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Pubcorp Cases by Dean Pamaran

Pubcorp Cases by Dean Pamaran

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Published by Yumi Elopre Paypon
CASE DIGESTS IN PUBLIC CORPORATIONS LAW
(Atty. Lapid) BY Dean Pamaran
CASE DIGESTS IN PUBLIC CORPORATIONS LAW
(Atty. Lapid) BY Dean Pamaran

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Published by: Yumi Elopre Paypon on Jul 12, 2010
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07/31/2013

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CASE DIGESTSINPUBLIC CORPORATIONS LAW(Atty. Lapid)Submitted by:Dean Ace A. Pamaran1. Espiritu vs. Melgar (1992)Facts
: Three similar complaints were filed with the DILG, Office of the Provincial Governor,and Office of the President, accusing Mayor Melgar of physically assaulting and arrestingcomplainant without any reason. Sangguniang Panlalawigan, after evaluation, passed aresolution recommending the Provincial Governor to preventively suspend him pending theadministrative case so Mayor Melgar was suspended by Governor Espiritu. Melgar filed petitionwith RTC which enjoined the Governor from implementing the order of suspension.
Held
: RTC has no jurisdiction to enjoin the governor from preventively suspending the mayor.Clearly, under Sec63 of the (old) LGC, the provincial governor of Oriental Mindoro isauthorized by law to preventively suspend the municipal mayor of Naujan at anytime after theissues had been joined and any of the following grounds were shown to exist: (1) When there isreasonable ground to believe that the respondent has committed the act or acts complained of; (2)When the evidence of culpability is strong; (3) When the gravity of the offense so warrants; or (4) When the continuance in office of the respondent could influence the witnesses or pose athreat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence. The rationale of preventivesuspension is so that the respondent may not hamper the normal course of the investigationthrough the use of his influence and authority over possible witnesses (Lacson vs. Roque, 92Phil. 456).Also, Melgar failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Since respondent mayor believedthat his preventive suspension was unjustified and politically motivated, he should have soughtrelief first from the Secretary of Interior and Local Government, not from the courts. However,once the 60-day preventive suspension has been served, the official is deemed reinstated in officewithout prejudice to the continuation of the administrative investigation of the charges againsthim.
2. Bunye vs. Escareal (1993)Facts
: Petitioners Municipal Mayor, Vice Mayor and Councilors questions the resolutionsuspending them from office for 90 days pending their trial for violation of Sec3(3) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.1
 
Held
: Suspension of petitioners was proper. Sec13 of RA3019 unequivocally provides that theaccused public official “shall be suspended from officewhile the criminal prosecution is pending in court. Under 
Gonzaga
case, such suspension is mandatory. It is not violative of theConstitution as it is not a penalty. It is mandatory as soon as the validity of the information isdetermined. There is no merit in the contention that their admission of the acts constituting theoffense charged against them eliminates apprehension that they might tamper with the records. Itis not for the petitioners to say that their admissions are all the evidence that the prosecution willneed to hold up its case against them. The prosecution must be given the opportunity to gather and prepare the facts for trial under conditions which would ensure non intervention and non-interference for 90 days from petitioner’s camp.The fear that the government will be paralyzed by their suspension is remote. There are 8councilors left who can meet as the Sangguniang Bayan. The President or his alter ego, theSecretary of Interior and Local Government will know how to deal with the problem of filling upthe temporarily vacant positions in accordance with the provisions of the LGC.
3. Garcia vs. COMELEC (1993)Facts
: On July1993, some mayors, vice-mayors and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of 12municipalities of Bataan province met and constituted themselves into a Preparatory RecallAssembly (PRA) in the Bagac town plaza to initiate the recall election of Governor Garcia(elected governor of Bataan in May, 1992 elections) for “loss of confidence”. COMELECscheduled recall elections. Governor Garcia asserts the unconstitutionality of Sec70, LGC.
Held:
Sec70 of LGC is constitutional. The presumption of validity rests on the respect due to thewisdom, integrity, and the patriotism of the legislative, by which the law is passed, and the Chief Executive, by whom the law is approved. Garcia does not point to any constitutional provisionthat will sustain their contention – for surely, there is nothing in there that will remotely suggestthat the people have the “sole
 
