se, no such dichotomy need
be made when Congress interacts with the other two co-equal
As can be gleaned from the above constitutional provision, the JBC is branches of government.
composed of seven (7) representatives coming from different sectors.
From the enumeration it is patent that each category of members It is more in keeping with the co-equal nature of the three
pertained to a single individual only. Thus, while we do not lose sight of governmental branches to assign the same weight to considerations
the bicameral nature of our legislative department, it is beyond dispute that any of its representatives may have regarding aspiring nominees
that Art. VIII, Section 8 (1) of the 1987 Constitution is explicit and to the judiciary. The representatives of the Senate and the House of
specific that "Congress" shall have only "xxx a representative." Thus, Representatives act as such for one branch and should not have any
two (2) representatives from Congress would increase the number of more quantitative influence as the other branches in the exercise of
JBC members to eight (8), a number beyond what the Constitution has prerogatives evenly bestowed upon the three. Sound reason and
contemplated. (Emphases and underscoring supplied) principle of equality among the three branches support this conclusion.
[Emphases and underscoring supplied]
In this regard, the scholarly dissection on the matter by retired Justice
Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, a former JBC consultant, is worth The argument that a senator cannot represent a member of the House
reiterating.31 Thus: of Representatives in the JBC and vice-versa is, thus, misplaced. In
the JBC, any member of Congress, whether from the Senate or the
A perusal of the records of the Constitutional Commission reveals that House of Representatives, is constitutionally empowered to represent
the composition of the JBC reflects the Commission’s desire "to have the entire Congress. It may be a constricted constitutional authority, but
in the Council a representation for the major elements of the it is not an absurdity.
community." xxx The ex-officio members of the Council consist of
representatives from the three main branches of government while the From this score stems the conclusion that the lone representative of
regular members are composed of various stakeholders in the Congress is entitled to one full vote. This pronouncement effectively
judiciary. The unmistakeable tenor of Article VIII, Section 8(1) was to disallows the scheme of splitting the said vote into half (1/2), between
139
two representatives of Congress. Not only can this unsanctioned always be erased by a new judicial declaration. The doctrine is
practice cause disorder in the voting process, it is clearly against the applicable when a declaration of unconstitutionality will impose an
essence of what the Constitution authorized. After all, basic and undue burden on those who have relied on the invalid law. Thus, it was
reasonable is the rule that what cannot be legally done directly cannot applied to a criminal case when a declaration of unconstitutionality
be done indirectly. To permit or tolerate the splitting of one vote into would put the accused in double jeopardy or would put in limbo the
two or more is clearly a constitutional circumvention that cannot be acts done by a municipality in reliance upon a law creating it.33
countenanced by the Court. Succinctly put, when the Constitution
envisioned one member of Congress sitting in the JBC, it is sensible to Under the circumstances, the Court finds the exception applicable in
presume that this representation carries with him one full vote. this case and holds that notwithstanding its finding of
unconstitutionality in the current composition of the JBC, all its prior
It is also an error for respondents to argue that the President, in effect, official actions are nonetheless valid.
has more influence over the JBC simply because all of the regular
members of the JBC are his appointees. The principle of checks and Considering that the Court is duty bound to protect the Constitution
balances is still safeguarded because the appointment of all the regular which was ratified by the direct action of the Filipino people, it cannot
members of the JBC is subject to a stringent process of confirmation correct what respondents perceive as a mistake in its mandate. Neither
by the Commission on Appointments, which is composed of members can the Court, in the exercise of its power to interpret the spirit of the
of Congress. Constitution, read into the law something that is contrary to its express
provisions and justify the same as correcting a perceived inadvertence.
Respondents’ contention that the current irregular composition of the To do so would otherwise sanction the Court action of making
JBC should be accepted, simply because it was only questioned for the amendment to the Constitution through a judicial pronouncement.
first time through the present action, deserves scant consideration.
Well-settled is the rule that acts done in violation of the Constitution no In other words, the Court cannot supply the legislative omission.
matter how frequent, usual or notorious cannot develop or gain According to the rule of casus omissus "a case omitted is to be held as
acceptance under the doctrine of estoppel or laches, because once an intentionally omitted."34 "The principle proceeds from a reasonable
act is considered as an infringement of the Constitution it is void from certainty that a particular person, object or thing has been omitted from
the very beginning and cannot be the source of any power or authority. a legislative enumeration."35 Pursuant to this, "the Court cannot under
its power of interpretation supply the omission even though the
It would not be amiss to point out, however, that as a general rule, an omission may have resulted from inadvertence or because the case in
unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no question was not foreseen or contemplated."36 "The Court cannot
duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is inoperative as if supply what it thinks the legislature would have supplied had its
it has not been passed at all. This rule, however, is not absolute. Under attention been called to the omission, as that would be judicial
the doctrine of operative facts, actions previous to the declaration of legislation."37
unconstitutionality are legally recognized. They are not nullified. This is
essential in the interest of fair play. To reiterate the doctrine enunciated Stated differently, the Court has no power to add another member by
in Planters Products, Inc. v. Fertiphil Corporation:32 judicial construction.

The doctrine of operative fact, as an exception to the general rule, only The call for judicial activism fails to stir the sensibilities of the Court
applies as a matter of equity and fair play. It nullifies the effects of an tasked to guard the Constitution against usurpation. The Court remains
unconstitutional law by recognizing that the existence of a statute prior steadfast in confining its powers in the sphere granted by the
to a determination of unconstitutionality is an operative fact and may Constitution itself. Judicial activism should never be allowed to become
have consequences which cannot always be ignored. The past cannot judicial exuberance.38 In cases like this, no amount of practical logic or
140
convenience can convince the Court to perform either an excision or
an insertion that will change the manifest intent of the Framers. To
broaden the scope of congressional representation in the JBC is
tantamount to the inclusion of a subject matter which was not included
in the provision as enacted. True to its constitutional mandate, the
Court cannot craft and tailor constitutional provisions in order to
accommodate all of situations no matter how ideal or reasonable the
proposed solution may sound. To the exercise of this intrusion, the
Court declines.

WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondents is


hereby DENIED.

The suspension of the effects of the second paragraph of the


dispositive portion of the July 17, 2012 Decision of the Court, which
reads, "This disposition is immediately executory," is hereby LIFTED.

SO ORDERED.

141
G.R. No. 211833, April 07, 2015 qualifications of an RTC judge, and the JBC could add no more; (2) the JBC's
five-year requirement violates the equal protection and due process clauses
FERDINAND R. VILLANUEVA, PRESIDING JUDGE, MCTC, of the Constitution; and (3) the JBC's five-year requirement violates the
COMPOSTELA-NEW BATAAN, COMPOSTELA VALLEY constitutional provision on Social Justice and Human Rights for Equal
PROVINCE, Petitioner, v. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL, Respondent. Opportunity of Employment. The petitioner also asserted that the
requirement of the Prejudicature Program mandated by Section 104 of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 85575 should not be merely directory and should be
DECISION fully implemented. He further alleged that he has all the qualifications for
the position prescribed by the Constitution and by Congress, since he has
REYES, J.: already complied with the requirement of 10 years of practice of law.

In compliance with the Court's Resolution6 dated April 22, 2014, the
Presiding Judge Ferdinand R. Villanueva (petitioner) directly came to this
JBC7 and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)8separately submitted their
Court via a Petition for Prohibition, Mandamus, and Certiorari, and
Comments. Summing up the arguments of the JBC and the OSG, they
Declaratory Relief1 under Rules 65 and 63 of the Rules of Court,
essentially stated that the petition is procedurally infirm and that the
respectively, with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order
assailed policy does not violate the equal protection and due process
and/or writ of preliminary injunction, to assail the policy of the Judicial and
clauses. They posited that: (1) the writ of certiorari and prohibition cannot
Bar Council (JBC), requiring five years of service as judges of first-level
issue to prevent the JBC from performing its principal function under the
courts before they can qualify as applicant to second-level courts, on the
Constitution to recommend appointees to the Judiciary because the JBC is
ground that it is unconstitutional, and was issued with grave abuse of
not a tribunal exercising judicial or quasi-judicial function; (2) the remedy of
discretion.
mandamus and declaratory relief will not lie because the petitioner has no
cha nRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

clear legal right that needs to be protected; (3) the equal protection clause
The Facts
is not violated because the classification of lower court judges who have
served at least five years and those who have served less than five years is
The petitioner was appointed on September 18, 2012 as the Presiding Judge valid as it is performance and experience based; and (4) there is no violation
of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Compostela-New Bataan, Poblacion,
of due process as the policy is merely internal in nature.
Compostela Valley Province, Region XI, which is a first-level court. On
chanR oblesvi rtual Lawl ibra ry