and exclusive right to decide on whether to initiate a recall proceeding.”The Constitution did not provide for any mode of initiating recall elections. It did not prohibit the adoption of multiple modes of initiating recall elections. The mandate given by Sec3of Art X of the Constitution is for Congress to “enact a LGC which shall provide for a moreresponsive and accountable local government structure through a system of decentralization witheffective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum xxx”Congress was clearly given the power to choose the effective mechanisms of recall as itsdiscernment dictates. Power given was to select which among the means and methods of initiating recall elections are effective to carry out the judgment of the electorate, and it was notstraight jacketed to one particular mechanism of initiating recall elections.The Constitution requires only that the mechanisms chosen (one or many) be effective.Congress deemed it wise to enact the alternative mode to supplement the former mode by directaction, and the Court cannot supplant this judgment by Congress in respect of the principle of separation of powers. Choice may be erroneous but the remedy against a bad law is to seek itsamendment or repeal by the legislative.Initiation by the PRAC is also initiation by the people, albeit done indirectly through their representatives this act by the people through their elected representatives is not constitutionallyimpermissible as seen in the task of drafting the Constitution which is delegated to their representatives (either by constitutional convention or as a congressional constituent assembly).2
 
Initiation of recall process is a lesser act and there is no rhyme or reason why it cannot beentrusted to and exercised by the elected representatives of the people.PRA resolution of recall is not the recall itself. The PRA resolution merely starts the process– only a part of the process, and not the whole. This is self-evident because a PRA resolution of recall that is not submitted to the COMELEC for validation will not recall its subject officials.Likewise, a PRA resolution of recall that is rejected by the people in the election called for the purpose bears no effect whatsoever. The initiatory resolution merely sets the stage for the officialconcerned to appear before the tribunal of the people so he can justify why he should be allowedto continue in office. Before the people render their sovereign judgment, the official concernedremains in office but his right to continue in office is subject to question. This is clear in Sec72,LGC which explicitly states that “the recall of an elective local official shall be effective onlyupon the election and proclamation of a successor in the person of the candidate receiving thehighest number of votes cast during the election on recall.”The fear expressed is that the members of PRAC may inject political color in their decision as they may initiate recall proceedings only against their political opponents especiallythose belonging to the minority. Careful reading of the law will show that it does not give anasymmetrical treatment to locally elected officials belonging to the political minority. The politically neutral composition of the PRA under Sec70(b) where all mayors, vice-mayors,sanggunian members of municipality and component cities are made members of the PRA at the provincial level-its membership is not apportioned to political parties – no significance is givento the political affiliation of its members. PRA at the provincial level includes all the electedofficials in the province concerned- considering their number, the greater probability is that noone political party can control its majority.Sec. 69, LGC provides that the only ground to recall is loss of confidence of the people.The members of PRAC are there not in representation of their political parties but asrepresentatives of the peoples. By necessary implication, loss of confidence cannot be premisedon mere differences in political party affiliation. The Constitution even encourages multi-partysystem to nurture the democratic system. Fear that a PRA may be dominated by a political partyand that it may use its power to initiate the recall of officials of opposite political persuasions isnot a ground to strike down the law as unconstitutional.Moreover, law instituted safeguards to assure that the initiation of the recall process by aPRA will not be corrupted by extraneous influences. Its diverse and distinct compositionguarantees that all the sectors of the electorate province shall be heard. Following are requiredfor the validity of resolution: (1) Notice to all members is a condition sine qua non to the validityof its proceedings; (2) Law also requires a qualified majority of all the PRA members to convenein session and in a public place; (3) Also, the recall resolution by majority must be adoptedduring its session called for the purpose.Furthermore, it cannot be claimed that the PRA members voted along narrow politicallines. Neither COMELEC nor SC made a judicial inquiry as to the reason that led the membersof the said recall assembly to cast a vote against Garcia. Pimentel in his book stressed that thesubstantive content of a vote of lack of confidence is beyond any inquiry – a political question(as held in
 Evardone vs COMELEC 
)The proposal will still be passed upon by the sovereignelectorate of Bataan – yet to be expressed. It is premature to conclude that the will has beensubverted. If electorate re-elects him, the proposal to recall is rejected. If they do not, then he haslost the confidence of the people which he once enjoyed3

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