September 27, 2013, he applied for the vacant position of Presiding Judge in
The Issue
the following Regional Trial Courts (RTCs): Branch 31, Tagum City; Branch
13, Davao City; and Branch 6, Prosperidad, Agusan Del Sur.
The crux of this petition is whether or not the policy of JBC requiring five
years of service as judges of first-level courts before they can qualify as
In a letter dated December 18, 2013, JBC's Office of Recruitment, Selection
2
applicant to second-level courts is constitutional.
and Nomination, informed the petitioner that he was not included in the list
of candidates for the said stations. On the same date, the petitioner sent a
letter, through electronic mail, seeking reconsideration of his non-inclusion Ruling of the Court
in the list of considered applicants and protesting the inclusion of applicants Procedural Issues:
who did not pass the prejudicature examination.
Before resolving the substantive issues, the Court considers it necessary to
The petitioner was informed by the JBC Executive Officer, through a first determine whether or not the action for certiorari, prohibition and
letter3 dated February 3, 2014, that his protest and reconsideration was duly mandamus, and declaratory relief commenced by the petitioner was proper.
noted by the JBC en banc. However, its decision not to include his name in
the list of applicants was upheld due to the JBC's long-standing policy of One. The remedies of certiorari and prohibition are tenable. "The present
opening the chance for promotion to second-level courts to, among others, Rules of Court uses two special civil actions for determining and correcting
incumbent judges who have served in their current position for at least five grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. These
years, and since the petitioner has been a judge only for more than a year, are the special civil actions for certiorari and prohibition, and both are
he was excluded from the list. This caused the petitioner to take recourse to governed by Rule 65."9 As discussed in the case of Maria Carolina P. Araullo,
this Court. etc., et al. v. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, etc., et al.,10 this Court
explained that:chan roblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

In his petition, he argued that: (1) the Constitution already prescribed the With respect to the Court, however, the remedies of certiorari and
prohibition are necessarily broader in scope and reach, and the writ
142
of certiorari or prohibition may be issued to correct errors of jurisdiction imperative duty of the respondent to perform the act required.13The
committed not only by a tribunal, corporation, board or officer exercising petitioner bears the burden to show that there is such a clear legal right to
judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions but also to set right, undo and the performance of the act, and a corresponding compelling duty on the part
restrain any act of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of of the respondent to perform the act. The remedy of mandamus, as an
jurisdiction by any branch or instrumentality of the Government, even if the extraordinary writ, lies only to compel an officer to perform a ministerial
latter does not exercise judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions. This duty, not a discretionary one.14 Clearly, the use of discretion and the
application is expressly authorized by the text of the second paragraph of performance of a ministerial act are mutually exclusive.
Section 1, supra.
The writ of mandamus does not issue to control or review the exercise of
Thus, petitions for certiorari and prohibition are appropriate remedies to discretion or to compel a course of conduct, which, it quickly seems to us,
raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit or nullify the acts of was what the petitioner would have the JBC do in his favor. The function of
legislative and executive officials.11 (Citation omitted) the JBC to select and recommend nominees for vacant judicial positions is
In this case, it is clear that the JBC does not fall within the scope of a discretionary, not ministerial. Moreso, the petitioner cannot claim any legal
tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. In right to be included in the list of nominees for judicial vacancies. Possession
the process of selecting and screening applicants, the JBC neither acted in of the constitutional and statutory qualifications for appointment to the
any judicial or quasi-judicial capacity nor assumed unto itself any judiciary may not be used to legally demand that one's name be included in
performance of judicial or quasi-judicial prerogative. However, since the the list of candidates for a judicial vacancy. One's inclusion in the list of the
formulation of guidelines and criteria, including the policy that the petitioner candidates depends on the discretion of the JBC, thus: chanroblesv i rtual lawlib rary

now assails, is necessary and incidental to the exercise of the JBC's The fact that an individual possesses the constitutional and statutory
constitutional mandate, a determination must be made on whether the JBC qualifications for appointment to the Judiciary does not create an entitlement
has acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of or expectation that his or her name be included in the list of candidates for a
jurisdiction in issuing and enforcing the said policy. judicial vacancy. By submitting an application or accepting a
recommendation, one submits to the authority of the JBC to subject the
Besides, the Court can appropriately take cognizance of this case by virtue former to the search, screening, and selection process, and to use its
of the Court's power of supervision over the JBC. Jurisprudence provides discretion in deciding whether or not one should be included in the list.
that the power of supervision is the power of oversight, or the authority to Indeed, assuming that if one has the legal right to be included in the list of
see that subordinate officers perform their duties. It ensures that the laws candidates simply because he or she possesses the constitutional and
and the rules governing the conduct of a government entity are observed statutory qualifications, then the application process would then be reduced
and complied with. Supervising officials see to it that rules are followed, but to a mere mechanical function of the JBC; and the search, screening, and
they themselves do not lay down such rules, nor do they have the discretion selection process would not only be unnecessary, but also improper.
to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, they may